Results tagged ‘ Scott Eyre ’

The Magic Number Is Three

phils 0927.jpgHad the Phillies lost today in Milwaukee, they still would have had a four-game lead in the National League East with seven games to play.

But they really needed to beat the Brewers at Miller Park. Like I wrote earlier today, it would be to their benefit to get hot before the postseason.

“I would say as bad as we played, we played .500 (on the 10-game road trip) didn’t we?” Charlie Manuel said. “As bad as we played … is that accepted? It will have to be, I guess.”

The Phillies will not say the NL East is won, but they need to win just three more games to clinch. Even if they finish 2-5, the Braves would need to go 7-0 to force a one-game playoff, which would be played at Turner Field. A five-game lead with seven to play is almost insurmountable.

Consider the following in two of the greatest collapses in baseball history:

  • The Phillies trailed the New York Mets by just 1 ½ games with seven games to play in 2007. They finished 4-3 and the Mets finished 2-6 as the Phillies won their first National League East championship since 1993.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals trailed the Phillies by 1 ½ games with seven games to play in 1964. They finished 5-2 while the Phillies finished 2-4 as the Phillies blew a 6 ½ game lead with 12 games to play.

*

Ryan Madson is 5-5 with a 3.27 ERA and nine saves in 15 opportunities. Because Brad Lidge is 0-8 with a 7.51 ERA and a Major League-leading 11 saves and because Madson looked very good today, I would expect him to continue to close.

“Lidge will get back to where he was. I’m a firm believer in that,” Manuel said. “I don’t want to shoot Lidge. I think he’ll be back to where he was at really. Seriously. But I think right now just from a mental aspect and everything – physical and mental – he needs a little break.”

*

Scott Eyre just wants the opportunity to pitch.

*

It was rookie hazing day Sunday. John Mayberry Jr. and Sergio Escalona wore lady pilot costumes, while J.A. Happ wore a Superwoman contume. No, I don’t have any pictures. I think they would have wrestled me to the ground and stomped on my cell phone had I taken one.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Your Tuesday Injury Update

We’ve got doubleheader baseball today at Land Shark Stadium. We’ve also got Phillies injury updates:

  • Pedro Martinez. He left Saturday’s start in Atlanta after three innings after he strained a muscle on the right side of his neck while swinging the bat. Martinez said he felt a little better after visiting a chiropractor in Miami, but to give him extra time to recover the Phillies pushed back his start from Friday to Saturday in Milwaukee. Cliff Lee will pitch Friday instead. Ruben Amaro Jr. said Martinez threw today and felt pretty good, but the Phillies will know more after tomorrow’s bullpen session.
  • Brett Myers. He had a MRI on his right shoulder today in Philadelphia. He has a Grade 1 strain of his right latissimus dorsi. He will throw a bullpen next Tuesday, and the Phillies said they hope he will be able to pitch again before the end of the regular season.
  • Scott Eyre. He has not pitched since Sept. 7 because of a “loose body” in his left elbow. He threw a bullpen session before Game 1 of today’s doubleheader against the Marlins, and pitching coach Rich Dubee pronounced Eyre ready for action.
  • J.A. Happ. He is fine and will start Thursday in Milwaukee as scheduled. He left Friday’s game in Atlanta after three innings after manager Charlie Manuel thought he favored the rib cage muscle that caused him to miss his previous two starts.
  • Chan Ho Park. He continues to progress from a strained right hamstring. There is no schedule for when he might pitch again, but Amaro said it is possible Park could begin pitching as early as next week.
  • J.C. Romero. He threw 50 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday in Clearwater, Fla. He is expected to pitch Thursday in the Instructional League.
  • Jack Taschner. He has a strained back and continues to progress in Clearwater, Amaro said.
  • Carlos Ruiz. He said his sprained left wrist feels better and will play in Game 2.
  • Greg Dobbs. Miguel Cairo started at third base in Game 1 because Manuel said Dobbs’ right calif isn’t completely healthy. Dobbs said it won’t be 100 percent the remainder of the season, but it doesn’t affect him at the plate.

UPDATE ON MYERS (8:08 p.m.) READ ABOVE.

*

It’s about 30 minutes before first pitch in Game 1 and I’m guess there aren’t more than 200 fans in the stands.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Myers Has Sore Shoulder

The Phillies certainly could have used Brett Myers this weekend at Turner Field.

But Myers never pitched, despite the fact the bullpen pitched 16 innings in the three-game series. In fact, Myers has not pitched since Sept. 12 against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Myers said Friday he had not thrown because Phillies starters had been going deep into games. But that no longer held true after J.A. Happ pitched three innings Friday, Pedro Martinez pitched three innings last night and Cliff Lee pitched four innings this afternoon.

