Posts Tagged ‘Roy Halladay

01
Apr
11

PHILLIES: Opening Day Drama

Phillies fans..

Opening day has come and gone, and fortunately for this quick write-up, the game can be summed up in one word.

WALKOFF!

In dramatic fashion, the Phillies capped off a come-from-behind victory against the Houston Astros with a 3 runs in the 9th inning, the last one being on a John Mayberry Jr. pinch-hit RBI single that would end the game.

If you watched the game, you would know that it wasn’t what you would call a “pretty” victory. The Phillies were basically shut down by their former teammate Brett Myers through 6 innings, and if it wasn’t for a Brandon Lyon meltdown, they would probably be sitting in the clubhouse with a losing record right now.

Nonetheless, the Phillies came away with the victory with a combination of a solid start from ace Roy Halladay, a strong bullpen showing from Ryan Madson and Danys Baez that helped keep the Astros lead in reach, and 6 singles in the final frame which manufactured the 3 runs that would win the game.

Impressive stuff.

For more on the Phillies comeback victory, check out Philly.com San Donnellon’s take on the season opener.

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.

14
Feb
11

PHILLIES: Top Ten Starting Pitchers Debate

In the wake of the R2C2 + Big Joe press conference today at Brighthouse Field, I just want to touch on something that Phillies MLB.COM Beat Writer Todd Zolecki wrote about during his initial coverage down in Clearwater.

With the start of Spring Training action looming, the MLB Network recently released their list of the “Top Ten Starting Pitchers” for the 2011 season.

While it was with no real surprise that two particular Phillies were able to land spots on the lists, the order of which they appeared was a bit perplexing.

Halladay is the cream of the crop of Starting Pitchers in baseball.

Well, one of them at least.

Take a look for yourself.

(From MLB Network)

10. Josh Johnson
9. Justin Verlander
8. Adam Wainwright.
7. Cliff Lee
6. David Price
5. Jon Lester
4. CC Sabathia
3. Tim Lincecum
2. Felix Hernandez
1. Roy Halladay

First off, the case against Halladay is almost unarguable. Being the proud owner of a perfect-game, another no-hitter in his first ever playoff appearance, and an NL Cy Award in 2010 provides way too much evidence to the contrary.

However, where Lee sits can certainly be argued.

To give MLB Network the benefit of the doubt, on paper, Lee hasn’t been able to match up statistically with the others on the list, especially over the past two season.

Since his 2008 AL Cy Young Award winning season with the Indians, he has a 26-22 overall regular season record while spending his time in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Texas. To put that into perspective, those with just as many wins or more over that time span include Ricky Romero, Jon Danks, and even ex-Phillie Vicente Padilla.

Obviously not bad company, but not elite by any stretch of the imagination.

With that said, taking into account hype generated about Lee with his production in the playoffs and the way he decided to go back to Philadelphia, ranking him behind both Jon Lester and David Price is a little difficult to comprehend. Do not get me wrong, Price and Lester are TREMENDOUS pitchers. They are the clear aces of their respective rotations, and are more than worthy of a spot on this list. All I am saying is Lester’s lack of postseason success (2-3 record, 4.00+ E.R.A) combined with the fact that Price only has one full season of being a MLB starting pitcher under his belt should be put under a much greater microscope in my opinion.

Well, at least more than Lee’s subpar regular season win total over the last 24 months while he was a part of two struggling franchises for a large majority of that time.

Besides the Lee ranking, the utter disrespect of Josh Johnson (should be considered a top 5 pitcher) and the notable absence of Ubaldo Jimenez (read the names three times to make sure I didn’t just miss him) on the list could also make for great discussions and further blog posts.

For another time.

14
Feb
11

PHILLIES: A Preview Before the Preview

As pitchers and catchers have made their way down to Clearwater and the friendly confines of Brighthouse Field, most who care about such a movement would also take that as a sign that the 2011 baseball season is finally starting to take form.

From the perspective of a certain baseball enthusiast/blogger, there isn’t much in the way of news that could be considered more of a breath of fresh air.

In fact, that could probably the best news in, give or take, three months and 13 days.

For those who are wondering and are too lazy to do some simple math or a google search, that was when the 2010 Baseball campaign officially ended as the San Francisco Giants were crowned as World Series champs.

With that said, a Spring Training preview will be up shortly, breaking down everything from..

Beautiful sight, isn't it?

1. Is Joe Blanton going to remain in the fold as the Phillies 5th starter behind R2C2?

2. Will Dominic Brown be able to beat out Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. for the everyday RF job?

3. How will the bullpen shape up without Chad Durbin?

4. Expectations, expectations, and more expectations..

5. Everything else.

Such a breakdown, however, will all come over the span of some six odd weeks before the Phillies take the field against the Houston Astros on April 1st.

In the mean time, if you want to take a look at a couple blogs that will have Spring Training coverage to a capacity much larger than this particular college senior who is roughly 700 miles from any Grapefruit League action whatsoever, a combination of Todd Zolecki’s “ZoZone“, David Murphy’s “High Cheese“, and Matt Gelb and Bob Brookover’s “Phillies Zone” should do the trick.

With that, enjoy the arrival of baseball season.

25
Jan
11

PHILLIES: Howard Eskin Rips Roy Halladay

I know. It’s been a while.

But what way to start off the coverage of a the 2011 season than with some controversy 3 weeks to the day from the start of Spring Training.

