TTB

Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Monthly Archives: October 2009

Dobbs Has Cooties

OK all kidding aside, Greg Dobbs has the flu or stomach virus and the Charlie Manuel had him send home so he doesn’t infect the rest of the team. He won’t be allowed back until he is completely healthy Ruben Amaro Jr. said. Tyler Walker, who wasn’t on the 25-man roster but with the team, was also sent home because of sickness and Pedro Martinez complained of feeling ill before his start on Tuesday but is still with the team.

One player on the Phillies decided to board up Dobbs’ locker with cardboard, masking, tape, and yellow “Caution” tape with a sign that read:

Greg Dobbs Update
Thomas Jefferson Hospital
Room #—
Visiting hours for family and friends from 6-8 p.m.

Please be advised to wear a mask!!

Gotta love the togetherness this team has. Hopefully Dobbs’ gets well in time to be with the team before this series is over.

UPDATE: Dobbs is feeling better and is cleared to play tonight via Susan Lulgjuraj of the AC Press.

Blanton to Pitch Game 4

Todd Zolecki just reported on his Twitter that Charlie Manuel is going to pitch Joe Blanton in game four in Philadelphia on Sunday versus CC Sabathia. This will line up Cliff Lee for game five, Pedro Martinez for game six, and Cole Hamels for game seven. Lee will be eligible to pitch out of the bull pen for game seven if necessary.

Manuel’s reasoning via @ToddZolecki: “Manuel said he didn’t want to pitch Lee on short rest in Game 4 because he’s never done it, he’s pitched a lot of innings this year, etc.”

Blanton this year in the post season has only made one start in the NLCS and two relief appearances in the NLDS, posting a 4.50 ERA. In his start versus the Dodgers, he went six innings, allowing four runs and three earned on six hits and two walks, striking out two. In last years playoffs, he went 2-0 in three starts with a 3.18 ERA. He also hit a home run in game four of the World Series versus the Tampa Bay Rays.
I think this is a good move. Manuel actually makes a lot of good moves just the players don’t perform and it makes him look bad. It will make sure Lee is fresh plus it puts the Phillies three best hitting pitchers at the plate in Philadelphia. Also Martinez seemed to enjoy the negative response from the Yankees crowd during game two because he’s a little twisted. “I know they really want to root for me. If I was on the Yankees I’d probably be like a king over here.”

Gotta love Pedro.

Bats Falter, Series Tied

Runners on first and second for Chase Utley. The swing and a ground ball to Robinson Cano who flips to Derek Jeter and retires Utley to end the inning. The Phillies situational hitting from the regular season returned as they squandered numerous opportunities much like that one as they allow the Yankees to tie the series up, losing 3-1.

Pedro Martinez pitched a quality outing but was not supported at all by the offense, who went 1/5 with runners in scoring position. Martinez lasted 6+, allowing three runs on six hits, two walks, and striking out eight. Two of the runs he allowed were solo homers by Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui.

AJ Burnett looked like a stud in his outing, going seven strong innings and allowing a run on four hits and two walks, striking out nine. His only blemish came off of Matt Stairs’ RBI single scoring in Raul Ibanez. Mariano Rivera pitched the 8th and 9th to get the save.

Those struggles are something that really has to disappear. In a series where both teams should be hitting, struggles at the plate should not be there. Looking at the third strike is also something bad teams do. The Phillies are not a bad team and should not be staring at pitches that close to the plate.

Stars of the Game:
Game 1: Cliff Lee
Game 2: AJ Burnett

Next Game: Saturday in Philadelphia, 7:57 EST
Series: Tied 1-1
Pitching Probables: Andy Pettitte vs. Cole Hamels
Gameday Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Hamels needs to show up this game. The Phillies do not want to be trailing at all to the Yankees this series. They are one of those teams that can get on a roll if the momentum swings their way. Pettitte has been great for the Yankees in the post season.

The Phillies bats need to come back alive. It’s as simple as that. There really is nothing else to write. The Yankees are good and the Phillies are good. Pettitte his clutch and Hamels is nothing like his 2008 form. Hopefully the roles get reversed and Hamels is back to being the World Series MVP he once was.

Lee, Utley Lead Phils in Game 1

The weather was ugly but Cliff Lee and Chase Utley were the complete opposite. Lee went pitched a complete game and Utley hit two homers en route to a 6-1 Phillies win and putting them ahead 1-0 in the World Series over the Yankees.

C.C. Sabathia was once again thwarted by the Phillies as he lasted seven innings, allowing both of Utley’s home runs. He gave up two runs total on four hits, walking three and striking out six. Lee dominated his former team mate, going nine and allowing a run on six hits, no walks, and matching a career and Phillies best 10 strike outs in the post season (Lee in the NLCS, Schilling in the 1993 World Series, and Steve Carlton in the 1980 World Series).

Utley was on fire at the plate, hitting solo homers in the third and sixth inning. Ryan Howard tacked on two doubles and an RBI, Raul Ibanez had two RBI’s, and Victorino drove in another. Derek Jeter had the only multiple-hit game for the Yankees, getting three. Alex Rodrigue struck out three times.

It was the first World Series game versus the Yankees since they were swept in 1950 and the Phillies completely turned the tables on them. If the Phillies can keep this up for the remainder of the series, you will be looking at your back-to-back world champion Phillies.
On a side note, Utley reached base in his 26th straight game, a new record.

Next Game: Game two in New York, 7:57 EST
Series: Phillies lead 1-0
Probables: Pedro Martinez vs. A.J. Burnett
Game Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

The Phillies already did what they needed to do and that was take at least one game in New York. If they can take game two, that would be perfect. For the Yankees, they do not want to go to Philadelphia down 0-2 in the series with Hamels set up for game three.

This will be a big spot for Pedro Martinez. He has a lot of bad blood with the Yankees. He is also one of the best big-game pitchers of all time. When he gets in the zone, he is the Pedro of old. AJ Burnett has not been effective in the post season with his 4.42 ERA in 3 starts. He will look to give the Yankees a strong outing versus a very tough offense.

Myers On, Cairo Off

And the Phillies 25-man roster is set for the World Series. Brett Myers was added to the roster, taking the place of Miguel Cairo via @ToddZolecki. I guess he will be the right-handed bat off the bench option for the Phillies vs. CC Sabathia.

This leaves the Phillies with 13 hitters and 12 pitchers.

Hitters: Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Bako, Dobbs, Bruntlett, Francisco, Stairs

Pitchers: Lee, Martinez, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Myers, Park, Durbin, Eyre, Bastardo, Madson, Lidge

Blog Stroll 10/27/09

I figured I haven’t done one of these in a long time so I might as well post some of the funnier things I read the past couple of days:

The Fightins did a hilarious post titled “The Bandwagoners Guide to the 2009 Yankees.” In it they talk about some of the current and recently former players of the Yankees to just give those who are hopping back on thier bandwagon for the first time in about five years a heads up of who to watch and who to fear.

Phillies Nation did a post comparing the attractions, food, and traffic of New York and Philadelphia. They then capped it off with showing why it’s easy to root for a team with 26 rings but difficult to be as passionate, if not more passionate than the Yankees fans with only seeing two rings, 10,000 losses, and Joe Carter and 1964.

Red Pinstripes Are Cooler re-bashed the New York Post for their crappy attempt at humor in depicting the “Frillies” fans and thier city as second rate and used a poorly photo-shopped picture of Shane Victorino in a skirt on thier cover. I guess desperated times call for desperate measures for the Post.

Macho Row did a nice little flash back to the 1950 World Series featuring the Whiz Kids. The Yankees swept the Phillies 4-0.

And also, don’t forget to join the World Series discussion on Liberty Bell Sports, a forum for all you Philly fans.

Howard On SI Cover

Ryan Howard is the next Phillies to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, an honor in itself. Though there have been many talks of the “SI Cover Jinx,” the Phillies should not play into the over-hyped lore.

The last Phillie to grace the cover was Cole Hamels back on February 23. Howard was on the cover for Sports Illustrated for Kids back in 2007.

Phillies Pitching Takes Shape

Charlie Manuel just reported on a radio show this morning that Pedro Martinez will pitch game two and Cole Hamels will pitch game three via David Murphy on Twitter.

Here are the probables for the first three games:
Wed: PHI: Lee, Cl (2-0, 0.74), NYY: Sabathia (3-0, 1.19)
Thu: PHI: Martinez, P (0-0, 0.00, 7 IP)
Sat: PHI: Hamels (1-1, 6.75)

In my opinion, I think this was the best way to go. Hamels is a better hitter than Martinez so his bat would be useful at Citizens Bank Park. Also Martinez has proved he can still pitch well in the post season. All three of these guys are very capable of beating the Yankees.

Now the only question left to be answered is if Cliff Lee will go game four or will it be between Joe Blanton and JA Happ.

J-Roll-adamus

This was a very entertaining bit Jimmy Rollins did on Jay Leno. In the segment “Ten @ Ten” where Leno asks the guest 10 questions, Rollins talked about Shane Victorino’s rituals, Elton John, and his crappies job in Oakland.

