Results tagged ‘ Chad Durbin ’

Phillies Stumble Into All-Star Break With Little Hope to Save Their Season

The Phillies were swept by the Braves today in a depressing 4-3 loss.  There was not even a little comic relief, as in Saturday’s loss when Hunter Pence bowled over 3rd base coach Juan Samuel while rounding the bases towards home.  That bit had everyone except Samuel laughing to the point of tears.

The only laughs today came before the game started:

After that, absolutely nothing was funny.  Even the presentation of All-Star jersey’s to Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Papelbon and Cole Hamels was somehow lacking in enthusiasm.

And then fans learned that Shane Victorino was pulled from the line-up at the last moment, prompting rumors of a possible trade or injury.  But what actually happened, according to Charlie Manuel, was that Shane was feeling “down” and had “a lot on his mind…”  And so, Charlie took him out in favor of Jason Pridie.

That turned out to be the only good move of the day.  Pridie hit a 2-run homer and a double, which accounted for all 3 Phillies runs in the game.

Vance Worley battled through 6 innings, allowing 3 runs, which was a nice improvement over his last start where he have up 6 runs in 4 innings.  But despite the quality start, not much was going the way of the Phillies.

There were some nice defensive plays:

But the offense was lackluster, despite having both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the line-up.  The top 4 in the line-up went 1-for-16 collectively, although Jimmy Rollins did go 3-for-3 in pop-fly outs.  I am not sure that is a stat to be proud of, but at least he is consistent (note my sarcasm, in case you missed it).

Ultimately, Raul Valdes gave up a solo homer to who else, but Brian McCann, giving the Braves a 1-run lead that the Phillies failed to overcome.

So the Braves had a nice visit to Philly, complete with attempts to steal young Phillies fans.  Here is ex-Phil Chad Durbin and Dan Uggla before the game playing nice with one of the kids chosen for the traditional Sunday Starting 9:

Actually, it was very sweet.  But Durbin was always that kind of guy; his presence is still missed on this ballclub.

So the Phillies go into the All-Star break in the midst of a complete disaster.  They have won only 1 of their last 12 games and sit in dead last in the NL East, 14 games out of first.  Get ready fans; I am afraid change is coming, and not the good kind.

For a pleasant distraction, check out my Photo Album from the game; just pretend they win and the photos look even better!

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

More Off-Season Moves for the Phillies

Over the past several weeks, the Phillies have made a number of off-season moves.  Some of them make sense, some of them make a bit less sense.  The following is a breakdown of the various Phillies events, the reasoning behind it and my opinion as to the real reason for the move.

Event: The Phillies send Wilson Valdez to the Reds in exchange for a minor league pitcher.

Reason: One can only assume that the Phillies wanted to add pitching depth.

The Real Reason: Having a great back-up for Jimmy Rollins is unnecessary since J-Roll is superman and cannot possibly get injured again, right?  Also, Ryan Madson needed the company of an old teammate for his transition to the Reds.

Event: Brad Lidge, left unsigned by the Phillies, goes to the Nationals on a one-year, $1 million deal.

Reason: Lidge was told he was not in the Phillies’ future plans and that was the extent of the explanation he received.

The Real Reason: Lidge has lost the speed on his fastball and is almost guaranteed to get hurt multiple times based on his past track record.  Also, after the awful 2011 season Jayson Werth had with the Nationals, Lidge can now provide him with moral support.  The Phillies like to take care of their former players ;o)

Event: Hunter Pence received a $10.4 million, one-year deal for 2012.

Reason: To avoid arbitration.  Pence is the final arbitration-eligible player therefore, no hearings for the Phils this year.

The Real Reason: Had the Phillies allowed this to go to arbitration, they would have gotten spanked by Pence and probably would have been forced to pay him more.  But the real reason for the contract is simple; a happy Pence means more “Let’s Go Eat!” T-Shirt money for the Phils.

