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Archive for February, 2009

Phillies Young Pitching Prospects Rocked as Reds Roll

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

23 year old starting pitcher prospect Andrew Carpenter got noone out in the 1st inning walking 3 and giving up back-to-back doubles amidst a 4 run  Reds outburst enroute to a 10-3 win over the Phillies on Friday night.

The Reds scored single runs in the 2nd and 4th innings, including a 2nd inning solo homer by 1st baseman Joey Votto off of reliever prospect  Antonio Bastardo and the Phils came scored single runs in the 3rd and 4th innings, including a 4th inning solo homer by utility infielder Pablo Ozuna to keep the Phils within striking distance at 6-3 through the Phillies 7th inning.  Relievers Bastardo, JC Romero and Ryan Madson turned in decent relief efforts through 6 innings before prospect reliever Sergio Escalona was pounded for 4 runs on 4 hits in the Reds’ 7th to break the game open.

The Phillies, for their part, didn’t have the A-Team starting lineup in place with only starters centerfielder Shane Victorino and leftfielder Raul Ibanez in the game and they continued to hit well in spring training, Victorino collecting 2 doubles and Obanez 1.

Yahoo sports reports these comments on Carpenter and Phillies hitting from manager Charlie Manuel:

“What he did wrong was he didn’t get nobody out,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “He threw a couple of close pitches to the first hitter, who walked. He just had a rough day. He’ll get to go out there again.”

“We hit some balls hard today,” Manuel said. “We’re catching up. Ibanez hit the ball very well. Our hitting will come around. I’m not worried about that.”

Prospect reliever Daryl Thompson, who pitched the 5th and 6th inning giving up only 1 hit, chalked up the win for the Reds and Carpenter, who didn’t last an out in the 1st inning, was charged with the loss.

In the  late afternoon on Friday, the Phillies released pitcher Adam Eaton.

MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports:

Philadelphia signed him to a three-year, $24.5 million contract on Nov. 30, 2006, because it thought he could help the club win a World Series. The Phillies won that World Series last October, but he played no role in that unforgettable championship run.

Now, Eaton plays no role in their future, too.

Philadelphia released Eaton on Friday morning. He has 48 hours to clear waivers, which is expected, because any team that claims him would be responsible for the $9.15 million he is owed this year ($8.65 million base salary, plus a $500,000 buyout on a 2010 club option). Once Eaton clears waivers, he is free to sign with another team. If he signs with another team and makes a Major League roster, Eaton’s new team would be responsible for just $400,000 (the Major League minimum salary) of his contract.

For all of Friday’s exhibition game results, click here.

On Saturday, Kyle Kendrick and prospect Drew Naylor face former Phillie leftfielder Pat Burrell and those Tampa Bay Rays.

For Saturday’s and Sunday’s complete exhibition game schedules, click here and here.

Carrasco, Happ Sparkle, Blue Jays Beat Phillies Late

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Youngsters Carlos Carrasco and lefthander J.A. Happ showed why the spring competition for the Phillies 5th starter job promises much spirit and excitement.  They gave up a combined total of 1 hit in 4 innings.  But the Phillies offense continued it’s spring slumber again scoring only 2 runs as the Toronto Blue Jays got a 2 spot in the 5th and rallied late for four 8th inning runs against 2 unrostered relievers to beat the Phils by a 6-2 score in Clearwater.

Carrasco was awesome pitching to perfection in the first 2 innings and striking out 3.  Happ followed with scintilating performance in the 3rd and 4th innings allowing only 1 hit.

The Phils got an early 1-0 lead on a 3rd inning RBi single off of Bryan Bullington by shortstop Jimmy Rollins.  But Toronto notched 2 runs including a leadoff solo blast by rightfielder Travis Snider,  off of non-rostered reliever Justin Lehr in the 5th inning and scored 4 more 8th inning runs due to wildness by another non-rostered reliever Blaine Neal who walked 2 and gave up 2 hits in 2/3rds  of an inning.  Two other non-rostered relievers, Gary Majewski and Youman Bazardo gave up a total of a hit between them and striking out 3 in 3 1/3 innings before and after Neal.

The Phils scored their 2nd run in the 6th inning on a 2-out RBI sing by  Greg Dobbs off of lefthanded former Phil reliever Fabio Castro.

Toronto starter Scott Richman matched perfection with Carrasco throwing 2 perfect innings to start the game and striking out 1.

In the end, the decision went to lefthanded reliever Bill Murphy for Toronto while Blaine Neal took the loss for the Phils.  

For all of Thursday’s exhibition game results, click here.

On Friday, Drew Carpenter and non-rostered Antonio Bastardo are scheduled to start for the Phils against starter Bronson Arroyo for the  Cincinnati Reds.

