Results tagged ‘ Blue Jays ’
The Phillies had a chance to sweep the Red Sox today in this 3-game series, but once Cole Hamels was pulled early, that opportunity passed by. In the fourth inning, a line-drive from Adrian Gonzalez knocked the glove off Hamels’ non-pitching hand. He exited the game to receive treatment.
The injury is being called a bruise but it is unclear if Hamels will make his next start. It will depend on whether or not he can grip his glove and bat.
So the game was handed over to a very young, inexperienced bullpen. David Herndon allowed three runs over two innings. Then Drew Carpenter gave up two more.
But the bullpen’s performance really made little difference as the Phillies mustered only four hits in the game and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The only scoring was a 2-run bomb from Ryan Howard in the ninth inning.
The lack of offense is gruesome as usual. And with pitchers dropping like flies, the Phillies may have to lean on their bats in the near future. So, someone better figure out where they hid those bats…fast.
This weekend, the Phillies face the Blue Jays for three games and I am here in Toronto to bring you all the torrid details. Kyle Kendrick pitches tomorrow but Saturday is a big one. It will be the first time Roy Halladay pitches against his old team in Toronto.
The people of Toronto are so excited to see Roy Halladay again, the local TV station is even running a promo about it detailing Halladay’s time in Toronto and how much he meant to the city. The ad encourages fans to come to the game and cheer for Halladay to welcome him back. It is a real class move by Toronto. However, I assume the cheering will stop once Halladay starts mowing down Jays.
Tomorrow is also Canada Day here, which celebrates the country’s independence from the United Kingdom. I find it odd, however, that their currency still bears the Queen’s image on their $20 bill. I would tell you who is on the $100 dollar bill, but sadly, I don’t have any of those ;o)
But I digress…anyway, check back for updates on the games and, of course, photos! Speaking of which, here is one I took of Niagara Falls before I headed over to Toronto:
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The five teams in the NL East, the Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Mets and Nationals, have all had busy off-seasons trying to improve their clubs. Some have been more successful than others. And some, like the Phillies and Mets, are moving very slowly through the free agent and trade possibilities.
Here is a countdown of the top 10 moves so far within the division and a breakdown of potential future moves for each team.
#10 – Three Relief Pitchers to the Marlins
In mid-November, the Red Sox swapped lefty relievers with the Marlins. Dustin Richardson went to the Marlins and Andrew Miller landed with the Red Sox. Miller, previously a highly-touted prospect, was a disappointment in Florida. He struggled with control and lacked consistency.
The addition of Richardson is a good move for the Marlins. At only 26-years of age, Richardson posted a 4.15 in 26 relief appearances in the bigs, although most of his time has been spent in the minors. This lefty has great potential. The Marlins hope they can mould him into a solid reliever.
The very next day, the Marlins also acquired two right-handers, Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. The Marlins sent Cameron Maybin to the Padres in exchange. Webb has averaged a 3.19 ERA in two major league seasons while Mujica is going into his 6th season having posted a 3.62 ERA last year.
These three pitchers combined should make a major impact on the Marlins 2011 bullpen.
#9 – Dennys Reyes to the Phillies
The Phillies have agreed to terms with veteran left-hander, Dennys Reyes. The 33-year-old reliever posted a 3.55 ERA in 59 relief appearances last season for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Phillies chose not to re-sign JC Romero after Romero struggled with control and left elbow surgery last offseason seemed to alter his mechanics. Reyes will be counted on to take over for Romero.
The only other lefty who has had much success with the Phillies in the few past years is Antonio Bastardo. The Phillies will likely go into the 2011 season with these two left-handed relievers in the bullpen.
#8 – Javier Vazquez to the Marlins
Right-handed starter Javier Vazquez struggled last year with the Yankees, ending the season with a 10-10 record and a 5.32 ERA. However, Vazquez pitched for the Braves in 2009 and ended with a 2.87 ERA. A return to the NL East may be exactly what Vazquez needs to get back on track.
