The Philadelphia Phillies went against the New York Yankees in Tampa, Florida, at George M. Steinbrenner Field to kick off the Grapefruit League season today. The Phillies put Cole Hamels on the mound against Bartolo Colon, and the Phillies started the game with infielders Jeff Larish at third base, Wilson Valdez at shortstop, Pete Orr at second base, Ryan Howard at first base, and Brian Schneider behind the plate. Outfielders who started were Raul Ibanez in left, Ben Francisco in center, and Dom Brown in right.
The Yankees’ lineup however, was full of more familiar faces, with Derek Jeter at shortstop, Nick Swisher in right field, Mark Teixeira at first base, A-Rod at third base, Robinson Cano at second base, Jorge Posada at the designated hitter, Curtis Granderson in center field, Francisco Cervelli behind the plate, and Brett Gardner in left field.
Seemed a little intimidating at first, but then I remembered, the Phillies are freakin’ good, and so our the minor leaguers in this organization. Obviously they showed that during the entire game when the underdogs proved that they are worthy of being on the 40-man roster.
Here are individual stats from today’s game, along with the lines from the 6 pitchers who stepped onto the mound today:
Brian Schneider- 2 AB.
Dane Sardinha- 2 AB, 2 runs, 2 RBI.
Ryan Howard- 2 AB.
Robb Quinlan- 3 AB, 1 hit, 1 run.
Second base:Pete Orr- 3 AB, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 RBI.
Josh Barfield- 2 AB, 2 hits.
Wilson Valdez- 2 AB, 1 hit, 1 .
Brian Bocock- 2 AB.
Jeff Larish- 4 AB.
Raul Ibanez- 2 AB.
Delwyn Young- 2 AB.
Ben Francisco- 2 AB, 1 run, 1 hit (triple)
Michael Martinez- 1 AB.
Domonic Brown- 3 AB.
John Mayberry- 3 AB, 1 run, 1 hit.
Ross Gload- 5 AB, 2 hits, 1 RBI.
E- Valdez (1)
GIDP- Larish (1)
2B- Orr (1) Gload (1) Sardinha (1)
3B- Francisco (1)
Hamels: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
Worley: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB.
Feierabend: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.
Schlitter: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB.
Zagurski: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K.
Grilli: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 K.
HR: Schlitter (1, Vazquez)
Balks: Feierabend (1)
Hit batter: Hamels (1, Texeira)
Recently, I chatted with Lakewood Blueclaws’ outfielder Jiwan James. Jiwan was drafted in the 2007 Amateur Draft in the 22nd round by the Philadelphia Phillies. He has been in the organization since then. Here’s a short Q&A session between Jiwan and I.
CBPhresh: I’ve noted that you began your career as a pitcher, but later began fielding right and center field, any specific reason why you changed positions?
Jiwan: Arm injury was the main reason. I didn’t mind pitching at all, I felt like that’s what the Phillies wanted me to do so I was all for it. I ended up having a stress reaction in my humorous, that just kept re-occuring and that’s when I decided to make the switch.
CBPhresh: There is no record of you playing any position in 2008, were you injured? If so, could that effect your future?
Jiwan: I missed all of ’08 with the arm injury. There isn’t as much stress on my arm playing a position as to pitching, so that’s behind me now.
CBPhresh: Since 2007, you’ve been playing for the Phillies Organization, would you have that any other way?
Jiwan: NOPE!!! The “Phillie Way” is all I know, I couldn’t imagine playing with someone else.
CBPhresh: How did it feel winning the SAL Championship in 2010?
Jiwan: It was a “GR-R-REAT”(Tony the Tiger) feeling…I’ve never won a ring before, so it was pretty exciting being in the middle of all of it. Our goal when we left spring training was to repeat as SAL leagues champions. Once that final out was made it was like. Goal accomplished, now it’s party time…Lol
CBPhresh: Do you think having that title will benefit you in anyway in years to come?
Jiwan: I’d like to think so. I know how much hard work we put in day in and day out to accomplish our goal. So each year, you’re only going to work harder so you have that same feeling of winning another title.
CBPhresh: Do you share any brotherly relationships with any of your teammate’s? I know how you and Jarred Cosart call each other “Boob”.
Jiwan: Hewitt! Him and I have been roommates since extended spring 09. So there’s stuff that him and I know about each other that no one else knows. We can just look at each other and tell if something’s wrong or give each other a little head nod and be on the same page.
