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So...Cole Hamels Has a Mustache

Af(Photo: Philliedelphia/Erik Seybold)

Just earlier this week, Cole Hamels made a start against the Tigers sporting a full-fledged beard. Today, he sits in the dugout sporting a full-fledged mustache. Yes - a mustache. Hamels did say that he would be shaving off the beard after his start on Wednesday, but I wasn't expecting this.

Either Cole is paying homage to the glorious 1980's 'stache of Mike Schmidt, or he's auditioning for a porno. Whatever the case, it looks like Cole is just experimenting with his facial hair. 

If you ask me, he looks better clean shaven. What do you think of Mr. Hamels' mustache?

Erik is a writer for Philliedelphia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.

 


Lee, Buehrle face off in first On-Deck game

Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 2.00.46 PM

Cliff Lee will make his final spring start before the regular season in tonight's On-Deck series opener against the Blue Jays.

The Phillies left Clearwater with a bang, beating the Blue Jays yesterday, 7-2, with the help of two home runs in the late innings. Both teams made the trip north the Philadelphia and Citizens Bank Park as they will face each other in the Phillies' annual On-Deck series for the next two days. Game one of this mini-series opens with a night-cap, a rarity in spring games. But for Phillies fans, this provides a look at the team where they are accustomed to watching, right at home in Citizens Bank Park.

Cliff Lee makes his final spring training tune-up in the opener of this series. Lee's last start was his worst of the spring. He allowed six runs (four earned) on nine hits against the Red Sox. He hit one batter, allowed no walks and struck out seven. That start was Lee's first appearance in Grapefruit League play after taking 10 days off from traditional game action and playing in minor-league games.

For the Blue Jays, lefty Mark Buehrle takes the mound for his final spring start. Buehrle has allowed nine runs in 13 innings this spring while walking seven and striking out seven. He faced the Phillies five times in 2012 as a member of the Miami Marlins, going 2-2 with a 3.24 ERA.

Game Notes:

  • Once again, Ben Revere is at the top of the order leading off. Could a strong weekend by the new Phillies' centerfielder make this lineup the Opening Day lineup?
  • Humberto Quintero gets a start tonight catching. The Phillies haven't announced the Opening Day roster just yet, but it is believed that the race for backup catcher - in the absence of Carlos Ruiz for 25 games - is down to Quintero and Steven Lerud.
  • Mike Adams, Phillippe Aumont and Jonathan Papelbon are also scheduled to pitch in tonight's game. Since Papelbon's shaky spring debut (2/3 IP, 5 H, 6 ER on Feb. 25), the three relievers have combined to allow only five earned runs.

Phillies lineup

  1. Ben Revere CF
  2. Jimmy Rollins SS
  3. Chase Utley 2B
  4. Ryan Howard 1B
  5. Michael Young 3B
  6. Domonic Brown LF
  7. John Mayberry Jr. RF
  8. Erik Kratz DH
  9. Humberto Quintero C

Cliff Lee will start tonight's game.

Blue Jays lineup

  1. Jose Reyes SS
  2. Melky Cabrera LF
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion 1B
  5. J.P Arencibia C
  6. Mark DeRosa 3B
  7. Rajai Davis DH
  8. Colby Rasmus CF
  9. Emilio Bonifacio 2B

Mark Buehrle will start tonight's game.

TV: TCN/MLBN
Radio: 1210 WPHT

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

On-Deck Series, Mini-Preview

Philadelphia Phillies (81-81 in 2012) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (73-89 in 2012).

Preview:
Two more totally meaningless games in Philadelphia will complete the exhibition schedule. Presumably, Cliff Lee will throw Friday for some period of time, as will Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan on Saturday, though not even ESPN is listing any pitching names for this, let alone the Phillies. The main items of interest in these games are whether or not Ben Revere keeps hitting lead-off, and which corner Dom Brown lines up in for the outfield. The last roster battles appear to be Aumont-Stutes, and Orr-Inciarte. Both are likely to be settled by Saturday afternoon at the latest. For Toronto this is the last stop before a season where they are the trendy pick in the AL East right now. They did just give J.A. Happ a rotation spot, and ink him to an extension though, so it's tough to call them a favorite.

Game Times:
Friday's game is 7:05. Saturday's is 1:05. Tickets are available for as low as $6.

3/29 Minor League Roster Projections- The Final Ones?

