Good, Bad, & Ugly: Nationals Shut Down by Moyer, Phils, 4-2

May 31, 2009 by Dave Nichols  
Filed under Fan News

 

"They play good defense. We don't, and we lose." —Josh Bard, May 31, 2009.

THE RESULT: The Washington Nationals were not charged with any errors in the scorebook in today's 4-2 loss to Jamie Moyer and the Philadelphia Phillies. But three plays where the Nats could not perform simple defensive tasks proved the difference in a close ball game, and the 46-year-old Moyer registered his 250th career victory.
Philadelphia scored their first run in the first inning against Nats' starter John Lannan (L, 2-5, 4.21). With one out, Lannan gave Shane Victorino a free pass. Three pitches later, Chase Utley hit a ball to the wall in right that Adam Dunn bare-handed on the bounce, hit cut-off man Anderson Hernandez, and the second baseman fired a strike to catcher Josh Bard to nab the speedy Victorino, who was called out by home plate umpire Dana DeMuth.
Unfortunately, Bard dropped the perfect relay, and when DeMuth realized the ball was between Bard's shin protectors and not in his glove, he changed his call to "safe."
Nursing a 2-1 lead, the Phillies got men on first and third with one out in the fourth. Lannan induced the lead-footed third baseman Pedro Feliz to ground into a tailor-made, inning-ending six-four-three double play. Alberto Gonzalez lobbed it to Hernandez to get the force at second, but Hernandez could not get the ball out of his glove to make a throw, allowing Raul Ibanez to walk home with the third Philly run.
The Phillies added an insurance run in the seventh inning against reliever Joe Beimel. The veteran lefty walked Chase Utley with two outs and the next batter, Ryan Howard, belted a ball to straight-away center field. Austin Kearns, playing out of position in center field, took a circuitous route to the catchable ball and, at the last moment, half-heartedly threw up his glove, almost as if to protect himself.
The lumbering first baseman collected his eighth career triple by the time Kearns gathered himself and got the ball back into the infield.
Left fielder Josh Willingham had two of the Nats five hits, both solo home runs.
Lannan actually threw better than the numbers would indicate. He went five innings and allowed four hits and four walks, giving up three earned runs and struck out seven Phillies.
THE TAKEAWAY: They call these things the "Little Things," but are they really little when they continue to add up to losses, day after day?
If any one of the three plays are made, we might be talking about a different outcome.
And it's not like a little extra infield practice is going to make it any better. Except for Hernandez, these guys are veterans. They are what they are. Bard has made multiple mistakes in his few games. It seems like every time he starts, he makes a critical mistake.
Kearns is simply not a center fielder, but nobody on this roster is. At some point, manager Manny Acta's just going to have to put Willie Harris in center and live with whatever offense he can contribute. He has to find somebody that will catch the ball in center.
Dunn's a different story. Unless he—or Willingham—are traded, everyone's just going to have to live with him kicking balls around in the outfield.
But the infield? That's correctable. Gonzalez and Hernandez both have the physical talent, they just need to prepare and concentrate. Who should be responsible for that? The players? The position coaches? The manager? Someone in that line of command has to step up.
THE GOOD: Josh Willingham. 2-for-4 with two home runs. He's finally seeing enough pitches to get into a groove. He's got his average up to .252 after being below .200 for the first month-and-a-half of the season.
THE BAD: Middle of the order. Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, and Adam Dunn were a combined 0-for-11 with one walk.
THE UGLY: The Nats have lost six in a row, 15 of 17, and 18 of 21. They are now on an even pace to tie the 2003 Detroit Tigers for the worst record in the Major Leagues since the expansion New York Mets lost 120 games in 1969.
NEXT GAME: The Nats are off until Tuesday, when they start a three-game home series with the San Francisco Giants. They will face Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson, and Matt Cain, in order. Oh goody.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Fantasy Report: Pitcher Antonio Bastardo of the Philadelphia Phillies

May 31, 2009 by Eric Stashin  
Filed under Fan News

According to the Phillies official website, the team will use 23-year old lefty Antonio Bastardo in the rotation to replace the injured Brett Myers, at least in the short-term.  Rumors have been flying regarding potential trade targets, but if Bastardo blows them away who knows what may happen.

