Results tagged ‘ Chan Ho Park ’

Yes, It's Still Early

rollins in fla.jpgPhillies fans seem a little nervous. Their team has lost four of its last five games and has fallen to 15-14.

Up and down.

Down and up.

This is no way for a World Series champion to behave, is it?

But here’s the thing: the Phillies were 16-13 at this point last season. They battled through inconsistencies until September, when they caught fire and steamrolled through the postseason. Is this team’s pitching a concern? Absolutely, it is. This team is not going anywhere unless the starting pitching improves dramatically. Does Jimmy Rollins need to turn things around? Certainly. The Phillies can’t have a .200 hitter at the top of their lineup for an entire season.

That said, let’s take a look at how the ’09 Phillies compare to the ’08 Phillies through 29 games:

HITTING
Runs
2009: 164 (5.66 runs per game)
2008: 136 (4.69 runs per game)

Home runs
2009: 42
2008: 42

Average
2009: .259
2008: .257

On-base percentage
2009: .339
2008: .335

Slugging percentage
2009: .455
2008: .445

FIELDING
Fielding percentage

2009: .992
2008: .978

Errors
2009: 8
2008: 24

PITCHING
ERA
2009: 5.39
2008: 3.72

Home runs
2009: 53
2008: 29

Opponent batting average
2009: .271
2008: .249

The ’09 Phillies have been better offensively and defensively than the ’08 Phillies. But the ’09 Phillies’ pitching has been an absolute killer. Let’s say the extra 24 homers the Phillies have allowed this season compared to last season are solo homers. Now let’s say the Phillies only gave up 10 extra homers compared to ’08. It drops their ERA from a 5.39 ERA to a 4.90 ERA. Now, a 4.90 ERA certainly isn’t good, but it maybe helps the Phillies win an extra game (or two). The long ball is hurting this team in a major way.

There is time for the Phillies to find their way. Fans looking for the Phillies to make massive changes to their rotation shouldn’t hold their breath. About the only change they can make is removing Chan Ho Park for J.A. Happ. Other than that, this is what the Phillies have.

“You guys seem like you’re in a freakin’ hurry for us to do something with our pitching,” Charlie Manuel said Friday. “We won a World Series with four of those starters. That was our rotation. And the other guy, he pitched very good in Spring Training.”

So hold tight for now. It’s early. When does it start getting late? I imagine the Phillies would like to have seen significant improvements from the rotation by the time they start making their 11th or 12th starts. That’s five or six more starts.

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Rollins’ .218 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot is the worst in baseball. Interestingly, Rollins, who is hitting .195, hasn’t had a stretch like this since he hit .155 over 20 games in August 2005.

He followed that stretch with a franchise-record 36-game hitting streak.

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Park Proves Himself


citi field.jpgChan Ho Park
offered a succinct “no” when asked if he felt pressure to pitch well to keep his job last night at Citi Field.

Well, he apparently felt something.

He looked like a completely different pitcher, allowing just one hit in six scoreless innings in a 1-0 loss to the Mets. This probably keeps Park in the rotation for the immediate future because if you look at things right now, Park has the third-best ERA in the Phillies’ rotation: Brett Myers (2-2, 5.35 ERA), Jamie Moyer (3-1, 5.65 ERA), Park (0-1, 6.67 ERA), Joe Blanton (1-2, 6.84 ERA) and Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.27 ERA). Even if Park struggles in his next start, it would be hard to pull him after he pitched so well against the Mets.

But the leash on Park remains much shorter than on others in the rotation, so Park is going to be constantly fighting to keep his job with viable options (J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick and Carlos Carrasco) waiting in the wings.

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Citi Field? Eh. Don’t get me wrong. It is waaaaaaaaaaay nicer than Shea Stadium. But I hated Shea Stadium. Shea made the Vet look palatial. But Citi Field is very enclosed. It feels very dark. I’m not a fan of the charcoal-colored walls. I don’t know, but I guess everything in New York gets so much hype that you expect to be blown away. And I wasn’t.

I’m spoiled. I’ve been to every ballpark in the big leagues except Toronto, Anaheim and the new Yankee Stadium, so I’ve seen some good ones. Wrigley Field and Fenway Park remain my favorites. But of the new ballparks, I think Citizens Bank Park is better than Citi Field. So is PNC Park in Pittsburgh, AT&T Park in San Francisco, Petco Park in San Diego and Camden Yards in Baltimore (the first of the “new” parks). And I would say Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Minute Maid Park in Houston, Coors Field in Denver and Safeco Field in Seattle are no worse.

It’s a nice ballpark, but I wouldn’t tell anybody, “Oh, you absolutely gotta check out Citi Field if you’re in New York and you’re a baseball fan.” I would say that about PNC or AT&T or Camden Yards.

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Go Time for Park

park.jpgThis could be Chan Ho Park‘s last start for the Phillies if he has a poor showing tonight against the Mets at Citi Field.

The team’s options to replace Park should he pitch poorly?

- Lefthander J.A. Happ. He narrowly lost the fifth starter’s job to Park in Spring Training. Charlie Manuel has praised Happ recently, saying that he knows Happ can be a successful starter. Happ is 1-0 with a 3.87 ERA in nine relief appearances this season, so he is doing something Park isn’t: getting hitters out at the big-league level. Happ is the favorite because he already is on the 25-man roster and has the confidence of his manager and pitching coach. Other candidates in Triple-A Lehigh Valley would mean optioning somebody to the Minor Leagues, and I just don’t see a fit at the moment.

- Right-hander Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick got a relatively early demotion to Minor League camp in Spring Training because the Phillies thought he hadn’t developed his secondary pitches enough to warrant a continued look. Kendrick is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in five starts in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

- Right-hander Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco was the team’s dark horse candidate to win the fifth spot in Spring Training, but he showed his inexperience. He is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts for Lehigh Valley.

- Right-hander Rodrigo Lopez. The Phillies picked up Lopez before the end of Spring Training. He is 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA in three starts. He has big-league experience, which can help his cause should he continue to pitch well.

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The Phillies face Johan Santana tonight. Let’s take a look at the Phillies’ projected lineup, and how they have fared against Santana in the past:

Jimmy Rollins: .059 (1 for 17) with 1 walk, 1 strikeout.
Shane Victorino: .083 (1 for 12) with 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts.
Chase Utley: .167 (3 for 18) with 1 home run, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts.
Ryan Howard: .429 (6 for 14) with 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts.
Jayson Werth: .313 (5 for 16) with 1 double, 1 homer, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts.
Raul Ibanez: .353 (12 for 34) with 1 homer, 8 RBIs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts.
Pedro Feliz: .158 (3 for 19) with 1 RBI, 6 strikeouts.
Carlos Ruiz: .429 (3 for 7) with 1 strikeout.

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Oh, Those Pitching Problems


colehamels.jpgThe good news about yesterday’s rainout against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park is that Cole Hamels can rest his ankle a few more days.

Not that he felt he needed much extra time.

“It’s not too bad,” he said. “I’m only a couple days away. I really am.”

Here is how this week’s rotation sets up because of yesterday’s rainout:

- Tonight in St. Louis: RHP Joe Blanton (0-2, 8.41 ERA)

- Tomorrow night in St. Louis: RHP Brett Myers (1-2, 4.83 ERA)

- Wednesday in New York: RHP Chan Ho Park (0-1, 8.57 ERA)

- Thursday in New York: LHP Jamie Moyer (3-1, 5.65 ERA)

- Friday vs. Atlanta: Hamels (0-2, 7.27 ERA)

Phillies starters have a 6.71 ERA after 22 games, which is the worst mark in baseball and almost a run worse than the second-worst team in baseball: the Boston Red Sox, who have a 5.75 ERA. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee have been asked plenty about the rotation’s troubles recently, but Dubee didn’t say much yesterday about Park’s situation.

Park’s job is on the line. Not that he has pitched much worse than Blanton (opponents have hit .371 against Blanton compared to .333 against Park), but Park is in the rotation because he won a close competition in Spring Training. And, frankly, Blanton isn’t going anywhere.

“When Charlie wants to talk, we’ll talk,” Dubee said about Park.

Park has pitched more than five innings just once in four starts.

