Wassup Sports!?!?!?!?

17 year old Cale's very opinionated view on everything sports.

Posts Tagged ‘J.A. Happ

The Phillies’ Closer

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Over the past two months, various closer’s role ideas have been thrown around because Brad Lidge has become ineffective. First, it was setup man Ryan Madson, who did not succeed in the high pressure situations. After that, it was back to Lidge, who continued to be inconsistent. Earlier this month, lefty Scott Eyre pitched through the first two outs of the ninth against the Atlanta Braves. After giving up a double to catcher Brian McCann, Eyre was pulled and Lidge recorded the final out.

For a short while, Lidge showed signs of regaining his composure. Although, he again slipped up. This leads to about two weeks ago, where manager Charlie Manuel went into closer by committee mode. Again, Ryan Madson was given opportunities, along with Brett Myers and Lidge. Madson blew a save, Myers didn’t exactly blow anyone away, and Lidge was still inconsistent.

Brad LidgeNow we are here, the day after the Phillies bullpen blew a three run lead over the last two innings. Brad Lidge blew his 11th save of the year, and the Phillies ended up losing the series to Florida. With nine games to go, Philadelphia is almost a lock to make the playoffs. However, their bullpen may be the worst of any team heading into the postseason. 

I have been a preacher this entire season of loyalty to Lidge, especially because what he did for this team last season. Unfortunately, it has gotten to the point that you cannot keep putting him out there. Even worse, the Phillies have nearly zero options to replace him. Going through every possibility, we start at Lidge. Not an option. Ryan Madson hasn’t succeeded in the role, and is better in the eighth inning. Not an option. Left J.C. Romero is still injured with a strained right forearm, and there is no telling for when he would return. Although, Romero would be the most likely choice for Manuel to throw out there, but his injury counts him out. Chan Ho Park would be another great option at this point, but his strained hamstring may keep him out until the NLCS.

The more unlikely candidates are Tyler Walker, Chad Durbin, and Clay Condrey. Walker has closed before, but just doesn’t seem like a shut down guy for the post season. Durbin has received the nickname “Home Run Durbin” this season, which is why he cannot close games. Condrey is also not a shut down pitcher. Even more surprising, I read a column today about the possibility of J.A. Happ closing games. I don’t see that happening, for he doesn’t exactly have electric stuff, and has proven to been a great starter. This all leads me to two names.

Pedro Martinez and Jamie Moyer.

Let me start with Moyer, who is the least likely of the two. Just picture Cole Hamels pitching seven strong innings with his 93 MPH fastball. Then Ryan Madson blows through batters in the eighth with a 97 MPH fastball. Finally, Jamie Moyer comes in and throws…..82 MPH? Moyer would keep batters off balance. After seeing hard heaters all game, Moyer’s change of pace would be interesting to try in the ninth inning.

On the other hand, Pedro Martinez has the perfect mentality of a closer. HePedro Martinezis scared of nothing, and no one while he is on the mound. Not to mention, Martinez is willing to close. He even said so when he signed with the Phillies. Also, at his age Martinez isn’t throwing as hard as he used to. Although, he is starting, and is stretching out his velocity over a hundred pitches. As a closer, Martinez may be able to light the gun up to 95 MPH, and blow batters away again. Even better, Pedro Martinez has tons of big game experience. Right now, he looks like the best option that the Phillies have right now, and if they want to repeat, they need to be able to close games out.

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The Unsung Hero… Jamie Moyer

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On Saturday, September 12, 2009, I was standing along the third base line at Citizens Bank Park. This is where I took in a Phillies-Mets game, and heard some of the most outrageous things I’ve ever heard in my life.

Jamie Moyer took the mound for the Phils, in place of injured starter J.A. Happ. It’s well known that Moyer has struggled this season, and was demoted to the bullpen. As the first inning went by, Moyer gave up four runs on four hits, including a home run to Mets CF Carlos Beltran. While Jamie was walking to the dugout, many fans cheered their native son. One fan next to me was not cheering.

“BOO! I WOULDN’T CARE IF YOU RETIRED RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIRST INNING! YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING ANYMORE MOYER! BOOO! JUST RETIRE ALREADY!

