Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Andy Pettitte

Pettitte Retires; Yanks Interested in Blanton?

With one of the greatest Yankees pitchers in their franchise history retiring, the Yankees are left with a glaring hole in the fifth starter spot.

This leaves the Phillies in a very interesting situation. Does Ruben Amaro, Jr. call up Brian Cashman and offer up right-handed starter Joe Blanton up for a trade? If so, what type of compensation would the Phillies be interested in?

Blanton would be an attractive fit for the Yankees, who would rather have a better option for the fifth starter than Kevin Millwood, Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon.

The Phillies may be able to also pry something from the Yankees with them desperately needing a reliable fifth starter. In the difficult AL East, the Yankees may not want to start the season short-handed with the Rays and Red Sox being good enough to take full advantage of a head start.

The Phillies could get a prospect, a seasoned outfielder off the Yanks bench and/or get the Yankees to eat most of Blanton’s $17 million salary due to him the next two seasons.

If the Phillies do trade Blanton, they will have Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick ready to battle it out for the fifth starter’s spot. Both would be very capable fits.


Lee, Pettitte: Match-up of the LCS.


Two of the best left-handers in the playoffs, Andy Pettitte and Cliff Lee, will square off tonight in Game 3 of the ALCS in New York.


I know this is a Phillies blog but once in a while, there are other things going on in the baseball world that deserve recognition. If you’re a true baseball fan, you’ll be tuned into tonight’s match-up between the Yankees and Rangers in game three of the ALCS.

Tonight’s game is more than just an important battle in New York with the series tied at one. Former Phillie Cliff Lee, who like he was in Philadelphia last season, is the mid-season savior for the Rangers. His second-half performance helped lead the Rangers into the post season and to the franchise’s first ever playoff series win so far this season.

But the Rangers path to their first ever World Series appearance has to go through New York, a franchise that’s won 27 world championships and has played in 40 World Series.

Taking the hill against Lee is arguably one of the greatest playoff pitchers in baseball history: Andy Pettitte. Pettitte is a five-time world champion and has won a record 19 playoff games and has clinched a record six series.

This has been an interesting season for Pettitte, who missed time from the end of July until midway into September with a groin injury. In fact, this will only be Pettitte’s fifth start coming off rehab.

Pettitte still had a fantastic season, going 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts. He averaged a little less than 6 1/3 innings per start, but partly due to leaving the game early in July with an injury and with not pitching on a full tank due to coming off the groin injury.

In Pettitte’s lone playoff start against the Minnesota Twins, he allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings. In Lee’s two starts, he absolutely dominated the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing only two runs in 16 innings pitched and striking out 21. He pitched a complete game in game five to seal their spot in the ALCS.

Lee is 3-0 this year against the Yankees with a 3.09 ERA in 23 1/3 innings while walking four and striking out 18. He threw a complete game in his only start in Yankee Stadium, allowing four runs, three earned on June 29 when he was still in Seattle.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Lee, who beat the Yankees twice last World Series when with the Phillies, could work his magic again against the Bronx Bombers.

EXTRA — Read Adam McCalvry’s article on Cole Hamels on the Phillies website. It talks about Hamels chasing the same post season success as Pettitte. An excerpt from the article:

Count Hamels as a fan of the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte.

“I just want to have his postseason career,” Hamels said. “That would be great. … That’s something special right there.”

Phils Saved the Henny

Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco tracks down a ball hit in foul territory to end the Yankees' scoring threat in the sixth. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

So a campaign was started today if you were following me to “Save the Henny,” as I had a pint of Hennessy cognac on line for this game with one of my friends who’s a Yankees fan. Well the Henny was saved as the Phillies stomped the Yankees, 7-1, to take the three-game series for the second straight year in the Bronx. It was the first series win for the Phillies since May 28-30 in Florda.

Kyle Kendrick was almost untouchable as he followed up Jamie Moyer’s stellar performance with one of his own. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed one run on four hits, two walks while striking out three in seven innings. Jose Contreras pitched the eight and an out in the ninth and J.C. Romero finished it off. Andy Pettitte was good for the Yankees but his offense left him hanging as the veteran lefty allowed three runs in seven innings.

Shane Victorino went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in the fifth. Carlos Ruiz had a pair of doubles and scored twice and Ryan Howard drove in two runs. Despite using his voodoo magic on his team, Chase Utley went hitless again, watching his batting average drop to an awful .257.

Kendrick was backed by some stellar defense as well. The Phillies had three plays in the field that could all make ESPN’s Top 10 tomorrow. Jayson Werth made a spectacular diving catch early in the game. Then with runners on first and third and two outs with the score 3-1, Placido Polanco made a diving catch on the tarp in foul territory to end the threat. The while pitching, Contreras made a behind-the-back stab on a come-backer and threw to first for the out in the eighth inning.