Bastardo went undrafted in 2007 before signing with the Phillies and being assigned to Single-A. There he made a quick impression, going 9-0 with a 1.87 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 15 starts. He got a cup of coffee with the High Single-A team at the end of the year, striking out 12 in 5 innings but also giving up 4 earned runs.

His 2008 season was marred by shoulder problems but he still was able to make an impact. Between High Single A and Double-A, he went 4-5 with a 2.95 ERA over 97.2 innings. While he struck out 109 batters, only 62 came in Double-A (in 67.0 innings)

Bastardo started 2009 at Double-A as a relief pitcher, going 2-2 with a 1.82 ERA over 34.2 innings (9 games, 5 starts).  He was then bumped up to Triple A, where he debuted on May 23 with a bang. He gave up 3 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and 11 strikeouts in 6 innings.  Before we get blown away with the Ks, he followed up this performance with just 1 K over 7 shutout innings in his only other Triple-A start (he had 39 Ks in 34.2 innings at Double-A).

Prior to the season the team thought he could be a useful lefty out of the bullpen, which is why he started the season in relief.  In an article by David Murphy in The Philadelphia Daily News, pitching coach Rich Dubee was quoted as saying, “With the work that we have done on the breaking ball, we think he might be a possibility up here some time this year if the breaking ball continues to come.”  Obviously, there was a change of plans.

The breaking ball he is referring to was said to originally be a combination curveball/slider, but now is a true slider.  He also has a change-up that reportedly is a good out pitch. Bastardo also uses a fastball which Nick Fierro of Lehigh Valley Live reports, “According to IronPigs manager Dave Huppert, the 5-foot-11, 168-pound Bastardo makes a slightly above-average fastball almost unhittable because of his deceptive motion.”

Prior to 2009, Baseball America had him outside of the team’s Top 10 prospects.  I wouldn’t read that much into that, however. Remember, he went undrafted. It's not like he hasn't been undervalued in the past.

The real question is going to be how his repertoire correlates into success not just at the major league level, but in Citizen’s Bank Ballpark.  While his minor league career HR per 9 innings is an impressive 0.7 that number would normally increase, at least marginally, with his recall.  Put him in that ballpark and you just don’t know what he’s going to be able to do.

I also think the strikeouts are slightly skewed.  He’s not going to be a 10.0 K per 9 innings pitcher in the major leagues using deception alone.  Could he be someone who strikes out 7 or 8 batters a game on average?  It’s certainly possible, but I just don’t see him as being one of the elite.

His first start will come on Tuesday in San Diego, which certainly will not be the best way to draw conclusions.  The fact that he may also just be a short-term band-aid, no matter how well he pitches, is a concern.  In deep keeper leagues though, he’s a pitcher I certainly would eye.

He’s going to have a good offense behind him and has the potential to be a useful strikeout option.  That alone gives him pitch and ditch qualities, but he could turn out to be more than that.  If you have the room, I’d stash him and see what happens.

What does everyone else think?  Is Bastardo a pitcher you have any interest in?  Do you think he could be successful?

THIS ARTICLE IS ALSO FEATURED ON WWW.ROTOPROFESSOR.COM

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Good, Bad & Ugly: Howard’s Homers Power Phillies Over Nationals, 9-6

May 31, 2009 by Dave Nichols  
Filed under Fan News

"I don't know if there's a word the English language has for it yet." Adam Dunn, May 30, 2009

