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Howard pinch-hit drives in two, Phils top Mets 5-1

Phils1

Working with his regular catcher for the first time this season, Cole Hamels fought off control issues to win his first game of the season as the Phillies beat the New York Mets 5-1 on Sunday.

Hamels, who struck out eight in six innings, fell behind early against the Mets, who took the lead early in the first when David Wright singled home Ruben Tejada, continuing his career success against Hamels. The RBI was Wright's 19th of the season and 11th career  off of the left-hander.

After that, the Mets were held mostly in check, although Hamels would keep it interesting throught. Eight men reached base against Hamels, though only two were hits. His six walks kept him from having a single clean inning aside from the second. He was pulled after six innings, having thrown 111 pitches, 62 for strikes.

Despite the baserunners, Hamels managed to stymie the Mets long enough for the offense to catch up. The Phillies' hitters managed just a handful of hits off of Mets starter Jonathan Niese until  Freddy Galvis sent a fifth-inning pitch from Niese into the left field seats to tie the score at 1. 

Philadelphia really broke out in the 7th, when Ryan Howard was sent to pinch-hit for Kevin Frandsen, who had gotten the start at first. Howard doubled off of Scott Atchison to drive in a pair, and Chase Utley singled him in to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead they would not surrender.

Receiving another insurance run coutesy of a John Mayberry Jr. RBI double, the trio of Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon held New Yord to just one hit over the last 3 innings for the win. The Mets notched just 3 hits total against Phillies pitchers.

The Phillies (12-14) take Monday off before heading to Cleveland to face Zach McAllister and the Indians. Philadelphia will counter with Roy Halladay, fresh off of an impressive start against the Pirates allowing one run in six innings, striking out 8.

The Mets (10-13) head to Miami to face the Marlins Monday. They will be hoping that Matt Harvey will be able to end their current four-game losing streak. Miami sends young Jose Fernandez to the mound following two straight clunkers after posting strong outings in his first two starts.


Carlos Ruiz Returns, Cole Hamels Seeks First Win As Phils Eye Sweep In Queens

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The Phillies are on a roll in New York and it's been a fantastic weekend full of runs, more runs and great pitching. Kyle Kendrick threw a complete game shut out on Friday and Jonathan Pettibone earned his first career win as the Phillies' bats backed him big time scoring nine runs yesteday to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. Today, the Phillies will go for the sweep in New York and will attempt the sweep as Cole Hamels (0-3, 5.40 ERA) and Jonathan Niese (2-1, 3.81 ERA) square off in the series finale. There's more news on today's plate as Carlos Ruiz makes his season debut after serving a 25-game suspension for PED-use.

Cole Hamels has pitched exceptionally well over his last three starts, but has no wins to show for it. Over his last three starts, Hamels has allowed six earned runs through 21 innings pitched. A lack of run support is to blame for Hamels going 0-3 to start the season for the first time in his career. In his last outing, on Tuesday against Pittsburgh, Hamels went eight strong innings allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking one. Despite getting his third quality start on the year, Hamels was handed the loss as his offense couldn't score a single run. Hamels is hoping that the Phillies will carry over their hot bats from yesterday into today to help him out. In his career against New York, Hamels has a 5-10 record with a 4.33 ERA (62 ER in 129 IP) 

Jonathan Niese is making his start as scheduled despite leaving his last outing early after being hit on the leg by a line drive. Before his early departure, Niese allowed an earned run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings pitched. Niese walked three and struck out one. In his start before that, Niese held the Rockies to three earned through six innings, but was handed the loss. Niese has had fair numbers against Philadelphia in his career. In over 79 career innings of work, Niese has a 5-5 record with a 3.63 ERA (32 ER in 79 1/3 IP). 

Carlos Ruiz is back in the Phillies lineup since 2011 (excluding Spring Training) as he returns today. Ruiz was suspended by Major League Baseball in November after testing positive for an amphetamine, later noted as adderall. The Phillies have struggled offensively without Chooch at the plate as well as going 11-14 in their first 25 games.

Game Notes:

  • CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCH!
  • The Phillies have only averaged only 3.50 runs per game, 24th in MLB with out Ruiz.
  • The Phillies are a game away from sweeping their first series of the season.

Phillies lineup:

  1. Jimmy Rollins SS
  2. Kevin Frandsen 1B
  3. Chase Utley 2B
  4. Michael Young 3B
  5. Carlos Ruiz C
  6. Domonic Brown RF
  7. John Mayberry Jr. CF
  8. Freddy Galvis LF
  9. Cole Hamels P

Cole Hamels will start today's game.

Mets lineup:

  1. Ruben Tejada SS
  2. Daniel Murphy 2B
  3. David Wright 3B
  4. John Buck C
  5. Lucas Duda LF
  6. Marlon Byrd RF
  7. Ike Davis 1B
  8. Juan Lagares CF
  9. Jonathan Niese P

Jonathan Niese will start today's game.

