Results tagged ‘ Brett Myers ’

Getting Some Postseason Flexibility

ennis.jpgThe Phillies made a roster move today that offers them flexibility in the postseason.

They purchased the contract of injured right-hander John Ennis and immediately placed him on the 15-day disabled list. To make room for Ennis on the 40-man roster, they designated infielder Brad Harman for assignment.

Here is why they did it: Any player who is on the active 25-man roster or disabled list on Aug. 31 is eligible for the postseason. In this case, the Phillies have 31 players eligible for the postseason because Brett Myers, J.C. Romero, Clay Condrey, Greg Dobbs, Antonio Bastardo and Ennis are on the disabled list.

Myers, Romero, Condrey, Dobbs and Bastardo are expected to be healthy and playing before the end of the regular season. Ennis is recovering from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery April 21. He won’t be healthy. But his presence on the DL allows the Phillies to add any player that is in the organization on Aug. 31 to the postseason roster.

That is how left-hander J.A. Happ made the postseason roster last year. Pitchers Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagruski were on the 60-day disabled list, which allowed the Phillies to take Happ, who was a September call up.

Ennis certainly doesn’t mind. He is now making a big-league salary and earning service time for just sitting on the DL for the rest of the season. Not bad.

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Myers is expected to make rehab appearances Tuesday and Wednesday for Triple A Lehigh Valley. If they go well, he could join the Phillies bullpen before the end of the week.

Condrey and Bastardo both made rehab appearances Monday for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies. Condrey allowed one hit and struck out one in one scoreless inning. Bastardo walked one in one scoreless inning.

Dobbs continues to rehab in Clearwater, Fla., and Romero could throw a bullpen session with the Phillies on Tuesday.

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Lidge Blows His Ninth, Still the Closer


lidge 0418.jpgYou’re probably asking yourself the question every other Phillies fan is asking today, “How long is this going to continue?”

Brad Lidge needed just five pitches to blow his Major-League leading ninth save of the season last night in a 6-4 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. He is 0-6 with a 7.33 ERA. That not only is the highest ERA of any relief pitcher in baseball, it is 0.81 earned runs higher than Indians right-hander Jose Veras, whose 6.52 ERA is the second-highest in baseball.

“He’s got to stay with it,” Charlie Manuel said. “He’s got to keep going. I mean, what the hell? That’s all we can do. … That’s where we’re at. That’s our closer. I’ve said that all along. That’s the guy we give the ball to in the ninth inning.”

Lidge has been frustrated previously, but never as visibly upset as he looked last night. He looked beaten. He allowed a leadoff single to Luis Cruz, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. Brandon Moss laced a single to right. Jayson Werth bobbled the ball and slipped as he tried to throw the ball into the infield, which allowed Cruz enough time to race around third base to score the tying run and Moss to advance to second. Andrew McCutchen then crushed a 94 mph fastball for a two-run home run to win the game.

“It’s frustrating,” Lidge said. “Obviously, I’ll take the ball 10 days in a row. I want to get out there and compete and get those guys out. Unfortunatey today it just didn’t happen. I didn’t have enough in the tank, I guess.

“I didn’t have anything on the ball tonight. The fourth day in a row for me historically has been pretty bad. I wasn’t able to make an adjustment today and I just didn’t have anything on the ball. I need to be able to make an adjustment if I throw four days in a row.”

Lidge pitched the final three games of the Mets series at Citi Field, but Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee felt that because Lidge threw 11 pitches Saturday, nine Sunday and 15 Monday — Lidge also warmed up Friday — that he could get through the Pirates lineup last night.

Lidge had pitched four consecutive days six previous times in his career: He was 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA (three earned runs in five innings), two saves and two blown saves in those appearances. In Lidge’s four most recent appearances – twice this season, once last season and once in 2007 – he went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (zero earned runs in 3 2/3 innings) and two saves. The other two appearances, which came in 2005 and 2006, he allowed five hits and three earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. He went 1-1 with two blown saves.

Manuel supported his closer in his postgame interview, which is not a surprise. This team badly needs Lidge to straighten out before the playoffs, and questioning him publicly is the worst thing he could do. But is there a tipping point in this? If Lidge is still struggling with a week to go in the season, do they go into the postseason with him as their closer? He saved seven of their 11 wins in the 2008 playoffs, but Lidge’s continued struggles would jeopardize their chances at a second World Series championship. But I think there is a good chance they stick with Lidge.

