Results tagged ‘ Billy Wagner ’

Diekman’s Sizzling Fastball

diekmanThe Phillies are looking for relief pitchers, and lately left-hander Jake Diekman has made his case to be in the 2014 bullpen.

He struck out the only two batters he faced in the eighth inning in Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. He has allowed five hits, one run, two walks and struck out a remarkable 18 in 11 2/3 innings in his last 12 appearances.

He has been impressive as he has touched as high as 99 mph on the home radar gun. In fact, according to FanGraphs, Diekman’s average fastball velocity is third best among Phillies pitchers from 2002-13. His fastball his first two seasons in the big leagues has averaged 95.4 mph, which trails only Billy Wagner (96.7 mph) and Felix Rodriguez (95.6 mph). Wagner pitched for the Phillies from 2004-05. Rodriguez made 23 appearances for the Phillies in 2004.

Interestingly, five of the pitchers in the top 10 have pitched for the Phillies this season: B.J. Rosenberg (94.8 mph) is fourth, Phillippe Aumont (94.7 mph) is tied with Francisco Rosario for fifth, J.C. Ramirez (94.1 mph) is ninth and Luis Garcia (94.0 mph) is 10th.

And for those interested, of the 128 pitchers available to FanGraphs, former Phillies infielder John McDonald ranked last at 78.3 mph. Jamie Moyer ranked 127th with an 81.2 mph fastball.

Papelbon vs. Wagner; Who Ya Got?

Jonathan Papelbon had some strong words last night for home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.

They reminded me quite a bit of a blow up Billy Wagner had at Dana DeMuth a few years back.

Papelbon was so upset Reyburn missed the pitch before Dee Gordon tripled in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers that after the inning he approached Reyburn to ask him a question.

“You know you messed that call up,” Papelbon shouted.

Papelbon told Reyburn he wanted to ask him a question, except Reyburn wouldn’t let him. He motioned for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel as crew chief Derryl Cousins headed toward home plate to intervene. Papelbon never got to ask Reyburn his question, but he told reporters afterward what he would have asked. And I’ve got to say it would have been one of the most brilliant questions ever asked an umpire during a game.

“I wanted to know if he could throw me out for what I was thinking,” he said.

Genius.

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This Will Not Be Easy

kendrick 0719 2010.jpgBefore the 2004 season, I remember asking Dallas Green what he thought about the Phillies’ chances to win the World Series. They had retained Kevin Milwood and acquired Billy Wagner, Eric Milton and Tim Worrell to boost a pitching staff many thought would compliment an already talented offense.

Green loved the improvements, but he made one thing clear: It’s hard to win a championship. He said if it were easy, he would not be the only manager in Phillies history to have a ring on his finger.

It’s hard to win a World Series. It’s even harder to play in three consecutive World Series. The Phillies are trying to become the first NL team to do that since the 1942-44 Cardinals.

Maybe this just isn’t the Phillies’ year.

“Oh, I’ve thought that,” Jimmy Rollins said after last night’s 8-4 loss to the Cardinals. “I’m sure all of us in here have thought that. Like, man, it can’t be this tough. There’s no way it can be this tough. You go out there it’s like, ‘We’re going to make sure that it’s not this tough,’ and you come back like, ‘It’s a little tougher than I thought it was going to be.’”

It is mentioned that maybe there is a reason why the ’42-’44 Cardinals are the last three-peaters in the NL.

“It’s not over,” Rollins said. “You can write it like it’s over. But the guys with the bats and the balls they control what the pen says. … We’ve still got time. We either make it more time or less time. Six games (behind Atlanta). If we catch fire all of a sudden and do what the Chicago White Sox did (a 26-5 stretch from June 9 – July 15) then you can say we have a lot of time. We can make it a lot of time or a little time.”

Rollins has seen it happen before. The Phillies held a fire sale in July 2006 only to turn things around and become buyers in August. They made baseball history in 2007, overcoming a seven-game deficit with 17 games to play to win the NL East. They overcame a 3 -game deficit with 16 games to play in 2008 to win their second consecutive division title.

