Tagged: Scott Mathieson

Phillies: Who Is In, Who Is Out

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.


107 Zagurskia.jpgCatcher 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.


P6012370b.jpgIn 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

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

 

Bullpen Blows Five Run Lead

The Phillies scored only 22 runs in the latter half of May, from the 18th to the 31st.  But in the last 4 games, the Phillies have exploded to the tune of 31 runs.  Today against the Twins, they scored 9 runs, had a 5-run lead in the 8th inning, and still lost the game.

The Phillies hit five home runs in the game.  Here is a recap of the first four: The usual suspects, Ryan Howard and Werth, nailed two of those homers.  Not as common was a blast from Raul Ibanez, who was on base three times.  Even less common was a homer from Wilson Valdez, who had his only other big league homer in 2006.  Yes, 4 years ago.  If Valdez can smack a homer, then the stars must really be aligning for the Phillies, right?  Maybe not…

Cole Hamels got off to a bad start in the first inning, giving up 3 runs.  A passed ball by catcher Brian Schneider and a bad throw to second by Hamels added fuel to the fire.  But the offense immediately picked Hamels back up by getting those 3 runs right back in the bottom of the inning.  Chase Utley led the way with a 2-run triple and Jayson Werth hit a sac fly to score Utley.

Every starter in the game, including Hamels, had at least one hit today.  On the mound, Hamels later allowed a solo home run to Justin Morneau and ended the day with 4 runs allowed over 7 innings.  If you forget about the first inning mishap, Hamels had a great day.

But, as has been a common story line this year, the Phillies bullpen blew a FIVE run lead.  In the 9th inning, former-Phil, Jim Thome hit a 2-run homer off Jose Contreras.  As it was then a save situation, Brad Lidge was brought into the game.  P8248770 Durbin.jpgAnd Lidge proceeded to blow the save and the remaining 3-run lead.  He gave up an RBI-single and a 2-run homer to Twins catcher, Joe Mauer.

With a 9-9 tied game in the bottom of the 9th, the Phils got 2 hits but still failed to score and win the game.  Howard and Werth both struck out.  Chad Durbin came in for the 10th inning and as soon as I saw him on the mound, I thought, “Oh crap, he is going to give up a homer to the first batter.”  Why do I think this?  Because he has done it many times in the exact same situation.  How many times, I do not know except to say that I have nightmares about it.  Sure enough, 1st batter: homer.

The inning ended with a tag out at the plate, which normally would have been very exciting.  But at that point, who cares?  The Phillies are losing 9-10 with the bottom of the batting order coming up.  Do you think Valdez can hit his 3rd homer in 4 years to win the game?  No?  Neither do I…

Valdez did not get a chance.  Greg Dobbs popped out, Schneider grounded out and Ross Gload pinch hit for Valdez.  Now, Gload did a homer with 2 outs to tie the game again.  But again, no need to get excited because Danys Baez was going to pitch the 11th inning.  Baez has been awful and today did not change that.  He gave up THREE runs in the 11th just to make sure the Phillies had NO chance at a win.

The Phillies went down in the 11th.  It was a pathetic end to a pathetic loss.  The final score was 10-13 and the Phils now have one game left against the Twins.  If Roy Halladay can get back on his game after allowing 6 runs in his last outing, the Phils could maybe salvage a series win.  Game time is 1:35pm and I will return with photos.

In other news, Carlos Ruiz will get a few days off after being nailed in the head with a broken bat while behind the plate yesterday.  He will not need a trip to the DL, which is great news.  Scott Mathieson was designated for assignment to make room for catcher Dane Sardinha who will back-up Schneider until Ruiz is healthy.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Utley: You Won’t Like Him When He’s Angry

Chase Utley got angry tonight and the Minnesota Twins paid the price.  After all the talk about Utley being injured after a comment made in an interview by first base coach, Davey Lopes, Utley came out tonight to prove everyone wrong.  Utley hulk.jpgHe swears he is not injured and based on his play tonight, who could argue?  Trust me Twins, you won’t like him when he’s angry.

Utley nailed an RBI single in the first inning and smashed a 3-run homer in the second.  He was a monster in the field as well.  Utley dove for a hard hit ground ball in the 3rd inning that would have been out of the reach of any normal human.  He snagged the ball while on the ground, got up and made the throw to first to end the inning.

Then in the 5th inning, Jason Kubel hit what looked like an inside-the-park home run.  Utley took the relay throw from Shane Victorino and threw Kubel out at the plate with a little help from catcher Carlos Ruiz.  Utley made a statement tonight.  Do not make him angry.  Or perhaps Lopes’ slip of the tongue was a huge favor; it lit a fire under Utley.  Clue for the Phils: Next time Utley is slumping, piss him off.

Ryan Howard must have taken the rumor about Utley to heart as well; he went 4 for 5 with TWO home runs, a triple and 3 RBI.  He and Utley went back-to-back with those homers.  But they were not alone in their offensive outburst.  The Phillies put 9 runs on the board all together with additional hits from Placido Polanco, Jayson Werth and others.

