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Archive for July, 2010

Gameday: Phillies (56-47) at Nationals (45-58)

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sat, July 31, 2010 06:15 PM Comments: 192

Philadelphia Phillies (56-46) at Washington Nationals (44-58)washington-nationals-logo

Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.85 ERA) vs. Ross Detwiler (0-1, 0.00 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Nationals
Weather:
Partly Cloudy, 83 Degrees
TV:
CSN Philly
Follow Twitter here

The Phillies will look to start a new winning streak after the dropping the series opener last night against the Nationals. Newly acquired Roy Oswalt never really got into a groove against the last place team in the NL East.

Oh the hill for the Phightins will be Joe Blanton. Blanton is coming off one of this strongest starts of the season giving up only two runs throwing six innings and picking up the win against Colorado. It was only his third win in his past eight starts. Kentucky Joe has struggled on the road going 1-4 with a 6.51 ERA.

Ross Detwiler will take the ball for the Nats. Detwiler is coming off his first start of the season against Milwaukee after having surgery on his hip this past offseason. Despite his 0.00 ERA he did take the loss giving up five runs; all unearned.

The Philly bats will look to heat up again. They only scored one run last night courtesy of a Jayson Werth home run; his 15th. Werth is 11 for his last 24 with two homers. He will be batting 4th in the lineup tonight as Ryan Howard has the night off. Domonic Brown, after going 2-4 last night, is in the lineup again batting 6th and playing right field.

Lineup: Rollins 6, Polanco 5, Ibanez 7, Werth 8, Ransom 3, Brown 9, Ruiz 2, Valdez 4, Blanton 1

Hoegaarden

Your gameday beer: Woodchuck Cider Granny Smith

Woodchuck is tasty, fairly priced, and won’t dry you out. And one good thing about playing in the Nation’s capitol is that most bars in the area probably carry this Cider. Make it your gameday and celebratory beer tonight. So drink up and cool down. -KC

Go Phillies!

  • 192 Comments
 

Oswalt Unpoised in Phillies Debut

Posted by Corey Seidman, Sat, July 31, 2010 03:31 AM Comments: 69

Don’t misinterpret this headline – no judgment is being passed on Roy Oswalt’s ability after one late July start. I mean, it’s not as if Roy Number Two a) pitched well in his debut Friday, b) hit his spots, or c) threw effective breaking pitches, but the mediocre first impression he left is not indicative of the The Real Roy Oswalt.

THAT is not the Oswalt you’re gonna get. So there’s no need for overreaction and even less of a need for worries.

There’s your “good” news. The bad news is that Oswalt looked completely unpoised in his six innings of work – letting his emotions show almost on-cue following every hanging breaking ball.

Now, emotions can be refreshing at times. Bill Simmons wrote a bunch of words last night about how boring players create an air of apathy (he didn’t write those exact words, but mentioned how it’s hard to identify with J.D. Drew because he carries a pokerface wherever he goes.)

Very, very rarely, however, are profanity and frustrated body language beneficial on the mound.

Once upon a time, Cole Hamels got flustered easily. The best way to describe Hamels’ prior tendencies after a poor play in the field would be “visibly upset.” This is how Oswalt appeared after Roger Bernadina’s double, Adam Dunn’s hit by pitch, and Josh Willingham’s two-run double.

On Bernadina’s double, Oswalt blatantly said “f–k, motherf—er,” almost immediately after Comcast SportsNet’s director called for a close-up on him. He made sure to add a “f–k, son of a b—h” before delivering his next pitch.

There are many reasons a pitcher can struggle on a given night, but poise, a solid mindset, and the ability to execute each play a massive role in subsequent outcomes. It is ironic that Oswalt’s blood pressure increased so much Friday night, because the pitcher he was traded for, J.A. Happ, is an absolute corpse on the mound. Nothing phases him.

(But, uh…yeah, I’ll still take Oswalt’s talent.)

Rarely is a pitcher effective once the floodgates of frustration open. Carlos Zambrano has showed us time and time and time again. The Hamels of old showed us, too, and Brett Myers before him. Friday was an off-night for Oswalt, but there was no-coming-back-for-him once he let his irritation build and surface.

An adjective like “fiery” is not something we can read about on paper from references in Houston. Oswalt may be an extremely fiery guy. That is something we’ll see for ourselves and be able to better determine after a few more starts. Maybe he is just so high strung that emotions and expletives fly no matter what the situation.

