Tag:Charlie Manuel
Posted on: February 18, 2010 3:54 pm

Anger management with Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series Most Valuable Player who never lived up to the hype in '09, is working hard this spring on perfecting his change-up and developing a cut fastball.

But what's really important, according to his pitching coach, is that Hamels control his demeanor in 2010.

"The biggest problem with Cole last year, in my opinion, was that he pitched with a lot of anger," Rich Dubee said Thursday after the first workout of the spring for Phillies pitchers and catchers. "With himself, mostly.

"He's such a perfectionist. You don't pitch with anger, especially with yourself."

Dubee and various Phillies, including veteran lefty Jamie Moyer, talked with Hamels about it as '09 rolled on, but once the struggles began with a sore elbow in the spring and then spilled over into lack of results on the field, Hamels never could catch up. He finished 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA -- more than a run higher than his 3.09 ERA in '08.

"His approach wasn't very good last year," said Dubee, who added that "it's been addressed."

Hamels' anger and frustration was evident in the way he snapped at the ball on the field when it was being returned from the catcher, and in the way he stomped around on the mound at various times between pitches after serving up a key hit or missing on an important pitch.

"I think that's where the expectations come into play," said Hamels, who never came close to living up to Cy Young predictions in '09. "You have a lot more expectations, and I let that get to me. I became emotional instead of relaxing and letting it happen."

Hamels laughed when told Dubee said part of the fix might be in Hamels viewing video of his churlish behavior.

"I was there. I remember those times," he said. "I don't need to watch the video. I understand what I did wrong."

Among other things, Hamels started throwing much earlier this winter than he has in the past. Dubee said that's evident simply from watching him play long toss during workouts this week.

"You watch him long toss, and he's far beyond where he's ever been in spring training," said the pitching coach, who added that he's quite impressed with Hamels because, after struggling last year, Hamels "could have gone home and sulked."

"I'm a lot more in shape arm-wise than in recent years," Hamels said.

With new ace Roy Halladay aboard, if Hamels pitches the way the Phillies know he can, then they again think they'll be the team to beat in the NL this season.

"I think what he needed was a breath of fresh air in the off season," Dubee said.

Sunblock Day? Yes because the sun was out, but what was really needed was a wind block. "I'll tell you something: I've got three shirts on," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said following Thursday's workout. "And I needed a jacket."

Likes: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel down 56 pounds from last year, proudly exhibiting his jeans in the clubhouse the other day and calling them "my Nutrisystem jeans". ... Now we see why Indians assistant general manager Chris Antonetti spurned interest by other organizations when they wanted to interview him when they had GM openings. Congratulations to Mark Shapiro's hard-working assistant on being named GM-in-waiting Thursday. And given the cratering economy and attendance, Godspeed, Chris. ... Chien-Ming Wang, Washington National. ... How about the double-overtime Notre Dame-Louisville game Wednesday night, a 91-89 Cardinals win? What a great, great game. ... Early Seger Volume 1 is a terrific -- and lacking -- CD. Lacking because, Bob Seger has got to have far more in the vaults than one small disc. Somebody needs to talk with Seger's manager, Punch Andrews, and scold him to release not only more music, but a DVD of Seger's last concert tour a couple of years ago. That there isn't more available -- video and audio -- from one of the all-time masters is criminal. ... The grilled grouper with mango salsa at Bonefish Grill the other night was very tasty.

Dislikes: Get ready for some serious lobbying for a new stadium for Tampa Bay. Rays president Stuart Sternberg said on local radio the other day that the club's $70 million payroll definitely will be chopped next year and insinuated that it would be below $60 million. Commissioner Bud Selig followed that up with an appearance at the annual Florida Governor's Baseball Dinner on Wednesday, during which he said "It almost boggles my mind that there's a debate. They need a new stadium."

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It may be raining
"But there's a rainbow above you"

-- The Eagles, Desperado

Posted on: November 4, 2009 5:12 pm

Victorino in the lineup tonight

NEW YORK -- Shane Victorino, whose right index finger was badly bruised when he was hit by an A.J. Burnett pitch the other day, is starting and playing center field for Philadelphia in Game 6 of the World Series tonight.

"He's fine," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel says.

As usual, Victorino is hitting second behind leadoff man Jimmy Rollins.

Manuel also said that every pitcher other than Cliff Lee is available tonight in Game 6, and he again declined to say who would pitch Game 7 Thursday if the Phillies can extend this series.

Posted on: November 4, 2009 10:00 am

Hot Game 6 question: Who closes for Phillies?

