Jayson Werth Returns to Philadelphia: To Boo or Not to Boo?

May 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

Notorious former Philadelphia Phillies J.D. Drew and Scott Rolen are already on par with Benedict Arnold in this city, and Jayson Werth is the most likely candidate to join that list.

Drew and Rolen are reminded of their betrayal by 45,000 boos every time they take the field in Philadelphia, but does Werth deserve the same stadium-wide onslaught of displeasure when he steps into Citizenss Bank Park tonight?  

In 1997, Talented prospect J.D. Drew (and his agent, Scott Boras) turned down the Phillies’ initial contract offer and re-entered the draft the following year.

Scott Rolen demanded a trade in 2002 after declaring that the Phillies’ organization wasn’t doing enough to win.

And this past summer Jayson Werth signed that astronomical contract with the cellar-dwelling Washington Nationals.

Was leaving Philadelphia for $126 million enough of an infidelity to be etched as an unpardonable sin?

Before Werth came to Philadelphia, he was a virtual nobody, playing partial seasons in Toronto and Los Angeles.

After a wrist injury in Los Angeles, Werth sat out of the MLB in 2006 and was given a chance to revitalize his career in four seasons with Philadelphia. Did he do enough to earn a free pass in Philadelphia?

Here are some highlights from his tenure with the Phillies:

  • In those four seasons, Werth batted .282, hit 95 home runs and 300 RBI, stole 60 bases, and threw out 37 batters from the outfield.
  • He helped the Phillies win the World Series in 2008 and get back to the Fall Classic the following year. He batted 8-for-18 against the Rays in 2008 and hit seven postseason home runs in 2009.
  • He tied a Phillies’ record for recording eight RBI in one game against the Blue Jays in 2008. That game he hit a solo home run, a two-run bomb, and a grand slam.
  • In 2009 against the Dodgers, Werth stole four bases, including consecutive steals of second, third and home.
  • He had one of the most iconic beards in Philadelphia history.
  • His rejection of Philadelphia’s contract offer allowed the Phillies to sign Cliff Lee again.
  • At least he didn’t join the New York Yankees.

But then again,

  • He did bat a miserable .186 average with runners in scoring position last season.
  • He didn’t have the best postseason last year, going 6-for-30.
  • He did sign that bloated contract with a division opponent.
  • He did try to blame Ruben Amaro Jr.  for not keeping him and Cliff Lee.
  • He agreed with Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo about hating the Phillies this offseason, even though I think he said that just to get his new team riled up and attempt to spark some kind of rivalry.

Other members of the beloved 2008 World Series team have received a warm welcome on their return to Philadelphia, namely Pat Burrell and Matt Stairs.

However, as I watched the Phillies play the Marlins last month, I realized that World Series contributions do not guarantee an exemption from the boos when former Phillies’ utility player Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit and received a hardy booing.

We’ve already seen that the Phillies’ fans that made the trip to Nationals Park in April gave Werth a decent smattering of boos, so who knows what kind of welcome he’ll receive tonight.

My guess is that there will be some cheers, but the majority of the fans will be reminding him that if you spurn the City of Brotherly Love, you’ll never be able to live it down.

Read more Philadelphia Phillies news on BleacherReport.com

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Salvage Final Game of Series, Avoid Sweep vs. Brewers

April 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

For the first, but certainly not last, time this season, the Philadelphia Phillies lost a series. And for about five innings on Wednesday, it looked like the Phillies were about to get swept by a very good Milwaukee Brewers team.

The Brewers had twice as many hits in this series as the Phillies did, thanks in part to a solid series by their No. 3 and No. 4 hitters, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Braun batted 6-for-12 against the Phillies with three RBI, one home run and five runs scored. Fielder also recorded three RBI and batted 7-for-12.

The Phillies won game three after finally getting some home runs and after some solid relief pitching.


