Results tagged ‘ Andy Tracy ’

Flying Rumors

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.plane.jpg

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

 

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

 

No Happ-Y Ending for the Rookie

What would have been the perfect ending to an outstanding season for rookie pitcher JA Happ went instead to Chris Coghlan of the Marlins.  The Rookie of the Year award is voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and this year, it looks like they may have gotten it wrong. 

While it is difficult to compare a hitter like Coghlan to a pitcher like Happ, perhaps the deciding factor should be which player had the greatest impact on their team?  Happ filled the void left by starters Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer; without him, the Phillies would not have made the playoffs.  Coghlan’s resume is impressive, but his team did not go to the post-season.

To review, Happ went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA, topping all rookies in innings pitched (166), strikeouts (119), complete game shut-outs (2) and 3 total shut-outs.  Coghlan hit .321 with 9 homers, 47 RBI, 162 hits and a .390 on-base percentage.  Again, difficult to compare, but clearly good pitching beats good hitting as has been demonstrated by years of baseball past.

So while myself and probably a lot of people feel that Happ was snubbed having come in 2nd place, these awards are seldom fair.  But the second place finish does not diminish what was an amazing season for Happ, who has more than proved his worth to this team.  As a consolation prize, I hereby dub JA Happ the “Fan Rookie of the Year“!  Yes, complete with a photo montage:Happ ROY.jpg

In other news, the Phillies have removed the following players from the 40-man roster, making them free agents:  Eric Bruntlett, Tyler Walker, Paul Hoover, Andy Tracy and John Ennis.  Tracy will likely be back next year with the Iron Pigs (AAA) in Allentown as well as Ennis.  Hoover may find himself serving as a back-up catcher if not one fills that spot right away.  But it does look like Bruntlett and Walker will probably be gone.

Free agent signings will begin on Friday.

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Series Win Gives Phillies 8 Game Lead

With a 3-2 victory over the Braves last night to win the series 2 game to 1, the Phillies will have an 8-game lead in the NL East over both the Braves and the Marlins going into September.  Joe Blanton pitched another beautiful game and got through 7 innings of one run ball; the only run came off a solo homer from Martin Prado in the first inning.  Blanton looked a bit shaky through those first few innings, but settled in well and only gave up 3 hits.

 

And for the 2nd night in a row, Chase Utley went yard; his solo shot to right field in the 4th was the only run for the Phillies until Carlos Ruiz stepped up in the 7th.  In honor of the Ruiz backpack night, a giveaway for kids 14 and under, Ruiz smacked a double to left to score Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz.  Ruiz went 3 for 3 on the night; it was his 5th 3-hit game of the year.  Maybe the Phillies should give away a Ruiz bobble head next?


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In the not-so-great offensive category, the Phillies are still struggling with runners in scoring position.  They left 14 men on base and again, had the bases loaded with no outs and failed to score.  Blanton hit a line-drive to first base and Ruiz was double off after the catch.  Jimmy Rollins then hit a weak grounder to end the inning.  The offensive outage is concerning, but thanks to great pitching, they came out on top.

 

Defense was a big part of the win as well.  Ryan Madson, who is entering Brad Lidge-bad territory, got into a huge jam in the 8th inning again.  He hit the first batter he faced and then gave up back-to-back singles which scored a run for the Braves.  Without recording an out, he was removed from the game and Scott Eyre took over. 

 

Brain McCann then hit a sharp grounder to Utley, who fielded it perfectly and flipped to Rollins who threw to Feliz at third; Feliz tagged Chipper Jones for the unusual 4-6-5 double play.  Having eliminated the lead runner, Eyre saved the Phillies from disaster and gave Lidge a 3-2 lead to work with.  Amazingly, Lidge nailed down the save with relative ease; it was his second save in a row.  Whew!


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By the way, did anyone see the actor, Paul Rudd (movies: “I Love You, Man”; “Anchorman”; “Knocked Up”), sitting in the 10th row behind home plate last night? He was just a few sections over from me so I took a few photos.  The woman next to him (right side, dark brown hair) is none other than Jen Utley, Chase’s wife.


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A very welcome off-day is upon us as the Phillies offense needs to rest and charge up for the September charge.  Watch for September call-up’s which may include pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Jack Taschner and Rodrigo Lopez; infielders Mike Cervenak and Andy Tracy; outfielders John Mayberry Jr. and Jason Ellison; and we will likely see a catcher added – maybe Paul Hoover.  Those are my guesses anyway.

 

A lot of moves will be made as the Phillies are also anticipating the return of Brett Myers, JC Romero and Clay Condrey to the bullpen plus Greg Dobbs.  All four have been on the DL and are very close to coming back.

 

And finally, here is the complete Photo Album from last night’s Phillies – Braves game.  Tomorrow, the San Francisco Giants come to town for 3 games and some serious pitching battles will ensue.  You may remember the Phillies were stomped in San Fran back in July, losing 3 out of 4 games.  The Giants are tied for a wildcard spot right now so this will be a very tough match match-up.  Cole Hamels starts it off tomorrow at 7:05pm.

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Fried Fish & Iron Pigs

This team sure loves playing from behind; all 8 wins this year so far have been comeback wins, including yesterday’s 10-inning 6-4 win over the Marlins.  Losing 3-4 in the 9th inning, Eric Bruntlett stepped in to pinch hit and hit a chopper up the third base line well enough to score Jayson Werth from third and tie up the game.  In the 10th, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Werth all singled, plus a stolen base from Victorino, and the Phillies took the lead, 6-4.  Brad Lidge tried to give us all a tummy ache in the bottom of the 9th as he loaded the bases full of Fish, but managed to escape unscathed.

