Results tagged ‘ Scott Mathieson ’

Voodoo And A Series Win

Scoring runs against the veteran pitcher Andy Pettitte of the Yankees is no small feat.    The Phillies did a descent job hitting him tonight, although they let several opportunities pass by.  A Ryan Howard single scored Shane Victorino in the 4th inning.  Then in the 5th, Victorino hit a 2-run homer.

Things looked promising in the 7th inning as well while the Phils loaded the bases with only one out.  But scoring runs has been the Achilles heel of this team for an entire month now.  Placido Polanco grounded into a fielder’s choice which erased Carlos Ruiz on his way home.  Then Howard struck out on another low and outside pitch, something he seem to make a habit of.  All the offense could do was pray that this inning would not come back to haunt them.

Kyle Kendrick stepped up to the challenge of pitching against the veteran Pettitte and kept the team in the game.  Through 7 innings, Kendrick allowed one run on 4 hits and 2 walks.  Despite getting himself into a multitude of bad situations, Kendrick kept his composure and did not fold under the pressure.  That, more than his pitching, was the most impressive part of his game.

Utley voodoo.jpgNot as impressive is the still struggling Chase Utley, who went hitless.  Yesterday, Utley resorted to voodoo magic to try to jump-start his swing.  He laid out a pattern on the clubhouse floor using bats, Red Bull and a variety of fruits.  Then today, batting coach Milt Thompson reportedly built a shrine to Jobu, the voodoo doll used in the movie Major League.  Can you say, “desperation”?  Oh my.

I have also been known to practice baseball voodoo from time to time.  However, I am not a major leaguer so if my readers think my noodle has slipped, no one really cares, least of all me.  Normally, I reserve the voodoo J-Roll Smurf magic for the National League East.  But with the Phillies recent struggles against everyone, and in light of Utley’s acceptance of such practices, I made an exception before today’s game.  I think it may have helped:

Smurf voodoo arod.jpg
The voodoo did seem to work.  The Phillies scored again in the 9th inning after a Ruiz double and a Wilson Valdez single.  Then they loaded the bases and scored two more runs on sac flies by Polanco and Howard.  Then Raul Ibanez smelled the burning Jobu / Smurf incense, woke up and hit an RBI single with two outs.  Ibanez did run into some bad luck after that, getting nicked in the foot with a hit ball.  Apparently, the umpires did not see it, as nothing was called until the Yanks complained.  So they called him out anyway to end the inning.

The defense got a spark earlier as well.  Polanco helped Kendrick get out of a rough inning by diving on top of the rolled up tarp and catching a foul ball that was inches into the stands.  And Jose Contreras snagged a bullet off the bat of Curtis Granderson in the 8th inning to save a hit.  The Phils entered the bottom of the 9th inning with a 7-1 lead. 

Contreras stayed in the game for one more batter; then with one out in the 9th, JC Romero was called in to end the game.  Romero ended it quickly and the Phils won both the game and the series, 2 games to 1.

The Phillies will head home now for a weekend series with the Twins.  They are without lefty Antonio Bastardo who is now on the DL with left elbow ulnar neuritis.  Scott Mathieson was called up to take his spot on the roster.  Mathieson looked like his career might be over after two Tommy John surgeries in 2006 and 2008 but his recovery has been remarkable.  Look forward to seeing him pitch very soon!

Do not forget to keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars!  Here are the team links for the Phillies Phollowers All-Star campaign:

Chase Utley    Ryan Howard    Raul Ibanez    Placido Polanco

Carlos Ruiz    Jayson Werth    Shane Victorino    Jimmy Rollins

Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address.

 

A-Rod photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Voodoo bats by Getty Images/CSN Philly

*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.

 

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Gillies photo – MLB.com

 

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

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