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Archive for February, 2009

Familiar Names Take Hill Against Reds

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, February 27, 2009 12:30 PM Comments: 21

Reds 60sThe Phillies are 0-2, but that’s no problem. Still, they’d like to earn a win, and they’ll try that today against the Reds in Sarasota.

Drew Carpenter starts for the Phillies. The youngster spent 2008 in almost every level imaginable, even getting a chance to pitch in Philadelphia. While he’s no candidate for the 25-man roster, he faces a serious season in 2009. Behind him is Antonio Bastardo, Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero and Sergio Escalona.

You may have heard of most of these guys — Durbin and Madson are on the 25-man roster, Romero will be joining them, maybe by game No. 51. Bastardo, meanwhile, is the No. 15 prospect on the Phillies Nation 25, and a candidate for the final bullpen spot. As a left-hander, he might be favored over a guy like Gary Majewski. Escalona also is a left-hander, but probably isn’t primed for the bigs.

Jayson Werth didn’t make the trip to Sarasota. Lineup: Shane Victorino (CF) / Jason Donald (3B) / Raul Ibanez (LF) / Matt Stairs (DH) / Greg Dobbs (1B) / Geoff Jenkins (RF) / Pablo Ozuna (2B) / Ozzie Chavez (SS) / Lou Marson (C)

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Report: Mayberry Impressive In Camp

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, February 27, 2009 11:00 AM Comments: 6

Scott Lauber is all over the place this spring, and in his blog, he provided some insight on outfield prospect John Mayberry Jr., who the Phillies picked up in a trade with the Rangers.

Big outfielder John Mayberry Jr. continues to impress. During batting practice, he crushed a ball off the thatched roof of the Frenchy’s Tiki bar beyond the left-field fence. Even his teammates were impressed. Then, in the second inning, he sprinted back toward the warning track and made a nice catch to take a hit from Travis Snider. Mayberry can run a bit, too, although he was thrown out at home plate trying to score on a throwing error in the second inning. He’s 6-foot-6, and his long running stride reminds me of Dave Winfield.

Can Mayberry — who hit .263 with 16 home runs and 58 RBI in 2008 — translate those tools into major league play? That remains to be seen; currently he’s whiffing more at the plate than delivering. But there’s hope yet in the big guy, and he’ll get some opportunities.

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Opinion: Eaton Ends Phillies Risky Pitching Ways

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, February 27, 2009 10:17 AM Comments: 6

Friday, Feb. 27, 2009. The day the Adam Eaton era died.

Well, it didn’t quite die, but kind of sputtered until it became a flopping goldfish on the pavement. Yes, Adam Eaton was the goldfish of the Phillies.

In the two seasons he pitched in Philadelphia, Eaton went 14-18 with a 6.09 ERA. How bad is that? I actually had to do the math twice to make sure I wasn’t seeing things – a 6.09 ERA. When he pitched, he was prone to giving up singles, and doubles, and triples, and home runs. He actually had good control, but his stuff sat over the plate and looked like beach balls to opposing hitters. His out pitch: Inconclusive. Outs? Barely got them.

Eaton was one of two major missteps of the Pat Gillick era – the other being the Freddy Garcia trade. Gillick decided Eaton was the best pitcher on the free agent market in 2006, pouncing on him early and locking him in for three seasons and $24 million. The front office thought Eaton’s 4.20 ERA resume in San Diego would translate to better things in Philadelphia. But did they see how Eaton’s ERA jumped up a point after leaving San Diego for Arlington, Tex.? Did they see that Eaton was all smoke and mirrors?

The Adam Eaton signing will forever be the worst signing in Gillick’s otherwise skillful tenure as general manager. He’s a blemish that is more than a blemish, merely because of his paychecks. And because they stuck with him so long – but that’s because of his paychecks.

Eaton might be the last time in a while the Phillies gamble hard on somewhat unproven pitching commodities. In the 2008 offseason they risked small amounts for Derek Lowe – when he didn’t bite initially, they drew back. Though Lowe is proven, he performed best at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. In the pinball machine that is Fenway Park, Lowe suffered. After Eaton, the Phillies are smarter, shrewder.

That is the legacy of Adam Eaton – that he represents the last of a long line of iron-hot risks. Now some scuffling club might take that gamble on Eaton in 2009, but they won’t have to pay him $8.6 million. They’ll take him in, test him out, hope he survives. If not, he’ll splatter around on the pavement again, but at least that team won’t have to see him slowly fade away.

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Breaking News: Phillies Release Adam Eaton

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, February 27, 2009 09:49 AM Comments: 33

Scott Lauber reports the Phillies have released pitcher Adam Eaton.

Eaton went 4-8 with a 5.80 ERA last season and went 10-10 with a 6.29 ERA in 2007. The Phillies will pay him approximately $8.6 million in 2009.

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Jayson Werth’s Absence No Issue, Phillies Say

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, February 27, 2009 09:42 AM Comments: 16

Jayson Werth hasn’t played an inning yet, and won’t do so until at least Saturday. But according to the Phillies, it’s not an issue. From Charlie Manuel, via David Murphy:

“He’s just not ready to go. He’s just not ready to go yet. Swinging, running, everything. That happens a lot. It’s no big deal. He’s not a whole lot out of shape, just the way he’s been going through it.”

So Werth is training awkwardly? It’s slightly off-putting that Werth wasn’t ready to start playing games. Is he aching? Is he tired? I don’t quite understand how someone who’s supposedly not injured is having trouble playing simple Spring Training baseball. Even if he was “out of shape,” he could still play.

