Tagged: injuries

Phillies Offense Finally on a Roll…

In the last two games, the Phillies have scored a total of 15 runs.  Since the start of the season, it did not look like that sort of run production was ever going to happen.  But Wednesday’s 7-2 win over the Diamondbacks may actually signal the awakening of this offense.

Cole Hamels certainly helped the situation with another great start, putting the Phillies in position to win.  Through 8 strong innings, Hamels allowed only 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 7 batters.  He also lit things up at the plate with a 2-run single in the 6th inning.

This game was a real team effort, with everyone in the line-up contributing, even if it was just a sacrifice to move runners.  The biggest stand-out though was Placido Polanco who looked like the player of old.  He was on base after every at bat with 3 hits, 2 walks and an RBI.

Carlos Ruiz also had a 3-hit game and Hunter Pence collected 2 hits.  Now if the Phillies can just get Jimmy Rollins going, this might actually be a descent line-up again.

Thursday is an off-day with a 4-game home series beginning with the Cubs on Friday.  You know what the cure for a suffering offense is?  That’s right…the Cubs.  Cross your fingers…

Injury Updates:

As you may have heard, relief pitcher Mike Stutes is on the DL.  He has not looked the like the vibrant pitcher he was since about the final month of last season.  While this is concerning, his replacement, Michael Schwimer looked very sharp in Wednesday’s win.

As for Ryan Howard, he is still taking it easy.  But his wound is finally healing which means he may be able to start real baseball activity within the next week.

And my favorite topic of discussion, Chase Utley: Reportedly, Utley is feeling no knee pain while batting and some pain while fielding.  He took batting practice in Arizona with the team and many were encouraged by his swing.  However, here is a word of caution about all the optimism…

As a person with chronic knee issues, worse that what Utley has, I can tell you this; I also feel no pain while swinging a bat…ok, in my knees at least ;o)  The joint rotation does not bother me.  However, running and anything involving impact, like chasing ground balls, is a whole other story.

I have not been able to play serious baseball since I was 16 years old after blowing out both my knees.  But it was not because I could not still hit; it was because I could not run.  All these years later, I can still hit, but I still cannot run and never will.  Are you following my thought process here?

Granted, I have worse issues that Utley.  But my point is, yes, he looks good hitting.  But the real test will be impact movements, like running.  The fact that Utley still has some pain while fielding is not a good sign.  Running is generally more strenuous than fielding due to the repetition of the impact on the knees.  So if it is hard to field, running will only make that worse.

I am a huge Chase Utley fan and I would love nothing more than to see him get better and back to his old self.  However, all of this makes me very nervous.  If he comes back too early, he can do more damage to his knees.  But we all want him to come back sooner than later and I am sure he does as well.

So be optimistic; but be cautiously optimistic.

 

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Phillies Infield Grasping at Straws

After trading utility infielder Wilson Valdez for a minor league pitcher in January, things have gone steadily downhill since then.  In an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic earlier this month, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. finally admitted that the Valdez trade was “foolish.”  His exact quote was, “It was foolish to trade Wilson Valdez” and Amaro then admitted if he could go back in time, he would take Valdez back.

I knew that in January.  Why didn’t Amaro?  Obviously, he did not see the train coming before it ran him over this spring training.  You cannot predict injuries, but even I knew that Chase Utley would be a big question mark this year after last year’s chronic knee issues.  Sure enough, he is out and no one knows when he will return.

Adding to the disaster at second base,  Michael Martinez has a broken foot and will be out until at least May.  To begin with, I’d have taken Valdez over Martinez anyway.  But again, Valdez is gone.  And first base is going to be an adventure as well with Ryan Howard out until…???  No one knows.

Now the Phillies are stuck with a rookie short stop as their starting second baseman.  Don’t get me wrong, Freddy Galvis is a wonderful prospect, but can he handle this type of pressure so early in his career?  Switching positions makes this even harder on a very young player who may not be ready for the big leagues yet.

Galvis may be just fine.  But this is certainly not the kind of uncertainty the Phillies wanted to start the season with.

Pete Orr may wind up being the back-up for Galvis, although the roster will not be set in stone until probably Sunday night.  We do know outfielder Juan Pierre has made the team, but the rest of the roster is still in limbo.