Or, hey, maybe he just can’t execute against the Nationals. On May 31, Oswalt pitched only 2.2 innings versus the Nats before his repeated arguing with home plate umpire Bill Hohn led to an ejection. Oswalt couldn’t hit his spots that day against Washington, nor could he on Friday.

The good news is: you don’t have to worry about his performance. This was merely an ill-timed off-night for Oswalt.

The bad news is, New Roy needs work on his pokerface.

  • 69 Comments
 

Winning Streak Stops at Eight

Posted by Amanda Orr, Fri, July 30, 2010 11:09 PM Comments: 18

All good things come to an end.  The Phillies’ eight game winning streak came to a halt as the Phillies fell 8-1 to the Washington Nationals.  The loss came on a night where Roy Oswalt made his anticipated Phillies debut, but could not live up to the expectations.

The loss was Oswalt’s 13th of the season, which leads the majors.  Nyjer Morgan greeted him with a lead-off triple, and eventually scored.  The Nationals did not look back. Oswalt did not get much help from his defense.  Craig Stammen laid down a poor bunt.  The Phillies should have been able to get the lead runner at third base, however nobody covered third as Carlos Ruiz’s throw sailed into left field.

Oswalt lasted six innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, and two walks.  He struck out four and hit two batters.  Regardless, it was a very disappointing debut for Oswalt.  However, don’t call this trade a bust.  Oswalt still remains as one of the top pitchers in the game; he just had a rough night.  It happens to every pitcher.

The Phillies made Oswalt feel right at home with their lack of run support.  Oswalt’s offense averages 2.51 runs per game when he pitches.  The Phillies lone run came on a home run from Jayson Werth.  Stammen, who entered the game with an ERA over five, made hitters look silly.  The Phillies couldn’t do anything.

It’s always tough to lose to a last place team, but the streak wasn’t going to last forever.  The Phillies could build a new streak tomorrow, but they have to focus on one game at a time.

Here are some photos from the game:

  • 18 Comments
 

Gameday: Phillies (56-46) at Nationals (44-58)

Posted by Amanda Orr, Fri, July 30, 2010 06:30 PM Comments: 155

Philadelphia Phillies (56-46) at Washington Nationals (44-58)washington-nationals-logo

Roy Oswalt (6-12, 3.43 ERA) vs. Craig Stammen (2-4, 5.50 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Nationals
Weather:
Sunny, 85 Degrees
TV:
CSN Philly
Follow Twitter here

The Phillies have put together a nice eight game winning streak, putting themselves ten games over .500.  It’s been awhile since the Phillies found themselves at that mark, but they are also closing in on the gap in the division and wild card (2.5 GB in the National League East; 1.5 GB in the Wild Card).  Now, they have another ace on the mound, and facing a very sweep-able last place team.  The Phillies even lucked out by not seeing Stephen Strasburg this series.  Things keep getting better and better.  Other teams should start to worry.

The last time the Phillies were in Washington, Roy Halladay made his Phillies debut.  Now, another Roy will be doing the same.  Newly acquired Roy Oswalt will make his first start as a Phillie, after waiving his no-trade clause in a trade that sent J.A Happ and two minor leaguers to Houston.

Oswalt is 6-12 this season, but don’t let that record fool you.  The Astros are not a good team, and failed to give Oswalt run support.  Hence why wins aren’t a good stat to use to determine how good a pitcher is.  Oswalt has a good ERA of 3.42 and WHIP of 1.11.  He averages about two walks, seven hits, and eight strikeouts per nine innings, having a respectable walks/strikeout ratio.  He does not surrender the long ball often.

Oswalt finished in the top 5 in the Cy Young voting five times in his ten-year career.  His repertoire consists of a fastball, curveball, changeup, and a slider.  His curveball is his best off-speed pitch.

On the flip side, Craig Stammen goes for Washington.  The 26-year old did not make it through six innings in his last five starts.  He has struggled heavily against the Phillies, having an ERA over 15 in two starts.

Nine in a row would be sweet for the Phillies.  Perhaps even sweeter because Roy Oswalt is a Phillie, and at a steal.

Your gameday beer: Yeah man. Here’s Dogfish 90 Minute IPA. The 90 Minute is a sterling beer, flavorful and not overly strong in taste. But it hits you, and it hits you hard. It’s 9 percent, so it gets you good after a few. Drink with caution. And eat some mussels with it. – By Tim
GO PHILLIES!

