Results tagged ‘ Matt Stairs ’

Mistakes Cost Phillies

victorino out.jpgI’m sure a lot of people will be talking about Shane Victorino getting caught trying to steal second base in the ninth inning tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

It was a bad mistake, but it wasn’t the only reason why they lost to the Marlins, 5-3. The Phillies managed just six hits, and Jamie Moyer made some costly errors.

That said, that play is worth looking at a little closer.

“Evidently it’s his decision,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said afterward. “That was a mistake. We talk about our running game and things like that, but also you’ve got to know when to run. I can stop him, but the way our base running is set up we’d like to think that you won’t make mistakes like that.”

In other words, Manuel felt he didn’t need to put the stop sign on Victorino because he never imagined he would try to steal with the Phillies down a couple runs, nobody out and Matt Stairs at the plate.

Manuel said Matt Lindstrom‘s time to the plate was 1.37 seconds. A time of 1.4 to 1.5 seconds to the plate is great for a base stealer.

“Your catcher would have to have a bazooka to throw out a guy with speed,” Davey Lopes once told me.

Lopes said if a pitcher keeps his time below 1.28 seconds and the catcher has a good arm, it’s going to be tough to run. He said most pitchers would be happy with a 1.3, which is about average. I’m sure Victorino noticed Lindstrom’s relatively slow time to the plate and thought he could beat the throw. Regardless, Victorino never should have run in that situation.

“You don’t try it,” Manuel said. “You don’t run there.”

“I told myself, ‘Stay out of the double play,’ but I need to be safe,” Victorino said. “There’s no excuses to the fact that I f’d up. It was a stupid situation there. I’ll face the reality that I messed up.”

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Jayson Werth went 0 for 4 and has two hits in his last 28 at-bats.

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Stairs Trades His Bats for Victorino's Shoes


stairsbat.jpgThe Fightins
discovered earlier this week that Shane Victorino, who enters tonight’s game against the Braves riding a career-high 16 game hitting streak, has been using Matt Stairs‘ Rawlings-made bat.

Stairs explained.

“He’s a bat wh—,” he chuckled. “I give him my bats. I take his shoes. I take his shoes for his base-stealing ability and he takes my bats for my hitting ability. It’s a fair deal.”

Stairs pointed to the cleats in front of his locker with the letters “HI” stitched into the back. The HI stands for Hawaii. You might have heard Victorino is from Hawaii. They call him the Flyin’ Hawaiian or something like that.

“It’s top heavier, so he just likes the way it feels,” Stairs said of the bat. “He thinks it slows his body down a little more and once you get the barrel through the zone you get some pop off the bat because it is top heavy.”

Stairs said he isn’t sure how much the bat that Victorino uses weighs because he has different weights depending on the pitcher or how he feels at the plate.

I tried asking Victorino about Stairs’ bat Wednesday in New York, but he is acting superstitious about it and responded only by smiling.

“When I got here last year he started using them, and he liked them,” Stairs said. “He liked the feel of the bat. But he uses a lot of people’s bats. I don’t even think he has a bat contract. His bat contract is the ’09 Phillies. It’s good for him, but I get his shoes. I’m going to wear them tonight.”

If they fit. Victorino wears a 9 – 9 1/2 shoe, while Stairs said he wears a 9, sometimes an 8.

“He’s a bat scoundrel,” Stairs said.

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The Phillies are going to visit the White House next Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to commemorate their 2008 World Series championship.

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It's Opening Night

opening night.jpg

opening night 2.jpgMoments from the pregame fesitivities:

The Phillies showed a video montage before the ceremonies began. The three loudest cheers? Matt Stairs‘ homer in Game 4 of the NLCS, Joe Blanton‘s homer in Game 4 of the World Series and Brad Lidge striking out Eric Hinske to win the World Series.

The players walked from the street to the back of the ballpark, past the World Series trophy and onto the field.

Charlie Manuel raised the 2008 championship flag.

Miss America Katie Stam sang the National Anthem. I like her.

One member of the 82nd Airborne Parachute team missed the ballpark. Hope he’s OK.

Could Sheffield Fit in Philly?

sheffield.jpgThe Detroit Tigers surprised everybody this morning when they released Gary Sheffield, who is owed $14 million this season.

Sheffield is a right-handed, power-hitting corner outfielder.

The Phillies are looking for a right-handed, power-hitting corner outfielder.

Is there a match here?

There could be, but there are some things to consider. First, the Tigers released Sheffield because they said they wanted more versatility on their 25-man roster … and they actually could have used him as a DH. Can Sheffield still play in the outfield? He obviously would have no choice with the Phillies. Second, Sheffield told the Detroit Free Press that his first preference is the Tampa Bay Rays, although I’m not sure how that would work because the Rays have Pat Burrell and Gape Kapler. But if Sheffield prefers to play in the American League, where he can DH, the Phillies obviously aren’t a match. But if Sheffield, who has 499 home runs, can’t find a match in the American League the Phillies would make some sense.

That is, if he isn’t looking for regular playing time.

Got it so far?

But even if the Phillies think Sheffield can play in the outfield and if Sheffield is OK playing in the National League in a non-everyday role, the Phillies still would have to release or trade Geoff Jenkins or Matt Stairs to make room for him. The Phillies have been trying to trade Jenkins this spring, and I believe that continues to be their preference: move or release Jenkins and keep Stairs.

FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported today that the Phillies are unwilling to eat Jenkins’ $8 million salary, which includes a $1.25 buyout on a 2010 club option. But if that is the case, maybe Sheffield could change their thinking.

Why? Because the Phillies only would have to pay Sheffield $400,000. In essence, they would be paying Sheffield $8.4 million to get a right-handed bat for their bench compared to paying Jenkins $8 million.

Other things to consider:

Sheffield was hitting .178 (8 for 45) with three homers and five RBIs this spring. He walked 13 times for a .387 on-base percentage, but had a .378 slugging percentage. He also hit .225 with 19 homers and 57 RBIs in 418 at-bats last season, when he played just six games in the outfield.

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Reds 10, Phillies 3 – 2/27

The Phillies dropped to 0-3 in Grapefruit League action, but Charlie Manuel isn’t concerned.

He finally is seeing a little life from his offense. Shane Victorino went 2 for 3. Raul Ibanez went 1 for 2 with one RBI. Greg Dobbs went 1 for 2 with one RBI. Matt Stairs went 0 for 3, but he crushed a ball to right field that died on the warning track because of the wind. And J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson allowed a combined one unearned run in three innings in relief. Dave Borkowski threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

“We’re starting to swing better,” Manuel said. “We hit some balls hard today. That’s going to come. I’m not worried about our hitting. That’s definitely going to come. We’re playing a lot of guys that we’re trying to take a look at.”

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Manuel said Jayson Werth, who hasn’t played in the first three games, will play tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Rays at Bright House Field.

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Pat Burrell will be in the house tomorrow.

“Strike him out,” Manuel said.

How will you do that, Charlie?

“We’ll go right at him,” he said.

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