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Archive for August, 2008

Call-Ups: Marson, Golson, Happ, Eaton

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, August 31, 2008 09:45 PM Comments: 28

The Phillies today announced their Sept. 1 call-ups: catcher Lou Marson, outfielder Greg Golson and pitchers JA Happ and Adam Eaton.

Marson, 22, hit .314 with 5 HR and 46 RBI for AA Reading. Golson, 22, hit .282 with 13 HR, 60 RBI and 23 SB for the R-Phils. Happ and Eaton both have experience with the Phils this season, with Happ succeeding briefly in pinstripes, and Eaton having a horrendous season with the big league club before being sent down to AAA Lehigh Valley.

To make room for Marson and Golson the Phils put both Francisco Rosario and Tom Gordon onto the 60-day DL, making them inactive for the 40-man roster.

More moves may come, but color me dissatisfied about this right now. I knew Eaton and Happ were coming, but that’s it for pitching? We’ve seen firsthand how short the Phillies bullpen becomes when overworked. What about Joe Bisenius, RJ Swindle or Andrew Carpenter? Reinforcements are never a bad thing. Instead, we get Eaton — who is garbage — and Happ — who probably won’t see much time because he’s a starter.

Meanwhile, the offense gets a little depth with Marson and Golson. The former will get a little time as a pinch hitter/third catcher, while the latter should be Pat Burrell’s late-innings substitute until the end of the season. Congrats to them. Still, more bench help wouldn’t have hurt. Where’s Mike Cervenak? Or Jason Donald? Or Jeremy Slayden?

The Mets, meanwhile, are adding seven players, including four for their poor bullpen. The Phillies are deciding this team is pretty much perfect for the stretch. I’m sorry, but they’re not. Hopefully they call more up soon.

  • 28 Comments
 

Phils Win, And Split Werth Every Penny

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, August 31, 2008 05:50 PM Comments: 39

The Phillies struck early, padded a bit and held the lead, beating the Cubs 5-3 and splitting the four-game series in Chicago. The win kept the Phils a game back of the Mets in the National League East.

Good news came through early, when the Phils learned Carlos Zambrano was scratched for having a tired arm. The offense took advantage off emergency starter Sean Marshall, scoring three in the first inning. The big hit of the the inning: A two-run double by Jayson Werth. And he added to it, launching a solo home run in the fifth. He went 2-for-4 with three RBI in the game, finishing a sizzling series (7-for-13) in Chi-town. The rest of the offense had a nice day — Ryan Howard drove in a run and had three hits; Shane Victorino had two hits; Chase Utley added two more.

Jamie Moyer got the win, going 5.1 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits while striking out four. Behind him, the bullpen was clutch. Chad Durbin bridged the start to the finish, going a strong two innings and escaping trouble in the sixth. While the Cubs scored on JC Romero in the eighth, Ryan Madson struck out Alfonso Soriano to defuse the rally.

Brad Lidge grabbed his 33rd save in as many chances with three quick outs.

A huge win, and a huge salvage to a four-gamer that started terribly. I’ll say this, however: The Phils absolutely outplayed the Cubs in this series. They could’ve and should’ve won every game. But take this win, take the split, and go into Washington (and our Labor Day bus trip) feeling pretty good about how September lines up.

Associated Press photo

  • 39 Comments
 

Gameday: Phillies (74-62) At Cubs (85-51)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, August 31, 2008 01:21 PM Comments: 49

Headline: Moyer looks to put stamp on series
The Major Players: Jamie Moyer, Ryan Howard, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Madson
The Venue: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Number: 1 game behind (Mets)

The Phillies grabbed a huge victory yesterday with huge contributions by Brett Myers (7 IP, 2 ER), JC Romero (IP, 3 K) and Jayson Werth (2 HR, 4 RBI). Jamie Moyer is on deck today to slam the door on the series, and a split is very much necessary.

