Gavin Floyd looks to rebound when the Phillies go for their first series win against Kyle Davies and Atlanta. Game time is 7:35 EST.
Floyd (0-1, 10.12 ERA) was boxed around in his first start against the Dodgers and is looking to regain his excellent spring form.
He’ll face 22-year-old right-hander Kyle Davies (0-0, 5.40 ERA), a former fourth-round draft pick that asserted himself as one of the top arms in the Braves system. He pitched five innings against the Giants in his first start, but the bullpen failed to hold the lead.
The Phillies will likely be patient with Floyd should he struggle again, given the success Ryan Franklin has had in the bullpen, but no one is under the microscope more than this young man. Another setback in confidence would be devastating, not just to the starting rotation, but to his chances of ever becoming a pitcher they can count on. Some would say it’s still early in his development, but I am not one of them. He got his first taste of big-league hitters two seasons ago. There’s nothing left for him at Triple-A. The best resources he has are with him on the Phillies.
Perhaps I’m reading too far into it, but the fact that Pat Gillick watched Cole Hamels’ last start in Clearwater is certainly intriguing. The last report I read had him pegged as a July arrival, and I’d assume that’s if nothing went wrong in the starting rotation. Randy Wolf is also expected back around that time.
Reading between the lines, it shows me they’re extremely excited to throw this pitcher into the fray, regardless of the time he’s lost developing in the minors.
Caught a rumor from a Pittsburgh paper that the Phillies are trolling for a catcher, someone that could potentially replace Mike Lieberthal or bridge the gap until Jason Jaramillo is ready.
Ronny Paulino of the Pirates was the name mentioned in the article. Paulino played two games for Pirates in September after solid half-season with Indianapolis (.315, 13 home runs, 42 RBIs). Baseball America rated the Dominican-born backstop as the organization’s best defensive catcher before the 2005 and ’06 seasons. He’s blocked in Pittsburgh by Ryan Doumit and Humberto Cota, catchers they appear to value equally.
Everyone knows I’m a big Carlos Ruiz fan and liked what he has done the last two seasons in the minors, but I’m catching a vibe he’s not in the Phillies plans, even as a backup.
It’s interesting to note the Phillies have not been afraid to pull Lieberthal in the middle of games, doing it twice last week. I have to question Lieberthal’s health, and wonder if this recent search is for someone that can step in immediately should Lieby go down.
It’s not a bad idea. Sal Fasano is not a full-time catcher. For all his appeal, his value so far has been to help usher pitchers like Gavin Floyd into the big leagues.
Thome stays hot
Jim Thome belted his sixth home run and also doubled this afternoon, helping the White Sox to a 13-9 win against Detroit. There are only two players hotter or as hot as Thome, and they're both in the smoking-hot AL Central. Chris Shelton of Detroit hit his seventh home run in today's game. The other is Travis Hafner, who has six dongs for the division-leading Indians.
Hats off to Big Jim. He's a man on a mission, and is proving he has plenty of baseball left in the tank.