Phillies Phandom Thu, 28 Apr 2011 21:59:29 +0000 en hourly 1 Blanton heads to DL; Worley recalled Thu, 28 Apr 2011 21:59:29 +0000 mattsmith Joe Blanton has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow injury.

Vance Worley was recalled from Lehigh Valley and will start Friday against the Mets.

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Name That Jose Contreras Age… Mon, 25 Apr 2011 19:34:22 +0000 mattsmith 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 Sun, 24 Apr 2011 07:26:18 +0000 mattsmith 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)… Fri, 15 Apr 2011 07:56:07 +0000 mattsmith 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 Fri, 01 Apr 2011 16:57:34 +0000 mattsmith 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 Thu, 31 Mar 2011 15:38:56 +0000 mattsmith 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)


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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Utley is feeling better Mon, 28 Mar 2011 17:38:44 +0000 mattsmith Chase Utley isn’t out of the woods yet, but he’s feeling better.
Utley spoke to reporters Monday about his injured right knee and said he is making progress.
“Over the past few weeks I think we have made some progress for obviously the good. We’re going to continue to stay on top of what we’ve been doing, sop I’m optimistic at this point. We’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing and go from there.”

The Phillies will not place on Utley on the 60-day disabled list.

We’re hopeful that he comes back long before that,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

]]> 1 Brad Lidge is latest injury victim, which could mean … Sat, 26 Mar 2011 03:20:49 +0000 mattsmith

The 2011 Phillies season?

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Phillies sign Castillo… WTF? Mon, 21 Mar 2011 06:37:17 +0000 mattsmith Continuing with the recent tradition of signing useless former Mets, the Phillies struck a deal with rapidly-declining, 35-year-old second baseman Luis Castillo on Sunday.

Castillo was let go by New York this weekend because, essentially, he was looked down upon for being one of the Mets who has been responsible for the team’s ineptness from 2007-10.

So, he’ll get to bring some of that mojo over to the Phillies clubhouse, at least for a short while.

According to reports, Castillo is being brought in on a minor league contract. Needless to say there is no guarantee he’ll make the team out of spring training, which makes this signing even more bizarre.

The Phillies already have a super-utility guy in Wilson Valdez, who will play stellar defense and hit about .245 in Chase Utley’s absence. That’s fine.

Other options that are, frankly, more attractive than Castillo, include Josh Barfield and Michael Martinez. Barfield is trying to resurrect his career. His defense is suspect, but all in all he’s had a good spring and should be heavily considered for the final bench spot if (when) Utley is put on the disabled list to start the season.

Martinez is a Rule 5 guy who will need to make the team out of camp in order to stay with the organization. He’s a toolsy player with upside.

Castillo? You’ve got to be kidding, right?

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Brown still needs work Sun, 06 Mar 2011 20:12:36 +0000 mattsmith Domonic Brown’s latest setback on the baseball diamond isn’t necessarily the worst thing.

Brown will need anywhere from 4-6 weeks to recover from a broken bone in his hand. He was in the midst of a 1-for-16 at spring training.

In fact, Brown got his one and only hit AFTER he took an awkward swing in Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh. The awkward handling of the bat is what caused the injury.

Fact is, this isn’t a devastating injury. What this guarantees is a demotion to triple-A Lehigh High Valley, which was a forgone conclusion, anyway.

Brown needs to refine his mechanics at the plate. I think sitting out for several weeks will do him well. His growth was stunted after his call up last summer, and he has struggled mightily since a two-hit showing in his MLB debut last July.

The kid sat on the bench the rest of the way, a decision that Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro Jr. should immensely regret.

When Shane Victorino returned from the disabled list, Brown should have gone right back to the minors, where his at-bats have been limited as is. Instead, the organization did harm to Brown’s experience by letting him watch (mostly) and look embarrassed at the plate.

Then, after slumping in limited playing time with the Phillies, he was atrocious in the Arizona Fall League. He was so bad, the Phillies had to pull him out early so he could rest and get his mind off things.

Brown, 23, was highly-touted (mostly by the media) as Jayson Werth’s no-doubt-about-it replacement… and honestly, that hasn’t been fair. He needs another 4-5 months of raking in the minors. I’ve always felt that some combination of Ben Francisco, John Mayberry Jr. and Ross Gload would handle the right field position and, combined, should make up for Werth’s loss of production.

Brown doesn’t have to reestablish himself… yet. But he’s cutting it close.

The primary concern is to get Brown healthy and working on a swing that has been fine-tuned much too often over the last several months.

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