Tagged: Derek Lowe

Spring Drags On

Mid-March is about the time when I begin to find Spring Training dull and get anxious for the real games to begin.  Ok yes, Joe Blanton had a good outing against the Tigers today after a shaky spring start.  Cole Hamels looks like he is in good shape with two solid performances so far.  The bats are jumping and as a team, the Phillies are hitting at an average of .301 with 7 homers and 36 RBI.  And still, I am a bit sleepy about the whole thing.

In my boredom today, I decided to scan through this week’s MLB headlines to see what was going on around the league.  Here are a few fun tidbits I came across in my search:

  • Yankees shortstop and baseball God, Derek Jeter, sat out of a Spring Training game with flu symptoms.  And then an Angel lost its wings :O(

  • At age 39, Brian Giles, former Padre, has decided to retire.  It was either that or start taking the same magical, fountain of youth pills that Jamie Moyer takes.
  • Angels center fielder Torii Hunter told USA Today that Latin Americans are “imposters” in relation to black ballplayers.  Hunter was then rushed to Jose Reyes’ Canadian doctor and diagnosed with “foot-in-mouth” disease.  He was given a “special” injection and should be back to hitting homers in no time.
  • 86224234_jpg_25207_cropped.jpgRed Sox Nomar Garciaparra also retired this week.  He now has plenty of free time to write a memoir about the many baseball adventures of his gigantic nose.  Did it provide shade when trying to catch a pop fly in the sun?  How many times did the nose save his life by blocking a high, inside pitch?  It will be a must-read.
  • Braves Manager Bobby Cox reported that Derek Lowe was suffering from a blister.  “He gutted through it, and it’s a mess,” Cox said about the blister. “I don’t know how he pitched at all.”  I know what he means; last week, I broke a nail and was not sure if I could go on typing.  I toughed it out as I could not disappoint my readers – that is how much I love you guys.
  • In an interview with ESPN, Milton Bradley whined that he received hate mail from the Cubs last year.  He went on to note that unless you’re “Superman or you’re Andre Dawson, Ernie Banks or [in the] Hall of Fame, then it’s going to be tough” for African-American players in Chicago.  I don’t suppose his .257 batting average had anything to do with his difficulties?  Oh, and wasn’t Superman a white dude?  Just sayin’…
  • Going back to the drug-dealing Canadian doctor, Alex Rodriguez was treated by this same guy after hip surgery last year.  In response to the investigation, A-Rod said, “I am aware of an investigation, and I plan on cooperating.”  The last time he “cooperated” there were no real consequences; so hey, no biggie.

Come on Opening Day!  Get here….quick!

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Reyes photo by Jenn

Garciaparra photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Moyer & Martinez: Together Again

Fate or coincidence?  If you ask me, lightning (or rain in this case) does not tend to strike twice unless it means it.  For the second home start in a row for Pedro, Mother Nature intervened to bring Pedro Martinez and Jamie Moyer together once more.  Martinez only notched 2 scoreless innings against the Braves before the storm came and then he had to sit through not one, but two rain delays.  He almost made it to the mound after the 1st delay, but only a few minutes later, the rain came again and the umpires called for the tarp again.  By the time the game resumed, Pedro was out and again, Jamie was in.

Moyer went on to pitch 4 1/3 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 5 batters.  I hate to sound like a broken record, but this Martinez-Moyer 5th start duo works.  Obviously some higher power is trying to sell this idea to the Phillies as well.  Fate has intervened yet again and brought the Phillies a win on the strength of this Batman and Robin combo.

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Ryan Howard’s
bat did not hurt the situation either; Howard blasted 2 home runs for 3 RBI in the game plus a double and a walk.  Howard looked like there was nothing he could not hit, rain or no rain.  Pedro Feliz had the only other RBI for the Phillies which came off a single to score Raul Ibanez from third.

Charlie Manuel, the most loyal manager in baseball, sent Ryan Madson out for the 8th inning and Brad Lidge out for the 9th again.  Both pitchers have struggled, especially Lidge who looks like a shell of his former self.  Madson got into trouble in the 8th, loaded the bases and allowed a run to score.  But he worked his way out of the potential disaster and handed the game to Lidge. 

With a 4-2 lead, Lidge pitched a clean inning and secured the win for the Phillies.  Do not jump up and down just yet; it has been this type of performance that Lidge has been unable to duplicate all season long.  No one, except maybe Manuel, is convinced yet that this is the end of the Lidge problems, although we all hope that it may be so :O)

Tonight the series will continue with the Braves at 7:05pm.  The match-up of Cliff Lee and Derek Lowe should be an interesting one!

By the way, the Phillies Cruise package that I posted yesterday is still available!  And yes, I will be going!  I also went last year and can attest that is was the BEST vacation ever!  Hanging out with major league players, their families and fellow fans….what could be better?  NOTHING I tell you….nothing.  Join us!

