Results tagged ‘ NLDS ’

Ruiz Hits Record Heat

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Carlos Ruiz hit a 103.5 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman for a double in the eighth inning last night in Game 3 of the NLDS.

Nobody has hit heat like that.

Let me explain. Pitch f/x data goes back to 2008, but SABR’s Trent McCotter found that nobody had hit a faster pitch than Ruiz. Here’s a look at McCotter’s list from the past three seasons:

  • 103.5 mph: Carlos Ruiz v. Chapman, double, 10/10/2010
  • 102.0 mph: Carlos Gonzalez v. Chapman, single, 9/6/2010
  • 101.7 mph: Adam Dunn v. Joel Zumaya, single, 6/17/2010
  • 101.5 mph: Derrek Lee v. Zumaya, single, 6/23/2009
  • 101.4 mph: Mike Lowell v. Zumaya, single, 6/4/2009
  • 101.4 mph: Alfonso Soriano v. Zumaya, single, 6/24/2009
  • 101.1 mph: Scott Podsednik v. Zumaya, single, 6/11/2009
  • 101.1 mph: Paul Konerko v. Zumaya, double, 6/8/2010
  • 101.0 mph: Kazuo Matsui v. Zumaya, single, 6/26/2009
  • 101.0 mph: Jason Kubel v. Justin Verlander, single, 9/19/2009

As McCotter points out, Ruiz’s pitch was 1.5 mph faster than Gonzalez’s pitch. That might not seem like much, but he said 1.5 mph is a significant gap when we’re talking about three years of data.

McCotter also found it’s the first time a 103+ mph pitch has been put into play. Of the 19 pitches that pitch f/x has record at 103+ mph:

  • 12 were balls
  • 3 were fouls
  • 1 was a swinging strike
  • 2 were called strikes
  • 1 was a double (Ruiz)

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Two More Steps to Go

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Cole Hamels pumped his fist and high-fived a few teammates before he coolly headed to the visitor’s clubhouse last night at Great American Ball Park.

There would be no pile up on the field.

The Phillies hope that comes later.

“We know what we’re trying to do here,” Jayson Werth said following their victory over the Reds in Game 3 of the NLDS. “We’ve got two more celebrations.”

The Phillies swept the Reds to advance to their third consecutive NLCS, which begins Saturday at Citizens Bank Park against the Giants or Braves.

“To be honest it feels like we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing,” Brad Lidge said. “This is an incredible run we’re on, but we feel like this is what we need to be doing. This is what we should be doing.”

The Phillies popped a few bottles of champagne after the game, but they kept things relatively calm. Things have changed since they won their first NL East championship in 14 years in 2007. The Rockies swept them in the 2007 NLDS, so they went a little crazy when they beat the Brewers in four games in the 2008 NLDS.

That victory over the Brewers represented a gigantic hurdle.

They have cleared that hurdle a few times now.

“We’re a veteran group of guys,” Werth said. “We weren’t always that way. As much time as we spend together and the type of guys we have on this team, I would say that’s what you can expect from us, you know?”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Madson Loose Before Game 3

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A little behind-the-scenes access for y’all:

MLB has press conferences before every postseason game and workout. Charlie Manuel attends one every day. (He loves it!) The Phillies usually bring in the next day’s starting pitcher, a key everyday player or somebody else who’s a hot story.

The press conference are helpful for reporters because we have no clubhouse access before games like we have during the season. But sometimes they can be a little boring. We’ve asked just about everything we can ask of these guys. They’ve answered the same questions a million times. We know this. They know this. But people are baseball crazy right now, so we’ve got to feed the beast.

So thank goodness Sunday for Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin.

Madson entered the press conference wearing a mask that looked like a little similar to Miguel Cairo. Durbin played straight man. Madson played funny man.

“I’ve been wearing it every day to the playoffs, so I had to wear it again today,” Madson said.

I asked Madson an important question: When does he wear the mask? Certain times? Certain moments?

“Hot tub is where it debuted,” Madson said. “That was cool. But the first guy that walked in was Charlie Manuel and he shook his head. But I kept with it. The guys encouraged me, and I guess my favorite place to wear it would be probably the shower.”

I wrote a week ago about how Carlos Ruiz is perhaps the most well-liked guy in the clubhouse, but Madson got a ton of votes in my highly unscientific poll. Madson is extremely well-liked because of his sense of humor.

“I knew it was (Madson),” Manuel said, asked if he knew who it was in the hot tub. “I saw Chooch (Carlos Ruiz) with it on, too.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

The Whistler

I got numerous tweets, e-mails and texts Friday about somebody whistling loudly (and annoyingly) on the TBS broadcast during Game 2 at Citizens Bank Park.

Here’s what I know:

TBS can’t do anything about any fans making any bizarre noises near one of its on-field microphones. It also has no plans to move any of its mics. The Phillies have two on-field mics when they broadcast on Comcast SportsNet and phl17. They are located to the left and right of the screen behind home plate. TBS is using more than two mics. They have the ability to isolate the sound to one of the mics and turn it down, if they want. But if the person whistling is near a mic that picks up the crack of the bat and the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt, TBS likely won’t turn it down.

Either this fan has no idea how annoying he is, or he knows he’s near a mic and is whistling loudly on purpose.

So there you go. It’s not much of an answer, but it’s a little bit of an explamation.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

In Cincy for Game 3

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We’re live in Cincinnati …

Took an early morning flight with most of the Phillies beat writers, thinking the Phillies would be flying to Cincinnati following Game 2, which would allow us to get here in time for their afternoon workout. But it turns out the Phillies are smarter than us, flew here later in the day and are working out at 5 p.m.

It means that 5:30 a.m. alarm felt a little worse. Oh well. It’s beautiful today — it feels like summer — and it should be beautiful for Game 3 tomorrow night at Great American Ball Park.

Teams that took a 2-0 lead in the ALDS and NLDS since postseason expansion in 1995 are 31-4 in the series, so things are looking good for the Phillies, especially when you consider the Reds would need to beat Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt in order to come back.

The Reds might have shown their inexperience last night. Reds manager Dusty Baker touched on that today.

“They’re like the second or third tour for a military guy,” Baker said about the Phillies. “They’ve been here before. Most of our guys are first-tour guys. Where were they three years ago? The next year they won the World Series and the next year they went to the World Series. Plus their team has been together three, four, five years – most of them.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Halladay Makes History

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I feel like I’ve just written a million words, so I’m a little tapped out.

But that was awesome, wasn’t it?

I had missed Roy Halladay’s perfect game in May. I had missed Kevin Millwood‘s no-hitter in 2003. It became a running joke in the press box: whenever a pitcher had a no-hitter going reporters would joke it would not happen because I was there. But I was there tonight, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

Like Harry Kalas liked to say, “You never know what you’ll see at the ballpark.”

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Halladay got congratulatory phone calls from Vice President Joe Biden and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter after the game.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Polanco Has Back Injury, Out of Lineup

Placido Polanco said his left elbow felt fine yesterday.

Nobody asked him about his back.

Polanco is not in the lineup tonight for Game 1 of the NLDS against the Reds because of soreness in the middle of his back. Ruben Amaro Jr. said they never considered leaving Polanco off the NLDS roster because they expect him to eventually play in the series.

“It wasn’t so alarming that we thought it would affect our roster,” Amaro said in the dugout at Citizens Bank Park. “If it was more serious, yeah.”

Wilson Valdez, who hit .258 with four home runs and 35 RBIs in 333 at-bats, will start at third base and hit eighth. Charlie Manuel had planned to have Shane Victorino hit leadoff and Polanco second, but with Polanco out Manuel will hit Jimmy Rollins leadoff and Victorino second.

It certainly is a big loss for the Phillies. Polanco hit .298 with six homers and 52 RBIs in 554 at-bats and played solid defense at third base. Amaro said he still hoped Polanco could play Wednesday, perhaps as a pinch-hitter, although Manuel sounded pessimistic.

“He came in and told me that he couldn’t bend over,” Manuel said. “He said it hurt when he bent over. He said it hurt when he turned left or right. I’m concerned.”

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Phillies Set NLDS Rotation

halladay 0411 2010.jpgThe Phillies announced their rotation for the National League Division Series, which begins Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.

Game 1: Roy Halladay.

Game 2 on Oct. 8: Roy Oswalt.

Game 3 on Oct 10: Cole Hamels.

Game 4 presumably would be Halladay and Game 5 presumably would be Oswalt. The Phillies likely will be playing the National League Central champion Cincinnati Reds because they have a worse record the San Francisco Giants, who lead the NL West.

Halladay is the obvious choice to start Game 1.

“In my opinion, he’s the Cy Young award winner and there’s only one of those,” Rich Dubee said before tonight’s game against the Braves at Turner Field. “I think that would be the guy you would want to start. He is 21-10. I think his numbers are probably loftier than the other two guys, even though since Roy Oswalt’s been here he’s been unbelievable.”

The Phillies want Oswalt to start Game 2 at home because he is 9-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 10 career starts at the Bank. He also is 23-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 34 appearances (32) starts against the Reds. Hamels makes sense for Game 3 at Great American Ball Park because he is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts there.

“We like him at our place,” Dubee said of Oswalt. “We like him everywhere, but more so at our place where he’s pitched some pretty good games.”

A popular school of thought is to split up the two right-handers with the left-handed Hamels, but Halladay and Oswalt are no ordinary right-handed pitchers.

“Halladay is who he is. Oswalt is who he is,” Dubee said. “They’re different. If you’re splitting up guys who are alike, then you might want to. Those guys are different.”

Charlie Manuel provided a bit of a scare for fans today, when he cryptically said he is concerned about Hamels. Dubee tried to douse those concerns when he said Hamels has been battling a head cold and nothing more.

“That’s damn good,” said Dubee, asked about Hamels’ left arm. “He just threw right now. He looked real good.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Best NL Record Would Benefit Phillies in NLDS

halladay hamels.jpgThe Phillies have a half-game lead over the Braves in the NL East and the best record in the league.

They obviously have plenty of incentive to win their fourth consecutive division title and finish with the best record in the league — and it has more to do that just having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Because of scheduling reasons, the top NL team this year has the option of playing an eight-day NLDS or a seven-day NLDS.

An eight-day NLDS would have a clear benefit to the Phillies.

If they play an eight-day NLDS, they would have to pitch only Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels — and none of them would have to pitch on short rest. If they played a seven-day NLDS, they would have to use a fourth starter (Joe Blanton) or pitch Halladay (or whomever starts Game 1) on short rest in Game 4.

Running Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt out there in a five-game series certainly is enticing for the Phillies.

“It obviously sets us up for success, but I think more excitement,” Hamels said. “It sets us up for excitement because we have guys that have the experience or ultimately some of the best pitchers in the game. I think that’s how you have to look at it. We obviously busted our tail to get there, but we have the guys to finish the series.

“That’s what makes it uncomfortable for the opposing team. To come in, not look at anybody and go, ‘We can probably get a couple runs out of this guy,’ or, ‘This guy we might as well just hang it up.’ That’s kind of what we have. When the postseason comes it’s about three guys that go. We definitely do have those good three guys and we have an unbelievably good fourth guy. But you do have to get there.”

Here’s a look at how an eight-day series differs from a seven-day series:

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Baby, It's Cold Outside

If it is warmer than last night, it’s probably by only a few degress.

It’s still really, really cold outside.

Here’s a few things from before Game 3:

  • Cole Hamels is working out in Philadelphia in preparation for a potential Game 5 start. “He’ll be ready to pitch,” Charlie Manuel said. “That’s no problem.”
  • Manuel is keeping Jayson Werth in between Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez in the Phillies lineup. “(Franklin) Morales is a hard thrower,” Manuel said. “And when he comes in to pitch and yo’uve got three left-handed hitters standing there and he’s throwing in the upper 90s … if he’s in a groove, I like to offset those with at least one right-handed hitter, and that’s Werth.”
  • Manuel said Chan Ho Park would have a good chance to pitch in the NLCS, if the Phillies get that far.
  • On hearing there are heaters in the Colorado dugout, Manuel said, “Rockies got ‘em, we better have ‘em.”
  • On Brad Lidge‘s role in the bullpen, Manuel said, “I don’t foresee putting Brad Lidge in early. I do foresee putting him in late. That’s one of the reason why we’ve got Blanton down there, too. We want somebody when we get to the seventh inning, we want to be able to go through the seventh, eighth, ninth innings with Blanton, (Ryan) Madson and Lidge. Might not be in that order, but you won’t see hin in the seventh.”

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