Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lee and Phils on losing end of a pitchers duel

Cliff Lee turned in an awesome game last night, he struck out an incredible 13 batters and ended up on the losing end of a 1-0 pitcher's duel at CBP last night. An announced crowd of 23,382 saw plenty of great pitching last night, but only a few glimpses of offense.

The Phillies could only muster 3 hits against Julio Teheran who pitched an equally masterful game last night.

Some games the Phillies offense just don't look like it has it together, and last night was one of those nights. That is what make's this team not rise above and look like a dominating type of team.

There was a lot of extra fielding practice on the field before last night's game, and the sloppiness of some previous games is starting to get under Ryne Sandberg's skin as well as fans who aren't used to seeing a Phillies team that is lacking some of the fundamentals of the game.

The businessperson's special is on tap today for the final game against the Braves in this series, there is a make up game to be announced for the Tuesday night rainout that will be made up later in the year.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chase Utley still tops in BA so far in 2014

Chase Utley has had one of the best starts in batting that he's ever had.

He is currently on top of the NL for batting average at .489 - he was sitting at .500 for the young season just yesterday and we're already 13 games into this 2014 season.

Chase was 2-5 last night, he had a double, and a single.

The Phils dropped a tough loss to the Braves after back to back home runs by the team sunk the Phils chances late in the game, the Phils did battle back with 5 runs to take the lead in this one but lost 9-6 as the bullpen couldn't hold this lead when they were leading by 1 in the late innings.  Dan Uggla lifted a grand slam off of Jake Diekman.

That's a couple games this season already lost by the bullpen, this mystery of getting a solid bullpen doesn't seem like it's solved for the Phillies. The pen has contributed to a couple losses on the early season already.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The big drop: Where are the Phillies fans at CBP?

The Phanatic is a fan favorite at CBP

The Phillies first 5 home games of the year are in the books, and there is a stat that really stands out so far with the first few home games in the books.

Yes, the Phillies haven't been doing all that well in the past few seasons, we've heard plenty about that, last year the Phillies were over 3M in attendance though, and the fans were still hanging in with this team, hoping and wondering would they return to the glory that a lot of the fans were used to from the magical seasons of 2009, 2009, 2010, and 2011 when the team won the most games in the history of the franchise.

Through the first 5 games though, a lot of the fans are what's missing so far at Citizens Bank Park, so many fans that they could fill up an entire stadium by themselves. The difference in the first 5 home games is 46,167 less than in 2013 through the same first 5 home games.

Yes, ticket prices have risen, and parking is now $16.00 but when you're winning fans seem to be able to absorb those prices somewhat easier. Now that the Phillies haven't been to the playoffs in a couple years, the air may be out of the Phillies balloon. Philadelphia had been a 'baseball town' in the last 7 years or so, it was a magical transformation that attracted some of the biggest names in the game who wanted to come to Philadelphia to play.

The only other team in baseball that has drawn worse so far in this early season at home has been the Toronto Blue Jays, who are at -55,104 fans through their first 6 home games in Toronto.

Maybe when the weather is consistently warmer, much like it will be today at the park, the fans will be back. There might be a point though that we'll see the types of crowds like their use to be at the cavernous Veteran's Stadium when 20,000 scattered through the stadium for a lot of games, but back then if you wanted to go see a game you were paying at most $27 a ticket when now the seats from first to third are now about $75 per game.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pettibone gets first start of 2014 tonight

Jonathan Pettibone has pretty much been the Phillies choice for the 5th starter on this team. He'll get his first chance of the season tonight to pitch since coming off of an injury that he had toward the end of Spring Training. His opportunity to be the 5th starter may be a short one when Cole Hamels returns, that is of course if Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona) continue to do well for the team.

Pettibone only pitched 2.0 innings in Spring Training, the 23 year old will get his first start of the season in the Phillies rotation tonight. He finished last year with a 5-4 (4.04 ERA) season with the Phillies last year, in 18 starts, he pitched 100.1 innings.

Jonathan was drafted in the amateur draft in the 3rd round in 2008.

The Phillies dispatched the young Marlins phenom Jose Fernandez last night, Fernandez had come into the game with a 2-0, 0.71 ERA last night. Fernandez is from Cuba, the same place where the Phillies pitcher, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is from. Gonzalez got a 3 year deal from the Phillies for $12M but had shoulder soreness and is on the DL.

