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Posts Tagged ‘Youngsters’

Free Agency: Day 2

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, November 08, 2010 03:19 PM Comments: 45

-Guess you can’t say you didn’t see this coming, but according to ESPNBoston.com, Jayson Werth is being courted by the Boston Red Sox. The Sawx are dying for offense this year after struggling for much of the 2010 season and Werth is a tools player who fits the bill. Monetarily, the Red Sox are unafraid to add big contracts and will likely have to do so to bring in Werth. We’ll keep up with this situation, but obviously Werth will let this one play out until he has several offers on the table in front of him to choose from.

-Dave Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News talked about adding bullpen help on Friday and included names like Scott Downs and Jason Frasor of Toronto, Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch of Minnesota, and several others. Yesterday, I brought up the bullpen situation with Contreras and Durbin hitting free agency. Would you like to see them try and sign a big name or should they go with youngsters and hope they strike gold? As we found out with Danys Baez, going for a name isn’t always the way.

-Over the weekend, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com had an idea. And it’s not as crazy as you might think. He mentions a name some of you may know well – Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s a 24-year old outfielder who will soon be in line for a major raise. It’s seems unlikely the cheap-as-dirt Pirates will be able to keep him. Would he be a fit in Philly? Salisbury points to a trade of Dom Brown for McCutchen, a guy who has already tasted success as a big leaguer on a daily basis. Verrrry interesting thought.

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Moyer Eclipses HR Record and 4,000 Innings in Phils Win

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, June 27, 2010 06:04 PM Comments: 26

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” -Robert H. Schuller

It’s a quote that Jamie Moyer seems to live by.  For all of the bad days, weeks, months, or seasons Moyer has had throughout his 24 years in the majors, his resiliency has provided him a way out. Before Spring Training, when everyone thought he was through, Moyer shut everyone up by scoring a spot in the rotation. After an opening month in which his ERA rocketed to nearly six, he fought through it to drop it nearly a run in May. Following an absolutely disastrous outing against Boston on June 11, Moyer has settled in with back to back phenomenal starts.

Today, Moyer blew through the Blue Jays with relative ease in the Phillies 11-2 victory.

This quote also rings true when you think about where this team as a whole was a few weeks ago. Following that one inning, nine run drubbing Moyer was a part of in Boston, the Phillies have gone 9-5 – winning five of the last six – and have turned their season around.

Moyer continues to defy age each time he toes the rubber. His line was again spectacular as he shut down the home team, allowing just six hits over seven innings, with his two earned runs coming on a Vernon Wells home run in the third inning. Moyer fanned seven, his high-water mark for the year, which he’s hit twice (FLA 4/17 and CHC 5/19). Somehow, someway, he is now tied for the team lead in wins with Roy Halladay (9).

Wells’ homer was the 506th of Moyer’s career, making him the record holder in home runs allowed, passing Robin Roberts at the top of the list. Moyer also surpassed 4,000 innings pitched, becoming the 40th pitcher in major league history to do so. He also jumped into sole possession of 35th all-time on the wins list with 267. The numbers continue to pile up.

“First of all, when you say 4,000 innings, that’s amazing,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, chiming in on the record-setting day. “Both times when I would see him pitch [in the minor leagues] I would say ‘this guy might not get back’. Not only did he get back, but he stayed a long time.”

Moyer took it in stride as he normally does, but did offer a modest statement on his impressive afternoon saing “I’m quite proud of being able to pitch 4,000 innings.”

It’s incredible to continue to watch Moyer mature as he progresses this year. Normally, that adjective is reserved for youngsters, however, Jamie is still learning on the go.

For Toronto, Brett Cecil was victimized by the Phillies offense,  the second Blue Jays pitcher to get ripped this weekend. Cecil worked 4 2/3 innings and was pounded for 10 hits and seven runs (five earned). The Phils saw Cecil at a perfect time; just after he was lit up for 11 earned runs over his previous two starts against San Diego and St. Louis.

What really stood out was Toronto’s inability to throw the baseball to each other. They committed four errors by the seventh inning which blew the game wide open for the Phillies. Jason Frasor was on the mound for the despicable display of defense from the guys behind him. He gave up four runs in the seventh, but all were unearned.

Firing on several cylinders (not all, see: Jayson Werth) was an offense that badgered Toronto into 13 runs and a bevy of mistakes. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Ben Francisco all had three hits apiece and Dane Sardinha pitched in with a two-run double of his own that broke the game open in the second inning. With those 13 hits, the Phils have now reached 10 or more in seven of their last 11 games. The win also marked the first time they’ve finished with a winning Interleague record since ’07.

Clearly, the toughest of times are over. It’s now up to this championship-caliber team to once again strike fear into their opponents, something that has been lacking for the better part of the 2010 season. They’re close, for sure, and Jamie Moyer has had something to do with this overall resurgence.

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Phillies Nation Podcast: Mandy Housenick

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, February 25, 2010 02:52 PM Comments: 1

Welcome to the Phillies Nation Podcast!

