Results tagged ‘ Curt Schilling ’

Hurry Up And Trade Hamels? Not So Fast

Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy HalladayShould the potentially career-ending tear in Cliff Lee’s left elbow push the Phillies into trading Cole Hamels sooner rather than later?

It makes sense. Getting something is better than getting nothing. Lee essentially is untradeable at this point, even if he finds a way to pitch this season. No team is going to give up a top prospect for a 36-year-old pitcher with continual flare ups in his elbow, especially one making $25 million this season with a $12.5 million buyout on a $27.5 million club option for 2016.

But imagine if something unfortunate happens to Hamels, who is healthy. The Phillies will have nothing to show for their most valuable asset.

Such a loss could cripple their rebuilding plans.

But while many are pointing to the pitchers that have dropped like flies this spring, the Phillies can point to two past examples why they should not trade Hamels before they are ready:

Curt Schilling in 2000 and Lee in 2009.

Schilling had been harshly and steadily criticizing the Phillies ownership and front office for some time. He had publicly demanded a trade. It was ugly. So the Phillies traded Schilling to Arizona on July 26, 2000, more than a year before he could become a free agent, for Travis Lee, Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa and Vicente Padilla.

Former Phillies general manager Ed Wade told The Philadelphia Inquirer in Sept. 2007, that he regretted the deal.

“In retrospect, I would have held on to Schilling,” Wade said. “It would have been better if I ignored his trade demand one more time and run the risk of only getting draft picks” if he left following the 2001 season.

None of the four players the Phillies acquired for Schilling made a long term impact with the organization.

The Phillies traded Lee to Seattle for prospects Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez, the same day they announced they acquired Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays in December 2009. The Phillies traded Lee, who was making an incredibly affordable $9 million in 2010, because former president David Montgomery told general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. he needed to replenish the farm system after trading seven top prospects to acquire Lee from the Indians in July 2009 and Halladay.

Amaro said he could not wait because he could not acquire Halladay one day then trade Lee a short time later.

He said it would have been a bad message to fans.

“If I made a mistake in that process, it was that I didn’t take the time to really maximize,” Amaro said in 2011 in “The Rotation.”

Aumont has struggled with the Phillies and it out of options. This spring is his last shot to make the team. Gillies and Ramirez are no longer with the organization.

So the Phillies are prepared to roll the dice and bet on Hamels not only staying healthy, but pitching like one of the best left-handers in baseball. It is a risk, but they have been rushed into trading aces before. They do not want to make the same mistake again.

“Look at the history of this era,” Amaro said last month. “There’s more Wild Card teams. There’s a lot more clubs with opportunities. You’ll see as many as 15 teams, half the league is kind of in the race well into the season. Everybody always needs pitching. There’s always a risk that somebody can get hurt. Somebody not getting the performance they want might change our circumstance.

“Again, if there were deals that we felt were appropriate for us to move forward then we would. So far some of the deals that we’ve discussed with some of our players have not yielded what we’ve wanted to do. And in some cases we feel like we’re better off staying with the players that we have for a variety of different reasons. We’ll move forward accordingly.”


Cliff Lee struck out 16 batters tonight in a 5-0 loss to the Braves.

A few things about his night:

  • He set a career-high in strikeouts. He had a career-high 13 strikeouts July 27 last season against Oakland.
  • They are the most strikeouts by a Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling struck out 16 Yankees on Sept. 1, 1997.
  • They tied Steve Carlton for the most strikeouts by a left-handed pitcher in a nine-inning game in Phillies history. (Left-hander Chris Short struck out 18 Mets in 15 innings Oct. 2, 1965.)
  • Lee’s 16 strikeouts are the most by a pitcher in a big-league game this season. (Jared Weaver had 15 against the Blue Jays on April 10.)
  • It was Lee’s 13th double-digit strikeout game, and his fifth with the Phillies.
  • It was the 12th time he has struck out 10 or more batters with one or fewer walks. (Lee walked one tonight.)
  • He has 10 double-digit strikeout games since the beginning of the 2010 season, which ties him with Tim Lincecum for the most in the big leagues in that span.