THE RESULT: Ryan Howard hit two home runs, including an estimated 475-foot grand slam, off Nats starter Shairon Martis to lead the Philadelphia Phillies past the Washington Nationals 9-6, before 45,121 at Citizen's Bank Park.
The home runs were the headliner, but the more pivotal play happened in the bottom of the sixth, with the Phils up just one run, 7-6. With two outs and the bases loaded with Phillies, Ron Villone got Howard to quietly ground to second baseman Anderson Hernandez, which should have ended the inning.
Instead, Hernandez booted the routine ground ball, and two more runs came in, sealing the Nats fate Saturday night.
Martis (5-1, 5.62) was shaky, lasting just four innings and giving up seven runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out just one batter. But he was no worse than Philly starter Cole Hamels, who got the win (3-2), simply by allowing just one less run. Hamels gave up six earned on eight hits and one walk in six innings pitched.
Howard finished 2-for-5 with the two home runs and five driven in. Philadelphia also stole five bases, two apiece off relievers Jesus Colome and Kip Wells.
The Nats got a pinch-hit, two-run home run by Ronnie Belliard, a two-run double from Wil Nieves and an RBI triple from Alberto Gonzalez, recalled earlier in the day when Justin Maxwell was demoted to Triple-A Syracuse.
Unfortunately, three straight Nationals hitters struck out after the triple, leaving Gonzalez standing at third.
THE TAKEAWAY: The Nats have lost five in a row and 14 of their last 16 games. Ten of the last 11 losses have been by three runs or fewer. For the season, the record stands at 13-35-1.
THE GOOD: Alberto Gonzalez. He gave Cristian Guzman the night off to rest a sore thumb, and he went 2-for-3 with a run scored, and the RBI triple.
THE BAD: Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, leaving two runners on.
THE UGLY: Though he didn't contribute negatively to the scorebook, except for making his pitcher throw more pitches, Adam Dunn made two more errors in right field.
NEXT GAME: Today at 1:35 pm. John Lannan (2-4, 4.11) squares off against ageless Jamie Moyer (3-5, 7.42).
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies-Nats: Brad Lidge Goes Clean While Jayson Werth Soils His Drawers

May 30, 2009 by Flattish Poe  
Filed under Fan News

Praise Pete, the Phils won.  I couldn’t take anymore of my day.

 

First, I had to drive my husband 80 miles north so he could catch a bus to ride 80 miles back to Philly to see the game with 30 people who drink so infrequently they would forget their native tongue by the ninth inning. 

 

Why do they do this?

 

Sometimes there is nothing but a stupid question.

 

Then I discovered what was causing the atrocious smell in my son’s room. 

 

Don’t ask.

 

Okay, now that you brought it up, let’s just say my son now understands why he can’t shut the cat in his room at night and ignore its meows. Hint: There was more than two No. 2s. And after cleaning them up, the odor embedded in my memory like my selective recall.

 

Then I got back in a car and drove to center city to eat a delicious dinner while sitting next to my nephew who believes that hygiene is an option. Whew!

 

Then I got to sit in section 137 with him and my son. As soon as we sat, a woman in front of us hoisted an umbrella the size of the sails of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. It was obvious she had never read the manual of stadium etiquette that blatantly states the discovery of America had already taken place. 

 

My first inclination was to ask her a facetious question. My motto is, if you don’t have anything nice to say, please let me say it. But the canopy was so big it fully encompassed her and the spectator to her right, so I got to thinking...maybe I don’t want to know what’s going on under there.

 

Sometimes there is nothing but a stupid question.

 

Then I thought about how roomy my own rain poncho was and how quickly my concealed hands could...I’m kidding. Besides, I was with two little boys who could embarrass a nudist colony while fully dressed. I didn’t want to encourage them. 

 

Then I almost forgot what it was like to have Pat Burrell in the outfield until I watched Adam Dunn. Praise Pete we have Raul Ibanez.

 

Then sometime in the third inning I saw wisps of peanut shells floating by like dust in the wind. When I looked over, my nephew was disintegrating the casings and caressing them all over his wet-clothed body. Even knowing better, I asked what he was doing. 

 

He said, “Now, I’m properly seasoned.” 

 

Sometimes there is nothing but a stupid question. 

 

Then the boys had to have Italian ice. Of course they came back with two cups the color of blood. If you’ve ever been around little boys, I don’t have to explain how blood-red ice can creatively be used. Let’s just say, I’m glad I was draped in plastic. 

 

Before their cups were empty, my son had his hand deep between his legs chasing a stray blob. I was hoping JA Happ would go deep but I had to stop my son. He was starting to giggle as he fondled his crotch for the fragment. 

 

I said, “Hey, put a poncho on before you do that.”

 

Then before I knew it, Happ had a couple guys on and was being pulled from the game. 

 

What?  In the fifth? 

 

Do I smell shit?

