Results tagged ‘ Brian Schneider ’

Phillies Falter Against Reds


Kendrick rope.jpgIt was another bad night for Kyle Kendrick.  Against the Reds, Kendrick pitched 6 1/3 innings while allowing 5 earned runs on 8 hits, including a 2-run homer to ex-Phillie Scott Rolen.  Chase Utley committed an error at the start of the 6th inning which gave Kendrick a little extra rope to hang himself with. 

Kendrick still seems to have trouble buckling down and making pitches after something bad happens, like an error that puts the opposing team’s pitcher on base.  No pitcher is happy when this occurs, but the good ones do not let it bother them and proceed to work out of the mess.  Some days, Kendrick looks sure of himself on the mound; and other days, he looks out of place.  But the Phillies have few other options with JA Happ still not recovering well from his injury.

Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto is similar to Kendrick in the consistency department.  He will have a few really bad games, then some really good ones.  Unfortunately for the Phils, tonight Cueto had a good game and the offense sputtered against him.  Phillies batters had a few opportunities to pounce on Cueto, but they came up short each time, going only 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position.  In all, they left 4 men on base and had 8 hits.

Utley got tossed out trying to stretch a single into a double and both Raul Ibanez and Brian Schneider hit into double plays.  Although on replay, Ibanez should have been called safe.  Ryan Howard had 2 hits in the game, including a triple, and he scored one of only two runs in the game for the Phillies.  Ibanez hit a solo homer in the 9th with two outs.

The bullpen did not help out either; David Herndon gave up a hit which allowed one of Kendrick’s base runners to score and in the 8th inning, Mike Zagurski allowed a run on one hit and a walk.  In all, it was an evening to forget as the Phillies lost by a score of 7-2.

In injury news, Placido Polanco did not play again today after getting another cortisone injection in his sore elbow on Sunday.  He may play tomorrow but it looks like this will be an on-going issue for the rest of the season.  Polanco will play through the pain and possibly have surgery in the off-season.  That makes one wonder how productive he will be the rest of the year, but all we can do is wait and see.  But a slightly banged up Polanco is probably better that leaving Wilson Valdez at third all year.

I have also just heard that Utley was pulled in the 9th inning because he hurt his thumb sliding into 2nd base.  He will have an MRI tomorrow…cross your fingers.

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.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Rollins Announces His Return With A Walk-Off Homer

Jimmy Rollins officially announced his return to the Phillies tonight with a 2-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th against the Indians. 
J-Roll says hi cr.jpg
It was J-Roll’s only hit in two games since coming off the DL.  Things looked grim going into that inning as Rollins was just 0 for 4 before that homer, but he hit it when it counted the most and gave his team a 7-6 victory.  Welcome back, Jimmy!

Prior to that, the Phillies offense did score some runs, but they still seem to be butting heads with the usual problems; leaving men on base, hitting into double plays and swinging at bad pitches.  Both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez hit into double plays, the worst of which was by Ibanez in the 6th inning.  With two runners on and no outs, Ibanez tapped one back to the mound and they did not score that inning.

But Howard had 2 hits on the night and Jayson Werth had 3, including a homer. Brian Schneider hit his first homer of the year in the 7th and there were a couple extra base hits in the game as well.  The Phillies went only 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position, but with J-Roll playing the hero, it was enough to win the game.

The pitching was also interesting as the magical see-saw adventures of Kyle Kendrick continued tonight. 
Kendrick see saw.jpg
When Kendrick steps to the mound, you just never know what tricks he might pull out of his hat next.  This evening’s tricks included allowing two 2-run homers to Shin-Soo Choo.  Kendrick lasted just 4 innings with 5 runs allowed, although 1 run was unearned after a Chase Utley error.

With Kendrick, the only thing that has been consistent is his inconsistency.  And with rumors floating that the Phillies are looking for a starting pitcher, it appears they are growing impatient with not only Kendrick, but JA Happ as well.  Happ has not been progressing as quickly with his rehab as the Phillies would like.  GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Courier Press, “”It’s the first time he’s ever had this time off, and (he needs to) come back and cut it loose and get back to that old form. He’s going to have to get to that point or he can’t perform here.”  Those are strong words from an obviously frustrated GM.

