Thursday, September 22, 2016

New Phillies Talk Podcast: 2016 Phillies Down to last 10 games, 7 with the Mets

It's time for another edition of Phillies Talk Podcast, we're talking about the end of the season already? Wow, that was another fast baseball season. The Phils are down to their last 10 games and 7 out of those 10 games are against the Mets.

I am on my good friend's podcast called Mets Musings, the great Gary Mack. Gary is interviewing me, and I am asking him some questions about the Mets and we ponder the question if the Phillies are going to try to spoil the Mets chances of making the Wild Card this year. All of this and more on this edition of the Phillies Talk Podcast. Tune into this show!

Phillies hold the key to Mets Wild Card dreams

Phillies collar Sale at CPB

The Phillies whipped up on the Chicago White Sox last night, and their best pitcher, Chris Sale, who gave up 7 H and 6 R on the night against the Phils. Sale hit many Phillies with pitches on the night, in fact, a new record was set with 4 Phillies who were HBP during this game. Sale, who is considered to still be a front runner for the AL Cy Young, was involved in one of the most bizarre sports stories I've ever read earlier in the year when the Sox had a throwback uniform night, and Sale didn't like that the jersey's had collars on them and went into the clubhouse and took a pair of scissors or a knife to all of the jerseys. He was suspended by the team and it cost him $250K plus a $12,500 fine.

The next opponent for the Phillies is the NY Mets, the Phils play the Mets an incredible 7 times of the last 10 games of the season. The Mets need to win every ballgame they can as they are in the middle of an intense Wild Card race. The Phillies now hold an important key to that Wild Card dream of the Mets.

The Amazin' Mets have dropped their last 3 games in a row against the Braves. Who are arguably the worst team in the NL, that is the weird thing about baseball. Some of the teams you think a team would be able to beat, are just not going to let that happen, can the Phillies be the team that shows the door to the Mets playoff dream?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Phils broadcast on TV without McCarthy is more upbeat

Last year and seasons before that, Tom McCarthy took a pause in his season as the main play-by-play Phillies TV announcer to go and do his football games that he does for both college and professional football announcing. That left the Comcast Sports Network in Philadelphia to find a replacement for him and they tapped Gregg Murphy, who has been doing sideline reporting for the network for a few years now.

Murphy wasn't really ready last year  and times prior, when he was elevated to the broadcast booth, his call of the game was kind of off kilter and you could tell that he just wasn't ready to do that job.

Fast forward to this year and last night, and again, McCarthy was gone to do other broadcast duties. His absence from the booth gave Murph another chance at being the play-by-play announcer and surprisingly, he is much improved over last year.

Not only was Murphy's call of the game better, his optimism and positiveness was a welcome change to what we have heard from McCarthy for a good part of the season.

Of course it always helps when the Phillies played as good as they did last night. They banged out 11 hits and 8 runs on the way to a shutout 8-0 win for the 67th win of the year.

The McCarthy-less broadcast booth continues today with the wrap-up game of the series with Miami, it's really a breath of fresh air for Phillies fans. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

First look at the 2017 Phillies schedule

What else can we do now except to hope for better things next season?

Well, nothing like getting you ready a little early, the Phillies released the 2017 preliminary schedule the other day and it's got a few interesting things to point out right off the bat.

How about facing the Washington Nationals for 9 games in the first 5 weeks of the season for one thing. That is very peculiar and then you can look to the other division rival for the Phillies, the New York Mets. We play the Mets a total of 6 times in the first month.

We'll be playing the Texas Rangers next season, and an old fan favorite, Cole Hamels.

A home and home quick two-game series with Boston will be played at both Fenway and CBP on June 12-15th.

We have 4 straight games in Chicago against the Cubs at Wrigley in 2017, will they be the World Champion Cubs? This series runs from May 1st - May 4th.

Another 4-game series against the San Francisco Giants is scheduled for '17 as well, it is an even year this year, will they be the World Champs in 2016? This SF trip is from Aug 17- 20.

Worst picks for road trips next year for the Phils... Arizona, Seattle, then to New York to play the Mets from June 23 to July 2nd. Washington Nats, then to Texas, and finally ending up in Pittsburgh from May 12 to May 21. These road trips have some odd routing that doesn't sound all that appealing.