The Marlins also like the idea that Vazquez can eat innings for them, which is something they have been lacking. This 13-year veteran is sure to bring some stability to the Marlins rotation.
#7 – Eric Hinske re-signs with the Braves
The Braves liked Eric Hinske in left field last year, where he made only 1 error in 360 innings. At the plate, Hinske hit .256 with 11 homers and a .793 OPS. In 2011, Hinske is likely to serve as a left-handed pinch-hitter who may fill in for Martin Prado from time to time.
#6 – John Buck to the Marlins
Catcher John Buck will enter his 8th major league season with a 3-contract from the Florida Marlins. Buck had a breakout year in 2010 with the Blue Jays and made the All-Star team for the first time in his career.
Buck set career highs in batting average (.281), on-base percentage (.314), homers (20) and RBIs (66) with the Jays and also threw out 28% of runners attempting to steal. The Marlins may have hit a home run with this signing.
Jose Contreras spent most of his career as a starter until last year with the Phillies where he made a nice transition into a full-time reliever. Contreras was one of the most dependable relievers in the Phillies bullpen and as such, the Phillies rewarded him with a new 2-year deal, including an option for a third year.
Contreras went 6-4 with four saves and a 3.34 ERA in 67 games in 2010. He is able to pitch multiple innings when necessary and can also fill in as a closer. This gives the Phillies some much needed stability in the bullpen.
#4 – Scott Linebrink to the Braves
There was one more pitching swap this offseason as the Braves sent Kyle Cofield to the White Sox in exchange for another righty, Scott Linebrink. At 23 years of age, Cofield was moved in favor of experience. Linebrink is a 12-year veteran who has had a fairly consistent career. He went 3-2 with a 4.40 ERA as a reliever for the White Sox last year and will be a solid piece in the Braves bullpen.
#3 – George Sherrill to the Braves
Continuing to add pitching, the Braves signed lefty reliever George Sherrill, who will be entering his 8th season in the majors. The one-year deal is a smart one for the Braves as it is fairly low-risk. Sherrill performed well in 2008 and 2009, but last year, he ran into trouble. Posting a 6.69 ERA with the Dodgers in 65 games, Sherrill got destroyed facing right-handed hitters who batted .427 off him.
If Sherrill can rebound to his 2009 form, the Braves move will pay major dividends. If not, they only spent $1.2 million dollars to sign him. This looks like a winner for the Braves.
#2 – Dan Uggla to the Braves
His name is Dan Uggla and yes, he is now a Brave. This All-Star second baseman has been tearing up the NL East for five years now. The Marlins refused to meet Uggla’s demand of a five-year contract and decided to trade him. They received Omar Infante and left-handed reliever Michael Dunn in exchange.
The winner of this trade may be a tough call. Uggla, with 33 homers last year, gives the Braves a right-handed power bat. However, Infante is a more versatile and solid defender. Plus, Infante batted over .300 each of the past two seasons. And with good left-handed relievers hard to come by, Dunn’s 1.89 ERA in 25 games last year looks pretty good. However, Dunn is a rookie with little experience so the Marlins cannot be sure what they will get out of him.
The worst news about this trade for the NL East is that Uggla remains in the NL East. The Marlins may have just shot themselves, plus three other teams, directly in the foot.
If anything is certain about this signing, it is that no one saw it coming. The 7-year, $126 million dollar deal handed to right fielder Jayson Werth is the biggest move made in the NL East so far this offseason. It may even wind up being one of the top five deals in all of baseball by the time 2011 gets started.
The Phillies could not afford to meet Werth’s demand, who made his first All-Star appearance with them in 2009. Batting .296 with 27 homers and 85 RBI last year, this five-tool player is a great addition to any team. However, at 31 years of age, Werth’s 7-year deal may look foolish a few seasons down the road.
