Results tagged ‘ Scott Eyre ’

Eyre Up, Escalona Down

The Phillies have activated left-hander Scott Eyre from the 15-day disabled list. They have optioned left-hander Sergio Escalona.

That leaves leftfielder Raul Ibanez, right-hander Brett Myers and right-hander Clay Condrey on the DL. Myers is expected to miss the rest of the season. Ibanez hopes to begin a rehab assignment this week, which would allow him to play in the All-Star Game on July 14 in St. Louis. Condrey is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today.

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The Tailspin Continues

werth 0702.jpgIt looks bad out there.

Real bad.

The Phillies have lost 14 of their last 18 games to fall into a first-place tie in the National League East with … the Marlins. The Mets are a game back. The Braves are two back.

In just three weeks, the Phillies have breathed life into the rest of the NL East.

“Without question, everyone has a shot in the division,” Braves leftfielder Matt Diaz said after last night’s 5-2 victory over the Phillies. “The Mets are going to start getting healthy. The Marlins are as solid as they appeared to be earlier in the year when everyone though they were the favorite. The Phillies are defending world champs. When they get (Raul) Ibanez back, that’s a different offense.”

How the heck has this happened? The Phillies have not hit, pitched or played particulary good defense. They have hit .233 and scored just 76 runs (4.22 per game) in this 18-game freefall. The rotation has a 5.23 ERA, and the bullpen has a 6.56 ERA with four blown saves. They have been hurt (Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Brett Myers, Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey). They have made mental mistakes.

“Times like this can build character for a team,” Chase Utley said. “That’s the way I look at it.”

The Phillies have looked flat at times, although it is easy to look flat when you’re not hitting or pitching or playing good defense. Charlie Manuel called a team meeting following a loss to the Blue Jays last Friday in Toronto. Manuel addressed a few things in that meeting, including his concern about distractions. That is something pitching coach Rich Dubee mentioned before Thursday’s loss.

“I feel like we’re coming to the park prepared,” Utley said. “We obviously haven’t been playing that well, but we haven’t seen a change in our attitude for the negative. It’s obviously a rough stretch. We’re definitely not making any excuses, but we do need to start playing better in all parts of the ball: offensively, defensively. We need to pitch better. That’s the bottom line. How do you do that? You stay motivated. You stay positive. You have to come to the field every day to prepare and prepare to win.”

The Phillies returned to Philadelphia last night for a nine-game homestand before the All-Star break against the Mets, Reds and Pirates. That normally would be considered a good thing, except the Phillies left Philadelphia for their just completed road trip following a 1-8 homestand — one of the worst homestands in the franchise’s 127-year history.

“Our game is not together,” Manuel said. “We’re all screwed up. The nights we hit, we don’t pitch. The nights we pitch, we don’t hit. We’re losing games late. We’re playing bad baseball.”

It can’t continue much longer, can it? 

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Jimmy Rollins snapped a career-worst 0-for-28 slump with a single to right field in the third inning. It was Rollins’ first hit since June 18, a span of 14 days and 12 games, four of which Rollins did not play.

“I got some hits, so that was good,” said Rollins, who went 2 for 4.

Is it a relief?

“Relief?” he said. “From?”

It had been a while.

“Yeah, I know,” he said.

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Carrasco? Drabek? Who?


carrasco.jpgA popular choice to fill Antonio Bastardo‘s spot in the rotation Thursday in Atlanta is Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco.

He is one of the team’s top pitching prospects, and it could be his turn to get a shot.

But while Ruben Amaro Jr. said nice things about Carrasco (4-7, 4.92 ERA) today when I asked about him, he also quickly mentioned Rodrigo Lopez (5-4, 3.91 ERA), Kyle Kendrick (4-4, 3.97 ERA) and Andrew Carpenter (7-1, 2.75 ERA) as possibilities. Carpenter is having the best season of the four. Lopez has the most big-league experience. Kendrick has more experience than Carrasco or Carpenter.

One person who isn’t a candidate is Double-A Reading right-hander Kyle Drabek (4-0, 2.43 ERA). In fact, Drabek isn’t expected to be a candidate to help the Phillies at all in 2009.

Here is what Amaro told me earlier today about Drabek:

“He’s got great stuff,” Amaro said. “He’s going to be a quality Major League pitcher, if he stays healthy. But we do not believe he is ready to pitch in the big leagues at this time. He needs more Minor League experience. I would not count on him for the 2009 season. He’s not somebody we would actively move to the big leagues because he needs time to pitch in the Minor Leagues and he’s coming off [Tommy John] surgery. Now, there are circumstances that may change that, but right now we’re fully committed to having him pitch in the Minor Leagues in 2009.”