Robinson Cano drove in the only run for the Yankees, a two-out RBI single in the sixth that made it a 3-1 game at the time. He finished the night 2-for-4 as he continued his batting tear with a .372 average on the season. The Captain, Derek Jeter went 0-for-4 on the night as he was held hitless for the series.

The Phillies got the scoring going in the fourth inning when Howard drove in Victorino with one out. Victorino then hit a two-run shot down the left field line to make it 3-0. New York made it 3-1 in the sixth but the Phillies erupted for four runs in the ninth to pull away. They would have had two more run in the ninth but a ground ball hit by Ben Francisco hit off of Raul Ibanez’s foot with two outs. The two runs scored but the umpires gathered and ruled that it hit Ibanez for the third out.

The Phillies were in a must-win situation for not only their self-esteem but also to keep pace behind the Braves and Mets, who both won tonight. It was also interesting that the game where the Phillies had the best chance of winning was Tuesday in which they got pummeled and the two games the Phillies were expected to get smoked, they dominated.

The Phillies come back home to play first-place Minnesota for a three-game set before taking a day off and playing the last place Indians. The series against the Twins will be a tough one as they will be playing their second straight series against a team leading their division.

Doubles: Ruiz 2 (8), Ibanez (12). HR: Victorino (11).

WP: Kendrick (4-2). LP: Pettitte (8-2).


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

Free Agency Tracker has it’s Hot Stove Free Agency tracker fired back up. There have been no major signings yet this off season but players like Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreu, and Ken Griffey Jr. have resigned with their former teams. The big names this year include Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, John Lackey, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Andy Pettitte, and Chone Figgins.

MLB Trade Rumors Top 50 breaks down where they think some of the top players will go. They have the Phillies projected at picking up reliever Jose Valverde and utility player Mark DeRosa. I hope they are wrong in some signings as they have the Mets getting Holliday and Randy Wolf.

Yankees Win 2009 World Series

Once again, the Yankees are Pedro Martinez’s daddy. The Phillies season has finally ended as the Yankees beat up the Phillies pitching, winning game 6 by a score of 7-3 and the series 4-2. Hideki Matsui went 3-4 with six RBI’s, falling a triple shy of the cycle, as he single handedly killed the Phillies hopes of forcing game 7.

Martinez was awful, going just four innings and allowing four runs on three hits and two walks, striking out five. His opponenet, Andy Pettitte, went 5.2, allowing three runs on on four hits and five walks. Despite pitching like crap, Pettite earned the win. Mariano Rivera pitched the last five outs, getting Shane Victorino to ground out to Robinson Cano to seal the victory.

The offensive fire power got going early for the Yankees when Matsui hit a two-run homer in the second. The Phillies answered with a run in the bottom of the inning but were soon counter-punched when Matsui hit a two-run single to make it a 4-1 game.

The Yankees then tacked on three more off of Chad Durbin in the 5th. They got an RBI single by Mark Teixeira and a two-run double by Matsui to make it a 7-3 game. Ryan Howard then came alive, answering with a two-run homer off Pettitte to finally chase him from the game. The Phillies had a huge opportunity in the 7th with Utley at the plate and two outs with two runners on but specialist Demaso Marte came in to strike him out to end the inning.

Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez were the only bright spots of the night. Chooch went 2-2 with a walk and a run scored. Ibanez had a pair of doubles. For the Yankees, Derek Jeter had three hits and two runs.

On a side note, Ryan Howard struck out for the 13th time this World Series, a new record. Matsui also tied Bobby Richardson’s record of six RBI’s in a single game. Richardson did the feat back in 1960 versus the Pirates.

Stars of the Game:
Game 1: Cliff Lee
Game 2: AJ Burnett
Game 3: Nick Swisher
Game 4: Johnny Damon
Game 5: Chase Utley
Game 6: Hideki Matsui

World Series MVP (official):

Hideki Matsui: 8-13 (.615), 3 runs, double, 3 HR, 8 RBI,

World Series LVP:
Ryan Howard: 4-23 (.178), 3 runs, 2 doubles, HR, 3 RBI, 13 K’s (new record)

Phillies Player of the Series:
Chase Utley: 6-21 (.286), 6 runs, double, 5 HR’s, 8 RBI, SB

Phils Stay Alive, Head Back to NY

For the Phillies, every game is a must win game. After taking the first game of the series, they fell three straight to the Yankees. After last night’s offensive outburst, the Phillies got back into this series, only trailing 3-2. The bats came alive and Cliff Lee pitched well enough to win as the Phillies fought off a late Yankees rally to win 8-6.

