Results tagged ‘ J.A. Happ ’

Happ Named Sporting News Rookie of the Year


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for happ 0805.jpgJ.A. Happ
started the season in the bullpen, found himself in trade rumors in July and wondered where he might pitch in the postseason in September.

He still pitched well.

He went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 35 games (23 starts) as Sporting News on Tuesday named Happ its National League Rookie of the Year, as selected by a panel of 338 Major League players.

“Over the course of the season if you try to be consistent and play the game the right way, I think guys will take notice of that and it’s definitely an honor that they did,” Happ said during a workout Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park.

Game 5 of the NLCS is tomorrow night, but you already knew that.

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Happ in Game 3, Lee in Game 4, Hamels in Game 5

Charlie Manuel and J.A. Happ just spoke to reporters on a conference call, and Manuel announced that Cliff Lee would pitch Game 4 of the NLDS on Monday. It also seems very likely Cole Hamels would pitch Game 5 on Tuesday in Philadelphia, if necessary, although Manuel said Joe Blanton and Pedro Martinez would be possibilities to start Game 5.

Makes sense.

The Phillies have three quality left-handers and the Rockies struggle more against lefties. Lee will be pitching on normal rest. So would Hamels.

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Happ In, Martinez Out for Game 3

Thumbnail image for happ 0805.jpgThanks to the cold and snow today, the Phillies are going to continue firing left-handers at the Rockies in the National League Division Series.

They will start left-hander J.A. Happ tomorrow night in Game 3 at Coors Field.

Pedro Martinez had been scheduled to pitch, but with today’s postponement because of cold weather, it allows the Phillies to go with a better matchup. It also allows them to pitch left-hander Cliff Lee in Game 4 and left-hander Cole Hamels in a potential Game 5.

“It’s the most reasonable thing to do,” Martinez said this afternoon in the lobby of the team’s hotel. “I haven’t thrown in 10 days. Difficult weather. Happ has been in there. He has a better feel for the ball. I’m just hoping I get an opportunity to pitch a couple innings before they use me.”

Charlie Manuel and Happ will speak on a conference call later today.

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The consensus regarding today’s postponenment? Good call.

“Hopefully, Game 5 last year kind of set the tone for future events like that,” Jayson Werth said.

“There’s no need for a game of this type of importance to come down to 22 degree weather or a guy possibly getting injured or something like that,” Chad Durbin said. “Hitting, running bases, fielding ground balls would have been tough. Any athletic. Skiing up in the mountains is athletic, but to play baseball it’s not conducive.”

Jim Tracy said it perfectly,” Scott Eyre said. “The first two games have been so good. Well played. Players have played good. Managers made decisions they thought were right and worked out. You don’t want to have a game like we had last year in the World Series, where Jimmy (Rollins) misses a pop fly and they tie the game because of crap weather. You don’t want to make that mistake again.”

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How were many players spending the day? Going to the mall.

“What else do you do when it’s snowing outside?” Werth said.

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It's Pedro In Game 3

pedro 1.jpgAnd your Game 3 starter is … Pedro Martinez.

Is this a surprise? Not really. Martinez basically said he would be starting following Game 2 yesterday.

“First of all, we think he’s very healthy,” Charlie Manuel said. “The first thing you’re going to ask me is about the weather. He has pitched in cold weather. He pitched in Boston and also pitched a playoff game against us when I was in Cleveland where he came in with a bad arm. He went about five or six innings in a playoff game, and it was cold that night.

“He’s says he’s ready and up for it.”

Manuel said the Phillies will hold back Joe Blanton because it gives them a stronger bullpen. That indicates to me that J.A. Happ, who Manuel said is OK after suffering a bruised left leg yesterday, will be the Game 4 starter. Of course, that could change. I mean, I never thought Manuel would use both Blanton and Happ yesterday.

“We feel like Blanton’s a horse,” Manuel said.

But I have one concern about Martinez, other the fact it’s going to be ridiculously cold tomorrow night and I wonder how he will handle it. He has thrown just four innnings since Sept. 19. Martinez said yesterday his biggest obstacle would be the layoff, not the weather. I agree.

