Offseason Report Card: Phillies

Filed Under (Command Center, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 20-01-2011

Tagged Under : Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Domonic Brown, Jayson Werth, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt

With only one month until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, it’s time for the Command Center to give its offseason grades to the teams in the NL East.   It’s been an interesting winter, so here it goes…

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies made the move of the Hot Stove season by landing Cliff Lee. Many, including the Command Center, were skeptical of reports that a “mystery team” was bidding on Lee.  It looked like a given that Lee would either return to Texas, or follow the trail of dollar bills to the Bronx.  Instead, the Phils went against team policy and inked Lee to a 5 year, $120 million deal.

Philadelphia might have had the best starting rotation in the league before the Lee signing.   Now, with a starting 4 of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt, there is no debate.  But will it be enough?  The Phils lost a key member of their starting lineup with the expected departure of Jayson Werth (more on him below), and they will be hoping that rookie Domonic Brown can help fill the void in RF.  The Phillies bullpen remains a question mark, but if their aces pitch like they are capable of – and stay healthy – that might not matter.

Command Center’s Grade: B+

I went with a weighted average here.  I give them an A for having Lee on board for 2011, but feel the club will later regret the dollars and long term deal.  Of course, if they win it all in 2011, it will all be worth it.

What about the rest of the NL East? Stay tuned!

NLCS Preview: Phillies vs. Giants

Filed Under (Command Center, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 16-10-2010

Tagged Under : Cablevision, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Fox, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Howard, San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum

As the Command Center predicted, the Phillies and Giants are set to meet in the NLCS and will battle it out to earn a trip to the Fall Classic.   The first round was all about pitching, and the NLCS will be more of the same.

Roy Halladay waited a long time to make his postseason debut, and all he did was throw a no hitter in one of the best pitching performances in postseason history.   The second “H” in “H2O,” Cole Hamels, also impressed in Round 1, pitching a complete game shutout in Game 3 to clinch the series for Philly.  Roy Oswalt was shaky in his Game 2 performance, but the Phillies should expect him to bounce back in the NLCS and pitch like the second ace of their staff.

San Francisco’s ace, Tim Lincecum, pitched a masterpiece of his own in the NLDS, striking out 14 in a complete game shutout of the Braves.   The Giants also feature a solid 2-3 punch with Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain, so runs are sure to be at a premium.  The Game 1 matchup of Halladay and Lincecum could be a classic and should be fun to watch (that is, assuming you don’t have Cablevision and actually CAN watch the game.  Thanks Fox & Cablevision).

So what about the offenses?  San Francisco struggles to score runs against mediocre pitching, so they will certainly have their hands full with the Phillies’ starters.  The Phillies have had an up-and-down year at the plate, but a large part of that was due to injuries to several key bats (Rollins, Utley, Howard).  Now that they are back at full strength, they have arguably the deepest lineup in the NL and have the ability to put up crooked numbers at any time.   

So, how will the NLCS play out?   The Phillies have the better team on paper, and have the home field advantage, so it’s their series to lose.  For the Giants to have a chance, they need their starters to pitch lights-out.  With the Giants’ offense, their pitchers have little (or no) margin for error.   Could they pull the upset?  Sure.  Will they?  Nope.

Prediction: Phillies in 6.

And Then There Were Two: NLDS Predictions

Filed Under (Command Center, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 04-10-2010

Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, Bobby Cox, Chase Utley, Cincinnati Reds, Cole Hamels, Derek Lowe, Philadelphia Phillies, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Howard, San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum

While the Marlins, Mets, and Nationals hit the golf course and start to make their plans for 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves will be playing in the postseason.  The Phillies comfortably took the NL East, and it took the Braves until Day 162 to earn a playoff berth, but both will be battling to reach the World Series.

So what are their chances?  Here is my take on Round 1.

Phillies vs. Reds

The Phillies have the home field advantage against the NL Central Champion Cincinnati Reds.  The Phillies are clearly the better team, and to me, the question isn’t if the Phils will win this series, but rather how many games it will take.

