With Opening Day/Night now just two weeks away, Kyle Kendrick finally pitched a good game yesterday afternoon, as the Phillies lose a close one to the Minnesota Twins, 2-1.
Kyle Kendrick started the game for the Phils. In the first inning, he gave up two runs on ground ball hits that his infielders were unable to field, giving the Twins an early 2-0 lead. He would then settle down and pitch four shut out innings. Total, he pitched five innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out four. Clay Condrey followed him, pitching two scoreless innings, giving up three hits. Brad Lidge and Scott Eyre then took the mound, with both men pitching a shut out inning as they gave up a hit (Lidge) and a walk (Lidge) while striking out three Twins (Lidge (2), Eyre (1)). Kendrick took the lost, his grapefruit league record now at 1-3 with a 9.20 ERA.
The Phillies got only five hits in the game, with John Mayberry, Jr., leading the way with two hits. Eric Bruntlett, Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz got the other three hits, with Bruntlett’s hit being a solo home run, knocking in the only Phils’ run, as Twins’ pitching keeps the bats silent.
Meantime, Cole Hamels pitched a bullpen session yesterday, saying that his elbow felt fine. He should be pitching in a minor league game this upcoming week. Hopefully, this means that he will be ready for Opening Night, if not actually be the Opening Night pitcher.
The Phillies next game will be played this afternoon against the Boston Red Sox. The game starts at 1:05 pm.
In Grapefruit League play yesterday afternoon, the Phillies played the Cardinals to a 2-2, 10-innings tie, thanks to a Tyler Greene throwing error in the sixth inning.
Pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco started the game for the Phils, giving up two runs, with both runs coming in on a two-run home run by Rick Ankiel in the third, on three hits and two walks. Chad Durbin follows him to the mound, pitching an inning and a third of shut out ball, giving up no hits while walking two batters and striking out one. Ryan Madson then takes the mound, giving up no runs on a hit while striking out one in an inning and two thirds of work. Mike Koplove takes over, and pitches an inning and a third of shut out ball, giving up only one hit and a walk as he strikes out one batter. Jake Woods takes the mound in the tenth, giving up only one hit as he keeps the Cardinals from scoring a run, as the Phillies play their second tie in three games. Although Carrasco is likely not going north with the main team, he is likely to get sent to Lehigh Valley for more seasoning, and possible call up if something happens to someone on the main team during the season.
Among the batters, the Phils had a total of nine hits, with four batters having two hits apiece: Eric Bruntlett, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Geoff Jenkins, with one of Howard’s hits being a solo home run, his sixth home run of the spring. Carlos Ruiz had the Phils other hit. Howard had the Phils only RBI of the game, while Utley scored the second Phils’ run. Now having played in three Grapefruit League games, Utley, who appears to be ready to play second base on Opening Night, has a .333 batting average, while Howard has increased his average to .310 with his two hits.
The Phillies next spring training game is presently in progress with the Minnesota Twins at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida, with the Phils’ trailing the Twins, 2-0, after at least one half-inning of play.
The Phillies lose and then win in their last two games as three different starters appear to be going in three different directions.
Starter no. 1, Kyle Kendrick, appears headed for Triple-A Lehigh Valley as he has yet another bad outing on the mound, as he gives up five runs, four of which were earned, to the New York Yankees, this past Monday afternoon. He would pitch four innings in total, giving up eight hits and three walks while striking out two, as he takes the lost. Rich Dubee did say that the fifth spot in the rotation was Kendrick’s to lose, and sadly, it looks like he has, as he complies a spring training record of 1-2 with a 12.10 ERA. But, on the plus side, it might be best for Kendrick if he was sent down to Triple-A, as it should allow him to regain his composer against major league batters, as well as to develop a new pitch or two to help himself get out of jams, which he constantly gets into.
Kendrick was followed by Robert Mosebach who pitches an inning and a third, giving up four runs on five hits. Jake Woods follows Mosebach, pitching two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on four hits. Scott Eyre pitches an inning, giving up no runs on a hit as he strikes out three Yanks. Ryan Madson also pitches an inning, as he gives up an unearned run, the twelfth that the Yanks would score against the Phils, on two hits while striking out one.
Batting-wise, the Phils only got six hits in the 12-0 lost, with Eric Bruntlett, Ryan Howard, Matt Stairs, Geoff Jenkins, Jason Ellison and Ronny Paulino each getting a hit.
Starter no. 2, Brett Myers, pitches a strong outing yesterday afternoon against the Reds in the Phillies’ 8-1 victory, giving up no runs on five hits in five and two-thirds innings of work. He would also strike out seven Reds. Dave Borkowski would follow with a third of an inning of work, walking one batter and striking out one. Chad Durbin would pitch an inning, walking a batter. Clay Condrey would also pitch an inning, giving up one hit while striking out one. Brad Lidge, pitching in his first Grapefruit League game, would give up a meaningless run on two hits and a walk in one inning of work. Myers would get the win, giving him a spring training record of 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA, putting him in position to be the Opening Night starter if Cole Hamels isn’t ready to start. More on that later.