Event: The Phillies have torn out the grass on the field and are putting down brand new sod.

Reason: The Winter Classic torn up the field pretty bad.

The Real Reason: While the stated reason is valid, there is another underlying reason as well.  Having raised ticket prices yet again, the Phillies now have more money than God and they need to justify that by spending a boat load of cash.  Last year it was a new Phantavision screen; this year is a new field.  Maybe next year they can hire more employees so the concession lines will be less than an hour wait time?  Nah…dream on people.

Event: The Phillies sign former Padre, Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million contract.  Qualls is a 33-year old right-handed reliever who posted a 6-8 record with a 3.51 ERA in 2011.

Reason: Ruben Amaro Jr.’s favorite saying – Low-risk, high reward.  In other words, if he sucks, they did not pay much for him.

The Real Reason: Because we really miss Chad Durbin and this was the best right-handed Chad they could find.

Event: Pat Burrell has decided to retire.  Amaro is “considering” a 1-day contract so he can retire as a Phillie.

Reason: Burrell retired due to a nagging foot injury.  Amaro is “considering” the 1-day contract because Burrell deserves a proper send-off.

The Real Reason: The foot injury may have played a role, but really, no one was going to sign Burrell.  He has passed his expiration date.  And the only reason Amaro hesitates to make a decision here is because he is afraid that Burrell’s dog Elvis will pee on his brand new field.

Lidge To Start Year On DL; Should Fans Be Worried?

With pain in his right shoulder, closer Brad Lidge will start the 2011 season on the disabled list.  With Lidge’s long history of injuries, this new issue should be a huge red light to the Phillies that Lidge’s time is close to being over.


Thumbnail image for Lidge head.jpgLidge was especially concerned with this new injury saying, “I haven’t had shoulder problems in the past.”  Although, Lidge has had surgery on both knees multiple times, elbow surgery, an oblique strain, a strained intercostal muscle and bicep tendinitis, just to name a few.

Still, Lidge entered spring training boasting that he was healthy and felt great.  Exactly when that may have changed is hard to tell.  Lidge is an eternal optimist so what he says should maybe be taken with a grain of salt.

Here is a little help for those who cannot always decipher what Lidge is talking about.

The Brad Lidge Translator

Lidge Says:        I feel great.

Lidge Means:    The pain is unbearable!

 

Lidge Says:        I am not concerned.

Lidge Means:    I am totally freaking out here!

 

Lidge Says:        No need to panic.

Lidge Means:    Red alert, red alert…PANIC!!!

 

Lidge Says:        It is a setback.

Lidge Means:    This is the END of my career!

 

Lidge Says:        This is disappointing.

Lidge Means:    I am going to crawl into a hole with a vat of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and eat and cry until I vomit.

 

With Lidge out of the picture, closing duties will fall either to Ryan Madson or Jose Contreras.  While it is good to know the Phillies have options, this does create major issues in the bullpen.  The Phillies failed to re-sign Chad Durbin, which may come back to haunt them as they now have to rely on less experienced arms in the middle innings.

The Lidge injury is magnified when you think about the loss of Chase Utley, Domonic Brown and questions still lingering about Placido Polanco’s elbow.

So, should Phillies fans be worried?  The short answer is, not yet.

The team seems to have back-up for Utley.  Luis Castillo finally got a hit today and also walked twice while showing solid defense in the field.  Wilson Valdez continues to impress as well.

As for Brown, Ben Francisco is doing well in what may have been Brown’s spot in the outfield.  John Mayberry Jr. is also capable and the two may wind up rotating in right field.

Another good sign is that Polanco did play today in the 3-1 victory over the Braves.  Polly looked a bit tentative and was sore after the game, but he expects to play again on Sunday.  Or perhaps, much like Lidge, I am being a tad too optimistic about all this?  I hope not.

 

Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*

 

Phillies Beat Yankees In Spring Opener / Is Utley Healthy?

