Sunday, August 21, 2016

St. Louis has it's way with the Phils- we fall to 9 GB in Wild Card

Freddie Galvis tries, but he has the lowest OBP of any every day player in the MLB - he needs to get on base more and stop thinking he is a home run hitter. On the flip side he does have 12 HR and 50 RBI for the team

There is a saying that you can always dream. Well, Phillies fans have been dreaming a little bit about a possibility of this team snagging a wild card spot this year. Don't laugh out loud just yet. You have to admit that at times, this team has looked very inspired and when the winning was flowing, it looked as if they had found a way to work in harmony together despite having one of the worst offenses in the MLB.

Ok, you can let out a little giggle now. This weekend, and in fact this whole home stand, could have sent a statement to teams that the Phils were on a mission. With the home stand record at 5-4 though, that statement was a blank stare of a team that still doesn't have it all together. We lost 2 of 3 to the Cardinals, and 2 of 3 to the Dodgers, but the home stand did start off brightly when the Phils swept the Rockies away last weekend. In fact with that sweep of the Rockies, they were riding a 4-game win streak into the first third of the home stand.

This past week or two has been a turning point for this team, we didn't go out and acquire a veteran that could have brought some much needed offense to the team after the all-star break. We lost Aaron Nola for the season to the DL, lost Zack Eflin to the DL, and Vincent Velasquez has been getting lit up every time he's been on the mound for the last few starts, he has 4 losses and 3 ND since the All-Star break, he's been that stopper most of the year up to the AS break but lately his record has fallen like a rock to 8-6 on the 4 losses with his last 7 starts.

The Phils continue to cling to bargain basement players like they are down to their last few dollars, this just after they signed a huge cable tv contract defies the logic of the modern baseball team. Where Ruben Amaro seemed to flush cash out a high window of CBP, the new management acts as if their hands are tied when it came to making a deal around the trade deadline. This team was in striking distance for a possible run to a wild card spot, but now that seems like it's just a pie in the sky dream.

I know the team is rebuilding, but you still have to add to get somewhere in this league, you just can't do it all on farm hands most of the time. That's what we've been hearing for the last few years now, we're rebuilding. Well, they are rebuilding something that doesn't seem like it even has a solid foundation yet, so hopefully in the near future some good things will be happening with this team.

Next up for the Phils, it's off to play the White Sox in Chicago for two quick games, and then over the Citi Field to play the Mets next weekend.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dodgers stomping Phils at home

Fans showered Utley with respect and applause on his return to CBP, he may not want to sell his condo he has for sale here in Center City, and run for Mayor instead!

It was great to welcome Chase Utley back to Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park for the first time in a Dodger uniform the other night. The fans showed him a lot of love with an opening ovation of over a minute and a half of solid cheering. For Utley, that wouldn't be enough for the opening night though, he went on to hit a home run and a grand slam and get even more applause and curtain calls. This was a game where the Phillies got soundly beaten, but we gave this one away and didn't care at all, because it was Chase.

The Phils dropped the first game in the series with the Dodgers by a 15-5 score, Chase Utley bolstered his BA to .255 in the first game and went 2-4 with 5 RBI on the night. Last night, he batted 0-5 and the Phillies lost by a score of 7-2 to the blue crew.

The Phillies had opportunities in last night's game but turned in a 1-9 with RISP and you have a hard time winning games when that happens most of the time. Each team banged out 11 hits for the game, Justin Turner, who had hit the Phillies very well in the past, hit a 2-run HR in the 5th inning. Tommy Joseph had a solo HR in the 6th inning to make it a 5-2 score at the time. Later on in the same inning the Phils had the bases loaded but failed to score anyone.

"Just didn't come through in the clutch," is how Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said in the post game interview and that about sums up most of the problems that the Phillies have. They just don't have a few players that you can count on to deliver when really needed.

The Phillies are still near the bottom in major offensive categories, as they have been most of the year. Here in mid-August the Phils are 28th in the MLB in runs, 28th in Batting Average, 30th in OBP, and 29th in slugging percentage.

Aaron Nola goes to the 60-day DL so his season is finished for the year.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Calling the TV broadcast of the game from the outfield on Tuesday night

If the voices sound a little happier on Tuesday night's baseball broadcast of the Phillies game vs. the Los Angeles, don't be surprised.

For the third year, Comcast Sportsnet will move the broadcast booth around the park a little to give the fans a chance to hear a different call of the game and possibly view the broadcast if you're at the stadium.

This year, the broadcast will be located out near Harry The K's Restaurant in left field, it's a lot of fun, and who can forget Tom McCarthy's catch of a home run ball when they recorded from the center field location a couple season's ago on June 27th, 2014. He made the catch so effortlessly, and then flung the ball back on the field because the opposing team had hit the home run.

McCarthy, who assumed the role of 'the voice' of the Phillies on television after Harry Kalas passed away, had this to say about the different locations that Sportsnet has broadcasted from, "To be able to broadcast from different parts of the ballpark is such a treat for all of us,” said McCarthy. “Over the last couple of seasons we have been able to absorb the great vibes at the ballpark and enjoy the game with the best fans in baseball. This year will be no different. The perch at Harry the Ks is not only special in name but in atmosphere. This is a great opportunity for us to show off some of the best spots to watch a game. I know I can speak for Matt and Ben when I say we are excited for this baseball moment."

All of this is of course dependent on weather conditions, if rain is forecast in the area, the plan may have to be scuttled. 

Speaking of Harry Kalas, he will be honored with a bobble figurine on Saturday, August 20th, 2016, all fans will get the Harry Kalas figurine upon entrance to the ballpark when the Phils play the St. Louis Cardinals at 7:05 PM. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

How sweep it is! Phils sweep Rockies at CPB

Paredes is the star of the game today, with 3-RBI on the day, a hot one in Philly

It's been a while since the Phillies completed a sweep, with this afternoon's nail biter win on Sunday over the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies caused a scare with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, and managed to claw their way back to 7-6 with Jeanmar Gomez on the mound.

The Rockies made 4 errors in the game, and dropped all three games in Philadelphia. Combined in the three game series, the Rockies committed 7 total errors. Charlie Blackmon apparently loves to play in this park, he had two HR this afternoon, and 3 HR on Friday night in the series. There were some tense moments last night as the Phils pitcher, Luis Garcia, hit Charlie Blackmon, who had smashed 3 HR in the game the previous night and the Rockies pitchers hit Franco and Bourjos, two Rockies players were ejected in that game.

Johnny Paredes had the player of the game honors in the last game of the series, hitting 3-RBI and going 3-4 on the day. Paredes only needed a single to hit for the cycle in the game, but didn't come up with it.

The Phils have Monday off, then they welcome in the LA Dodgers including ex-Phillie, Chase Utley, back to Citizen's Bank Park to face the Phillies. The Phils lost 2 of 3 games to the Dodgers just last week in LA.

This will be Utley's first trip to play against the Phillies since he went to the Dodgers back in August of 2015. He is currently among the best 2nd baseman to ever play the game in the Jaffe WAR Score system, Utley is in the same class as Hall of Famers as you can see on this page on Chase Utley, 37 years old (he'll be 38 in December), has been a player for 14 full seasons, he had a couple of partial seasons when he first came up with the Phillies in 2003. He'll be one of those players that is considered a 'lifetime' player of the Phils when he finally retires, and is among the most popular Phillies players in the last 15 years. He's sure to be included in future 'All Time' Phillies greatest players and a sure thing for the Phillies 'Wall of Fame' honors who this past Friday night, saw Jim Thome being elected to have his plaque on the wall.

The Phils are still looking for the future though despite this sweep, the team is still 56-63 as they try to get back to .500 on the season. They are 14.5 GB off the pace of the Nationals, and 6 GB off the Wild Card pace.

Mike Schmidt, Phillies broadcaster, said he couldn't wait till Spring Training 2017 to see what happens with this team, he was speaking about Jeanmar Gomez and how well he has handled the closing role for the Phillies this year, Gomez earned his 31st save of the year today, despite the Rockies picking up 2 ER off of him to sneak back into the game late in the bottom of the 9th.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Phils manage to salvage series in LA

Ryan Howard makes a big hit in LA, he racks up a 3-RBI double late in the game, do the Dodgers need a little of what Howard could offer that team?

The tough LA Dodgers handled the Phillies very easily the first two games of the series in LA, beating the fightins pretty soundly. The first two wins helped the Dodgers gain first place in the NL West but it would only be a short time they would be there, as the Phillies managed to win yesterday in LA and push the Dodgers out of first when the LA loss was combined with a San Francisco Giant win. In the first game of the series, Zack Eflin who started the series in LA off for the Phils looked not that good, with the loss he fell to 3-5 and also ended up on the DL. Elfin has had a Jekyll and Hyde type of starts for the Phillies since they brought him up. Corey Seager hit 2 HR in the first game of the series as the Dodgers sunk the Phils by a 9-4 score. Chase Utley faced the Phils for the first time in LA, he went deep in the first game as well. In yesterday's game though he turned in an 0-4 with 2 SO on the day. Utley told reporters he still monitors what is happening with his old team and of course he still stays in touch with some of the old players on the team he played with while in Philadelphia. The Dodgers will be in Philly next week to play the Phils, with the road trip over, the Phils are off tonight and then welcome the Rockies in for a weekend series in Philly starting Friday night. The record for the team is 53-63 and they are 15.5 GB from the Nats. At times they look ok, and at other times this team looks terrible. The missing pieces of the puzzle to make this team better are not in place yet. All we hear is that the team is rebuilding but that process is taking a very long time to start to look like a solid foundation is in place.  

