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Phillies' Roy Oswalt Leaves the Team to Respond to Tornadic Activity at Home

Posted by Frank Klose

Oswalt

According to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt has left the team for "Personal reasons."

Yesterday, Oswalt uncharacterisitically left without talking to reporters, writes Matt Gelb.

To this situation, Gelb adds,

"A Phillies official says Roy Oswalt has left the team for personal reasons. No expected return date. Oswalt was not removed from the game for those personal reasons. He was taken out by Manuel because of his ineffectiveness."

Let's hope this is nothing very serious and long-term.  Stay tuned.

UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: Gelb points out via Twitter that a bad storm hit Oswalt's home county in Mississippi.

An article on the Mississippi storm can be found here.   Almost a year ago to the day, a tornado destroyed Oswalt's childhood home.

UPDATE, 5:07 p.m.: Ruben Amaro released a statement confirming that Oswalt was responding to tornadic activity in Mississippi (via Examiner.com):

"There has been a tremendous amount of tornado activity near Roy’s home in Mississippi resulting in several tragic deaths and significant devastation to the area.  Because of this, Roy is concerned about his family’s well-being.  He has chosen to take time to make sure there wasn’t significant damage to his home, but more importantly, to make certain that his wife and children are okay."


Dbacks Roll on Oswalt's Parade; Phillies Lose 7-5

Posted by Christina Angelos

The Phillies started pretty hot in the first inning when Shane Victorino tripled then hitting machine Placido Polanco RBI single, 1-0 Phillies. That lead did not last long.

Arizona starting pitcher Daniel Hudson helped his own cause, ripping a two-run double in the second inning off of Oswalt. The D-backs played small ball, with Gerardo Parra, Stephen Drew, and Ryan Roberts all driving in runs off of singles.

Oswalt lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on six hits with no strikeouts and one walk. His shortest outing in a Phillies uniform and since 2008. I guess it was his turn to have a bad outing. 

Things looked pretty good for Arizona -- until Ben Francisco hit a two-out, two-run homer off of David Hernandez to bring the game within two runs. Sorry Ben Fran, but that was a little too late. 

Diamondbacks win, 7-5 and have taken the first two games of this series. Phils lose a road series for the first time since last July 30-August 1 in Washington. And this is first loss since Oswalt debut with the Phillies last season in Washington. Hamels vs. Saunders as the Phillies try to avoid the sweep. 

 

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers on advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 



Examining Manuel: Was Contreras' Injury Avoidable?

Posted by Mike Frohwirth

Closer Jose Contreras joined previous closer Brad Lidge on the Disabled List on Sunday, further depleting the Phillies' bullpen. It's easy to look at Contreras' workload over the past week (four appearances in five days/five appearances in seven days), and conclude that Phillies' Manager Charlie Manuel overworked the veteran reliever, which contributed to his injury. Given that Contreras is 39, and has only spent one full season as a reliever, perhaps a lighter usage pattern would have been prudent. Of course, Manuel's mandate is to win ballgames, and with only Contreras and Ryan Madson as dependable bullpen options, limiting Contreras' appearances is easier said than done. Still, was Manuel's usage of Contreras defensible?

April 15th: Contreras enters the game in the top of the 9th inning. The Phillies trail the Marlins, 4-3. The Phillies have a Win Expectancy of 17.4%. The Leverage Index (LI), as Contreras faces his first batter, is .64.

Remember, a LI<1.0 is a low leverage ("not suspenseful/stressful") situation. Preferably, a weaker reliever (both Kyle Kendrick and David Herndon were available) would be used here. Of course, either option would likely have been successful in knocking the Phillies' Win Expectancy into single digits. However, the most important factor to consider here: Contreras hadn't pitched for four days (last appearance was April 10th). Contreras needed the work. Contreras retired all three batters he faced, throwing nine pitches. Conclusion: Correct Usage

April 17th: Contreras enters the game in the top of the 9th inning. The Phillies lead the Marlins, 3-2. The Phillies' Win Expectancy is 84.2%. The Leverage Index (LI), as Contreras faces his first batter, is 2.84.

High leverage, a day off between appearances, no problems here. Contreras allowed a pair of walks, but successfully protected the lead, throwing twenty-two pitches. Conclusion: Correct Usage

April 18th: Contreras enters the game in top of the 10th inning. The Phillies are tied with the Brewers, 3-3. The Phillies' Win Expectancy is at 50%. The Leverage Index, as Contreras faces his first batter, is 2.30.

As the Phillies were at home, there would be no save situation, once the game reached extra innings. This appearance was Contreras' third, in four days. Antonio Bastardo and Kyle Kendrick were both available. (Both appeared later in the game.) Danys Baez was also available (bad option for high leverage situations, such as this one), but did not appear in the game. Manuel could have, possibly, gone with Bastardo in the 10th inning. But he still would have, likely, have had to use Contreras in the 11th inning. Giving Contreras the day off might have been a good idea, but the game circumstances seemed to prohibit it. Contreras retired all three batters he faced, throwing only nine pitches. Conclusion: Correct usage. Contreras would, likely, have been needed in either the tenth or eleventh inning. This was a winnable ballgame, at least until Kendrick entered.

