Results tagged ‘ Placido Polanco ’

Four Phillies All-Stars?

We got the latest National League All-Star voting update yesterday, and it looks like Placido Polanco is on his way to being the starting third baseman.

He’ll probably be the only Phillies everyday player to get an All-Star nod. Ryan Howard is third among NL first basemen in home runs (13) and second in RBIs (53), but ranks 10th in batting (.247), ninth in on-base percentage (.336), sixth in slugging (.474) and seventh in OPS (.809). Albert Pujols leads the vote among first basemen. Assuming he wins the vote, there is no way Prince Fielder does not make the team. Joey Votto and Todd Helton also are having outstanding seasons.

But I think the Phillies can take four players to the All-Star Game in Phoenix with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Ryan Madson joining Polanco. Halladay leads the league in wins (9), innings (105 1/3) and complete games (4). He is second in ERA (2.39) and strikeouts (106). Hamels is tied for second in wins (8). He is fourth in ERA (2.48), fifth in strikeouts (91) and tied for eighth in innings (90 2/3). Madson has a 2.17 ERA, which is 21st in the league. He is tied for 10th in saves (15). He has the league’s fourth-best save percentage (93.8). There are other closers that have pitched well, but Madson is getting plenty of attention closing for the team with the best record in baseball. That will count as the roster is filled out.

Did I miss anybody? Is four too many?

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Despite Crazy Plays, A Familiar Theme in Loss

It’s not every day you see sideways rain at Citizens Bank Park.

The rain turned out to be one of the least interesting things that happened in last night’s 4-3 loss to the Cubs in 11 innings.

Ryan Madson blew his first save in 15 opportunities. Instant replay overturned one of Madson’s home runs, which kept the game tied. (If you’re a fan sitting in the front row don’t you have to say to yourself, “OK, I’m in the front row. If there’s a ball coming my way I should probably back out of the way because I don’t want to become Philly’s version of Steve Bartman?”) David Herndon hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th. (He struck out.) Carlos Ruiz had a rare passed ball to allow the winning run to move to second base in the 11th. Herndon fired a ball into center field on a pickoff attempt, but Tyler Colvin did not advance to third on the play. Placido Polanco had a rare throwing error to allow the winning run to score with two outs.

All sorts of nutiness, but once again the offense came up short. The Phillies did not score after Jimmy Rollins hit a three-run homer in the second inning. They were hitless from the fifth through ninth innings.

Madson blew the save and Herndon took the loss, but the offense continued its struggles.

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Polanco Leads NL All-Star Voting at Third Base

MLB released its first National League All-Star voting update and Placido Polanco leads among third basemen:

  1. Polanco 724,724
  2. Chipper Jones 540,168
  3. Pablo Sandoval 522,037
  4. David Wright 500,200
  5. Scott Rolen 370,271

Chase Utley, who has been elected a starter the previous five seasons, is third. No surprise there. He hasn’t played. Brandon Phillips (837,778) is first. Rickie Weeks (562,071) is second. Utley (561,585) is third. Jimmy Rollins (454,782) is second among shortstops, but it’s a distant second behind Troy Tulowitzki (975,777). Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are a distant fourth among first basemen and catchers, respectively. Shane Victorino (seventh) and Raul Ibanez (13th) are way behind among outfielders.

Honestly, when I think about Phillies’ All-Stars I think there are a few legitimate candidates: Polanco, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson and Ryan Howard.

It will be tough for Howard, even though he’s tied for second in the league in homers (12) and RBIs (42). Albert Pujols is leading the voting and Joey Votto and Prince Fielder are having good seasons.

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Offensive

“You don’t want to send a negative message when you’re winning, but at the same time I think our guys know what they’re capable of hitting. I have an old saying that if you’re not hitting .300, you need help.” – Charlie Manuel

The Phillies need a lot of help.

They were shut out for the second time this season in last night’s 4-0 loss to the Diamondbacks. Arizona took an early lead and I thought to myself, “I just don’t see them coming back to win this game.”

It was the third inning. Against Arizona. With Cliff Lee on the mound.

The Phillies have not scored five runs in a game since April 9, when they scored 10 against the Braves at Turner Field. That is 14 consecutive games scoring four or fewer runs.

