NLCS 2010: Philadelphia Phillies Need the Other Roy To Win Game 2

October 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

So the Phils lost game one with their ace on the mound. This should not be as surprising as you may think, given that the Giants had an ace of their own in Tim Lincecum on the mound.

But the Phillies simply have to win one at home or they are done.

Recognizing that, the Phils turn to their “other” Roy, Mr. Roy Oswalt, in an effort to salvage one game at home before heading to San Francisco for three games.

The current 2-3-2 scenario hardly favors the team with the best record, in my opinion, as all the “underdog” has to do is steal one game on the road, as the Giants have done, and they are in position to potentially win the series without ever going back on the road.

But look, not only are the Phils too good to even consider this, they have a very solid veteran in Roy Oswalt on the mound on Sunday. They will need him to pitch well or this could easily become a Giants sweep.

As crazy as that sounds, the best team does not always win these series, so all the pressure falls on the shoulders of Oswalt. Fortunately, he goes up against a Giants pitcher in Jonathan Sanchez who, despite no-hit stuff, is playing in his first playoffs.

For the Giants to go up 2-0 heading home is simply a scenario that the Phillies cannot consider. Oswalt is 4-0 in his postseason career, though he was shaky in his last start against the Reds, giving up four runs in five innings.

Now that Roy Halladay appeared human in his start on Saturday, Oswalt needs to pitch better against the Giants on Sunday. The fact that the Giants decided to go with Sanchez over Matt Cain in game two may be a blessing in disguise for Philly.

While Cain has not pitched well in Philadelphia, he is a stud. Sanchez allowed only a run in over seven innings of work in the NLDS, but Cain was equally good in the first round and is largely considered to be the better pitcher overall.

No matter what happens, anyone who considered this to be a cake walk for the Phillies is crazy. The Giants may not have as good of an offense as the Phils, but their top three pitchers match up well against anyone.

Since adding Cody Ross to the offense, this 92 win team is a lot like the Phils in that all they need is some offense and their pitching will take them the rest of the way.

Cody Ross needs to be pitched to very carefully, and if Oswalt does that, the Phils should be able to take game two.

If not, they are in serious trouble. Nobody said this was going to be easy.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Win NLDS: Phillies Intimidation Factor Vs. Remaining Teams

October 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

It’s been written all over the blogosphere how the Cincinnati Reds have self destructed in their NLDS series against the Phillies. A series that was wrapped up in the minimum three games on Sunday night.

But how much of the errors that other teams make are the result of bad timing, poor fundamentals or bad luck and how much can be attributed to the lurking presence of the Phillies causing teams like the Reds to feel the pressure of having to play a perfect game to win?

Though no one knows for sure, it’s a valid question, as the Reds built their NL Central title on playing solid fundamental baseball all season and now suddenly they can’t seem to make the plays when needed. 

Well, this much we do know: the sight of H20 can make any team nervous. Against the Phils’ big three of Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt, teams know they won’t get very many opportunities to shine and must play their best baseball to have a chance, especially in a short series.

So let’s take a look at how the intimidation factor might play against the remaining teams going forward.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Win Game 2: Why This Could Be The Start Of a Dynasty

October 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

On Friday night, the Phillies went up 2-0 against the Cincinnati Reds, coming back from behind to win 7-4. The Fightin’ are on their way to Ohio and on their way to an NLDS series victory.

Think that is impressive? Well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, Phillies phans. This team is not only on the verge of competing for a World Series title, this just may well be the start of something truly special.

Um…can you say D-Y-N-A-S-T-Y?

Look, this isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to a couple of victories over a Cincinnati team that, while talented and deserving of being here, seems nervous and every bit as inexperienced as can be.

No, there are many reasons to objectively envision the winning ways going well beyond this season. Sure, Jayson Werth is eligible to declare free agency following the World Series, and by all accounts, will probably not return.

But this team and its management has shown a willingness to do what it takes to keep on keepin’ on. The Roy Halladay trade and subsequent contract extension was pure brilliance, my friends.

Now, I know that many of you questioned Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr’s sanity when he traded Cliff Lee, but let’s face it, if they had kept Lee they would not have gone out and acquired Roy Oswalt and then there would be no H2O!

So let’s forgive Amaro and instead focus on why this team can potentially be great for years to come.

How do we love thee Phils? Let us count the ways…

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Roy Halladay Throws No-Hitter: The Top 10 Performances of His Career

October 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

Roy Halladay entered the major league baseball record books for the second time this season, as he threw just the second no-hitter in postseason history against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

Of course, the first time he did so was the perfect game he authored earlier in the year.

But this is not a guy who is a stranger to fine pitching performances. Maybe on this level, certainly, but he has pitched some great games in his career.