The Phillies battled through injuries throughout the 2010 season.  Now they are healthy, and thanks to clinching the division title early, they were able to set up their pitching rotation.  With the Roys (Halladay & Oswalt) and Cole Hamels pitching the first three games, the Reds will have their hands full.  The Reds had the chance to set up their rotation as well, but with three righties (Volquez, Arroyo, & Cueto) facing Utley, Howard, and company, Cincinnati’s pitchers will have their hands full.

So, will the Reds take a game?  The Command Center says…..no.

Prediction: Phillies in 3.

Braves vs. Giants

Both the Braves and Giants stamped their tickets to the playoffs on the season’s final day.  Both teams are also built on pitching.  Will one team’s staff let them down?  Will one offense catch fire at the right time?

The Giants will throw out “The Freak,”  Tim Lincecum, against Atlanta’s Derek Lowe in Game 1 on Thursday night.   Every game is important in a short series, but the winner of the first game of this showdown will have a huge leg up on their opponent.   A Giants win, and San Fran will be feeling good and looking to go on a roll with Cain & Sanchez to follow.  If the Braves can defeat San Fran’s ace, it could be a major blow to the Giants’ psyche and a big momentum swing in Atlanta’s favor.

I expect a bunch of low scoring games and teams looking to scratch and claw to put runs on the board.  Will the Braves rally behind their skipper and extend Bobby Cox’s managing career one more series?   I could see this series going either way, but the Command Center can only declare one winner.

Prediction: Giants in 5.

Did the Command Center get these right?  There’s only one way to find out.  Play Ball!

NL East Recap 10-3

Filed Under (Daily Recap, NL East Chatter) by klake13 on 03-10-2010

Tagged Under : Adam Kennedy, Alberto Gonzalez, Andrew McCutchen, Anibal Sanchez, Billy Wagner, Braves, Brian Burres, Brooks Conrad, Clay Hensley, Cole Hamels, Dan Uggla, Danys Baez, Derrek Lee, Ian Desmond, Jason Heyward, Jayson Werth, Joe Blanton, Joel Peralta, John Mayberry, Josh Thole, Justin Maxwell, Livan Hernandez, Marlins, Mets, Miguel Batista, Mike Pelfrey, Nationals, Oliver Perez, Omar Infante, Phillies, Pirates, Roger Bernadina, Ronny Cedeno, Roy Oswalt, Tim Hudson, Wes Helms

Braves vs. Phillies

Despite a late rally, the Braves were able to hold on to win 8-7 against the Phillies, and with a San Diego loss, became the 2010 NL Wild Card winner. Philadelphia got things started in the 3rd with a two-run blast off the bat of John Mayberry. In the bottom of the 3rd, Jason Heyward tripled to drive home Rick Ankiel to cut the lead to 2-1. RBI singles by Brooks Conrad and Tim Hudson, followed by a two-run triple by Omar Infante equaled a four-run 4th inning for Atlanta. Derrek Lee homered in the 5th to make it 6-2 Atlanta. Conrad singled home the 7th run of the game for Altanta. The Braves would tag on one more run in the 6th. Jayson Werth hit a two-run shot for the Phillies in the 7th to cut the lead to 8-4, and added three more runs in the 8th.

Tim Hudson got the win for Atlanta, going 7 innings and allowing four runs on two hits while striking out three. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel allowed for three of his starters to get a few innings in today’s game. Cole Hamels began the game though, going 2 innings and giving up no hits while striking out two. Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton also pitched an inning, giving up one run and four runs respectively. Danys Baez took the loss for Philadelphia. Billy Wagner recorded his 37th save of the season for Atlanta.

Mets vs. Nationals

It took 14 innings, but Washington beat the Mets 2-1 in the final game of the season for both teams. The first runs of the game for either team came in the 5th inning. In the top of the 5th, Roger Bernadina scored on a single by Alberto Gonzalez. In the bottom of the inning, Josh Thole grounded into a double play allowing Angel Pagan to score. It remained tied until the top of the 14th when Oliver Perez entered the game for the Mets. After striking out Ian Desmond, Perez then hit Adam Kennedy and walked the next two batters to load the bases. Perez then walked Justin Maxwell forcing home the winning run for Washington.

