Results tagged ‘ rotation ’

Cooler Weather, Cooler Bats

Charlie Manuel likes the summer because the summer is hot and hot weather is hitting weather.

The Phillies have played in mostly cool temperatures in the past week. Maybe that explains why they have hit just .226/.285/.313 in their past six games, averaging 3.3 runs per game. They hit .344/.392/.497 in their first eight games, averaging 7.0 runs per game. You knew the Phillies’ offense wouldn’t keep up the pace it set the first week of the season, but Manuel certainly hopes the last six games aren’t more indicative of the way it will play this season.

But just like the offense has leveled off, so has the pitching staff. Phillies starters were 4-2 with a 5.53 ERA in their first eight games, but are 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in their last six. The relievers were 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in their first eight games, but are 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in their last six.


Chase Utley continued his running drills before the game. Not that I’m counting, but when he ran last week in DC, he ran twice around the outside of the infield. He took three trips around the infield today. I guess that’s progress?


The 700 Level has a good interview with Mike Schmidt. Check it out.


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No Surprise: Rotation Remains In Order

The Phillies postponed last night’s game because of rain. It turned out to be a good decision, considering I couldn’t see outside my windows because of the storm. But within seconds of the announcement I got a ton of questions from folks wondering if the Phillies planned to skip Joe Blanton in the rotation.

My first reaction: Why would they do that?

First, the obvious. Roy Oswalt had to leave Friday’s game because of a strained lower back. How much sense would it make to skip Blanton not knowing if Oswalt will pitch Wednesday? It very clearly makes more sense to keep everybody in order, which gives the Phillies an extra day to make a decision on Oswalt (and Oswalt an extra day to rest his back).

Second, Blanton has struggled in just two starts. Two. They need him to make 30-plus starts this season, so it makes absolutely no sense to skip him in April. Plus, what message does that send Blanton? Uh, Joe, we know it’s April and we know it’s just two starts, but we’re skipping you to keep Roy Halladay on his normal day. I know fans with tickets to Monday wanted to see Halladay pitch, but the Phillies are looking at the big picture. Keeping everybody in order in April might keep everybody a little fresher come October.

So the Phillies’ rotation looks like this:

  • Today vs. Marlins: Cole Hamels
  • Monday vs. Brewers: Joe Blanton
  • Tuesday vs. Brewers: Roy Halladay
  • Wednesday vs. Brewers: Cliff Lee
  • Thursday at San Diego: Roy Oswalt

Like postponing last night’s game, they made the right (and only) call.


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Phantastic Phour

Here is a very cool shot from The New York Times Magazine piece that ran today.


The Phillies released right-hander Matt Anderson from Minor League camp today.


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The Rotation

si 2011.jpg

Here is a look at the Sports Illustrated cover of the Phillies’ rotation. Gary Smith wrote the story. Should be great.


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March 2-6 Pitching Schedule

Coming to Florida in the next week?

Here is the Phillies’ pitching schedule through Sunday:

  • Tuesday vs. Tigers: Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick, Eddie Bonine, Dan Meyer, Danys Baez and Mike Zagurski.
  • Wednesday vs. Orioles: Roy Oswalt, Vance Worley, Brian Bass, Justin De Fratus, David Herndon and Brad Lidge.
  • Wednesday vs. Blue Jays (“B” game at Carpenter Complex): Drew Naylor, Ryan Feierabend, Jose Contreras, Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero.
  • Thursday @ Red Sox: Cole Hamels, Scott Mathieson, Brian Schlitter, Michael Stutes, Juan Perez and Michael Schwimer.
  • Friday @ Pirates: Joe Blanton, Baez, Meyer, Andrew Carpenter, Zagurski and Antonio Bastardo.
  • Saturday vs. Pirates: Roy Halladay, J.C. Ramirez, Madson, Contreras and Lidge.
  • Sunday @ Tigers: Kendrick, Herndon, Stutes, Perez, Schlitter and Schwimer.
  • Sunday vs. Rays: Lee, Bonine, Romero, Mathieson and De Fratus.


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Manuel Announces NLCS Rotation

Charlie Manuel announced this morning on WIP his rotation for the National League Championship Series:

Game 1: Roy Halladay.

Game 2: Roy Oswalt.

Game 3: Cole Hamels.

Game 4: Joe Blanton.

Game 5: Roy Halladay.

Game 6: Roy Oswalt.

Game 7: Cole Hamels.

Nothing surprising there. I thought maybe they might flip Oswalt and Hamels, but it works either way. I figured Blanton would start — Manuel said they might go with Halladay, but only if they’re down in the series — because it only makes sense to have Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels on normal rest in Games 5, 6 and 7. The Phillies have never pitched anybody on short rest in postseasons past, so why would they start now with their best rotation? Pitching should not be the issue this series. If the Phillies hit a little bit, they should win.


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Manuel Keeps Quiet on Big Roy, Rotation, NLCS Roster

Charlie Manuel talked to reporters for 15 minutes before today’s simulated game at Citizens Bank Park.

Here’s a synopsis:

He said they have not decided on their rotation for the NLCS. Manuel wouldn’t even say Roy Halladay would pitch Game 1. Seriously.

“You can assume whatever you want to assume,” Manuel said. “I’m not trying to be cute.”

But then Manuel finally tipped his hand.

“Big Roy is Big Roy,” he said.

Halladay will pitch Game 1. Not sure about the rest. Manuel said they definitely could pitch Joe Blanton in Game 4, which would allow the Phillies to pitch Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels on normal rest in Games 5, 6 and 7.

Manuel also said they have decided nothing on their NLCS roster, although they would carry 11 pitchers instead of 10 if they decide Blanton will start Game 4.


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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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Phillies Shuffle Rotation Again

The Phillies have shuffled their rotation again.

They will have Joe Blanton, Kyle Kendrick and Cole Hamels face the Mets this weekend at Citizens Bank Park. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Blanton will face the Washington Nationals next week at Nationals Park.

Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt could pitch Oct. 1-3 against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

The Phillies originally had Blanton, Hamels and Halladay scheduled to pitch against the Mets. Having Kendrick pitch Saturday allows the Phillies to give Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt and extra day of rest. If the Phillies clinch the NL East before the Oct. 1-3 series in Atlanta, they could have the Big Three pitch just a few innings to give them extra rest before the playoffs or bump one of them for Kendrick.


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: