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Archive for February, 2010

Year In Review: Jimmy Rollins

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, February 06, 2010 02:20 PM Comments: 22

The Philadelphia Phillies are usually playing their best baseball when their spark plug is productive.  “As J-Roll goes, the Phillies go.”  2009 was no different.

Before the season started, Rollins batted .417 with a home run and four RBIs for Team USA during the World Baseball Classic.  With the hot start, it was thought that Rollins would carrying his success into the regular season.  However, it was only a sample size of at-bats.  Things didn’t go as planned, and Rollins batted .229 during the first half of the season.

The Phillies started to struggle in Interleague play, and after an 0-for-28 slump in late June, Charlie Manuel benched Rollins for four games.  His average plummeted to .205, so Manuel thought some time off would clear his mind. 

Rollins returned and batted .358 in his next 13 games, which included seven multi-hit games.  In addition, it led to a re-surged Phillies ball club.  In July, Rollins batted .313 with a .924 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Rollins continued to improve as the season moved along.  He hit .272 with 14 home runs  in the second half of the season.  Rollins batted .234 in the playoffs, but his walk-off hit in the National League Championship Series overshadowed everything.

As always, Rollins defense was stellar.  His best fielding percentage among all shortstops led to his third consecutive Gold Glove Award.

During this off season, the Phillies already picked up Rollins’ $8.5 million option for 2011.  If he keeps goin’, so will the Phillies.  Afterall, he’s only the best shortstop in Phillies history.

2009 stats: 155 games, .250 AVG, .296 OBP, .423 SLG, .719 OPS, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 31 SB

Grade: 7.9 — His defense was always there, but his offense only showed up for half of the season.  If the grade was based on clutch hits in the playoffs, he’d get a perfect ten.

This concludes our 2009 Year In Review.  To view the entire list, click here and enjoy all  of the player recaps.

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Whom Can We Trust?

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, February 05, 2010 02:46 PM Comments: 44

I’m not that easily shocked, but something happened to me Wednesday night that I think bears repeating here. I was at a bar with a couple friends, when, realizing that the famed “Pitchers and Catchers” was only a couple weeks away, I let out a sigh and said, almost without thinking, “God, I’m ready for baseball season to start again.”

Three tables away, a man overheard my comment, came over my table, and almost without warning launched into a three-minutes of some of the most hateful invective I’ve ever heard about one Cole Hamels. I began offering some counter-arguments (“Cole was distracted with the new wife and baby” and “Cole was unlucky with his high BABIP”), but this man was hearing nothing of it. He didn’t hear me, because he was screaming so loud and not stopping to breathe, and even if he had, I don’t think he would have cared much about the fact that Cole allowed two more hits per 9 innings in 2009 than 2008, despite almost all other peripheral stats remaining the same.

It occurred to me that the Phillies’ ascendancy in 2007 and 2008 was due in large part to three players who, for whatever reason, were all just abject disappointments in 2009. These three–Jimmy Rollins, Hamels, and Brad Lidge, will all be back in prominent roles in 2010. I don’t think it’s fair to blame these three for the failure to repeat (after all, a lot of things went wrong in that World Series), but I do think it would help if the Phillies had a leadoff hitter with an OBP over .300, a No. 2 starter who’s somewhat more consistent than two-hit shutout one night, then 7 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings five days later, and a closer who’s not having literally the worst year ever for a full-season closer.

So from these three stalwart Phillies, what can we expect? Whom can we trust?

Continue reading Whom Can We Trust?

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The Total WAR Project, Part V: Los Angeles Dodgers

Posted by Paul Boye, Fri, February 05, 2010 02:20 PM Comments: 15

The Total WAR Project is a series of posts Mike and I began back at The Phrontiersman. In each post, we take a look at the biggest competition the Phillies will likely face – within their division, the National League and the American League – and evaluate their offseasons. Have these teams improved? Have they weakened? How good are the Phillies, in terms of WAR, in relation to their closest competition? Well, that last one will be reserved for the final post in the series. For now, we’re setting our sights on our competitors.

We’re using WAR – Wins Above Replacement – exclusively here, as it contains both offensive and defensive evaluations combined into one single, easy-to-use statistic. There are a few iterations of WAR, none differing greatly, and we use the one supplied by Fangraphs for our numbers and projections.

Typically, these posts begin with some sort of allegorical war story to tie in with the team we’re about to evaluate. You want a war story? Go read some of the comments on the last entry in the series, posted by Mike on the Cardinals.

In this episode, we’ll be taking a look at the National League runners-up in two straight seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Shall we?

Continue reading The Total WAR Project, Part V: Los Angeles Dodgers

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Scott Proefrock on 97.3 ESPN FM

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, February 04, 2010 04:39 PM Comments: 8

Phillies Assistant GM Scott Proefrock was a guest of the Sports Bash today and talked about the state of the team, including some chatter about Cliff Lee. He touched on such topics as Placido Polanco, Cole Hamels, and the health of the bullpen.  Proefrock also showed enthusiasm while talking about the youngsters in the system.

Listen to the interview right here:

Scott Proefrock on our partner station, 97.3 ESPN FM

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Phils Ink Villarreal

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, February 04, 2010 02:36 PM Comments: 22

In their never-ending quest for arms, the Phillies signed former Braves and Astros relief pitcher Oscar Villarreal to a one-year, minor league deal today.

Villarreal last pitched in the majors in 2008, sitting all of last season after Tommy John surgery.  His last full year was with Houston, and it was relatively uninspiring.  He posted a 5.03 ERA in 35 appearances in ’08 and has had an up-and-down major league career.

According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, Villarreal tossed a bullpen session in Arizona and threw about 89-90 mph and will be certainly be looked at as plug for the leaky pen.

  • 22 Comments
 

Submit Your Recipes for the Phillies Nation Tailgate Cookbook

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, February 04, 2010 11:42 AM Comments: 0

The Beerman GrillithAs you may have heard, we’re collecting recipes for the first edition of our Tailgate Cookbook. We’ve already had many creative submissions like “Grand Salami Pie” and “Philly Phanatic Honey Dew Melon Daiquiris”.

Preferably, the recipe can be prepared in a parking lot using portable equipment, but if you’re more of a couch tailgater and have a special food you like, you can submit that too. Our book will cover three chapters: tailgating at the park, tailgating at home, and tailgating with booze (food and drink recipes using alcohol).

We’ll test all the recipes and select the most delicious ones to be published (with credit) in our book. Use the form below to enter or upload your favorites and email us with any questions.

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Year In Review: Pedro Martinez

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, February 03, 2010 03:33 PM Comments: 33

You’d have to go back a long time to find a pitcher in Phillies pinstripes who had a better career resume than Pedro Martinez. In his day, he was as dominant as any right-handed pitcher ever to play the game.

So even though he would turn 38 during the playoffs, and even though his previous three seasons could best be described as “injury-riddled” or “mediocre,” the Phillies, in a scene straight out of a thousand movies, talked him into giving it one last spin.

And you know what? In 12 starts, counting the postseason, he wasn’t too bad. It was obvious that this wasn’t the turn-of-the-century Pedro who was so dominant he looked bored half the time. But he maintained his impeccable control (4.63 K/BB ratio for the regular season), changed arm angles, and could still reach back for a low-90s fastball a couple times a game.

All in all, what turned out to be a low-risk deal for $1 million plus incentives paid off quite well. By the time he signed in mid-July, the Phillies had, for months, trotted out a finally over-the-hill Jamie Moyer and a parade of fringe veterans and AAA kids who might not have quite been ready. Pedro stepped into the fifth starter’s spot and pitched well enough that he warranted three outings in the playoffs. And that’s where this gets complicated.

In his first start, Game 2 of the NLCS, Pedro looked like he had been cryogenically frozen after the 1999 season and the Phillies had decided to decant him for the occasion. Seven shutout innings, only two baserunners allowed, 23 batters faced, only 87 pitches thrown. Of course, the Phillies eventually lost when Chase Utley started throwing to an imaginary fifteen-foot high first baseman.

But Uncle Cholly was impressed enough to throw Pedro back into the fray for Game 2 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. He didn’t pitch badly, even amid a chorus of “Who’s Your Daddy?” chants. He struck out eight Yankees in six innings, but he took the loss when either A.J. Burnett had the game of his life, or the Phillies hitters just forgot to show up.

Game 6 was a different story. All I’ll say about that game is that Andy Pettitte didn’t pitch that great either, and while Pedro could have saved the series by throwing a three-hit shutout, I don’t know if it was reasonable to expect him to do that.

So for a good half-season, an up-and-down playoff run, and the best Jheri curl since Michael Jackson’s Thriller album cover, I thank you, Pedro Martinez, and wish you well.

2009 numbers: 5-1, 3.63 ERA, 44.2 IP, 37 K, .276 BAA, 1.25 WHIP, 4 HBP

Grade: 5.5/10—Let’s face it, he was an average pitcher for half a season, and that World Series Game 6 was something of a stinker. But an effective and entertaining starter in July on a “Why not?” signing is worth at least a golf clap.

  • 33 Comments
 

Odds and Ends: Dykstra, Lowry, Howard

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, February 02, 2010 09:37 AM Comments: 80

-Poor Lenny Dykstra. It seems he has hit rock bottom as his mansion is now up for sale in California for $14.9 million. “Nails”, as he was so affectionately called here in Philly for years, left the house a mess according to Reuters. Dog feces and raw sewage were some of the items left behind by the former centerfielder.

Dykstra is going through a financial free fall, as he owes nearly $13 million on the property and is being nailed (pun intended) by 20 different lawsuits following his bankruptcy. Check out a great piece in ESPN the Magazine about his so-called business that was making millions. Tough fall for someone who was once a tough dude.

-Noah Lowry’s throwing session has been pushed back to allow for his twice-surgically repaired arm to heal a bit more before putting it on display.  The 29-year-old Lowry has missed the last two full seasons with a neuromuscular disorder, but is angling for a new job after things went south with the Giants.  You can read Paul Hagen’s article from the Daily News regarding the details of that.

Again, Lowry would be a nice pickup should he sign a minor league deal. Say it with me: you can never have to many arms.

-Ryan Howard is in Clearwater. The Phillies cleanup hitter has been working with Sam Perlozzo, according to the Inquirer, and looks even more slender than a year ago.  Roy Halladay has reportedly been working out at the Phillies spring training complex as well, which is a quick drive from his offseason home in Oldsmar, FL. Good to see the $20 million men getting a head start on what should be another incredible season for both.

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Darren Daulton’s Celeb Darts Outing a Success

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, February 01, 2010 10:26 AM Comments: 13

It was a great turnout for a great cause.  McFadden’s Ballpark was packed with Phillies fans of all ages to support Darren Daulton’s favorite charity; the Arc of Philadelphia.  Garry Maddox, Larry Christensen, and Larry Anderson all played darts with fans (including myself) and all had a blast.  “Dutch” put together a great night, and was helped by Michael Barkann of CSN, and his wife, Ellen.  Barkann was the emcee of the event.  Here are some pictures:

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