Results tagged ‘ J.C. Romero ’

Phillies Sweep Brewers, Stay Hot

hamels 0516 2010.jpg

It’s late in Milwaukee, which means I might have to hit up a George Webb on the way home.

But first a few notes about the Phillies’ 4-2 victory last night over the Brewers:

  • The Phillies have won 11 of their last 14 games.
  • They are 23-13, which is the best record in the National League.
  • They swept the Brewers for the first time at Miller Park since 2004.
  • Cole Hamels allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings. He is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA in his last three starts. “I feel like I’ve come a long way with making the adjustments, getting used to the new pitches and just trying to attack,” Hamels said. “Trying to make the hitters, attacking, attacking, attacking. Knowing to back off, knowing to hit my spots, knowing when to go up and down, I think I’ve finally been able to figure it out. I think that’s just kind of something you have to be able to do over and over.”
  • J.C. Romero picked up his first save since July 10, 2008.
  • The Brewers retired the Phillies in order just four times in the entire series.
  • The Phillies’ 7-8-9 hitters hit .353 (12-for-34) with 11 runs scored and four RBIs. “The top six guys in this lineup are really good,” said Paul Hoover, who hit .500 (5-for-10) with two doubles, two RBIs and six runs scored in the series. “It’s unfortunate for the team that Jimmy (Rollins) and Juan (Castro) are a little banged up and Brian (Schneider) and Carlos (Ruiz) are a little banged up, but we’re just trying to come here and contribute the best way we can.”
  • Shane Victorino hit .533 (8-for-15) with a home run, seven RBIs and four runs scored against the Brewers.
  • The Phillies are 13-7 on the road, which is the best mark in the National League.
  • I went 2 of 3 in the famous Sausage Race. I correctly picked Polish on Friday and Hot Dog on Sunday. Picked Hot Dog on Saturday, but he finished a close second to Polish.

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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!

Leaving Atlanta Pitching Well, Catching the Ball

The Phillies pitched impressively (except for the ninth and 10th innings Tuesday) and played fantastic defense this week in Atlanta, which is why they took two of three from the Braves and improved to 10-5.

It’s early. It’s Friday. Maybe it’s time to look at some numbers?

Yes? No?

OK, here we go:

  • The Phillies are fourth in baseball in runs (91). Only the Dodgers (98), Brewers (97) and Rays (93) have scored more. That 20-spot on the Pirates yesterday sure helped the Brewers jump to the top of the charts, huh?
  • The Phillies’ .822 OPS ranks fourth. Only the Dodgers (.867), Brewers (.864) and Yankees (.830) are better.
  • The Phillies are averaging a home run every 32.81 at-bats, which is 14th in baseball. They haven’t homered since Jayson Werth‘s solo shot in the ninth inning Saturday against the Marlins. Who said they rely too much on the long ball?
  • The Phillies have just three stolen bases, which is last in baseball. It doesn’t help to have Jimmy Rollins on the DL, but dead last is a little surprising.
  • They have struck out just 87 times, which is third-fewest in baseball. Only the White Sox (86) and Royals (86) have struck out less.
  • Phillies starters have a 3.07 ERA, which is tied with Oakland for fifth in baseball. The Rays (2.67 ERA), Cardinals (2.82 ERA), Padres (2.91 ERA) and Giants (3.04 ERA) are better.
  • The bullpen has a 4.24 ERA, which is 18th. Brad Lidge threw a scoreless inning last night, and is going to throw again tonight in Reading. The Phillies seem encouraged by last night’s performance in Lehigh Valley because his fastball hovered in the 90-92 mph range, hitting 93 mph. J.C. Romero rejoined the team last night. If Lidge and Romero do what everybody expects them to do, you would think the bullpen’s performance will improve.
  • The Phillies have committed eight errors, which is tied for the fourth-fewest in baseball. The Twins have just one error so far to lead the pack.

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Congratulations to Scott and Lori Franzke, who had their son August at 10:13 last night. He weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces. Lori and August are doing fine.

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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!

Lidge, Blanton and Romero Updates

Here is a quick update on Brad Lidge, Joe Blanton and J.C. Romero:

  • Lidge will make a rehab appearance Thursday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
  • Blanton pitches tonight with Single-A Lakewood.
  • Romero also pitches for Lakewood, his first back-to-back outing.

Romero is further along than Lidge and Blanton. But I think the Phillies are hoping the three of them will be back following the team’s nine-game road trip.

The Pitching Picture

hamels 0418 2010.jpgCole Hamels pitched great yesterday, which almost made yesterday’s 2-0 loss to the Marlins feel like a victory.

Almost.

The way the Phillies’ rotation has looked lately, it needed Hamels to flash the signs he flashed in Spring Training, namely, that he looked like the ’08 Hamels, not the ’09 Hamels. I never thought Hamels pitched terribly in his first two starts, so I never worried. He had poor command against Washington on April 7 and was a check-swing away from allowing just one run through his first four innings against the Nationals last Wednesday. But there is no question the Phillies’ rotation needed somebody to step up other than Roy Halladay, who is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

Joe Blanton remains on the DL, although he could be back following the team’s nine-game road trip through Atlanta, Arizona and San Francisco. He makes a rehab start Tuesday with Single-A Lakewood. J.A. Happ (1-0, 0.00 ERA) has soreness in his left forearm and might miss his next start — maybe more. He will throw today at Citizens Bank Park. If he feels fine, he could start as early as Wednesday in Atlanta. If he doesn’t feel fine? It could be a problem. It goes without saying the Phillies need the rotation to stay healthy because the back end of the rotation is struggling: Jamie Moyer is 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA and Kyle Kendrick is 0-0 with a 17.47 ERA.

The Phillies don’t need a fifth starter until Saturday, so the Phillies can give Happ time to rest. But when Saturday rolls around in Arizona they’ll need a fifth starter. If Happ can’t pitch I’m guessing Nelson Figueroa takes the spot.

Tuesday is a big start for Kendrick. He not only is pitching for his spot in the rotation, but possibly his spot on the team. Kendrick took Blanton’s spot in the rotation, so when Blanton is back Kendrick is out. Finding a spot for Kendrick looks difficult, at least in the short term.

J.C. Romero could be back sometime during this road trip. He likely will replace Antonio Bastardo. Brad Lidge could be back following the road trip. I think the Phillies will try to keep David Herndon on the 25-man roster. (They must keep him on the roster or they likely lose him because he’s a Rule 5 Draft pick.) That means Lidge might take Figueroa’s spot in the bullpen. But if Blanton returns before Lidge, the Phillies might option Kendrick to the Minors and bring him back as the long man once they lose Figueroa. Figueroa is out of options and must clear outright waivers to send him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. As well as he has pitched, I can’t see that happening.

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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!

Blanton, Romero, Lidge and More

book.jpgWanted to pass along a note that I’ll be signing copies of my Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Borders on South Broad Street in Center City.

Hope you can stop by.

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It is ranining at Citizens Bank Park, but the Phillies expect baseball to be played.

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Joe Blanton threw 26 pitches in a bullpen session. He will throw again Sunday before making his first rehab start, most likely Tuesday with Single-A Lakewood.

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J.C. Romero will make a rehab appearance tonigh with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

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Brad Lidge will make a rehab appearance tomorrow with Single-A Clearwater.

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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!

Should You Worry About Brad Lidge?

lidge 0210 2010.jpgIf the Phillies are concerned about Brad Lidge they aren’t saying it.

Lidge made his first rehab appearance last night with Single-A Clearwater, and the results were not good. In just 2/3 inning he allowed three hits, four runs and one walk against Dunedin. It followed a March 30 cortisone injection into his right elbow, which followed roughly five Minor League Spring Training games in which he allowed at least a run in at least four appearances.

“His command isn’t there right now, but his arm speed is better, which has been the goal,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said following today’s 2-1 victory over Houston at Minute Maid Park. “He’s still got a ways to go. Health-wise he has absolutely no pain, so that’s good.”

Amaro said Lidge’s fastball hovered in the 89 to 91 mph range. He said Lidge would pitch again Monday in Clearwater.

But there are reasons why Lidge’s struggles are troubling to Phillies fans. He is recovering from November elbow surgery – he had his flexor pronator tendon and a loose body removed – and January knee surgery after he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA, 31 saves and a Major League-leading 11 blown saves last season. And he hasn’t performed any better this spring.

Rich Dubee, who watched film of Lidge’s appearance Saturday, understands those concerned, but said he is not worried.

“Very much so,” said Dubee, asked about his confidence that Lidge can return to prior form. “He’s in Spring Training mode. Check Brad Lidge’s Spring Training numbers. Check Billy Wagner‘s Spring Training numbers. Generally, closers in Spring Training aren’t very good. Part of it is that adrenaline rush.”

