Results tagged ‘ JA Happ ’

Kendrick Redeems Himself But The Bullpen Blows It


Tonight’s outing was a do or die situation for Kyle Kendrick.  His first two starts of the year were disasters and rumors began to circle about sending him back to the minors.  Thumbnail image for K Kendrick.jpgLucky for Kendrick, he put together a great start against the division rival Braves; not so lucky is that the bullpen had to get involved and blow the game.

Kendrick’s outing is the only good news from the evening.  With JA Happ suffering from a flexor pronator muscle strain and missing his next start, the rotation has a few big question marks looming.  Joe Blanton is rehabbing and should be back soon, but if Happ goes on the DL, this team will need Kendrick to pitch up to his potential.

He did just that tonight; Kendrick cruised through 8 innings, allowing only 4 hits and escaping a bases loaded jam in the 4th by inducing a ground ball double play.  Those 8 innings matched his career high.  Kendrick looks more confident and comfortable on the mound; this gives everyone reason to hope that the struggles are behind him.

And while the Phillies offense took the weekend off, scoring only 1 run in two games, they began to creep back to life tonight.  The Braves ace, Tommy Hanson, lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 runs.  Chase Utley led the offense with 2 hits and 2 RBI and every starting position player had at least one hit except for Carlos Ruiz.

Most encouraging was watching the Phils hitters be patient at the plate, which allowed them to work Hanson and get him out of the game early.  The 3 runs they scored through 7 innings were all pieced together with base hits and a few doubles, which is another sign that this normally power-hitting offense is really gelling together.  But sadly, this is the end of the good news…

So while Kendrick should have had his first win of the year, leave it Ryan Madson to ruin his night.  Madson came in for the 9th to save the game and blew it instead.  With 2 outs, Madson walked a batter and then gave up a home run to make the score 3-2.  The Braves rookie sensation, Jason Heyward, stepped to the plate and Madson tossed him a cookie, which he sent flying over the right field wall to tie the game at 3-3.  Start praying that Brad Lidge comes back soon and is in good shape….ugh.

Jose Contreras was sent in for the 10th and proceeded to give up a walk-off home run to the first batter, handing the game over to the Braves.  This was a disgusting loss for the Phillies.  It gives credence to all the worries about the weak Phillies bullpen.  There is no longer a question about whether we should be concerned about the bullpen.  The only question left is what are the Phillies going to do about it?

The Phillies have 2 more games in Atlanta as part of this 9-game road trip.  Roy Halladay will start tomorrow night and try to go 4-0 in April.  Game time is 7:10pm. Let’s pray no bullpen is needed.

 

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Hamels Shines; Loses Game Anyway

On behalf of Cole Hamels, can I get a collective “Arrgghhhh!” please?  Thank you.  This poor guy pitched like a real ace today against the Marlins and has nothing to show for it.  His first two outings this year stunk, but the offense scored 8 and 7 runs for him, respectively.  Today, Hamels allowed just 2 runs over 8 innings, striking out 8 batters and did not issue any walks.  And this game, he loses by a score of 0-2.  Ugh.


P4189587.jpgThere were a few moments in the game where it looked like Hamels may revert to his 2009 ways and lose his cool.  The home run to Dan Uggla in the 2nd inning was one, but he just kept on pitching as if it did not happen.  The second instance was huge; with no outs in the 3rd, the inning began with a double to centerfield from the Marlins pitcher.  Allowing hits to the opposing pitcher, especially extra base hits, is usually the one thing you can count on to mess with a pitchers head.  But instead, Hamels struck out the next 2 batters and got the 3rd on a ground ball.  Bravo, Cole!  This is the guy we had all been missing.

But even after the huge effort put forth by Hamels, the offense came up with a great big ZERO.  The Phillies had opportunities, including 3 walks in the 2nd inning to Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco and Carlos Ruiz, but they still failed to score.  Incidentally, those same 3 players accounted for 3 of the 4 Phillies hits tonight.  The 4th was Placido Polanco.  So while Charlie Manuel apparently took my hint yesterday about player Francisco in place of Raul Ibanez, Francisco’s walk and double were wasted by those who batted after him.