Chan Ho Park had a better game this time around; he started off red-hot, but cooled a bit in the 4th inning when he gave away back-to-back home runs.  The first was a 3-run homer to Jorge Cantu and then a solo shot to Dan Uggla.  But Park did keep the Phils in the game and even accidentally ran into an opposite field home run of his own in the 3rd inning.  It was Park’s first home run since 2000.

The bullpen including Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre and Ryan Madson held the game at 4 runs for the Fish and ultimately, gave the Phillies an opportunity to come back and win.  Great job from the pen! 

Speaking of pens, I was actually sitting in the “pig pen” at Coca-Cola Park watching the Phils game on my phone while watching our AAA club, the Iron Pigs play the Pawtucket Red Sox.  And yes, everything in this park is “pig” themed.  From the mascots, to the game program, which is called “Pork Illistrated.”  Besides the “oinking” from the crowd and other silliness, the park is beautiful, has comfortable seating and it was a really entertaining time overall.

The Pigs game actually mirrored the Phillies game through the 9th inning; both clubs were tied 4-4 and went 1 extra inning!  Sadly, the Pigs game had a different result, as they lost to the Sox, 5-4.  But I did get to check out Carlos Ruiz in his first rehab assignment.  Ruiz was the DH; he went 0-3 at the plate, walked twice and scored a run.  The good news is, he looked ok swinging the bat.Kendrick Ruiz Pigs.jpg

I also saw former major leaguer, Kyle Kendrick pitch; Kendrick went 5 innings, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks.  Not good.  He looked like a minor league pitcher and appears to have a long way to go before cracking the majors again.  We wish him luck!

Spring training stand-outs John Mayberry Jr. and Jason Donald each smacked a home run in the game and were impressive defensively as well.  Mike Cervenak and Andy Tracy collected the other 2 RBI’s, which were hard to come by as they faced pitchers who were throwing in the 40’s and 50’s.  I am so not kidding; it looked like a tee-ball game.  One pitcher for the Sox was being clocked regularly at around 41mph!  Wow.  Most AAA players are not used to such slow deliveries and it will mess up their timing.  Hey, maybe the Sox would like to sign me up?  Pretty sure I can top 41mph.

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Here is the Photo Album of the Iron Pigs game; I have included more shots of Ruiz, Kendrick, Coca-Cola park, the mascots and many others!

Back to the majors: Don’t forget to VOTE for your All-Star’s today!  Get your Phillies into the game!!  Vote a maximum of 25 times per day, per email address. 

And tune in now to the Phillies-Marlins 3rd game of the series which had a very early start at 12:10pm.

Photos by Jenn

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Team Canada Feels The Chill

Another chilly day in Florida today where Team Canada went down in flames against the World Champions; final score, 9-2.  Thumbnail image for P3046122.JPGThis is what happens when you stock your team with guys named…well, see for yourself: 

 
You can’t make this stuff up.  So many jokes…so little time.  What were his parents thinking?  And the Canadian team was also made up of guys like Matt Stairs, Justin Morneau of the Twins and this kid…the littlest Canadian:

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Maybe he is Stubby Jr.?   Well, Stairs and Morneau aside, it is no wonder Team Canada struggled against the Phillies.

Anyway, before the game, John Mayberry Sr., former Kansas City Royal, and father of new Phillie, John Mayberry Jr., wandered over to say hello to Charlie Manuel and the gang.  He was a proud papa today, watching his son move closer to making the 25-man roster.  Mayberry Jr. smacked another home run and went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI on the homer.  If Mayberry keeps this pace up, it will be difficult to send him to the minors come April.

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Cole Hamels made his first start of spring training today and pitched 2 innings, giving up 2 hits and a walk.  He started off looking a bit shaky, but settled in and did not allow any runs.  Scott Eyre also pitched an inning and was much sharper than his last outing.  Eyre sent them down in order, striking out 2 batters.  Below, you will see Hamels, Eyre and Greg Dobbs sliding into 2nd; Dobbs, who went 1 for 4, also made an amazing solo double play during the game; he made a diving grab, threw himself at 1st base, sliding forward to tag the bag with his glove before the runner could get back.  Nicely done :O)

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Rookie Jason Donald had a rough day, and has been having a less than spectacular spring at the plate overall.  Today he went 0 for 3.  Donald is getting a lot of playing time to see if he can handle 3rd base should they need him to step in for Pedro Feliz, who is still recovering from back surgery.  But Donald seems to be pressing at the plate and is not producing so far.  Andy Tracy tried to cheer him up after he exited the game today…you will also see Lou Marson fouling off a pitch and Miguel Cairo sliding into home:

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As for the competition for the back-up catchers position, Chris Coste has only made one start so far due to a hamstring injury, which is giving Ronny Paulino an opportunity to snag the job.  Paulino has not been too impressive, which is good news for Coste, but he’ll need to get back on the field if he is going to keep the job.  Coste did take batting practice today and looked solid, so it looks like he should be up and running soon. 

And now for the Photo of the Day – Chase Utley warming up for batting practice; take a look at the reflection in his sunglasses:P3045954.JPG

The Phillies will take on Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Team USA tomorrow at 12:05pm!

 

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