His final question was a World Series prediction. He said the Phillies will win in five and if they are nice, let it go to six games. Let’s hope you’re right, J-Roll.

World Seres: New York Yankees vs Philadelphia Phillies

This is it, folks. The Phillies now know who they are playing in the World Series after the Yankees beat the Angels in six games. This is the match up many fans have dreamt up in the beginning of the season. The Yankees went into the past offseason and made big splashes that have really paid off. They include Cy Young candidate C.C Sabathia, MVP candidate Mark Texiera, and re-signing Andy Pettite.

The Phillies also made a couple moves during the offseason and regular season. Those big moves include letting Pat Burrell go and signing Raul Ibanez, who had an all star year. They signed Pedro Martinez mid-season to a one year deal. They also traded a package of prospects to Cleveland in exchange for ace Cliff Lee.

Fun Facts: The Phillies won the season series 2-1 back in May… The Yankees are playing in their 40th World Series. The Phillies are in their 7th… This is the rematch of the 1950 World Series… New York and Philadelphia are two of the biggest sports markets on the east coast… Sabathia and Lee were team mates on the Cleveland Indians… Martinez was a part of the historic 2004 Red Sox who came back to beat the Yankees after being down 3-0 in the ALCS.

Schedule: (times not announced yet but will be updated)
Wed. 10/28
Thu. 10/29
Sat. 10/31
Sun. 11/1
*Mon. 11/2
*Wed. 11/4
*Thu. 11/5
*if necessary

Teams by Positions: Post season stats

1B) Ryan Howard vs. Mark Teixeira

Howard: .355 (11-31), 8 runs, 4 doubles, triple, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 7 walks, 8 K
He led the league in RBI’s and was second in homers. He tied Lou Gherig’s record for consecutive playoff games over multiple seasons at eight and set the single season record. He was the NLCS MVP. Phillies fans call him Mr. Red October. Jimmy Rollins calls him the Big Piece.

Teixeira: .205 (8-39), 5 runs, double, home run, 5 RBI, walk, K
He is one of the leading candidates for the AL MVP award. He is also probably the best fielding first baseman in the league. He has been cold all post season and the Phillies can hopefully take advantage of that.

2B) Chase Utley vs. Robinson Cano

Utley: .303 (10-33), 8 runs, HR, 2 RBI, 8 walks, 7 K’s
He is the Phillies best player and best two-bagger in the league. He really sizzled in the NLDS but fizzled in the NLCS. The Phillies will need a big series from him.

Cano: .229 (8-35), 5 runs, double, 2 triples, 5 RBI, 4 walks, 4 K
Cano is very fast on the base paths and can be a threat to stretch hits, take an extra base, or steal.

3B) Pedro Feliz vs. Alex Rodriguez

Feliz: .161 (5-31), 3 runs, double, triple, HR, 2 walks, 7 K’s
He still didn’t so a thing in the NLCS and right now is their worst bat in the lineup. He does have the ability to heat up but hasn’t showed signs of that yet.

Rodriguez: .438 (14-32), 10 runs, 2 doubles, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 9 walks, 5 K
A-Rod quieted everyone who said he wasn’t clutch. He is the most dangerous hitter in the Yankees line up. He and Howard are going to be the stories of this series. Both are battling for the “Mr. October” title.

SS) Jimmy Rollins vs. Derek Jeter

Rollins: .241 (10-41), 6 runs, 3 double, 3 RBI, 8 K’s
He is the spark to the Phillies offense but has been spark-less minus his clutch hits in the NLDS and NLCS. If he continues to struggle, the Phillies will have to turn to Shane Victorino for a spark.

Jeter: .297 (11-37), 9 runs, 2 doubles, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 9 walks, 5 K
He’s the captain. He is everything about Yankees baseball and baseball itself. My friend wrote a great post on Jeter and I think any baseball fan should read it. I don’t like the Yankees but I love everything about Jeter.

LF) Raul Ibanez vs. Johnny Damon

Ibanez: .226 (7-31), 6 runs, 2 doubles, HR, 9 RBI’s, 5 walks, 8 K’s
After a good NLDS, Ibanez disappeared in the NLCS. He will either have a good game or a really bad one. His struggles are due to playing with a tear in his abdomen since June. He needs to consistently play better in the World Series.

Damon: .238 (10-42), 1 double, 2 HR, 5 RBI’s, 2 walks, 6 K’s
Damon is a clutch hitter but hasn’t been to spectacular in the post season. He did have a very good regular season. He is not one of their best fielders or arms.

CF) Shane Victorino vs. Melky Cabrera

Victorino: .361 (13-36), 8 runs, 2 doubles, triple, 3 HR, 3 walks, 3 K
Victorino assumed the catalyst role from the two-hole while Rollins struggled. He led the league in triples and is a very speedy CF who can track balls and throw out runners. He has been the Phillies second best offensive player behind Howard.

Cabrera: .314 (11-35), 4 runs, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, 11 K
Cabrera has been awesome in the bottom of the line up for the Yankees. He can turn over the line up and get Jeter up to bat.

RF) Jayson Werth vs. Nick Swisher

Werth: .281 (9-32), 10 runs, triple, 5 HR’s, 10 RBI, 6 walks, 11 K
He is having an amazing year in his first full year, hitting .268 with 36 homers, 98 runs, and 99 RBI’s. After tearing up the Rockies, he struggled greatly in the NLCS but heated back up in games 4 and 5. He protects Howard at the plate and needs to be dangerous to allow the Yankees to pitch to him.

Swisher: .125 (4-32), 2 runs, double, RBI, 3 walks, 11 K
He is the playing awful in the post season. He actually makes Feliz look good for the Phillies. I don’t understand how he is still playing for the Yankees with the way he is playing in the post season.

C) Carlos Ruiz vs. Jorge Posada

Ruiz: .346 (9-26), 4 runs, double, HR, 7 RBI, 7 walks, 2 K
Carlos Ruiz is one of the best defensive catchers in the game. He has turned into “Senior Octobre.” Batting in the 8th spot, he can play a role similar to Cabrera for the Yankees.

Posada: .258 (8-31), 4 runs, double, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 5 walks, 7 K
Posada has been OK in the post season for the Yankees. He is still one of their leaders and can be dangerous at the play at any moment in the game.

DH: The Yankees will have the advantage in this department like every AL team does. They have Hideki Matsui to fill this line up spot. The Phillies are unsure who their DH could be but will likely be Raul Ibanez and put Ben Francisco in LF.

Starting Rotation:

Phillies: Cliff Lee will start game one and has been their best pitcher by far in the post season. After him, the rotation isn’t set yet but it’s likely that Martinez will go game two and Hamels in game three. JA Happ and Joe Blanton will start in the bull pen and will either pitch game four or remain in the pen.

Yankees: Sabathia will likely be their game one starter. Behind him, they only have AJ Burnett and Andy Pettite. Using three pitchers throughout the playoffs can wear their rotation down and could be very beneficial for the Phillies offense.

Bull Pen:

Phillies: This unit is still a danger to blow games. Luckily the offense can bail them out. Chan Ho Park came back from injury and pitched really well. Brad Lidge is perfect in saves. Blanton looked good in relief but is a better starter. Ryan Madson has been better, JA Happ has not looked good at all, and Brett Myers may be back. They can’t keep the Yankees close.

Yankees: They have had bull pen struggles as well, Only Mariano Rivera has been lights out all post season. He is supported by Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Phil Coke, and Damaso Marte. If the Phillies can get to this unit early and wear them down, it may be an easy series.

Bench:

Phillies: The Phillies have relied on Greg Dobbs and Matt Stairs in hitting situations, a huge mistake in my opinion. They both were amazing in 2008 and sucked in 2009. Ben Francisco is their fielding option and is also a very good hitter. Miguel Cairo earned a post season spot after having a hot bat in September.

Yankees: They only go to the bench for speed and fielding. Jerry Hairston Jr. and Brett Gardner are those two guys. With a DH, there really won’t be a need for pinch hitting but when the series goes to Philly, they may need to rely on someone for a timely hit late in the game. They also feature the Phillies’ best friend, Eric Hinske, who was the Rays player Lidge struck out to end the World Series.

Managers:

Phillies: Charlie Manuel wants another ring. He knows how to keep this team together through any situation and knows how to rally them.

Yankees: This is Joe Girardi’s first trip to the post season with the Yankees. He would love to bring a ring back to the Bronx.

Probable Lineups:
NY: Jeter/Damon/Teixeira/Rodriguez/Posada/Matsui/Cano/Swisher/Cabrera
PHI: Rollins/Victorino/Utley/Howard/Werth/Ibanez/Feliz/Ruiz/Francisco

Prediction: The Phillies seem to be a more complete team right now. Their starting pitching has been tight and the bats have been clutch. The Yankees are relying on intimidation and hunger for their first ring in nine years. Phillies in 6.
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