Both starters got a no decision in game. Mike Pelfrey went 7 innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out four. Livan Hernandez went 6.2 innings and gave up one run on six hits while striking out one. Joel Peralta got the win for Washington. Oliver Perez took the loss for New York. Miguel Batista recorded his 2nd save for Washington.

Marlins vs. Pirates

The Marlins beat Pittsburgh 5-2 Sunday and grabbed third place in the NL East. A two-run home run by Dan Uggla in the 1st inning gave Florida a quick 2-0 lead. Pittsburgh cut the lead to 2-1 in the 2nd inning on a solo shot off the bat of Ronny Cedeno. A single by Andrew McCutchen in the 5th tied up the game. In the bottom of the 6th, a potential home run off the bat of Wes Helms turned into a ground-rule double after the umpires reviewed the play. Uggla scored on the play. Florida went on to score two more runs in the 7th inning.

Anibal Sanchez got the win for Florida, going 6 innings and giving up two runs on four hits while striking out seven. Brian Burres took the loss, going 5.2 innings and allowing three runs on five hits while striking out four. Clay Hensley recorded his 7th save for Florida.

What’s on Tap 10-3-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 03-10-2010

Tagged Under : Anibal Sanchez, Braves, Brian Burres, Cole Hamels, Livan Hernandez, Marlins, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Tim Hudson

Today marks the end of the regular season. The games include:

Marlins vs. Pirates

The Marlins send Anibal Sanchez (12-12, 3.62 ERA) to the mound against Brian Burres (4-4, 5.01 ERA) and the Pirates. First pitch is 1:10 p.m. in Florida.

Mets vs. Nationals

Mike Pelfrey (15-9, 3.75 ERA) starts for New York. Livan Hernandez (10-12, 3.73 ERA) starts for Washington. Game time is 1:10 p.m. in New York.

Braves vs. Phillies

Tim Hudson (16-9, 2.76 ERA) takes the hill for Atlanta. Cole Hamels (12-11, 3.09 ERA) gets the start for Philadelphia. First pitch is 1:35 p.m. in Atlanta.

What’s on Tap 9-26-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 26-09-2010

Tagged Under : Adalberto Mendez, Brandon Beachy, Braves, Brewers, Chris Capuano, Cole Hamels, Livan Hernandez, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Pat Misch, Phillies

Sunday’s games:

Braves vs. Nationals

The Braves and Nationals go head-to-head for the finale time in the series finale this afternoon in Washington. Brandon Beachy (0-1, 2.08 ERA) starts for Atlanta. Livan Hernandez (10-12, 3.75 ERA) starts for Washington. First pitch is 1:35 p.m.

Mets vs. Phillies

The Mets and Phillies bring their series to a close this afternoon in Philadelphia. Pat Misch (0-4, 4.44 ERA) will get the start for New York. Cole Hamels 12-10, 2.93 ERA) gets the start for the Phillies. Game time is 1:35 p.m.

Marlins vs. Brewers

Adalberto Mendez (1-1, 1.56 ERA) takes the mound for Florida as they close out their series with Milwaukee. Chris Capuano (3-4, 3.99 ERA) gets the start for the Brewers. First pitch is 2:10 p.m.

What’s on Tap 9-20-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 20-09-2010

Tagged Under : Astros, Braves, Bud Norris, Cardinals, Chris Carpenter, Chris Volstad, Cole Hamels, Jair Jurrjens, Livan Hernandez, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies

Monday’s games:

Marlins vs. Cardinals

The Marlins and Cardinals get together for an afternoon game. It is a make-up game from one postponed on August 8. Chris Volstad (9-9, 5.11 ERA) starts for Florida. Chris Carpenter (15-, 3.21 ERA) starts for St. Louis. Game time is 3:10 p.m.

