Thursday, March 02, 2006

Phillies @ Yankees 3/2/06

78 degrees in Tampa today at Legends Field, Honorary 1st Pitch: Gene Michael

1. SS Jimmy Rollins
2. RF Shane Victorino
3. DH Pat Burrell
4. 2B Chase Utley
5. CF Aaron Rowand
6. 3B Abe Nunez
7. 1B Alex Gonzalez
8. LF Josh Kroeger
9. C Carlos Ruiz

I'll be watching so long as MLB.TV cooperates and will hopefully edit this post with some near-instant feedback on the Phillies first spring training game in 2006.

Top of the First
1st Pitch - Shawn Chacon to Jimmy Rollins, ball outside

Phillies are sporting the blue spring training tops...I know many fans hate 'em, but not me - I think they look cool.

Apparently Johnny Damon is the Yankees best leadoff hitter since Chuck Knoblach...guess Derek Jeter doesn't count? Gotta love the YES network...

Rollins flies out, Victorino grounds out, Burrell flies out - Top of the first over...

Bottom of the First
Johnny Damon gets his career with the Yankees off on the right foot with a looping double down the right field line...conversely, Ryan Franklin's debut with the Phillies ain't so hot

Ah, there you go - Jeter was a "capable" leadoff guy for the Yanks...good work Michael Kay

Jeter gets Damon over to third with a groundball to the right side...Sheffield with a shallow pop fly that won't allow Damon to do anything

429 career homeruns for Alex Rodriguez? Wow, sometimes I forget how incredible a ballplayer he is...

Rodriguez grounds out to Utley to end the inning...First inning over, 0-0 game

Top of the Second
Utley is "a premier offensive second baseman" and "on his way to stardom"

Gillick is "one of the great general managers in baseball history"

MLB.TV is really being cranky - lots of starts and fun

Larry Bowa has been a "fiery presence" who brings "life" to every spring practice - he also looks extremely weird in those Yankee pinstripes. Apparently he has been working almost exclusively with Robinson Cano since his hire. Bowa called the reaction in Philadelphia "unbelievable" after the 1980 Series win.

Utley and Rowand both fly out, but Abe Nunez gets the first hit of the game with a single to right...

Bowa, Pena, Mazzilli, Kerrigan, Mattingly, Guidry, and, of course, Torre - high profile coaching staff, no?

Gonzalez works a walk after a very impressive at bat...2 on, 2 out

This is why I like spring training games - the players that interest me the most today in the starting lineup are batting 8th and 9th. Josh Kroeger has a nice looking swing from the left side, I'm impressed...

Wild pitch advances Nunez to third and Gonzalez to second...Kroeger grounds out to Cano...Top of the second done, 0-0

Bottom of the Second
Yet another brilliant Subway commercial featuring Joe Torre and Willie Randolph. There's just something about combining the two New York managers in a commercial that amuses me to no end. The commercials are lame, but the pairing is great.

Giambi lines a single to right to start the Yanks second...he advances to third on a surprise hit and run with Bernie Williams up. After the Williams single, men on first and third with nobody out...

Most games started by a catcher since 2000 - Jason Kendall (Jorge Posada is second). I don't think I ever would have guessed Kendall.

Franklin has been at 88, 89, and 90 MPH pretty consistently with the fastball. Breaking stuff hasn't been particularly sharp...

Posada hits a deep flyball to Victorino - Giambi scores and Bernie Williams advances to second

Good to see the YES crew pandering to their audience...Robinson Cano "came out of nowhere" last year according to Michael Kay...

RBI single for Robinson Cano...Bowa waves Williams home from second and is safe by a good five feet. 2-0 Yanks...Damon with another hit, 2 on, 2 out...

Derek Jeter will be 32 in June of this year. I'm getting old.

Franklin comes up with a nice 83-MPH breaking ball to strike out Jeter and end the inning. The high 89 MPH fastball he throws over and over is a problem though - you can see why he is a guy with such a drastic flyball tendency...

