It was another bad night for Kyle Kendrick. Against the Reds, Kendrick pitched 6 1/3 innings while allowing 5 earned runs on 8 hits, including a 2-run homer to ex-Phillie Scott Rolen. Chase Utley committed an error at the start of the 6th inning which gave Kendrick a little extra rope to hang himself with.
Kendrick still seems to have trouble buckling down and making pitches after something bad happens, like an error that puts the opposing team’s pitcher on base. No pitcher is happy when this occurs, but the good ones do not let it bother them and proceed to work out of the mess. Some days, Kendrick looks sure of himself on the mound; and other days, he looks out of place. But the Phillies have few other options with JA Happ still not recovering well from his injury.
Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto is similar to Kendrick in the consistency department. He will have a few really bad games, then some really good ones. Unfortunately for the Phils, tonight Cueto had a good game and the offense sputtered against him. Phillies batters had a few opportunities to pounce on Cueto, but they came up short each time, going only 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position. In all, they left 4 men on base and had 8 hits.
Utley got tossed out trying to stretch a single into a double and both Raul Ibanez and Brian Schneider hit into double plays. Although on replay, Ibanez should have been called safe. Ryan Howard had 2 hits in the game, including a triple, and he scored one of only two runs in the game for the Phillies. Ibanez hit a solo homer in the 9th with two outs.
The bullpen did not help out either; David Herndon gave up a hit which allowed one of Kendrick’s base runners to score and in the 8th inning, Mike Zagurski allowed a run on one hit and a walk. In all, it was an evening to forget as the Phillies lost by a score of 7-2.
In injury news, Placido Polanco did not play again today after getting another cortisone injection in his sore elbow on Sunday. He may play tomorrow but it looks like this will be an on-going issue for the rest of the season. Polanco will play through the pain and possibly have surgery in the off-season. That makes one wonder how productive he will be the rest of the year, but all we can do is wait and see. But a slightly banged up Polanco is probably better that leaving Wilson Valdez at third all year.
I have also just heard that Utley was pulled in the 9th inning because he hurt his thumb sliding into 2nd base. He will have an MRI tomorrow…cross your fingers.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Jimmy Rollins was officially activated off the DL today for the second time this year and will play tonight against the Indians. The Phillies are hoping that J-Roll will kick-start this team and give them a much needed boost of energy.
Both Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez, who filled for Rollins, were rewarded for their solid performances by being kept on the roster. Instead, the Phillies designated Greg Dobbs for assignment. Dobbs was only 1 for 25 pinch hitting this year and is batting just .152, so this is not a huge shock. If Dobbs clears waivers and no one claims him, he will probably be sent to AAA to try to find his swing again.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz was supposed to be out for only a few days after being hit in the head with a broken bat on Friday. But after a series of tests, the Phillies decided to put him on the DL, retroactive to June 19th. This freed up another roster spot which was given to LHP Mike Zagurski. In 2007, Zagurski pitched in 25 games for the Phillies and after that, he underwent Tommy John surgery. Working his way back to the majors, Zagurski has an ERA of 2.35 pitching for AAA this year in 30.2 innings of work.
Right-hander Scott Mathieson was optioned to AAA Lehigh Valley after just 2/3 of an inning for the Phillies where he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits.
In other news, former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton will be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame on Friday, August 6 before that evening’s game. Daulton played 14 years for the Phils, went to 3 All-Star games and is the only catcher in Phillies history with two 100-RBI seasons. Congratulations to Darren; he is very deserving!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
In the 3rd inning of today’s Phillies-Pirates match-up in Bradenton, FL, Placido Polanco tripped on the pitcher’s mound trying to catch a pop-up. He limped off the field and is said to have a right knee strain. Initial reports are that it is not serious and Polly should be back in action in 3 or 4 days. This is first real injury for the Phillies in camp thus far and we hope it is the last.
Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
The other interesting news came from Buster Olney of ESPN this week; he claims that his “sources” had reported that the Phillies were talking about swapping 1st baseman with the Cardinals.
That’s right, in Olney’s alternate universe, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols would trade places. Perhaps Olney’s “sources” were aliens from Mars? Or maybe it was just the little voices inside his head who yearn to see Olney locked up in a padded room?
The odds of this sort of swap happening are astronomical; it is not even a fair trade. No offense to Howard, but clearly Pujols is the better overall player. Yes, Howard is from St. Louis, but this is no reason for the Cards to think they would get him cheap. And the Phillies could never afford Pujols. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was so perturbed at the news, he flat out called Olney a liar. “It’s ridiculous,” Amaro said. “It’s unequivocally false. It’s unfair to Ryan. It’s unfair to the organization to have to answer the questions.”
Despite all the drama, the Phillies went on to win today by a score of 5-1. Roy Halladay gave up his first run of Spring and also walked two batters; all this means is we now have proof that the man is not a robot. I think we can all live with the 1.00 ERA.
