Now the moment you've been waiting for. After looking at the first 7 of our top 10 Phillies moments of 2009, we've reached the best of the best. Without further adieu, here are the top 3 moments of the Phillies' 2009 season.
3. Cliff Lee dominates the Yankees in game 1 of the World Series
Another Cliff Lee memory, and one of the few good ones from the 2009 World Series. Cliff Lee was a magician as he faced off against CC Sabathia in game 1 of the World Series against the Yankees. He was simply masterful in a complete game effort in which he gave up one unearned run with six hits, 10 strikeouts, and no walks.
More than his actual performance, people will probably remember the way he did it more than anything. Who can forget the soft pop-up to Cliff Lee in the sixth? In the definition of nonchalant, Lee did not move and simply stuck his glove and practically closed his eyes as he caught the ball. "I don't know, it's 15 feet in the air and came right to me," Lee said after the game. "It was a pretty simple catch. Whatever. I don't know. I caught it."
Then in the eighth inning, on a liner up the middle, Cliff Lee threw his glove out behind his back and caught the ball on a bounce and threw out the runner. The Phillies won 6-1. If they could have won the World Series, this game would have gone down in infamy.
2. Down to the last out with no baserunners, the Phillies rally to win Game 4 of the NLDS
The Phillies were down 4-2 in the ninth inning of game 4 of the NLDS and it looked like were heading back to Philly for a decisive game 5. Ryan Howard made sure we didn't. Rockies closer Huston Street got ahead 0-2 before retiring Greg Dobbs for the first out. Rollins was up next and also fell behind 0-2, but he fought back and singled up the middle.
Shane Victorino was retired and the Phillies were down to their last out. Chas Utley was up next and worked a walk in an excruciatingly stressful at-bat.
Now it was Howard's turn. And he called his shot, telling his teammates to give him a chance and he would take care of it. He did. Howard lined a 2-1 fastball for a double against the right field wall. All of a sudden we were tied.
Jayson Werth followed with a great swing on a low and away 2-2 slider for a single to right-center field to score Howard to give the Phillies the lead. We had the lead. The inning ended and the Phils held on to win the game and the series.
1. Jimmy Rollins hits eventualy game-winning double in Game 4 of the NLCS
vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
It's tough to argue that this should not rank as the number 1 moment. A year after the magical home runs by Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs in game 4 of the NLCS, the Phillies did it again in the same game, against the same team, and the same pitcher.
Jonathan Broxton came into the game in the eighth inning for the Dodgers and retired the one batter he faced. But after retiring Ibanez to begin the ninth inning, he faced Matt Stairs again. Clearly scared of Stairs, Broxton didn't come close to a strike and walked Stairs on four pitches. He then hit Carlos Ruiz to put two runners on with one out. Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs hit a looper to shortstop for out number two.
Then Jimmy Rollins. With the count 1-1, Rollins hit a fastball down the middle into the gap in right-center. Pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett scored easily. Carlos Ruiz was halfway to second base at the crack of the bat and he rounded third base without a throw and slid for effect with the game winning run. They did it again. Another 3-1 series lead. Another hero. Another World Series.
We continue our look back at the best 10 moments of the Phillies 2009 season with a glimpse of the next three in the list. Here we go: moments 4 through sixth of the 10 best Phillies moments of 2009..
6. Jayson Werth steals home
The bases were loaded in the seventh with two outs and Pedro Feliz at the plate. After Dodgers pitcher Ronald Belisario delivered a pitch to the plate, catcher Russell Martin harmlessly lobbed a throw back to the pitcher when Jayson Werth took off from third and slid safely under the tag to steal home! It wasn't a textbook steal of home, but that's about as close as you can get. Werth stole second, third, and home in the inning and tied the Phillies franchise record with a total of four stolen bases.
5. Shane Victorino hits 9th inning slam to beat Marlins
The Phillies headed into the ninth inning against the Marlins down 3-0 with just three hits after only getting two the day before. It was frustrating game and the Marlins were dominating the Phils.
Then the ninth.
It was such a crazy inning, let's go through this batter by batter. Matt Lindstrom came in to close the game with a fastball consistently clocked in the upper nineties. With one out, Jayson Werth lined a doubled into the left center gap for the first extra base hit of the night for the Phillies. Ibanez walked and Stairs hit an RBI single to right. Lou Marson walked, Eric Bruntlett struck out, and Jimmy Rollins walked to score a run. That brought Victorino to the plate with the bases loaded, two outs, down 3-2. How about that for drama? Victorino then smashed a grand slam into the right field bleachers to put the Phillies up by three runs. To add insult to injury, Chase Utley followed with a homer of his own to make it 7-3 Phillies. Awesome.
4. The Phillies sign Cliff Lee
Sorry to bring up bad memories here. After all the talk about getting Roy Halladay, Ruben Amaro surprised everyone by bringing in Cliff Lee from Cleveland for basically nothing: Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson. Not only that, but we also got Ben Francisco in the deal. It's just too painful to think of all the great things Lee did and could still do for the Phillies if we kept hem. Hey, it was fun while it lasted.
In 2009, the Phillies made it to game 6 of the World Series, so obviously there were a lot of memorable moments. The middle of the winter seemed like the perfect time to look back at the best moments from 2009 before we look ahead to the 2010 Phillies.
But how could we pick the top 10? After quite a few arguments and near fist fights, we finally narrowed it down to just 10. You be the judge of how we did. Here they are: moments 7 through 10 of the top 10 Phillies moments of 2009.
Although this game lacked the intensity of the other moments, you gotta love a good beat down. How about these numbers? 22 runs. 21 hits. 4 home runs, including one grand slam. Every starter had at least one hit, including Cole Hamels, and six Phillies had a multi-hit night. Shane Victorino went 4-for-5 with a home run, 4 RBI, and one walk. It was the fourth time in franchise history that the Phillies scored 10 runs in the first inning.
