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Archive for March, 2009

Park Impressive as Phillies Pummel Houston on 4 Homers

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The Phillies displayed their offensive power pounding 3 of their 4 homers against lefthander Mike Hampton.  Veteran Chan Ho Park made a big pitch for the 5th rotation spot count as the Phillies belted the Houston Astros by a 13-3 score at Clearwater on Monday.

After the Astros touched Park for a run on rightfielder Hunter Pence’s RBI double in the 1st inning, the Phils answered in the bottom of the inning as shortstop Jimmy Rollins quickly knotted the score by solving Hampton for a lead-off homer.

When Kazuo Matsui’s RBI double put Houston up by 2-1 in the 2nd inning,  Eric Bruntlett, playing 3rd base, reached Hampton for a 2 run shot to give the Phils a 3-2 lead.  The Phils added 2 runs in the 4th on RBIs by Bruntlett and catcher Carlos Ruiz, as well as 2 more in the 5th on a 2 out, 2 run shot by 1st baseman Ryan Howard, his 9th homer of the spring.

Meanwhile, Park breezed through his final 3 2/3 innings, allowing a total of six hits, two runs while walking 1 and striking out 7 in an impressive 5 2/3 innings to win his 2nd game of the spring.  Hampton was charged with his 2nd spring loss.

Reliever Chad Durbin replaced Park with 2 out in the 6th and was touched for a solo shot by shortstop Edwin Maysonet before recording the final out of the inning.

The Phils offense continued to click in the 6th inning busting the game wide open with 4 more runs highlighted by catcher Ruiz’s 2nd homer of the spring, a 2 run blast off of lefthanded reliever Wesley Wright as the score mounted to 11-3.

Relievers Clay Condrey and Mike Koplove shut down the Astros in the 7th and 8th innings.

The Phillies added 2 more runs on 3 hits in the 8th off of reliever Chris Sampson

For all of Monday’s results of spring training play, click here.

In other news, the Phils reported releasing veteran infielder Marcus Giles while optioning off outfielder John Mayberry Jr. and right-hander Carlos Carrasco to Minor League camp.   The Carrasco move was expected in that he’s got potential but showed this spring that he still needs more seasoning.  Regarding Mayberry,  MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki notes:

Mayberry hit .246 (17-for-69) with six doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs. The Phillies prefer he play every day in Triple-A Lehigh Valley rather than sit on the bench and get a couple pinch-hit at-bats a week with the Phillies.

Ace lefthander Cole Hamels, recovering from left elbow discomfort, was shelled for 3 runs on 10 hits in 4 innings in a minor league start, also at the Carpenter Complex.   Hamels threw 65 pitches in the outing and is scheduled to start the Saturday exhibition game in Philadelphia against the Tampa Bay Rays.   MLB’s Todd Zolecki indicates that Hamels “believes he will be ready to pitch April 10 against the Rockies in Denver.”

Righthander Brett Myers goes for the Phils as they host the Toronto Blue Jays in a Tuesday night game at Clearwater in one of his final tune-ups for the April 5th season opener against the Atlanta Braves.   Zolecki also indicates that the opening day start may be up for grabs between Myers and Joe Blanton who has had an excellent spring.

For all of Tuesday’s scheduled exhibition games, click here.

Red Sox Edge Phillies in “Battle of MLB Champs”

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Joe Blanton pitched a fine ballgame giving up 2 runs on 4 hits in 6 1/3 innings but the Phillies could only manage a single 3rd inning run off of young Boston lefthander Jon Lester despite Lester’s walking 4 Phils in 5 innings.  The Red Sox edged out the Phils by a 3-1 score in a pitchers’ duel on Sunday between the last 2 MLB World Champions.

The Red Sox scored single runs against Blanton in the 2nd and 4th innings as 1st baseman Chris Carter solved Blanton in the 2nd belting a solo shot for his 6th homer of the spring.

The Phils tied the score in the 3rd inning on shortstop Jimmy Rollins’ double and a bases-loaded walk issued by Lester to 1st baseman Ryan Howard.  The BoSox went ahead in the 4th inning on a sacrifice RBI by leftfielder Jeff Bailey and centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury added an insurance run on a solo blast off of reliever Chad Durbin in the 8th inning.

The AP recap for Yahoo sports cited manager Charlie Manuel as saying:

“We’re not playing good right now. We’re not knocking the runs in, we’re not hitting the ball good. We have to do better.”

Lester pitched 5 innings giving up only a run on 6 hits for the win, although he walked 4 and the Phils left 12 runners stranded for the game.   Closer  Jon Papelbon followed Lester shutting down the Phils in the 6th despite walking 2 while striking out 2.  2 other Sox relievers closed out the Phils who collected 8 hits and drew 7 walks for the game.

Blanton was charged with the loss, but in spring training it really doesn’t matter.   Blanton tossed a quality effort and was in command throughout.  Our “Sultan of Swat” has had the most consistent spring of all of the Phils’ starters carrying a 2.45 ERA through his exhibition appearances.  Lefthanded reliever Scott Eyre and Ryan Madson both held the Red Sox scoreless in 2/3rds of an inning and an inning respectively.

