Tagged: John Mayberry

Half Way Through Spring

Having gone past the half-way point of Spring Training, the paring down of the Phillies roster has begun.  The first fourteen cuts included pitchers Phillippe Aumont, Yohan Flande, Scott Mathieson, Drew Naylor, J.C. Ramirez, Jesus Sanchez, Joe Savery and Bill White; position players cut were catchers Tuffy Gosewisch, Kevin Nelson and John Sumoi; infielder Freddy Galvis; and outfielders Quintin Berry and Tyson Gillies.  You will notice that all three of the players involved in the Cliff Lee trade are on the list.

One of those players, Aumont, had a very rough start in camp in an exhibition game.  But after that, he made a solid 2 2/3 inning appearance where he did not allow a run.  J.C. Ramirez did not fare as well, appearing in two games and allowing 3 runs over 4 1/3 innings.  Both pitchers are still early in their development and we may not have a real sense of their worth for some time to come.


Thumbnail image for Gillies.jpgThe third player from the Lee trade is Tyson Gillies who showed some real potential.  He ended his trip to camp with a .286 average in 7 at-bats, including a home run, a double and 2 RBI.  Gillies told the press that camp was a huge learning experience for him and was especially grateful to manager Charlie Manuel for his words of advice; Gillies said, “Charlie told me the things I need to work on, slowing things down. Slower. Slower when I’m hitting. He wants me to be slow with the feet, and quick with the hands. Basically just stay back a little bit more. Keep my hands and everything back and try not to lunge at everything. Let the ball come to me.”

While it is endearing to hear those comments from a young player, it also leaves one to wonder what exactly the coaching staff in Seattle has been doing…or not doing.  Gillies has been in the minors since 2007 and no one ever told him not to lunge at the ball?  Or even how to properly approach an at-bat and hit the ball?  It is no wonder then why so many young players develop so many bad habits.  Seems that “coaching” may be a lost art…

Those players that remain in camp will slowly be whittled down to the final 25-man roster.  Starting pitchers, like JA Happ, will see a steady increase in innings.  Happ went 4 solid yesterday in a 5-4 win over the Twins.  He allowed just one hit and struck out 3.  Kyle Kendrick followed today with 4 solid innings of his own, allowing 2 hits.  Kendrick remains on the heels of Jamie Moyer in the competition for the 5th starters spot.

As for the hitters, here is a look at the batting averages for each player still in camp, with at least 5 at-bats:

W Valdez

.750

 

R Gload

.294

B Bocock

.455

 

J Castro

.273

C Utley

.438

 

R Howard

.250

P Polanco

.375

 

J Rollins

.250

D Wise

.375

 

B Francisco

.235

D Brown

.350

 

C Ransom

.200

O Chavez

.333

 

F Galvis

.182

G Dobbs

.333

 

J Werth

.136

B Schneider

.333

 

R Ibanez

.115

J Mayberry

.318

 

C Ruiz

.100 Bottom of Form

S Victorino

.313

 

 

 

 

Chase Utley and Placido Polanco lead the pack among the regular players.  And as expected, Polanco’s transition from 2nd to 3rd base has been very smooth.  He had one rough game right at the start for his only error of Spring, but has been great ever since.  Polanco has 17 assists and turned 5 double plays in 42 innings of work.

As for the still rehabbing players, Brad Lidge is doing well and will start a Double A Spring game on Thursday.  Manager Charlie Manuel announced that is Lidge is not ready in April, Ryan Madson will be given the closer duties.  JC Romero is also progressing, but will not be ready for Opening Day; he did throw some breaking balls today for the first time since his surgery and depending on how he feels over the next few days, he may get to throw to hitters this week.

 

if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13’);

Gillies photo – MLB.com

 

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

Highs and Lows of Spring

Here are some highlights from the last 2 Phillies Spring games:

3/7 vs. Tampa Bay; final score 5-3, Tampa:  JA Happ started the game and went 2 1/3 scoreless innings; he did walk 2 batters, but overall looked good.  But even better news was that newbie Phillipe Aumont recovered from his Phillies debut, which was a 5-run pounding in less than inning against Florida State.  Against the Rays, he went 2 2/3 scoreless innings with 1 walk and 2 hits.  Time for Aumont to exhale; he is back in top prospect form.