The bad news for Lee? The Phillies have scored one run in his last three starts.


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Worley Shows Phillies’ Depth

Vance Worley is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA (one earned run in 12 innings) in two starts this season, which should have the Phillies feeling pretty good about their starting pitching depth.

It’s likely they’ll need him again at some point this season.

Here’s a look at the number of starting pitchers the Phillies have used in each of the previous four seasons:

  • 13 in 2007: Jamie Moyer (33), Adam Eaton (30), Cole Hamels (28), Kyle Kendrick (20), Jon Lieber (12), Kyle Lohse (11), Freddy Garcia (11), J.D. Durbin (10), Brett Myers (3), Fabio Castro (1), John Ennis (1), Zack Segovia (1) and J.A. Happ (1).
  • 7 in 2008: Hamels (33), Moyer (33), Myers (30), Kendrick (30), Eaton (19), Joe Blanton (13) and Happ (4).
  • 12 in 2009: Hamels (32), Blanton (31), Moyer (25), Happ (23), Cliff Lee (12), Myers (10), Pedro Martinez (9), Chan Ho Park (7), Rodrigo Lopez (5), Antonio Bastardo (5), Kendrick (2) and Andrew Carpenter (1).
  • 9 in 2010: Roy Halladay (33), Hamels (33), Kendrick (31), Blanton (28), Moyer (19), Roy Oswalt (12), Happ (3), Worley (2) and Nelson Figueroa (1).

The Phillies have used six starters so far this season. Maybe that’s all they’ll use. If they do the Phillies should win a ton of games because that means their aces are healthy. But even if the Phillies lose a starter for a significant stretch, Worley has shown the ability to handle himself. The Phillies always have Kendrick, too.

Charlie Manuel said that’s good to know. But he also hopes it doesn’t come to that.


Phillies starters have gone five consecutive games in which they have pitched six or more innings and allowed one or fewer runs: Worley (six innings, no runs), Roy Halladay (nine innings, one run), Cliff Lee (seven innings, one run), Cole Hamels (nine innings, one run) and Worley again (six innings, one run). Elias Sports Bureau said it’s the first time that has happened for the Phillies since June 6-11, 1995: Mike Williams, Curt Schilling, Paul Quantrill, Tyler Green and Michael Mimbs.


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Vote Konstanty


The pitchers are throwing, the catchers are catching and many of the position players have reported early.

It is not a surprise the three top candidates to replace Jayson Werth in right field — Ben Francisco, Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. — arrived early. It is notable Jimmy Rollins arrived early because he typically does not check in until the official report date for position players. Haven’t spoken to Rollins yet, but people seem to think he is in excellent shape heading into Spring Training. That is good news for him and the Phillies, who could use his production atop the lineup.

But let’s take a break from camp to talk about the Phillies’ Wall of Fame. The Phillies yesterday announced 12 players on this year’s ballot: Curt Schilling, Mike Lieberthal, Larry Christenson, Lenny Dykstra, Jim Fregosi, Greg Gross, Jim Konstanty, Von Hayes, John Kruk, Ron Reed, Jimmie Wilson and Rick Wise.

Fans can vote at Players receive five points for a first-place vote, three points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote. The top three finishers are put on the final ballot, which is handed to the Wall of Fame selection committe. Not that you asked, but here is my ballot:

  1. Konstanty
  2. Dykstra
  3. Schilling

My reasoning is simple: Konstanty earned NL MVP honors in 1950 and helped the Phillies win their first pennant since 1915. He went 16-7 with a 2.66 ERA in 1950 as a relief pitcher. And then after pitching in relief the entire season he started Game 1 of the World Series against the New York Yankees. He allowed four hits and one run in eight innings in a 1-0 loss. He did his job. The offense didn’t. Konstanty, who died in 1976, really only had one great season, but his accomplishments with the Whiz Kids measures up to some of the other people on this ballot. I think he deserves a spot on the Wall of Fame, so I’m pushing him because fans naturally lean toward the players they’re most familiar with — players from the 1980 and 1993 teams.

