Happ Effective, Offense Continues to Roll – Phillies Nation
2010 Game Recaps

Happ Effective, Offense Continues to Roll

For Chris Wheeler’s 64 and 2/3  birthday, the broadcast team provided the cake. The baseball team provided the fireworks.

The Phillies jumped on the Astros early, tagging the  starter, Bud Norris, for three runs in the first. Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco set the table and Ryan Howard doubled in Rollins to get the party started. Two batters later, Raul Ibanez knocked in two more and the Phillies cruised from there.

Starter J.A. Happ was solid in his debut, going five innings, with five K’s, holding the Astros scoreless. The Phillies bullpen was equally steady, pitching four shut-out frames, including two scoreless from rule-5 draft pick David Herndon.

The Astros pitching did not fare quite as well. Starter Norris was chased in the third, after throwing 82 pitches. Although he only surrendered the three in the first, Norris flirted with danger in both the second and third innings, jamming the bases full. Command was a struggle for Norris as he allowed four free passes in 2 2/3 innings of work. The bullpen fared even worse, allowing five more runs on ten hits.

There were no shortage of offensive studs for the Phils as they brought eight runs across the plate.

Ibanez, who struggled in the first series of the season, broke out of his funk, going 3-4 with two doubles, a walk, and three RBI’s. Howard also doubled twice, as the Phillies pounded out seven extra-base hits, including Chase Utley’s first bomb of the season.

Rollins, often criticized for his atypical approach to batting lead-off has shown through four games that he can fit the mold of that role. He drew two walks in tonights contest and scored twice. So far Rollins has six walks on the season, a total that he did not reach until mid-May of last season. He also gathered two hits, including a double. Polanco is also proving his value, going 4-5, with two ribbies and two runs scored.

Victorino was the only position player held hit-less despite three hard hit balls for outs, including a spectacular catch from former Phillie Michael Bourn.

The Phillies lineup has collected ten or more hits in their first four games, the first time they’ve accomplished the feat since 1926. That club, led by Art Fletcher went on to a 58-93 season. I have a feeling these Phillies will fare much better.



  1. pheeling it

    April 10, 2010 at 12:31 am

    polanco is huge. plus i like shane in the 7 hole, changes things up. but hes gotta get over not batting 2nd, everytime he gets to the plate theres people on! 7 hole in this lineup is the same as the 2 hole shane!

  2. Smokey

    April 10, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Pheeling it I agree I love what Polance in the 2 spot does for this line-up. I believe he’s going to have a big year here. Also, I’m finding myself more and more impressed with Dave Herndon. He’s been really impressive so far.

  3. WFC010

    April 10, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Herndon ended up in a few really scary looking situations,only to work his way out of them unscathed. Have to say I am very impressed with his performance so far. And I am absolutely loving the effect that Polanco has already been showing on our offensive game. What Halladay has to offer our pitchers, Polanco has to offer our batters: ways to improve, and it’s already starting to show.

  4. Greg

    April 10, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Only problem with liking Herndon: Where does he go when Lidge, Romero, and Blanton return?

    Romero –> Bastardo
    Lidge —–> Figuerroa
    Blanton –> Herndon, Contreras, Kendrick, Moyer, Durbin, Baez, Madson?

    Only three I see out of that list would be Contreras, Herndon, or Kendrick.

    Herndon can’t go down or else it’s back to the Angels.

    On to other things: Rollins, Polanco, and Utley are doing phenomenal at getting on base.

  5. keng

    April 10, 2010 at 6:27 am

    look at the team walks/strike outs ratio – look at the team runs/home runs ratio – look at the team batting average – obviously against lower level teams – but still…. – what a difference polanco makes – and not starting with half our hitters in a funk makes!!

  6. keng

    April 10, 2010 at 6:42 am

    1 more thing re pitching – i mentioned this before when the all the halliday/lee stuff went down and wanted to mention it again – the reason i think things went down the way they did regarding those trades is due to 1 or both of the following reasons: (1) pat gillick was behind putting all this together, it involving all 3 of his teams, and the deals were originally linked, in other words a three way deal, but when the musical player swaps stopped and the trades were no longer linked the phillies/amaro in particular would not leave gillick, the mastermind and their friend and even gm emeritus, floating in the wind so they still went thru with the lee for 3 prospects phillies/mariners part of the trade even though it was no longer necessary for the sake of getting halliday!!; and (2) keeping both would hurt the phillies payroll and economics generally, having almost noone in the farm would also hurt, so they figure make the lee trade for prospects and then come june/july if and when it looks like they dont have 3 bulls for the playoffs, pick up a pitcher like lee again for the final 3 months of the season just like they did last year!! – wouldnt it be amazing drama if that pitcher was indeed cliff lee – stanger than truth!!!

