Entries Tagged as 'phillies'

Moyer ain’t giving up yet

48-year old pitcher Jamie Moyer re-injured his elbow in the Dominican Winter League.  Is his career over?  He doesn’t think so.

My plans are to get healthy and continue pitching," he said flatly.

What if the injury is worst-case scenario, so much ligament damage he needs Tommy John surgery and a year or rehabilitation?

"That wouldn’t change my plans," Moyer said.

I simply love Jamie Moyer.

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Monty Hall: Let’s Make a Deal

michael-taylorThere is another three way deal on the horizon, this one involving the Phillies, the Blue Jays, & the Mariners.  Philadelphia would get righthanded ace Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays & pitching prospect Phillippe Aumont (plus another Seattle youngster, yet to be named) from the Mariners, Seattle gets Cliff Lee from the City of Brotherly Love, and Toronto picks up superstar phenom outfielder Michael Taylor, sky’s the limit starter Kyle Drabek (Son of Doug), and minor league catcher Travis d’Arnaud from the Phils.  In a deal involving two former Cy Young Award winners switching uniforms, the third party player might end up being the big winner, that’s how good Michael Taylor might end up, he’s that good!  Trader Billy Beane jumped into the frey to make it a four-way deal, sending 1B-3B Brett Wallace, a 2008 1st round pick out of ASU by the Cardinals who was traded to Oakland in the Matt Holliday trade, to Toronto for Michael Taylor.  While Wallace has some serious power 20 or more homers in each of the last two seasons, he also swung & missed 106 times in the minors this past year.  To me, the A’s look to be the big winner getting the highly skilled outfielder Taylor.

This three way deal was probably made possible when the Red Sox inked John Lackey away from the Angels.  Once the Bronx Bombers knew Boston was no longer in the hunt to pickup either Halladay or Lee, the Pinstripers could relax and let the trade proceed without outside interference from NY.

In another move, not made by the Yankees, World Series MVP Hideki (Godzilla, but you can call me Shemp) Matsui headed west to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  The Orange County team needed to bring somebody on board after losing leadoff man Chone Figgins (now with the Mariners) & ace starter Lackey (over in Bean Town) already this offseason.  Still I don’t know if it’s much of a consolation prize, seeing the Mariners added Figgins & Lee, while on this day the Halos, in effect, swapped Lackey for Matsui.

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2009 MLB Rookies of the Year

roy625nov162009Back in the middle of September I was assigned the task of predicting who would win the rookie of the year awards.  Now two months later the winners were announced, Oakland A’s reliever Andrew Bailey in the American League and Florida Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan.  I had predicted Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler in the NL and Rangers SS Elvis Andrus in the AL.

In 2008 the A’s converted Bailey from a starter to a reliever in AA Ball in 2008.  Andrew immediately experienced success in the bullpen, carrying that success over into the 2008 Arizona Fall League, and on into the 2009 regular big league season.  He finished the season with 26 of 30 saves, a 6-3 record, a 1.84 ERA, with 91 strikeouts & 49 hits allowed in 83′ innings, and was Oakland’s lone All Star representative.

Chris Coghlan also enjoyed a conversion that enabled him to star in the big leagues, the former infielder was moved to leftfield.  He brought his bat out to the outfield with him, batting .321 with a .390 OBP, with 31 doubles, 6 triples, & 9 home runs, as the Marlins leadoff hitter.

Elvis Andrus, my choice for AL Rookie of the Year, the Rangers 21 year old shortstop out of Venezuela, finished 2nd in the balloting behind Bailey.  Elvis batted .267, with 33 stolen bases, 72 runs scored, & 128 base hits, with a very impressive range factor in the field of 4.86.  Right on the heels of Andrus was Detroit’s 20 year old righthanded starting pitcher Rick Porcello (14-9 & 3.96 ERA).  The 6’9″ Tampa Bay’s righthander, Jeff Niemann (13-6 & 3.94) was next, he was 17-0 with a 1.70 ERA as a Junior in 2003 with Rice.  Then came The Sporting News choice for Rookie of the Year, the White Sox very own, thirdbaseman Gordon Beckham (.270, 28 doubles, 14 homers, 63 RBIs).  Rounding out this crop of AL rookies was another pitcher from Oakland, southpaw Brett Anderson (11-11, 4.06 ERA, & 150 strikeouts in 175′ IP).