  • 155 Comments
 

Pat Gallen on Good Day Philadelphia

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, July 30, 2010 03:30 PM Comments: 4

Check out this video of Pat Gallen discussing the Oswalt deal and making some bold predictions on this morning’s Good Day Philadelphia on Fox.

  • 4 Comments
 

Scouting Roy Oswalt

Posted by Corey Seidman, Fri, July 30, 2010 03:11 PM Comments: 18

I project Comcast SportsNet’s scouting report to look like this tonight:

  • Exceptional command, strikeout stuff
  • 92-94 mph fastball, low-70s curve
  • Workhorse!!!

While CSN has mercifully gotten away from the third-line exclamation points in recent weeks, their scouting reports leave a bit to be desired. So, without further ado, let’s get to know Roy Oswalt on the field and off…

Holmes Community College

Ah, the prestigious HCC. Located in Goodman, Mississippi, I’d imagine this is the equivalent of a player for Bucks County Community College being drafted.

Oswalt was drafted and followed by the Astros in 1995, after his freshman season. The team offered him $50,000 to sign, but he took a chance and decided to return to school. Oswalt’s tough decision paid immediate dividends, as he proceeded to grow two inches, put on fifteen pounds, and pick up three miles per hour of life on his fastball.

That $50,000 signing bonus turned into $500,000 the next year, when Houston selected him in the 23rd round of the 1996 draft.

Five Years Later

On May 6, 2001, a sub-six foot-righthander from Weir, Mississippi made his major league debut in Montreal. He pitched one inning in relief, giving up two hits and a run, and striking out one batter named Vladimir Guerrero.

Aside from Oswalt and Guerrero, only six players remain from his debut: Julio Lugo, Lance Berkman, Octavio Dotel, Geoff Blum, Milton Bradley, and Guillermo Mota. Phillies minor leaguer Andy Tracy batted third for the Expos.

Eight days later, Oswalt picked up the first win of his career in Cincinnati, a place he would dominate for the next decade.

Oswalt was dynamite in his rookie season, going 14-3 with a 2.73 ERA, and compiling 144 strikeouts against 24 walks in 141 innings. He finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting to some guy nobody ever heard from again, Albert Pujols.

Success Becomes Mediocrity

In Oswalt’s first five seasons as an Astro, the team was 445-365, a .549 winning percentage. They made the playoffs three times in that span, getting swept out of the 2001 NLDS by the Braves, losing in seven games to the Cardinals in the classic 2004 NLCS, and losing four in a row to the White Sox in the 2005 World Series.

From that point, everything went downhill for the ‘Stros.

Houston is 357-391 since the 2005 World Series, and has finished in the bottom half of the NL Central standings more often than not.

According to his agent, Bob Garber, as well as ESPN writer and idol, Jayson Stark, Oswalt was just bored. He was bored with mediocrity, bored with half-filled stadiums and two-thirds worth of meaningless games. There’s no adrenaline in that, even for a major leaguer facing top competition.

Tonight

Oswalt makes his Phillies debut tonight against the Nationals in DC. What will we see from him?

  • Oswalt throws a 92-94 mph fastball that he used almost 70% of the time from 2001-08, but that dropped to 60% last year and 55% so far this year
  • His curveball, widely regarded as one of the game’s best, is his out-pitch. The twenty mile per hour drop between his fastball and curve, combined with huge break, buckles knees with regularity.
  • Oswalt also features a mid-80s slider and a low-80s changeup.
  • Just by looking at the degrees to which he changes speeds, you can see why Oswalt has had so much success – it is very hard to sit on anything when you have to be ready for mid-70s, mid-80s, and mid-90s.

Oswalt is a strike-throwing machine, and, this season, he has had command of his best swing-and-miss stuff since the first three years of his career. From 2005-to-2009, batters made contact with roughly 82% of Oswalt’s pitches. This year, it’s down to 79%. His swinging strike rate of 9.5% is the highest it has been since 2004.

As for the dimensions of Citizens Bank Park, Oswalt should fit in fine. You cannot forget that Minute Maid Park in Houston is one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums in all of baseball. We’re not talking about a PETCO-to-CBP change of scenery, here.

Oswalt has career ground ball-fly ball-line drive percentage splits of 47-32-21. In the last two years, his groundball numbers have dropped four percentage points while being substituted with flyballs, but home runs have never really been a problem. Oswalt’s career high in home runs allowed is 23 (2008), and his 0.8 homers allowed per nine innings since ’01 is right on par with Roy Halladay’s 0.7-per-nine in that same span.