2 innings in the books, 2-0 New York

Top of the Third
Carlos Ruiz time! This may be the first time I ever think I've seen him hit come to think of it. It's only one at bat of course, but it is really encouraging - sweet righthanded stroke, compact muscular body, plus speed for a catcher on the bathpaths, good plate discipline. He got down 0-2, layed off a high fastball, then dropped a double into deep centerfield. Good at bat. Sean Henn is the new Yankee pitcher by the way, Chacon is done. Henn is a big, young lefty.

After a Rollins strike out (0-2 now), Victorino is robbed of a single and RBI by Robinson Cano. Cano makes a nice diving stop and then Giambi makes a nice scoop of the low throw. Bowa's influence on Cano is talked up. Victorino's plus speed is evident as he flies down the bathpath to almost beat the throw at first.

They say Cano called up Bowa out of the blue after Bowa got the job and talked about ways they could work together to improve his defense. Interesting...

Vintage Pat Burrell - changeup low and away and he didn't get his best swing on it, but the guy is so strong he one arms it right on up and out of the ballpark. 2-run homer, 2-2 game.

Utley strikes out looking to end the inning, 2-2 going to the bottom of the third.

Bottom of the Third
Finally, a real pitcher - Ryan Madson takes over for Franklin. The curveball will be the big thing to watch today.

Madson fooled Sheffield with a low and away changeup. His changeup is really a thing of beauty. He then went inside with a 93 MPH fastball and jammed Sheffield to get the first out of the inning. Alex Rodriguez is up next...great inning for Madson to come in, it's a great challenge for him...

77 MPH curve up and in on ARod for a called strike...followed up by a low and away 74 MPH curve with nasty break that ARod barely makes contact with and taps to Utley for the second out of the inning. Giambi is next...

Madson makes look Giambi look bad with a quick strikeout. Giambi walks away from the plate shaking his right hand after aggravating it while swinging and missing.

GREAT, GREAT inning for Madson. 1-2-3 with ease against three of the better hitters in the majors. Fastball, changeup, and even the curve all looked great. 3 innings done, 2-2 game.

Top of the Fourth
Michael Kay calls Ryan Howard "a big lumbering guy." He meant nothing by it (just that he can only play first base realistically), but it just came out weird. Willie McCovey comparisons are made later - that more than makes up for it in my mind. Kay compliments Howard on his great speech at his ROY ceremony (along with Huston Street) - the praise for Howard keeps on going.

Rowand flies out, Nunez grounds out (after trying to bunt his way on at first), and Gonzalez goes down...bottom 4th coming up

Bottom of the Fourth
3 real quick outs for Madson - Williams fouls out to Kroeger, Posada lines out to Rowand, and Cano flies out to Kroeger. VERY encouraging...4 innings done, 2-2

Top of the Fifth
Same Subway commercial - Joe and Willie are in the Caribbean relaxing and talking about how great it is...only Joe is talking about the real Caribbean and Willie is talking about a Caribbean style Subway sandwich. Oh the wackiness just doesn't stop when those two buds get together!

Ken Singleton! That's who the color guy is! I had no idea for 4 full innings. He kinda sucks...

2 real quick outs for Aaron Small - Kroeger lines out to Jeter and Ruiz flies out. This at bats were so quick (maybe 3 pitches combined) that I can't keep up. Rollins grounds out to Giambi...very quick inning. At least they played the Aqua Velva commercial during the break - I LOVE the song in that commercial. Bottom 5 coming up...

Bottom of the Fifth
Gavin Floyd pitching to Sal Fasano - lots of fastballs should be coming according to the announcers. The first batter, Kevin Reese, has apparently faced Floyd a bunch before at AAA. He strikes out on a check swing. Damon gives Floyd a good battle, but he keeps pumping fastballs and Damon is barely getting a piece. A 94 MPH fastball ends the at bat as Damon is way behind and pops out to Kroeger in left.

With 2 outs, Jeter comes to bat. One of the big theories of Floyd's struggles last year centers on the idea that Floyd became afraid to throw strikes and "pitch to the bat." This has definitely not been the case today (yeah, yeah I know it's been less than an inning, but look at what I'm doing here - I'm overanalyzing for the sake of overanalyzing - it's allowed for the first game, ok?). Jeter hits a single off of Floyd on a pitch right down the plate. It happens.

