The Phils officially started spring training on Thursday, February 13, as pitchers and catchers arrived at Clearwater, followed this week by the rest of the squad, although a large number of players had been at Clearwater during the off-season, getting ready for the 2014 season, especially first baseman Ryan Howard, who has been trying to get back into playing shape.
On Friday, February 14, former ballplayer and ex-Phil manager Jim Fregosi passed away at age 71 from multiple strokes. Fregosi, who broke into major league baseball as a shortstop in September 1961, had an 18-year career playing for the Los Angeles/California Angels, the New York Mets, the Texas Ranger and the Pittsburgh Pirates. A six-time All-Star and a gold glove winner (1967), he would play in 1902 games, having a .265 career batting average (1726 for 6523) as he hit 264 2Bs, 78 3Bs and 151 HRs, knocking in 706 RBIs, while scoring 844 times. He would also walk 715 times. After retiring from baseball during the 1978 season, he would be hired as the manager of the team that he had begun his playing career, the Angels, starting a career that would end in 2000, during which he would be the manager of the Angels (1978-1981), the Chicago White Sox (1986-1988), the Philadelphia Phillies (1991-1996) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000), compiling a managerial record of 1028-1094 .484, as he managed a total of 2122 games. He would lead the Angels into the playoffs in 1979 as they won the American League West, but losing the AL Championship Series, 3-1, to the Orioles, and he would lead the Phils in 1993 to the World Series, before losing the series, 4-2, to the Blue Jays.
On the 16, the Phils finalized their one-year deal with A.J. Burnett, in which they would give the veteran pitcher $15 million dollars plus a $1 million buyout on a mutual option for 2015. Burnett also has a player option for $7.5 million if he exercises his option. With the buyout options and other incentives, Burnett could end up receiving a two-year contract worth $ 33.5 million. He also has a partial no-trade clause, in which he would have to sign off on any possible trade involving nine other teams. In order to make room for Burnett on their roster, the Phils placed left-handed reliever Joe Savery on waviers, awaiting reassignment. On Monday the 17, the A’s picked Savery off of waivers. Selected by the Phils in the first round of the draft back in 2007, Savery has pitched for the Phils for parts of three seasons (2011-2013), appearing in 41 games, with a 3-2 record and a 3.15 ERA, as he pitched in 47.2 innings, giving up 42 hits and 28 runs, 22 of which were earned, as he struck out 32 batters, while walking 19.
As spring training continues, former Phil Roy Holladay has come to camp as a special pitching instructor, offering advice to the team’s younger players. Hopefully they’ll listen to the future Hall of Famer.
Behind Cole Hamels’ eight innings of shut out ball, the Phillies would take a 1-0 lead over the Brewers in their National League Divisional Series. After Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels and Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo would both pitch two straight shut out innings, Hamels would pitch a 1-2-3 third, striking out four of the first nine men that he would face. Gallardo wouldn’t be so lucky, as he would give up a lead-off single to Carlos Ruiz, the first hit of the ballgame. Hamels would then come to bat and laid down a sacrifice bunt that would become a catch error by the Brewers’ second baseman Rickie Weeks. Both men would then be safe on the play, with Ruiz reaching second and Hamels being safe on first. Jimmy Rollins would then fly out to left for the inning’s first out. Jayson Werth would then follow by striking out swinging, for the second out of the inning. Chase Utley would then come up, and on a 2-2 pitch, hit a double to center that would not be caught by Brewers’ center fielder Mike Cameron, scoring both Ruiz and Hamels and giving the Phillies a quick 2-0 lead. The Phillies would then load up the bases via an intentional walk to Ryan Howard and a walk to Pat Burrell. The next batter, Shane Victorino would also get a walk, forcing in Utley and giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead, and leaving the bases loaded as Howard and Burrell would both move up a base. With a chance to break the game wide open early, Pedro Feliz, the ninth batter of the inning, would instead end it by flying out to center. Now with a lead, Cole Hamels would then proceed to breeze through the Brewers’ lineup, giving up only two hits, while striking out nine Brewers. He had only one troublesome inning, the sixth. After striking out Jason Kendall, he would give up a single to Craig Counsell and then would walk Cameron, which would put Counsell on second. But Hamels