  7. Keith E

    April 10, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Phils hitters are looking abnormally patient at the plate. I felt that was one of their weaknesses last year as a team. They seemed to never make the opposition’s pitcher work hard. If this is a new approach, I like it.
    GO PHILS!!!

  8. NJ

    April 10, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Fantastic game from the Phils, quality to damn right outstanding performances all around.

    It’s going to be tough to keep Herndon but the Phils will find a way if he keeps turning quality outings. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Phils work out a trade for him but do you really want him in the minors a la Travis Blackley?

    Still early days but who’s criticizing the Cliff Lee deal now…? Out till may, still a free agent (likely to sign with a team who’ll sing multiple type A’s)…

  9. Ed R.

    April 10, 2010 at 9:40 am

    To be honest, with you I would send down Kendrick when Blanton comes back, unless Moyer sucks even more than KK did two nights ago.

    When Romero and Lidge come back I would send down Contreras and Baez.

    I like having two lefties in the pen and Bastardo has been good.

    Now Hendron may just be getting lucky so far, but what if he isn’t? What if he is legit? You cant losing him to the Angels for nothing. I think while he is effective he has to stay.

  10. NJ

    April 10, 2010 at 10:01 am

    “When Romero and Lidge come back I would send down Contreras and Baez.”

    Ed hope your joking there mate…

    I don’t get what there isn’t to like about what each guy brings to the pen…

    I think Herndon and Kendrick’s seasons may be joined now as there’ll only be a spot for one in the pen short of injuries. Bastardo’s gonna be a tough call, I love the kid but I love the experience and versatility of the veteran relievers more.

    Herndon (if he can stick)/Durbin/Contreras/Baez/Romero/Madson/Lidge to me is a near top bullpen of contending teams. Ridicule me for it go ahead, but break down what each guy is here to do and it looks very promising.

  11. mikemike

    April 10, 2010 at 10:13 am

    just like to say to all the phillies fans who suck the phillies behind. All the people who said it was a good move to trade lee, and can see why, tell the team why .they are confused, knowing with lee they were better and would be favorite to win it all. The owners will never have the guts to go all in to win, yankees love the move by the phillies typical cheap ass move.

  12. NJ

    April 10, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Cause that ‘all in’ philosophy guarantees championships… It guaranteed the Yankees one between ’02 and ’08, it broke the Cubs curse and the Tigers hit those 100 runs a couple of years back…

    It took smarts for the Yankees to be where they are now cause it wasn’t just CC and Teix that beat us last year…

    The Phils were going to be in a mess after the season if they’d held onto Lee. Which would you prefer a shot at another championship no more or the chance to at least make a real shot at keeping the core of the team together and contend for 5 more years? Guess those who ‘could see why’ just have no clue… Is it going to be cheap when the team try to re-sign Werth, Howard, Rollins, Utley, Cole etc…? It’ll only happen if they have payroll flexibility at the other end of the roster to do so

  13. NJ

    April 10, 2010 at 10:24 am

    ^Tigers hit those 1000 runs…

  14. Sylar

    April 10, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Thanks MikeMike, very insightful.

    The Polanco and Halladay acquisitions are going to make the difference this year. They will have potentially the best years of their careers here. Polanco will be getting pitches to hit all year, this is like a kid in a candy store for a hitter like him.

    Halladay wins more than 20 this year. The pitching is strong across the board so far, even though Kendrick struggled a bit. I love Cliff Lee and hated to see him go but the Phillies are a better team than last year so it is tuff to complain.

    All you hope for is that mgmt legitimately tries to make the team better every year, the Phillies do that and have for several years now. The team will establish itself as a dynasty this year by winning it all, hopefully from the Spankmes in 4 straight.

  15. The Dipsy

    April 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Phillies pitchers on June 1:



    Got to have that lefty in the pen. I don’t think Romero is ever gonna be the same pitcher again. I’d love to see Herndon stay. Quite frankly, if Herndon is pitching well, I’d like to see if we could get a nice little A prospect for Durbin. Quite frankly, I don’t regard him as all that valuable if Contreras, Baez, and Herndon are pitching well.

    The Dipsy

  16. Brooks

    April 10, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I know this is early but, tell me it ain’t pretty:
    Phils lead the league in offense hitting .344 as a team (with a .536 slg %)
    Phils pitching is 3rd in the league with a 2.57 combined ERA (SF is first with a sick 2.14!)
    The first 5 batters in the lineup:

    Rollins: .467 BA OBP=.591
    Polanco: .579 BA OBP=.571
    Utley: .438 BA OBP=.571
    Howard: .400 BA OBP=.429
    Werth: .333 BA OBP=.400

    Even Raul has a .400 OBP and after last night is hitting over .265 –
    The Phils lead the league in runs scored, rbi and team OBP.