Zam-basted: Three of Carlos Zambrano’s last four starts have been horrendous. He gave up a season-high nine runs to Saint Louis, then five to Florida and six to Pittsburgh. In between the latter two was a one-run gem against Cincinnati.

Toughie: Before Tuesday night’s bad start, Jamie Moyer hadn’t had a bad start since June 1 against Florida. Every start between those yielded three runs, at most.

Not The Light! Part III!: The Phillies are 17-22 in daytime.

Phillies: Jamie Moyer (11-7) 3.81 ERA
Cubs: Carlos Zambrano (13-5) 3.53 ERA

Gametime: 2:25 p.m. EST
Weather: 85, sunny
Lineup:

MLB TV
MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gameday beer: Let’s go with a light, crisp witbier today. This is Allagash White, a favorite of mine. Very cool and summery, it has a bit of citrus to it, and smells just a bit spicy, like most wheats. Very nice. Better than Blue Moon and a great sleeper pick. Eat a fresh summer salad with this choice.

Go Phillies!

  • 49 Comments
 

A Look At Who Could Come Up Monday

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, August 31, 2008 11:29 AM Comments: 17

Monday is Sept. 1, which means big league rosters will expand to, at maximum, 40 players. The Phillies have the luxury to add as many players as they want, max 40, so look for a few names to come to Philly. While most teams use September call-up time to try out younger players and prospects, the Phils and other contenders will be filling out holes and reaching for depth. Here’s a sampler of guys who could see the big-league roster Monday.

JA Happ: It’s pretty certain Happ will join the Phillies for September. He got three appearances with the Phils this season, two were starts. Fans have pined for his return to regular big league action, and they should see it Sept. 1. He fits as a spot starter and long-innings man for the stretch drive.

Adam Eaton: Asst. GM Ruben Amaro said Eaton is a lock to come back with the Phillies for September. While he surely hasn’t proved he belongs, his mammoth contract sweeps out logic. He fits as a mop-up guy, pushing Clay Condrey up a smidge in the bullpen rotation.

Carlos Carrasco: It’s a good possibility Carrasco comes to Philadelphia, considering his stint in AAA Lehigh Valley has been pretty wonderful. He isn’t on the 40-man roster, however, and someone will have to be taken off for him. But he very well should be called up, so consider it his tryout before spring, when he’ll be facing down Happ and Eaton for the fifth starter spot. He fits getting sporadic outings in the middle innings, maybe getting one start if necessary.

Jason Jaramillo: Jaramillo has proven himself capable of getting some big league catching time, but he’s probably nothing to sneeze at. Bottom line is the Phils will certainly have three catchers for September, and Jaramaillo deserves some time despite Lou Marson being all-world this season (he’ll concentrate on the Arizona Fall League). Jaramillo fits as a sometimes catcher and final bench hitter, freeing up Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz to hit more.

Mike Cervenak: The ‘nak had a shot earlier this season and got an RBI single in his third major league at bat. Now the 30+ journeyman should see September time, but as one of the last bench players. He fits getting a couple at bats, nothing much more.

Greg Golson: I could see Golson coming to Philadelphia for the final month, mainly so he can be the guy who comes in late for Pat Burrell. He brings a nice glove, good speed and a little pop. He fits as a pinch runner/defensive replacement.

Jeremy Slayden: The 26-year-old non-prospect could get the call north for outfield depth. I consider him more of a longshot, but if the Phils want to go seven or eight deep with callups, give him a look. He has OK power and can hit a bit, but he’s not a big bat. He fits as the final outfield bench bat.

Other possibilities include Jason Donald and Marson (both AFL-bound), Brad Harman (bad year in Reading), Brandon Watson (not on 40-man roster) and Andrew Carpenter (recently sent down).

  • 17 Comments
 

Phillies Release Benson

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, August 31, 2008 09:15 AM Comments: 8

Todd Zolecki reports the Phillies have released pitcher Kris Benson.

