Tag Archives: Cliff Lee

Phillies Tidbits

5 Aug
  • Cliff Lee will remain a Phillie for the remainder of 2012, as the window on the Dodgers’ waiver claim closed today. Lee coughed up three home runs in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks this afternoon.  Lee looked great at times, but continues to attack
  • Kyle Kendrick will start on Wednesday against the Braves.  Kendrick stepped in as a spot starter on Friday when Dodgers acquired Joe Blanton just before game time. Kendrick will be making his 15th start of the season which earns him a $100,000 bonus.
  • Jimmy Rollins got Sunday off after going hitless in his last three games.  Rollins was batting .187 in his last 22 games.  Rollins came on to pinch hit for Michael Martinez in the 8th, and finished the game. He popped out in his lone at-bat.
  • The Phillies announced that they have released infielder Mike Fontenot.  The Phils designated Fontenot for assignment on August 1.  Mike was released to make room on the roster when the Phillies acquired Josh Lindblom and Nate Schierholtz. Fontenot, 32, hit .289/.343/.340 in 105 plate appearances this year for the Phillies.  The veteran signed a minor league deal with the Phillies in April and split time between second and third base in 2012.
  • Shane Victorino is batting .167 (2-12) with 1 run scored and 1 stolen base in three games with the Dodgers.
  • Hunter Pence is batting .118 (2-17) with zero runs, 2 RBI and 3K’s in four games with the Giants.
  • The Phillies observed a moment of silence for Garrett Reid before Sunday’s game. The 29-year-old son of Eagles head coach Andy Reid was found dead in his room at the Eagles training camp at Lehigh University on Sunday morning. Local police said there were no “suspicious” activity and no cause of death has been determined.

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Future Phillie Suspended Indefinitely

19 Jul

The Phillies have suspended Minor League prospect Tyson Gillies indefinitely.

It’s not yet known what exactly prompted the suspension, other then it being a violation of team policy, and not being related to activities that got him suspended in 2010.

Gillies, a was acquired by the Phillies organization in the Dec. 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle. He played in just 28 minor-league games in 2010. His season was shortened by a hamstring injury and an arrest in Florida for cocaine possession.
Those charges were later dropped, but he was suspended from the team.
Tyson played just three games in 2011 before re-injuring his hamstring.
Gillies is a center-fielder with in insane amount of speed, and with the possible departure of Shane Victorino, it’s a shame that Gillies can’t seem to get his act together.  He’s been looked at as a future major leaguer, but in the last few years has barely collected enough games to note any real progress.
I’m reminded of an article I read about Gillies when he was first acquired, but now almost have to laugh about what he said.
“I’m hoping later on, if I create a good name for myself, that I’ll be able to talk to a lot of kids about this. I know growing up how frustrating it was. I know how tough and down kids get on each other. It’s definitely something I hope to be able to help people out with, tell them my life story and experiences, and hopefully they can take good things out of it and turn their lives around.”
Kids… Maybe you should be looking at a different player to emulate for now.
It’s not to say that he can’t overcome all of his trials, but he’s got his work cut out for him.  That’s for sure.

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Would the Phillies Really Trade Cole Hamels?

17 Jun

Geez.  I don’t know what to think  here anymore.

The Phillies, barring some amazing comeback may have some decisions to make come July 31st. I’m sure that teams may have interest in guys like Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Jim Thome, Cliff Lee, and of course Cole Hamels.

What you woud get from these guys, differs in each case.

I think out of all these guys the Phillies have the most interest in retaining Cole Hamels, but it’s going to be a bit tough.  Cole would like to be (and deserves) to be paid like one of the premire pitchers in the game.  He’s done a lot for this team, and community, and deserves everything that’s coming to him.

What the Phillies have going for them in the negotiation is that Hamels likes Philadelphia.  He’s rooted in the community, with all his charitable work, and he has grown up in the Phillies organization.

We know now that it’s gonna take 7 years, and probably $130MM+.  Yes, I think that the Phillies will listen to some offers, but unless they are absolutely blown away with an offer, I think they would turn it down.

I still feel that the Phillies find a way to get it done.

Who would I consider for a trade?

I’d dangle Victorino and Lee.

Shane is having an average season, and if we’re not in contention in the last two months, I’d say let’s see what people have to offer.

I’d say the same with Cliff Lee.  The honeymoon is over with Philly and Cliff Lee.  He’s been nothing more then an average pitcher, besides those two months last summer, and blew Game 2 of the NLDS in 2012.  He’s eating up far too much money for the Phillies to hold on to him if that’s all he’s gonna give.  Considering the years on his contract with the Phillies he would be attractive to a team with a lot of $$ that doesn’t want to commit to the years.