Braves vs. Phillies

The Braves and Phillies face-off tonight in Philadelphia. Jair Jurrjens (7-6, 4.64 ERA) gets the start for Atlanta. Cole Hamels (11-10, 3.01 ERA) takes the hill for the the Phillies. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

Nationals vs. Astros

Washington and Houston begin a three-game series tonight in Washington. Livan Hernandez (10-11, 3.66 ERA) gets the start for the Nationals. Bud Norris (8-8, 4.95 ERA) starts for Houston. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

The Mets have the day off. They begin s two-game series in Florida Tuesday night.

NL East Recap 9-3

Filed Under (Daily Recap, NL East Chatter) by klake13 on 03-09-2010

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Alfonso Soriano, Andrew McCutchen, Andrew Miller, Blake Dewitt, Brad Davis, Braves, Brewers, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Ruiz, Casey McGehee, Chad Tracy, Chris Capuano, Cole Hamels, Cubs, Dan Uggla, Danny Espinosa, David Wright, Gaby Sanchez, Garrett Jones, Hanley Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez, James Russell, Joaquin Arias, Justin Maxwell, Kenshin Kawakami, Livan Hernandez, Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda, Luis Hernandez, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, pedro alvarez, Phillies, Pirates, R.A. Dickey, Randy Wells, Ryan Doumit, Ryan Madson, Ryan Zimmerman, Shane Victorino, Xavier Nady, Zach Duke

Mets vs. Cubs

The Mets dropped their opener with the Cubs by a score of 7-6. New York got on the board early when David Wright knocked in two runs in the 1st inning with a double to left field. Wright would later score in the inning on a ground-out by Joaquin Arias, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead. The Mets held that lead until the 4th inning when Chicago scored four runs in the inning on a single by Xavier Nady and a three-run shot off the bat of Alfonso Soriano to put the Cubs up 4-3. Rookie Lucas Duda tied up the game for the Mets in the 6th with his first major league hit, a double to right field, and his first RBI. The game did not remain tied long. In the bottom of the 6th, Mets starter R.A. Dickey gave up a three-run home run, the second of the day, to Blake Dewitt. Wright and Luis Hernandez each homered for the Mets in the 7th and 8th innings respectively.

Dickey took the loss for New York. He went 6 innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits while striking out three. Cubs starter Randy Wells went 5.2 innings to get a no decision. He gave up four runs on eight his while striking out four. James Russell got the win for Chicago. Carlos Marmol recorded his 26th save for the Cubs.

Phillies vs. Brewers

Philadelphia beat the Brewers 1-0, moving within one game of the NL East leading Braves. The lone run of the game came in the 2nd inning when Carlos Ruiz grounded out to the shortstop allowing Shane Victorino to score. Philadelphia’s bats were quiet for much of the night, only getting a total of four hits. Milwaukee bats were held to just three hits all night. Phillies starter Cole Hamels had a no-hitter going into the 5th inning until it was broken up by a single to center field by Casey McGehee.

Hamels got the win, going 7 innings and giving up only three hits and striking out seven. Milwaukee’s starter Chris Capuano took the loss, going 5 innings and allowing one run on four hits while striking out four. Ryan Madson closed it out for the Phillies to record his 5th save.

Nationals vs. Pirates

Washington fell to the Pirates 8-5. Danny Espinosa hit his first career home run in the 3rd inning to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Pittsburgh followed suit in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs on RBI’s by Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones. Ryan Doumit hit a solo shot in the 4th inning to give the Pirates a 4-1 lead. The Pirates would then go on to have a four-run 5th inning. Back-to-back doubles by Jones and Pedro Alvarez made it 7-1. Doumit capped of the inning with an RBI single to score Alvarez. Washington fought back with their own four-run inning in the top of the 6th. Adam Dunn and Justin Maxwell each singled home a run and Ivan Rodriguez hit into a double play which allowed Ryan Zimmerman to score. A double by Espinosa drove in the final run of the inning.