“I feel like Pedro is capable of going anywhere from 85 to 100 pitches,” Manuel said. “And I think he can get you into the sixth or seventh inning if his command is good. … Pedro is in very good shape, a lot better shape than last year. He’s throwing quite a bit better. He keeps himself ready to go. He throws a lot on the side, and he’s ready to pitch.”

If he’s not ready to pitch, the Phillies could be down 2-1 in the best-of-five series facing elimination Sunday. Regardless, with Pedro on the mound Game 3 is an event. I’m looking forward to it.

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Heidi Hamels gave birth to a son, Caleb Michael Hamels, at 9 a.m. this morning. Congrats to Heidi and Cole. No word on when Hamels will rejoin the team.

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Ruben Amaro Jr. said Jamie Moyer has been in the hospital since Wednesday with some type of blood infection. Amaro said Moyer is OK, but could spend another night in the hospital.

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Game 3: Martinez, Blanton or Happ?

And the Phillies’ Game 3 starter in the National League Division Series is:

  • J.A. Happ.
  • Joe Blanton.
  • Pedro Martinez.

Charlie Manuel would not say who it would be following today’s 5-4 loss to the Rockies in Game 2 at Citizens Bank Park. Manuel said the Phillies would discuss their options for Game 3 on the flight to Denver, but Happ, Blanton and Martinez each said they are willing and able to pitch Saturday.

Martinez seemed to think it will be him.

“I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s my turn,” he said. “According to the way everything went today, I’m supposed to get some action in there. And I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity to help this team. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that.”

Blanton (12-8, 4.05 ERA) threw 19 pitches in relief to five batters today. He said Manuel knows he can bounce back quickly.

Happ (12-4, 2.93 ERA) replaced Blanton in the seventh, but faced just one batter after a line drive hit him just below his left knee cap. The Phillies said Happ has a bruised lower left leg. X-rays were negative. Happ threw a couple practices pitches after the ball hit his leg, but he didn’t stay in the game. A leg injury could preclude Happ from being an option Saturday – Manuel said after the game that “right now I’d say it’s between Blanton and Pedro” – but Happ said he is fine, and could have remained in the game if he had a few more minutes to compose himself.

“Absolutely not,” said Happ, asked if he considers himself out of the mix. “I feel like I’d be ready. I don’t anticipate it being an issue.”

Told that Manuel said Saturday’s starter likely would be Blanton or Martinez, Happ was surprised.

“He said that?” he said. “I should probably go in there. I think we’ll have to talk.”

Martinez (5-1, 3.63 ERA) has pitched just once since Sept. 19, and not since Sept. 30, when he threw just four innings against Houston. He said the long layoff would be more of a concern than forecasted cold temperatures and snow.

“Concerns?” Martinez said about the weather. “I’m going to enjoy the snow. Maybe I’ll be rounding the bases in a snowmobile.”

Game 3? Who ya got?

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Hamels Has Left the Building

Cole Hamels allowed seven hits and four runs in just five innings this afternoon in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

It was a forgettable performance, but it won’t be a forgettable day. Hamels has left Citizens Bank Park to be with his wife Heidi, who is in labor. The Hamels are expecting their first child.

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Joe Blanton pitched one-plus inning and J.A. Happ left the game on a line drive off his leg in the seventh. That means Manuel has used four starting pitchers in the team’s first two games, which means who exaclty starts Game 3? It could be Pedro Martinez, but we don’t expect to know until after the game at the earliest.

Can this work the rest of the series, and deeper in the postseason should the Phillies get that far?

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Manuel Not Ready to Name Game 3 Starter

Charlie Manuel is keeping the Rockies guessing about Saturday’s starter in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Coors Field.

He has three choices: left-hander J.A. Happ or right-handers Joe Blanton and Pedro Martinez.

It could be any of the three, but Happ could make the most sense because he shutout the Rockies in August. Doesn’t Manuel just imagine it will be Happ?

“I don’t imagine nothing,” Manuel said today. “Seriously. … We haven’t gotten together on it yet. A day at a time. That’s how we’ve been playing for the last three or four years.”

Manuel had Happ and Blanton in the bullpen Wednesday in Game 1. Happ warmed up in the ninth inning in case left-hander Cliff Lee started to struggled. Happ and Blanton will be in the bullpen again in Game 2. Martinez will not be in the bullpen, which indicates the Phillies are holding him back in case they end up using Happ or Blanton to the point they are not able to pitch this weekend. Martinez has pitched just once since Sept. 19, and that was just four innings Sept. 30 against the Houston Astros.

“I think Pedro has thrown enough where he’s capable of going out there and throwing definitely 90 to 100 pitches,” Manuel said. “I can see Pedro getting in a game.”

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It's Lee in Game 1



Thumbnail image for lee 0731 b.jpgCharlie Manuel
announced a few minutes ago that Cliff Lee would start Game 1 tomorrow afternoon in the National League Division Series.

Cole Hamels will pitch Game 2.

Games 3 and 4 are TBA, but Manuel said J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton will start the series in the bullpen.

It will be Lee’s first postseason appearance.

“I don’t think you win a Cy Young award if you can’t pitch in a big game,” Manuel said. “I’ve been around the game for a while. I’m sure he pitched big games somewhere along the line. And if he hasn’t, he damn sure has earned the right to pitch one.”

Manuel said they chose Lee over Hamels because Lee will be pitching on extra rest, which allows Hamels to pitch on his normal turn. Hamels pitched Saturday, so he would have been coming back on short rest — something he had never done in his career. He only threw 47 pitches Saturday, but the Phillies felt it didn’t make much sense to take him out of his routine.

“We’ve always kind of monitored him,” Manuel said of Hamels. “We want him as strong and as healthy as he can possibly be, and we want him in a strong frame of mind. That gives us either one of them to throw the fifth game, if there is one.”

Manuel said he would annouce his postseason roster after today’s workout, so check back later for that.

Here is more of what he had to say:

On Happ’s role: “Him and Blanton will be in the bullpen, especially those first two games. They definitely fit in our playoff picture, but I also can see them pitching late in the game. … Right now we’ve just got our pitching up to the first two games. We still have Pedro (Martinez), Blanton, Happ.”

On Happ not starting if he pitches in the bullpen: “Game 3 maybe, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to use him as a starter in this series. How we use him and how much and the importance of it … it’s very important that we win the first game, and Game 2 because even more important if we lose it. At the same time we plan on winning it. How much Happ pitches in between there can decide on what game he will pitch.”

On Martinez: “Pedro is the guy that can sit there and the rest can help him, but I think he also knows how to handle things with his experience. It’s very important that we keep him strong. When we pitch him he will be able to handle everything we roll at him.”

On his closer: “Hard to tell. I’ll answer that when we get there. Whoever see walking out there.”

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The Phillies have hired Dave Hollins as a pro scout. He had worked the previous four seasons with the Orioles.

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Postseason Roster Takes Shape

taschner 0930.jpgIt took longer than expected, but the regular season finally ended this afternoon when Paul Hoover scored John Mayberry Jr. in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 7-6 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

Onto the postseason …

The Phillies have off tomorrow and will hold a workout Tuesday before Game 1 against the Rockies at 2:37 p.m. Wednesday. (It could be Cole Hamels vs. Ubaldo Jimenez.) But there will be meetings and discussions about the postseason roster in the meantime. The Phillies do not need to submit their 25-man roster until 10 a.m. Wednesday, but there were clues and answers about it after the game:

  • Charlie Manuel said he might not take 12 pitchers. “I might go with 11,” he said. “I don’t know yet.”
  • Manuel could be thinking about 11 pitchers because Miguel Cairo has been playing well. He went 2-for-4 with a triple, home run and one RBI yesterday. He has hit .357 (10-for-28) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and two RBIs since he rejoined the team Aug. 29.
  • But before you start thinking Cairo could bump Eric Bruntlett, Manuel said he finds value in Bruntlett because he can play everywhere in the field, especially the outfield. The Phillies also consider him a better shortstop than Cairo. He can run, too. Bruntlett scored the winning runs in Games 3 and 5 of the World Series. I don’t think it’s Bruntlett or Cairo. I think it’s Bruntlett and maybe Cairo, although I have been surprised before.
  • Manuel sounds like he likes left-hander J.A. Happ in the rotation because the Rockies have a lineup loaded with left-handers. Happ shutout the Rockies in August, which helps his cause. But the Phillies also might need Happ in the bullpen because Scott Eyre looks like the only other lefty in the pen. “I always have looked at (Happ) as a starter and his success this year has been as a starter,” Manuel said. “I’m not ready to reveal what we’re going to do yet because I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do.”
  • Left-hander Jack Taschner quietly cleaned out his locker. The Phillies told him he would not be needed. Taschner was not surprised, but was upset nonetheless. He went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in 24 appearances. The Phillies designated him for assignment earlier this season. He asked for his release, but the Phillies did not grant it. He pitched in the Minors and rejoined the team last week after suffering a back injury. He pitched just once. Taschner is salary arbitration eligible, but does not expect to be back next season. “I’m not going to say anything,” he told me. “What is done is done.” Ruben Amaro Jr. later told me, “As far as his future here, we haven’t made any decisions. It was a tough year for him. Frankly, I think because he struggled earlier in the year, it was one of the reasons why he didn’t pitch a lot because he didn’t perform at the level we would have liked. He was caught in a Catch 22. He didn’t pitch a lot, and when he did he wasn’t as effective. I like Jack a lot.” Taschner changed his mechanics in the Minors, which Amaro said could prove beneficial next season. If he is back.
  • Amaro also said while Taschner’s season is over, the Phillies have sent left-hander Sergio Escalona and Mayberry to Clearwater, Fla., to play in case they are needed.
  • Before Taschner cleared out his locker and before Amaro said Escalona was headed to Clearwater, Manuel said it would be tough to put Taschner, Escalona and left-hander Antonio Bastardo into big-game situations. I would surprised to see Bastardo to make the roster based simply off what Manuel said. “It’s kind of hard to put a young kid in there,” he said.
  • He said Brett Myers is ready to pitch in short bursts, but not multiple innings. Myers pronounced himself ready to go in back-to-back games. I expect him to be on the roster.
  • With Taschner, Escalona and most likely Bastardo out, that would leave Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Eyre, Kyle Kendrick, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Myers, Tyler Walker and Happ/Pedro Martinez as bullpen candidates.

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Games 1 and 2 will be played at 2:37 p.m., which was not unexpected. Game 2 in Colorado will start at 9:37 p.m.

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Phillies-Rockies II

Thumbnail image for stairs 0412.jpgHey, it looks like a rematch.

The Colorado Rockies swept the Phillies in the National League Division Series in 2007, but the Phillies get another shot at Colorado this week when they meet again in the NLDS.

Game 1 is Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.

“We kind of owe them something,” Charlie Manuel said yesterday. “[Rockies general manager] Dan O’Dowd is my former boss and a good friend of mine. Man, I’d like to beat him. I think we’ll be prepared. But I also think they’ll be prepared. They’ve got a lot of energy and they like to play. That’s why they’re where they’re at. That’s why they have such a big record ever since the first month of the season. They play like they just love to play baseball, and they go out there to beat you.”

The Phillies are 4-2 against the Rockies this season, but they have not seen them since Aug. 6 in Philadelphia. The Rockies were 59-49 at the time, but are 34-19 (.642) since for the best record in the National League and the second-best record in baseball.

The Phillies haven’t been in Colorado since April, when Matt Stairs capped a three-game series victory with a pinch-hit home run in the ninth-inning in a 7-5 victory April 12. It wasn’t just a memorable homer because Stairs won the game with a bomb to right-center field. It was memorable because it was Harry Kalas‘ last home run call. He died the next day in Washington.

The Phillies won the three-game series in August with the help from left-handers J.A. Happ, who threw a four-hit, 10-strikeout shutout, and Cliff Lee, who allowed one run and struck out nine in seven innings.

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