Tagged: Pete Orr

Hamels Hammers Nats as Werth Returns to Philly

As the Washington Nationals came to town, so did Jayson Werth.  In his first return to Philly since departing for “greener” pastures, Werth stepped to the plate amidst some boo’s from the fans.  But within seconds, the cheers silenced the boo’s and Werth was welcomed back with the thanks he deserved for helping to bring Philly a World Championship in 2008.

 

Werth earned a little more love after the tip of his cap as he misplayed a ball that ended up as a triple for Jimmy Rollins.  He subsequently made an off-line throw home, allowing Rollins to score on a Placido Polanco sac fly.

Rollins led off today, with Shane Victorino and then Polanco to follow.  Shaky up the line-up a bit and putting J-Roll back in his comfort zone was likely meant to spark the offense, which has been sleepy for a while.

Raul Ibanez finally broke his hitless streak tonight which ended at 0-35.  He hit a double in the fourth inning.  That streak tied as second worst hitless streak for a Phillie; Joe Morgan went 0-35 in 1983 and Desi Relaford still holds the #1 spot with his 0-36 in 1998.

Although the streak was broken, Ibanez still left the bases loaded in the fifth inning.  He swung at the first pitch after Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez had just walked the previous batter.  But Ibanez was redeemed in the seventh with an RBI-double.  Those two hits had to feel really good after an 0-35 stretch.

But luckily for the Phillies, Cole Hamels was not just pitching tonight; he was hitting as well.  Hamels whacked a two-out triple in the third.  Rollins then knocked him in for the first run of the night.

In the fourth, another odd thing happened.  The Nationals intentionally walked Pete Orr, who had batted .154 in his previous four games, to load the bases.  Then with a 2-0 count in his favor, catcher Brian Schneider swung and gave the Nats the double play they were hoping for.

But Hamels kept the team in the game, allowing only four hits in his first seven innings.  In the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies added on a few runs for a 4-1 lead.  Then in the eighth, Hamels smacked his second hit of the night, a single.  Yes, the pitcher was a mere homer and double away from hitting for the cycle ;o)

But Hamels did not need to hit for the cycle to impress.  He stayed in for the ninth and got his first complete game of the year, while only allowing one run.  But I am willing to bet he is still prouder of the two hits ;o)

Roy Oswalt was supposed to start today, but he is still in Mississippi taking care of tornado damage at his house.  The Phillies had enough days off to move the rotation up a day, which worked out just fine for Hamels.  FYI – Oswalt will be back for his next start.

But first, Vance Worley will make his second start of the year tomorrow.  Game time is 7:05pm.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

All Pitching, No Offense In 14 Inning Loss

On paper, Cliff Lee had a good night against the Mets on Sunday.  He went seven innings, allowing just one run.  But he did walk two batters, which is not usual for Lee, and gave up eight hits.

A tough first inning where Lee had to throw 34 pitches to get out of it probably cut his day a bit short.  But it did not matter too much as neither offense felt like playing.

Chris Young was very good for the Mets and allowed just two hits to the Phillies.  His wind-up is similar to that of ex-Phillie, J.A. Happ, as he hides the ball behind his leg before releasing, which probably keeps the hitter guessing.

 

While the offense was sleepy, the defense had a few nice plays.  It seems that Pete Orr, filling in at second base, has a penchant for going airborne:

 

The outfielders looked good too, unless they were at the plate, of course.  No one looked good on offense:

 

In fact, Raul Ibanez is still mired in a huge slump and is now 0-34.  He had chances to break out and propel the team to a win but he struck out in the seventh with two runners on.  And in the eighth, Ibanez had the bases loaded with two outs in a tie game and he hit a weak ground ball to end the inning.

The Phillies left the bases loaded earlier in the game, too.  Brian Schneider struck out on a check swing in the seventh, which was a late call from the 3rd base ump and prompted Charlie Manuel to get himself tossed out of the game.

Eventually, Kyle Kendrick gave up the winning run in the 14th inning, handing the Mets a 2-1 win.

But there were still a few special moments during the game.  People began to get word of Osama bin Laden’s demise via smartphone and chants of “USA! USA!” rang throughout the ballpark before even the players knew what had happened.

It was a touching moment where all fans, Phillies and Mets together, could celebrate something together.  So the next time someone rags on Philly fans and goes on about some 40-year old Santa Claus crap, show them this video.  These fans far outnumber the select few morons who simply cannot conduct themselves in a proper manner in public.

So a loss for the Phillies was still a win for America.  I am more than okay with that.

FYI – Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies Win Third In A Row Against Padres In Extras

After not allowing a single run to the Padres in two straight games, the Phillies finally yielded on Saturday night in the first inning.  Joe Blanton got roughed up quickly.  On his first three pitches of the game, he allowed a single and an RBI triple to break the Padres scoreless streak.

But after getting out of the early jam, Blanton settled down and actually pitched very well.  In seven innings, he allowed just two runs on eight hits and two walks.  Blanton finally lowered his ERA below six; it sits at 5.92 right now and hopefully, will get better as the season progresses.

Placido Polanco got the day off at third base, which seemed like an odd choice considering he is the only Phillie really hitting right now.  Wilson Valdez took third and Pete Orr filled in at second.  Both players had one hit each, but overall, the offense suffered again.

Jimmy Rollins and Ben Francisco accounted for the Phillies two runs.  After Rollins walked in the fourth, Francisco tripled to score him.  Then in the sixth, Rollins singled to score Orr who had doubled before him.


Orrs Oars.jpgJust a quick side note, I noticed last week that Orr already has a fan club, Orr’s Oars.  A group of fans have been wielding boat oars in the outfield in Orr’s honor.  Also interesting to note, Orr’s cousin, Nick Boynton, plays for the Flyers.

And yes, that is how sad the offense was in this game.  I was so bored, I made a hockey reference.

Here are just a few examples of the Phillies offensive woes:  Raul Ibanez has not had a hit in 17 at-bats.  Frankly, I think John Mayberry Jr. should get some playing time until Ibanez figures it out.  And Rollins is batting .120 in his last seven games.

The Padres have similar issues and as such, neither team looked good on offense.  That led to extra innings after both teams were unable to score again in a 2-2 tie game.  This would become a battle of the bullpens.

As it turned out, the Phillies bullpen came out on top thanks to an RBI-single by Howard in the 11th.  That hit was huge for Howard as he had struck out in each of his previous four at-bats.  The two runs that scored gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead which Ryan Madson held down for his second save in a row.

The Phillies are up 3-0 in the series with the final game today at 4:05pm.

 

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

Offense Bails Out Blanton To Beat Mets

Early in tonight’s game, it looked like the Phillies had the Mets by the throat.  Ryan Howard was on fire.  By the fourth inning, Howard had two doubles and a home run.  Even pitcher Joe Blanton smacked a 2-RBI single in the third inning.


Howard Blanton.jpgBut as Howard set the field on fire, Blanton began to cool off on the mound.  After the Phillies supplied him with a 7-0 lead, Blanton allowed a two-run homer in the fourth.  In the fifth, the wheels all fell off as his pitches began to sail up and into the happy zone for the Mets.  Four runs later, Blanton was finally pulled.  A fifth run scored before the inning was over, which was charged to Blanton and tied the game 7-7.

I feel like I may have said this close to 100 times in the last several years but, if Joe Blanton starts giving up runs in the fifth inning, take him out!  If you look at Blanton’s stats from 2010 as an example, batters go from hitting .184 off him in the fourth inning to .305 in the fifth.  And it gets worse from there.

But this is a pattern with him that you do not really need stats to tell you.  It is pretty obvious.  Trouble for Blanton almost always starts in the fifth or sixth.  He began elevating his pitches at the start of the fifth tonight and that should have been like a siren going off for the Phils manager.

Charlie Manuel struggles with pulling Blanton because he hopes he can get through five to qualify for the win.  But Manuel needs to start getting tougher with him or come up with a solution.  You simply cannot allow a pitcher to blow a seven run lead.  When you see the tidal wave coming, get out of the way!

Luckily for the Phillies, the offense kept on picking away at the Mets.  Ben Francisco hit his second home run of the year.  And on three hits, Placido Polanco collected three RBI.  One of those RBI’s put the Phillies back in the lead in the bottom of the fifth.  Also helping out during the game, Pete Orr, who started at second, went two for three at the plate.  Howard ended his night going 4 for 4 with 2 RBI.

The bullpen held down the new lead for the Phillies.  Both J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson pitched scoreless innings, turning the game over to the new closer, Jose Contreras.  Getting the job done, Contreras got his first save of the year in a 10-7 win.

The final game of the series is tomorrow afternoon at 3:05pm.  Roy Halladay will try to pitch the Phillies to series win over the Mets.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

The Final Decisions Before Opening Day

After a few additions and subtractions, the Phillies Opening Day roster is set.

#

Pitchers

#

Infielders

55

Danys Baez

6

Ryan Howard

58

Antonio Bastardo

19

Michael Martinez

56

Joe Blanton

60

Pete Orr

52

Jose Contreras

27

Placido Polanco

34

Roy Halladay

11

Jimmy Rollins

35

Cole Hamels

21

Wilson Valdez

57

David Herndon

#

Outfielders

38

Kyle Kendrick

10

Ben Francisco

33

Cliff Lee

7

Ross Gload

46

Ryan Madson

29

Raul Ibanez

44

Roy Oswalt

15

John Mayberry

16

J.C. Romero

8

Shane Victorino

#

Catchers

#

Catchers

51

Carlos Ruiz

23

Brian Schneider

 

Most notable, Luis Castillo was released yesterday.  After showing up two days late for a very short try-out, the odds of him making the team seemed slim.  And although he did get on base quite a bit, the players already in camp were just as good and much better defensively.

So Wilson Valdez will start at second base in place of Chase Utley with Michael Martinez (photo), who also made the roster, helping out.  Pete Orr, who smashed a triple and showed off his speed on the base path yesterday, also made the roster.  Delwyn Young was sent to the minors.