 

My husband said, “Not yet, Durbin hasn’t pitched.”

 

I hate it when he's right.  The aroma whisked past a few times that inning. Chad couldn’t hold the runners on and Jayson Werth soiled his drawers on a bobbled ball that earned him his first error in 145 games. That’s the longest streak by an outfielder in the national league. 

 

It’s also about the length of time I’ve gone without finding a tick embedded in my flesh. Jayson bobbled on a sensitive play; I found a dangler in a sensitive area. I won’t tell you where, but my husband said, “Please, can I get it?”

 

He eliminated my leaching friend without a glitch, but Jayson’s error was costly. Before I knew it, the six Washington hits had yielded a juicy four runs, while the Nationals managed to hold our sixteen hit affront to five.

 

But someone failed to hold it in the car on the way home. By the time we stopped, a child had pooped his pants. As he sat in the bathroom begging for my help, a zillion reasons to say “no” crossed my mind, but the repercussions of leaving a stray turd in the hands of a gaggy child endeared me to aid.

 

Now, I don’t know why, but a No. 2 drowned in a toilet is much more tolerable than one that’s alive and kicking in the crotch of some boxers. As I garnered the courage to scrape up a misguided missile, I said, “What the hell happened?”

 

He said, “There was a brown snake playing peek-a-boo with my butt hole.”

 

Sometimes there is nothing but a stupid question.

 

So today was a throwback to my diaper changing days. I donned my “I smell shit face” more times in 24 hours than I did in the last eight years. 

 

Praise Pete our other relievers, Scott Eyre and Ryan Madson, stayed clean. 

 

As did Brad Lidge.  He cut the game short with a 1-2-3 inning. Considering how my day went, I’m surprised he didn’t stop at the number two. It would have only been fitting. 

 

But the Phillies won. In my native tongue that spells victory. And that’s a whole lot sweeter than some of the things I smelled today.

 

See you at the ballpark.

 

Without the brown snakes.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Brett Myers’ Injury Opens Door for Phillies Prospects

May 29, 2009 by Jason Glogau  
Filed under Fan News

Already a situation that might prompt Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell to declare a state of emergency, the Phillies suffered a devastating blow today with the news that Brett Myers will likely miss the next three to four months with a hip injury.

Statistically, Myers has been the Phillies' best starting pitcher this season.

Myers’ hip injury will likely require surgery, though the right-hander says he will try to find a way to pitch through it.

Not a surprise considering this is a contract year for Myers.

But the way people in the organization are talking, that sounds like a pipe dream.

So with Myers done for basically the entire season, there’s one question every Phillies fan wants to know: Who takes his place in the rotation?

The options are endless.

According to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., the team will look internally first.

In an article on Phillies.com, Amaro mentioned the following four names: right-handers Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Kendrick, and Andrew Carpenter, and southpaw Antonio Bastardo.

One name that was notably absent—Chan Ho Park.

It looks as though Park’s days as a starter are done.

Kendrick and Carpenter both have major league experience.

However, it doesn’t appear that Kendrick has worked out the kinks that plagued him in 2008, and despite Carpenter winning his lone start with the big club, it wasn’t the prettiest game and was meant to be a one-time gig.

The other two names are the Phillies' top two pitching prospects (with 2008 draft pick Jason Knapp the likely No. 3).

Carrasco, thought by experts over the past two years to be the Phillies' top overall prospect, may not even be their top pitching prospect anymore.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan has been awful at AAA Lehigh Valley, posting a 5.81 ERA over nine starts with an 0-6 record.

Bastardo, though, has picked up where he left off last season and been nothing short of excellent.

A 23-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, Bastardo was recently promoted to AAA, where he’s 1-0 over two starts with a 2.08 ERA and 12 strikeouts over 13 innings, having walked just three over that same span.

But Amaro's decision on Bastardo and Carpenter may depend on whether or not he sees another deal coming to fruition.

According to Jayson Stark (via Tim Dierkes), the Phillies have asked about every pitcher that could conceivably become available, from the highly unlikely Jake Peavy, Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, and Roy Halladay to the more possible Erik Bedard, Cliff Lee, Aaron Harang, Brad Penny, Chris Young, and Jason Marquis.

