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Second Wild Card Hits MLB; Could Benefit Phillies Now and Down the Line

Posted by Frank Klose

Carpenter_Chris_Sucks

Today, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported what has long been speculation: MLB would squeeze the second wild card into this postseason's schedule.  On the surface, it seems somewhat silly; now 1/3 of all MLB teams will make the playoffs.  However, I really do like this addition, as I see it really helping the Phillies.  Here's why.

First, the extra playoff team only adds one single game to the postseason schedule, and that game only applies to both wild card teams.   As we saw in this past postseason, the only advantage the Phillies had over the St. Louis Cardinals was one extra home game.   Had this arrangement been in place for 2011, the Cardinals would have played a one-game wild card battle for advancement in the playoffs.

Now, this could have greatly benefited the Phillies, because Chris Carpenter would have been used for that one-game playoff against the Braves.   Or, maybe the weaker Atlanta Braves team beats the Cardinals and the Phillies gained an advantage by missing Tim Hudson.   

Either way, the wild card winner's ace may have only been able to play in game 4 or 5 of a five-game wild card series, while the division winner with the best record has two shots to use their ace.

Second, this could benefit the Phillies as their reign winds down.  Maybe in two years the Phillies aren't the team they were in 2011 and what they'll be in 2012.   The 2014 Phillies might not be strong.  But, they may still have Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay and hopefully Cole Hamels.   If the Washington Nationals are winning the division and the Miami Marlins win the first wild card, the Phillies would still have a chance.  With a rotation like that, who can count them out in the playoffs?

Game 162 for the Rays, Red Sox, Braves, and Cardinals may have been one of the most exciting nights of baseball in recent memory.  Imagine if the Rays and Red Sox were going head to head that night?  The Braves and Cardinals?  We will get that same excitement year in and year out as long as Major League Baseball maintains a one-game wild card buy-in.  

Unless it changes, the one-game playoff is essentially a bid to see who really makes the playoffs, not an additional round.

Only down side I can see is that the Phillies will make me buy tickets for the entire playoffs someday based on that one game battle they might not win.  But for now, while the Phillies are one of the premier teams?  It's about time there was something to give the best record an advantage.

Up next: The 15-team leagues create an opportunity for balance, but with MLB use it?


Hector Luna, Phillies Defeat Florida State Seminoles 6-1 in Spring Training Opener

Posted by Danielle Wilson

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Image courtesy of Hunter Pence's Facebook

Smell that? That's the smell of baseball returning. The Phillies took on the Florida State Seminoles this afternoon in sunny Clearwater, Florida, a game which is played every year between the two teams to kick off spring training. Above is the lineup Charlie Manuel posted. Austin Hyatt (non-roster invitee) got the nod to start the game this afternoon, and looked rather sharp early on.

Following a 1-2-3 inning from Hyatt featuring two strike outs, Luke Weaver took the bump for Florida State. Weaver also pitched a quick 1-2-3, getting Rollins and Victorino to pop-out, and striking out Juan Pierre. Hyatt tossed another shut-down inning in the second, striking out Gonzalez. Brian Holtman (I'm assuming that's his last name, the broadcast guy was awful) replaced Luke Weaver, throwing a scoreless second. However, he did hit Domonic Brown in his hand. Deja vu!

Lefty Jake Diekman replaced Hyatt heading into the third. The 6'3" pitcher walked one and struck out two in the inning, keeping it a 0-0 game. Scott Sitz entered the game for the Seminoles, allowing the first hit of spring training to Tuffy Gosewisch, a double off the right field wall. After a walk to Rollins, Victorino popped out to left, leaving two stranded.

Jeremy Horst, acquired in the Wilson Valdez trade entered in the fourth along with Galvis at shortstop, and Gillies in center. The Seminoles went down in order, thanks in part to some righteous defense from Galvis and Pence. Kyle Bird tossed a scoreless inning for the 'noles.