First Pitch Forecast: Sunny - 65° - 10% PoP

TV: myPHL17
Radio:
94 WIP, 1210 WPHT

Let's Go Fightins!

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

 


The Kids Are Alright...For Collecting

 

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Darin Ruf TTM success

 

If you are a collector of Phillies autographs, your attention should be focused on the next generation of players.  While many of us have spent (or would spend) a lot of money for an established star like Chase Utley sign a ball, the savvy collector sent him one in 2004, when he routinely signed through-the-mail (TTM) for free.

It is a tactic as old as time: identify the next star and have them sign something for you...before everyone else is asking, too.  Though, it can be hit-or-miss (see: Pat Combs, or Mickey Morandini in the late-80s), when you hit, you can hit really big.  A quick check of Sports Collectors Net's archives shows that in addition to Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz all used to sign TTM in the mid-2000s.  Even, surly Cliff Lee was known to honor an autograph request until his trade to the Phillies in 2009.

Instead of mourning the lost opportunities, collectors should seek new ones.  Last year I sought the signatures of a few guys with a potential upside, and scored with former top prospect Trevor May, Justin DeFratus and Phillipe Aumont.   And, over the past few weeks I have received successful replies from two future-Phillies, Tommy Joseph and Darin Ruf.

Keep an eye out for in-person opportunities, too.  Many "stars of tomorrow" will be signing at events over the next few months, starting with prospect Cody Asche, who is signing for $15 in Lancaster next weekend.  Attending minor league games can yield a lot of success, especially for children.  Even the upcoming Phillies Phestival will feature booths with Aumont and sometimes leftfielder Freddy Galvis.

Now is the time to look toward the future.  Do yourself a favor and get these guys while you still can...

Follow me on Twitter for more Phillies collectibles talk


Phillies Designate Humberto Quintero For Assignment

Catchers
Photo: Philliedelphia/Frank Klose

The turkey bacon commericals can continue to play: Erik Kratz is staying with the Phillies.  The Phillies had to make a roster decision as to whether or not to keep Humberto Quintero on the roster and in the organization or let him go, perhaps forever.  Ultimately, the Phillies decided to keep Kratz.

Quintero clearly intrigued the Phillies because as of this afternoon prior to the game, Phillies Assistant General Manager Scott Proefrock told CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury that the team "hadn't made up our minds yet".  The Phillies probably try to pass Quintero through waivers, but there are teams in need of catching.

One team in need of catching is the New York Yankees, who yesterday lost catcher Francisco Cervelli to an injury.  Quintero, a veteran with 10 years of major league experience prior to signing with the Phillies, could help fill that void.  

The move means that Steven Lerud will be the Phillies' third catcher.  Lerud got a couple opportunities last season when both Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider were down with injuries.   Lerud went two for 10 while playing sparsely.  He does not appear to be part of the Phillies' long-term plans.  But now the Phillies are one injury away from having Lerud on the roster.  That is why they were considering keeping Quintero.


Pettibone Shines, Offense Arrives as Phillies Take Game 2

Dom

Coming off a solid major league debut, Jonathan Pettibone seemed primed to pitch well against the Mets, and pitch well he did. On a sunny afternoon at Citi Field, the Mets and Phillies battled it out on FOX (without Joe Buck in the booth). It turned out to be a beautiful day for Charlie Manuel's squad, as there were bright spots on nearly every dimension of the team. Here's the rundown for today's game.

The first inning went pretty well, with both pitchers looking strong, though Pettibone's pitch count had already eclipsed 20. In the bottom of the second, Ike Davis (with a well-documented new batting stance) managed to line a ball down the first base side and have it take an odd bounce off the wall. Laynce Nix was forced to turn around, allowing Davis to reach second. Jordany Valdespin followed with a double to center that scored Davis. 1-0 Mets.

Lead by Pettibone's first major league hit, the Philles did some damage to Marcum in the third. Jimmy Rollins' single followed by Chase Utley's ground-rule double to left-center would bring Pettibone home. A wild pitch allowed J-Roll™ to score the second run, and a deep fly to left drove in Utley. 3-1 Phillies. 

We move ahead to the bottom of the fourth, where Pettibone runs into some trouble. Two singles and a walk would load the bases with no outs. The Phillies we've come to expect already began to let the game sip away. However, Pet (can I call him Pet?) managed to work out of the jam by only giving up a sac fly to left by Ike Davis. 3-2 Mets. Marcum was also hit for in the inning, so he finished the day with just 4 IP.

The top of the fifth became a very good sign for the Phillies' offense. Robert Carson came in to pitch for the Mets, and he promptly gave up a double to Rollins. Utley would fly out, and Michael Young walked. Ryan Howard then singled up the middle to score Rollins. Domonic Brown followed that up with a 3-run bomb to right-center. Just as you'd expect, John Mayberry Jr. followed that up with a solo shot to left. 8-2 Phillies. 

