First. yesterday, former Phil Roy Oswalt announced that he was officially retiring, as he signed a one-day contract with the Astros so that he could officially retire as an Astros. Oswalt, who is an fourteen-year veteran, ten of which was spent as an Astros, was a member of the Phils for part of the 2010 season and part of the 2011 season, during which he complied a winning record of 16-11. Oswalt would also play for the Rangers and the Rockies. Oswalt, during his career, would be the NL leader for ERA in 2006 with a 2.98 ERA, wins in 2004 with 20, games started with 35 games in both 2004 and 2005 and in WHIP in 2010 with a 1.03 WHIP. He was also a member of the 2005 Astros team that would win the NL pennant before losing to the White Sox in that year’s World Series, being swept by Chicago, 4-0. Overall, Oswalt had a career record of 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA as he pitched in 365 games, 341 of which were starts, as he completed 20 games, including 8 shutouts. He would pitch in 2245.1 innings, giving up 2199 hits and 897 runs, 838 of which were earned, as he struck out 1852 batters, while walking only 520. I wish you luck in your retirement, Roy.
Then, the Phils announced that Comcast plans to hire both Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs to replace Chris Wheeler and Garry Matthews inside the TV broadcast booth, starting this season during Spring Training. Congratulations, guys. Hope you both do well in the broadcast booth.
Lastly, the Phils announced that they have just signed starter A.J. Burnett, who they have been pursuing during the off-season, to a one-year contract worth $16 million dollars. Burnett, who had pitched for the Pirates last year and in 2012, is coming off a 10-11 season, with a 3.30 ERA, as he pitched in 30 games, all starts, with a complete game, as he threw in 191 innings, giving up 165 hits and 79 runs, 70 of which were earned, as he struck out 209 batters, while walking only 67. Burnett, who has also pitched for the Marlins, the Blue Jays and the Yankees, being a member of the 2009 World Championship team, has a 147-132 record with a 3.99 ERA, as he appeared in 375 games, starting 370 of them, as he threw 23 complete games, 10 of which were shutouts. He threw a total of 2353.2 innings, giving up 2140 hits and 1142 runs, 1043 of which were earned, as he struck out 2180 batters, while walking only 955. Welcome to the team, A.J.
Burnett’ll more than likely be the number three man in the starting rotation, after Cole Hamels starts pitching after the start of the season, as the Phils announced that Cole will miss opening day as he has developed tendinitis in his left bicep, which will keep him from throwing the ball for the next eight to ten days, and slow down his participation in spring training, although Cole has said that he should be ready to pitch at some point in April. I’m just hoping that it is only a minor setback, as the Phils will need Cole to back up Cliff Lee, if they expect to get anywhere this season.
The Phils (4-5, 4th), after leaving Citizens Bank Park with their first series win of 2013, will start a three-games series with the last place Marlins (1-8, 5th), the team with presently the worst record in the National League. The game will be played at Marlins Park and will start at 7:10 EDT.
The Phils will put on the mound their fifth-game starter John Lannan (0-0, 3.86), who is coming off a rather good start against the Royals on April 6, in his first start as a Phil, as he went seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while striking out five, holding off the Royals until the Phils were able to make a comeback in the ninth inning to win the game by the score of 4-3. He will be trying to win his first start as a Phil, while trying to lead the club to their first three-game winning streak. The Marlins will counter with Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.97), who is making his third start of the season, as he comes off a no-decision against the Mets on April 6, as he went five and a third innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Marlins’ 7-3 lost. He will once again be looking for his first win of the season, while the fish will be looking for their second win of 2013. The Phils will be trying to take advantage of the Marlins’ early season woes, while trying to move up in the NL East standings, while trying to keep from falling any further behind the first place Braves.
After nine games, the Phils have three regulars with a .300 or better batting average, third baseman Michael Young (.375 (12 for 32)), second baseman Chase Utley (.333 (11 for 33)) and shortstop Jimmy Rollins (.316 (12 for 38)), with Utley presently leading the team with nine RBIs and is tied for the team’s lead in home runs with two (tied with Dom Brown) and for the team’s lead in triple with one (along with Young), while Rollins is the team’s leader in doubles with five. Utley and Rollins are tied for second place in stolen bases with three each, both trailing Ben Revere, who presently has four. Rollins is tied for second in RBIs with five with both Ryan Howard and Brown, as they all trail Utley. Rollins, for now, is batting a lot better as the second batter in the Phils’ line-up, looking like the Rollins of 2007-2008, while Utley appears to have gone back to what he was doing before his foot problems of the last two seasons (2011-2012). The biggest disappointment, at the moment, is Howard, who is presently batting (.200 (7 for 35)), despite him showing that he might have finally gotten it during spring training (.322 (28 for 87)), but seems to have gone back to swinging at the junk pitches of breaking balls out of the strike zone and high fastballs, as he have collected only one extra-base hit, a home run, as he has struck out a team leading twelve times. As long as he continue to go after the junk, opposing pitchers will not throw him any good pitches to hit, unless Young start to force them to start pitching to Howard by continuing to hit.