NEW YORK -- Now clinging to their season by Pedro Martinez and a very creaky bullpen, one of the most pressing questions surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies heading into tonight's World Series Game 6 is this:

If the Phillies carry a slim lead into the ninth inning, does manager Charlie Manuel trust Brad Lidge to close it out?

"I don't want to sound like smart or nothing, [but I'm] probably going to use him the way I want to [depending on] when we get there and how I feel," Manuel said late Tuesday. "I'll do a lot of talking in the dugout with [pitching coach Rich] Dubee, and we'll decide on which one we want to put out there."

Lidge is either the Phillies closer or former closer, depending on how you read the tea leaves.

His struggles this season already well documented (he blew a major-league leading 11 save opportunities), the Good Lidge was 1-0 with three saves and no runs allowed in five postseason appearances before the Bad Lidge re-emerged in Game 4 of the World Series.

Looking to protect a 4-4 game in the ninth and give the Phillies a chance to win it Sunday, the Yankees scorched Lidge for three runs and tagged him with the loss.

Tellingly, Manuel summoned Ryan Madson to close Philadelphia's 8-6 Game 5 victory on Monday night, leaving Lidge in the pen.

Afterward, Manuel noted Lidge's high pitch count from the night before -- 30 -- as one reason he didn't use him.

On Tuesday's off day in New York -- the Phillies elected not to work out -- Manuel repeated that his still has confidence in Lidge.

"I sure do," Manuel said. "I think the only thing I'm trying to do with Brad Lidge is get him right. You know what, I'll always have confidence in him. He's got a lot of talent, and he proved that last year when he goes 48 for 48 in save situations. I've seen him work out of some tough jams. I've seen him go bases loaded, nobody out and get right out of it. ...

"I said last night, he is our closer, and basically what we're trying to do is get him as good as he was, or somewhere in between."

If the Phillies lead by a run or two or three heading into the ninth tonight, we'll find out whether Lidge is still the closer. He's had two days to rest after throwing those 30 pitches in a tough Game 4 loss.

He will be fresh.

Posted on: November 3, 2009 2:39 am

Phillies expect Victorino to be OK

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Yankees already having lost center fielder Melky Cabrera (hamstring strain) for the duration of the World Series in Game 4, the Phillies came darn close to losing their center fielder for good in Game 5.

Shane Victorino apparently will survive to play another day, but the knuckle on his right index finger was swollen and purple late Monday night.

Still, he was relieved because when he was hit with an A.J. Burnett pitch in the first inning of Philadelphia's 8-6 Game 5 loss, he feared it was broken.

"The trainer looked at it and we were like, 'Oh no'," Victorino said. "When he hit me, I thought, 'Oh my gosh.'"

The Phillies X-rayed it in the second inning and determined that there were no fractures. Victorino determined he was good enough to keep playing, though manager Charlie Manuel replaced him with Ben Francisco in center field in the eighth inning.

Victorino didn't want to leave and, though he was already on the field when Francisco came out, he said it simply was a "mix-up" and he wasn't upset with Manuel for replacing him.

As for the finger, he said it bothered him more gripping the bat than throwing, though he added "it feels fine."

He also was sure Burnett was not intentionally throwing at him. Some questioned whether the Yankees right-hander might be given that Phillies pitchers have hit Alex Rodriguez with pitches three times in this series.

"During his at-bat, when he walked up [to the plate], he asked Carlos [Ruiz, Phillies catcher] how I was doing and said, 'I wasn’t trying to hit him,'" Victorino said. "For him to do that means a lot."

Victorino also said Burnett acknowledged him on the field as if to say, "Sorry."

"He looked over at me when I was at first base and he gave me a nod like, 'My bad'," Victorino said.

The Phillies' biggest worry now, of course, is whether it will worsen overnight. But with Tuesday's travel day, they get a break and Victorino gets an extra 24 hours to heal.

"Probably [Tuesday] his finger is going to be sore," Manuel said. "It's definitely not broken or didn't have a fracture. ... A couple of days it probably is going to be OK."

Posted on: October 27, 2009 9:32 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2009 9:35 pm

Phillies add Brett Myers to World Series roster

NEW YORK -- Looking for any edge in what figures to be a classic and closely contested World Series, the Phillies on Tuesday made one roster change, activating pitcher Brett Myers and dropping infielder Miguel Cairo.

Myers, a hard-throwing righty, made one appearance against Colorado in the NL Division Series, but the Phillies did not include him on their NL Championship Series roster against the Dodgers. During his stint against the Rockies, two-third of an inning, he walked two batters.

"We felt like we needed another pitcher because the moves that we've been making in situations, we ran through five pitchers in one inning against the Dodgers," manager Charlie Manuel said. "And I feel like if those things happen again, we always need pitching."

Not to mention the fact that the Yankees scored the most runs in the majors this year.

"I feel like with Myers' stuff and the fact that he's in better shape and he's well and ready to pitch," Manuel said. "I feel like his talent actually belongs on our staff."

Myers went 4-3 with a 4.84 ERA for the Phillies during an injury-plagued season. He worked in only 18 games, starting 10. He began the season in the rotation but suffered a torn labrum in his hip and had surgery on June 4. He worked out of the bullpen when he returned in September.

Much of the western part of the country might not care, but this Yankees-Phillies World Series comes with terrific passion in the host cities. ... Yankees owner George Steinbrenner scheduled to attend Game 1. ... Jorge Posada on Jimmy Rollins' prediction that the Phillies will win in five games: "He's been Nostradamus, that's what I've heard." ... Great tabloid headlines today. New York Post: Gotham Trembles: The Frillies are coming to town! Complete with a weird cover photo mash-up of Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino from the waist up, with a woman's lower half, wearing a skirt. And the Daily News writes: Pity Silly-delphia for thinking they can beat N.Y. ... Il Vagabondo on East 62nd in New York.

Dislikes: The Yankees can't actually allow Chad Gaudin anywhere near a World Series start, can they? ... Game 1 on Oct. 28. What a joke. ... The hoopla surrounding Michael Jackson's This Is It. I really hope it is.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Born into Nixon, I was raised in hell
"A welfare child where the teamsters dwelled
"The last one born and the first one to run
"My town was blind from the refinery sun
"My generation is zero
"I never made it as a working class hero"

-- Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown


Posted on: October 16, 2009 11:09 pm

Utley suddenly air-mailing more than Fed Ex

LOS ANGELES -- As the Phillies headed back to Philadelphia following a tough 2-1 loss here in Game 2, they dragged a very troubling question with them:

What in the world is going on with second baseman Chase Utley?

He air-mailed a relay throw past Ryan Howard in Game 2 Friday on what would have been an important eighth-inning double play.

And a night earlier, he heaved another relay throw over Howard's head and into the Phillies' dugout that helped keep alive the Dodgers' three-run fifth inning.

"Utley is probably one of the most fundamentally sound players I've ever seen," Dodgers' pinch-hitter Jim Thome, a former teammate of Utley's, said following Game 2. "Him and Omar Vizquel, and you can't forget about Roberto Alomar. He's in there too. Utley is a very sound player."

Which is what make his two spectacularly off-target throws so inexplicable.

"He's a great player, obviously," Phillies reliever Ryan Madson said. "That's the human nature part of it."

Utley now has two errors in two NLCS games after committing only 12 over 156 regular season games this year.

In Game 1, Utley threw away a relay after taking a quick flip from shortstop Jimmy Rollins. He appeared to lose the handle on the ball as he threw. Rollins, after watching the replay following the game, said he didn't think Rafael Furcal was close enough to the bag to where his slide would have bothered Utley.

In Game 2, third baseman Pedro Feliz started what looked like it was going to be a quick 5-4-3 twin killing, with Utley receiving the throw from Feliz but heaving it to the Phils' dugout instead. That time, it appeared as if Ronnie Belliard's slide might have had something to do with Utley's too-quick release.

"Chase is better than that," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Those mistakes that you make like that, that happens sometimes. ... I know it plays a part in a game, and so does he.

"But at the same time, I've got a lot of faith in him. If there's one guy in the world that will work on it and correct it, it's Chase Utley."

Dodgers manager Joe Torre, too, thought Belliard's slide may have had something to do with Utley's Game 2 error.

"Errors are part of the game, and strikeouts and all that stuff," Torre said. "I mean, I'd certainly like to have his problems. He's pretty damned special."

Likes: Pedro Martinez and Vicente Padilla were such a pleasure to watch Friday afternoon. Martinez, especially, simply because he's such a different pitcher now. Where he once threw pure gas in the mid-to-upper 90s, he was lucky if his fastball touched 90 all afternoon. He mixed in mid-to-upper 80s fastballs, 87 m.p.h. changeups and some slow curves. "I'm tricking 'em," was how Martinez described his success. ... Can't blame Phillies coach Davey Lopes for declining to participate in the ceremonial first pitch ceremony before Game 1 when the Dodgers dragged out their famous infield from the 1970s -- Steve Garvey, Bill Russell and Ron Cey. Lopes was invited but, ever competitive, wasn't having any of it. Good call, Davey. ... Excellent work by the Falcons of Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High in shutting out Jefferson 21-0 on Friday night to clinch another Huron League football championship. Catholic Central, hats off to thee, to your colors. ... ah, who am I fooling. I can't sing.