Closely behind Coghlan, over in the Senior Circuit, was The Sporting News choice for NL Rookie of the Year out of the University of Northwestern in Evanston, IL, Philadelphia’s lefthander J.A. Happ (12-4 & 2.93).  A distant 3rd was Atlanta’s phenom righthanded starting pitcher Tommy Hanson (11-4, 2.89, & 116 K’s in 127″ IP).  The Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen wasn’t far in back of Hanson, batting .286, 26 doubles, 9 triples, 12 homers, 74 runs scored, to go along with 22 steals, while playing a very good centerfield for the Buccos.  Next up the Brewers thirdbaseman Casey McGehee received some love, .301, 20 doubles, 16 homers, & 66 RBIs.  Interestingly six other rookies received very little support in their quest for league’s top rookie honors.  They were Randy Wells of the Cubs (12-10 & 3.05), Pittsburgh slugger Garrett Jones (21 HRs & .293), Padres SS Everth Cabrera (25 SBs & 59 runs), my choice Dexter Fowler Colorado outfielder (73 runs, 27 SBs, 29 2Bs, & 10 3Bs), Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra (.290, 21 2Bs, 8 3Bs, 60 RBIs), and last, but not least, Cardinals centerfielder Colby Rasmus (22 2Bs & 16 HRs).

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Utley: A case for a losing World Series MVP?

Outside of possibly Johnny Damon who is currently hitting .381 with 5 runs scored and 4 rbis, the Yankees are without a clear choice of a World Series MVP at this point.  Is it outside the realm of possibilities that even if the Yankees win it all, Chase Utley be named for this honor?

Through Game 5 of the Series, Utley leads both teams in runs scored (6), rbis (8) and of course homeruns (5).  Not only that, he was primarily responsible for two of the Philadelphia Phillies victories. 

The last and only player to win the World Series MVP for a losing team, ironically, was a Yankee.  In 1960, it wasn’t World Series hero Bill Mazeroski who garnered the award but Bobby Richardson. 

4954Bobby_Richardson Secondbaseman Richardson went 11 for 30 (.367) and drove in 12 runs and scored eight behind two doubles, two triples and a homer.  Most impressive credentials, indeed. 

That all said, my prediction is that conventional practice will prevail and the winner will share the spoils.  Should the Phils pull one out, Chase will most likely get the honor. 

It’s a crap shoot if the Yankees win.  Most likely, it will depend on what happens tonight but I’m giving Damon the edge right now. 

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Hamels and Myers a little tense after “quit” remarks?

 

A little tension between Cole Hamels and Brett Myers in the clubhouse during the World Series?  Couldn’t hurt the chemistry, right?

From mlb.com:

Myers and a Phillies official both dispute a Yahoo! Sports report that Myers and Hamels had a "tense confrontation" in the Phillies clubhouse following Game 5 of the World Series.

… (Phillies director of baseball communications) Casterioto asked Myers if he had seen Hamels.

"He quit," Myers cracked.

…Hamels is sensitive to the word "quit" these days after he told reporters following Game 3 of the World Series that he couldn’t wait for the season to end. Myers said he was unaware of Hamels’ comments following Game 3, although the comments have upset some players inside the Phillies’ clubhouse.

I don’t know about you but that’s a clear indication that there WAS a “tense confrontation”. 

The big question (which most media will tend to ignore) is whether or not it’s a really big deal.  Hamels and Myers are good friends (“He’s my buddy”, says Myer of Hamels).  Can’t we just chalk it up to Series jitters and leave it at that?  Or do shall we make it a national story? 

If I know the media like I do, they’ll pounce on this like a lion on a juicy bone and we’ll hear every analysis of each angle of this story. 

