Posts Tagged ‘Kyle Kendrick

15
Feb
11

PHILLIES: Week 1 Notes From Clearwater

With the national media departing finally from Clearwater and moving south to Jupiter, Florida where the whole Albert Pujols fiasco is starting to sort out, it’s time to finally time to get down to talking about some, you know, actual baseball stuff instead of the subjective discussions that have recently coincided with the hype and expectations surrounding the Phillies.

– For all those worried about Dom Brown’s winter, don’t be. Apparently, in addition to spending the last two months completely changing his stance, he also added about 10 pounds of muscle according to Phillies Daily News Writer David Murphy, transforming his arms into “pythons”.  I’m now sure how the latter translates into all-around baseball success, but the fact that their is visible proof of Brown’s hard work in the off-season leads me to believe that he’s in the mindset that the RF job is his to lose. And it’s a correct mindset at that.

– A noticeable absence from Clearwater this past week has been longtime Phillies reliever Chad Durbin. Durbin, who was one of the longest tenured Phillies before the organization failed to renew his contract after last season, is still a topic conversation in the clubhouse. For example, players such as Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson have publicly taken time this week to lobby for his return in the media. You don’t see that very often. Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen right now. Those to look out for that are in contention for his 7th inning role and spot in the bullpen include Kyle Kendrick (who doesn’t quite have place in the starting rotation now with the evolution of R2C2), the much-maligned Danys Baez, and a couple relatively new names such as Vance Worley and Michael Schwimer.

– Ok, here is one thing of note surrounding all the Phillies hype. As I was peering through Twitter yesterday, I noticed that the highly-regarded FOX Sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal predicted  that one of the Phillies “Fab Four” of starting pitchers would win the 2011 NL Cy Young Award. However, it wasn’t the incumbent NL Cy Young Roy Halladay. Or Cliff Lee. Or even Roy Oswalt. It was actually the Phillies projected 4th starter, 27-year old southpaw Cole Hamels. While it may not be the popular choice amongst the group, do not forget, this guy owns the most recognizable hardware out of any of the four aces. A World Series ring.

For anything else you want to know, just click on the following video.

04
Nov
10

PHILLIES: Off-Season Questions

By now, you know the grim reality.

The Phillies we unable to make it to their 3rd straight Fall Classic. They were outplayed and beaten by a group of castoffs that compromised the San Francisco Giants roster, a team that eventually won the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

To sum up these chain of events, it’s actually quite easy. The Phillies did not deserve to have a chance to win there second World Series in 3 years. In addition to out-performing the undisputed most talented team in the National League, the most surprising element of the series was that the Giants were clearly more motivated than the Phillies.

What does the future hold for the Philadelphia Phillies?

It was almost like you were watching the 2008 Phillies when you saw the Giants and how they performed on the field. Opportunistic, clutch, always able to come up with the big play, manufacture that one run, or come up with that big pitch, a team who had not been to a World Series in eight years dismantled a Phillies team who was expected to roll to the World Series based on their overall talent and experience. In terms of comparing this Giants team to the ’08 Philadelphia team that won the title, their NLCS run was awfully remnicent, in regards to their play and their approach, to how the Phillies took apart the heavily favored Dodgers in 2008.

Well that, and both teams had one common link that helped carry them to victory.

The one, the only, Pat Burrell (and his .143 BA this postseason).

All jokes aside, while it still irks me that Burrell and Cody Ross (who was on the Marlins of all teams three months ago) are celebrating a World Series title while the city of Philadelphia is not, the show must go on.

The show, in this case, is the off-season.

Here are 3 questions the Phillies need to answer before Spring Training starts.

1. Will Jayson Werth be the starting RF for the Phillies on opening day?

Is Werth worth it? In this case, if his rumored asking price for a long-term deal is true (15-18 mil a year for 4-5 years), I am inclined to say no. I think the Phillies will echo that as well, especially with Domonic Brown, the #1 overall prospect in all of baseball in 2010, waiting in the wings. With letting Werth go, and implementing Brown as the starting RF imposes a clear lineup imbalance (over-abundance of LH hitters), a possible platoon for a year with Brown and another RH hitter (Ben Francisco, John Mayberry Jr., or a FA) seems to be economical move, and in my opinion, the right one. Unless Werth is willing to take a paycut (11-13 mil a year over 3-4 years), the most popular player (at least according to the female demographic) on the Phillies will no longer be able to call his home Philadelphia come the 2011 season.