Potential Future Moves: The Phillies
A name you are likely to hear a lot in the coming weeks is Zack Greinke. In fact, the only NL East team who has not been linked to Greinke is the Mets. The Royals have made it known that they are willing to part with this right-handed starter for the right price. Once Cliff Lee signs somewhere, the market for Greinke will certainly heat up.
While Greinke is on the Phillies wish list, they may also be looking at right fielder Delwyn Young. Having spent the last two years with the Pirates, Young has not exactly been lighting up the batter’s box, hitting only .236 last year. But the Phillies are still deciding how to replace Jayson Werth. Young is a possibility, but look for the Phils to fill the spot internally.
Potential Future Moves: The Braves
Aside from Zack Greinke, the Braves are also rumored to be in talks with lefty reliever Ron Mahay. While with the Braves the last few months of 2007, Mahay posted a 2.25 ERA in 30 appearances and has since expressed interest in returning to the Braves.
Mahay had surgery near the end of the 2010 season for a torn rotator cuff. but with left-handers in short supply, the Braves may take a look at re-signing Mahay.
Despite signing a few lefties already, the Marlins are still looking for depth in this area. Ron Mahay, whom the Braves are looking into, is also a possibility here. A few other lefties the Marlins may consider are Joe Beimel and JC Romero. Beimel posted a 3.40 ERA in 45 innings last year and Romero had a 3.68 ERA in 36 2/3 innings.
The Marlins have also been tossing around the idea of signing right fielder Delwyn Young, whom the Phillies expressed interest in as well.
Potential Future Moves: The Mets
The Mets have not made many moves this offseason aside from a few smaller players like catcher Ronnie Paulino and righty DJ Carrasco. The biggest potential move for the Mets may be simply retaining outfielder Carlos Beltran. Already signed through 2011, several teams including the Red Sox, have expressed interest in a trade for Beltran.
With budget concerns, the Mets have little room to squeak out any significant deals. Therefore, the most important move they make may just be retaining players like Beltran, David Wright and Jose Reyes. The Mets will need to resist the urge to dump payroll if they are to have a chance to compete in 2011.
Potential Future Moves: The Nationals
While the Nationals severely overpaid for right fielder Jayson Werth, they may not be done just yet. It seems, that like a lot of teams, star pitcher Cliff Lee is on their radar. And similar to the Werth deal, no one would ever see it coming. But the Nats appear to have money to burn so Lee may not be out of the question.
Veteran outfielder Randy Winn has also been rumored to be generating interest in Washington. Also add first baseman Adam LaRoche to their wish list and right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg. Gregg spent two years in the NL East with the Marlins from 2007 to 2008. He pitched in 63 games for the Blue Jays last year and posted a 3.51 ERA. Several teams, including the Nationals, have been courting the reliever.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
If there was ever a question that Roy Halladay should indeed be the 2010 National League Cy Young award winner, then clearly you have not been paying attention. With a both perfect game and playoff game no-hitter to his record this year, Halladay was the hands-down winner, garnering all 32 first-place votes for a unanimous decision.
This is Halladay’s second Cy Young; he won the first with the Blue Jays in 2003. He is the 5th player ever to recieve the award in both leagues, joining Gaylord Perry, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens. Halladay is also the 4th Phillie to win, joining Steve Carlton (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982), John Denny (1983) and Steve Bedrosian (1987).
Finishing the season with a 21-10 record and a 2.44 ERA, Halladay had a career year and was the indisputable favorite for the award. In short, it was slam dunk.
As we near the holiday season, this award made me wonder, what do you get for the person who has nearly everything? He has a perfect game, a no-hitter, more than 20 wins, millions of dollars and now a second Cy Young award. With this in mind, I put together a list of ideas for anyone shopping for Mr. Halladay this season.