Baseball is finally back!  After an 8-0 win in an exhibition game against Florida State on Thursday, the Phillies took on the Yankees today in the first official spring training game.  Cole Hamels started in the 5-4 victory and went 2 innings allowing an unearned run.

Notably absent from the game were short stop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley.  Rollins was said to be a healthy scratch after missing a few days of camp for a Motown event at the White House.  The absences were excused.

The Motown Tribute was held for President Obama in celebration of Black History Month lead by musicians Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson.  And while that sounds like lots of fun, it also does not appear that Rollins was required to be there for any reason.

J-Roll is in the music business and has his own label, but his job right now is baseball.  Leaving his team for two days to schmooze with famous musicians seems irresponsible.  Outside interests should be left for the off-season.  Of course, that is just my humble opinion.

P8248964 Utley cr2As for Utley, rumors have been flying about his physical condition.  Mentions of “soreness” in his knees and legs are raising eyebrows.  Utley missed both the exhibition game and the first official game this week after “intense workouts” during the first week of camp.  He may not play tomorrow either.

Utley has been developing a pattern of injuries over the past several years which are becoming alarming.  Rumors of a hip injury followed him throughout the second half of 2008.  After winning the World Series, he did finally undergo surgery.

His health was questioned after that for much of the 2009 season, although he did not miss signifigant time.  In 2010, Utley sprained his thumb and was put on the DL in June.  The injury was more serious than initially disclosed and Utley had to undergo surgery on the thumb.  He missed 47 games that year.

Not only have the injuries become a pattern, but so has disguising them.  A war of words ensued in 2008 when then GM Pat Gillick slipped and told a reporter that Utley was experiencing hip problems.  Utley vehemently denied the statement, yet in the offseason, it became apparent that Gillick was telling the truth as Utley had hip surgery.

The thumb injury was underplayed as well in 2010.  Now, when rumors of Utley’s health arise, most are inclined to think there is truth to the rumor.  Then when Utley drops coy comments to reporters like, “If there’s cause for concern you’ll be the first to know,” it leads people to wonder if they should be worried.

Utley is not a big guy.  His weight has been generously listed as 190 pounds on his MLB bio page.  His smaller than average baseball player frame has led to questions about his endurance for years.  When the previous injuries and previous denials about injuries are all mixed in, it is a recipe for trouble.

The current issue may just be a simple matter of Utley being over-zealous and working himself too hard in camp.  But until he gets into a regular spring routine, the questions will linger.

In Other News

- It appears that the Phillies have lost out on relief pitcher Chad Durbin.  Offered a minor league deal, Durbin decided instead to sign with the Cleveland Indians on a one-year contract.  Durbin is a great guy and he will be missed.  I wish him all the best!

- Another relief pitcher, Danys Baez, was a huge disappointment last year.  But after signing a two-year deal, the Phillies are stuck with him and hope he can rebound.  However, in a B-game today, Baez allowed five hits, five runs and one walk in just two-thirds of an inning.  Not good.  Even sadder, the $2.75 million he will be paid this year could have been put to better use, like signing Durbin.

The Phillies next spring action is tomorrow and they will again face the Yankees, this time at home in Clearwater.  Game time is 1:00pm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Should The Phillies Trade Joe Blanton?

With the Fab Four of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels already locked up in their starting rotation, do the Phillies still need Joe Blanton?  The righty has two years left on his contract which will earn him a total of $17 million dollars.


P7260632 JoeBlanton.jpgIn his two and a half years with the Phillies, Blanton has a combined record of 25-14 with an average 4.36 ERA in 72 starts.  For a fifth starter in the rotation, these are pretty good numbers.

In comparison, Kyle Kendrick has a 25-20 record with a 4.55 ERA in 63 starts since the 2008 season.  The statistics are similar, but it should also be noted that Kendrick spent a good amount of time bouncing back and forth from the majors to the minors in 2009.  And last year, Blanton spent time on the disabled list.

