Results tagged ‘ Yankees ’

Phillies Sign Mel Gibson…I Mean Delmon Young

Phillies Sign Mel Gibson Delmon Young

In what may amount to one of the most interesting/weird signings for the Phillies this offseason, a 1-year, $750,000 deal for outfielder Delmon Young is now on the books.  He is cheap, but this kid has issues.  This past April, Young was arrested for a Mel Gibson-esque, alcohol-infused episode in which he hurled anti-Semetic slurs at a group of people in New York City before a game against the Yankees.

Back in 2006, Young was suspended for 50 games from the International League after throwing his bat which hit an umpire in the chest.  In 2005, Young received a three-game suspension for bumping a minor-league umpire.

Young has also been ridiculed for his horrific defense and as a result, he was used mostly as a DH in 2012.  He posted a .947 fielding percentage with the Tigers over 31 games.  That ranks him 267th among all outfielders in the majors.

To recap, Young hates Jews, umpires, and fielding balls.  The only family-friendly thing I can think of to say is, “Oh my…”

In Young’s defense (not the baseball fielding kind), he was the 2012 ALCS MVP for the Tigers, batting .353 with two home runs and six RBI in a 4-game sweep of the Yankees.  He does have some power and nailed 18 homers in the 2012 regular season, although he only batted .267 with a .296 (yikes!) on-base percentage.

Young is young at 27 years old.  If he overcomes prior injuries, including off-season surgery for bone spurs in his ankle, he could bounce back to his top form of 2010 when he hit .298 with 21 homers.

And hey, who wouldn’t love having TWO Young’s on their team to keep us all on our toes?  I am sure Michael Young is happy to have the company.  On the flip side, Domonic Brown is probably contemplating having many, many stiff drinks as he wonders if this team will ever consider him an everyday, major-league outfielder.  Poor kid.

So if you are not a Jewish person, an umpire or a baseball, please join me in welcoming Delmon Young.  Hip, hip, hooray??

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Photo by Keith Allison, Wikipedia Commons

Streaking & Signing: Things Are Looking Up for the Phillies

It is officially a streak – the Phillies have won 4 games in a row and all 4 came during their final at-bat.  In the 3-game sweep of the Brewers, every game also ended in the exact same score, 7-6.

Tuesday’s improbable win included a 6-run rally in the 8th inning which was started by a 2-run homer from 2nd back-up catcher, Erik Kratz.  To that point, Kratz had exactly 3 major league hits and all 3 were home runs.

Then today, Kratz doubled his major league hit total even while abandoning the long ball.  He recorded 3 hits including an RBI and a double in extra innings to once again set the Phillies up for a late-game win.   Chase Utley also had 3 hits today plus 3 RBI.   Jimmy Rollins got the game-winning hit today and also in Sunday’s walk-off win.

As for the pitching, Cliff Lee was not great on Tuesday, giving up 6 runs.  But the Phillies offense got all 6 back for him in that 8th inning.  Then today Vance Worley had an ok outing, allowing 3 runs in 5.1 innings.  Kyle Kendrick kept him from further damage with 1.2 scoreless innings.

The bullpen has, with one exception, found it’s groove in  these last 4 games.  Only Antonio Bastardo faltered with a 2-run homer to Ryan Braun today that almost cost them the game.  But the late-inning magic bailed him out, even despite another Ty Wigginton error at third base.

But the HUGE bang for the Phillies came earlier today when the Phillies announced they finally signed ace pitcher Cole Hamels to a long-term deal.  A collective sigh of relief was heard around the city.

Hamels got 6 years for $144 million, which is the second biggest contract ever behind only CC Sabathia of the Yankees who got $161 for 7 years back in 2008.  It is the largest contract ever for a Phillie.

It appears then that the Phillies have not given up just yet.  The Hamels signing should be a big relief for guys like Lee, Rollins and Roy Halladay who chose to come to or stay in Philly with the promise from the front office that they would continue to try to win in the long-term.  And these last 4 wins which happened in the most unlikely ways should also light a fire under the entire team.

