February 28, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The first pitch of Phillies spring training was reserved for Cole Hamels, an honor bestowed on the franchise's highest-paid player and cornerstone. But while Roberto Hernandez christened the exhibition season with a fastball at 1:08 p.m. Wednesday at Bright House Field, Hamels relaxed. He had passed an important test five hours earlier. There was no pomp and circumstance for Hamels' first bullpen session Wednesday morning. The team and its pitcher brimmed with optimism.
February 26, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Brad Lincoln spent the first week of December hunting with friends some 90 minutes north of Pittsburgh, the city where he once imagined a fruitful major-league career as a starting pitcher. Those dreams were dashed in 2012 with a trade to Toronto, and now Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was on the phone. "When you get a call from your GM at midnight on a Tuesday in the offseason," Lincoln said, "you've either been released or something has happened. " Lincoln was traded to the Phillies, where a muddled bullpen is his benefit.
February 25, 2014 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - It's elevation time for Cole Hamels. After one final throwing session from flat ground Sunday under the watchful eye of pitching coach Bob McClure, the Phillies lefthander said he was ready for his first spring-training bullpen session from a mound, which is scheduled for Tuesday at the Carpenter Complex. "Obviously it's unfortunate with what the date is today, but I feel I'm right where I'd be at if it was Feb. 1 going into spring training," Hamels said. In other words, he's about 10 days to two weeks behind where he typically would be at this point.
October 16, 2013 |
STEVE HORGAN went from Boston police officer to national celebrity with one swing of a bat. Horgan is the now-famous cop who was caught on camera jubilantly raising his arms after David Ortiz' game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning landed in the Red Sox' bullpen on Sunday night. Not surprisingly, there's already a new fad called "Horganing," where people pose with their arms raised. Call them "Horgan's Heroes. " While Horgan was celebrating, Tigers rightfielder Torii Hunter was busy flipping over the outfield wall in a bold, but futile, effort to catch the ball.
October 14, 2013 |
THAT THE PHILLIES finished second-to-last in the National League in bullpen ERA wasn't for a lack of trying. No team in the majors fiddled with more combinations of relievers in the later innings of games. Fifteen different relievers made at least 15 appearances for the Phillies in 2013, by far the most in the major leagues (the Mets had the second most, with 12). In fact, the Phillies are the only team in baseball history - or, at least, baseball history as recorded by Baseball-Reference.com - to ever use that many relievers.
September 20, 2013 |
THE FLAGS that sat at half-staff at Citizens Bank Park were motionless most of evening last night, but a crisp air that descended on the 10-year-old ballpark earlier this week stuck around anyway, bringing a feel of postseason baseball to South Philly. Pennant races were alive and well in Washington, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Boston and Tampa. But at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies tried to stave off their date with their 82nd loss for another day, a defeat that would clinch the franchise's first losing season since 2002.
September 18, 2013 |
THE SYNTAX was more efficient, the accent less Appalachian. Otherwise, the assessment of the Phillies' future that Ryne Sandberg delivered yesterday sounded strikingly similar to the one that his predecessor delivered one September ago. There was optimism about Ryan Howard's health, and uncertainty about Darin Ruf's role, and praise for some of the young relievers who could help stabilize the bullpen. On the first day of the last homestand of the season, everything new was old again.
September 9, 2013 |
Standing in the Phillies dugout hours before Friday's game at Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves, pitching coach Rich Dubee made one of the least surprising announcements. Dubee said Phillies righthander Ethan Martin would be moved to the bullpen for the rest of the season and that Tyler Cloyd would take his place in the rotation. "His stuff has played phenomenally well the first time through a lineup," Dubee said. "Again, I don't know if it is because of fatigue, if he burns up too much energy, but his stuff shortens up the second and third time through.
September 8, 2013 |
THE PHILLIES have seen enough out of Ethan Martin to believe he will be an important piece of next year's roster. That might sound strange, given the 23 earned runs, eight home runs and 21 walks he has allowed in 30 innings over seven starts. But as of yesterday, the Phillies are no longer handling Martin as a starter. During batting practice, pitching coach Rich Dubee informed reporters that the hard-throwing righthander would move to the bullpen, a place where many talent evaluators had long assumed he would end up. Tyler Cloyd will start for the foreseeable future, but this move is all about transitioning Martin, 24, to the bullpen.