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Archive for July, 2010

Haren Out, Oswalt In?

Posted by Corey Seidman, Sun, July 25, 2010 10:19 PM Comments: 20

As inconspicuous as White Sox GM Ken Williams was last summer in his trade for Jake Peavy was Angels general manager, Tony Reagins, Sunday, when he emerged out of nowhere to win the Dan Haren sweepstakes.

The Angels acquired Haren from the Diamondbacks for back-end starter Joe Saunders, Single-A lefty Patrick Corbin, Triple-A closer and recent callup Rafael Rodriguez, and a player to be named later.

The good news is that Haren obviously won’t pitch against Cole Hamels Tuesday night, and that his presence will not impact the Phillies for several years. The bad news is that the package the Angels sent to the Diamondbacks was so incredibly light that it surely could have been topped by Ruben Amaro.

Saunders was good one time in his career, 2008, when he went 17-7 with a 3.41 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. In every other year, his low-strikeout, mediocre-walk, high-home run stuff has led to poor, inconsistent performance.

Saunders is basically a slightly enhanced American League version of Kyle Kendrick. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

  • Saunders: 1.39 WHIP, 9.5 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 3.0 BB/9, 5.1 K/9
  • Kendrick: 1.41 WHIP, 10.1 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 4.0 K/9

This isn’t a “centerpiece” player. In lame-duck GM Jerry DiPoto’s press conference, he noted that Saunders was an attractive commodity because of his 54-32 win-loss record. Big deal.

The guy’s had an ERA below league average in three of five years, and an ERA right at league average in another. He pitched for a team that won games, so he racked up wins. Let’s have a party.

In essence, the Phillies could have topped the Angels’ offer with a package of J.A. Happ, Scott Mathieson, and JC Ramirez. Happ is equivalent to Saunders and MUCH cheaper – which is extremely important since Arizona’s main priority was dumping salary, – Mathieson is equal to Rafael Rodriguez, and Ramirez could have easily taken the place of Patrick Corbin.

When Haren spoke to the media, he mentioned that the past few days have been a whirlwind, noting “first I thought I was headed to New York, then Philly, but now I’m heading home to Anaheim.” Nobody will ever know how far the talks between the Phillies and Diamondbacks got, but Haren was a better buy than Roy Oswalt even before the low pricetag became public domain.

The Dbacks undervalued their own ace and they will pay the price. I sincerely hope Jerry DiPoto enjoys the legacy he just built for himself as the interim GM that traded an ace for three cents on the dollar.

Back to Oswalt

With Haren off the market, all attention will now turn back to Roy Oswalt. The Phillies have made it clear that they are not searching for a middle-of-the-rotation starter – they want a front-end guy.

On Sunday, Ken Rosenthal wrote that the Cardinals and Dodgers are “having trouble matching up with the Astros,” and that the Phillies “remain in the best position” to deal for Oswalt.

Any trade would likely include J.A. Happ, but, heck, given the absurdly low return for Haren, the Phils might not even have to move the recently awoken Jayson Werth (whom Ruben Amaro is reportedly changing his mind about from day-to-day.)

The above conjecture is a longshot, and just because DiPoto undervalued Haren does not mean Ed Wade will do the same with Oswalt, but it would be hard to justify giving up more than the Angels did for an older, more expensive, similarly effective righthanded starting pitcher.

A package of Happ, Single-A first baseman Jonathan Singleton – who is hitting .309/.417/.541, with 12 homers and 57 RBI for Lakewood, – JC Ramirez, and one other player may be enough to land Oswalt. It wouldn’t be the first time Wade made an ostensibly curious move, and it would not be the first time a rival GM overrated Happ. We shall see.

Make sure you keep visiting Phillies Nation and clicking refresh from now-until-Saturday. These stories and rumors change more often than Tony LaRussa’s relievers.

  • 20 Comments
 

Phillies Run Over Rockies for Rainy Win

Posted by Brian Michael, Sun, July 25, 2010 09:57 PM Comments: 7

After a lengthy rain-delay, Jimmy Rollins scored the winning run on a wild pitch to seal the Phillies come-from-behind victory 4-3 and win the series against the Rockies.

The game started at 1pm with J.A. Happ making his first start in over three months. Returning from a left elbow strain, he allowed three runs on four hits and four walks over five innings. The lefty said he “pitched a little angry” as he’s out to prove he belongs in the Phillies starting rotation. Unfortunately his evaluation was cut short by a hour-and-a-half rain delay.