And on Saturday, Kyle Kendrick, Drew Naylor and Adam Eaton oppose Pat Burrell and those Tampa Bay Rays.

For Friday’s and Saturday’s exhibition game schedules, click here and  here.

Phillies: Team With Heart On and Off Field

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

                      Scott Eyre

A few days ago, Yahoo’s Big League Stew blogged about the financial bind in which Phillies reliever Scott Eyre finds himself.

Veteran lefthander Eyre came to the Phillies at the beginning of August and was nearly perfect in spelling JC Romero, the other lefthanded set-up man, and giving up only 3 runs on 3 hits, including 1 homer in 14 1/3 innings while going 3-0 during the Phils’ great stretch run to the division championship, the NL pennant and World Series Championship.  Eyre logged 3 innings of work in 5 post-season appearances, only giving up 1 run on 3 hits against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Phillies’ only division series loss.

But this spring, Eyre arrived in training camp carrying an extra external unwanted burden not of his own making or responsibility.
Eyre’s assets, as are those of several other MLB players and athletes from other sports, currently remain frozen due to the ongoing investigation into an
alleged $8 billion Stanford Financial fraud case.

At one point, Eyre confided that, although having signed a 1 year, $2 million deal with the Phillies in the off-season, he had but $13 to his name and his family’s bills were going unpaid due to seizure of assets.

Fortunately, Eyre had a little money in another bank account and has been able to feed his family during the trying period.  Also, fortunately, Eyre is a member of a team with a heart.  Yahoo sports reports that  the Phillies have agreed to advance him and undisclosed amount on his $2 million pay for the season in order to see him and his family through this difficult ordeal.

The Yahoo report on the Phillies’ efforts to help notes Eyre’s comments;

“If we paid our bills, we wouldn’t have any money,” Eyre said. “I’ll pay (the Phillies) back whenever I can I invested in (Stanford) three years ago (and) thought it was too good to be true - and it was.”

Eyre isn’t alone. Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady of the New York Yankees and Carlos Pena of the Tampa Bay Rays also have been affected by the Stanford scandal.

All four major leaguers have had some of their assets frozen by federal regulators. The players said they’ve been told by federal officials that their money is safe, but access to it is being blocked temporarily while the investigation proceeds.

“It’s not just the big people - not that I consider myself big - but there are people out there without a voice,” Eyre said. “I didn’t want this to be the ‘Woe is Scott Eyre Story.’

“Thousands and thousands of people who invested their money in Stanford can’t use their money right now. (They) can’t pay their bills the only reason I said anything at all is because of the people that don’t have access to media, so the government can realize (this is happening).

Eyre, who during spring training stays with his family at his offseason home in nearby Bradenton, Fla., said several teammates also volunteered to cut him a check to help out.

Even though the team stepped up to help him, Eyre questions why the government took an action that has made life difficult for so many honest investors.

“I don’t think they needed to freeze everything - that’s just stupid,” Eyre said.

Sports writer Todd Zolecki reports the Phillies view of the situation for MLB.com:

“We understand the circumstances,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener… “Typically, our policy is not to advance dollars. That’s just not what we do, but this certainly is a different type of circumstance that several players are having to deal with.”

One can only hope that the other MLB clubs whose players find themselves in this situation, as well as teams in other sports with members in this bind, act as thoughtfully, responsively and from the heart as have the Phillies.

As for lefthanded reliever Scott Eyre, I’m looking forward to seeing him and the team not miss a beat in the lefthanded set-up role while Romero is on the shelf during his 50 game suspension.

Phillies Thumped by Pirates in Exhibition Opener

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

46 year old veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer threw 2 shutout innings, Joe Blanton gave up a run on 2 hits as the Phillies and Pirates were tied at 1-1 after 3 innings.  But bullpen prospects Joe Bisenius and Scott Nestor were rocked for 7 runs in the 4th and 5th innings as Pittsburgh went on to thump the Phils by an 8-2 score in the 2009 exhibition opener.

The Phils were held to a single run and 4 hits through 8 innings by 8 Buc pitchers and scored their 3rd inning run on a 2-out single by new leftfielder  Raul Ibanez.

Bisenius pitched the 4th inning giving up 4 runs, 3 of them coming on a 2-out homer by pinch hitter Shelby Ford.  Nestor, who pitched the 5th, was then tagged for 3 more runs on 3 hits and 2 walks in the 5th.

The Phils got their only other run in the 9th inning on 3 hits; the run scoring on an RBI double by leftfielder Jeremy Slayden who went 2 for 2 for the game after replacing Ibanez.  The 2 leftfielders went a collective 3 for 4 with both RBIs.