Here are a few photos from the game:


041810b.jpgIn that same 2nd inning, Werth could have scored on the fly out by Juan Castro but did not.  He tagged up and started to run from third base, but for some reason he stopped and went back.  With Werth’s speed, he had a chance to make it.  Plus, there were 2 outs in the inning and the pitcher, Hamels, was due up next.  It was worth the risk.  And as luck would have it, the throw home sailed past the catcher, meaning Werth would have scored easily.  Another wasted opportunity.

For their final chance in the 9th, three pinch hitters were sent in; Ross Gload, Ibanez and Greg Dobbs all went down without a fight, faster than fans could run to the parking lot.  And there you have it; the Phillies first shut-out of the year and first lost series of the year.  They are now only ½ game in front of the Marlins for first place.

The Phillies have the day off tomorrow to collect themselves, but more bad news may be on the horizon.  JA Happ is suffering from a sore forearm and his scheduled Wednesday start is uncertain as a result.  They are already missing Joe Blanton from the rotation; if Happ is forced to the DL as well, the Phillies may be in big trouble.  Nelson Figueroa can probably fill in as a starter, but the pitching is starting to look awfully thin.  Please think Happ-Y thoughts this week and perhaps we can all will him to health :O)  It is worth a shot…

So, here is the full Photo Album from today’s game, which includes the always entertaining Phanatic Birthday celebration.  Check out the stuffed Clam, Clammy Sosa, eating and then spitting out an umpire…classic.

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Offense Stalls In Phillies Loss

Before the game tonight, 3 Phillies players received their Gold Glove awards for 2009; Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco.  Polly’s award was from his time at 2nd base with the Tigers.  The transition to third this year with the Phillies has been no problem, especially where his bat is concerned.  Polanco was hitting at an average of .444 coming into tonight’s game; he was also leading the entire league in hits with 20 and tied for 1st in runs with Chase Utley and the Dodgers Matt Kemp.

JA Happ was also honored tonight; as a rookie in 2009, he came in 2nd place for the Rookie of the Year voting.  But he did receive the rookie award that is voted on by the players, The Players Choice Award for the 2009 National League Outstanding Rookie. 


P4137079 JMoyer.jpgFellow starting pitcher, Jamie Moyer, started tonight’s game against the Marlins and got off to a very bad start.  He allowed 5 runs in the first inning, including a Ronny Paulino 3-run bomb.  Paulino was down in the count 1-2 and nailed the cutter that Moyer threw, which was right in his happy hitting place, down and in.

To his credit, Moyer did settle into the game and went 5 more innings without allowing a run, but the damage had been done.  The Phillies are having a lot of issues with their pitching right now as both Moyer and Kyle Kendrick have gotten beaten up in their first 2 starts of the year.  Add to that the bullpen disasters of the last few games and things are getting scary.

On the hitting side, the Phils offense had been unstoppable until tonight.  They had only 5 hits and scored just one run.  Ryan Howard had a big opportunity to bail them out in the 6th inning with 2 outs and the bases loaded, but he grounded out to end the inning. 


Bats on fire.jpgRaul Ibanez
is a real issue too; he is hitting a pathetic .179 right now.  Not only is he not hitting, he is causing damage by doing things like hitting into double plays at crucial moments to kill the offensive momentum.  Raul had better try something soon; maybe make a sacrifice to the Gods by burning these obviously cursed bats?  Frankly, I do not care how he finds his Mojo again, as long as he does find it.  And until the curse if lifted, maybe Charlie Manuel should put in Ben Francisco for a while?  Just a thought…

Jayson Werth helped the Phillies avoid the shut-out by hitting a homer in the 9th, his first of the year.  But Ricky Nolasco did pitch a complete game for the Fish and did the job well.  The Phillies lost by a score of 1-5.