Lee went 7 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out three. Though he gave up five runs, his ERA is an incredible 1.56 in five post season starts and boasts a 4-0 record. His counterpart, AJ Burnett was bounced in the third inning with no outs, only lasting two innings, allowing six runs on four hits and four walks, striking out two.

The offense got going early after the Yankees managed to score a run in the first inning. The Phillies responded the only way they know how to: a lead off single by Jimmy Rollins, a scary hit-by-pitch taken by Shane Victorino, and a no-out three-run homer by Chase Utley. Victorino got hit in the hand and it affected him all game but he will be fine. It’s only a contusion and not a break or fracture.

The offense didn’t stop there as they tacked on three more runs in the third. After back-t0-back walks by Utley and Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth drove in Utley on an RBI single. Raul Ibanez then drove in Howard on a single and Werth hustled all the way to third. Carlos Ruiz was able to beat out a potential double play ball to allow Werth to score, making it 6-2.

The Yankees were able to add one in the 5th to make it a 6-2 game but the Phillies responded in the 7th with a pair of solo homers by Utley and Ibanez. Utley’s HR was his 5th in the World Series, tying Reggie Jackson’s record in 1977.

This is when it got scary. Lee came in the top of the eighth and was credited with all three runs. Chan Ho Park came in and pitched incredible but it was an 8-5 game. Ryan Madson came out in the 9th and got into early trouble. With runners on 1st and 3rd, he got Derek Jeter to hit into an RBI double play. With an 8-6 score, he walked Johnny Damon and then got Mark Teixeira to strike out to end the game and earn the save.

Utley finished the day 2-3 with three runs, four RBI’s and a pair of HR’s. Rollins had a pair of hits from the lead-off spot and Ibanez also had two hits and two RBI’s and a homer. Lee also had a hit, his 3rd of the post season.

Star of the Game:
Game 1: Cliff Lee
Game 2: AJ Burnett
Game 3: Nick Swisher
Game 4: Johnny Damon
Game 5: Chase Utley

Next Game: Wednesday in New York, 7:57 EST
Series: Yankees lead 3-2
Pitching Probables: Pedro Martinez vs. Andy Pettitte
Gameday Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

The Phillies are still on the ropes but they are punching back. Pedro Martinez is back in New York and back in the spot light. He loves the added attention and I wouldn’t blame him. He has been excellent in his two post season starts and is only win-less because he hasn’t gotten the offensive support he deserved. With the Phillies offense obviously heated back up, he just needs to go out there and pitch like he has.

Andy Pettitte hasn’t pitched on three days rest since 2006. He has a 2.40 ERA in five career starts on that short rest but he is much older now. He will need to stay focused in this outing. He last pitched in game three, giving up four runs in seven innings, allowing five hits and three walks, striking out seven. He certainly is beatable and the Phillies know this.

For extra pumping up, click here.

Yanks Power Their Way to 2-1

The Yankees won game three 8-5 and took a 2-1 lead in the World Series. Nick Swisher killed the Phillies, going 2-4 with a double, home run, and two runs scored. Andy Pettitte got through six solid innings, only allowing four runs on five hits, three walks, and seven strike outs. Mariano Rivera got the save once again.

The Yankees offense combined with three home runs total thanks to Alex Rodriguez, Swisher, and Hideki Matsui.

Three things after this game: Cole Hamels is a girl, the offense has disappeared, and Joe Blanton needs to pitch his ass off tomorrow. Let’s talk about each item individually.

1) Hamels was attrocious. He lasted only 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits, two walks and striking out three. He pitched no-hit ball through the first three and then saw the wheels fall off. After walking Mark Teixeira on a questionable call in the fourth, Rodriguez hit a two-run homer that barely made it out. In the fifth, Hamels gave up a series of hits that led to three more runs and and early exit with only one out.

The pen couldn’t keep the game close either as JA Happ, Chad Durbin, Brett Myers, and Madson combined to give up three runs and two homers in 4.2 innings pitched. I’m not pitting a lot of blame on them but you need to be good in the World Series. The garbage the Yankees call a bull pen out-pitched you.

2) Ryan Howard struck out three more times and is 2-13 with nine strike outs this series. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Raul Ibanez looked lost at their plate appearances, going a combined 0-11 with a sacrifice fly and RBI. As expected, Pedro Feliz has been a penciled-in out in key situations. Jayson Werth was the only bright spot with his two home runs.

