The Phils took the lead in the first as, with one man on, and with one man out, Hunter Pence hits an RBI double, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on Jimmy Rollins’ ground out, 3-unassisted, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Phils added to their lead in the fourth as, with one man out, Pence hits a solo home run, his first home run of the season, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. The Pirates got a run back in the fifth as Pedro Alvarez hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the season, making it a 2-1 Phils’ lead. The Phils increased their lead in the seventh as, with two men on, and with two men out, Juan Pierre hits a two-run single, knocking in Ty Wigginton, who had earlier walked, then went to second base on Freddy Galvis’ sacrifice bunt, before going on to third as second baseman Neil Walker committed a missed catch error on pitcher Jared Hughes’ throw, and Galvis, who was safe at first on Walker’s error, before going on to second base on the error, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead. The Pirates got a run back in their half of the seventh as, with a runner on first, as Alvarez reaches first base on a strikeout, as Wigginton committed a fielding error on Brian Schneider’s throw for the out attempt, and with two men out, Casey McGehee hits an RBI double, scoring Alvarez, making it a 4-2 Phils’ lead. The Pirates then made it a 4-3 Phils’ lead as Alex Presley hits an RBI single, knocking in McGehee. The Pirates then tied the game up at four-all in the eighth as, with two men on, and with two men out, pinch hitter Matt Hague hits an RBI single, his first major league hit, scoring Andrew McCutchen, who had earlier singled, then stole second base, while sending pinch hitter Yamaico Navarro, who had earlier walked, on to second base. The Pirates then won the game in the bottom of the ninth as, with a man on third, and with two men out, McCutchen hits an RBI single, scoring pinch runner Josh Hamilton, who was pinch running for McGehee, who had earlier doubled, then went to third on Presley sacrifice bunt, 2-4, giving the Pirates a 5-4 walk-off win.
Vance Worley received a no-decision as he went six strong innings, giving up a run on five hits and a walk, while striking out five. Michael Stutes collected his first hold of the season as he pitched an inning, giving up two unearned runs on two hits, while striking out two. Kyle Kendrick picked up his first hold of the year as he went a third of an inning, giving up a run on a hit. Antonio Bastardo received his first blown save of the season as he went two-thirds of an inning, giving up a hit and a walk, while striking out two. David Herndon (0-1, 13.50) took the lost as he went two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on two hits, while he struck out a batter. James McDonald also received a no-decision as he went six innings, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks, while he struck out three. Jared Hughes pitched an inning, giving up two runs on a hit and two walks, while striking out a batter. Evan Meek pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. Joel Hanrahan (1-0, 0.00) got the win as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.
The Phils had just five hits in the ballgame, with Juan Pierre (Singles, 2 RBI) and Hunter Pence (Double, Home Run, 2 RBIs) both leading the ball club with two hits each. Shane Victorino (Single) had the other Phil hit, a single. The Phils also had two stolen bases as Pierre and Victorino were involved in a double steal. The offense is performing some early small ball. Sadly it is not translating into runs, as they are presently leaving too many men in scoring position.
The Phils (1-2, 3rd) will start their first home stand of the season with a three-game series with the Marlins (1-3, 4th). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and it will start at 1:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound for their home opener Cole Hamels (0-0, -.–) who ended 2011 with a 14-9 record with an ERA of 2.79 and a WHIP of 0.99. He pitched in 32 games, all but one of them as a starter, throwing a total of 216 innings, in which he struck out 184 batters, while walking only 44. Cole will be trying to continue where he left off last year, while trying to end the Phils present losing streak. The Marlins will counter with Anibal Sanchez (0-0, -.–), who is coming off a 2011 season with a record of 8-9, with a 3.67 ERA and a WHIP of 1.28. Sanchez started in 32 games, for a total of 196.1 innings, striking out 202 batters, while walking just 64. He will be trying to stop the Marlins early slide. The Phils will be trying to end their first losing slide, after spoiling two straight quality starts with so-so offense.
The first game will be a night game on Saturday, with a start time of 7:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound their number two man in the rotation, Cliff Lee (0-0, -.–) who is coming of a 17-8 2011 season, with an ERA of 2.40 and a WHIP of 1.03. Lee pitched in 32 games, all starts, for a total of 232.2 innings, in which he struck out 238 batters, while walking only 42. Lee will be out to see if he can lead the Phils to a 2-0 start on the season while trying to collect his first win of 2012. The Pirates will try to counter with Jeff Karstens (0-0, -.–) who had ended the 2011 season with a 9-9 record, with a 3.38 ERA and a WHIP of 1.21. Karstens appeared in 30 games, 26 of which were starts, in which he threw a total of 162.1 innings, striking out just 96 batters, while walking 33. Karstens will be trying to see if he can even up the series at a game apiece.
The second of the final two games of the three game set will be an Sunday afternoon game, with a start time of 1:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Vance Worley (0-0, -.–), who will be in his second full season as a Phil, as he is coming off a 2011 campaign with a record of 11-3, with a 3.01 ERA and a WHIP of 1.23, as he appeared in 25 games, 21 of which were starts, as he accumulated a total of 131.2 innings, striking out 119 batters, while walking only 50. Worley will be trying to prove that he had deserved his third place showing in the 2011 National League Rookie of the Year balloting. The Pirates will send to the mound James McDonald (0-0, -.–), who in 2011 had a record of 9-9 with an ERA of 4.21, as he had 31 starts, totaling 171 innings, as he struck out 142 batters, while walking 78. He will be out to show that he can pitch better than his record would show.