Phillies general manger Ruben Amaro Jr. said following today’s 4-2 victory over the Braves that Myers has had soreness in the back of his right shoulder for more than a week. Myers will fly to Philadelphia on Tuesday to see team physician Michael Ciccotti to “see if there’s anything very serious about it.”

Myers, reached by telephone, said, “I don’t think it’s real serious. I have some stiffness and tightness and they want me to go get it checked out.”

The Phillies have just 14 games to play before the postseason, and with left-handers Scott Eyre (loose body in his left elbow), J.C. Romero (strained left forearm) and Jack Taschner (strained back) and right-hander Chan Ho Park (strained right hamstring) sidelined with injuries, this comes at a bad time. But Myers, who missed more than two months in 2007 with a strained right shoulder, sounded optimistic he would be pitching before the end of the regular season. He said he has thrown each of the previous four days and has felt better each time.

“I should be back,” he said.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Hitting Homers, Dropping Like Flies

OK, let’s run through a few things from last night’s 9-4 victory over the Braves:

  • Ryan Howard went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs. He has six multi-homer games this season, and three of the last five have come against the Braves. After Howard hit .233 (10-for-43) with five doubles, one home run and four RBIs in his first 11 games against the Braves this season, he has hit .647 (11-for-17) with one double, six home runs and 10 RBIs in his last five.
  • The Phillies’ magic number is eight.
  • Kyle Kendrick allowed three hits in four scoreless innings. Kendrick has looked good in his last five appearances (one start). He is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Opponents have hit .231 against him. Five appearances is a small sample size, but if he continues to pitch well, he just might plant a seed in the minds of the Phillies front office as they figure out how to set up their 2010 roster.
  • J.A. Happ said he is fine. He said he never tweaked his right intercostal (rib cage) muscle, which caused him to miss his previous two starts. No tweaks. No pain. No nothing. But Charlie Manuel wasn’t so sure because he said he didn’t see much life on Happ’s ball, particularly in an at-bat against Tim Hudson in the second. That was why Manuel pulled him after the third inning, when he thought Happ tweaked it when he turned to first base on a ground ball to Howard. “He said, ‘I’m telling you, I’m all right,’” Manuel said. “I think he might not have had much pain, but I think he felt something. I’m not sure, so I took him out of the game. We’re short on lefties right now anyway.” The Phillies currently are without left-handers J.C. Romero and Scott Eyre. I think it is safe to say Happ is a good possibility to pitch in the bullpen in the postseason should Romero and Eyre be unavailable.
  • Carlos Ruiz left the game in the sixth inning with a sprained left wrist. He injured it during a play at the plate in the second inning. He said he felt the wrist while he caught, but he mostly felt it when he hit. X-rays were negative, but the feeling from Manuel and Ruiz is that this is not an injury that should force Ruiz to miss an extended period of time. That would be a relief for the Phillies. “It’s a little sore,” Ruiz said. “I’ll see tomorrow how it feels, if I’m OK. If not tomorrow, maybe Sunday.”
  • Howard got hit with a pitch on the right forearm in the eighth inning. It hit him in the exact spot where he got hit with a pitch Thursday against the Nationals. “He ain’t dead by a long shot,” Manuel said. “If I had arms that big a baseball wouldn’t hurt me.” Of course, when you’re hit with a 95 mph fastball, you still feel it. “It’s a little extra sore today. A little extra stiff,” Howard said. “Hopefully in a couple days it will be all right. I’m going to be stiff and sore tomorrow. We’ll wait tomorrow and see how it feels.”

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Looking October Worthy

lee 0915.jpg“They have a lot pros over there. Lee and Pedro Martinez and Cole Hamels go deep in ballgames. That’s a good formula for winning.” — Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman.

The past few nights at Citizens Bank Park have been impressive, and perhaps a glimpse into the future.

Cliff Lee shutout the Nationals tonight at Citizens Bank Park, 5-0, two nights after Pedro Martinez threw 130 pitches in eight shutout innings Sunday in a 1-0 victory over the Mets. Two nights before that, Cole Hamels allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA in his previous four starts.

“Our one to five is as good as anybody’s,” Lee said of a rotation that also includes Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ. “I don’t think you necessarily have to have a 1-2 punch. I think we’ve got a 1-2-3-4-5 punch. That’s never ending.”

It is too early to say what the postseason rotation will look like, but I think the health of left-handers Scott Eyre and J.C. Romero could play a part in it. If they are not healthy, the Phillies could move Happ into the bullpen to give them a left-hander. If that happens, Martinez obviously makes the rotation.