Yesterday was the Phillies‘ first full-squad workout, and all players were there and accounted for. Most players showed up early, such as Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins, who usually arrives last minute.
Victorino spoke to the media a few days ago, and said some pretty Victorino-like things: “This team has one thing in mind, and that’s to win.” also, “We have a lot of things to go out there and work on, but that’s why we’re here, and we have to take it one day at a time.” Calm, cool, and collective. Mahalo, brah!
The very humble Chase Utley also spoke to the media: “For me, I try not to look too far ahead, but it’s no secret that we have a very strong pitching staff and experienced team, and we know how to win, so, we’re all working hard this off-season and continue to get better, so, we’ll just go from there.”
Jimmy Rollins made a prediction when he stated: “We’ll win 100 games, I really plan on going after, who is it, Seattle won 116 or something recently.” and he also feels very confident that he will remain on the team after the 2011 season, when his contract is up; “Obviously that’s up to me. I help them make a decision, so if I do good, it makes it easy on them. if I don’t do good, which I don’t plan on happening, it will be a very tough decision.” Jimmy should have one hell of a season, seeing that he arrived early to spring training, he ran 5 miles for 2 days of the week, and also did yoga on those 2 days.
Other than the players taking batting practice and the pitchers throwing bullpen sessions, there really isn’t much news. Spring training is going very well after 6 days, so I leave you with the fact that this is the last weekend without a baseball game for a long, long time.
I am now blogging for the Cape May County Herald, and I will not be posting articles on here as often as I usually do, so check out CBPhresh here.
It has come to my attention that I have never told anyone in the MLBlog/Twitter world about my very first Phillies game, which was arguably one of the greatest nights of my life. It’s story time now so sit back and prepare to laugh at the amateurism that was my 2008 Phillies fan self.
It was late May and I was in the 8th grade. My best friend at the time, Meredith, who is the worlds biggest Phillies fan in my eyes, asked me to come along to a Phillies game on May 31st. Of course I said yes, but I didn’t know a thing about the Phillies or the team that was entering our home field, the Nationals. A few days before that, we would chat over text about the players and the team in general, and let me tell you, I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. When Meredith mentioned the bullpen, I had no knowledge as to what that even was, in fact, I thought she was talking about the dugout. “There’s a difference?” I thought.
Don’t get me wrong, I was a Phillies fan. I enjoyed watching the games on TV by myself and just taking it all in, trying to learn so that I could talk about it with my Dad and brothers.
Today on “Hot Stove” on MLB Network, Mitch Williams stated that the Phillies would have made a smart move if they had traded Joe Blanton and Placido Polanco for the Rangers’ third basemen Michael Young. Bull ****.
I don’t know how many times I have seen Phillies fans make the most pointless comments by arguing that Joe Blanton should have been traded somewhere, anywhere, for money. You must be a narcissistic, apathetic fool to listen to those who say “get rid of Blanton!” Think about this, would you rather be a fan of a team with an absolutely perfect starting rotation and a very minor issue in right field, or a team with fifth-starter issues as well as the minor right field issue? I take the first one.
As for Placido, the Phillies simply cannot replace a guy like him, all the man does is hit and field third base perfectly, and I have never, ever complained about him. Around this time last year, the major issue was who the fifth starter would be, Kendrick or Moyer. Eventually we would need both of them for the fourth and fifth spot, but that is not the point. The point is that we have the greatest rotation in all of Major League Baseball, so why would a fan of this rotation want to get rid of a part of it? I do not want to relive the fifth-starter issue, and I am very thankful to be a fan and a writer of this team which is nearly perfect.
Wait a moment though, what would have happened if we did get rid of Heavy B? Would Kyle Kendrick take the job? Vance Worley? I suppose we will have to wait another season to see who becomes the fifth starter, and who remains a relief pitcher in the ‘pen.
For now, take a breath, we only have to wait three more days (oh my God) until pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Clearwater, then once April 1st comes around in 50 days, we will no longer be deprived of baseball!
10 Reasons Why I Cannot Wait Until Spring Training:
- I have been deprived of baseball for 112 days which is 112 days too many.
- The fact that I have to wait 7 more days is tearing me apart.
- I love seeing the truck leave for Clearwater, but I love seeing it arrive even more.
- There is still a very small possibility that I may attend a game in Clearwater.
- When pitchers and catchers report, it’s like seeing peanut butter and jelly together, it’s just…right.