As for the bullpen, the injury to Brad Lidge’s shoulder left a spot open which will be filled by David Herndon who beat out Michael Stutes for the last roster spot.  Jose Contreras will close for Lidge, who may be out until May or June.

Yesterday’s final exhibition game was a tad sleepy, but having players wandering around the ballpark was neat.  Here is hoping the Phillies make this a new, year-round tradition for the On-Deck series in the future.

Here is the PHOTO ALBUM from the 3/30/11 On-Deck game with the Pirates.

Phillies Sign Luis Castillo As Concern About Utley Grows

Those who were hoping for an Opening Day miracle in the form of a healthy Chase Utley are going to be sorely disappointed.  The signing of veteran second baseman, Luis Castillo, to a minor league deal means that Utley may be down for a long time.


Castillo.jpgThis move seems like the Phillies are taking out the Mets trash in the hope of turning it into treasure.  But Castillo was just released from the Mets for poor performance and a poor attitude.  The move cost the Mets $6 million to eat Castillo’s contract.  With that in mind, they must have wanted him gone very badly.

Once upon a time, Castillo was a very good player.  But this 35-year old is coming off a season where he hit only .235 with 17 RBI and played just 86 games due to injuries.

And guess what body part gives Castillo the most issues?  His legs, more specifically knees, ankles and feet, have been trouble for Castillo for many years now.  So the Phillies are trying to replace a second baseman with a bad knee with another second baseman with a bad knee?

There are at least four guys already in camp with the Phillies who can replace Utley temporarily.  This includes Wilson Valdez, Michael Martinez, Josh Barfield and Pete Orr.  All have hit well, especially Valdez who is batting .419 in 43 at-bats.

But the Castillo contract is low-risk as the Phillies have to pay him less only $414,000 if he makes the 25-man roster.  However, can they accurately assess Castillo’s play with only nine games to go?

This move stinks of desperation from a team that has maxed out its payroll.  And it also does not bode well for the present or future of Utley.

Clearly, the knee issue is much worse than anticipated.  And the fact that surgery has not been done yet is an even bigger red flag.  If the Phillies are so worried that surgery could make matters worse, then Utley’s future, even beyond 2011, is a huge question mark too.

Hang on, Phillies fans.  This is going to be a very long and very strange trip through the 2011 season.

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By the way, I have started a new Twitter page dedicated to Chase Utley’s KneeFollow the misadventures of baseball’s most infamous body part, Chase Utley’s Knee.

 

Photo by Eric Kilby, Wikimedia Commons

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

 

Sizing Up The Phillies Potential 2011 Roster


2011 Roster.jpgAs spring training winds down with under two weeks to go, the Phillies 2011 roster is starting to come into focus.  Here is a look at 24 of the 25 available roster spots as they may unfold:

The list right now has 12 pitchers, although the Phillies could add David Herndon and go with 13.  Kyle Kendrick has not had a good spring, but the Phils are paying him too much to send him back to AAA.  It could happen, as Herndon has been pretty good, but it is unlikely.

What is more probable is that the Phillies will choose to carry an extra infielder or utility player because of the Chase Utley situation.  Odds are very good that Utley will start the season on the disabled list with Wilson Valdez filling in at second base.  However, this still leaves an extra roster spot open.

The list above includes Michael Martinez, who has played well enough to earn a spot and he plays multiple positions.  Plus, Martinez is a Rule 5 player.  If the Phillies do not put him on the roster, they have to offer him back to the Nationals.  With the way Martinez has played, the Nationals would probably take him back.


720320.jpgAlso on the list is John Mayberry Jr. (left) who is batting .319 with five home runs so far this spring.  He is also very versatile and can play first base, as well as the outfield.

That leaves one bench spot for either Pete Orr, Josh Barfield or Delwyn Young.  Barfield has been very good at the plate, hitting .355 with three doubles and a triple.  He is also speedy, which is a plus.

But Barfield’s main weakness appears to be defense.  While he has not committed any “official” errors, Barfield has fumbled the ball more than once.  In Saturday’s match-up with the Orioles, Barfield dropped an easy double play ball, did not get any outs and left Cole Hamels hanging.  Hamels was having a rough day to begin with, so this did not help.

As for Orr, he is experienced and can play second, third and a little outfield.  Orr is batting .343 with three doubles and three triples this spring.  Orr also strikes out less than Barfield and Young, but his fielding is average.

That leaves Young, who is intriguing because he can play almost anywhere.  However, his fielding is not very good.  A lifetime .258 hitter, Young is batting .298 with one home run, seven RBI and two doubles this spring.  He is probably the least likely to make the team.

However, there are still nine games left in Florida and two exhibition games in Philadelphia before the season begins.  Each player still has time to make a big push towards earning a roster spot.

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By the way, I have started a new Twitter page dedicated to Chase Utley’s Knee.  Follow the misadventures of baseball’s most infamous body part, Chase Utley’s Knee.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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