Hunter Pence is driving me nuts this season, but I think he’s our best bet for protecting Ryan Howard in the future.

I don’t know weither it’s worth trading Thome, because I don’t think any team is going to give you something for him.  However, if the Phillies are out of it at the end of July, I’d like to see the Phillies give Jim the option of moving to a contender (if they want him) so he can have the opportunity for a ring.

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Lee Vs Cain to Settle Series

18 Apr

The Phillies flat out stunk against the Giants last night.

They went and abismal 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position despite getting their lead-off hitter on base in six of nine innings.

John Mayberry Jr., and Placido Polanco both went hitless in the game, and Jim Thome, who came in as a pinch hitter, is an .091 hitter so far in his return to Philadelphia.

Polanco is the player that I think I worry about the most after he went 0-4 again last night, and he’s batting an embarrassing .179.  His bat is most definitely slowed, and his strikeout numbers are climbing.

He hasn’t seemed to have lost anything in the field (despite a missed tag last night) and still looks like the Gold Glove fielder that we thought we were getting when he signed.

I’m just not sure how much longer the Phillies can have this many players batting sub .230.

For tonight…

Cliff Lee will face off against San Francisco’s Matt Cain.

Cain is 1-4, 4.17 ERA vs Philadelphia, but is coming off the best pitching performance of his life where he was one single shy of a perfect game. This is Cain’s first start at At&t Park since signing his new  $127.5 million, six-year contract.

Lee is searching for his first win of the season, and hopefully he can continue his magic at At&t Park where he is undefeated as a Phillie, with two complete games.

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Cliff, Vance, Fontenot, and Contreras.

14 Apr

Just a round-up from the last few days…

Last night…

Cliff wasn’t Cliff.  It’s as easy as that.

At least not the whole night.  He missed his spots a couple of times in the game last night, especially in the first inning, and that was all it was going to take for the Mets.  Cliff Lee is a strikeout pitcher, and when you throw a lot of strikes, you’re gonna get hit sometimes.

The Phillies as we know are pretty darn bad when they face knuckleball pitchers.  Last night was no exception.

Today…

Vance Worley gets the start today against the Mets.  Vance is 3-1 (3.00) against the Mets in his career, and pitched nicely last Sunday against the Pirates at PNC Park, allowing just one run in six innings.  Jon Niese is 4-3 (4.07) against the Phillies, but is a better pitcher then that.  Should be a pretty good matchup.  Here’s the lineup

Victorino, CF
Polanco, 3B
Rollins, SS
Pence, RF
Mayberry, LF
Wigginton, 1B
Galvis, 2B
Schneider, C
Worley, P

Other news…

As you know by now, the Phillies have signed Mike Fontenot to a minor league deal.  They had looked at him a bit when he was a FA last season, but the Phillies have been a bit of a revolving door of infielders given all the injuries over the last few seasons, so that’s not much of a surprise.

I wouldn’t say that the signing of Fontenot is telling of what’s going on with Chase Utley, but it may just be that they thing they see a small upgrade over a guy like Pete Orr.  In 2011 Fontenot  batted .227/.304/.377 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 252 plate appearances.  The Phillies will have him report to extended Spring Training in Clearwater, and from there he’s most likely headed to AAA Lehigh Valley.

Galvis will stay put.

Jose Contreras is likely to return to the Phillies some time in the next day or two.  He’s pitched in two consecutive games, and last night retired the side in order, with a strikeout. Likely David Herndon, or Joe Savery will be sent down.  It just depends on how many left-handers the Phillies decide to keep.

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Breathe Easy Kids

26 Feb

Photo: Miles Kennedy

Breathe easy kiddos, Cliff Lee is just fine.

Cliff threw an early morning bullpen to beat out the rain, and it went very well.  Lee had to skip his last bullpen session due to a sore abdominal, but he got back on track today and threw his normal routine. He left the complex with a smirk, and uttered that everything was “All good.”

Pitching Coach Rich Dubee confirmed that Lee looked good and confirmed that Lee will throw live batting practice on Tuesday, which is a great sign that he’s back on track.

So you may now cease panicing.

We’re only three real days into camp, and it’s not uncommon for things to be a bit off.

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Laying the Blame

10 Oct

Now that a few days have passed I’m ready to start dishing the blame.  I’ll have to say that despite what everyone is saying about Ryan Howard I think that it is more of a collective issue.  Let’s start at the top.

Charlie Manuel – Sorry Chuck, but I think a lot of this one is on you.  I like that the players like to play for you, but this time things just went horribly wrong.  After three games in a row where we couldn’t by a hit you leave the same lineup in?  Polanco stays at third when he can’t even buy a hit?  Did you even leave the dugout at all?  Throw some things around and try to fire these guys up?  I have always stuck by your side, but this time I honestly feel like you just stood by and watched.  You’re the so called hitting guru, but you can’t seem to get these guys to hit.  Maybe consider asking them to take a few pitches here and there.  Crossing your fingers isn’t working.  Next Spring better bring some answers because we’re all feeling pretty empty.

Cliff Lee – Cliff is honestly the player that I have the biggest issue with.  Before his start last Sunday Cliff was 94-1 in games where he was handed a 4 run lead.  That is huge, you have to hold that.  For the average starter a 4 run lead is tough to hold, but for Cliff it is practically a mortal lock for a win.

Cliff was brought to Philadelphia to win in the Postseason, and that didn’t happen. So far he is 0-1 in his new tenure in Philadelphia.  That can’t happen again.  I’m glad that he took “Full responsibility,” but that does nothing for me as I sit here and watch the Cardinals lose to Milwaukee. Had he pitched like we expected him to do so we would have swept St. Louis right out of the playoffs.

“I take a lot of responsibility for this,” Lee said after the Game 5 loss. “I had a 4-0 lead and wasn’t able to keep it. If I did, we would have swept the series. I wasn’t able to keep a four-run lead and now it’s over.”

Cliff choked.  No doubt about it.

Ryan Howard - I stand up for Ryno in many instances, but during a series is not time to mess with your mechanics.  After game one I was expecting Ryan to just destroy the Cardinals, but he fell right into their trap.  If they are going to throw you junk, then you need to just stand there and take that walks.  That was something that I always admired about Pat Burrell.

I get that he was hurt, but he did himself, and the team zero favors by swinging at the crap they threw to him.  I can’t even count at how many balls that were tight and inside that he swung at.  You have to make them pitch to you.  I have mixed feelings about him swinging at the 3-0 ball that he got towards the end of game 5.  I know that people wished that green light had taken away from him at that point, but in a one run game one swing from Ryan can change the course of the game.  It was a half decent pitch, so anything could have happened.

But Howard wasn’t the only one that didn’t hit.

Placido Polanco – Really when it comes to Polly the problem starts with Charlie Manual.  I don’t get why we think that an injured Polanco is any better then Wilson Valdez or Michael Martinez.  Polly went 2-19 (.105) in the NLDS… You have to think that Valdez could have done better then that.  Polly is the best defensive choice we have at third, but with his injuries, his bad speed is gone, and he can’t run worth a damn.

Hunter Pence – Hunter had 4 RBI, but still only hit .211 in the series.  He’s a .300 hitter all season long, and went cold by his standards in the playoffs.  Offensively he’s a fine player, but defensively he leaves much to be desired in the outfield.  I hope that we can make some end-roads with him over the winter and into Spring Training next year.  I love the hustle, but he came up short in the end.

Carlos Ruiz – Behind the plate Chooch is always an All-Star, but standing at it, he had a terrible series.  1-17 (.059) in the NLDS is just terrible.  Carlos had a really tough October.  He needs to keep the ball out of the air, and work on going the other way a little more.  He pulls the ball far too much.

Roy Oswalt – Roy had pitched to the Cardinals hitters more then any other pitcher on the Phillies staff from his time in the National League Central, but didn’t look like it at all.  He’s likely never to pitch another game for the Phillies again, but I expected much more from him than we got.

I’m wondering what everyone else is feeling.  Shoot me an email, or comment below.

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Lee – On the Mound, At the Plate

10 Aug

I’m starting to run out of ways to describe just how good this pitching staff really is.

Last night Cliff Lee struck out 10, walked two,and gave up four hits in eight shutout innings to win his 12th game of the season. His 2-1 win over the Dodgers marked the eighth time in 2011 and 17th time in his career Lee has struck out at least 10 batters.

His eight games this season with 10 K’s lead Major League Baseball, and are the most by a Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling had 15 in 1998.  They are also the most by a Phillies lefty since Steve Carlton had nine in 1983.

According to MLB.com, Lee’s eight scoreless starts in which he has gone at least seven innings and allowed no runs are the most by a Phillies southpaw since Carlton had nine (including eight shutouts) in 1972.  It seems pretty likely to me that Lee will pass Carlton.