- During the first full-team exercise, I feel like the Phillies are holding a family reunion.
- When the games are broadcasted during the day, I will run off of my school bus and plant my butt on the couch for the rest of the game.
- I get to see the Phillies win victoriously before the season even starts.
- I have been told that my school work is much more consistent when baseball starts.
- Phillies Spring Training is just a fancy term for “a preview of the 2011 World Series Champions.”
My rant of the evening: Infielders and the bench.
I have more questions than I have answers. The number one thing that I worry about is injuries. “What if” is always a question that I face while thinking about the bench. What if Polly gets sent to the disabled list and Wilson Valdez follows? We do not have Greg Dobbs anymore, but we do have Tagg Bozied who played for the Reading Phillies in 2010, who is capable of fielding first base and third base. If there just so happens to be an idle Rollins and Valdez combination, we have on the farm: Brian Bocock. We saw him last year in a few late season games around the time the Phillies clinched the N.L. East. In the minors, Bocock started in 119 games at shortstop posting a .977 fielding percentage. I’m not worried about offense from the back-up men, because there are 7 other guys who will contribute to the offense party, 8 guys if Roy Halladay is starting that game.
I understand that the odds of Bozied or Bocock suffering an injury at the same time as Valdez and Polanco is highly unlikely, but let us take a walk down memory lane for a second. Think back to 2010 when Carlos Ruiz, Brian Schneider, and Paul Hoover were all injured, we had to put in Dane Sardinha, and if he were to have suffered an injury at the time, there were talks of Jayson Werth starting in the catchers position.
Raul Ibanez, LF-
What do we even think of Raul anymore? Do we love him? Dislike him? Do we think he’s an oldie? Well our current left fielder is currently 39 years old, which won’t benefit us much this season. I don’t expect much offense from him this year, I expect the same amount of power last year, you know, under twenty homers, maybe 60 or so RBI, and a batting average around .270.
Shane Victorino, CF-
Shane is still the everything man. He can do anything he wants to do in the game of Baseball. If you expect Shane to steal a bag in a game, he’ll steal 3 and then hit a 3-run homerun the next inning. He’s a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and we will definitely be able to see that in him this season. There is no reason to put in a right and left fielder because Shane can just cover all of that ground. Just kidding, he’s not THAT good. I can see him hitting in the lead off spot and achieving career-high’s in homer’s, RBI, doubles, triples, and bases stolen this year, as long as he doesn’t take his annual trip to the disabled list. Gosh, he’s so lovable.
Ryan Howard, 1B-
Ryan Howard this year should easily be able to turn the power on, and never let it get turned off. After RyHo’s ankle injury last season, he only hit 8 homerun’s, and if you have not realized, he’s supposed to be the homerun king of the team. Some may argue that Ryan Howard just doesn’t have “it” anymore, but he’s a star, he truly is. The postseason was not his place in ’09 or ’10, but those weren’t our years anyway. This year will be our year. It’s not very often that Ryan commits an error at first, he’s only committed 78 in his 7 years as a Phil’, which isn’t awful if you think about it. Defense=solid. Offense=solid, as long as he stays injury free.
Chase Utley, 2B-
Chase was overly idle last season (don’t stretch a single into a double anymore, please) and that is the only flaw I could find. Defense was great, and offense was pretty much there. I’m going to be saying this a lot in this article, but as long as he stays away from the disabled list, he should be incredible as always. Order your ticket’s now for Utley’s corner (over here, insert filtered image of section) because that should be the prime spot for a ball hit by Mr. Utley.
Do I even have to say anything? The man is an ace. The creme de la creme. He’s more than likely already in Clearwater, 3 weeks early, running steps and using Jose Contreras as a dumbbell. 2011 is going to be a great year for Doc, in fact, I can already see him starting in the All-Star Game (for more than 1 inning) and I can also see the rest of the NL fear him, especially the Reds and our NL East brothers. I love what Roy does, he’s the greatest pitcher in all of the majors in my eyes. This season will be a lot “funner” than last season.
Holy f*ck, Cliff Lee. I honestly don’t know what to say about Clifton. I’ve already let out all of my excitement, so now it’s business time. Cliff Lee in 2010 pitched for the Mariners (8-3, 2.34, 89 K, 6 BB) and the Rangers (4-6, 3.98, 96 K, 12 BB), and look where that led the Rangers. I’m not concerned at all with his pitching abilities, I have complete confidence in him and expect nothing short of an ace.