So let’s take a look at those games and rank them accordingly.

Here we go!

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Jayson Werth: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?

February 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

So what is Jayson Werth…worth? While his beard may have you asking ‘what is Jayson Werth?’, the purpose of this article is not to try and get inside Jayson’s head (or beard); rather, it’s to examine how much the Phillies right fielder would be worth on the open market and what is the most likely outcome.

I admit this analysis may be somewhat premature, as a second consecutive season similar to 2009 would certainly do wonders to enhance the man’s value. Prior to his fine 2009 season, Werth wasn’t exactly the model of consistency, nor the picture of health.

Still, Werth is eligible for free agency following this season, so we’ll examine the question with the assumption that he will enjoy another solid season, at the plate and in the field, in 2010.

Signing him to an extension right now might make the most financial sense, with Werth hopefully being willing to trade a few extra dollars and years on the open market for the additional security and protection against poor performance and injury.

Not to mention the ability to play in a place that he seemingly loves. All the risk would fall on the shoulders of the Phillies.

Recognizing that, at least in theory, they should be able to get a discount by signing him now.

But does Jayson and his agent want to negotiate at this time, and are Ruben Amaro and the Phillies ready to engage in talks?

It doesn’t seem that it is likely. While both have said all the right things, i.e., how they would love to keep this marriage intact, a divorce may be inevitable.

For one thing, they would have to clear payroll space. And while Bill Baer make a strong case for trading Ryan Howard in “Why A Ryan Howard Trade Makes Sense” on Crashburn , that seems unlikely to happen. 

For argument sake, let’s use Baer’s projections of what it would cost to re-sign Jayson Werth. “A three-year, $50 million deal that is backloaded, paying him $13 million in ‘11 and $18.5 million each in ‘12 and ‘13.” is what Baer suggests. 

The Phils have already indicated that their payroll won’t be able to accommodate that kind of growth, given the money that will be owed to players like Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, and Howard going forward. 

And, if they wait until Werth is a free agent, his value will only go up exponentially, assumign good health and a productive 2010 season.

He is most often compared with Jason Bay, who signed a four year, $69 million dollar contract (including a $3 million dollar buyout) with the Mets this winter. His 2014 option is easily guaranteed, taking the total value of the deal to $83 million.

While Bay had a longer track record, Werth is the much better defensive player at a time when teams are placing a greater emphasis on defense.   

Speaking of track record, another reason an extension may not happen is Werth’s lack of a long-term track record, relatively speaking. 

Prior to 2008, Werth had never appeared in more than 102 games. That’s why man feel the Phillies will wait to see if he has another season like 2009 before deciding his worth.

But that may be too late.  

Werth has a 2010 WAR projection of 4.7, according to CHONE.  Baseball Prospectus rates Werth at a 42.8 VORP. And he is an above average defensive outfielder who runs the bases well for a big man.

Along with Carl Crawford, Werth would be one of the top two outfielders on the market after the season.  

He turns 31 in May, so a long-term deal (four or five years), which he would command as a free agent, shouldn’t be a concern for most teams that could afford one, like the Yankees.

Still another reason the Phils may not re-sign Werth is that their Minor League system has a potential star in waiting in outfielder Domonic Brown.

However, that could be a risky proposition for a team that will still have the window of WS opportunity open to it in 2011. For while Brown projects to be a real nice prospect, it’s no sure thing he’ll be ready for the start of 2011.

Further, it is very unlikely that he will immediately start producing at Werth’s level, plus his outfield defense is currently suspect.

So, if you can’t sign him to an extension now, do the Phillies trade him and avoid receiving only draft picks if you let him walk? Well, no, since the championship window doesn’t usually remain open for too long, the Phillies must take advantage and go for it all.

And “going for it all” doesn’t equal trading Werth at this time. In the very unlikely event the Phils fall out of the race, then maybe. But not now.

So where does that leave this discussion? The most likely scenario appears to be that they enjoy the fruits of Werth’s labor one more season then watch him wave goodbye. That is, unless they are willing to increase the payroll.

Given that they weren’t willing to do so for one more year of Cliff Lee, it is unlikely they will do so for Werth. Barring a trade of a big money player, Phillies phans should enjoy Werth while they have him and go for the gold in 2010.

I bet Dominic Brown won’t ever have a beard like this, however.



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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Come To Think Of It: Phillies Must Pitch Cliff Lee on Short Rest

October 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

It’s one thing to say that Cliff Lee won’t pitch Game Four of the World Series when the series is tied at a game apiece and your Phillies have a chance to go up 2-1.

But now that the Yankees have taken a series lead, to bypass your ace and risk falling behind 3-1 is a crime.