Another alternative for the fifth starter position is rookie Vance Worley.  In two starts with the Phillies in 2010, Worley pitched 13 innings and recorded a 1.38 ERA.  Between AA and AAA last year, Worley recorded a combined 10-7 record with a 3.36 ERA over 27 starts.  But Worley is still a big unknown.  He is young and lacks experience.

With these options, it seems that either Blanton or Kendrick would be the best fit for the role.  If the Phillies are concerned with payroll, trading Blanton may be a good idea as Kendrick is still under team control.

When asked if payroll would move him to trade Blanton, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the media, “I really don’t have to do anything.”  A lower payroll would help if Amaro has other future moves in mind, however, it does not appear to be necessary right now.

If money is not a true motivator at this times, the Phillies may be better served to keep Blanton.  Having both Blanton and Kendrick provides tremendous pitching depth.  In the event that one of the Fab Four gets injured, the decision to then move Kendrick into the rotation to fill the hole should be a no-brainer.

Blanton also has experience in eight different playoff series, including two World Series.  Kendrick pitched less than four innings in the 2007 NLDS and has not seen any playoff action since that time.

And if the Phillies start the year off with Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels and Blanton, then Kendrick can fill a hole in the bullpen as a long reliever.  With Chad Durbin still unsigned, there may be a greater need for a long man.

It appears that keeping Blanton is probably a good idea.  Of course, if another team makes a good offer, the Phillies still have other options for the fifth spot in the rotation.  But until the season actually begins, anything can happen.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

2010 Phillies Photo Tribute

I normally do not have this video done before Christmas, but it is amazing how much extra time that the lack of a World Series provides ;o)  For those who have missed it previous years, at the end of every season, I pick out my favorite Phillies photos from that year and put them into a video slideshow.  These photos were all taken by me and my giant zoom lens, from the stands, at both home and away games throughout the season.

In the 2010 season, I attended 27 games and 7 Phillies-related special events, like the Phestival and the Phillies Cruise.  Yes, it was down year for me due to a lack of funds ;o)   Going through the digital files on my computer, I calculate that I shot more than 18,000 photos at Phillies games this year.  If you add in the special events, the total is over 25,000.  Of those, I picked out and published around 5,000.  The slideshow contains the best of the game shots for a total of 257 photos. 

I am eternally grateful for the invention of the digital camera.  Remember the days when we had to use film?  That was one expensive habit.  Well, here it is…enjoy!

 

 

Thank you for stopping by!

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

NLDS Roster Announced


6a00e5513d181b8834013487fe1fcf970c-350wi.pngThe Phillies announced today who will be on the 25-man roster for the NLDS and there are really no surprises.  Those notable players who did not make it include Kyle Kendrick, Danys Baez and David Herndon.  Here is the breakdown:

Pitchers

Roy Halladay

Roy Oswalt

Cole Hamels

Joe Blanton

Brad Lidge

Ryan Madson

Jose Contreras

 J.C. Romero

Chad Durbin

Antonio Bastardo

 

Catchers

Carlos Ruiz

Brian Schneider

 

Infielders                            Outfielders

Ryan Howard

Jayson Werth

Chase Utley

Shane Victorino

Jimmy Rollins

Raul Ibanez

Placido Polanco

Ben Francisco

Wilson Valdez

Ross Gload

Mike Sweeney

Domonic Brown

Greg Dobbs

 

 

Going with 10 pitchers instead of 11 allows the Phillies to add more fire power to the bench.  They expect the 3 starters to go deep into games so extra long men in the pen will likely not be necessary.  Blanton will fill the role if needed.

As for Ruiz and Romero, manager Charlie Manuel says both players are fine and ready to play after suffering minor injuries on Sunday.