“None of our guys have (pitched deep),” Dubee said. “Chan Ho has pitched as deep into a game as anybody. He pitched seven innings once, didn’t he? That’s as deep as anybody has gotten this year.”

But is Dubee still confident Park can do the job?

“He’s getting the ball,” Dubee said. “Yeah, we’re confident.”

Park had two walks and 25 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings in Spring Training.

“Spring Training is a different bird,” Dubee said. “That’s why I don’t evaluate guys in Spring Training. That’s why I don’t like guys competing for jobs in Spring Training. Spring Training is not a true indicator, but I don’t think he’s been as aggressive in the strike zone. He’s getting into a lot of good hitter’s counts.”

My guess is that Park gets one or two more starts to prove himself. The Phillies promised Park they would give him an opportunity to win a job in the rotation. They never promised him that he got to keep it.

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Park Wins Fifth Job, Phils Contact Sheffield

Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that Chan Ho Park beat J.A. Happ for the fifth starter’s job. Happ’s fate with the team has not been decided, although Amaro said Happ, Gary Majewski, Jack Taschner and Bobby Mosebach are comepting for two bullpen jobs.

Amaro also said the Phillies have contacted the agent for Gary Sheffield, who the Tigers just released. Sheffield could be a bit now that the Phillies have released Geoff Jenkins.

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Park said he will make his debut April 12 against the Rockies in Denver.

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Park or Happ?

park.jpgFor most of the spring I’ve been saying I think the Phillies prefer J.A. Happ in the rotation and Chan Ho Park in the bullpen.

Why?

First, the Phillies pursued Park in the offseason because they liked him as a relief pitcher. He went 4-4 with a 3.40 ERA in 54 appearances last season for the Dodgers, and they thought those numbers would add depth to an already strong bullpen. Second, Happ has been a starter most of his career and pitched well in September in that role. If Happ could prove himself this spring, the Phillies might be better served with Happ in the rotation and Park in the ‘pen.

But Rich Dubee said at the beginning of Spring Training that the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation would be based on performance.

Who can get pepole out?

So now I’m not sure what to think. Park is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA in 21 1/3 innings in the Grapefruit League, while Happ is 0-0 with a 3.15 ERA in 20 innings. The difference there is only one earned run and 1 1/3 innings pitched. But Park has allowed just two walks and struck out 25, while Happ has walked six and struck out 14. If this competition is based purely on Grapefruit League performance, it would seem Park has an edge entering Happ’s final start of the spring Thursday.

And that’s where things really get interesting.

Asked if he would be open to accepting a bullpen job, Park said today, “I don’t know, let’s see. Wait, wait, wait, wait. Sometimes I’m crazy.”

He also said, “I’m expecting their decision to make me as the starter. That’s my goal. That’s why I signed with this team.”

He signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract because the Phillies promised him an opportunity to start. Based purely on the numbers, he can make an argument that he won this competition. So if the Phillies tell him that they need him in the bullpen more than the rotation? Based on his comments today, he could feel cheated.

So, we’ll see. I thought I had a good feel for how this competion would be resolved, but now I’m not sure.

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Hamels Fine, Needs One More Start

Cole Hamels pitched four innings in a Minor League game today at the Carpenter Complex, and afterward he said he “definitely” needs one more start before he is ready to pitch in a big-league game.

“I think that would be the best just knowing that I can go out there, hopefully go a little deeper, maybe about 80 pitches,” Hamels said. “Hopefully get past that fourth inning. Pitching four innings in the big leagues doesn’t help much. The bullpen would be taxed. Just knowing I can go out there and really hit my spots is going to be the big key. That just happens with just going out there and that repetition.”

Hamels, who said his left elbow feels fine, allowed 10 hits, three runs and one walk and struck out five against the Triple-A Yankees.

He threw 64 pitches.

He said he remains on target to pitch April 10 against the Rockies in Denver, but first he will pitch April 4 in an exhibition against the Rays at Citizens Bank Park.

“I think that’s going to be a big start for me … really prepare me for the season,” he said. “I really do think that will really get me ready, going out there and competing at the big-league level and starting off the season right.”

