Results tagged ‘ Phillippe Aumont ’

The Phillies Got Bullpen Problems

Mike AdamsThe Phillies tied last night’s game against the Twins in the top of the eighth inning at Target Field only to have Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo allow the game-winning run to score in the bottom half of the inning.

We’ve seen plenty of performances like this from the bullpen this year.

Back in February, when the Phillies opened spring training in Clearwater, they thought the bullpen could be a position of strength. The bullpen had a 2.84 ERA the final two months last season, so they figured with the additions of Adams and Chad Durbin to a group that included Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo and a host of talented young pitchers, they would continue to take a step forward. But the bullpen has taken a big step back. Its 4.48 ERA is the third-worst in baseball. It has allowed 42.9 percent of its inherited runners to score, which is the worst in baseball. Its 1.46 WHIP is second-worst.

Let’s take a look at the stable of relievers, and how they have fared:

  • Jonathan Papelbon. He is being paid a fortune to close, but he is doing the job. He is 11-for-11 in save opportunities with a 1.59 ERA, but you’ve got to think the Phillies will try to move him if they decide to sell before the July 31 trade deadline. It doesn’t make much sense to have a high-priced closer on a rebuilding team.
  • Mike Adams. The Phillies signed him to a two-year, $12 million contract in December, acknowledging it carried risk following TOC surgery in October. Adams’ stuff hasn’t been the same and he has had problems staying healthy. He is 1-4 with a 4.22 ERA with a 7.11 ERA since coming off the DL May 26.
  • Antonio Bastardo. He has a 2.42 ERA in 27 appearances, but a 1.478 WHIP and is averaging 5.6 walks per nine innings. He also is striking out fewer batters than he has in the past. Bastardo always seems to be in trouble. Maybe that explains why he has entered a game with runners on base just three times. He has allowed two of four inherited runners to score, including one last night.
  • Chad Durbin. Released. He had a 9.00 ERA in 16 appearances.
  • Phillippe Aumont. Manuel specifically mentioned Aumont last night when asked about the bullpen’s struggles. He said everybody expected him to take a step forward this year. But he had an alarming 2.077 WHIP, averaging 6.9 walks per nine innings before he got sent to Triple-A last month. In eight appearances with the IronPigs, he has an 8.59 ERA and has walked 12 batters in 7 1/3 innings.
  • Jeremy Horst. He is second on the team with 26 appearances, but has a 5.55 ERA. That kind of sums up the bullpen’s struggles right there.
  • Raul Valdes. The Phillies sent him to Triple-A after posting a 7.65 ERA in 10 appearances.
  • Mike Stutes. He has had good results since coming up from Triple-A, carrying a 1.80 ERA in eight appearances. He has walked just one batter in 10 innings.
  • Justin De Fratus. The Phillies wanted him to open the season with the team, but they didn’t think his arm was where it needed to be. De Fratus has a 1.80 ERA and a fantastic 0.800 WHIP in 13 appearances. You wonder if he could move into Adams’ role if Adams continues to struggle. He has the coaching staff’s trust.
  • B.J. Rosenberg. Ruben Amaro Jr. called up Rosenberg on May 17 to replace Valdes, saying he was throwing the best and he had a big arm that could strike out people. But Rosenberg posted a 12.00 ERA in three appearances, following a 6.12 ERA in 22 appearances last season. Rosenberg throws hard, but he hasn’t proven he can get hitters out on a consistent basis.
  • Joe Savery. He has been with the team three times this season after throwing the ball well in Triple-A. But he has only pitched twice with the Phillies.
  • Jake Diekman. He has not pitched with the Phillies this season, but I include him here because they raved about his arm and upside, and with the struggles of Horst and Valdes he could have been called up at some point, except he can’t throw strikes. He has a 5.70 ERA and has walked 24 batters in 30 innings in 30 appearances with Lehigh Valley.

Aumont Talks Brawl, Fight for Phillies Bullpen Job

Phillippe AumontPhillippe Aumont rejoined Phillies camp today with his limbs intact and ready to compete for a job in the bullpen.

The Phillies are thankful for that.

