Results tagged ‘ Brad Lidge ’

When It Rains, Cliff Lee Throws Seven Scoreless

cliff lee mariners.jpgTo add insult to injury for Phillies fans, Cliff Lee threw seven scoreless innings last night in Seattle.

The Phillies have lost 8 of 12, and it has not been pretty.

Consider:

-The Phillies have hit just .214 with an anemic .595 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in the last 12 games, in which they have averaged just 3.2 runs.
- They have hit just .188 with runners in scoring position.
- They have hit just one home run with a runner on base since April 14.
- Phillies starters have just seven quality starts this season, which ranks second-to-last in baseball behind only the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have four. Roy Halladay, who pitches this afternoon against the Mets, has four of them.
- Phillies starters are 9-6 with a 4.17 ERA, but starters not named Halladay have a combined 5.19 ERA.
- Philadelphia relievers are 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA and five saves in nine opportunities.
- Just when they thought they could assemble their bullpen the way they would like with Brad Lidge rejoining the team, Ryan Madson lands on the DL after kicking a chair and breaking his right big toe Wednesday in San Francisco.
- Charlie Manuel is concerned about the lack of hustle he has seen lately. Shane Victorino didn’t run to first base after Rod Barajas dropped a third strike in the fifth inning. Manuel has two rules: Be on time and hustle. And hustle is one thing a team can control when everything else is going poorly.

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I’ll be signing copies of my book from 2 – 3 p.m. today on the Main Concourse behind Section 111 at Citizens Bank Park.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Leaving Atlanta Pitching Well, Catching the Ball

The Phillies pitched impressively (except for the ninth and 10th innings Tuesday) and played fantastic defense this week in Atlanta, which is why they took two of three from the Braves and improved to 10-5.

It’s early. It’s Friday. Maybe it’s time to look at some numbers?

Yes? No?

OK, here we go:

  • The Phillies are fourth in baseball in runs (91). Only the Dodgers (98), Brewers (97) and Rays (93) have scored more. That 20-spot on the Pirates yesterday sure helped the Brewers jump to the top of the charts, huh?
  • The Phillies’ .822 OPS ranks fourth. Only the Dodgers (.867), Brewers (.864) and Yankees (.830) are better.
  • The Phillies are averaging a home run every 32.81 at-bats, which is 14th in baseball. They haven’t homered since Jayson Werth‘s solo shot in the ninth inning Saturday against the Marlins. Who said they rely too much on the long ball?
  • The Phillies have just three stolen bases, which is last in baseball. It doesn’t help to have Jimmy Rollins on the DL, but dead last is a little surprising.
  • They have struck out just 87 times, which is third-fewest in baseball. Only the White Sox (86) and Royals (86) have struck out less.
  • Phillies starters have a 3.07 ERA, which is tied with Oakland for fifth in baseball. The Rays (2.67 ERA), Cardinals (2.82 ERA), Padres (2.91 ERA) and Giants (3.04 ERA) are better.
  • The bullpen has a 4.24 ERA, which is 18th. Brad Lidge threw a scoreless inning last night, and is going to throw again tonight in Reading. The Phillies seem encouraged by last night’s performance in Lehigh Valley because his fastball hovered in the 90-92 mph range, hitting 93 mph. J.C. Romero rejoined the team last night. If Lidge and Romero do what everybody expects them to do, you would think the bullpen’s performance will improve.
  • The Phillies have committed eight errors, which is tied for the fourth-fewest in baseball. The Twins have just one error so far to lead the pack.

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Congratulations to Scott and Lori Franzke, who had their son August at 10:13 last night. He weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces. Lori and August are doing fine.

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

Lidge, Blanton and Romero Updates

Here is a quick update on Brad Lidge, Joe Blanton and J.C. Romero:

  • Lidge will make a rehab appearance Thursday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
  • Blanton pitches tonight with Single-A Lakewood.
  • Romero also pitches for Lakewood, his first back-to-back outing.