It’s interesting to note that Werth experienced some growing pains last spring. He scuffled for the first few weeks of play; still, he came out of the gates strong in 2008. For now this whole “issue” isn’t an issue, and we can take it with a grain of salt. But that fishy smell isn’t too far away.

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The Nation Minute – 02.27.09

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, February 27, 2009 06:00 AM Comments: 7

In today’s Minute, a recap of yesterday’s loss and a look ahead at today’s game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoxUqeCRN-c[/youtube]

As always, e-mail me at tim@philliesnation.com

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100 Greatest Phillies: 29 – Juan Samuel

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, February 26, 2009 05:30 PM Comments: 34

Juan Samuel
Second Baseman
1983-1989

Career w/Phillies: .262 AVG / 100 HR / 413 RBI / 249 SB

Sammy. From 1983 to 1989, Juan Samuel was the resident thief at Veterans Stadium, swiping bags like it was his job. Well, it was his job. Seventh in franchise history in stolen bases, he holds the single-season mark with his 72 swipes in 1984. He fell back to Earth with 53 in 1985, then 42, 35 and 33 in ’86, ’87 and ’88, respectively. Otherwise he was a consummate free swinger (“You don’t walk off the island, you hit.”), striking out at least 140 times in five consecutive seasons while only drawing an average of about 40 walks per season (he led the National League in strikeouts his first four full seasons in the league). The free swinging paid off a bit, as he clubbed a career-high 28 home runs in 1987, driving in 100 in the process. The two-time All Star and runner-up for 1984 Rookie of the Year was the first player in major league history to reach double figures in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases in each of his first four major league seasons. He was traded in midseason 1989 to the Mets. The Phillies received Lenny Dykstra — a good move, in retrospect. Samuel was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2008.

Comment: Sammy was a fine player to watch, and my first favorite player (along with Schmidty). Kid could run. Kid could hit. Of course both tapered off quickly, but for a few great years, Sammy was clearly one of the leaders of the pack in Major League Baseball. He kicks off the top 30.

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Carrasco, Happ Shine In 6-2 Loss

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, February 26, 2009 04:30 PM Comments: 7

Carlos Carrasco and JA Happ kicked off the Fight For Fifth with gusto Thursday. The rest of the Phillies, however? No gusto.

The Phillies lost 6-2 to the Blue Jays. The story was Carrasco and Happ, who each pitched scoreless two-inning outings. Carrasco yielded no hits and struck out three; Happ struck out one and surrendered a hit.

Elsewhere, the Phillies struggled again both on the mound and at the plate. Justin Lehr gave up back-to-back home runs, and Blaine Neal let up four of his own. Gary Majewski, however, turned in a solid two innings of work, striking out two and surrendering no hits. Jimmy Rollins drove in Jason Ellison with a single in the third inning; Greg Dobbs drove in John Mayberry Jr. with a single in the sixth. The Phillies are now 0-2 on the spring and will play the Reds tomorrow in Sarasota. Andrew Carpenter and the three setup relievers are scheduled to pitch, among others.

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Road Trip to Washington, DC

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, February 26, 2009 03:43 PM Comments: 27

Phillies Nation DC tailgate Party This year’s much anticipated road trip to Washington, DC to see the Phillies take on the Nationals will take place on Saturday, May 16th.

If you have not yet been to the new Nationals Park, now is the time to go – and this is the only Saturday the Phillies will be in DC all season. The game is at 7pm and we will be meeting at McFadden’s in Citizens Bank Park at noon for discounted drinks and an exclusive Phillies Nation party. You can park in the CBP lots and the bus will leave at 2pm.

Tickets are the same price as last year, $80, and include:

  • Seat to and from DC on a comfy motorcoach showing classic Phillies videos
  • Tickets to the game in Section 102 (next to Phillies bullpen)
  • Tailgate party in parking lot and refreshments on the bus (including some of Tim’s favorite beers)
  • Lots of Phillies and Phillies Nation giveaways

Click here to reserve your spot now.

If we get enough people we’ll try for two buses, but for now we’re planning on just one bus.

Not immediately ready to sign up?  Check out the fun times from last year’s trip and the one in 2006.  Stay tuned for our more road trips to visit the Yankees and Mets as well as other parties throughout the season.

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Carrasco, Happ Start Fight For Fifth Vs. Blue Jays

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, February 26, 2009 12:25 PM Comments: 61

Blue Jays 2003The Fight For Fifth (TM) begins today when the Phillies open their home spring slate against the Blue Jays. Gametime is 1:05 p.m.

Carlos Carrasco gets the ball for the Phillies – the Phillies Nation No. 1 prospect will make his first spring start, though he already has won plenty of success in the offseason, pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League. Carrasco is a darkhorse candidate for the fifth starter spot.

JA Happ is a leading contender, and he’ll pitch after Carrasco. Justin Lehr, Gary Majewski, Blaine Neal and Yorman Bazardo are scheduled to throw after them; of the four, Majewski has the best shot of making the 25-man roster, with Neal not a bad underdog pick. Your lineup, courtesy Scott Lauber, is Jimmy Rollins (SS) / Jason Donald (3B) / Raul Ibanez (LF) / Ryan Howard (DH) / John Mayberry (RF) / Greg Dobbs (1B) / Marcus Giles (2B) / Jason Ellison (CF) / Carlos Ruiz (C).

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