The Phillies can still win the series if Cole Hamels keeps his head on straight tomorrow; oh, and finding the strike zone might be good too ;o)  Game time is 1:35pm; if you are going, bundle up, it might be chilly.  I’ll be the one on the first base side wearing 6 layers and shivering like it is January….I hate cold.  So, if I do not turn into an ice cube, I should be back with photo.

 

Moyer photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Phils Bullpen Blows Their First Game Of The Year


NLC ring.jpgThe afternoon started out sunny, with the Phillies receiving their National League Championship rings before the game against the Nationals.  While it was a tad anticlimactic when compared to last year’s World Series ring unveiling, it was still a nice celebration of a very good 2009 season.  The ring is made of 14 carat white gold with rubies and diamonds, showing the NL trophy on one side and 2008, 2009 pennant flags on the other side.  A baseball diamond on front has the Phillies script logo across it.  Charlie Manuel’s ring is seen here to the right.

Today’s game was started by JA Happ who still seems to be struggling with his pitch location, although he only allowed 1 unearned run over 5 1/3 innings.  But his pitch count was mounting as he had issues throwing strikes and fell behind a lot of batters.  He should be going deeper into games; expect this to improve over his next few starts.  In all, he got the job done by keeping runs off the board.

The Nationals pitching staff kept the red hot Phillies offense at bay for most of the game. 
Castro.jpg
They did manage to score 3 runs in the 6th inning thanks to a Juan Castro 2-out, 2-run single.  Castro had 3 hits on the day and is doing an admirable job filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins.  Greg Dobbs drew a bases loaded walk later that same inning.  And earlier, Chase Utley hit a solo home run in the first inning; it was his 3rd homer in 2 games. 

So with a decent 4-1 lead going into the 7th inning, the Phillies would have to rely on the bullpen.  This was their first real test of the year with a small lead and sadly, they failed.  Antonio Bastardo gave up 1 run in the 7th, but the real damage came in the 8th with Danys Baez on the mound. 

Baez gave up a solo homer to Adam Dunn on one pitch to start the inning, which was not a good omen.  He got one out, but then walked a batter and allowed a 2-run homer from pinch hitter Ryan Zimmerman.  Those 3 runs put the Phils in a 4-5 hole.  Ryan Madson tried to hold the Nats to just the one run lead in the 9th, but he too faltered, giving up 2 more runs.

Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the 9th with a solo homer, giving the Phils hope.  Placido Polanco then got his 2nd hit of the game to give them a base runner.  But Chase Utley struck out and then Ryan Howard flied out.  Jayson Werth was their last chance and he flew out to center, sending the crowd home very unhappy with a 5-7 loss.

All of the recent wins and big numbers being put up by this Phillies offense have spoiled us a bit so this loss is tough to swallow.  I am feeling a bit annoyed about it, frankly; this is the second time the Phillies have lost a game to the Nationals that they should have won.  And this is also very bad news for the bullpen; if they cannot hold a lead against the lowly Nats, how will they perform against a real team?  Ugh.

But tomorrow is a new day… (she said with a tinge of sarcasm ;o)… and Roy Halladay will make his Philly debut against the Florida Marlins.  Game time is 7:05pm.

 

Castro photo by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Kendrick Bombs; Offense Pulls Out The Win

The second game in the series against the Nationals tonight did not start out well.  It was Kyle Kendrick’s second start this year; both starts have been against these Nats.  In his first start, he got beat up pretty good.  Tonight, the Nats completely destroyed him.

Kendrick gave up 3 runs right away in the 1st inning but in the bottom of that same inning, the Phillies bats bailed him out with 4 runs to take the lead.  So what does Kendrick do in the 2nd inning?  He gave up 3 more runs and handed the lead right back.  Kendrick was pulled after only 1 2/3 innings and his ERA soared to a shocking 17.47. 

kyle on fire.jpgThe most disturbing part of Kendrick’s start to the season is that both outings were against the Nationals, probably the worst team in the league.  So I have to ask, where is the Kendrick from February and March who gave up only 2 runs in all of spring training?  You may have an easier time finding that pesky Waldo then finding the Kendrick of spring.  Oh wait, I see him…he is being charcoaled on the grill…