Can they do it again? Sure, it’s possible. But Charlie Manuel knows the Phillies need to show life quickly. They have lost four of their first five games after the All-Star break and have just 11 games to play before the trade deadline. The offense has been inconsistent much of the season. The rotation has a 5.09 ERA without Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. They’re without Chase Utley for another month. Players say they have noticed a different feel in the clubhouse. If the Phillies fall too far behind the Braves and further out of the NL wild card race, Ruben Amaro Jr. could trade Jayson Werth — and it’s tough to see them winning without a big right-handed bat in the lineup.

They need to get going quickly this week against the Cardinals and Rockies, or more time will turn into less time. 

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Billy Says No, Phillies Say No


wagner 0821.jpgBilly Wagner
doesn’t need the Phillies, and the Phillies don’t need Billy Wagner.

The Mets, who are practically eliminated from postseason contention, put Wagner on waivers Wednesday for the possibility of trading him before the end of the season. A mystery team claimed Wagner on Friday — a report has the Red Sox being that team - but the Phillies said they are not it.

That’s OK with Wagner.

“It would have been tough to go back there,” said Wagner, who has a complete no-trade clause. “You’re never as good as you were. I don’t know if it would have been good. I love Charlie (Manuel). I love their team. All the guys there, but it would’ve been tough.”

Why?

“It’s hard to pitch in Philadelphia,” he said. “Plus, you’re coming back from Tommy John. It’s a little bit different.”

Tough because of the ballpark or tough because of the fans?

“Both,” he said. “I’m trying to work back.”

Wagner is owed $2.7 million in salary, plus an additional $1 million to buyout his 2010 club option. So the Phillies wouldn’t want Wagner anyway.

“Under the circumstances with his salary, we would not be able to place that kind of salary on our club,” Amaro said. “We don’t have $3 million to pull out of a tree.”

But besides the salary, the Phillies expect to have Brett Myers, J.C. Romero and Clay Condrey returning from the disabled list on or after Sept. 1, once the team can expand its roster.

“I’ll take those three guys,” Amaro said. “That’s like making a trade for three guys.”

Amaro said Myers, who made his first rehab appearance Thursday, felt fine Friday, but he said the team has not determined when Myers will make his next rehab appearance.

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Pedro Martinez met with the New York media this afternoon. He touched on many of the same topics as before, but he offered some new insight on joining the Phillies.

“It’s a great feeling to go to a team like this,” he said. “And you know what? This team really surprised me. This team, as intense as they are on the field, it doesn’t reflect the type of calm they have in the clubhouse. How relaxed that whole team is. How relaxed everybody is. How simple they do it as far as going about their business. It’s very simple. Everybody gets dressed and everybody goes about their business. When they come out there it seems like they know they’re going to win. It’s a great feeling to go out there realizing your team is pretty much on top of the other team by the time you step out.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

The Phillies and Mets Are Close

The Phillies can take a four-game lead over the Mets in the National League East with a victory tonight at Citi Field. The first two games of this three-game series have been entertaining, regardless of the outcome. If these games are any indication, it could be another intereresting September.

Here is a look at how these teams match up in a few categories:

Runs per game
Phillies: 5.47
Mets: 4.68

Home runs
Phillies: 84
Mets: 37

Average
Phillies: .263
Mets: .279

On-base percentage
Phillies: .344
Mets: .361

Slugging percentage
Phillies: .464
Mets: .410

Fielding percentage
Phillies: .991
Mets: .981

Errors
Phillies: 19
Mets: 41

Starter’s ERA
Phillies: 5.29
Mets: 4.47

Bullpen ERA
Phillies: 3.52
Mets: 2.88

I just took a look at Baseball Prospectus’ daily playoff odds report, and they also have this race very close. They gave the Phillies a 44.3 percent chance to win the NL East and a 16.3 percent chance to win the NL Wild Card for a 60.6 percent chance to make the playoffs.

They gave the Mets a 45 percent chance to win the division and a 13.9 percent chance to win the wild card for a 58.9 percent chances to make the postseason.

I’m guessing the reason why the Mets have slightly better odds to win the division than the Phillies is the Mets currently have been overall pitching. But the Phillies have pitched much better recently. The Phillies have a 3.72 ERA since May 15, while the Mets have a 3.86 ERA. The Mets also lost J.J. Putz for about two months because of elbow surgery. But what could be interesting is that the Mets could have Francisco Rodriguez, Putz and Billy Wagner in their bullpen in September if everything goes according to plan.

Might not be a bad idea for the Phillies to build a big lead before then.

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