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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Four teams splash big at the deadline

Phillies OF Hunter Pence. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The final week leading up to the trade deadline makes for some of the most exciting and exhausting news in baseball. Beat writers, fans and owners dread the July 31 date and breath a huge sigh of relief when 4:00 PM passes.

This year was no different. With teams like the Phillies, Giants and Braves looking to bolster their offense and the Yankees and Red Sox looking to make splashes in pitching, the deadline can get hairy for the serious competitors and first timers.

Here are a handful of teams that made the biggest splashes at the deadline, hoping for that final push into the post season and baseball greatness.

THE WINNERS

Cleveland Indians – Ubaldo Jimenez: The Indians made a huge splash at the deadline, trading for Colorado’s ace Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez is one of the game’s best young starters and will have an immediate impact on a team that could be one good starter away from winning their first AL Central crown since 2007.

A year removed from winning 19 games and posting a 2.88 ERA, Jimenez is struggling this season. He’s been mediocre at best, compiling a 6-9 record and 4.46 ERA on a Rockies team that is 10 games behind any chance at the post season. But the Indians are 2.5 behind the Detroit Tigers and Jimenez’s presence is a significant upgrade.

The only interesting thing that remains to be seen is if Jimenez will be effective in the American League. He’s been struggling this season and is now walking into a tougher hitting league. This move could prove to be a huge step forward for the Indians or a monumental bust.

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Ibanez’s big day leads Phils to sweep

Phils starter Vance Worley allowed four runs in six innings of work. He was charted with a no-decision in the Phils 6-5 win in extra innings. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Hunter Pence is in Philadelphia and he is making his presence known.

The right-hander’s one-out double in the 10th set up Raul Ibanez’s game-winning hit as the Phils won in come-from-behind fashion, 6-5, to complete the sweep of Pittsburgh.

Pence doubled to right field, his first hit of the game and his first extra base hit as a Phillie. Ibanez, who had two homers and three RBIs in the game so far, came up with one more big hits, giving the Phils the win.

Without having to worry about being traded, Vance Worley was able to settle down and do his thing without a fear of being moved. But he was too lax, coughing up four runs in the no-decision.

Worley allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out seven in six innings of work. Prior to that, he had allowed only five runs in his previous 45 1/3 innings.

The Phils got on the board first in the 2nd inning. Ibanez ripped a solo home run to straight away center, nearly in the same exact spot Ryan Howard hit his shot yesterday, to make it a 1-0 game.

Pittsburgh took the 2-1 lead in the 5th when Xavier Paul hit a two-run single off Worley. But the Phils answered right back to the take the 3-2 lead on a two-run single by Jimmy Rollins.

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The Pence Effect: Howard has big day with Pence behind him

Newly acquired Hunter Pence greets Ryan Howard after his solo home run in the 1st. Pence went 1-for-5 in his Phillies debut. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The one thing people thought Hunter Pence was going to bring to the Phils line up was protection for Ryan Howard. Many felt Howard would see better pitchers, knowing he had a better hitter behind him team’s wouldn’t want to pitch around Howard to get to.

Whether it held true or not, for one night, Pence’s presence meant Howard could go off on opposing pitching. The Big Piece did just that, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs to help the Phils beat Pittsburgh, 7-4, Saturday night.

All Pence had to do was stand in the batter’s box and Howard knew he was going to get the pitches he will want to hit if he’s patient. It could have been that or it could have been the fact that the Pirates starter James McDonald isn’t that good. But the fact of the matter is that Howard got the job done tonight.

Howard’s big day started in the 2nd. The Phils slugger took McDonald deep to center, bouncing his 21st home run off the ivy to make it a 1-0 game. He then drove in his second run in the 3rd on an RBI double. His third RBI came in the 4th on a single.

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Brown sent back down

Phils OF Domonic Brown (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

With the addition of Hunter Pence, someone in the Phillies outfield had to go down.

And in a move that will benefit a certain young outfielder, Domonic Brown was sent back down to Lehigh Valley. He is in tonight’s line up and batting fourth.

More interesting, Brown will be playing left field as well.

Left field is the position Brown will likely be playing 2012 as well, seeing as Pence will be under contract through 2013 and play his usual stomping grounds in right field. Is this an insult to Brown? Absolutely not and the kid knows it isn’t either.

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Stark: Phils asked about Thome

The Phillies may not be done at the deadline after all.

The feeling of acquiring Hunter Pence is like having the greatest sex in the world. But now, someone is asking for seconds. Jayson Stark, our Phillie-lovin’ reporter over at ESPN, just tweeted sweet nothings into our ears.

It would be nice to see Jim Thome hit his 600th home run in the same place he ripped number 400. He’s hitting .231 with seven homers and 21 RBIs on the season.

Phils are either going to hold fort, go for an arm in the bull pen or a power bat off the bench. They have little over a day to work with.

Offense explodes against Pirates

Jimy Rollins (left) celebrates with Chase Utley (right) after Rollins' two-run homer in the 7th inning. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

With Hunter Pence on the way, the Phillies pounded out eight runs in the first two innings on their way to an 10-3 win.