Floyd and Sheffield engage in a good battle, as Sheffield repeatedly fouls off pitches and the count runs full. Eventually, Floyd wins the battle (sometimes I don't know how at bats end up because of the magic of MLB.TV - it just freezes right before a 3-2 pitch and next thing I know I'm watching a commercial) The fastball has hit 95 today, but is more consistently hitting the low 90's. Good inning of work. Five innings in the book, still 2-2.

Top of the Sixth
Victorino flies out to start the 6th, but Burrell follows with a looping double. Nice day for him, but it may be a tad misleading - he didn't really hit the ball hard. It obviously doesn't matter because he got results, but it's just something that stood out.

Joe Thurston gets his first at bat, hitting for Chase Utley. He promptly pops up to left. I always assumed Thurston was a white guy when he was a prospect for the Dodgers a few years back. I found out he wasn't white a few years ago, but I can't shake the mental image out of my head and am always surprised when I see him. Just one of those things, I guess...

Rowand singles to left, but Bill Dancy wisely throws up the stop sign for Shawn Garrett at third. He would have been a dead duck at home.

Small gets out of the jam and we go to the bottom of the sixth (I think it was a flyball out to Melky Cabrera, but...MLB.TV did it again so I can't say for sure - thanks MLB.TV!)

Bottom of the Sixth
Homerun for the Yankees to start the inning - Andy Phillips hits one that just barely clears the rightfield fence. Phillips is a good player, very underrated. This could be the year he actually gets some meaningful big league at bats.

Single by Kevin Thompson, but his time on the bases does not last long. Fasano guns him down as he tries to swipe second. It was a close play (he may or may not have have gotten his glove down to tag him out), but the throw was on the money and Fasano showed surprisingly good footwork to snap the throw off very quickly. Good play.

Kelly Stinnett gets plunked in the back. Serves him right...I never liked him.

Robinson Cano bounces into a double play to end the inning. Another real fast half inning - guys swinging at first pitches left and right.

MLB 06 - The Show - new baseball video game apparently - it may look like junk (original Playstation quality graphics), but it's nice to know they paid big bucks for commercials - they are actually quite good. All about washed up pros talking about how great life was during their brief time in "The Show." Pretty funny setup.

Top of the Seventh
Chris Coste flies out. Now for another Kroeger at bat, big test against lefty specialist Mike Myers...

Kroeger pulls a basehit into right...well done, young man, well done...

Fasano follows with a rocket single into left...

RBI single Chris Roberson...ball was low, but he went down and got it. Third hit of the inning off of Myers. Kroeger showed surprising speed coming into score from second.

With Shawn Garrett up, Michael Kay just pointed out that Tucson was a minor league affiliate of the Phillies...yeah, yeah it's spring training for the announcers too...Michael Kay ALWAYS sucks though (any time, any place) and you know it...

Garrett is a handsome a mix between Pat Burrell and Darren Daulton. Reminds me of Gregg Jeffries at the plate from a style standpoint...

2-RBI double for Garrett - as Fasano scored, it dawned on me. He looks a good bit like Pete Incaviglia. Garrett put a charge into a double off the left field wall. Very nice.

Big at bat for Thurston - lefty on lefty matchup with a chance to knock in a run. Hopefully, he does as well as Kroeger did...

He didn't...inning over.

3 runs on 4 hits - 5-3 game going to the bottom of the 7th

Bottom of the Seventh
3rd showing of the Subway commercial! And yet, I still wouldn't touch that sandwich...looks nasty to me. But I'm no Subway fan...haven't had it in a good 10 years...though I suppose I could give it another shot as my tastes have surely matured from when I was a fifth grader...

Infield hit for Kevin Reese to start the bottom of the 7th. The Phils did everything right, but the ball was just in a weird spot. Santana couldn't get to the dribbler, so Coste charged in from first while Santana veered off to cover the bag. Coste tried to flip it to him from his glove, but the throw was behind Santana. No dice. Reese is on first...

Melky Cabrera comes to bat. Cool batting stance...picture it as a more opened up Bobby Abreu style kind of thing. He flies out to center...

Miscommunication on a ball up the middle...and it rolls into center...MLB.TV flakes out and next thing I know it's a commercial...I have no idea what happened...

