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…

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.

NL East Recap 9/22

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by samlevenstein on 23-09-2010

Tagged Under : Alex Sanabia, Anderson Hernandez, Brad Davis, Brad Lidge, Cameron Maybin, Carlos Beltran, Chris Carter, Chris Johnson, Clay Hensley, Dan Uggla, Danny Espinosa, David Wright, Gaby Sanchez, Ian Desmond, Ike davis, Jason Marquis, Jason Michaels, Jayson Werth, Jon Niese, Jose Reyes, Justin Maxwell, Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda, Michael Morse, Mike Stanton, osvaldo martinez, Raul Ibanez, Roy Oswalt, Ruben Tejada, Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett, Tommy Hanson, Tyler Clippard, Wandy Rodriguez, Wes Helms

Braves vs. Phillies

The Phillies won in a score of 1-0 in a pitchers duel.  The only score came in the 8th when Raul Ibanez doubled scoring Jayson Werth.

Tommy Hanson pitched 6 innings giving up 2 hits, no runs, and 4 strikeouts.  Roy Oswalt pitched 7 innings giving up 1 hit, no runs, and 8 strikeouts.  The win went to Ryan Madson who pitched a perfect 8th.  Brad Lidge also earned his 26th save of the season.

Nationals vs. Astros

The Nationals beat the Astros in a score of 3-4. The Nationals scored in the 3rd when Ian Desmond singled home Danny Espinosa.  In the 4th Jason Michaels singled scoring Chris Johnson.  In the bottom of the inning Michael Morse hit a solo shot for the Nats.  In the 7th Angel Sanchez singled scoring Jason Michaels and Anderson Hernandez.  In the bottom of the inning Danny Espinosa homered scoring Justin Maxwell.

Wandy Rodriguez pitched 6.1 innings giving up 6 hits, 3 runs, and 6 strikeouts.  Jason Marquis pitched 6 innings giving up 7 hits, 2 runs, and 2 strikeouts.  The win went to Tyler Clippard who pitched 1 inning giving up 1 hit, no runs, and 2 strikeouts.  Sean Burnett got his 3rd  save after pitching to just 2 batters and giving up 1 hit.

Mets vs. Marlins

The Marlins beat the Mets in a score of 7-5. The Marlins scored 5 runs in the 1st when Dan Uggla singled scoring Cameron Maybin, Mike Stanton walked with the bases loaded scoring Logan Morrison, Wes Helms doubled scoring Dan Uggla and Gaby Sanchez, and Brad Davis grounded out scoring Mike Stanton.  The Mets scored in the 3rd when Jose Reyes singled home Ruben Tejada and in the 4th when Carlos Beltran hit a solo shot and Lucas Duda hit a sac fly to score David Wright.  In the 5th Wes Helms hit a sac fly to score Logan Morrison.  In the 8th Josh Thole walked with the bases loaded scoring Carlos Beltran and Chris Carter grounded out scoring Ike Davis.  In the 8th Dan Uggla singled scoring Osvaldo Martínez.

Alex Sanabia got the win and pitched 5 innings giving up 6 hits, 3 runs, and 2 strikeouts.  Jon Niese got the loss and pitched 5.2 innings giving up 5 hits, 6 runs, and 7 strikeouts.  Clay Hensley earned his 5th save of the season pitching the 9th and giving up 1 hit.

What’s on Tap 9-22-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 22-09-2010

Tagged Under : Alex Sanabia, Astros, Braves, Jason Marquis, Jon Niese, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Roy Oswalt, Tommy Hanson, Wandy Rodriguez

Wednesday’s games:

Braves vs. Phillies

The Braves and Phillies play the final game of their series tonight in Philadelphia. Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.62 ERA) gets the start for Atlanta. Roy Oswalt (7-1, 1.94 ERA) starts for Philadelphia. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

Nationals vs. Astros

The Nationals and Astros continue their series tonight in Washington. Jason Marquis (2-9, 7.71 ERA) takes the mound for Washington. Wandy Rodriguez (11-12, 3.65 ERA) starts for Houston. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Marlins vs. Mets

These two teams face-off for the final time tonight in Florida. Alex Sanabia (4-3, 3.88 ERA) starts for Florida. Jon Niese (9-9, 3.76 ERA) starts for New York. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

NL East Recap 9-17

Filed Under (Daily Recap, NL East Chatter) by Chris Comando on 18-09-2010

Tagged Under : Alex Sanabia, Alfonso Soriano, Atlanta Braves, Billy Wagner, Bobby Cox, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Ruiz, Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins, Geovany Soto, Jason Heyward, Jason Marquis, Jayson Werth, Jonathon Niese, Melky Cabrera, New York Mets, Omar Infante, Philadelphia Phillies, Raul Ibanez, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Zimmerman, Tommy Hanson, Washington Nationals

Phillies vs. Nationals

The first place Phillies exploded for six first inning runs, and Roy Oswalt tossed six solid innings as the Phils defeated the Nationals 9-1 in Philly.

After a Ryan Zimmerman RBI single put Washington ahead in the top of the first, the Phillies went to work against Nationals starter Jason Marquis.  Marquis (2-9) retired the first batter of the inning, but then allowed the next eight batters to reach base before being knocked out of the game.  Jayson Werth tied the game with an RBI infield single, and Raul Ibanez followed with a two run single.  Oswalt contributed to the offensive outburst with an RBI single of his own as the Phils jumped out to a 6-1 lead. 