That does not shock me because I had trouble coming up with a player recently who made the jump from Single-A to the big leagues in the same season and had success doing it. I also had trouble coming up with a pitcher who made the jump from Single-A to the big leagues in the same season after missing most of the previous season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Amaro said circumstances could change, which could put Drabek back in the mix. But now it appears Drabek’s earliest shot at the Majors will be 2010.

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Amaro on the trade market at the moment: “When you have this many teams in the race it’s very thin. It’s always thin. Again, there were three teams who got pitching last year. Three teams out of 30. That’s 10 percent. We can say, ‘Pretty please can we have a pitcher?’ but that doesn’t mean one will become available.”

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Scott Eyre is scheduled to make a rehab appearance tonight for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

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Getting Frustrated …


phillies 0625.jpgCharlie Manuel
is tired of it.

The Phillies have lost 10 of their last 12 games following last night’s 10-4 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field. They have hit .232 and scored 53 runs in that span. The rotation has a 5.24 ERA. The bullpen has a 7.44 ERA. The defense has committed eight errors.

And then there are the mental errors.

“If I’m going to go out there and address (the mental errors), there’s a lot of other crap I should be addressing, too,” Manuel said. “I don’t know where I go from there. It’s building up. The dam bursts and get it all out. What can you say?”

“You know what? You play like that right there, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose some more. That’s not good play. I don’t think anybody in our clubhouse will tell you that they think that’s very good play. We’ve lost some games where we’ve given some away. We’ve lost some games where we’ve played bad baseball. We’ve made some mental mistakes. Mistakes that you’re not supposed to make. Sometimes we don’t score. Sometimes we don’t hold them. We don’t play consistent baseball. We don’t have the pitching and the hitting and the defense together. That’s how you accumulate losses.”

The Phillies have been in stretches like this before, but I don’t recall a stretch with so many mental errors lumped so close together.

It obviously will help once Raul Ibanez returns to the lineup. It will help to have Scott Eyre and Clay Condrey back in the bullpen, too. But strained left shoulder or not, it is clear after watching Antonio Bastardo pitch last night that this team really needs to get some starting pitching help before the trade deadline.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, there is almost nothing available right now.

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Another clue Manuel is frustrated: the clubhouse doors opened almost immediately following last night’s game. The doors are supposed to remain closed to the media 10 minutes after every game for a “cooling off” period. But once we got to the doors last night, they opened. That is the first time that has happened since I’ve been on the beat.

Usually Manuel likes to decompress a bit. This time I think Manuel just wanted to get it over with.

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Jimmy Rollins declined before and after the game to talk about Manuel’s decision to bench him at least two games.

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Condrey to DL

condrey 0524.jpgIt looks like the Phillies have lost another relief pitcher to the disabled list.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told me tonight that right-hander Clay Condrey likely is headed to the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. Condrey had tests on the oblique yesterday.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said last week that Condrey had been bothered with back problems. I asked Condrey about it, but he downplayed the injury. But back injury or oblique injury, it certainly would help explain why Condrey has struggled recently. Condrey, who is 4-2 with a 3.71 ERA, was 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA in his first 31 appearances this season. He is 0-1 with a 162.00 ERA (six earned runs in 1/3 inning) in his last two appearances.

Left-hander Sergio Escalona is likely to take Condrey’s place.

Amaro said an official decision on Condrey won’t be made until tomorrow.

The Phillies already have closer Brad Lidge and left-hander Scott Eyre on the DL. Lidge could rejoin the team this week.

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What The Heck Just Happened?

manuel 062109.jpgI sense frustration out there.

That frustration is understandable. The Phillies have been in the National League since 1883, and fans just watched one of the seven worst homestands in franchise history. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.

Raul Ibanez and Scott Eyre went on the DL.

Ryan Howard checked into the hospital. Twice. (The Phillies said today that Howard has acute sinusitis. He will not fly with the team to Tampa tonight, but could fly there tomorrow and play tomorrow night in the series opener against the Rays.)

The continued to play without Brad Lidge and Brett Myers.

The bullpen continues to be overworked because the rotation can’t pitch into the sixth inning. The Phillies couldn’t come up with big hits. They had physical errors and mental errors.