The first six batters in the inning were able to reach base. Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a walk but was picked off.

Domonic Brown singled and was driven in by a Chase Utley triple that was misplayed by Garrett Jones. Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Raul Ibanez also had RBI hits to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead after the first inning.

Utley delivered another blow in the next inning as he connected on a three-run home run to left field to make it a 7-0 game. Utley went three-for-four with a triple, home run and four RBIs. He fell a double shy of the cycle.

Jimmy Rollins added a two-run home run in the seventh inning to redeem himself.

Roy Halladay pitched at his best as he only gave up one hit in seven innings of work. He also had five strikeouts and no walks. With a 10-0 lead, there was no reason for Halladay to stay in any longer.

Hunter Pence will be in tomorrow’s line up, presumably batting fifth.

2B: Howard (21). 3B: Utley (4), Victorino (11). HR: Utley (8), Rollins (12).

WP: Halladay (13-5). LP: Morton (8-6).

Boxscore.

Phils Land Pence

After months of talk about adding a right-handed bat, the Phillies have finally added the piece that will put them over the top.

Pence provides the right-handed bat that the Phillies have coveted. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

Reports are saying that the Phillies have landed Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence. In exchange for Pence, the team will be sending pitching prospect Jarred Cosart and first baseman Jonathan Singleton and two lesser prospect to be named later.

The deal was made without parting with Domonic Brown or Vance Worley, two popular fan-favorites.

There had been talk for the last week that the Phillies were interested in acquiring Pence. The pursuit had really kicked up a notch over the last two days as the team had made it clear that they would do just about anything to acquire Pence.

They are getting a player in Pence that is hitting .309 with 11 home runs and 62 RBIs. He has also scored 49 runs and added seven stolen bases.

He is a career .290 hitter and has hit 25 home runs each year from 2008-2010. Pence also has 56 outfield assists, proving that he is an above average defender.

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Series Preview: vs Pittsburgh Pirates

PHI: 65-39, 1st in NL East; PIT: 54-49, 2nd in NL Central

When: July 29-31
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Friday: Roy Halladay (12-5, 2.55) vs Charlie Morton (8-5, 3.69)
Saturday: Cliff Lee (9-7, 3.05) vs James McDonald (7-4, 3.95)
Sunday: Vance Worley (7-1, 2.02) vs Jeff Karstens (8-5, 2.41)

Broadcast Info
Friday, 7:05, CSN
Saturday, 7:05, CSN
Sunday, 1:35, PHL 17
All Games on 1210 AM

Short preview this weekend. Busy as ever and the trade deadline doesn’t help either. Dom Brown is in tonight’s line up so either a trade won’t happen until tonight or maybe Ruben Amaro, Jr. told Houston to suck eggs.

Hunter Pence Watch

Astros' OF Hunter Pence

The Astros have a gem left on their league-worst team in Hunter Pence. Much like last year with Roy Oswalt, the Phils are looking to take Pence off the hands of Ed Wade and Astros.

Pence is hitting above .300 for the first time in his career and is on pace for another 20-25 homer season and 85-95 RBI season. With numbers like that, Pence, who is 28 and still rising to his peak, is the perfect long-term answer for a RH bat in the outfield.

Like the Halladay post two years ago, this may get updated 10 times before the deal is final. Buckle up your seat belts, it’s going to be a helluva ride.

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Phils suffer back-to-back losses; drop series to Giants

Phils starter Kyle Kendrick gave the team another solid outing but the offense couldn't solve an ailing Tim Lincecum. The Phils dropped the series finale, 4-1. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

For the first time in 54-days, the Phillies lost back-t0-back games while snapping their streak of nine straight series wins.

Tim Lincecum battled the stomach virus and the Giants got four runs off Kyle Kendrick as they beat the Phils, 4-1, and took the NLCS rematch.

Kendrick was strong in his outing but the Phillies offense couldn’t take advantage of Lincecum, who was pitching two days later than scheduled thanks to the stomach flu. Kendrick scattered four runs, three earned, on six hits and two walks while striking out four in 6 1/3 innings of work.

Pablo Sandoval got the scoring going in the 2nd with his solo homer off Kendrick. Nate Schierholtz’s RBI single in the 4th made it 2-0. The Giants added two more in the 7th on a throwing error to make it a 4-0 game.

Chase Utley’s RBI double in the bottom half of the 7th provided the only offense for the Phils, who managed only six hits on the night.

Lincecum was solid through out, pitching six shut out innings. His change-up was on, striking out six in the win while giving up only three hits and four walks. But the Phils were hitting the Giants pitching hard, hitting four doubles in their six hits. But the fact they only had six hits was the reason they managed only one run on the NL leading Giants in team ERA.

2B: Rollins (18), Ruiz (15), Utley (13), Gload (4).

WP: Lincecum (9-8). LP: Kendrick (5-5). S: B. Wilson (33).

Boxscore.

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