Manuel has said a few times before: show me my options. But maybe he says that because Brett Myers is not back yet. If he returns from the DL and throws the ball well — I think Myers has to be dominant upon his return — he could put pressure on the Phillies to make a change. But Myers won’t rejoin the team until Sept. 1 at the earliest. Will he have enough time to convince the Phillies he is a better, more reliable option than Lidge? (Fans looking for Manuel to name Myers the closer upon his arrival should take a step back. That won’t happen.)

So I think two things would need to happen for Lidge to get bumped at this point: 1) something even more catastrophic than what has happened: a string of blowns saves that pulls the Phillies into a first-place tie with Florida or Altanta. 2) Lidge’s continued struggles with Myers looking dominant at the same time.

Until then I think Lidge is the closer.

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Lidge’s nine blown saves are tied with Steve Bedrosian (1986), Jose Mesa (2002), Ron Reed (1976) and Mitch Williams (1991) for the third most in Phillies history. Mark Leiter holds the franchise record with 12 blown saves in 1998. Dick Selma is second with 11 blown saves in 1970.

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Rollins Returns to MVP Form

rollins makes history.jpgRemember way back when Jimmy Rollins could not buy a hit and he found himself on the bench four consecutive games in Tampa Bay and Toronto?

They were bad times for the 2007 National League MVP. He had hit just .205 with six home runs, 27 RBIs, a .250 on-base percentage and a .319 slugging percentage through July 1. Fans screamed for Charlie Mauel to drop him in the lineup, especially as he suffered through a career-worst 0-for-28 slump. That slump lasted 14 days and 12 games until he snapped it July 2 in Atlanta.

But since he snapped his hitless streak, Rollins has put up numbers comparable to 2007.

He enters tonight’s series opener against the Pirates hitting .300 (60-for-200) with 18 doubles, 2 triples, 9 home runs, 31 RBIs, 35 runs scored and 13 stolen bases since July 2. He has a .345 on-base percentage and a .545 slugging percentage.

Other numbers to consider:

  • The Phillies are 23-4 when he has scored a run since July 2.
  • Shane Victorino (.345) is the only Phillies player hitting better than him in that span.
  • Only Ryan Howard (14) and Jayson Werth (14) have hit more homers.
  • Only Howard (44) and Werth (36) have more RBIs.
  • Only Chase Utley (37) and Victorino (36) have scored more runs.
  • Only Werth (.589) and Howard (.586) have a higher slugging percentage.
  • He leads the team in doubles.
  • He has hit .333 with runners in scoring position.

To put Rollins’ numbers since July 2 into comparison, he hit .296 with a .344 on-base percentage and a .531 slugging percentage in 2007. In other words, he has been playing at his 2007 level for nearly two months.

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Brett Myers is expected to pitch tomorrow for Double-A Reading.

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The Big Piece and The Big Deal

howard 0824.jpg“That’s why I call him the Big Piece. He was the game.” – Charlie Manuel on Ryan Howard, who hit two home runs in today’s 6-2 victory over the Mets.

Howard hit a three-run homer to left-field in the first inning and a two-run homer to right field in the third inning against the Mets.

The three-run homer could not have been more impressive. He kept his hands in and simply muscled the ball to left field. Or as Keith Hernandez said to Ron Darling as he watched the replay on SNY: “This is an inside-out, Ronny! He inside-outed this ball and hit it out in this ballpark. That’s impressive.”

Howard crushed the two-run homer in the third over the Subway sign in right. Or as Hernandez put it: “He turns on this one and he knew he got it. Inside-out to the opposite field, the exact opposite here.”

Howard has hit .333 (20-for-60) with three doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 25 RBIs in his last 15 games. He is hitting .268 with 34 homers and 104 RBIs this season, joining Chuck Klein as just the second player in franchise history to have four consecutive 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons.

This is the fourth consecutive season Howard has had 100 or more RBIs before Sept. 1. He had 114 in 2008, 110 in 2007 and 128 in 2006.

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If Howard is the Big Piece than Cliff Lee is the Big Deal. He improved to 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA in five starts with the Phillies, who dealt for him July 29. In 40 innings, he has allowed 24 hits, six runs, three earned runs, six walks and zero home runs. He has struck out 39. Opponents have hit .175 against him. He allowed six hits and two unearned runs and struck out five in seven innings today against the Mets.

“This game is not that easy. It’s just not,” Brad Lidge said about Lee. “It’s pretty amazing. Not a whole lot of guys can say that they’ve done that over a five-game span. He’s throwing eight different things for strikes then he’ll sneak 94 in there from the left side. He’s throwing everything he wants to basically every single time. That kind of consistency is very hard to duplicate, no matter if you’re in midseason form or not. It’s just a lot harder to be that consistent than he’s showing. Trust me. I’ve been trying to figure it out for a couple months. It’s hard to get locked in like that and be automatic on every pitch. It’s impressive.”