Another player was injured tonight as well; Chad Durbin came up with a right hamstring strain at the beginning of the 9th inning.  According to Charlie Manuel after the game, the injury is “pretty serious.”  Not good news; all we can do is hope he will be okay.

In other news, Greg Dobbs did clear waivers and has been sent to AAA to work on his swing.  Hopefully, Dobbs can get back into shape and help out later in the year.  I know a lot of people have been complaining about Dobbs, and not without cause, but I am rooting for him to return to his 2008 form when he was probably the best pinch hitter in the league.  I have been fortunate to speak with Greg on a number of occasions and he is as nice a guy as you could ever hope to meet.  He is great with the fans, unselfish when giving his time and has a good heart.  For all those reasons, I wish him well and hope we might see him again 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.

 

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*

 

Bad Luck Or Bad Baseball?

Is it bad luck or bad baseball?  It looked like luck may have been in the Phillies favor when Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was sent to the DL minutes before the game started today.  Dice-K beat up the Phillies in their last meeting, so this must be good news.  Scott Atchison, a career minor leaguer who also played in Japan, made his first career major league start in place of Dice-K.  Again, this seemed like good news, right?

Wrong.  Because absolutely nothing has gone well for the Phillies lately, and this game would be no different.  Joe Blanton has been as bad as he could be since coming off the DL in early May.  By the 2nd inning of this game, Blanton had given up 34 runs, 11 homers and 11 walks in 45 innings pitched this year. 
Bad luck Phillies.jpg
And the damage did not end there…Blanton allowed 9 runs total, matching Jamie Moyer yesterday, on 13 hits and a walk by the time he was done, after 4 pathetic innings. His ERA is now 7.28.

Blanton loaded the bases in the 2nd inning, right after the offense scored two runs for him.  He then threw ONE pitch to rookie, Daniel Nava, who in his first major league at-bat, hit a grand slam!  Unbelievable.  It looked like the Phillies had morphed into a black cat with a #13 tattoo, under a black cloud standing on top of a broken mirror, sprinkled with spilled salt.  But was that bad luck or just Joe Blah-anton?

Blanton needs to go.  Obviously, no one will want him with his gigantic 7.28 ERA and gigantic salary, so what are the options?  Put him back on the DL or send him to the minors.  Brett Myers did this voluntarily back in 2008 and came back to help them win the World Series.  The Phillies can bring back Nelson Figueroa or someone else from the minors.  I would rather see a rookie get raked for 9 runs than a veteran who is not living up to his end of the deal.  How about Nate Bump?  He has some experience and was recently clocked at 103mph.  Go get him!

The Phillies have made a lot of mistakes this year and last, many of which have been overshadowed by the acquisition of Roy Halladay.  Letting Myers go was clearly an error in judgment.  I said it before, but because most people have a personal dislike of Myers, most were happy to see him go.  For the Astros this year, Myers has not allowed more than 4 runs in any game, has not pitched fewer than 6 innings in any game and his ERA is a very respectable 3.18.

And do not even get me started on Cliff Lee.  Because the Mariners are not doing well, Lee will likely be traded before the deadline and it looks like he may wind up in the NL East.  Imagine this: Lee goes to Mets or the Braves who make the playoffs, leaving the Phillies in the dust.  You want to throw up right now, don’t you?

And remember signing a 36 year-old Raul Ibanez, now 38, to a 3-year contract?  It looked like a good idea for ½ a year in 2009; now, not so much.  Raul, we still love ya, but things are not going well.  Ibanez is hitting .247 and is getting slower in the outfield.

The Phillies also extended Blanton’s contract this off-season, giving him 3 more years and $24 million dollars.  They noted his “consistency,” which I have never agreed with, and his ability to pitch many innings as reasons for the extension.  Well, all those innings have taken their toll as evidenced by Blanton’s current ERA plus the pre-season injury and DL stint.

By the way, the Phillies offense died after Blanton dug a huge hole for them.  The managed only 7 hits and 3 of those came from back-up catcher Brian Schneider.  The Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 2-10.


panic.jpgI could go on, but I think that is enough for one day.  The Phillies have now slid from 1st place to 3rd place in the NL East and if the Marlins keep winning, they will be in 4th place shortly.  I mentioned holding off on hitting the panic button last week; well, it is now time.  Let the panic begin.  This past month may be a foretelling of the horror to come.

