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September 2011

Some Possible September Call-Ups for the Phillies

Posted  by Christina Angelos

Brandon-moss-headshot-472f76de0a9846ca
Brandon Moss, courtesy lehighvalleylive.com and the Iron Pigs

September call-ups will play an important role for this Phillies team. Major-league rosters expand to 40 players on September 1 and teams can call up 15 extra players from the minor leagues to give them experience at playing in the major leagues.  During this time, the Phillies can use some Triple-A/Double-A/High-A/Low-A players and give regular starters a rest down the stretch especially since they do not have a day off until September 29th.

The easy calls likely include Pete Orr, Scott Mathieson, Juan Perez (maybe not—he could be released) and Mike Zagurski, all of whom are on the team’s 40-man roster and have spent time in the big leagues this season. However, there are some players you may not know that just might find their way onto the big-league roster September 1 or after their minor-league playoff runs end:

Freddy Galvis, SS: Perhaps the one of the most interesting candidate for a call-up and is on 40-man roster. The Phillies can take a closer look at Galvis, if the Phillies do not resign Jimmy Rollins next season. This is an opportunity. Galvis started the season with the Reading after hitting .273 with a career-high eight homers. He was promoted to Leigh Valley. He is hitting .315 in his first 25 games. Do not forget, Galvis is most known for his defensive arm, but also has improved this season with his bat.

Brandon Moss,  OF: Moss has been up and down for years; he has played for the Red Sox and Pirates in the major leagues, however, he has spent most of his time in the minor leagues. He has smashed 23 home runs and driven in 77 runs for the Iron Pigs this season. You may see him, but he is not currently on the 40-man roster.

Dave Bush, SP:  He inked a minor-league deal with the Phillies earlier this month.  He’s looked sharp in three starts with Lehigh Valley, posting a 2.65 ERA. He could be in line to start a game during one of the doubleheaders (either Marlins or Nationals series). He has spent time with the Brewers. If you do not remember who he is then look up Matt Stairs homerun in the 8thinning to break up his no hitter. Yeah, that one.

Erik Kratz, C: He is a three-time mid-season all-star selection. He has set a career high best in offensive category — runs (56), hits (99), homers (15), RBIs (51), and walks (38) while hitting .288, his best mark in a season in which he's played more than 50 games. He's also tied for the team lead with 30 multi-hit games. (This was entering Friday game). Kratz's best work, however, might have come behind the plate. IronPigs pitchers have a 3.42 ERA with Kratz catching. He's also thrown out 29.2 percent of would-be base stealers- sixth-best in the International League.  

 Justin De Fratus, reliever: He is 2-3, 3.82 ERA with four save and  11 walks, 55 strikeouts for the IronPigs. He is on the 40-man roster, which it will be easy to be call up. He also has a chance to show what he can do in the majors for next season as well.

 Phillippe Amount, reliever: He is one of the pieces acquired from the Cliff Lee deal in 2009. Amount has pitched in 17 games: striking out 35 batters over 21 1/2 innings of work. One thing he has yet to give up is a homer, but has allowed 9 runs on 21 hits. However, he is not on the 40-man roster, but can be a person of interest still if needed.


Cliff Lee (Almost) Pitches Sixth Complete Game Shutout of the Season in 3-0 Victory

Posted by Danielle Wilson

Criffree

Clifton Phifer Lee and Dontrelle Willis, two pitchers who really like to hit. Their bats were quiet tonight, though, as Cliff Lee left his teammates to do the scoring. The Reds, well, they were trying to hit against Cliff Lee, which usually never works for anyone.

Some fantastic base running from Shane Victorino helped score the first run of the game for the Phils in the first inning, on Ryan Howard's fielder's choice groundout.

Another run wouldn't score until the top of the sixth; Hunter Pence hit his 18th home run of the season, seventh with the Phillies, second of this series. 2-0 Phillies.

Chase Utley grounded into a fielder's choice in the seventh inning, scoring Shane Victorino from third. 3-0.

Cliff Lee, as per usual, was straight up dealing. By the eighth inning, Cliff Lee had only allowed five hits, and nothing else, while striking out seven. Those seven strikeouts put him at 199 on the season, which is a career-high for Lee. Cliff went back in to finish what he started-- a masterpiece. He allowed a double to Joey Votto and walked Jay Bruce, his first walk of the night. After hitting Miguel Cairo, Charlie Manuel decided that Cliff Lee was finished.

Ryan Madson thankfully got Yonder Alonso to pop-up, ending the ballgame. The Phillies have now shut out the opposition in 19 games, which tops the Major League. Cliff Lee has now won his fifth game in August, and 15th game on the season, tossing 30.2 scoreless innings on the road. Wow.