At that point the Rockies were leading 3-2, with the Phillies runs coming off a Ben Francisco homer. Soon after the game returned, the Phillies took the lead with a two-run seventh. Wilson Valdez started the inning with a ground rule double; then the Phillies sparkplug took over. JRoll singled to score Valdez and took second on an error by the left-fielder. He wisely stole third off the Rockies absent-minded reliever Joe Beimel who was soon replaced by Rafael Betancourt after walking Ryan Howard. With Jayson Werth at the plate Betancourt tossed one in the dirt allowing Rollins to scamper home.

The Phillies bullpen on the other hand, shined after the rain-delay. Durbin, Madson, Contreras and Romero kept the Rockies from scoring through the ninth. Then Brad Lidge came on to earn his ninth save of the season by striking out the side. Well, that is before he gave up two walks and a single to load the bases. He was aided by a generous strike call to end the game by home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.

With that, the Phillies swept the Rockies in Philadelphia. After losing 4 games in a row, the Fightins are now riding a four-game winning streak. If you recall the Phillies teams of the mid-2000s, the one thing that defined them was inconsistency. We’re certainly seeing that quality – for better or worse – with this team now.

  • 7 Comments
 

Gameday: Colorado Rockies (51-46) at Philadelphia Phillies (51-46)

Posted by Brian Michael, Sun, July 25, 2010 04:43 PM Comments: 105

CardinalsColorado Rockies (51-46) at Philadelphia Phillies (51-46)

Jeff Francis, LHP (3-3, 4.56 ERA) vs. JA Happ, RHP (1-0, 1.76 ERA)

Time: 1:35, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 96 (rain expected)
TV: CSN
Twitter: @PhilliesNation

LINEUP: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Francisco LF, Ransom 3B, Ruiz C, Kendrick P.

Your Gameday Beer: Coors Original

Sam Elliot is the voice of Coors Beer. Nuff said.

I am with Pat and Kieran! More Coors, another win for the Phightins.

Go Phillies!

  • 105 Comments
 

Phillies walk all over Jimenez, Rockies 10-2

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sat, July 24, 2010 08:17 PM Comments: 81

You had to feel bad for Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 4.60).  He was shelled in his last start against the Cardinals getting knocked around in a 8-4 loss.  He was then sent down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley with the big league club looking to aquire a front line start via the trade.  That trade has still not happened, yet.  Then Jamie Moyer goes down.

Here comes Kendrick.  Called up to start today against the Rockies and Ubaldo Jimenez (15-2, 2.75).  Jimenez has been one of, if not, the hottest pitchers in baseball.  Kendrick’s own manager Charlie Manuel even penciled Jimenez in to start for his NL All Stars.  It was not going to be fun.  Right?

Wrong.

For the second straight game, the Phillies offense looked completely different then they had in the previous eight games.  At first it didn’t take their bats.  It took their patience.  Jimenez walked six batters in two innings.  But it was the three in the third inning combined with two triples that was his demise.

The Phillies scored seven runs in the third inning.  Ryan Howard hit a bases clearing triple, his fifth, to start the scoring.  He would then score on a wild pitch.  Jimmy Rollins would then triple, in his second at bat of the inning, to plate two more runs.  It was 5-0 before recording an out.  The Phillies took the field in the top of the fourth with a 7-0 lead for Kendrick.

Kendrick went seven innings allowing only one run on six hits and struck out three.  After his last start, Kendrick said he left some pitches up and they hit them.  Today he probably left some up too, but luckily for the Phils only one Colorado hitter connected.  The only run surrendered was a solo home run to Ian Stewart to lead off the fourth inning.

Rollins set the tone in the leadoff spot.  He had three RBIs to go along with his three hits.  He also stole second base in the seven-run third.  Howard also had three RBIs and Raul Ibanez hit his eighth home run, a two run shot in the third.

Jayson Werth had his very own cheering section with the Pirates, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers and Astros all having scouts in the seats.  Werth did not disappoint going 2 for 3 with two walks.  His line now stands at .284, 13hr, 52RBI.

Recently called up Vance Worley made his Major League debut throwing a perfect ninth inning striking out two of the three hitters.  A nice gesture by Manuel guessing he will be sent down tomorrow to make room for J.A. Happ.