What To Get Roy Halladay For The Holiday’s
1. A World Series Championship (Duh)
2. His very own “Most Interesting Man In The World” beer commercial
3. A World Series Championship (can we get one in gift card form to redeem in 2011?)
4. A spaceship so he can visit other planets when he gets bored with Earth
5. A World Series Championship (did I already say that??)
6. An I-Pod Dock Toilet Paper Holder – For tunes while you toot. Several web sites recommend this…seriously.
7. A World Series Championship (in case I forgot to mention it earlier)
8. A Solar-Powered Rainbow Maker – Have you ever just been sitting around thinking, gee, I’d love to see a cheery rainbow right now? Yeah, me too. Besides, Halladay already has the pot of gold to go with it.
9. His very own country – call it “Happy Halladayville”
10. If you are still online shopping for the TP holder, maybe I was not clear the first 4 times…get Roy Halladay a World Series Championship!!!
Roy Halladay thanks you in advance ;O)
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
In the final game of the series against the Blue Jays who served as the home team in Philly this weekend, the Phillies walked away with an 11-2 win. The 47-year old pitcher, Jamie Moyer, walked away with his 9th win of year and a few more entries in the baseball record books.
Moyer gave up a 2-run homer in the 2nd inning which propelled him past former Phillie Robin Roberts for the most home runs allowed by any pitcher. The 506 record breaking home runs were allowed to a total of 322 different batters in 42 different ballparks. There has been some debate over whether or not Moyer should be proud of such a record. But this type of record simply means that he has been pitching for a very, very long time. Not too many other players have been around this long.
Adding to that thought, Moyer broke another record today. He became only the 40th player in history to have pitched 4,000 innings. This is another testament to the longevity of Moyer’s career. And to still be pitching, and being successful, at his age is just amazing. He went 7 innings against the Jays on Sunday and that 2-run homer mentioned earlier was the only scoring he allowed.
Jimmy Rollins helped jump start the offense with a single in the first at-bat of the game. Rollins ended with 3 hits, each hit to a different part of the ballpark; one down each baseline and one up the middle. Rollins plus Ben Francisco and Dane Sardinha each had 2 RBI a piece. Francsico looked good in left and was 3 for 5 at the plate. Could this be the end of Raul Ibanez as an everyday player? If Ibanez does not start hitting, it very well could.
So the bats were popping and some great defensive plays highlighted the win as well. Both Rollins and Jayson Werth were all over the place snagging balls out of the air:
The Phillies were ahead 7-2 by the 7th inning and that is when the bottom really fell out for the Jays. The play on the field began to resemble a long series of sight gags that The Three Stooges may have attempted in one of their comedy bits. Throws by Jays fielders sailed into no-man’s land, balls were mishandled and there was even a passed ball at the plate. By the end of the 7th, the Jays had committed 3 errors, 4 total for the game, and the Phillies had scored a total of 6 unearned runs in the 11-2 win.
Wilson Valdez, who is officially the Master at hitting into double plays, tried to do so twice in this game only to have his attempts foiled by the Jays sloppy defense. Darn those errant throws! Wilson is clearly going for some sort of DP record and they may have ruined his chances. (Please note the sarcasm in the above paragraph)
The series win went to the Phillies with 2 out of 3 games. To commemorate this unique occasion of playing an American League game in a National league ballpark while giving home field to the AL team (did you follow all that?), I have put together a short “Canadian’s In Philly” montage:
Is it just me, or does the woman hugging both the Blue Jays stuffed toy and the Phanatic stuffed toy seem confused? Or perhaps a tad conflicted? We wish her well.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Cole Hamels started against the Blue Jays on Saturday. In this 2nd of the 3 road games to be played at home, Hamels struggled to keep the Jays in the yard. He allowed 5 runs on 7 hits, 3 of which were home runs, and also walked 3 batters.
Everyone has a bad day from time to time and this was certainly one of those for Hamels. He lasted only 4 innings. The disturbing part of this outing though was watching Hamels throw pitches down the middle of the plate with an 0-2 count and the Jays did not miss his mistakes.
The offense did little to help out as the only run scored for the Phils was a solo homer by Ryan Howard. But the Jays pitcher, Shaun Marcum, looked good and was confusing the Phils batters. Chase Utley had 2 hits, but no one could drive him home.
