Archive for the 'Phillies commentary' Category

Name That Jose Contreras Age…

Posted by mattsmith on 25th April 2011

He’s allegedly 39-years-old. Looks about 57.

Elbow injury.

Career threatening? Meh.

Deported back to Cuba, where he’ll be castrated? Quite possible.

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The Ibanez Situation

Posted by mattsmith on 24th April 2011

Raul Ibanez should star in the sequel to “The 40-year-old Virgin.” Call it “The soon-to-be 40-year-old Who Can’t Hit His Weight”

Ibanez doesn’t have a hit in his last 18 at bats. Granted, he have shown he can bust out of slumps with time and contribute, but you have to wonder just how much this old dog has left in the tank.

With the offense slumbering as is, Charlie Manuel can’t afford to keep throwing Ibanez in his lineup. We’ve watched, in the last three days, Ibanez go from full Hulk Hogan N.W.O. beard to Cole Hamels’ Goatee Buddy to squeaky clean facial manscaping. It’s sad to watch, really.

Superstitions can’t save Ibanez at this point.

I’d bet that there’s a greater chance of Ibanez either platooning or flat-out DFA’d than there is his re-finding the stroke that earned him a what-the-hell-were-you-thinking-Ruben?, three-year contract in the winter of 2008.

Let’s see what we can do to polish this turd…

Start John Mayberry … for more than one game

Let Mayberry show that he can play more than once a week. He’s never going to be a stud, but he can be better than Ben Francisco, who is another post for another day. If nothing else, there’s more upside with Mayberry manning left than there is Ibanez.

Calling Dom Brown

Brown is progressing from hand surgery and the hope is that he’ll be big-league ready sometime this summer. I’m not going to suggest that we rush the guy, but this is a pressing issue. Brown should be the all-purpose outfielder, not just right fielder. So, the idea here is to bring Brown up to take Ibanez’s starting role for an extended period of time. If he struggles, he struggles. Brown’s development was stunted with him sitting on the bench for most of last year. When he’s deemed fit and ready, he must be called up and he must start with regularity, even if that means he’ll be playing all positions.

Ibanez and Francisco are no better than platoon players at this point. But the biggest concern is Ibanez, who is on his last legs. A change is necessary.

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What we’ve learned from watching the Phillies (so far)…

Posted by mattsmith on 15th April 2011

Get to the ballpark, get home in time for the local news

The Phillies have played 12 games. All have finished under two hours and 30 minutes.

Yeah, the starting pitching is good

Listen: Don’t expect complete games — like the ones the last two nights twirled by Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee — on a nightly basis. That’s pretty unrealistic. Lee and Hamels have had their clunkers. Joe Roa looks to be a better option than Joe Blanton at this point. All in all, though, we’re seeing signs of the rotation rounding into form. And that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the league.

The bullpen … what about it?

They’ve been flying under the radar because the starting pitching is so overwhelming. But, from what we’ve seen, everything has been OK in this area. Not sure why David Herndon is working his second year in the majors. Antonio Bastardo has been filthy. Jose Contreras has had all of two save chances and converted them both. There’s really not much to talk about here, and that’s a good thing.

Days of a homer-happy, power-driven, all-or-nothing offense are long gone

What we’re seeing is a more consistent lineup, producing night in and night out. Everyone has contributed. Chase Utley’s loss has not been felt. Jimmy Rollins is healthy again and is having his best start in years. Shane Victorino is maturing into a pretty darn good leadoff hitter. Ben Francisco is filling in admirably in right field.

The lineup has a nice balance to it. They’ve been hitting with runners in scoring position and getting clutch hits. A very scary offense in a lot of  ways Phillies fans aren’t accustomed to seeing.

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OPENING DAY: Astros-Phillies

Posted by mattsmith on 1st April 2011

The Phillies are being introduced at Citizens Bank Park as I type this.

The lineup vs. old friend and documented wife beater Brett Myers:

1. Shane Victorino, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Jimmy Rollins, SS
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Raul Ibanez, LF
6. Ben Francisco, RF
7. Carlos Ruiz, C
8. Wilson Valdez, 2B
9. Roy Halladay, P

Pretty solid. I worry that Rollins won’t get on base enough for Howard and Ibanez will struggle hitting behind the Big Piece. We’ll have to wait and see how it works out.

Here’s what the Astros have in store for Roy Halladay:

1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Angel Sanchez, SS
3. Hunter Pence, RF
4. Carlos Lee, LF
5. Bill Hall, 2B
6. Chris Johnson, 3B
7. Brett Wallace, 1B
8. Humberto Quintero, C
9. Brett Myers, P

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The “Are You Nuts?” 2011 MLB Predictions Blog Entry

Posted by mattsmith on 31st March 2011

National League

Even with the Big 4 in the rotation, the Phillies cannot overcome another injury-plagued season and fail to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006.  The Phillies’ narrowly missing the playoffs will give Mets fans something to look forward to. The Braves overtake the Phillies in the final week.

EAST – Braves (95 wins)

CENTRAL – Reds (87 wins)

WEST – Giants – (94 wins)

WILD CARD- Rockies (93 wins)

American League

Boston sets the single-season record for most wins. The Yankees need not a Joan Rivers type of facelift to mask their old age.  Watch out for Oakland in the West.