Just 3 days after the Phillies smacked around the Reds, Chase Utley added insult to injury when he hit an inside-the-park homerun at Citizens Bank Park. In the third inning, Utley drilled a deep fly just to the left of the 409 sign in center field. The ball caromed off the wall towards right-field and Utley was off the races. He circled the bases and scored standing for an inside-the-park homer.
8. Eric Bruntlett finishes off the Mets with an unassisted triple play
This one was weird. Before we get to the play itself, here is a little background. In the top of the ninth, Eric Bruntlett hit a line drive to shallow right-center field that was trapped by Jeff Francoeur and originally ruled a hit, but second-base umpire Rob Drake reversed the call and the inning was over.
Now the bottom of the ninth. Up 9-6, Ryan Howard started the inning with a three base error. Eric Bruntlett followed Howard with an error of his own on a grounder on the next play. He then bobbled a grounder on the next play (although not ruled an error). All of a sudden, the Mets had runners on first and second with nobody out. Ironically enough, Jeff Francoeur batted next, and as the runners attempted a double steal, he hit a smash up the middle. Bruntlett snared the liner, stepped on second, and tagged Daniel Murphy for an unassisted triple-play to end the ballgame. Just like that, the game was over.
7. Howard hits a pinch-hit home run with a 104 degree fever
Ryan Howard stepped to the plate with a 103.9 fever in the seventh inning as a pinch hitter, down by a run against the Baltimore Orioles. Then, the man who was in the hospital only hours earlier, hit a three-run pinch-hit home run to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead. It was a storybook scene, and one most Phillies fans will probably never forget.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Naturally, we lead off with the Phillies lead off man, Jimmy Rollins.
The 2009 Phillies season was not one Jimmy Rollins would like to remember. Rollins started his season earlier than most as a member of the World Baseball Classic. He did well in the Classic, hitting .417 with a home run and four RBIs for team USA.
It went downhill from there.
J-Roll was dreadful to start the season, only hitting .229 with a .287 on-base percentage. Charlie Manuel did what he could to help Rollins by giving him a day off here and there. But in the midst of an 0-for-28 slump, Charlie benched Rollins for 4 games to "get Jimmy right."
Well, it worked. Rollins regained his swagger and batted .358 in his next 13 games and batted .313 in July. But he didn't exactly light things up after that, hitting .272 with 14 home runs in the second half of the season.
Let's be honest, Rollins was not great in the playoffs either. He batted .234 overall in the playoffs. Even worse, while we watched Derek Jeter hit .407 for the Yankees in the World Series, Rollins hit just .217 in the World Series and really hurt the team. However, his game winning hit in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Dodgers might have made up for all of it.
One thing has not changed: Rollins' defense. Rollins led all Major League shortstops with a .990 fielding percentage. Rollins has the second best fielding percentage (.983) all-time in baseball history, which is why we feel Jimmy Rollins will go to the Hall of Fame.
2009 stats: 155 games, .250 AVG, .296 OBP, 21 HR, 77 RBI, 31 SB
You can view all of Jimmy Rollins' 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: B-
That might sound a bit harsh, but with a season on-base percentage under .300 he was not an effective offensive player and did not help his case in the playoffs, but his defense once again was terrific.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Now it is Cole Hamels' turn.
Life could not have been better for Mr. Cole Hamels entering the 2009 baseball season. After having a good regular season with a 14-10 record and a 3.09 ERA, Hamels had possibly the best post-season ever for a pitcher with a 4-0 record and a 1.80 ERA.
But 2009 was much different for Cole Hamels.
Hamels admitted he was not ready for the season. With the short off season and all of the public appearances that surround a World Championship, he really spread himself thin. Dealing with elbow pain coming out of Spring Training, Hamels wouldn’t make his first start until April 10. He allowed seven earned runs in 3.2 innings in his first start. After his first four starts, Hamels had an 0-2 record with a 7.27 ERA and only averaged 4.33 innings per start.
Things just never came around for Cole Hamels, and he hovered around a 4.50 ERA all season long. And at times he showed his frustrations publicly, even as late as the NLCS. He just didn't look like himself last year, and the numbers showed it. Hamels finished with a 10-11 record and a 4.32 ERA.
Things would not turn around in the post-season, either. He posted a disappointing 1-2 record in the playoffs with a 7.58 ERA. The World Series magnified his problems. When Charlie Manuel decided to push his start back to game 3, Hamels did not seem terribly disappointed. Hamels started out fine in that start and had a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. But he fell apart after Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run home run that was originally ruled an out. He would only retire two more batters and left after giving the Yankees a 5-3 lead.
Cole Hamels has been a major topic of conversation and he will need to rebound in 2010 if the Phillies want to win another championship.
2009 stats: 32 G, 10-11, 193.2 IP, 4.32 ERA, 43 BB, 168 SO, .273 BAA
You can view all of Cole Hamels' 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: B-
Although it feels a lot worse because we know he can and should pitch better, but overall he just had a slightly sub par season.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Next up: Raul Ibanez.
The date was October 31, 2008 and Pat Burrell sat on a Clydesdale horse, leading the Philadelphia Phillies Championship Parade down Broad Street. It was an indication that Burrell's ninth season with the Phillies would be his last. Fast forward to December 16, 2008. In an unpopular move at the time, new GM Ruben Amaro said goodbye to Burrell by signing Raul Ibanez to a three-year, $31.5 million dollar contract.
Fans were a bit disappointed to see Burrell go, especially when you replace him with a 36-year-old. But the city of Philadelphia fell in love with Ibanez quickly, and it was no time before the Rauuuul chants began. He was easy to love in a first half in which he was a clear league MVP candidate. How about these first half numbers: .309 average, 22 HR, 60 RBI, .367 On-base percentage, and .649 slugging percentage. He was also very good defensively in left field.
But it was a tale of two halves, and the second half was ugly. We saw a very different Raul Ibanez when he returned from the 15-day disabled list on July 10 and he was plagued by injuries the rest of the season. He batted .232 after the all-star break with 12 HR and 33 RBI. Despite his poor second half numbers, his .552 slugging percentage was 8th best in the league. Ibanez was unable to turn things around in the playoffs, hitting .239 with 2 HR and 13 RBIs.
Ibanez was known for being a very consistent hitter, but we did not see that from him in 2009. In fact, he was the complete reverse. In comparison to Pat Burrell, he struck out less (119 K's) but did not walk nearly as much (56 BB). It's hard to tell what would have happened if he was healthy for the full season, so it is still difficult to gauge what we can expect from him in 2010. Regardless, Raul Ibanez has become a fan favorite and a stud in the middle of a potent Phillies lineup.
2009 stats: .272 avg., 34 HR, 93 RBI, 119 K, 56 BB
You can view all of Raul Ibanez ' 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: B+
Despite a horrendous second half, Ibanez still had very good numbers and was a big part of the Phillies' return to the World Series.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. On the mound now is big Joe Blanton.
Joe Blanton has been a pretty good pickup for the Phillies, who acquired him at the trading deadline in 2008. He was great in his two starts in the 2008 playoffs and followed it up with a decent 2009 campaign.
But it didn't start out that way. Blanton had a terrible start and was part of an awful starting rotation to start the season. He was 0-2 in his first 4 starts with an 8.41 ERA in 20.1 innings. Blanton also gave up 6 HR in 20.1 innings and looked like an easy pitcher to hit with very little life to his pitches.
But after that tough stretch, he was the Phillies most consistent pitcher. He was more than adequate in May and June, posting a 4.08 ERA during that stretch. But he was amazing over the next two months, pitching 10 games with a 2.27 ERA. Not bad for your number three starter. He cooled off a bit at the end of the season, but overall he had a very respectable season. He finished with a 12-8 record and a 4.05 ERA. He came close to 200 innings (195.1) and had a walk/strikeout ratio of 59/163.
Charlie Manuel used a curious approach with Joe Blanton in the playoffs and used Blanton as a reliever in the NLDS. He was adequate given the circumstances, giving up 2 runs in 3.2 innings. He started one game each in the NLCS and World Series and pitched 6 innings in both games and gave up 7 total runs for a 5.25 ERA.
Blanton has proven that he is adequate as a number three pitcher. The Phillies must agree since they gave him a nice little three-year contract worth $24 million. It is pretty clear that Joe Blanton will not win a Cy Young award anytime soon, but he pulls his weight as a number three.
2009 stats: 12-8, 195.1 IP, 4.05 ERA, 59 K, 163 BB
You can view all of Joe Blanton's 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: B-
Joe Blanton had a slightly better than average season compared to other starting pitchers, so a B- seems like a very appropriate grade for Joe. Let's hope Blanton can stay right around this range for the next three years.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Now it's time for the big guy: Ryan Howard.
It might actually be possible that Ryan Howard is under appreciated in Philadelphia. Not that Howard is not extremely popular in Philadelphia, but this dude might just be the best offensive force in all of baseball. Look at these numbers from 2009: .279 average with 45 HR and 141 RBI. That's just insane for an "average" Ryan Howard season.
He finished 1st in RBI (141), 3rd in homers (45), 3rd in total bases (352), 4th in slugging percentage (.571), 5th in runs scored (105), and 9th in OPS (.931). He finished with the second most strikeouts (186), but that was 13 less than the 199 he had in 2007 and 2008. Add to that the fact that he played 162 games, you simply cannot get much more out of a player. The only thing Howard could improve on is the number of walks. He only had 75 walks in 2009, and that is low for a player that teams consistently try to pitch around.
Howard now has four straight seasons of 40-plus homers and 135-plus RBIs. Think about that for a second.
I was never the hugest fan of Ryan Howard because he seemed to only care about home runs and was the only guy where I could actually see him thinking about offense. But when Howard dropped 30 pounds and came into Spring Training early to work on his defense, I gained a ton of respect for the "Big Piece." He said he wanted to be known for being more than just a home run hitter, and that says a lot about the character of superstar like him.
His work paid off, and he was arguably a Gold Glove candidate for a while. Not only did his errors drop from 19 to 14, but he got to many more balls and made some fantastic plays. He was even able to improve dramatically on the dreaded 3-6-3 double play with a few simple adjustments.
Ryan Howard was simply unbelievable in the NLDS and NLCS. In 9 games, Howard knocked in 14 runs and tied a record with RBIs in 8 straight games. He also hit two home runs and had a .355 batting average. When the team was not scoring runs, Howard put the team on his back. The best example of that came in Game 4 of the NLDS, where he tied the game with a two-out double in the ninth inning to help the Phils win that game and that series.
But he cooled off considerably in the World Series. He was 4-for-23 (.174) with just three RBI. Some people place a lot of blame on Howard for losing the World Series, but it was evident that Howard did not see the ball well and because of that could not hit the slider. And when Howard can't hit the slider, he is very easy to pitch to.
It is really something when you realize just how good this guy is. He consistently hits a ton of bombs and knocks in a billion runs. We may only have Howard for two more years, because he will command near A-Rod money when he hits free agency. So let's enjoy it while we can.
2009 stats: 160 games, .279 avg., 45 HR, 141 RBI, 105 R
You can view all of Ryan Howard's 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: A+
Ryan Howard is one of THE BEST players in the league today and has put up historic numbers. He hit for power and had a decent average, struck out less, and played a solid first base. Add to that a record setting NLCS and NLDS, and it wouldn't seem right to give him anything less than a perfect grade.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Up on the hill now is Chad Durbin.
Prior to last season, Chad Durbin had a career year as a reliever for the Phillies in 2008. He pitched 87.2 innings that year and had a 2.87 ERA. But with a career ERA of 5.19, it would be foolish to expect that he could replicate that performance. In 2009, Durbin came back to earth with a mediocre 2-2 record and a 4.39 ERA in 59 games. It was actually a fairly forgettable year - he wasn't good enough for praise, but he wasn't bad enough for you to hate him.