Likely series sweep tomorrow at 12:35 in the afternoon. Vance Worley against Mike Leake. Be there or be square.


MisHapp: The Story of James Anthony Happ

 

Posted by Danielle Wilson

Photo courtesy of Zimbio.com

I still remember where I was when I got that text from a beat writer on Twitter; James Anthony Happ had been traded to Houston for starting pitcher Roy Oswalt. My heart was broken. J.A. was coming off of his best year in the majors, 2009, the year where he was just a few votes shy of  National League Rookie of the Year, coming in second behind Florida Marlins’ outfielder Chris Coghlan, who is now in Triple-A New Orleans, the same level of baseball that J.A. recently played for, only for AAA Oklahoma City.

You can’t help but to feel terrible for him, he was a fan favorite during the 2009 postseason, behind Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez, of course. 2007 was the year in which he debuted. He only pitched four innings that season, allowing five earned runs on seven hits, striking out five and walking two in one game. He also allowed three home runs in that game, yikes. I don’t take that season into account though, seeing that it was so short for him.

2008 however, the championship year, was a different story for James. He started four games, but appeared in eight. Altogether, he pitched 31.2 innings, allowing 13 earned runs on 28 hits. He boasted 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, but also walked four batters per nine, and allowed eight hits per nine. In those 31 innings, he struck out 28 batters and walked 14. Not terrible.

The Phillies were in need of pitching in 2009, there was no doubt about that. With Cole Hamels struggling, and Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton giving their all on the mound, J.A. Happ was in a position where a lot of pressure was on him. Before Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez were added to the rotation, J.A. Happ did a whole lot of heavy work. His miniscule 2.93 ERA was surprising coming from him. He went 12-4 that season, pitching 166 innings. He finished three games that he started, shutting out  the opposition in two complete games. He allowed  54 earned runs on 149 hits, walking 56 and striking out 119 batters. This was his career season.

In his last season in Philadelphia, he suffered a forearm strain early in the year, and it took him quite some time to get his velocity back. He pitched in three games, taking the win in just one of them, and getting a no-decision in the other two. In 15.1 innings, he allowed three earned runs on 13 hits, walking 12 and striking out nine.

After the trade to Houston, he went 5-4 in 13 games with a 3.75 ERA. In 72 innings, he allowed 30 earned runs on 60 hits, walking 35 and striking out 61. He walked four batters per nine innings pitched in Houston, and it’s no secret that he has a few control issues, which has been a career-long problem for him.

This season, things simply did not go his way, as he takes the title of being arguably the worst starting pitcher in the majors. As of August 6th, he had gone 4-14 with a 6.26 ERA in 22 games started. In 119 innings, he allowed 92 runs to score on 135 hits, while walking 63 and striking out 100 batters. Per nine innings pitched, he would allow 10.2 hits, walk 4.8 batters, and strikeout 7.5.

Before the Astros game on August 6th, James Anthony Happ was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City to “regain his confidence” as his General Manager told him. Happ insisted that he just needed to clear his head. His last Major League win had come on July 19th against the Washington Nationals. In his last start in the majors, he pitched four innings, allowing six runs to score on seven hits against the Milwaukee Brewers. Another game in which he would allow at least five runs to score, which makes that eight straight games with that feat.

Here’s where we begin to question his talent. Is this the end of J.A. Happ? Are his better days behind him? If he pitches with the Astros, I say yes. He’s on his own there, and his influence comes from the rest of the starting rotation: Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Henry Sosa, Jordan Lyles, and Bud Norris.

If you ask me, that’s a bit pathetic compared to Roy Halladay, Cliff lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Vance Worley.

Vance Worley, a rookie whose respectable idols pitch on the days that he gets to sit and observe. Worley is making quite a name for himself, and is brought up in many Rookie of the Year discussions. Young Vance has been lights out this season, boasting a 2.65 ERA in 16 games started. The last ten games that Vance has started, the Phillies have won. Vance has put up fantastic numbers, allowing just 78 hits in 98.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 29 earned runs while walking 32 and striking out 83. His 9-1 record is the second best among rookies in the National League behind the 12-5 Dillon Gee. Worley has held his opponents to a miniscule .218 batting average.

One would have to think that J.A. Happ could have had a year such as Vance Worley’s had he been surrounded by Cy Young award winners, and straight up aces. Then again, Vance Worley is becoming an ace, something that I don’t believe J.A. Happ will ever be considered.

