Tagged: Rays

Kendrick VS. Worley, Amaro’s Contract & Utley’s Knee

The Phillies played two games today in split squad action.  Kyle Kendrick started against the Rays in Clearwater and Vance Worley took the mound against the Pirates in Bradenton.

Worley did well and allowed just one run over 3.1 innings on two hits and two walks while striking out five batters. 
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Kendrick, on the other hand, looked good for two innings but was then slammed with three homers from lefties in his final two innings.  The five runs Kendrick surrendered contributed to a 6-2 Phillies loss.

While it is only spring training, the question of whether or not Kendrick can get left-handed batters out still remains.  In four seasons with the Phillies, Kendrick has been consistently inconsistent.  The issues with lefties, a sinker ball that does not always sink and Kendrick’s tendency to become frustrated on the mound are concerning.

With all the experience he had gained over the years, the time for Kendrick to get it together into one complete package may be now or never.

Worley, 23, is younger and has less experience.  But in the long run, he may turn out to be the better pitcher between the two.  In 13 innings with the big club last year, Worley posted a 1.38 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.  His minor league lifetime WHIP is 1.280.

In addition, Worley has a variety of pitches including both a two-seam and four-seam fastball, slider, curve and cut fastball.

It is possible that Worley will have outpitched Kendrick by the end of spring.  If so, do the Phillies go with Worley or stick with experience in Kendrick?

There is a different possibility as well.  If another bullpen pitcher bombs, like Danys Baez for example, there could be room for both players.  This also gives the Phillies additional options in the case that a starting pitcher gets injured.  Although, having two long-men in the bullpen seems unlikely as Worley could easily be recalled from the minors if needed.

With only a few weeks left this spring, both pitchers will need to bring their A-games.

Amaro’s Contract Extension

Earlier today, Ruben Amaro Jr. signed a four-year contract extension with the Phillies.  Amaro has been with the Phillies organization for a very long time and it appears that will not end anytime soon.

Amaro played for the Phillies from 1992 to 1993 and again from 1996 to 1998.  Right after that, he moved to the Phillies front office, serving as Assistant GM until being promoted to GM at the end of the 2008 season.  Amaro grew up in Philadelphia and his father, Ruben Amaro Sr., also played for the Phillies for six seasons.

Chase Utley’s Knee

The Phillies have issued a statement that Chase Utley has made “a small improvement” in his rehab after suffering patellar tendinitis, chondromalacia and bone inflammation this spring.

The news is underwhelming.

However, a newspaper cartoonist had another take on the subject:

 

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It seems he feels like Utley is comparable to Humpty Dumpty.  Quick, get the Super Glue!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Cartoon from The Dover Post

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

 

Brown To Have Surgery On Broken Hand

While hitting a foul ball in Saturday’s spring training game against the Pirates, Domonic Brown fractured the hamate bone in his right hand.  Oddly enough, his very next swing after breaking the bone resulted in his only hit in spring action through 16 at-bats.


Hamate Bone.jpgSeveral baseball players have had this very same bone removed in the past.  Some of those include former Phillie, Jim Thome and Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia.  Apparently, the hand is just fine without this bone, although recovery from the surgery could take four to six weeks.

This may be a blessing in disguise for Brown who was struggling badly to adjust his swing and make the Phillies roster before the end of camp.  Time off to reflect on his issues may be a good thing.

In the meantime, the job in right almost certainly will go to Ben Francisco, although the Phillies will not dub anyone the winner just yet.

Thus far, the injury bug has bitten twice for the Phillies in spring training; first Chase Utley and his bum knee, then Brown.  Utley is still recovering from a cortisone injection and it will be several more days before any more is known about his knee.

On the bright side, the Phillies pitching staff looks fantastic!  Cliff Lee appeared to be almost in mid-season form against the Rays today over four innings.  And on Saturday Roy Halladay threw three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.

In the bullpen, JC Romero pitched today and looked very, very sharp.  After going 3-0 on the first batter, he came back to strike the guy out and then mowed down the next two batters in order.

Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras also seem to be moving along well.  Neither has surrendered a run yet.

Other roster hopefuls are not having much success though.  Eddie Bonine has allowed seven runs in four innings of work.  J.C. Ramirez has allowed four runs in five innings.  However, most of these guys were not expected to make the team anyway.

Spring action continues tomorrow when the Phillies see the Yankees again.  Game time is 1:05pm.

 

Illustration by Wikipedia

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

 

Division Series Schedule

As you may know already, the Phillies will be playing the Reds in the NLDS.  The Phillies won 5 out of 7 games against the Reds this year in the regular season; 3 of those in July all went to extra innings and ended in spectacular walk-off fashion for the Phillies.  So while the Phils have a slight edge, it is sure to be a well played series.

With the 8 playoff teams finally decided, TBS and MLB announced some of the start times for both the AL and NL Division series.  Here is the schedule so far:

Series

Teams

Day/Date

Time ET

ALDS Game 1

Rangers @ Rays

Wed. Oct. 6

1:30 p.m.

NLDS Game 1

Reds @ Phillies

Wed. Oct. 6

5 p.m.

ALDS Game 1

Yankees @ Twins

Wed. Oct. 6

8:30 p.m.

ALDS Game 2

Rangers @ Rays

Thurs. Oct. 7

2:30 p.m.

ALDS Game 2

Yankees @ Twins

Thurs. Oct. 7

6 p.m.

NLDS Game 1

Braves @ Giants

Thurs. Oct. 7

9:30 p.m.

NLDS Game 2

Reds @ Phillies

Fri. Oct. 8

6 p.m.

NLDS Game 2

Braves @ Giants

Fri. Oct. 8

9:30 p.m.

ALDS Game 3

Rays @ Rangers

Sat. Oct. 9

5 p.m.

ALDS Game 3

Twins @ Yankees

Sat. Oct. 9

8:30 p.m.

NLDS Game 3

Phillies @ Reds

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

NLDS Game 3

Giants @ Braves

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

*ALDS Game 4

Rays @ Rangers

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

*ALDS Game 4

Twins @ Yankees

Sun. Oct. 10

TBD

*NLDS Game 4

Phillies @ Reds

Mon. Oct. 11

TBD

*NLDS Game 4

Giants @ Braves

Mon. Oct. 11

TBD

*ALDS Game 5

Rangers @ Rays

Tues. Oct. 12

TBD

*ALDS Game 5

Yankees @ Twins

Tues. Oct. 12

TBD

*NLDS Game 5

Reds @ Phillies

Wed. Oct. 13

TBD

*NLDS Game 5

Braves @ Giants

Wed. Oct. 13

TBD

 

As I expected, the Phillies, despite have the BEST record in baseball, still got screwed out of the Prime Time slot in favor of the Yankees…again.  So for the 3rd year in a row, I will have to take a day off work to go to get to the stadium in time to find parking and see the pre-game festivities.

Now I realize there are 22 other teams out there whose fans would love to have this problem so it is hard to complain.  But when is a team, other than the Yankees, going to get some much deserved respect?  The Phillies have certainly earned it.   

To the TV people it is all about ratings, and I suppose it is their prerogative.  But guess which team brings in more fans based on stadium capacity?  The Phillies – 103.5%.  It is over 100% due to standing room only tickets that are sold to accommodate more fans.  The Phillies sold out EVERY game this season.  Where do the Yankees rank?  They are 7th in baseball with 88.9%.  If the Phillies had a bigger stadium like the Yankees do, they would no doubt have sold all those seats as well.  Just sayin’…

Not to mention that the TBS coverage of the games, in general, is horrible.  The announcers have NO clue about the teams they are watching and tend to be biased towards particular teams.  The coverage has been historically so bad that there is even a section on Wikipedia dedicated to how bad they suck.  The TBS slogan is “very funny” but we are not laughing.