    They are playing the dregs of the NL for sure but, it sure is fun to watch. (and it will continue for a little bit on the home stand vs Nats).

  17. Jim

    April 10, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I’d like to see a starter besides Halladay get through 5 IP without throwing 100 pitches. The starters need to be more economical with their pitches or they’re going to burn out the bullpen. It’s one thing to be pitching around good teams but when they’re playing crummy teams the starters should have a little more trust in their defense and get the ball in play. Nibbling around the edges and getting 4 IP from the bullpen is ok when the offense is scoring a lot of runs but when the offense cools off and the bullpen is overused they’ll need something better from Happ.

  18. Havoc

    April 10, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Someone needs to get on the ball and give us an ashburn award for last night. Quite a few tempting choices from last night. Raul breaks out of his slump, Jimmy has another strong showing, and Polanco goes 4 for 5..

  19. Ed R.

    April 10, 2010 at 11:35 am

    NJ…I guess for me its a matter of trust. I don’t trust that Contreras can really be a full time reliever. He was good last year for Colorado but he was not a reliever for all that long with them. If he can prove for the next few weeks to be valuable then so be it.

    As for Baez, I live in Harrisburg, there are a ton of O’s fan’s here and a lot of O’s talk on the radio and I have also gone to a ton of O’s games recently and I really just don’t think Baez is all that good. He has had 2 good seasons and that’s about it. Last year would be one of the two good seasons.

    I agree with Dipsy, I don’t think Romero is ever going to be the same guy again, and I would have no problem seeing Durbin get traded.

  20. NJ

    April 10, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Interesting, I don’t expect sparkling numbers from either of those guys but I do think they’ll be value for money and perform very well in support roles, I think Contreras especially can come in and up the tempo for the next guy by amping it up with his fastball or slowing it down with his curve. You add that to Durbin and I think you’ve got 3 middle relievers able to work off eachother and keep the bullpen structured. I can see the arguments against though… Baez must look ugly to anyone who kept a close eye on him with the O’s but then again who named Markakis hasn’t looked ugly in an O’s uniform the last few…

  21. Bobby D

    April 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    The team OBP is ridiculous! To summarize the early offensive explosion I’ll simply say “Everybody hits!!! Wooooooo!!!”

  22. Twaddlemeyer

    April 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Ryan Howard — very interesting start to the 2010 season — He has struck out only once in four games and walked only once. He is hitting and driving in runs. Is this a changed man?

  23. The Dipsy

    April 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Danny Baez (I won’t call him Dannys, its silly) was good before his arm problems. He is two years removed from that lost season and, who knows, maybe his arm was lousy the season before that. He was good once. He got hurt. If his velocity is back I see no reason why he can’t be a 7th inning guy, and maybe a good one. Durbin, well, I just don’t understand why he got signed like that. He is the definition of an “average middle reliever”. I don’t have a lot of faith in Contreras. We’ll be looking for a few guys eventually but I don’t think Baez will be the problem.

    NJ – Anyone give us a low A middling prospect for Durbin? I think now he costs too much.

    The Dipsy

  24. NJ

    April 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I doubt you see Durbin get moved. If he’s pitching poorly it’s the DL or DFA and if your nearing the deadline it’s only a month before the roster opens up.

    Right now were gonna ride Herndon and Bastardo to see if there’s guys that’ll stick. Although the names aren’t sexy Durbin, Baez and Contreras are guys all capable of coming in to pitch multiple innings or get an ugly couple of outs. I don’t expect any of them to turn in sparkling ERA’s, 80k’s or a incredible walk ratio but the combination over the course their going to take a lot of pressure off the other guys, each pitch 60/70 games and do the job their asked to do.

    When putting together the roster you have to put the guys up front you expect to be your bigs guns but behind them you don’t want numbers vultures, you want guys who are going to make the guys around them better by taking the pressure off and mentoring…

  25. NJ

    April 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Have to say it’s funny how the Phils guys are perceived sometimes, take the Phils vs the Cards staffs who I’d put as our closest competition in the NL

    Halladay > Capenter
    Hamels Lohse/Penny/Garcia (not even close)

    Lidge/Franklin’s a push
    Denny Reyes/Trever Miller vs Romero…
    Motte vs Madson
    McClellan/Hawksworth/Boggs vs Baez/Contreras/Durbin

    The Phils have a FAR superior staff even now banged up.

    Think sometime we get caught up in the niggly a little too much…

  26. Geoff

    April 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Contreras and Baez are locked into Big League deals, you can’t sent them down. Looking at the roster, I would send down Kendrick and Figueroa for Lidge and Romero. When Blanton comes back, I would NOT send down Herndon. I REALLY like his stuff and his ability to get out of jams (even though he got himself into it in the first place). He really has pitched well I think, he provides a different kind of depth to the bullpen that they really need.

