Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels ended up in 2nd, 3rd and 5th place, respectively, in the voting for the 2011 National League Cy Young Award, which was won by Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, as most people had expected.
Roy Halladay, the ace of the Phils pitching staff, and the winner of the award the previous season (2010), who in 2011 had a record of 19-6 in 32 games started, with an ERA of 2.35, and pitched in 232.2 innings, striking out 220 batters while walking only 35, ended second in the balloting with 4 first place votes, 21 second place votes and 7 third places votes, for a total of 133 points, being unable to win his second straight Cy Young Award and his third overall (2003 AL (Toronto), 2011 NL (Phils)). Cliff Lee, who during the season was twice voted the NL pitcher of the month (June, August), had a record of 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA in 32 starts, pitched in 232.2 innings, striking out 228 batters while only giving out 42 free passes, while throwing six complete game shutouts, ended up third in the balloting, with five second place votes, 17 third, 9 fourth and 1 fifth place votes for a total of 90 points. The third Phil among the top five, Cole Hamels, ended the 2011 season with a 14-9 record with a 2.79 ERA in 32 games pitched, all but one as a starter, pitching in 216 innings as he struck out 194 batters while walking only 44, ended up in fifth place among those on the ballot, with two fourth place votes and 13 fifth place votes, for a total of 17 points.
The winner, Clayton Kershaw, won the award with 27 first place votes, 3 second and 2 third places votes, as he won the NL pitching Triple Crown, as he ended up tied for most wins (21) with Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks, having the best ERA (2.28) and the most strikeouts (248).
Congratulations to Kershaw, and congrats on your placements on the ballot, guys.
The Phils have just announced that they have declined on accepting the option year of both reliever and former closer Brad Lidge and starter Roy Oswalt. Lidge, who had been with the Phils since 2008, in 2011 went 0-2 with a 1.40 ERA in 25 appearances for the team, after spending the early part of the season on the disabled list, as the Phils, instead of accepting his option of $12.5 million for 2012, bought out his option year for $1.5 million. Roy Oswalt, who joined the Phils during the stretch run in 2010, went 9-10 this year, with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts, as he went on the disabled list twice because of back problems, as the Phils declined to accept his option year of $16 million, buying his out for $2 million.
The Phils said that they will stay in contact with their representatives to see if they will come back for 2012, but I personally do not expect to see either of them returning for Spring Training 2012. If this is indeed the last that we will see of either of them in the red pinstripes, then I want to take this time to thank Brad for helping the team win its second world series championship in 2008 with his perfect season, and Roy for helping the team get back into the post-season in 2010, and wish them both the best of luck finding future employment in baseball.
Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, had announced that he will send Roy Halladay to the mound as the National League’s starting pitcher to be the first pitcher to face the American League’s best for tomorrow night’s All-Star Game in Phoenix, Arizona.
Roy Halladay, last year’s Cy Young Award Winner, is among the NL leaders in several pitching categories, including wins (11), ERA (2.45), starts (19), Strikeouts (138), WHIP (1.02), Innings Pitched (143.1), Complete Games (6) and K:BB (8.12).
Late yesterday afternoon, the Phils placed their fifth starter, Joe Blanton, on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 24, because of discomfort in his right elbow that he had felt during his last two starts, but had gotten worst as he was preparing for his projected start against the Mets tonight. So, after he had taken an MRI, the team decided to put him on the shelf to allow his throwing arm to get better.
Before being placed on the dl, Blanton had gone 0-1 with a 5.92 ERA in four starts, although he had pitched well in his last two starts for a 2.57 ERA.
The Phils have called up Vance Worley from Lehigh Valley to take Blanton’s place. With the Iron Pig, Worley has gone 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA, in four starts. Last year, in five games with the Phils, two of which were starts, Worley went 1-1 with an ERA of 1.38, as he gave up just two runs on eight hits in thirteen innings of work. Hopefully he’ll continue where he had left off last year as he faces the Mets.
Good luck, Vance, and get well soon, Joe.
During the off-season, after the Phils had picked up Cliff Lee via free agency, everyone in the country were talking about the Phils four aces (Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels), while also thinking that the Phils would likely trade away Joe Blanton (they didn’t), although the other four would come out to support the fifth member of the starting rotation during spring training, but the pleasant surprise during the first nine games of the season has been the performance of the bullpen, who have been rather stingy with both the hits and the runs.