Mandy HousenickJoining us today on the PN Podcast is Mandy Housenick, the Phillies beat writer from The Morning Call of Allentown.   Mandy is back in the area after her trip to Clearwater for the opening week of Spring Training.  The topics of dicussion include Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, the bullpen situation, and the youngsters taking part in the festivities

Mandy says Cole Hamels has a renewed sense of optimism and looks to be in the best shape of his career heading into the 2010 season, which is obviously great news.  She also says he will be working diligently on that curveball, something everyone wants to see.  As for the new man in town, Roy Halladay, he’s so big and such a rock star, that the media room runs out of food every time he speaks.  Amazing.

Mandy is originally from the Wilkes-Barre area and started writing for The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre when she was 16. She had played four sports, but was diagnosed with HCM, the same heart disease that killed college basketball star Hank Gathers, the summer going into her junior year of high school. Following that news, she started writing about sports instead of playing them. She’s a graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in Newspaper.

The Morning Call is the third full-time job she’s had. Mandy has been there for six years and is in her second year covering the Phillies. Prior to that, Many covered high school and college sports at TMC and was the backup Phillies writer. She traveled in the playoffs last season and covered every home playoff game in 2008.

Click here to listen Phillies Nation Podcast – Episode 25

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Live Chat Tomorrow @10 am

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 17, 2010 10:10 AM Comments: 4

Hey All, hope you’ll join us for another Phillies Nation Live Chat tomorrow morning at 10 as we get prepared for pitchers and catchers down in Clearwater.  The central thesis of the discussion tomorrow will be “What do you want to see from the Phillies during Spring Training?”

After a long, cold winter that continues to tighten its grip, this should be a great way to warm us all up to the thought of baseball once again.  Pat Gallen will be at the keyboard as the narrator to discuss all things Phillies on what is an important day for fans everywhere.

It will certainly be exciting to talk about the prospects of Roy Halladay, the fifth starter spot, the youngsters trying to make a name for themselves, and the health of the bullpen.

Hope to see you all tomorrow at 10 am for the Phillies Nation Live Chat!

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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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Mathieson May Be Called Upon in Absence of Lidge

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, January 17, 2010 03:45 PM Comments: 30

Thirty-one days remain until pitchers and catchers enter the gates on Old Coachman Road, with actual nine inning games starting just 13 days after that. The calendar says we’re 2 1/2 months away from the beginning of the regular season, but who cares; it’s never too early to prognosticate.

As the winter slowly moves forward, there are a few things we know are certain.  Brad Lidge will miss part of Spring Training due to knee surgery, the bullpen is a shell of its former self, and a few youngsters will be called upon to solidify a unit that was mediocre a year ago.

With all of that said, power right handed reliever Scott Mathieson could prove to be an integral part of the pen in ’10.  If you’ve followed him, you know about the 96 mph fastball, but you’ve also heard about the two Tommy John surgeries.  His elbow has apparently healed quite nicely, which is easy to detect once you skim his stats from last season.

http://www.mlb.com/images/2009/11/30/NY7oxChy.jpgMathieson appeared in 22 games last year through three levels of the minor leagues, but hardly missed a beat.  He finished 4-0 between the Gulf Coast League, Clearwater, and Reading, allowing just three earned runs over 32 1/3 innings.  At 25-years-old, and after two major setbacks, the time could very well be now for the flamethrower.

Currently, there are three empty slots in the Phillies 2010 bullpen, plus with Lidge’s newest knee clean out, there may be a fourth when the season opens in D.C. No more Condrey, Myers, Park, or Eyre.  It’s shaping up to be a completely different crew, but one that can still be potent if all goes well.  Mathieson may be inserted into one of the vacancies, and rightfully so.  The Phillies have little money left to spend with arbitration cases looming, so the team must take a good, hard look at the youth in the pipeline.  Along with Matheison, Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona, and several others have a shot at a spot.  To me, Mathieson provides the most intrigue.

If he can harness his power, come up with solid secondary pitches to compliment his velocity, and prove he belongs when spring begins, we may have the makings of a capable middle reliever.  Hard throwers that can mix and match their fastball with other pitches are rare.  According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Mathieson has added a changeup this winter, a great eye-altering alternative to his high-90′s heater.  The kid must be chomping at the bit as well, having missed two full seasons due to injury.

Mathieson’s control is an obstacle that bears watching once March 3 rolls around.  He walked 12 batters in his 32 1/3 innings, yet still completed his season with a 0.88 WHIP .  Batters managed just 17 total hits during his 22 games, a .149 average.  That tells you when he is hitting his spots, hitters can’t touch him.  However, he’s clearly allowing too many free passes, which is often the case when a pitcher has that kind of arm speed.

By all accounts, Mathieson is a hard-working, likable person, which makes you want to root for the guy even more. It would certainly be a boon for the bullpen should he land in one of the remaining positions. The Phillies need to build trust in their young arms, and with Mathieson and the others on the cusp, and with the bullpen in shambles, there is no better time than now.

Here’s to his long and winding road to back to full health, and hopefully, the major leagues.  Just 44 days until we see what Scott Mathieson really has in that cannon arm.

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