Romero is further along than Lidge and Blanton. But I think the Phillies are hoping the three of them will be back following the team’s nine-game road trip.

The Pitching Picture

hamels 0418 2010.jpgCole Hamels pitched great yesterday, which almost made yesterday’s 2-0 loss to the Marlins feel like a victory.

Almost.

The way the Phillies’ rotation has looked lately, it needed Hamels to flash the signs he flashed in Spring Training, namely, that he looked like the ’08 Hamels, not the ’09 Hamels. I never thought Hamels pitched terribly in his first two starts, so I never worried. He had poor command against Washington on April 7 and was a check-swing away from allowing just one run through his first four innings against the Nationals last Wednesday. But there is no question the Phillies’ rotation needed somebody to step up other than Roy Halladay, who is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

Joe Blanton remains on the DL, although he could be back following the team’s nine-game road trip through Atlanta, Arizona and San Francisco. He makes a rehab start Tuesday with Single-A Lakewood. J.A. Happ (1-0, 0.00 ERA) has soreness in his left forearm and might miss his next start — maybe more. He will throw today at Citizens Bank Park. If he feels fine, he could start as early as Wednesday in Atlanta. If he doesn’t feel fine? It could be a problem. It goes without saying the Phillies need the rotation to stay healthy because the back end of the rotation is struggling: Jamie Moyer is 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA and Kyle Kendrick is 0-0 with a 17.47 ERA.

The Phillies don’t need a fifth starter until Saturday, so the Phillies can give Happ time to rest. But when Saturday rolls around in Arizona they’ll need a fifth starter. If Happ can’t pitch I’m guessing Nelson Figueroa takes the spot.

Tuesday is a big start for Kendrick. He not only is pitching for his spot in the rotation, but possibly his spot on the team. Kendrick took Blanton’s spot in the rotation, so when Blanton is back Kendrick is out. Finding a spot for Kendrick looks difficult, at least in the short term.

J.C. Romero could be back sometime during this road trip. He likely will replace Antonio Bastardo. Brad Lidge could be back following the road trip. I think the Phillies will try to keep David Herndon on the 25-man roster. (They must keep him on the roster or they likely lose him because he’s a Rule 5 Draft pick.) That means Lidge might take Figueroa’s spot in the bullpen. But if Blanton returns before Lidge, the Phillies might option Kendrick to the Minors and bring him back as the long man once they lose Figueroa. Figueroa is out of options and must clear outright waivers to send him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. As well as he has pitched, I can’t see that happening.

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

Blanton, Romero, Lidge and More

book.jpgWanted to pass along a note that I’ll be signing copies of my Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Borders on South Broad Street in Center City.

Hope you can stop by.

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It is ranining at Citizens Bank Park, but the Phillies expect baseball to be played.

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Joe Blanton threw 26 pitches in a bullpen session. He will throw again Sunday before making his first rehab start, most likely Tuesday with Single-A Lakewood.

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J.C. Romero will make a rehab appearance tonigh with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

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Brad Lidge will make a rehab appearance tomorrow with Single-A Clearwater.

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

Should You Worry About Brad Lidge?

lidge 0210 2010.jpgIf the Phillies are concerned about Brad Lidge they aren’t saying it.

Lidge made his first rehab appearance last night with Single-A Clearwater, and the results were not good. In just 2/3 inning he allowed three hits, four runs and one walk against Dunedin. It followed a March 30 cortisone injection into his right elbow, which followed roughly five Minor League Spring Training games in which he allowed at least a run in at least four appearances.

“His command isn’t there right now, but his arm speed is better, which has been the goal,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said following today’s 2-1 victory over Houston at Minute Maid Park. “He’s still got a ways to go. Health-wise he has absolutely no pain, so that’s good.”

Amaro said Lidge’s fastball hovered in the 89 to 91 mph range. He said Lidge would pitch again Monday in Clearwater.

But there are reasons why Lidge’s struggles are troubling to Phillies fans. He is recovering from November elbow surgery – he had his flexor pronator tendon and a loose body removed – and January knee surgery after he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA, 31 saves and a Major League-leading 11 blown saves last season. And he hasn’t performed any better this spring.