All I know is that Beerleaguer was right...Santana looks fat to me...on to the 8th

Top of the Eighth
J. Brent Cox in for the Yankees - promising young Yankee reliever. Should be an interesting 8th. He was a first rounder last year and was the closer on the national championship winning Texas Longhorns in '05. Good debut as a pro last year too.

Great at bat by Kata (long battle), but it ends on a 3-2 pop up to short. Cox is impressive, good fastball. I think I heard them say Kata was in centerfield, but I'm not entirely sure on that.

Bobby Scales comes to the plate...who? I thought for sure I'd know all these guys today, but he is the first name I don't know - on either team. Apparently he is a third baseman who played for AAA Portland last year and he loves popping up to short left field. I'm not sure if that last part is true, but it is what just happened and considering this is the first time I've seen him, I'll assume it is.

Chris Coste hits a bomb to leftfield. Furthest hit ball of the day. He just turned on a first ball fastball up on the zone and pounded it.

They are talking about skipping Cox right to AAA to start the year...what's the rush? I know he is a college national champ and all with plenty of experience, but give him some AA time first.

Michael Bourn - another guy I'm excited to see. Bourn vs Cox should be fun - two Texas guys (Bourn was born in Houston and played college ball for the Cougars).

Bourn reminds me a lot of Juan Pierre in the box...hee dribbles one to Cox and the inning is over. Bottom 8th...6-3 game.

Bottom of the Eighth
Another MLB The Show commercial - this one includes Don Zimmer. A former pitcher for the Braves (it's all fiction of course) is now in a bowling league and talks about his brief time in The Show. "I used to try to intimidate the batters, but now I just intimidate the pins." Good line.

Geoff Geary is in...and he is still looking as giraffe-like as ever (I kid because I love, Geoff)

Marcos Vechionacci to the plate. I saw him play last year at low A in Charleston. Very impressive fielder (he played short at the games I saw), but his hitting is a bit behind at this point. He's a young guy though, so he still has plenty of time.

Another at bat for Andy Phillips...he's now 2-2 after a single up the middle. He could see a lot of time this year, real good fastball hitter. Quick hands.

Another shaky play by Sandoval at short as he bobbles an inning ending double play. It was a perfect double play ball too. Ah well, he still got the lead runner. Apparently his first mistake was on the play MLB.TV missed...again, thanks MLB.TV!

Sandoval catches a liner to end the inning...8 innings down, 1 to go. I'm exhausted. 6-3 Phillies

Top of the Ninth
6th pitcher in for the Yanks...Matt Smith, another lefty - 4th rounder in 2000, just converted from a starter to a reliever last year. I'll give Singelton credit - he's talking about Smith's minor league numbers and has mentioned his H/IP, K/IP, and K/BB ratios. Not bad, Kenny...

Fasano up...Fasano down (strikeout)

Sandoval with his second at bat...groundball out to Vechionacci who is playing 3rd today. Vechionacci looked good at shortstop when I saw him last summer and I know he can also play second. It was just low A, but I know the Yanks think very highly of him. He'll be a big leaguer someday, just not someday soon.

Matt Smith finishes strong - Roberson strikes out looking to end the Phillies half of the ninth...bottom nine, coming up

Bottom of the Ninth
I think Michael Kay bugs me more as an intense Yankees homer than anything else. But I think I was a bit hasty in declaring how much he sucked earlier. He's actually kind of funny and is very self-effacing. I still don't like any of his signature catch phrases (not even a little), but outside of that, he ain't all bad. And as long as the Phillies hold on, I won't have to hear what I consider to be the worst six words in all of sports ("DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Yankees Win, Da Yankees Win!" - thanks, Bob)

[EDIT (5:47 PM): Ah of course - The worst six words I refer to above is John Sterling, not Michael Kay. Having a brother who lives in NYC can really pay off sometimes...]

Miguel Cairo flies out to Mike Bourn in left...ONE down

Melky Cabrera up with one on, one out... fielder's choice - man on second, TWO down

Felix Escalona grounds out to Sandoval...THREE down

Game over

Phillies 6 10 1
Yankees 3 11 0

I'll try to smoothe this whole thing over and get an overall recap up soon. Thanks to any and all that have kept up with this all day or even just popped in occasionally - it was a lot of fun. It's great to finally have baseball back.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Phils are off to a great start. I couldn't be happier about Madson, I only hope Charlie and Gillick are as impressed as I am. How's Chase looking by the way? It's been a long winter without him.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous mpn said...

re: ken Singleton: Al Bumbry wasn't available???

