Jesse Biddle .gifs, Notes from Sunday’s Action
Jesse Biddle .gifs after the jump:
Biddle went two innings, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out two. The second run wasn’t entirely Biddle’s fault, as Jaff Decker hit a lazy fly ball to center field, but Tony Gwynn, Jr. lost it in the sun, allowing it to drop untouched for an RBI double. Overall, it was a good outing and it was fun to watch him pitch. [Eric Longenhagen's scouting reports on Biddle from May and October]
Other notes from Sunday’s action:
- A.J. Burnett made the start and was solid over two innings, allowing one run (thanks in part to a blown call by the second base umpire) on one hit. He struck out one batter and recorded the other five outs on ground balls, his forte. Following mediocre performances by Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and Roberto Hernandez, coupled with the injury-related news surrounding Cole Hamels and Jonathan Pettibone, it was nice to watch a worry-free outing.
- Cody Asche was hit on the right hand by a Yao-Hsun Yang fastball in the bottom of the fifth. It sounded ugly, but the results of an ultrasound came back negative. The Phillies will evaluate it more and update us on his status later today. The Phillies likely dodged a bullet here. If Asche suffered a broken bone in his hand and had to miss the start of the regular season, they might have been tempted to bring Maikel Franco north on the 25-man roster. Franco may be the Phillies’ top prospect (according to some), but he stands to benefit from starting the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley — his first taste of Triple-A competition.
- Jonathan Papelbon came in for the fifth inning after Biddle exited. He tossed a perfect inning on eight pitches, but the more encouraging part was the fact that he hit 92-93 MPH with his fastball. Papelbon’s fastball averaged 92 MPH last season, the lowest of his career, but it’s early March, so it’s encouraging that Papelbon is at this level as opposed to 87-88. If Papelbon can go into April with regained life on his fastball, there’s a decent chance he can sustain it. According to research by Bill Petti at FanGraphs in August 2012, 35 percent of the time a pitcher showed an increase in fastball velocity in April, he kept it throughout the season. Pitching coach Bob McClure and catcher Carlos Ruiz were both impressed, Matt Gelb reports.
- One pillar of the bullpen, Jake Diekman, struck out two in a perfect seventh inning. Another potential contributor, Brad Lincoln, also struck out two while allowing one hit in the ninth. As I wrote back in December, the Phillies’ bullpen has a chance to be quite good this season if a few things break right.
- The Phillies as a team are hitting a Major League-low .192 in spring training thus far. Only six of their 29 hits have gone for extra bases — three doubles and three home runs. They’re 1-4 in Grapefruit League action thus far. No big deal. Spring training stats are by and large meaningless.
The Phillies take on the Rays this afternoon. The aforementioned Hernandez will get the start against lefty Matt Moore. Lineups:
— Phillies (@Phillies) March 3, 2014
Today’s lineup vs. Phillies: Zobrist 2B, Jennings CF, Longoria 3B, Joyce LF, Myers RF, Belnome DH, Hanigan C, Forsythe 1B, Nix SS, Moore SP.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 3, 2014