However, this was going on before the Myers injury, which clearly must be handled first. It’s possible Amaro is looking to replace another member of the rotation.

From that list, there isn’t much attractive.

Peavy has no interest in the East Coast (not to mention Citizens Bank Park), and Oswalt, Webb, and Halladay likely are staying put.

Bedard will cost as much as the big four but with lesser ability and questions about his makeup.

Same goes for Lee without the makeup question.

Young’s best days are likely behind him, and Marquis really has never been anything special.

Penny is the most available and likely won’t be too expensive.

The problem is that he’d likely cost an “untouchable”—Lou Marson, Jason Donald, or Dominic Brown.

The Red Sox have no need for pitching and have been rumored to be shopping some of their younger pitching for another bat.

It will be interesting to see how Amaro handles the rotation over the next few weeks.

We’ll definitely see a young arm coming up from the minors, but how long he stays and who else joins the rotation will be something worth keeping your eye on.

 

This article, along with the rest of my articles in 2009, are dedicated to the memory of my good friend and Philadelphia Phan, Craig Anderson, who passed away on Feb. 3, 2009 from complications due to cancer. To donate to a great cause, visit www.cancer.org.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Trade Winds Are Blowing Early: Could Jake Peavy Be Philly-Bound?

May 29, 2009 by travis boyer  
Filed under Fan News

The woes of the Phillies starting rotation have now been compounded with the uncertainty surrounding Brett Myers' hip. 

Regardless of Myers' health going forward, the Phillies look to be in the hunt for a starting pitcher to be added to the rotation via trade before the July 31 deadline.

The top of the prospective wish list is San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy.  Peavy has made it known that he wants to stay in the National League and pitch for a contender; both of which work in the Phillies favor.

However, with Peavy's full no-trade clause and his desire to stay close to his Southern California home, plucking him away from the Padres may prove to be difficult. 

Peavy wants to be a Cub, but Chicago does not appear to be interested in giving up the farm for him.  The Phillies, on the other hand, have plenty of prospects to get a deal done. 

Shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson were rumored to be included in many proposed trades last summer, but the heat has died down on these prospects. 

Top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco may be expendable, but the arm that teams may be looking at the hardest is Antonio Bastardo.  Bastardo's 50-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio has drawn comparisons to Johan Santana.

Among others who could be packaged in a deal are outfielders Michael Taylor and Dominic Brown, catcher Travis D'Arnaud, and shortstop Freddy Galvis. 

The problem in trading for Peavy is his contract.  With many key players on the roster due for pay raises and free agency, would the Phillies have enough to pay Peavy and keep the core of their team around? 

In this scenario, Myers' money comes off the books as he is due to hit free agency at the end of season.  In defending a world championship, no expense should be spared, but to keep the window of opportunity open could prove costly down the road.

Another starting pitcher that has drawn the Phillies interest is Houston Astros starter Roy Oswalt.  Oswalt has not been the Oswalt of old over the past few seasons, but still would provide a solid 1-2 punch if paired with Cole Hamels. 

The Phillies have a familiar trade partner in Houston GM and former Phillies GM Ed Wade, who gave away closer Brad Lidge in a deal for outfielder Michael Bourn prior to the 2008 season.  Could the Phillies front office pull another fast one on their old friend? 

Combined with acquiring a starting pitcher, the Phillies need to look hard at their own farm system to seek a replacement if the time comes to part ways with struggling left hander Jamie Moyer. 

Antonio Bastardo is the flavor of the month pick right now, but lurking in Lehigh is the specter of Kyle Kendrick.

An unlikely choice but a promising one is Vance Worley, who has posted a 4-2 record, 2.83 era, and a .208 opponent's batting average in Double-A Reading.

The Phillies need to fix this rotation in a swift fashion in order to contend later on.  This situation does not need a band-aid in the form of a Kyle Kendrick or Andrew Carpenter.

It needs the urgency of an acquisition of a solid No. 1 or 2 starter to complement Hamels and shore up this pitching staff.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Preview Game 46: Phillies vs. Nationals

May 29, 2009 by kevin mcguire  
Filed under Fan News

When the Phillies are scuffling offensively, the Washington Nationals seem to be at the ready.