In Oswalt, the Phillies have found a strike thrower and a quality innings-eater with swing and miss stuff that would be the ace on thirteen National League teams.

Tonight should be fun.

  • 18 Comments
 

The Dip: A Response to Paul Hagan

Posted by The Dipsy, Fri, July 30, 2010 12:30 PM Comments: 38

On the back of today’s Philadelphia Daily News read the teaser: “Oswalt is Phils’ Admission That Trading Lee Was A Mistake”. The article that lied therein was written by Paul Hagen who, while I guess still technically a beat writer covering the Phils, has been paid for years to report on the most mundane aspects of Phils baseball. But apparently, Hagen is not without an opinion, and some bad ones at that.

Firstly, Hagen opines that the Phillies should have just kept Lee and avoided this whole necessity to trade for more starting pitching. Implicit in this reasoning is that Ruben Amaro, Jr. knew at the beginning of the season that Joe Blanton, no fragile animal, would injury himself early and struggle to become effective for most of the season. Ruben must also have known that JA Happ would himself miss almost the whole season with injuries of his own. And that Moyer would blow out his elbow. While we all know that injuries are a part of the game, the necessity of relying primarily on two starters for the whole season is something that I think we all agree that no one could have foreseen. Injuries are an unknown variable and when the Phillies started to bear their allotment to the point where their pennant hopes were started to slip away, Amaro made the big move to compensate. Kudos to you, sir.

In his article, Hagen seems troubled that the Phillies might be mortgaging their future for the sake of the present:

[The Oswalt Deal] ..also increases the odds that, in the not-too-distant future, they will have a roster chocked with costly older players on the downside of their careers and reinforcements down on the farm to replace them.”

Paul, in case you haven’t noticed, Ruben has structured the Phils payroll to siphon out big money starting after the 2011 season. Gone will be Lidge, Moyer, Ibanez, and after 2012, Rollins and Polanco. So I guess you mean those artifacts, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, and Chase Utley that will be hanging around for awhile. None will be 36. Some may disagree with the Howard contract (I don’t), and that’s fair, but on the whole, Ruben has managed this payroll nicely.

No reinforcements? Let me throw some names at ya: Domonic Brown, Jonathan Singleton, Harold Garcia, Trevor May, Brody Colvin, Jarrod Cosart, Phillip Aumont, J.C. Ramirez, Tyson Gilles, Vance Worley. Wait, my fingers are getting tired. While most of this talent is still in A ball, the drip of contributing players will start in about two years, the time when the older players start to leave. My gosh, it almost seems like a plan.

So Paul, you are wrong as wrong can be and in every facet of your reasoning. Roy Oswalt coming to the Phils is all about adjusting to circumstances, to think on one’s feet and the ability to be nimble. The Phillies don’t bemoan things that didn’t work; they go out and fix things.

  • 38 Comments
 

The Three-Year Plan

Posted by Corey Seidman, Fri, July 30, 2010 03:18 AM Comments: 76

Know where the Phillies were on July 29, 2007?

They were in second place at 55-49, sitting 3.5 behind the Mets.

They beat the Pirates 5-1 that day. Jimmy Rollins went 3-for-4 out of the three-hole and Kyle Kendrick went 7-6-1-1-4.

Two days prior, the Phils traded Rich Dubee’s son, Michael, for a stop-gap solution at second base named Tadahito Iguchi. A day later they would trade Matt Maloney to the Reds for Kyle Lohse.

Know where they were on July 29, 2008?

They were a half game behind the Mets in the win column in the NL East, sitting at 57-49. They sat out during the trade deadline en route to a World Series.

They beat the Nationals 2-1 on 7-29-08, riding Chase Utley‘s 26th home run and seven scoreless innings from Brett Myers to victory.

How ’bout July 29, 2009?

Six games ahead in the NL East, but shut out, 4-0, in Arizona, to a 44-58 team. J.A. Happ pitched well and the Phillies traded for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco. Oh, what was that last part?

Then, this past day…

Had someone told you on July 29, 2007, that in the next three years the Phillies would:

  • overcome a seven-game deficit with seventeen to play to make their first postseason in fourteen years,
  • win a World Series
  • defend their NL title by trading for Cliff Lee at the deadline
  • trade for Roy Halladay during the ensuing offseason
  • trade Cliff Lee during the ensuing offseason
  • trade for Roy Oswalt on the very same day as Lee, the next year

Would you have believed it? Would you have even listened? If someone told you those things, would they have sounded realistic in any possible way?