The most surprising thing about this story is that it didn’t happen in New York.  The Big Apple media like to pick on their own.

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Chase Utley takes Phillies to Game 6

Chase Utley is playing like a man on a mission.  A mission to get the Phillies their second straight championship.  Last night, his 2 homerun, 4 rbi performance keyed the Phils’ 8-6 win over the Yankees. 

He’s also playing like a World Series MVP.  For the Series, he’s batting .333 with five homers.  He could easily get that MVP award assuming Philadelphia wins it all.  Not an easy task considering that they’re down 3-2 going into the heart of the Evil Empire for Game 6. 

Cliff Lee was on his game last night despite his linescore.  He left the game with an 8-3 lead.  It’s not his fault that the Phillies seem to find value in Chan Ho Park and think he can get the job done.  Rumor has it that Lee might be ready for Game 7 should there be one and he might give Chase a run for his money for that MVP award.  Lee is already 2-0 for the Series with a 2.81 ERA in 16 innings.

 

World Series bits

Looks like the frequency and duration of mound meetings by Yankee pitchers and catcher Jorge Posada are giving MLB some pause.  They’ll most certainly be discussing it this winter. 

Nice going, Jorge.

 

The LA Times’ headline reads Another tight game means big numbers for Fox.  Nice sentiment but I’m giving more credit to the fact that the Series is taking place in two big market cities. 

 

On a related note, Business Weekly notes that World Series TV ratings are indeed up despite the influx of web streaming of the games.

 

YFSF presents:  Reason(s?) Why The World Series Isn’t Over

 

Finally, who doesn’t like a little trash talk?

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Yankees Turn to Sabathia on 3 Days Rest

85125458JM010_BALTIMORE_ORIC.C. Sabathia was matched up against fellow Cleveland Indians starter Cliff Lee in the opener of the Series.  Lee outpitched C.C. in that game, but only Sabathia was ready to go on three days rest, Cliff would need one more day before he could go.  So on Sunday night Joe Blanton would answer the bell for the Phillies versus big C.C.

Derek Jeter got the Yankees going in the 1st with a leadoff single, went to 3rd on a Johnny Damon double, and Derek would score on a Mark Teixeira groundout, and then Damon would be plated on a Jorge Posada sacrifice fly, after Alex Rodriguez was drilled by a pitch, Yanks up 2-0 with the Phils coming to bat.  Back to back first inning doubles by Shane Victorino & Chase Utley would cut it to a one run game, 2-1 after one.

BIG Ryan Howard got a leadoff single in the bottom of the 4th, stole 2nd, and scored on a Pedro Feliz base knock to knot the game at two.  It was time for New York to get to work in the top of the fifth, Nick Swisher started it with a base on balls, went to 2nd on a Melky Cabrera single, and then C.C. Sabathia struckout trying to bunt the runners up.  With one out Derek Jeter plated Swisher with a single, then Cabrera scored on a base hit off the bat of Damon, and the Yanks again had a two run lead, 4-2.

The Phillies got their first two guys on in the bottom of the 5th as Jimmy Rollins singled & Shane Victorino walked, bringing up Chase Utley (who had homered twice in game one off C.C.), BIG Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth, the meat of the order.  Two popouts & a strikeout later, and the threat was over.  Neither starting pitcher allowed a run in the 6th, Ben Francisco batted for Blanton, ending his night.

Chan Ho Park pitched a scoreless 7th.  When Sabathia delivered his 98th pitch of the night in the 7th it struck me, while thinking about this superhuman’s accomplishments, pitchers routinely went the distance in the olden days, often times throwing 200 pitches in a game, sometimes working on two days rest.  Still it was great to see this workhorse, C.C., going about his job, mowing down the top of the Phillies order, one, two…  But then Utley chased Sabathia from the game with his third home run of the Series off C.C. (so much for platooning), once again it was a one run ballgame, all six Philadelphia home runs being solo shots.  Damaso Marte was brought on to get BIG Ryan Howard to popup to end the inning, 4-3 NY.