Batting-wise, the Phillies would score eight runs in a fourteen-hit attack, with six of those runs coming in the second inning. Raul Ibanez, John Mayberry, Jr. and Carlos Ruiz would lead the attack with two hits apiece, with Ruiz also knocking in a run. Pablo Ozuna, Bruntlett, Jason Donald, Howard, Stairs, Ellison, Myers and Jayson Werth would get the other hits. Ozuna, Bruntlett, Donald, and Howard would each knock in a run, along with Ruiz, while Stairs would knock in three. The Phillies had a total of six doubles, with Ibanez, Mayberry, Ruiz, Bruntlett, Stairs and Howard each hitting one. Mayberry and Donald continue to impress.
The third pitcher, Cole Hamels, have had his left elbow examined yesterday in Philadelphia. It appears that there is nothing structurally wrong with his elbow, as team physician Michael Ciccotti checked over his elbow before administering an anti-inflammatory injection into it to help it. Although good news, the Phillies will be going slow with Hamels, meaning that more likely than not that he will not be the Opening Night pitcher after all, and might actually miss his first two starts in the rotation. But, as they say, better to be safe than sorry. And with the team’s ace, better that he is pitching healthy than to have him pitching while hurt and blowing up his arm at some point during the season.
Presently, the Phillies are playing the Blue Jays, with the game tied 4 to 4 after six innings of play.
In Grapefruit League play yesterday afternoon, the Phils finally end their losing streak as they defeat the Astros, 5-2. Pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco started the game for the Phillies and recaptured his poise as he pitched three strong innings, giving up only a run on four hits and two walks while striking out four. Dave Borkowski followed, pitching an inning, giving up no runs on no hits as he walked two batters and struck out one. Andrew Carpenter went to the mound next, giving up a run, a Mark Saccomanno solo home run, on three hits and four strike outs as he pitched four innings. Mike Koplove pitched the final inning, giving up no runs on one hit while recording one strike out. Koplove records a save while Carrasco gets the victory, with his spring training record rising to 2-1 as his ERA lowers to 6.30.
Meanwhile, the Phillies batters recorded eleven hits with Pablo Ozuna leading the attack with three hits as he goes 3 for 4 with an RBI, followed by both Greg Dobbs and Matt Stairs, who both had two hits, with Dobbs knocking in two runs and scoring one. Jason Donald, Jayson Werth, John Mayberry, Jr. and Eric Bruntlett had the other Phillies’ hits, with Werth’s hit being a solo home run as he knocked in two runs. The Phils also had three stolen bases, with Ozuna, Donald and Bruntlett each swiping a base. Mayberry and Donald continues to impress the powers that be with their hitting.
In other Phils news, Chase Utley played in a minor league game yesterday, going 2 for 4 as he played second base for four innings, showing that he hasn’t lost a step. If he can show this in regular spring training games, he should be ready to start at second base on opening night.
The Phillies next spring training game is this afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 pm.
The Phillies loses another close game in Spring Training, this time in spite of taking the lead with a five-run sixth inning, thanks to Blaine Neal being unable to hold off the Pirates in the ninth, as the Phils lose 6-5. Joe Blanton starts the game off for the Phils, going four and two-thirds innings, giving up only two runs on five hits and a balk while he struck out two. Robert Mosebach follows for an inning and a third, giving up a run on two hits and a walk. Ryan Madson and Scott Nestor follows with both men pitching an inning in relief, with each giving up a hit apiece as Madson strikes out three batters and Nestor two. Blaine Neal pitches an inning, losing the game as he gives up three runs on three hits, with the big blow being Jeff Salazar’s three-run home run, and a walk while striking out one. Blaine’s spring training record is now 0-2 with a 23.63 ERA, as he is also credited with a blown save. So far this spring, the Phils first four starters are pitching well, while both J.A. Happ and Chan Ho Park are both pitching well to claim the fifth and final spot in the rotation. If this keeps up, the starting rotation might become the strength of the Phillies arsenal this season like the bullpen was last season.
Among the batters, the Phils were quiet for most of the game, but had a five-run explosion in the sixth. The batters had nine hits, with Jason Donald leading the way with two hits, as he went 2 for 5 with a run scored, as he now has a .361 spring training batting average. Eric Bruntlett, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, John Mayberry, Jr., Miguel Cairo and Carlos Ruiz got the other Phils hits. Howard got two more RBIs with a two-run blast, his fifth home run of the spring, while Ibanez, Cairo and Ruiz knock in the other three runs. Donald is impressing the brass with his batting, as is Mayberry. Also, Pedro Feliz was in the lineup, playing third base for several innings, although going 0 for 2.
The Phillies continue Grapefruit League play by facing the Houston Astros this afternoon, while the Astros will also be involved in a split squad game with the New York Mets.
In other Phillies news, it has been announced that Chase Utley might be ready to participate in some games next week, putting him on schedule for actually playing on Opening Night next month with the Atlanta Braves. If so, that would be very good news for the Phils. And ex-Phil and now Tampa Bay Ray, Pat Burrell, took out a pair of big ads which appeared in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, thanking the fans for their support during his nine seasons as a Phil. A real nice move by Pat the Bat.