Rich Dubee, who watched film of Lidge’s appearance Saturday, understands those concerned, but said he is not worried.

“Very much so,” said Dubee, asked about his confidence that Lidge can return to prior form. “He’s in Spring Training mode. Check Brad Lidge’s Spring Training numbers. Check Billy Wagner‘s Spring Training numbers. Generally, closers in Spring Training aren’t very good. Part of it is that adrenaline rush.”

Lidge had a 4.00 ERA in nine Spring Training appearances last year. He did not appear in any Grapefruit League games in 2008, when he recovered from knee surgery. He had a 12.38 ERA in eight games with Houston in 2007 and a 7.11 ERA in six games in 2006. Lidge fared well in 2004 and 2005. He had a 1.80 ERA in 10 games in 2004 and a 1.64 ERA in 10 games in 2005.

Wagner had a 5.40 ERA in nine Spring Training appearances with the Phillies in 2004 and a 6.75 ERA in 11 appearances in 2005.

“To see him have better arm speed and more velocity is a great step in the right direction,” Dubee said of Lidge.

The Phillies signed Lidge to a three-year, $37.5 million contract extension in 2008. That is just one reason they hope he rebounds in 2010. They also need depth in the bullpen. Ryan Madson currently is closing with Danys Baez looking like the setup man.

The Phillies said last month that Lidge’s cortisone injection should not be alarming because he had the elbow surgery on the inner half of the elbow. They said they gave him the shot on the outer half.

Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti said the inflammation on the outer half of the elbow was unrelated to the surgery. He also said no MRI was required and Lidge had no structural damage.

“I think you guys are making a little bit too much of the cortisone shot, I guess,” Amaro said last month. “It’s more just to get him over the hump. He didn’t have a sharp pain. It’s not related to his surgery.”

Eventually, however, the Phillies need to start seeing results.

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J.C. Romero, who also had offseason elbow surgery, has fared much better in Clearwater. He has thrown two scoreless innings in two rehab appearances for the Threshers. He is scheduled to throw again Tuesday. … Joe Blanton, who is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, continues to throw and run. He said he has made gradual improvement every day. He said he does not know when he could begin throwing off a mound. The Phillies originally estimated Blanton would need three to six weeks to rejoin the Phillies. The three-week mark would be April 22.

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I will be signing copies of my Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Borders on S. Broad Street in Center City. I hope you can stop by.

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

Romero, Lidge and Blanton Updates

J.C. Romero is scheduled to make a rehab appearance tomorrow for Single-A Clearwater. Brad Lidge is scheduled to throw a bullpen session. If that goes well, Lidge could be close to making a rehab appearance.

Romero is recovering from offseason elbow surgery. Lidge is recovering from offseason elbow and knee surgeries. He also had a cortisone injection into his elbow March 31.

It remains uncertain if Romero and Lidge will rejoin the bullpen before the end of April.

“I don’t think anybody is real comfortable putting any kind of timeline on things,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “They’re both going to be eligible to come off the DL (on April 10). I don’t think that’s a likely scenario for any of them. We’re just going to play it by ear. I think the main thing is just make sure they’re 100 percent before we activate them.”

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Joe Blanton, who is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, threw 60 times from 60 feet on flat ground today. He said he felt no discomfort while throwing or running.

“I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think this was an optimistic first day to throw,” Blanton said. “Things went pretty well. I didn’t feel anything on any of the throws. I didn’t feel anything running. I feel a little bit more normal. The first three days, laughing hurt, sneezing and coughing hurt. It gradually got a little better.”

The Phillies said Blanton could take anywhere from three to six weeks to recover before rejoining the rotation. Blanton said he remains optimistic he can return closer to three weeks than six.