Benson went 1-4 with a 5.52 ERA for AAA Lehigh Valley. He was acquired in February as a potential rotation slot for the middle of the season. His rehab was slow, and by the time he was ready to pitch, the Phillies had a pretty stacked rotation. Currently Benson would slot eighth or ninth on the Phils rotation cycle.

“We definitely think he is a starter,” said GM Pat Gillick. “He can’t be a bullpen guy. At this point, we can’t put him in the rotation, so in fairness to him … maybe the last month of the season he can hook on with another club and get an opportunity to start.”

  • 8 Comments
 

Werth Drives Phils To Big Win

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, August 30, 2008 08:04 PM Comments: 26

It came down to the eighth inning yet again, but JC Romero was fearless, backing Jayson Werth’s big game and Brett Myers’ stellar performance in a 5-2 win over the Cubs.

The win snapped the team’s three-game losing streak and the Cubs’ seven-game winning streak. They can grab a huge series split tomorrow afternoon.

Myers was stellar in limiting the Cubs from scoring. He gave up 11 hits — a common thread for his starts — but didn’t let the Cubs get one extra-base hit, the key to his victory. He got his outs when he needed them, eight for strikeouts. It mirrored his last start against the Dodgers, and really, most of his starts since returning. If the swagger is there, he’s a great pitcher. His ERA is now at 4.40, better than the league average for the first time this season.

Jayson Werth fueled the offense with two home runs and an RBI single (4 RBI). His presence in the lineup against a left-handed pitcher (especially with a struggling Pat Burrell) is of huge importance. Ryan Howard added to the scoring with a bomb to straight center field, his league-leading 38th, and two runs scored. Jimmy Rollins also had three hits, but none made a dent in the scoring.

Arguably the clutch performance in the game was JC Romero’s. Actually, forget arguments, it was. The eighth inning had plagued the Phillies lately, and when Brett Myers surrendered three hits (including a run) to start the inning, recent fears immediately surfaced. Romero was brought in to put out the fire against Jim Edmonds, but he was taken out for right-handed pinch hitter Reed Johnson. And despite Romero’s bad splits against righties, he struck him out. Then he struck out righty Ronny Cedeno. After walking lefty Kosuke Fukudome, he struck out righty Geovany Soto. Crazy jubilant celebration justified.

Brad Lidge closed the door for the 32nd time in as many chances. The win keeps the heat on the Mets, facing Florida tonight. Tomorrow a split is almost absolutely necessary.

Associated Press photo

  • 26 Comments
 

Gameday: Phillies (73-62) At Cubs (85-50)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, August 30, 2008 03:11 PM Comments: 92

Headline: Win necessary to split against Cubs
The Major Players: Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Brett Myers, Kosuke Fukudome
The Venue: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Number: 2 games behind (Mets)

The Cubs came back yet again against Phillies pitching, winning 3-2 Friday night at Wrigley. Joe Blanton had a lead through five, but he and the Phils bullpen broke down. The Phils are now two games behind the Mets for first place in the National League East. Today it’s up to Brett Myers to stop the three-game losing streak.

Lilly Padded: The Phils slammed Cubs starter Ted Lilly for five runs in 4.1 innings earlier this season. For his career, Lilly has a 5.19 ERA against the Phils.

Could It Be?: Myers has given up just nine runs in his seven starts since returning from the minor leagues. His ERA has dropped from 5.84 to 4.49 in that time. And with a strong outing today, Myers will move his ERA+ over 100, making him, statistically above average.

Not The Light! Again!: The Phillies are 16-22 in daytime.

Phillies: Brett Myers (7-10) 4.49 ERA
Cubs: Ted Lilly (13-7) 4.23 ERA

Gametime: 3:55 p.m. EST
TV: FOX
Weather: 84, sunny
Lineup:

MLB TV
MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gameday beer: With a flavor of molasses, caramel and chocolate, Moretti Birra La Rossa is a very good Italian beer, unlike most of what you might know about Italian beers. It would go good with any Italian food. Go with fettucini with vegetables. Maybe some chicken parm.