I haven’t disagreed with much of what Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has decided over the last couple of years. But look, your back is against the wall. You simply cannot fall behind 3-1.

If the Phillies lose Game Five, the series is effectively over. Sure, they could come back, but the odds would be stacked against them. Having to win two in a row when the seventh game would be in New York is a tall order.

With everything on the line, then, why not pitch Lee in Game Four? Well, for one, he hasn’t pitched on short rest all season. But hey, this is the World Series. He has all winter to rest up.

No, Lee doesn’t guarantee the Phils a victory. And no, pitching Joe Blanton isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But why not go with your ace in such a crucial situation?

After all, Joe Girardi’s Yankees have said that CC Sabathia will pitch on short rest.

Sure, it could blow up in the Phillies’ faces.  But at least they would go down behind their best.

I’m telling you, if the Phillies don’t pitch Lee in Game Four, and all signs point to that being a fact, then good luck.

But it will be a crime, come to think of it.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Come To Think of It: Phillies Look Like Clear Winners in Cliff Lee Trade

July 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians have agreed to a trade that will send 2008 Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee to the Phillies for four minor leaguers,’s Jason Stark is reporting.

According to Stark, league sources are saying that the deal is pending physical exams.

In Lee, the defending world champs are acquiring an ace pitcher without sacrificing their top prospect, Kyle Drabek. And they had a need for quality starting pitching help. 

Cole Hamels has a 4.42 ERA. Brett Myers had hip surgery in June. The seemingly ageless Jamie Moyer has 10 wins, but a hefty 5.32 ERA.

The soon to be 31-year-old Lee is quietly having another good season for the Indians, despite a losing record due to a lack of run support.

Lee has a 3.14 ERA and has walked just 33 in 152 innings. He comes cheaper than Halladay in terms of salary too. Lee will have an option for $9 million in 2010, and he’ll be eligible for free agency.

Look, you only get so many chances to repeat as a World Series champion, so when you get the opportunity, you go for it.

And that is just what the Phillies have done.

Along with Lee, Philadelphia gets outfielder Ben Francisco. In return, they send Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco, Class A righty Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson, and shortstop Jason Donald to Cleveland.

Philly’s ballpark should not present an insurmountable obstacle for Lee to overcome. Yes, he is a flyball pitcher, but as Stark points out, he has the second lowest flyball to home run percentage for pitchers in the major leagues.

But the best part of this trade may well be that the Phillies got their ace starting pitcher without having to give up the package that Toronto was asking for—Roy Halladay.

According to Stark, “The Phillies weren’t required to give up pitcher J.A. Happ or the three prospects they balked at trading for Roy Halladayoutfielders Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, and pitcher Kyle Drabek.”

Jason Knapp is a 19-year-old pitcher who, according to ESPN’s Keith Law, may be the key to the deal for the Indians. But he is currently sidelined with a shoulder issue and may be a couple years away.

The other pieces to the deal are no sure things either. Jason Donald projects as a league average shortstop defensively. Catcher Lou Marson hits for little power, though he now appears to be the heir to Victor Martinez, who is likely the next to go.

Carlos Carrasco has a plus fastball, but not much else. And Law offers this somewhat shocking assessment of the young right-hander:

“…his on-field makeup has been a major question for two years; he doesn’t respond well to adversity between the lines and, according to multiple sources, was so upset about seeing his name in trade talks last year that he pulled himself from a start during warm-ups and may have deliberately pitched poorly to try to hurt his trade value “

In Francisco, the Phillies obtain much needed right-handed help off the bench. He is not a starter but can play all three outfield positions.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Come to Think of It…Cubs-Phillies: The Difference Is Hittability

July 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Similar to how that beer commercial talks about the difference being “drinkability,” the main difference between the Cubs and the defending champion Phils is “hittability.”

Yes, there are other differences between the two teams. The Phillies have much more team speed, for example. And they are very successful in picking the right time to steal.

In fact, their stolen base percentage is the best in the National League at 79 percent. The Cubs are last in the NL at just 60 percent.

But the main difference, to me, is the offensive firepower that the Fightin’ bring to the table. And we saw it on display all too painfully in the 13th inning when Jayson Werth hit a walk-off homer to beat the Cubs 4-1 on Tuesday night.

You just knew that a homer would somehow decide this game. And if anyone is going to hit a home run, the odds say it was going to be Philly.

The Phillies lead the league with 130 home runs. They have four players with 20 or more long balls.

But they are not one-dimensional.

They are third in OBP; sixth in batting average; first in slugging and OPS. Need I continue?

Let’s see…first in RBI, third in doubles, and perhaps most importantly, they lead the league in runs scored.

