Results tagged ‘ Roy Oswalt ’

Hamels Could Be Back Friday

Cole Hamels threw roughly 25 pitches in an important bullpen session this afternoon at Nationals Park. He said it went well.

He will throw one more bullpen session early next week and if that goes well he said he should rejoin the rotation Friday against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Hamels missed a start this week because of inflammation in his left shoulder.

“Cole is moving along fine,” Rich Dubee said.

Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick will face the Mets at home next week. Hamels would open the series against the Marlins with Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay pitching Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

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Placido Polanco sounded optimistic he could be back in action Monday.

He has been on the DL since Aug. 7 because of a sports hernia. He recently received a cortisone injection and said today he feels “much better” than he had just a few days ago. He said he thinks he will be activated from the DL Monday.

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Jose Contreras had been scheduled to throw a bullpen session today, but that has been pushed back to Monday. Charlie Manuel called it a “setback,” while Dubee said Contreras simply felt he was not ready to throw off a mound.

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Lee Homers, Makes Sure Kendrick Knows It

Cliff Lee touched home plate, looked toward the visitor’s bullpen 360 feet away, brushed his right hand with his left hand like a bank teller counting out cash and smiled.

It was not a home run celebration.

It was a message to Kyle Kendrick, who was sitting in the bullpen, to pay up. Lee and Kendrick are in a home run competition and Lee had just blasted his second homer of the season in the seventh inning of last night’s 2-1 victory over the Dodgers. Lee said he thought about Kendrick “pretty much instantly” when the ball sailed over the right-field wall.

“It’s just a friendly wager,” Lee said. “It’s a little side deal.”

So what are the stakes?

“I think we’re going to keep that between us,” he said. “We can call it dinner or whatever you want to call it.”

Shortly after Lee’s homer Roy Oswalt called the bullpen to send a message to Kendrick, although bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer had to hang up because he was trying to get Ryan Madson loose.

Kendrick played off his mounting deficit. He trails, 2-0.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kendrick said. “He owes me.”

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Injury Updates from Toronto

Greetings from Toronto.

A few injury updates for everybody:

  • Cole Hamels (bruised right hand) played catch this morning at Rogers Centre. He said he felt much better. “I’m good,” he said, flexing and moving his right hand to show the improvement. Hamels said he plans to throw a bullpen session tomorrow and make his scheduled start Tuesday in Florida. He said he normally would have thrown a bullpen session today, but the Phillies pushed it back to give the hand a chance to heal.
  • Ryan Madson (bruised right hand) played catch this morning. Rich Dubee said it went well. But because Madson has not pitched since June 18 there is a good chance he will need to make a rehab assignment before he is activated. So he won’t be activated Monday, when he is first eligible.
  • Roy Oswalt (lower back inflammation) received a second opinion on his back Friday in Dallas. The Phillies said spine surgeon Andrew Dossett concurred with the Phillies’ diagnosis: Oswalt has mild bulging discs in his back. Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Oswalt will continue his prescribed treatment, which involves injections. “He should be able to begin tossing shortly there after,” Proefrock said. Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week he thinks there’s a chance Oswalt pitches before the end of the month.
  • Brad Lidge (strained right rotator cuff) threw a bullpen session yesterday in Reading. He could begin a rehab assignment early next week.
  • Joe Blanton (right elbow inflammation) is playing catch today, but has not thrown off a mound.
  • Jose Contreras (strained right forearm) is “progressing.”

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Lee Dominates Again

Remember a couple weeks ago when people asked, “What’s going on with Cliff Lee?”

Yeah, good times.

Lee was 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA after his first 12 starts, but I said then those numbers were misleading. Lee had a poor record because of poor run support, and his ERA proved deceptive because he had two awful starts among 10 good ones. Remove those two bad starts and he had a 2.90 ERA. But what a difference a few weeks makes. Lee is 8-5 with a 2.87 ERA following last night’s shutout victory over St. Louis. Lee has thrown two consecutive shutouts and has allowed just one run over 33 innings in his last four starts.

Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Lee have been nearly unhittable this season. Eighteen pitchers in baseball have eight or more wins and they are three of them. They also rank among the top eight in strikeouts,  top 14 in ERA and top 15 in innings pitched. If Roy Oswalt can get going — he hasn’t looked the same since coming back from the DL — things could get really interesting.