The Phillies have taken seven of the first nine meetings this season, most recently leaving Washington with a four game sweep. Nothing ever comes easy though when the Phillies play the Nationals.

With the way the Phillies have been playing at home, you should expect another grind it out three-game series.

On the mound the Phillies would seem to have the edge in the series, starting with JA Happ throwing on Friday night's series opener.

In the wake of the news that Brett Myers could possibly miss the rest of the season, the time for the starting rotation to step things up a notch is now.

Happ already has been a solid pitcher this season, entering tonight's game 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA. With a WHIP of 0.98, the Nationals should have a tough time getting anything going against Happ.

Happ was brilliant in his last outing against the New York Yankees. Going six innings, Happ allowed just two runs to score in his first start of the season. In his six career games against the Nationals (both as a starter and a reliever), Happ has recorded a 2-0 record with batters hitting just .192.

On the flip side though, the Phillies offense has struggled at home, especially in the previous series against the Florida Marlins.

They look to get back on track against the Nationals' Ross Detwiler, making his third career start. The 2007 first round pick has allowed five hits and three earned runs in his first two starts (eleven innings total) and enters with a WHIP of 0.82. He has not recorded a decision. His toughest task will surely come tonight.

The Phillies need to turn things around at Citizens Bank Park, where they are just 9-14 this season. If they just played .500 baseball at home they would be in front in the NL East by at least a half game with a game in hand.

The Nationals are 6-17 on the road.

Phillies Record: 25-20
Nationals Record: 13-33

NL East Standings (Team, record, games behind)

  1. Mets 26-20, -
  2. PHILLIES 25-20, .5
  3. Braves 23-24, 3.5
  4. Marlins 22-26, 5.0
  5. Nationals 13-33, 13.0

Pitching probables: Detwiler (0-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. Happ (2-0, 2.60 ERA)

TV: Comcast Sportsnet

First pitch: 7:05pm

Season Series: Phillies lead 7-2

4.13 @ Washington W 9-8 Preview/Open Thread/Recap
4.15 @ Washington POSTPONED Preview
4.16 @ Washington L 2-8 Preview/Open Thread/Recap
4.27 WASHINGTON W 13-11 Preview/Open Thread/Recap
4.28 WASHINGTON W 7-1 Preview/Open Thread/Recap/Photos
4.29 WASHINGTON L 1-4 Preview/Open Thread/Recap
5.15 @ Washington W 10-6 (12) Open Thread
5.16 @ Washington W 8-5 Open Thread(rescheduled)
5.16 @ Washington W 7-5 (6)Open Thread
5.17 @ Washington W 8-6 Open Thread

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Brett Myers Injury Update

May 29, 2009 by kevin mcguire  
Filed under Fan News

Yesterday, the word was that Phillies pitcher Brett Myers, who left Wednesday night's game gingerly and with a noticeable limp, had a hip injury that could very well require surgery.

Myers has fraying and possible tearing in the labrum in his hip, similar to the problem Chase Utley had a year ago.

Myers is expected to miss his next scheduled start, but time will tell if he misses any more this season. He plans on getting a second opinion from Bryan Kelly, the doctor who performed Utley's hip surgery in the offseason.

From what we know, Myers will definitely require surgery, but we don't know when he will get it. If Kelly recommends action be taken sooner rather than later, Myers will elect to get the surgery done as soon as possible.

Losing Myers for the bulk of the remaining schedule (he wouldn't come back until late September, or October, with the surgery's required rehab work) would be a critical blow for the Phillies.

At a time when the starting rotation is up and down, both he and Cole Hamels were providing the most consistent efforts on the mound. Suddenly, the Phillies may be in a situation where they need to roll the dice with a Minor League pitcher  or make a roster move.

Immediately, the names that come to mind are Jake Peavy, Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, Brandon Webb, Chris Young, and a handful of other Major Leaguers. The problem the Phillies will have is being able to afford them.

While some of those contracts may be higher than the Phillies would initially want to add to their record payroll, the team will also likely have to part ways with some Minor League prospects.

With Myers being injured, the Phillies would also have little to no leverage in working a deal.