There were two on & one out in the top of the 8th, Nick Swisher could’ve iced it, but he took strike three down the middle, shaking his head, rather than lighting up reliever Ryan Madson.  Joe Girardi didn’t want to have Mariano Rivera pitch more than one inning, thus Joba Chamberlain was called on to face the hot hitting Jayson Werth (down on strikes), Raul Ibanez (K’s him on heat), & Pedro Feliz took the kid over the wall for a game tying homer.  Oh brother, wasn’t supposed to happen that way if you’re a Yankees fan, what a ballgame, what a Series!  A wicked breaking ball to Carlos Ruiz, and Joba’s struckout the side, but now it’s all tied at four, going into the 9th.

I know this from experience, sometimes you try to save your closer for tomorrow, and then there is no tomorrow.  Chamberlain looked overpowering, but Rivera is overpowering.  Charlie Manuel called on his closer Brad Lidge to work a tie ballgame in the top of the 9th, getting the first two before Damon singled to left, stole 2nd & went around Feliz, and went all the way to 3rd (the Phillies had a shift on for Teixeira), he’s credited with 2 SBs on that one play.  Lidge hits Teixeira, bringing up ARod (1 for 13 in the Series).  Alex hits a double off the leftfield wall, big moments for big players.  With the Yankees up, Mo starts seriously loosening up to try to close it out with the lead.  A couple of insurance runs score when Posada delivers a single into leftcenter, continuing on to 2nd, where he is tagged out easily, 7-4 Yanks.

Not that it matters, but Rivera faces pinch hitter Matt Stairs and then the top of the order.  A groundout, a popout, & a  groundout, all three to firstbase, and it’s over.  The Bronx Bombers now have a three games to one Series lead, with one ballgame in Philadelphia before heading back to New York (if necessary).  Philadelphia needs to win three straight, if not impossible, close to it.  Game five features Cliff Lee versus nasty A.J. Burnett on three days rest.  Joba Chamberlain was credited with the win in this one, but we all know it was C.C. Sabathia on three days, getting the job done.

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Yankees Make the Wait Werthwhile

arodThere was a one hour twenty minute rain delay before game three finally was set into motion.  Southpaw Andy Pettitte was on the bump for the Pinstripers, while lefty Cole Hamels (I see that commercial with those kids dad, every time he pitches) was matched up against the cagey vet.

It looked like Pettitte was the kid with the jitters in the 2nd inning, when he allowed a leadoff homer to Jayson Werth to give Philly a 1-0 lead.  Before the second inning dust had settled, Andy walked Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded, and then Shane Victorino’s sac fly made it 3-0.

In the top of the 4th with a runner on 1st Alex Rodriguez’ flyball hit off a camera in rightfield, it appeared as though the camera was out over the field of play, but it was reviewed and ruled a two run home run, making it a 3-2 game.  With one out in the 5th Andy Pettitte took matters into his own hands when he singled home Nick Swisher from 2nd base with the tying run, Swisher had doubled to open the inning.  Derek Jeter kept the line moving with a base knock.  The big blow came moments later when Johnny Damon’s double plated both Pettitte & Jeter, giving NY a two run lead.

In the sixth inning the teams exchanged runs with Nick Swisher hitting a home run in the top of the frame and Jayson Werth matching it with a big fly of his own in the bottom for Philadelphia, still a two run Yankee advantage.  New York took control in the 7th & 8th, with one run in each inning, Jorge Posada’s RBI single in the 7th and pinch hitter Hideki Matsui’s solo shot in the eighth.

Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz hit a solo blast in the 9th off reliever Phil Hughes to cut it to three, but then Mariano Rivera was called upon to close it out.  Andy Pettitte was the winning pitcher, his 17th postseason victory.