Joe Savery, on the hand, has a rough inning where he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits.  Savery is a former first round draft pick of the Phillies but sadly, The 6’3″ lefty has never looked comfortable on the mound.  He has a 4.14 ERA in 3 years of minor league play.

The polar opposite of Savery has been young outfield propect Domonic Brown; he continues to impress this Spring and went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI against the Rays.  He also threw a runner out at home, just for good measure.  New bench piece Ross Gload also went 3 for 5 in the game in the DH role.

3/8 vs. Yankees; final score 7-5, Yanks:  Kyle Kendrick is putting the pressure on Jamie Moyer in competition for the 5th starters spot.  Kendrick went 3 solid innings allowing just one hit and no runs.  But more than that, he looked comfortable and confident.  I suppose sporting that Roy Halladay look-alike beard has given him an ego boost ;o)


Kendrick Halladay.jpgAnd then in the opposite category, Jose Contreras looked horrible today.  He could not seem to throw a first pitch strike, worked behind almost every batter in the count and as a result, he allowed 6 runs on 3 walks and 6 hits over only 1 2/3 innings.  Luckily, the Phillies have very little invested in the righty so if he does not shape up, no big deal.  Then again, Contreras was supposed to be an upgrade over the departed Chan Ho Park; do I smell a huge disappointment on the horizon?  Hmmmm….

Incidentally, Contreras began his career with the Yankees and his signing in 2002 is what precipitated the Yankee nickname, “Evil Empire.”  It is said that the Red Sox were so intent on signing Contreras that they booked every hotel room in the area of Cuba where Contreras was to keep the Yanks away.  In the end, they still lost out to the Yankees and the Sox owner allegedly threw a chair through a window in anger.  This is just a rumor, of course :O)

As for the bat today, Ryan Howard finally got his first, and then second, hit of Spring against the Yankees.  Whew!  But the big blast of the day came off the bat of Jimmy Rollins.  Pitcher Javier Vazquez made his return to the Yankees today since departing in 2005 and his very first pitch was taken out of the park by Rollins.  1 pitch, 1 homer – nice. 

Rollins had 2 hits in the game as did Howard, Chase Utley and John Mayberry Jr., who knocked the second Phillies homer of the game in the 6th inning.  But while the bat were popping, the outing by Contreras put the Phils in a hole they could not climb out of.

Shane Victorino was still missing from the line-up, but it appears he may make his Spring debut tomorrow against the Braves at 7:05pm.  His sore shoulder has been an issue so far this Spring and the Phillies are playing it safe with him.  But hopefully the Flyin’ Hawaiian will take flight again tomorrow night.

And congratulations to reader “blueferret” who was the first person to find the mistake on the new Cliff Lee Topps trading card from Saturday’s blog.  Topps photoshopped an old Phillies card to change the Phillies uniform to a Mariners uniform but they forgot to remove the “HK” patch from the new Mariners version.  The “HK” patch was a Phillies-only items that the team wore in 2009 in honor of the late Harry Kalas.

if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13’);

 

Photos by ESPN.com

 

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

 

Spring Games Set To Begin

The Phillies take to the field tonight for the first real action of Spring Training in an exhibition game against Florida State.  JA Happ will be the starting pitcher followed by Phillippe Aumont, Yohan Flande, Drew Naylor, Joe Savery, Jesus Sanchez and David Herndon.  All eyes will be on Aumont as he was one of the prospects the Phillies got in the Cliff Lee trade.  Many are anxious to see if the risk will pay off.

Shane Victorino has been left off the starting line-up for precautionary reasons. 
Thumbnail image for P2222389 Mayberry.jpg
Victorino has been suffering from a sore shoulder and the team will likely not want to push him.  It does not seem serious, but it is usually better to be safe than sorry.  John Mayberry Jr. will fill in at center and Greg Dobbs gets the nod as the DH.  But as is usual in Spring games, the starters will probably not play long, giving the team a chance to look at some prospects.  Game time is 7:05pm.

The game everyone is waiting for though is tomorrow’s match up against the Yankees with Roy Halladay on the mound.  It will be the team’s first look at their off-season prize in live game action.  The talk about Halladay’s work ethic, poise and electric arm has been non-stop since he signed.  Finally, it is time to see some results.  Tomorrow’s game starts at 1pm and will be carried on Comcast Sportsnet and then replayed on The MLB Network at 7pm.

And now for the disturbing news of the week:  Phillies fans know Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning as the man who pitched the only perfect game in Phillies history on June 24, 1964 which happened to be Father’s Day as well.  Considered one of the best Phillies players in history, Bunning is also one of only six pitchers ever to throw both a perfect game and a no-hitter in his career.  So as a baseball player, Bunning gets two thumbs up.  As a politician, not so much…

Bunning has served in the Kentucky State Senate since 1998 and in 2006, Time magazine dubbed him one of “America’s Five Worst Senators.”  He routinely misses Senate floor votes and on Christmas Eve 2009, he was the only senator to skip the vote on the historic health care reform bill.  Adding more fuel to the fire this month, Bunning single-handedly blocked a 30-day extension of federal unemployment benefits when more than 200,000 unemployed Americans were set to lose benefits.  The proposal of unanimous consent on any legislation like this is generally reserved for situation where no one is going to object.  Essentially, the proposal is thought to be a no-brainer….that is, for everyone on the planet except Jim Bunning.

The Senate was attempting to avoid a massive hit to the economy and considered the extension an emergency.  After receiving public spankings from both Democrats and Republicans, Bunning finally relented on Tuesday night and the legislation was passed, but not before Bunning made a total as*s out of himself.   Wait a second, I though the “as*s” was the symbol of the Democratic party?


PB023558 Bunning.jpgWe still love you in Philly Jim, but please, do America a favor and get out of politics while you still have some dignity left.  Let us all remember you as the guy who tossed the only Phillies perfect game and not the guy who tried to make 200,000 angry, unemployed people storm his house, tie him and up and force him to watch tape of the 1964 Phillies collapse; they dropped 10 consecutive games at the end of the season and lost the Division after being in first place with a 3-game lead.  This type of torture is cruel and unusual punishment.  Please, don’t make us do it…we don’t want to remember that year either.

 

if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13’);

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

This Week At Phillies Camp

The big news out of Phillies camp this week was Roy Halladay throwing live batting practice to a few of his teammates yesterday.  Although they were only tracking pitches, it did give Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez a chance to see Halladay in action.  Another player who stood in was outfield prospect Dominic Brown.  Brown told the media afterwards that because he was almost traded for Halladay, he felt compelled to take a few hacks off him.  He did not have much success, but it may be safe to assume it was a personal victory for the young player.

It appears also that besides Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, there is one more competitor for the 5th starters spot in the rotation.  Ryan Vogelsong, 32, began his big league career with the Giants in 2000 and was then traded to Pittsburgh the following year.  In his 6 years floating between the majors and minors, Vogelsong’s record stood at 10-22 with a 5.86 ERA in the majors with 315 innings pitched.  After leaving the Pirates in 2006, he travelled to Japan in an attempt to improve and make a few dollars.  Vogelsong grew up in the Philadelphia area and played ball at Kutztown University so he is thrilled to put on the Phillies uniform.  His chances of making the team are likely slim, but as in baseball and life, anything is possible.

As Spring Training progresses, a sign that games are not far away is the Phillies annual Phan Fest, which will be held tonight at Bright House field in Clearwater.  If you are in the Clearwater area, be sure to check out this event.  Gates will open at 5:30pm and admission is free.  There will be 2 sets of players there to sign autographs.  The cost is only $15 per table for three players.   The first table will have pitchers Kyle Kendrick, newcomer Danys Baez and the runner-up for Rookie of the Year, JA Happ.  The second table has another newcomer, catcher Brian Schneider plus outfielders Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr.


Thumbnail image for ST Phan Fest.jpgHaving attended Phan Fest for the last two years, I can tell you it is well worth the trip.  Aside from the autograph tables, there is a play area for kids, a photo booth which will be with Darren Daulton this year, a silent auction, opportunities to buy game-used merchandise, the Phanatic and a fireworks display to end the evening.  Last year, a few of the players including Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin and Brett Myers, brought their kids to the event and sat on the field to watch the fireworks.  Of those three, only Chad was there for the autographs; the others came on their own to spend time with their families which was very touching to watch.