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From Elias Sports Bureau: Lee threw his second straight shutout last night and has s allowed one run in 33 innings in his last four starts. The last pitcher to throw 33 or more innings while allowing no more than one run over a four-start span was Oswalt in 2008. The only Phillies pitcher to do that in the last 20 years was Randy Wolf in 2002.

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Howard’s Season

Ryan Howard‘s numbers through 66 games: .247, 15 doubles, 1 triple, 13 home runs, 53 RBIs, .336 on-base percentage and a .474 slugging percentage. He is tied for eighth in the league in home runs and is third in RBIs. He also leads the league in go-ahead RBIs (18) and game-winning RBIs (10). But his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage are the lowest marks of his career.

Projected home runs and RBIs: 32 and 130.

“To me it’s all about going out and winning games,” Howard said yesterday after driving in the winning run in the seventh inning against the Cubs. “Batting average, it is what it is. Some people will look at it and glorify it. For me, I’m trying to go out there and put up runs.”

Asked what he thinks of his year, Howard said, “I think it’s been good. The only real down thing is probably that, batting average. I think batting average is what a lot of people will look at and say, ‘Oh, he’s having a bad year.’ But I feel good in other ways. Just continue to grind it out.”

I asked Ruben Amaro Jr. the same question yesterday. He said he looks at Howard’s run production. Howard is driving in runs, so he is happy. But I’m sure both would agree Howard could be even better. We’ve seen him better. We’ve seen him win the MVP in 2006 and finish in the top five in MVP voting in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Howard’s .809 OPS is 26th out of 75 qualifying players in the National League. He ranked 17th in 2010, ninth in 2009, 14th in 2008, sixth in 2007 and second in 2006. Of course, Howard is seeing fewer fastballs than earlier in his career — he gets a fastball just 46.6 percent of the time this season, compared to more than 50 percent from 2004-08 — but we’ve seen him dominate the league before. Can he do it again? The Phillies certainly hope so as his five-year, $125 million contract extension kicks in next season. What do you think?

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From Elias Sports Bureau: Roy Oswalt snapped a four-game losing streak yesterday despite allowing three runs in the top of the first inning. Oswalt was 2-8 in 11 previous starts in which he allowed three or more first-inning runs. Oswalt (154-87) has the third-most decisions among active pitchers who have never lost five in a row, behind Roy Halladay (178-89) and Tim Hudson (170-92).

Halladay has never lost more than three straight decisions.

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Let’s Move On

Charlie Manuel minced no words last night.

“We didn’t deserve to win the game,” he said. “We didn’t play good.”

He was right about that. The Dodgers begged the Phillies to score a ton of runs in the first three innings. They scored one. Things got uncharacteristically sloppy in the top of the third, too, when the Dodgers scored three runs to give them a 4-1 lead. If that wasn’t the worst game the Phillies have played this season, it certainly was in the top five. To quote Chris Traeger: There is literally nothing good to say about this game.

A few thoughts before moving on to tonight’s game:

  • Roy Oswalt allowed four runs in six innings to take the loss. His velocity has dipped since he returned from the DL (lower back inflammation) last month. His strikeouts are down, too. Is he pitching with some discomfort in the back? Everybody with the Phillies has said he is fine, but that does not mean he is 100 percent. Oswalt got peppered with questions last night about the increase in hits and decrease in strikeouts, which perplexed him. I’m sure he looks at it like this: Last night was just the second time in 10 starts this season he has allowed more than two runs. He is getting results, even if they are not always pretty. Oswalt has a 2.79 ERA in his five starts since returning from the DL. He is 0-3, but that’s because he has had awful run support. But here is what is interesting: Oswalt has a 1.30 WHIP, which is the second-highest average of his career (1.33 in 2007). His 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings easily is the lowest average of his career (6.5 strikeouts per nine in 2007). More hits. Less strikeouts. There is reason to ask the questions (although at one point I thought to myself, “Holy crap. Are we talking to Adam Eaton here?”). Before the DL, Oswalt was averaging 7.0 strikeouts per nine innings and had allowed 21 hits in 27 innings. Since the DL, he is averaging 3.7 strikeouts per nine innings and has allowed 38 hits in 29 innings. I’m not sure what to make of it. If he was getting knocked out of games in the third or fourth inning it would be alarming, but he’s not. He’s competing. I guess we’ll have to let this play out.
  • No explanation for Chase Utley‘s shaky throws the past couple games. He’s had stretches like this before. Like Oswalt, let’s let this play out.
  • The Phillies have seven extra-base hits in their last six games. No homers since May 31. It seems like forever since we’ve seen a player drive a ball into the gap.
  • The Phillies no longer can say they have the best record in the National League. The Cardinals have passed them in the standings.

