Tag Archives: Jim Thome

Thome Can Still Hit in a Pinch

24 Jun

Photo: US Presswire

Jim Thome had gone hitless as a pinch hitter so far this season for the Phillies, but on Saturday his walk-off blast showed he might just be worth hanging on to.

The homer won the game for the Phillies after Jonathan Papelbon blew a two-run lead in the top of the ninth inning.  Papelbon had been a perfect 17-17 in save opportunities, but with two outs gave up a series of hits that allowed the Rays to tie things up at 6.

After walking off the mound Papelbon announced “Five-grand to anyone who walks this guy off.”

It only took one AB.

Thome’s homer had plenty of historical significance. It was his 13th – game-winner, which is a major-league record.  He’s a top a pretty amazing list.

  • Jim Thome – 13
  • Babe Ruth – 12
  • Mickey Mantle – 12
  • Jimmie Fox – 12
  • Stan Musial 12
  • Frank Robinson – 12

All of course are Hall of Famers.  No doubt Thome will join them someday.

Thome’s 609th home run also tied him with Sammy Sosa for 7th all-time on baseball’s home run list.

Much talk has been made over Thome’s role with the Phillies now that Interleague play is over, and whether he can be of any value to the Phillies as a pinch hitter, since his ailing back will keep him off the field. After today the Phillies will have to keep the debate going, as Thome has homered 5 times in the Phillies last 12 games.

Thome would not confirm taking any money from Papelbon, but you can imagine either way Pap was pretty happy with how it ended.

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Oh Great, Now What?

21 Mar

David M Warren/Staff Photographer Philly.com

So now that Michael Martinez will be starting the season on the Disabled List, where do the Phillies turn?  Martinez was figuring to get plenty of playing time filling in for Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley, but when Utley left camp on Monday because of the continual problems with his knees, Martinez became much more valuable to the Phils.

The Phillies healthy infielders are Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Freddy Galvis, Ty Wigginton, Jim Thome, Pete Orr and Hector Luna.  Orr and Luna are not locks to make the team out of camp unless the Phillies don’t find another infielder outside of camp.  Orr has had time with the Phillies in the past, and Luna has had a productive Spring with the Phillies in belting two homers, and is among the team leaders with 8 RBI.

Outside the organization the Phillies have been linked to Mike Aviles of the Red Sox, Maicer Izturis from the Los Angeles Angels, but both would need to be acquired via a trade as the Phillies have very little money to work with at this point. The team says that they feel comfortable with their internal options, but we’ve heard that before.  I just wouldn’t expect them to jump the gun.  They have some time, and have some time before they need to make a move.  I would not be surprised if they start the season with what they have, and see how Galvis performs before the decide weither to add another utility player.

Martinez isn’t exactly irraplaceable, but with the current woes in the infield, it’s just one more thing to have to deal with.

(Makes you wonder why the Phillies traded Wilson Valdez)

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Manuel Wants Change

24 Feb

Photo: Miles Kennedy

Charlie Manuel wants to see a change in the Phillies approach at the plate, and he wants Jimmy Rollins to set the tone.  The two had a short meeting after Thursday’s BP, and Manuel divulged a little to the media shortly afterward.

“Jimmy can get in the count 2-1, 3-1 quite a bit, then he’ll chase a ball up out of the strike zone and hit a fly ball to center field,” Manuel said. “I talked him about that. … If he looks for a fastball and it’s not a strike, then try to lay off it. Learn and practice that way, and also in the game.”

It starts with Jimmy, but it’s something that the team needs to work on.

“I want to talk to all of our guys,” Manuel said. “I want our guys to talk about hitting. I want guys like Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins and Howard, and Victorino … I want to have more talk about hitting, talking about getting good balls to hit, not giving away at-bats, things like that.

“With our pitching and everything like that, we need to score the runs that we’re supposed to score. If we have a guy on third base with less than two outs early in the game, we need to score one run. If we have two guys on, we need to make sure we score one run, instead of a guy standing there maybe trying to bust the game open.”

Manuel also talked with Rollins about the team’s complacency, energy, and clubhouse atmosphere.  He has been vocal in the past that the energy level of the team at times isn’t where he would like, and doesn’t want the team taking their wins for granted.  He wants the team to talk more about hitting.  Manuel cited how players used to talk about their at-bats after games, and that that doesn’t really happen anymore.

Rollins IS the captain of this team, and needs to lead by example.

Someone else who can lead by example is Jim Thome.  Manuel thinks that the influence that Thome is going to have in the clubhouse is going to be huge, and I have to agree.  Thome and Ryan Howard have already had conversations about Howard’s approach.

Plenty of great stuff happening to report out of Clearwater, and there hasn’t even been a full squad workout yet…

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Day One Isn’t Just for Pitchers and Catchers

20 Feb

Photo: Miles Kennedy/Phillies

You’ll be pleased to know that the Phillies motto of “Unfinished Business” still stands.

That being said this first day of camp is usually reserved just for pitchers and catchers, but there were a good collection of position players, and bench players out on the field at the Carpenter Complex on Sunday.  Hunter Pence, Jim Thome, Scott PodsednikJuan Pierre, and Ty Wigginton have all taken their first hacks of the Spring in the cage.

Thome looks to be in fantastic shape.  Probably the best he’s been in years which leads one to think that he plans to take the field on Opening Day at first base.  With the questions surrounding the return of Ryan Howard it’s nice to know that the bench like this is backing him up.

The same goes for Juan Pierre.  This guy is one of the hardest workers in baseball.  It’s early, but I have almost no doubt that he makes the team out of Spring Training.

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