November 2009

The Phillies have made their first post-season signing as they picked up Juan Castro from the Los Angeles Dodgers to replaced Eric Bruntlett as their utility infielder.

The Phillies have just announced that they have completed a one-year, $1 million plus a 2011 club option with journeyman infielder Juan Castro. Castro, a fifteen-year veteran, who in 2009 played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, going .277 in 112 at-bats with a home run and nine RBIs, will take the place of recently released Eric Bruntlett. The career .230 has spent 15 years in the Majors, playing second base, shortstop, third base and left field for the Dodgers, Reds, Twins and Orioles. Castro’s major function on the team will be to give both Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins a few days off or to ask as a late innings replacement during the regular season. Here’s to hoping that Castro will be a big improvement over Bruntlett, who had a bad 2009 with the bat.

Chase Utley has won his fourth Silver Slugger Award.

Chase Utley has been awarded his fourth Silver Slugger Award as the best second baseman among National Leaguers, in the process tying Mike Schmidt for the most Silver Slugger Awards won by a Phil (1980-84, ’86). Congratulations Chase.

Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino have once again won the gold. Glove that is.

For the third year in a row, Jimmy Rollins has been awarded the gold glove among National League shortstops, while Shane Victorino has captured his second straight gold glove as being the best among NL center fielders. Congrats guys.

I would like to…

Thanks the Phils for getting into the World Series for the second straight year in a row, something that doesn’t exactly happens with this franchise. Sure, they didn’t win back-to-back World Series Championships, which still hurts like the dickens, folks, but at least they gave it their all, before the Yanks and Hideki Matsui’s bat finally killed them in game six. I’m quite sure that this team will be back to the World Series, and soon, as long as the people who run this team, starting with G.M. Ruben Amaro, Jr., do not make the same series of bad moves that sent the Phils into the baseball wilderness in the late 80s, 90s and early 00s.

I would also like to congratulates the Yankees for winning the World Series. Ok, the better team won this year. But, do not for one minute think that our boys won’t be back to reclaim the title. Just watch your backs, fellows. You’re now the one that the other twenty-nine teams are now gunning for in 2010. Enjoy the crown, for now.

And speaking about 2010, the Phils have already made a few moves. 1) They have bought out Cliff Lee’s option for 2010. Good move, guys. But the even better move will be to sign him to a long term contract. Are you hearing me, Ruben? Nail him down, now. 2) The Phils have told Brett Myers that they will not need his services any longer. To be honest, I saw this coming. Anyway, Brett, I wish you luck finding another team. 3) The Phils have told Pedro Feliz that they will not be buying out his option for 2010. This is something of a surprise, but makes some sense. Although Pedro was a good, in fact a very good defender, at third base, his weak bat and lack of plate discipline, hurt, especially during the playoffs, when he swung at too many first pitches thrown at him by opposing pitchers. Hopefully the Phils will be able to find someone who is just as good defensively as Pedro was, but will add to the team’s offense next season. And, Pedro, I also wish you luck finding a new team for next season.

Once again, behind Utley’s bat and Lee’s pitching, the Phils send the series back to New York as they hang on to defeat the Yankees, 8-6.

The Phils, behind the pitching of Cliff Lee and the bat of Chase Utley, send the 2009 World Series back to New York, as they defeat the Yankees, 8-6. They still trail the Yankees in the series 3 games to 2, as game six looms over the horizon tomorrow night.

The Yankees scored first in the top of the first as, with a runner on first, and with two men out, Alex Rodriguez hits an RBI double, knocking in Johnny Damon, who had earlier singled, to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. The Phils struck back in their half of the first as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Chase Utley hits a three-run shot to right, his fourth home run of the series, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier singled, and then moved up to second base as Shane Victorino was hit by the pitch, and Victorino, who had just been hit by the pitch, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Phils added to their lead in the third as, with two men on base, and with nobody out, Jayson Werth hits an RBI single, knocking in Utley, who had earlier walked, and then stolen second base, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead, while moving Ryan Howard, who had just walked, up to second base. One batter later, Raul Ibanez made it a 5-1 Phils’ lead with an RBI single, knocking in Howard, and sending Werth over to third base, with still nobody out. Two batters later, with runners still on the corners, and now with one man out, Carlos Ruiz made it 6-1 Phils as he hits into a force out, 6-4, as Werth scores, while Ibanez is forced out at second. The Yankees got a run back in the fifth as, with runners on the corners, and with one man out, Damon grounded out softly to first, three unassisted, scoring Eric Hinske, who had earlier walked, and had gone over to third base on Derek Jeter’s single, cutting the Phils’ lead to 6-2, while sending Jeter up to second base. The Phils increased their lead in the seventh as Utley hits a lead-off home run, his second home run of the night, and his fifth home run of the series, tying him with Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, who had hit the same numbers of home runs in one series back in 1977, to give the Phils a 7-2 lead. Three batters later, with nobody on and with two men out, Ibanez hits a tape-measure shot to right, his first home run of the series, to give the Phils an 8-2 lead. The Yanks then attempted to make a comeback. In the eighth, with two men on, and with nobody out, Rodriguez hits a two-run double that had glanced off the glove of a diving Ibanez, scoring Damon, who had earlier singled, and had gone to third on Mark Teixeira’s double, and Teixeira, who had just doubled, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 8-4. Two batters later, after Rodriguez had moved up to third on Nick Swisher’s ground out, 4-3, he would score on Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly to center, beating Ben Francisco’s off-line throw to the plate, making it an 8-5 Phils’ lead. In the ninth, the Yanks would cut the Phils’ lead down to 8-6 as, with runners on the corners, and with nobody out, Jeter hits into a 6-4-3 double play, scoring Jorge Posada, who had earlier doubled, and had gone to third on pinch hitter Hideki Matsui’s single, as Matsui, who had just singled, was wiped out at second base. After Damon continued the inning with a single, Ryan Madson finally ended the game, recording his first save of the series, by striking out Teixeira, swinging.

Cliff Lee got the win, as he pitched seven innings, plus three batters, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks, while he strike out three. His series’ record is now 2-0 with an ERA of 2.81. Chan Ho Park pitched an inning, giving up no hits. Ryan Madson recorded the save, his first of the series, as he pitched an inning, giving up a run on three hits, while striking out a batter. A.J. Burnett took the lost, as he lasted only two innings, plus four batters, giving up six runs on four hits and four walks, while striking out only two batters. His series’ record is now 1-1 with a 7.00 ERA. David Robertson and Alfredo Aceves both pitched two scoreless innings, giving up one hit each, while striking out three Phils (Robertson (2), Aceves (1)). Phil Coke pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, while striking out a batter. Phil Hughes pitched an inning and a third, giving up a hit, while striking out one.

The Phils’ offense had nine hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez all leading the team with two hits each, with both of Utley’s hits being home runs, knocking in four runs, while one of Ibanez’s hit was a solo home run, as he knocked home two runs. Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz and Phils’ starter Cliff Lee had the other three Phils’ hit, with Werth’s single knocking in a run. Ruiz had the Phils’ other RBI with a force out. The Phils, as they send the series back to New York, needs to get the bats heated up for those two games, especially the bat of Ryan Howard, whom the Yanks have so far been able to muzzle, as he tied Willie Wilson’s World Series strikeout record with twelve strikeouts. If he can lay off their bad pitches, and break out in game six, the Yankees should have a major worry.

The Phillies (2-3) will continue the 2009 World Series tomorrow night with the Yankees (3-2) at Yankees Stadium. The game is to start at 7:57 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (0-1, 4.50), who is coming off his lost against the Yankees in game two of the World Series on October 29, as he pitched six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight, in the Yanks’ 3-1 win. He will be trying to pitch even better than he did last Thursday, hoping that this time the Phils’ bat will give him some runs support, as he try to pitch the series into a game seven. The Yankees will counter with Andy Pettitte (1-0, 6.00), who is coming off a win against the Phils in game three of the World Series on October 31, as he pitched six innings, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out seven, in the Yankees’ 8-5 win. He will be trying to end the series, while pitching with three days rest. The Phillies will be trying to win tomorrow night’s game, to set the series up for a game seven showdown between the two teams.