Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Javier Vazquez

Blanton’s First Victory

Placido Polanco slides safley into home after Ross Gload's RBI single in the 3rd. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

It’s baby steps for Joe Blanton.

In his return from the disabled list, Blanton allowed three runs in the first two innings. He settled down as he scattered eight hits over five innings along with two strikeouts and two walks as the Phils beat the Marlins, 6-4, Monday night.

Blanton also forced four double play balls in his five innings, an inkling of the keep-it-down approach taught in high school.

Jimmy Rollins started the first of a three-game series against the Marlins with a lead-off homer making it his 36th career lead-off homer. However, that would be the only run the Phillies scored in the first inning after Howard gets caught up at home plate.

The Marlins struck back in the bottom of the 1st when Gaby Sanchez doubled to center field scoring Chris Coghlan and Hanley Ramirez giving them a 2-1 lead over the Phils.

Blanton then gave up a walk to Stanton, but the inning would end with the former Phillie Greg Dobbs hitting a liner to Howard who tossed to second to start a double play.

The Marlins were able to tack on another run when Coghlan hit an RBI single to score Omar Infante taking a 3-1 lead in the 2nd. Read more of this post


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

Kendrick Impressing

Kyle Kendrick is trying to be like Doc with the beard, the early trips to practice, and his performance. AP Photo

Kyle Kendrick knows the road back to the Phillies starting rotation goes through Jamie Moyer. All Kendrick has to do is continue to pitch like he has in his first two starts and he may very well be on his way back to the majors.

Kendrick followed up his great performace versus the Yankees last Thursday with three innings of scoreless ball in the Phillies 7-5 loss to the Yankees today. He allowed only one hit and struck out one in the effort.

Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a solo homer off newly acquired Yank Javier Vazquez. John Mayberry went 2-4 with a homer and two RBI’s. Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard also had two hits.

We all hope that Jose Contreras was just trying some stuff out in today’s game as he got abused for six runs on six hits and three walks in 1.2 innings. He struck out two.

The Phillies are 1-3-1 in Spring Training play.


Happ On Mound Tonight

Tonight: Happ (5-0, 3.00), Vazquez, J (5-7, 3.04)

After dropping the first two games of the series to the Braves, the Phillies will try to rebound and get a win going into the crucial 10-game home stand starting versus New York. At this rate, the Phillies could easily be in second by the break or probably third. The Marlins are only 1/2 game back where as the Mets are only two games out.

The Phils heat up after the All Star break but with the pitching being as terrible as it has been and the inconsistency of the offense, this special run could be over very quick. I hate to play the role of the pessimist but this team is showing some serious signs of being a mediocre team. Last year’s team was legitimately good. But when you lose your second best pitcher to injury (Brett Myers) or when age catches up to your leader in wins (Jamie Moyer), things tend to change.
Also injuries have plagued the Phillies bull pen with Brad Lidge going down and not being himself all year. He has only converted 14 of 20 saves and has an ERA of 7.57. Clay Condrey will be joining the Phillies soon as he also went on the DL. He probably has been their best reliever. Scott Eyre should be back this weekend. Raul Ibanez, the team’s best offensive weapon this year, should also be back during the series versus the Mets.

I am getting blue in the face constantly saying this. Jimmy Rollins is the worst lead off hitter in the National League. He is hitless in 27 AB’s and is swinging like a blind-folded kid hitting a piñata. The last time he had a hitless streak that bad was in 2002 at 25 AB’s. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: “Lead Off Shane!”

Here are Jimmy’s sweltering numbers on the season in 70 games:
AB: 307
R: 41
H: 63
2B: 15
3B: 1
HR: 6
RBI: 27
Avg: .205
OBP: .250