One more disturbing aspect in this game was that 3rd baseman, Placido Polanco sat out due to a shoulder injury. Charlie Manuel said he was not sure how serious it was and that he would not know if Polly could play today until he shows up to the park. Polanco has been the team’s most consistant hitter so we hope he will be okay.
Jamie Moyer pitches today at 1:35pm. We wish him luck and hope he Phils can go on the road (officially) with a series victory!
And in case you missed it yesterday, here is the Photo Album from Friday’s win which includes Roy Halladay pitching and the 76ers 1st round draft pick, Evan Turner. He hung out at batting practice and also threw the 1st pitch of the game.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies played an away game at home in Philly for the first time ever, against the Blue Jays. Because of the G-20 Summit in Toronto, the 3-games series was move to Philadelphia. The team wore their grey road uniforms, batted first, used the DH and even took batting practice second. The Canadian Mountaineers even made several appearances with the Phanatic:
But the really fun part was seeing Roy Halladay pitch against his old team for the first time in his career. And Halladay came out with his usual serious, mow-them-down attitude. After 7 shut-out innings, Halladay walked off the mound with his 9th win of the year.
The Phillies offense, which in previous Halladay starts had not helped him out much, finally scored some runs for him. Ross Gload got a rare start at first base since Ryan Howard served as the DH and Gload took full advantage. He went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI in the game. Jayson Werth was also on base a lot, with 2 hits and 2 walks. Chase Utley and Shane Victorino scored 2 RBI a piece and Jimmy Rollins walked 4 times. J-Roll hit that walk-off homer the day before and now no one wants to pitch to him? Strange.
Defensively, the Phils were solid as well. A very odd run-down double play happened in the 3rd inning where both Utley and Gload had to chase down runners and tag them out:
So with all the Phillies offense, the crowd was actually a little bored by the 6th inning. By the 7th inning, restless crowd began the wave. It was probably the longest sustained wave I have ever seen:
Victorino woke up the crowd in the 8th inning by smashing a homer to left center field, adding to the already huge Phillies lead. Victorino, and really the whole team, were in good spirits before the game and it translated into a whole lot of scoring:
When it was finished, the Phillies took away a 9-0 win for their 7th shut-out of 2010. They will play the Jays this afternoon at 4:05pm with Cole Hamels on the mound. Here is the full Photo Album from Friday’s game, which includes the 76ers 1st round draft pick, Evan Turner, hanging out before the game and also throwing the 1st pitch.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Early in the final game of the Phillies – Indians series today, things got very, very weird. And just when you thought it could get any stranger, a gigantic storm, which looked like a hurricane and tornado all in one, hit the stadium in the 8th inning.
But early in the 2nd inning, many already thought that this game was going to resemble an episode of The Twilight Zone. 3 straight singles loaded the bases and then Dane Sardinha hit a grounder to third base. The catcher missed the throw to home plate and 2 runs scored. Next, the Phillies pitcher, Joe Blanton, got hit with a pitch.
The oddities continued as Shane Victorino was called out for going out of the baseline on his way to first base. Charlie Manuel was so angry over the call, he got himself thrown out. Blanton was later allowed by the Indians centerfielder to tag up at third and score, even though Blanton did not move until he realized the fielder was paying him no mind. And the Indians left fielder was almost injured badly when he ran for a foul ball and smashed leg first into the wall. As he bounced around, his head hit the wall next and he then began wandering around the field like he did not know where he was.
So to recap the 2nd inning; 5 runs scored on 4 hits, an official error, a mental error and 2 sacrifices plus, the manager is ejected, the Phils pitcher is hit with a pitch and a freak injury. Could this game get any weirder…oh yes, it can…
The Phillies went on a hitting spree after that, scoring 7 more runs. Placido Polanco had 4 hits and 2 RBI; both Chase Utley and Jayson Werth had 3 hits each and Wilson Valdez had 2 hits. The only position player to go hitless was Ryan Howard, although he did collect an RBI. And Sardinha, in his first start as a Phillie, hit his first major league home run in the 6th inning.