Pirate prospect Donald Veal, who pitched the 4th inning giving up only 1 hit, was credited with the win while Bisenius, who didn’t do his bullpen chances any good, was tagged with the loss.

For all of Wednesday’s exhibition game results, click here.

The Phillies face the Toronto Blue Jays in Clearwater on Thursday as highly-ranked prospect Carlos Carrasco and young lefthander J.A. Happ strut their stuff.

For Thursday’s complete exhibition game schedule, click here.

Phillies Open Spring Exhibition Games Vs Pirates

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

               Jamie Moyer      Joe Blanton

The Phillies open their spring training exhibition schedule on Wednesday by playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at their venue at Bradenton, Florida.

Veteran 46 year old lefthander Jamie Moyer is slated to start the exhibition opener for the Phils.  The Bucs have yet to announce their starter and, as noted below, plans an unorthodox use of 9 relievers in the game.  Yahoo sports provides a Pirates team report prior to the spring opener.

Delaware Online’s Scott Lauber provides the Phillies pitching schedule for the first 7 exhibition games as well as Wednesday’s Phils’ batting order.  Lauber notes that following Moyer onto the mound in the opener will be that World Series “Sultan of Swat” Joe Blanton.

Lauber lists the Phillies starting lineup and other pertinent game details:

SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Shane Victorino
LF  Raul Ibanez
1B Ryan Howard
RF Geoff Jenkins
DH Matt Stairs
2B Jason Donald
3B 
Eric Bruntlett
C  Chris Coste
P  Jamie Moyer

The bench will consist of catchers Carlos Ruiz, Ronny Paulino and Lou Marson; infielders Greg Dobbs, Marcus Giles, Brad Harman, Anthony Hewitt, Pablo Ozuna, Andy Tracy and J.J. Furmaniak; outfielders John Mayberry, Jeremy Slayden and Jason Ellison. Joe Blanton (two innings or 45 pitches) will follow Moyer, and after that, we could see Scott Nestor, Joe Bisenius, Mike Koplove and Jake Woods.

Pittsburgh, by the way, plans to use nine relievers. 

             Pat Burrell

Lauber also notes that former Phils leftfielder Pat Burrell will be in the Tampa Bay Rays lineup when the two teams play in a World Series rematch on Saturday.

Hat tip to Phillies Nation’s Tim Malcolm here and here.

Mets Fan Gives Phillies Respect

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Here’s a Mets fan who’s got it right.  My hat’s off to Mike Kent, the Mets fan who wrote this piece giving respect to the 2008 MLB World Champions, the  Phillies.   Kent writes:

The Phillies deserve credit and respect from all of baseball, and mostly from the Mets.

Yes, I know if you are a Mets’ fan then that is hard to say. The Phillies won the World Series last year and therefore are the better team, at least for now.

It bothers me that lots of Met fans come up with lame excuses as to why the Mets were better than the Phillies last year like. “JC Romero is a cheater,” and “we would have won if we had one more reliever,” or, “who cares, it was the worst World Series ever.”

Well, the fact is, the Mets did not have another relief pitcher, and JC is not the only reason they won. You can’t say anything about the great players that lead the Phillies to the  World Series win.

And the World Series may not have been the best for Met fans or the rest of baseball, but I bet it was something special for the Phillies’ fans. And they should not give a [expletive deleted] about what we think.

Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, and Chase Utley lead the Phillies to the amazing win. And the Mets lost the NL East and thew wild card because they were not consistent, the Phillies were.

And even if the Mets do have more talent then the Phillies, it does not matter. The Yankees have the best talent in baseball and they did not win the World Series in eight years, are they the best team in baseball?

No, they are not.

And yes, I know I write lots of articles saying the Mets will win the NL East this season and I stand behind that; but I have never taking anything away from there great run last season.

So one again, great season, great run and great win Phillies. 2008’s best team in baseball.

And Mets’ fans, give the Phillies some respect. They deserve it.

Yes, 2009 marks a new season and everyone starts with a clean 0-0 slate on April 5th, MLB opening day.  And yes, there are quite a few NL teams, including the Mets, gunning for the Phils.  But the Philies ARE the champs until proven otherwise.  They have procen their mettle catching the Mets from behind, not just once, but twice.   The one area that I dispute with Kent is over the Romero affair.  I have seen insufficient proof, despite his MLB 50 game suspension, to prove that JC actually cheated with a banned substance. 

While they have great memories of 2008, the Phils also have a lot to live up to for the bar has been raised substantially by their 2008 post-season efforts.  Will they live up to it?  And manager Charlie Manuel put them on notice; “last year ends today” (the beginning of spring training).  The next 162 regular games will tell a story.  But in the meantime, as the saying goes; “To be The Man, you gotta beat The Man.”  The Phils are training hard to face all comers in the fresh 2009 MLB season.