He proved that he had the stuff to get batters out, holding his opponents to a .220 batting average against him. He was also a pretty good strikeout pitcher, averaging 8.01 strikeouts per nine innings. But Durbin walked 47 batters in 69.2 innings. That killed him because it gave batters an on-base percentage of .354. A stint on the DL in July with a right latissimus strain did not help his case, either.
Chad Durbin did a terrific job in the division and championship series, pitching 4 innings and not giving up a single baserunner. But he struggled in the two games he pitched in the World Series in which he gave up 4 runs in 1.1 innings.
2009 stats: 59 games, 2-2, 4.39 ERA, 69.2 IP, 62 K, 47 BB, .220 BAA
Overall Grade: C
Overall, Chad Durbin did his job in 2009 and was a pretty average pitcher. He was not terrible, but he did not meet our expectations and was not a guy you were confident to put out there with the game on the line.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. We now turn our attention to J.C. Romero.
2009 was essentially a lost season for J.C. Romero. He began the season by missing the first 50 games after Major League Baseball suspended him when he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The one bright spot about the situation was that Romero would be fresh towards the end of the year. But that didn't happen either, because he was placed on the 15-day DL on July 23. And physical issues caused the Phillies to shelve Romero for the entire postseason.
When it was all said and done, J.C. Romero only appeared in 21 games and pitched just 16 2/3 innings. That is certainly not enough for us to give Romero a grade. He had a good ERA of 2.70, but a very high WHIP (walks+hits per innings pitched) of 1.56. He had control issues during his appearances with 13 walks and had a high number of strikeouts to go with it (12).
J.C. Romero's absence was a big loss for the Phillies in 2009. He was a crucial left-handed arm in the bullpen and he was a serious late game pitcher to count on. With Scott Eyre's retirement, Romero might be even more important in 2010.
2009 stats: 21 games, 0-0, 2.70 ERA, 16.2 innings, 12 K, 13 BB, 1.56 WHIP
You can view all of J.C. Romero's 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: Incomplete
Romero simply did not pitch enough to warrant any evaluation. We will see if he can bounce back next season.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Now at the plate: Pedro Feliz.
Pedro Feliz came to the Phillies in 2008 and did not have a good first year, hitting .249 with 14 HR, 58 RBI, and a .302 on-base percentage. The Phillies attributed his poor offensive season and low power to a season plagued with back problems.
2009 promised to be better, but that wasn't the case.
Feliz was on fire for the first two months of the season, hitting .302 with 27 RBI and hit .413 with runners in scoring position. But his numbers tumbled the entire rest of the season. After the final day, he ended up with a .266 average with 12 home runs and 82 RBI. How did he get 82 RBIs? Because his average with runners in scoring position was a team best .336.
Give the guy some credit for getting hits when they count, but Feliz is a complete hole in the lineup in every other situation. Without runners in scoring position he hit .243, his overall on-base percentage was .308, and he grounded into the second most double plays on the team (12).
But the most telling stat might be his number of pitches seen per plate appearance. Feliz averaged 3.29 pitches per plate appearance, which is a terrible number, especially in comparison to Jayson Werth's number of 4.51. Work that over an entire season, and that would mean that Werth would see 763 more pitches if he had the same number of plate appearances as Feliz. Above and beyond his regular stats, that simply tells me that he gives terrible at-bats.
Defensively, Pedro Feliz was a solid as they get at third base. His 15 errors in 1364 innings were good and his 35 double plays turned were the best in the league. He did not have much range at third, but he was quick, gobbled everything up, and had one of the strongest, most accurate throwing arms in baseball.
Fans really soured on Pedro during the 2009 post-season. He was terrible in the playoffs, managing just nine hits in 54 at-bats (.164) with only 4 RBI.
Ruben Amaro clearly had enough with Feliz and decided to decline his $5.5 million option for 2010 and turned instead to Placido Polanco, who has almost a polar opposite approach to hitting. Feliz might have a good glove at third, but I for one am sick of watching him swing at the first pitch every single at-bat and clog up the lineup.
2009 stats: 158 games, .266 avg., 12 HR, 82 RBI, 62 R
Overall Grade: C
Although his defense was terrific and he knocked in a decent amount of runs, all of the other intangibles added up to a completely average season. Bye Pedro.
It was apparent that Brad Lidge was dealing with knee problems in 2009, but Phillies fans never knew for sure how bad the injury was and what effect it had specifically on his pitching. Lidge decided now was the time to speak about his season in front of a bunch of Phillies reporters in the Bright House Field lunchroom. He wasted no time, as pitchers and catchers report for to Spring Training for the Phillies tomorrow.
Lidge gave us with some very revealing statements and provided a great deal of insight into his physical issues and what was going on in his head. What intrigued me most were his thoughts on how exactly his knee injury affected his pitches.
"One of the reason my slider's been so effective is because I've had a good fastball and i've been able to locate it, throw it down in the zone," Lidge told reporters. "My control was really not where it's ever been before, in a bad way. Because of that, my fastball was up in the zone a lot and all of a sudden, you throw the slider down and hitters don't chase anymore because they're able to separate, 'OK, fastballs are up, sliders are down'. The hitters are kind of able to differentiate between the two pitches, whereas when they're going good obviously they can't tell the difference between them and they swing at the slider.
That statement helps answer the question, "Why can't hitters lay off that slider?" In 2008, hitters were not able to tell the difference between his fastball and slider. But when his control of the fastball wasn't working in 2009, hitters would just watch the slider go by. Pretty cool stuff from the Phils closer.
Lidge never once blamed his problems last season on his injury. Similar to how Chase Utley handled his hip injury, Lidge refused to use excuses last season. And he wasn't going to start now. Phillies insiders also made such a big deal about the mental side of things. From Lidge's comments, you can understand that his confidence had more to do with the injury than anything else.
"It was tough to throw," he said. "The biggest thing for me was trying to convince myself the whole year that I could get it done the same way. And I felt I could, but obviously I wasn't the same guy last year as '08."
"It's not so much trying to trick people as it is really trying to convince yourself as well," Lidge said. "You've got to sell yourself on that. Otherwise, there is no reason to go out there."