Chicks Dig the Longball  

Going into Wednesday afternoon’s game, the Phillies had only recorded 11 home runs all season. (The Yankees lead the league with 30.) Down 3-0, the Phillies gained the win thanks to Placido Polanco’s three-run homer and Shane Victorino’s solo shot that went deep into the Phillies’ bullpen.

But don’t count on the home runs by Polanco and Victorino sparking a torrid home run outburst just yet. The Phillies are heading out for four games to San Diego’s cavernous Petco Park where small ball will most likely be the winning formula.


Anyone Seen Jimmy Rollins?

Jimmy Rollins batted 1-for-12 against the Brewers and is batting 3-for-23 in the last seven days. I doubt he’ll stay in the three-hole much longer if he stays in this funk. Maybe the trip back to his home state of California will get his bat going again. 


The New and Improved Joe Blanton?

Joe Blanton, who lately had pitched as well as the Phillie Bot, pitched surprisingly well on Monday, getting through seven innings with only two earned runs and seven hits. After getting shellacked in Washington in his last start, Blanton watched his delivery on film and made an adjustment to his footing. Apparently it helped.

His other pitching counterparts did not fare as well. Roy Halladay gave up 10 hits and was charged with six runs while Cliff Lee gave up eight hits and three runs in six innings. Lee’s holding the Brewers to three runs was just enough for the Phillies’ offense to overcome Wednesday.


What Can We Expect from Kyle Kendrick and the Rest of the Bullpen?

RHP Kyle Kendrick pitched like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde against the Brewers. On Monday, he threw an oddity, allowing three runs on only one official at-bat. He walked the first batter he faced, made a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt, gave up a run on a sac fly, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, intentionally walked the next batter, gave up another sac fly, intentionally walked another batter and gave up an RBI single.

Now compare that to Wednesday when he threw nine total pitches in the seventh and got the top three batters of Milwaukee’s lineup to fly out. With how inconsistent the other right-handed relievers (Danys Baez and David Herndon) are throwing, Kendrick will really need to establish himself as a strong relief pitcher.

With J.C. Romero on the 15-day DL, left-handed relief pitcher Antonio Bastardo will probably see a lot more work as well. Bastardo is still pitching lights out. He has yet to allow a run in 6.2 innings pitched this season and has only given up two hits and three walks.

The Phillies brought up another LHP, Mike Zagurski. Big Z gave up a hit and a walk while striking out a batter in 0.1 innings of work on Tuesday.


Mr. Consistent: Jose Contreras

When it comes to the eighth and ninth innings, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras are still a winning combination. On Wednesday, Contreras earned the save, thanks to some defensive help from Wilson Valdez and two strikeouts. The final strikeout came at Ryan Braun’s expense.

With Rickie Weeks on base, Braun at the plate (with a full count) and Fielder on deck, the game could have slipped away from the Phillies very quickly, but Contreras was confident in his 95-mph fastball and zipped it right past Braun.

Contreras earned his fourth save. Through seven games, he’s allowed three hits and three walks, but he’s struck out eight batters and hasn’t allowed a run. 

Read more Philadelphia Phillies news on BleacherReport.com

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Jayson Werth, Chase Utley and Brad Lidge: Who Needs Them? Not the Phillies

April 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

The absence of Jayson Werth, Chase Utley and Brad Lidge from the Phillies left plenty of cause for concern at the beginning of the season.

Losing the team’s No. 3 and No. 5 hitters and the closer created a scenario where many hoped that the Phillies would be able to hang on until Utley and Lidge returned.

But instead of merely surviving, the Phillies, with a 7-2 record, are thriving.

The offense so far has been unbelievable. As of Monday, the Phillies were No. 1 in the league in hits (107) and batting average (.334) and No. 3 in runs (59), doubles (22), RBI (58) and slugging percentage (.484).

Last season, Werth epitomized selectivity at the plate, and I think that carried over to the rest of the team, who ended up being too selective and missing good opportunities to hit. But this season, the Phillies batters have been more aggressive, going after pitchers early in the count. On the first and second pitches of an at-bat, the Phillies have recorded 36 of their 107 hits.