Roy Halladay, the staff ace, have had two good starts, having a record of 1-0, as he has gone 13 innings, giving up only one earned run on eleven hits and one walk, while he has struck out 13, for an ERA of 0.69 and a WHIP of 0.92.
Cliff Lee, the present no. two man, has also pitched two games, a spectacular start against the Astros, and a start against the Braves where he lost his control. His record is now 1-1, as he has pitched ten and a third innings, giving up nine earned runs on fourteen hits and a walk, while he has also hit two batters, as he has struck out fourteen, for the team lead, for an ERA of 7.84 and a WHIP of 1.45.
Roy Oswalt, the no. three man, have had two good outings for a 2-0 record, making him the present team leader in wins. He has pitched twelve innings, giving up four runs, of which three were earned, on ten hits and three walks, while also hitting a batter, while he has struck out eight, for a 2.25 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.08.
The team’s no. four starter, Cole Hamels, in his two start, had a bad start against the Mets, before bouncing back against the Braves this past Sunday. His record is now 1-1, as he has gone nine and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs on eleven hits and three walks, and one hit batter, while he had struck out eleven, for a 5.59 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.
Joe Blanton, the team’s fifth starter, will be making his second start of the season tonight, after having been taken out of his opening start, as he allowed his pitches to come up against the Mets in the fifth inning. His record is 0-0, as he looks for his first win or lost, as he had so far gone four and one-thirds innings, giving up seven runs on ten hits and two walks, while hitting a batter, while he has struck out six, for a high ERA of 14.54 and a WHIP of 2.77, both presently highs among the starters. He hopes to bring both down during his start against the Nationals.
So far, the five starters have a combine record of 5-2, as they have pitched 49.1 innings, giving up 27 runs, of which 26 were earned, on 56 hits and 10 walks, while hitting a total of 5 batters, while striking out 52 batters. They have also given up all three of the home runs allowed by the Phils’ pitchers (Oswalt, Lee and Blanton with one each).
Meantime, the bullpen has shown itself to be better than expected, as they have allowed only six runs, only five of which were earned, and one inherited runner to score, in their combine total of 30.2 innings.
Their long man, Kyle Kendrick, has appeared in three games, with a 0-0 record, as he has given up a run on four hits and three walks, while striking out a batter in five innings of work, for a 1.80 ERA.
Antonio Bastardo has been on fire as he has appeared in three games, with a 1-0 record, as he has so far given up no runs in four and two-thirds innings, giving up only two hits, while striking out nine batters, for an ERA of 0.00.
The Phils’ other lefty in their bullpen, J.C. Romero, appeared to have regain his 2008 form as he has pitched in five games, for an 0-0 record, as he has given up a run on three hits and a walk in four innings, while he has strucked out three, for a 2.25 ERA.
After having a bad year in 2010, Danys Baez seems to have recovered nicely this year, as he has appeared in five games, for a record of 1-0, as he has given up an unearned run on six hits and a walk, as he pitched a total of five innings, while striking out two, for an 0.00 ERA.
Second year man David Herndon is the only reliever who doesn’t seem to be pitching well in the early going, as he has pitched in five games, for an 0-0 record, going six innings, as he has given up three runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out a batter, for a 4.50 ERA.
The Phils’ eighth inning pitcher, Ryan Madson, is doing well, as he had an 0-0 record, as he has pitched in three games for a total of three innings, giving up no runs on a hit, while he has struck out four, for an 0.00 ERA.
Their present closer, Jose Contreras. has been lights out, as he has appeared in three game, for an 0-0 record while converting both of his save opportunities, as he has gone three innings, giving up no runs on two hits and a walk, while he has struck out four, for an 0.00 ERA.
The bullpen has appeared in all nine games, for an 2-0 record, as they have given up a total of 23 hits and 8 walks, while striking out 24 batters. The good work of the bullpen help give the Phils a team ERA of 3.49 while the team’s WHIP is at 1.21. If this continues, especially once the starters have hit their stride, this could become a very dangerous team, even if the offense has its mid-season slump, as the pitching should keep them within striking distant during most games.