The fifth inning brought about Hector Luna at third, Luis Montanez in right field, and Michael Schwimer on the mound, who retired the side in what seemed like 2 minutes.  Dave Smith also tossed a scoreless fifth, striking out Jim Thome to end the inning.

Scott Podsednik took over in left field, Pete Orr came in to play second, and Joe Savery took the mound to start the sixth. After allowing two singles, Savery stranded the two, retiring the side on a strikeout. Tyson Gillies scored on an infield single, leaving the bases loaded for Mayberry who grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

Kevin Frandsen replaced John Mayberry at first base while J.C. Ramirez replaced Savery in the seventh. After a grounder went through the legs of Pete Orr, Ramirez allowed a single through the hole in short. The 'noles tied the game 1-1 on a wild pitch.

Pete Orr scored on a single from Erik Kratz, putting the Phillies up 2-1 in the seventh. With the bases loaded, Tyson Gillies made it to first on a fielders choice, scoring Kratz. After a balk, another run scored, making it a 4-1 game. Hector Luna then proceeded to smash a baseball into the Seminoles' bullpen. 6-1 Phillies.

The score remained 6-1 as B.J. Rosenberg retired the side in the ninth for the Phils, helping them win the ballgame. However, an extra half inning was played for no reason whatsoever. The Seminoles wanted to see one of their pitchers toss an inning, which he did without allowing a hit.

Next game will be Saturday versus Yankees at at Bright House Field at 1:05.


What Do You Do When Your "Ace" Goes 7-14? Make Brett Myers a Closer!

Posted by Frank Klose

Brett_Myers

Back in 2007, the Phillies had two things:  six starting pitchers, and one of the worst bullpens ever assembled.

They really had no choice but to make Brett Myers a start.   In 2007 the Phillies had the following in their bullpen:

  • Antonio Alfonseca
  • Joe Bisenius
  • Fabio Castro
  • Clay Condrey
  • Kane Davis
  • J.D. Durbin
  • John Ennis
  • Anderson Garcia
  • Geoff Geary
  • Tom Gordon
  • Yoel Hernandez
  • Ryan Madson
  • Jose Mesa
  • Francisco Rosario
  • J.C. Romero
  • Brian Sanches (Who is in camp competing for a job now in 2012)
  • Zach Segovia
  • Matt Smith
  • Mike Zagurski

That's 19 relievers, most of whom were mediocre.  It took Ryan Madson finally starting to come to form down the stretch and the waiver claim of J.C. Romero to stablize the bullpen enough for the Phillies' first N.L. East Championship since 1993.

Brett Myers made the jump to the bullpen while Tom Gordon was still on the active roster.  It was only a matter of time (as we saw) that Gordon's arm fell off and Myers was a closer.

As a reliever, Myers saved 21 out of 24 opportunities, and we all remember this scene when the Phillies won the division in 2007:

 

The Astros current bullpen situation is akin to that 2007 Phillies team.  The current Astros relief corps includes/may include the likes of the following:

  • Fernando Abad
  • Juan Abreu
  • Sergio Escalona
  • Wilton Lopez
  • Brandon Lyon
  • Aneury Rodriguez
  • Fernando Rodriguez
  • Wesley Wright
  • A demoted J.A. Happ

Yeah, I'd say they could use Brett Myers in the bullpen.

Truth be told, there is plenty of good news for Brett Myers.  

First, he is set to make $11 million this year, more than more-established closers Ryan Madson, Brian Wilson, Heath Bell, Matt Capps, Joe Nathan, Jose Valverde, and many others you probably would prefer to have over Myers.  

Second, if he does a decent job as a closer (not even great), he could be a good trade candidate at the July 31 deadline.  What team does NOT need bullpen help at the deadline?  Myers could go from the basement-dwelling Astros to a team with a chance to win.  

P.S. - He's looking a little chubbier than ever


Phillies Slugger Ryan Howard Has Joined Twitter

Posted By: Stephen Gallo

HowardIt's a slow Phillies news day, but this is worth noting. Ryan Howard, fresh off his torn achilles and all has joined the world of Twitter. You can follow him @RyanHoward6  (whether you like that nerdy hat he's wearing in his pic or not).

For all those non-believers, Jimmy Rollins confirmed it's real:

Jim

Todd Zolecki even confirmed it:

Z

The current Phillies players, Jimmy Rollins, Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Vance Worley to name a few are very talkative towards fans and love to interact with the Phillies faithful on pretty much a daily basis. It's nice to add our rehabbing slugger to that list.

That leads me to the question; what Philllies player would you most like to see join Twitter? It'd be great to interact with Doc or Cliff, or talk strategy with Utley. How about the lovable Chooch?

***Update 7:00pm: Howard has dropped the 6 from his handle. His new Twitter handle is simply @RyanHoward .***

 

 


Phillies' Lineup Vs FSU Wednesday 2/29

Posted by Erik Seybold

Stgame

The Phillies are done B.S-ing around with their little workouts. It's time to start playing some baseball! The Phillies will host the Florida State Seminoles tomorrow afternoon at Bright House Field in Clearwater @ 1:05 PM ET. I honestly don't know if it's being broadcast on TV, but I know it will be on the radio. You can listen to the game on 94.1 WIP FM and on 1210 WPHT AM.

The Phillies will send out Austin Hyatt to start the game against the Seminoles. Hyatt went 12-6 with a 3.85 ERA in 154 1/3 innings (28 starts) with double-A Reading last season.  Hyatt will be followed by Jake Diekman, Jeremy Horst, Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery, J.C. Ramirez, B.J. Rosenberg, and Phillippe Aumont on Wednesday.

Now the material you've all been waiting to read.

Phillies Lineup vs FSU 2/29.

  1. JRoll - SS.
  2. Pierre - DH.
  3. Victorino - CF.
  4. Pence - RF.
  5. Wigginton - 3B.
  6. Brown - LF.
  7. Mayberry - 1B.
  8. MiniMart - 2B.
  9. Gosewisch - C. 

Charlie Manuel said the Phillies won't play Chase Utley or Placido Polanco tomorrow so they can ease back into things. 

Finally, baseball is back and so are the Phillies. Let's Go Fightin's!

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


Former Phillie Danys Baez Retires After 11 Seasons

Posted by Erik Seybold.

Baez2Photo Courtesy of Philaphans.com

As first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, 11-year veteran Danyz Baez has decided to retire from baseball.

Baez previously pitched for the Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and the Baltimore Orioles. After spending most of his career hopping teams, Baez signed a two-year deal with the Phillies before the 2010 season. Phillies fans did not think fondly of Baez as he posted a 5.81 ERA in 83.2 innings over two seasons. The Phillies released Baez in August of 2011 after he posted an ERA of 6.25 in 29 appearances.

One point in Baez’s tenure in Philly that will mostly be remembered is his five shutout innings in the 19-inning game against the Cincinnati Reds on May 25th. Baez’s five-inning performance led Wilson Valdez to pitch in the 19th inning. The Phillies went on to win it in the bottom half. Even though Valdez was credited with the win, Baez did in fact give the Phillies the best chance to win.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him@ErikSeyboldPHI.

 


Phillies 1B Ryan Howard Injury Update 2/26

Posted by Erik Seybold

Howardbp
Yesterday afternoon, the Phillies stated that Ryan Howard would be making a trip to Baltimore to see a specialist for a "routine checkup" related to his left Achilles'. Although the Phillies said it wasn't a "setback", many of us wondered what was really going on. Well today it was cleared up a bit, Phillies' athletic trainer Scott Sheridan announced today that Ryan Howard has developed a reaction to his stitches, and that it is not a serious matter.

"The last couple days he developed what we think is a delayed reaction to his sutures," said Sheridan. "He's going to be traveling to Baltimore where he's going to see [Dr. Mark Myerson] tomorrow. Mark is going to evaluate him and then we'll determine what his treatment plan is from there."