However, James was called up from Triple-A baseball on August 26th to face the Giants. In the minors, Happ went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts. In his final start in the minors, he tossed seven scoreless innings, giving up just one hit.

His first game back against the Giants turned out to be one of his better starts of the season. In six innings, he allowed one earned run on four hits, walking four and striking out two. Not great, but not terrible.

Now that J.A. is back, what do we expect from him from this point on? This season has been quite the rollercoaster, experiencing time in both the majors and minors, suffering some of the worst games of his career. As a fan of J.A., seeing him succeed and pitch quick games without allowing more than three runs would bring great felicity. But, I can’t predict how he’ll continue his career, I can only hope that he gets his act together sometime soon.

There’s no doubt that the Houston Astros will miss the postseason this year, so with 26 games left to play, I wish J.A. Happ the best of luck in his future start, and luck in the 2012 season, a season in which I would like to see be a repeat of his impressive 2009 season. 


Yes, it WAS a Trade: #Phillies Acquire 1B/OF John Bowker from the #Pirates

Posted by Frank Klose

John_Bowker
Wikipedia.org

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly, the Phillies have acquired left-handed OF/1B John Bowker from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Bowker is hitting .235 with 0 home runs and 2 RBI in 17 at bats.   Is that any better than Ross Gload?  Yet, Salisbury thinks he could be the guy:

Bowker plays first base and outfield. That versatility could be attractive on the Phillies’ bench. Reserve Ross Gload plays those positions but he has been slowed by a hip injury. Gload, a left-handed hitter, has just three hits in his last 28 at-bats.

Uhh....


Michael Schwimer Optioned to AAA; Is a Trade Coming?

Posted by Frank Klose

Schwimer
Courtesy jeffcrupper.com

Almost immediately after Michael Schwimer pitched a scoreless 9th inning the Phillies optioned Schwimer to AAA.

Huh?

According to Todd Zolecki, a corresponding roster move will be announced tomorrow, August 31st.

As you may be aware, August 31st is the trade deadline for waiver trades and the last day that a player must be in the Phillies organization to be considered for a playoff roster spot.  The player does not necessarily have to be on the major league roster; the injuries to Jose Contreras, Jimmy Rollins, and Joe Blanton gives the Phillies some flexibility, with the idea being that if Contreras was the intended roster spot but is injured, another player in the organization could take his place.

A player in AAA, then, need not be on the major league roster before September 1 to be considered for the postseason, but must be in the organization.  Maybe that player is coming from outside the organization.

Further, the Phillies could call somebody up and immediately place him on the disabled list as well, such as second baseman Harold Garcia who is on the 40-man roster and has been on the disabled list most of the season. Ditto Drew Naylor.  The Phillies have taken an extra position player and one fewer pitcher since they began their current playoff run in 2007.

They do not need to add a player to the 40-man roster just yet to be considered for the playoffs.  In 2002, Francisco Rodriguez did not join the 40-man roster until after September 1, and became a major piece in the Angels' world championship.

If the Phillies  find the right bat off the bench in a trade, they can add him to the major league roster tomorrow.  Anyone in the organization right now, including AAA players Brandon Moss and Domonic Brown, does not need to be in the major leagues by tomorrow or be on the 40-man roster. 

Stay tuned.


Howard, Pence, Ibanez Homer; Roy Halladay Shuts Down Reds in 9-0 Win

  Posted by Danielle Wilson

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You don't mess with this man, Cincinnati, and you should have learned that lesson last October.

The Phillies, however, love to mess with Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo's last start against the Phillies resulted in a 10-3 loss, Arroyo allowing nine earned runs on ten hits in 2.2 innings. Laughable.

The Phillies were surprisingly shut down throughout the first three innings, as were the Reds. In the fourth, Ryan Howard launched home run number 28 of the season, scoring Chase Utley. That puts Howard at 100 RBI, his sixth consecutive season of 100+ RBI, which is the most by any Phillie, ever.

In the top of the sixth inning, Hunter Pence smacked out career hit number 800, and did so via home run, which put the Phillies up 3-0. The bases were loaded for Roy Hallladay following, and Roy drilled a double down the right field line, clearing the bases. It was Halladay's second career extra-base hit, and his first, second, and third RBI's of the year. 6-0 Phillies.

In the top of the seventh, Raul Ibanez homered to right field to score Hunter Pence, pushing the lead to 8-0.

After Roy Halladay walked Joey Votto in the first inning, he retired every single batter he faced until Joey Votto doubled in the seventh inning. Halladay had retired 18 straight batters. After seven innings, Roy was done. He allowed two hits, walked two, and struck out nine, shutting out the Reds.

Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless eighth, walking the leadoff batter, allowing a single to Votto, and striking out Jay Bruce on a slider to end the inning. Nothin' special.

Here's somethin' special, Ryan Howard murdered a baseball, sending it to right field for his 29th homer this season. 9-0 Phillies.

Charlie Manuel called in Michael Schwimer to secure the shutout, which he did, tossing a scoreless ninth. Phils win 9-0.

Since it's a four-game series, the Phils will go for the series win tomorrow night with Cliff Lee on the mound against Dontrelle Willis.


Shane Victorino Goes Yard; Hamels, Bullpen (Mainly) Dominant in 3-2 Win

Fistpump Posted by Danielle Wilson

Remember this? Of course you do. It's no secret that Cole Hamels completely dominates the Reds, and he has showed us that with a career 1.23 ERA with a record of 8-0 including the postseason against Cincinnati.

Photo courtesy of PhilliesNetwork.com

Cole's start tonight marked his first start since August 12th, his shoulder inflammation placed him on the disabled list, and was activated today. He shut down the Reds throughout the first five innings, striking out one and allowing one run to score on one hit, a triple hit by Brandon Phillips which was misplayed by Hunter Pence.

The Phillies' tied the game in the fifth inning with John Mayberry, Jr scoring on Wilson Valdez's double to left field. Mayberry started in left field tonight for Raul Ibanez...again.

Hamels' night was done after six innings, tossing 76 pitches. He looked great allowing just two hits and striking out seven, walking none. Nothing wrong, he was just eased back into pitching after being out for 17 days.

Young, filthy, fatherless Antonio Bastardo did his dirty work in the seventh inning, walking one, but striking out three. Filthy, filthy, filthy.

With a 1-1 game going on in the top of the eighth inning, Shane Victorino homered to right field to make it a 3-1 game. Let the MVP chants resume.

Michael Stutes, who has made us all suffer heart attacks as of late, pitched yet another shaky inning, allowing a run to score on three hits. He faced six batters, striking out one. 3-2 game heading into the ninth.

Ryan Madson came in to pick up the save for the Phils, and did just that, striking out one.

Over the next 30 days, the Phils will play 32 games. Today marked the first day back from a weekend wash-out, and there are no off day's from here.

Game two of this series will be played tomorrow night with Roy Halladay going for win number 16 against the 8-10 Bronson Arroyo who is starting to really heat up.


Back to Baseball: Phillies Make Return with Series in Cincinnati

Posted by Kevin Durso

Philliedelphia/Kevin Durso

When you're used to seeing stretches of 20 games in 20 days, with minimal days off the whole season, weekends like this don't feel right. The Phillies managed to play the Marlins on Friday, but after a scheduled day off on Thursday, and two postponements this weekend, the Phillies are playing for the first time since Friday night, and looking to end a two-game losing streak that started last Wednesday. With Saturday afternoon's game being the only one in question, the Phillies hopped a flight to Cincinnati as soon as they could on Saturday. That's where they will be for the next four games, facing the Reds in Cincy for the first time since moving on to the 2010 NLCS.

The Reds were certainly a playoff test last season for the Phillies, even though the series was swept by the Phillies behind some great pitching. This is not the same Reds team as last season. Sure, they still have power in the lineup, as evidence by Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips, but they are sitting in third place in the NL Central with a record hovering at .500, some games back of the Brewers. The Reds offense is still among the best in the league. Votto leads the way with a .325 average, 26 home runs, and 86 RBIs. Bruce killed the Phillies in their four-game series in Philadelphia, and is hitting .262 with 28 home runs and 85 RBIs. Phillips is hitting .297 with 12 home runs and 73 RBIs. The Reds also enter this series on a hot streak, sweeping the Nationals this weekend, and winning their last four.

Here are the pitching matchups for this series.

In the opener, Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62 ERA) takes on Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44 ERA). Hamels hasn't pitched since August 12th, when he took the loss to the Nationals allowing three runs over five innings. He faced the Reds once this season on May 23rd, and allowed three runs over six innings in the Phillies' 10-3 win. In eight career starts against the Reds, Hamels is 7-0 with a 1.43 ERA. Remember that Hamels also threw a five-hit shutout against the Reds in the deciding Game 3 of the NLDS last season. Bailey allowed three runs over seven innings, taking a no-decision in the Reds' 6-5 loss to the Marlins. He faced the Phillies once this season on May 26th, allowing four runs in four innings and taking a no-decision in the Phillies' 10-4 win. In four career starts against the Phillies, Bailey is 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA.