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Phils can't contain Padres and Jankowski on 'Caminiti Night'

The Phillies West coast road trip started off pretty good in San Diego, they claimed a 5-4 victory in Game 1 of the series, but came up short last night, losing to the Padres 9-7 behind a 14-hit barrage by the Padres and despite them making 3 errors on the night.

Center fielder Travis Jankowski even performed a daring dash to home plate when the Phils became lackadaisical on the field (it wasn't a steal) and Jankowski took advantage of it. What else did Travis do during this game? Well, he scored 4 runs and went 3-4 on the night.

Jake Thompson made his debut for the Phils, he gave up 6 ER on the night, on 7 H in 4.1 IP. A drastic difference than what he has been doing in AAA ball for the Phillies. We'll see when he makes his next start if he can settle down and find a groove on the mound for the Phils.

The Phils mounted a late comeback, but it wasn't enough on the night there in San Diego.

A humorous moment for the Phils later in the game, Freddy Galvis hit a ground rule double that ended up in the bullpen trashcan.

Ken Caminiti was inducted into the Padres "Hall of Fame" last night in San Diego - of course he was with the Astros as well during his career. Caminiti died back in 2004, he had tested positive for cocaine many times in Houston after his career ended on October 7, 2001 and later in 2001 was convicted and sentenced for a cocaine possession charge. A 2004 probation violation found that he had abused drugs again (at least the 4th time) and had been released from custody, he made his way to New York City to visit family and apparently associated himself again with the drug crowd there. Read out the last few hours of Caminiti's life in this article from ESPN. Caminiti had also abused steroids during his career and made no secret of it, read about that side of him in this SI article which is one of the best stories in the history of magazine. It's kind of hard to believe the Padres would hold his player in such regard, he brought shame to the game with his personal conduct and even though he did play well at times, the negatives far outweigh his positives.

The series wraps up this afternoon in San Diego, Jared Eickhoff vs. Jared Cosart in this game. Then the Phils head to LA on Monday to take on the Dodgers. Zack Eflin will make the first start in the series opener with the Dodgers. Eflin is a workhorse for the Phils, he already has 2 CG on the season for the team, the only other Phillies starter that has a Complete Game on the Phils is Vincent Velasquez, who earned a CG back on April 14th at home in Philly vs. the San Diego Padres.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Phillies rally in the 12th to bring home victory

New game, new hero for the Phillies last night with Franco coming up big for the Phils- he gets the double shower on the field 

The game of baseball is a strange game. The night prior to last, Aaron Altherr was the hero, going 4-5 with 5 RBI, he was in the lineup again last night but went 0-6 on the night (and had a lapse of judgement at the end of the game forgetting to touch 2nd base to complete the game wining hit by Franco). The Phillies pulled together as a team and earned the second victory in a row over the Giants though last night. The heroics didn't happen to the bottom of the 12th, the Phils loaded the bases and Maikel Franco just banged out a hit scoring Tommy Joseph to put this game in the victory column for the Phillies.

An inning before the win, the Phils had runners in scoring position but couldn't bring anyone home, usually that's a really bad sign when you're in extra innings. The team held solid though and kept the Giants back on their heels on the offense. The Giants hadn't had too many opportunities to win this game, but they did have a runner on in the top of the 11th by the name of Hunter Pence, David Hernandez was pitching for the Phils. Despite having Buster Posey up to bat next, the Giants just couldn't get anything going offensively and allowed the Phils to stay in this one.

Starting pitcher Aaron Nola was scratched before game time, he'll go to the DL for an undisclosed problem with Nola's elbow. Perhaps that is why his starts have been so erratic in the last few that he's had with the Phillies.

Ryan Howard has been hot since he's been back into the lineup, he hit another HR last night, he and Cameron Rupp went for back-to-back home runs in the 7th inning to make it a 4-2 game in the favor of the Giants at the time.

Franco probably should have been the Phillies representative at the All-Star Game, his overall performance on this team is tops.