The Phils will be out to win at least one of these two games, to leave Pittsburgh with a winning record, before starting their opening home stand with a three-game series with the Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins.
Yesterday, the Nationals announced that they have signed Brad Lidge, one of the heroes of the Phils’ 2008 World Series Championship team, to a one-year deal worth $1 million dollars, plus incentives. Lidge, who had joined the Phils in an off-season trade with the Houston Astros in 2007, went 48 for 48 in save opportunities during the 2008 regular and post-seasons, before striking out Eric Hinske to give the Phils the championship. Plagued by injuries during the next three seasons (2009-2011), Lidge would pitch in four seasons for the Phils, the first three as their closer, compiling a record of 100 saves in 116 save opportunities, with a win-loss record of 3-11, as he pitched in 214 games, appearing in 203 total innings. During the 2011 season, after coming back from injury, Lidge would perform in mainly middle relief, appearing in 25 games, pitching in 19.1 innings, as he compiled an 0-2 record with 1 save in 1 save opportunity, with a 1.40 ERA. He would strike out 23 batters while walking only 13.
Originally a member of the Astros from 2002-2007, including being a member of the 2005 National League Champs, Lidge would appear in 592 games, all but 1 in relief, compiling a career record of 26-31, with an ERA of 3.44, while saving 223 games in 266 attempts, as he pitched in 594 innings. During his career, he would strike out a total of 789 batters, while walking only 276.
So long, Brad, good luck with your new team, except when you’re pitching against the Phils, of course. 🙂
Earlier today, the Phils have announced that Cole Hamels had earlier today signed a one-year contract worth $15 million dollars, thus avoiding arbitration. Hamels, who is the number three-man in the Phils’ starting rotation, in 2011 had a 14-9 record with a 2.79 ERA, as he pitched in 32 games, all but one of which was as a starter. He pitched in 216 innings, striking out 194 batters, while walking only 44. Hamels threw 10 complete, while pitching four shut outs. Carrer-wise, his record is 74-54 with an ERA of 3.39. Although he would become eligible to enter the free agent market after this season, it is hoped that at some point during the season that the Phils will sign Hamels to a multi-year extension. Let keep our fingers crossed on that people.
The Phils have also avoided arbitration with Wilson Valdez, who had signed a new contract for one season, worth $930,000. Valdez, who had played second base, third base and shortstop, last year appeared in 99 games, batting .249 (68 for 273), with 14 doubles, 4 triples and 1 home runs, while knocking in 30 runs.
That leaves just Hunter Pence to sign to a contract before both sides would have to face an arbitrator. I think that it can be done.
The Phils have appeared to have added to their pitching depth by signing Joel Pineiro to a minor league contract, with an invitation to Spring Training.
Pineiro, who in 2011 pitched for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, appeared in 27 games, 24 of which were starts, compiling a 7-7 record with a 5.13 ERA. Being in the majors since 2000, pitching for the Mariners, Red Sox, and Cardinals, along with the Angels, Pineiro has pitched in 335 games, with 263 of them as starts, with a record of 104-93 with 2 saves in 3 save opportunities, with an ERA of 4.41.
It is more than likely that Pineiro will start the year with the Iron Pigs, as an extra insurance policy for the team in case one of the starters get injured during the regular season.
The Phils have announced that they have avoided arbitration with Kyle Kendrick as they have reached a one-year contract with the starter-reliever worth $3.585 million dollars.
Kendrick, who had started the 2011 season in the bullpen, would rejoin the starting rotation because of injuries to both Joe Blanton and Roy Oswalt. During the season, he would appear in 34 games, 15 of them as a starter, ending the year with an 8-6 record, with an ERA of 3.22. In 114.2 innings pitched, he would strike out 59 batters, which walking only 30, receiving a WHIP of 1.22.
With Kendrick’s signing, that leaves only Cole Hamels, Hunter Pence and Wilson Valdez arbitration-eligible , with the fanbase hoping that Hamels will be nailed down to a multi-year contract.
The Phils have tendered contracts to the four players on the team who are still arbitration eligible after they had traded Ben Francisco to the Blue Jays: Cole Hamels, Hunter Pence, Kyle Kendrick and Wilson Vladez. Although it is expected that all four will receive an increase in salary whether they accept the proffered contracts, or go through arbitration, most of the fanbase would prefer that the Phils give multi-year contracts to both Hamels and Pence, especially Hamels, to keep them with the team for a while. As for Kendrick and Valdez, the two have shown their worth as insurance policies in case somebody gets hurt (although Kendrick had also shown that he can be a very good asset in the bullpen).
While this is going on, there has been reports that the Phils have signed to a one-year contract, pending him passing a physical, left-hander Dontrelle Willis. Willis, a former Rookie of the Year (2003 with the Marlins), pitched for the Reds last season, going 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts. Being mostly a starter during his nine-years career with the Marlins, the Tigers, the D-backs and the Reds, Willis had complied a record of 72-69 with an ERA of 4.17, as he had appeared in 205 games, all but three as a starter. The Phils, if he passes the physical, will more than likely be using him out of the bullpen as a left-handed specialist, and a spot-starter, as a kind of compliment to Kendrick, since there is really no way that he will be able to make the rotation, especially with his issues with his control.
Hopefully, the signing of Willis will end up being a good move for the Phils for next season.