World Series – or World Cup – or both?

For most visitors to this site, the soccer World Cup is a little bit of a sideshow compared with the “real thing” of the World Series.

In fact, let’s be honest, for most baseball fans, calling the soccer World Cup a sideshow is too strong. But for the rest of the world, it ain’t like that! The soccer World Cup final is just about the most-viewed TV event on the planet, so us baseball fans must be a little out of step somehow. And the fact that the forthcoming World Cup finals will be held in the country that has enjoyed more success in the tournament than any other certainly makes the whole thing bigger still.

That’s the way the rest of the world view it anyway and with the world’s biggest gambling exchange, Betfair, the home nation are warm favorites at somewhere just better than 3-1 to win on 13th July in the famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Having a bet on the World Cup can certainly make the whole thing  a little more interesting for fans of baseball anyway. Betfair currently has Argentina installed as second favorites at somewhere around 4-1, followed by Germany, holders Spain, then Belgium (yes really!), France, Holland, Italy, England , Uruguay and a host of other nations.

If you can pick out a good outsider, then you may really get a good run for your money and on that score, Uruguay look interesting at around 30-1. Uruguay haven’t been much of a force to be reckoned with in world soccer in recent years, but with Luis Suárez up-front, they can beat anyone on their day. Oh and coincidentally, Uruguay won the competition the last time it was hosted in Brazil in 1950, so perhaps that’s portentous?

Following one team will certainly make it a little more interesting, but it can never compare with the World Series of course – unless the USA win the thing. Just don’t gamble your hard-earned cash on the States though!

Will a healthy Howard lead to Phillies wins?

Ryan Howard is healthy, and now that the weather is warming up, we should see Ryan bloom back into one of the league's most feared hitters.

A combination of Howard and Byrd could be a one-two punch for the Phils this season. 

So far, Howard has only 1 HR on the season and he has yet to catch that home run swing at the plate that we've all loved for many years now. Howard's injuries of the 2012 and 2013 seasons impacted a quest to be the Phillies all-time homerun leader, and now with 312 total HR's - it would seem almost impossible for him to eclipse Mike Schmidt's 548 HR as a Phillies player.

For a while, Howard seemed to be on a path to Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame, can he regain that momentum again and help this Phillies team like he did now some years ago?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Brewers stymie Phillies in sweep, next up the Miami Marlins

The Phillies outlook was great in the first couple series of the year against the Texas Rangers and Cubs on the road, the Phils came away with a 3-3 road trip to start the year.

Then the Brewers happened.

The Brewers are playing like a championship caliber team right now, the went into Boston and swept the Red Sox and then did the same to the Phillies.

Ryne Sandberg talked about how the Phillies need to pickup on the offense and get some runs across the board. The Phillies have had plenty of opportunity to do that, but with runners on base, the Phillies just can't seem to deliver when they need to.

The schedule doesn't get any easier as April rolls on. The Phils face a Marlins team next that was sailing along fine for their first 6 games, then they ran into the Washington Nationals and they too have lost 4 straight games now.

So for tonight, one of these two teams will be breaking a 4 game losing streak. The Phillies are currently in the basement of the NL East at 3-6 on the season. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Big League Chew and FightinPhillies Blog with an awesome gum giveaway

The good folks at Big League Chew and FightinPhillies blog is giving a case package of  Big League Chew gum specially endorsed packaging featuring Cole Hamels.

Here's the details on the Big League Chew Giveaway - pick one of these methods to enter:

#1  Follow 'Big League Chew' social media and follow them on twitter at @BigLeagueCheww and follow
@fightinphillies on Twitter then...

Tweet "I want my Big League Chew - @fightinphillies and @bigleaguecheww "- to all of your followers

#2  Like the Facebook accounts of Big League Chew and FightinPhillies  and post to each "I want my Big League Chew" on each account page

Winner will get 12 free packages of Big League Chew shipped right from the factory - winner will be randomly chosen from all entries and announced on April 20th, 2014  ------ 

Braun's monster day sinks Phils in Opener

Ryan Braun played like a beast yesterday. He is coming off of last season where he steadfastly said that he didn't use steroids but eventually said that he did and was suspended for it for 65 games from July 22nd to the end of the 2013 playing season.