Among the Minor League options guys like Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Kendrick, and Drew Carpenter could be on the trade block.

I think it will be more likely that the Phillies call up one of those arms from Lehigh Valley. Carpenter has already been up for one game.

If the Phillies are making a long term move, then Kendrick may be the one they look to bring up.

Myers could always try and do what Utley did a year ago and play through the pain, but there is just something about that idea for a pitcher that doesn't sit well with me.

Sure, a second baseman has to move more and is more prone to agitate his hip while batting. But any time there is the slightest chance that something could harm a pitcher's delivery, I think you need to take as many precautions as possible.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

This Day in History: Mike Schmidt Retires

May 29, 2009 by kevin mcguire  
Filed under Fan News

On May 29, 1989 the greatest third baseman to ever play the game and to wear Phillies pin stripes, Michael Jack Schmidt, retired from the game of baseball.

Number 20 retired with 548 home runs and 1,595 runs batted in. Schmidt was a 12 time National League All Star, a ten time Gold Glove winner, six time Silver Slugger winner, and a three time MVP. Of course Schmidt was also a key player during the greatest span in Phillies franchise history, culminating in the team's first World Series championship in 1980.

Schmidt would later have his number retired by the organization, the last player to receive the honor. In 1995 Schmidt was inducted to the Hall of Fame, along side Richie Ashburn.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Antonio Bastardo: The Phillies’ Most Coveted Pitcher Not Named Carlos Carrasco

May 28, 2009 by Chuck Porter Jr  
Filed under Fan News

Make no mistake about it, the Phillies are in the market for a pitcher.

Cole Hamels aside, their rotation is a mess; Brett Myers might be heading for the DL, Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton have a combined ERA of 6.75, and J.A. Happ is largely unproven. Meanwhile, reports suggest that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has been very busy talking with other clubs about acquiring a starter. 

While the odds of landing Jake Peavy seem slim, the small chance that it could happen is enough to ponder what it would cost. 

The Padres would be looking for some near-MLB-ready pitchers with top-of-the-rotation potential. Under that assumption, two names emerge: Carlos Carrasco and Antonio Bastardo.

The common belief has always been that Carrasco is untouchable. The Phillies have been grooming the 22-year-old fireballer for five years and, even though he has struggled a bit in 2009 (0-6 with an ERA of 5.81), it is unlikely that they would give up on him now. 

Enter 24-year-old left-hander Antonio Bastardo.

Rumor has it, Bastardo has been surfacing in Peavy talks...at first, I was all about a trade that could land a top-tier pitcher for a minor league arm not named Carrasco, but ESPN's Jayson Stark has said that Bastardo has been drawing comparisons to Johan Santana. That comment obviously raises an eyebrow. 

Upon further review (and with the help of some people that have seen him pitch), while Carrasco has been slow to develop, Bastardo, on the other hand, has been consistently good. Carrasco may have the better arsenal, but Bastardo seems to have the wherewithal to put it all together. 

He boasts a low-90s fastball with a lot of movement, a killer changeup, and a potentially devastating, yet unrefined, slider. He strikes guys out at an alarming rate and could develop into a major league starter or reliever. 

He has been a fast riser, jumping from Single-A to Triple-A in two years, but has risen to every challenge, thus far. Optimally, the Phillies would keep Bastardo and use him as an immediate impact left-handed reliever or groom him as a starter to put pressure on Carrasco, but the question remains, "Why has Bastardo avoided everyone's radar?" 

Starting his major league career, he was undrafted and largely unimposing (5'11", 165 pounds), thus he has never projected higher than a middle-of-the-rotation guy. Video suggests that he has grown a bit and bulked up since those early days, certainly helping his case. 

Mechanically, the knock against Bastardo has always been a lack of confidence in his secondary pitches (slider and changeup). 

It is possible that he has solved these issues and hit a growth spurt. 

It is also possible that he has surpassed Carrasco as the Phillies' top prospect, which makes you wonder whether they're thinking about moving the wrong guy. 

Ideally, the Phillies keep both and figure out a way to make do with what they've got, but, with the rest of the division moving forward, Amaro knows that the Phillies can ill afford to go through a stretch without a bona fide No. 2 starter.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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