Joe Blanton bounced back after some very bad outings previous to tonight.  He did well through 6 innings, allowing just one run.  But the same mistake that has been made with Blanton all year long was made again; he was left in too long.  In the top of the 7th, he gave up a single and then a 2-run homer before he was replaced by Chad Durbin.  The shame of it is, Blanton could have left the game with only 1 run allowed, but the Phils continue to push him even when he looks tired.  The Phils had a huge lead, but the confidence boost Blanton should have left with may have been erased.

Overall, the game tonight was very intense, but not all of it was a good thing.  Both Werth and Victorino appeared to tweak a muscle running hard to first base.  They each stayed in the game, so that is a good sign.  Then in the 8th inning, Kubel shattered his bat which nailed Ruiz in the head and he lay motionless on the ground for a good amount of time.  Ruiz was taken out of the game and did walk off on his own so, hopefully, he will be okay.

The other excitement in tonight’s game was seeing Scott Mathieson pitch in the majors for the first time since 2006.  Two Tommy John surgeries later, and Mathieson was pumped up to make it back to the bigs.  A little too pumped up, because he gave up hit after hit in the 9th inning until the bases were loaded with one out.  After a wild pitch and two more runs scoring, Brad Lidge was brought in to finish the game which he did without issue.  Phils win, 9-5.

While Mathieson hit 99mph on the radar gun, the control was not there.  Lidge probably breathed a sigh of relief as his closing job is safe for now.  But this may have been a case of nerves and we will probably see Mathieson again soon.

Cole Hamels will pitch tomorrow; game time is 4:10pm.

 

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

Voodoo And A Series Win

Scoring runs against the veteran pitcher Andy Pettitte of the Yankees is no small feat.    The Phillies did a descent job hitting him tonight, although they let several opportunities pass by.  A Ryan Howard single scored Shane Victorino in the 4th inning.  Then in the 5th, Victorino hit a 2-run homer.

Things looked promising in the 7th inning as well while the Phils loaded the bases with only one out.  But scoring runs has been the Achilles heel of this team for an entire month now.  Placido Polanco grounded into a fielder’s choice which erased Carlos Ruiz on his way home.  Then Howard struck out on another low and outside pitch, something he seem to make a habit of.  All the offense could do was pray that this inning would not come back to haunt them.

Kyle Kendrick stepped up to the challenge of pitching against the veteran Pettitte and kept the team in the game.  Through 7 innings, Kendrick allowed one run on 4 hits and 2 walks.  Despite getting himself into a multitude of bad situations, Kendrick kept his composure and did not fold under the pressure.  That, more than his pitching, was the most impressive part of his game.

Utley voodoo.jpgNot as impressive is the still struggling Chase Utley, who went hitless.  Yesterday, Utley resorted to voodoo magic to try to jump-start his swing.  He laid out a pattern on the clubhouse floor using bats, Red Bull and a variety of fruits.  Then today, batting coach Milt Thompson reportedly built a shrine to Jobu, the voodoo doll used in the movie Major League.  Can you say, “desperation”?  Oh my.

I have also been known to practice baseball voodoo from time to time.  However, I am not a major leaguer so if my readers think my noodle has slipped, no one really cares, least of all me.  Normally, I reserve the voodoo J-Roll Smurf magic for the National League East.  But with the Phillies recent struggles against everyone, and in light of Utley’s acceptance of such practices, I made an exception before today’s game.  I think it may have helped:

Smurf voodoo arod.jpg
The voodoo did seem to work.  The Phillies scored again in the 9th inning after a Ruiz double and a Wilson Valdez single.  Then they loaded the bases and scored two more runs on sac flies by Polanco and Howard.  Then Raul Ibanez smelled the burning Jobu / Smurf incense, woke up and hit an RBI single with two outs.  Ibanez did run into some bad luck after that, getting nicked in the foot with a hit ball.  Apparently, the umpires did not see it, as nothing was called until the Yanks complained.  So they called him out anyway to end the inning.

The defense got a spark earlier as well.  Polanco helped Kendrick get out of a rough inning by diving on top of the rolled up tarp and catching a foul ball that was inches into the stands.  And Jose Contreras snagged a bullet off the bat of Curtis Granderson in the 8th inning to save a hit.  The Phils entered the bottom of the 9th inning with a 7-1 lead. 

Contreras stayed in the game for one more batter; then with one out in the 9th, JC Romero was called in to end the game.  Romero ended it quickly and the Phils won both the game and the series, 2 games to 1.

The Phillies will head home now for a weekend series with the Twins.  They are without lefty Antonio Bastardo who is now on the DL with left elbow ulnar neuritis.  Scott Mathieson was called up to take his spot on the roster.  Mathieson looked like his career might be over after two Tommy John surgeries in 2006 and 2008 but his recovery has been remarkable.  Look forward to seeing him pitch very soon!

Do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  Here are the team links for the Phillies Phollowers All-Star campaign:

Chase Utley    Ryan Howard    Raul Ibanez    Placido Polanco

Carlos Ruiz    Jayson Werth    Shane Victorino    Jimmy Rollins

Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.

 

A-Rod photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Voodoo bats by Getty Images/CSN Philly

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

 

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.

 

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Gillies photo – MLB.com

 

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