For all of Sunday’s results of spring training play, click here.

The Phillies entertain the Houston Astros at Clearwater on Monday.  Righthander Chan Ho Park, a finalist down-to-the-wire for the fifth starter’s job, gets the starting nod the Astros with ace lefthander Cole Hamels also scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game at the Carpenter Complex.

For all of Monday’s scheduled exhibition games, click here.

Phillies Lose Weekend Games to Astros, Pirates

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

The Phillies lost a pair of weekend games to the Houston Astros and the  Pittsburgh Pirates as manager Charlie Manuel apparently stayed with his starters a wee-bit too long, a trait he’s been guilty of to the team’s detriment in the past.  Good thing that its only the exhibition season.

On Friday, apparent opening game starter Brett Myers gave up 2 runs in 5 innings as Houston shortstop Miguel Tejada solved him for a 4th inning solo homer and a game-tying RBI double in the 6th.  The Astros took a 4-3 lead in the 6th on an RBI single off of reliever Ryan Madson (the run charged to Myers).  The Astros added 2 more runs in the 8th inning and held off a late 2 run 9th inning Phillies charge, including a Matt Stairs’ pinch solo homer, for a narrow 6-5 win.

Tejeda went 3 for 3 and was joined by 2nd baseman Kazuo Matsui and outfielder Hunter Pence who also had 3 hits apiece for the Astros.  Infielder Geoff Blum had 2 hits for Houston including driving in the lead run in the 6th inning with an single off of Madson.

Houston starter Roy Oswalt gave up 3 runs on 10 hits through 6 full innings but the Phils couldn’t turn more of those hits into runs.  Oswalt struck out 6 while walking none to earn the win.   Myers was charged with 4 runs on 8 hits in his 5 1/3 innings and was charged with the loss.

Rightfielder Jayson Werth led off the 2nd inning with a solo homer as the Phils went on to score 3 in the inning off of Oswalt.

On Saturday, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer kept the Phillies in a 3-1 game through 5 innings before Pittsburgh broke the game wide open with a 4 run outburst to take a 7-1 lead in the 6th inning.  Moyer recorded the 1st 2 outs of the 6th before lefthanded reliever Scott Eyre recorded the final out as the Pirates went on to hand the Phillies a 10-4 shellacking.

Meanwhile, the only run which scored on Pirates starter Ian Snell was a mammoth 500 foot plus 4th inning solo shot by Ryan Howard who is having a fine spring training hitting .293 with 8 homers.

The Phillies, however, rebounded on a 3 run homer by catcher Carlos Ruiz to close the gap to 7-4 in the 7th after reliever Denny Bautista walked the first 2 hitters he faced and walked 3 for the inning.  It was Ruiz’s 1st dinger of the spring.  But the Bucs rocked closer Brad Lidge in the 8th inning for 3 runs on 2 hits including a pinch homer by Garrett Jones.

The Pirate bullpen was lights out on the Phils giving up only an 8th inning single.

The hitting star for the Pirates was undoubtedly non rostered invitee centerfielder Andrew McCutchen who went 5 for 5 with a solo homer, 3 doubles 2 RBIs and 3 runs scored.

For all of Friday’s and Saturday’s results of spring training play, click here and here.

The Phils entertain the Boston Red Sox in Clearwater in the first of 3 straight home games as Joe Blanton gets the start against emerging star lefthander Jon Lester and Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre will also see mound time for the Phillies.  Ace lefthander Cole Hamels, seemingly recovered from his left elbow discomfort, was reportedly slated to start Sunday’s game against the BoSox, but has nopw been replaced by Blanton.  Could it be that Manuel still has Hamels in mind to start the opener?

In other news, the Phils swapped catcher Ronny Paulino to San Francisco  on Friday night for lefthanded reliever Jack Taschner.  Taschner was obtained to add another lefthanded reliever to the Phils bullpen to spell Scott Eyre during J.C. Romero’s upcoming regular season 50 game suspension.  The Giants quickly shuffled off Paulino on Saturday to the Florida Marlins for a minor-league righthanded pitching prospect.

For the Phillies, the catchers remain Carlos Ruiz as #1 catcher with Chris Coste in the backup role that he has occupied for his 3 MLB seasons.

For all of Sunday’s scheduled exhibition games, click here.

Carrasco, Phillies Pounded by Yankees

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Young righthander Carlos Carrasco lost further ground in the competition for the 5th spot in the starting rotation after being pounded for 4 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings, including 2 of 4 Yankee homers as the boys from the Bronx pummelled both Carrasco and lefthander reliever Scott Eyre enroute to a 10-2 drubbing of the Phillies on Thursday.

The Phils offense consisted of back-to-back 1st inning solo homers off of  Joba Chamberlain by 2nd baseman Chase Utley, his 2nd dinger of the spring, and 1st baseman Ryan Howard.