Many players on the team and fans supported Braun throughout his ordeal with this, and behind yesterday's performance, you have to wonder, is some of what he took in 2013 still powering him?

Braun smashed 3 HR's and had 7 RBI on the day, that is certainly a mammoth day for him. Braun has always hit the Phillies hard though, these numbers are Braun's against the Phillies for his career including yesterday:

In 44 career games, Ryan Braun is 
batting .392 (69-for-176) with 17 HR, 
37 RBI and 35 runs scored against 
the Phillies.....Braun owns the highest 
batting average of any player against the 
Phillies since 1900 (min. 175 at-bats).

The above was in the press notes for the Brewers today, I think Ryne Sandberg may want to read this one and maybe give Braun a pass to first base, rather than letting him sink the Phillies like he did yesterday. I've heard the Phillies did hire someone in the sabermetrics department, but apparently he hasn't been updating the team on these type of stats.

The Brewers are scheduled to throw Matt Garza (0-1 1.13 ERA) against Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona) (1-0 3.38 ERA) for the Phillies for the first night game of the season for the Phils, it's Opening Night at Philly tonight at 7:05PM, a free t-shirt for fans 14 and older.

The Brewers are on a 4 game winning streak.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Welcome to Opening Day at Philadelphia

Kendrick has now opened back to back Opening Day games in Philadelphia for the Phils with his scheduled start today

It's Opening Day in Philadelphia, baseball is back in South Philadelphia! Game time is 4:08 PM today at CBP. All Gates open at 1:35 PM - early birds can find the Majestic Clubhouse store open at 7 AM today in case you just have to get some Phillies gear this morning.

A day after the rain soaked the area, the cry of 'Play Ball' will be heard for the first time this year, and Kyle Kendrick is making his second consecutive home opener for the starting pitching position. Last year, Kendrick squared off against the Kansas City Royals and the Phils suffered a 13-4 loss with Kendrick getting the loss as well.

Today, the Phillies will face the Milwaukee Brewers as their home opener opponent. It's the 132nd Opening Day at home for the Phils (including when they were known as the Philadelphia Quakers.)

The Phils are 3-3 in their first road trip of the season to Texas and then Chicago to play the Cubs. The Brewers are 3-0 on the road so far adn come to Philly having swept the Boston Red Sox at Fenway, the Brew Crew have a 4-2 record in the NL Central tied for first place with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Brewers starters have a combined 1.99 ERA so far, and the Phils will face Kyle Lohse in the opener for the Brewers.

Lohse went 3-0 for the Phillies in 2007, and to this day I am still surprised the Phils didn't try to sign him for the 2008 season and beyond. Lohse instead went to the Cardinals in '08 for 5 years and went 55-35 with a 3.90 ERA with them, and he landed a $44.9 million dollar deal with them for those 5 seasons. In 9 seasons combined while pitching for NL teams, Lohse has compiled a 78-63 record.

Lifetime against the Phillies, Lohse is 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA, he has started 13 games over his career against the Phils, here's his starts over the years against the Phils:

2002 0 1 .000 3.00 1 0 0 6.0 5 3 2 0 5
2006 0 0 1.42 1 0 0 6.1 6 1 1 0 8
2007 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 7.0 6 1 0 0 4
2008 2 0 1.000 3.38 2 0 0 13.1 9 5 5 2 9
2009 0 1 .000 9.72 2 0 0 8.1 11 9 9 2 7
2010 0 1 .000 6.75 1 0 0 4.0 9 5 3 1 3
2011 1 1 .500 1.76 2 0 0 15.1 14 4 3 2 5
2012 0 0 2.03 2 0 0 13.1 10 4 3 0 7
2013 1 0 1.000 1.13 1 0 0 8.0 4 1 1 1 6
Career Total 4 4 .500 2.98 13 0 0 81.2 74 33 27 8 54
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/7/2014.

The Phillies have been showing signs of life with some invigorated offense despite the many media pundits that have written them off prior to the start of the season.

Cliff Lee has started off great at 2-0 already this season, and we haven't even seen his best pitching yet, if the Phillies can get this offense on the same page, we may see this club contend with the contenders in the NL East. Still too early to say who that will be though.