The Phillies are off tomorrow for the annual Phestival and they will then fly to Atlanta for 3 games with the Braves.  Those 3 games will be very telling as to whether this team can stage an improbable comeback and make a run at a Wild Card spot.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies All-Stars Contribute to NL Shut-Out Win Over the AL

In an 8-0 win over the American League, 3 Phillies All-Stars made big contributions for the National LeagueCole Hamels pitched a perfect 7th inning, probably driving up his free agent value a little bit more.  Carlos Ruiz caught the final 4 innings and had one at-bat, a fly-out to left field.  And Jonathan Papelbon recorded the final out of the game, sealing the NL victory.

Here are a few MLB photos from the game:

And this next set of MLB photos show Ruiz holding his glove and then the glove R.A. Dickey gave him to use in order to catch his crazy knuckle balls.  That glove is almost as big as Chooch!  There is also a nice shot of Papelbon and then more adorable Chooch getting a hug from the Nationals teenage rookie, Bryce Harper:

Melky Cabrera of the Cardinals got the MVP award for the game.  He had 2 hits, including a homer, and 2 RBI.  Some rare events occurred during the game, including 3 triples, 5 rookies playing in the game, and the first shut-out during an All-Star game since 1996, when the game was played in Philadelphia.

The biggest blunder of the game came from 19-year old Harper who lost a routine fly ball in the outfield, which eventually landed behind him.  He also got caught leaning too far off base in a fielder’s choice and was tagged out.

So now we wait until the Phillies return on Friday to see if they have any gas left to rescue their dreadful season.  Roy Halladay will make a rehab start tomorrow so, hopefully, that means he will be back very soon.

In the meantime, here is a fun blast from the All-Star past.  These are a few of my favorite All-Star photos from 2008.  The top one will never get old…it is Dan Uggla goosing Chase Utley to the surprise of many around them, as you can see by my marker edits.  Below that is Utley and Brad Lidge, who appear to be trying to club David Wright. And then there is Mike Schmidt standing up in a moving vehicle (next to Utley) during the All-Star parade to point me out and say hello.  I was one Phillies jersey in a sea of Yankees jersey’s so I was easy to spot and he was clearly excited to see a Phillies fan!  Utley yelled out to me right after that as well.  And yes, that was one of the highlights of my simple existence ;o)

By the way, I am hoping to have my video interview with Ryan Howard posted in the next few days, so stay tuned for that!

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2012 photos by MLB; 2008 photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Spring Officially Kicks off with 3-Straight Phillies-Yankees Games

In the 1st of 3 games against the Yankees to start Spring Training, the Phillies dropped the game by a score of 8-5.  Cole Hamels started the game and tossed 2 innings, allowing 1 run.

The Yankees and their fans were salivating as Hamels pitched because Hamels could be a free agent after this year.  Hopefully, the Phillies will handle that issue before it comes down to a financial slug-fest with the Yanks.  Because we all know who wins that particular battle…

The first recorded RBI of spring came off the bat of Raul Ibanez…in a Yankees uniform.  The Phils will miss Ibanez’s personality in the clubhouse, but it was time to part and get a little younger in the outfield.  I wish Raul the best!

When watching early spring games, it can be hard to judge a players performance.  The games do not count, so wins and losses are just a meaningless statistic.  Veteran players are the most difficult to judge as they will use spring to get in shape and work on their technique.  So if a guys like Hamels, for example, gives up 5 runs, it does not mean much.  Maybe he is working on his grip, his delivery or trying out something new.  Spring is the time for veterans to  pace themselves, avoid injury and work out the kinks.

What you should really be looking at are the young guys and the players fighting for a roster spot.  This year, the Phillies have a number of battles brewing.  Both the bullpen and the bench have spots ready for the taking.