Oh yeah, and he hit the game winning home run, too.

This guy is ridiculous.

Phils Poised for Second Half?

15 Jul

The Phillies are ready to make their run for another championship. They currently have the best record in baseball and are 3 1/2 games up in the National League East. I wish I could say that they are healthy, but they are getting there. So what if any thing stands in there way? I thought that we could take a look at these things and then I would give you my predictions.

The Bullpen – This seems to be where a lot of the questions lie, so I figured I’d talk about this first.

It looks like Ryan Madson is ready for his return. Ryan has made some appearances with the Clearwater Threshers and has had success and feels good. Madson was a huge part of the Phillies first half and is pretty vital to their continued successes.

Brad Lidge appears to be progressing. He hasn’t had a lot of work, and his outings so far really havn’t been all that spectacular. On Thursday night Lidge made a rehab appearance with the Reading Phillies in Trenton and gave up two runs in 2/3 of an inning. Lidge allowed one hit, one walk, hit two batters and threw three wild pitches during the seventh inning before being taken out of the game. However, his outing on Monday was a perfect outing. Lidge was unhappy with his control, but said that his arm strength is getting better and that he thinks he’s feeling well enough that he could return to the Phillies pen during the Phillies next home stand which is next Friday when the San Diego Padres come to Philadelphia.

Jose Contreras is expected to return to the bullpen at some point this season, but it is unknown at this point when exactly that will be. Currently Contreras is not partaking in any baseball activities.

The rest of the pen seems to be healthy and you just have to hope that the Young Guns can continue to find success. It cannot be overstated how big Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes have been for the Phillies.

The Rotation – Charlie Manuel at the request of pitching coach Rich Dubee has shuffled the cards in the Phillies rotation to give Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee a little extra rest after the All-Star game which both of them participated in. The Phillies have activated Vance Worley, and will start him against R.A. Dickey and the Mets tonight in New York. Cole Hamels will go Saturday against the Jon Niese, and it hasn’t been said yet formally, but I’m hearing that Kyle Kendrick might start, and face Mike Pelfrey on Sunday. So Halladay and Lee have been pushed back.

Joe Blanton is still sidelined with an elbow injury and no timetable has been discussed for him to this point. If Blanton returns, don’t be surprised if it’s in a different capacity like the bullpen if Worley continues to progress as he has. Kyle Kendrick might just get a shot to stay in the rotation for a while, but there are a lot of “If’s” there.

The Phillies are also staying mum when it comes to Roy Oswalt. If Oswalt returns and can pitch well it would be a huge boost to the Phillies. I’m not high on Oswalt right now and if things don’t progress for him then I wouldn’t be surprised if he asks for his walking papers after the season ends. It’s pretty well documented that Oswalt has had strong feelings of an early retirement, but a deep run in the playoffs may just give him the itch to give it one last shot. Right now there is no timetable for Oswalt’s return either. I’m thinking that the end of August would be a fair guess.

The Lineup – Shane Victorino should be activated as soon as he is eligible. One could argue that Shane was the Phillies first half MVP, and his healthy return will be vital to the Phillies second half run.

Protection for Ryan Howard is another big issue for me. Ryan has had a pretty decent season despite little protection from the revolving door that is the 5-hole spot. I’m still pretty convinced that adding another bat to the lineup, in the form of a right-hander. I have some feeling that that spot may get filled through a trade, but for now Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino will need to find a way to offer Howard some help. Ibanez had a great series against the Braves, and let’s hope that that continues. Our corner outfielders have not have the seasons we expected.

Placido Polanco is a HUGE question mark for me. I think that Polanco can play through his injury but it’s not going to be pretty. Polly is dealing with a bulging disc in his back, and hasn’t been productive in over a month. It’s likely that he’s going to have to get a cortisone shot to help him manage his pain. Polanco has been a very productive hitter in his career, but as for as this season is concerned it’s going to be a daily question for him.

Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown have both had fairly disappointing seasons. Though they both come pretty cheap, the Phillies are going to have to try and procure some help in the outfield because I’m not fully convinced that John Mayberry Jr. is the answer. If they do make any sort of move it’s going to have to come in the form of a trade. The Phillies have next to no money to work with so Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to need to be creative.

With Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson’s expiring contracts the Phillies are going to want to use some of the money that is coming off the books in 2012 (Ibanez, and Lidge being the two biggies) to try to resign these two. The Phillies are also going to look into negotiating a long term deal with Cole Hamels. These things will make it hard for them to work something out this season.