 

Photoshopping by Jenn

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

 

Phillies Follies


Howard_Seuss.jpgThe Phillies have played so badly this past week, during last night’s game, I found myself quivering in a corner reciting Dr. Seuss poems while clawing at the walls.  I do not like green eggs and ham; I do not like when out hitters get jammed.  I am not happy when Howard strikes out; Not scoring runs makes me want to shout!

Find me a white padded room, please.  This could get ugly…

The Phillies have scored just 3 runs in their last 36 innings played, all of which came in one game.  The second straight shut-out against the Mets puts them into a 4 game losing streak.  Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that when Jimmy Rollins went back on the DL, the bottom fell out?

While Rollins does propel this team in many ways, missing one player should not be shutting them down.  Their bats, however, do seem to be weighing them down.  Every Phillies hitter, except for maybe Placido Polanco, looks like they are swinging 30-foot telephone poles instead of bats.

And the line-up last night did not help.  Carlos Ruiz sat due to a shoulder strain and Brian Schneider in his place, could not seems to throw out any runners.  He even dropped a ball while trying to make the transfer from glove to hand to attempt a pick-off.  The rest of the defense looked sleepy as well, like everyone was moving in slow motion.

But with Ruiz down, why then does manager Charlie Manuel choose to sit two other starters?  Both Raul Ibanez and Juan Castro, J-Roll’s back-up, were given days off, not for injury, but for rest.  So, three starters were on the bench while the Phillies went down 0-5 to the Mets.  Not good timing, if you ask me.

And speaking of managerial decisions, has no one else noticed that Joe Blanton can still only make it through 5 innings of fairly clean pitching?  He has given up tons of runs in the 6th innings of games pretty consistently so far this year.  He is behind schedule due to being on the DL at the start of the season.  And so for at least the third time, I ask WHY is he still being pushed when he does not appear ready to go past 5 innings?  Should he be ready by now?  Probably.  Only the Phillies coaching staff can figure this one out and they need to before his next start.

The Phillies have one more shot at the Mets and seriously need to avoid getting swept.  Cole Hamels will need to pitch a good game and someone had better put those telephone poles away and give the Phillies back their bats.  Game time is 7:10pm.

And if the game sucks again, why not log-on and VOTE for the Phillies All-Stars?  Assuming they will snap out the funk at some point, many of them deserve a spot on the roster :O)  Vote up to 25 times a day, per email address.

Home Runs Propel Phillies To Win

Three solo home runs were the difference in a 5-3 win over the Braves.  Placido Polanco, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino all went long in the game.  Werth had two RBI on the day and Raul Ibanez collected one as well.  Here are a few game highlights:


b game shots.jpgAnd my favorite shot of the day came from Ibanez, who broke his bat:


P5090667u.jpgCole Hamels
started the game and look great through 3 innings.  In the 4th, the bottom began to fall out as he walked the first two batters.  After escaping that near-disaster unharmed, Hamels came back out in the 5th and started again with a walk.  Four singles in a row followed to give the Braves 3 runs.  Hamels worked out of the inning again, but the 5th would be his last inning.

There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to the sudden change in Hamels’ performance.  He simply lost his command and forgot where the strike zone was.  Luckily, the bullpen bailed him out.  Chad Durbin pitched 2 innings and Jose Contreras took the 8th.  Both did an amazing job as their families looked on.  Before the game, both players greeted their moms and wives on the field for Mother’s Day; even the Phanatic brought his mom to the game:


a moms day.jpgBrad Lidge
earned his first save of the year when he retired the final 3 Braves batters.  The first two batters hit long fly balls that barely stayed in the park, but they turned into outs.  And we cannot expect zero drama from Lidge, can we?  A win is a win; we’ll take it.


P5090888as.jpgAlso in honor of Mother’s Day on this day, most of the players used pink bats and wore other pink accessories to mark the occasion and show their support for Breast Cancer research.  Chase Utley went all out…look at the photo.  He used the pink bat, wore pink batting gloves, 2 pink necklaces, a pink wristband and a pink ribbon pin.  Who says real men don’t wear pink?  Not I.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

In injury news, back-up catcher Brian Schneider has been placed on the DL with a left achilles strain.  Paul Hoover, who spent a short time with the team last year, has been recalled from AAA and will take Schneider’s place.