(And, yes, I know the Mets and Nationals aren’t the Dodgers, Rockies or Cardinals, but the Philllies starters are doing what they should do against these offenses. Shut them down.)

*

The last time the Phillies had shutouts in consecutive games was April 27-28, 2003, when Kevin Millwood threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory against the Giants at Veterans Stadium and Brett Myers, Dan Plesac and Jose Mesa combined for a 3-0 victory against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

I remember Millwood’s no-hitter well. I had started the Phillies beat a couple weeks earlier for The Philadelphia Inquirer, but because the Phillies opened a series the next night in Los Angeles, I flew to California that afternoon. In other words, the very first game I missed as a Phillies beat writer Kevin Freakin’ Millwood throws a no-hitter. I remember getting into my rental car at LAX, turning on the radio and hearing Vin Scully say, “And Kevin Millwood has a no-hitter through eight innings!” I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I still can’t believe it.

*

The last time the Phillies had consecutive shutouts in Philadelphia was Aug. 15-16, 2002, against the Brewers and Cardinals. Joe Roa, Mike Timlin and Carlos Silva combined for the shutout against the Brewers, and Randy Wolf shutout the Cardinals.

*

Carlos Ruiz is hitting .429 (18-for-42) with one homer and nine RBIs in his past 17 games.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

We've Got Updates

Got a few injury updates for everybody:

  • Left-hander J.A. Happ, who has a strained intercostal muscle, said he thinks he is better than 50-50 to make his next scheduled start Friday against the Braves in Atlanta. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Happ is about 50-50.
  • Left-hander Scott Eyre said he hopes to receive a cortisone injection into his left elbow today or tomorrow so he can return to the mound in the next few days. Eyre has a “loose body” in the elbow. He described it as a bone chip still attached to the muscle or cartilage. Eyre said he will try to pitch through the pain the remainder of the season.
  • Left-hander J.C. Romero, who had a cortisone injection in his left elbow Tuesday, said he hopes to rejoin the team possibly as early as next Friday in Atlanta.
  • Right-hander Clay Condrey will make a rehab appearance tomorrow for Double A Reading. He could be activated Sunday.
  • Greg Dobbs, who has a strained calf, is running in Clearwater. We don’t have much more on him than that.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Lidge's New Role

Brad Lidge‘s role in the Phillies bullpen has changed, but how that role works remains to be seen.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before tonight’s game against the Nationals that to get Lidge right he plans to pitch him in low stress situations – the Phillies leading or trailing by a few runs – with the possibility to close on occasion. But he also wondered how often those situations will present themselves. Only four of the Phillies’ previous 25 games have been decided by five runs or more.

“I don’t see us using him in the seventh or eighth inning,” Manuel said. “I look at him as a closer. That’s kind of where he fits. I see him pitching once he needs work. If we’re behind in the game or we’re ahead or something by a good margin we’ll get him to make sure he pitches live in the game. He needs to get work where he can command his pitches and he feels good about himself. I agree that he needs work like that. That’s kind of what he wants. I don’t know how much work like that from here to the end of the season we can get him.”

Could he still close this season?

“He could close,” Manuel said. “He hasn’t lost nothing. I’m telling you right now, he definitely can still close. I see where he could be our everyday closer again. Yeah, of course.”

Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee met with Lidge after last night’s 6-5 victory, when Ryan Madson picked up his second save in as many nights. Manuel pulled Lidge from a save situation Tuesday after he loaded the bases with one out, allowing a single, walking a batter, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch.

It sounds like Madson and possibly Brett Myers will be pitching in most save situations until the Phillies deem Lidge fit to return, but Manuel is not going to name Madson or Myers the team’s closer for the foreseeable future, perhaps because he wants to make it clear to Lidge that he can get back his job.

Lidge said he is OK with Manuel’s plans.

“It’s real simple,” Lidge said. “Just get me work to get me where I need to be. That’s about it. I told him, ‘Listen, whatever you need to do, I’ll be ready to take the ball at any time.’ I told him it doesn’t need to be a save situation.’ Obviously, I’m ready to throw in those. But if we’re up by six runs, down by six runs, I feel like I’m very close to where I need to be, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a couple more outings. We’re on the same page with everything and we had a good talk.”

