Results tagged ‘ Shane Victorino ’

Victorino Activated, Mayberry Optioned

Earlier this week I thought the Phillies might place Michael Martinez on waivers to make room for Shane Victorino, but it became more obvious they would option John Mayberry Jr. instead.

It became official today.

I’m not in Pittsburgh this weekend, but I’m guessing the reasoning is close to what I wrote yesterday: Mayberry will get very little playing time with Raul Ibanez in left field, Victorino in center field and Domonic Brown and Ben Francisco in right field. Mayberry might be the team’ second-best defensive outfielder (and one of the team’s better runners, too), but he has hit just .187 with three doubles, two homers and nine RBIs since April. He also has hit just .172 against left-handers in that stretch, which hurts his case to platoon in left or right field. Yes, Francisco has struggled. He has hit just .192 against left-handers this season. But here is the reality of the situation: Francisco is making $1.175 million. If Mayberry were hitting .300 against left-handers, I think it would have been a much more difficult decision. But unfortunately for Mayberry, his lack of production at the plate over the last month hurt him.

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Relax for a Second

The Phillies have played seven consecutive games with six or fewer hits and three or fewer runs.

Gotta get a bat, right?

Hold on just a second. Actually, hold on for a month. I’m not ready to start trading prospects or key players on the 25-man roster for a few reasons:

  • Chase Utley hasn’t played yet.
  • Domonic Brown hasn’t played yet.
  • Shane Victorino is on the DL.
  • A couple key hitters are slumping.

The Phillies have not played one game this year, including Spring Training, with their everyday lineup. I want to see what happens when everybody is back. I want to see how Utley plays. I want to see how Brown handles right-handed pitching on a regular basis. If they play like the Phillies expect, their lineup just got a whole lot better. The Phillies are in the perfect storm of slumps right now. They’re missing two of their everyday players, and their other everyday players are in a deep funk. Ryan Howard is in the worst slump of his career (0-for-23). Placido Polanco is hitting .231 this month. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .233. Carlos Ruiz is hitting .211. We know about Ben Francisco‘s struggles, which is a big reason why Brown is here. We know Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr have not been productive offensively at second base. The .567 OPS for Phillies second basemen is 15th in the National League.

Raul Ibanez is the only hitter in the lineup hitting right now. He is hitting .344 this month.

You have to assume Howard, Polanco, Rollins and Ruiz turn things around, although Ruiz has struggled offensively the entire season. If Utley and Brown do their things they should be OK. But if things don’t work out like the Phillies hope, realistically, they don’t seem to have a lot of options. They basically only can improve in the corner outfield spots or second base, if Utley gets hurt again.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. It’s May 21. Tell me the last time a team made a blockbuster trade before June 1? If the Phillies make a move it’s much more likely to happen closer to July 31. That is more than two months away. A lot can happen in two months.

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Surprise, surprise: Brown Called Up

Asked last night why the Phillies would not promote Domonic Brown from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “We don’t think he’s ready to do it.”

His opinion changed over night.

The Phillies recalled Brown to replace Shane Victorino, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. They also optioned Scott Mathieson and recalled David Herndon. I’m guessing the Phillies needed a fresh arm following a bullpen game last night against the Rockies, which is why Mathieson is out and Herndon is in. When the Phillies place Joe Blanton on the DL next week, I think Herndon goes back down and Vance Worley comes back up.

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Returning Home Limping

A few thoughts before the Phillies open a nine-game homestand tonight against the Rockies:

  • The Phillies have a four-game losing streak, exactly the thing Charlie Manuel thought he wouldn’t have before the season started. But when the offense hits .142 (17-for-120) with a .224 on-base percentage and a .200 slugging percentage over four games you’re going to lose, no matter how good the pitching is.
  • The Phillies could use a jolt, but Chase Utley won’t provide it tonight. He’ll be in Clearwater getting at-bats for the Threshers. But this nine-game homestand runs through May 26. Utley has to be activated no later than May 30, if the Phillies think he is healthy, which means there is a good chance we see him before the Phillies hit the road again.
  • Shane Victorino thought his injured hamstring would be fine by tonight, but it sounds like it isn’t there yet if the Phillies are talking about a MRI.
  • Domonic Brown returned to the lineup last night with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He went 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two walks. Like I’ve said, if Brown keeps hitting the ball like he has and the Phillies’ corner outfielders continue to struggle, I think we’ll see Brown sooner rather than later.
  • Not that it will make you feel any better, but according to Elias Sports Bureau, Cardinals pitcher Jamie Garcia is the first pitcher to throw 30 or more innings and allow no more than one earned run in his first four home starts in a season since Roger Clemens in 1991. Clemens allowed just one earned run through his first 32 innings at Fenway Park.

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Blanton’s Velocity Down, Victorino Hurting

A few random notes/thoughts on yesterday’s 5-3 loss to the Braves:

  • Joe Blanton still feels soreness in his right elbow, but he said afterward it has improved from his last start. But there is no mistaking his velocity is down. His fastball averaged roughly 86 mph today. Its average is 89 mph for the season. “Blanton isn’t throwing 90-plus anymore,” Chipper Jones said. “He threw a couple balls over the plate in the first inning. But after that not a whole lot. He stayed on the corners. He’s got a really good changeup. But he’s got a really good changeup because he throws 90 or 91. I only saw a couple 88 or 89s today. Most of them were 85, 86, or 87.”
  • Shane Victorino left the game with soreness in his right hamstring. He will not play tomorrow. He said he hopes a little rest will be enough, but leg injuries are tricky. If he flat out pulls it he could miss a significant period of time. I’m sure the Phillies want him to be smart.
  • Ben Francisco is hitting .071 (2-for-28) with six walks and six strikeouts since May 1. Braves right-hander Tim Hudson pitches in today’s series finale. Maybe today is a good time for Ross Gload to start. John Mayberry Jr. could be starting in center field with Victorino out. He has hit .250 (5-for-20) with one RBI against right-handers this season, but if he can show Charlie Manuel he can hit right-handers maybe he can earn a little more playing time when Victorino comes back.