He had been playing with Canada in the World Baseball Classic. It lost to Team USA over the weekend, ending its tournament run, but not before it provided the tournament’s most memorable moment when it brawled in the ninth inning in a game last week against Mexico. There were some legitimate haymakers thrown during the melee, including Phillies minor league outfielder Tyson Gillies tossing Mexican pitcher Alfredo Aceves to the ground like a rag doll.

Asked which NHL players he would have liked to have had at that moment, Aumont said Georges Laroque and Darcy Hordichuk.

“It was pretty intense,” he said this morning at Bright House Field. “It was the first time I’ve ever been in an actual brawl where people were going to town on (each other). … I was trying to stay out of trouble. I was more frozen than anything else when I got there. When I got there everything kind of separated. I looked out and tried not to get sucker punched or anything.”

Aumont described the postgame scene following Canada’s victory over Mexico like this: “Just a bunch of failed hockey players pumped up and ready to do another one.”

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Aumont? De Fratus? Cloyd? September Call Ups

MLB.com’s Jake Kaplan took a look yesterday at some of the potential September call-ups for the Phillies.

Read his story here.

I think of the guys currently on the 40-man roster Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman and Joe Savery are the most likely to be called up next month. De Fratus certainly would have been with the Phillies this season, but he had an elbow injury. He is back and throwing well. Aumont is dominant when he throws strikes. The Phillies want to get a look at him. Of course, Diekman and Savery have been with the team this season. The Phillies like Diekman a lot, but they will like him a lot more if he improves his command.

I only see Sebastian Valle coming up if Carlos Ruiz finishes the season on the DL.

Not sure Cesar Hernandez gets called up.

Tyler Cloyd? This is the guy I hear about constantly on Twitter and e-mail. Cloyd, who isn’t on the 40-man roster, is 11-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 19 starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He’s been great all season, but it’s safe to say the Phillies and other talent evaluators in baseball aren’t as enamored with Cloyd as fans are. I haven’t heard of any teams beating down the Phillies’ door to acquire him, and MLB.com doesn’t list Cloyd among the organization’s top 20 prospects. (That list is compiled through interviews with numerous baseball personnel people.)

Why isn’t Cloyd a top prospect? Simply put, he doesn’t have great stuff. He throws in the 85-89 mph range, which means he has to have pinpoint command to be successful. The Phillies must not believe his abilities to get out Triple-A hitters will translate to the big leagues. It’s the only way to explain why they chose a bullpen game over pitching him June 27. (I still maintain that was a mistake. Maybe Cloyd catches lightning in a bottle for one night. Raul Valdes and the rest of the bullpen were struggling at the time. Almost everybody in the park knew what would happen, and it did.)

Charlie Manuel said Wednesday he wasn’t sure if Kyle Kendrick would make his next start, but he quickly added he didn’t think he had too many other options. I’m really not sure which way the Phillies will go. But you can make a case for Cloyd to get a shot. I mean, maybe he can get out big-league hitters. Besides, what have you got to lose? If he makes a few starts in September, he struggles and the Phillies lose, so what? At least you know for sure. But if he comes up and does well … hey, isn’t that a nice little surprise? Maybe then he’s in the mix next season to get a spot start here or there.

Talent evaluation in baseball isn’t an exact science. If it were the Dodgers would have never let Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth go, Chase Utley wouldn’t have lasted until the 15th pick in the 2000 draft, Ryan Howard wouldn’t have lasted until the fifth round in 2001, Cole Hamels wouldn’t have lasted until the 17th pick in 2002, Juan Pierre wouldn’t have waited until late January to sign a Minor League contract, the Phillies wouldn’t have let Ryan Vogelsong and Jason Grilli go, they would have promoted Brandon Moss last season instead of trading for John Bowker and they wouldn’t have entered the previous two seasons betting on Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. to be everyday players.

Every team has their hits and misses in player evaluation. That’s just the way it is.

One thing to keep in mind: Minor League numbers don’t mean everything. And sometimes they don’t mean anything. Fans thought the Phillies were crazy for not promoting Matt Rizzotti the last couple years. The Phillies traded him to the Twins in March, and the Twins released him a short time later. He’s now with the A’s. I remember Joe Roa went 14-0 with a 1.86 ERA in 17 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2002. Fans had a similar reaction then. How can they not call up Roa? The Phillies finally did. Roa went 4-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 14 appearances (11 starts) in 2002, but he returned to earth and went 0-2 with a 6.05 ERA in six appearances in 2003 before the Phillies released him.

Maybe Cloyd is a younger version of Roa. Or maybe he’s a guy that can be a good option as a fifth starter. The only way to find out is by pitching him. Maybe the Phillies will give him that chance before the end of the season.

Phillies Add Four to 40-Man

The Phillies announced today they have placed right-hander Phillippe Aumont, left-hander Jacob Diekman, catcher Sebastian Valle and outfielder Tyson Gillies on the 40-man roster.

Here’s a look at the four:

  • Aumont, 22, went 2-5 with seven saves and a 2.68 ERA in 43 appearances for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He struck out 78 batters in 53 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .216 batting average. The Phillies picture Aumont as a late-inning reliever for the Phillies, possibly as a closer. Baseball America ranked Aumont as the organization’s fifth-best prospect following the season.
  • Gillies, 23, has been unable to stay on the field since joining the Phillies because of injuries. He played in just three games for Class A Clearwater, but played for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League. They believe he has potential. He just needs to get on the field and play.
  • Valle, 21, hit .284 with five homers and 40 RBIs in 91 games for Clearwater. He hit .368 against left-handed pitching. The Phillies signed Valle as an amateur free agent in 2006. Baseball America ranked Valle as the organizations’ third-best prospect.
  • Diekman, 23, went 0-1 with a 3.05 ERA and three saves in 53 appearances with Reading. He allowed 13 earned runs in 18 innings in his first 18 appearances, but had a 1.72 ERA over his final 35 appearances. He also struck out 83 batters in 65 innings and held opponents to a .199 average, including a .099 mark against left-handers. Diekman, who the Phillies selected in the 30th round in 2007, allowed one earned run and struck out 14 in 11 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League.

Early Returns on Lee Trade Not Good

Roy Oswalt has pitched so well for the Phillies that I haven’t heard anybody complain about the Cliff Lee trade lately.

(Thank God.)

But there was some interesting news yesterday regarding the Lee trade. Right-hander J.C. Ramirez, one of three players the Phillies received from Seattle for Lee, had surgery on his right hip last week. He is expected to be ready by Spring Training, but it capped a bad first year for the three prospects.

The Phillies demoted right-hander Phillippe Aumont, 21, from Double-A Reading (1-6, 7.43 ERA in 11 starts) to Single-A Clearwater (2-5, 4.48 ERA in 16 appearances). Outfielder Tyson Gillies, 21, missed most of the season with Reading (.238, two homers, six RBIs in 26 games) because of a hamstring injury, but that was the least of his problems. Pinellas County Sheriff’s officers arrested him last month for cocaine possession, which is a felony. He pleaded not guilty.

Ramirez, 22, had the best year of the three. He went 4-3 with a 4.06 ERA in 11 starts in Clearwater, and 3-4 with a 5.45 ERA in 13 starts in Reading.

“They’re all still 21 years old,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We’ve got a long way to go on them. We still view them as strong prospects for us. We’ll see how they develop.”

The Phillies converted Aumont from a reliever to a starter and changed his mechanics in Spring Training, which they attributed to his struggles. They are not sure if his future is in the rotation or the bullpen, although he remains a starter for now. They have said the same about Ramirez.

“The guys are still very young and it takes a lot of time for guys to develop sometimes,” Amaro said.

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Hamels Sharp, Lidge Sharp

hamels lean.jpg

Leaving Sun Life Stadium in a few minutes, but I thought I’d pass along a few Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge notes:

  • Hamels is 5-3 with a 1.79 ERA in his last 13 starts, and has allowed just one run in his last 31 2/3 innings. “It seems like he’s the Cole of ’06, ’07, ’08,” Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla said. “He’s been lights out this year.”
  • Hamels threw a career-high 127 pitches, so he said an extra day of rest before Monday’s start against Atlanta will be beneficial.
  • Hamels snapped his streak of 25 consecutive scoreless innings when he allowed a run in the first inning.
  • His 13 strikeouts were the most for a Phillies pitcher since he struck out 13 Marlins on June 11, 2008.
  • He has 201 strikeouts this season, which is tied with Roy Halladay for second in the National League.
  • Lidge had not pitched since Sept. 6, but threw a perfect ninth inning to pick up his 22nd save. Lidge had missed a couple days because of a hyperextended right elbow. He said he felt fine.
  • Lidge is 0-0 with a 0.52 ERA and 12 saves in 13 opportunities in 18 appearances since July 31. In 17 1/3 innings, he has allowed just seven hits, two runs, one earned run and three walks. He has struck out 18 and opponents have hit just .119 against him.

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J.C. Ramirez, one of the three guys in the Cliff Lee trade, had surgery on his right hip last week. I’ll have more on this tomorrow, and how the early returns are not good with Phillippe Aumont‘s demotion to Class A Clearwater and Tyson Gillies‘ hamstring injuries and arrest for a felony cocaine possession.

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Call me crazy, but this photo of Hamels reminded me of the fight scenes in the Batman TV show, where they shot everything on an angle. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here and go to the 2:35 mark.

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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!

Gillies Arrested for Cocaine Possession

UPDATED (5:30 p.m.)

Phillies prospect Tyson Gillies, who the organization acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, was arrested early Friday morning in Clearwater, Fla., on a felony charge of cocaine possession.

He is free on $2,000 bond.

The Phillies confirmed the arrest, but said, “because this is an open case, we will not comment further at this time.”

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Cecilia Barreda said the incident originally occurred June 11.

A patrol deputy spotted Gillies standing on the shoulder of Rt. 19., near Enterprise Blvd., in Clearwater. Gillies was waving a white shirt in the air at passing motorists.

The deputy approached Gillies and noticed he appeared intoxicated. Gillies told the deputy he was waving his shirt because he was looking for his friends, and he thought it would help them see him. He also said he was walking back to his hotel, which was the La Quinta Inn.

Gillies said he had spent several hours that evening at The Freaki Tiki Bar, which is not far from where the deputy spotted him.

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The Oswalt Trade

oswalt 3.jpg

Roy Oswalt makes his Phillies debut tonight.

A few thoughts about the trade:

  • It looks like a favorable one for the Phillies, doesn’t it? They get Oswalt through 2011, possibly 2012. They get $11 million to help pay the remaining $23 million on his contract. They did not have to trade Domonic Brown, Jonathan Singleton or Jared Cosart – who Baseball America considers three of the top 50 prospects in baseball.
  • Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Oswalt would be a scary rotation in the postseason, wouldn’t it?
  • Ruben Amaro Jr. redeemed himself for the Cliff Lee trade, although it remains a mistake. Since I’ve been covering the Phillies, I’ve heard Ed Wade, Pat Gillick and Amaro say one thing over and over and over again: You can never have too much pitching. The Phillies never should have traded Lee, but now they have Oswalt at an affordable price for one-plus seasons. That is a nice bounce back.
  • The Phillies said they are confident they are getting a healthy pitcher in Oswalt, who has had a history of back issues. (Those issues have required cortisone injections.) The Phillies should hope so. They also thought they were getting a healthy pitcher in Freddy Garcia, who won just one game for the Phillies in 2007 because of shoulder problems.
  • The Phillies have 16 players under contract next season for $145 million. I’m guessing that means the end of Jayson Werth‘s time in Philadelphia, and any thoughts the Phillies had about bringing back Lee in the offseason. (Lee would like to come back to Philly, for what it’s worth.)
  • The Phillies lose a tremendous guy in J.A. Happ, who always treated me with respect. It’s not easy when you’re an athlete and you’re asked the same questions over and over and over again – especially when some of those questions are questions you don’t like. But Happ never made you feel like less of a person. He seemed to get that we were doing our jobs. I wish him luck in Houston.
  • The Phillies liked outfielder Anthony Gose, who Baseball America ranked sixth in the organization late last year. He’s got a lot of talent. And he’s young. Just like Jonathan Villar. It will be interesting to see how they develop. But take a look at trades the Phillies have made in recent seasons. Not many of those prospects have come back to haunt them. Why? Because the Phillies know their prospects better than anybody (just like some might say the Mariners knew Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez better than anybody).

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Sounds like there will be plenty of Phillies fans tonight in DC.

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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!

Fourteen Players Re-Assigned to Minor League Camp

The Phillies re-assigned 14 players to Minor League camp today:

Pitchers: Phillippe Aumont, Yohan Flande, Scott Mathieson, Drew Naylor, J.C. Ramirez, Jesus Sanchez, Joe Savery and Bill White.

Catchers: Tuffy Gosewisch, Kevin Nelson and John Suomi.

Infielders: Freddy Galvis.

Outfielders: Quintin Berry and Tyson Gillies.

Some people thought Mathieson might have a chance to win a job in the bullpen, but Ruben Amaro Jr., Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee stressed early in camp that Mathieson needed innings, and needed to work on his secondary pitches. He’ll get that opportunity in the Minors. But I still think the Phillies could have Mathieson on their roster this season, if he shows enough improvement. They still love his arm.

Aumont, Gillies and Ramirez came to the Phillies in the Cliff Lee trade, but none of them had any illusions about making the club. Aumont heads to Minor League camp working on a new/old delivery. Gillies heads to Minor League camp trying to slow things down at the plate.

“I’m leaving on a good note,” Aumont said. “I got some experience. I’ll go down there, get that pitch count up and get my arm ready for the season. I’m actually excited about it. It was all at once (the new delivery). It was kind of shaky a little bit at the beginning, but I guess that’s why the Minor Leagues are there.”

“It was a great experience for me,” Gillies said. “Being able to see the way these superstars go about their business was really exciting, watching how they prepare every day, seeing their daily routines. I learned the things I need to be successful, and where consistency starts. Charlie told me the things I need to work on, slowing things down. Slower. Slower when I’m hitting. He wants me to be slow with the feet, and quick with the hands. Basically just stay back a little bit more. Keep my hands and everything back and try not to lunge at everything. Let the ball come to me.”

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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!

Brown, Gillies, Ramirez and Bastardo …

The Blue Jays spanked the Phillies today at Dunedin Stadium, 14-9, but a few Phillies prospects made their mark:

- Domonic Brown, the organization’s top prospect, went 2 for 4 with one double and two RBIs. He also threw out a runner at the plate in the sixth inning. Brown tried to stretch his double into a triple in the seventh, but was thrown out after a head first slide.

“I made a couple adjustments early on after my first couple at-bats,” Brown said. “I was trying to do too much. Just settled down after the second at-bat, got some pitches to hit and luckily drove a couple. I feel pretty good. … It’s great for me. If I can hit here (against big league pitching) I should be able to hit anywhere. It’s great competition. It’s hard work, man. I’m tired.”

Brown said he would not have tried to stretch his double into a triple during the regular season, but he thought he would be aggressive.

“I was trying to test it out,” he said.

- Tyson Gillies hit a solo homer to right field in the sixth inning. He literally sprinted around the bases.

“Oh, man,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “Wow. He was in the B game today (at Bright House Field). Throwing, he can throw, too. He’s got a good arm. A good looking player. A very good looking player. I like him a lot. … He’s got a lean, too. That means he can really get around those bases. He’s leaning the right way. Inside lean. That’ll get you around there quick.”

Gillies is becoming known in camp for his high motor. He’s always running somewhere, which is why Manuel memorably said that Gillies “takes shagging to another level.” Does Gillies do anything slow?

“That’s a question that everybody asks me,” Gillies said. “I try. Honestly, I try to slow things down. The last few days of hitting that was something that was really getting me down, being too quick. Wanting everything now and being impatient. Trying to slow things down and knowing when I should use my speed.”

So home trots are a time to use his speed?

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I’m not going to hit a lot of home runs, so I’m not going to do the whole slow pace around them. Quickly score the run and move forward.”

- J.C. Ramirez, who joined Gillies and Phillippe Aumont in the Cliff Lee trade, allowed four hits, five runs (four earned runs) and three walks in just 1 1/3 innings. “His command was off,” Charlie Manuel said. “He was a little wild. He’ll get more work. We’ll see.”

- Antonio Bastardo struck out two in a perfect eighth inning. “Bastardo pitched a good clean inning,” Manuel said. “He threw some good pitches. He threw a good fastball and threw a couple good breaking balls. He had a good inning.”

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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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