2. Which members of the 2010 roster will no longer a member of the club come 2011?

If Werth goes, who else will join him? Just a couple days into the off-season, we likely know a couple of those names. The Phillies front office decided against exercizing the contract options SP Jamie Moyer, LHP J.C Romero, and UTIL Greg Dobbs, while the contract of 1B coach Davey Lopes was not renewed. With Lopes gone,  Moyer  likely headed towards the retirement home, and Dobbs to the minors,  the only one who even has a chance to come back is Romero, who would have to take at least a 50% paycut and and accept a 1-year deal. Don’t really see Romero as one who would make many concessions when it comes to something like that.

Outside of Romero, Moyer and Lopes, there are only a couple Phillies who are not locked up in long-term deals they could hit the highway. For all those that think SS Jimmy Rollins and OF Raul Ibanez may be on their way out, don’t. That’s not going to happen. Well, at least not this year. The starting lineup outside Werth is almost guaranteed to remain the same. The bench, predicting that the contracts of INF Wilson Valdez, 1B Mike Sweeney and 1B/OF Ross Gload will be renewed, should stay the same as well (although I think they will add an outfielder who specializes in hitting LHP pitching). As of right now, the pitching staff is where the most turnover could be. While the starting rotation seems to be set outside the 5th starter spot, there are four names that could potentially be on other teams at the start of the season.

RHP Chad Durbin (FA)

RHP Danys Baez (Outright release)

RHP David Herndon (Trade/Outright Release)

SP/RP Kyle Kendrick (Trade)

My prediction on this. Even though Baez under contract, I believe he has the highest chances out of the four of not being on the roster due to an extreme lack of productivity this year. And that’s putting it kindly. Outside of that, I think it’s likely that the Phillies bring back Herndon and Kendrick because they are as both under contract as well, and if Durbin is willing to take a one year deal, he should be back as well.

3. Are the Phillies to old?

If the Phillies playoff roster happens to be the 2011 opening day roster, with Brown supplanting Werth and the addition of John Mayberry Jr. as a utility OF who hits right-handed, they will still only have seven players (out of 25) under the age of 30. That will make them the undisputed oldest team in baseball. Now with that, they aren’t THAT old.  There are 3 players who will be 30, and Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins will all be 32 years of age or under, which means that they should be still within the prime of their respective careers.

The point I’m trying to make is that while the Phillies aren’t a kernel of puppies by any stretch of the imagination, they aren’t a softball team at an old age home either. With the way the contracts lay out though, there are not many ways they will get any younger throughout the season. A large majority of the current big league team is, as I said before, under contract, and even if the organization wants to get younger, the Phillies traded away a good majority of their pro-ready prospects in deals to acquire Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt in the past year and a half.

So to answer this question, I don’t think the Phillies are too old right now, but it’s also clear that they aren’t in any position to get any younger.

As long as they win, age won’t be an issue.

05
Oct
10

PHILLIES: NLDS Schedule and Roster Set

While the Phillies do not need to send in their 25-man roster until 10 AM on Wed., after their most recent workout at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday afternoon, the details surrounding the divisional series against the Reds are now officially finalized. Here is the schedule and NLDS roster (information via “The Phillies Zone” writer Matt Gelb).