I want to say something about the talking heads, they are crazy, and for the most part they talk about stuff which makes no sense.  They talk about pressure & clutch, they talk about slumps, and meaningless statistics of what batters are doing off certain pitchers in certain situations.  The problem here arises in the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of data, the statistics are very limited, and they are skewed as a result.  What I’m talking about in particular is Alex Rodriguez 0-8 with six strikeouts after the first two games, Chase Utley with two long balls in one game off a lefthanded pitcher, Nick Swisher & his woeful slump, and then there’s Ryan Howard 0-8 with seven K’s in his last eight at bats.  This isn’t about pressure and coming through or not coming through in the clutch.  This is the World Series, featuring the best of the best, don’t over analyze everything, just sit back & enjoy.

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Nasty A.J. Dominates Phils, Series Even at One

aj-burnettA.J. Burnett is one of baseball’s nastiest pitchers and he brought his nasty stuff to the mound for game two versus the Phils, against Pedro Martinez.  Philadelphia jumped out to an early 2nd inning lead when Matt Stairs’ single(?) under the glove of Alex Rodriguez plated Raul Ibanez, who’d doubled to left with 2 outs.  It seemed more like an aberration, rather than a sign of things to come.  A.J. is either on or off and he looked on from the start in this one.

Mark Teixeira took a Pedro pitch over the centerfield fence leading off the top of the 4th and the game was knotted at one.  Godzilla, or Shemp if you prefer, Hideki Matsui drove one out to right in the 6th, giving New York the 2-1 advantage.  Down by a run, Charlie Manuel allowed Martinez to pitch to Jerry Hairston, Jr., and the second guessing began when JH2 hit a soft single to right.  Joe Girardi jumped on this opportunity by inserting pinch runner Brett Gardner at first.  Gardner went to 3rd on a Melky Cabrera hit to right (for sure Pedro shouldn’t have been allowed to pitch to Melky, but perhaps Manuel was thinking a bunt was in order).  That was it for Pedro, when Jorge Posada was announced as the pinch hitter for Jose Molina.  Jorge’s single to center off Chan Ho Park gave the Yankees a little insurance now up 3-1.

It seemed insurmountable with A.J. dealing on the mound for the Yanks, and it was.  Burnett allowed only 4 hits over 7 innings, striking out 9, before giving way to Mariano Rivera for the two inning save.  This game was a pivotal one for the Series, if Philly had won the first two in New York, it would’ve been very tough for the Yankees to comeback.  But now with the series at one win apiece, the home field advantage was gone, but the Phillies would need to win three straight in the city of brotherly love in order to maintain that advantage.

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Yankees Chased over Cliff in Game 1 of World Series

It was the the Cliff Lee and Chase Utley Show last night.  They certainly quieted the pundits who were so giddy over the Yankees chances in the World Series.  That includes ex-Cub Mark Grace who was predicting the Yanks would take the Series in 6 games. 

While the Yankees came in the Series with all the momentum, it is the Philadelphia Phillies who now gain the upper hand.  Former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee was masterful beyond compare.  Allowing no walks, he kept the Yanks scoreless until the ninth inning when Jeter scored on a measly groundout. 

Chase Utley was the total offense for most of the game (up until the eight inning).  Thanks to his two solo dingers.  Philly had a 2-0 lead which is all they really needed with Lee on the hill.

Props goes to C.C. Sabathia.  Despite the ‘L’, he pitched a fair game, allowing just 2 runs in seven frames, good enough for a win in most any other game. 

Two observations:  Ryan Howard’s line looks pretty good (2 for 5, 2 doubles, rbi) but I thought he looked pretty miserable at the plate for his two strikeouts.  Also, the Yanks were obvious pretty anemic with the bat last night but one exception was Derek Jeter.  He was 3 for 4 and scored their only run. 

 

Tonight, Pedro Martinez for the Phils and A.J. Burnett for the Yanks. 

I checked out PJ’s stats and they’re quite interesting.  Not the most durable fellow but it’s amazing how times he’s led the league in certain categories. 

Obviously, ERA, five times.  Hits per 9 IP, five times, Win/Loss Pct, four times, Strikeouts per 9 IP, four times. walks and hits per 9 IP, six times, and shutouts, 3 times. 

Innings pitched, Games Started, and Complete Games… eh, not so much.

Go Phillies.

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