The source of it all?

That would be the one, the only, Howard Eskin.

For those who don’t know him, first of all, your better off. Second of all, this isn’t too shocking.

In this particular case, the notoriously brash Philadelphia media personality apparently didn’t appreciate how the 2010 Cy Young Award winner has dealt with the media in the off-season. In addition to voicing such feelings of distain on his radio show, he then proceeded to criticize him on television citing a set of facts that were, for lack of a better word, incorrect.

Eskin went onto say that Halladay has refused all interview requests from local reports since the end of the 2010 season, including one during an autograph signing earlier this week. However, there is evidence, as Kyle Scott of the Crossing Broad sports blog pointed out, to the contrary.

Probably not the smartest move by Eskin to both negatively and inaccurately portray the greatest thing to hit Philadelphia since the start of Wawa, but hey, when has that ever stopped him.

Either way, great way to start off the season.

Click HERE to watch the video. Enjoy.

14
Dec
10

PHILLIES: The Return of the Cliff Lee Saga..

Before I start, I just want to let you all know this is not a repost of something I have previously written.  In fact, this is more of a during finals procrastination tool that further shows me that baseball news takes precedent over any dedication to my academics that I might have at this time.

But for good reason.

Under some pretty, well, unforseen circumstances, the bidding war that is the free agency process of Cliff Lee has become quite a wild ride. Since free agency started a week after the San Francisco Giants won the 2010 World Series, there has been plenty of speculation on where the most heralded free agent in recent memory may go. That speculation, as of early Sunday evening, has reached an all-time high.

Here is where it currently stands.

RANGERS: First, it was Texas. Much like he was in Philadelphia, Lee had just been an integral part of a historic run in franchise history, a run that ended without a ring after a trip to the World Series. Viewed as somewhat as a savior to the the Rangers after a midseason deal sent him to Arlington last July, many people in baseball circles thought if the Nolan Ryan led organization were willing to give him a contract with enough years (7+) to allow him to raise his family Texas, he would stay.  As it stands now, the years are not the issue. The Rangers brass eliminated that part of the equasion by offering him that duration in their formal contract offer. The issue is, does Lee want to be the face of a franchise for the rest of his career that may not have enough depth within the farm system, enough talent on the big league roster, and most importantly to compete with the traditional powerhouses of the AL for a pennant year in and year out. Remember, for all the accolades Cliff Lee has, a World Series ring is not one of them. Yet.

Where will Cliff Lee call his new home?

 

YANKEES: Yes, I know it’s a shocker that the Yankees are involved in the process of trying to sign a highly priced free agent, but try to contain yourselves. While there is plenty of the negative that is associated with playing baseball in the Bronx, you can not deny the positives of wearing the uniform with the most famed pinstripes in all of sports. First, there is a little something called money. As shown in years past, the Steinbrenner led front office is willing and ready to outbid any team, in both years and actual money per year, for Lee’s services. For a player who is approaching his last opportunity for a maximum contract, there is not much more security for a guy of his age with his resume can ask for.  In addition to the dollar signs, what comes along with the fame of fortune of playing for the Yankees is the opportunity to compete in the postseason virtually every year. Now I know Lee enjoys beating the Yankees in that spotlight, but for a guy who spent a good majority of his professional career playing for rather unsuccessful franchises such as the Montreal Expos and the Cleveland Indians, the lure of playing for a team that will literally buy him a championship has to be somewhat attractive. Well, at least more attractive than moving to New York, a city that has caused the Lee family their own headaches when they verbally harassed the wife and kids last year. Don’t be surprised if that’s one of the main deciding factors that pulls him away from the bright lights of New York City. Besides If Lee was going to sign with the Yankees, the team clearly willing to offer the most lucrative contract, don’t you think he would have signed the dotted line already?

PHILLIES: And last but not least, the reason I am even taking the time to even write this. As of late Sunday night, the  “mystery team” that has rumored to be lurking around during these sweepstakes is in fact the Phillies. As most you know from following baseball for the past 2 years or reading this blog for the same amount of time, there is a prior relationship between Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Summed up quickly, the Phillies traded for Lee at the trade deadline during the 2009 season. He then sparked a run, especially in the postseason, that left the Philadelphia two wins away from winning their second consecutive World Series title. After all was said and done, the Ruben Amaro and company then returned the favor by trading him to the Seattle Mariners in fear that he wouldn’t sign a long term deal and wouldn’t be able to co-exist with a newly acquired player named Roy Halladay. With that, it is quite understandable that Cliff Lee may still harbor some anger and resentment towards the Phillies organization. This is a business though, and from a business and a baseball standpoint, Lee seems to be considering the Phillies once again.

Why?

The combination of a successful and competitive franchise along with a sports town that he is beloved by if he would decide to step into the home clubhouse of Citizens Bank Park for at least 81 times a season has to be the main factor. However, will that along with a sense of selflessness that is so rare among professional athletes these days make up for the lack of money (20 mil a year) and guaranteed years (3 or 4 years) he’d be able to get from the Phillies in contrast to his offers from the Rangers, Yankees, or any other mystery teams out there.

Oh do I sure as hell hope so..

_________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE (12:10 AM)

So I guess miracles do happen.

According to Jon Heyman of SI.com has reported that Cliff Lee will spurn both the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees for a second tour of duty with the Philadelphia Phillies.

More to come when this becomes official.

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.




The Philly Phour

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