But the Nationals could not keep this team down; the Phils took that 2nd inning lead right back from the Nats in their half of the inning, scoring 3 more runs to make it a 7-6 game.  Nelson Figueroa did a great job filling in as the long man, allowing just 1 run in his 3 1/3 innings.  The Phillies bats scored a bunch more runs for him too, lining Figueroa up to be the winning pitcher.  Figueroa went 2 for 2 at the plate as well, with a single and a double.  Chad Durbin pitched 2 scoreless innings after that and Antonio Bastardo took over in the 8th.  David Herndon finished off the 9th; in all, the pen allowed just the one run.

A few of the offensive highlight tonight included 4 hits and 5 RBI from Shane Victorino, who had been struggling at the plate until tonight.  His 7th inning bases clearing, 3-run triple was just what everyone had been waiting to see.  Victorino is batting lead-off now that Jimmy Rollins is on the DL with a calf strain.  J-Roll’s recovery time may be anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

While J-Roll will be sorely missed, the offense did not skip a beat without him tonight.  Wilson Valdez was called up to fill the bench spot.   Juan Castro should do a fine job filling in at shortstop in the meantime, even if his bat is not very impressive; he went 0-4 tonight at the plate.

But the rest of the team is hitting, so all is well.  Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard had 2 hits each and Chase Utley hit 2 home runs in the game; one was a 3-run homer in the 2nd to give the lead back to the Phils and the other was a solo shot into the second deck of right field.  Utley looked more like he was wielding a sledgehammer than a bat.

Utley hammer copy.jpg
So the Phillies walk away with a 14-7 win and still have only had one game this year where they scored fewer than 5 runs in a game.  Tomorrow at 3:05pm, JA Happ will start.  Roy Halladay’s first home start has been moved up to Friday to keep him on his normal rest schedule after Tuesday’s day off.  Jamie Moyer will pitch on Saturday.

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Phillies Shut-Out The Astros

The first four games of 2010 have been very good for the Phillies bats.  As a team, the have at least 10 hits in each game so far which is the first time that has been done by a Phillies team since 1926.  The top 5 batters in the order are on fire, especially Placido Polanco who had 4 hits tonight, 2 RBI and is batting .579 in 4 games.  Those 4 hits helped the Phillies to an 8-0 shut-out win over the Astros.


Thumbnail image for P8248836 Rollins.jpgJimmy Rollins
is also off to a fast start with 7 hits in the first 4 games, batting .467.  Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are not far behind, batting .438 and .400, respectively.  On Wednesday, Howard moved into 5th place on the Phillies all-time home run leaders list, passing Greg Luzinski.  In today’s game, he racked up 2 hits and an RBI.

Raul Ibanez has struggled, but looks to be coming out of the funk with 3 hits and 3 RBI today.  Shane Victorino, on the other hand, hit several balls really well but still came up empty; he even hit into a double play.  Victorino is batting .111 so far this season.

JA Happ got his first start of the year today and pitched 5 scoreless innings.  He had a lot of base runners, so his pitch count kept rising; as a result, he only made it to the start of the 6th inning.  The thing that stands out about Happ though is that he never gets rattled.  In the 3rd, he had 2 runners on with no outs and still managed to pitch his way out of the jam unscathed.  Happ continues to impress.

David Herndon made his mark today as well, pitching 2 innings in relief of Happ without allowing a run.  Today was his 3rd appearance with the Phils and so far, the rookie has yet to give up a run.  If he keeps this up, the Phils are going to have some tough decisions to make when Brad Lidge and JC Romero return from the DL.


DSCF5052 wheels.jpgSo things are feeling pretty loose around the Phillies this week; even the broadcasters are keeping the mood light.  Gary Matthews and Tom McCarthy presented fellow broadcaster Chris Wheeler with a birthday cake and presents today during the game, even though it is not really his birthday.  Wheels got his own birthday wrong in his new book, “A View From The Booth,” on the very first page of the book.  He wrote April 9th instead of August 9th.  Oops.  So, Happy Un-Birthday, Wheels!  Don’t feel bad…we are all entitled to typos once and a while ;o)

 

Game two in Houston tomorrow!  First pitch is at 7:05pm.