SCHEDULE (With Probable Starting Pitchers)

Game 1 (Wednesday at 5:07 PM at Citizens Bank Park): Phillies (Roy Halladay) vs. Reds (Edison Volquez)

Game 2 (Friday at 6:07 PM at Citizens Bank Park): Phillies (Roy Oswalt) vs. Reds (Bronson Arroyo)

Game 3: (Sunday at 7:07 PM or 8:07 PM at Great American Ballpark): Reds (Johnny Cueto) vs. Phillies (Cole Hamels)

Game 4: (Monday at 5:07 PM or 7:37 PM at Great American Ballpark if needed) Reds (TBD) vs. Phillies (Roy Halladay)

Game 5: (Wednesday at 6:07 PM or 8:07 PM at Citizens Bank Park if needed): Phillies (Roy Halladay) vs. Reds (TBD)

ROSTER

PITCHERS (10)

SP Roy Halladay, SP Roy Oswalt, SP Cole Hamels, SP/RHP Joe Blanton, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP Jose Contreras, LHP J.C Romero, LHP Antonio Bastardo, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Brad Lidge

Those who were left off the roster: SP Kyle Kendrick, SP Vance Worley, RHP David Herndon, RHP Danys Baez, LHP Mike Zagurski

INFIELDERS (8)

1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley, SS Jimmy Rollins, 3B Placido Polanco, 1B Mike Sweeney, 1B/OF Ross Gload, UTIL Wilson Valdez, UTIL Greg Dobbs

Those who were left off the roster: SS Brian Bocock, 3B Cody Ransom

OUTFIELDERS (5)

LF Raul Ibanez, CF Shane Victorino, RF Jayson Werth, OF Ben Francisco, OF Domonic Brown

Those who were left off the roster: OF John Mayberry Jr.

CATCHERS (2)

C Carlos Ruiz, C Brian Schneider

Those who were left off the roster: C Paul Hoover, C Dane Sardinha

30
Sep
10

PHILLIES: Projecting The NLDS Roster

Now that the Phillies have not only clinched a playoff birth, but have also locked up yet another NL East crown and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, it’s time to erase the next week of meaningless baseball from our memory and actually focus on what’s important.

Yes folks, would be the Phillies fourth straight appearance in the postseason.

As I said in my last post, I would break down the potential playoff roster once everything was clinched. Well, I am a man of my word, and since the Phillies 2010 playoffopener will officially be played Wed, October 7th with an opponent that will TBD, it looks like it is about time to see how the current 33-man roster will dwindle down to 25 once the NLDS starts.

PITCHERS (11): In this breakdown, I have the Phillies keeping four starters and eight relievers. In reality, with the way the schedule looks as of right now (Games on Wed, Fri, Sun, Mon, Wed.), they will most likely use three starters, in which Doc should be ready to go if a fourth game is needed on 4-days rest. With that said, Joe Blanton will most likely be on the playoff roster as a possible 4th game starter, and if not, a middle-reliever if need be.  With Blanton on the roster, along with Danys Baez, who was signed to a deal in the off-season basically to give this team another veteran hard-throwing RHP for the month of October, that means both David Herndon and Kyle Kendrick will be left off, as their normal spot on the 25-man roster should be fulfilled by a second LHP as you will see below. I also project Cole Hamels to start game 2, so he will have the opportunity to pitch at Citizens Bank Park in front of a home crowd, something that worked quite well with him in the last two previous postseasons.

SP: Roy Halladay (Game 1 Starter)

SP: Cole Hamels (Game 2/3 Starter)

SP: Roy Oswalt (Game 2/3 Starter)

SP: Joe Blanton (Game 4 Starter/Middle Reliever)

RHP: Chad Durbin

RHP: Danys Baez

RHP: Jose Contreras

LHP: J.C Romero

LHP: Antonio Bastardo

Setup: Ryan Madson

Closer: Brad Lidge

CATCHERS (2)

This is pretty simple. In a 5-game series, barring injury concerns, there is no need to have three catchers on the roster. With Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz and primary backup Brian Schneider, fortunately, there aren’t any of those concerns. With that said, look for the Phillies to keep a veteran backstop, that being Paul Hoover, in the bullpen as a nice little security blanket close by if the injury bug bites in the NLDS.

C: Carlos Ruiz

C: Brian Schneider

INFIELDERS (7): Aside from the normal starters and Wilson Valdez, Phillies management has some tough decisions to make on this end. Do they keep an extra outfielder with speed such as Domonic Brown or John Mayberry Jr.  instead of Greg Dobbs, who would usually be a shoe-in to play in the postseason if not for his struggles this season? At this point, in a NLDS 5-game series, I think yes. Also, the mid-season addition of Mike Sweeney limits the need for Dobbs as the combination of he, Vladez, Ross Gload have proven that they are able to play the positions that Dobbs can at an even higher level.

