Results tagged ‘ Danys Baez ’

Who’s In, Who’s Out When Contreras, Lidge Are Back?

Before the season started the Phillies had their seventh, eighth and ninth inning relievers aligned like this:

  • Jose Contreras in the seventh.
  • Ryan Madson in the eighth.
  • Brad Lidge in the ninth.

But because of injuries to Lidge and Contreras, the Phillies have adjusted. They’ve used Danys Baez, Kyle Kendrick, J.C. Romero and others in critical late-inning situations. In last night’s 5-4 victory over the Braves, the Phillies went young. Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Vance Worley picked up big outs in the seventh and eighth innings.

“I think I put them in the fire, didn’t I?” Charlie Manuel said after the game.

Contreras could be back in roughly a week, although that remains to be seen. Lidge has said he’s hopeful he could be back before the end of June. It will be interesting to see how the bullpen lines up upon their return. Who stays? Who goes? Worley has done an excellent job, but it’s probably in the team’s s best interest to eventually send him back to Triple-A to start. (Ruben Amaro Jr. said as much recently.) They need him stretched out in case something happens to another starter. Roy Oswalt already has missed time because of a bad back and Joe Blanton already has missed time because of soreness in his right elbow (he still has discomfort in the elbow). It doesn’t make much sense to have the team’s No. 6 and 7 starters (Kendrick and Worley) both pitching in the bullpen.

Scott Mathieson or Vance Worley could be optioned Tuesday when the Phillies activate Oswalt from the DL. The other could be optioned when the Phillies activate Contreras. But what happens when Lidge returns? If Worley and Mathieson are optioned at some point and everybody is healthy, the bullpen would look like this: Baez, Bastardo, Contreras, Kendrick, Madson, Romero and Stutes.

Now it gets interesting. Bastardo, Contreras, Madson and Romero appear safe. The Phillies need a long man, which is Kendrick. That would leave Baez and Stutes. Baez has had his struggles, but is a veteran making $2.75 million. Stutes has options, but has been impressive in limited action. Fortunately for the Phillies the decision does not need to be made today. If Baez is pitching well when Lidge returns I think he stays. But if he’s not pitching well he could be in trouble — unless Stutes himself is struggling.


Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter. Pick up a copy of my book.

It’s Not 2008 Anymore

Charlie Manuel expressed deep concerns about his offense before last night’s 6-3 loss to the Brewers.

Where’s the pop?

He mentioned Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and Pat Burrell in a lengthy discussion. Utley is hurt, Werth is in Washington and Burrell is in San Francisco. Each of them had high on-base percentages, and each of them knew how to work counts. They also could drive the ball. The Phillies certainly have been missing that lately. The Phillies have just nine extra-base hits since April 9, which is last in baseball. (The Cardinals are first with 42. The Marlins are second-to-last with 14.) Those numbers are a bit misleading because some teams have played nine games in that span while the Phillies have played seven. But here’s what is not misleading: the Phillies also have a .290 slugging percentage in that span, which is last in baseball.

The Phillies, whose 38 extra-base hits for the season rank 25th, have a serious power outage.

But before folks say, “It’s a long season,” remember, it’s Manuel expressing these concerns.

“I know people are going to say, ‘Well, you’ve got the starting pitching.’ Yeah, that’s part of it,” Manuel said. “But at the same time, usually when you talk about a World Series team or something like that, you’re talking about a top-notch team. I’m not saying we don’t have that, but we could have it. It’s going to take some work. We’ve got to improve in some areas, and we’ve got to hope our players live up to their career averages and their career performances.”

A couple random thoughts:

  • When is John Mayberry Jr. going to get a start? Raul Ibanez has started every game this season. Ben Francisco has started all but one. Ibanez has hit .189 (7 for 37) in his last nine games. Francisco has hit .111 (2 for 18) in his last five. The Phillies are facing left-handers Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson the next two games. Mayberry has been great off the bench, but he’s got to play to stay sharp. Manuel expressed his concerns countless times this spring about his outfield’s defense. He lamented the fact yesterday his corner outfielders haven’t hit for power. Mayberry can play defense and hit for power. Throwing him out there at least once a week wouldn’t seem to be the worst thing in the world right now.
  • One second Danys Baez is pitching in a big spot — replacing J.C. Romero and remaining in the game to face Greg Dobbs on Friday —  the next second the Phillies are bringing in long man Kyle Kendrick in a tie game and Baez is the last man standing in the bullpen. How quickly things change.
  • Who knows if this is just a rough stretch for the offense or not, but what if this is who the Phillies are? Say they are a light-hitting team. You can’t look around and say, “Well, here’s an obvious way to upgrade the lineup.” Manuel just has to hope things return to normal and Utley comes back and stays healthy. Otherwise they’re really going to need the rotation to be superheroes.


Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter. Looking for a Phillies book to kick off the season? Try this one.

Dennys Meet Danys, Danys Meet Dennys

A source said this afternoon the Phillies are very close to agreeing on a one-year contract with left-hander Dennys Reyes, although details were still being worked out. ESPN’s Enrique Rojas said the deal would include an option for 2012.

If the deal gets finalized, the Phillies will have a veteran left-hander in the pen next season. Antonio Bastardo is another lefty with a good chance to make the team out of Spring Training. The other left-handers on the 40-man roster with big-league experience are Mike Zagurski and Sergio Escalona.

So, yes, there would be Dennys Reyes and Danys Baez on the same team — thus the clip from Spies Like Us.

Asked how he pronounces his name, Reyes once told Cardinals beat writers, “It’s Dennys, like the restaurant.” So there you go.


I’ve got a new Facebook page, where I’ll post stories, blogs, thoughts, etc. Check it out here. Follow me on Twitter.

Phillies Add Kendrick, Keep Brown, Dropps Dobbs

kendrick 0719 2010.jpgThe Phillies announced their NLCS roster.

They added Kyle Kendrick as the 11th pitcher, kept Domonic Brown and dropped Greg Dobbs.

“It’s great,” Brown said, who went 0 for 1 and scored a run in the NLDS. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be on the roster, but it has turned into another great experience for me.”

Ruben Amaro Jr. said manager Charlie Manuel made the final decision. He said Manuel felt Brown “would bring a little bit more to the table. It was a tough decision. Charlie ultimately felt like it was the right thing for us to do.”

Brown hit .210 (13 for 62) with three doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs during the regular season. Dobbs hit .198 (32 for 163) with seven doubles, five home runs and 15 RBIs. Manuel said Brown’s and Dobbs’ offense was equal. He said Brown’s speed was an advantage over Dobbs, although he said Dobbs’ experience and ability to play the infield were important.

Not important enough.

“I thought that maybe my postseason experience and how well I’ve done in the postseason might play a role in it,” Dobbs said. “Being an older veteran, more experienced, more versatile, I thought that would play in my favor. Obviously, it did not.”


The NLDS Roster

The Phillies just announced their NLDS roster.

Greg Dobbs, Domonic Brown and Antonio Bastardo are ON. Kyle KendrickDanys Baez and David Herndon are OUT.

Here is how it looks:

  • Pitchers (10): Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero, Chad Durbin and Bastardo.
  • Catchers (2): Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider.
  • Infielders (7): Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Wilson Valdez, Mike Sweeney and Dobbs.
  • Outfielders (5): Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Ben Francisco, Ross Gload and Brown.

The Phillies obviously feel with Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt they do not need 11 pitchers, which cost Kendrick a spot. Dobbs could provide insurance should something happen to Rollins, who missed most of September with an injured hamstring. If Valdez had to play, the Phillies would have nobody to backup Polanco or even Utley.


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!

Howard to Appear in Entourage


Entourage star Jerry Ferrara and Ryan Howard were chummy behind the batting cage today at Dodger Stadium.

There’s a reason for that.

Howard makes an appearance in the Sept. 12 season finale of Entourage on HBO.

Ferrara, who plays Turtle, and Howard would not discuss Howard’s scene, although Ferrara said, “Being the season finale it’s kind of a frantic episode. Ryan’s in a position to help out my character a little bit.”

“It sounded like he had a good time,” Ferrara said. “He’s a fan of the show. We’re obviously a big fan of his. As a Yankee fan I didn’t know if he was going to be too happy that the storyline was with my character, but we didn’t talk Yankees.”

Personally, I would have demanded a scene with Emanuelle Chriqui, but I’m pretty sure she has a restraining order against me. (It was just a misunderstanding!)

Howard and Chase Utley also appear in an upcoming episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.