And the countdown continues…

if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘8bb6c248-dc0c-4297-ae0b-fd47223a3246’);

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Regular Season Ends With A Walk-Off Win

The regular season is over for the Phillies and they closed it out with a win against the Marlins for a final season record of 93-69.  And as usual, it was not without high drama; oh, and extra innings too.  If we have learned anything over the years, it is that the Phillies do nothing the easy way.

Most of the bench players and rookies got some time in today to make their final bid for a post-season roster spot.  Miguel Cairo made his case, going 2 for 4 with 1 RBI and a triple that tied up the game when he scored after a throwing error by the Fish.  Ben Francisco went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a walk, however, he was picked off trying to steal THREE times.  No kidding.  Another thing we learned today?  Francisco is not allowed to attempt a steal…ever.


100409a.jpgThe pitching was a bit trickier.  JA Happ was only allowed to pitch 2 innings to save his arm for the post-season.  Sadly, he allowed 2 runs in the 1st inning which bumped his ERA up to 2.93 for the season.  Still, that and his 12 wins were an amazing feat for the rookie.

Kyle Kendrick may have pitched his way off the roster as he allowed 3 runs in 2 2/3 innings.  The lefty Sergio Escalona looked a little shaky too as he allowed a runner to score, although it was charged to Brett Myers.


100409b.jpgBut the real drama unfolded in the 10th inning.  Jayson Werth stepped to the plate with a runner in scoring position and 1 RBI needed to reach 100 for the season.  In a shallow and classless act, the Marlins manager intentionally walked Werth, taking away any shot he had at the milestone.  This game was meaningless to both teams, except for possibly a moral victory.  The Marlins had nothing to gain or lose.  In that case, an intentional walk is uncalled for and ruins the spirit of competition. 

Add to that, the Marlins pitcher who was told to walk Werth was Dan Meyer, a Philadelphia-area native who grew up in a nearby town, rooting for the Phillies.  He likely had tons of friends and family there to watch him, and what did they get to see?  Their hometown hero boo’ed mercilessly by an upset crowd who wanted to see the game played out the way it was meant to.  Poor Meyer!  This kid did not deserve to be put in that position.  Manager Fredi Gonzalez, you should be ashamed of yourself!

So Werth went without the 100 RBI mark, but the Phillies ended on a positive note.  Some guy named Paul who?…I mean, Paul Hoover, the 3rd catcher who spent the whole year in the minors, got the winning, walk-off infield single to score John Mayberry Jr. and end the game with a final score of 7-6.  The crowd exploded and the Phillies pummeled Hoover in adulation.


walk-off.jpgAfterwards, the players ran around the field tossing balls and t-shirts to the crowd in thanks for their support.  Shane Victorino threw a ball all the way to the upper deck, into the broadcast booth and announcer, Tom McCarthy caught it on the fly.

The celebration is over now and the real work begins.  The Phillies will take on the Rockies Wednesday; game time has been announced and it is 2:37pm…yuck!  Hey, thanks again MLB…right in the middle of the day while most normal people are at work.  Just sayin’.

Here is the Photo Album from today’s game.  Go Phillies!

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Houston: We Have A Problem

And the problem is that you have beaten the Phillies 3 games in a row; the first one was a blow-out, the second one is on Brad Lidge, the worst closer in baseball and yesterday’s loss came at the hands of Cole Hamels who got little help from his offense.  While this mission has been a total failure, much like the Apollo 13, the Phillies have one more chance at a small amount of redemption this afternoon in Game 4 of the series with the Astros.

Hamels Houston.jpgHamels pitched 6 innings in the loss and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks.  The most damage was done by ex-Phillie, Michael Bourn who went 2 for 4, stole 2 bases and scored twice.  Hamels had Bourn picked off both times he stole but the first time, Jimmy Rollins dropped the ball and the second time, Bourn was milliseconds too fast.  It was a very frustrating day for Hamels as the Astros wiped their backsides with him all game long.

Rollins led the game off with a homerun, but it was mostly downhill from there for the offense.  The only bright spots at the plate came from the Rollins homer, a solo shot from Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez went 2 for 4 and looks like he might be ready to break out of his slump.  Jayson Werth also hit a solo homer that looked like a fan reached out and grabbed it; the umpires called it a homer and no one argued.  It would not have mattered anyway as the Phillies went down 3-4.