So the Phillies closed out this home stand with a series win and will be off to Colorado to face the Rockies on Monday night.  Kyle Kendrick will pitch and the game begins at 8:40pm.

Also, be sure to check out my interviews with Dallas Green, Gary “Sarge” Matthews and Virginia Ventura Marina of the former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League if you missed it yesterday.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

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

 

A Wild Win In The West

The Phillies started tonight’s game with the hope of winning and avoiding a 3-game sweep at the hands of the Giants.  More than once, it looked like the Phils were going down in flames.  And more than once, it looked like they might pull it out.  It is hard to believe how it all went down:  

The game stayed very close until the 6th inning when pitcher Cole Hamels fell apart.  Having pitched very well through 5 innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing just 1 run, seeing him self-destruct in the 6th was hugely disappointing.

Hamels had the bases loaded and 2 outs and walked a run home.  Any good pitcher in this situation, 2-outs, bases loaded and a full count, has to be able to throw a strike.  The walk gave the Giants 2-1 lead and all the momentum.  The next batter whacked a single to right, which scored 2 more runs and nearly sentenced the Phillies to a 3-game sweep.


Game 3 Aug 1 (28)a.jpgBecause the Phillies offense has been completely non-existent recently, you had to figure there was no way they could climb out of the 1-4 hole against back-to-back Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum.  In fact, if you skipped the next 2 innings, you did not miss anything.  Well, except maybe some additional humiliation imparted upon the Phils by Lincecum.

Ryan Howard hit him hard twice, once for a homer and once for a double. The only other hit for the Phillies off Lincecum was a blooper into right from Placido Polanco.  Do not even worry about men left on base for this one through 8 innings; they didn’t have anyone on base to leave there.

But after Lincecum walked a batter with 1 out in the 9th, the Giants put in their closer, Brian Wilson. 
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This move helped out Chase Utley as he knocked a single for the 1,000 hit of his career.  Congrats to Chase! 

But Utley was not the only one to benefit from this bonehead move.  The Phillies loaded the bases with 2 outs and Wilson on the mound.  Jayson Werth stepped to the plate and smashed a 3-run double to right to tie the game up at 4-4!  Giants fans got real quiet, real fast.

But hey, no worries for the Giants, right?  Because the Phillies went ahead and countered that bonehead move with one of their own.  That’s right, we’ll see your Brian Wilson and raise you Ryan Madson.  In save situations, Madson has not been good…at all.  Despite that fact, Madson pitched the 10th inning after the Phillies had finally taken the lead by a score of 5-4 on a wild pitch.  And what does Madson do?  Well, I figure maybe he felt bad for Wilson blowing the save for the Giants so he went ahead and blew the save for the Phillies.  Nice of him to share the humiliation.

So it was on to the 11th inning with a 5-5 tie.  Raul Ibanez started the inning off with a single and moved up to 2nd on a sac bunt.  Our back-up, back-up short stop, Wilson Valdez, doubled to score him on a ball that bounced off the outfield wall just over the head of left fielder Eugenio Velez.  And the adventure for Velez did not end there.  Shane Victorino hit a routine fly ball to him, but Velez one-handed the catch and the ball bounced off his glove, allowing an insurance run to score for the Phils.  Can you say “embarrassing?”  Ouch.

Now the Phillies have a 7-5 lead and send sometimes bullpen guy, sometimes starter, Nelson Figueroa to the mound.  He can now add sometimes closer to his resume…although the save did not come easy.  Juan Uribe wound up with a single on a hit ball that ricocheted off Figueroa’s leg, allowing a runner to advance to 3rd.  That runner then scored when the next batter doubled.  The lead was down to one run with 1 out in the inning and runners on 2nd and 3rd.

Velez, still not done with his extra innings adventure, hit into a fielder’s choice which Ryan Howard fielded and threw home to get Uribe out at the plate.  Catcher Brian Schneider did an amazing job blocking the plate with his glove and Uribe basically tagged himself out.  The next batter grounded out to end the game and Figueroa picks up the first save of his career.  Unbelievable.