Since the last time I’d written something here, the Phils have come to terms with both Ben Francisco (January 15) for one year for $1.175 million dollars with performance bonuses and with Kyle Kendrick (January 18) for $2.45 million, also for one year, to avoid arbitration with both players, thus having all of their players signed up for at least one season. Last season, 2010, in 88 games (28 of which were starts), Francisco batted .268 (48 for 179), as he hit thirteen doubles and six home runs and knocked in 28 RBIs. He also went .282 pinch hitting (11-39), hitting three doubles and knocking in 7 RBIs. This season, Francisco will be used in a platoon with Dom Brown in right field to replace Jayson Werth, who had during the off-season signed a long term contract with the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, Kendrick last season pitched in 33 games (a career-high), 31 of which were starts, as he went 11-10 with an ERA of 4.73, as he pitched in 180.2 innings and struck out 84 batters (both career highs) while walking 49, who, depending on what the team might do, will either be their long man coming out of the bullpen, or fighting for the fifth starter spot with Vance Worley.
As the Phils prepare for the start of spring training next month in Clearwater, Florida, they are looking at their options, thanks to their present embarrassment of riches with their starting pitching staff, which at the moment consists of Roy Halladay (Ace), Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt (who at the moment are being nicknamed either the Four Aces, R2C2 or the Fantastic Four by the fans) and Joe Blanton, as they decide whether they really need to trade Kentucky Joe to another team that needs a good starter to help give them some salary flexibility, or to just keep Joe, and use him as their fifth starter, knowing that he so far have had a good track record pitching for the Phils during the two plus seasons since they’d gotten him from the Oakland A’s to help them down the stretch towards their 2008 World Series Championship. My opinion is that they should hang onto Blanton, unless he brings in a good righthanded bat that’ll help the team in the line-up. Either way, he would be helping the team, especially as the fifth starter, since he is presently seen as a good third or fourth starter on most teams.
Lastly, Charlie Manuel’s contract is coming up this season. Although it is more than likely that the Phils will give him an extension, Charlie had announced on WIP radio yesterday, when asked about it, that he would like a three year contract, and prefer that he signed the contract extension as soon as possible so that it won’t become a distraction for the ballclub during the season, although he does see himself as signing a contract at some point this season. Me, sign him up as soon as possible Ruben. Uncle Chuck seems to know what he’s doing with the players, and we all know that they like playing for him.
In a move that came completely out of the blue, the Phils have just signed free agent Cliff Lee to a five-year, $120 million contract, with a vesting option for a sixth year, beating the New York Yankees, who had offered Lee a six-year deal worth $135 million, with a vesting option for a seventh year, and the Texas Rangers, who had offered him a six-year deal worth $138 million, and with a vesting option for a seventh season. With this move, Lee returns to Philadelphia, after having been traded by the Phils to the Seattle Mariners, almost a year ago, giving the Phils a starting rotation that now have four aces (Lee, NL Cy Young Award Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels), that will be haunting the NL, especially the NL East, for at least a year (depending on whether Hamels will be resigned after the season, and if Oswalt decides not to retire after 2012.).
Lee, in 2010, as he pitched for first the Mariners, then the Rangers, went 12-9 with an ERA of 3.18, as he started in 28 games, pitching 212.1 innings, throwing seven complete games, including a shut out, as he struck out 185 batters, while walking only eighteen during the season. In the post-season, he helped pitched the Rangers into their first World Series appearance, before falling to the 2010 World Champions San Francisco Giants, as he went 3-2 overall for the Rangers.
The Phils will more than likely have to trade someone(s) to help them better afford their move. There is already rumors flying around that they have been trying to ship off Joe Blanton and or Raul Ibanez as a salary dump, with them willing to pay for part of Blanton’s salary to move him. I do not know if any of them is true, but, if they need to move someone, it should be Kyle Kendrick, not Blanton. After all, Blanton has been a bit more consistant, pitching wise, than has Kendrick, and he would be a lot better backup to the now Big Four than might Kendrick. Whatever does happen, I hope Ruben will know what he’s doing, although there does seem to be some method to his madness.