Ross Gload, who is on the DL with a strained right groin, is scheduled to make rehab appearances tomorrow and Thursday with Class A Clearwater. If it goes well he could be activated before Friday’s series opener against the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. … Danys Baez, who is on the DL with back spasms, also is in Clearwater. He long tossed yesterday. … The Phillies are sending right-handers Tyson Brummett, Justin De Fratus, Chris Kissock, B.J. Rosenberg and Josh Zeid; catcher Tim Kennelly and first baseman Matt Rizzotti to the Arizona Fall League. Class A Lakewood manager Mark Parent will coach in the AFL. … The Class A Florida State League named Clearwater right-hander Austin Hyatt its Pitcher of the Year. Hyatt, a 15th round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, is 11-5 with a 3.04 ERA in 23 appearances (21 starts) this season.


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!

Baez to DL Creates Postseason Roster Flexibility

The Phillies gained postseason roster flexibility today when they placed right-hander Danys Baez on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms.

The Phillies, who recalled left-hander Antonio Bastardo from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Baez’s place, have 28 players eligible for the postseason. They have the players on the current 25-man roster, plus the three players on the disabled list: Baez, Ross Gload and Jamie Moyer.

“We’d have one wild card, which would be Jamie’s spot,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said.

Moyer is a wild card because he will not pitch again this season. The Phillies can replace Moyer with anybody who is in the organization on Aug. 31. In other words, if they wanted to call up a player from Class A Lakewood they could do that. That is how left-hander J.A. Happ made the postseason roster in 2008. Pitchers Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagurski were on the 60-day disabled list, which allowed the Phillies to take Happ, who was a September call-up.

The Phillies got creative in 2009, when they selected the contract of injured right-hander John Ennis and immediately placed him on the 15-day disabled list. That is unlikely to happen to this year, but there are ways to get more flexibility. Now that Baez is on the DL, the Phillies won’t have to use their wild card on Bastardo, if they would want him on the postseason roster.


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!

Another Annual Late Season Skid, or Something More?

howard upset.jpg

It looks grim, but you wonder if this is one of those tease-me moments the Phillies have had in the past.

The Astros, who booked their October golfing and fishing trips in June, just swept the Phillies in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies have lost six of their last eight to enter tonight’s series against the Padres at Petco Park (the Padres have the best record in the league, by the way) three games behind the Braves in the NL East and a half-game behind the Giants in the NL wild card.

Time to panic?

“You’re going to go through lulls,” Jayson Werth said. “But in the back of our minds I think we know that, especially after what we’ve accomplished the last three years in September, there is ultimate confidence. And that’s not an illusion because we’ve proven that. We know what we’ve done. We know what we can do.”

Before the Phillies overcame a seven-game deficit with 17 games to play to win the 2007 NL East, the Phillies had lost seven of their previous 11 games. Before they overcame a 3 game deficit with 16 games to play to win the 2008 NL East, they had lost eight of their previous 14. Before they cruised to their second consecutive NL pennant last season, they lost seven of 12 to finish the season.

Is this current eight-game stretch their annual hiccup before they go on a tear? Or is this one different?

“The one thing about our team that has been really impressive to watch is the ability to turn it on when we have to,” Brad Lidge said. “I think that’s obviously what’s put us where we’ve gone the last two years and hopefully it’ll get us there this year. When our backs have been against the wall and when we have to do something we will do it.”

Before the Astros took it to the Phillies, the Phillies and Twins were the hottest teams in baseball. They both went 22-7 (.759) from July 22 – Aug. 22. The Phillies still would be hot if the offense had not flat lined. The offense, which cost Milt Thompson his job in July, has hit just .206 and averaged just 2.1 runs per game in their last eight games. The pitching staff has done its job. It has a 3.19 ERA in that stretch.

Petco Park is a great place to pitch, so you would expect Phillies pitchers to continue to throw well. But will the offense come around? The lineup has a great reputation, but reputations only go so far. In fact, just three players in the lineup are above their career OPS averages (on-base-plus-slugging percentage). The rest are quite a bit below:

  • Jimmy Rollins: -.063 from career OPS (.765 career/.702 this season)
  • Placido Polanco: +.002 from career OPS (.762 career/.764 this season)
  • Chase Utley: -.069 (.896 career/.827 this season)
  • Ryan Howard: -.096 (.946 career/.850 this season)
  • Jayson Werth: +.068 (.842 career/.910 this season)
  • Shane Victorino: -.021 (.770 career/.749 this season)
  • Raul Ibanez: -.037 (.823 career/.786 this season)
  • Carlos Ruiz: +.080 (.736 career/.816 this season)


The Phillies placed Danys Baez on the DL with back spasms. Antonio Bastardo has been recalled to take his place.


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!

Shades of 2009

lidge 0731 2010.jpg

Brad Lidge‘s blown save tonight in a 7-5 loss to the Nationals stirred more memories of his nightmarish 2009, when he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and 31 saves in 42 opportunities (73.8 percent). But Charlie Manuel wasted no time in his post game news conference telling folks Lidge is his guy.

“He’s our closer,” he said. “We’ve been working with him now for two years. I guess right now we’ve got to keep continuing to work with him. He has his moments.”

Lidge, who is 1-1 with a 5.57 ERA and 10 saves in 14 opportunities (71.4 percent) this season, allowed a leadoff single to Michael Morse and walked Adam Kennedy with one out when he threw a 92 mph fastball to Ryan Zimmerman, who crushed the ball to center field for a three-run home run to win the game. Lidge said he shook off catcher Carlos Ruiz to throw the 2-1 pitch inside because he had success with that pitch against Zimmerman in the past.

Manuel said the Phillies have to keep working with Lidge. Why?

“Because that’s what we’ve got,” Manuel said.

The Phillies picked up Astros ace Roy Oswalt before today’s non-waiver trade deadline, but did not address a bullpen that entered the night ranked 10th in the National League with a 4.11 ERA. The Minnesota Twins got Nationals closer Matt Capps (3-3, 2.74 ERA, 26 saves) before the deadline, although it required their top prospect. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Octavio Dotel (2-2, 4.28 ERA, 21 saves) from the Pittsburgh Pirates for two players. (Had the Phillies not traded Cliff Lee, perhaps they could have swung a prospect or two to get somebody like Capps or Dotel, right?)

Internal options? Ryan Madson has struggled as a closer, converting 18 of 24 save opportunities in his career. The Phillies said Danys Baez could be an option when they signed him to a two-year, $5.25 million contract, but he is 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA and has not pitched recently in many close situations. Jose Contreras might be the best option. He is 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA and three saves in three opportunities this year as closer.

“I hear you guys say that for two (gosh darn) years,” said Manuel, when asked about Madson. “I hear this and that, this and that. What the hell? We try this guy. We try that guy. We try this guy. Then I hear you bitch to me sometimes about their roles: ‘Guys don’t know their roles.’ I can go on all night now. Let’s just drop it right there.”

Lidge’s fastball this season has averaged just 92.5 mph, according to That is the lowest average of his career. His fastball averaged 93.6 mph in 2009, 94.3 mph in 2008 and 95.2 mph or better from 2004-07 with the Houston Astros. As his fastball has lost velocity, so has the separation in mph between his fastball and slider. He had 7.8 mph of separation between his fastball and slider this season, 8.2 mph in 2009 and 9.2 mph in 2008.

“I’m a guy that in the past has thrown 95, 96,” Lidge said. “This year I’m learning to pitch with a little bit less on my fastball. You don’t want to pay too much attention to it because you want to execute your pitches … it’s something I’ve got to learn to pitch with.”

Lidge, who had offseason elbow and knee surgeries, said he is not sure why his velocity is down, but said he is healthy.

“I don’t feel hurt or anything,” he said. “To me it’s not something I’m going to make a big deal of. It’s something I need to be able to pitch with. My rehab outings all the way through, it’s kind of stayed the same. If it’s not going to get back to the 94, 95 as it has in the past, then I’ve got to pitch with what I’ve got.”


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!

Rollins Gets the Green Light

rollins 0520 2010.jpgJimmy Rollins
hit a 3-0 fastball for a three-run home run today.

He had the green light.

Charlie Manuel likes giving the green light to good hitters in 3-0 counts. If they get a good pitch to hit in that situation, why not swing? Rollins is 4-for-7 with a double, two home runs and six RBIs when he puts a ball in play on a 3-0 count. (He also has walked 120 times in that situation.)


Asked if he might return Rollins to the leadoff spot Friday against the Red Sox, Manuel said he probably would think about that after he takes a shower.

“I don’t want to think about Charlie in the shower,” Rollins replied.


Danys Baez pitched a scoreless eighth inning (after Antonio Bastardo allowed a solo homer to tie the game). He is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in nine appearances this month.

Baez is 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in 18 appearances after a rough April.

“I don’t feel that I pitched bad last month,” Baez said. “It’s just that I had a couple bad outings. If you have a bad outing in the bullpen, it takes two or three months to fix your ERA.

“It’s a really long season. It’s a long season. You’ve got to keep working hard. Hopefully it’s a longer season than the seasons I’ve had in the past seven years.”

Baez spent previous season with Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Cleveland. He has not pitched in the postseason since 2001 with the Indians.


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!