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Category Archives: Justin Mourneau

Runs For Cole: Offense Backs Up Hamels in 9-8 Win

Phillies DH Jim Thome (far right) celebrates with John Mayberry (left) and Carlos Ruiz (middle) after Mayberry’s three-run homer in the 1st inning. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Phillies 9, Twins 8
WP – Cole Hamels (9-3, 3.34)
LP – P.J. Walters (2-2, 5.40)
SV – Jonathan Papelbon (17)

MINNEANAPOLIS — On a night where Cole Hamels was a little off, his offense was not.

The Phillies erupted for a six-run 1st inning, beating up Twins pitching in their 9-8 win over the Twins. It snapped a three-game losing streak as well.

The 1st inning was a circus for Twins pitching. Starter P.J. Walters was yanked after facing only four hitters without getting an out, leaving with stiff shoulder.

The Phillies opened up on Walters with four straight singles, the last being a two-run single by Jim Thome to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. After Walters was pulled, the Phils added four more runs on a Carlos Ruiz RBI single and John Mayberry three-run bomb.

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Series Preview: at Minnesota Twins

PHI: 29-33, 5th in NL East; MIN: 24-35, 5th in AL Central

When: June 12-14
Where: Target Field (Minneapolis, MN)

Probable Pitchers
Tuesday: Kyle Kendrick (2-5, 4.44) vs Nick Blackburn (2-4, 7.75)
Wednesday: Cole Hamels (8-3, 2.93) vs P.J. Walters (2-1, 4.42)
Thursday: Joe Blanton (5-6, 5.40) vs Scott Diamond (5-1, 1.61)

Broadcast Info
Tuesday, 8:10, CSN
Wednesday, 8:10, CSN
Thursday, 8:10, PHL 17
All Games on 94.1 FM

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Spring Training: Twins 11, Phillies 7

Carlos Ruiz has been hitting the cover all spring, a small positive note in an otherwise dreary spring for the Phillies.

Ruiz went 2-for-3 on the day, pumping his average up to .472 in Grapefruit League play this season. But the Phillies dropped their game, 11-7, the Twins on Wednesday.

Vance Worley got the start and was roughed up. He allowed 11 runs, five of them earned, on 11 hits through four innings. He gave up a two-run homer to Justin Morneau in the 1st and a three-run homer to Luke Hughes in a seven-run 4th that ended his day.

Another thing to consider was the outings by Raul Valdes and David Herndon, who each pitched two scoreless innings of relief. They combined to allow three hits and strike out four.

It should be interesting to see if those two make the Opening Day roster. Jose Contreras doesn’t appear to be ready and candidates Scott Elarton and Jake Diekman were sent down yesterday.

Season Preview: AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Expectations: Ozzie Guillen tweets every lineup change from the dugout.
Key addition: 1B/OF Adam Dunn (.260, 38 HR, 103 RBI with Washington)
Key loss: RP Bobby Jenks (1-3, 27 Saves, 4.44 ERA)
Projected record: 92-70

Summary: Most of the puzzle pieces remain from last year’s team, with a power addition of Adam Dunn.  The team has speed (Juan Pierre, Alex Rios), power (Dunn, Paul Konerko) and pitching (John Danks, Mark Buherle).  Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin are all solid ballplayers. The White Sox have a question mark in the bullpen, as they will have Chris Sale or Matt Thornton closing.  Jake Peavy’s injury concerns are troublesome, but as an end of the rotation guy, he won’t be relied on as an ace.

Minnesota Twins

Expectations: Increased amount of man-crushes on all-star catcher Joe Mauer.
Key addition: 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka (.260, 14 HR, 41 RBI with Chiba of the Japanese League.
Key loss: 2B Orlando Hudson (.268, 6 HR, 37 RBI)
Projected record: 89-73

Summary: Mauer leads the Twins, who are bitter after two straight first round exits to the Yankees.  The core of the team returns, although key component 1B Justin Morneau missed the second half of last year with a concussion, and has only played six spring training games thus far.  The Twins rotation is decent; no stud ace, but some solid pitchers to get the job done.  One of the biggest question marks is the bullpen.  Joe Nathan is coming off Tommy John surgery, and if he is the Joe Nathan of old, the Twins will be fine.  If not, Matt Capps will be their go-to guy.

Detroit Tigers

Expectations: Leading the league in DUI arrests.
Key addition: C/1B Victor Martinez (.302, 20 HR, 79 RBI with Boston)
Key loss: OF Johnny Damon (.271, 8 HR, 51 RBI)
Projected record: 85-77

Summary: The Tigers underachieved last season going 81-81, finishing 13 games behind the first place Twins.  They added Boston’s Victor Martinez, who is a .225 career hitter at Detroit’s Comerica Park.  Will Martinez continue his struggles at his new spacious home?  He will likely DH for the team, hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez, so RBI opportunities will be there.  Detroit’s pitching is good with Justin Verlander, Matt Scherzer and Rick Porcello.

