Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Tag Archives: Cubs

Game 21: Supporting Joe

Phillies SP Joe Blanton (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

The last outing for Joe Blanton wasn’t a glamorous one.

The Phillies right-hander was whacked around in a 6-1 loss to the Padres, giving up six runs, three earned, on seven hits. Blanton (1-3, 4.34) will look to bounce back in his fourth start of the season against the Cubs.

Not only is Blanton looking to get a win but he’s looking to re-establish himself as a worthy starting pitcher in baseball as well as this star-studded Phillies rotation. Blanton is in the last year of his contract, making $8.5 million — a lot of money for a fifth starter originally paid to be a number three.

Whether the Phillies will look to trade Blanton at the deadline is a mystery; but a move at the deadline involving a starting pitcher could depend on how Blanton’s season is shaping up to be. Blanton will either be trade bait or help could be sought out if Blanton struggles or someone gets hurt.

That is too far into the future to look, just like an sort of panic button being pushed is too early.

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Bats Go Back In Hiding As Phils Lose to Cubs

Phillies SP Roy Halladay walks back to the mound after Cubs CF Tony Campana scores on a Starlin Castro single in the 4th inning. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Whatever the Phillies did on their day off yesterday they left their bats at home.

They came back and dropped the first game of the series to the Cubs, 5-1. You could put some blame on home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor, who called a terrible game like usual but in the end the bats didn’t show up when it counted most.

Starting in the 1st inning, the Phils squandered a prime scoring chance off Cubs starter Paul Maholm.

Juan Pierre led off with a single, moved to second on a passed ball and got to third on a Placido Polanco single. But back-to-back pop-ups by Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence and a ground out by Shane Victorino ended the early scoring threat, setting the tone for the offense.

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Game 20: Keep the Bats Rollin’

The Phillies (9-10) would love nothing more than to develop a consistency at the plate.

After an incredibly slow start offensively to the season the Phillies have found themselves scoring 20 runs in the last 19 innings they played. A lot of that can be attributed to Juan Pierre and his .339 batting average from the lead off spot.

Ty Wigginton and Laynce Nix are also having solid starts, splitting time at first base. Nix is hitting .348 (8-for-23) and has an OBP of .400 while Wigginton is hitting .304 (14-for-46). Both have homered and driven in six runs.

The Phillies finished their latest road trip with a series win in Arizona, going 5-5 for the 10-game west coast run. Fans back home will rejoice at being able to watch baseball at 7:05 once again starting with the four-game weekend home stand against the Cubs (6-13).

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Season Preview: NL Central

Co-written by John Russo and Chris Bengel

Expectations: No Pujols, no problem…. wait, you mean we have to rely on Matt Holliday now? Oh crap!
Key Addition: OF Carlos Beltran (signed from San Francisco)
Key Loss: 1B Albert Pujols (signed with LA Angels)
Projected Record: 90-72
Summary: St. Louis knows they lost a huge bat in Albert Pujols to the Angels. They also know they are expecting a lot out of Lance Berkman to have a repeat performance of last season as well as Matt Holliday to be the leader of the offense.

That is why St. Louis brought in Carlos Beltran to take some of the strain off Holliday and Berkman this season, hoping the 34-year-old can stay healthy and revive his career in St. Louis.

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Phils looking at Wood as late-inning reliever

The Phillies are looking to bolster the back-end of their bull pen.

By doing so, they are looking in the direction of former All-Star and Cy Young-candidate Kerry Wood. As reported by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnik, the 34-year-old Wood is on the Phillies radar.

With Jonathan Papelbon as the Phils closer and the health status of right-hander Jose Contreras still up in the air, the Phillies could look at Wood asa good 7th or 8th inning guy.

Last season, Wood was 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 55 appearances for the Cubs. He has experience as a closer as well, so he’s an ideal bull pen option late in games to set up Papelbon.


Rule 5 Draft, 2011

The Rule 5 draft is very simple: certain players signed at 18 or 19 are available to be picked up by other teams when they are left off the 40-man roster with at least four or five years within the organization.

This year, the Phillies decided not to make a pick in the draft. To them, there were no “Shane Victorino’s” hovering around this year.

Fearful of losing Jiwan James, they were lucky that he was not picked. James is 24 and hasn’t gotten past single-A ball yet. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a good player but teams see slow progress as a problem.

The Phillies did see a couple prospects picked.

In the Single-A phase, the Chicago Cubs took right handed pitcher Lendy Castillo. Castillo was a converted short stop and is a very raw talent.

In the Triple-A phase, the Phillies lost left-hander Andrew Loomis, third baseman Travis Mattair and catcher Francisco Diaz. The Phillies also made $86,000 in cash for the four prospects lost.

Phils watch Cuban prospect

The Phillies scouts watched a private workout of a Cuban prospect at their camp in the Dominican Republic today.

Yoenis Cespedes is such an interesting prospect that general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. and Pat Gillick both went to watch the center fielder themselves.

The Miami Marlins and New York Yankees have already held private work outs for Cespedes. The Chicago Cubs will schedule one as well.

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Gelb: Looks like Sandberg is staying in Lehigh

(Yong Kim/Inquirer)

As the Inquirer‘s Matt Gelb points out, it looks like Ryne Sandberg will not be taking his managerial talents to the Windy City or Bean Town.

Sandberg, who managed the Phillies AAA affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs to their first post season appearance last season, could very well be back in Allentown, PA next season.

There are only two managerial vacancies left: the Cubs and the Red Sox. Chicago’s newly appointed GM Theo Epstein said he wants a manager with Major League experience as well as not wanting to have to fire the franchise’s HOF second baseman some day. As for Boston, they never even interviewed Sandberg.

The only other major team in the fray was the St. Louis Cardinals. They did in fact interview Sandberg but they went ahead and signed former catcher Mike Matheny as their new manager.

Also as Gelb points out, which was also pretty talked about when Sandberg was signed last year is the possibility to replace Charlie Manuel. By having Sandberg in the system for next season, the Phillies could continue to groom him as a manager, find a spot on their bench for the 2013 season and possibly hire Sandberg as their next manager once Manuel’s contract is up after 2013 and likely retires.

There are still a ways to go for this ultimate scenario to take shape. But for now, the IronPigs will have another season under a great manager.

Zolecki: Cards given permission to interview Pigs’ Sandberg

“Sources: The Phillies have given St. Louis permission to interview Ryne Sandberg for their managerial vacancy,” as Tweeted by MLB’s Todd Zolecki.

Sandberg, who managed his first year of AAA ball with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs last season, is on the St. Louis Cardinals radar. In his first season, he led the Pigs to their first playoff berth and first Governor’s Cup trip, which ended in a series loss.

Despite winning the World Series, the Cardinals are on the market for a new manager when Tony LaRussa retired last week.

Ironically, the Chicago Cubs are not interested in Sandberg, who played 15 Hall of Fame years at second base in Chicago. Instead, their interests are for a manager with major league experience, something that Sandberg does not have.

Bad News Cubs

Michael Martinez and Jimmy Rollins celebrate scoring in Wednesday's 9-1 win over Chicago. ( staff photo)

Somewhere, Morris Buttermaker is laughing at the Chicago Cubs.

If Mike Quade isn’t an alcoholic just yet, he may be after today. The Phils offense woke up and start Vance Worley shut down the Cubs in a laugher dubbed “The Bad News Cubs,” 9-1.

Carlos Pena was caught kicking the ball and throwing it away in the 4th inning, turning a rare double-error in one play and re-enacting a scene that would fit right into the “Bad News Bears” film.

To Charlie Manuel, 95 degrees is “hittin’ weather.” And boy did the Phillies hit the ball today at Wrigley. Jimmy Rollins homered from both sides of the plate and doubled, driving in three runs. Chase Utley had himself a pair of doubles while driving in two runs.

The Phils got on the board in the 1st inning. With Michael Martinez and Chase Utley on second and first respectively, Ryan Howard hit a soft ground ball to the left of the shift to score Martinez from second and make it a 1-0 game. Utley, who made it to third on the play, scored on a Shane Victorino ground out to make it 2-0.

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