Morning Call IronPig's beat writer Jeff Schuler wrote in his piece about the team that the Phillies were supposed to release minor league rosters yesterday, but didn't. So they may release them anytime today. The other big news of the overnight was the release of Austin Hyatt, a starter for Reading and Lehigh Valley over the last two years. It is apparent to me that the Phillies did not see a move to the bullpen here as being worth it, and he was better off being a starter elsewhere.

With that said, this may be my last crack at it, but here's my IronPigs prediction:

  • Rotation: Cloyd, Pettibone, Martin, Morgan, Rosenberg.
  • Line-Up: Gillies-CF, Hernandez-2B, J. Mitchell-RF, Ruf-LF, Asche-3B, Joseph-C, Overbeck-DH/1B, Fields-1B, Martinez-SS.
  • Bullpen: Stutes, De Fratus, Diekman, Savery, Friend, Jimenez, Cochran.
  • Bench: Orr, Quintero, Castro, Susdorf.
  • DL: Blanco.
I think this is close to done. Cochran may not be safe if he doesn't win the fifth starter job, and Orr could possibly play short over Martinez. Either way, I don't see the actual roster changing.
So then, Reading:
  • Rotation: Biddle, Buchanan, Garcia, Wright, Colvin.
  • Line-Up: Collier-CF, Hanzawa-SS, Welty-RF, Murphy-1B, Mitchell-LF, Valle-C/DH, Rupp-DH/C, Abreu-3B, Cartwright-2B.
  • Bullpen: Simon, Robles, Rosin, Ramirez, Sosa, Ellis, Neris.
  • Bench: Suomi, Murphy, Tolbert, Hewitt.
  • DL: James, Henson, Johnson.
And down the A Ball level, no changes:
Clearwater-
  • Rotation: Hollands, Garner, Stewart, Kleven, Milner.
  • Line-Up: Hudson-CF, Altherr-RF, Alvarez-LF, Franco-3B/DH, Martinez-1B/DH/3B, Alonso-1B/3B/DH, Ludy-C, Villalobos-SS, Carver-2B.
  • Bullpen: Arias, Shreve, O'Sullivan, Murray, Nesseth, Hernandez, Giles.
  • Bench: Lavin, Roof, Stassi, Moore.
  • DL: Dugan, Stumpo. 
Lakewood-
  • Rotation: Watson, Warner, Brady, Stefan, Martinez.
  • Line-Up: Quinn-SS, Tocci-OF, Walding-3B, Serritella-1B, Pointer-OF, Greene-2B, Hill-C, Perkins-OF, Arthur-DH.
  • Bullpen: Inch, Santos, Rojas, Broussard, Aizenstadt, Cooper, Oviedo.
  • Bench: Quaranto, Olmo, Taylor, Mora.
  • DL: Numata, Carmona.

Final Roster Projection, 3/29

Photo by my Father in Minnesota, 2012.
Well, later today the Phillies will play the Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park.  Being that these are the final two exhibition games, it seems time to make a roster prediction. Here goes our final one:

  • Rotation: Hamels, Halladay, Lee, Kendrick, Lannan.
  • Line-Up: Revere-CF, Rollins-SS, Utley-2B, Howard-1B, M. Young-3B, Brown-RF/LF, Mayberry/Nix-RF/LF, Kratz.
  • Bullpen: Papelbon, Adams, Durbin, Bastardo, Horst, Valdes, Aumont.
  • Bench: Mayberry/Nix, Frandsen, Galvis, Lerud, Inciarte.
  • DL: D. Young.
  • Restricted: Ruiz.
  • 40 Man, Inactive: Gillies, Ruf, Collier, Hernandez, Valle, Cloyd, Pettibone, Martin, Stutes, De Fratus, Diekman, Rosenberg, Savery, Robles.
So I basically am predicting:
  • Platoon in left-field. 
  • Aumont wins out over Stutes, while Horst and Valdes are going to make it.
  • Lerud beats out Quintero.
  • Inciarte wins out over Orr because he's an actual outfielder.
So, that's my prediction. I guess we'll see soon.

Wrapping Up Spring Training

Spring Training is over. The Phillies are breaking camp, getting on a plane, and heading north to Philadelphia to play two with the Blue Jays before heading to Atlanta for Opening Day. I wanted to take one quick moment to re-cap the good and bad of the spring.

1. Good- Seeing the prospects- I always love this part of spring training. Tommy Joseph, Cody Asche, and Adam Morgan are just names if you don't get to see them play a little. They played, and for the most part were semi-impressive this camp.

