Results tagged ‘ MLBlogs ’

Utley Answers, But Are We Asking the Right Questions?

Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki reported that Chase Utley answered many questions about his injured left knee yesterday.  He spoke about a new rehab program and stated that he would play again this year, although no time table was given.

Utley also stated that last year, it was the right knee that bothered him and this year it is the left.  He is optimistic because the right knee feels fine now and the new program seems to be working on the left knee.  But does this not beg the obvious question that no one has asked him?  When the right knee was injured, why did he change his routine/program on only the right side?

Here is the quote from Utley regarding the two knees:  “So we made some changes last year to my right knee. It worked because it feels strong. It feels good. Now I have to make similar changes to my left knee.”

Why was the program not changed for BOTH knees back when this issue originally started flaring up?  What affects the right knee can also affect the left, especially when it involves impact movements like running and jumping.  Still, no precautions were taken.  Why?  And who in the world was giving Utley training advice at that time?  Because whoever neglected to state the obvious may have just cost the Phillies another half a season with no All-Star second baseman.

This could also cut Utley’s career short if the problem persists.  Right now, he believes it will all work out.  But a few years down the road, who knows?

Mad Dog

As you may have heard, former Philles closer Ryan Madson needs Tommy John surgery, ending his 2012 season with the Reds before it even began.  Worse than that, super agent Scott Boras managed to dig up only a 1-year deal for Madson which means he may have to beg for a 2013 contract after not having pitched for all of 2012.

The Wild Thing, former closer Mitch Williams, wrote an excellent article about Madson’s free agency this off-season.  Williams discovered that Boras turned down a 3-year, $33 million counteroffer from the Phillies without ever consulting Madson, who did wish to return to Philly.  Instead, Madson got stuck with a meager 1-year deal with the Reds.

Williams then posed the question, “What if he gets injured.”  Well the Wild Thing’s crystal ball was correct.  Madson got hurt and now his career may be in jeopardy.

Mad Dog Madson should be foaming at the mouth over the way his agent handled his free agency.  If I were Madson, Boras would be fired.  Then again, I guess the Phillies can thank Boras for doing such a crappy job.  Had he not totally sucked, the Phillies would be paying Madson $11 million this year to do nothing except have surgery.  Nicely done, Boras.

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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.

Off-Day Humor: Utley & Howard Cartoon

The Phillies are off today so I decided to post a fun little cartoon video a friend sent to me.  The first 40 seconds or so are slow and a little creepy, but stick with it…it gets really funny.  I almost cried laughing watching this.

So here you go…. Baseball Friends: Ryan Howard and Chase Utley:

 

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Late Rally Pulls Phillies Ahead of Marlins

As the lack of run support curse for Cliff Lee and other pitchers continues, the Phillies are somehow still winning games.  Wednesday night, the beat the Marlins by a score of 5-3 and lee wound up with a no-decision.

Through six innings, Lee allowed three runs, although a few of those may have been due to defense and field positioning.  At the plate, Lee smacked a single that should have scored Brian Schneider.  But as he rounded third base, Schneider grabbed his leg and limped back to third base.

Adding to already long list of Phillies injuries, Schneider was lifted from the game and may end up on the DL.  The good news is that Carlos Ruiz should be coming off the DL and the two can swap places on Friday before the Braves series.

 

The Phillies were down 3-0 going into the seventh inning.  But a the Phillies bench came to the rescue just in time.  Pete Orr was the star, hitting two doubles, one in the seventh and one in the ninth.  A home run by Shane Victorino tied the game in the eighth and also extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

As Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate in the ninth with two outs and two men in scoring position, I held my breath.  Rollins had come to the plate three times with two outs in this game already and made the last out each time, leaving men stranded on base all three times as well.

In this case, the fourth time was the charm.  J-Roll singled, which scored two runs and gave the Phillies the 5-3 lead.  Ryan Madson closed the game out and is now 5-for-5 in save opportunities.

The Phillies are off on Thursday as they travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves Friday night at 7:35pm.

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Tough Loss For Halladay With No Offensive Support

Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels probably looked and Roy Halladay after Tuesday night’s unwarranted loss to the Marlins and thought, “Welcome to the club.”  What club is that?  The one where they each pitch a great game and come out with a loss due to a lack of offense.