Yesterday the Phils announced that they had picked up outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off of the waiver wire, after he had been placed there by the Cleveland Indians. Carrera, who last year appeared in 48 games with the Indians, batted .272 (40 for 147), as he had six doubles, three triples and two home runs, knocking in 11 RBIs, while scoring 20 runs. He also had 8 stolen bases. In 116 total MLB games with the Indians in 2011-12, he had a batting average of .255 (89 for 349), with 14 doubles, six triples and two home run, as he knocked in 25 RBIs, while crossing the plate 47 times. Carrera also had 18 stolens bases. He should join the team in Atlanta for tonight’s game, as the Phils’ fifth outfielder.
To make room for him on the roster, the Phils have placed Ender Inciarte on waivers. Inciarte, whom the Phils had picked up from the Diamondbacks during last season’s Rule 5 Draft, made the opening day roster as their fifth outfielder, after a spring training in which he hit .273 (9 for 33), as he appeared in 27 games, hiting a double, and knocking in one run, while scoring 5. The news is that if he is not claimed off of the wire, the Diamondbacks might take him back, although it would cost them $25,000, which would be half of what the Phils had paid for drafting him.
Welcome to the club, Carrera. Hopefully you’ll have a future here.
The Braves took the lead in the bottom of the first as, with one man on, and with two men out, Freddie Freeman hits a two-run bomb to right field, his first home run of the season, knocking in Jason Heyward, who had earlier walked, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead. The Braves added to their lead in the second as Dan Uggla started off the bottom of the second with a solo home run, his first home run of the season, giving the Braves a 3-0 lead. The Braves then made it a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third as, with a runner on third, and with two men out, Freeman hits an RBI single, scoring Andrleton Simmons, who had started the inning off with a double, then stopped at third base on Justin Upton’s fly out to right. The Phils then got on the board in the top of the fourth as Chase Utley started the inning off with a solo shot to straight center field, his first home run of the season, and the 200th home run of his career, cutting the Braves’ lead to 4-1. The Phils would make it a 4-3 Braves’ lead in the top of the fifth as, with the bases loaded, via a single by Cole Hamels, a walk by Ben Revere, moving Hamels up to second base, and a single by Jimmy Rollins, sending Hamels on to third base and Revere up to second base, and with one man out, Utley hits a two-run single, knocking in Hamels and Revere, while sending Rollins on to third base, beating the throw, before moving up to second base on the throw. After Braves’ manager Freddie Gonzalez replaces starter Tim Hudson with Luis Avilan, Avilan stops the damage by first striking out Ryan Howard for the inning’s second out, and after intentionally walking Michael Young to reload the bases, gets Dom Brown to ground out softly, 4-3, for the inning’s final out. The Braves would get a run back in their half of the fifth as, with one man out, Upton hits a solo home run, his first home run of the season, giving the Braves a 5-3 lead. The Braves increased their lead in bottom of the sixth as, with runners on second and third, and with nobody out, Gerald Laird hits an RBI single, knocking in Uggla, who had started the inning off with a walk, then stopped at third base on Chris Johnson’s double, giving the Braves a 6-3 lead, while sending Johnson, who had just singled, on to third base. The Braves then took a 7-3 lead as pinch-hitter Reed Johnson hits into a 1-6-3 double play, wiping out Laird at second base for the inning’s first out, scoring C. Johnson, who beat Howard’s wide and late throw to the plate. The Phils got one run back in the top of the seventh as, with a man on third, and with one man out, Howard hits an RBI ground out, three-unassisted, knocking in Utley, who had just tripled, making it a 7-4 Braves’ lead. The Phils then cut the Braves’ lead down to 7-5 in the top of the eighth as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, Erik Kratz hits an RBI single, knocking in John Mayberry, Jr., who had earlier doubled, then moved up to third on Jordan Walden’s wild pitch. That would be the final score as Craig Kimbrel would come in and collect his first save of the season as he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, getting Howard to fly out for the game’s final out.
Cole Hamels (0-1, 9.00) took the lost as he went five innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out five. Chad Durbin pitched to three batters, getting none of them out, as he gave up two runs on two hits and a walk. Jeremy Horst pitched two innings, as he gave up a hit, while striking out two. Philippe Aumont pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk, while striking out a batter. Tim Hudson received a no-decision as he went four and a third-innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out a batter. Luis Avilan (0-1, 0.00) picked up the win as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up an intentional walk, while striking out a batter. Eric O’Flaherty pitched an inning, giving up a run on a hit. Jordan Walden recorded his first hold of the year as he threw an inning, giving up a run on two hits and a wild pitch, while striking out a batter. Craig Kimbrel recorded his first save of the season as he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out a batter.
The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Chase Utley (Single, Triple, Home Run, 3 RBIs) leading the team with three hits, being a double short of hitting the cycle. Ben Revere (Single), Jimmy Rollins (Single), Dom Brown (Single), John Mayberry, Jr. (Double), Erik Kratz (Single, RBI) and Cole Hamels (Single) had the other seven Phils’ hits. Ryan Howard knocked in the final Phil’s run with a ground out. The Phils also had a four walks (Revere, Young (2), Brown) and a stolen base (Revere (1)) in the ballgame.
The Phils (0-1, T-4th) will continue their three games series with the Braves (1-0, T-1st) with a night game tomorrow night at Turner Field. The game is to start at 7:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Roy Halladay (0-0, -.–) who is coming off a bad 2012, and a so-so spring. Halladay and the Phils both hope that he’ll rebound from last season. The Braves will counter with Paul Malholm (0-0, -.–) who is coming off a so-so 2012 season between the Cubs and the Braves. He hopes to pitch better this season. The Phils will be trying to even up the series, while hoping that the old Doc will return.
Just when you thought that the Phils were satisfied with their outfield arrangements, they decided to throw everyone a curve. Earlier this afternoon, the Phils have announced that they had signed free agent Delmon Young, formerly of the American League Champions Detroit Tigers, to a one-year contract worth $750,000, plus performance bonuses. Young, who is an outfielder, and was last year’s ALCS MVP, appeared in 151 games, batting .267 (153 for 574), hitting 27 doubles, 1 triple and 18 home runs, as he knocked in 74 RBIs, while crossing the plate 54 times. During a seven years career, which includes stints with the Rays and the Twins, Young have compiled a career batting average of .284 (955 for 3358), as he had played in a total of 880 games, during which he have hit 185 doubles, 10 triples and 89 home runs, as he had 482 RBIs, while he had scored 396 times. Along with his .284 career batting average, he has a career slugging percentage of .425 and a career OPS of .742.
Young will likely be patrolling one of the corner outfield spots, while Paul Revere will handle center field. If that is indeed the case, it will leave John Mayberry, Jr. and Dom Brown sharing a platoon at the other corner outfield spot, with Laynce Nix on the bench, while Darin Ruf will be playing in Triple-A Lehigh Valley for more seasoning.
Welcome to the team, Young. Hope you and your bat will help the team during the upcoming season.
Today, the Phils announced that they had signed to a one-year deal, worth $1.4 million dollars, plus award bonuses, left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo, the only player on the roster who was arbitration eligible.
Bastardo, who had an awful 2012 season, would appear in 65 games, all in relief, as he pitched in 52 innings, compiling a record of 2-5, plus a save in five save opportunities, as he had an ERA of 4.33 with a WHIP of 1.27, as he allowed 40 hits and 26 runs, all but one of which was earned, as he struck out 81 batters, while walking 26. In four season with the Phils, with 2011 being his best season, so far, Bastardo has compiled a record of 12-9 with a 4.02 ERA and a WHIP of 1.20, as he appeared in 160 games, all but 5 games being in relief, as he threw in 152 and a third innings, giving up 113 hits and 70 runs, all but two of which were earned, as he struck out 196 batters, while walking only 70. He also have nine career saves in fifteen save opportunities.
Bastardo, who may be the team’s main lefty set-up man when the season starts, have held hitters to a .207 batting average in 2012, being especially tough on lefties as he held them to a .169 batting average against. He ended the season third among relievers in strikeouts per nine innings with a 14.02 mark, despite having a bad season, thanks to being hit hard by batters during the middle part of the season, before finally regaining his grove towards them season’s final weeks. Hopefully, he’ll regain his form that he had for most of 2011 this season.
Yesterday, the Phils had announced that, along with Rodrigo Lopez, they have signed right-handed pitchers Aaron Cook and Juan Cruz to minor league deals and have given them invitations to spring training, as they continue to add depth to their pitching staff.
Aaron Cook, who had spent part of 2012 pitching for the Boston Red Sox, compiling a record of 4-11 with a 5.65 ERA and a WHIP of 1.47 in 18 starts, in which he pitched in 94 innings, allowing 117 hits and 68 runs, 59 of which were earned, as he struck out 20 batters, while walking 21. Before joining the Red Sex, he had spent 10 years playing for the Colorado Rockies, compiling a career record of 76-79 with an ERA of 4.60 and a WHIP of 1.47, as he pitched in 256 games, 224 of which were starts, as he threw a total of 1406 and a third innings, giving up 1636 hits and 776 runs, of which 716 were earned, as he struck out 578 batters, while allowing 126 free passes.
Juan Cruz, who in 12 seasons have pitched in relief for the Chicago Cubs, the Atlanta Braves, the Oakland Athletics, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Kansas City Royals, and the Tampa Bay Rays, spent 2012 pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, appearing in 43 games, going 1-1 with three saves in four save opportunities, as he compiled an ERA of 2.78 and a WHIP of 1.63, as he allowed 39 hits and 12 runs, all but one of which were earned, while he struck out 33 batters, while walking only 19. Cruz would compile a career record of 38-36, along with 6 saves in nineteen save opportunities, as he pitched in 447 games, all but 38 of which were in relief, as he appeared in 655 total innings, compiling an ERA of 4.05 and a WHIP of 1.41, as he gave up 576 hits, as 332 runners scored, 295 of which were earned, as he struck out 659 batters, while walking 346.
Both pitchers will more than likely end up pitching for the Phils’ triple-A ballclub, the Iron Pigs, unless somebody on the staff gets hurt during the season.