They blew some big opportunities. The first came in the second inning. Yes they got three runs that inning but had the bases loaded with one out and could only get a walked-in run by Jimmy Rollins and a sacrifice fly by Victorino. Utley didn’t show up with a runner in scoring position, keeping the Yankees in the game.

3) Charlie Manuel needs to stick to his gut for game four. They are only down 2-1 in the series and shouldn’t jump to Cliff Lee early for game four. He has Blanton going up against C.C. Sabathia, who wasn’t that sharp in game one. The Phillies can hit Sabathia and they know that. Blanton needs to go out their and do his job. He is a good pitcher and needs to realize that and pitch like it.

Star of the Game:
Game 1: Cliff Lee
Game 2: AJ Burnett
Game 3: Nick Swisher

Next Game: Sunday in Philadelphia, 7:57 EST
Series: Yankees lead 2-1
Pitching Probables: C.C. Sabathia vs. Joe Blanton
Gameday Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Oh look! They’re playing the Yankees again. Beat them.

Bats Falter, Series Tied

Runners on first and second for Chase Utley. The swing and a ground ball to Robinson Cano who flips to Derek Jeter and retires Utley to end the inning. The Phillies situational hitting from the regular season returned as they squandered numerous opportunities much like that one as they allow the Yankees to tie the series up, losing 3-1.

Pedro Martinez pitched a quality outing but was not supported at all by the offense, who went 1/5 with runners in scoring position. Martinez lasted 6+, allowing three runs on six hits, two walks, and striking out eight. Two of the runs he allowed were solo homers by Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui.

AJ Burnett looked like a stud in his outing, going seven strong innings and allowing a run on four hits and two walks, striking out nine. His only blemish came off of Matt Stairs’ RBI single scoring in Raul Ibanez. Mariano Rivera pitched the 8th and 9th to get the save.

Those struggles are something that really has to disappear. In a series where both teams should be hitting, struggles at the plate should not be there. Looking at the third strike is also something bad teams do. The Phillies are not a bad team and should not be staring at pitches that close to the plate.

Stars of the Game:
Game 1: Cliff Lee
Game 2: AJ Burnett

Next Game: Saturday in Philadelphia, 7:57 EST
Series: Tied 1-1
Pitching Probables: Andy Pettitte vs. Cole Hamels
Gameday Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Hamels needs to show up this game. The Phillies do not want to be trailing at all to the Yankees this series. They are one of those teams that can get on a roll if the momentum swings their way. Pettitte has been great for the Yankees in the post season.

The Phillies bats need to come back alive. It’s as simple as that. There really is nothing else to write. The Yankees are good and the Phillies are good. Pettitte his clutch and Hamels is nothing like his 2008 form. Hopefully the roles get reversed and Hamels is back to being the World Series MVP he once was.

Filling In the Void

Here are a few things I read during the past couple days in the wake of the Phillies second straight NL championship. We are all sitting here watching the Angels refuse to go away as the series heads back to New York for game six with the Yankees up 3-2.

Rollins, Victorino Fine:

Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino were both hit by pitches during Wednesday’s 10-4 win over the Dodgers. Rollins took a pitch off his left foot and hobbled to first. He was visibly frustrated after the pitch and was also noticeably hurt during the remainder of the game. Victorino was hit in the left elbow. Both had X-rays done and both came back negative.

After Lee, Rotation Not Set:

A very interesting scenario is starting to play out for the Phillies as they wait to see how the rest of the Yankees/Angels series plays out. Regardless of the opponent, the Phillies will be on the road for the first two, at home for the next three, and will close the series on the road.

Cliff Lee is the starter for game one but after him, it isn’t clear who will pitch games two through four. The Phillies are thinking about Cole Hamels for game two and I actually disagree. Hamels is a better hitter than Pedro Martinez and I would rather see him at the plate for at least two at-bats.

I also feel that putting Hamels versus the Yankees third starter is a better match up even though it could very well be C.C. Sabathia. Andy Pettite will start game six tomorrow for the Yankees and Sabathia likely in game seven. This is all assuming the Yankees do win the series.

My rotation looks like this: Lee, Martinez, Hamels, Blanton

Phillies Don’t Care Who Opponent Will Be:

Sure beating the Yankees would be sweeter but if they face the Angels, the task will still be difficult. Regardless of who they play, the Phillies know what needs to be done and that is win.

David Montgomery had this to say:

“We’re happy to represent the National League and I’m sure we’ll be facing the best of the American League,” Phillies president David Montgomery said. “In the case of the Angels, they’re the only team other than us who has won their division three [years] in a row. And the Yankees have the best record in baseball. Now it’s set up, whichever team we play, we absolutely can feel that we’ll be facing the best of the American League.”