Halladay outpitched his opponent, Josh Johnson, going eight innings with only one earned run allowed on five hits and still lost the game.  Halladay did make one mistake; he walked a pitcher for the first time in his career.  That walk turned into a run for the Fish.

But the Phillies offense had the bases loaded twice, in both the second and third innings, and did not score.  The worst offender was Dane Sardinha who had bases loaded with no outs in the second.  Knowing the pitcher was on deck, he could not even make contact.  Even a double play would have scored a run.  Instead, he struck out.

In the eight, another crucial error gave the Marlins the 2-1 lead that eventually won the game for them.  Jimmy Rollins bobbled a ground ball and threw offline to Ryan Howard, pulling him off the bag.  A ground out advanced the runner and a single scored it.

This lack of offense is becoming a running theme with the Phillies, which is magnified as a serious issue when you have pitchers going eight innings, allowing one run and still losing the game.  That should not happen.

Perhaps the starting pitchers should get together for their first “club” meeting and decide on how to proceed.  They cannot really go on strike, but maybe they could take turns smacking each of the starters around while yelling, “Wake up and score me some freaking runs!”  Too much?  Just a thought ;o)

The Phillies have one more game in Florida tonight at 7:10pm.  Cliff Lee is coming off a loss where he struck out 16 batters.  Now there is a solid oxymoron for you.  Perhaps he should carry a picket sign out to the mound with him…just in case.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Phillies Win A Wild One In Miami

Call it a game if you must, but tonight’s Phillies – Marlins match-up looked more like batting practice for both teams.  It featured the Phillies worst starter, fresh off a DL stint, in Joe Blanton and the Marlins worst starter, Javier Vazquez.  As hitters walked to the plate, they were literally salivating like a pack of ravenous hyenas standing over a fresh kill.

No one was more excited than Ross Gload, who has gotten very little playing time as a bench player this year.  With a rare start in right field, Gload finally had an opportunity to do some damage.  He took full advantage with two hits and two RBI.

A lot of Phillies had multi-hit games against the struggling Vazquez and some of the Marlins’ bullpen.  Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and even Raul Ibanez came up with at least two hits in the game, along with Gload.

The pitching was another story.  Knowing he had the youngster Vance Worley nipping at his heels, Blanton must have been in a rush to get back to the team after going on the DL.  He did not even pitch in a rehab game.

In his race to get healthy, Blanton looked like a guy seriously out of practice.  But the defense bailed him out a number of times and he wound up with five innings, three runs allowed, two walks and eight hits.

Worley did wind up pitching in the game, taking over in the sixth.  He got though two scoreless innings and then in the eight, allowed a solo homer to Gaby Sanchez.  After Worley’s three innings of work, the score was then 6-4, surprisingly low for the number of hacks taken during the game.

The Phillies went on to win by the same score, with Ryan Madson collecting the save.  Roy Halladay will pitch Tuesday 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 MTR Media network*

 

Homers Hurt Hamels; Offense Cannot Bail Him Out

In two out of three games in this Braves series, the Phillies bats left their pitchers hanging.  They did not score at all for Cliff Lee on Friday.  On Sunday, they got some hits for Cole Hamels, but only two runs.

 

The 12 hits from the Phils offense was certainly better than two on Friday.  However, the hits were not timely and caused little damage.  Here is just one frustrating example.  Wilson Valdez smacked a two-out double in the second inning with no one on base.  Later in the sixth, with runners at the corners and one out, Valdez hit a weak ground ball for an inning-ending double play, leaving a runner stranded on third.

Hitting without clutch hitting is practically useless, especially in a close game.

And Hamels really could have used some clutch hitting.  He went seven innings, striking out nine batters, but allowed three runs on two homers.  Still, it was a quality start and one that he should expect to win.

 

The youngsters in the bullpen did not help the situation either, which is the opposite of what happened in Saturday’s win.  Michael Stutes entered the game not having surrendered a run in 6.1 innings this year.  But in 1/3 of an inning on Sunday, he walked two batters and allowed a two-run homer.

Stutes looked like he had never even heard of a strike zone.  He was that far off, throwing only two strikes to three batters.  This was also the first time the Phillies used him in back-to-back games.  You can be sure they will not do that again anytime soon.

