So far, the mood in Phillies practice has been very upbeat. Shane Victorino was all smiles as he tossed balls to children in the crowd earlier today. Cole Hamels returned to the team, having taken care of his “personal issues” and spirits were high. There are a few story lines causing some stress among the natives , including the battle for the 5th starting position. Kyle Kendrick threw a good session today and Scott Eyre helped him keep the mood light. Either that, or Eyre has mistaken Kendrick for a cute little baby…
Other developing story lines include the competition among the rookies trying to make the team.
Jason Donald, who may replace Chase Utley if he has a setback and is not ready to go for Opening Day, is keeping pace with the big boys. Lou Marson, understanding the team is heavy on catchers, keeps up his hard work in the hopes that he makes an impression for future call-ups. And Mike Cervanek , who made his major league debut last year after 10 years in the minors and independent leagues, has been hustling to get some attention. Cervenak could be the right-handed bat the Phillies need, plus he is able to play 3rd, 2nd and 1st bases. Having been a member of the World Series squad, the coaches already know Cervenak, but this will be a case of perseverance on his part to make the team.
With so many good looking men wandering about the practice fields, it makes you wonder where a few of these guys are getting their hair style advice. Women do seem to love the beard, but Eric Bruntlett may want to consider a trim. It’s hair gone wild! And then in the plain “hair has gone away” category, new Phillie Raul Ibanez may want to consider a new look. Here are a few for him to “try on.”
Only one day left of practice before the games begin on Wednesday; the Phillies will take on the Pirates in Bradenton, FL for the Spring Training opener at 1:05pm. Stay tuned for game coverage!
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Going a full 6 innings without giving up a run, Kyle Kendrick improved his overall record to 10-5 with tonight’s 5-0 win over the Florida Marlins. As is Kendrick’s usual style, he had quite a few base runners, including 5 walks, but pitched his way out of jams when he needed to. Chad Durbin went 2 scoreless innings as well, looking extremely sharp and Ryan Madson finished them off in the 9th. J-Roll Smurf was also very excited about the pitching performances and he celebrated by bashing a Fish senseless J Later tonight, he will have a stiff drink and prepare for tomorrow’s Fishy Voodoo…
The other great news is that the offense came back tonight. Last night, they had 8 hits and scored only 2 runs. Tonight, they had 9 hits, but scored 5 runs. The difference is situational hitting and driving runs in when there are runners in scoring position. Chase Utley hit his 30th double of the year for an RBI; Ryan Howard smashed home run #32; Even Eric Bruntlett who usually has a quiet bat, went 2 for 3 with an RBI. The rookie Mike Cervenak got his very first major league hit and first RBI in his 3rd pinch hit appearance. Here is a photo of him for those wondering who he is…another Independent League product, much like Chris Coste was. I had a chance to talk to him in Spring Training…very nice guy, hard working…really great to see him finally get a break in the Bigs J
Gotta take this series! Everyone get out your favorite Fish bashing sticks or fire up the grill and get ready to FRY some! Don’t let the Smurf do all the work now… After all, he is only 3 apples high… He’ll do his best for a little guy J 1:05pm start tomorrow…Go Phillies!
Jayson Werth won the game for the Phillies, knocking in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the 12th inning! Final score was 6-5. A very long, very strange game, indeed, full of wild pitches, stolen bases, pick-offs, dropped balls and Ryan Howard being unsure of the count on him, still standing at the plate waiting to hit after he had been walked. Mike Cervenak got his first major league at bat; he slammed a ball out to far left field, but it was unfortunately right at the fielder. A great at bat though for his first time up and he showed a lot of power. In other offensive news, both Werth and Shane Victorino had 3 hit nights; Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins had 2 a piece, with Howard adding yet another home run to the pile.
Kyle Kendrick still looks like he needs a lot of work against the left-handers. He gave up 4 earned runs in 6.1 innings on 9 hits with 4 strikeouts. Most of his trouble though was against the lefties. Our bullpen was back in tip-top shape, giving up only 1 earned run between all 6 pitchers who appeared in relief.
And now for my rant of the day…David Wright of the Mets was announced today as the replacement for the open spot on the All-Star roster by Clint Hurdle, making me want to HURL! No offense to Wright, but the man has committed 12 ERRORS so far this season. I just don’t see that as being All-Star worthy, and I don’t care how long and luxurious his eyelashes are…get over it people! He is not THAT cute. So, guess how many errors Pat Burrell has made? NONE. Pat has a much higher Slugging percentage and On-base percentage than Wright; Also, Pat is nearly the same in total bases, even though he gets fewer innings with Charlie Manuel constantly pulling him late in games to run for him. This was SO obviously the wrong choice. SHAME on Clint Hurdle for holding a grudge against the Phillies for losing against them in the 1980 World Series. Grow up already!
Well, I feel a tad better having vented there. And after a Phillies win, who can be too sad J Incidentally, I will be going to New York this weekend for the All-Star events and am looking forward to that!! Going to check out Fan Fest, the Home Run Derby with CHASE UTLEY!!!, the Red Carpet Parade on 6th Ave. and then watch the game on TV (had to pick one or the other…decided HR’s would be more fun!). So, stay tuned for photos after those events which I’ll try to post as soon as I recover from all the hoopla and trying to figure out the subways again which I have not had to do since high school. Yikes! Hey, anybody else going? Feel free to E-Mail me!
2 more games to go with the D-backs! Go Phillies!
Ryan Howard hit 2 more home runs and added 3 more RBI’s to his league-leading totals in the 4-1 win against the Cardinals today. If things stand as they are, Howard will be the first player in 60 years to lead the league in both home runs and RBI’s at the break and NOT make the All-Star team. Having gotten off to a slow start may have contributed to the lack of votes, but still a sad state of affairs, indeed. Add to that the also much deserving Pat Burrell was unable to make the cut via fan voting today, coming in third place behind Cory Hart of the Brewers and David Wright of the Mets. There is still a small chance another Phillie can land on the All-Star roster as Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs has dropped out due to injury and has to be replaced. That selection however, has to be determined by Rockies manager, Clint Hurdle, and well, as much as I would like to think he’d do the right thing, I am not holding my breath. And so we wait…
Jamie Moyer pitched a great game today going 7 innings and giving up only 1 earned run on 7 hits and striking out 4. He moved the ball in and out of the zone and looked like the Jamie we all love. Nice to see great pitching finally rewarded with a win for a change. The offense had 10 combined hits, still looking a bit rusty, but showing small signs of life. They are really going to have to step it up for this next series with the D-Backs who have a much tougher pitching staff.
The Phillies sent rookie pitcher JA Happ back to AAA today, but don’t get all excited now…he should be back after the All-Star break. The only reason they did it was so that he would stay in a normal rhythm until after the break. If they kept him up, he would be going more than a week and a half without pitching which may hamper all the progress he has made. The other good new there is, with a roster spot open for now, the Phillies were able to call up Mike Cervenak (see photo), infielder for AAA, who is currently batting .308 with 50 RBI and 7 home runs on the year in the minors. Cervenak is 31 years old and, much like Chris Coste did, has paid his dues for a long time in the minors and is finally getting his first shot at the bigs. Also like Chris Coste, Cervenak spent a short time in the Independent Leagues. I met him in Spring Training and he is a very friendly and engaging guy and will fit well in this clubhouse. He is also very determined and I hope to see him get some playing time this week so we can all see what he can do.
Well, all we can do now folks is keep our fingers crossed for another Phillies All-Star to join the group! Thanks to everyone who helped with the voting J Go Phillies!