*

Left-hander Scott Eyre received a MRI exam today in Philadelphia. It revelaed a “loose body” in his left elbow, which has been causing his “quick and sharp” pain when he throws. Because Eyre had dye injected into his arm, the Phillies said he will not be able to pitch for a few days. “Obviously, we’re considering different courses of treatment at this point,” Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “He will be unavailable for the next few days.” Proefrock said the Phillies there is a remedy that would allow Eyre to pitch again this season. “We have not made a decision on how to proceed at this point,” Proefrock said. Eyre is 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in 39 appearances this season. … Left-hander J.C. Romero (strained left forearm) and right-hander Clay Condrey (strained right oblique) continue to workout in Philadelphia, but there are no updates on their timetables to return.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Lidge No Longer Lights Out to Close


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lidge 0523.jpg
Charlie Manuel
sounded a little like Herm Edwards this afternoon at Nationals Park.

We play to win the game.

Brad Lidge, who was pulled in the ninth inning in last night’s 5-3 victory over the Nationals after the loaded the bases with one out, said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told him that he would be closing the next time the situation presented itself. But Manuel said this afternoon that he simply told Lidge that he wasn’t afraid of putting him in there.

“I’ll just go with how I feel,” Manuel said.

So if there is a save situation tonight, tomorrow night or Friday, it’s not iron clad that Lidge, who is 0-7 with a 7.11 ERA and a Major League-leading 10 blown saves, is closing?

“I’m going to sit down sometime along the way and talk to him or whatever,” Manuel said. “I’m getting kind of tired, if you want to know the truth. Really, I am. And the reason is because I figure I can put him in the game when I want to. I’ve been very loyal to him. I’ve stuck with him. I did everything I think possible to get him going. There’s no way I want to ever lie to him and things like that. Like I told you last night, I don’t do that. I don’t have a history of doing that. I don’t do it. But at the same time, we’re going to win the game. Hey, the best way we can win the game. If Brad’s not out there to close, well then I guess that’s going to be my decision. We are going to play to win the game. Our team definitely is not about the one guy, either. I’m sure he feels that way. Really. It’s very important that we get him straight and right. But at the same time we’re going to play to win the game.”

In other words, if there is a save situation in the future, it could be Lidge, it could be Ryan Madson, it could be Brett Myers.

It sounds like closer by committee to me.

“He’s having an off season,” Manuel said of Lidge. “And we’re at the place where we need to win some games. If we’re going to win our division, we need to win some games. These are very important games and we need to win them, and I guess I’m going to pitch who I think on that night can do the job. When he gets in there and he gets consistent, he can take that job right back. I look at him in the future as being the closer for the Phillies. But right now we’re going to try to win games. My first priority is to win the game.

“Let me tell you something. When I managed in Cleveland I’d go get my pitcher whenever I wanted to. I’d go get my closer. I used to take (Bob) Wickman out of games and he used to get mad. I’d take John Rocker out. I didn’t give a damn. Because you know what? We were trying to win the game. The main thing was we win the game. If you don’t want to win the game or anything I can put whoever I want to out there, but I’m going to try to have the best guy on that night out there pitching that I possibly can have.”

Manuel made it clear he isn’t afraid to use who he wants, either.

“I’m the manager. I kind of go with how I feel and what I think,” he said. “I’ll take the responsibility. You can put it all on me. Really. I’ll take that. … I’ll bring anybody in the game, all right? I don’t care. Really. When you get right down to it, you me to tell you the truth? I’m not afraid or nothing like that. That’s no big deal. He might be in there tonight. He might be. He might not.”

*

Scott Eyre returned to Philadelphia to see a doctor tomorrow. He has soreness in his left elbow. … Clay Condrey is working out at Citizens Bank Park, and could make a rehab appearance for Double-A Reading. … Jamie Moyer will pitch Saturday against the Mets. Pedro Martinez will pitch Sunday, likely in the second game of a doubleheader. Manuel said Kyle Kendrick likely would pitch the opener Sunday.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Manuel Has His Limits with Lidge


Thumbnail image for lidge 0815.jpgCharlie Manuel
is sticking with Brad Lidge, but his patience has a limit.

He said this afternoon at Nationals Park that while Lidge remains his closer, there will come a time when the Phillies must “win the game.”

Lidge is 0-7 with a 7.15 ERA and a Major-League leading 10 blown saves, but the postseason is less than a month away and the Phillies need more certainty in the ninth inning. Phillies right-hander Brett Myers remains Manuel’s top option to close should Lidge continue to struggle and the Phillies decide they need to go in a different direction.

“When that comes up I think it’s something we will definitely work with,” Manuel said. “I think that he’s our closer. I talk about it every day with (pitching coach Rich) Dubee as far as where he’s at and how he feels and what he’s doing. But at the same time we’re trying to win a championship and everything like that. I’m hoping he’s going to really get more consistent and really help us.”

Asked if he has thoughts about Myers, Manuel said, “I have a lot of thoughts. Really. I think about winning the game. How many times you have guys in the last five years heard me say, ‘I try to win the game.’ What did you make that dumb move for? I said I did it because I tried to win the game. How many times have you heard me say that? Believe me, I was trying to win the game.”

Lidge has had a little bit of everything go wrong this season. He had reporters circle his locker today to ask him numerous questions about a blister on his right index finger, which has bothered him recently. (You never feel more tool-ish as a reporter than when you’re talking about a minor injury, and the questions about that minor injury go on forever.) Lidge said he is fine and ready to pitch. Most of all, he said he is ready to put his troubles behind him. Everybody is.

“We’re in first place,” Lidge said. “Unless catastrophe strikes we’re heading to the playoffs. My mission is to get myself as good as I can be for the playoffs and to do the things that I can do in the postseason. That’s what September is going to be for me: getting locked in. I’ve been having three good outings, one bad outing. Three good outings, one bad outing. I’d like to get to the point where they’re going to be all good. At some point I’ll look back and say, ‘Man, that was a crap year.’ If September goes well and I throw well in the postseason then I’ll be happy with the year. I really will. Because that’s the goal right now.”

*

J.A. Happ has a strained right intercostal muscle and will miss Saturday’s start against the Mets. The Phillies hope he can rejoin the rotation next week. … Left-hander Scott Eyre felt a “quick and sharp” pain in his left elbow Monday in Houston. Doctors examined him today, and said he is day to day with elbow soreness. … J.C. Romero had a cortisone shot in his left elbow today. He will be shut down for a couple days. They will see how he responds and go from there. … Ryan Madson had tendinitis in his right biceps, but he said he is ready to pitch. … Greg Dobbs is running in Floriday and could begin a rehab assingment soon. … Clay Condrey will start throwing simulated games soon and could begin a rehab assignment after.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Making More Moves?

amaro 01.jpgThe national pundits have spoken: the Phillies were winners at the trade deadline.

But a few teams were. The Cardinals reshaped their offense with Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa and Julio Lugo. The Tigers got Jarrod Washburn. The Red Sox got Victor Martinez. The Pirates … ah, nevermind. But the Phillies bolstered their rotation with Cliff Lee, who won the 2008 American League Cy Young Award. They also added a much-needed right-handed bat to their bench with Ben Francisco.

“We’re pretty happy with how it went,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

But not completely satisfied, either. The Phillies still have room to improve, and Amaro said they were close to another trade before Friday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline. Amaro wouldn’t say what it was, but a good guess is another bench player like Francisco because the Phillies seem to have a plethora of arms in the rotation and bullpen.

The Phillies can continue to try to make trades through Aug. 31 and still have those players eligible for postseason play. But players traded from the 40-man roster through the end of the season must clear waivers first.

The Phillies have had success in recent seasons in making waiver trades. There was Matt Stairs and Scott Eyre in 2008, and Jamie Moyer, Jeff Conine and Jose Hernandez in 2006.

“It’s possible,” Amaro said of a waiver trade. “But you never know which guys will get through the waiver process. But we’ll certainly keep an eye on the waiver wire and see if there are ways to improve. Our needs might change as we go through the next month.”

Looking on the bench, Francisco and Stairs solidify the outfield, Greg Dobbs is one of the team’s most potent pinch-hitters and the Phillies like Paul Bako as Carlos Ruiz‘s backup, although Bako has been playing more lately.

Eric Bruntlett has struggled. He is hitting .123 (10-for-81) with six RBIs in 55 games this season.

“Unfortunately for Brunt and fortunately for us, everybody has stayed healthy in the infield,” Amaro said. “He’s not serving the same role as he was last year when he was being used in the outfield for Pat [Burrell]. Basically, he hasn’t had a chance to be on the field as much, so it’s been very difficult to get into any type of offensive rhythm. But he still has a lot of versatility, which is probably his strong suit. He hasn’t produced offensively, and I’m sure he’ll be the first to admit that. But right now there’s nobody who can do that job in our system.”

Triple-A Lehigh Valley infielder Miguel Cairo is hitting .296 (69-for-233) with four homers and 26 RBIs, but the Phillies don’t feel he can play shortstop as well as Bruntlett.

*

Joe Blanton is 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA (six earned runs in 36 2/3 innings) in his previous five starts, and 5-2 with a 2.33 ERA (21 earned runs in 81 innings) in 12 starts since May 21. … The Phillies are hitting .103 (6-for-58) on this road trip with runners in scoring position.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 287 other followers