Pettibone would remain in the game for another inning, giving up one more run to the Mets. 8-3 Phillies. His final line was very good for a 5th starter making his second major league appearance. 5 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. 

Raul Valdes pitched a perfect bottom of the sixth. Laynce Nix singled in an RBI in the seventh after Young singled and Howard reached on an error. 9-3 Phillies. 

Valdes would come out for another perfect inning in the seventh. Chad Durbin was called on for the eighth, also putting zeros across the board. Other than a home run given up to the blistering hot John Buck by Jeremy Horst, the rest of the game finished quietly. Phillies win 9-4.

The offense, bullpen, and Jonathan Pettibone all looked spectacular today. Phillies fans can look to this game as a possible springboard into a winning couple of weeks. 

A big congratulations goes out to Pettibone, who collects both his first major league win and hit in the same game. Tomorrow is a big day for the team, as the Phillies will not only look to sweep the Mets, but will see the return of All-Star catcher, and fan-favorite, Carlos Ruiz. 

Tune in at 1:10 to see the Mets' Jon Niese take on the Phillies' Cole Hamels, who still seeks his first win of the season. 


Could Erik Kratz Be Headed To AAA After Today's Game?

Turkeybacon

Turkey bacon or no turkey bacon?  The Phillies need to make a roster move tonight to add currently-suspended Carlos Ruiz back to both the 40-man and active roster.   Catcher Humberto Quintero makes yet another start today against the Mets.   Today's lineup makes us wonder: could Erik Kratz be the catcher that heads to Lehigh Valley?

Offense has been a major concern for the Phillies lately.  The catching position has not been providing much of it.  We all rememeber Kratz's big home run, but he has produced little.  Here are the two catchers' offensive numbers so far:

Quintero: .313 AVG, 2 2B, 2 RBI, .790 OPS
Kratz: .191 AVG, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .663 OPS

What works to Kratz's disadvantage is that he has an option year remaining on his contract.  The Phillies can send him back and forth to Lehigh Valley all year long as they need to.  Quintero could back up Ruiz and Kratz could head to AAA where he probably would have to DH and play first base since catching prospect Tommy Joseph is doing the bulk of the catching.  Kratz could catch a couple days a week and hone his hitting skills.

Besides room on the active roster the Phillies need a 40-man roster spot.   They could cut Quintero altogether, making him a free agent and that would be Ruiz's spot on both the 25-man and 40-man.   A veteran, the Phillies cannot send Quintero to the minors.  After a solid contribution so far in 2013, maybe Quintero will feel that he can sign elsewhere and leave as a free agent.  The Yankees just lost catcher Francisco Cervelli yesterday and could use a veteran like Quintero.

Some candidates to lose their 40-man roster spot:  Tyson Gillies, Sebastian Valle, and possibly even Tyler Cloyd, who may be scuffling enough that another team would not pick him up if they try to outright him off of the roster.

The Phillies might like the idea of extra catching depth at AAA while at the same time knowing that Tommy Joseph can stay there all season and develop.  Of course, the Phillies may decide that Kratz's offensive contributions may not matter if he is only playing a couple days a week.  Either way, should be an interesting decision.


Phillies Look to Take Series Against the Mets

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After a fairly nice debut from Jonathan Pettibone on Monday, the young hurler looks to build upon that this afternoon at Citi Field as the Phillies seek a much needed series win. After losing 3/4 to the Pirates, I'd even call a sweep essential right now.

Facing Pettibone is Shaun Marcum, making his Mets and season debut this afternoon. Marcum was a name I was lobbying for when the Phillies were still searching for a 5th starter before they signed John Lannan. Though he's injury prone, when healthy he has proven to be a steady workhorse. Though health is a big question mark and even this season, that has come into play. Definitely a good arm to back up Harvey and Niese for New York.

Ben Revere continues to be day to day wih his quad injury and Mayberry is once again in centerfield. Humberto Quintero catches Pettibone today. I began to think this week that Quintero may very well be who stays when Carlos Ruiz joins the club tomorrow. Erik Kratz has an occasionally clutch bat but all and all is a Quad A catcher, to be called upon when needed. Quintero seems a better fit for the team.