1B: Ryan Howard

2B: Chase Utley

SS: Jimmy Rollins

3B: Placido Polanco

UTIL: Ross Gload

UTIL: Mike Sweeney

UTIL: Wilson Valdez

OUTFIELDERS (5): Another tough one here. Aside from the everyday starters and Ben Francisco, the final outfield spot comes down to three guys. Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., and yet again, Greg Dobbs. As a stated before, Dobbs’s lackluster performance this year really leaves him in a difficult position to make the postseason roster in any capacity. When it comes down to Dobbs and Mayberry, the biggest thing here is need. If the Phillies take Mayberry, that leaves only one possible LH situational hitter (Gload) on the bench. While it does depend on who they play in the NLDS, I don’t see Charlie Manuel and company feeling comfortable with that regardless of the opponent. I just don’t. Along with that rationale, taking Brown along for the postseason ride would go a long way towards giving him the proper experience that would allow him to properly implant Jayson Werth in the Phillies outfield once Werth bolts for the allure of dollar signs come the offseason.

RF: Jayson Werth

CF: Shane Victorino

LF: Raul Ibanez

OF: Ben Francisco

OF: Domonic Brown

Well, that was my stab at it. The two toughest calls here are obviously the battle of the last utility spot between Brown, Mayberry, and Dobbs and the decision of who’s going to be the 11th pitcher between Baez, Kendrick, and Durbin.

While I know the anticipation is killing all of you, the good news is that you only have to wait until next Wed. to find out.

07
Sep
10

PHILLIES: Recap of September Call-Ups

Fresh off of a split with a double-header against the Florida Marlins and sitting just a half-game back of the NL East leading Atlanta Braves, the Phillies made what looks like the last of their September roster moves (besides Danys Baez coming back up when he is healthy), as it appears that John Mayberry Jr. will likely join the team on Tuesday for the final month of the regular season.

Just to recap this protocol, on September 1st, the MLB rosters are able to expand from the usual 25-man roster to a maximum 40-player roster. This allows players who are currently on the Phillies organizational 40-man roster that are minor leagues for whatever reason to be brought up to major league competition until the end of the regular season without any coinciding roster move.

Including the probable addition of Mayberry and optimism surrounding the health of Baez, that will most likely bring the total to nine, that being the number additional players who will be occupying spots in the Phillies clubhouse until October 3rd (final day of the regular season).

Here is a recap of all the moves and the impact that these players may be able to make down the stretch.

RHP Danys Baez: Baez, a reliever who was once thought of as a potential closer if the Brad Lidge situation did not pan out, has been much of a disappointment since signing a 2-year, 5.5 million dollar contract at the start of the 2010 season. Inconsistent at best and borderline unbearable at worst, there is a reason that the team is not rushing to bring him back to the fold from injury. At the most, he may take up some mop-duty roles if games are out of hand to keep the likes of Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin, J.C Romero, and Jose Contreras fresh for when it really matters.

OF John Mayberry Jr.: While it’s not official yet, it’s widely assumed that Mayberry will be with the Phillies come Tuesday. Say what you want about him (overrated, a 1st rd. bust, etc.) but he really does have value for this team. For one, he absolutely demolishes lefties (.350 this year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley), so pinch-hitting duties and an occasional starting nod to spare Raul Ibanez against those southpaws may be in the cards for Mayberry if he is promoted. Secondly, Mayberry’s 20 stolen bases this year should give him an opportunity to pinch-run late in games. Lastly, his ability to play the two corner OF positions at an above-average level will give manager Charlie Manuel the option of using him during double-switch situations late in games. All things considered, none of this is valid if he is not added to the big league roster.

An interesting subplot to the end of the season could be the usage of Vance Worley.