1. Bad- Doc- Ugh. A 6.06 ERA, velocity all over the place, and every kind of illness from stomach viruses to dead arm (but never a lat pull again) hit him this spring. So did minor league hitters. Doc did not look ready to go next week, even as late as today. Yes, his velocity was up to 88-91, but he was up with everything, and had no cutter.
2. Good- Healthy, happy offense- Ryan Howard looked great. Chase Utley was pretty darn good. Dom Brown was off the charts. The key was, none of them were hurt. Sure, left-field is a concern right now, but for the most part, the line-up gave a good accounting for themselves.
2. Bad- The non-roster invitee saga- I understand that you need a lot of players in camp to play the games. Makes sense. Every year though, we end up spending the latter part of spring training concerned about the Luis Castillo-Aaron Cook-Yuniesky Betancourt, and none of them end up on the team. Of course we bring them to camp, of course they perform good (a major leaguer playing for a job against a lot of minor leaguers will do that), and of course then we all talk about them making the team. Do they ever? Nah.
1. Good and Bad- The Hooters' Ball Girls- Ok, I like them, what guy doesn't. They're attractive women. Yes, I like Hooters' wings. Yes, I'm fine with someone playing down the line to get foul balls. My worry is that these girls had a few "slip ups" this spring. I love the idea, like the girls, and hate when they grab a fair ball. I do understand that the original Hooters was in Clearwater, so that's cool, but teach them the rules?
2. Good and Bad- The fan friendly experience... that I missed for a second straight year- Seriously, there's nothing cooler than being at spring training games. Everything's fun, everything's good, the players are in a good mood, and they'll even converse with you. I hope everyone enjoyed it. I didn't this year, for a second straight year. This just has to change next year.

Some stats for you to forget about come Monday in Atlanta-

  • Dom Brown- .376/.430/.671/1.101, 7 HR, 17 RBI's, 6 BB, 14 K's.
  • Ryan Howard- .338/.368/.663/1.030, 7 HR, 16 RBI's, 4 BB, 16 K's.
  • Chase Utley- .273/.368/.545/.914, 5 HR, 16 RBI's, 9 BB, 10 K's.
  • Ben Revere- .337/.382/.398/.780, 10 SB, 17 R, 6 BB, 10 K's.
Semi-real baseball starts tomorrow in Philly.

3/28 Phillies Roster Projections: No Changes

Yesterday I did a roster prediction for every team that is breaking camp in the Phillies system this week.

Today I have no changes.

Today they did play, and they did win their finale in Florida, a 7-2 win over the Blue Jays. The Phillies finish the Grapefruit schedule 16-15, and now head north to play the on-deck series at CBP starting tomorrow. They see the Blue Jays again, for both games.

Some of the big spring questions were answered. I'll re-cap the spring later, but for now, here's a recap of yesterday's roster projections.

Phillies-
  • Rotation: Hamels, Halladay, Lee, Kendrick, Lannan.
  • Line-Up: Rollins-SS, Revere-CF, Utley-2B, Howard-1B, M. Young-3B, Brown-RF, Mayberry-LF, Kratz-C.
  • Bullpen: Papelbon, Adams, Durbin, Bastardo, Horst, Aumont, Valdes. In the running: Stutes, Cook.
  • Bench: Nix, Frandsen, Galvis, Lerud, Inciarte. In the running: Orr, Quintero.
  • DL: D. Young.
  • Restricted: Ruiz.
  • 40 man, inactive: Gillies, Collier, Ruf, Hernandez, Valle, Pettibone, Cloyd, Martin, Stutes, De Fratus, Rosenberg, Diekman, Robles, Savery.
Lehigh Valley-
  • Rotation: Cloyd, Pettibone, Martin, Rosenberg, Morgan. In the running: Cochran, Bass.
  • Line-Up: Gillies-CF, Hernandez-2B, Mitchell-RF, Ruf-LF, Asche-3B, Joseph-C, Overbeck-DH,  Field-1B, Martinez-SS.
  • Bullpen: Stutes, De Fratus, Diekman, Friend, Savery, Jimenez, Cochran. In the running: Bass, Hyatt.
  • Bench: Orr, Quintero, Tolbert, Susdorf.
  • DL: Bass, Blanco.
Reading-
  • Rotation: Biddle, Buchanan, Garcia, Wright, Colvin. In the running: Hyatt.
  • Line-Up: Collier-CF, Hanzawa-SS, Welty-RF, Murphy-1B, Castro-LF, Valle-C/DH, Rupp-DH/C, Abreu-3B, Cartwright-2B.
  • Bullpen: Simon, Robles, Rosin, Ramirez, Hyatt, Sosa, Ellis. In the running: Johnson.
  • Bench: Suomi, Murphy, Mitchell, Hewitt. In the running: Henson.
  • DL: Johnson, Henson, James.
Clearwater-
  • Rotation: Hollands, Garner, Stewart, Kleven, Milner.
  • Line-Up: Hudson-CF, Altherr-RF, Alvarez-LF, Franco-3B/DH, Martinez-1B/DH/3B, Alonso-1B/3B/DH, Ludy-C, Villalobos-SS, Carver-2B.
  • Bullpen: Arias, Shreve, O'Sullivan, Murray, Nesseth, Hernandez, Giles.
  • Bench: Lavin, Roof, Stassi, Moore.
  • DL: Dugan, Stumpo. 
Lakewood-
  • Rotation: Watson, Warner, Brady, Stefan, Martinez.
  • Line-Up: Quinn-SS, Tocci-OF, Walding-3B, Serritella-1B, Pointer-OF, Greene-2B, Hill-C, Perkins-OF, Arthur-DH.
  • Bullpen: Inch, Santos, Rojas, Broussard, Aizenstadt, Cooper, Oviedo.
  • Bench: Quaranto, Olmo, Taylor, Mora.
  • DL: Numata, Carmona.

Former Phillies Catcher, Broadcaster Tim McCarver Will Retire From Fox

Timmcarver

Controversial to many, Tim McCarver remains a big part of Philadelphia Phillies history.  McCarver had two stints with the Phillies, 1970-1972, and 1975-1980 and has been a national broadcaster since his retirement from Major League Baseball. On Wednesday, McCarver announced that he would retire from broadcasting after the 2013 season.

McCarver may be best known in Philadelphia as Steve Carlton's personal catcher.  McCarver and Carlton first developed a battery relationship when they came up with the St. Louis Cardinals together.  McCarver came to the Phillies first in a trade and caught Rick Wise's 1971 perfect game.  That offseason the Phillies traded Wise for Carlton and they were reunited.  After spending part of 1972 with the Expos and splitting 1973 through part of 1975 with the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox, McCarver signed with the Phillies once again and became Carlton's catcher once more.

McCarver first retired after the 1979 season and began a career in broadcasting, first with Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn for the Phillies.  However, he briefly unretired to return to the Phillies in September of 1980.  He played just six games and did not play during the Phillies' playoff run.  While a Phillies broadcaster McCarver mixed in some national work part-time.  After the season McCarver returned to the Phillies broadcast booth for two more season before going exclusively national.

McCarver has worked for NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOx.  Since 1996, McCarver has been exclusively paired with Joe Buck on Fox baseball broadcasts.  He has called 13 World Series.


Roy Halladay Leads Phillies In Florida Finale Against Blue Jays

Docspring2013Photo: Philliedelphia/Lindsey Crew

I goofed yesterday when I said that yesterday's game was the final spring training game in Florida. I mis-read the schedule and thought the On-Deck Series started today. My bad. The Phils ended up winning nonetheless, so that's good news.

Anyway, today is really the last day that the Phillies will be in Clearwater and it's a pretty big deal because not only is Opening Day arriving in five days, but Roy Halladay (2-1, 6.75 ERA) is making his last start before the regular season. Halladay has had an interesting spring full of surprises: a dead arm, a stomach bug, and extreme decrease in his velocity. Although he says he is "physically ready to go", it's certainely going to take a lot to prove himself healthy.

Halladay made his last start on Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays' Triple-A campers. Halladay faced 18 batters and 11 of those reached base. He allowed three runs in four innings and struggled with his velocity, as most of his pitches fell below 90 MPH. He did, however, manage to strike out three batters. Halladay last made a start with the big league club on March 17th against Baltimore, where he lasted only an inning before being pulled for a stomach virus. Halladay has allowed twelve earned runs in 16 innings of work over six starts (including his minor league outing). It's tough to say what is actually going on with Halladay because what we as fans see from him opposes what sees from himself.

Opposing Halladay and the Phils will be RHP Brandon Morrow (0-2, 7.80 ERA), who is making his sixth and last start of the spring. Morrow has struggled with locating his pitches and his command and he has paid for said lack of location. In 15 innings of work Morrow has allowed 13 runs, 11 earned in five starts. In Morrow's last outing, against Atlanta on Saturday, he lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits. Morrow surrendered a walk and struck out two in the no-decision outing. Morrow is in line to start the second or third games of the regular season against Cleveland next week. 

