TTB

Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Season Preview: AL East

Expectations: Better than the Yankees
Key Addition: 1B Carlos Pena (signed from Chicago Cubs)
Key Loss: OF/DH Johnny Damon (free agent)
Projected Record: 103-59
Summary: The odds on favorite to win the division, the Rays have it all: great young hitting, great young pitching, solid veteran presence. With guys like Evan Longoria, BJ Upton, and Desmond Jennings anchoring the offense along with key players like Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez, it will power them to a division crown.

They can also pitch with any team. David Price (my pick for CY Young in 2012) combined with James Shields and youngster Jeremy Hellickson can pitch with the big boys any day of the week. Most exciting prospect to watch is in their rotation too: Matt Moore. The kid has electric stuff.

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The Curious Case of Kyle Kendrick

Phillies pitchers Kyle Kendrick (left) and Cliff Lee (right) during Spring Training. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Lets talk starting pitching. Everyone loves it, everyone needs it.

For the Phillies, they have an overabundance of it. From established veterans like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels to and up and coming star in Vance Worley.

That fills the first four spots in the rotation, and assuming Roy Oswalt isn’t coming back, who gets the fifth starter’s spot? It’s always seemed to be the biggest question since the dawn of time itself for the Phillies.

With the fifth starter’s spot still up in the air, three names come to mind when looking to fill that void. They are Kyle Kendrick, Joe Blanton and Joel Pineiro.

Though there are three names competing for that spot, only one should be picked. Let’s make a case for Kendrick.

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9/11 and the Power of Sports

There was an event ten years ago that shook the United States of America to its foundation. A day that saw the mightiest of nations fall to its knees. On Tuesday September 11th 2001, terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and crashed in Shanksville PA. It’s a day I am sure that everyone remembers vividly.

My personal memory of it? I remember that day, as I was in sixth grade Social Studies or English at the time and I remember hearing the principal come over the P/A system and announce what had happened. At the time, my classmates/ friends and I had no idea what any of this meant. We had no idea of the severity of event, we just thought it was an accident.

For me, the image that was burned into my mind was that of my teacher crying while watching TV coverage during class. It was at that point that we realized that what had taken place was no accident; that someone had flown into those buildings on purpose.

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BMac: Phillies Prospects Poster: Get Yours Today!

Brian McCollum is an administrator at TTB as well as running his own Phillies blog, “Holly KK! It’s the Phils.” Featured today is a post and some PhotoShop skills by McCollum on his blog that he is sharing with TTB.

This limited edition print features 3 Phillies prospects that could be future Phils in the near future. You can follow all three on twitter. On the left is (@Trevmay54) in the middle/center is (@JarredCosart) and on the left is (@JustinDeFratus). Under each player is their name. These pitchers could be the next group of prospects to strike it big in the majors!

I retract my earlier statement about “you can” follow these three on twitter. You SHOULD follow these three on twitter. While I am never one to tell people they have to follow someone… but these guys are cool prospects in the Phillies organization. Not only that, they interact with the fans on twitter. Moreover, they seem like very cool guys to meet in person. Now I’m not saying you have to make these three the next Lady GaGa, Dali Lama, or Oprah but at least give them a follow. They have the best job in the world: they get to play baseball for a living.

So without further adieu, I present the “Stockpile on Pattison” Poster:

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B. Mac: A Cy Young Presence to Anchor a Franchise

We asked TTB writer Brian McCollum who would he rather have to start his team with: a Cy Young winning pitcher or an MVP bat. His answer…

P Roy Halladay, Phillies (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

Pitching and defense wins championships.

It’s true in combination with staying consistent throughout the season. Good pitching will always stop good hitting. And face it: you can score all the runs you and try to out hit the other team, but if your pitcher gives up equal or more runs and hits than you can muster in a given game, what good does an MVP bat do?

And let’s face it, this question just can’t be answered with a snap and rash decision. My opinion is this: you need to take a player that is going to both put up the numbers and pack the fans in the stands. A player that is both a leader on the field and in the clubhouse. A player that other players would want to play on the field with.

That being said: I come from the school of pitching wins championships. You want an example? As much as it kills me to say this, look at last season’s World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. They are proof that good, no GREAT pitching will win you a championship. I would pick a Cy Young Award caliber/winning pitcher as my cornerstone for my franchise.

Names like: Halladay, Lincecum, Lee, Hernandez, Verlander, Sabathia, Lester, and Hamels come to mind.

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The Doctor Is Out: Roy Halladay performs surgery on the Nationals, Phils win 3-2

Roy Halladay is (insert adjective here) : Masterful. Dominant. Skillful. Brilliant. Gutsy.

That is what Roy Halladay was tonight. He performed surgery on the Nationals, pitching a complete game in the Phils 3-2 win Wednesday night in Washington.

Halladay was ruthlessly effective, walking only two and striking out nine. He painted the corners extremely well and, as always, lived up to his Cy Young Award-winning reputation, despite home plate umpire, Al Porter’s incredibly small strike zone.

However, things got a bit “dicey” in the bottom of the ninth as those pesky Nats attempted a comeback. Although it was never in doubt for Roy Halladay.

The Nats scored two runs in the ninth, off of Halladay. Doc struck out Matt Stairs on three straight fastballs with runners on 1st and 2nd for the second out. Roy struck out Ivan Rodriguez on a nasty curveball on the outside corner to end the game and the Fightin’ Phillies faithful erupted in cheers. Never in doubt.

The line for Doc was incredible: nine innings of work, two runs allowed on six hits, two walks and nine strike outs. He threw 123 pitches, 88 of them for strikes.

Halladay also mastered ex-Phillie Jayson Werth, striking him out twice.

Halladay improved his record to 2-0. His opponent, John Lannan, on the other hand probably pitched just as well, but ultimately would get saddled with the “L”.

Lannan, the little lefty for Washington, went six innings, gave up three runs, two of which were earned on six hits. Lannan also struck out three and walked three.

Lannan is now 0-9 in his career against the Phillies.

The Phillies offense carved their lead in the 4th and 5th innings. It started with an RBI groundout from Ben Francisco in the 4th. It continued into the 5th when Placido Polanco lined an RBI single to shallow right to make it 2-0 Phils.

Later in the 5th, Lannan plunked Ryan Howard on the hands with the bases loaded, which scored Roy Halladay to make it 3-0.

Howard got X-rays after the game and they came back negative. He said his wrist was a sore and stiff and he was going to ice it back at the hotel, tweeted Todd Zolecki.

2B: Victorino (3).

WP: Roy Halladay (2-0, 1.23 ERA). LP: John Lannan (1-1, 3.38 ERA).

Boxscore.

Things we found out tonight:

  • What is it with John Lannan with hitting Phillies batters on the hands?
  • Roy Halladay, ’nuff said.
  • Guessing that bullpen’s phone was on voicemail the whole night. Yes, even in the ninth.
  • Roy Halladay strikes out TRIPLE the amount of hitters as the Washington Nationals walk.

Tomorrow’s match-up: Cliff Lee (1-1, 7.84 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (1-1, 3.18 ERA)

Phillies Breakout the Big Bats; Down the Mets 10-7 After Blowing Big Lead

After last night’s downer of loss, which featured the complete shellacking of Cole Hamels by the Mets, the Phillies looked to put last night behind them. Well it wasn’t pretty but the Phillies got the job done. Heavy B, Joe Blanton the fifth starter, got the nod for the Phillies. Look at it this way: if you were expecting a pitchers duel, you thought wrong. One starter never got out of the second, the other was pulled after recording the first out in fourth.

It started out good for the first four innings for the Phillies. They knocked Mets Ace, Mike Pelfrey around the diamond and out of the game in the second inning. Pelfrey lasting only 2+ innings compared to Hamels’ 2.2 IP last night. The line on Pelfrey: 2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, (6 R), 1 BB, 1 K. The Phillies got to Pelfrey early and often. Ryan Howard blasted his second home run of the year off of Pelfrey, which capped a 4 run third inning by the Phils offense, which sent Pelfrey to the showers early.

Phillies starter, Joe Blanton was on cruise control until the fifth inning, when the wheels came off. Blanton could not get out of the fifth, going only 4.1 IP. The Mets later tied the game later in the inning when Antonio Bastardo, who relieved Blanton surrendered a single to Daniel Murphy, which scored a runner inherited from Blanton. That inherited runner scoring would mark the end of the line on Blanton’s night altogether. The line on Blanton:  4.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. At that point the Phillies had blown a 7 run lead.

It wasn’t looking real good at this point, but the Phillies “sleeping dragon” of an offense awoke with a roar in the bottom half of the fifth inning. With a monstrous two-run home run from Ben Francisco off of Mets reliever Blaine Boyer, gave the Fightin’ Phils the lead for good. In the bottom of the sixth, the Phillies tacked on an insurance run and never looked back. The bullpen, was lights out, surrendering two measly hits, while striking out four. Ad hoc closer, Jose Contreras, shut the door in the ninth to earn his first save of the season.

Final thoughts: I guess, the term “Runs At A Premium” doesn’t apply here. If you were either starter, it wasn’t exactly a start to write home about. Both teams surrendering double digit hit totals. It was an ugly, ugly, UGLY win… but a win is a win for the Fightin’ Phils and I will take it. Tomorrow is a Halladay.

Phillies 10 Mets 7. Final.

WP: A. Bastardo (1-0) LP: B. Boyer (0-1) SV: J. Contreras (1)

HR: (PHI) R. Howard (2), B. Francisco (2); (NYM) A. Pagan (1)

Box Score:

Mets 7 R, 12 H, 1 E

Phillies 10 R, 16 H, 1 E

Tonight’s attendance at Citizens Bank Park: 45,061. 128th consecutive sellout at CBP.

Tomorrow’s Probables:
NYM: J. Niese (0-0, 2.57 ERA) PHI: R. Halladay (0-0, 1.50 ERA). Start time: 3:05 pm

Kendrick’s house robbed; 08 WS ring taken

So in all the hoopla of Cliff Lee’s return and Opening Weekend for the Phillies, there was some other Phillies related news. Reliever and spot-starter Kyle Kendrick’s house in Mount Vernon, Washington was burglarized over the weekend of March 26.

While the police are searching for suspects, they are reporting that Kendrick’s 2008 World Series ring was stolen along with several electronics. Other items stolen include: a framed, Ken Griffey Jr. jersey autographed by Griffey, as well as several pairs of personal baseball gloves and bats.

Police are reporting that a similar style burglary, occured during the same weekend about a mile away from Kendrick’s home.

The Mount Vernon Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.

Lights Out Lidge… out for 3 to 6 weeks

So we now know what is ailing our fragile closer. Brad Lidge has a right rotator cuff strain. According to ESPN.com and many of the beat writers, Lidge will be sitting for the next month and a half or so, he will not need surgery. Which is awesome news, considering the state of the Phillies right now.

Some tweets from Ryan Lawerence, Phillies beat writer for the Delaware County Times explain what the deal is:

RT @ryanlawrence21: Ruben Amaro Jr. says Lidge’s posterior rotator cuff strain will have him sidelined 3-6 weeks. #Phillies

RT @ryanlawrence21: How does out 3-6 wks translate to out for 1st half? He’ll still need to build arm back up. So if out 6 wk, it’d take another month to do so.

RT @ryanlawrence21: Basically, a pitcher who misses significant time has to go through same arm building up process as they do in spring training.

Total time on DL (minimum): 60+ days. Figure at least 3 to 4 weeks for it to properly heal, plus the additional month or so it takes to build arm strength back up again.

So in Lidge’s stead, Jose “Big Truck” Conteras will be closing, NOT “Mad Dog” Madson. This comes as a surprise to pretty much everyone.But I guess Charlie Manuel knows what he is doing.

Look at the injury front. Man the injury bug is spreading… like a virus. Quick, cover your mouths and noses so you don’t catch it!

Chase Utley: right knee tendonosis

Placido Polonco: hyper-extended left elbow

Domonic Brown: broken right hand

The Fans: hypertension

I think I’ll just stay home, that way I don’t get injured.

A PSA to end Madson’d-ing

Madson’d-ing is becoming a real epidemic in this country. People are kicking chairs and breaking toe(s) all over the United States, Canada and Europe. While not a killer, it still has people in casts for over a two to three months. No good comes from kicking a chair.

For those who don’t know what the term, “Madson’d” means, a quick refresher is needed. Simply put: it is where you get so frustrated and angry, that you kick a chair and break your toe(s) of the kicking foot and have to sit for two to three months because of it. If no chair is present, a wall or hard surface will do.

Rich Dubee has found a solution to Phillies set-up man/closer, Ryan Madson from kicking chairs.

A way to curb people from Madson'd-ing themselves.

It is a worthwhile solution, I think. This epidemic of people kicking chairs has to stop. Nothing good comes out of it. I mean in all reality, you may win the battle, but you will lose the war. Cause the you may knock down the chair…. but the chair wins in the end by breaking your toe(s).

So here is the 2010 Cy Young winner, Roy Halladay to say a few words about the epidemic of people “Madson’d-ing” themselves…

RH: Hello I’m Phillies starting pitcher, and 2010 National League Cy Young Award winner, Roy Halladay and I’m here to talk to you about the epidemic that is plaguing Major League baseball players and regular people alike.

“Madson’d-ing” is not good for the health, both mental and physical. It breaks toes and produces DL Fever, another deadly disease. It shatters Tarsals [your toes] and dreams. It is not even a worthwhile excuse to release anger and frustration.

Remember the chair is your friend. You have to sit in it everyday. It probably knows you better than I know how to strikeout hitters by just glaring at them. Be kind to your chair(s).

So please, vent your anger and frustration in a healthy way. Punch a punching bag, pwn noobs in Call of Duty, take up poetry, or even kick someone’s shins. Or do what I do, strikeout the side on four pitches while playing hacky sack with a bean bag chair filled with metal.

(*winks and smiles*) Together we can end this silent killer and stop the deadly cycle of kicking chairs and breaking toes.

*Roy Halladay doesn’t endorse the kicking of chairs or shins.

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