This win gave the Phillies 4 wins and 5 losses on this road trip; certainly not great, but it could have been worse.  The Phillies have the day off tomorrow to prepare for the 3-game home series against the Mets.  And now, I need a Valium…whew!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Meet The Newbie’s

So another Opening Day has passed and the Phillies are on their way to global dominance…or, something like it anyway ;o)  If you missed my photos from the event, check out the PHOTO ALBUM which includes Opening Day ceremonies, President Obama’s first pitch and game action.


1-warm ups (38).jpgAnd now it is time to start the season off right and introduce yourselves to the newest members of the 2010 Phillies.  The first one is easy…if you do not know who Roy Halladay is, you are clearly not a Phillies fan.  No worries though…only one game has passed; you have time to catch up .  Here is Mr. Halladay on the right with his very, very serious pre-game face on.  This former Cy Young winner goes by the nickname “Doc” and he is pretty amazing.  Enough said.

The few players you may not know well include pitchers Danys Baez, Jose Contreras and David Herndon; outfielder Ross Gload, infielder Juan Castro and catcher Brian Schneider, pictured here in that order from left to right, top to bottom:


newbies.jpgBoth Baez and Contreras are Cuban defectors; Baez is in his 9th major league season, pitched last for the Orioles and has a name that defies normal spelling rules.  Contreras, not as hard to spell, is in his 7th season and helped the Yankees coin the term “Evil Empire” when they signed him over the Red Sox back in 2002.  In other words, the Sox were pissed….end of story.

Herndon was in the Angels minor leagues last year and this will be his first shot at the bigs.  Ladies, he is single and plays the guitar…go get him!  I kid…

As for Gload, this is his 9th season in the majors and his 6th team.  He is a lifetime .283 hitter and should be a solid bench player for the Phillies.  Castro is another veteran going into his 16th season; he will be 38 in June and may start taking the same youth-inducing vitamins Jamie Moyer does ;o)  He is not a power hitter, but will be a good defensive back-up for the infield.  Schneider, formerly of the Mets and Nationals, is very familiar with the Phillies.  And as a former Phillies-killer, we are glad to have him on our side now.  His 11th season will be served as back-up to Carlos Ruiz.

And as a bonus, here are a few guys who are not really new, but you may not know them.  Pitchers Antonio Bastardo and Drew Carpenter are still rookies who spent a very short time with the Phillies last year.  They spent most of 2009 in the Phillies minors.

And then there is Placido Polanco, who returns to the Phillies after almost a 5 year absence; he was traded in 2005 to the Tigers.  But after his record-setting performance of 6 RBI in one game yesterday, the most by any Phillie on Opening Day, I am confident you now know who he is.  Welcome back, Polly!


AB DC PP.jpgLeft to right: Bastardo, Carpenter, Polanco   

Cole Hamels will take the mound against the Nationals in game 2 tomorrow at 7:05pm…Go Phillies!

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Moyer Plays Superman; Hamels Still Working On It

While nothing official has been announced yet, it looks like the 5th starters spot will go to Jamie Moyer.  Against the Yankees on Friday, Moyer solidified his bid for the job by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed only 1 hit. 
Moyer superman.jpg
His overall ERA for spring is now 2.61, if your count all the “B” games he pitched also.  Is it possible that this 47-year old man, coming off 3 surgeries in the off-season, is simply just indestructible?  Either he is taking Fountain of Youth pills or secretly, he is Superman with the red, white and blue uniform being perfect camouflage for his super hero suit.

So Kyle Kendrick will probably start the year in the bullpen and just wait around for someone to toss a huge ball of Kryptonite at Moyer.  Either way, Kendrick should be content just to make the team after a young but up and down career so far.

Leaving his super hero costume at home, Cole Hamels is still a work in progress.  He got beat up on Saturday against the Twins, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 1/3 innings.  While Hamels was pleased that he was able to reach the 90-pitch mark in a game, he still has some big control issues to work out.  After the game, Hamels told the press that he is “starting to really feel game-oriented.”  With only 8 days left until Opening Day, let us hope that his “game-oriented” compass is pointing towards the strike zone.

Another point of concern this spring is Raul Ibanez, who is barely swinging the bat with a paltry .098 average.  That is only 4 hits in 41 at bats.  Ibanez struggle the 2nd half of 2009 with a hernia that was operated on this off-season.  While he recovered well from the operation, he still has not looked at all like the “RAUUUUUL” of old.  To make matters worse, he got hit in the right elbow with a pitch on Friday.  It may not be a serious injury, but it may be enough that he does not get much more hitting practice before Opening Day.