Worth noting: Up until the solo homer allowed by Kendrick in the fifth, Phillies pitchers had not allowed a run in 24 innings.  Also, minor leaguer JC Ramirez was scratched from his start for Double-A Reading tomorrow.  He is not injured.  Hmmmm……

  • 81 Comments
 

Gameday: Rockies (51-45) at Phillies (50-46)

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sat, July 24, 2010 02:10 PM Comments: 304

CardinalsColorado Rockies (51-45) at Philadelphia Phillies (50-46)

Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP (15-1, 2.38 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick, RHP (5-4, 4.82 ERA)

Time: 4:10, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 96 (Feeling like 102)
TV: CSN, Fox Regional
Twitter: @PhilliesNation

The Phillies will look at add on to their current five game home winning streak against one of the best road pitchers in the league.  Acutally Ubaldo Jimenez may just be the best pitcher in all of baseball period.  He boasts a 9-1 record in 11 road starts for the Rockies.  For those 11 games his ERA is 1.60.  However, the Phils may have caught him at the right time.

In his last start against the Marlins, Jimenez lasted only 5 1-3 innings while surrendering a season high-tying six runs.  The last time he faced the Phillies was in Game 1 of the NLDS last October going seven innings.  He struck out seven and allowed two runs taking the loss as the Phils won 5-1.

The Phillies seem to be picking up momentum with their offense.  They have produced 12 hits in back to back games.  A nice welcoming gift for Greg Gross who is taking over as the hitting coach after Charlie Manuel fired Milt Thompson.

Some of the Phillies have had success facing Jimenez in the past.  Howard, Dobbs, Polanco and Rollins each have two hits against the righty while Victorino has three.  Jimenez has only pitched 10 innings against Philadelphia and holds an 8.10 ERA during that time.

The Phillies will counter with Kyle Kendrick who was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley only days after  being sent down.  He is being asked to fill in for Jamie Moyer on the DL after suffering what could be a career ending injury in his last start.  In Kendrick’s last start he allowed a season high three homers in an 8-4 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday.  Against Colorado, Kendrick is 1-1 with a 5.93 ERA in five starts.

Ruben Amaro Jr. and the front office have been frantically looking to add another starting pitcher.  Kendrick could ease their minds a bit with a solid start here and prove he belongs at the Major League level.  Let’s not hold our breathe quite yet.

LINEUP: Rollins SS, Polanco 3B, Ibanez LF, Howard 1B, Werth CF, Victorino RF, Dobbs C, Schneider 2B, Kendrick P.

Your Gameday Beer: Coors Original

Sam Elliot is the voice of Coors Beer.  Nuff said.

I am with Pat!  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Another Coors, another win for the Phightins.

Go Phillies!

  • 304 Comments
 

Halladay cruises, Phillies win opener against Rockies 6-0

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Fri, July 23, 2010 11:22 PM Comments: 25

The 1-2 punch of Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay was supposed to rival the leagues’ best starting duos like Lincecum/Cain, Lee/King Felix and Becket/Lester.  Now while the season hasn’t exactly played out the way we all thought, it seems the Phils duo is locking in.  Halladay backed up Hamels’ eight innings of scoreless ball with another eight innings without allowing a run.  Phillies’ pitchers have now thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings.

The offense actually made it a night where Halladay didn’t need to be perfect.  They spotted him five runs in the fifth inning long after the good doctor was in cruise control.  Halladay lowered is ERA to 2.28 and struck out nine batters.  He did throw 116 pitches so I found it a bit odd that Charlie Manuel let him hit in the bottom of the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two outs.  Was there a need to have him pitch the eighth inning with a five run cushion already?  Halladay leads the majors with 162 innings pitched.

The Phillies started off the fifth inning with four consecutive hits.  Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco started it off with singles and scored on Raul Ibanez’s double to center.  Ryan Howard moved Ibanez to third with a single who then scored on a Jayson Werth sac fly.  Ross Gload then crushed one into the bullpen for a two-run homer scoring Howard.  The Phillies finished off the inning with a 5-0 lead.

And that was all Halladay would need.  The Phils did add another run in the eighth on an Ibanez RBI single.  Raul finished the game with three hits and three RBIs.

The Phillies have now won 10 of their last 14 games at home and five straight.  The Phillies had 12 hits for a second straight game and Howard stole his first base of the season.

Worth noting: Braves closer just blew his third save of July and the Marlins won in walk off fashion.  The Phillies are now six games back heading into the weekend.

  • 25 Comments
 

Gameday: Rockies (51-44) at Phillies (49-46)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, July 23, 2010 07:20 PM Comments: 210

CardinalsColorado Rockies (51-44) at Philadelphia Phillies (49-46)

Aaron Cook, RHP (4-5, 4.56 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay, RHP (10-8, 2.40 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Mostly Sunny, 92
TV: CSN
Twitter: @PhilliesNation

LINEUP: Rollins SS, Polanco 3B, Ibanez LF, Howard 1B, Werth CF, Gload RF, Ruiz C, Valdez 2B, Halladay P.