Dislikes: Poor Chase Utley.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Is there nothing that I can say
"To make you change your mind
"I watch the world go round and round
"And see mine turning upside down"

-- Genesis, Throwing It All Away

Posted on: October 14, 2009 10:58 pm

Phillies: Pedro Martinez to start Game 2?

LOS ANGELES -- The Phillies and Crazy Like a Fox Manager Charlie Manuel are at it again.

They named only their Game 1 starter, Cole Hamels, on Wednesday for the NL Championship Series.

Manuel said he'd get back to everybody with further rotation details.

Last round, the Phils named only their first two starters, leaving everybody to guess on their Game 3 starter. J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton were the favorites, which made for a real interesting scenario when Manuel summoned each of them in relief in Game 2.

For the NLCS after Hamels ... based on his starting Monday in Colorado, Cliff Lee probably will pitch Game 3. Happ, who started Sunday in Denver, likely will pitch Game 4.

Which leaves Game 2 a mystery.

Pedro Martinez?

Joe Blanton?

Don't look now, but indications are that it could be Pedro.

Manuel said Wednesday that Blanton and Happ would be available out of the bullpen in the "first few games" of this series. Martinez, meantime, threw a simulated game Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Which means, adding two and two, you get ... Martinez as the Phillies' Game 2 starter?

"I'll say this about Blanton: I definitely look at Blanton as a starter," Manuel said a moment after confirming that Blanton would be available out of the bullpen in Game 1. "I told you before, he is the guy that can really set our bullpen up. In front of [Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson] ... give me some leverage in the back, if that makes sense.

"And I feel like he is that guy, ... with the mentality and the go get 'em and the grit and the desire and whatever you want to say."

Regarding Martinez, who has not pitched in a game since Sept. 30 and has thrown only seven innings since Sept. 13, Manuel said he was impressed with Pedro in Tuesday's simulated game.

"His stuff is there," Manuel said. "That speaks for itself. Tremendous, beautiful pitch. And therefore he gets back his command. In order for him to pitch good and win games, he's got to have good command."

Posted on: October 14, 2009 10:36 pm

Phillies expected to pitch Manny inside again

LOS ANGELES -- Though he no longer carries the Dodger lineup on his back like he did last year, all eyes will remain on Manny Ramirez when Game 1 begins Thursday simply because of memories of how the Phillies treated him in last year's NLCS.

When Brett Myers buzzed Ramirez in Game 2, it nearly caused an international incident. It probably would have had Chad Billingsley or any other Dodger pitcher bothered to step up and respond.

Ramirez isn't the same hitter now as he was then -- he hit just .255 with 10 homers and 34 RBI after the All-Star break this year -- but that doesn't mean the Phillies will treat him more lightly.

Nobody knows Ramirez better than Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel, who became a father-figure to Manny during their years together in Cleveland in the 1990s (Manny as hitting savant, Manuel as the club's hitting coach).

And from the opposing dugout, Manuel always has believed that the most effective way to pitch Ramirez is to "move him around" in the box.

Doesn't necessarily mean drill him.

But it does mean pitch him tight inside, perhaps uncomfortably inside, certainly enough to make him move his feet and back away from the plate.

That Manny isn't the force he was a year ago was evident during Wednesday's workouts in Dodger Stadium. At his formal press briefing, Manuel wasn't asked one question about Ramirez.

The Dodgers, though, spent plenty of time answering questions on the importance for their pitchers to work both sides of the plate -- even though they essentially broadcast their main answer nationally when they unveiled their rotation and Chad Billingsley wasn't in it.

"Pitchers pitch to their strengths and weaknesses," Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa said. "Clayton Kershaw pitches inside. Randy Wolf pitches inside. Vicente Padilla pitches inside."

All three of those were named to the Dodgers' NLCS rotatoin -- Kershaw starting Game 1, Padilla Game 2 and Wolf Game 4. Hiroki Kuroda will start Game 3.

"Pitchers have got to do what they did all year," Bowa said. "I don't think you can say, 'This is the playoffs, I'm going to change.'"

Said manager Joe Torre: "I think it's important all year to [pitch inside]. But last year it got out of hand over there [in Philadelphia] on us. I thought the next game, when we played it back here, sort of showed that we could pitch effectively.

"But again, it's something that you always encourage pitchers to do, and you make sure that your'e able to go out there and make sure that you have a presence as far as knowing what's yours and what's theirs."


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