This was a first look at the schedule, looking forward to seeing some of the promotions that the Phils will have next year. Those promotions usually are announced a few weeks from now. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Phils excel with September call-ups, but is this our team of the future?

Joseph, Quinn, Alfaro... is this the future of the Phillies? We've been rebuilding for so long, it's hard to tell?

The Phillies have looked a little rejuvenated with the September call-ups as many thought they would. The 25-man roster was tired and just not getting the job done on a daily basis as the season went on through July and August.

Tyler Goedel turned in an anemic .184 BA in 90 games, and Peter Bourjus had some bright moments at times, but he was equally bad with only 5 HR and 23 RBI in a 118 games so far this season not counting last night's game for both players. I think I could have done better than that and I am a lot older than either one of them.

The team on the field is essentially a minor league club on the field for the Phillies. Ryan Howard is in his last days in the uniform for the team, and surrounding him are a bunch of players that play well but are they everyday players?

We've been promised a 'rebuild' - but that has not been the case. The Phillies should have taken a page from the Cardinals, who over the last few years have been doing a good job getting new players in who can play and they don't appear like a minor league team as do the Phillies.

We passed the total number of wins last year, whooped to do, I guess that's a good thing, but this season has been horrible in it's own way as well. Only a couple more weeks left and we don't have much to show for it.

If the Phillies management is fielding a minor league team, shouldn't fans be charged a lot less to see this caliber of play? The only way management will start to get this picture is if the fans stay away from the stadium, as painful as that sounds, and not give your hard earned money to an organization that is not committed to winning. Sad to say but true.

p.s.  On the Baltimore Orioles player, Adam Jone,s comment that 'Baseball is a white man's sport' comment he made, that is nothing more less than a racist comment and I am surprised that not more players or writers had the fortitude to call him out for it. Racism has no bounds and when it's ugly head is raised, it's easy to spot sometimes, and this was an easy one.


Sunday, September 04, 2016

Stuck on 60 - Phils can't budge off the 60th win

Only a few more home series remain, the last chance to see Ryan Howard in a Phillies uniform

If it seems like the Phillies have been stuck on 60 wins for a while now, you're right. They earned win 60 back on August 28th when they got a 5-1 victory over the Mets. In fact, they had 57 wins on August 18th a full 10 days before that.

What happened to this baseball team? They seemingly stopped producing and now have only won 4-games since August 20, if you count back to their last 4 wins.

Maikel Franco looked as if he would be close to getting 100 RBI by the end of the season for a little while in the late summer, but that has all but become a pipe dream, as he hasn't been doing too well in the past couple of weeks. Odubel Herrera is the same way, he's become wildly inconsistent as if he is unconcerned about what his future will be on this team or maybe he's become too concerned about what his future is on the team?

2016 will be five full seasons for the Phillies that they haven't made the playoffs, after an impressive run that saw them reach two trips to the World Series, one to the NLCS, and two other division series appearances.

A planned rebuild looked like something was on course early on in the year, it seemed as if this Phillies team would be at least looking at the possibility of a .500 season. Now that seems next to impossible as there are only less than 30 games remaining in the season.

The player who has risen up the most in the past couple weeks has been Cameron Rupp, he has 14 HR and 45 RBI in only 86 games prior to the start of play earlier on Sunday.

Where did the Phillies really go wrong this year? In the month of June, their record was 9-19 for June. June included a 9-game in a row losing streak which really took a lot of spirit out of this team. They snapped out of the June funk, then started to make things look good for them the next couple weeks, but then couldn't sustain it. In the next 13 games after the end of that epic losing streak of 9 in a row, the Phils only lost 3 games through Wednesday, July 6th.

Looking at contracts for next year: Freddie Galvis would be up for arbitration, he is earning $2M for 2016, he put some some good numbers but hasn't been too clutch, he leads the team in GIDP, and needs to put the bat on the ball and get on base more. He is the lowest OBP of any starting everyday player. Odubel is still under club control, he's going to be a bargain next year at club minimum. That is if the Phillies don't bring someone else in for the job. In pitching the Phils may want to try to extend Hellickson if they can at least for another year or two at a decent price, they will have Nola, and Eickoff back at a club minimum.

A lot of work must be done with this team again this offseason, we have some starts down in AAA that can make the jump right into the majors next year. J.P. Crawford got his first invitation to Phillies Spring Training this year, and should compete for the job next season in Spring Training for the big club. Where does that leave Galvis? He could fill out the bench or be a decent back up player for the 2017 team.

For now though, we're still stuck on 60-wins for this season which is again a pretty disappointing way to be at this point in the season.

Phils notes: Vincent Velasquez has been yanked for the year, he's been one of the best pitchers for the Phillies this season, and will be rested for the rest of the season. 

Friday, September 02, 2016

Battle for worst offense shapes up this weekend in Philly

Nick Markakis won't have to worry about playoff baseball this year, his Braves are in last place but who is worst in the league in runs?

Well, the Eagles wrapped up their preseason schedule last night just across the street from where the Phillies will take on the Atlanta Braves in a weekend series starting tonight.

We used to be a baseball town, around this time for a few years, the baseball fans would still be in the forefront of the news, making their playoff plans, and getting ready for some of the best baseball that they would be seeing all year from those playoffs. We haven't had that in a couple years now, but the ebb of Philly being a baseball town is now at an all-time low.

It will be a battle for who has the worst offense in South Philly this weekend. The Phillies and the Braves are having a really tough time with their offenses. Both teams rank down at the bottom of all 30 Major League teams in just about all categories that matter. The number one concern would be run production. Today, the Phillies are at the bottom of all teams in runs scored, with 492 on the season. They are also on the bottom of the league with OBP which is .296 - that is really bad.

With this team in a perpetual rebuild, this fact is a real glaring one for fans, but it doesn't seem to be stirring much response from management. In fact, we haven't heard too much from either GM, Matt Klentak, or team President, Andy MacPhail, about this subject. Are these guys even at the ballpark? They don't make themselves available very much in the press, and it seems like they feel like they feel that they may be better off in the shadows.

The Phils got whipped by the Nationals in the last series. I know there was some close games in that series, but the Phils just keep getting out played and out hustled. This current Phils team just doesn't have that magic ingredient, it has some talent but it just doesn't have that team pull that is needed to start winning consistently. Phillies vs. the Nationals used to be an entertaining series to watch but lately it's be a one-sided affair. In fact, the Nationals have now beaten the Phillies in the last 9 times that the team teams have played one another.

Is this Phillies team going anywhere? Or does it need to be imploded like we've seen happen many times in the last couple years? I am not so sure that the blueprint that management is following is the right one to make this a winning team. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Latest Phillies Talk Podcast: Bring on September!

It's a brand new edition of Phillies Talk Podcast, the longest running independent show that talks about the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.

It's the end of August, the Phils looked as if they may make things interesting for the stretch run a few weeks ago, but in the last could weeks that story has changed. They can't seem to sustain a win streak, and the offense is still one of the worst in baseball. They still have some respect though despite that dismal fact.

Tune into the show to hear some great talk on the team, some upcoming guests and more on this edition of the Phillies Talk Podcast with Rich Baxter.

Have a comment or guest that you'd like to get us in contact with, just email me at rich (@) and send me your email or audio file!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Phillies need to clear the benches

This post is long overdue, but it's one that was talked about here on the blog toward the end of last season. The Phillies had turned in a miserable season last year, and it wasn't too far away from the season that they turned in before that. I know all the talk has been about rebuilding and having patience for the rebuild to take place. You can even read a piece in the papers today around Philadelphia by Matt Gelb, Phillies beat writer, on the patience needed for young Phillies pitchers.

What can't be understood by this writer or many other fans of the Phillies is how the same bunch of bench coaches have hung onto this team even though it is doing so poorly, even during the 'rebuild' that has been ongoing for several years now.

The time has clearly come for the Phils to clear the benches of this coaching staff, except for the manager, Pete Mackanin, who has inherited this bunch and deserves better. What hitting coach stays around with the worst offense in the league that long? Look at the Phillies, and it's as if the position doesn't even matter. Same can be said for the pitching. It's up, and down, all round. There's no rhyme or reason to why these coaches havent' been replaced yet. I know they aren't on the field making things happen, but every now and again you have to look at what's happening with the team, and it's not pretty right now.

Another Phillies blogger set out a twitter post to this just yesterday,  

And how could anyone not be disappointed with the coaching? We've seen the same mistakes night after night, this is a young team, but they've been playing baseball professionally for a long time now. The message is not getting through.