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Updates on Contreras, Lidge, Utley and More

Chatted with Ruben Amaro Jr. for nearly 20 minutes this morning in the visitor’s dugout at Turner Field.

Here’s the latest on the Phillies’ injured.

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Ruiz, Utley Look OK; Oswalt’s Fastball? Not There

Nothing is official, but I think we know a few things from last night’s Class A Clearwater game:

  • Expect Carlos Ruiz to be activated from the DL today.
  • Chase Utley continues to move in a straight line. He homered last night. He’s getting closer. (Late next week, maybe?)
  • Roy Oswalt didn’t have his fastball, which could indicate he is not ready to rejoin the rotation Tuesday in St. Louis, although we’ll hopefully learn more today. “He normally throws a lot of fastballs, normally 93,94 (mph), and today he said he doesn’t feel good, with the fastball, more like 89, 90,” Ruiz said. “The first couple of innings, fastball cut, not too much life in his fastball.  In the last couple of innings, better, better location, he was throwing more breaking balls because he was thinking the fastball’s not there.  When he is on, he’s not afraid to throw his fastball on any count, today it was a little different.  It was a lot of fastball cut, the location was not there that’s why we threw more changeups, curveballs, sliders.” Of course, Oswalt could be perfectly healthy. He just could’ve been disinterested in letting loose in a Class A game. We’ll see.

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Oswalt Is Back

Roy Oswalt rejoined the Phillies today after spending more than a week with his family in Mississippi.

Tornadoes tore through his home county. His home and the home of his in-laws suffered some damage, but his family is OK. His three children were in their grandparents’ home when the storms hit, which shook them up.

I’ll have more later on the experience, but here’s the baseball stuff:

  • Oswalt threw a bullpen session this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. He said it went well, although the Phillies said they have not decided if he will pitch Saturday. Rich Dubee said they must see how he feels tomorrow. Oswalt did not throw while he was home, and Dubee said Oswalt was a little rusty as a result.
  • If I’m a betting man I’m betting Chase Utley is in Clearwater, Fla., before the end of the weekend. He responded well to two simulated games earlier this week. The Phillies have said they have not made any decisions about his next step, but an appearance in extended spring training is the logical choice. “I would assume it would be a slow progression,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. That means starting with extended spring training before beginning a rehab assignment.
  • Carlos Ruiz took swings in the batting cage the past couple days, but is resting his back today. He suffered a bit of a setback. “He was progressing real well, then he kind of tweaked himself a little bit,” Amaro said. Ruiz has not played since April 27. The Phillies can back date his DL stint 10 days, so they have until Saturday to do that. “Not yet,” said Amaro, asked if he feels like they need to place Ruiz on the DL.
  • Don’t expect Vance Worley to stick around once Joe Blanton rejoins the rotation. Amaro said Worley has more value keeping stretched out as a starter in Triple-A.
  • Jose Contreras remains on schedule to return in three to four weeks. He’s been on the DL since April 22.

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Oswalt Leaves Team for Personal Reasons

Roy Oswalt left the Phillies for personal reasons.

Here is Ruben Amaro Jr.‘s statement on the matter:

“There has been a tremendous amount of tornado activity near Roy’s home in Mississippi resulting in several tragic deaths and significant devastation to the area.  Because of this, Roy is concerned about his family’s well-being.  He has chosen to take time to make sure there wasn’t significant damage to his home, but more importantly, to make certain that his wife and children are okay.   

“It is almost a year to the day that his parents’ home was destroyed by a tornado which has heightened his concern about the current situation.

“We are hopeful that he will rejoin the team for his next start, but will take that day by day.”

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