Results tagged ‘ Chris Carpenter ’

Adams Is Throwing Well Early

Charlie Manuel asked a reporter this afternoon if he had seen Mike Adams throw his morning bullpen session at Carpenter Complex.

Manuel raised his eyebrows.

“He was throwing pretty good,” he said excitedly.

Adams revved up for his session, which is good news although it is just a couple days into camp. Adams signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies to be their setup man, but he is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October, which involved removing a rib near his right shoulder. Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter had the same surgery last year, but he is going to miss the 2013 season and possibly never pitch again because his pre-surgery symptoms returned.

Adams said he is not concerned he could share a similar fate.

“When I heard about Carp, my first thought was, ‘OK, what happened?’” Adams said. “Carp and I had the same surgeon do our surgeries, so that was in my favor a little bit in terms of information. When I first had my surgery I spoke with the doc and he told me he did Carp’s surgery, and I was kind of excited because I knew he came back pretty quickly. But when I brought that up, the doctor was like, ‘Well, I wish he would’ve waited a little longer to come back. I think he came back a little too early.’ At the time, we didn’t know this was going to be the result. At the same time, everyone has a different kind of severity — how long the nerve and vessels were being pinched, how badly. So his severity could’ve been worse than mine.

“I talked to (Phillies right-hander Aaron) Cook yesterday, and he had the surgery as well back in 2004, and his was very severe. He said his surgery took like nine hours, whereas mine took an hour-and-a-half. So there are different severities. That’s something I really looked into when I first found out about it. Hopefully the severity of mine wasn’t as bad and I can move on.”

But the Phillies are going to take things slowly with Adams.

“He probably won’t get into (Grapefruit League) games as fast as some guys,” Rich Dubee said. “But he’s really not going to need as much. He doesn’t need 15 to 16 innings, I don’t think. But he’s coming along fine.”

Adams agrees.

“I feel great,” he said. “I don’t really see any reason that anything is going to be a problem. When we first got here we said I’ll take it slow. I don’t see a reason to really throw in any of those games in the first week. The last thing I want to do is have 15-18 innings entering the season. The last few years I’ve gotten about 9-10 innings and felt great, so that’s what I’m going with entering this season. … But when I’m throwing the ball I don’t notice anything that feels different. I’m throwing the ball a lot better than last year, I’m know that.”

Could Adams Suffer Carpenter’s Fate?

Mike AdamsPhillies fans probably heard the Cardinals announce this week that Chris Carpenter might never pitch again.

Carpenter, 37, had surgery in July to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which involved removing a rib to alleviate pressure on a nerve near his right shoulder. He returned to pitch in September and told reporters last month, “I haven’t had any issues with my throwing or anything this year. I feel good. My shoulder feels good.”

But he suffered a season-ending setback last week, which included the return of numbness and discomfort in the right shoulder and neck area, bruising and discoloration in his right hand.

Those problems are relevant in Philadelphia because Phillies setup man Mike Adams, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract in December, had the same surgery in October.

“We’ve talked to him. He said he’s doing great,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said today about Adams. “We’ll find out more when he arrives in Clearwater, and I think he’ll be arriving there fairly soon. He’s been throwing off the mound and he hasn’t had any issues. We’ll see how far along he is, whether he’s going to be behind in Spring Training or not. We don’t think so. But we’ll find out once he gets to Clearwater. Right now we don’t have any concerns, but we obviously want to make sure that he’s all right and progressing properly.”

It goes without saying the Phillies need Adams healthy. The eighth inning proved to be a mess last season with the Phillies blowing 13 leads.

But while Amaro acknowledged that signing Adams carried risks, he said this week’s news regarding Carpenter did not make him more concerned.

“Everybody’s situation is a little different,” he said. “All the information we got from our doctor and looking at the medical reports and such we felt … as always there’s a risk when guys are coming off a surgery like this, but we felt like it was a good risk.”

As of today, Amaro said outfielder Delmon Young will be the only player in camp definitely behind schedule, although that could change by the time pitchers and catchers have their first official workout Wednesday. Young is recovering from microfracture surgery on his right ankle in November.

“He won’t be able to get into real activities probably for a few weeks after we open up, at least,” Amaro said. “He might not be able to play in games competitively until the middle of March. We don’t know that, but we’ll see how he progresses once we see him.”

Amaro said right-hander Mike Stutes, who had shoulder surgery in June, should be “100 percent, we believe. He shouldn’t be any issue at all. He’s been throwing bullpens for a while.” Left-hander Raul Valdes had right knee surgery in September. Amaro also said he doing well.

“He’ll be close to 100 percent,” he said.

Both pitchers will be competing for bullpen jobs.

Phillies Need Some Patience

Did you watch Game 1 of the NLCS yesterday?

I don’t blame you if you didn’t. I think most Phillies fans are still in shock the Cardinals beat the Phillies on Friday night. But if you watched the game you might have noticed quality at-bats from both teams. The Brewers and Cardinals worked their respective pitchers. They worked counts. Skip Schumaker‘s 10-pitch at-bat against Roy Halladay in the first inning in Game 5  on Friday is exactly the type of thing the Phillies didn’t do against the Cardinals, or against the Giants in last year’s NLCS. The Phillies have some holes to fill this offseason and it won’t be easy, but it would behoove them to find a hitter (or more) that can work a count and get on base.

Of the four teams in the NLDS, the Phillies ranked last in pitches per plate appearance, and it wasn’t even close:

  1. Diamondbacks: 3.97
  2. Cardinals: 3.67
  3. Brewers: 3.58
  4. Phillies: 3.48

That doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but consider the Diamondbacks saw 766 pitches in 193 plate appearances. If the Phillies would have had 193 plate appearancs they would have seen only 672 pitches. That’s 94 fewer pitches over the course of a five-game series.

That’s almost a game’s worth of pitches.

I know, small sample size, right? But the Phillies ranked eighth in the National League this season, averaging 3.80 PPA. That’s their lowest average since 2001, when it was 3.76. I don’t think it’s a complete coincidence the Phillies’ .323 on-base percentage was their worst since 1997, when it was .322. You can’t walk if you’re swinging early in the count nearly every time you step into the batter’s box. (And this isn’t a Ryan Howard problem, either. He averaged 4.13 PPA this season, which ranked fourth in the league.) Grind out a few at-bats against Chris Carpenter on Friday and maybe he tires a little. Maybe he slips up. Maybe he elevates a pitch in the strike zone. But that didn’t happen so we’ll never know.

Short Rest? Dubee Isn’t a Fan

Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter lasted just three innings in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

It was his first time pitching on short rest. It showed.

Since the Phillies won their first of five consecutive National League East championships in 2007, Rich Dubee has been asked if he would bring back a pitcher on short rest. He got asked about Cole Hamels in 2007, when the Phillies fell behind the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS. He got asked about Cliff Lee in the 2009 World Series and Roy Halladay in the 2010 NLCS.

Asked if there would be any reason to pitch a starter on short rest this postseason, Dubee said, “I don’t think so. I’ve got confidence with every guy we’ve got out there.”

Not that Dubee will never do it, but he’s not a fan of it.

“Most real good players at this level get accustomed to a routine,” Dubee said. “Apparently that was Carpenter’s first whack at it. That’s a strange beast right there. You’re going from your normal side day. Then you’re third day generally you can kick back and relax mentally. The fourth day you get ready to pitch. Now all of a sudden you probably didn’t have a side day and you have shorter rest and shorter preparation time.”

It would not be wrong to say it is as challenging mentally as it is physically.

“I think it turns into a physical thing, but I think it’s more mental to begin with,” Dubee said. “I think all of a sudden, more often than not guys convince themselves they’re not 100 percent, that way they do different stuff.”

It's Gotta Be Happ

happ 0805.jpgI’d say J.A. Happ has made a case for himself.

He threw his second shoutout of the season tonight in a 7-0 victory against the Rockies. He struck out a career-high 10 batters. He is 8-2 with a 2.74 ERA, an ERA which ranks sixth in the National League.

Who’s got a better ERA in the NL than Happ?

Chris Carpenter (2.10 ERA)
Tim Lincecum (2.18 ERA)
Matt Cain (2.25 ERA)
Dan Haren (2.38 ERA)
Wandy Rodriguez (2.63 ERA)

That’s solid company, which makes Happ’s future in the Phillies rotation even more interesting than it already is.

We know Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton take three spots in the rotation.

We know Jamie Moyer leads the team with 10 wins.

We know Pedro Martinez has been signed to be a starter, and the Phillies have made no bones that is their plan for him.

But we also know Moyer’s 5.55 ERA is the second highest in the National League, Martinez has not piched in the big leagues since last season and Happ has been one of the team’s most consistent starters this year.

“Tremendous pitching. Outstanding,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “If he didn’t allow any hits that might have been the only way he could have done better. I think he showed me he wants to stay in the rotation.”

Has he?

“Let me answer that for you later on, OK?” Manuel said. “I don’t feel like getting into that no more. I’ve answered that now for what? A week?”

But that was before Happ threw his latest shutout.

If the Phillies think Martinez is ready for the big leagues after his latest rehab start tonight with Double-A Reading — he allowed three earned runs and struck out 11 in six innings — the decision might come before Happ’s next scheduled start Tuesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Should Happ stay in the rotation? Absolutely. I can’t see how the Phillies will be able to say they are a better team — a team trying to win another World Series — with Happ in the bullpen. In a seven-game series, who would you want following Lee, Hamels and Blanton right now? I’d want Happ.

But the decision is tougher than it seems. Manuel mentioned Tuesday that Moyer leads the team in wins and has won 256 games in his career. He also is in the first year of a two-year, $13 million contract. Those things will be considered. Martinez, while he has not pitched in the Majors since last season, is worth a look. And while he has said he would go to the bullpen, he might not take that well. That will be considered, too.

It might come down to Happ vs. Moyer. It should be interesting, but Happ has earned the right to keep starting.

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