Results tagged ‘ Shane Victorino ’

A Bottom Heavy Offense

Something (kind of) interesting happened last night at Citizens Bank Park.

Placido Polanco went 2 for 4 to raise his batting average to .254. The guy who was hitting .196 on Tuesday now has a higher batting average than Hunter Pence (.253), Shane Victorino (.241) and Jimmy Rollins (.216). That shows you how much those three have struggled lately, but it also shows you how quickly a couple good games this early in the season can spike a batting average.

Rollins, Pence and Victorino combined to go 0-for-12 in last night’s 5-1 loss to the Cubs. The rest of the lineup, excluding the pitcher’s spot, went 7-for-19.

Phillies No. 3 hitters are last in baseball with a .497 OPS. Their cleanup hitters are 19th with a .715 OPS. Rollins and Pence have primarily held those two spots, but a lack of production is a lineup-wide problem. The only two spots in the lineup, excluding the pitcher’s spot, that rank in the top half in baseball in OPS are No. 6 (13th with a .750 OPS) and No. 7 (fourth with a .865 OPS). Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix and Carlos Ruiz have hit sixth in 12 of the team’s 20 games. Ruiz and Nix have hit seventh in 15 of the 20 games.

Nix (1.052), Wigginton (.875) and Ruiz (.796) lead the team in OPS among players with 20 or more at-bats.

Here is a ranking of the lineup’s most productive spots in the order this season, based on OPS:

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Cover Your Eyes

Freddy Galvis has no reason to hang his head. He has played brilliant defense, and is hitting .214 with four doubles, one home run and five RBIs through 17 games. Those five extra-base hits are tied with Carlos Ruiz for the team lead. Not bad for a guy that had just 121 at-bats above Double-A Reading before this season.

It’s the rest of the offense that has played terribly.

That is why the Phillies clung to the five runs they scored in the ninth inning in last night’s 9-5 loss to the Diamondbacks.

Charlie Manuel called it a morale booster.

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Chase Utley would not offer a timetable for his return, but I would not be surprised if he is back before June 1. He returned to action on May 23 last season, and Utley sure seemed pleased with his progress when we talked to him yesterday. We asked Charlie Manuel if Utley could play some first base upon his return, especially if Ryan Howard is still on the DL. Manuel would not rule out the possibility, but he did not say it was something he was considering, either.

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Polanco’s Elbow Is OK

So Placido Polanco got hit in the left elbow with a pitch late in last night’s 5-2 victory over the Giants.

Polanco said afterward he is fine. He indicated the ball hit him below the protective armor he wears, but also below the actual elbow. He pointed to an area just below the elbow, which did not seem to have any swelling. In fact, Polanco seemed to be happily eating his postgame meal when we approached him and asked how he was doing. That’s good considering Polanco missed a lot of time in 2010 because of an elbow injury that ultimately required surgery.

But Charlie Manuel offered the best answer to Polanco’s HBP.

“Yeah, he got hit on the elbow,” he joked. “That’s one of his main elbows. He’s only got two. Hit him in the crazy bone.”

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Small Ball, No Runs

So be honest, how nervous are you right now?

I’ve seen some truly awful Phillies starts over the past 10 years. The Phillies are 1-2. Yes, the offense has been dreadful. Yes, the bullpen has been more than suspect. But it’s just one series.

Relax … for now.

“It’s three games into the season,” Shane Victorino said. “There is no reason to sit here and … panic. Do we want to be 3-0? Absolutely. I don’t want to be 1-2, but we sit at 1-2 and that’s what it is.”

“Anytime you open the season, you always want to win the first series, you want to win the first game, you want to get hits, you want to make big pitches,” Jim Thome said. “I think the one things I’ve learned over the years is that it’s a long haul. And we have a very talented club, we have a very, very good club. … Any time you play the first series, everything is always magnified. That’s part of the game.”

That said, the offense certainly hasn’t looked capable of hitting anybody, which makes you wonder how they’re going to handle the Marlins (Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle) this week at Citizens Bank Park. But I thought Charlie Manuel made a very interesting comment following today’s 5-4 loss to the Pirates.

“I don’t want our guys to think we can’t score,” he said. “I think that sometimes when we bunt in situations, we send a message. I’m an offensive guy. I’m here because I’m an offensive guy. I’m a true believer that you get better because of confidence and the manager has to show that. We’ve got guys who have been good hitters in the past. We have to get where we want to be. I believe we’re going to score runs. It’s a matter of getting guys hot.”

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Baby, You’re (Gonna Be) A Rich Man

So we know Cole Hamels will be signing at least a five-year, $112.5 million contract.

The Giants and Matt Cain agreed to those terms yesterday, and I believe most everybody would agree Hamels is a better pitcher than Cain. Hamels is 74-54 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games in cozy Citizens Bank Park. Cain is 67-72 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games at canyon-esque AT&T Park. Hamels has more strikeouts (1,091 to 1,055), a better strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.74 to 2.32) and WHIP (1.14 to 1.21) in that span. He is at the top of most pitching categories in the National League since he made his big-league debut. Cain is up there with him, but Hamels is usually just a bit better.

So if Cain got that, Hamels gets what?

I wonder if the Phillies said today, “How about Cliff Lee money?” if Hamels takes it.

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Victorino: Let’s Make A (Five-Year) Deal

Shane Victorino had some interesting things to say about his impending free agency:

Read the story here.