In light of the recent offensive woes, the hitting spree was a nice surprise. But it was by far the biggest surprise of the day. With 2 outs in the 8th inning, Mother Nature paid an unpleasant visit to Citizens Bank Park. The rain poured down in buckets and the wind made things begin to swirl wildly in a circular motion, like a tornado. The tarp was half-way whipped up off the field, taking a field vehicle with it! The car was supposed to be holding the tarp down, but the winds were so strong it moved the car! Check out the video from CSN Philly. I have never seen anything like this…ever:
Here is another good one shot by a fan, which gives a really good view of the car being moved around:
So the rain delay lasted for an hour and 37 minutes with the Phillies in the lead by a score of 12-3. They came back and finished the game…nothing changed. The Phillies sweep the Tribe in 3 games. Blanton had a good game, going 7 2/3 before the storm hit and allowing just 3 runs on 6 hits. Nelson Figueroa was called up from AAA and pitched a scoreless 9th. Figueroa takes Chad Durbin’s place as he is now on the DL with a strained hamstring.
Starting tomorrow night, the relocated series with the Blue Jays will begin. It was supposed to be in Toronto, but had to be moved to Philly for security reasons related to the G20 Summit. So the Jays will be the home team in Philly for 3 games. Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The June 25-27 series against the Blue Jays was scheduled to be held in Toronto. However, due to security concerns surrounding the G20 Summit, the games will be moved to Philadelphia. The Jays will still be the “home” team and American League rules will apply, which means a DH will be used.
Commissioner Bud Selig consulted both teams before making the decision, which is in the best interest of all involved. And while the move will no doubt favor the Phillies more than the Jays, it is better to be safe than sorry. And knowing that Selig probably hates the Phillies for beating his precious Brewers in the 2008 NLDS makes this even sweeter. I hope making this announcement will haunt Selig’s dreams for years to come (insert evil laugh here) ;o)
Now we just have to hope that a crazed Blue Jays fan does not decide to hop onto the field during the game looking for a cheap, Taser Gun thrill that can only be found in silly Philly. You know how those Canadians are; with all that free health care, danger is no obstacle to some hardcore entertainment. ;o) OHHHHH Canada! I may have to move…
As for tickets, the Phillies will announce those plans in a few days; season ticket holder get first crack, followed by partial season ticket holders. This should be interesting…
The timetable for closer Brad Lidge to return may have just been pushed back. After multiple off-season surgeries on both his knee and elbow, Lidge is still experiencing pain in the elbow, although no structural damage has been found. As a result, he was given a cortisone shot. His doctor reports that the elbow inflammation is unrelated to the surgery.
While the team and Lidge are downplaying the seriousness of this issue, a cortisone shot is not a good sign. The fact that the pain is “unrelated” to the surgery could mean that this is a new issue; either that or they are just not giving us all of the facts. In addition, the frequency of injuries that Lidge seems to suffer from does not inspire confidence. Here is a quick review of Lidge’s injury history.
– Lidge missed parts of his first four professional seasons with a variety of injuries, including a torn rotator cuff, right shoulder tendinitis and a broken forearm that almost ended his career.
– 2002: strained intercostal muscle near the rib cage
– December 2003: arthroscopic surgery on his left knee
– June – July 2005: shut down with elbow issues
– May 2007: bone bruise on his right femur near his knee
– June – July 2007: left oblique strain
– October 2007: surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee
– February 2008: tore the meniscus in the same knee he just had surgery on during his first pitch off a mound in Spring Training.
– June 2009: sprained right knee and a sore elbow (his flexor pronator tendon).
– January 2010: surgery on both the elbow and the right knee again.
– March 2010: the elbow is still an issue and Lidge gets a cortisone injection.