A few more September call-ups were added yesterday, although it remains to be seen how much help they will be.  John Mayberry Jr. and Kyle Kendrick flew in from Allentown, PA late on Saturday after the Iron Pigs game.  Here they are at about 7pm that evening getting ready for the Pigs game:

Mayberry Kendrick.jpg
Personally, I was hoping they would call up Mike Cervenak instead of Mayberry; Cervenak is batting .307 and currently ranks 6th in batting in the International League.  Plus, he was the Phillies during the playoff run last season.  Mayberry only batted .256 in AAA this year.

So the Phillies final chance to avoid total humiliation at the hands of the Astros will be at 2:05pm this afternoon.  JA Happ gets the start – good luck to him!

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Series Win Gives Phillies 8 Game Lead

With a 3-2 victory over the Braves last night to win the series 2 game to 1, the Phillies will have an 8-game lead in the NL East over both the Braves and the Marlins going into September.  Joe Blanton pitched another beautiful game and got through 7 innings of one run ball; the only run came off a solo homer from Martin Prado in the first inning.  Blanton looked a bit shaky through those first few innings, but settled in well and only gave up 3 hits.

 

And for the 2nd night in a row, Chase Utley went yard; his solo shot to right field in the 4th was the only run for the Phillies until Carlos Ruiz stepped up in the 7th.  In honor of the Ruiz backpack night, a giveaway for kids 14 and under, Ruiz smacked a double to left to score Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz.  Ruiz went 3 for 3 on the night; it was his 5th 3-hit game of the year.  Maybe the Phillies should give away a Ruiz bobble head next?


Thumbnail image for 083009a.jpg 

In the not-so-great offensive category, the Phillies are still struggling with runners in scoring position.  They left 14 men on base and again, had the bases loaded with no outs and failed to score.  Blanton hit a line-drive to first base and Ruiz was double off after the catch.  Jimmy Rollins then hit a weak grounder to end the inning.  The offensive outage is concerning, but thanks to great pitching, they came out on top.

 

Defense was a big part of the win as well.  Ryan Madson, who is entering Brad Lidge-bad territory, got into a huge jam in the 8th inning again.  He hit the first batter he faced and then gave up back-to-back singles which scored a run for the Braves.  Without recording an out, he was removed from the game and Scott Eyre took over. 

 

Brain McCann then hit a sharp grounder to Utley, who fielded it perfectly and flipped to Rollins who threw to Feliz at third; Feliz tagged Chipper Jones for the unusual 4-6-5 double play.  Having eliminated the lead runner, Eyre saved the Phillies from disaster and gave Lidge a 3-2 lead to work with.  Amazingly, Lidge nailed down the save with relative ease; it was his second save in a row.  Whew!


Thumbnail image for 083009b.jpg 

By the way, did anyone see the actor, Paul Rudd (movies: “I Love You, Man”; “Anchorman”; “Knocked Up”), sitting in the 10th row behind home plate last night? He was just a few sections over from me so I took a few photos.  The woman next to him (right side, dark brown hair) is none other than Jen Utley, Chase’s wife.


Thumbnail image for Rudd.jpg 

A very welcome off-day is upon us as the Phillies offense needs to rest and charge up for the September charge.  Watch for September call-up’s which may include pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Jack Taschner and Rodrigo Lopez; infielders Mike Cervenak and Andy Tracy; outfielders John Mayberry Jr. and Jason Ellison; and we will likely see a catcher added – maybe Paul Hoover.  Those are my guesses anyway.

 

A lot of moves will be made as the Phillies are also anticipating the return of Brett Myers, JC Romero and Clay Condrey to the bullpen plus Greg Dobbs.  All four have been on the DL and are very close to coming back.

 

And finally, here is the complete Photo Album from last night’s Phillies – Braves game.  Tomorrow, the San Francisco Giants come to town for 3 games and some serious pitching battles will ensue.  You may remember the Phillies were stomped in San Fran back in July, losing 3 out of 4 games.  The Giants are tied for a wildcard spot right now so this will be a very tough match match-up.  Cole Hamels starts it off tomorrow at 7:05pm.

Photos by Jenn

 

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