In a nutshell, he wants a five-year deal, but is open to a reasonable hometown discount. But what’s interesting about his situation — and he knows it — is that as the Phillies creep closer and closer to the$178 million luxury tax threshold they have some tough decisions to make. For instance: Can they afford Cole Hamels, Hunter Pence (who becomes a free agent after 2013) and Victorino? Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz (assuming the Phillies pick up Ruiz’s ’13 club option) become free agents following the 2013 season, too. The Phillies already have a ton of money on the books for Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon and Jimmy Rollins.

At some point somebody might get cut out.

Could that be Victorino? He hopes not. He made it clear he wants to stay, and that’s why he’s hoping to make something happen now.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!

Hamels Isn’t the Only Potential Phillies Free Agent

Guess who else becomes a free agent following this season?

Shane Victorino.

It seems 100 percent of the attention has been on Cole Hamels, but the Phillies’ All-Star centerfielder could walk following the 2012 season, too. Victorino arrived in camp today to a red carpet, director’s chair and lights in front of his locker following last night’s appearance on Hawaii 5-0. (Photo courtesy of Jimmy Rollins.) That’s all fun and games, but here’s some of what Victorino said about his potential free agency.

“You definitely think about it, but you’ve just got to stay focused on what’s ahead of you,” he said. “It’s a big year for all of us, not just because of free agency. Getting back to where we need to be is very important. There are a lot of expectations. I don’t want to use the word disappointment, but last year ended so quick. We want to keep this team as long as we can, but there’s a certain point when all that stuff starts coming into play.”

Victorino said there haven’t been any contract negotiations yet, but he said he plans on it.

“I don’t plan on going anywhere else,” he said.

Victorino said he would “like to stay focused on the season and not worry about that kind of stuff, but you never know what’s going to happen. I never put a time frame on anything, but I just want to stay focused on playing the season out and seeing what happens. We’ll go from there. But I don’t think you should put a time frame on it. But is it going to be a distraction if you’re talking about it during the year? Yeah, I think sometimes it does.”

So, much like Hamels, Victorino said he wants to stay in Philly and has no timetable to reach an extension …

Mark Your Calendar: Victorino on Hawaii Five-O on Feb. 20


Shane Victorino is appearing on the Feb. 20 episode of Hawaii Five-O on CBS.

According to CBS, Victorino stars as a business executive on a company retreat. Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno also appears in the episode as a Hawaiian history buff. The episode centers around the murder of a man dressed as a Hawaiian NaKoa warrior.

The Phillies have been well represented the last couple years on television. Ryan Howard has appeared on HBO’s Entourage and FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Chase Utley appeared in the same episode of It’s Always Sunny. The Phanatic just appeared in a recent episode of NBC’s 30 Rock.

Jimmy Rollins said last year he did voice work for an episode of FOX’s The Cleveland Show, although an airdate is unknown.

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The theme song to Hawaii Five-O is great. But where’s the love for Magnum, P.I?

Polanco Wins Gold Glove

Placido Polanco won a Gold Glove tonight.

Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz were finalists, but lost to Matt Kemp and Yadier Molina, respectively.

Polanco is just the second player in baseball history to win Gold Gloves at two different positions. He won twice as a second baseman with Detroit in 2007 and 2009 before winning as a third baseman this year with the Phillies. Darin Erstad won as an outfielder with the Angels in 2000 and 2002 before winning at first base in 2004.

The Flyin’ Hawaiian Speaks

Shane Victorino spoke to reporters for the first time since the Phillies lost Game 5 of the NLDS on Friday.

Does Friday feel like a long time ago to fans? Or is the loss still fresh?

Anyway, here are a few highlights from his news conference.

On his frustration: If you’re disappointed and you’re frustrated, I’m 10 times more disappointed that we were ousted in the first round. This was a special team. I think we had one goal, and that was to get to the World Series. I think a lot of people took that into consideration that if we didn’t get to the World Series, this season would be a bust. As a player, that’s what I want. I want fans that want the best out of their players. … This is probably the hardest one to swallow. Winning in 2008, yeah, I made the last out in 2009, but I was able to go home that night and say we came that far, but we fell a little short. We just ran into a team in San Fran last year that was playing that much better. This year I think it was tough to swallow.

On taking a step back every year in the playoffs since winning the 2008 World Series: “It’s not a trend. It’s an occurrence. I will promise you in 2012 it will be different. We’re that much hungrier. I’m hungrier.”

On offense’s shortcomings: “For a guy like myself who did make a statement like that in spring training, to say not to forget about this offense, and for it not to show up in the postseason … we could sit here all day long and reflect on what we didn’t do. Look at our team. It was definitely built around our pitching, and to not show up in the postseason, I think that’s very tough.”

On how team can improve offensive approach: “I’d like to say we all just need to figure it out. I keep saying that. Individually we need to maybe look in the mirror this offseason and see what we need to do differently, what we can do differently and go out there in spring training and work at it and come back in 2012 and be the offense that we’re capable of being.  People are going to say as these guys are getting older, they’re not as good. I don’t see why you can’t get better. We’re a good offensive team. I think that we can be a great offensive team. Some of the pieces might be a little different next year. But I don’t see a reason why we can’t be the team we were in ’08 and ’09. But we’ve got to work at it.”

On the offseason: “Going into this offseason, this might be the most hungry I’ve ever been. I have that bitter taste in my mouth. This year, I 100 percent have that bitter taste in my mouth. I want to come back that much better, that much more excited to play. This was by far the toughest one to swallow. Three days later I’m still bitter we didn’t reach the ultimate goal.”

 

 

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