    So when they are all back its a very tough decision. Though it will have to be another reliever sent down. I would hate to see Herndon offered back to the Angels, they would use him I think. Chad Durbin has looked good. I just don’t know who you can afford to sacrifice. They do have several multiple inning relievers in Durbin, Contreras, Herndon. It is likely that one of those guys would be sent down unfortunately. Unless they figure out that Herndon can do what Contreras can (if he proves that between now and decision time), THEN they may just move DFA Contreras and move him somewhere.

  27. Shag beta sigma delta

    April 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Dipsy you are crazy, Durbin has been one of if not the only constant in the phillies pen. He can come in in the 4th and pitch 2 or 3 innings if needed, come in in the 7 or 8th if need be to get one or two outs, he really does not walk a lot of guys, and consistantly solid guy out of the pen you do not trade him. I know they will have to do something, but what I have heard latly JC is probably not coming back as soon as some think. Maybe not even til June, untill is ready to pitch for the big club. I think it May be KK who goes down when Blanton comes back, especially if he has another so so outing. Even when JC comes back do you really want him to be the only lefty in the pen

  28. Twaddlemeyer

    April 10, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I don’t think we will see the same Romero anytime in the future. Hate to say it, but I think he may be cooked. I only hope that Lidge comes back to be an effective closer and isn’t rushed into the DL.

  29. Ed R.

    April 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    When everyone is back and healthy I think we are looking at:



    Loogy – Bastardo
    7th – Baez
    7th – Romero
    Set Up – Madson
    Closer – Lidge

    I would rather have Herndon if he keeps pitching well since like I said earlier, I don’t want to lose him for nothing but at the same point, Bastardo has been good so far and I really feel like we need 2 left handers in the pen. Don’t need them but personally I feel more comfortable with it.

  30. Greg

    April 10, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I’d much rather put Bastardo in the minors than sacrifice the talent that Herndon has shown thus far. If he continues to get key double-plays and ground ball outs, there is no reason to offer him back to the Angels. We can leg it out for a season without two lefties in the pen, especially with Contreras’s Splitter that absolutely ties up Left-handed hitters.

    On a complete side note, Polanco has looked INCREDIBLY sharp over at third base. Sure, he got the error on the ball that had the backspin, but he also turned a nice key double-play right after that, then had the backhanded catch on the foul line that he threw to first with a Pedro Feliz arm. It’s easy to tell that Polanco’s been practicing fielding and throwing at Third base, and it has paid off. That’s all without mentioning the fact that he’s batting .579 with 8-RBI’s.

  31. WFC010

    April 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I am more worried about Lidge than Romero, to be perfectly honest.

    His velocity is way down the last I heard, and I just don’t know if he’ll be getting enough of it back in time for him to be an effective Closer again when the DL stint is over.

    Romero should come back okay hopefully, even if he is not as good as before.

  32. Ed R.

    April 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I agree with you WFC…Lidge is my main concern, but I do think Madson can be an effective closers. He has had weeks to prepare himself mentally to be the closer and if he has to do it long term I think he will be ok. But now you are talking about switching around or moving up other people’s roles and that is where it gets dicey.

  33. Shag beta sigma delta

    April 10, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I had some reservations about pp at 3rd when he signed, has looked good over there those I was traveling and missed the game last night. He is on fire now, hope he can stay consistant, I am not asking for him to bat 400, but would like to see him not have a prolonged slump, 300 would be fine with me. any chance they carry 13 pitchers and send a bench guy down until they decide if JC is going to be an;y good

  34. Shag beta sigma delta

    April 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Is Lidge’s velocity really that much of a concern, as long as he can locate it. And he is not tipping his slider. You may disagree, but to me if he is getting his get over slider over, and his fastball goes down from 93-94 to 90-91 does not matter that much IMO. I am not too concerened with Lidge as long as they do not rush him back, I mean except for the Braves and maybe the SF, Lidge can take 21 days to come back and with the schedule the Phillies will be alright, Nats, SF, Ariz, and the Mets, oh and FLA. The offense should take care of business. The Braves starters and the Giants starters can hold this team in check where I see true pitching games where the Phillies can not score a bunch of runs

  35. The Second John

    April 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Haha, sit down Rod Barajas

  36. The Dipsy

    April 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t really have a lot of confidence in Lidge either. But if Romero is not going to pitch than Bastardo has to be in the pen. Then you pick between Contreras, Herndon, and Durbin. All three can pitch multiple innings. I don’t wanna give up Herndon if he is pitching well. Young, with potential, and a sinkerball.

    The Dipsy

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