Meanwhile, the Cubs rank 13th in runs and 12th in OBP. These were two areas which they excelled in last year.

The pitching has generally been solid for the Cubbies. In fact, their team ERA is much better than the Phils. Hitters are batting a full 20 points higher against Phillies pitching than Cubs pitching.

Control has hurt the Cubs throughout the year. But it’s really been the lack of offense that has plagued the team this year.

What a difference a year makes.

Let’s face it, who scares opposing pitchers in the Cubs everyday lineup? Derrek Lee, maybe. Yet the Phillies have four or five hitters that scare the crap out of a pitcher.

Aramis Ramirez is a trooper for coming back when he easily could have hung up the spikes and had his surgery now, similar to what impending free agent Adrian Beltre did in Seattle.

But “A-Ram” looks like he won’t be ready to hit for power until he gets that shoulder fixed.

While Lou Piniella continues to work with Milton Bradley on his hitting, we can only hope that Alfonso Soriano continues to hit the ball. And a few homers would be nice as well.

At least we got him out of the lead-off role. Unfortunately, our best lead-off hitter may be playing in Iowa. A very small sample, to be sure, but there was simply no room for Sam Fuld.

I know it’s the defending champs and they are on a roll, having won 10 in a row, but two runs in 22 innings just won’t cut it.

Eventually someone is going to start winning consistently in our division, so we better get going. Let’s hope we can improve on that hittability, come to think of it.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Come To Think of It: Moral Outrage over Raul Ibanez Steroid Blog Misguided

June 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

First of all, let me make clear that I’m not taking sides as to whether or not Raul Ibanez is on steroids. But I am taking offense to so-called mainstream journalists who are outraged by a blogger who goes by the handle of jrod, who wrote an article on the topic.

From the blog:

“…the 37-year old Ibanez has been so good that it has led to the inevitable speculation that his improvement may be attributable to factors other than his new lineup, playing in a better ballpark for hitters, or additional maturation as a hitter. In this day and age of suspicion at any significant jump in numbers, even over small sample sizes, it is what it is – and such speculation is to be expected.”

That seems more than fair to me.

But why I have a problem with the outrage generated based on this blog, is that even those who are morally outraged are saying that it’s natural to speculate about steroid use by players.

Alright, then. If it is acceptable to do this, why is it not also acceptable to write about it?

Look, I would be the first to admit it would have been reckless for jrod to have written a post that came out and directly accused Ibanez of using performance-enhancing drugs. But that’s not what he did. In fact, he went out of his way to offer other considerations in defense of Ibanez. is reporting a harsh response from Ibanez.

“I’ll come after people who defame or slander me,” he said Tuesday night before the Phillies played the New York Mets, according to the report. “It’s pathetic and disgusting. There should be some accountability for people who put that out there.”

But the premise of the article was to point out that we are living in an age when there is speculation about any player—especially at an advancing age—who suddenly puts up career power numbers.

Instead, the media (as it usually does) blows this up and turns it around to make it appear that jrod was recklessly accusing Ibanez. Ken Rosenthal, the blogger and others appeared on ESPN’s Outside The Lines. Rosenthal was one of those apparently outraged.

Should jrod have left Raul’s name out of it? While that might have satisfied Ken Rosenthal and prevented this from becoming such a drama, it also would have been like ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

Everyone would have known who he was referring to.

Another opinion I have is that these writers should look at themselves in the mirror for a minute and take a long, hard look at what they should have written about the steroid scandal themselves.

Perhaps if they had articulated their own suspicions, this era would have been exposed a long time ago. In fact, maybe that guilt is part of what’s causing the outrage.

They say there should be standards that bloggers need to follow. Hey, you may call them standards; I may call it collusion. It sounds as if some writers are in bed with MLB, helping baseball to rid itself of steroid talk in the hope that it will all just go away.

But no one who has played in this era should be above suspicion. And if that’s not fair, well, it’s the players’ own fault. I don’t think Ibanez is on PEDs, but then again I never thought that Rafael Palmeiro or Manny Ramirez were either.

Journalistic integrity is important. But so is having an opinion and being willing and able to express it.

But again, jrod never said Ibanez did steroids. He merely pointed out what a lot of fans are thinking—that any player whose power numbers spike to where they fall well outside his normal career arc, especially late in their career, will be subject to speculation. And rightfully so, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, this isn’t really about steroids; it’s more about freedom of speech and the whole argument about the perceived differences between mainstream writing and the blogosphere.   

It’s an interesting debate.

Writers who would question the right to speculate are just as guilty of turning a blind eye to the truth as they were when they initially ignored the onset of the steroid era.

I’m not accusing, mind you. I’ve just come to think of it, that’s all.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies