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Posts Tagged ‘Cliff Lee’

“The View from the Philly Pressbox” – Cardinals Series 6 Recap

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 26, 2013 at 9:15 am

Erik Kratz

In the sixth of our season long series, “The View from the Philly Pressbox” takes a look at the first 4 game series of the season against the St Louis Cardinals. The Phils were lined up with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick to face Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook. Overall these are good matchups with what should’ve been a slight advantage to the Phillies. The Phils did hit the ball in the series but were still only able to manage a 2-2 split.

Hamels and Wainwright squared off in the opener and didn’t disappoint. Both aces pitched 7 innings allowing 3 runs each. Hamels allowed 5 hits, 2 walks with 8 k’s while Wainwright allowed 9 hits, 0 walks and 4k’s. The Phillies added 4 more hits off Cardinal relievers, for a total of 13 hits in the game but Mike Adams failed to hold the Cards in the 8th and picked up the lose, 4-3. For the Phils Ryan Howard had 3 hits while Chase Utley, Freddie Galvis and Eric Kratz added 2 each. Galvis started the game in left field and played pretty well. Yadier Molina had 3 hits and 2 RBI’s while Carlos Beltran added 2 hits including a home run to lead the Cards.

The Phils bounced back in Game 2 by scoring 5 runs in the 1st inning, 1 in the 2nd and 2 more in the 3rd to allow Halladay a nice cushion to cruise. Doc went 7 innings before the game was called due to rain. He allowed jus 2 hits, both solo homers to Beltran again and Matt Holliday. He walked 2 and struck out 6. It was not Docs most efficient outing throwing 59 strikes and 50 balls but either way he only gave up 2 hits and 2 runs. At the plate the 10 hit attack was led by catcher Humberto Quintero with 2 hits and 2 RBI’s, Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry and Ben Revere all had 2 hits as well. Ryan Howard was given the night off and replaced at 1st base by Kevin Frandsen. This was a good bounce back win with Lee coming up in Game 3.

Game 3 looked like a game from last week. The Phils only managed 3 hits, 3 walks and struck out 10 more times off of Cardinal pitching while being shut out 5-0. Lee gave up a 4 spot in the 3rd and that’s all it took. Beltran homered for the 3rd straight game. No bats in this one!!

In Game 4 of the series the Phils got another nice outing from Kendrick. It’s safe to say he’s been the most consistent pitcher on the staff to date. When Kendrick left the game after 6 innings of 8 hit, 2 run baseball the score was 2-2. The Phils quickly fell behind in the top of the 7th when an Utley error led to the Cards lead off of Antonio Bastardo and Chad Durbin. The Phils bounced right back to tie it in the bottom of the 7th then added 4 more in the bottom of the 8th. The big blow came off the bat of Kratz, who blasted a 3 run homer off of reliever Mitchell Boggs giving the Phils a well deserved 7-3 victory. Kratz homer also allowed Mike Adams to pick up the win. Jonathan Papelbon pitched the 9th but was not credited with a save due to the 4 run lead. Kratz led the offense with 2 hits and 3 RBI’s, Rollins added 3 hits and Utley added 2. For the first time in the series Carlos Beltran did not hit a home run.

On the plus side for the series:
• The Phils banged out 40 hits in the 4 game series.
• Discounting the 3rd inning by Lee the Phils got 4 solid starts.
• The bullpen allowed 1 earned run in 8 innings. Unfortunately the 1 run was also a game loser.
• Jimmy Rollins was moved back to leadoff spot and responded with a 6-18 series raising his average to .257.
• Freddy Galvis started the first 3 games of the series in LF but could only manage a 2-13 series.
• Utley went 5-15 in the series raising his average to .294.
• Ryan Howard sat out 2 games but went 4-7 raising his average to .277.
• Michael Young continues to get on base. He went 4-14 with a hit in each game. Young is hitting .333.
• Ben Revere was moved down in the lineup and responded with a 4-13 series.
• The Phils only struck 27 times in 4 games. This is improvement!

More to work on:
• Phils pitching gave up 5 home runs while the Phils only hit 1.
• The Phils aren’t scoring runs early in games. They only got 1 win from a starter, Halladay. The starters are pitching pretty well but the games are being left to the bullpen.
• The Phils were 12-37 with runners in scoring position.