This aggressiveness at the plate may explain why they are 28th in the league in drawing walks. (They have 22 this year; Washington leads the league with 44.) But they also have only struck out 56 times this season, fifth-best. (The Pirates are the worst in that category with 86.)

Shane Victorino came through as the leadoff batter against Atlanta, batting 9-for-13. Jimmy Rollins, batting third, is batting .324 so far, and Ben Francisco, batting fifth, has seven RBI.

Francisco provided much-needed protection for Ryan Howard, after Howard was intentionally walked by Brandon Beachy, by getting an RBI single. According to Phillies beat reporter Todd Zolecki, that’s the first time since 2008 that the No. 5 batter got a hit after Howard was intentionally walked.

With their 6.5 runs per game, the Phillies can confidently say good riddance to Jayson Werth and take your time to Chase Utley.


Jose Contreras and the Rest of the Bullpen Are Getting the Job Done

Is Jose Contreras the new “Lights Out” man in Philadelphia? Contreras recorded his second save on Sunday. He has scattered two hits and a walk and struck out four batters in three games. As his setup man, Ryan Madson has struck out four batters as well and has only allowed one hit and no walks.

Former starter Kyle Kendrick has been utilized for a couple of longer appearances after Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee collapsed early in their starts. Kendrick has only allowed one earned run.

Reliever Antonio Bastardo has nine strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched. That’s only five strikeouts behind team leader Cliff Lee. His torrid, team-high K/9 ratio of 17.36 is due to his striking out six consecutive batters in Atlanta on Friday.

Don’t get me wrong—I’ll welcome back Utley with open arms and Lidge too (if he’s back to 100 percent)—but for now, the Phillies are doing fine.

With the bullpen and offense performing above and beyond expectations and the starting pitching living up to the hype, it’s looking like a very good year for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Read more Philadelphia Phillies news on BleacherReport.com

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Prove They’ll Need More Than Just Starting Pitching

April 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

The Phillies opened the 2011 season Friday with a dramatic come-from-behind win against the Houston Astros, thanks to a walk-off single by pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr.

The Phillies’ offense in the first eight innings was eerily reminiscent to the stagnant offensive output in 2010, but in the bottom of the ninth, the Phightin’ Phils were reborn. The Phillies can only hope that this comeback, fueled by small ball, will ignite the their bats for the games to come.

After an offseason of uncertainty, injury and speculation, what can we take from Opening Day? 

Begin Slideshow

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

2011 Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Reasons Why They Will Win the World Series

March 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

Last season, the Phillies overcame an onslaught of injuries and offensive lack of production and earned the best record during the regular season, but they succumbed to the Giants in the NLCS.

This year, they re-signed Cliff Lee, making them appear to have the best team in the bigs (on paper), but after injuries to Brad Lidge and Chase Utley, do the Phillies still have what it takes to win the World Series?

I believe the answer is yes, and here are five reasons why.

Begin Slideshow

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Open Season Against ‘Affiliate’ Houston Astros

March 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

The Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies have exchanged so many players in the years since Ed Wade left Philadelphia and became the GM in Houston that the Astros are virtually a farm team for the Phillies.

The Astros play in Class AAA-and-a-half and willingly send up stars to Philadelphia and accept the contracts of underperforming major leaguers.

Several of these players that have traded places—Eric Bruntlett, Geoff Geary, Pedro Feliz, Randy Wolf, Brandon Duckworth, Billy Wagner and Chris Coste—are on neither team this year.

Former Astro Brad Lidge is starting the season on the DL, but the other former Astro, Roy Oswalt, is ready for another prime season. The Astros have three former Phillies in their starting rotation this season and will open the season with former Phillies pitcher Brett Myers on the mound.

There will be a few other familiar faces on the Astros roster as they come to town, looking to continue their four-game win streak against Philadelphia.

Who are they, would you want any of them back, and will any more Astros and Phillies trade places this season?

Begin Slideshow

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies