Results tagged ‘ John Mayberry Jr. ’

Pence Injures Left Shoulder; Day-to-Day

For the first time this season Charlie Manuel did not write Hunter Pence’s name into the starting lineup.

A much needed break in the midst of a 0-for-15 slump?

Not exactly. Pence injured his left shoulder diving for a ball in the third inning in yesterday’s series finale against the Padres at PETCO Park. John Mayberry Jr. is the rightfielder for tonight’s series opener against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said Pence is day-to-day.

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Opening Day Thoughts

Like the crane kick from Ty Wigginton.

A few thoughts on Opening Day:

  • Roy Halladay dominated as usual. He allowed two hits and struck out five in eight scoreless innings. Much has been made about his 5.73 ERA this spring — he hadn’t had worse than a 4.00 ERA in his previous six springs — but I think a few things went into that. First, this team has enough concerns with its offense (i.e. injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley). An injury or slippage from one of the Big Three could be catastrophic and had fans wearing the worst. Second, there already was last month’s report that Halladay isn’t throwing as hard or looking as sharp. Third, Halladay acknowledged his right arm has a lot of miles on it. That is something everybody knows, but I think it hit some people that, “Hey, this guy isn’t going to pitch forever. Is he winding down earlier than we thought?” Halladay’s fastball averaged 90.16 mph yesterday, according to pitch f/x data. It topped out at 90.9. Last year his fastball averaged 91.3 mph. What do we make of this? He isn’t throwing as hard, but it’s just one start and it’s early in the season (obviously). But hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing. Halladay is a master on the mound because he changes speeds and has pinpoint control of his pitches. Losing a little on his fastball shouldn’t make him Adam Eaton. (God forbid). And I believe in a player’s track record. Until Halladay shows he isn’t one of the best pitchers in baseball — if not the best — I will continue to expect him to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. I’m sure the Pirates thought he was yesterday.
  • The offense didn’t alleviate any of its concerns, but it’s one game.
  • Charlie Manuel started John Mayberry Jr. in left field, in part because he wanted the righty-lefty matchup against Pirates left-hander Erik Bedard, but also because he wanted to show a little faith in Mayberry. Mayberry, who had a bad spring, rewarded him, going 2-for-4 with a double and making a couple nice catches in left field. Mayberry is this lineup’s wild card. If he can continue last season’s success it would be a huge boost to the offense while Howard and Utley are out.
  • Freddy Galvis bounced into a couple double plays in his first two at-bats, but he looked good in the field. That’s why the Phillies have him. He can play defense, which is what you want with Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
  • Jonathan Papelbon showed us Cinco Ocho for the first time.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.

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Dom Down

The Phillies optioned Domonic Brown to Minor League camp this morning.

Brown had trouble getting on the field this month. He sprained his right thumb March 8 and suffered from a stiff neck for the past week, limiting him to just seven Grapefruit League games. He hit .300 (6 for 20) with two triples, one home run, two RBIs, one walk and a .983 OPS, but also showed he needed more work in left field, which has been a struggle.

Brown, although not surprised, was clearly disappointed.

“Life goes on,” he said. “I’m going to go down there and play hard. And that’s it. I was not expecting it, but keeping it in the back of my mind. We’ve got a lot of big-name free agent guys. John Mayberry is playing well. They just told me they want to see me out there every day, so Triple-A is the best spot for it. I’ve been through a lot these last couple years. A lot more than some veteran guys, so I think I can deal with it. I think I can handle it. Go down there and play hard and that’s all I can do.”

The Phillies said in the offseason they planned to have Brown start the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he can work on his offense and defense. The Phillies believe they have enough options in left field to open the season, even with Mayberry expected to play some first base while Ryan Howard is out. Laynce Nix and Juan Pierre, who is the favorite to be the team’s fifth outfielder, can play left field when Mayberry is at first.

Asked if playing in Triple-A will at least give him a clear mind, Brown said, “No, I wanted to be here, man. That’s the goal, but things happen.”

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

Should Utley Hit Third Against Lefties?

Chase Utley is 4-for-9 in his last two games, which could be a sign he is coming out of a funk that has lasted for more than a month.

The Phillies hope so.

Since Utley reached a season-high .290 average on Aug. 1, he has hit just .221 with a .280 on-base percentage and a .329 slugging percentage. He has just nine RBIs in 36 games, which is alarming considering he has been hitting third in a lineup that is tied for second in the National League in scoring in that stretch.

Utley’s .771 OPS is easily his worst since he became the Phillies’ everyday second baseman in 2005:

  • 2005: .915
  • 2006: 906
  • 2007: .976
  • 2008: .915
  • 2009: .905
  • 2010: .832
  • 2011: .771

“I think his injuries over the last two or three years have been real serious,” Charlie Manuel said following tonight’s 4-3 loss to St. Louis. “He’s not where he used to be, but I think he’s due to get hot. I think somewhere along the line … I think he’s due to have a little run where he’s hitting the ball good. Hopefully we can get him there before the playoffs start.”

But what if he doesn’t get hot? Utley is hitting .192/.286/.323 against left-handers compared to .289/.365/.474 against right-handers. Manuel already is using a platoon in left field with Raul Ibanez and John Mayberry Jr. because he’s taking advantage of his talent to put the best lineup on the field. So why not move Utley out of the No. 3 hole against left-handers and replace him with Hunter Pence? Pence is hitting .313/.400/.597 against left-handers.

“I don’t know,” said Manuel, asked if he would move Utley out of the No. 3 spot. “It’s hard to say. I don’t like to commit to nothing. Why should I sit here and say something? I might do anything. I don’t know.”

Of course, where would you hit Utley then? Normally, I’d say hit him second because he’s such a high on-base percentage guy, but he’s not getting on base against left-handers. You could hit him fifth. But what’s two spots in the order really going to do? Maybe nothing, but the higher you hit in the order the more plate appearances you get. It could mean just one extra at-bat for Pence in one game against a left-hander, which could mean the difference between a rally or runners left on base. One or two more big hits in last year’s NLCS and the Phillies quite possibly beat the Giants.

Something to think about.

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Late-Inning Pinch-Hit Success

Charlie Manuel loves to talk about Ross Gload‘s “professional” at-bats, but his successes have been few and far between this season.

He broke through last night when his pinch-hit single scored the winning run in the ninth inning in a 3-2 victory over the Braves.

“For me it’s huge because I haven’t had much of anything,” Gload said. “I’ve struggled pretty good. But I’ll take it. It’s big for me, but it’s bigger for the team.”

It was the third game-winning walkoff hit by a Phillies pinch-hitter this season: John Mayberry Jr. had one in the season opener and Ben Francisco had one June 24. That’s notable because the Phillies had none the previous five seasons (2006-2010). The Phillies also hadn’t had three walkoff wins in one season on RBIs by pinch-hitters since 1984 (Greg Gross, Len Matuszek and Sixto Lezcano).

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As soon as we hear something more on Chase Utley, we’ll let you know.

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Worley, Ibanez and the Game 1 Starter

A quick note from last night’s victory over the Braves:

  • The Phillies have won 14 consecutive Vance Worley starts. The last team to win 14 or more consecutive starts by a pitcher was the St. Louis Cardinals, who won 17 consecutive Chris Carpenter starts in 2005.

In case you were wondering:

  • Baseball Prospectus estimates the Phillies have a 100 percent chance of making the playoffs.  It breaks down like this: a 99.9 percent chance of winning the division and a 0.1 percent chance of winning the wild card. Yeah, that sounds about right.
  • Raul Ibanez had a good night last night. I like the idea of Ibanez and John Mayberry Jr. platooning the rest of the season and into the postseason. Ibanez is hitting .262/.314/.440 against right-handers and .198/.223/.362 against left-handers, while Mayberry is hitting .286/.341/.607 against left-handers and .244/.320/.458 against right-handers. But maybe the location of the game and not just the pitcher should influence Charlie Manuel‘s lineup. Ibanez is hitting .292/.332/.525 at home and .197/.223/.362 on the road. For whatever reason, Ibanez has been a much better player at Citizens Bank Park. Maybe it’s the “Rauuuuuuuuuul” chants, but it’s something to consider once October rolls around.
  • Lot of people have been asking me about the postseason rotation. There’s no debate to me. If everybody is rested, healthy and can be lined up the way the Phillies want to line them up it looks like this: Game 1 is Roy Halladay, Game 2 is Cliff Lee, Game 3 is Cole Hamels and Game 4 is Roy Oswalt. Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball, so I start him in Game 1, even if Lee is hot. Why? Because Halladay is pretty good, too. He did throw a no-hitter in last year’s playoffs. He did win the Cy Young. If he wins Game 1 and Lee is pitching like he has been, Lee will put his foot on the throat of the other team in Game 2. Or if Halladay somehow loses Game 1, then Lee will even the series. Really, there’s no wrong way to go, but that’s the way I go. And I go with Oswalt because of his pedigree. Yes, Worley has pitched great, but I like Oswalt coming up big in the postseason. Got to go with your aces.

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Just Another Day for Martinez

From Elias Sports Bureau: Michael Martinez broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run, ninth-inning double last night. Martinez has hits in each of his last four at-bats in Late Inning Pressure Situations (all this month) and his 11 RBIs in July ties him with Wilson Ramos for second-most among rookies. Only Freddie Freeman (16) has more.

Some other notes:

  • Martinez has hit .298 (11-for-37) with one double, one triple, one home run and 11 RBIs in 10 games this month, earning more playing time with third baseman Placido Polanco on the disabled list with lower back inflammation.
  • Only Raul Ibanez (14) and John Mayberry Jr. (12) have more RBIs for the Phillies this month than Martinez.
  • Jason Grilli has signed with the Pirates, announcing the move on Twitter. He had an out-clause in his contract, allowing him to sign with another team if another team offered him a big-league deal. The Phillies believed they had better options than him, so released him.

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Mayberry’s Big Night

From Elias Sports Bureau:

  • John Mayberry Jr. knocked in five runs last night at Citi Field on a two-run single in the second and a bases loaded double in the eighth. He is the first player this season to have at least five RBIs in a game without a home run.  He also is the first Phillies player to do it since Ricky Otero had five RBIs without a home run Sept. 29, 1996, at Shea Stadium.
  • The Phillies resumed play last night night with Vance Worley on the mound.  It was only the second time in the last 40 seasons a rookie pitcher started the first game after the All-Star break for a team that had the best record in the majors. Joe Torre’s 1983 Braves last did it. They were 49-31 (.613) at the break and rookie Craig McMurtry started their first game.

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Victorino Activated, Mayberry Optioned

Earlier this week I thought the Phillies might place Michael Martinez on waivers to make room for Shane Victorino, but it became more obvious they would option John Mayberry Jr. instead.

It became official today.

I’m not in Pittsburgh this weekend, but I’m guessing the reasoning is close to what I wrote yesterday: Mayberry will get very little playing time with Raul Ibanez in left field, Victorino in center field and Domonic Brown and Ben Francisco in right field. Mayberry might be the team’ second-best defensive outfielder (and one of the team’s better runners, too), but he has hit just .187 with three doubles, two homers and nine RBIs since April. He also has hit just .172 against left-handers in that stretch, which hurts his case to platoon in left or right field. Yes, Francisco has struggled. He has hit just .192 against left-handers this season. But here is the reality of the situation: Francisco is making $1.175 million. If Mayberry were hitting .300 against left-handers, I think it would have been a much more difficult decision. But unfortunately for Mayberry, his lack of production at the plate over the last month hurt him.

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Updates on Contreras, Lidge, Utley and More

Chatted with Ruben Amaro Jr. for nearly 20 minutes this morning in the visitor’s dugout at Turner Field.

Here’s the latest on the Phillies’ injured.

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