Next Up:
The Pittsburgh Pirates are up next at Citizens Bank Park for a 4 game series. Jonathon Petibone will make his big league debut in Game 1. The excitement will be building for the 22 year old. Hamels, Halladay and Lee will follow. The Phils need to win 3 out of 4 from the Pirates

Looking forward:
Update: we predicted a 2-2 split against the Cardinals and that’s what we got. Here’s how we stand for the season; we predicted 2 out of 3 from the Royals, instead losing 2 out of 3. We picked the Phils to win 2 of 3 from the Mets and they did. We picked 2 out of 3 against the Marlins and they did that. We picked 1-2 against the Reds and they went 0-3. The Phils are now 8-11 going in to the 4 game series against the Pirates.
We had predicted the Phils would be 10-9 so far so 8-11 isn’t looking very good. We added they would be 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month, obviously with 11 losses already there’s no room for more losses.

The Fightin’s play a total of 27 games in the month of April. This includes 3 at home against the Mets, 3 in Florida, 3 in Cincinnati, 4 back home against the Cardinals, 4 more at home against the Pirates, 3 at New York and the first game of a series against the Indians in Cleveland on the last day of the month. Here’s what we see from the Philly Pressbox, 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month. How did we get there? 1-2 Braves, 2-1 Royals, 2-1 Mets, 2-1 Marlins, 1-2 Reds, 2-2 Cardinals, 3-1 Pirates, 2-1 Mets, 1-0 Indians. Losing an extra game to the Cardinals or Pirates wouldn’t be unreasonable. Either way 15 or 16 win

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“The View from the Philly Pressbox” – Reds Series 5 Recap

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 25, 2013 at 9:38 am

Kyle Kenrick

In the fifth of our season long series, “The View from the Philly Pressbox” takes a look at the Cincinnati Reds series. The Reds came in to the series on a 5 game losing streak while the Phillies came out of the Marlins series with cold bats. The cold bats continued and the Phils were swept in Cincinnati, 4-2, 1-0 and 11-2.  

In the opener, Cliff Lee threw well for 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 runs, walked 1 and struck out 4. Lee allowed the 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th of a scoreless game and was pitch hit for in the top of the 8th by Chase Utley who responded with a game tying home run. Charlie Manuel went with Jeremy Horst in the 8th and that backfired as Horst allowed 3 hits, 2 runs and a walk while only retiring 1 batter. By the time Michael Adams finished up the Phils were behind 4-2 and the game was over. On the offensive side the Phils had no answers for Branson Arroyo and Aroldis Chapman who combined to allow just 5 hits to the Phils.

In Game 2 of the series Kyle Kendrick threw a gem for 7 innings, allowing 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks and 4 k’s and again the Phils couldn’t score any runs or get any hits. Homer Bailey matched Kendrick allowing just 2 hits through 8 innings of work. This time it was Phillippe Aumont that faltered in the bottom of the 9th, allowing 2 hits, a walk, an error by Ben Revere, and the Phils lost 1-0 in the suspended game that was finished quickly on Wednesday prior to the regularly scheduled game.

Game 3 started out bad for John Lannan and ended up worse. Lannan, who has pitched well, was rocked for 8 hits and 6 runs in just 1.2 innings of work. Following the game he was placed on the disabled list. Raul Valdez came on as the long reliever and things just got worse. The Phils were down 11-0 after 5 innings and went on to lose 11-2.

Again, we go back to the drawing board:

  • The Phils managed just 13 hits in the 3 game series.
  • No Phillie had more than 1 hit in any of the games.
  • Ben Revere was 0-12 in the leadoff spot. He’s now hitting .194.
  • Jimmy Rollins was 1-11. He’s hitting .232.
  • Ryan Howard was 1-11. He’s hitting .241
  • The catchers position was 0-9.
  • Jonathan Papelbon did not get on the field in the series.
  • The Phils scored just 4 runs in the series coming off the Marlins series where they scored just 6 runs. That’s 10 runs in 6 games.
  • The Phils struck out 24 more times in the 3 games series.

