Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What we're watching today

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Welcome to Osceola County Stadium, where the Phillies make their final road trip of the Grapefruit League season to take on the Astros. Opening day is less than a week away now, so we'll be a little more focused on the actual game than earlier in the spring.

What we're watching today

0 comments
Reliever David Herndon, selected in the Rule 5 draft, continues to impress the Phillies´ coaching staff this spring. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Reliever David Herndon, selected in the Rule 5 draft, continues to impress the Phillies' coaching staff this spring. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Welcome to Osceola County Stadium, where the Phillies make their final road trip of the Grapefruit League season to take on the Astros. Opening day is less than a week away now, so we'll be a little more focused on the actual game than earlier in the spring.

Here are three things we are watching for today:

1. Raul Ibanez returns to the lineup -- so now what?
Is it time to worry about Ibanez? No. It's March. Yes, he is hitting .098 (4 for 41) this spring. Yes, he had a bad second half of 2009. Yes, he had off-season sports hernia surgery.

But it's March. Would the Phillies like to see Ibanez's timing come around before the real games start? Sure. So we'll see what Ibanez can do in the final few days. He hasn't played since Friday with a bruised right elbow after being hit by a Royce Ring pitch against the Yankees.

2. Does the spectacular spring of David Herndon continue?
Just about everybody is waiting for Herndon to throw a clunker. It hasn't happened yet. Herndon hasn't allowed a run in 9 1/3 innings. He has been dominant while throwing basically just one pitch, a sinker. He has toyed with a few sliders, but it's mostly sinker, sinker, sinker.

The Rule 5 pick is effectively a lock to make the opening day roster at this point. We think. The Phillies haven't made any official decisions yet, so Herndon can't afford a massive slip up to put doubts in the decision-makers' minds.

3. Where does Jose Contreras fit in?
It hasn't exactly been a great spring for Contreras. He is 0-1 with a 7.15 ERA in 11 1/3 innings this spring. In his last outing, he allowed three runs in 2/3 of an inning against Minnesota. Before that, he walked two batters and allowed two unearned runs against Houston.

Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Contreras isn't ready to pitch on back-to-back days, so at this point, Contreras appears to be looking at a role as a long man in the bullpen. Manager Charlie Manuel hasn't exactly been pleased with the recent performance of some of his relievers. A decent finish to the spring for any of the middle relievers could mean an increased role in the first week of the season.

THE LINEUP

1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Placido Polanco 5
3. Chase Utley 4
4. Ryan Howard 3
5. Jayson Werth 9
6. Raul Ibanez 7
7. Shane Victorino 8
8. Brian Schneider 2
9. Kyle Kendrick 1

Kendrick will be relieved by Contreras and Herndon.

Carlos Ruiz, Greg Dobbs, Ross Gload and Juan Castro all stayed behind to play a minor-league game in Tampa against the Yankees.

Brad Lidge will also be pitching in a minor-league game later on.

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer's beat writers and columnists.

Jake Kaplan Inquirer Staff Writer
Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
Matt Breen Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter