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Category Archives: Andrew McCutchen

Five Teams to Watch In the Second Half

The second half is underway and there are a handful of teams looking to get back to the post season, some waiting longer than others.

The National League features a pair of teams who find themselves shockingly in first place. Meanwhile, the American League has an early three-team race for the Wild Card with one newcomer in the second half post season race.

Here are a list of five teams to watch heading into the second half of the season.

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Series Preview: vs Pittsburgh Pirates

PHI: 34-40, 5th in NL East; PIT: 38-33, 2nd in NL Central

When: June 25-28
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Monday: Joe Blanton (6-6, 5.04) vs Jeff Karstens (0-1, 4.50)
Tuesday: Vance Worley (3-4, 2.78) vs Erik Bedard (4-7, 4.13)
Wednesday: TBD vs James McDonald (6-3, 2.19)
Thursday: 
Kyle Kendrick (2-7, 5.24) vs A.J. Burnett (8-2, 3.24)

Broadcast Info
Monday, 7:05, CSN
Tuesday, 7:05, CSN
Wednesday, 7:05, CSN
Thursday, 1:05, CSN
All Games on 94.1 FM

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Bullpen Implodes: McCutchen’s Heroics Beat Phillies

Phillies CF Shane Victorino nearly collides with RF Hunter Pence while making a catch. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The starting pitching has been nothing short of fantastic for the Phillies so far, allowing only two runs in 20 innings through the first three games of the season.

Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said about the bullpen. David Herndon was the goat on Easter Sunday, as opposed to the more favorable lamb, and the Phillies dropped the series finally – as well as the first series of the season – to the Pirates, 5-4.

Casey McGehee had himself a tremendous game, doubling twice in two huge innings for the Pirates that set up their come back against the Phillies. His double in the bottom of the 9th set up Andrew McCutchen’s walk-off single off the center field wall.

McCutchen went 3-for-4 on the day, including the game-winning RBI.

Hunter Pence had himself a tremendous day at the plate for the Phillies, going 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the 1st and a solo home run in the 4th.

The Phillies scored only four runs in the first 25 innings of the season.

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Phils Lose to Bucs in Extras

Phillies SP Cliff Lee allowed a run through six innings in his no-decision during the Phillies 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The Phillies managed to win a game 1-0 in their Opening Day on Thursday. But ignorance proved bliss and they managed to lose a game by scoring only one run on Saturday.

Wasting a quality start from Cliff Lee despite not having his best stuff, the Phillies lost 2-1 in 10 innings to the Pirates in the first of possibly many frustrating losses of the season.

One run is all the Phillies could manage, a manufactured run in the 1st inning.

Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco led off the game with a pair of singles. Jimmy Rollins, who bunted for a single in his first at-bat of the season on Thursday, laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved both runners into scoring position.

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Doc Blanks Bucs on Opening Day

Phillies SP Roy Halladay allowed two hits and four base runners through eight scoreless innings as the Phillies won 1-0 on Opening Day in Pittsburgh. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Phillies couldn’t have asked for a more masterful outing from their Ace of Aces.

Roy Halladay gave up two singles in the first inning, the only two hits he would allow all game as his beautiful Opening Day outing allowed the Phillies offense to get away with scoring only one run all day.

The Phillies and Pirates took a scoreless tie into the 7th inning. After a one-0ut single by Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry followed up with a double down the right field line to put runners on second and third.

Carlos Ruiz skied one to shallow right field and Jose Tabata’s slightly high throw allowed Wigginton to score. It was the only run Pirates starter Erik Bedard would allow through seven innings.

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Series Preview: at Pittsburgh Pirates

PHI: 102-60, 1st in NL East in 2011; PIT: 72-90, 4th in NL Central in 2011

When: April 5-9
Where: PNC Park (Pittsburgh, PA)

Probable Pitchers (2011 stats)
Thursday: Roy Halladay (19-6; 2.35) vs Erik Bedard (8-8, 4.03 with Boston)
Saturday: Cliff Lee (17-8; 2.40) vs. Jeff Karstens (9-9; 3.38)
Sunday: Vance Worley (11-3; 3.01) vs. James McDonald (9-9; 4.21)

Broadcast Info
Thursday, 1:35, MLBN
Saturday, 7:05, CSN
Sunday, 1:35, PHL 17
All Games on 97.5 FM Read more of this post

Phils fall on bull pen night

Kyle Kendrick’s unbeaten streak in Pittsburgh has finally come to an end.

The right-hander, who was 4-0 heading into today’s game against the Pirates, surrendered four runs in his five innings of work as the Pirates held off the Phils late surge, 6-3.

The Phillies have lost four straight games against incredible mediocre teams.

Lyle Overbay and Andrew McCutchen had big days, totaling six hits while driving in three runs and scoring twice. Overbay fell a homer shy of the cycle and McCutchen doubled twice.

Charlie Morton was just as good as he’s been all season, going seven innings and allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. He also scattered five strike outs through his seven innings.

The Phils loaded the bases down 6-2 in the 9th. They got a run back on Placido Polanco’s RBI single. Chase Utley followed up with two outs but couldn’t deliver, flying out to left to end the game.

The Phils got some bad news after the game. Jimmy Rollins fouled a ball off his knee in the first inning before doubling. But it was bothering him and he exited the game an inning later. He wound up with a petallar contusion.

After the game, the Phils sent Mike Zagurski back down and brought back David Herndon.

2B: Rollins (11), Ibanez (11).

WP: Morton (7-2). LP: Kendrick (3-4).

Boxscore.

Series Preview: at Pittsburgh Pirates

PHI: 34-22, 1st in NL East; PIT: 26-28, 4th in NL Central

When: June 3-5
Where: PNC Park (Pittsburgh, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Friday: Cole Hamels (7-2, 3.01) vs Jeff Karstens (3-4, 3.58)
Saturday: Kyle Kendrick (3-3, 3.38) vs Charlie Morton (5-2, 2.51)
Sunday: Roy Halladay (7-3, 2.56) vs James McDonald (3-3, 4.85)

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

Player to Watch – Andrew McCutchen: McCutchen is one of the most exciting young players in baseball. The 24-year-old is batting .256, .030 points below his career average. But he’s still leading the Pirates with nine homers and has driven in 27 RBIs (on pace to shatter his highs in both).

Overview: This series can go two ways for the Phils. One, they could finish games instead of suffering disappointing losses like the one against Washington yesterday. Or, two, the mental lapse continues and they suffer a series loss to Pittsburgh – or even worse, a sweep.

The Phils are traveling to the gorgeous PNC Park. PNC Park is one of the best parks I have ever been to with some of the greatest scenery anyone will ever see at a stadium. Located near the three rivers, you get a wonderful view of Pittsburgh in the skyline.

Saturday presents the best match-up of the series. Mainly because the Phils are throwing their worst pitcher against the Pirates best pitcher. But there’s more! Kyle Kendrick is 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his career against the Pirates. Charlie Morton is enjoying a great start to what will be his first full season as a starter with a 5-2 record and 2.51 ERA.

Baseball is semi-interesting in Pittsburgh these first two months. With the Pirates hovering just a bit under .500 and their team stocked full of young, potential talent, the fans are starting to gain some interest again in a team that hasn’t had a winning record let alone make the post season since 1992.

Besides McCutchen, Neil Walker is one of Pittsburgh’s best hitters. With a team high .270 average and 33 RBIs along with six homers, Walker is the guy the Pirates rely on for offense.

The Phillies will be getting back center fielder Shane Victorino this series. He will add speed back in the line up and supply a much needed boost at defense with his glove and arm. It will be interesting to see the playing time rookies Domonic Brown and John Mayberry see.

Season Preview: NL Central

Cincinnati Reds

Expectations: Aroldis Chapman throw a 373 MPH fastball.
Key addition: Edgar Renteria
Key loss: Orlando Cabrera
Projected record: 92-70
Summary: The Cincinnati Reds were among one of the biggest surprises in baseball. In 2010, the young Reds overtook the reigning NL Central champion Cardinals and made their first postseason appearance since 1995. They have a very talented young core in 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce. Sprinkle in veterans like Scott Rolen and Edgar Renteria and they should be back on top of the Central division. Their starting rotation is very strong and is full of veterans. Youngster flamethrowers Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto help anchor the ship. Bronson Arroyo and Travis Wood should help bring stability and gives them a very deep rotation. The Reds should get a challenge from Prince Fielder and the Brewers but no Wainwright for the Cardinals makes this division race a little less intriguing.

Milwaukee Brewers

Expectations: The franchise folds as they realize they can’t move on without Cutter Dystra.
Key Addition: Zack Greinke
Key Loss: Alcides Escobar
Projected Record: 87-75
Summary: The Milwaukee Brewers finished with a record of 77-85 last season but made significant moves in the offseason. After Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke was considered the runner-up prize for many teams and the Brewers landed him. They parted with a few prospects and Alcides Escobar to obtain Greinke. Greinke brings over a boatload of talent. His career numbers are 60-67 but most of that is the product of playing on a bad team. In 2009, he boasted an ERA of 2.16 and could do more of the same in the competitive NL Central. The Brewers also added outfielder Nyjer Morgan in a trade. Morgan brings over a ton of talent and a bad rap. He is famous for charging Marlins’ pitcher Chris Volstad and plowing over catchers. Morgan will challenge Carlos Gomez for the centerfield job and can provide speed at the top of the Brewers’ lineup. They have a lot to be proud of heading into this season and should contend with the Reds for the division crown.