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

 

Spring Ends On A High Note

The Phillies prevailed over the Pirates today by a score of 4-3 in the final spring exhibition game.  This win brings their Spring Training record to 15 wins, 12 losses and 1 tie.  Spring numbers do not mean a whole lot, however, so we will all be very glad to see the real games begin on Monday.

JA Happ started the game today and pitched 3 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits.  In the second inning, Happ loaded the bases with no outs and still only managed to give up the one run, thanks in part to some nice defense.


P4036015.jpgOne thing that has stood out the past 3 springs is the effort this team puts forth, even in games that do not mean anything.  Phillies players give 100% effort even in Spring Training.  It is refreshing to see that they do not hold back and always play the game the right way.  Here are just a few of the highlights from today’s game:


040310.jpgIn addition to the field acrobatics, a few players stood out at the plate as well.  Jayson Werth hit a solo homer in the 4th inning and both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino had 2 hits and 1 RBI each.  Raul Ibanez had a rough Spring overall, but he did collect one more hit today to improve his average to .130.  The low average is due to his very slow start, but Ibanez looks more comfortable at the plate now and hopefully, he is ready to compete.

The roster is nearly set now; after the game, the following players were assigned to AAA – catcher Paul Hoover, infielders Cody Ransom and Wilson Valdez and outfielder Dewayne Wise.  That leaves Juan Castro, Ross Gload, Ben Francisco and Greg Dobbs as the bench players, as well as back-up catcher Brian Schneider.

Three pitchers were placed in the DL retroactive to March 26; Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge and JC Romero.  These are not surprises.  There are 11 pitchers left on the active roster after these moves, which leaves one spot open for a bullpen pitcher after losing Blanton and moving Kyle Kendrick to the starting rotation.  Who the #12 guy will be has not yet been announced, although it is expected to be right-hander Andrew Carpenter.

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.  I will also be at the Opener in DC on Monday and will bring back photos from that one as well.  President Obama will toss the first pitch…see you there!

if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(’23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13′);

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Age Battles Youth

After another solid start from pitcher Kyle Kendrick on Thursday against the Astros, the competition for the 5th starters spot is getting more interesting by the day.  Kendrick pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 2 walks.  His spring ERA stands at 1.37.

 


Moyer J.jpgJamie Moyer
has only pitched in one “A” game so far and a bunch of “B” games, but he will face the Yankees tonight in his final bid for the 5th spot.  Moyer’s one regular spring outing ended with a 1.80 ERA for 1 run over 5 innings of work.  Tonight’s game then will likely be the deciding factor.

 

If Moyer does well, it looks like the spot may be his.  However, if he gets beat up by the Yanks, he still may get the nod anyway.  Although Kendrick has more than earned the spot and personally, I feel it should be his, the Phillies will probably go with experience over youth.  Poor Kyle has all kinds of factors working against him; his youth, Moyer’s huge $8 million dollar salary and the fact that Moyer has never been a bullpen pitcher.

 

Moyer did work from the pen a little last year when Pedro Martinez arrived, but only for extended innings, like after rain delays.  So essentially, he was still being used more as a starter than a bullpen piece.  Manager Charlie Manuel seemed very hesitant to put Moyer in for only a few batters which tells you that they were not confident about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen.

 

My prediction is that the Phillies will go with Moyer and put Kendrick in the pen.  After Moyer has a few bad outings, they will probably switch, just like Chan Ho Park and JA Happ did last season.  Then again, as with most predictions, anything can happen.