In the pen, watch for Dontrelle Willis, Justin DeFratus, Phillppe Aumont and Michael Schwimer, among others, to be vying for a spot on the big club.  Now, unlike the veterans, these are the guys who need to bring it every time they are out there.  It is all about who makes the biggest impression.

Willis pitched 1 inning yesterday and gave up a run on two hits.  Willis showed signs of the pitcher he used to be, but then also left his fastball up in the zone way too many times.  And there are plenty of younger guys standing by to try to knock him off.

As for the bench, Michael Martinez, who was here last year, now has a lot more competition to deal with.  Other utility guys like Scott Podsednik and Juan Pierre will be trying to make the team as well.  Podsednik is especially intriguing as he hit .304 and .297 in 2009 and 2010.  But he missed the 2011 season with a foot injury.  If he does well this spring and stays healthy, he has a shot to make the team as an extra outfielder.

This should be a very entertaining spring.

Game 2 with the Yankees today starts at 1:05pm today where we get our first look of the year at Roy Halladay in action!

 

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

Roster in Place, the Phillies Are Ready for the NLDS

Game 1 of the NLDS is scheduled for a 5:07 start tonight.  Here is the post-season roster for the Phillies:

  • Catchers (2): Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.
  • Infielders (6): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins, Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez.
  • Outfielders (6): Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., Ben Francisco and Ross Gload.
  • Pitchers (11): Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton.
  • Extras: Infielder Pete Orr and Catcher Erik Kratz will travel with the team. RHP Justin De Fratus, LHP Joe Savery and outfielder Domonic Brown will work out in Clearwater, FL and Outfielders John Bowker and Brandon Moss and RHP Michael Schwimer have been sent home.

The only slightly interesting move here is that Blanton was chosen for the roster instead of David Herndon, despite missing most of the season with injuries.  The Phillies chose experience over a younger guy, even though Herndon was with the team most of the year.

As for the pitching match-ups in the series, here are the probable starters for the Phillies and Cardinals:

  • Game 1: Roy Halladay vs. Kyle Lohse (ex-Phillie)
  • Game 2: Cliff Lee vs. Chris Carpenter (on 3 days rest)
  • Game 3: Cole Hamels vs. Jaime Garcia

These are some odd moves by Tony LaRussa.  It will either turn out to be genius, or a huge mistake.  The Phillies should be able to handle Lohse and will then get Carpenter on short rest.  That is another situation they can probably take advantage of.

The pitcher the Phils have the most trouble with is Garcia, who was pushed back to Game 3 because his home numbers are much better than his road numbers.

This all seems to add up to a Phillies advantage, however, that remains to be seen.  Also of note, Game 2 has been pushed back to 8:37pm (ugh) on Sunday due to the Yankees – Tigers rain postponement.

I also wanted to share with you an article I just read about how Danys Baez has helped Antonio Bastardo out of his recent pitching funk.  Baez was released by the Phillies in July and was not picked up by another team.  He has been sitting at home in Miami watching and noticed Bastardo, a player he previously mentored, was having problems.  He reached out to Bastardo and helped him find the issues in his mechanics.

Bastardo has bounced back since then and it seems that Baez is the reason.  The story made me a little sad, thinking about how much criticism Baez took while he was in Philly from fans and media.  For him to swallow his pride and reach out to an ex-teammate like that is a sign of true character.  He may not have been the bullpen solution the Phillies hoped for, but he gets huge brownie points in my book for just being a great guy.

Hope to see you all at the game tonight!  Go Phillies!

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Phillies Make History With 102 Wins

The Phillies ended the 2011 regular season with 102 wins after a 13 inning  4-3 victory over the Braves.  The 3-game sweep knocked the Braves out of the playoffs and also set a new record for the Phillies.  The franchise mark of 101 wins in a season has been surpassed, making this 2011 team statistically the best in Phillies history.