Let’s break down the numbers from the first 58 games, when the Phillies were 35-23 and had a four-game lead over the Mets in the National League East, and the last nine, when they went 1-8 to fall to 36-31 with a two-game lead over the Mets.

Hitting
First 58 games:
They hit .263 with a .342 OBP and a .462 SLG. They scored 318 runs (5.48 per game). They hit 85 home runs (1.5 per game), walked 226 times and struck out 380 times (18.8 percent of their at-bats).
Last 9 games: The Phillies hit .235 with a .309 OBP and a .402 SLG during the homestand. They scored 38 runs (4.22 per game). They hit 13 home runs (1.4 per game), walked 30 times and struck out 83 times (25.7 percent of their at-bats).

Pitching
First 58 games:
They had a 4.60 ERA, striking out 7.1 batters per nine innings and opponents hitting .267 against them. Starters had a 5.28 ERA in that span. The bullpen had a 3.45 ERA.
Last 9 games: They had a 5.97 ERA, striking out 8.2 batters per nine innings and opponents hitting .314 against them. Starters had a 5.37 ERA in that span. The bullpen had a 6.88 ERA.

Fielding
First 58 games:
They had 19 errors and a .991 fielding percentage.
Last 9 games: They had eight errors and a .977 fielding percentage.

The one thing that jumps out is the bullpen ERA. The bullpen held the pitching staff together through its first 58 games, but the relievers look tired. They probably are. And if the starters can’t start pitching deeper into games and the front office can’t find a starter before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies might need to find bullpen reinforcements instead.

Yes, the offense struggled. Yes, the Phillies looked sloppy in the field. But I expect both of those things to correct themselves. This team will hit. This team will catch the ball. But will it pitch well enough to win?

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A reason not to panic: the American League is better than the National League, just like last season (the World Series notwithstanding). The Phillies remain one of the best teams in the National League and that should show up once Interleague Play ends, just like last season. Since the Phillies went 1-8 against the AL, the Mets and Braves are 3-6. The Nationals are 4-5. Only the Marlins have a winning record in their division at 6-3 since the Phillies started to play against the AL.

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Ibanez and Chase Utley still lead voting amongst outfielders and second basemen for the NL All-Star Team. Jimmy Rollins has fallen to second behind Florida’s Hanley Ramirez.

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I have not bought into the hype that the Phillies are less intense at home or try too hard at home. I just think for whatever reason they have played poorly at home. That said, I’m sure they are happy to begin a nine-game road trip tomorrow night in Tampa Bay.

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The seven worst homestands in Phillies history:

  • 0-7 – Sept. 21-27, 1964 vs. Reds and Braves
  • 0-6 – May 1-7, 1883 vs. Grays and Braves
  • 1-9-1 – July 6-20, 1941 vs. Giants, Pirates, Cardinals, Cubs and Reds
  • 1-9 – Aug. 9-19, 2004 vs. Rockies, Giants and Astros
  • 1-8 – May 4-13, 1937 vs. Cubs, Pirates, Reds and Cardinals
  • 1-8 - Aug. 20-29, 1979 vs. Braves, Astros and Reds
  • 1-8 – June 12 -21, 2009 vs. Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles

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The Perfect Storm


barajas 0618.jpgCharlie Manuel
talked yesterday about how the Phillies have not played good baseball for the past week.

There have been mental mistakes upon physical mistakes. They have not swung the bats well at times. The starters can’t get past the sixth inning and the bullpen looks exhausted. The exhaustion is one thing. It has been a long week. (I punch buttons on a keyboard for a living and I’m tired.) But Manuel was asked if he feels he needs to address his team about the sloppy play.

“I’ve been thinking about that for two or three days if you want to know the truth,” he said. “But at the same time with the way things are — we’re kind of beat up, we’ve got guys out, we come back in a game like we did today — I don’t know if that’s the right time to go in there and start screaming and hollering and cussing and throwing things. Don’t get me wrong. I’m headed that way, I guess. But I ain’t quite there yet. Maybe somebody ought to push me into it. But, no, I’ll get it when the time comes.”

The Phillies are banged up. They placed Raul Ibanez, the team’s MVP through 64 games, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. They’re hopeful Ibanez will be back on July 3, when he is eligible to be activated, but Ruben Amaro Jr. said it could be longer. The Phillies already are without No. 2 starter Brett Myers, closer Brad Lidge and left-handed specialist Scott Eyre.

Combine those things – the injuries, the extra-inning games, the rain delays, the mental and physical mistakes – with the return of the American League and no wonder the Phillies have lost 5 of 6.

But doesn’t this seem familiar?

The Phillies entered Interleaugue Play last year at 41-30 with a three-game lead over the Mets. But they won just 1 of 3 against the Red Sox before the Angels swept them at home. Then they lost 4 of 6 on the road in Oakland and Texas.

The Phillies entered Interleague Play this year at 35-23 with a four-game lead over the Mets. They had won 10 of 13. But they won just 1 of 3 against the Red Sox before the Blue Jays swept them at home. They host the Orioles this weekend before they hit the road to play the Rays and Blue Jays.

“We’ve had some mental mistakes over the last couple days,” Ryan Howard said. “You just can’t have that. You’d rather have it now than later obviously, but it is what it is.”

What it is is a perfect storm for losing. The Phillies just hope they can weather it through their remaining nine Interleague games.

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Rod Barajas had the last laugh.

He hit a game-winning homer in the ninth against Ryan Madson in yesterday’s 8-7 victory. Barajas, one of Philly’s most disliked athletes in recent seasons, is 8-for-16 with four homers and 10 RBIs against the Phillies since he left them following the 2007 season.

“I hear them,” Barajas said of Phillies fans. “I laugh at them. I joke around with [Chris] Coste or [Carlos] Ruiz, whoever is back there. When I go up to hit, Coste is booing me, too.”

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Posts might be a little infrequent this weekend because of a family affair, but I will when I can.

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Myers Walks!


myers 0527.jpgBrett Myers
is walking.

He has a limp, but he is walking. He had not been expected to walk until 10 to 14 days after he had right hip surgery June 4. But he is walking a few days earlier than that. And that is why Myers thinks there is a chance he could be pitching again for the Phillies in September, despite the fact Ruben Amaro Jr. said they are not expecting Myers to pitch again this season.

Myers is OK with Amaro’s assessment. He understands. But that does not mean he isn’t going to try.

“It’s not getting your hopes up because you don’t know,” Myers said. “There could be a setback to where it could take an extra two weeks. It could take an extra month. That’s a fair statement to make. But if I can come back quicker and I’m able to pitch again this year it’ll be hopefully good for me to get back out there to help the team.

“Realistically, I think I can possibly be back by September. As of right now, the way I’m starting to feel, barring any setbacks. You’ve just got to do what your body will tell you to do.”

It has not been easy for Myers to watch games at home. He is one of the more energetic players in the clubhouse.

“I didn’t realize how into the games I got watching them on TV,” he said. “I thought I was into it more when I was actually here. But it’s a little worse when I’m at home because I can actually scream at the TV. It’s pretty pathetic. People won’t watch the games with me because I can actually see if an umpire misses a call or something. I’m going, ‘You missed it!’ And I can’t even call anybody to tell them, ‘Hey, he missed that call.’”

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Bad news and good news for Scott Eyre.

The bad news: The Phillies placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf. Righthaner Kyle Kendrick took his place in the bullpen. Why Kendrick, who has been starting all season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley?

“Kendrick was supposed to pitch tonight, and also we needed some length,” Charlie Manuel said. “We felt like with all the Interleague Play we have coming up and who were playing and stuff, we might get into a situation where we need somebody who can throw anywhere from one to four, five innings. And that’s Kendrick. Our reports say Kendrick’s been throwing the ball pretty good. They say his changeup is really starting to show some improvement.”

The good news: The government released Eyre’s assets, which the government had frozen in February while investigating a financial fraud scheme.

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The Phillies drafted J.D. Drew in 1997. Nineteen Ninety Seven. Is it still necessary to boo him every time he hits?

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Eyre Placed On DL, Kendrick Recalled

The Phillies placed left-hander Scott Eyre on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf. He injured the calf last night agianst the Mets.

The Phillies recalled right-hander Kyle Kendrick from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his place.

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Outta Here, Outta Here, Outta Here …

If it seems like the Phillies have been giving up a lot of home runs, they have.

Elias Sports Bureau reports the Phillies set a Major League record by allowing at least one home run in each of their first 14 games. The 2001 Milwaukee Brewers held the previous record by allowing at least one home run in their first 13 games.

Ten of 12 Phillies pitchers have allowed a home run this season.

Not to jinx them, but Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre are the only two who haven’t allowed a long ball.

The Phillies have allowed 31 homers this season to lead the majors. The Orioles and Rangers are second in baseball with 27. The closest NL team? The Rockies, who have allowed 22.

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