The Phils go for the sweep today at 1:05 PM before hitting the road again after this brief 3-game home stand with the Giants. The Phils head to the West coast for three games with San Diego and then 3 more with the LA Dodgers.

Notable last night:

Game time:  4:02

Phils earned their 50th victory of the season

Ryan Howard last night:  3-4 with a HR

Johnny Cueto had 10 SO for the Giants in his No Decision

Phil Klein made his debut for the Phillies in the spot start pitched 5.0 innings, gave up 8 H and has a 7.20 ERA in this game for it, but the Phils stayed in this game

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Altherr has career night, Phils dismantle Giants

Aaron Altherr had a career night last night with 5 RBI, pacing the Phillies to a 13-8 victory as late in the game clutch hitting took over for this Phillies team.

The score was tied 8-8 in the 8th and it looked like anybody's game at that time, the Phillies took advantage of some timely hitting when they needed it. Maybe the extra rest did them well, as they had off on Monday at home awaiting the series to start with the Giants on Tuesday.

Obudel Herrera and Maikel Franco had a great game as well, Franco went 4-4 on the night. Cameron Rupp added the topper, a 3-run HR to put the game out of reach for the Giants.

It was great to see this dormant offense finally wake up a little. Is this a trend or just a blip on the long season?

Johnny Cueto vs. Aaron Nola tonight at the ballpark. All eyes will be on Nola tonight as we continue to see if he is struggling or will bring out a gem on the mound for the Phils. Cueto is 8-1 with a 2.63 record on the road though, so the Phillies could have their work cut out for them.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Trade deadline leaves the Phils behind as Phils still have worst offense

Can't remember the last time I've seen Howard sign autographs for the hometown Phillies fans on the field, but he's on the field at Atlanta doing just that.. hmmmm

You had to think something like this was going to happen to the Phillies at the trade deadline. That something was absolutely nothing. No trades completed by this team was a strange scenario that likened back to things that Ruben Amaro used to do with this club.

You have a guy like Hunter Pence, so what do you do? Go out and get rid of him and all of his offense. What does he do? Go on to help the SF Giants win World Series every other year. Moves like these really make you wonder.

Making no moves when a team is near the bottom of every offensive catagory in the entire league is inexcusable. Getting players like Tyler Goeddel and expect them to do miracles only goes so far. Goeddell is batting .203 in 70 games and has 4 HR and 16 RBI on the season, that's an explanation of why this Phillies team isn't doing well. Yes, he's 23 years old, made this team younger, but other players were raked over the coals with these kind of numbers. There is no excuse for this, except to say perhaps he's not the player you need on this team.

Peter Bourjos has had some nice moments with this team, currently he is on the DL, but looking at his total contribution, he's a guy that's a good bench guy but not an everyday major leaguer.

You don't hold a poker hand without any good cards, you have to do something to better your hand. The Phils just held on to a '9' high in their hand and what you get from that is a loss and fold your hand.

Three game home stand starts tomorrow with the Giants coming to town. I think we're going to see some great baseball played by the Giants, the rest of the season could turn out to be long for both fans and players on this Phillies team.

Current Phillies offensive stats:


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ho Hum, Phils quietly approach the trade deadline

Aaron Altherr is back on the Phillies team from the DL, it's going to take him a while to get some offense going though, and he needs help

When it comes to hearing the words, Phillies and trade deadline, in the same sentence, nothing but an eerie silence can ensue. Here we are at the point in the season where there should be rumor and innuendo on who the Phillies should be looking at to pick up, or who will be leaving the team in a trade and we basically have neither of them happening.

What should this Phillies team be doing at the trade deadline?

The Phillies are currently 10 games under .500 at 48-58 on the year (14 GB from the Nats). Not terrible, but it's kind of doubtful they are going to turn this ship around and end up with a record way over .500 this year. They have played 106 games of the 162 game schedule, so the team has 56 games left to play in the 2016 season as of today.

Let's look at the Phillies needs:

The Phillies desperately need better offense. They haven't really fared too badly considering how bad the offense has been on this team. The production is near the bottom of the whole MLB with a tweaking of this, there could be some great things to happen on this team.

So first and foremost, the need for offense is a primary concern for this team. What can they give up to get some offense? I wouldn't sacrifice pitching for it. So then what can you do to help this team and get some numbers up on the scoreboard?

That very point is why the Phillies pay their new GM and team President all of those bucks to figure this out. I don't want to speculate on what they plan to do, or even suggest. The question is what will they do, and right now, it's all silence.

We have till Monday afternoon to find out.