Go Phillies!

  • 92 Comments
 

Phillies Acquire Matt Stairs

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, August 30, 2008 09:27 AM Comments: 50

UPDATE (8/30 9:27 a.m.): Fabio Castro is going to Toronto. Not a prospect, probably could pitch in the majors. No big loss.

***

Ken Rosenthal reported overnight the Phillies acquired Matt Stairs from the Blue Jays for a prospect not known at the moment.

Stairs, a left-handed designated hitter who can play the outfield and possibly first base, is hitting .250 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI for the Jays this season.

Hopefully this isn’t one the better prospects leaving. As it stands, Stairs is an automatic improvement on Geoff Jenkins, who is on the 15-day DL.

  • 50 Comments
 

Phils Blow Another Lead At Wrigley

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, August 30, 2008 09:18 AM Comments: 14

For the third game in a row, the Phillies blew a lead with a member of the bullpen on the hill. And for the third game in a row, the Phillies lost.

The 3-2 loss to the Cubs came with an Alfonso Soriano home run in the eighth inning. Before that homer, a controversial call denied what should’ve scored the Phils’ third run. But really, these little things aren’t the story. The story is a faulty bullpen — yet again — bad managerial decisions and an offense that can’t do a little more than expected.

To the Phils credit, they knocked Cubs starter Rich Harden out of the game after five innings. They were patient, walked, got runners on base. They scored in the first via a Pat Burrell RBI single. Then they scored in the fifth via a throwing error from a Ryan Howard single. Up 2-1, Joe Blanton couldn’t escape the sixth inning (walking five in the game), bringing on Scott Eyre. The usually reliable former Cub walked a runner with the bases loaded, tying the game.

From there, it just fell.

Though the Phils seventh-inning rally ended with the blown out call, Charlie Manuel decided to throw Clay Condrey in the late innings of a tie game in Wrigley Field. Were Chad Durbin and Ryan Madson really that spent (or injured)? Condrey immediately surrendered the Soriano homer. These are the things the Cubs do. The things winning ballclubs do.

The Phils couldn’t come back to at least tie the game. But why would they? Those are the things the Cubs do.

Associated Press photo

  • 14 Comments
 

Gameday: Phillies (73-61) At Cubs (84-50)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, August 29, 2008 01:41 PM Comments: 280

Headline: Former teammates face off for different teams
The Major Players: Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, JC Romero, Shane Victorino
The Venue: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Number: 1 game behind (Mets)

Yesterday sucked. The Phillies carried a 4-1 lead into the eighth inning but lost to the Cubs, 6-4. Today Joe Blanton faces former teammate Rich Harden, who has been almost unhittable since joining Chicago.

History Lesson: Earlier in the season, Harden beat the Phillies without barely doing much work. He gave up just two hits, both to Shane Victorino. The Flyin’ Hawaiian will need to “do work” today..

Blantonator: Blanton has a 3.00 ERA in his last five starts. Sunday he pitched pretty well against the Dodgers, en route to a victory over the Blue.

Not The Light!: The Phillies are 16-21 in daytime.

Revert: Charlie Manuel is back to the old lineup, with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hitting three and four and Victorino in the two-hole.

Phillies: Joe Blanton (6-12) 4.75 ERA
Cubs: Rich Harden (9-2) 2.00 ERA

Gametime: 2:20 p.m. EST
Weather: 82, partly cloudy
Lineup: Rollins/Victorino/Utley/Howard/Burrell/Werth/Dobbs/Ruiz/Blanton

MLB TV
MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gameday beer: The Surly Brewing Company presents CynicAle. And why not? I’m pretty cynical about this teamoing into today’s game. Harden sports a 2.00 ERA. I mean, 2.00! And the Phils are not a good daytime team. Add that to recent bullpen woes, and this isn’t a recipe for victory. One can only hope, though! Oh, enjoy this with a chicken pesto and mozarella sandwich.

Go Phillies!

  • 280 Comments
 
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