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)
And 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