Oswalt (13-13) allowed just one run and six hits over his six innings, striking out seven along the way.   Werth and Carlos Ruiz homered off of the Nationals bullpen to cap the scoring for the Phils.  Zimmerman finished with a 4 for 4 night at the plate in a losing cause for the Nats.

Braves vs. Mets

The Braves overcame an early three run deficit and the ejection of their manager, defeating the Mets by a score of 6-4 at Citi Field to keep pace with the Phillies in the NL East.

In the bottom of the second inning, Bobby Cox was ejected for the 158th time (a major league record) for arguing balls and strikes.  The Mets went on to score three runs in the inning against Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson, thanks to RBI singles from Lucas Duda, pitcher Jonathon Niese, and Jose Reyes.  The Braves bounced back in the fourth inning, captilizing on a David Wright throwing error to score six unearned runs off of Niese (9-9).   Melky Cabrera hit an RBI single to start the scoring, and Omar Infante delivered a two run double to tie the game.  Jason Heyward then delivered the big blow, launching a three run homer to right field to give the Braves a 6-3 lead.

Duda hit his first major league home run off of Hanson in the bottom of the fourth inning, but that would be the last run of the night for either team.  Hanson (10-11) went six innings to earn the victory, and Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 34th save.

Marlins vs. Cubs

The Marlins and Cubs each received solid pitching on Friday night in Florida.  Chicago was the only team to score in the pitchers’ duel, defeating the Marlins by a score of 2-0.

Ryan Dempster (14-10) pitched seven shutout innings against his former team, allowing just four hits while striking out five.  Florida starter Alex Sanabia (4-3) pitched well, but couldn’t keep the Cubs off of the scoreboard.  Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI double in the second inning, and Geovany Soto doubled home a run in the sixth inning to deliver the only two runs of the evening.  

The Marlins had a chance in the ninth as Cubs closer Carlos Marmol walked the first two batters of the inning.  However, Marmol rebounded to retire the next three batters and earn save number 32.

What’s on Tap 9-17-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 17-09-2010

Tagged Under : Alex Sanabia, Braves, Cubs, Jason Marquis, Jon Niese, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Dempster, Tommy Hanson

Friday’s games:

Nationals vs. Phillies

The Nationals and Phillies begin their series tonight in Philadelphia. Jason Marquis (2-8, 6.60 ERA) takes the hill for Washington. Roy Oswalt (6-1, 1.98 ERA) starts for the Phillies. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

Braves vs. Mets

The Braves and Mets begin a three-game series tonight in New York. Tommy Hanson (9-11, 3.54 ERA) gets the start for Atlanta. Jon Niese (9-8, 3.85 ERA) starts for New York. Game time is 7:10 p.m.

Marlins vs. Cubs

The Marlins send Alex Sanabia (4-2, 3.95 ERA) to the mound as they begin their esries with the Cubs tonight in Florida. Ryan Dempster (13-10, 3.62 ERA) starts for Chicago. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.

What’s on Tap 9-12-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 12-09-2010

Tagged Under : Braves, Cardinals, Chris Volstad, Jon Niese, Jordan Zimmermann, Kyle Lohse, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Roy Oswalt, Tim Hudson

Sunday’s games:

Mets vs. Phillies

The Mets look to play spoilers once again in the series finale this afternoon in New York. Jon Niese (9-7, 3.85 ERA) starts for the Mets. Roy Oswalt (5-1, 2.30 ERA) starts for Philadelphia. Game time is 1:10 p.m.

Marlins vs. Nationals

The Nationals look to avoid the sweep as these two teams bring their series to a close. Chris Volstad (9-9, 4.96 ERA) starts for Florida. Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 3.86 ERA) starts for Washington. First pitch is 1:35 p.m. in Washington.

Braves vs. Cardinals

The Braves send Tim Hudson (15-7, 2.41 ERA) to the mound as they close out their series with the Cardinals tonight in Atlanta. Kyle Lohse (2-7, 7.13 ERA) starts for St. Louis. Game time is 8:05 p.m.

What’s on Tap 9-6-2010

Filed Under (NL East Chatter, Whats on Tap) by klake13 on 06-09-2010

Tagged Under : Adalberto Mendez, Anibal Sanchez, Braves, Brian Burres, Jordan Zimmermann, Marlins, Mets, Mike Pelfrey, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, Roy Oswalt, Tommy Hanson, Vance Worley

Games on this Labor Day Monday:

Mets vs. Nationals

The Mets and Nationals begin their series in Washington this afternoon. Mike Pelfrey (13-8, 3.72 ERA) starts for New York. Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 4.50 ERA) starts for Washington. Game time is 1:05 p.m.

Marlins vs. Phillies

The Marlins and Phillies open up their series today with a day/night double header in Philadelphia. Game one features two rookies making their big league debut. Adalberto Mendez (-, -.–) starts for Florida. Vance Worley 0-0, o.oo) starts for Philadelphia. Game one starts at 1:05 p.m. Game two will have Anibal Sanchez (11-8, 3.14 ERA)starting for Florida, while Roy Oswalt (10-13, 3.01 ERA) starts for Philadelphia. Game two starts at 7:05 p.m.

Braves vs. Pirates

The Braves begin a three-game series with the Pirates this afternoon in Pittsburgh. Tommy Hanson (9-10, 3.60 ERA) gets the start for Atlanta. Brian Burres (2-3, 6.31 ERA) starts for Pittsburgh. First pitch is 1:35 p.m.