St. Louis Cardinals

Expectations: They amputate Wainwright’s arm and find him a new one and he wins the Cy Young.
Key Addition: Lance Berkman
Key Loss: Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery)
Projected Record: 83-79
Summary: The Cardinals finished second place in the Central last season and were hoping to take back the crown. But that became a little more difficult within the last month. With Adam Wainwright slated to miss the entire with Tommy John surgery, the Cardinals rotation will certainly be a lot weaker. Aside from Chris Carpenter, their starting rotation is very weak, especially when you compare it to some of the rotations around the National League. Behind Carpenter, they have Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia. Westbrook was acquired from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline last season and signed a two-year extension. Westbrook went 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA with the Cardinals in the second half last season. Garcia had a very good rookie campaign and could be the #2 starter in the rotation. He went 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA. The young Garcia certainly has great stuff but the loss of Wainwright will just be too much. You’re replacing a Cy-Young award winner which is not easy to do. They did add Lance Berkman who should bring some more pop to their lineup. Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday should be among the most talented duos in baseball and Berkman could definitely add 60-70 RBIs to the club. But in the end, the pitching just won’t be strong enough. The Cardinals should be competitive but the other teams in the Central are very good and have made significant strides this offseason.

Chicago Cubs
Expectations: Steve Bartman is finally able to show his face in the city of Chicago again.
Key Addition: Matt Garza
Key Loss: Derrek Lee
Projected Record: 80-82

Summary: The Chicago Cubs are coming off a not-so-impressive season in which they finished in fifth place. They turned around and pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire pitcher Matt Garza. Garza will help to anchor a solid Cubs rotation that also includes Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster. Garza was 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 2010 for a first place Tampa Bay Rays team. They also let aging first baseman Derrek Lee walk in free agency. They signed another former Ray in first baseman Carlos Pena. Pena is a career .241 hitter and brings some much-needed power to the Cubs lineup. In the past four seasons, Pena has hit 144 home runs and knocked in 407 RBIs. If Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez can be solid contributors along with Pena, the Cubs could stay alive in the Central. However I just don’t think they have enough offense to keep up.

Houston Astros
Expectations: Ed Wade trades with a team other than the Phillies.
Key Addition: Clint Barmes
Key Loss: Matt Lindstrom
Projected Record: 72-86
Summary: For the first time in eight years, the Astros Opening Day starter won’t be Roy Oswalt. It will be Brett Myers. Perhaps that says it all about this Houston Astros team. Their starting rotation is very weak and will be led by the former Phillies hot head. Wandy Rodriguez and J.A. Happ are both very solid but don’t strike fear into opponents. Their offense can be very good at times. Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence should combine to hit around 50 home runs and knock in 175-200 runs. Michael Bourn does a great job setting the table for the Astros. He led the National League with 52 stolen bases and also scored 84 runs last year. Their infield may hurt them this season though. Their best infielder is Bill Hall. Yes Bill Hall. The youth movement in the infield features Chris Johnson at third base, Angel Sanchez at shortstop, and Brett Wallace at first base. There isn’t much major league experience there and I think there will be some growing pains this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Expectations: What expectations? It’s the Pirates.
Key Addition: Lyle Overbay
Key Loss: Zach Duke
Projected Record: 67-95
Summary: The Pittsburgh Pirates begin every season thinking that this year will be better than the previous one. I actually hold that to be true. Well at least by Pirates standards. While this team is very far away from being anywhere close to a successful franchise, I think they will be better this year. Their infield is very solid and should generate some excitement. They added Lyle Overbay at first base which allows Garrett Jones to move to right field. Overbay adds some nice pop to the Bucs’ lineup. Youngsters Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker will turn some heads this season. Alvarez will get to start the year with the big club and could hit 25 home runs for a struggling Pirates team. Walker hit well last season and ended up with a .281 average. He will likely be hitting third in the Pirates lineup and could hit between 75-90 RBIs before the year is through. Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, and Jones round out a very talented outfield. Former Brave Matt Diaz will be coming off the bench. The rotation as usual, is the downfall of the team. Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, and Ross Ohlendorf will be the top three starters for the Pirates. It’s safe to say that the Pirates could actually be decent one day if they got some good pitching.

Pirates Plunder on Moyer Blunder

Jamie Moyer sealed his own fate despite not getting an ounce of run support. The crafty veteran threw away the ball on a would-be-safe play to plate two runners as the Phillies offense died in their 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh. It’s the second time the Pirates beat the Phillies with only scoring two runs.

Moyer pitched six great innings, allowing only two runs, one earned on five hits, two walks, and eight strike outs. In the fourth inning, Andy LaRoche hit a soft grounder with two outs that Moyer fielded, turned, and attempted to throw out LaRoche. The ball sailed over Ryan Howard’s head and scored two runners. LaRoche was credited with an infield single because he would’ve beaten out the throw anyway.

Ross Ohlendorf earned his first win of the season with his outing. He pitched seven shut out innings, allowing only five hits and a walk while sitting down eight batters via strikes. Octavio Dotel pitched the ninth for his 18th save on the season.

Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh and Wilson Valdez of Philly were the only two batters to manage two hits in a game where both teams combined for 10 hits.

The Phillies have lost four of their last five and are struggling heading into the all star break.

2B: Ibanez (16)

WP: Ohlendorf (1-6). LP: Moyer (9-7). S: Dotel (18).

Boxscore.

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Brian Schneider suffered the same injury as Chase Utley. But fortunately for him, it was only a left thunb sprain and will not land the catcher on the DL. He will probably miss the next couple of days and will be available if needed. This is obviously a huge relief to the Phillies who have lost Utley, Carlos Ruiz, and Placido Polanco in the last week to DL stints.

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