Lidge also mentioned that he did not consider shutting himself down. "I'll never put myself on the DL," he said. "If they tell me to stop, that's one thing. If I can physically go out there, I'm going to."
One other affect of the injury was that it slowed down his already slow delivery to the plate. The result was that baserunners stole 11 of 12 times off Lidge. "If you look at it, runners stole bases off me at will last year," Lidge said.
Finally, Lidge considers himself about two weeks behind schedule. He didn't rule out the possibility of pitching on opening day. "If there aren't any setbacks, I think it's a reasonable possibility," Lidge said. "We'll be smart about it."
With pitchers and catchers already down in Clearwater, it is time again for Phils Baseball's rankings of the top 20 Phillies prospects in 2010. The Phillies farm system was ranked in the top 10 as recently as last year, but the trades for Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay have really depleted the system, giving some credence to why the Phillies gave away Cliff Lee. Keith Law from ESPN now ranks the Phillies as the 24th best farm system and Fanhouse has them ranked 17th. Nevertheless, the Phillies still have some young talent. Let's take a look at the bottom half of our top 20 with prospects 11-20.
A rare lefty in this group, Flande pitched well enough for a call up to Reading. The 23-year old does not wow you with his stuff, but he has good control with a high groundball/flyball ratio. He has all of the tools to eventually become a solid middle reliever or back-end starter.
Carpenter is a middle of the road pitcher in my mind with very average stuff, but his skills are refined enough to contribute at the major league level. Carpenter has great control and is mainly a fly ball pitcher, which is not a good quality for Citizens Bank Park.
De Fratus had a terrific season in the Sally League as a reliever and starter with a great K/BB ratio. His fastball has good sinking action that can reach 94 and he is developing a changeup. Given his success already at 22, he may not be too far away from the majors.
Drafted out of high school in 2008, Collier has great raw tools and is extremely athletic. He has good power that should continue to improve as he matures. His swing mechanics are solid and he is well suited for the outfield with above average speed and a plus arm. Collier is fairly refined for a young talent and could advance quickly in the minors.
Pettibone is another high school pitcher, drafted in 2008. Pettibone is a tall, lanky pitcher who is still growing into his frame. As he develops, he could increase velocity on his low 90's fastball to become a power pitcher. He is a good strikeout pitcher with a high groundball/flyball ratio. Still difficult to project, but certainly a talent to watch.
Colvin was yet another high school draft pick in the 7th round of the '09 draft. He features a power arm and a fastball. When he grows into his body a little more, he might develop more power over time. His fastball is lively and he has a curve ball that could be a plus pitch if he can hide it better and improve his control.
James was a 22nd round pick in 2007 who was converted to the outfield and missed all of 2008 with a stress fracture in his forearm. He is a raw talent with a ton of tools. He possesses tremendous speed and good raw power. He still has a ways to go, but could eventually be a quality center fielder.
Castro has lots of tools and is a good athlete with decent speed. He has a quick bat and some power, but he is a very wild swinger. He is still a raw player who needs to become more controlled at the plate, in the field, and on the basepaths.
It's been a wild ride for Mathieson. He started for the Phillies in 2006 and struggled, before suffering several injuries and having three elbow surgeries in three years. He says his arm finally feels fine for the first time since he became injured and he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League. What makes Mathieson still worthwhile is a mid to upper 90's fastball and a good changeup. I like what Mathieson offers and if he can somehow stay healthy, he could do some good things.
Singleton is an 18-year-old athletic first baseman. For a young hitter, he has amazing plate discipline, and incredibly had more walks than strikeouts. He is a line drive hitter who uses all fields. It will be interesting to see how much power he develops with more experience.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. How about a look at Pedro Martinez?
The 2009 Phillies story took a fun and interesting twist when they brought in 38-year-old Pedro Martinez. Let's face it, the Pedro Martinez experiment did not sound like a good idea. In the previous 3 seasons, injuries caused him to pitch an average of 16 games and he had an ERA over five. Nobody wanted him at the start of the season and he hadn't prepared his arm, so how could you expect him to be effective? Besides, he seemed to be a bit of a diva who could disrupt the clubhouse.
$1 million seemed like a waste of money at the time, but it turned out to be a great investment. He started 9 games and recorded a 5-1 record and an ERA of 3.63. He only averaged around 5 innings per start, but he kept the team in his games. He baffled and confused hitters with excellent control (8 walks in 44.2 innings) and had a fastball generally in the upper eighties. He showed a real passion and respect for the game of baseball and seemed to liven up the team.
Charlie Manuel surprised everyone when he announced Pedro Martinez was going to start Game 2 of the NLCS. Crazy, right? Well, all Pedro did was pitch 7 shutout innings while allowing just two base runners. Charlie pulled Martinez despite only 87 pitches and the Phils eventually lost, but it was an incredible performance by a first ballot Hall of Famer.
We won't revisit what happened in Game 6 of the World Series, but Charlie should have seen that Pedro had nothing that night and should have pulled him much sooner. But the fact he was even in there to begin with says it all.
2009 stats: 5-1, 3.63 ERA, 44.2 IP, 37 K, .276 BAA
Overall Grade: B-
Pedro had a good ERA and pitches a heck of a game in the NLCS, but he did not pitch deep into games. No matter what, Pedro Martinez was a big help to the Phillies down the stretch and made for a great story.
Cosart was a questionable pick from the 2008 draft due to negative reports about his makeup, but he is a tremendous down-the-road prospect to keep your eye on. Cosart is quite a physical specimen who was converted from outfielder to pitcher. He possesses a clean, downhill delivery which creates high velocity and could make him a great power pitcher. Along with his fastball, he features a sharp curveball that is an out pitch.
The Phillies liked Bastardo enough to bring him up and even pitch in the postseason. Ruben Amaro announced that Bastardo will pitch strictly in relief and is a good candidate to win a bullpen role in Spring Training. He has added about 30 pounds, which should address questions about his durability. He relied too much on his low-mid 90's fastball last year, so he is working on a slider and changeup that he will need to compete.