You can see the Phillies are very worried though…today they signed a Nationals reject, just in case.  Andres Blanco, a 27-year-old utility infielder who hit .224 with the Rangers last season, was given a minor-league deal.  This is the Phillies idea of a back-up plan.  Yikes.

A few other bonehead moves by Amaro this offseason include signing outfielder Laynce Nix to a 2-year deal.  This guy has hit above .255 only ONE time in a nine-year career.  And this spring, he is hitting .200.  And how about first baseman Ty Wiggington?  His career has been on a steady decline the last two seasons, hitting .248 and .242 respectively.  This spring, Wiggington has hit .190.

The good news is, both guys were cheap and Wiggington was given just a one-year deal.  But in case anyone is wondering, Valdez is hitting .318 in 44 at-bats this spring with the Reds.  Just saying…

Ok, so maybe all these new guys will surprise us all and get some big hits?  But I do not see any of them volunteering to pitch the 19th inning and risk making a total idiot out of themselves for the team.  That guy is gone….Wilson!  Miss you already…

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Valdez Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Utley Answers, But Are We Asking the Right Questions?

Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki reported that Chase Utley answered many questions about his injured left knee yesterday.  He spoke about a new rehab program and stated that he would play again this year, although no time table was given.

Utley also stated that last year, it was the right knee that bothered him and this year it is the left.  He is optimistic because the right knee feels fine now and the new program seems to be working on the left knee.  But does this not beg the obvious question that no one has asked him?  When the right knee was injured, why did he change his routine/program on only the right side?

Here is the quote from Utley regarding the two knees:  “So we made some changes last year to my right knee. It worked because it feels strong. It feels good. Now I have to make similar changes to my left knee.”

Why was the program not changed for BOTH knees back when this issue originally started flaring up?  What affects the right knee can also affect the left, especially when it involves impact movements like running and jumping.  Still, no precautions were taken.  Why?  And who in the world was giving Utley training advice at that time?  Because whoever neglected to state the obvious may have just cost the Phillies another half a season with no All-Star second baseman.

This could also cut Utley’s career short if the problem persists.  Right now, he believes it will all work out.  But a few years down the road, who knows?

Mad Dog

As you may have heard, former Philles closer Ryan Madson needs Tommy John surgery, ending his 2012 season with the Reds before it even began.  Worse than that, super agent Scott Boras managed to dig up only a 1-year deal for Madson which means he may have to beg for a 2013 contract after not having pitched for all of 2012.

The Wild Thing, former closer Mitch Williams, wrote an excellent article about Madson’s free agency this off-season.  Williams discovered that Boras turned down a 3-year, $33 million counteroffer from the Phillies without ever consulting Madson, who did wish to return to Philly.  Instead, Madson got stuck with a meager 1-year deal with the Reds.

Williams then posed the question, “What if he gets injured.”  Well the Wild Thing’s crystal ball was correct.  Madson got hurt and now his career may be in jeopardy.

Mad Dog Madson should be foaming at the mouth over the way his agent handled his free agency.  If I were Madson, Boras would be fired.  Then again, I guess the Phillies can thank Boras for doing such a crappy job.  Had he not totally sucked, the Phillies would be paying Madson $11 million this year to do nothing except have surgery.  Nicely done, Boras.

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Grieving the Phillies 2011 Season – Stage 1: Denial

I have embarked on a mission to cleanse myself of the horror and grief surrounding the untimely end to the Phillies 2011 Season.  I simply cannot continue to carry this overwhelming sense of emptiness and loss  around much longer.  It is like a funeral around here, and that is never much fun.

2006-06-30-denialHowever, I have still not gotten past the Denial stage.  Frankly, I refuse to believe this actually happened.  How did a team with such talent managed to get knocked off in the first freaking round of the playoffs?

No.  I tell you it is just not possible.

I will not cry over the death of the 2011 Phillies because I refuse to acknowledge that they are gone.  If they were actually gone, that would mean that free agents like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Raul Ibanez could be gone for good.

That would also mean, so I have been told, that no fewer than five Phillies are headed for off-season surgery with real potential to totally screw up next season as well.  Ryan Howard needs Achilles tendon surgery, both Placido Polanco and Hunter Pence have sports hernias and Ross Gload needs hip surgery.

But maybe the biggest bombshell of them all is Cole Hamels who will have TWO surgeries back to back starting on Friday.  Hamels will have “loose bodies” removed from his elbow and then a week later, inguinal hernia surgery.