Phillies Follies: Losing 3 of 4 To The Pirates

Realizing the season is not quite even halfway over, it is hard to say that the Phillies are done.  But after losing 3 out of 4 games to the worst team in the league this weekend, it sure does feel that way.  Murphy’s Law has ruled this team for about 2 months now where anything that can go wrong does.  Massive injuries to star players, a serious and prolonged offensive slump, pitching and hitting never going well on the same day and now this; 3 loses to the Pirates.

The one win in this series came on an offensive explosion of 12 runs.  But if the Phillies need to score 12 runs every time to win a game, then I guess their season really may be over. 
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5 runs on 9 hits today did not cut it.  Dane Sardinha, the Phils 4th string catcher, getting two hits and a home run did not help.  Greg Dobbs, who is in the worst hitting slump of his career, got a hit and an RBI; no matter though.  It also did not help.

The big boys like Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins did absolutely nothing in this game.  And besides the solo home run by Sardinha in the 7th, the Phillies offense gave up after the 3rd inning.  And then there was the pitching…

While Joe Blanton looked solid through most of the game today, he began to fall apart quickly after 6 innings.  He threw 3 pitches at the start of the 7th inning which ended up like this: home run, single, double.  Blanton left with one out and Jose Contreras came in with two runners on base.  Contreras picked up the disaster right where Blanton left off, allowing a double, a single and 3 more runs to give the Pirates a 6-5 lead.  So the Phils entered the 7th with a 3-run lead and the pitching blew it.

It only got worse when Mike Zagurski came in for Contreras and allowed two more runs to score on a 2-out single.  So Blanton’s final line was 5 runs over 6 1/3 innings.  He was fine through 6 innings, but when Blanton starts to fall apart, he really goes down hard.  Then the bullpen totally ruins the day by allowing a 3-run lead to turn into a 3-run deficit…against a last place team.  Disgusting.

So the Phillies went on to lose by a score of 5-8.  If the Braves win today, the Phillies will enter tomorrow’s 3-game series with the Braves down by 6 games.  That means, even if they win the series, they will still be a minimum of 3 games back with only 4 to play before the All-Star break.  Or worse, they will lose ground and dig a hole too deep to emerge from. 

Does anyone out there think the Phils can sweep the Braves?  After losing 3 of 4 to the Pirates, they do not stand a chance.  I will be happy to eat those words if they do, but the odds are certainly not in their favor.

Phillies All-Stars


ALL-STAR roster 2010.jpgWith all the recent injuries, many Phillies, like Placido Polanco, dropped off in the All-Star voting late.  As a result, the only Phillie to make it in via fan vote was Chase Utley.  Utley cannot play due to his recent surgery and will be replaced by Martin Prado of the Braves.

Two more Phillies were added to the roster; Roy Halladay won the player’s vote and Ryan Howard was added by manager Charlie Manuel. Both are very deserving.  Halladay’s dominant performances plus the Perfect Game he pitched this year make him an obvious choice. Howard is one of the league leaders in RBI’s with 58 and was batting .296 coming into today’s game.

Earlier today, MLB.com posted the starting rosters for each league.  Take a look at the list.  Notice anything wrong?  Either the writer just got used to typing the word “Yankees” over and over or Evan Longoria was just involved in some weird, mysterious trade.  No need to panic Rays fans; Longoria is still in Tampa.

By the way, I hope everyone has a Happy 4th of July, despite the Phillies being a major bummer.  This is one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken and it always makes me feel better:

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Happy Independence Day!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schultz

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

 

Two Day Hit Parade

explosion.jpgAn explosion of hitting broke out in Milwaukee this weekend.  The Phillies beat the Brewers both Friday and Saturday by wide margins with a lot of help from the offense.   In these last 2 games, Phillies hitters pounded out 28 hits and 19 runs, including 4 home runs.  The biggest bang came from Shane Victorino who collected 6 hits and 7 RBI in the two games combined.  And today, Paul Hoover, the 3rd string catcher, showed what he can do with 3 hits and 2 RBI to back pitcher Joe Blanton. 