Based on the evidence, are we to conclude that Lidge is made of glass? Fans grumbled when he came to Philly because of the injury history, but all was quickly forgotten when 2008 turned into the Perfect Season for him. 2009 was a disaster for Lidge and now, 2010 is not looking good either. Let the grumbling begin…
Another key Phillies pitcher has recently joined the injury parade; starter Joe Blanton strained his left oblique muscle while throwing in the bullpen on Wednesday. He has been placed on the 15-day DL, which puts his earliest return around April 20-28. This type of issue tends to drag on and take a while to heal, which is not good news for the Phillies.
Although, this is good news for Kyle Kendrick who will probably join the rotation now. And that leaves one bullpen spot open as well. Pitchers B.J. Rosenberg and Michael Stutes will travel north to Philly tomorrow for the last two exhibition games and it is likely that one of them may make the team now.
In other recent pitching disasters, Roy Halladay faced his former team for the first time yesterday. The Blue Jays, knowing their old teammate well, took advantage and nailed Halladay for 4 runs in the first inning including a 2-run homer. Halladay recovered and finished off the next two innings without incident. So maybe not quite a disaster….just another Spring Training game so no one really cares ;o)
The Phillies will face the Pirates today and then return to Philly tomorrow for the last few games before Opening Day on Monday in D.C.
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Photo by Jenn
In the last few Spring Training games, the Phillies have gotten a good look at many new and returning pitchers.
Cole Hamels gave up a home run on only his 2nd pitch of spring against the Blue Jays, but recovered well and overall, had an good outing. Hamels allowed two hits and a walk in two innings plus the home run. He has added a cutter and a curveball to his repertoire of pitches which seems to be giving him a little more confidence in his ability to get outs.
Jamie Moyer also pitched in a “B” game that same day and does not look like a man who had 3 surgeries in the off-season. He pitched 3 scoreless innings allowing 3 hits and striking out 3 batters. Clearly, Moyer is not ready to concede the 5th starters spot to one of the younger pitchers. And with the $8 million dollars the Phillies owe him this year whether he performs or not, that is a good thing.
Three other pitchers who did not make such a great impression on Friday were J.C. Ramirez, picked up in the Cliff Lee trade; Ryan Vogelsong, a Philly-area native who recently spent time playing in Japan; and Bill White, who was picked up off waivers from the Rangers. Ramirez allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in 1 1/3 innings. Both Vogelsong and White gave up 4 runs each in an inning or less. It is still early in Spring, but the results do not bode well for these pitchers.
Joe Blanton also had a rough outing today against the Pirates; 5 hits and 3 runs in 2 innings plus a number of extra base hits were the highlights. However, the relievers did very well, including Danys Baez, BJ Rosenberg and Mike Zagurski; they each pitched 2 scoreless innings in the game.
As for the hitters, prospect Tyson Gillies, also from the Cliff Lee trade, hit a solo homer in the sixth inning against the Jays and was 2 for 2 overall with 2 RBI in the game, making a great first impression. Gillies also has tremendous speed and a great arm from centerfield. The Phillies top prospect Domonic Brown went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and threw a runner out at the plate from right field. Brown appears to be on track to take over for Jayson Werth should he depart in 2011 once becoming a free agent.
Ryan Howard remains hitless so far this Spring, but more concerning is the absence of Shane Victorino. Benched with a sore shoulder since the start of the month, Victorino did not travel to the Pirates game with the team today. While this may simply be the Phillies being extra cautious with their star centerfielder, it is concerning. Victorino has had a number of nagging injuries over the last few years that seemed fairly minor, but still kept him out of the line-up for extended periods of time. All the Phillies can do is hope this does not become one of those situations.
And just for fun, has anyone seen the new Cliff Lee Topps Opening Day trading card? Generally, when a player is traded, Topps will take one of their old trading cards and paint the new uniform in the photo over the old uniform. In Cliff Lee’s transition from the Phillies to the Mariners, see if you can spot the error from Topps’ editing job:
Leave your guess in the comment section; the first person to get it right is the winner and be mentioned in my next blog.
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Photo by Jenn