Oh please, say it ain’t so.  No one even knew Hamels was hurt!  And Howard?  He could miss the start of the season.

No, no, no….this is just NOT happening!

Ugh.

Stay tuned for Stage 2…

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Jimmy Rollins Headed to the DL

In last night’s Phillies loss to the Nationals, shortstop Jimmy Rollins was lifted from the game early after an injury.  I tweeted a photo collage of J-Roll from the 2nd inning where he did a 360 move from catch to throw on a grounder, after which he was seen grimacing in pain.

It turns out the initial injury occurred as he ran to first base in the 1st inning.  Rollins tweeted me back with this information:

 

And then shortly after, he received the results of his MRI which led to these tweets:

 

So Rollins is on the DL with a grade 2 groin strain.  This is sad news :O(  Rollins has been having a very good year so to see him shut-down now is disappointing.

Placido Polanco is expected to come off the DL today, so the two players will most likely be swapping spots with no additional roster moves.

This also means continued playing time for both Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez, who have done a fantastic job filling in at third base.

I wish J-Roll all the best in his recovery; hopefully, he will be back very soon!

 

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*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Victorino to DL as Braves Come to Town

Only 2.5 games ahead of the Braves in the NL East, this weekend series is a big one for the Phillies.  And now, one of their biggest offensive threats will not be joining them.

Earlier today, centerfielder Shane Victorino was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to Monday, July 4th.  He would be eligible to return on July 19th.  This is his second trip to the DL this year.

This move comes one day after Victorino was voted into the All-Star game by the fans.  Obviously, he will now not be participating in the All-Star festivities due to the sprained thumb.

The injury occurred after Victorino stumbled on the astro turf in Toronto this past Sunday.  Initially, it looked like Victorino twisted his ankle:

 

Later, it was revealed that he jammed his thumb during the fall.

Pete Orr has been recalled from Triple-A to take Victorino’s place on the roster.  Still, this is a huge blow for the Phillies who also have Placido Polanco in limbo with an aching back.  Polanco was supposed to see a specialist yesterday, but there is still no word on the outcome.

So the Phillies will enter this important 3-game series with five veteran pitchers on the DL, their centerfielder on the DL and third baseman in limbo.  On top of that, the Braves have a very good team and a much better bullpen then the Phillies.

Buckle-up Phillies fans; this is going to be a long, crazy weekend.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

Halladay Loses With a Complete Game

Here is something that should never, ever happen.  Roy Halladay pitched a three-run, complete game against the Braves today and took a loss.  With the rate at which Halladay and other Phillies pitchers, like Cliff Lee, are being hung out to dry by this offense, it may be time to take more drastic measures.

The Phillies were the only team in the majors to not have a starting pitcher lose two games in a row.  That streak ended today as Halladay got his second consecutive taste of how bad this Phillies offense sucks right now.

Just because it is Superman himself, Roy Halladay, on the mound, does not mean that he will toss a shut-out every time out.  The movie Superman managed to turn back time by rotating the earth backwards on its axis, but do not think he will accomplish this feat whenever he feels like it, even in the movies.  There needs to be some basis in reality to keep our attention.

The Phillies batters, however, seem to be hanging around, just waiting for another Halladay or Lee miracle.  Tim Hudson pitched for the Braves today and was almost pulled from the game in the fourth inning with a sore hip, but he managed to go seven innings anyway.  This means that the Phillies managed only four hits off a Grandpa (in baseball years) with a bad hip!

The only reason that Grandpa lasted seven innings was because the Phillies got themselves out.  They swung at bad pitches and were not patient when Hudson began flinging balls all over the place, two feet over their heads or straight into the dirt.

Three of the four hits in the game were from the bench players, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez and John Mayberry Jr. who accounted for the only score with a two-run homer.  Mayberry played center in place of the ailing Shane Victorino.  Both he and Orr each stole a base as well.

So while the bench guys keep trying to resuscitate this team, where are the starters?  Where are the bats of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez?  Come out, come out, wherever you are!  This game of hide and seek is getting old.

The 3-2 loss gave the Braves the series win, 2-1.  The Braves are now only 3.5 games behind the Phillies in the NL East and the Marlins are two games back.

The Phillies will travel to St. Louis for a short, two-games series next.  Cliff Lee pitches tomorrow, unless he decides to go on strike.  Game time is 7:05pm.