The Phillies won their eighth consecutive game Thursday night, improving to 56-46 on a walkoff single from Wilson Valdez. Cody Ransom scoring a game-winning run on a Wilson Valdez single. Just how they drew it up…

A game and a half behind in the Wildcard, and two-and-a-half back in the NL East, the Phils will carry the momentum of an eight-win resurrection into Washington. As if that exhilaration wasn’t enough, they’ll play behind their new Ace 1a – Roy Oswalt.

How am I supposed to believe Roy Oswalt is a Phillie? I still can’t believe Roy HALLADAY is a Phillie!

Bye J.A. Happ. We’ll miss your irrefutable poise, ridiculous strand rates, and hair line. So long, Anthony Gose. I hope you straighten out and don’t go 36-for-63 in stolen base attempts in the Blue Jays system. Adios, Jonathan Villar. Take your reputation of being a “good glove” and earn it by not making 42 errors at shortstop.

What a light package. This package was lighter than the one the Phillies traded to Cleveland (Carrasco-Knapp-Donald-Marson), lighter than the one sent from Seattle to Philly for Clifton, and lighter than the one sent from LAA to Arizona for Dan Haren.

Saving Singleton

The Phils were able to keep Jonathan Singleton - the Single-A slugger, not the director – because of the third-party interest in Anthony Gose.

How?

Well, immediately after receiving Gose from the Phillies, the Astros adeptly flipped him to the Blue Jays for sweet swingin’ first base prospect, Brett Wallace.

(Side note: Wallace, one of the top ten hitting prospects remaining in the minors, has been traded four times in the past year despite sporting a .304/.375/.487 line in 1,250 minor league plate appearances. He went from St. Louis to Oakland for Matt Holliday, than to Toronto for Michael Taylor, now to Houston for Gose.)

Since the Astros and Blue Jays had an obviously prearranged agreement to swap Gose and Wallace, Houston did not demand the powerful Singleton, also a first baseman. The third party side-trade was reminiscent of Toronto’s with Seattle this past offseason, when the Mariners sent Brandon Morrow to the Blue Jays for Brandon League and prospect Johermyn Chavez during the Halladay-Lee companion deals.

The loss for the Phillies is far from substantial, but here’s the kicker: ELEVEN MILLION of the remaining $23MM on Oswalt’s contract will come from Drayton McLane‘s pockets. The Astros are paying nearly half of Oswalt’s remaining pact!

Oswalt is due $16 million total next year, but the Phillies are only on the hook for eight. The same amount they pay Joe Blanton. Not bad.

These are crazy times, folks. Such crazy times that Phillies Nation actually BROKE for a day! But don’t worry, we’re back and better than ever. With a server 10x stronger than the last one, we’re primed for a postseason run…

Just like the Phillies, who now have the best three-headed monster in Major League Baseball: Halladay-Hamels-Oswalt. Would you have believed it in ’07?


  • 76 Comments
 

Oswalt a Phillie, Bautista Rumor Likely Dead

Posted by Corey Seidman, Fri, July 30, 2010 03:04 AM Comments: 4

Roy Oswalt is a Phillie. I don’t know if you’ve heard.

The rumor about Jose Bautista coming to Philly, however, is pretty much dead. As cool as it would be to see the major league’s only 30-home-run-hitter relegated to bench duty in mid-September, the player the Blue Jays wanted was Anthony Gose, whom they acquired from the Astros for Brett Wallace shortly after the Phillies landed Oswalt.

If I was a betting man, I’d say that the Phillies are done deadline dealin’.

  • 4 Comments
 

Phillies Trade for Roy Oswalt

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, July 29, 2010 11:54 PM Comments: 38

Ruben Amaro, Jr. and Ed Wade completed a deal to send Roy Oswalt to the Phillies in exchange for J.A. Happ and prospects, outfielder Anthony Gose and shortstop Jonathan Villar. Houston will pick up $11 million of the approximately $23 million that Oswalt is guaranteed through 2011. Oswalt did not demand that the Phils agree to his $16 million option for 2012; rather his buyout will increase from $1 million to $2 million.

Oswalt will make his Phillies debut Friday night in the series opener against the Nationals. Here are his career stats.

  • 38 Comments
 
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