Sheridan went on to say, "He did not have a setback. We just need to have this one area evaluated. It's just something that happens as part of the rehab process. The achilles tendon is notorious for not healing well, the skin over top of it. Sometimes these things happen, that's why when you look at setting time frames you never say somebody's head or behind schedule until he's on the field."

Sheridan also says that he's happy with Howard's progress.

"Ryan has been doing great. He's been on the field doing the things we expect of him at this point and we just hope things keep going in the right direction."

You can watch Sheridan's interview here

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.

 


Roy Halladay Throws BP, Cliff Lee Throws Bullpen Session, Mike Schmidt Arrives

Posted by Erik Seybold.

Docbp2Photo Courtesy of (@ryanlawrence21)

This morning, Roy Halladay took the hill to throw some batting practice to his teammates. At the plate stood Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino, and John Mayberry. No word on how the three did, but I'm sure Halladay tallied higher. 

Cliff Lee is back on the hill after suffering a minor-abdominal setback on Friday. Lee called it "soreness", but the Phillies did take precaution and haulted his activity for a few days. Check out the video below. Courtesy of Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21

 

I don't think there is any reason to be worried about Cliff Lee. He's just getting back into the groove of things. He'll most likely start against the Yankees next Sunday.

In other news, Michal Jack Schmidt has made his annual trip to Clearwater to instruct and advise the Phillies. He does this every year, so it's not surprising.

Schmidt(Mike Schmidt and Ryne Sandberg are at camp. Photo courtesy of Phillies.com)

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI. 


Austin Hyatt Gets Nod Against Florida State

Posted by Erik Seybold.

Springgames

This Wednesday night, the Phillies will host the Florida State Seminoles in their annual pre-Grapefruit League exhibition match up. The Phillies will send out righthander Austin Hyatt to start the game. The 25 year-old Hyatt posted an excellent season for double-A Reading in 2011. He went 12-6 with a 3.85 ERA in 28 starts with 171 strikeouts and 49 walks in 154 1/3 innings. 

A few Phillies people have compared Hyatt's stuff to that of Kyle Kendrick, with more strikeout prowess. Hyatt doesn't have overpowering stuff, but "sneaks up on you," said one evaluator. So the Phillies will see how that fares in triple A, and maybe he provides starting depth. - Matt Gelb 

Hyatt will be followed by Jake Diekman, Jeremy Horst, Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery, J.C. Ramirez, B.J. Rosenberg, and Phillippe Aumont on Wednesday.

The Phillies-FSU game will begin at 1:05 PM ET. It will be the first MLB exhibition game of 2012, just three days before Grapefruit League games begin. The Phillies will host the Yankees in the opener in Saturday, followed by another game between the two on Sunday in Tampa.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.




Phillies' Ryan Howard Has A New Contract

Posted by Erik Seybold.

RyanhowardgroundersPhoto courtesy of (@ToddZolecki)

Ryan Howard has a new contract. No, not with the Phillies. Sorry if I led you on wrong, but I couldn't resist. But seriously, Howard has signed a contract with the Baltimore-based sporting equipment company Under Armour. 

Howard has notably endorsed Adidas over the past few years, but he did say on Friday that he will be signing an endorsement deal with Under Armour. Howard will sport Under Armour sneakers, cleats, batting gloves, and wrist bands this season. It is unclear how long the deal is and how much it is worth.

Howard will also be wearing a new mitt this season. He used to sport an Adidas logo on his mitt, but has been most recently been using a Rawlings brand mitt. He met with a Rawlings representative on Friday. 

As of now, Howard and the Phillies are easing back into the groove of things cautiously. Howard began taking ground balls and batting practice earlier this week at a slow pace. Phillies management has ruled him out as the Opening Day first baseman, and he could be back on the field by as early as May 1st.

[H/T]: Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN)

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.