Yankee dh Hideki Matsui solved Carrasco in the 1st inning with a man on top put the Yanks up 2-0 but Utley and Howard answered for the Phils with back-to-back 1st inning dingers as the Phils drew even.  That was all she wrote for the Phillies offense for the game.   Chamberlain settled down allowing 1 more hit in his 4 1/3 innings, although he walked 3 while striking out 3.  The rest of the Yanks bullpen gave up but 3 hits in 4 2/3 innings while walking 5 as the Phils couldn’t capitalize on the free passes.

3rd baseman Cody Ransom off of Carrasco in the 4th inning, while rightfielder Nick Swisher and centerfielder Melky Cabrera also homered for the Yanks.  The latter 2 connected in the 8th with Cabrera’s being a 2 run shot as homers accounted for 3 of the 5 runs scored against Eyre.

MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports:

Carrasco entered the spring as a candidate for the fifth-starter’s job. He is no longer a candidate, but he continues to pitch to gain experience before he starts the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Reliever Clay Condrey gave up a single run in the 6th while closer Brad Lidge and Mike Koplove pitched perfect 7th and 9th innings for the Phils.

For Chamberlain, it was his 3rd win without a loss  in the exhibition season, while losing pitcher Carrasco’s record evened at 2-2.

For all of the Wednesday’s and Thursday’s results of spring training play,   click here and here.

The Phils travel to Houston’s spring venue on Friday as righthander Brett Myers (1-1, 2.63 ERA), the possible Opening Night starter, gets the starting nod.

For all of Friday’s and Saturday’s scheduled exhibition games,  click here and here.

Hamels’ Elbow Passes Minor League Test

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

                  Cole Hamels      Cole Hamels

Phillies ace lefthander Cole Hamels gave his left elbow a go 9 days after complaining of discomfort.  Hamels threw 3 2/3rd innings in minor league competition against Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguers at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater.  The elbow apparently passed with flying colors as Hamels expressed: “It felt good… and I felt great.”

Hamels had complained elbow discomfort after his last start on March 15th and the club sent him to Philadelphia for examination by the team physician and for an MRI which came through as negative.

The report on Hamels’ performance on Tuesday came through too late for inclusion in the previous blog post.

Hamels’ performance against the Pirates minor leaguers was impressive as the AP report notes:

Hamels allowed one hit and one walk while striking out five of his 13 batters. The left-hander threw 35 of 48 pitches for strikes.

“Performance-wise, we thought he threw OK,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “It was a pretty positive outing.”

Hamels is tentatively scheduled to pitch in a Grapefruit League game Sunday against Boston.

If all goes well, Hamels would pitch again a day or two before opening day, meaning he wouldn’t be on the mound when the World Series champions open the season April 5 against  Atlanta.

As was noted in Tuesday’s blog post on the Phillies win over Toronto, management is aiming for a Hamels debut on April 10th against the  Colorado Rockies in Denver, although the later AP report indicates that they have not, as yet, completely ruled Hamels out of starting the season opener.

Phillies’ 9th Inning Rally Edges Blue Jays

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Veteran Chan Ho Park gave up 3 runs on 4 hits while striking out 7 in 4 innings while rightfielder Jayson Werth and 2nd baseman Chase Utley homered.  But it was a 3 run 9th inning uprising against Toronto reliever  Brandon League which pushed the Phillies past the Blue Jays by a 7-6 score on Tuesday in Clearwater.

Werth solo homered in the 6th inning off of Toronto’s lefthanded  starter lefthander David Purcey for his 4th round-tripper of the spring and Utley’s 2 run game-tying shot in the 7th off of lefthanded reliever B.J. Ryan was his 1st homer of the exhibition season.   Utley drove in a run in the 5th inning with a sacrifice fly RBI.

MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports that “Park struck out two in each of the first three innings” and ended his 4 inning stint with 7 strikeouts. 

Infielder Eric Bruntlett continued his hot spring hitting knocking in 2 of the 9th inning runs and outfielder Rich Thompson drove in the game winner with his 9th inning single — all off of reliever League who ended up as the losing pitcher.

Reliever Gary Majewski was credited with the win despite giving up Toronto’s short-lived lead runs in the 8th inning before piutching a scoreless 9th. 

After Reliever Robert Mosebach gave up a run on 2 hits in the 5th inning,  Chad Durbin and Ryan Madson shut down Toronto in the 6th and 7th innings on 1 hit with Durbin striking out 2 in the 6th.

For all of the Tuesday’s results of spring training play, click here.

MLB.com’s Bastian also reports:

Philadelphia has an off-day Wednesday before hosting the  Yankees at 1:05 p.m. ET on Thursday at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco is slated to start for the Phils, and righty Joba Chamberlain will get the nod for the Yanks.

The latest on ace Cole Hamels seems to be that the Phillies appear aiming Hamels’ 2009 debut for April 10th against the Colorado Rockies in Denver.

For all of Wednesday’s scheduled exhibition games, click here.