While the starting pitching looks good, some of the relievers do not. JC Romero will not be ready for Opening Day so one of the young lefties will need to step up to fill the void. However, neither Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona or Mike Zagurski have looked ready to do so thus far. Bastardo has allowed 3 runs over 2 innings of work; Escalona has 5 runs allowed in 3 innings; and Zagurski only made 1 appearance. He is still trying to get back in the groove after Tommy John surgery. One of these three lefties will need to show that they can do the job and right now, it does not look good.
Pet Peeve of The Week
So many MLB teams these days have radio and TV announcers that leave a lot to be desired. Realizing that Philly fans were spoiled for decades with the great Harry Kalas, it may be an unfair comparison. However, during the Phillies-Pirates match-up today, a Pirates announcer took “unprofessional” to a new level. Tim Neverett, hired in December 2008, does play-by-play for the Bucos. And today, he did not win any brownie points from Philly fans.
In the middle of the 4th inning, Neverett began praising the team’s mascot, the Pirate Parrot and mentioned how he was harassing Philly fans in the stands. He went on to say, “I think the Parrot likes this. There’s no better group of fans to tease than the Philadelphia fans…(pause)…Because there’s no worse fans. The same people who boo Santa Claus are now getting it from the Pirate Parrot.”
First of all, the Santa Claus incident was in 1968 at an Eagles football game. Get over it. Secondly, there are “no worse fans?” Seriously? Apparently, Mr. Neverett must be a world traveler who has first-hand knowledge of such things. While I am not going to waste time comparing Philly fans to experiences I have had elsewhere, I will say that such a general statement is both ignorant and rude.
A small segment of fans of ANY team are bound to be obnoxious and disruptive. That is human nature. You expect to hear this sort of prejudice from those obnoxious fans, not from the radio announcer who is being paid to be objective and professional. You want rude? Ok then, BOO YOU Mr. Neverett! You should be ashamed.
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Photos by Jenn
In the last few Spring Training games, the Phillies have gotten a good look at many new and returning pitchers.
Cole Hamels gave up a home run on only his 2nd pitch of spring against the Blue Jays, but recovered well and overall, had an good outing. Hamels allowed two hits and a walk in two innings plus the home run. He has added a cutter and a curveball to his repertoire of pitches which seems to be giving him a little more confidence in his ability to get outs.
Jamie Moyer also pitched in a “B” game that same day and does not look like a man who had 3 surgeries in the off-season. He pitched 3 scoreless innings allowing 3 hits and striking out 3 batters. Clearly, Moyer is not ready to concede the 5th starters spot to one of the younger pitchers. And with the $8 million dollars the Phillies owe him this year whether he performs or not, that is a good thing.
Three other pitchers who did not make such a great impression on Friday were J.C. Ramirez, picked up in the Cliff Lee trade; Ryan Vogelsong, a Philly-area native who recently spent time playing in Japan; and Bill White, who was picked up off waivers from the Rangers. Ramirez allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in 1 1/3 innings. Both Vogelsong and White gave up 4 runs each in an inning or less. It is still early in Spring, but the results do not bode well for these pitchers.
Joe Blanton also had a rough outing today against the Pirates; 5 hits and 3 runs in 2 innings plus a number of extra base hits were the highlights. However, the relievers did very well, including Danys Baez, BJ Rosenberg and Mike Zagurski; they each pitched 2 scoreless innings in the game.
As for the hitters, prospect Tyson Gillies, also from the Cliff Lee trade, hit a solo homer in the sixth inning against the Jays and was 2 for 2 overall with 2 RBI in the game, making a great first impression. Gillies also has tremendous speed and a great arm from centerfield. The Phillies top prospect Domonic Brown went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and threw a runner out at the plate from right field. Brown appears to be on track to take over for Jayson Werth should he depart in 2011 once becoming a free agent.
Ryan Howard remains hitless so far this Spring, but more concerning is the absence of Shane Victorino. Benched with a sore shoulder since the start of the month, Victorino did not travel to the Pirates game with the team today. While this may simply be the Phillies being extra cautious with their star centerfielder, it is concerning. Victorino has had a number of nagging injuries over the last few years that seemed fairly minor, but still kept him out of the line-up for extended periods of time. All the Phillies can do is hope this does not become one of those situations.
And just for fun, has anyone seen the new Cliff Lee Topps Opening Day trading card? Generally, when a player is traded, Topps will take one of their old trading cards and paint the new uniform in the photo over the old uniform. In Cliff Lee’s transition from the Phillies to the Mariners, see if you can spot the error from Topps’ editing job:
Leave your guess in the comment section; the first person to get it right is the winner and be mentioned in my next blog.
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Photo by Jenn