The pitching was not as stellar as the hitting, but both Jamie Moyer and Blanton hung in there. 
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On Friday in a 9-5 win, Moyer went 6 1/3 innings allowing 4 earned runs and 1 unearned following last week’s historical complete game shut-out.  It was 70’s night at the park and the 47-year old Moyer looked quite at home in the old powder blue & magenta retro uniform. 

Blanton escaped the embarrassing powder blue spotlight by pitching today in the regular greys, but it did not help his performance at all.  He did well through 6 innings, allowing just 2 solo homers, but by the end of the 6th, he looked tired.  Blanton has just 3 starts so far as he was on the DL the first month of the season.  With that in mind, maybe the Phillies needed to break him in a tad slower?  Because when they sent him out for the 7th, he gave up 3 more runs.

The bullpen held the Brewers down on Friday and had a fairly easy time closing the game out.  That did not happen today.  David Herndon allowed 3 hits and a run in just 1/3 of the 9th inning.  With 2 men on base, Jose Contreras came in and loaded the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate.  But that’s ok, he struck out the next 2 batters for the first save of career and the Phillies won, 10-6.  Whew!

The Phillies have one more game with the Brewers tomorrow night at 8:05pm and are hoping for a sweep.  Cole Hamels will pitch.

And in case you had not heard, Pat Burrell was released by the Tampa Bay Rays today.  Burrell did not fare well as a designated hitter, batting only .218 since he left the Phillies after the 2008 season.  Do not look for the Phillies to do him any favors by taking him back; he cannot play the field effectively anymore and our current bench players are performing well.  Maybe in September they can bring him back to retire as a Phillie?  In the meantime, I wish him luck in finding a job.  Burrell will always be remembered in Philly for helping to bring us a World Championship :O)

UPDATE: This just in…Brad Lidge has been put on the DL with elbow inflammation (can I say now I told you so?).  Lefty Antonio Bastardo will be brought back up to take his place on the roster.

 

Moyer photo by ESPN; Explosion: USDOE

 

*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.

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Photos by ESPN.com

 

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

 

New Year, New Reliever

Today the Phillies agreed to terms with 32-year old right-handed relief pitcher Danys Baez, formerly of the Orioles.  Pending the physical exam, Baez will be given a 2-year contract.  He went 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 59 games last year, did not pitch in 2008 due to ligament surgery on his right pitching elbow and had a dismal 2007 with a 6.44 ERA in 53 games.  Baez does have closing experience, which might be helpful if Brad Lidge is not ready to pitch in 2010. 

However, this move is still a bit of a head scratcher.  Baez had two good seasons; his rookie year in 2001 and with Tampa Bay in 2005.  But his lifetime ERA is 4.04 with a record of 35-49.  Charlie Manuel managed him from 2001-2001 when he played for the Indians, which we all know means that Chuck likes him a bunch, as he does most of his ex-players.  It is easy to assume that played a factor in the decision.

Also, Baez is a righty, and the pen is in desperate need of lefties with only JC Romero signed and a few rookie possibilities.  Scott Eyre’s future is still uncertain.  So, this move tells us a few things:  #1 – The Phillies are not confident that Lidge will be game-ready in April.  #2 – The Phillies are willing to take their chances with the left-handed rookies, Sergio Escalona and Antonio Bastardo.  #3 – Although we do not know the contract amount yet, it is safe to assume Baez came cheap.  That means, the Phillies have blown their payroll and this will be the last big move, aside from handing out a few raises.


P4137079 jmoyer.jpgAnother pitcher whose status is uncertain is Jamie Moyer.  He has had 2 surgeries already since September, 3 hospital visits, 2 blood infections, a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) and a partridge in a pear tree.  Well, at least there was a little holiday cheer thrown in for him.  All that and he is now scheduled for surgery #3 in January on his right knee to repair his meniscus.  At 47 years of age, one has to wonder if Moyer will be able to recover from such an ordeal and come back to pitch effectively.  Then again, if anyone can defy the laws of aging, it would be Moyer.  I wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery!

I would also like to take this time to wish everyone out there a very Happy New Year!  Be safe :O)

Photo by Jenn

 

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