Phillies Notebook: No NL club made out as well as Phillies at trade deadline

Posted: August 01, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - A perusal of various "expert" opinions available on the Internet suggests the Phillies were winners at the deadline - not just because they acquired 2008 American League Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, but because none of their chief rivals for a World Series berth was able to add the most important of postseason commodities, starting pitching.

Toronto righthander Roy Halladay stayed put, while Seattle lefthander Jarrod Washburn and San Diego righthander Jake Peavy landed with AL clubs. Nevertheless, the Phillies are sure to face some significant tests should they maintain their lead in the National League East and reach the playoffs for a third straight season.

Here is a look at how some other NL contenders look for the final 2 months of the season:

* Dodgers: Although Los Angeles was rumored to have interest in Halladay, they ultimately decided to fortify a bullpen that alrady ranked second in the NL with a 3.36 ERA. Lefthander George Sherrill had a 2.40 ERA and 20 saves for the Orioles. He could give the Dodgers a formidable setup man for closer Jonathan Broxton.

* Cardinals: Thanks to the return of righthander Chris Carpenter from an elbow injury, St. Louis focused on upgrading its lineup, which it did by acquiring outfielder Matt Holliday from Oakland. Holliday's bat - his 54 RBI and .831 OPS at the time of the deal were better than every one in the lineup except Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick - provides some much-needed protection for Pujols in the lineup.

* Cubs: Look out for the Cubs. In addition to a starting rotation that features Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly, Chicago added two lefty relievers in John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny. Think they had Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez in mind when swinging that four-player deal with the Pirates?

* Giants: The addition of first baseman Ryan Garko and second baseman Freddy Sanchez provides a boost to a lineup that entered yesterday hitting just .258. Regardless of their offensive struggles, no team wants to face young aces Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who are a big reason why Giants starters lead the league with a 3.50 ERA, in a short postseason series.

* Mets: Other than the addition of outfielder Jeff Francoeur in exchange for Ryan Church, the Mets did not make a splash. Their starters have a 4.59 ERA, ranked 11th in the National League, and they could be without righthander John Maine for the rest of the season.

* Rockies: The Rockies do not have a high-profile ace, but they added righthander Rafael Betancourt and lefthander Joe Beimel to their bullpen. Betancourt was 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 29 appearances for the Indians, while Beimel had a 3.40 ERA in 45 games with the Nationals.

* Marlins: Florida added Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson just before the deadline. Johnson was hitting .295 for Washington.

* Braves: Atlanta has perhaps the deepest rotation in the National League, particularly with the emergence of rookie Tommy Hanson. But it didn't do much to upgrade a lineup that is lacking in power. The Braves acquired first baseman Adam LaRoche from the Red Sox, and got Church in the trade with the Mets.

Victorino out again

Centerfielder Shane Victorino, who bruised his left knee while diving for a catch Wednesday in Arizona, missed his second straight game. Victorino's knee is still swollen, although Manuel said he is not in danger of going on the disabled list.

"The swelling is getting better," Manuel said. "It's healing, but it's still swollen." Newly acquired Ben Francisco, who hit a double against the Giants on Thursday, started in center and hit second last night.

Ruiz sits

Phillies trainers tended to catcher Carlos Ruiz late in the Phillies' 7-2 loss to the Giants Thursday, but backup Paul Bako's start last night was not indicative of a significant injury. Ruiz jammed a thumb while catching a pitch from Tyler Walker, but remained in the game.

"He's all right," Manuel said.

More injuries

Chad Durbin (lat) and Brett Myers (hip) threw bullpen sessions in Clearwater, Fla. The Phillies hope to get Durbin his first rehab start within 3 or 4 days. Myers, who underwent hip surgery in May, is hopeful that he can contribute to the Phillies bullpen session in September, although the Phillies have avoided placing any such expectation on him . . . J.C. Romero (forearm), eligible to return from the disabled list Aug. 4, is scheduled to throw off the mound tomorrow.

For more Phillies coverage and opinion, read David Murphy's blog, High Cheese, at http://go.philly.com/highcheese.

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