Photoshopping by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Dropping The Ball

Both literally and figuratively, the Phillies dropped the ball tonight.  After an off-day yesterday, the team sauntered into Atlanta and looked a bit sluggish, instead of rejuvenated.  Batting against Derek Lowe is generally no picnic, but they had some opportunities.  Chase Utley did his part, going 2 for 5 with a solo home run; and Pedro Feliz had a good night at the plate, playing outstanding defense in the field as well.  Joe Blanton had a so-so start; he went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs.  But most of the game was tight, without much action.

In fact, up until the 8th inning, the most entertaining part of the game was watching Braves pitcher, Mike Gonzalez swoon back and forth on the mound like a weeble-wobble.  No one was sure whether he was going to pitch or break dance.  That is one confused dude.  But his antics on the mound translated into back-to-back solo homers for the Phillies to give them a 4-3 lead.  John Mayberry and Feliz joined forces to knock the silliness right out of the Braves pitcher.

But the Braves tied the game back up in the bottom of the 8th, thanks to a dropped ball by Ryan Howard (bad feed from Madson), which allowed a runner to advance, and then Jayson Werth juggled another ball in the outfield.  Poor Ryan Madson just cannot catch a break lately when he is on the mound.  And these defensive mishaps would cost the Phillies the game.  Chan Ho Park got into trouble in the 10th inning with runners on 1st & 3rd and 1 out; the next batter hit a long fly ball to left field, which sealed the deal.

In addition to the loss, what also rings a few alarm bells around Philadelphia is the performance of Jimmy RollinsRollins kryptonite.jpgAfter being given a 4-game “mental” break / benching, Rollins came back today to resume his leadoff spot.  But frankly, it appears that nothing has changed.  Rollins still swung at bad pitches, very early in his at-bats and he had one shaky play in the field as well, missing a fairly routine ground ball that he normally would have snagged.  J-Roll ended the game without a hit in 5 at-bats and looks no closer to waking up than he did a week ago.  Has someone chained him down with Kryptonite?  Or is this just a phase?  A long, drawn-out, ridiculously bad phase…  Only time will tell.  However, the Phillies are nearing the half-way point of the season and time is a luxury they will not soon have.

Anyway, please keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars.  VOTE up to 25 times per day, per email address!  Voting ends at 11:59 PM ET on Thursday, July 2, 2009.

Rollins Photo by Jenn

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Nothing But Air

Much like the winter season, the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas are creeping along slowly for the Phillies.  A whole lot of hot air and that’s about all.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has disclosed that he and his team have met with Derek Lowe and his agent.  That’s the good news.  That bad news is that the other leading suitor for Lowe is the NY Yankees, who have already signed CC Sabathia for 7 years, but seem to still be interested in Lowe.  With the Yankees seemingly unlimited payroll, the Phillies will likely be outbid if this is the case.  Sabathia AND Lowe – that’s just plain greedy!

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In other news, Pat Burrell’s agent came out and told the Courier Post that he believes the Phillies are not at all interested in retaining Burrell.  Agent Ed Hayes was quoted as saying, “I’m hopeful but I’m also a realist, and I’d be surprised…I have not heard anything that would lead me to believe the club wants to have him back.”  Sad news there for Phillies fans everywhere – the GQ Handsome quotient of the team is about to be significantly lowered.  Nothing has been decided yet, but reports are that Burrell wants three years and there is no way Amaro is going to offer that.  Unless Burrell settles for a 1 or 2 year deal, it looks like he’ll be telling the Phils to stick it and move on.

As for an additional infielder, the Jake Peavy / Mark DeRosa rumors have progressed.  The MLB Hot Stove reports that the trade may involve moving Phillies prospects JA Happ, Jason Donald and/or Carlos Carrasco.  Any combination of these players would wind up going to the Cubs, the moved to the Padres with a few other Cubs in exchange for Peavy.  Is your head spinning yet?  I really do not like the idea of losing young players with big potential.  Is DeRosa worth it?  Last year he hit 20 homers with an average of .285 and 87 RBI’s.  He has a lifetime .976% fielding percentage.  Knowing Burrell was going to be a free agent this year, if they intend to sign DeRosa, based on these numbers, the Phillies may as well have kept Aaron Rowand.  They may have saved some money.  DeRosa will not be cheap and may cost us some great young talent.  I’ll be keeping an ear to the ground to see where this goes.