In the second game, Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56 ERA) goes against Bronson Arroyo (8-10, 5.02 ERA). Halladay's last start was victimized by rain. He pitched an excellent five innings, allowing two runs, but was forced out due to a lengthy delay. He took a no-decision in that game. He faced the Reds once this year on May 25th, allowing three runs in seven innings. He took a no-decision in a game the Phillies won in 19 innings, 5-4. In five career starts against the Reds, Halladay is 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA. Remember that Halladay threw a no-hitter against the Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS last season. Arroyo pitched eight shutout innings, holding the Marlins to six hits in a 3-2 win. He allowed nine runs over 2 2/3 innings to the Phillies on May 23rd, a 10-3 win for the Phils. In nine career games (eight starts) against the Phillies, Arroyo is 1-6 with a 7.13 ERA.

In the third game, Cliff Lee (14-7, 2.71 ERA) gets the start for the Phillies. Lee allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings against the Mets his last start. Lee faced the Reds on May 26th, and allowed four runs over eight innings in the Phillies' 10-4 win. In nine career starts against the Reds, Lee is 5-2 with a 4.66 ERA.

In the finale, Vance Worley (9-1, 2.65 ERA) faces Mike Leake (11-8, 4.04 ERA). Worley allowed just one run over seven innings against the Mets his last time up, improving to 9-1 on the season. He faced the Reds on May 24th, and took a no-decision, allowing three runs over five innings in the Phillies' 6-3 loss. That is his only start against the Reds. Leake won his last start against the Nationals, going six inning and allowing two runs. He has yet to face the Phillies this season. In two career starts against the Phillies, Leake is 0-0 with a 6.91 ERA.

Prediction:
August 29 - Phillies 7, Reds 3
August 30 - Phillies 4, Reds 1
August 31 - Phillies 3, Reds 4
September 1 - Phillies 5, Reds 2

The Phillies actually appear to have an edge in this series, even with the Reds entering the hotter team. The Phillies simply haven't lost games in bunches lately, so with nearly a week between their last win, the Phillies will look to avenge that soon. It helps to have several pitchers with good track records against the Reds going as well.

In the opener, the Phillies are sending the Red killer to the mound. Even returning from injury, Cole Hamels was said to look "fabulous" in his last bullpen. Look for him to dominate the Reds while getting some solid offense behind him.

In the second game, look for Roy Halladay to be his usual brilliant self. Halladay's last two starts aren't what he would have expected them to be, so he'll be looking to make a good start. The offense might be a little off against Arroyo, but with Halladay on the mound, the Phillies can't go wrong here.

In the third game, with a pitcher still undecided, I actually expect the Phillies to fall. Cliff Lee should throw well enough to pick up his 15th win of the season, but with an offensive struggle that night, the Reds should have the edge. Dontrelle Willis is likely going to get the start for the Reds. Lee doesn't have the best ERA when it comes to the Reds offense, so that could be a problem as well.

In the finale, look for Vance Worley to have another excellent game. Worley didn't throw his best game when he faced the Reds in Philly this season. That was then, this is now. Worley is one win away from his 10th this season, certainly an impressive feat for a rookie pitcher. But, Worley doesn't seem like a rookie anymore, especially with so much veteran presence around him. As usual, he'll get just enough offense to cruise to victory.

The Phillies head to Florida for a three-game series against the Marlins following this series.


Phillies Post Their "It Gets Better" Video

Posted by Frank Klose

 

The Phillies' contribution to the itgetsbetter.org project has posted.  Check out the video and the website.

Phillies in the video: Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., and Michael Stutes.  Nice to see that Mayberry has risen in the ranks where he can speak for the organization.

The itgetsbetter project's website explains their project:

About the It Gets Better Project

Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can't imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves.

Justin Aaberg. Billy Lucas. Cody Barker. Asher Brown. Seth Walsh. Raymond Chase. Tyler Clementi. They were tragic examples of youth who could not believe that it does actually get better.

While many of these teens couldn’t see a positive future for themselves, we can. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.


Phillies Post Their "It Gets Better" Video

Posted by Frank Klose

 

The Phillies' contribution to the itgetsbetter.org project has posted.  Check out the video and the website.

Phillies in the video: Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., and Michael Stutes.  Nice to see that Mayberry has risen in the ranks where he can speak for the organization.

The itgetsbetter project's website explains their project:

About the It Gets Better Project

Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can't imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves.

Justin Aaberg. Billy Lucas. Cody Barker. Asher Brown. Seth Walsh. Raymond Chase. Tyler Clementi. They were tragic examples of youth who could not believe that it does actually get better.

While many of these teens couldn’t see a positive future for themselves, we can. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.