Game Notes: 

  • Today is a big day for Roy Halladay, who needs to prove that he is ready for the regular season.
  • Ben Revere will be leading off for the third straight ball game.
  • Freddy Galvis will play 3B today.

Phillies lineup:

  1. Ben Revere CF
  2. Jimmy Rollins SS
  3. Chase Utley 2B
  4. Ryan Howard 1B
  5. Domonic Brown LF
  6. Laynce Nix RF
  7. Freddy Galvis 3B
  8. Erik Kratz C
  9. Roy Halladay P

Blue Jays lineup:

  1. Jose Reyes SS
  2. Melky Cabrera CF
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion 1B
  5. Adam Lind DH
  6. J.P. Arencibia C
  7. Colby Rasmus LF
  8. Maicer Izturis 3B
  9. Emilio Bonafacio 2B

Brandon Morrow will start today's game.

Gametime Forecast: 64°F • Mostly Sunny • 0%PoP

TV: The Comcast Network

Radio: None

Erik Seybold is a writer for Philliedelphia. Follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


As Penguins Get Iginla, Flyers Stay Put

Jarome_Iginla._2008

 

The pass and shot will echo through the eternal hockey halls for ages.

It was in the gold medal game of the 2010 Olympics when a certain winger threaded a perfect pass between two USA defenders to find a swift-skated sniper, who prompted buried the rubber past a slow-to-react Ryan Miller.

Those two unnamed identities? They’re about to be reunited.

That’s right.  The Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby will soon be joined by one of the most ferocious leaders in hockey with the arrival of Jarome Iginla.

It’s sure to cause matchup fits for opposing teams. With the Pens acquisition of James Neal, they saw immediate chemistry between him and Evgeni Malkin.  Now, the Penguins have a top winger to go along with Crosby, and perhaps the scoreboard-buster Chris Kunitz, who is currently third in the league with 19 goals.

The Penguins put those two lines out there, with top flight centers paired alongside top flight wingers, and opposing teams will get headaches trying to keep up.

The Pittsburgh squad also acquired forward Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars and Douglas Murray. 

While Morrow isn’t the threat and presence that Iginla is, he has a scorer’s touch, as he has netted 30 in two different seasons. Murray will help out the Penguin’s defense and probably be on their second defensive pairing. With his large frame (6 foot 3, 245 lbs.), he’s a good addition to a Pittsburgh defense that lacks a solid physical presence. 

The Penguins will now assume the role of favorite to win the Cup, seeing that they are already tops in the Eastern Conference.  They’ve made improvements, but they are not unbeatable.  Marc-Andre Fleury is a good goaltender, but he can be inconsistent.  The defense isn’t the best either.

That offense, though.  The only word I have for it is formidable.

What does it mean for the Flyers?  Although not totally out of it, they obviously need a different mix.  This surely isn’t working. 

You would have to think they try and move Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell, and while they’re at it, a majority of their defensive corps (or defensive corpse, considering their play of late) but both have no trade clauses, which means both Briere and Hartnell would have to agree to be traded.  I would personally be offended if Briere or Hartnell didn’t accept the Flyers trade attempts. 

The amount of investment (the Flyers have paid Briere $43.5 million since his signing in the 2007 offseason and Hartnell $25 million since he was traded to them in 2007) and dedication the team has shown these two is beyond comprehension.

They have to be moved, but is it even possible?

 Briere still has 2 years after this one with $6.5 million cap hits. Hartnell was just signed for (and this is what will probably get Holmgren fired) 6 more years, with a $4.75 cap hit. 

In my mind, Hartnell’s play is rage-inducing.  He clearly has top-notch power forward skills, but he does make the most mindless of mistakes.  He’s 30 years of age now, and yet it seems like he can’t stay on his skates, takes the most mind-numbing penalties, and generally just skates like a foolish cretin.  He’s a physical specimen, but a Neanderthal to be sure, without the paleontological credentials.

To be honest, though, I doubt any team would take a chance on either Briere or Hartnell, unless the Flyers packaged them with younger prospects. Sean Couturier, Matt Read, or Scott Laughton would have to be involved with them, and that would be criminal to give them up if they didn’t get a young piece in return.

  I do still think they have a shot at making the playoffs, but to do it, they’ll need help.  And that would be too much of a risk because of how poorly they’ve played; they must attempt to reload. 

The Penguins have stocked their shelves full of the freshest ingredients and are ready to make a run for the greatest trophy in sports.

The Flyers?

They’re praying they still have shelves when the season is over.