RHP Vance Worley: Now this is a bit interesting. Worley has made a meteoric jump on MLB prospect lists since going from Double-A Reading to his first ever big league on Monday in the span of 3 months (a time frame that also includes being involved in the Roy Oswalt trade rumors). Yesterday, Worley did nothing to stop his climb to the top of the organizational mountain, going 5 innings and giving up just 2 ER in a spot-start against the Marlins. Just to refresh your memories, the Phillies branch has never been thrilled with the idea of Kyle Kendrick as the teams fifth starter, and I’m going to go out there on a limb and say that Worley’s role on this team for every fifth game will show that. Catch my drift? Even if that is not the case, Worley’s two well above-average big league pitches (FB, Slider) will allow him to have some worth as a primary long reliever in the next few weeks.

LHP Mike Zagurski: This was to be expected. Zagurski spent a month with the Phillies earlier this season when J.C Romero was down, and has showed utter dominance at with Lehigh Valley this year (13 straight scoreless innings at one point). While his transition to the big leagues could be viewed by some as shaky, with the ability to expand the roster, having LHP representation in the bullpen besides Romero and Antonio Bastardo was a must, and Zagurski and the next player I am going to talk about were really the only suitable candidates who could fill that role for this team.

LHP Nate Robertson: The former Tigers/Marlins starting pitcher was signed almost two weeks ago by the Phillies for one specific reason. Flexibility. In the past two seasons, Robertson has pitched in 47 games. He’s started 24 of them. So basically, the guy has just as much experience starting games has he does coming in relief. That had to weigh heavily in the mind of GM Ruben Amaro Jr. when they he, along with other members of the front office, were discussing signing a LHP for the stretch run. Well, his 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball he pitched AGAINST the Phillies as a member of the Marlins on April 18th this season may have had an impact as well.

RHP Scott Mathieson: Probably the move that most fans wanted to see. In July, Phillies fans got a small taste of Mathieson’s near 100 MPH in one game of relief duty. That first big league appearance in three years (two Tommy John surgeries later) may not have gone as well as all those involved would have liked, but a player who can bring a fastball like that to the table when he steps up to the mound is bound to be an valuable asset to a team in the middle of a pennant race, regardless of how much he actually pitches.

1b/ OF Ross Gload: It’s not really fair to lump Gload into the Sepetember “call-up” category, but his presence back in the Phillies clubhouse after a month on the disabled list can is indeed  a welcoming addition to the roster. While a groin injury may have sidelined Gload for the better part of the Phillies recent surge up the standings, he should assume duties as the Phillies primary LH bat along with Domonic Brown off the bench when he is deemed healthy to do so.

INF/OF Greg Dobbs: Dobbs has been designated for assignment twice this season due to his ability to produce at the big league level, so his production and playing time may be limited. However, once upon a time, Dobbs was the league leader in pinch hits, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Charlie Manuel, being the player’s coach that he is, gives Dobbs a couple at-bats against RHP, since he still has shown the ability to hit them even during this stretch of baseball that may mark the end of his career.

C Paul Hoover: Kind of ironic that the first of these call-ups may have been the most insignificant. Hoover, as it stands right now, is buried behind Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider on the teams depth chart at his position. This year though, with injuries being a common theme with both of those catchers, Hoover’s worth is to the team is invaluable, whether he is in the clubhouse or being used as the bullpen catcher.  Can’t say I would be comfortable seeing him behind the dish in a meaningful game though.

Notable absences from this list include both Andy Tracy and Cody Ransom.  Before you say “Why?”, take note of a possible and probable reason.

They are not on the current 40-man roster.

So, in order for them to participate in a big league contest, the Phillies would have to take two players off the 40-man roster, enabling them to be picked up on another team via waivers. As of right now, I cannot see the Phillies doing that to anyone besides Dobbs, and he would have to REALLY struggle for them to do so. Truthfully, I don’t see Dobbs getting enough opportunities to struggle any more than he has already, so it’s kind of a mute point.

For right now that is.

07
Aug
10

PHILLIES: The Unsung Heroes

It’s August 7th, and with 15 disabled-list stints, an inconsistent offense, and without any semblance of a bullpen, the Phillies are just one game behind the Atlanta Braves for the NL East lead.