would get out of the inning by first getting Bill Hall to strike out swinging for the second out of the inning, and then, on one pitch, he would get Ryan Braun to pop up to Jimmy Rollins, for the inning’s final out. Meanwhile, the Brewers’ bullpen would keep the Phillies’ bats pretty much muzzled until the bottom of the eight, when they would threaten to add on to their lead. After Utley would ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s first out, Howard would reach base with a walk. Eric Bruntlett, a defensive replacement for Burrell, would get a single off of Brewers’ shortstop J.J. Hardy, putting runners on first and second, as Howard would reach second base, with one out. The next batter, Victornio would then hit into a force out, 4-6, as Bruntlett is wiped out at second, while he would beat the throw to first base. In the meantime, Howard would reach third, putting runners on the corner. After Guillermo Mota is sent to the mound in place of Manny Parra, Victorino would steal second, putting both runners in scoring position. Sadly, Feliz would be unable to knock them in as he pops up on a ball that Counsell would just be able to catch in the outfield, ending the inning. Brad Lidge would then be given the ball to nail it down for the Phillies. After getting Cameron out on a called third strike, Lidge would give up a single to pinch hitter Ray Durham. Braun would follow him with a double to right, scoring Cameron, thanks in part to a catch error by Utley, preventing him from making a possible play at the plate, giving the Phillies a 3-1 lead. Lidge would then get Prince Fielder to strike out swinging for the inning’s second out. Hardy would then get on base with a walk, putting runners on first and second. With Corey Hart batting, Lidge would uncork a wild pitch, putting Braun on third and Hardy on second with the tying run and two outs. Lidge would then, on a 2-2 pitch, strike out Hart swinging on a high fastball, to end the game, striking out the side, and giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the series.
Cole Hamels will get the win, as he pitch eight shut out innings, giving up only two hits and a walk, while striking out nine. He is now 1-0 in the post-season with a 0.00 ERA. Brad Lidge would get the save, his forty-second save in forty two tries, and his first for the post season, as he gives up an earned run on two hits and a walk while striking out three. Yovani Gallardo would get the lost as he pitches only four innings, giving up three runs, all unearned, on three hits and five walks, while striking out three. He is now 0-1 in the post-season with an ERA of 0.00. Mitch Stetter, Carlos Villanueva, Manny Parra and Guillermo Moto would combine for four shut innings, giving up only one hit (Parra) and a walk (also by Parra), while striking out four (Stetter (1), Villanueva (3)).
With the win, the Phillies has started the series off on a good foot as they have won their first post season game since they have won game five in the 1993 World Series. They will now try for a sweep at home, but they will have to bat better than they did in today’s game against the hard to hit C.C. Sabathia. If they don’t, they’ll be heading to Milwaukee with a spilt. They will also need a good start from Brett Myers, who has gotten bombed in his last two starts after being almost unhittable since his return from his minor league assignement.
Game 2 of the NLDS will be played tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 6 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send out Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55), who is coming off his second straight bad performance, after going 7-2 in his previous eleven starts. In his last two starts, he would only go a combined total of eight and a third innings, giving up fourteen earned runs on ninteen hits. He will be trying to recover from those two starts and prove that he can help the Phillies get further along in the playoffs. His opponent will be the Brewers’ ace of the second half, C.C. Sabathia (17-10, 1.65), who is coming off his third straight game of pitching with three days rest, and winning his second straight start, as he pitched nine inning against the Cubs on September 28, giving up an unearned run on four hits, in the Brewers’ 3-1, which would help get them into the post season. He will once again be pitching with three days rest. The Phillies should be able to defeat him if he start to show any fatigue from pitching so many games with less rest than he would normally get, and if the Phillies’ batters show some patient while batting against him. Sabathia will be trying to even the series.
The Phillies will be trying to go to Milwaukee with a 2-0 lead in this short series, if they can get past Sabathia. Otherwise, they will be trying to win both games in Milwaukee.