Let’s not forget that Chase Utley is still playing with an injured knee. Proper rest is necessary for Utley because he really needs to step up his game and have a great second half.

Predictions - I don’t think that the Braves are going to go away quietly, but I do think that the Phillies have what it takes to fend them off until the end of September because they have plenty of question marks, too. My best guess is that the winner of the National League is going to come from the N.L. East, and that the two teams that will compete for a spot in the World Series are the Phillies, and the Braves.

Have a great Friday.

Phillies Weekly Report

12 Jul

Here’s a look at my column I write for PhilaPhans.com.

I’m posting it here so you can check it out, but if you want to read this in the future, I have a new addition every Monday morning on PhilaPhans. Consider popping over to PhilaPhans and even becoming a member.  I’m usually hanging around in the Game Day Thread during Phillies games.  Come join in!

The Phillies Weekly Report

By The Phanatic Addict

It was another 4-2 week for the Phillies. Two more series wins. One against theMarlins, and one against the hotAtlanta Braves. The series win over the Braves sure felt good with them right on the Phillies tail, and the 14-1 pounding we handed them made it that much better. .666 Baseball is nothing to be sorry about.

I do worry a little about the Phillies second half schedule. They played plenty of teams with losing records in the first half, and a lot of their second half games are on the road. The Phillies are 34-15 (.693) at home, but just 23-19 (.547) away from Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies have recently been known as a second half club, but it would be nice not to have to

The Offense – The Phillies offense showed up for five out of their six games this week. I can’t explain what happened on Saturday, but we do have to give a little bit of credit to Tommy Hanson, who pitched well. Cliff Lee managed to hit a homer off him, why didn’t anyone else? A head scratcher indeed.

As much as I see everyone complaining about how bad this offense is, the Phillies scored 39 runs this week. Yes, 28 of them came in two games but we scored these runs off of some pretty good pitchers.

The biggest blow to the team was losing Shane Victorino after it appeared tat he would be coming back pretty quick. Shane should return as soon as he is eligible when the Phillies face the Cubs next week.

Starting Pitching – Heading into the All-Star break things are looking really good. Sure, We’d like to have Oswalt up and pitching well, but the guys that are here are pitching like studs. The Phillies have three of their starters heading to the All-Star game in Arizona. It is the first time in the last 25 years that a team has had three pitchers with more then 9 wins, and ERA’s below 3.00 at the break.

I’m sure that Cole Hamels enjoyed the 28 runs of support that he got this week. It’s probably more then he got in 2010.

The Pen – I’m excited to see that Ryan Madson is closer to making his return. Antonio Bastardo has been just brilliant in his turn as the closer for the Phillies, but the possibility that Madson could be back next weekend is really big for the bullpen.

Brad Lidge has had some rehab appearances this week in his road back, and all have been rather positive. I’ll take a healthy Lidge over Andrew Carpenter any day.

Two straight scoreless appearances for Juan Perez have earned him the right to hang around a little longer in my book. He’s made the Braves hitters look just silly on Friday night, and you can never have enough lefties in your pen.

The Bench – This bench seems to become more important to the success of the Phillies every single game. With Shane Victorino, and Placido Polanco on the shelf the bench players have stepped onto the field and have almost flawlessly filled in.

Michael Martinez turned in seven hits in his last five games. Not to mention four runs, four RBI and a couple of really great catches. John Mayberry Jr. has also been really great in his last few starts. Six hits, Seven RBI, and three runs score. His three doubles on Sunday are proof that he may just have the tools to be considered for a starting job, if not at least as a platoon player in 2012.

Managers- I’d say that my only surprise of the week from the managers would be their decision to pull Kyle Kendrick out of a game that he was winning after just five innings. They turned the ball over to the bullpen and the game was over. The Phillies committed three errors in this game which cost them, and Kyle was the scapegoat.

After a 14 run game, you want to get right back out on the field and keep playing, but let’s be real. This team needs some rest. With the injured players we have sitting, and Chase Utley’s knee problems I think that a four day rest is just fine and dandy.

Again, the Phillies ended this week with two more series victories, and you can’t ask for too much more then that.

On a personal note, I’ve kept this a little shorter then usual, but with a wild work week, and a new addition to our family, I’m pretty spent. Congratulations to my sister and her husband on the birth of their new daughter. Welcome to the family Erin.

If you have time stop by my blog The Phanatic Addict, and I’ll see you in the forums.

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