It also made Charlie Manuel the best manager in Phillies history.  His 646th win with the team surpassed the previous record of 656 held by Gene Mauch.

And as usual, the Phillies fought for their manager until the very end.  The game lasted 4 1/2 hours and 13 innings with 17 total pitchers used between the two teams.  The pitching was very good all around for both and hits were hard to come by; 11 for the Phils and 10 for the Braves.

In the 13th, Hunter Pence finally broke up the stalemate, knocking in the winning run with an RBI-single.  He had two hits in the game, as did Chase Utley, Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard.

By beating the Braves, the Phillies basically chose their own opponent.  The win handed the Wild Card spot to the Cardinals.  The Phillies struggled against the Cards in the regular season, winning only 3 games out of 9.  But coming off the momentum of this 3-game sweep and making Phillies history, the team should be ready to face the Cards again.

In the American League, the Red Sox are out, having lost what was previously and 8.5 game lead in the Wild Card race.  As they crashed and burned against the lowly Orioles again, the Tampa Bay Rays climbed out of a 7-0 hole to beat the Yankees and take the Wild Card spot.

So here is how the NLDS and ALDS line-up:

  • Phillies vs. Cardinals
  • Brewers vs. Diamondbacks
  • Yankees vs. Tigers
  • Rangers vs. Rays

The first game for the Phillies is this Saturday; no time has been announced yet.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

Sweeps And Strikeout’s Cannot Hide the Stench Of Phillies Offensive Offense

It has been an interesting few days for the Phillies.  On Sunday, they finished off a four-game sweep of the Padres, scoring only 12 runs total in all of those games.  An inside-the-park homer by Shane Victorino helped seal Sunday’s sweep.

That same day, closer Jose Contreras was sent to the DL with a strained right flexor pronator tendon in his elbow.  As a result, Michael Stutes joined the club to fill the roster spot and made his major league debut on Monday.

Also on Monday night, the Phillies five-game win streak ended with a 0-4 shut-out loss to the D-Backs.  Cliff Lee pitched an odd game where he struck out 12 batters but still allowed four runs in seven innings.  However, Lee’s performance was basically rendered obsolete as the Phils offense did absolutely nothing to help out.

The three-hit shutout by the Diamondbacks Ian Kennedy where he struck out 10 batters and did not issue a walk, matched a team record.  Only two other pitchers in team history tossed a shutout while allowing three or fewer hits with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks.  One was Curt Schilling on April 10, 2001 against the Dodgers (2 hits allowed, 10 SO) and the other, Randy Johnson, when he pitched a perfect game on May 18, 2004 at Atlanta (13 SO).

While that feat by Kennedy is very impressive, the Phillies offense certainly made it a little easier on him by swinging at bad pitches and watching good ones fly by.

The Phils offensive offense has not scored more than four runs in 14 consecutive games this season.  They currently rank 28th in baseball for runs scored since April 9th.

The worst offender amongst the starters has been Raul Ibanez, who is hitting just .179.  He should be benched in favor of John Mayberry Jr. until he figures things out.  Maybe at almost 39-year old, Ibanez needs to be in a platoon with Mayberry to get him more rest.

Team leader Jimmy Rollins is also not producing.  He got off to a hot start and has seriously cooled off.  Rollins has not had a multi-hit game since April12th.  He has batted .182 since that time.

 

11A.jpg

But a few players are not to blame.  The entire team is just not hitting, as if they all caught the same virus at once.  If the disease continues to spread, who will be the fall guy?  Last year it was hitting coach Milt Thompson.  Frankly, the players themselves need to be held accountable.  Play the bench guys until the starters find their swings.

While the bench is solid, it is not the long-term solution.  However, maybe benching a few guys will light a fire under them.  Because the Phillies have few other options.

Their payroll is maxed out.  The Phillies will never be a team that decides to pay the luxury tax along with the Yankees.  So as far as getting new blood into the line-up, they are out of options.  Besides, it is only April and no teams are ready to trade anyone yet.