 

Reunion

 

The Phillies were reunited yesterday with former teammate Brett Myers who was the starting pitcher for the Astros.  Myers made Philly his home for 11 years, with the same team who drafted him. 
myers phils.jpg
Seeing him another uniform was strange.  Then again, considering how many ex-Phillies are with the Astros, including Myers, Pedro Feliz, Jason Michaels, Michael Bourn, and Gary Majewski, maybe we should all be Astros fans too?  Or maybe not…

 

Myers left the game early with a strained left groin, but it appears to be minor.  Afterwards, Myers spoke about the Philly fans saying, “I felt appreciated when I came out of the game and they all stood up and clapped for me. That was very respectful. Philly fans get a bad rap, but they’re loyal to the guys that played there and have done things for the organization. I really appreciated that. That was classy.”  Myers will be missed by many Philly fans and we wish him well…unless he is playing against the Phillies, of course ;o)

if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(’7fe86967-c524-41c0-b03c-c9f9a2fbf72e’);

 

 

Photos by Jenn

 

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

 

Half Way Through Spring

Having gone past the half-way point of Spring Training, the paring down of the Phillies roster has begun.  The first fourteen cuts included pitchers Phillippe Aumont, Yohan Flande, Scott Mathieson, Drew Naylor, J.C. Ramirez, Jesus Sanchez, Joe Savery and Bill White; position players cut were catchers Tuffy Gosewisch, Kevin Nelson and John Sumoi; infielder Freddy Galvis; and outfielders Quintin Berry and Tyson Gillies.  You will notice that all three of the players involved in the Cliff Lee trade are on the list.

One of those players, Aumont, had a very rough start in camp in an exhibition game.  But after that, he made a solid 2 2/3 inning appearance where he did not allow a run.  J.C. Ramirez did not fare as well, appearing in two games and allowing 3 runs over 4 1/3 innings.  Both pitchers are still early in their development and we may not have a real sense of their worth for some time to come.


Thumbnail image for Gillies.jpgThe third player from the Lee trade is Tyson Gillies who showed some real potential.  He ended his trip to camp with a .286 average in 7 at-bats, including a home run, a double and 2 RBI.  Gillies told the press that camp was a huge learning experience for him and was especially grateful to manager Charlie Manuel for his words of advice; Gillies said, “Charlie told me the things I need to work on, slowing things down. Slower. Slower when I’m hitting. He wants me to be slow with the feet, and quick with the hands. Basically just stay back a little bit more. Keep my hands and everything back and try not to lunge at everything. Let the ball come to me.”

While it is endearing to hear those comments from a young player, it also leaves one to wonder what exactly the coaching staff in Seattle has been doing…or not doing.  Gillies has been in the minors since 2007 and no one ever told him not to lunge at the ball?  Or even how to properly approach an at-bat and hit the ball?  It is no wonder then why so many young players develop so many bad habits.  Seems that “coaching” may be a lost art…

Those players that remain in camp will slowly be whittled down to the final 25-man roster.  Starting pitchers, like JA Happ, will see a steady increase in innings.  Happ went 4 solid yesterday in a 5-4 win over the Twins.  He allowed just one hit and struck out 3.  Kyle Kendrick followed today with 4 solid innings of his own, allowing 2 hits.  Kendrick remains on the heels of Jamie Moyer in the competition for the 5th starters spot.

As for the hitters, here is a look at the batting averages for each player still in camp, with at least 5 at-bats:

W Valdez

.750

 

R Gload

.294

B Bocock

.455

 

J Castro

.273

C Utley

.438

 

R Howard

.250

P Polanco

.375

 

J Rollins

.250

D Wise

.375

 

B Francisco

.235

D Brown

.350

 

C Ransom

.200

O Chavez

.333

 

F Galvis

.182

G Dobbs

.333

 

J Werth

.136

B Schneider

.333

 

R Ibanez

.115

J Mayberry

.318

 

C Ruiz

.100 Bottom of Form

S Victorino

.313

 

 

 

 

Chase Utley and Placido Polanco lead the pack among the regular players.  And as expected, Polanco’s transition from 2nd to 3rd base has been very smooth.  He had one rough game right at the start for his only error of Spring, but has been great ever since.  Polanco has 17 assists and turned 5 double plays in 42 innings of work.