EAST – Red Sox (117 wins)

CENTRAL – Twins (93 wins)

WEST – A’s (90 wins)

WILD CARD – Rays (96 wins)

Playoffs

NLCS – Braves-Giants (Braves in 7)

ALCS – Red Sox-Twins (Red Sox in 4)

WORLD SERIES – Red Sox-Braves (Red Sox in 5)

National League Awards

Cy Young – Tim Lincecum

Rookie of the Year: Freddie Freeman

MVP: Troy Tulowitzki

American League Awards

Cy Young: David Price

Rookie of the Year: Chris Carter

MVP: Adrian Gonzalez

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Hamels is getting better

Posted by mattsmith on 10th May 2010

Cole Hamels labored through five innings against the Braves Sunday… another inconsistent start from the 26-year-old.

While Hamels breezed through the first three, he through a combined 64 pitches in the next two innings. In the fifth, he clearly lost his command, but managed to allow only three runs despite facing eight hitters.

It’s a disturbing trend that Hamels  is starting. He’s followed excellent starts with so-so outings in each of last four starts. It’s worrisome, but it’s a vast improvement from last year, in which he looked terrible in all but maybe five regular-season appearances.

Fans are likely pulling their hair out over Hamels’ inconsistency. However, I’d prefer to take a more positive viewpoint.

Hamels is a vastly improved pitcher in 2010. He resembles the guy who won a pair of MVPs in the postseason. The only difference in 2010 compared to 2008 is the face that he is maturing and still working on things.

Hamels still has the filthy change up, but he no longer can be a two-pitch pitcher. He’s working in a sweeping curve ball, which is below average at best, and a cutter, which I believe has looked pretty OK. He used it quite often to tail away against left-handed hitters and to jam right-handed batters against Braves.

Cole Hamels is on the right track. He might take his lumps some more this year, but he’s a guy who is still figuring out how good he can be.

Tags: Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
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Moyer continues to defy age

Posted by mattsmith on 8th May 2010

Congrats to Jamie Moyer for kicking ass Friday night and making history in the process.

In case you missed it, the 47-year-old lefty shut out the anemic Braves on two hits. The Phils rolled, 7-0.

Moyer put his name in the MLB record book.

  • First pitcher to throw a complete game shutout in four DIFFERENT decades.
  • Oldest pitcher to throw a shutout (47 years, 170 days). Phil Niekro was 46 years, 188 days old when he did it as a member of the Yankees in 1985.

I was a 1-year-old the last time Moyer blanked a team on just two hits (April 1986). This was his 32 complete game and 10th career shutout, the last coming in June 2006 just prior to getting traded to Philly from Seattle.

Other highlights from Moyer’s awesome night:

  • He threw a grand total of three pitches in the second inning (single, 6-3 double play, ground out).
  • His wife, Karen, and five of their eight children were at the ballpark. Moyer gave the game ball to one of his youngsters.
  • Moyer worked a nine-pitch at-bat in the eighth innning, fouling off multiple pitches. He eventually made an out, but the Phillie faithful gave him a standing ovation, anyway.

Tags: Jamie Moyer
Posted in Phillies commentary, Phillies news | 1 Comment »

Quick Daily Rundown: May 5th, 2010

Posted by phillies09 on 5th May 2010

Tonight’s lineup against the Cards:

  1. Victorino
  2. Polanco
  3. Utley
  4. Howard
  5. Werth
  6. Ibanez
  7. Castro
  8. Schneider
  9. Kendrick

-Kyle Kendrick (ugh) will face Brad Penny (3-1, 1.56 ERA) tonight. Key to victory, score more runs than the other team (in this case probably about 11 or 12).

-Taser boy deserved it. Copy-cat fan last night deserved two of them just for pure stupidity and lack of originality.

-Carlos Ruiz will sit tonight. No word on wether he’s celebrating Cinco de Mayo festivities, having a siesta, or is just due for a night off. Matt Smith to report more on that later

-Cole Hamels’ fastball hit 95 MPH last night. Chooch hasn’t seen him throw like that “since 2008.”

-The Phils have replaced their poor play with inconsistent play. But hey, any improvement is good improvement, right?

-Ryan Madson will be out at least 8 weeks with his broken toe from kicking a chair. The Phils will not file a grievance in terms of contract breaching.

-Finally, Brad Lidge looked almost decent last night. I would say “good,” but his warning track fly ball with two men on stopped my heart for a couple seconds.

Somebody at ESPN has a great sense of humor

Somebody at ESPN has a great sense of humor

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Rollins wants to take it easy, not rush things

Posted by mattsmith on 3rd May 2010

It could be as late as the beginning of June before we see Jimmy Rollins back in the starting lineup.

J-Roll talked to reporters before Sunday’s win over the Mets, saying he’s never before suffered an injury quite like this one.

“I’ve pulled a muscle, I’ve strained my groin a little, but not something like this where you feel like somebody shot you. That’s different,” Rollins said.

“I’ve never been in that situation. They said two to four weeks and they weren’t talking about being healthy; they were talking about determining what the next step would be. It’s probably pretty accurate, unfortunately.”

Rollins has played in only nine games. He got off to arguably the best start of his career, hitting .391 and taking a new approach at the plate, one that resulted in more walks.

Without Rollins, the lineup has lacked sizzle (even with Saturday and Sunday’s hitting fest against the Mets). The fact is, for the Phillies to be what they want to be, Jimmy’s got to be at the top of the order doing his thing.

With that said, Juan Castro has proved to be a major upgrade over Eric Bruntlett, both defensively and with the bat.

Tags: Jimmy Rollins
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Hmm…didn’t Johan say he was the best pitcher in the division?

Posted by mattsmith on 3rd May 2010

   New York Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana sits in the dugout after giving up a grand slam to Philadelphia Phillies' Shane Victorino in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, May 2, 2010, in Philadelphia.

…And after Sunday night’s pounding, Johan, is it still true?

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