Zach Duke got the win for Pittsburgh, going 5 innings and giving up four runs on five hits while striking out five. Livan Hernandez took the loss, going 4.1 innings and allowing eight runs on eight hits while striking out four.

Braves vs. Marlins

Good pitching and speed on the bases were just too much for the Braves as they dropped their opener with the Marlins 6-1. Florida got things started in the 1st inning with a run scoring on a triple by Logan Morrison. Morrison had two triples in the game. Hanley Ramirez followed with an RBI double to score Morrison. Ramirez stole two bases in the game. Atlanta starter Kenshin Kawakami helped himself out at the plate, hitting a single in the top of the 2nd to give the Braves their only run, and cut the lead to 2-1. Florida responded in the bottom of the 3rd with three runs thanks to a double by Chad Tracy to drive in two runs, and a sacrifice fly by Brad Davis to score Gaby Sanchez. Florida tagged on another run in the 4th inning on an RBI double by Dan Uggla.

Florida starter Andrew Miller got the win, his first since July of 2009. He went 5 innings and gave up one run on seven hits while striking out six. Kawakami took the loss, going only 3 innings and allowing five runs on five hits while striking out two.

What’s on Tap 9-3-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 03-09-2010

Tagged Under : Andrew Miller, Braves, Brewers, Chris Capuano, Cole Hamels, Cubs, Kenshin Kawakami, Livan Hernandez, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, R.A. Dickey, Randy Wells, Zach Duke

Friday’s games:

Mets vs. Cubs

The Mets send R.A. Dickey (9-5, 2.57 ERA) to the mound as they begin a weekend series with Chicago. Randy Wells (6-12, 4.50 ERA) starts for the Cubs. Game time is 2:20 p.m.

Phillies vs. Brewers

The Phillies begin a three-game series against the Brewers tonight in Philadelphia. Cole Hamels (8-10, 3.31 ERA) gets the start for the Phillies. Chris Capuano (2-2, 5.06 ERA) starts for Milwaukee. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

Nationals vs. Pirates

The Nationals are in Pittsburgh for a three-game series against the Pirates. Livan Hernandez (9-9, 3.49 ERA) starts for Washington. Zach Duke (6-12, 5.17 ERA) starts for the Pirates. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Braves vs. Marlins

The Braves and Marlins go head-to-head in a weekend series beginning tonight in Florida. Kenshin Kawakami (1-9, 4.75 ERA) makes his first start since being recalled to the Majors, taking Derek Lowe’s spot in the rotation. Andrew Miller (0-0, 4.50 ERA) starts for the Marlins, filling in for the injured Ricky Nolasco. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

What’s on Tap 8-29-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 29-08-2010

Tagged Under : Adam Wainwright, Astros, Braves, Bud Norris, Cardinals, Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels, Derek Lowe, John Lannan, Josh Johnson, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Padres, Phillies, R.A. Dickey

Sunday’s games:

Mets vs. Astros

The Mets look to take the rubber game of their three-game set with Houston. R.A. Dickey (8-5, 2.64 ERA) starts for New York. Bud Norris (6-7, 5.03 ERA) starts for Houston. Game time is 1:10 p.m. in N.Y.

Braves vs. Marlins

The Braves and Marlins close out their series this afternoon in Atlanta. Derek Lowe (11-12, 4.33 ERA) gets the start for the Braves. Josh Johnson (11-5, 2.36 ERA) starts for Florida. First pitch is 1:35 p.m.

Nationals vs. Cardinals

The Nationals send John Lannan (5-6, 5.23 ERA) to the mound in their series finale with the Cardinals this afternoon in D.C. Adam Wainwright (17-8, 2.18 ERA) takes the hill for St. Louis. Game time is 1:35 p.m.

Phillies vs. Padres

Cole Hamels (7-10, 3.47 ERA) and the Phillies take on Clayton Kershaw (12-5, 3.55 ERA) and the Padres in the final game of the series. First pitch is 4:05 p.m. in San Diego.