Your Gameday Beer: Coors Original

Sam Elliot is the voice of Coors Beer.  Nuff said.

Go Phillies!

  • 210 Comments
 

Phils Fire Hitting Coach Milt Thompson

Posted by Paul Boye, Thu, July 22, 2010 10:35 PM Comments: 106

The Phillies have fired hitting coach Milt Thompson, according to multiple reports from Phillies beat writers.

Thompson, a .274 career hitter in 13 seasons with the Phillies, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Rockies and Dodgers, joined the Philly coaching staff in 2003 as their first base coach, and was promoted to hitting coach the following season. The Phils, who had led the league in runs scored two of the last three seasons, leaves a Phillies team that has endured more offensive futility than it has become accustomed to. The team had hit just .253/.322/.411 entering Thursday, with those average and OBP marks good for only thirteenth and twelfth in the N.L., respectively.

Greg Gross takes over Thompson’s role in the interim.

  • 106 Comments
 

A Backbreaking Road Trip

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, July 22, 2010 08:39 PM Comments: 46

I live in Voorhees Township, in eastern Camden County in South Jersey. Around here, odd as it may sound, the arbiter of our cultural and societal zeitgeist is a chiropractor named William Nicoletto. Dr. Nicoletto is an institution–the sign out in front of his practice, as long as I can remember, has been a running commentary of our shared experience as Voorheesians. Every few days, the message is changed to a different statement on the weather, or current events, or, most often, sports. He’s such a part of the culture that when the township made road signs with movable letters illegal (they’re allowed in Gibbsboro, literally across the street from Dr. Nicoletto’s office), he was allowed an exception.

Earlier this week, with the Phillies seemingly in a free fall from playoff contention, I was driving home from work when I noticed that the sign had been changed. I submit the following without commentary.

  • 46 Comments
 

Hamels tosses gem, Polly homers in 11th for Phillies win

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Thu, July 22, 2010 05:50 PM Comments: 49

Well well well.  Since Jayson Werth hasn’t taken the bait from all the trade talks to showcase any bit of talent, Cole Hamels decided he would.  A ton of stories are circulating about the Phillies shopping around for a second ace to compliment Roy Halladay.  Hamels took the rubber and showed his team he can handle that role just fine.

Old Hollywood went eight innings allowing only one hit and striking out seven. Hamels didn’t allow a runner to reach second base all game while striking out six of the first eight batters he faced.  For those of you counting at home that is only one earned run in his last 22 and 2/3 innings.  Unfortunately, the Phillies offense provided no back up and Hamels gave way to Ryan Madson in the ninth with the game all tied up 0-0.

The Phillies did have nine hits but were unable to capitalize on any chances. Madson came in and worked a hitless ninth to send the game into extra frames. J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin combined for a scoreless 1oth.

Leading off the 11th for the Phillies was old reliable Placido Polanco. Already with two hits on the day, Polly sent a Kyle McClellan pitch over the left field wall for his sixth home run of the season and a 1-0 lead.  Raul Ibanez walked after Shane Victorino grounded out to short.  Ryan Howard then singled for his third hit of the game.  Up came Werth with his new facial hair and doubled in Ibanez.  Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa decided to give Jimmy Rollins an intentional pass to load the bases for Brian Schneider.

Schneider grounded into a fielder’s choice and Howard was out at home.  Cody Ransom then flew out to center.  Going into the bottom half of the 11th the Phillies had a 2-0 lead.  I know, the suspense is killing me too.

Enter The Closer.

Of course Brad Lidge would do his best Martin Scorcese impression directing the drama out on the mound.  Jon Jay walked and stole second.  Two ground outs and a game ending fly-out by Randy Winn and the Phillies take the final game of the series 2-0.

I don’t know about you guys, but this just doesn’t feel like a win should. Hamels pitched an absolute gem and the offense could not do anything. When are they going to learn that their starting pitchers can’t go eight every time and hold teams to under two runs.  I know, I know…a win is a win and at this point of the season I will take it.  The offense needs a wake up call and it needs to come soon.

Worth noting: Werth’s RBI double was his first hit with RISP since June 18.  He was 0 for 18 in that span until that hit today.  Polanco and Howard each had three hits on the day as Howard joined Polly in the .300 club for the year.

  • 49 Comments
 
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