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Week in Review

Week In Review: NL East Looking Scary

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, January 08, 2012 05:00 PM Comments: 1

Marlins intend on making it interesting this season. (Photo: Bocaratontribune.com)

With the official start of Spring Training a little more than 50 days away excitement levels are high in Philly and other baseball towns across America.  Even here in Virginia Beach, we are talking baseball on a regular basis.  People around here are tired of hearing me talk about the the Phillies and Doc and Cliff.  They would prefer to talk about the Nationals and Prince Fielder.

The fact of the matter is the National League East is slowly becoming the powerhouse of the Major Leagues.  It’s been a long drawn out debate about the toughest division in baseball.  The AL East has had bragging rights with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays trading blows all season long for the past couple of years.

The Marlins have made the biggest splash this off season acquiring Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and now Carlos Zambrano.  With a new stadium set to open the 2012 season with a bang, Miami has opened its wallet and declared ‘we want to win.’  The Marlins also brought in Ozzie Guillen to run this new look, new name, and new uniformed team.

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Week In Review – Pocket Full Of Pens

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, December 18, 2011 08:33 PM Comments: 8

He kicks, he pitches and oh he can hit too.

With the holiday season in full swing, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro looks like he will be handing out pens this year.  Pens for what?  Well for signing contracts of course.  He has pens in one pocket and apparently contracts in the other.  And I could not be any happier.

Amaro continues to sign guys this offseason and the Phillies are looking to bring back most of the usual suspects as they open 2012.  Good for you sir.  Amaro has always been a win now, but save some for the future, kind of guy.  He has made both kinds of moves this week.

While letting JC Romero walk, Amaro signed Dontrelle Willis to a one year deal worth roughly $1 million to come out of the pen.  This move will all but ensure that the Phillies other lefty, Antonio Bastardo will become the new set-up man in front of Jonathan Papelbon.

Willis might be one of the only pitchers in the league with an incentive bonus based on plate appearances.  As for pitchers, this guy can rake.  In all his seasons pitching in the National League, minus 2.5 in Detroit, the guy has hit at least one home run.  In 2006, he hit three in just 64 at bats.  He is a career .287 hitter who might take a swing or two this season.  Corey took a look at his numbers against lefties and compared them to Bastardo this past week.  He also took a stab at a young Atlanta reliever.  Always good in my book.

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Week In Review – Bye Bye Madson, Hello Rollins?

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, December 11, 2011 06:00 PM Comments: 3

The Winter Meetings have lived up to the hype. Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson have found new homes, Prince Fielder will most likely be filling out a change of address form and Alex Gonzalez is calling Brewtown his new stomping ground. Mostly all big names are making big moves.

Just come on home Rollins

It’s a smaller move that could potentially help the Phillies in their negotiating corner. The St. Louis Cardinals, who a lot of people thought were front runners for Jimmy Rollins, allowed Pujols to escape their grasps. This left a lot of money lying around some thought would be to sign Rollins. They, instead, decided to re-up with Rafael Furcal on a two-year deal.

With Furcal and Gonzalez signing deals with the Cardinals and Brewers, respectively, this opens it up for the Phillies to focus on Rollins. There isn’t much of a market now for a shortstop and this will definitely work in Ruben Amaro’s favor. The only obstacle left is what kind of contract will Rollins get.

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Week In Review: Rollins, Mayberry, Minors

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, December 04, 2011 04:51 PM Comments: 2

Will the Phillies re-sign Rollins at the Winter Meetings?

‘Tis my favorite time of the year.  As soon as the Thanksgiving table has been cleared, the Christmas decorations come out.  Watching football all afternoon with child-like giddiness knowing the best is yet to come is what the holiday’s are all about.

Now, we have already had some teasers thus far this offseason when the Phillies brought back Jim Thome and signed mega-cliche closer Jonathan Papelbon.  Those signings were just a taste of how great this winter could be.  The Winter Meetings are just around the corner (this week) and Ruben Amaro Jr. has already made flight arrangements to try and bring back Philly’s longest tenured player.

Amaro is heading to Dallas this week to meet with Jimmy Rollins‘ agent, Dan Lozano, to progress talks further in bringing back the former MVP to play short stop in Philadelphia next season.  Amaro won’t be alone in his venture out west as Lozano is said to have other meetings with additional suitors.  Also, the Phillies might wait and see what happens with other free agents, like Alex Gonzalez, to see how the market settles.

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Early Exit for Lee, Phillies Come Up Short

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Mon, July 25, 2011 05:59 PM Comments: 3

(PHOTO: Philly.com)

I guess if something was going to give, it would have to be the Phillies.  Mother Nature has been pumping her hot breathe up and down the East Coast all weekend.  The Phillies stayed toe-to-toe with the beast for the first three games of the San Diego series taking all three heading into Monday.

Cliff Lee (9-7, 3.05) was on the hill looking to get all double-digit in the win column to join mound-mates Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels who both have 12 wins for the season.  Unfortunately for Lee, he was only able to last five innings in the Philadelphia sun giving up five runs on 10 hits.

The Phillies were unable to overcome the five run hole after four innings but didn’t go down so easily.  Offensively they spread out four runs over a three inning stretch but failed to come through in the clutch.  The team left runners in scoring position three times today.  Ryan Howard was thrown out at the plate and Jimmy Rollins was caught stealing in the seventh inning.

Shane Victorino had a three hit game to lead the Phillies and Raul Ibanez added two more right behind him in the lineup.

Ironically enough, it was the two relief men the Phillies have been scouting that would shut it down in the late innings nailing down the 5-4 win for the Padres.  Mike Adams and Heath Bell pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, needing only 25 pitches and struck out three Phillies hitters; two looking.

Out of the Phillies bullpen, Michael Stutes threw two scoreless innings for the Phillies and now has 38 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.  He would have been in line for another win had the Phillies pulled it out.  Chatting with him Friday during batting practice, he said, when mentioning his five wins, ‘Yeah, I guess I keep getting lucky.’  Works for me.

A look ahead and the Phillies are welcoming in the World Series Champs for three games and America’s Team for another three.  Do I really need to explain who they are?

Now a look back….

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Week In Review: A Look Back

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, June 26, 2011 07:00 PM Comments: 7

The Phillies have been dealing with injuries all season.  It is the nature of the game.  More often than not, I have heard players say this season is a marathon and it’s all about surviving to the end.  Recently it seems management has been filling out more disabled lists than line up cards.

The most recent, and most devastating entry might be that of Roy Oswalt.  Oswalt lasted only two innings of his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals before removing himself with tightness in his lower back.  It is the same injury that plagued Oswalt earlier in the season.  Oswalt has always been a gamer and the type of pitcher you could count on to pitch through almost anything.  While Pat Gallen points the finger to the dozer, he also states that only once in the past 10 years has Oswalt not started at least 30 games in a season.  The guy is durable.  He won’t, however, allow himself to become a liability.  Which is why we now wait to get the final verdict.  Rehad or retirement.

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Week In Review: To hit or not to hit

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, May 15, 2011 07:47 PM Comments: 46

This is not raising the red flag, just merely raising awareness.

It’s almost one fourth of the way into the 2011 Major League Baseball season and all seems well atop the National League East standings.

Right?

The Phillies are in first place.  They are leading the division by two games over the Florida Marlins.  And even after dropping two of three in Atlanta, they still hold a 3.5 game lead over the Braves.  The Phillies were the first team to 25 wins, and have the second best winning percentage (.641) in the majors.

So again I ask, all is well in Philadelphia right?

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Week In Review: Halladay strikes again, Howard blasting off

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Mon, May 02, 2011 12:15 PM Comments: 17

4/25 – 5/1

As I speculated last week, the Phillies are relying heavily on their starting rotation.  The juggernaut group of aces Ruben Amaro Jr. has put together has somewhat disguised the fact that the Phillies offense is wavering.  The combo of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee at the top of the rotation is daunting in itself.  If for some reason you survive that onslaught, next up is Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

But as we all know, games can’t always be won depending solely on the starting pitchers.  Many factors come into play during nine, sometimes more, innings.

Lee has fallen victim to this twice this week.  In two starts Lee has thrown 14 innings and allowed only five runs.  In return the Phillies offense provided him with no run support in both starts and only one run in those games.

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Week In Review: Lack of offense, no problem

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Mon, April 25, 2011 07:31 AM Comments: 16

4/18 – 4/24

It is almost like Ruben Amaro Jr planned for this very time of the season.  The Phillies offense is notoriously known for going cold at times.  See 2010 National League Championship Series, 20 runs in six games.

After last season’s trade deadline brought over Roy Oswalt from the Astros, it seemed that the Phillies rotation would be close to untouchable with Oswalt, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.

Apparently with more rabbits in his hat Amaro enticed Cliff Lee to come back to the City of BrotherLEE love for another go around.  Could this have been Amaro’s admittal that pitching, and not home runs, will take his team back to the World Series?

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Week In Review: Bastardo, Victorino, Chooch’s pinch slam

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, April 10, 2011 07:42 PM Comments: 11

The Phillies are flying high this week after a big series win against division rivals the Atlanta Braves.  Both series this week were played within the division.  The Braves were the first real test for the Phillies who opened the season against Houston and then welcomed in the Mets for a three game series.

Philly took two out of three from both New York and Atlanta despite uncharacteristic outings from two of their top pitchers.  Cole Hamels wasn’t able to make it out of the third inning in his game against the Mets April 5th.  It was his shortest outing since 2006, his rookie year where he allowed nine runs (five earned) in two innings against the Cubs.

The Phils dropped to 3-1 with that loss.  A 4-0 mark would have been the first time the Phillies opened the season with four straight wins since 1915.  Oh well, always next year.

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