Posted tagged ‘Rodrigo Lopez’

Phillies Grab Cliff Lee

July 30, 2009
Cliff Lee (McIsaac, Getty)

Cliff Lee (McIsaac, Getty)

The trade of Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp for the 2008 Cy Young award winner, Cliff Lee, and an outfielder, Ben Francisco, should easily stabilize the Phillies pitching rotation and almost make them a lock to come out of the National League and play for the World Series.  Most people wanted Roy Halladay as opposed to Cliff Lee, but the cost for Lee was significantly less and he brings almost as much as Halladay would have.  

Jason Donald, a shortstop, wasn’t going to crack the Phillies line-up for a few years because of Jimmy Rollins, making him dispensable.  Carlos Carrasco, a strong pitcher who lacks intensity and consistency, became expendable with the emergence of young pitching talent Kyle Drabek, Kyle Kendrick and JA Happ.  Jason Knapp is a hard throwing 18 year-old prospect that could develop as a solid reliever or even starting pitcher, but the Phillies could grab another one of those type prospects next season.  Finally, Lou Marson may have been the only player that could cause a hole in the Phillies organization.  Marson, a catcher, was the heir to the duties behind home plate for the Phillies.  Keep in mind; the Phillies have done a solid job filling the catcher hole with a middle talent veteran, Carlos Ruiz.  The Phillies will be all right at catcher without Marson.  From my perspective, the Phillies gave up nothing to get Cliff Lee, so this trade was a no brainer.  In fact, the Phillies kept their three best minor league prospects – Dominic Brown, Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek. 

When I saw the Phillies put together the package for Cliff Lee with the Indians, I thought they were trying to get the Blue Jays to drop their asking price for Halladay.  I guess I was wrong OR the Blue Jays are very stubborn, pricing themselves out of the market for moving their high salaried player.  Regardless, the Phillies got a high level pitcher.

With the acquisition of Lee, this does bring up some issues with the Phillies current pitching rotation.  Obviously, Cole Hamels remains your number 1 starter with Cliff Lee assuming the number 2 spot.   This leaves a few pitchers for three spots – Pedro Martinez, JA Happ, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Rodrigo Lopez and Antonio Bastardo.  Looking at this list, Bastardo either goes back to the minors or pitches out of the pen.  Lopez can make his last start tonight and return to pitching out the pen or head to the triple A.  Moyer leads the Phillies in wins and is a solid veteran presence.  Joe Blanton has excellent experience and has pitched well.  JA Happ, a rookie, has pitched some impressive games and looks like he should be a rotation guy.  Who knows what to do with this rotation?  With a four man rotation heading into the playoffs, assuming that Pedro gets his form back, you send out Hamels, Lee, Martinez and Blanton and I guess if I needed a fifth starter, it would have to be JA Happ.  I think Jamie Moyer is just going to break down by the end of the season and players will figure out how to hit his junk.  Luckily, I am not the pitching coach or manager of the Phillies, so I won’t have to deal with these decisions.  However, I do get to complain or comment on the decision.

The Phillies went out and made a great move to help their ball club.  I look forward to all the great things to come this season.


Pedro – Is this a good thing?

July 16, 2009


If you said to me 6 years ago that Pedro Martinez signed with the Phillies, I would have been ecstatic.  It would be the first time the Phillies would have a number 1 starter since Kurt Schilling.  If you told me Pedro signed with the Phillies 3 years ago, I would have been mildly pleased knowing we got a pitcher that can throw 7 solid innings and win 15 games. Now that the Phillies signed Pedro at age 37 in 2009, I’m indifferent.  

You see, I don’t think he is an upgrade, pitching wise, to the Bastardo or Lopez slot in the rotation.  His experience and apparent desire to put his failures with the Mets behind him do give him an added sense of motivation and provides the Phillies with some additional leadership.  The knocks on Martinez are that he loves the limelight and could be a thorn to a very tight Phillies locker room.  The current Phillies will be happy to allow Martinez the spot light, while they also won’t let him hurt their locker room.  They are too proud and tough. 

Here’s the problem – I don’t think the Phillies can rely on Pedro to plug the hole in their pitching rotation.  He is going to make a few minor league starts to get back to game playing mode and then appear for the Phillies in August.  What if Lopez and/or Bastardo have great outings between now and then?  What if Martinez falters in his return?  There is too much unknown – but the important thing is that the Phillies use the best pitchers, not necessarily the big time name or the one with the biggest paycheck.

An interesting thought I had a few days ago during the Pedro Martinez courting was that with the addition of Pedro, does that mean that JA Happ is now available in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for Roy Halladay?  I saw this thought a few times in yesterday’s and today’s paper and on  This could get interesting – however, I think the current Phillies staff, bolstered by a revived and strong bullpen, could easily provide the necessary fire power to get the Phillies back to the Series.

The Enigmatic Phillies

July 9, 2009
File Photo of Rodrigo Lopez (AP Photo/Don Wright)

File Photo of Rodrigo Lopez (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Yes, the Phillies have won 5 of their last 6 and yes, they lost the one game by only one run, but I still don’t think they are playing consistent baseball.  Last night, the Phillies fell behind by two runs, only to rally back using timely hitting and strong relief work from the bullpen.  Here’s what bugs me:  Rodrigo Lopez provided another strong start (he left after an injury), but the Phillies didn’t score any runs, let alone get base runners until the starter left the game.  The Phillies are supposed to be a potent offensive machine that barely can score runs.  They explode some games, but their run scoring is so inconsistent, it’s mind boggling.  

Yesterday, there was rampant speculation and even mock proposals to acquire Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay.  All of the discussion was around how many prospects the Phillies would have to give up.  To get Halladay, the Phillies would have had to give up a proven major leaguer and many prospects.  Halladay is great pitcher and would be a worthy addition to the Phillies rotation, but to give up the farm and an everyday major leaguer really isn’t worth it.  Also, the Phillies starting pitching is coming around to perform better.  Most importantly, if a starting pitcher struggles, the offense should be able to outscore the other team, every game.  The Phillies line up is that good, just inconsistent.

I’ll take 5 wins out of 6 games, but I’d like to see some consistency from the offense and pitching before I claim that the Phillies are out of their slump and back to World Series form.

Phillies Pitching Steps Up – Finally

July 6, 2009
Jimmy Rollins - Photo by Tom Mihalek

Jimmy Rollins - Photo by Tom Mihalek

After a much needed 3 game sweep of the New York Mets, the Phillies sit in 1st place 4 games ahead of the rival Mets, but only 1 game ahead of the surging Florida Marlins.  Let’s remember that we have a whole division to win, not just to win over the Mets.

Anyway, the Phillies got excellent starts from call-up Rodrigo Lopez, wily veteran Jamie Moyer and rotation main stay, Joe Blanton.  Lopez went 7 innings, but got tremendous run support from the Phillies offense.  Moyer was the winner in a 4-1 game that saw Jimmy Rollins have a huge 2 RBI double to help seal the victory.  In yesterday’s series finale, Joe Blanton pitches shut-out innings before the bull-pen completes the victory.  It’s important to note that the offense did just enough to allow the pitchers to win.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the pitchers were consistent and powerful in the same games that offense scores bunches of runs?

A few important notes about this weekend’s series win.  First, Brad Lidge picked up a few saves and pitched very well. He didn’t get into a jam and he threw hard, fast and in control.  Second, Jimmy Rollins, battling a ridiculous slump, came through with big hits in two games.  Finally, the Phillies players realized that they have a good squad and should be playing with more confidence.  I hope that this weekend’s success continues and helps keep the Phillies in the W column.

Oh and by the way – David Wright is SO overrated.  If he didn’t play in New York, he would just be another third baseman with potential.