Results tagged ‘ Matt Cain ’

Wasted

Cliff Lee’s teammates expressed their frustrations and condolences tonight at AT&T Park.

He deserved better a fate.

He pitched 10 scoreless innings in a 1-0 loss to the Giants in 11 innings. Lee became the first pitcher to pitch 10 innings in a game since Aaron Harang and Roy Halladay in 2007, the first pitcher to pitch 10 scoreless innings since Mark Mulder in 2005 and the first Phillies pitcher to pitch 10 innings since Terry Mulholland in 1993.

But Lee also became the first pitcher to pitch 10 scoreless innings in a losing effort since Brett Saberhagen’s Mets lost to San Diego in 1994.

“He battled,” Jim Thome said about Lee. “He battled.”

Thome sighed deeply before finishing his thought.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t help him out,” he said.

A few things on the night:

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Baby, You’re (Gonna Be) A Rich Man

So we know Cole Hamels will be signing at least a five-year, $112.5 million contract.

The Giants and Matt Cain agreed to those terms yesterday, and I believe most everybody would agree Hamels is a better pitcher than Cain. Hamels is 74-54 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games in cozy Citizens Bank Park. Cain is 67-72 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games at canyon-esque AT&T Park. Hamels has more strikeouts (1,091 to 1,055), a better strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.74 to 2.32) and WHIP (1.14 to 1.21) in that span. He is at the top of most pitching categories in the National League since he made his big-league debut. Cain is up there with him, but Hamels is usually just a bit better.

So if Cain got that, Hamels gets what?

I wonder if the Phillies said today, “How about Cliff Lee money?” if Hamels takes it.

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Their Nemesis

So a quick recap before we talk about this week’s series in San Francisco:

- The Phillies had the best record in baseball last season, but the Giants beat them in six games in the NLCS. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and the rest of the Giants pitchers held the Phillies to a .216 average and 20 runs.
– The Phillies have the best record in baseball this season and have won 11 of their last 12 series. The only series they lost since losing two of three to Seattle in mid-June? The Giants last week at Citizens Bank Park.

That makes this four-game series at AT&T Park especially intriguing.

“They’re not in our heads,” Charlie Manuel said last week. “I don’t think so. Really, I don’t think so at all.”

I can’t get inside the Phillies’ heads, but I’ve got to think losing to San Francisco this week would put the Giants in their heads before a potential October showdown. That’s why I think Manuel tried to downplay the greatness of Lincecum and Cain last week.

You remember those comments, right?

“You say they’re great pitchers,” Manuel said. “To me, I don’t know how great they are. I think as they move on into their careers, there’s the longevity part and things like that. I think that’s when the greatness might come by. This is a consistent game. When you say somebody is great … tonight I saw 90 fastball, 92 at the best. I saw a good changeup. I saw a breaking ball. I saw a cutter. Good pitching, but at the same time we can beat that. I’ve seen us do that.”

I think Manuel was trying to pump up his players more than say Lincecum and Cain aren’t good. What’s he supposed to say?

Boy, those two are unhittable. Hope we don’t face them in the postseason because we’ve got no shot.

“I think we can get ‘em, if you want to know the truth,” Manuel said. “I know we can get ‘em. It’s just a matter of us putting it together and for us to play the right way.”

They have a chance to do that tonight.

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Hamels vs. Cain

howard 1018 2010.jpg

Hola, amigos. What’s up? It’s been a long day, so I haven’t had a chance to blog.

My bad.

Cole Hamels and Matt Cain spoke yesterday at AT&T Park. They’re ready to go today in Game 3. I know Hamels does not have great numbers at AT&T Park, but I feel like he’s going to pitch a good game. Not sure why I think that other than he’s really, really good and is due to pitch a good game here, but I do. I think the Phillies can hit Cain, too.

Other predictions: Cody Ross doesn’t hurt the Phillies the rest of the series. … Joe Blanton pitches Game 4. … Jimmy Rollins finds his stroke. … I make an In-N-Out run before Wednesday’s game.

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The Phillies Can Pitch, Too

pedro 0903.jpgThe Phillies lead the National League, averaging 5.1 runs per game, despite the fact they have scored just 13 runs and hit just .227 in their past seven games.

Other noteworthy NL teams in runs per game:

2) Rockies (5.00)
4) Dodgers (4.77)
5) Marlins (4.73)
6) Braves (4.55)
8) Cardinals (4.49)
15) Giants (3.99)

The Phillies generally are known as an offensive team — again, despite the fact they have averaged just 4.0 runs per game since July 26. And perhaps because of that there has been some apprehension about who they might face in the best-of-five National League Division Series. We heard it quite a bit this week with the Giants in town: Oh, the Giants would be brutal with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

And they would be.

But the Phillies proved this week they can pitch, too. They rank sixth in the league with a 4.10 ERA, and lead the league with a 3.12 ERA since the All-Star break.

Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, who threw a shutout Tuesday, in Games 1 and 2? They could neutralize the Giants or any other team, even if the Phillies bats aren’t hitting.

“It goes without saying that we can beat people a lot of different ways,” Jayson Werth said. “Our starting pitching has definitely been upgraded. We’ve got some guys coming back, too, to bolster up the pen. We’re going to be tough. We’re going to be tough down the stretch. And hopefully when it gets down to the playoffs we’ll be tough again this year.”

“I think last year it showed in the playoffs that pitching and defense can win you a lot of games,” Chase Utley said. “You’re not going to score every single night. You’re bound to run into a tough pitcher occasionally. But if you have good pitchers on your side and play good defense, it’s going to be a good game.”

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Is it time for Raul Ibanez to sit a couple games, much like Jimmy Rollins sat in June? Ibanez has hit .133 (8-for-60) with no homers, one RBI and 19 strikeouts since Aug. 13 and .174 (19-for-109) with one homer, five RBIs and 34 strikeouts since July 27.

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The magic number is 22.

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It's Gotta Be Happ

happ 0805.jpgI’d say J.A. Happ has made a case for himself.

He threw his second shoutout of the season tonight in a 7-0 victory against the Rockies. He struck out a career-high 10 batters. He is 8-2 with a 2.74 ERA, an ERA which ranks sixth in the National League.

Who’s got a better ERA in the NL than Happ?

Chris Carpenter (2.10 ERA)
Tim Lincecum (2.18 ERA)
Matt Cain (2.25 ERA)
Dan Haren (2.38 ERA)
Wandy Rodriguez (2.63 ERA)

That’s solid company, which makes Happ’s future in the Phillies rotation even more interesting than it already is.

We know Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton take three spots in the rotation.

We know Jamie Moyer leads the team with 10 wins.

We know Pedro Martinez has been signed to be a starter, and the Phillies have made no bones that is their plan for him.

But we also know Moyer’s 5.55 ERA is the second highest in the National League, Martinez has not piched in the big leagues since last season and Happ has been one of the team’s most consistent starters this year.

“Tremendous pitching. Outstanding,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “If he didn’t allow any hits that might have been the only way he could have done better. I think he showed me he wants to stay in the rotation.”

Has he?

“Let me answer that for you later on, OK?” Manuel said. “I don’t feel like getting into that no more. I’ve answered that now for what? A week?”

But that was before Happ threw his latest shutout.

If the Phillies think Martinez is ready for the big leagues after his latest rehab start tonight with Double-A Reading — he allowed three earned runs and struck out 11 in six innings — the decision might come before Happ’s next scheduled start Tuesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Should Happ stay in the rotation? Absolutely. I can’t see how the Phillies will be able to say they are a better team — a team trying to win another World Series — with Happ in the bullpen. In a seven-game series, who would you want following Lee, Hamels and Blanton right now? I’d want Happ.

But the decision is tougher than it seems. Manuel mentioned Tuesday that Moyer leads the team in wins and has won 256 games in his career. He also is in the first year of a two-year, $13 million contract. Those things will be considered. Martinez, while he has not pitched in the Majors since last season, is worth a look. And while he has said he would go to the bullpen, he might not take that well. That will be considered, too.

It might come down to Happ vs. Moyer. It should be interesting, but Happ has earned the right to keep starting.

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Happ Making His Case

happ 0720.jpgThe numbers are impressive.

J.A. Happ is 7-0 with a 2.68 ERA after he threw seven scoreless innings yesterday against the Marlins at Landshark Stadium. He is 5-0 with a 2.74 ERA in 11 starts since he replaced Chan Ho Park in the rotation.

Happ leads National League rookies in wins, ERA and opponents average (.222). He is second in innings (94). He is third in strikeouts (65). He is the only rookie to throw a shutout this season.

He is a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate.

Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson (4-0, 2.85 ERA), Milwaukee’s Casey McGehee (.321, six homers, 27 RBIs), St. Louis’ Colby Rasmus (.270, 11, 34), Colorado’s Seth Smith (.305, 8, 25) and Los Angeles’ Ramon Troncoso (4-0, 1.70 ERA, nine holds) are a few rookies who can make claims for Rookie of the Year.

But Happ … he filled a huge void in the rotation for the defending World Series champions. His ERA is fourth best amongst all pitchers in the National League. Only Dan Haren (1.96 ERA), Tim Lincecum (2.27 ERA) and Matt Cain (2.32 ERA) are better. His opponents average is fifth best amongst all pitchers in the National League. Only Haren (.187), Clayton Kershaw (.193), Yovani Gallardo (.208) and Lincecum (.214) are better.

Of course, what makes Happ’s Rookie of the Year candidacy more interesting is that he could be included in a trade for Roy Halladay. If the Blue Jays insist on a young, Major League-ready starter — a starter they can control for the next several years — Happ is the guy.

The Phillies could use a guy like Happ in their rotation for the next several years.

The problem is they could use Halladay this year.

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