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What Happens In Vegas…

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…will be written here for all to see!  So much for things “staying” in Vegas.  Ruben Amaro Jr. in his new GM role has all eyes on him at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, waiting for him to make his mark on the 2009 Phillies team.  Rumors abound, as they usually do this during the Winter Meetings, but so far, nothing has transpired.  Talks with pitcher Jamie Moyer are slowing down to a near halt…it looks like he is asking for 2 years at about 10 million a year.  The Phillies simply aren’t going to pay that for a guy in his mid-forties.  It is too big a risk.  And as much as we all love Jamie and would like to believe that age is never a factor, it can be.  He showed signs of slowing down towards the end of 2008, but still remained on the active roster all year without an injury.  But if you placing bets on whether this will remain the case for one or maybe two more years, those are odds even the nuttiest Vegas gambler wouldn’t bet on.

The Phillies have been looking at options, in case Moyer decides to go elsewhere.  Randy Wolf, ex-Phillie and Geoff Jenkins look-a-like, has been mentioned.  It is also rumored that an offer has been made to Derek Lowe.  Amaro also mentioned he’d like to add one more arm to an already outstanding bullpen.  Scott Eyre has already been signed to a one-year, $2 million contract extension, so we know he’ll be back, giving us one more lefty to play with in addition to JC Romero.  Ryan Madson may be signed, rather than allow him to go to arbitration, but nothing specific has been mentioned on that one.   Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey are also eligible for arbitration.

Arbitration is going to play a huge part in moves this offseason.  With TEN Phillies eligible, including those mentioned plus Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs, Cole Hamels, Eric Bruntlett and Joe Blanton, salaries for any new additions are going to be at a premium.  Amaro knows he has big money due to some of these guys and has to plan accordingly.  I am hoping none of them will end up being trade bait, so as to keep the core of this team intact.  But you know what sometimes happens with a new GM; they try to make changes, even if they don’t have to, just to put their own personal stamp on the team and separate themselves from the previous GM.  I am really hoping Amaro does not fall into this trap.  It is a mind game and one that is likely to produce bad results.  He needs to do what is best for the team, not for his ego or reputation.

As for a utility infielder, there have been rumors of bringing 31 year-old Nick Punto back to Philly.  With the Twins since 2004, he has played every infield position, except first base, and even some outfield.  Punto has a lifetime average of .252, with a .284 average in 2008, having played in 99 games.  His career fielding percentage is .976 with 49 total errors in 8 seasons.  Honestly, for a guy that does not play every day, that is not so great.  So, I am hoping this rumor goes away…

As for Pat Burrell, that train has come to a stop, at least for now.  It appears Burrell is fielding offers from other teams and so this becomes another case of wait and see.  Even manager Charlie Manuel is asking for a contract extension so he can retire as a Phillie.  Nothing solid on this, other than most expect this deal to be done this week sometime.  So we will wait and see.  And I will keep you posted as things progress this week.

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Where Is The Love?

P5140472 Amaro.jpg

Ruben Amaro Jr. is off to a great start; well, a great start in totally confusing and possibly pissing off Phillies fans everywhere!  Amaro & company declined to offer arbitration to ANY of the four eligible players, including Jamie Moyer and Pat Burrell.  I expected as much for Tom Gordon and Rudy Seanez, but the other two are surprising.  By not offering arbitration to Moyer or Burrell, they have just given every other team in Major League Baseball a super incentive to sign them:  If you sign a player who has NOT been offered arbitration, then you do not have to give up any draft picks when signing that player away from his current team.  And in the same respect, the Phillies will get nothing if another team picks up one of our players.  So I ask then, where is the love for Moyer & Burrell?

The other side of this is that if Moyer or Burrell were actually to go to arbitration, they may have gotten salaries beyond what the Phillies want to pay for them.  I guess after getting burned on Ryan Howard’s arbitration last year where he was awarded 10 million dollars, they did not want to take this risk.  But I also think that not offering the arbitration may be sending a signal to these players that management does not mind so much if they do not return to the Phillies; and that may turn out to be a real issue.  It also makes signing new players more difficult.  For example, both A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe (pitchers) were offered arbitration by their teams.  So, the Phillies will lose draft picks if they decided to sign one of these guys.  And since they now gain nothing for losing Moyer to another team, they will be unlikely to sign a guy to replace him, like Burnett or Lowe, who has been offered arbitration.  If they did that, they lose draft picks and Moyer…it’s a double blow.

Last week, the Phillies did sign veteran reliever Mike Koplove; a 32-year old with a career ERA of 3.82 in the majors.  However, they expect him to spend a lot of time in AAA, as he did for most of his career.  So, why do the Phillies sign a 32-year old minor leaguer?  For the same reason they skipped arbitration for Moyer and Burrell this year – the Phillies management are CHEAP.  I guess they figured we won our World Series and that will be enough for the next 28 years.

Now say it with me everyone…take a deep breath and let it out….UUGGHHHHHH!!!!!!

Read more at MY OTHER HOME PAGE!  Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Please check out our new site and bookmark it.

And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!  All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!

Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose,  Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!