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Rollins Comes Up Big in Florida

A few notes from tonight’s 5-3 victory over the Marlins:

  • Jimmy Rollins made the final outs in the third, fifth and seventh innings before his game-winning single in the ninth. “We’ve got to stop meeting like this,” first base coach Sam Perlozzo said after Rollins’ out in the seventh. “I know,” Rollins replied. “But until then take this helmet.”
  • Rollins’ error cost the Phillies a victory last night. He won the game tonight. “Like they say, right man at the right time,” he said. “It was a good time to be up there. Last night I was in the spot and didn’t come through. Tonight I was in the spot and was able to come through. That was good. It felt good.”
  • Raul Ibanez is hitting .455 (15-for-33) with five doubles, two home runs and five RBIs since snapping a 0-for-35 slump May 3.
  • Pete Orr had one extra-base hit this season until doubling in the seventh and ninth innings.
  • Shane Victorino extended his hitting streak to 14 games with his game-tying homer to left in the eighth.
  • Rollins has reached safely in 19 consecutive games.
  • Cliff Lee walked none in six innings. He has not walked a batter in 17 of his last 36 starts.
  • Charlie Manuel, on his team scratching for runs late: “There comes a time when you’ve got to make up your mind, when your grit comes out. Every now and then we’ve got to push ourselves to reach down and get some. You don’t never, ever, never, ever give in. If you’re getting the (stuff) beat out of you, you stay there and you fight it just like a man.”

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Miss That Three-Run Homer

There’s been a lot of talk about small ball and manufacturing runs lately, but Charlie Manuel couldn’t have been more pleased to see Placido Polanco hit a three-run homer yesterday in a 4-3 victory over the Brewers.

The victory snapped a two-game losing streak.

Polanco and Shane Victorino got the big hits, but the Phillies pitched well. You have to think the Phillies won’t have too many extended losing streaks this season because of the pitching. The Phillies had eight losing streaks of three games or more last season. They had a season-high five-game losing streak May 22-27. Of course, that streak had nothing to do with pitching and everything to do with four shutout losses. But assuming that doesn’t happen again, it’s tough to see them losing five-straight games.

If the over/under on the team’s longest losing streak this season is 4 1/2 games what are you taking?

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It’s Lee or Losing Streak

The Phillies put their “Four Aces” theory to the test this afternoon — the theory being they won’t have many losing streaks — when Cliff Lee pitches against the Brewers. The Phillies must beat the Brewers today to avoid a sweep and a three-game losing streak.

Of course, it would make life easier on Lee with a little run support.

A few notes:

  • The Phillies have scored 23 runs from April 10-19, which ranks last in the National League. They have hit .204 with a .269 on-base percentage and a .270 slugging percentage. Each of those marks ranks last in the league.
  • They also have just 10 extra-base hits, which are the fewest in the league.
  • Elias Sports Bureau says: The 9-0 loss tied the largest margin of defeat in a Roy Halladay start in 11 seasons. The Blue Jays lost to the Rangers, 11-2, on July 16, 2004. The only larger margin of defeat came April 15, 2000, when the Mariners beat the Blue Jays, 17-6.
  • Paging Michael Stutes
  • The Phanatic has been named the best sports mascot in the country. You don’t realize how good the Phanatic is until you travel the country and see how bad other mascots are.
  • Did you know Shane Victorino has a book? It’s called Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian by Alan Maimon. Victorino said he will be signing books at the ballpark sometime in May. If I come across the date I’ll let you know.

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Victorino Out, Martinez In

Charlie Manuel walked through the clubhouse early this morning and spotted Michael Martinez at his locker.

“What do you think?” he said.

Martinez offered a nervous chuckle.

Martinez is making his Major League debut today.  He is leading off and playing center field. Shane Victorino pulled himself from last night’s game because of soreness in his left calf, and the Phillies wanted to give him two full days to rest with no game Monday.

Victorino said he is fine and should play Tuesday.

“I still feel it in the certain area,” Victorino said. “My strength is there. We’re just trying to find out what’s causing that sensation.”

Victorino said it could be an irritated nerve. That sounds a bit strange, but he said there is no reason to be alarmed or think this could linger.

“I’m not alarmed,” he said. “None of us are alarmed.”

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Victorino Leaves Game with Sore Left Calf

Shane Victorino left tonight’s game in the fifth inning because of soreness in his left calf.

He said after the game he should be fine. Charlie Manuel said he does not know if Victorino will play in tomorrow’s series finale against the Astros, but with no game Monday the Phillies might rest Victorino two consecutive days.

“I was a little nervous,” Victorino said. “I felt something so I said, ‘Let’s be a little smarter.’ But I feel good. My strength was there when I did all the tests.”

Victorino said he felt the leg cramp as he jogged off the field in the middle of the fifth inning. He said it had nothing to do with a collision with Ben Francisco in right-center field in the fourth.

But if Victorino misses any time, it will create another hole in manager Manuel’s lineup. Manuel has had Victorino leading off and Jimmy Rollins hitting third while Chase Utley is on the disabled list with chronic knee pain.

Victorino has had calf problems before, although in his other leg. He spent time on the DL in 2007 and 2008 because of a strained right calf. He said this is not nearly as severe as those injuries, which has him optimistic he will be back on the field soon.

“I don’t think it’s anything too serious,” he said. “We’ll evaluate in the morning and see where we’re at.”

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