The bright spots of the Reds series:

  • Lee and Kendrick both had excellent starts. They allowing just 2 runs between them which should’ve gotten 2 wins.
  • Michael Young had a hit in each game, going 3-10. His team leading average is now .346.
  • Chase Utley was 2-6 in the series. Utley was rested in Game 2, being used as a pinch hitter, and replaced in the Game 3 blowout by Kevin Frandsen.
  • Freddy Galvis hit his first home run of the season.
  • Aumont has 1-2 record but his ERA is 0.00. Both of the runs he’s allowed have led to losses and both have been unearned.
  • Antonio Bastardo has pitched in 6 games, allowing 1 hit and 0 runs, ERA 0.00.

Next Up:

The St. Louis Cardinals back at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils are lined up to throw Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick. If the bats can come alive this could be an interesting series. If not, the Phils will fall deeper in to the hole.

Looking forward:

Update: No one expected the Phils to be swept in this series, or ever, with the starting rotation they have, but it happened. Our 1-2 prediction became 0-3. So here’s how we stand for the season; we predicted 2 out of 3 from the Royals, instead losing 2 out of 3. We picked the Phils to win 2 of 3 from the Mets and they did. We picked 2 out of 3 against the Marlins and they did that. The Phils are now 6-9 going in to another tough 4 game series against the Cardinals. We’re hoping for a split at worst.

We had predicted the Phils would be 8-7 so far so 6-9 isn’t looking very good.

The Fightin’s play a total of 27 games in the month of April. This includes 3 at home against the Mets, 3 in Florida, 3 in Cincinnati, 4 back home against the Cardinals, 4 more at home against the Pirates, 3 at New York and the first game of a series against the Indians in Cleveland on the last day of the month. Here’s what we see from the Philly Pressbox, 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month. How did we get there? 1-2 Braves, 2-1 Royals, 2-1 Mets, 2-1 Marlins, 1-2 Reds, 2-2 Cardinals, 3-1 Pirates, 2-1 Mets, 1-0 Indians. Losing an extra game to the Cardinals or Pirates wouldn’t be unreasonable. Either way 15 or 16 wins.

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“The View from the Philly Pressbox” – Mets Series 3 Recap

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Cliff Lee

In the third of our season long series “The View from the Philly Pressbox” takes a look at the New York Mets series. Quite frankly the Mets are awful. If it weren’t for John Buck hitting a home run in each of the three games the Mets would’ve shown nothing. If Roy Halladay would’ve been able to find the strike zone the Phils should’ve had a much needed sweep. In the end the Phils won 2 of 3 and move their record to 4-5, 4 games behind the red hot Atlanta Braves, 8-1.

 The bright spots of the Mets series:

  • You have to start with Cliff Lee. Two consecutive times Lee has had to be the stopper after miserable outings by Halladay and Cole Hamels. Each time Lee has done the job. Against the Mets he threw 8.2 innings, allowing 8 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 0 walks and 6 k’s. Lee lowered his ERA to 1.08. Lee has also not walked a batter in his 16.2 innings of work while Hamels and Halladay can’t find the strike zone. Lee also threw first pitch strikes to 27 of 34 hitters he faced.
  • The Phils again spotted Kyle Kendrick a huge lead, 4 runs in his first outing and 5 runs against the Mets. Although Kendrick struggled some he held on to get the win going 6 innings, allowing 8 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks and 6 k’s. Antonio Bastardo, Michael Adams and Jonathan Papelbon allowed 1 run in 3 innings of relief.
  • In spite of Halladays struggles in Game 1 of the series the bullpen of Chad Durbin, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdez combined for 5 innings of shutout relief, allowing just 3 hits and 2 walks.
  • Michael Young had a 5-11 series with his first HR as a Phillie. Young raised his average to a team high .375.
  • Chase Utley continues to swing the bat well. Utley was only 2-10 in the series but did hit a HR, drove in a couple runs and stole 2 bases. He’s presently hitting .333 with a team high 9 RBI’s.
  • Jimmy Rollins had 4 more hits in the series in 12 at bats, raising his average back up to .316.
  • The Phils scored 17 runs in the 3 game series, 5.6 runs per game.