Thanks for posting all of this! Awesome.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I have to disagree with you about Michael Kay. I think Michael Kay is one of the best announcers in baseball. He is no Harry Kalas with the "Long fly ball, deep right center field, it's going, it's gone, Michael Jack Schmidt or Leonard Kyle Dykstra or Michael Robert Morandini, etc." However, I love it when there is a home run. Michael Kay says, "It is high, it is far, it is ...... gone." And when the Yankees win, he says "DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Yankees Win, Da Yankees Win."

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Chris Coste....
I understand he is 32 years old, however, why don't the Phillies consider him for the last utility player? He has played 3B, plus the OF. He wouldn't mind being a bench player, and lastly, he had a great season last year (and many of his prior minor league seasons).

Likewise, if the Phillies do not take a loot at Coste, what is wrong with Keugler? He is a left handed batter (which the Phillies want) and an OF. He seemed to be a decent minor leaguer. Why not give him a chance?

Lastly, Matt Kata in CF? Really. I wouldn't mind him playing for the Phillies (especially over Tomas Perez), but I am scared that he does not have the proper experience in OF.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

XXX: Hey man I enjoyed reading the gamecast. That's a definte confidence booster for Madson. It sounds like he pitched well today. Isn't Melky Cabrera one of the Yankees top prospects?

4:14 PM  
Anonymous malphie said...

The guy who says "Yankees win! The-ee-ee-ee-ee YANKESS WIN!" is John Sterling, not Michael Kay. I hate them both. Oh this is the official older brother of Phillies Baseball by the way. Just call me Quadruple X. Anyway I was going to suggest that you add inning-by-inning subheads to your post, but I just refreshed and you already did that! Amazing. 'S like we got some kinda amazing psychic connection. I too was sorely disappointed with this year's first Torre/Randolph commercial. Not nearly as great as last year's "press conference" series. But there's still lots of season left to go. And lots of new nasty nasty sandwiches Subway will have to trot out and advertise between now and Oct. Seriously, Carribean Lime Chicken???

4:35 PM  
Blogger XXX said...

Lots to cover, give me a yell if I forgot anything fun...

Coste is interesting - 33 years old with nary a big league at bat. He's versatile in the field and coming off a very nice AAA season with the bat. Guys like this who just hang around forever seem so deserving of finding a spot on a team as a 25th man someday. I can't say I'd mind it if Coste's "someday" was 2006.

I think Kroeger will be a major leaguer for a long time - not nearly confident enough in him to say he'll be a starter for any extended amount of time, but I think once he breaks in full time, he'll stick as a backup in the bigs. The D'Backs gave up on him way too soon - one more year of playing every day in Scranton could do him well and, if he really breaks out in the minors (something he is capable of - see his 2004 stats), he could be a valuable trade chip come July/next offseason.

He's another guy that at least has a shot at the last bench job and I'd be fine with him in that role.

I wasn't sure Kata really was in center, but it has been confirmed - they said they'd be willing to try it and there it was. I'd also take Kata over Tomas, but that ain't really a ringing endorsement of his skills...

Melky Cabrera has been talked up as a prospect, but I think it's all part of the Yankee hype machine - the best prospects on teams without decent farm systems are often talked about and compared to the best prospects from teams with other legit minor league talent. If Cabrera was in the D'Back system, for example, I honestly don't believe he'd crack their top 20 prospects list. I kind of think the same think happened to Hanley Ramirez back when he was with the Red Sox - being THE BIG RED SOX prospect made him seem more valuable than he really was.

Cabrera still has all kinds of tools and he is really young (22 in August), but his performance in the minors thus far just hasn't been anything special. Guys like him always have a chance, but he's got a ways to go.

The inning-by-inning subheadings were a bitch. You wouldn't think so, it seems easy enough, but it took me a good 5 minutes. Next time, if there is a next time, I'll try to keep tabs on that as I go...

9:20 PM  

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