Santana is a 6'5", 200 pounds and combines speed, power, and a good throwing arm. He batted .288 in the rookie Gulf Coast League in 2009. He does have the propensity for strikeouts, but at age 17, he has plenty of time to work on that.
Gyllies is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. A 25th round draft pick of the Mariners and legally deaf, Gyllies has worked his way to become a "diamond in the rough" for the Phillies. Although known for his speed and defense, Gyllies hit .341 last year. His offense continues to progress, and he demonstrated his speed with 14 triples and 44 stolen bases last year. Like Anthony Gose, he has the potential for some power down the road.
Gose is one of those "high risk, high rewards" players with great athleticism and unrefined mechanics. He has amazing speed (stole 76 bases in Lakewood) and a ton of great tools. Along with his speed, he has the physical projections to have the power of a player like Curtis Granderson. He plays to his strengths by working long counts and keeping the ball on the ground, but he has way too many strikeouts for a player with his speed.
Valle has excellent power potential, but needs to be more patient at the plate and cut down on his strikeouts. Although only 170 pounds, the Phillies converted him to catcher. His defense at catcher is not very good, but he is only 19 and has time to improve it. There's a good chance he will be moved again to another position.
Ramirez is a 6'3", 225 pound right-hander from Nicaragua and at 21-years-old, he already has a great deal of minor league experience, having thrown 341.2 innings over the past three seasons. But he remains a work in progress. Despite a 5.12 ERA in the California League, he will start the season at Reading for the Phillies. His fastball sits in the low to mid 90's, and he has a good slider that he needs to learn to control, as well as a changeup he needs to further develop.
Aumont is a big dude, standing at 6'7", 220 pounds and is universally considered the best of the three prospects acquired by the Mariners. Injuries have been an issue already with Aumont. Durability is a concern and he will need to alter his mechanics to stay healthy. He has a terrific upside with a good hard fastball and a nasty spike curve. It sounds like the Phillies will try to convert him from a reliever to a starter, but he looks to me like a closer in the making.
Trevor May dealt with a back injury which caused him to miss Spring Training and the beginning of last season, but the Phils liked him enough to have him skip Clearwater and head straight to Lakewood. He is another big guy at 6'5" and features a heavy fastball and a good breaking curveball, but he still needs to improve his changeup. He had a high number of strikeouts and a low H/IP ratio. He still needs to refine his control and limit the number of walks.
Brown has complete five-tool potential and a good approach at the plate. He's tall and athletic, with plus speed he can use on both sides of the ball. He should grow into more power as he matures. He batted .299 in 395 at-bats from low Class A to Double-A. Although he made the Arizona Fall League all-star team, Brown faltered near the end, and ended up batting just .229. That shows he is not quite ready to contribute at the major league level. Phillies assistant GM, Chuck LaMar has this to say about Domonic Brown: "He has the potential to be a five-tool player. He's unique in size alone. When you talk about athleticism, you usually don't talk about somebody 6-foot-5 in our sport, but he truly has the size, the leverage and the athleticism to make him unique.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Coming in from the bullpen now is Ryan Madson.
After pitching incredibly in the 2008 playoffs where he brought some serious heat, Ryan Madson took his success with him into 2009. He started out the year great, posting a 2.49 ERA through June. But when Brad Lidge went down, he did not perform well as a closer and blew six saves.
You worried at the time that Madson might have a tough time regaining his confidence when he returned to his normal role. But he did not let his problems as a closer affect him and dominated once again as a set-up man. And when Charlie turned to Madson again as a closer in September and October when Lidge was even worse, he really stepped up. In the last month+ he had a 2.92 ERA and converted 6 of 7 save opportunities.
He continued to throw a hard fastball consistently around 95 mph and still had a nasty changeup. He struck out 9.1 batters per nine innings and had a good walk/strikeout ratio of 22/78.
Madson was fairly effective in the playoffs, giving up 4 runs in 10 1/3 innings. He pitched well enough that Charlie was confident bringing him into the eighth inning. If Lidge would have struggled as a closer, Charlie would likely have turned to Madson to close out games.
Overall, Ryan Madson has established himself as one of the best set-up men in the game. Still only 29, Madson should be a mainstay in the bullpen for years to come.
2009 stats: 5-5, 77.1 IP, 3.26 ERA, .251 AVG
You can view all of Ryan Madson's 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: B+
Despite his struggles as a closer, Ryan Madson had a very good year. With a very different look to the Phillies bullpen this season and a big question mark surrounding Brad Lidge, we might need Madson to come up big again next year.
Now that Roy Halladay has arrived to spring training with the Phillies and had his chance to speak to the Philadelphia media, we thought it was time to find just how good Roy Halladay really is.
We took a look at Halladay's career numbers and figured out what an "average" season looks like for Roy Halladay. 2009 was Halladay's 12th season in the majors, all of them spent with the Toronto Blue Jays. We ignored Halladay's first season in which he only pitched 2 games (one of them was a complete game, naturally), divided the rest of his numbers over 11 seasons, and rounded them off. Here is a "typical" Roy Halladay season:
4 complete games
41 walks/134 K's
1.198 WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched)
In reviewing Halladay's numbers, you will find that he is remarkably consistent throughout the season, with an ERA of 3.61 in the first half of the season and a 3.18 ERA in the second half. It's also interesting that Halladay's worst ERA is in April (4.13) and his best is in Sep/Oct (2.36). Starts a tad slow and finishes strong...nice.
What makes Roy Halladay stand out even more is that he pitched a total of 78 games against the Red Sox and Yankees. He has a 14-14 record against Boston with a 4.28 ERA and 6 complete games, and an 18-6 record with a 2.84 ERA against the Yankees with 7 complete games.
Halladay's numbers get even better if you just take his last 5 seasons. Here are his overall numbers during that time:
34 complete games
.686 winning percentage
Here's what you get when you average those numbers over 5 seasons:
7 complete games
35 walks/131 K's
Needless to say, those are pretty darn good numbers. What these numbers say is that Roy Halladay is a workhorse who barely averages over one base runner per inning and gives you a complete game 1 out of every 4 times he trots out there. AND THAT WAS IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE in the same division as the Sox and Yankees. Try cutting close to a run off his ERA in the National League, and WOW!