No team in baseball has scored fewer runs since April 9. The Phillies are averaging 2.79 runs per game, which ranks 28th in baseball. Only the Padres (2.69 runs per game) and White Sox (2.67 runs per game) have averaged fewer, which is hardly comforting. The Padres might have the worst lineup I’ve seen since I started covering baseball. Nobody in the Padres lineup scares you. The Phillies’ lineup has five former All-Stars, even without Chase Utley.

Only the White Sox (.197/.263) have a worse batting average than the Phillies (.200/.269) since April 9.

Nobody has a worse slugging percentage (.292) or OPS (.561).

But here’s the thing: there are no quick fixes, no obvious solutions. The Phillies could play John Mayberry Jr. more in left field while Raul Ibanez struggles. Manuel said in Spring Training he could play Ross Gload more. Gload has started once. Manuel has defensive concerns about Gload, but maybe it’s time to sacrifice defense for offense. Pete Orr has had some good at-bats at second base. Manuel could try playing him more, but Mayberry, Gload and Orr are not a magic pill for the offense. 

What about changing the lineup? Fans have said Manuel needs to move Jimmy Rollins from the third spot because he has just two RBIs. OK, who hits third? Placido Polanco? OK, now what? Not a lot of options, is there? I’m not saying a lineup change is a bad idea. In fact, I’d give it a shot. But there are no moves smacking you in the face. If Ibanez weren’t in a 0-for-21 slump I would say he should hit third. He hit very well there last season, but he’s not hitting well now. Can’t do that. Does Rollins hit leadoff if he’s not hitting third? Second? Fifth? Seems like shuffling deck chairs.

What about a trade? The Phillies are over budget and close to the luxury tax threshold. They would have to shed salary to take on salary, and what team trades a stud bat in April? Nobody. If anything would happen it would happen much closer to the trade deadline. And even then I’m not sure a trade would happen.

The best solution seems to be the most obvious one, and the one that might take the longest time: Utley returns before the end of May and the rest of the offense figures out things on their own. In the meantime, they better hope the pitching continues to dominate.

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Manuel is fired up about suggestions he overused Jose Contreras.

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Miss That Three-Run Homer

There’s been a lot of talk about small ball and manufacturing runs lately, but Charlie Manuel couldn’t have been more pleased to see Placido Polanco hit a three-run homer yesterday in a 4-3 victory over the Brewers.

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak.

Polanco and Shane Victorino got the big hits, but the Phillies pitched well. You have to think the Phillies won’t have too many extended losing streaks this season because of the pitching. The Phillies had eight losing streaks of three games or more last season. They had a season-high five-game losing streak May 22-27. Of course, that streak had nothing to do with pitching and everything to do with four shutout losses. But assuming that doesn’t happen again, it’s tough to see them losing five-straight games.

If the over/under on the team’s longest losing streak this season is 4 1/2 games what are you taking?

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In San Diego. If you’ve got a good lunch spot in the city let me know.

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Week One A Good One

It’s only one week, but …

- The Phillies are second in the National League in scoring with 43 runs. The Reds lead with 45. Third place? The Mets with 31.

- The Phillies lead the league in batting (.353) and on-base percentage (.407).

- They are second in slugging percentage (.498).

- Ryan Howard, Placido Polanco, Scott Rolen and Neil Walker are tied for the league lead with eight RBIs.

- Howard (.480) is second, Polanco (.440) is fourth, Wilson Valdez (.429) is sixth and Jimmy Rollins (.375) is 12th in batting.

Is this a sign of things to come or just a hot week? We’ll find out, but I think Phillies fans would agree this is better than the alternative (the Cardinals have scored just 15 runs in their first six games).

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Roy Halladay looks like he’s in midseason form … Should be a good test for the Phillies this weekend in Atlanta … More from Atlanta later …

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Pitching Schedule: March 19-25

Here is the Phillies’ pitching schedule March 19-25:

  • March 19 @ Orioles: Cole Hamels, David Herndon, Scott Mathieson and Michael Stutes.
  • March 20 vs. Yankees: Joe Blanton, Jose Contreras, Antonio Bastardo and Danys Baez.
  • March 21 vs. Red Sox: Roy Halladay, J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson, Herndon and Mathieson.
  • March 22 @ Blue Jays: Cliff Lee, Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick, Contreras, Baez, Bastardo and Stutes.
  • March 23 @ Rays: Roy Oswalt, Romero, Madson, Mathieson and Herndon.
  • March 24 vs. Twins: Hamels, Bastardo, Baez and Contreras.
  • March 25 vs. Braves: Blanton, Madson and Romero.

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Brad Lidge, who is out with right biceps tendinitis, said he feels better, although he is not sure if he is throwing a bullpen session today or tomorrow. … Placido Polanco, who hyperextended his left elbow Tuesday, is not in today’s lineup against the Blue Jays. … Brian Schneider is away from the team for personal reasons.

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The Opening Day Lineup


manuel and utley.jpg

Charlie Manuel has 17 days before he must fill out his Opening Day lineup card.

How will it look?

Here is a mostly educated guess:

  1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  2. Placido Polanco, 3B
  3. Raul Ibanez, LF
  4. Ryan Howard, 1B
  5. Ben Francisco, RF
  6. Shane Victorino, CF
  7. Carlos Ruiz, C
  8. Wilson Valdez, 2B
  9. Roy Halladay, P

Manuel has hit Victorino second and Polanco fifth a few times this spring, so I suppose that’s a possibility. That would bump Francisco down a spot. But it seems pretty clear Ibanez is his guy to hit third … thanks to us?

“Ibanez, you guys talked me into hitting him third,” Manuel said today in Dunedin. “You were telling me what his career average is hitting third and what he hit last year third and all that.”

Life would be easier for Manuel if he had Chase Utley healthy, but he’s not. That means Manuel has to find new No. 3 and 5 hitters to open the season. Manuel said he isn’t sure how important those spots are to Ryan Howard‘s success in 2011.

“How much? I don’t know,” he said. “The more patient Ryan gets the more balls he’s going to get to hit. I think that’s the key to what kind of year he has.”

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Polanco Hyperextends Left Elbow

Placido Polanco left today’s Grapefruit League game against the Toronto Blue Jays because of a hyperextended left elbow. He had surgery on the same elbow Oct. 29 to remove bone fragments and repair the extensor tendon.

“It’s right where I had the surgery, but it’s nothing bad,” he said. “I’ve had it before. I’ve had it a million times. But the fact that I had surgery in that elbow, we’re being safe. We’re playing it very safe. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow and the next day, take it a day at a time.”

Polanco is uncertain when he could return to Grapefruit League games.

“It’s just a day to day thing I think,” he said. “When I’ve had it before, I never stopped playing. But since I had surgery, they took me out.”

The Phillies already are without second baseman Chase Utley, who is sidelined indefinitely with right knee pain. They cannot afford to lose Polanco, too.

“I’m not worried about mine, because I know how I feel,” Polanco said. “Talking to the trainers and the doctor, it seems like I’m going to be back soon. Chase is the one that worries me, but he seems to be getting better slowly but surely.”

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Utley, Brown (Not Really) News

utley reporters.jpg

Ruben Amaro Jr. had nothing to report today about Chase Utley‘s right knee.

Hopefully we’ll learn something tomorrow.

Utley had a cortisone shot Friday. The shot can take a few days to work. If the shot does not work, I’m not sure what happens next, but it certainly would not be good news. Talked to a few teammates today who expressed their concerns about Utley’s health.

“That’s what worries me,” Placido Polanco said. “I was talking to my wife the other day. I said, ‘Man, that guy is a gamer. He’s tough. He’s got to be really hurting to not be playing.’ That’s why I’m a little worried. But I’m not a doctor. I don’t know how bad it is. I just hope it’s nothing bad.”

“Chase is a guy who’s out there every day and wants to play,” Ryan Howard said. “You hope it’s not something that is overly serious. You hope it’s something that goes away, so he come in here and get some work to get ready for the season.”

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Domonic Brown will have surgery tomorrow to repair his broken right hand. Recovery is expected to be four to six weeks.

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