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Brett Myers walked one and struck out one in one inning in a rehab start for Single A Lakewood.

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In between innings this afternoon, the Mets played the Electric Slide with a girl in a Mets jersey leading some children in the dance. The cameraman never noticed a couple Mets fans behind them dancing along while wearing paper bags over their heads. Hilarity ensued.

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Dobbs on DL, Cairo Returns

The Phillies placed Greg Dobbs on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf. They selected the contract of Miguel Cairo to take his place.

Dobbs strained his calf in Friday’s loss to the Mets. It sounded yesterday like the injury was not serious, but apparently Dobbs’ diagnosis changed. Dobbs declined comment. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said this morning that Dobbs said he has had the injury off and on since last season. He also said Dobbs might get medical testing tomorrow in Philadelphia.

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Brett Myers makes a rehab start today in Single A Lakewood.

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J.C. Romero and right-hander Clay Condrey will throw bullpen sessions tomorrow in Clearwater. Antonio Bastardo makes a rehab start tomorrow for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

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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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Myers Pitches (Finally)


Rollins419.JPGBrett Myers
made his way to the mound safely today in Dunedin, Fla., where he pitched for the first time since May.

In one inning for Single-A Clearwater, he allowed two singles and struck out three.

His fastball sat at 92 mph.

The Phillies said it is undetermined when Myers will pitch next.

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Charlie Manuel had some things to say about the NL East race before tonight’s game.

“As far as our division, when I look at it, I think we’re the best team in our division,” he said. “If we can’t do it, that’s our fault. I think we have the talent, and now we have the starting pitching. If we get our bullpen straightened out a little bit, we should be able to not only win our division, but win in the playoffs.”

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Jimmy Rollins unveiled a new billboard for Boys & Girls Clubs today. The photo is Rollins when he was eight years old. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t see the resemblance at all.

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Getting Their Pitching On


Thumbnail image for lidge 0523.jpgListen to Charlie Manuel talk about 2008, and at some point he will mention how the pitching got really good the final six weeks of the season.

Almost exactly a year ago today, the Phillies started to turn things around. They had lost 5 of 6 to the Dodgers and Padres as a couple late-inning meltdowns against the Dodgers helped drop them from first place in the National League East.

But the pitching staff went 25-12 with a 3.56 ERA the rest of the way, shaving nearly a half run from their ERA.

Are the Phillies in position for a similar run? Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ continue to pitch well. But can Cole Hamels ever figure out things? He’s 39th out of 48 National League pitchers with a 4.69 ERA. Pedro Martinez, who makes his Phillies home debut tonight against the Diamondbacks, sounds motivated to improve upon Wednesday’s start in Chicago. He’s the fifth starter, so the Phillies don’t have high expectations for him, which is why I say Hamels is the rotation’s biggest question mark.

“I’m not going to say in words, but just try me out there,” Martinez said. “Try me. Give me the opportunity. I pray to God I stay healthy to do those things. I’ve done it before. I don’t know if you know, but I’ve got three Cy Youngs in my house. In the playoffs, I’ve been there. I’ve been there and I’ve won a lot of games, too.”

But the biggest factor in this team’s finish is Brad Lidge. He is 0-5 with a 7.21 ERA and 23 saves in 31 opportunities. He has the highest ERA of any relief pitcher in baseball. His eight blown saves lead the Majors. His 74.2 saves completion percentage is the second lowest in baseball.

Manuel is sticking with him, but you have to wonder if things will change if Lidge is still struggling like he is entering the postseason. The severity of Lidge’s struggles are rare. He had a 1.95 ERA last season. The last relief pitcher to pitch 40 or more innings in consecutive seasons and see his ERA jump at least five runs was Milwaukee’s Derrick Turnbow. He had a 1.74 ERA with the Brewers in 2005, and a 6.89 ERA with the Brewers in 2006.

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Brett Myers strongly denied his involvement in any physical or verbal altercations early Saturday morning at an Irish pub in Jacksonville, Fla.

Police confirmed that Myers did not injure his left eye at Shannon’s Irish Pub, and that he had no involvement in a physical disturbance that damaged some band equipment. Sgt. Chuck Mulligan, a spokesman for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, also said police have no knowledge that Myers was involved in any verbal confrontations with any patrons.

“Did he say something? I don’t know,” Mulligan said. “It’s not a crime to say something to somebody.”