Lidge had a 4.00 ERA in nine Spring Training appearances last year. He did not appear in any Grapefruit League games in 2008, when he recovered from knee surgery. He had a 12.38 ERA in eight games with Houston in 2007 and a 7.11 ERA in six games in 2006. Lidge fared well in 2004 and 2005. He had a 1.80 ERA in 10 games in 2004 and a 1.64 ERA in 10 games in 2005.

Wagner had a 5.40 ERA in nine Spring Training appearances with the Phillies in 2004 and a 6.75 ERA in 11 appearances in 2005.

“To see him have better arm speed and more velocity is a great step in the right direction,” Dubee said of Lidge.

The Phillies signed Lidge to a three-year, $37.5 million contract extension in 2008. That is just one reason they hope he rebounds in 2010. They also need depth in the bullpen. Ryan Madson currently is closing with Danys Baez looking like the setup man.

The Phillies said last month that Lidge’s cortisone injection should not be alarming because he had the elbow surgery on the inner half of the elbow. They said they gave him the shot on the outer half.

Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti said the inflammation on the outer half of the elbow was unrelated to the surgery. He also said no MRI was required and Lidge had no structural damage.

“I think you guys are making a little bit too much of the cortisone shot, I guess,” Amaro said last month. “It’s more just to get him over the hump. He didn’t have a sharp pain. It’s not related to his surgery.”

Eventually, however, the Phillies need to start seeing results.

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J.C. Romero, who also had offseason elbow surgery, has fared much better in Clearwater. He has thrown two scoreless innings in two rehab appearances for the Threshers. He is scheduled to throw again Tuesday. … Joe Blanton, who is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, continues to throw and run. He said he has made gradual improvement every day. He said he does not know when he could begin throwing off a mound. The Phillies originally estimated Blanton would need three to six weeks to rejoin the Phillies. The three-week mark would be April 22.

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I will be signing copies of my Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Borders on S. Broad Street in Center City. I hope you can stop by.

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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!

Romero, Lidge and Blanton Updates

J.C. Romero is scheduled to make a rehab appearance tomorrow for Single-A Clearwater. Brad Lidge is scheduled to throw a bullpen session. If that goes well, Lidge could be close to making a rehab appearance.

Romero is recovering from offseason elbow surgery. Lidge is recovering from offseason elbow and knee surgeries. He also had a cortisone injection into his elbow March 31.

It remains uncertain if Romero and Lidge will rejoin the bullpen before the end of April.

“I don’t think anybody is real comfortable putting any kind of timeline on things,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “They’re both going to be eligible to come off the DL (on April 10). I don’t think that’s a likely scenario for any of them. We’re just going to play it by ear. I think the main thing is just make sure they’re 100 percent before we activate them.”

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Joe Blanton, who is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, threw 60 times from 60 feet on flat ground today. He said he felt no discomfort while throwing or running.

“I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think this was an optimistic first day to throw,” Blanton said. “Things went pretty well. I didn’t feel anything on any of the throws. I didn’t feel anything running. I feel a little bit more normal. The first three days, laughing hurt, sneezing and coughing hurt. It gradually got a little better.”

The Phillies said Blanton could take anywhere from three to six weeks to recover before rejoining the rotation. Blanton said he remains optimistic he can return closer to three weeks than six.

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How did Charlie Manuel spend the day off yesterday? He took a walk with his fianc Melissa Martin in Georgetown. But with temperatures in the 80s, Manuel eventually ducked into a grocery store to cool off. Once cooled, Manuel hopped into a cab back to the team hotel. … The Phillies have not started a season 2-0 since 2003. They have not been 3-0 since 2001. … The Phillies had never hit a grand slam on Opening Day until Placido Polanco hit one Monday in an 11-1 victory over the Nationals. … Polanco’s six RBIs are a franchise record for Opening Day. Don Money had five RBIs on Opening Day 1969.

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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!

Lidge Returns to the Mound

Brad Lidge threw in the bullpen today after receiving a cortisone injection into his right elbow Tuesday.

“No pain. No issues,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Lidge threw 25 pitches in Clearwater, and long tossed afterward. Amaro said everything went well. Lidge had surgery on the inner half of his elbow in November. The Phillies said Lidge’s recent inflammation is on the outer half of the elbow, which they said is unrelated to the surgery. But cortisone injections are not routine, and Lidge’s health has been an issue for nearly a year.

Amaro said Lidge likely will throw a couple more bullpen sessions before he is ready to appear in any game action.

“Hopefully we’ll get him into a game sometime soon,” Amaro said.

Amaro said he hopes Lidge can rejoin the team before the end of April.

J.C. Romero is scheduled to pitch in a game tomorrow. Amaro said Romero continues to progress.

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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!

Romero Looks Sharp

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for j.c. romero.jpgThere is some concern about the Phillies’ bullpen with Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero opening the season on the disabled list. Lidge pitches in his fifth Minor League Spring Training game tomorrow, which means he might need five just more outings before he is ready to join the Phillies.

Romero pitched in his first game today at the Carpenter Complex. He looked sharp. He retired the four batters he faced, needing just 13 pitches to do it.

“Today was a big step for me,” Romero said. “I was very pleased with the outcome today. The good thing is that I was throwing a lot of strikes. My arm speed was outstanding.”

Rich Dubee said Romero’s arm speed is progressingly more quickly than Lidge’s. He said he is not concerned about Lidge.

“Two different surgeries,” Dubee explained. “Two different individuals. … Power guys, especially closers, they come a little bit slower. A lot of them come with adrenaline also. Billy Wagner was one of the best. He was one of the finest at looking absolutely awful in Spring Training. He didn’t have arm speed and he didn’t have adrenaline. Closers pitch off a lot of adrenaline.”

Romero earlier this spring said he could rejoin the team for its April 12-18 homestand against the Nationals and Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. He said he is more confident following Monday’s outing that he can be back in time for the team’s first homestand.

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Joe Blanton allowed 11 hits, 11 runs, 10 earned runs and three walks in 5 innings in a Minor League intrasquad game. He struck out two. … J.A. Happ allowed three hits, two runs and five walks and struck out four in five innings against the Braves at Bright House Field. Happ did not think he missed the strike zone by much. Dubee agreed. … Ryan Madson threw a 3-0 fastball to Eric Hinske, who hit a game-winning solo homer in the top of the ninth. Madson is 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA this spring. “He was dead today,” Dubee said. “Yeah, just a little dead. Everybody goes through stages this time in Spring Training.”

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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!

Good Thursday for Kendrick, Big Friday for Moyer


Thumbnail image for kendrick 0308.jpgCharlie Manuel
insisted today that the Phillies haven’t talked about the fifth spot in their rotation.

Nope, not once.

(Insert “Really?!? with Seth & Amy” here.)

But the decision is near. Believe that much. In fact, it could be pretty clear after Jamie Moyer pitches tomorrow night against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. If he pitches OK, the job could be his. If he gets knocked around, things get a little more interesting.

Kyle Kendrick, who is competing with Moyer for the job, impressed again today in an 8-7 victory over the Astros at Bright House Field. Kendrick struggled with his command early and arguably had his worst stuff of the spring but allowed five hits, two runs (one earned run) and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out one. Kendrick has an impressive 1.37 ERA after five Grapefruit League appearances. Moyer has a 3.86 ERA in four spring appearances, which includes on Grapefruit League and three B game starts.

Big night for Moyer on Friday?

“I don’t know,” Manuel said. “I don’t think so. Not really.”

Really?!?

The Phillies announced on March 31 last year that Chan Ho Park had edged J.A. Happ for the fifth spot in the rotation. It would not be a surprise to see the Phillies make this year’s announcement around the same time with Kendrick scheduled to make his final Grapefruit League start next Tuesday.

“I’m pleased with the way Kyle is throwing the ball, but I also know there’s a track record on the other guy,” Rich Dubee said.

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A couple notes from today:

  • Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero are expected to open the season on the DL. No surprise there. The Phillies can backdate DL stints to March 26, which means today would have been the last day they could have pitched in a Grapefruit League game. The earliest Lidge or Romero are eligible to pitch is April 10 in Houston. There remains a chance Lidge could be ready to pitch in Houston, but Romero still hasn’t appeared in a Minor League Spring Training game. He is further behind.
  • Roy Halladay allowed seven hits, two runs and one walk and struck out seven in seven innings in a Minor League Spring Training game against the Yankees in Tampa. He threw 98 pitches. Halladay will make his final Grapefruit League start Wednesday against the Blue Jays at Bright House Field. He makes his Phillies debut April 5 on Opening Day in DC.
  • Left-hander Antonio Bastardo allowed two hits, three runs, one walk and one home run in one inning. He struck out two. He has a 7.71 ERA in six Grapefruit League appearances. “I can’t say a whole lot of our guys have been real sharp the last time out,” Rich Dubee said. “I think we’re at that point right now in Spring Training where guys are going through a little bit of a dead arm and dead body period, which is fine. I’d rather they hit it now than the first week of the season.”

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Thanks to WIP’s Howard Eskin and Ike Reese for having me on today to talk about the Phillies and my book.

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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!

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