If you are going to the game tomorrow, here is the information about pre-game festivities and other highlights:

2:00 p.m. – Phillies Postseason Party begins on Citizens Bank Way. Features music by Mr. Greengenes; Highlights include an inflatable obstacle course for children, face painters, an extreme rock wall climb and a Velcro race.

2:35 p.m.
Ashburn Alley opens.

3:05 p.m.
All gates open. Rally towels for all fans, compliments of StubHub.

3:30 p.m. – Phillies Postseason Rally on Citizens Bank Way! Special guests include former Phillies Scott Eyre and Greg “The Bull” Luzinski, Comcast SportsNet analyst Ricky Bottalico, the Phillie Phanatic and Phillies Ballgirls. Music provided by Mr. Greengenes; Scott Palmer, Phillies Director of Public Affairs, will emcee.

4:40 p.m. – On-field pre-game ceremony begins.

4:44 p.m. – Introduction of Cincinnati Reds.

4:48 p.m. – Introduction of Philadelphia Phillies.

4:54 p.m.  - National Anthem: Sung by country singer Catherine Raney, niece of Tim McGraw, who will be representing the Tug McGraw Foundation.

4:56 p.m.  - Color Guard introduced.

4:58 p.m. – Ceremonial First Pitch: Phillies alumnus Scott Eyre.

5:07 p.m.  - Play ball! Phillies vs. Reds game begins.

5th Inning – “Lady PhaPha” makes her postseason debut.

7th Inning – God Bless America: Sung by national recording artist Lauren Hart, a Philadelphia native whose songs have been heard on television series and soap operas.

See you there!

Phillies Smack Braves Around Some More

After sweeping the Braves in 3-games just over a week ago, the Phillies added insult to injury tonight by smacking the Braves around some more.  The Braves and Padres are battling for the NL Wild Card spot and the Padres were trailing by 2 games before the game today.  If the Phillies win one or both of the final 2 regular season games against the Braves, it will have major implications in the Wild Card race.


Atlanta voodoo cr - Copy.jpgJust because they have won the NL East does not mean the Phils will let up on the Braves.  Because several players are competing for either a spot on the postseason roster or possibly a spot with the team next year.  Kyle Kendrick is one of those players.  After a very inconsistent season, Kendrick needed to have a good outing tonight.  He did a pretty good job, allowing 2 runs over 5 innings, although he walked 3 batters, including the opposing pitcher.

The Phillies scored 5 runs in the 6th with a Jimmy Rollins grand slam and Domonic Brown walked to force a run in.  The big lead took Kendrick out of the game and gave a few more pitchers an opportunity to show off their skills…or lack thereof.  Four pitchers, Antonio Bastardo, JC Romero, Chad Durbin and Jose Contreras, all pitched well. 

Mike Zagurski, on the other hand, probably ended his career prospects tonight after giving up 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning in the 9th.  The 11-2 lead he started with was cut down to 11-5.  Zagurski pitched well in AAA but in his 7 appearances with the big club this year, he has allowed 8 runs in 6 2/3 innings for a 10.80 ERA.  David Herndon had to come in to get the final out…after walking one batter, just so Zagurski did not feel too bad ;o)

Tomorrow will be no easier for the Braves.  Rookie Vance Worley will get the start and he will be anxious to prove he can pitch in the big leagues.  His future with the club can be given a huge boost with a solid performance tomorrow.  Game time is 4:10pm.

By the way, the Phillies starting pitchers 70-50 record is the best for the team since 1980…the same year they won their first World Series Championship.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

A Let Down Loss After 11 Straight Wins

Needing only two wins and/or Braves losses to clinch the NL East, the Phillies came out a bit sluggish in tonight’s game against the Mets.  Ryan Howard smashed a 2-run homer in the 1st after a Chase Utley single, but after that, not much happened for the offense.