April 20th: Contreras enters the game in the top of the ninth inning. The Phillies lead the Brewers, 4-3. The Phillies' Win Expectancy is at 84.2%. The Leverage Index (LI), as Contreras entered the game, was 2.84.

This was Contreras' third appearance, in four days. The LI and WE both call for Contreras' use. It could be argued that Bastardo could have been used in the eighth, with Madson in the ninth. However, the LI ranged from 1.84 to 3.81 in the eighth inning, so using Bastardo in that situation may have been dicey. Given that two of those three Contreras appearances each lasted only nine pitches, using Contreras is defensible here. Contreras faced four batters, throwing fifteen pitches. Conclusion: Correct usage

April 21st: Contreras enters the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Phillies lead the Padres, 3-0. The Phillies' Win Expectancy is 97%. The Leverage Index (LI), as Contreras entered the game, was .72.

Ryan Madson had appeared in three of the four previous games, so Manuel wanted to stay away from him. Antonio Bastardo was used in the seventh and eighth innings. Baez probably could have been used to start the ninth, with Contreras available, if needed. But that would have been a bit of a gamble, and Contreras may have been needed anyway. Contreras held the Padres scoreless, but was forced to throw twenty-six pitches. It was Contreras' fifth appearance, in seven games. Conclusion: Incorrect usage. Very tough decision, given the game circumstances/relief options, but Manuel should have tried to keep Contreras out of the game.

Overall conclusions:

  • Manuel needs another reliable option for high leverage situations, beyond Madson and Contreras. This third option could be Bastardo, but it isn't yet. (Of course, with Contreras on the DL, Bastardo will likely be force-fed into high leverage situations. I think he will do fine in higher leverage opportunities, but have concerns about his durability.)
  • The poor performance of the Phillies' offense has made managing the bullpen exceedingly difficult. The Phillies are playing a lot of close games, which is necessitating the (over?)use of the Phillies' high leverage relievers. The Phils need to win some blowouts, so they can give Madson/Contreras more rest.
  • It's difficult to fault Manuel for his use of Contreras. There was no guarantee Contreras wouldn't have been needed, to rescue Baez in the ninth inning in San Diego, if Manuel had tried to rest Contreras. There's no guarantee that Contreras wouldn't have required a Disabled List stint, even if he hadn't pitched five times, in seven days. Manuel is doing his best to win games, with the cards he has been dealt. If there is a failure here, it's a failure of roster construction.

 


Domonic Brown Update: Phillies Prospect has Stellar Day; Goes 6-6 (Nah)

Posted by Christina Angelos

Courtesy of gcobb.com

Philadelphia Phillies rookie outfielder Domonic Brown broke his right hand during spring training and had the hook of the hamate bone removed. It was tough news especially after getting his first hit. 

After a month of waiting around to play baseball, Dom Brown has been playing in extended Spring Training games until he is cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignments: 

On Saturday April 23, 2011, Brown made six plate appearances, going 1-3 with an RBI, scored a run, walked three times and struck out once. On Monday April 26, 2011, he made five appearances, going 4-5 with two home runs. Pretty good, don't you think? 

After today's game, Dom Brown is set to begin rehab assignment with High A level Clearwater on Wednesday.

This is great news, even Jiwan James says he is ready! 

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It's the One Year Anniversary of the Ryan Howard Deal. How's it Looking for the Phillies Now?

Posted by Frank Klose

Ryanhoward
Courtesy Phillies.com

One year ago today, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Ryan Howard to the richest deal in club history by extending him for five years and $125 million.   I figured we would take a look at some of the reaction from a year ago and see just how that looks now.

ESPN's Buster Olney:
"Ryan Howard has locked his career in Philadelphia because the size of his new contract makes him almost untradeable."

NL Executive via ESPN's Jayson Stark:
"I can't figure out what the Phillies gain from this. Usually, when you extend a guy with two years left on his deal, you at least get some kind of discount. This guy's getting $25 million a year."

(The rest are through the help of MLBTraderumors.com who had a rundown here): 

Rob Neyer (Now with SB Nation):
"A testament to old-school ignorance" and "a big bowl of wrong."

ESPN's Keith Law:
"An overpay in both years and dollars."

Yahoo's 'Duk on Big League Stew:
"...may be an overreaction to the Phillies making a mistake by not buying out a few of Howard's post-arbitration years at a cheaper rate, but playing the waiting game would have... Given Amaro time to see if Howard's skills decline... Allowed the Phillies more time to weigh and address other upcoming needs, like re-signing Jayson Werth."