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How did Charlie Manuel spend the day off yesterday? He took a walk with his fianc Melissa Martin in Georgetown. But with temperatures in the 80s, Manuel eventually ducked into a grocery store to cool off. Once cooled, Manuel hopped into a cab back to the team hotel. … The Phillies have not started a season 2-0 since 2003. They have not been 3-0 since 2001. … The Phillies had never hit a grand slam on Opening Day until Placido Polanco hit one Monday in an 11-1 victory over the Nationals. … Polanco’s six RBIs are a franchise record for Opening Day. Don Money had five RBIs on Opening Day 1969.

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

Lidge Returns to the Mound

Brad Lidge threw in the bullpen today after receiving a cortisone injection into his right elbow Tuesday.

“No pain. No issues,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Lidge threw 25 pitches in Clearwater, and long tossed afterward. Amaro said everything went well. Lidge had surgery on the inner half of his elbow in November. The Phillies said Lidge’s recent inflammation is on the outer half of the elbow, which they said is unrelated to the surgery. But cortisone injections are not routine, and Lidge’s health has been an issue for nearly a year.

Amaro said Lidge likely will throw a couple more bullpen sessions before he is ready to appear in any game action.

“Hopefully we’ll get him into a game sometime soon,” Amaro said.

Amaro said he hopes Lidge can rejoin the team before the end of April.

J.C. Romero is scheduled to pitch in a game tomorrow. Amaro said Romero continues to progress.

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

Lidge Gets Cortisone Shot, Return Delayed

Thumbnail image for lidge spring.jpgWe might have an explanation why Brad Lidge‘s fastball hit just 87 mph yesterday at the Carpenter Complex.

His elbow is bothering him.

The Phillies said today Lidge has inflammation on the outer part of his elbow, which required a cortisone injection yesterday. Lidge had surgery on the inner part of his elbow in November, but Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti said the inflammation is unrelated to the surgery.

Ciccotti said no MRI is required and Lidge has no structural damange in his elbow.

“Coming into Spring Training every year Brad has some lateral or outer elbow soreness,” Ciccotti said. “It’s just part of his reconditioning routine. Because he started a little bit later this year with his throwing because of those two surgeries (elbow surgery in November and knee surgery in January) that soreness has lingered a little bit longer. Usually it resolves by the second or the third week in March. … Again, the achiness is always along the outer aspect. His surgery was along the inner aspect of his elbow. And so to jump start him, we decided to give him an injection … His elbow is stable. Nor does he have any symptoms at all in his knee.”

Ciccotti said Lidge will long toss Friday. Depending on how that goes, he could throw in the bullpen Saturday or Sunday.

Obviously, this sets back Lidge’s return. How long? It’s tough to say. Lidge said yesterday he hoped to rejoin the team the second week of the season, but a return the third week of April wouldn’t be a surprise. But a cortisone injection never is a good thing, and this is worth watching.

“Our goal had always been to get him back by mid-April,” Ciccotti said. “And so with this it may not necessarily change that time frame very much. Maybe the third week or so of April.”

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

Moyer to Start, Kendrick to Pen

Thumbnail image for moyer 0326 2010.jpgIt’s official: Jamie Moyer is the Phillies’ fifth starter and Kyle Kendrick is in the bullpen.

The news is not a surprise. Moyer locked up the job with an outstanding performance Friday against the Yankees. The Phillies also said a couple things this spring that made it clear Moyer had the decisive edge for the job: First, Moyer’s experience mattered. Second, spring training numbers didn’t matter. In other words, nothing short of Kendrick throwing shutouts in every start and Moyer carrying a double-digit ERA would have gotten Kendrick the job.

But the Phillies liked what they saw from Kendrick. They think he can start again in the big leagues, and he still could. Moyer must produce. The Phillies showed last season they’re not afraid of pulling him from the rotation. If he struggles like he struggled last year, and if Kendrick pitches well in the bullpen you definitely could see the two swapping roles.

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The Zo Zone has reached the Phinal Phour at The Phield. Voting begins today at 8 p.m. and runs 24 hours.

Vote!

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Brad Lidge still needs to build up arm speed and improve his fastball command.

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

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