Baseball is a strange game.

Although, if their recent play is any indication, the adjective “strange” may be an understatement.

In the last 2 1/2 weeks or so where all-stars Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, and Ryan Howard have been out of action for the good majority of the time, the Phillies are 13-2 in their last 15 games and have successfully creeped back into the pennant race.

Tell me how that makes sense.

Now, I didn’t have much doubt that Phillies would be back in the hunt at this point of the season, but the way the players on the field are fueling this sudden rennisance with three superstars on the DL is what will make the last 55 games of the regular season all that more special.

That is if the Phillies make the postseason of course.

Here are three guys that are helping to make that ultimate goal seem possible with their elevated play.

C Carlos Ruiz

A streaky hitter by trait, “Chooch” is absolutely tearing the cover off the ball right now. By that, I mean he’s raised his batting average 35 points in the last 11 games. While he doesn’t have that many overall at-bats because of an injury that kept him out of action almost a month, that’s still an astonishing jump when you think about it. In addition to that, Ruiz leads the team in hitting with runners in scoring position, is the Phillies second-leading hitter overall (.302 BA is second to Placido Polanco) in terms of average, and is hitting at a scorching hot .454 clip (20-for-44) in his last 10 games. He’s also hit three of his five HR’s this season during that stretch for good measure.

OF Raul Ibanez

For all those who thought the 38-year old was washed up at the end up June when he was hitting a season-low .227, it’s time for you to go crawl into a corner. Actually, I’ll come join you. To prove all the doubters like myself wrong, all Ibanez has done in the past five weeks is raise his average an impressive 47 points (to a season-high .274), and solidified his status as an integral part to the middle of the order. Recently, he’s been even more impressive. During his present 14-game hitting streak (a season high), Ibanez is hitting .431 (22-51), with 3 HR and 13 RBI’s. Coincidentally, the Phillies are 12-2 during that stretch.

P Kyle Kendrick

Can’t believe I am actually casting Kendrick in this positive of a light, but since his short demotion last month to Triple-A Lehigh Valley he’s been downright phenomenal. As the much-maligned member of the rotation by default (Jamie Moyer’s injury), Kendrick has gone 2-0 in his last three starts, with just 4 ER given up in 19.1 IP, a figure that good for a sub 2.00 ERA. He’s the fifth starter for crying out loud. You can’t expect much better from Kendrick than that.

Before this post about “unsung heroes” of the Phillies most recent play is over and done with, you can’t talk about guys making outstanding contributions without mentioning  Placido Polanco. His gold-glove and all-star pedigree makes him impossible to be unsung, but his worth to the lineup, with or without the injured players who are sidelined, needs to be noted. I was a huge proponent of keeping Pedro Feliz in the fold instead of any other FA third basemen during the off-season, but Polanco’s .321 BA, stout defense at both 2nd and 3rd base, leadership capabilities, and recent hot-hitting (has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games with .400+ BA during that span) has made me rethink my initial stance.

24
Jul
10

PHILLIES: A Sudden Surge

Don’t look now, but the Phillies have shown that they can at least be a shell of the team that they were projected to be at the beginning of the season.

In the last three games that is.

In those games (two of them in particular), the Phillies finally got the superior pitching from the top half of their starting rotation with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels that they have been lacking the first 3 1/2 months. Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t pitched bad, and they also haven’t gotten much help in the form of run support, but as their records have indicated (10-8 for Halladay, 7-7 for Hamels), the season so far has not gone as anticipated for two pitchers who are as highly regarded around baseball circles as they both are.

Especially for Doc.

However, for argubly the first time all season, Philadelphia fans saw Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay literally carry the Phillies to two consecutive wins when they needed it the most.

Cole Hamels may be the x-factor for the Phillies down the stretch.