 

As for Scott Mathieson, he took over for Stutes and gave up a hit, but exited the inning unscathed.  But then to start the ninth, Mathieson began to unravel.  After a hit, a sac bunt and two walks on five pitches each, Danys Baez was brought in to bail Mathieson out.

When your savior for the night is Danys Baez, you know you are having a very bad day.  Baez has been unreliable at best since last season, but on Sunday night he was able to coax an inning ending double play.

I will say this for Baez; he is always great with the fans and a very nice guy.  Last night, he was headed to the clubhouse after warm-ups and an elderly lady next to me over the dugout asked him to sign a ball.  Most players are in full-out game concentration mode at this point and do not stop.  But Baez smiled, had her toss the ball over the dugout and he signed it for her and even waved to everyone standing there.

So with no ninth inning rally in sight, the Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 5-2 and lost the series 2-1.  Heading to Miami tonight, first place in the division is on the line for this series as the Marlins are only two games back now.

Joe Blanton is back on the roster and will pitch tonight at 7:10pm.  Carlos Ruiz was put on the DL yesterday, so no one had to be bumped to add Blanton back.  The DL move was backdated to 4/28, so Ruiz could return in about five days or so if his back is feeling better.

Also, Sunday was the Phillies annual Mother’s Day celebration where a players has his mother flown in for the weekend at the Phillies’ expense to spend time with their son and see him play.  A different player is chosen each year, although there were two in 2010.  I have attended these particular games every year since 2006 so here is a photo gallery of all six years with the player, mom and sometimes other family members as well.  The only person I cannot remember is who is in the 2006 photo.  I think it is Jon Lieber, but I am not sure.  If you know, please let me know :O)

 

And here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s game.

 

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Howard Makes History Again As Phillies Beat Braves

With Roy Oswalt sent to the DL, the Phillies needed a spot starter tonight against the Braves.  They went with Kyle Kendrick and the move paid off.

Kendrick has been in the bullpen all year, so his pitch count was limited.  But he managed to get through five innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only two hits and striking out two.

The Phillies offense came up with a few key hits to give the team a 3-0 lead through those five innings.  Pete Orr played second and had an RBI-fielder’s choice in the second for the first run of the game.  The second run was a historic one.

Ryan Howard smashed his career 260th home run in the fourth, passing Del Ennis for 2nd place in Phillies career home runs.  Mike Schmidt is in first place with 548 homers.  Howard has a long way to go to match Schmidt, but 2nd place is very impressive.

 

Ennis’ widow Liz, an avid baseball fan, called the Phillies after the historic homer and had them leave a note of congratulations for Howard.  It was a very classy move.  During the game broadcast, announcer Tom McCarthy noted that Liz made the call after realizing the telegram was no longer being used.  :O)

Anyway, run #3 in the game came from a Shane Victorino triple in the fifth.  Earlier in the day, Victorino was in the Majestic Clubhouse Store at the stadium signing copies of his new book, “Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian.”  He must have been really pumped up after the turnout.  I heard from a source outside the ballpark that fans who showed up an hour early for the signing were told the line was already cut-off and they were turned away.

I am totally off topic here, but I have one last note about the book.  In the next week or so, I plan on writing a review of the book.  I will also reveal some personal conversations I had with Shane’s parents and also his wife, Melissa, many years back about one of the main talking points of the book, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  I was very glad to hear Shane shared this in the book as I am sure it will help many people suffering from the disorder.  So, stayed tuned for that…

Back to the game…by the sixth inning, this turned into a battle of the bullpens and a 3-0 Phillies lead.  Coming out of the pen for the Phillies was J.C. Romero, Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson.  Each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the Phillies win.

With so many questions surrounding the Phillies bullpen this year, it is very good to see everyone stepping up.  Especially for young pitchers like Stutes and Bastardo, their performances so far this year have been outstanding.

The series is now split 1-1.  Tomorrow the Phillies will send Cole Hamels to the mound as they try to win the series with the Braves.  It is another dreadful ESPN 8pm start on a Sunday; the second Sunday in a row.  I will be there and return with photos.

 

FYI – The MLBlogs conversion to WordPress has been postponed until next weekend, 5/13-5/16…shocking, I know.  Anyway, just keep stopping by and if there is yet another delay, I will let you know.  Thanks!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Cliff Lee Is Not Feeling The Love From The Phillies Bats

While Phillies fans have certainly shown their support of Cliff Lee since his return, his teammates are a bit lacking in that department.  In Lee’s last three starts, the Phils have scored a grand total of ONE run for him.

