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Monthly Archives: November 2009

2009 Phillies Moment #8: Bruntlett’s Unassisted Triple Play

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Eric Bruntlett. Two words that make Phillies fans cringe. On August 23rd though, he made history. Not just Phillies history, baseball history. Only fifteen times has an unassisted triple play occurred, and only twice has it ended a game. Eric Bruntlett is now part of that group. As much as we all like to pile on his batting average and how it was lower than his weight, for one day he was a legend, not just in the city but in the whole wide world of baseball.

With the Phillies up by two in the ninth, no outs, and the Mets rallying with runners on first and second, the Phillies needed a big play to prevent the Mets from coming back. Bruntlett helped the Mets’ cause with one of two Phillies errors in the inning. Jeff Francoeur hit a 2-2 pitch right to Bruntlett, who stepped on second to double up Luis Castillo and then tagged Daniel Murphy for the third out.
Bruntlett had this to say after the game:

I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know what to do. The ninth inning was wild. The whole game it seemed was strange. I was almost laughing. What do you do there? Game’s over. High fives.

He might be out of organization forever, but the legend will live on.

-Real Deal

EDIT: Here is the video

PRC: J.C. Romero

Player: J.C. Romero
Number: 16
Position: RP
Bats/Throws: S/L

Consistency: There wasn’t a large enough sample size to go with here. After missing the first 50 games of the season with his substance abuse suspension, he only pitched in 21 games before being hurt. He pitched in June and July and had one appearance in September before his season ended. When healthy, he pitched effectively and could have been really helpful in the World Series against Hideki Matusi and Mark Teixeira.

Regular Season Stats: 0-0, 21 games, 16.2 IP, 13 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 HR, 13 BB, 12 K, 2.70 ERA, 1.56 WHIP

Post Season Stats: none

Health: He was fine when his suspension cleared up but then went on the DL with a strained left forearm in late July/early August. He returned from the injury to pitch one time and got hurt again. He underwent forearm surgery and his season was done.

Intangibles: After he got suspended and returned, he assaulted a Tampa Bay fan after a game that was heckling him and getting in his face. When he isn’t punching people, he’s a very good pitcher. The injury bug hit everyone in the pen this year and having him next year 100% healthy and not in trouble for some illegal substance will be a big plus for the Phillies. His only real problem this year was putting men on base as he sported a 1.56 WHIP.

Overall Grade: C. When he was pitching, he was good. But the injury and suspension took away from his grade because he wasn’t there for the team when they needed him. I know both were freak incidents but it is what it is and I can’t give a good grade to a reliever who only pitched in 21 games.

In Case of Emergency, Take “Stairs Way”

Thanks to The Fightins for this gem:

Fredericton, a small town in New Brunswick, Canada, renamed a street after Matt Stairs and proclaimed November 27 as “Matt Stairs Day.” The street intersects Royals Field Park where Stairs began his professional baseball career. The stree is now called “Matt Stairs Way” or “Voie Matt Stairs” (French). An estimate of 150 people attended the event.

“Royals Field…that’s one of the most special ones I’ve ever been in,” said Stairs, one of Canada’s most successful power hitters, with a 16-season career in the major leagues and 259 home runs. “One, it’s in my hometown. Two, it’s where I was scouted, where I was signed. It’s a home inside of a home city. And now, just to have a street named around it is a great honour.”

This is a pretty cool “honour” for Stairs, who was a key member of the Phillies the last two years. He will forever be remembered here in Philly for his game winning homer in the top of the ninth inning in the NLCS versus the Dodgers a year ago. He will be remembered in the small town of Fredericton forever as well.

I guess hockey isn’t the only cool thing to come out of Canada.

PRC: Chan Ho Park

Player: Chan Ho Park
Number: 61
Position: SP/RP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Consistency: Park only made seven starts and had one good one. After beating out J.A. Happ for the fifth spot in the rotation, he coughed it up quick, proving he was not a good starter. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t valuable to the team. After a slow start in the pen, Chopper settled down and turned into an effective reliever, taking the role of long reliever and set-up man. He hit a few snags throughout the season but became a reliable arm down the stretch.

He missed the NLDS with an injury he sustained at the end of the season. He was able to pitch in the NLCS and World Series, doing so effectively against New York.

Regular Season Stats: 3-3, 45 games, 7 starts, 83.1 IP, 84 H, 43 R, 41 ER, 5 HR, 33 BB, 73 K, 4.43 ERA, 1.40 WHIP

Post Season Stats: 0-1, 8 games, 6.2, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 2 BB, 6 K, 4.05 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

Health: He was healthy all year until the end of the season. He hurt his hamstring in the middle of September and that forced him to miss the remainder of the season and then NLDS.

Intangibles: He was good. He’s a free agent and wants to be a starter next year but is still open to relieving. The Phillies would love to bring him back and possibly give him a shot to fight for the fifth starter spot once again.

Overall Grade: B. He was steady all year. He rebounded nicely from his demotion and played a key part in the Phillies success down the stretch. I want to see him back in Philly with a similar role to last year.

26 Candidates Up for Hall Election

Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, Barry Larkin, and Fred McGriff lead the list of first-timers on the Hall of Fame ballot.  Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Andre Dawson, and Bert Blyleven are all making return trips to the ballot. Also on the ballot for the first time are Kevin Appier, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric Karros, Ray Lankford, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Robin Ventura, and Todd Zeile.

This could be the year Matingly rightfully makes it into the hall. I also feel that Alomar has a shot at being a first ballot guy. A career .307 hitter, Mattingly is considered one of the greats in Yankees lore. He has never played in a World Series game yet played his entire career in New York, a very odd piece of trivia. He also won the AL MVP in 1985.

Alomar was a career .300 hitter. He was a player I was able to watch. He had an amazing glove, winning ten Gold Gloves, and has won the Silver Slugger four times. He was a 12x all star and was a member of the 1992 and 1993 Toronto Blue Jays team that won the World Series.

PRC: Brett Myers

Player: Brett Myers
Number: 39
Position: SP/RP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Consistency: This was Myers last season as a Phillie and it didn’t go as well as he wanted it to. After starting the season in the rotation, it all went down hill when he injured his hip in May and needed to have surgery. He came back in September and pitched in the bull pen. As a starter, he had trouble getting batters out and as a reliever, he started out strong and then struggled as the season wound down.

He made post season roster in the NLDS, only pitched .2 innings, was left off the NLCS roster, and then made the World Series roster and made a 1-inning appearance, allowing a homer.

Regular Season Stats: 4-3, 18 games, 10 starts, 70.2 IP, 74 H, 38 R, 18 ER, 17 HR, 23 BB, 50 K, 4.84 ERA, 1.52 WHIP

Post Season Stats: 0-0, 2 games, 1.2, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 K, 5.40 ERA, 2.5 WHIP

Health: Well being out for four months isn’t exactly having a healthy season. It didn’t affect his stuff seeing that his velocity was back but he was still as bad as he was prior to the injury.

Intangibles: He’s a head case and he’s gone now. He always had these freak injuries with the latest being him claiming he was playing catch with his son and instead was drunk and fell out of his truck. The Phillies were tired of him and didn’t sign him back.

Overall Grade: D. Yea his grade was this low. I tried to defend him this year but I too grew tired of him. He will still be a key contributor to the 2007 and 2008 teams but other than that, he was just another over-paid player.

Off Season 11/25/09

Jamie Moyer was sent back to the hospital after reoccurring symptoms from his groin injury back in September according to Todd Zoleckia via Twitter. Moyer tore his groin when trying to field a ground ball back in September.

Also according to Zolecki, the Phillies signed outfielder DeWayne Wise and infielder Wilson Valdez to minor league contracts and also brought back catcher Paul Hoover and infielder Andy Tracy to minor league contracts.

Zolecki had this to say on these four guys:

• Outfielder DeWayne Wise, who preserved Mark Buehrle’s perfect game in July with a leaping catch at the wall in the ninth inning at U.S. Cellular Field, hit .225 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 142 at-bats last season for the Chicago White Sox. He is a .216 career hitter in seven seasons in the Majors.

• Infielder Wilson Valdez, who hit .256 with seven RBIs in 86 at-bats for the New York Mets. He is a career .222 in four seasons in the Majors.

• Infielder Andy Tracy, who hit .417 in 12 at-bats for the Phillies.

• Catcher Paul Hoover, who had three hits in four at-bats in three games for the Phillies.

I doubt Hoover was the answer to the Phillies back-up catching problems. Tracy didn’t play that much either and won’t be a huge factor either. Both he and Hoover are in their mid-30’s and are insurance guys.

Wise is 31 but is an exceptional fielder. He may make the team as a late-inning defensive substitution so Ben Francisco can be used in pinch-hitting situations. Valdez will likely play a similar role to the first two.

PRC: Jamie Moyer

Player: Jamie Moyer
Number: 50
Position: SP/RP
Bats/Throws: L/L

Consistency: Moyer was not the same pitcher he was in 2008. He was shaky all season and somehow got the wins because the offense showed up every time he pitched. In fact, of his 25 starts, he pitched seven full innings only four times and averaged only 5.2 innings a start, a number that any starter shouldn’t be proud of. He was demoted to the bull pen in favor of Pedro Martinez and wound up pitching in long relief a couple times after rain delays and found himself to be very effective. As a reliever, he posted a 1.93 ERA and was 2-0.

He didn’t pitch in the playoffs because he got hurt towards the end of the season, finishing his season. That actually helped the Phillies because it would have been tough leaving him off the roster without upsetting him even more even though winning is more important than feelings.

Regular Season Stats: 12-10, 30 games, 25 starts, 162.0 IP, 177 H, 91 R, 89 ER, 27 HR, 43 BB, 94 K, 4.94 ERA, 1.36 WHIP

Post Season Stats: none

Health: He was fine until his season ending groin tear when fielding a ground ball. He has always been in great shape so this injury doesn’t concern me for next season.

Intangibles: He is another great veteran leader for the team. His 23 years in the league really showed this past season as he was a shell of his former self. His biggest problem was allowing runners on base and home runs, two things you can’t do in a hitter’s park. His fastball only goes about 81 MPH now and his once effective change-up only goes 76 MPH. With little difference in speed between those two pitches, it’s much easier for batters to wait on the off-speed stuff.

Overall Grade: C. He just wasn’t as affective this year. He had something going for him as a reliever but the injury ended that. He will be back next year and will fight for the #5 spot in the rotation but he will be of more use coming out of the pen to pitch in long relief.

Castro Is Phillies Answer for Utility

Not the best answer in my opinion but it is what it is. The Phillies agreed to sign Juan Castro to replace the utility role Eric Bruntlett left. They have agreed to a one-year deal worth under $1 million with Castro, who hit .277 with one home run and nine RBIs in 112 at-bats last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The announcement will come some time next week according to Castro’s agent.

This move isn’t too bad though there were better options out there. Castro is 37 and will provide a veteran presence on the bench. He is also an okay fielder, making him a lateral step from Bruntlett. This also gives the Phillies a guy that could play short stop effectively to rest Jimmy Rollins.

PRC: Pedro Martinez

Player: Pedro Martinez
Number: 45
Position: SP
Bats/Throws: R/R

Consistency: He was good for the Phillies. Maybe all the time off and the short season was the reason but he was good. At 37 (at the time) he was much better than the Phillies could have wished for, especially for the $1 million contract he signed to pitch less than half a season. His biggest problem was home runs in the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.

In fact, he was arguably the Phillies second best pitcher in the playoffs and his strong performance during the season was the reason he was elected to pitch over J.A. Happ and at times, Joe Blanton. Though he didn’t record a win in the playoffs, he was good against Los Angeles and New York in game 2 but got knocked around by New York in game 6 because he was sick. Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee got a lot of starts while Martinez, Happ, and Blanton all fought over the other days.

Regular Season Stats: 5-1, 9 starts, 44.2 IP, 48 H, 18 R, 18 ER, 7 HR, 8 BB, 37 K, 3.63 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Post Season Stats: 0-2, 3 starts, 17.0 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 HR, 4 BB, 16 K, 3.71 ERA, 0.88 WHIP

Health: Healthy as an ox (or old goat) up until he got sick before game 6 of the World Series.

Intangibles: Pedro is a team player and an instant leader. He has a great attitude and is fun to be around judging by his history and also the shots in the dugout. Whether it’s his signature jheri curl or wacky interviews, he is definitely going to go down as one of the most entertaining characters in MLB history. Though we remember him playing for the hated Mets for a few years, we will always enjoy his short stint as a Phightin’. He’s loved wherever he goes and that’s a good trait to have as a ball player.

Overall Grade: B. He was better than many expected. Though there were times where his age and lack of velocity hurt him, he was composed and let his veteran experience carry him out of jams. I am 95% sure his tenure in Philly is over. I hope wherever he goes, he brings the same leadership and knowledge to that team.

SIDE NOTE: This was the 300th post in TTB history!

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