June 21, 2010
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By John Russo
Thank you! Jimmy Rollins will be back in red pinstripes as early as Tuesday. Whether or not he’s playing tomorrow is unknown but I will be proudly wearing my Rollins jersey to the park. Rollins has only played in 11 games this season while having two stints on the DL. Rollins had lofty predictions heading into the season and it appears none of those expectations will be met.
Rollins, who is batting .341 in 41 at-bats, will bring an immediate spark to a team hurting for runs and wins. Though the offense came to the life in the previous four-of-five games, the four-hit loss to Carl Pavano on Sunday killed the momentum the offense appeared to be gaining. With Rollins back, the offense will have its catalyst and they can get back to scoring runs and gaining on the first-place Braves, who sit 5.5 games in first place.
Rollins hasn’t had injury problems at all during his 10-year career. A calf injury like this can nag the 31-year-old short stop for the rest of his career if it isn’t monitored correctly. In order for that to not happen, Rollins will have to let the Phillies know if he feels discomfort and they will also have to not have him playing in an excess of games. With Wilson Valdez playing as well as he has as of late, the Phillies should continue to give him more time.
The use of Valdez is a big IF though. With the return of Rollins, it will be interesting to see who get’s designated for assignment. It’s between Valdez, Juan Castro, and even Greg Dobbs. Castro has become a forgotten utility player and Dobbs has been awful all season. Dobbs hasn’t been the 2008 pinch-hitter the Phillies wanted him to be and could land on another team if DFA’ed.
It will be interesting tomorrow to see what the Phillies do. I want them to hold onto Valdez, personally and let Castro go. You have to factor in age and overall value.
But back to J-Roll. The return of Rollins will be huge for the Phillies. Despite the fact I really want to see Rollins back in the line up tomorrow, I hope he doesn’t start tomorrow so he isn’t rushed back. Unless he and Charlie Manuel are 100% sure he can contribute without re-injuring himself, Rollins sitting the bench is the best option.
June 20, 2010
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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).
June 18, 2010
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Phillies (34-30, 3rd in NL East) vs. Minnesota Twins (38-28, 1st in AL Central)
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports
Friday: Joe Blanton (1-5, 7.28) vs. Nick Blackburn (6-3, 4.96)
Saturday: Cole Hamels (6-5, 3.74) vs. Kevin Slowey (7-4, 3.84)
Sunday: Roy Halladay (8-5, 2.36) vs. Carl Pavano (7-6, 3.92)
Friday, 7:05: CSN
Saturday, 4:10: FOX
Sunday, 1:35: MyPHL17
All Games on 1210 AM
Hot (last 3) – Jose Contreras: 0-0, 3.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 0 R, 3 K, amazing since beginning of May.
Not (last 3) – Joe Blanton: 0-2, 15 IP, 20 R, 18 ER, 5 HR, 10.80 ERA.
Player to Watch – Joe Mauer: He is the best player in the American League and arguably the best in baseball. He’s the most dynamic catcher in a long time to play the game. His power numbers are low (only two home runs and only 28 RBIs) and his .311 average is 15 points below his career average. He’s been in a fun his last 10 games, batting .273 and only driving in four runs but much like we’re waiting on Chase Utley to do, Mauer can bust out at any moment.
Series Overview: The Phillies took a huge series away from the Yankees… Like Mauer, the Twins have been struggling a bit as they’ve seen their lead in the division diminish to half a game to Detroit… The Phillies need to keep pace with Atlanta and New York in order to not fall further from first in the NL East… Jim Thome returns to Philly where he was loved like a son… Joe Blanton hasn’t gone further than seven innings yet this season and hasn’t allowed fewer than three runs in any of his starts. He will need a good start on Friday to set the tone for the Phillies this series… Cole Hamels has been Philadelphia’s most consistent pitcher this season thus far. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last eight starts… Roy Halladay versus Carl Pavano on Father’s Day may be the rubber match in this series as pops will not only be treated to a cool hat at the stadium but also a good pitching duel.