April 22, 2013 |
Former Phillies catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud hit .333 with 21 doubles, 16 home runs, and 52 RBIs in 67 games at triple-A Las Vegas last season before being traded in the offseason from Toronto to the New York Mets as part of the R.A. Dickey deal. This year, d'Arnaud is hitting .250 with one home run and eight RBIs for triple-A Las Vegas. Yes, he is back in the same city even though he was traded in the offseason. The Mets and Blue Jays also swapped triple-A affiliates during the offseason with the Blue Jays triple-A team moving to Buffalo.
April 18, 2013 |
CINCINNATI - When Ryan Howard runs, it looks unpleasant. The hulking Phillies first baseman - never known for his speed - is 18 months removed from major Achilles tendon surgery. At the end of spring training, a scout observed that it "looks like he's running on pieces of glass. " Manager Charlie Manuel pinch-ran for Howard twice in the season's first 13 games. It's something he may consider more often, although not by choice. "It might be," Manuel said. "I hope I don't have to pinch-run for him much.
April 15, 2013 |
Brad Lidge announced his retirement during spring training and is pursuing a master's degree in archaeology from the University of Leicester in England. "It's a distance [online] program," Lidge said by phone from his home in Boulder, Colo. During the latter stages of his career with the Phillies, Lidge earned a degree in digging for answers when the life leaves your right arm, the same difficult course that two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay is trying to navigate now. "I think the greatest challenge, which is also the most frustrating part, is the length of time it takes to figure out what to do and how to get hitters out when you're not using Plan A anymore," Lidge said Saturday by phone from Boulder.
April 12, 2013 |
Nothing triggers gross overreaction and total amnesia more than a bad start to the baseball season. By now, we should be used to it. This core group of Phillies has been frustrating fans in the embryonic stages of the season ever since Charlie Manuel took over as manager in 2005. Who can forget 2007's 2-7 start? Or the 4-5 records to start the 2008 and 2009 seasons? Four wins and five losses is again where the Phillies stand after nine games following a 7-3 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday night that should at least lower the dangerously high anxiety levels around here through Thursday's off day. The answer about who can forget those other slow starts apparently is almost everybody.
April 12, 2013 |
IN ORDER for the Phillies to keep pace with Atlanta and Washington in the next 6 months, they will need something that has largely been absent in the first 10 days of the season: consistent, quality starting pitching. But since no pitching staff's starting rotation provides seven innings on a daily basis, the Phils will need something else, too: reliable middle relief. In the last two games it wasn't necessary, thanks to another brilliant effort from Cliff Lee and an ugly but gutsy performance from Kyle Kendrick.
April 9, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Who would have thought that dropping his arm would prop up the baseball career of righthanded relief pitcher Greg Burke? A 2000 graduate of Gloucester Catholic High, Burke spent part of the 2009 season with the San Diego Padres, going 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA in 48 appearances. But after that, he was hit hard the next two seasons in triple A. So Burke, with nothing to lose, became a submariner, and that style of pitching has carried him back to the majors. He made the New York Mets roster out of spring training and will return home when the Mets play three games beginning Monday against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
April 8, 2013 |
I AM WRITING this column Thursday night, just minutes after Cliff Lee brilliantly averted the potential mass suicide of literally thousands of Phillies fans, which was certain to have occurred if the Braves had swept the season-opening series. I watched the game on the Braves' TV network from a hotel room in Palmetto Bluffs, S.C. Earlier that day, I had spoken to several friends back home who told me the city was awash with pessimism. The Fightins' 0-2 start had thrown a blanket of gloom and doom over the city so thick that you couldn't see Billy Penn atop City Hall.
April 7, 2013 |
The ball skipped underneath Domonic Brown's outstretched glove, rolled to the wall, and a collective groan christened Citizens Bank Park. Four Kansas City Royals scampered around the bases. When they stopped, gobs of Phillies fans departed before the seventh-inning stretch. "Once the ball gets behind you," Charlie Manuel said, "the game is just about over. " Baseball returned Friday to South Philadelphia, and the scene was so reminiscent of last season's mediocrity. The result: A 13-4 loss to Kansas City, one marred by a withering offense and feeble bullpen.
April 6, 2013 |
ATLANTA - After seven weeks of spring training and three games in Atlanta, the Phillies finally are going home. Oh, sure, they were home last weekend for their "On Deck" series with the Toronto Blue Jays, but those games didn't count. Since when does a team play its first home games of a season against an interleague opponent? Oops. Almost forgot that the Phillies' bitter interleague rivalry with the Kansas City Royals will be renewed at Citizens Bank Park on Friday afternoon with Kyle Kendrick going against Wade Davis.
April 5, 2013 |
ATLANTA - It is an obituary nobody wants to write, and only Roy Halladay can prevent it from being written. He forced us all to sharpen our pencils Wednesday night. If the question before this start was whether Halladay would be closer to his vintage self now that the games count, it is now this: If he isn't going to be that pitcher again, can he learn how to be effective in a different way? The guess here is that the answer will turn out to be yes. Halladay is just too competitive, too dedicated to his craft to be daunted by this challenge.