Mired in three-game losing streak and in a 2-6 stretch of poor baseball, 17 combined scoreless innings from Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay brought back this Phillies team from the verge of baseball death. Although Hamels got a no-decision in his outing as the Phillies had to go to extra innings against the Cardinals to pull out the victory, to see the southpaw show signs of his 2008 form was a unbelievable sign. All things considered, with the back end of the rotation being so in-flux due an injury to Jamie Moyer, the inconsistent production from Kyle Kendrick, and the questionable status of J.A Happ, a surging Hamels along with getting the per-usual production from Halladay may deter the Phillies front office from the desperation move of depleting an already depleted farm system by dumping off more young prospects for pitching help (Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt) at the trade deadline that is just a week away.

In addition to the performances of Hamels and Halladay, the Phillies bats may have gotten the reality check they needed in the past couple of days after long-time hitting coach Milt Thompson was fired after Thursday’s game against the Cardinals. In the two games since the departure of Thompson and the return of hitting coach Greg Gross, by scoring six and ten runs respectively, the offense has finally reverted back to their 2008 and 2009 form!

Well, not quite.

However, they are starting to do things offensively that draw similarities to their prolific offensive displays of the past. Especially in the two years the Philles have gone to the World Series, the factor that has separated them from the other teams in the NL is their ability to break out at any time and take control of the game. In other words, their ability to put up a crooked number (5, 6, 7 runs in an inning) in the box score has allowed them to come back into games and put away others in a way that few other team have the ability and talent on the roster to do.

In the last two games, the Phillies ability to accomplish just that (especially sending Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez to his second loss of the season by scoring seven runs in the third inning) is just one example of how you cannot count this team out, no matter how bad they look during some stretches, whether they make a deal to get a pitcher or to trade Jayson Werth or not, until the final game of the regular season.

By my count, that is still 65 games away.

If I remember correctly, the Phillies only needed 17 games in 2007.

Other News, Notes, and Thoughts..

: Phillies have to make a move for J.A Happ to start on Sunday. The guy sent down is likely going to be Vance Worley, who pitched a scoreless inning in his big league debut on Saturday. Unfortunate.

: Even with the Cardinals the favorites to get Roy Oswalt and the Yankees the leaders to obtain Dan Haren, the Phillies are still  in the running for the services of either pitcher. In fact, the Phillies have sent out scouts to their recent starts, and the Astros have even sent scouts to recent Phillies games. However, one pitcher you can count out for the Phillies is Oakland’s Ben Sheets, who will reportedly go on the DL with a strained elbow.

: Even with a 7 IP, 1 ER start by Kyle Kendrick for his sixth win of the season, I still feel that the Phillies need to go out there and explore pitching help. Ruben Amaro can state all he wants that the Phillies are still “buyers”, but if he stands pat with a back-end of the rotation of Kendrick and a questionable J.A Happ, people may take issue with that. In the case of Kendrick, the organization has shown that they do not have confidence in him to get out big-league hitters, proved by the fact that they optioned him for Triple-A. Amaro keeping him in he rotation will only prove that he has conceded to the fact that they have no better option, a decision that will certainly allow the skeptics to question his credibility. With that said, I’m not as critical on Kendrick as most are. He’s never going to be a dominant MLB pitcher, and he has the tendency to fall victim of the big inning or even the big game, but he’s the fifth starter for crying out loud. To expect much better than a 6-4 record out of a guy in his position is unrealistic.

: SHOULD THE PHILLIES TRADE JAYSON WERTH BEFORE THE TRADE DEADLINE? I have gone back and forth on this million dollar question hundreds of times throughout the season, but the final conclusion is YES. Werth is in the prime of his career, and his a borderline all-star when he is right physically and mentally, but with the stagnant trade market for Raul Ibanez and the anticipation for the debut of Domonic Brown, this may be the only time where you can get appropriate value (and not dealing him, letting him walk in the off-season, and get two draft picks from the team that signs him is NOT enough) for Werth. Yes, dealing Werth and supplanting Brown in his place may cause the Phillies to be too left-handed dominant at the plate, but there are options to limit that, an example being a regular platoon.

EX: Trade Werth, Brown starts in RF vs. RHP, Francisco in RF against LHP, Brown spares Ibanez against LHP in LF at times in an effort to get regular at-bats.

Done, done, and done.





The Philly Phour

March 2017
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