Then again, it is only April.  The team is still winning, despite the offense, thanks to a solid starting staff.  But even the pitchers are going to get weary of the lack of support very soon.

So choose your most relaxing yoga pose and just keep telling yourself, “It’s only April.  Its only April…”

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Manuel’s Contract & Spring Update

Earlier today, the Phillies finally got the deal done with manager Charlie Manuel.  The two-year extension will take him through the 2013 season.

In a press conference, Manuel expressed his desire to stay with the Phillies until he leaves baseball.  Manuel discussed other teams he has worked with and then stated, “I’m a Phillie. If I cut my arm it’s going to be red blood, not blue.”


Thumbnail image for Manuel phillie.jpgWell, unless Charlie is a horseshoe crab or an octopus, I am pretty sure he bleeds red.  But seriously, it is great to have a guarantee for Charlie before the season starts.

During Manuel’s time in Philly, the team has the best record in the National League.  Manuel has won 544 games with the Phillies plus four division titles, one league title and , of course, the 2008 World Series Championship.

Spring Training Update

The Phillies are plugging along through spring training despite losing both Chase Utley and Domonic Brown to injuries.  Utley is still out indefinitely.  Brown had successfully surgery to remove the hamate bone in his hand and is expected to play again in four to six weeks.

Today, Roy Halladay pitched six scoreless innings against the Yankees, allowing only four hits.  Halladay was sharp and used his curve ball more than usual in preparation for the season. 

While winning by a score of 7-0, the Phillies saw contributions from several lesser-known players.  One of those players, Josh Barfield, went 2 for 3, including a triple today.   He is hitting .538 in 13 at-bats so far this spring.  Barfield is a second baseman who spent parts of four seasons in the majors with the Indians and Padres.  He hit .294 with 36 RBI last year in the Indians AAA club.

Barfield has been impressive, which may be of great importance now that Utley’s future is uncertain.  Wilson Valdez is an option as well, but it could not hurt to have an extra infielder right now.

 

Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Brown To Have Surgery On Broken Hand

While hitting a foul ball in Saturday’s spring training game against the Pirates, Domonic Brown fractured the hamate bone in his right hand.  Oddly enough, his very next swing after breaking the bone resulted in his only hit in spring action through 16 at-bats.


Hamate Bone.jpgSeveral baseball players have had this very same bone removed in the past.  Some of those include former Phillie, Jim Thome and Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia.  Apparently, the hand is just fine without this bone, although recovery from the surgery could take four to six weeks.

This may be a blessing in disguise for Brown who was struggling badly to adjust his swing and make the Phillies roster before the end of camp.  Time off to reflect on his issues may be a good thing.

In the meantime, the job in right almost certainly will go to Ben Francisco, although the Phillies will not dub anyone the winner just yet.

Thus far, the injury bug has bitten twice for the Phillies in spring training; first Chase Utley and his bum knee, then Brown.  Utley is still recovering from a cortisone injection and it will be several more days before any more is known about his knee.

On the bright side, the Phillies pitching staff looks fantastic!  Cliff Lee appeared to be almost in mid-season form against the Rays today over four innings.  And on Saturday Roy Halladay threw three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.

In the bullpen, JC Romero pitched today and looked very, very sharp.  After going 3-0 on the first batter, he came back to strike the guy out and then mowed down the next two batters in order.

Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras also seem to be moving along well.  Neither has surrendered a run yet.

Other roster hopefuls are not having much success though.  Eddie Bonine has allowed seven runs in four innings of work.  J.C. Ramirez has allowed four runs in five innings.  However, most of these guys were not expected to make the team anyway.

Spring action continues tomorrow when the Phillies see the Yankees again.  Game time is 1:05pm.

 

Illustration by Wikipedia

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

 

Phillies Beat Yankees In Spring Opener / Is Utley Healthy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Other News

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

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

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

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

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