Not only does he have ridiculous numbers, but we hear from just about everyone that Halladay has one of the best work ethics of anyone. Roy Halladay could help us quickly forget that guy named Cliff who worked for us last year.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Now digging in is Shane Victorino.
In his fourth full season with the Phillies, there is no question that Shane Victorino is one of the best center fielders in the National League. When Victorino was named to the all-star team, it validated what Phillies fans already knew. He became one of five Phillies on the team and joined Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez to put all three Phillies outfielders on the all-star squad. Victorino earned the right to be named an all-star. He finished the season with a .292 average to go along with 10 homers, 62 RBIs, 102 runs scored, 25 stolen bases, and led the majors with 13 triples. Not too shabby.
Victorino has been a remarkably consistent player for the Phillies, with a batting average been between .281 and .293 in all four seasons. His walks, RBIs, on-base percentage, hits, and doubles have all risen each year, as well.
Shane earned his second Gold Glove award and is clearly one of the best center fielders in baseball. His speed allows him to play shallow and he can cover a ton of ground in the outfield. Victorino also has an accurate, cannon arm, demonstrated by his 8 assists.
Victorino is also consistently clutch in the postseason. He hit .293 in 15 games with 3 homers, 9 RBIs, and 11 runs scored. And who can forget his huge two-run homer that tied game 4 of the 2008 NLCS and allowed Matt Stairs to hit his game winning moon shot?
Putting that all together, you can see why the Phillies signed Victorino to a three-year, $22 million dollar deal. That probably also means that Jayson Werth will not be back after this season. But with all of the power on this Phillies team and Rollins not getting any younger, it is important to keep some speed at the top of that lineup in the future. Although Polanco is likely to hit second, so Victorino might find himself batting seventh in the lineup in 2010.
2009 stats: .292 avg., 10 HR, 62 RBI, 25 SB, 13 triples, 102 R
You can view all of Shane Victorino's 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: A-
After four consistently good seasons with the Phillies, Shane Victorino is the real deal. He is a complete player who can hit for average and a bit of power with terrific speed and defense. His fiery personality and hustle is contagious and he is a real sparkplug for this Phillies team.
Ever wonder what Grizzly Adams would look like if he played baseball? Jayson Werth decided to answer that question by sporting his version of Tom Hanks in Castaway and Forest Gump.
Photo Courtesy of Todd Zolecki, The Zo Zone
It must be nice to be a professional ball player. Jayson Werth can look as nasty as he wants and still get more women than we could ever dream of. More power to you, J-dub.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. It's Jamie Moyer's turn to take the hill.
This was not a fun season for Jamie Moyer. Coming off an amazing year where he had 16 wins and a 3.71 ERA, the Phillies gave the now 46-year-old a two-year, $13 million deal. With hindsight being 20/20, it was not the right move, especially considering his terrific 2008 season followed a year when Moyer had a 5.01 ERA.
His first two months were brutal. Moyer was 3-5 with a 6.75 ERA through June and by the all-star break he had a 5.99 ERA. As a starter, he went seven or more innings just four times, averaged 5.5 innings per start, gave up four or more earned runs in a game 13 times, and allowed 27 home runs.
Moyer struggled enough that Charlie Manuel decided to move him to the bullpen after his last start on August 9th. Moyer publicly voiced his frustrations in a press conference, but was a true team player the rest of the way. Pitching mostly in long relief, Moyer's ERA was 3.53 after the move to the bullpen.
It seems that age has finally caught up with Jamie Moyer and he has dealt with injuries the entire off-season. Moyer will compete for the fifth starter spot, but it is unlikely that he will win that job or remain there. But Moyer has defied odds his entire life, so I wouldn't count him out just yet.
2009 stats: 30 games, 25 starts, 12-10, 4.90 ERA, 94 K, 43 BB, 27 HR, .279 BAA
You can view all of Jamie Moyer's 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: C-
A C- might be a bit generous on our part, but Moyer earned the right to get the benefit of the doubt. After struggling mightily as a starter, Moyer pitched very well in long relief. It remains to be seen what will happen in 2010, but it will most likely be his last year as a Philadelphia Phillie.
Chan Ho Park has jumped to the top of my hate list. Why would I hate Chan Ho Park? He seems like such a nice guy, so what could anyone have against him? Let me explain.
Park announced yesterday that he signed a 1 year, $1.2 million deal with the New York Yankees along with $300,000 in incentives. But that's not the reason. To be honest, I couldn't care less where the guy goes.
But t he Phillies made it clear that they wanted to re-sign Park and offered him nearly $3 million. Not only did Chan Ho Park sign with the Evil Empire, but he went to the Yankees for nearly half of what the Phillies offered. As Park puts it, "I have chosen the Yankees, a prestigious team that can advance to the World Series again." What a slap in the face.
Don't worry, he'll "get his" soon enough.
Now that Chan Ho Park has signed with the Yankees, now seemed like an appropriate time to see what some of the other ex-Phils are up to.
Brett signed a 1 year/$5.1 million deal with the Houston Astros plus an $8 million option in 2011. Ed Wade sure loves the Phillies' slopping seconds.
As you well know, Cliff Lee was traded to the Seattle Mariners in the Roy Halladay deal. According to Ruben Amaro, the move was not over money, but to recoup some draft picks. I never liked the move, but a Ken Rosenthal article might have convinced me that the Cliff Lee deal was the correct move.
Eyre said after the World Series that he would play for the Phillies or not play at all, and he was true to his word. After the Phillies did not show much interest, Eyre decided to retire. I can't blame Ruben Amaro for only offering Eyre a minor league contract, but he didn't have to be so rude! He announced to everyone that he would only offer Eyre a minor league deal. That's fine, but did you really need to be so blunt? That aint cool, Ruben.
