Well, Roy Halladay is serving up home runs like Bert Blyleven this spring. Two more today to the Twins in what was another rough outing. Roy didn’t make it out of the third inning. I’m not going to get panicky about Roy Halladay, but we’re getting close to the time of Spring Training where we won’t be able to shrug off such a performance. According to Halladay and other observers it’s been mostly a location issue. His last two outings have reminded me of poor Cliff Lee starts from 2011. You could tell right away that Lee didn’t have it, balls were moving into the center of the plate–that type of thing. The great thing about Halladay has been that even his off days don’t get away from him. He hasn’t been able to stop the bleeding over the last week. Not a huge deal, but there will be more eyes than usual on Halladay’s next start.
I’m going to get all the negative stuff out of the way at the start and then finish with a flurry of optimism. Next up on the cringe list? Jimmy Rollins’ assessment of Ryan Howard’s Achilles tendon. Rollins offered the most pessimistic viewpoint of Howard to date on Wednesday, wondering if Howard would play at all this season. He also added that you could forget about the 1st two months. I’m sure the Phillies will be thrilled with J-Roll’s candid opinion. When I saw Howard go down to end last season my initial thought was say goodbye to 2012, but eventually I got caught up in all the “ahead of schedule” stuff like everyone else. It now appears that Phillies fans will need to get used to the sight of someone other than Howard manning 1st base.
Rollins went on to other some grim thoughts on Chase Utley. As we know, Utley has yet to appear in a Spring Training game and with Opening Day three weeks away that is getting a little troubling. A lot of the regulars have already gotten a good 25 ABs. Utley will be able to get a lot of at-bats in minor league games to catch up some, but is that the ideal preparation? I think most fans would be more comfortable if Chase had played once a week so far, just to show his face. Now you have to think about whether he’s had a flare in the knee, or if all the talk about being much better off than last year was just bluster.
Ok–Enough of That. Plenty of good from Phillies camp as well. At least we don’t have Chipper Jones, who by all accounts looks horrific, like Joe Namath in a Rams uniform.
1. Vance Worley had a dazzling 2nd start. If the Phillies do go into a worst-case scenario mode on offense, they’ll need great pitching to carry them through until Howard comes back or until they can maybe make a move at the deadline. The big-3 might not be enough, the Phillies will need some wins out of Worley and Blanton and early signs on their form have been encouraging.
2. Carlos Ruiz is hitting .600ish. Ruiz has been very limited in his action, but he’s spraying the ball all over the field. If Ruiz can be the guy who is one of the team leaders in OBP and can hit in that .280 range, it’ll be a huge bonus.
3. Placido Polanco looks 100 times better than he did at the end of last season. He’s also been spraying base hits to all fields, which is, what Polanco does.
4. Those who were concerned about Juan Pierre’s ability to hold up as a 4th/5th outfielder or even start in left if necessary can shift their focus to Scott Podsednik. Podsednik is having the kind of spring that Pierre wishes he was having, and if he’s worst case scenario for a bench outfielder–it could be much worse.
5. Dom Brown has continued to struggle in the field, but has shaken the funk that engulfed him at the plate at the end of last season. Brown has hit several balls hard of late, including a long home run on Tuesday. It appears that Brown might be returning to prospect form at the plate. Whether he’ll ever master left field remains to be seen.