No police report has been filed, and Mulligan does not expect one to be filed.

“For there to be a crime there must be a victim,” Mulligan said. “There was no victim.”

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Bad Day for Lidge, Myers


lidge 0815.jpgBrad Lidge
‘s latest is a familiar tale. Brett Myers‘ is not.

Lidge blew his Major League-leading eighth save of the season Saturday in a 4-3 loss to the Braves, while Myers had his rehab appearance in Single-A Clearwater scratched after he said he fell out of his wife’s Escalade on Friday night and slammed his face into the door’s armrest.

Lidge has been struggling all season. He is 0-5 with a 7.27 ERA.

Myers had been making phenomenal progress recovering from his June 5 hip surgery, until the impact of the fall caused his left eye to swell completely shut.

We know what has been happening with Lidge, but the story from Myers’ injury took a strange turn.

The Phillies said early Saturday that Myers suffered an eye injury while playing catch with his son, Kolt. But the Phillies later said Myers changed his story.

“I know exactly what people are going to think,” Myers said in a telephone interview Saturday evening with MLB.com.

In other words, they will think Myers was intoxicated.

Myers said he and his wife, Kim, went to dinner with two friends and their nanny in Jacksonville, where Myers lives in the offseason. (Myers planned to drive to Clearwater on Saturday afternoon for the 6:30 p.m. game.) Myers said he had a two or three beers at dinner.

He said he sat in the back of his wife’s Escalade while their nanny drove everybody home. He said when he tried to get out of the truck, he got caught on some of his children’s toys and fell into the armrest on the car door.

“I couldn’t catch myself,” he said. “My face just smashed the side of it. I basically rolled out of the car, and I said, ‘I need a little help. I can’t get up.’ It knocked me silly. It looks like I went 12 rounds with (Mike) Tyson.

“I wasn’t drunk by any means. That’s why I feel so stupid right now.”

And that’s why he said he initially told Brian Cammarota, who is the team’s Minor League athletics trainers and rehabilitation coordinator, that he got hit in the eye with a baseball. But Myers said soon after the first call to Cammarota, Kim urged him to call Cammarota back with the true story.

“I’m an idiot,” Myers said. “I’ve never felt so frickin’ embarrassed in my life. I feel like a total geek.”

Myers will be examined Sunday by team doctors in Clearwater. He said he hopes to pitch as soon as possible.

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Chase Utley wouldn’t comment specifically about the Eagles signing Michael Vick. Utley and his wife Jen are very invovled with the Pennsylvania SPCA. In fact, Jen is a board member. Jen was outside the NovaCare Complex on Friday. FOX 29 had a chance to speak with her. Here is what she said: 

FOX 29: Reaction to Vick?
Jen Utley: “I’m very surprised. Obviously curious and I knew this was going to be a very controversial issue regardless of where the signing took place. … For me, I hope this will shed some light on what the PSPCA organization does. We fight animal cruelty every day in this city and we will continue to do that. This is not going to change anything. Hopefully it will make us stronger and have more people support us in our mission and what we do.
FOX29: Should the Eagles have contacted the PSPCA?
Jen Utley: I think that’s a decision they would have made. I think if you’re planning on being concious of a very sensitive issue it might be positive to do that. Again, I don’t work for the Eagles. I don’t know what their PR department does. I only know that reports said they called us. They didn’t.
 
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Remembering the NLCS

ramirez nlcs.jpgThe Dodgers still have last year’s National League Championship Series on their minds.

The Brewers hit Manny Ramirez with a pitch Tuesday in a 17-4 loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers retaliated and beaned Prince Fielder with a pitch with two outs in the ninth inning. An enraged Fielder tried to storm the Dodgers clubhouse after the game only to have teammates and security guards hold him back.

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin explained why Guillermo Mota hit Fielder.

“We don’t want the same scenario that happened last year in the playoffs where the Phillies kind of tried to intimidate us by throwing at Manny and we really didn’t retaliate,” he said. “We don’t want to be considered as a team that doesn’t have our players’ backs.”

The Phillies pitched aggressively to Ramirez during the NLCS, which the Phillies won in five games. Brett Myers memorably threw behind Ramirez’s back in Game 2. The Dodgers didn’t retaliate until Game 3 in Los Angeles, when Hirkoi Kuroda threw at Shane Victorino‘s head.

“As long as you keep the ball in front it’s up to the hitter to get out of the way,” Charlie Manuel said. “Yeah, we got aggressive with Manny. Manny tries to get aggressive with us, doesn’t us? That’s how you play baseball.”

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