Cleveland Indians

Expectations: The Indians beg Pedro Cerrano and Rick Vaughn to come back and play for the team.
Key addition: OF Austin Kearns (.263, 10 HR, 49 RBI with Cleveland and New York AL)
Key loss: Uhhhh…. I guess 3B Andy Marte (.229, 5 HR, 19 RBI)
Projected record: 70-92

Summary: Carlos Santana has recovered from a knee injury he suffered last August, only two months after being called up to the major league club.  The Tribe are going to rely on their young catcher and OF Shin Soo-Choo, who hit .300 last year, with 22 HR and 90 RBI.  Other offensive weapons, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, have had trouble staying healthy in recent years.  Pitcher Fausto Carmona had a good year last season (3.77 ERA), despite losing 14 games.

Kansas City Royals

Expectations: Could contend for the AAA Championship.
Key addition: OF Jeff Francoeur (.249, 13 HR, 65 RBI with New York NL and Texas)
Key loss: SP Zach Greinke  (10-14, 4.17 ERA, 181 K)
Projected record: 65-97

Summary: The Royals fortunately have a deep minor league system, stocked up from many years of top draft picks.  However, that won’t help them this year.  They do have 1B Billy Butler, who hit .318 last year.  Top prospect 3B Mike Moustakas is ready for a promotion, and might get one this season.  Unfortunately the Royals traded away their best player, SP Zach Greinke for a boatload of prospects.  It’ll be a while before Kansas City is a competitor again.

Father’s Day Failure

On a day celebrating fathers around the world, the Phillies were the only ones not celebrating. Roy Halladay was taken yard two times and Carl Pavano pitched a complete game to lead the Twins to a 4-1 win and series win in Philadelphia.

Halladay got hit pretty well but only allowed four runs, three earned on 11 hits while striking out eight in eight innings. Pavano only allowed a run on four hits, the lone mistake being a solo homer given up to Wilson Valdez, his second of the season.

Denard Span and Justin Morneau each homered for the Twins. Both also had two-hit games along with Jason Kubel.

The Phillies will have the day off on Monday before hosting the last-place Cleveland Indians for a three-game series. The Phils sit 5.5 games out of first currently.

HR: Valdez (2).

WP: Pavano (8-6). LP: Halladay (8-6).

Boxscore.

5 Teams to Watch in the AL

Yankees – They’re the 2009 World Series champions and still kept intact the solid nucleus that got them there. They traded top prospects to land centerfielder Curtis Granderson, a much better defensive asset than Johnny Damon. They also traded Melky Cabrera to the Braves for Javier Vazquez to bolster the starting rotation. With guys like C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Brunett, and Andy Pettitte, the Yankees boast a very good pitching unit. Mariano Rivera is still the best closer in the game and the aging offense led by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira can still put a ton of runs up on the score board. If things go right, they could have another parade down Broadway.

Red Sox – The pitching is truly phenomenal. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka form the best top-four in baseball. The offense is led by top young stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Marco Scutaro is hoping to end the revolving door at the short stop position and Adrian Beltre is an offensive upgrade at third. Offensive depth is the only thing that should concern the Sox but they have the pitching to get the job done. David Ortiz is a shell of his old self but it still the DH.

Twins – It’s safe to say that Joe Mauer is the scariest hitter in the AL. The reigning MVP is one of the reasons Minnesota is buzzing prior to the 2010 season. Along with a new outdoor park and a very dangerous lineup featuring Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer, the fans and Twins have high expectations for this year. The only problem with them this year though is pitching. If their starters can have decent years, they could beat out Detroit for the division.

Mariners – Seattle is truly going to be a serious contender in the AL. The addition of Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, and Milton Bradley will revamp a pitching staff and offense in need of fire power. Lee became a hot pitcher again after his last season transformation with the Phillies and will look to create a formidable 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez. Figgins will add speed and Bradley will look to add power to a Mariners lineup that hit 160 homer (12th in the AL) last season.

Angels – Surely they make their case for a serious playoff contender every year but there has to be a breaking point. They improved an already solid lineup with Hideki Matsui and bolstered their bull pen with Fernando Rodney but the team still doesn’t jump out at anyone. The core of the offense is aging in Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Matsui and they lost Figgins to the division rival Mariners. Jared Weaver, Joe Saunders, and newly acquired Joel Pineiro will need to have season like 2009 to give the Mariners a fighting chance in an AL crowded with contenders.

East: Yankees
Central: Twins
West: Mariners
Wild Card: Red Sox

Pennant: Yankees over Mariners

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