Line ups:

 

PHILLIES

1. Jimmy Rollins 6

2. Chase Utley 4

3. Michael Young 5

4.  Ryan Howard 3

5.  Domonic Brown 7

6. John Mayberry 8

7.  Laynce Nix 9

8. Humberto Quintero 2

9. Jonathan Pettibone 1

 

METS

1.  Mike Baxter 9

2.  Ruben Tejada 6

3.   Daniel Murphy 4

4.  David Wright 5

5.  Lucas Duda 7

6.  John Buck 2

7.  Ike Davis 3

8.  Jordany Valdespin 8

9.  Shaun Marcum 1

 

 



Howard Blast Backs Up Kendrick's Gem As Phillies Beat Mets

Howard_HR

After three brutal losses to Pittsburgh, Kyle Kendrick threw a beauty tonight in Citi Field. He kept the Mets off balance the whole game, allowing just three hits and one walk. Really can't emphasize how important it was. The bullpen needed to rest up, the offense has been shaky and they just needed a start like this. It was Kendrick's second complete game shut out.

The first five innings were a breeze for both pitchers. Kendrick and Dillon Gee just swapped scoreless frames. It was rather frustrating after they tagged Gee pretty good the last time they faced him. Then in the sixth, three straight singles including an RBI from Michael Young put the Phils up 1-0. Then up next, Ryan Howard went deep for a 3 run blast and that was more than enough for Kendrick as he was able to finish them off.

As stated, a much needed win with great pitching and a nice little offensive outburst.

Tomorrow is a 1:05 start with Jonathan Pettibone making his second big league start against Shaun Marcum making his Mets and season debut. Hopefully their final game for a while without Carlos Ruiz who is due back Sunday.


Kyle Kendrick, Dillon Gee Square Off In Series Opener In Queens

Kendrick10
So the Phillies really lost 3 out of 4 to the Pirates....ouch. Honestly blame it on the bullpen because Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay ALL threw great games, but the bullpen either blew the lead or blew the game. Yesterday afternoon Cliff Lee tossed seven innings of three-run ball, but allowed a season-high 10 hits while taking the no-decision. The decision to keep Lee in the ballgame after reaching 100 pitches really bothers me. Charlie Manuel left Lee in too long and it went all downhill after Lee allowed the tying runs to score, but who's to say that the bullpen wouldn't have blown the lead either? Both Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 3.28 ERA) and Dillon Gee (1-3, 5.95 ERA) are looking to earn their second wins of the year as the Phillies visit Citi Field for the first time this season.

Kyle Kendrick was solid yet again in his last outing on Sunday against St. Louis. Throwing six innings, Kendrick allowed two earned on eight hits while striking out six. Kendrick has been great his past three starts, allowing four earned runs over 21 IP (1.98 ERA) in that stretch. Kendrick has been one of the Phillies' best pitchers so far and his numbers have been strong despite his W-L columns. Hopefully KK can get some run support tonight and go deep into the game against the Mets, a team he has a 6-7 career record and a 3.52 ERA against. On April 10, Kendrick tossed six innings against the Mets, allowing two earned on eight hits, resulting in his first and only win.

Dillon Gee is looking to build off of his last start, a scoreless bid through 5 2/3 IP against the Nationals. Gee yielded three hits and walked three as well as striking out six en route to his first win of the year. Gee is looking to redeem himself against the Phillies. In his last start against them, on April 9, Gee was tagged for seven earned on 10 hits over three innings. In his career against Philly, Gee is 2-2 with a 7.75 ERA.

Game Notes:

  • Ben Revere is sitting out for the second-straight game.
  • John Mayberry Jr. is playing CF tonight.
  • Michael Young is hitting third while Chase Utley hits second.

Phillies lineup:

  1. Jimmy Rollins SS
  2. Chase Utley 2B
  3. Michael Young 3B
  4. Ryan Howard 1B
  5. Dom Brown LF
  6. John Mayberry Jr. CF
  7. Laynce Nix RF
  8. Erik Kratz C
  9. Kyle Kendrick P.

Mets lineup:

  1. Mike Baxter RF
  2. Ruben Tejada SS
  3. Daniel Murphy 2B
  4. David Wright 3B
  5. Lucas Duda LF
  6. John Buck C
  7. Ike Davis 1B
  8. Jodany Valdespin CF
  9. Dillon Gee P.

First Pitch Weather Forecast: Partly Cloudy - 60° - 0% PoP.

TV: myPHL17
Radio:
94 WIP, 1210 WPHT

Go Fightins!

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



How to Recap a 2013 Phillies Game, 101

Every game is the same- "The offense struggled today, getting ____ (between 0 and 3) runs early, while the starter was great today. _______ (any of the 5 starters) was flawless through 5, giving up a (or a pair) of runs in the 6th inning, before giving away to _________ (Horst, Valdes, Durbin, Aumont), who promptly let ______ (other team) tie the game up on a walk and couple of hits. ___________ (one of the other pitchers, or Adams lately) came on in the 8th and surrendered __________ (insert horrible line here for their slop performance), giving _____ (other team) the lead. The Phillies then got runners on first and third with a chance to tie, but _____ was thrown out at home, and _____ (likely Howard, or any of the other 7 hitters) struck out to end the rally. Tough loss today!