When the Phillies signed Ibanez to replace Pat Burrell last year, many people, myself included, questioned why they signed a player who was 4-years older than Burrell to a 3-year contract.  Ibanez will turn 38 in June and it does appear that he is not wearing the same Superman cape that Jamie Moyer is using.  Moyer is a freak of nature.  Ibanez, however, appears to be a mere mortal.  While everyone was thrilled with his performance in the first half of 2009, things went downhill from there and show no signs of improving.  Cross your fingers; this could get interesting.

The good news is, if one of the outfielders should go down, John Mayberry Jr. is waiting in the wings.  Mayberry was sent to minor league camp today, but he had a great spring and would likely be first in line to be brought up if anything goes wrong.   Mayberry had 6 RBI, a homer, 3 doubles and hit for an average of .289 in camp.

Two more players were reassigned today also; catcher Dane Sardinha and infielder Ozzie Chavez.  This means the bench for the Phillies should consist of catcher Brian Schneider, infielders Juan Castro and Greg Dobbs and outfielder Ross Gload.  With the 12 pitchers and other regulars, that should complete the 25-man roster.

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Moyer head shot by Jenn

 

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

 

Catch & Toss

The Phillies found a back-up catcher today when they signed Brian Schneider to a $2.75 million, 2 year deal.  Schneider spent the last 2 years with the Mets and the previous 8 seasons with the Nationals/Expos.  The best news here is that Schneider was notorious for being a Phillie killer; pitching to him has been a 10 year nightmare.  Overall, Schneider is  a .251 hitter and should fit nicely into the back-up spot vacated by Paul Bako and Chris Coste before that.

And in a very odd twist to the situation, Coste has just been signed by the Mets!  P6216152 CCoste.jpgCoste started the 2009 season with the Phillies before being tossed and subsequently picked up off waivers by Houston in July.  The self-proclaimed 33-year old rookie is now in enemy threads which is sure to send shockwaves throughout Philadelphia.  Coste was well loved in Philly and many were unhappy with his departure.  Not to mention, many would rather see him retire than play in a Mets uniform.  It is a sad, sad day for Coste fans.  But look at the bright side; at least we will get to see him a lot next year :O)

As for the other holes in the line-up, like third base, no word yet except that midnight tonight is the deadline for all teams to offer salary arbitration to their free agents.  The Phillies are likely to offer arbitration to Chan Ho Park as they have stated they want him back next year.  Park may decline and decide to look around for a starting pitching spot as several teams have seemed interested in him.  If he accepts, he will be with the Phillies for 2010 and probably get a raise.  As for the other free agents, Bako and Eric Bruntlett are out of the picture with their replacements already signed in Brian Schneider and Juan CastroBrett Myers has already been shown the door, as has Jack TaschnerPedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Matt Stairs and Miguel Cairo are also unlikely, although Stairs and Cairo may be offered minor league deals. 

Ticket Prices

So, have we all looked at our season ticket invoices yet?  This is not a huge shock, but Phillies ticket prices went up again this year by $2- $4 per ticket.  Not only that, but some season ticket holders received worse seat assignments.  Someone I know got bumped backwards 2 rows in the same section.  So, we are now paying more for less?  While 2 rows is not earth shattering, traditionally, season ticket holders have been rewarded for their loyalty with better seats from year to year, not punished.

So yes, the World Series win in 2008 plus the return trip in 2009 do affect the prices, unfortunately.  But that does not make it any easier to swallow.  The money does not go towards improving the team or free agency; it is just more in the pockets of the owners.   And with the team winning now, they do it simply because they can.

Prices over the recent years have increased tremendously.  A seat that cost $42 in 2004 is now $58 for 2010.  The last year of the vet for the same seat was $26.   What I am wondering though is what happens when the team sucks again?  Do we become the Nationals with a stadium that is only 25% full?  I follow the team win or lose, but I will not pay those prices to see them lose when I can do that at home for free.  Then again, maybe they will never suck again…one can dream ;o)

So, did anyone else get there ticket invoice and wonder what happened?  Did you get the same seats or did you get bumped back?  What do you think about the prices?  Let me know in the comment section below.

Coste photo by Jenn

 

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

 

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