Jamie MoyerAfter Moyer’s hard first inning, he pitched six more innings of one run ball, and only gave up three more hits. When Moyer was lifted in the seventh, the Phillies had the lead by a score of 9-5. The fan booing Moyer had slowly quieted during the game, but still gave a rousing chant of “LET’S GO PANTHERS!” (Of course, the Panthers lost to the Eagles 38-10 the next day.) Another fan asked our Moyer Hater if he had changed his opinion of Moyer throughout the game. Our Hater responded: “No sir. He’s still got nothing. I wouldn’t care if we cut ties with him right now.”

Ironically, it was the Phillies’ bullpen that blew this game, not Moyer, as the Mets won 11-10 in the ninth. Still, this leads me to Moyer, and what he has done for this Phillies team.

  • Since being traded to Philadelphia in late 2006, Jamie Moyer has won a club leading 47 games.
  • Even though Jamie has struggled this season, he still leads the Phillies in wins with 12.
  • Jamie Moyer has won both NL East Division clinching games the past two years, and won Game 3 of the World Series.
  • While young pitchers like Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ have come to the big leagues, they have come to Moyer for guidance and advice because of his immense amount of experience. He is like having a second pitching coach.
  • Jamie Moyer was born in Sellersville, PA and went to St. Joseph’s University. This makes Moyer a hometown hero to many, and a great leader and role model.
  • Every game that Moyer does not pitch, he is out signing autographs toJamie Moyer 2 every fan that asks, which has become a rare thing in today’s game.
  • Jamie Moyer is not a power pitcher. He is all about control, and throwing different variations of pitches at different times. Moyer studies hitters and scouting reports, and is an overall student of the game.

All in all, Jamie Moyer has been one of the most integral parts of the Phillies’ recent success in the past couple years. His experience and clutch performances have been unbelievable, and any Major League Baseball team would be lucky to have a future Hall of Famer, such as Moyer, on their staff. Not to mention, Moyer is a true baseball player who is both kind and great to fans, and a true role model. While not a star, Jamie Moyer is one of my favorite players, and someone I will remember far after his playing days are done. Although, he plans on pitching until he is fifty, so his days aren’t quite numbered yet.

While Jimmy Rollins is getting base hits and stealing bases, while Chase Utley is hitting two run doubles, and while Ryan Howard is smashing home runs, Jamie Moyer is pitching, and teaching, which is just as valuable. Moyer quietly keeps winning and helping the Phillies win, which truly makes him the Phillies’ Unsung Hero.

Analyzing the Deadline Deals so far….

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Matt HollidayA’s outfielder Matt Holliday to the Cardinals for top prospect Brett Wallace, OF Shane Peterson and P Clayton Mortenson: The obvious winners of this deal are the Cardinals. In the past, Billy Beane has been known to get top value in deals such as this, but not so this time. Wallace is a top prospect, and his lit it up in the minor leagues so far. Although, there are concerns about his defense, and his body. Peterson and Mortenson aren’t even considered top prospects. So essentially, the Cardinals gave up a bat, and a couple of mid level prospects, to become NL Central favorites.

Grade: A for the Cardinals, F for the Athletics

Indian’s Ryan Garko to the Giants for P Scott Barnes: It’s been known for months now that the Giants needed a bat. Garko is young, and has the potential to be a decent power hitter. Although he’s having a down year this year, Garko will split time with Giant’s prospect John Bower at first base, supplying them with some offense they desperately needed. Scott Barnes was at Triple-A for the Giants, and led the league in wins at the time of the trade.

Grade: B for the Giants, B- for the Indians

Indians’ reliever Rafael Betancourt to the Rockies for P Connor Graham: The Rockies are somehow, again, in the playoff race. Their starters have been great this whole season, while the bullpen has struggled at times. They needed to add depth before the injury of Manny Corpas, who could be out for the year. The Rockies filled the void with Rafael Betancourt. The Indians got a prospect from Single-A, in Connor Graham, that has the potential to be a power pitcher in the Majors. The Indians got just what they wanted, and are building for the future.