As for the still rehabbing players, Brad Lidge is doing well and will start a Double A Spring game on Thursday.  Manager Charlie Manuel announced that is Lidge is not ready in April, Ryan Madson will be given the closer duties.  JC Romero is also progressing, but will not be ready for Opening Day; he did throw some breaking balls today for the first time since his surgery and depending on how he feels over the next few days, he may get to throw to hitters this week.

 

if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(’23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13′);

Gillies photo – MLB.com

 

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

Highs and Lows of Spring

Here are some highlights from the last 2 Phillies Spring games:

3/7 vs. Tampa Bay; final score 5-3, Tampa:  JA Happ started the game and went 2 1/3 scoreless innings; he did walk 2 batters, but overall looked good.  But even better news was that newbie Phillipe Aumont recovered from his Phillies debut, which was a 5-run pounding in less than inning against Florida State.  Against the Rays, he went 2 2/3 scoreless innings with 1 walk and 2 hits.  Time for Aumont to exhale; he is back in top prospect form.

Joe Savery, on the hand, has a rough inning where he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits.  Savery is a former first round draft pick of the Phillies but sadly, The 6’3″ lefty has never looked comfortable on the mound.  He has a 4.14 ERA in 3 years of minor league play.

The polar opposite of Savery has been young outfield propect Domonic Brown; he continues to impress this Spring and went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI against the Rays.  He also threw a runner out at home, just for good measure.  New bench piece Ross Gload also went 3 for 5 in the game in the DH role.

3/8 vs. Yankees; final score 7-5, Yanks:  Kyle Kendrick is putting the pressure on Jamie Moyer in competition for the 5th starters spot.  Kendrick went 3 solid innings allowing just one hit and no runs.  But more than that, he looked comfortable and confident.  I suppose sporting that Roy Halladay look-alike beard has given him an ego boost ;o)


Kendrick Halladay.jpgAnd then in the opposite category, Jose Contreras looked horrible today.  He could not seem to throw a first pitch strike, worked behind almost every batter in the count and as a result, he allowed 6 runs on 3 walks and 6 hits over only 1 2/3 innings.  Luckily, the Phillies have very little invested in the righty so if he does not shape up, no big deal.  Then again, Contreras was supposed to be an upgrade over the departed Chan Ho Park; do I smell a huge disappointment on the horizon?  Hmmmm….

Incidentally, Contreras began his career with the Yankees and his signing in 2002 is what precipitated the Yankee nickname, “Evil Empire.”  It is said that the Red Sox were so intent on signing Contreras that they booked every hotel room in the area of Cuba where Contreras was to keep the Yanks away.  In the end, they still lost out to the Yankees and the Sox owner allegedly threw a chair through a window in anger.  This is just a rumor, of course :O)

As for the bat today, Ryan Howard finally got his first, and then second, hit of Spring against the Yankees.  Whew!  But the big blast of the day came off the bat of Jimmy Rollins.  Pitcher Javier Vazquez made his return to the Yankees today since departing in 2005 and his very first pitch was taken out of the park by Rollins.  1 pitch, 1 homer – nice. 

Rollins had 2 hits in the game as did Howard, Chase Utley and John Mayberry Jr., who knocked the second Phillies homer of the game in the 6th inning.  But while the bat were popping, the outing by Contreras put the Phils in a hole they could not climb out of.

Shane Victorino was still missing from the line-up, but it appears he may make his Spring debut tomorrow against the Braves at 7:05pm.  His sore shoulder has been an issue so far this Spring and the Phillies are playing it safe with him.  But hopefully the Flyin’ Hawaiian will take flight again tomorrow night.

And congratulations to reader “blueferret” who was the first person to find the mistake on the new Cliff Lee Topps trading card from Saturday’s blog.  Topps photoshopped an old Phillies card to change the Phillies uniform to a Mariners uniform but they forgot to remove the “HK” patch from the new Mariners version.  The “HK” patch was a Phillies-only items that the team wore in 2009 in honor of the late Harry Kalas.

if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(’23806c5d-27e5-4f04-a300-94a868417e13′);

 

Photos by ESPN.com

 

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

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 477 other followers