He signed with the Yankees for a 1 year, $1.2 million deal plus $300,000 in incentives. As you can read from yesterday's article, Park snubbed the Phils big time.
Pedro is currently a free agent, and according to mlbtraderumors.com, Pedro will wait until the season begins before signing a contract. The Phillies have shown interest, but not for the $5 million he is looking for. I have heard that if they do offer a contract to Martinez, the Phillies would like to use him later in the season as they did in 2009.
Condrey signed a 1 year/$900,000 contract with the Minnesota Twins. Good luck with the new open air stadium in freezing Minnesota, Clay.
Ed Wade strikes again. He took another former Phil by signing Feliz to a 1 year/$4.5 million deal to join Brett Myers with the Astros. I doubt many Phillies fans are sad to see Feliz go. His terrible at-bats, tons of double-plays, and weak postseason performance is now Houston's problem.
The guy who hit possibly the most memorable home run in Phillies history signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres. After hitting .194 with the Phillies last year with only 5 home runs, that is probably the best the 42-year-old Stairs can hope for.
Last, but not least, the one you've been waiting for. Eric Bruntlett signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Now batting for the Phillies: right fielder Jayson Werth.
In his seventh season, Jayson Werth finally got his chance to play every day in 2009 and he did not disappoint. Not that it came as a total surprise, given that he hit .273 with 24 homers the year before in 134 games. But he was still learning and struggled against right-handed pitching at that point.
He was finally able to put it all together in 2009 and even earned a spot on the all-star team. He reached career highs in almost every offensive category and finished with a .268 average, 36 homers, 99 RBI, 98 runs scored, a .373 on-base percentage, and 20 stolen bases. His 36 home runs were seventh best in the league and he was 10th in walks. Werth consistently contributed excellent at-bats, seeing an average of 4.51 pitches per plate appearance.
Werth possesses the rare combination of power and speed, joining the 20/20 club this season. He showed us a brief glimpse of his speed and aggressiveness in 2007, when he stole second and third off Billy Wagner late in the season. And who can forget when Jayson Werth stole home against the Dodgers? He also added a three-run game winning home run later in the year.
Jayson Werth is also a very solid outfielder. He can cover a lot of ground and has a tremendous arm. In fact, he was tied for fifth in the National League with 11 outfield assists. Werth has developed into a complete ball player.
For the second straight season, Jayson Werth performed very well in the playoffs. Werth hit .275 with 7 HR and 13 RBI, in addition to a .403 on-base percentage and 13 runs scored in 15 games. If he did that over an entire season, he would have 76 homers and 140 RBIs. Werth had several clutch hits, as well. In Game 4 of the NLDS, Werth had the game-winning RBI after Howard had tied the game with a double. And in Game 3 of the World Series, he hit two homers off Andy Pettite.
Many people feel that Jayson Werth still has his best years ahead of him since he is still learning how to play the game. He is due $7 million next season and could make some big money in free agency if the Phillies don't sign him. Given the fact that Shane Victorino just signed a three-year contract and Dominic Brown is waiting in the minors, Werth just might be the odd man out. But he is still a good value at $7 million and should be a real force in the Phillies lineup.
2009 stats: 159 games, .268 average, .373 on-base percentage, 36 HR, 99 RBI, 20 SB, 156 K
You can view all of Jayson Werth's 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: A-
Jayson Werth had a career year in 2009 and became a genuine power threat. Throw in good speed, solid defense, and a clutch performance in the playoffs, Werth became one heck of a baseball player.
During the next few weeks, Phils Baseball will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2009 roster and give a review of their 2009 season. And for the heck of it, let's give them a grade, too. Trotting in from the bullpen now is closer Brad Lidge.
Where to begin? Brad Lidge was perfect in 2008 and treated fans to one of the best seasons ever by a closer. He was literally "lights out" and arguably the Phillies MVP that season.
Then came the nightmare of 2009.
You might want to get a puke bucket ready, because here come Lidge's numbers: 0-8 record, 7.21 ERA, 11 blown saves. He averaged 5.22 walks and 11.05 hits per nine innings, giving him a 1.807 WHIP (walks+hits per inning pitched) and an average of over 16 baserunners per game. YIKES!
And how about this: Lidge made history by having the worst ERA of any closer with at least 20 saves in major league history.
The reason for Lidge's struggles were a real mystery in the early part of the season. One of the biggest indicators of an injury is velocity, but he consistently threw in the low to mid-nineties. And for the most part his slider had a decent bite to it. The problem with Lidge all season was his fastball command. He simply could not throw his fastball for strikes, and it allowed hitters to simply take sliders down in the zone. With no fear of his devastating slider, hitters were able to tee off on his fastball. And they did.
After blowing two straight saves to the Dodgers in early June, the Phillies decided to place Lidge on the disabled list simply to give him a break and clear his head. It didn't make a difference - Lidge had a 7.96 ERA before that point and 6.70 after. It was an adventure every single time he pitched and a one-run save was almost a certain blown save for Lidge. Eventually Charlie Manuel had no choice but to move to a "closer by committee" late in the season.
Then came the playoffs. Miraculously, Lidge was able to hold it together through most of the playoffs in some real tight affairs. Lidge saved three games and didn't allow a run in either the National League Division Series or in the Championship Series. But his performance in Game 4 of the World Series really killed our chance to repeat as champions. After trailing most of the game, Pedro Feliz hit a dramatic homer with two outs in the eighth to tie the game. Lidge had the bases empty and was one out away from a tie game in the bottom of the ninth, but he gave up three runs and the Phils lost game four.
Phillies fans gave Lidge the benefit of the doubt last year. And rightfully so. He was a huge reason why we won our first World Series in 28 years. But fans will not be so forgiving if he is anywhere close to his horrific 2009 form next year.
2009 stats: 0-8, 58.2 IP, 7.21 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 31 SV, 61 SO, .296 AVG
You can view all of Brad Lidge's 2009 and career stats here.
Overall Grade: F
The only good thing about Lidge is that he has not blown any saves since November.