Grade : B for the Rockies, B for the Indians

Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo to the Cardinals for OF Chris Duncan: Boston had been desperately trying to get rid of Lugo, and designated him for assignment last week. They had ten days to trade him, and completed a deal that got Boston Cardinal’s outfielder Chris Duncan, who had struggled the whole season. Boston sent Duncan to Triple-A, and he was acquired strictly for depth. Lugo on the other hand, went on a tear once being acquired by the Cardinals, and has kept it up for nearly a week. He fills the void the Cardinals had all season in the middle infield.

Grade: B for the Red Sox, B+ for the Cardinals

Pirate’s first basemen Adam LaRoche to the Red Sox for SS Argenis Dias and P Hunter Strickland: The Red Sox added some more depth in this trade, as well as a needed bat. Adam LaRoche will play first base against right handers, while Youkilis would play third. LaRoche will sit against leftys, and ailing third basemen Mike Lowell would play third, while Youkilis would slide to first. LaRoche’s stance and swing is built for Fenway, and that miniscule right field porch. The Pirates got what they wanted out of this deal, which was dumping LaRoche’s salary, and got some decent prospects for the future.

Grade: B+ for the Red Sox, C for the Pirates

Just announced and pending physicals: Phillies’ P Carlos Cliff LeeCarrasco, SS Jason Donald, C Lou Marson, and P Jason Knapp to the Indians for P Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco: After talks with the Blue Jays went dead, the Phillies turned their attentions to Cliff Lee. The Indians demands were not quite as high as the Blue Jays, which allowed the Phils to keep top prospect P Kyle Drabek and rookie of the year candidate P J.A. Happ. The Phillies gave up top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco, who had been inconsistent in Triple-A for parts of the past two years. Shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson were members of the Olympic squad last year, and rose quickly through the minor league system. Donald was thought to possibly take 3B Pedro Feliz’s spot next year, and Marson could have shared catching duties with Carlos Ruiz. Pitcher Jason Knapp had been struggling at Single-A all year. The Phillies got another top pitcher that they needed in Cliff Lee, and a more effective backup outfielder in Ben Francisco.

Grade : B+ for the Phillies, B for the Indians

More analysis on the 2009 Trading Deadline is still to come, including an overall analysis after the deadline passes.

Pitching Overload?

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The Philadelphia Phillies are on a roll. Having won ten straight and extending their division lead to 6.5 games over Atlanta, they seem to be on top of the world with everything in place. Although, the rumors of Roy Halladay are still swirling and recent signing Pedro Martinez is making some people ask questions. Do the Phillies have too much pitching? Where will Pedro pitch?

Right now, the Phillies’ starting rotation consists of Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, and Rodrigo Lopez. When Pedro rehabs, and if he is major league ready, the most likely pitcher to lose his spot is Lopez. Right now though, Lopez is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA, and the Phillies have won everyone of his starts. There is no way they could remove him from the rotation if he stays on this roll. Next option for replacement would be Jamie Moyer, who has put up less than stellar numbers this season, although he is beginning to come around. Moyer would have to be moved to the bullpen if Martinez entered the rotation, which will just not happen.

Another discussed option is putting Pedro in the bullpen. Martinez was the closer for the Dominican Republic, and during his introductory press conference, stressed that he would do the same. The Phillies already have a closer, Brad Lidge, so Martinez would have to be more of a middle reliever. The feeling is that it would not go over well with Pedro, so that is another risky option.

Another pitcher hoping to comeback with the Phils is starter Brett Myers. He was believed to be lost for the season when he had hip surgery in June, but Myers is ahead of schedule and could return as a reliever. Brett excelled in this role back in 2007, saving 21 games for the Phillies. It is also known that manager Charlie Manuel loves relievers that can come into the game firing. If Myers does come back, who’s roster spot does he take? Eric Bruntlett has been struggling all season, but is a super utility man. Outfielder John Mayberry Jr. has been serviceable for the Phillies this year, but they are carrying five outfielders.

What I believe should happen is if the Phillies have extended their division to lead to about ten games over the second place team, why not use a six-man rotation? It’ll be the dog days of summer by August, and this will allow everyone to be rested for the postseason. With Myers, I believe the Phillies should send down outfielder John Mayberry Jr. He could use some more seasoning down at AAA Lehigh Valley.

Ruben Amaro Jr. has a lot to work out over the next few months, but isn’t the old saying ” If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?Ruben Amaro Jr.