Results tagged ‘ Juan Castro ’
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.
There 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:
In 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
Phillies fans were singing in the rain tonight as Roy Halladay drown the Marlins. Sprinkles fell throughout most of the game, but had no effect on Halladay’s performance. He went through 8 innings, allowing just 2 runs and striking out 4 batters. Halladay’s home debut was exactly what fans had looked forward to seeing, minus the rain, of course.
The Phillies offense had another spectacular game as well, scoring 8 runs on 12 hits and 5 walks. Every position player except Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez collect at least 1 RBI and everyone, except Ibanez, had at least one hit in the game. Even Halladay knocked a single. The big fish of the day however, turned out to be Juan Castro; he had 2 hits for 3 RBI while filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins.
And of course, Chase Utley hit yet another home run, passing Albert Pujols for the most in the National League with 6. It was also Utley’s 4th game in a row with a homer. Clearly, Utley is in the zone, where we hope he will stay for a long time.
What looked like an easy win, turned into a near disaster in the 9th inning. With an 8-2 lead, rookie relief pitcher David Herndon allowed 4 runs on a bunch of ridiculously unlucky dribbling infield hits by the Marlins. Ryan Madson had to be brought in for the save. A huge sigh of relief overcame the fan as Madson got the last two outs and the Phils went home with an 8-6 win. Whew! Tomorrow, they will start Jamie Moyer, a notorious Fish killer, in the 7:05pm start.
Here is a quick injury update as well: JC Romero made a rehab start for the AAA Iron Pigs tonight and pitched a scoreless inning. He threw 17 pitches, 13 of which were strikes. He is inching closer each day to a return to Philly. This is very good news for a bullpen that appears to be struggling without him.
Starter Joe Blanton threw a bullpen session today and is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for single-A Lakewood on Tuesday. Kyle Kendrick will continue to fill in as a starter until Blanton returns, despite two very bad outings so far.
Brad Lidge is working towards his return, which looks like it may be at the end of the month. His pitch speed has improved, but he still has a lot of work to do. Cross your fingers… ;o)
The 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.
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
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.
The 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.
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
The day began with promise as the Phillies players warmed up and took batting practice on a mild, sunny day. There were smiles all around; fans and players were happy to be back in Philly for a new season. Roy Halladay had extra reason to smile today; he was named the NL Player of the Week for his 2 wins and sparkly clean 0.56 ERA.
The Opening Ceremonies went off without a hitch; fans lined the red carpet in centerfield to greet the players; the 2009 NL Championship flag was hoisted and the Navy Seals jumped out of an airplane to deliver the game ball:
And then, the drama began. The Phillies took the field, but for some reason, Jimmy Rollins looked a bit like Juan Castro at short stop. Oh wait, it is Juan Castro…what??
Like the game, “Where’s Waldo?”, fans everywhere chatted about “Where’s J-Roll?” He was announced as a starter; what is going on here? Turns out, Jimmy strained his calf muscle during the pre-game warm-ups, right after the Opening Ceremonies.
Rollins will have an MRI tomorrow and his Red Bull / Guinness World Record for the longest batted ball event has been postponed. Jayson Werth was also injured today, although his issue appears to be less serious. He left before the 6th inning with soreness in his left hip…no MRI is schedule for Werth.
As for the game, things looked a bit dicey as Cole Hamels allowed 4 runs in the first four innings. He settled in and would have gotten through 6 total if not for an error by Castro to extend the 6th inning. But Castro did pull through at the plate with a double in the 5th that led to a huge 5 run inning, so we forgive him.
Placido Polanco made a big splash that same inning, singling in 2 runs. Chase Utley put the exclamation mark on the inning by then smashing a 2-run homer to right that bounced off the foul pole net. Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth also collected RBI’s on the day to rally their team to a 7-4 win over the Nationals. Here is some of the game action:
The bullpen did a great job as well; 4 pitchers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Danys Baez looked shaky at first, throwing 7 straight balls before he got an out. But he got out of the jam and then Ryan Madson closed the game, looking very sharp. And it is a good thing too as Brad Lidge’s recovery is not looking promising right now.
And here is just one more fun moment from the day; near the very end of the National Anthem, Chase Utley was so anxious to get the game started, he bolted for the dugout before it was over, realizing after a few seconds that no one else was following him. Funny stuff:
You have to love the man’s enthusiasm. Here is the full Photo Album of the game and ceremonies. Off day tomorrow…back at the Nats on Wednesday :O)
Photos by Jenn
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.
And 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:
Both 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!
Cole Hamels will take the mound against the Nationals in game 2 tomorrow at 7:05pm…Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn
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.
One 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:
In 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!
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Photos by Jenn
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.
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
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! Coste 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 Castro. Brett Myers has already been shown the door, as has Jack Taschner. Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Matt Stairs and Miguel Cairo are also unlikely, although Stairs and Cairo may be offered minor league deals.
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
To start with, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and did not lapse into a turkey coma! I also hope no one got trampled attempting to enter Wal-Mart at 3am on Friday ;o) Holidays can either be fun or hazardous to your health…I hope you went with “fun.”
Speaking of holidays and shopping, what would you like to receive this holiday season? I would like for Mike Schmidt to age backwards and play 3rd base for the Phillies again.
I would also like the Giants to release Tim Lincecum for his bad, drug induced behavior so the Phillies can have him. I also wish aliens would come down from outer space and give us back Cole Hamels: Version 2008. Clearly, he was abducted and it is time to bring him back.
By the way, 3 years ago, current GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who was assistant GM at the time, asked a room full of female fans if they could sign any pitcher in the league to the Phillies, who would it be? I shouted, “Tim Lincecum!” Ruben looked at me like I was nuts and decided that the woman who suggested Brandon Webb had a better idea. Webb went down with a shoulder injury in April 2009 and did not play the entire season. Lincecum has now won 2 Cy Young’s in a row. Hey Ruben, still think I am nuts? Just a little holiday fun for you there :O)
Ok, so clearly we cannot sign Mr. Lincecum. But the Phillies have a lot of work to do this off-season to improve the pitching staff. It looks to be a quiet market right now. Things should start to heat up when the Winter Meetings begin on December 7th.
The few moves made so far have not even made a small ripple in the atmosphere. The signing of Juan Castro to replace Eric Bruntlett on the bench seems like a lateral move, rather than an improvement. Castro hit .277 last year with the Dodgers but is a career .230 hitter. This news is not exactly knocking Phillies fans out of their boots. We hope bigger and better things will be coming soon…
In other news, Jamie Moyer was recently hospitalized and had surgery to remove an infected blood collection that may have resulted from his previous groin surgery. It should not affect his Spring Training schedule and he appears to be recovering well. I wish him luck!
From the long time veteran to the rookie, JA Happ has been named to the Topps’ 51st All-Rookie Team, which is just one of many honors he garnered this off-season. Happ is still up for the Rookie of the Year award in the This Year In Baseball awards. Voting continues until December 11th and many Phillies like Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and others are in the running.
And finally, congratulations to Shane and Melissa Victorino who tied the knot earlier this month in Hawaii! They are two really great people and I wish them all the best!
Lincecum & Happ photos by Jenn