And while Kyle Kendrick did a good job through 6 scoreless innings, he was left in the game too long.  The hits started coming for the Mets as Kendrick got tired in the 7th.  A mix-up between Utley and Wilson Valdez on a possible double play cost them an out.  Then an error by Howard at first loaded the bases with one out.  The next batter singled home a run and Kendrick was finally pulled.

Chad Durbin was put in with the bases still loaded in relief of Kendrick.  As soon as I saw who was coming in, I knew exactly what would happen next…some sort of bases clearing hit. 
Thumbnail image for P8248770 Durbin.jpg
How did I know this?  The same way the Phillies coaching staff should have known this; Durbin does it all the time with inherited runners.  Take a look at the stats for Durbin coming into tonight’s game:

Situation

ERA

Bases empty

2.20

Runners on base

5.15

RISP

7.17

RISP w/2 outs

13.50

 

Notice a trend here?  The tighter the situation, the more runs Durbin allows.  And I knew that before looking up the stats.  Dear Phillies, please STOP putting Durbin in with runners on base!  I still love ya, Chad, but clearly, this is not your forte.

So 3 earned runs plus one unearned were charged to Kendrick and Durbin picked up one earned for himself.  The offense did not bother to pick up their teammates today and they lost by a score of 5-2. 

A win would have ensured a playoff spot.  Of course, they can still take care of that tomorrow.  What will not be as easy now is clinching the division at home.  Tomorrow is the last home game for the Phillies and they will need a win plus a Braves loss to clinch.  It could happen.  But it is a lot less likely now that they lost tonight.

I will be at the game tomorrow with all my fingers and toes crossed for an NL East celebration.  Either way, I will be back with photos.  Game time is 1:35pm and Cole Hamels will pitch.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Hamels Pitches Phillies To A Close Win

How do the Phillies score 11 runs on a Monday and then look like they have never lifted a bat on a Tuesday?  The short answer is, that’s baseball.  However, the Phillies hitters have gone through very odd stretches of offensive offense this year.  For example, when they go 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position like tonight, it is a real head scratcher.

More difficult to bear than the lack of production was watching Cole Hamels pitch another gem while wondering why this team cannot squeeze out some runs for him.  Hamels was not incredibly sharp tonight, but he was still very effective.  In 6 2/3 innings, Hamels allowed only one run while striking out 13 Marlins batters.

P6216377 Hamels2.jpg

The two runs managed by the offense came from a Placido Polanco double in the first and a Jayson Werth ground out in the 5th that scored Shane Victorino.  Overall, the Phillies had only 5 hits, left 12 men on base and grounded into double plays twice.  Wilson Valdez hit in double play #19 on the year which, for under 300 at-bats, has to be some sort of record.  Of course, Valdez has done an admirable job filling in for Jimmy Rollins this year and had one of the 5 hits tonight.

So with the offense stuttering, the Phillies bullpen would have to hold down a very slim 2-1 lead.  Chad Durbin closed out the 7th and Ryan Madson handled the 8th, despite putting 2 runners on base.  But all the bullpen drama this year is taking its toll on my health.  Let me paint a picture for you with a quick quiz:

“Watching the Phillies bullpen pitch in a close, 1-run game makes me want to…”

A – Vomit

B – Consult a psychiatrist to determine why the bullpen is making me insane.

C – Crawl in a dark hole and bang my head against the wall until I pass out.

D – All of the above

If you guessed D, you are either a genius or a Phillies fan….or, perhaps both. ;o)

On that note, we move on to the 9th inning; it was Brad Lidge time.  After swallowing a bottle of Tums and debating how many glasses of wine would make this inning easier for me to get through, I finally glued myself to the couch and prepared for the inevitable roller coaster ride.

And yet, the ride was more of a carousel than a roller coaster.  Lidge plowed through the Fish, earning the save and give the Phillies the 2-1 win.  Also, the Braves lost tonight which means the Phils are 2 games ahead of the Braves!

Roy Halladay will go for the sweep tomorrow night…game time is 7:10pm!

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

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