The Big Red Machine

Cliff LeeThe Phillies open a three-game series tonight against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park.

The Reds swept the Phillies in Cincinnati last month.

A few notes before the series opener:

  • The Phillies finally optioned left-hander Raul Valdes to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was 1-0 with a 7.65 ERA in 10 appearances. Right-hander B.J. Rosenberg takes his place. He was 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA in seven starts in Triple-A. I’m not sure why he got the nod over Lehigh Valley relievers like Joe Savery (3.00 ERA in 12 appearances), Mike Stutes (3.86 ERA in 17 appearances) and Cesar Jimenez (3.20 ERA in 10 appearances), but I’m guessing it’s because he has a power arm and gives the bullpen length. But Rosenberg has 24 strikeouts with 20 walks in 37 2/3 innings. But clearly something needed to be done to shake up the bullpen. The middle relievers have struggled tremendously. If you’re asking about Chad Durbin (7.30 ERA in 12 appearances), I think he gets a longer leash because of his contract (one-year, $1.1 million, plus a club option for 2014), plus the Phillies considered him a valuable asset in mentoring some of the younger arms in the bullpen.
  • The Phillies called Roy Halladay‘s right shoulder successful, but he faces long odds to pitch successfully again.
  • In case you missed it yesterday, Jimmy Rollins spoke openly and honestly about the reality facing the Phillies: They better get this thing turned around or the front office might blow it up.
  • Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani is looking forward to facing Cliff Lee tonight. “He’s why I run off and on the field, because Cliff Lee did that when I was growing up,” he said. “I also like how he uses his fastball.” Cingrani is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts. He has dominated left-handed hitters, who have just a .554 OPS against him. Chase Utley is hitting .158 with a .554 OPS against lefties this season. Ryan Howard is hitting .190 with a .590 OPS against them.
  • The Phillies have hit .275 with a .331 on-base percentage and .395 slugging percentage in their last nine games, although they are averaging only 3.9 runs in those games. They were hitting .237 with a .296 on-base percentage and .374 slugging percentage in their first 32 games. It is far too early to say the Phillies are turning around their fortunes, but I guess it’s a step in the right direction. Still, they could use some power somewhere. Too many singles, not enough extra-base hits to score runs.


This would be a good night to see Frandsen start for Howard. This is not the pitcher Howard will be breaking out of his slump against.

I agree with John. Howard should sit against lefties. He’s an automatic out. I wish he would tone the swing down a little bit in the right situations. Ppl say, “well he is a power hitter, he needs to swing for the fence, hes not getting paid all that $ to hit singles”, I say, look at the good power hitters in baseball. The ones that hit for power AND average. Its because they dont try to do too much and hit according to the situation. It is so frustrating to watch Howard night in and night out, do the same thing over and over again. Stop hitting at the shift, hit it the other way. Cut down on your swing. Common sense here!

Howard is hitting .190 against lefties. Utley is hitting .158. Why no hue and cry to sit Utley?

I didn’t suggest sitting Howard against all lefties. I was just saying for tonight’s game because this guy is supposedly very tough for Lefty hitters to hit against. That along with the fact that Howard has been slumping recently makes me think today might be a good day off. I didn’t say Utley because he just took Tuesday off and since the team had Monday and Thursday off, he has only played once in the last 4 days.

Rosenburg another one they are high on that has problems keeping his era less than 10 in the majors. We have too many pitchers that throw as many or more walks as they do k’s. I doesn’t matter what your numbers are in the minors if they like you,
you get the nod.

So Todd, you don’t think they may use Rosenberg as a starter for Cloud since he was roughed up his last performance at Lehigh? They still need a 5th starter and maybe that was worth mentioning.

I bet you wish you could take this post back. lol

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