SI's Jon Heyman:
"Good job by Phillies to sign superstar ryan howard to a 5-year contract extension" and "$125 million for 5 yrs is just about right for ryan howard, who seems to get richer and slimmer by the year"

Now that a year has passed, a lot has happened to make the Phillies look prudent in signing Howard to this deal.  Some of the key contracts since:

1B Adrian Gonzalez
7 years, $154 million (Average annual value: $22 million)

LF Carl Crawford
7 years, $142 million (Average annual value: $20.29 million)

RF Jayson Werth
7 years, $126 million (Average annual value: $18 million)

LF Ryan Braun
5 years, $105 million (Average annual value: $21 million)
Note: this extension goes into effect in five years; though Howard's is set to start later too

1B Mark Teixeira
8 years, $180 million (Average Annual Value $24 million)

Looming Contracts:
1B Albert Pujols
1B Prince Fielder

So, was it worth it?

Yes, for the following reasons:

1) Ryan Howard is, in my opinion, a superior player with a better track record than Adrian Gonzalez.  When you factor in that Howard's extension was after two years of a $20 million salary, the average annual value was not too much different. Ditto Teixeira; the Phillies already bought out post-arbitration years which would make the eight-year span cheaper for the Phillies than Teixeira was for the Yankees.

2) Would you rather have a Carl-Crawford-type player or a Ryan Howard-type player for $4.5 million more?  When you consider $4.5 million buys a mediocre middle reliever these days, I would spend the extra $4.5 million and have Ryan Howard.  K threw Jayson Werth in to show what the really good players are getting, and I do not think it is disrespect to say that Werth is not of superstar caliber such as Howard.

3) The Phillies have no need to worry about negotiating with Ryan Howard, and he will always be thought of as a Phillie first and foremost.  When all is said in done, no other player will wear #6, and Howard will be a Phillies legend.  If the Phillies did indeed lose Ryan Howard after this season and ended up with someone such as Prince Fielder, the Phillies could lose a life-long name who would stay faithful to the Phillies until death, such as greats such as Mike Schmidt and Robin Roberts have.  Howard is homegrown, and will always be a Phillie, even should he DH in the American League for a few years at his career's end.

4) Albert Pujols would have driven up the price.   It's very possible that Prince Fielder is the beneficiary of free agency next season, as the loser in the Pujols sweepstakes will have to almost settle for fielder.  While Milwaukee will not pursue either player, the Cardinals will hope to retain Albert Pujols, and a team such as Los Angeles with a new owner may want to make a significant splast to start their ownership of one of MLB's most storied franchises.  If, say, the Dodgers sign Albert Pujols to a ridiculous contract worth $300 million over 10 years, the Cardinals may feel forced to overpay for Prince Fielder to save face.  Having Howard in that equation would certainly drive his price up closer to what Pujols will get.

So, I believe just one year has proven that Jon Heyman's take was correct: Just about right in years in dollars.   In fact, the cost-certainty as salaries begin to inflate could prove the contract to be even more beneficial than "just right" for the Phillies.  In fact, the Phillies may have inspired the Brewers to do the same with Ryan Braun.  Well done, Phillies.


Ian Kennedy and the Diamondbacks Shut Out Phillies

Posted by Danielle Wilson

I don't know where to begin with this one. Cliff Lee was dominant, but gave up two home runs. The Phillies' defense was top-notch, but their offense was putrid.

I could have sworn that the Diamondbacks had the worst team ERA in baseball, but apparently Ian Kennedy was able to shut down the Phillies, the team with the best record in baseball. Nothing makes sense anymore.

Chris Young homered off of Cliff in the third inning to score Ryan Roberts and give the D-Backs a 2-0 lead. Phillies only had just one hit at that point, a wasted double hit by Polanco.

In the fifth inning, Gerardo Parra (I don't know who that is, either) homered to give the D-Backs a 3-0 lead. At that point, the Phillies had a grand total of three hits.

With Justin Upton on second base in the sixth inning, Xavier Nady singled and scored him. 4-0 Diamondback's. Still just three hits for the Phils.

After seven innings, Cliff Lee was done. His line: five hits, four earned runs, one walk, 12 strikeouts. Yeah, 12.

Mike Stutes made his major league debut tonight, and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out one, and tossing only nine pitches.

The Phillies' offense just wasn't there tonight, and they were shut out for the second time this season. *facepalm*


Nails Requests Naked Massage

G_dykstra_i

                                                                                Source: ESPN Sports

Lenny Dykstra is again in the news, and no one is surprised.

According to the New York Post, the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating Nails for an alleged naked massage request.

Dykstra, who was accepting applications for a housekeeper, asked for a massage and began stripping for the 47 year old applicant (or victim). She immediately left Dykstra' home, reported the incident to police, and hired an attorney to process her claims.

I guess the fraud and bankruptcy headlines weren't enough for Lenny, who was only hoping for a "happy ending" to his recent troubles.


Minor League Pitching Prospect Jordan Ellis Promoted To AA Reading

Posted by Danielle Wilson

Courtesy of web.minorleaguebaseball.com

The heading says it all, 25-year-old right-handed pitcher Jordan Ellis has been promoted from single A Clearwater to double A Reading. He was drafted in the 28th round of the 2008 Amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. This season, he has appeared in six games, and in that span, he has allowed four hits, issued two walks, and has struck out 14 batters. He has not allowed a run in 8.2 innings pitched. You can follow him on Twitter @Elly19_.