 Areas to improve:

  • As mentioned earlier, Roy Halladay struggled immensely against the weak hitting Mets. Halladay threw 99 pitches just to get through 4 innings allowing 6 hits, 7 runs, 3 walks and a home run while striking out 3. A telling statistic to Halladays troubles were first pitch strikes, he threw just 11 to the 22 batters he faced. A second telling statistic was he was only able to get 10 swinging strikes, while the Mets fouled off 21 strikes. He had trouble getting the ball by the hitters.
  • The Phils were only able to collect 4 hits off Mets pitchers Matt Harvey and Josh Edgin in the 7-2 loss on Monday.
  • The Phils have struck out 79 times in 9 games, 8.8 per game. This ranks 4th in the NL.
  • Although Hamels didn’t pitch in the Mets series it’s imperative that he and Halladay get things turned around. They will both have an opportunity to pitch this weekend against the Marlins.
  • Ryan Howard went 3-11 against the Mets but is still hitting just .200 with 12 k’s in 9 games.
  • Ben Revere is struggling hs well. Revere is hitting just .211 with an OBP of just .268 from the leadoff spot.
  • Dom Browns average has dropped all the way to .242. He seems to be losing some of that Spring Training hot that he had. Brown has to hit to stay in the lineup.

 Next Up:

The Miami Marlins in Miami. The Phils will throw John Lannan, Hamels and Halladay. The Marlins are just 1-8 on the season. This would be a good weekend for a sweep and good pitching performances from all of the starters.

 Looking forward:

Update: We didn’t fair too well in our prediction of 2 out of 3 from the Royals, instead losing 2 out of 3. We picked the Phils to win 2 of 3 from the Mets and they did. Now they need to pick up a game by sweeping the Marlins especially with the Reds and Cardinals on the schedule next week. You have to beat the teams that you should beat.

 The Fightin’s play a total of 27 games in the month of April. This includes 3 at home against the Mets, 3 in Florida, 3 in Cincinnati, 4 back home against the Cardinals, 4 more at home against the Pirates, 3 at New York and the first game of a series against the Indians in Cleveland on the last day of the month. Here’s what we see from the Philly Pressbox, 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month. How did we get there? 1-2 Braves, 2-1 Royals, 2-1 Mets, 2-1 Marlins, 1-2 Reds, 2-2 Cardinals, 3-1 Pirates, 2-1 Mets, 1-0 Indians. Losing an extra game to the Cardinals or Pirates wouldn’t be unreasonable. Either way 15 or 16 wins.

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“The View from the Philly Pressbox” – Braves Series 1 Recap

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Chase Utley

In the first of our season long series in review “The View from the Philly Pressbox” takes a look at the Atlanta Braves series. The Phils opened the season with a 3 game series in Atlanta, losing 2 of the 3 games. What did we learn from the chilly start to the season?

First some positives:

  • Chase Utley appears to be healthy and ready to go. Utley finished the series 5-11 with a home run and 6 rbi’s.
  • Dom Brown brought his hot Spring Training bat to the regular season. Brown was 4-11 in the 3 game series.
  • Jimmy Rollins got off to a good start by going 5-14 with 2 doubles.
  • The top of the Phils lineup appear that they plan on running the bases. Leadoff hitter Ben Revere stole 2 bases in the series as did Rollins.
  • Cliff Lee threw a solid 8 innings of 2 hit, no walk, shutout baseball in Game 3 preventing a sweep.
  • Phillies pitching struck out 34 Braves while walking 9.
  • Jonathan Papelbon was solid in Lee’s save opportunity.
  • Mike Adams, Phillippe Aumont, Antonio Bastardo and Jeremy Horst combined for 5 innings of 1 hit shutout relief.
  • The Phils committed just 1 error in the series. (Utley)
  • Roy Halladay struck out 9 batters of the 10 outs that he recorded. Although he made some mistakes with his location he’s around the plate. His location will improve.

 Now for a few negatives:

  • Cole Hamels and Halladay combined to give up 13 hits and 10 runs, including 5 home runs, in 8.1 innings, while both gave up 1st inning homers.
  • Chad Durbin was unable to record an out, allowing 2 hits, 2 runs and a walk to the 3 batters he faced.
  • Raul Valdez was shaky relieving Halladay; however the game was already out of hand.
  • Ryan Howard finished the series 1-12. Not unusual for Howard in the cold weather.
  • Michael Young made his Phillies debut going 1-9.

 Next Up:

The Kansas City Royals come to Citizens Bank Park to open the home season. The Phils will throw Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan and Cole Hamels against the improved Royals. Look for the Phils to win 2 out of 3.

 Looking forward:

The Fightin’s play a total of 27 games in the month of April. This includes 3 at home against the Mets, 3 in Florida, 3 in Cincinnati, 4 back home against the Cardinals, 4 more at home against the Pirates, 3 at New York and the first game of a series against the Indians in Cleveland on the last day of the month. Here’s what we see from the Philly Pressbox, 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month. How did we get there? 1-2 Braves, 2-1 Royals, 2-1 Mets, 2-1 Marlins, 1-2 Reds, 2-2 Cardinals, 3-1 Pirates, 2-1 Mets, 1-0 Indians. Losing an extra game to the Cardinals or Pirates wouldn’t be unreasonable. Either way 15 or 16 wins.

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“View from the Philly Pressbox” – 2013 Phillies

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Phillies

What can we expect from the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies? Can the Phils get to the 88-92 wins it will take to make the playoffs? Here’s how we see the keys to the season from The Philly Pressbox. Lets start out by saying we think they can win 88 games, however, we don’t think they can win 96-100 that it will take to beat the Nationals. They must get off to a quick start when the schedule is in their favor.

 Here’s what has to happen:

  • ·        A combined 50 wins from Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee whether it’s 18, 16 and 16 doesn’t matter.
  • ·        A combined 22 wins from Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan. Again, whether it’s 12 and 10 or 14 and 8, they need to get to 22.

That gives 72 wins from the starting rotation. Are we asking too much? It should be safe to say that Hamels will have another solid season and should win 18 games. It should also be safe to say that Halladay and Lee will improve on the 17-17 record they posted in 2012. That brings us to Kendrick. Last year Kyle posted an 11-12 record with a respectable 3.90 ERA. Can he improve upon that as the #4 starter? We’ll take the 11 wins if he can cut down on the losses. Some run support will help. The #5 starter is lefty newcomer Lannan. Last year with the Nationals he finished 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in just 6 starts. Basically the Nats gave up on the big man after 6 seasons in the big leagues and a 42-52 record. Can Lannan win 10 games for The Fightins? We think so. He will have to!

 The down side to this thought process is, as always, injuries. Last year the Phils had some depth with Kendrick as the 6th starter but that luxury is gone with the present big league roster.

 Mark this down, the bullpen will be better! Jonathan Papelbon will be solid as the closer. The addition of Chad Durbin and Mike Adams is huge. Add Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst, Phillippe Aumont and Raul Valdes. I like this bunch. They are capable of grabbing 16-18 wins and more importantly not blowing leads late in games that seemed to be the norm in 2012. It will be up to Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee not to overwork them so they’re ready in the stretch run of late summer.

 Lets talk position players. This is where it gets dicey. I like the infield regardless of its age if they stay healthy. We know what to expect from Jimmy Rollins. We will get 25-30 HR’s and 110 RBI’s from Ryan Howard if he plays 130 games. Michael Young at 3rd base will have to play 120 games, at least, if this lineup will be successful. Young is a good player and has been for a long time but it’s a long season playing every day and not just being a DH. Young contributing in the 5 hole will be huge. Chase Utley has got to have a big year. Watching Utley in the spring was fun again as he finally looks healthy. Chase has averaged just 100 games each of the last 3 seasons contributing 38 HR’s and 154 RBI’s. A healthy Utley playing 130+ games means 25 HR’s and 90 RBI’s in 2013.

 The infield depth could be a real question mark. Kevin Frandsen did a nice job in 2012 and deserved to be on the roster. Frandsen will be solid resting Young, however his lack of pop, his career 9 HR’s changes the dynamics of the lineup if he has to play an extended period of time. Freddy Galvis rounds out the infield. We are not big on Galvis and stand behind what we said last season, “he can’t hit big league pitching” and that was before he was suspended for performance enhancing drugs.

 The outfield is full of questions marks. Ben Revere will be a solid young player that will hit for average and steal bases. Hopefully he will be the leadoff hitter. Dominic Brown had a real good spring but the jury is still out on him. He has a lot to prove at the big league level. Lance Nix is not a starting everyday outfielder. John Mayberry has never earned a full time job. Delmon Young hasn’t shown much interest in playing and starts the season on the disabled list. The last spot currently belongs to Ezequiel Carrera. Who? Overall this outfield is not very strong.

 The catching position is also in flux. Erik Kratz will be the man for the first 25 games due to the suspension of Carlos Ruiz. Kratz played in only 50 games last season, a career high, and hit .248. Kratz will hold down the fort until Ruiz returns. Chooch will need another strong season. Humberto Quintero will back up Kratz.

 The summary is, can the pitching win without a strong lineup? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs. Can the Phils stay healthy? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs. There is no depth! Can Utley and Howard return to years past? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs. Can Chooch have as good a year as he did in 2012? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs. As important as anything can Halladay and Lee return to years past? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs.

 The Philly Pressbox prediction is 88 wins, 74 loses, 3rd in the East and the #5 playoff spot. Once you get to “The Party” the pitching takes over and The Fightins could surprise people in a short series.

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“View from the Philly Pressbox” – Pirates Series

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 9, 2012 at 11:47 am

In our first installment of the “View from the Philly Pressbox” we’ll review the 3 games series, at Pittsburgh, against the Pirates, in which the Phils lost two out of three.

We learned the following:

Roy Halladay and Jonathan Papelbon were really good in the opener, combining for a 2 hit, 1-0 shutout.

Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle lost his mind by pitching to Carlos Ruiz with the score 0-0, with Phillies on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out and Freddie Galvis, in his first major league game, and the pitcher, Halladay due up. Chooch hit a SAC Fly to rightfield that was all Halladay needed. 1-0 Phillies.

Cliff Lee can still be good even when he’s not at his best. He gave up 2 hits and 1 run through 6 innings, allowing a run on a wild pitch. Lee appeared to be struggling with his location some and wasn’t happy with some balls and strikes from the umpire but still pitched very well.

Games will end on bang-bang calls on the bases. This one was close and went against the Phils allowing the winning run to score giving them their first lose.

The Vanimal, Vance Worley, doesn’t appear to have any sophomore season concerns. Worley threw 6 innings of 5 hit, 1 run baseball, leaving with a 4-1lead.

Overall the Phillies starters threw 20 innings, gave up 9 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks and had 14 strikeouts and Cole Hamels hasn’t pitched yet.

The Phillies hitting is awful!! They accounted for 20 hits, 1 by Halladay, in the first three games against average pitching, hit 1 home run, had 2 doubles and only scored 6 runs.

Juan Pierre needs to be the leadoff hitter that can get on base and make things happen. If Charlie Manuel wants John Mayberry to get At-Bats it needs to be at 1st base. Not that Mayberry can’t play leftfield, but Pierre needs to be in the lineup until he proves he can’t get the job done. Shane Victorino is not a lead-off hitter and Jimmy Rollins is not a number 3 hitter. Our thought is play Mayberry every day at 1st base and bat 5th so opponents don’t walk Hunter Pence like they did Sunday with Jim Thome hitting behind him. The Phils need to establish a 5th hitter in the line-up and leave him there until he fails.

How long of a leash do you have with Freddie Galvis? He needs to hit something! 0-10 in your first series is not a great start, especially for a guy who isn’t a notoriously good hitter to begin with. He has played well in the field but he needs to hit. The Ty Wigginton, Galvis, Brian Schneider experiment in the 6, 7 and 8 spots produced a 0-9 with 2 walks for the day. They did score 2 runs. That won’t get it. Tack on another 0-4 for the 9th spot and it wasn’t a very good day.

Why pull Worley after 6 innings and only 78 pitches?

Lastly, Charlie let Sunday’s game get away. As long as I can remember being around baseball there’s been a cardinal rule of “NEVER let the other team’s best player beat you”. Charlie decided to pitch to both Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen with a runner on 3rd and 1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning. David Herndon was fortunate enough to strikeout Tabata for the 2nd out before McCutchen hit the game winner off the centerfield wall. Baseball wisdom says they should’ve walked both Tabata and McCutchen and set up a double play situation with Adam Walker. Those runners meant nothing so why not put them on base. Choosing to pitch to Tabata was one thing but letting McCutchen, easily the Pirates best player, beat you with two empty bases is inexcusable.

With that said, it’s early in the season and today’s game against the Marlins brings Hamels to the mound. There’s nothing like the home opener. As we stated in our Phillies Profile on Hamels, the link is attached, https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/phillies-profile-cole-hamels/, we expect a great season from him and it starts today. The Phillies pitching is going to be fun to watch but we sure need some answers at the plate, and soon.

For now, WE’RE OUTTTTTTA HERE!!!!!

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Phillies Profile – Cliff Lee

In Philadelphia Phillies on March 12, 2012 at 10:15 am

Over the next 28 days Philly Pressbox (https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com) (@phillypressbox) will be doing a review and analysis of each Phillies player, Manager Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff leading up to Opening Day 2012.  On Day 4 we preview Cliff Lee.

Cliff Lee – Cliff is in his second stint with the Phillies after being obtained at the trade deadline in 2009 and leading the Phils to the World Series before losing to the Yankees. He brought with him stellar statistics from the American League Cleveland Indians. Lee posted a 83-48 career record for the Indians, 4.01 ERA which included a 22-3, 2.54 ERA in 2008 in which he won the Cy Young Award. Once arriving in Philadelphia, Cliff finished with a 7-4 regular season record with a 3.39 ERA. In the playoffs Cliff showed his real value. He pitched two games in the NLCS and the Phillies won both of them. He threw a complete game in a Game 1, 5-1 victory. He came back and pitched 8 innings in the Game 5, 5-4 win. He continued his fine work in the NLDS throwing 8 innings in Game 3 and beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-0. Cliff continued his brilliance by winning two World Series games, Game 1, a 6-1 complete game and Game 5, 8-6. Lee threw 8 more innings.

Cliff was traded to the Seattle Mariners after the 2009 season and later moved on to the Texas Rangers before  returning  to the Phillies for the 2011 season and continued his dominate pitching. He finished the season with a 17-8 record and a 2.40 ERA while leading the league with 6 shutouts and finishing 3rd in the Cy Young Award voting. The season was going great for Lee until Game 2 of the NLDS when he was given a 4-0 lead after 3 innings but couldn’t hold it. He gave up 5 runs on 12 hits in 6 innings. The Phils offense didn’t help much getting only 1 hit against 6 Cardinal relievers after getting 5 hits off starter Cris Carpenter in the first 3 innings. Had Lee held on to win that game the Phils would’ve taken a 2-0 lead in the series by winning both of their home games. They did win Game 3 but lost Games 4 and 5. Lee did not pitch again in the series.

Cliff is a quality starter that’s as good as any #2 in baseball. His career record is 119-69 with a 3.65 ERA while average 221 innings pitched per season while making 3 All Star teams including in 2011 for the Phillies.

Personal Analysis:

We look for Lee to continue his dominance and add another 17-20 wins while continuing to eat up innings by pitching late into games. As mentioned earlier Cliff would be near the top of the list of #1 starters in baseball so the Phillies have a real luxury in having Lee as their #2. Just as he did last season Cliff could make a run for the Cy Young Award again in 2012.

Tomorrow we will preview Cole Hamels.

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The Phils, Hamels and Spring Training

In Philadelphia Phillies on January 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

I woke up this morning to the great news that Cole Hamels is back in the fold for another year. As I’m looking out the window watching the snow fall on this frigid January day the Hamels signing makes me think about getting started in sunny Clearwater Florida. I can see Doc Halladay working out at the Carpenter Complex as I’m typing. As far as Hamels $15 million is nothing to sneeze at but I’d sure like to see a long term deal, 3 -4 years, made to keep Hamels through his prime years. It seems hard to believe that Cole is just 28 years old since he’s been in the big leagues with the Phils since 2006. I think he was the most consistent of the starters last season, including Halliday. The offense just didn’t score runs for him. His 2011 stats of 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA and 0.99 WHIP (walks, hits per innings pitched) were career bests. He could have easily won 4 more games with a little more offense.

That brings us to the 2012 season. Is this a better team than the 2011 team? As it stands today I don’t think so. It’s safe to say that the offense hasn’t improved at all. We have lost Raul Ibanez, it was probably time to go, and plan to replace him on a full time basis with former part timer John Mayberry. Mayberry deserves a chance after having a nice 2011 as a reserve. He hit .273 with 15 HR’s and 49 RBI’s. The problem is that Mayberry has never had more than 8 RBI’s in a season before that and he’s 28 years old. To be safe there needs to be a backup plan. At this point the outfield reserves are Lance Nix and Dom Brown. I’m not comfortable there. Obviously there’s a lot expected from Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence in the other outfield spots. Pence will have his hands full early in the season with Ryan Howard on the disabled list. Pence will likely be asked to bat in the clean-up spot.

The infield hasn’t changed except that it got a year older and hopefully gets healthier. This is the year for Chase Utley. Utley is still a solid player but has fallen out of the elite group over the last couple years. Most of that has been blamed on health issues, which may be true; however it’s time to get back to the old Chase. Over the last 5 seasons his batting average has been .332, .292, .282, .275, and .259. His HR numbers have also declined over that period, 22, 33, 31, 16, and 11, and with that comes RBI reductions, 103, 104, 93, 65 and 44. Chase turns 32 years old this Spring. As stated earlier this is a critical year for both Chase and the Phillies success. Placido Polanco had an outstanding first half of the season. It was obvious he fought through injuries for a good part of the season. He was still selected to the All Star game and won the Gold Glove at 3rd base. Polly is 36 years old. He needs a healthy 2012. It’s good to have Jimmy Rollins back. I like JRoll but didn’t want to over pay him or sign him for too long. He’s been the leader of the line-up but has obviously tailed off since his MVP year of 2007. His average from 2007-2011 has been .296, .277, .250, .243 and .268 although his On Base Percentage has stayed pretty much level. Jimmy needs to get on base and be the guy that drives this offense. JRoll is now 33 years old. That brings us to Ryan Howard and his health. The Phils need a healthy Ryan Howard and they need him soon. Howard still strikes out way too much but there are only a few players that can say they’ve driven in over 100 runs 6 years in a row while hitting between 31 and 58 HR’s over those years. Howard is also 32 years old and won’t be able to keep producing these numbers forever. The infield bench doesn’t look much different. We’ve added future Hall of Famer and 1st class guy in Jim Thome and his 604 career home runs and Ty Wiggington as reserves. Thome is expected to be the left handed and Wiggington the right handed reserves/pinch hitters off the bench.  Wouldn’t it be great if Thome can be ready to start while Howard is injured and produce great numbers? The other infield reserves are Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez. They both are adequate reserves. One of these two likely won’t be around when camp breaks. Overall I don’t see any improvement in the infield.

The catchers are still Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider. Chooch had a nice season last year and has become a top notch catcher in the National League. He caught 132 games last year and turns 33 years old before Spring Training. Schneider does a nice job as a backup but it’s time to be getting someone ready to take over the catcher spot in the near future.

The starting pitching will still be strong with Halladay, Hamels, Cliff Lee, and 2 of the 3, Vance Worley, Joe Blanton or Kyle Kendrick. Whoever loses out on the 5th starter spot will move to the bullpen unless a trade is made. I like Worley and Blanton in those spots but Kendrick pitched well at the end of last season.

I’m having real problems with the bullpen. I’m okay with the signing of Jonathan Papelbon. In the last 6 seasons he’s recorded 35, 37, 41, 38, 37 and 31 saves. He’s a proven guy that can get it done. With that said I’d like to have seen Ryan Madson stay. Obviously something went wrong whether it was the Phillies, Madson or agent Scott Boras. Either way, Madson didn’t get the free agent deal he was expecting, 1 year – $8.5m with Cincinnati, and will not be back. It would’ve been nice to have Papelbon and Madson if it was possible. The rest of the bullpen looks like Antonio Bastardo as the lefty, Michael Stutes as the righty. Both of these guys had outstanding rookie years before running low in the gas tank toward the end of the season. That leaves just 2 spots left, assuming that either Valdez or Martinez is not with the club clearing out a spot, those choices are Jose Contrares, coming off an injury, David Herndon, Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery and Justin De Fratus. I don’t know about you but that bullpen doesn’t scare me. The key could be Savery, a former 1st round draft pick that seems to finally be coming in to his own as a left handed reliever. He needs time to prove he can pitch at the big league level.

It’s time to get started. I think I can hear bats and balls as I’m looking through the snow. It’s time to make another run to a World Championship!

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