Last night, the huge “zero” on the board amounted to a very odd outcome.  Lee struck out a career-high 16 batters in the 5-0 loss to the Braves.  This tied Steve Carlton for the most strikeouts over nine innings by a lefty in Phillies history.

 

The third inning was not great for Lee, as he allowed three runs.  But aside from that inning, Lee was lights out, keeping pace with Derek Lowe who had a no-hitter going into the seventh.

But if you allow just three runs over seven innings, you are supposed to get a win, right?  Sadly, that did not happen.  Instead, the Phillies offense continues to be a dark cloud over Lee’s head.

The most frustrating offense came in the seventh after Shane Victorino broke up the no-hitter with a single to left.  Placido Polanco knocked a ground rule double, which as the ball hopped over the fence in center, actually prevented Victorino from scoring.

With two men in scoring position and no outs, the Phillies bats failed again.  Lowe left the game with an injury and Eric O’Flaherty replaced him. 

Facing O’Flaherty should have been a relief after Lowe had mowed the Phils down in six straight innings.  Instead, the next three batters, Ryan Howard, Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez, all struck out swinging.  Not one of them could even make contact.

And that continues to be the Achilles heel of this team.  These severe hot and cold streaks at the plate are going to catch up to the Phillies eventually.  The team’s 21 wins behind a stellar pitching staff is covering the multitude of offensive sins right now.  But that cannot last for long.

The Phillies bats will need to get serious very, very soon.

Injury Update

Roy Oswalt came back from his tour of duty in the Mississippi tornado sector, but apparently, his lower back did not come with him.  He is now on the DL, retroactive for 10 days, which means he could return on Friday.  Oswalt has a history of back issues, so this is potentially very bad news.  Stay tuned…

Catcher Carlos Ruiz is also still on the shelf with a strained lower back and he remains day to day.  The Phils may place him on the DL, but if they do, it will have to be sometime today so they can backdate it.

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

Go Phillies!

 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Worley Whips The Nats

Game two against the Nationals was a very good day for young pitcher Vance Worley.  Filling in for the injured starter, Joe Blanton, Worley made his second start of the year tonight and notched his second win. 

Through six innings, Worley allowed only one run on four hits with one hit batter.  He also smacked a single into left and later scored in the fifth inning.  Worley has been so good, some may be wishing that Blanton really takes his time coming back.

By the way, have you all seen the new Vance Worley fan club?  They call themselves “Worley’s Warriors.” So is it just me, or do they look less like warriors and more like a Mariachi Band? 

 

Anyway, the offense did their job tonight as well.  Raul Ibanez put the final touches on a newly busted slump, going 3 for 4 with a solo homer.  While his batting average will take some time to recover, currently at .194, the hitting funk is officially over.

Jimmy Rollins had a nice day as well, relishing his return to the lead-off spot with two hits, an RBI and a walk.  Also with two hits, Brian Schneider continues to fill in for the ailing Carlos Ruiz.  And Shane Victorino collected two RBI.

The best part of the offense tonight was watching the Phillies go around the diamond one base at a time in the sixth inning to score four runs.  The small ball is back and the Phillies are scoring again.

Another return tonight was that of J.C. Romero, fresh off a rehab assignment.  Romero pitched a clean seventh inning and appears to be in very good shape.  Upon being added to the roster, pitcher David Herndon, who has been struggling, was optioned to AAA.

The Phillies went on to win by a score of 7-4 after Danys Baez allowed a 3-run homer in the 9th.  Ugh.

FYI – Our old buddy Jayson Werth has had only one hit in the series so far. 

The final game of the series is Thursday night at 7:05pm.  Roy Halladay will pitch.

Side note: Matt Stairs, now with the Nationals, got his 100th career pinch hit tonight.  Congrats, Matt!

 

***Important Blog FYI:  The entire MLBlogs community is going to be switched to a WordPress format beginning on Friday, May 6.  The transition may last through Monday night, May 9.  All MLBlogs writers will be unable to post and you will be unable to access any MLBlogs during this transition.  So do not panic if this and other blogs suddenly disappear during that weekend…we will be back :O)***

 

Go Phillies!

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