So then why Schilling and Dykstra? Because if Konstanty doesn’t get enough votes to make the Wall of Fame, I want to be entertained at Citizens Bank Park during the induction ceremony. And I think Schilling and Dykstra would provide the greatest entertainment. Need I say more?

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Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt: Best Phillies Trio Ever?

hamels 0504 2010.jpgInterest in this week’s Braves series turned from 10 to 11 after the Phillies shuffled their rotation to have Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt face Atlanta.

They’re the Big Three.

They might be the Biggest Three in Phillies history.

Has there been a better trio of starting pitchers on any team since the Phillies joined the NL in 1883? I explored that in a story for, which can be found here.

I could not find one, and I asked around. There were great duos. Robin Roberts had Curt Simmons. Jim Bunning had Chris Short. Grover Cleveland Alexander had Eppa Rixey. Steve Carlton had Jim Lonborg, Larry Christenson, Dick Ruthven and John Denny in different seasons. But none of them had what the 2010 Phillies have:

– Three pitchers with incredible resumes and reputations. Halladay is a former Cy Young winner, who dominated the American League East for years before he joined the Phillies. He is a good candidate for the Hall of Fame, according to Baseball Reference’s Hall of Fame tests. Oswalt has been one of the top pitchers in the National League for years. He is a two-time, 20-game winner who earned 2005 NLCS MVP honors. Hamels is the youngest pitcher of the bunch, but he earned 2008 World Series and MVP honors.
– Three pitchers pitching at their peaks.
– Three pitchers who could be aces anywhere else.

For example: Alexander pitched with Rixey for a few seasons. Both are Hall of Famers, but it was early in Rixey’s career. He broke out in 1916, when he went 22-10 with a 1.85 ERA. But the third starter that season was Al Demaree, who was not considered anything special. He certainly couldn’t lead a pitching staff, like Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels. I found similar situations with other Phillies aces like Roberts, Bunning, Carlton and Curt Schilling.

There have been seasons where the Phillies have had good years from three starters, but the third starter (and sometimes even the second starter) was a one-year wonder, before his prime or after his prime. Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels are not that.

Agree? Disagree? Be curious to see which trio you would take over the Big Three.


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Headed Home

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Headed back to Philly in a bit, but I wanted to pass along a few things before I board my flight:

Roy Halladay improved to 19-10 with a 2.49 ERA after last night’s victory over Florida, but he has a 4.41 ERA (17 earned runs in 34 2/3 innings) in his last five starts. He has thrown 234 2/3 innings this season and is scheduled to make three more starts, which likely would push him to 250-plus innings. That would be his heaviest workload since he threw a career-high 266 innings in 2003.

“I feel good,” Halladay said. “Stamina-wise I’ve felt real good. I haven’t felt like I’ve gotten tired at the end of games. I think definitely there’s times where you realize it’s not April. You don’t have that little bit of extra giddy-up sometimes, but that’s where those extra days can come in. But I feel good. I feel just as good now as I have any other year at this point.”

Halladay allowed 10 hits, three runs and one home run in six innings. He also struck out nine to set a career-high 210 strikeouts. They are the most strikeouts for a Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling had 300 in 1998.

Halladay, 33, will get an extra day of rest before his next two starts, which could help him. His next start comes Tuesday against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park, which figures to be one of the biggest starts of his career with playoff implications on the line. He will have a chance to pick up his 20th win. He would be the first Phillies pitcher to win 20 games in a season since Steve Carlton went 23-11 in 1982.


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!

Game 3, and Its Magic Numbers

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A few things about last night’s 11-0 victory over the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLCS:

  • Ryan Howard has a hit and RBI in every playoff game this year (seven games, 10 hits and 12 RBIs). He is the Phillies’ all-time RBI leader in the postseason (22 RBIs in 24 games) and has reached base safely in 16 consecutive playoff games (22 hits and 10 walks).
  • Howard’s seven consecutive playoff games with an RBI established a MLB single-season playoff record. Lou Gehrig had eight consecutive games with an RBI from 1928-32.
  • Chase Utley singled in the first inning to reach base safely in 23 consecutive playoff games (22 hits and 21 walks), which dates to Game 2 of the 2007 NLDS. Utley’s streak is tied for second all-time in playoff history with Gehrig. Boog Powell holds the all-time record with 25 consecutive playoff games reaching base safely.
  • Cliff Lee struck out 10 batters, tying a Phillies postseason record for strikeouts in a game with Steve Carlton (Game 1 of the 1980 World Series) and Curt Schilling (Game 1 of the 1993 NLCS).
  • Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer in the first inning. It was his third homer of the 2009 postseason and seventh of his postseason career. It was his fifth postseason homer with the Phillies, tying him for second on the all-time franchise list with Howard, Greg Luzinski and Gary Matthews. Lenny Dykstra holds the franchise record with six. Werth also became the Phillies’ all-time leader in postseason extra-base hits (14 in 82 at-bats), passing Mike Schmidt who had 13 in 140 at bats.
  • Shane Victorino moved passed Schmidt on the team’s all-time postseason RBI list, when he hit a three-run homer in the eighth. Victorino has 18 RBIs and trails only Howard.
  • Carlos Ruiz has reached base safely in 12 straight playoff games (15 hits and nine walks). He is hitting .625 (5-for-8 with one homer and three RBIs) this series.
  • Last night’s victory marked the largest margin of victory for the Phillies in a playoff game.
  • In NLCS history, 20 of 29 teams who led the series 2-1 went on to win the series


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Lee, Phillies Own Game 1

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A couple quick hits from Game 1 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies beat the Rockies, 5-1:

  • Cliff Lee became the eighth pitcher in Phillies postseason history to throw a complete game. It was the ninth complete game in Phillies postseason history — Grover Cleveland Alexander threw two in the 1915 World Series — and the first since Curt Schilling threw a shutout in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series.
  • Lee’s stolen base in the third inning is the first by a Phillies pitcher in postseason history. He is just the fourth pitcher in baseball history to steal a base in the postseason: Wild Bill Donovan (1908), Billy Loes (1952) and John Smoltz (1991, 1992 and 1995) were the others.
  • Jim Tracy on Lee : “He got really, really good as the game went on. To the point where by the third inning, I don’t know if he missed a spot.”
  • Lee on pitching in windy conditions. He was asked about getting blown off the mound: “Did I get blown off the mound? … Oh, the wind. I thought you were talking about them stroking me.”
  • Charlie Manuel on Lee’s stolen base: “I thought, what in the hell is he doing?”
  • Jimmy Rollins made a couple nice catches in foul territory. The first came in the third inning against Dexter Fowler and the second came in the seventh inning against Todd Helton. The seventh inning catch was much more impressive because the wind really changed the ball’s direction. “Dexter’s was pretty much routine,” Rollins said. “I practice that a lot actually. The other one reminded me of the one in the World Series (Game 5) just without the rain. Pedro (Feliz) and I were both breaking back like wide receiver and DB. I saw the quarterback get hit and he didn’t, and I retraced the route and came in on the ball.”
  • Jayson Werth has hit safely in 10 consecutive postseason games: (.359, 14-39, four doubles, one home run, three RBIs, eight walks).
  • Carlos Ruiz has hit safely in five consecutive postseason games: .438, 7-16, home run, three RBIs).
  • The Phillies have won eight consecutive postseason games at the Bank.
  • Rollins on the postseason and winning Game 1: “Finally, it’s here. We can finally let the wins actually count for something. You win, it’s one less game you have to win to go to the next round. One down, 10 more to go.”


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