Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick are making the competition for the 5th starters spot a bit complicated. Both have performed well. And yesterday against the Orioles in his first “A” game start, Moyer made the decision even more complex by pitching 5 innings of one run ball. If the race remains close throughout the next few weeks, odds are that Moyer will get the nod based on experience and payroll and Kendrick will begin the year in the pen. But, as happened with Chan Ho Park and JA Happ last season, the roles could be flipped if Moyer falters.
Then today against the Yankees, Cole Hamels ran into a few complications of his own. Hamels has pitched well this spring…that is, until today. Giving up 6 earned runs over just 4 innings, Hamels got spanked by the Yanks. That brings his spring ERA to 4.91, which is not too awful. Plus, these games do not count anyway. Should we be worried about Hamels after one bad outing? Probably not. If it stretches into 2 or 3 bad outings, then we’ll talk.
What is not so complicated now is the Opening Day pitching roster. Having sent lefty Mike Zagurski to the minors, there are exactly 12 healthy pitchers remaining: Starters Roy Halladay, Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ and Kendrick or Moyer. The pen will be Ryan Madson, Danys Baez, Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, David Herndon, Antonio Bastardo and then either Kendrick or Moyer. If the Phillies pick up another piece along the way, this can change, but odds are this will be the pitching staff. Of course, once Brad Lidge and JC Romero are ready, more changes will be made.
On the offensive end, there was an odd standout performance today. Hawaiian born 3rd/4th string catcher, Dane Sardinha, previously of the Tigers, went 2 for 4 against the Yankees with 4 RBI on a 3-run double and a solo homer. The unlikely performance came from a guy who hit .097 with the Tigers in 2009 and was arrested for a DUI in Clearwater, FL last month. Like Tiger Woods, I suppose he is making his case for forgiveness ;o)
Those four runs today helped the Phillies to the 9-7 9th inning comeback win over the Yanks. Wilson Valdez, another non-roster invitee like Sardinha, knocked a 2-run homer for the walk-off win. Next up: Tampa Bay on Tuesday and the Braves on Wednesday…
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Photo by Jenn
The rumors flying about all week in regards to Roy Halladay have been worse than a group of middle-aged women sipping coffee and debating who in their neighborhood may have slept with Tiger Woods. The non-stop barrage has included the Phillies being ready to part ways with pitchers like JA Happ, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton to clear up salary space. With as many times as each of these players has been supposed trade-bait, the imaginary frequent flyer miles are piling up.
Still, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. continues to downplay the rumors and perpetuate the idea that they have no money to spend. This is either posturing to put people off the scent of a trade or in reality, the Phillies cannot find a way to work out a Halladay trade without breaking the minor league prospect bank. Either way, I feel bad for all these guys whose futures seem so up in the air right now. What actually happens may turn out to be a great big nothing.
The Phils have also expressed interest in John Smoltz as a possible bullpen guy. Why? Well, Smoltz is likely a future Hall of Famer with a proven track record and, at this stage of his career he may be very cheap. Oh, and also, the Phillies love senior citizens ;o) I kid…
As for the young folk, the Phillies picked up two of them in the Rule 5 draft which, for those unaware, is where players like Shane Victorino came from. Right-handed pitcher Kenneth David Herndon went 5-6 with a 3.03 ERA and 11 saves in 50 appearances last season with the Dodgers AA team. And right-hander Angelo Sanchez, from the Twins rookie club, went 5-1 with a 5.52 ERA in 12 starts.
For Spring Training, the Phillies have invited seven non-roster players. Infielder Andy Tracy, who has been with the Iron Pigs for some time and was a September call-up, will join the team. And you may also be familiar with catcher Paul Hoover, also from the Pigs and spent a short time with the big club this past year. The others are outfielder Chris Duffy (Milwaukee), infielder Cody Ransom (NYY), outfielder DeWayne Wise (CWS), infielder Wilson Valdez (NYM) and lefty Bill White (Texas, 2008). Interestingly, 6 out of 7 players are in their 30’s. Mr. Duffy is the youngest at 29.
Will any of these players actually make the team? Probably not. But hey, they get a free trip to Florida and can hang out with people like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. I would totally take that. Seriously…please pack me in your suitcase. Thank you in advance :O)
Player photos by Jenn