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Chan Ho Park allowed six hits, two runs (one earned run) and one walk and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings. Park really is making things tough on the Phillies. He has a 2.53 ERA in 21 1/3 innings this spring. J.A. Happ has a 3.15 ERA in 20 innings.

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Paulino Traded to Giants for Taschner

taschner.jpgJust got word that the Phillies have traded Ronny Paulino to the San Francisco Giants for left-handed reliever Jack Taschner.

A few things about this trade:

  • It’s a lock. Chris Coste will open the season as Carlos Ruiz‘s backup.
  • Taschner will be the bullpen’s second left-hander while J.C. Romero serves his 50-game suspension. The other left-hander is Scott Eyre.
  • This could pave the way for J.A. Happ to open the season in the rotation and Chan Ho Park to open the season in the bullpen, although Ruben Amaro Jr. stressed that nothing had been decided. There had been some talk that Happ could open the season in the bullpen, if Park had a better spring than him. But both have pitched about the same, so I would be surprised at this point if Happ isn’t this team’s No. 5 starter.

Update: The Giants flipped Paulino to the Marlins for Minor League pitcher Hector Correra.

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Welcome Back Jimmy and Shane; Myers Opening Day?

Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino are back after playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Marcus Giles made a good observation this morning when he looked at the lineup card on the bulletin board inside the Phillies clubhouse:

“Wow, got the real lineup in there today.”

Yes, it is:

1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Jayson Werth, RF
6. Raul Ibanez, LF
7. Pedro Feliz, 3B
8. Chris Coste, DH
9. Carlos Ruiz, C

Chan Ho Park starts against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, while Cole Hamels pitches in a Minor League game at the Carpenter Complex.

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The pitching schedule for March 26 – April 1 has been posted in the clubhouse, and it looks more and more like Brett Myers could be starting Opening Night:

March 26: Carlos Carrasco.
March 27: Brett Myers
March 28: Jamie Moyer and J.A. Happ
March 29: Joe Blanton and Cole Hamels
March 30: Chan Ho Park
March 31: Myers
April 1: Carrasco

Rich Dubee said yesterday that Hamels could make his season debut April 10 against the Rockies in Denver. If this schedule holds true and if Dubee wants his Opening Night starter to pitch on a full four days rest, Myers, who is pitching March 31, would be in line to pitch April 5.

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Hamels Throws, Encouraged


colehamels.jpgCole Hamels
threw a bullpen session this morning at Bright House Field and said he felt no tightness in his left elbow.

Hamels split his session with a five-minute break to simulate the break in between innings. In the past, Hamels said it took far less less than five minutes for the elbow to begin swelling up. This time he said it felt fine.

“From the windup it felt good,” Hamels said. “The only soreness I have is from the injection, and that has been fading. Other than that, all the spots that were kind of causing me soreness didn’t cause me any discomfort at all, so I think that’s a good thing.”

And his chances of starting Opening Night on April 5?

“Truly, I think that’s the last thing on my mind,” he said. “I just need to be game ready. I haven’t started throwing my curveball yet. I need to really focus on that, and I really need to be able to focus on locating my fastball in and out and throwing my changeup for strikes. That’s the only way I’ll be effective and good to this team is if I can go out there pitch healthy and get the job done.”

Opening Night is two weeks from tomorrow. It doesn’t seem to be enough time to build up enough arm strength. Rich Dubee has said he likes he starters to have thrown 100 pitches at least once before the season starts.

“For Opening Day, I think it’s tough,” Hamels said. “I think if I can get anywhere from 80 to 90 pitches going into the season, my first start I might just throw 90 to 100. Hopefully, I can compete in a ballgame there.”

Hamels will pitch in a Minor League game Tuesday. If that goes well, he likely would make a Grapefruit League start March 29. He then could start April 3 against Tampa Bay at Citizens Bank Park. That would not put him on schedule to start Opening Day.

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Chan Ho Park had been scheduled to start today against the Twins, but he tweaked his left hamstring in his last start Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He felt the hamstring when he threw his curveball in his last bullpen session Thursday, so the Phillies decided to test the hamstring with a bullpen session today.

He said it felt fine, and he will staret Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

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