The talk around the Phillies will start to gravitate towards the expansion of the rosters on the 1st of September, we'll be seeing some players come up from the minors and some old familiar faces to help this team on the field out and be able to play the rest of this season out. This coaching debacle cannot and shouldn't be forgotten by the fans, you're the one paying for the tickets, going to the stadium and supporting this team, in addition to the television revenue that has presumably isn't being used for baseball purposes anymore cause the team is acting like it has no money to spend.

Your coaches for this 2016 Phillies team: (need to be replaced)

Steve Henderson- hitting coach (mind you the Phillies have been one of the worst hitting teams the past couple years)

Steve Henderson #5

Photo of Steve Hendersonphi
Full Name:
Steve Henderson
Uniform #:
COACHING CAREER: Named Phillies hitting coach on Oct. 4, 2012...Prior to being named to his current position, spent three seasons as a minor league coordinator for the Phillies: outfield/baserunning (2010) and hitting (2011-12)...Was TB's hitting coach for five years (1998; 2006-09) and the minor league hitting coordinator for eight years (1997; 1999-2005)...Spent three years as a coach with HOU (1994-96), the last two as the hitting coach...Served as a minor league coach for PIT for four years (1990-93).
PLAYING CAREER: Played 16 professional seasons, including parts of 12 years in the Major Leagues...Selected by CIN in the June 1974 draft...Finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1977 to Andre Dawson...Led NYM in RBI (65) in his rookie year of 1977.
PERSONAL: Steven Curtis Henderson... Married Pam Baxley (Nov. 15, 1980)...1970 graduate of Jack Yates High School (TX)... Attended Prairie View A&M University (TX)... Hobby: Golf.

Bob McClure - pitching coach (who could forget the infamous phone of the hook trick in Washington DC when all Bob wanted to do was call in a relief pitcher, wave the white flag, this was a sign if nothing else)

Robert McClure #22

COACHING CAREER: Named Phillies pitching coach on Nov. 21, 2013...Was not affiliated with a club for the 2013 season after working as BOS' pitching coach in 2012; had originally joined BOS as a special assignment scout/instructor prior to being named pitching coach...Spent six seasons (2006-11) as KC's pitching coach where he guided 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, among others...Served as a minor league pitching coach for COL for seven years (1999-2005), including three years with Salem (A, 1999-2001) and four with Colorado Springs (AAA, 2002-05)...Coached his son's Sequoia High School baseball teams in Redwood City, CA from 1995-98...Worked as a scout for FLA in 1996...Began the 1994 season as FLA's bullpen catcher before being promoted to bullpen coach in May of 1994, a position he held for the remainder of the season.
PITCHING CAREER: Selected by KC in the third round of the secondary phase of the 1973 draft...Pitched for parts of 19 seasons in the Major Leagues (1975-93)...Was a member of the 1982 AL Champion Brewers...Earned the win in relief in the deciding Game 5 of the 1982 ALCS vs CAL.
PERSONAL: Robert Craig McClure... Married Shirley Brockmeier; has four sons: Jake, Adam and twins Teddy and Brock, and one daughter, Jessica... 1970 graduate of Terra Nova High School (Pacifica, CA), where he lettered in baseball, football and basketball... Played at the College of San Mateo (CA); went 17-1 and batted .340 in his college career and earned All-State and All-America honors... Played Little League baseball with former All-Star first baseman Keith Hernandez...Hobbies: Keeping up with his twins and saltwater fly fishing.

Larry Bowa- Bench coach (Love Larry, but it's time to move on, he's a lifetime Phillies all-time favorite player but hasn't brought nothing to the table on making things happen for this team. He's better off not being on this Phillies coaching staff)

Lawrence Bowa #10

MANAGING/COACHING CAREER: 2016 is his 51st year associated with MLB, 42nd in the major leagues and 32nd with the Phillies...Is one of eight men to manage, coach and play for the Phillies...Named Phillies bench coach and infield instructor on 10/8/13, his second stint as a coach with the club; was previously the third base coach, 1988-96...Also was third base coach for the Angels (1997-99), Mariners (2000), Yankees (2006-07) and Dodgers (2008-10)...Coached on six teams that went to the playoffs (1993 PHI, 2000 SEA, 2006-07 NYY, 2008-09 LAD)...Spent four years as manager of the Phillies (2001-04) and one-plus for the Padres (1987-88)...Named 2001 NL Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America, The Sporting News, USA Today Baseball Weekly and ESPN the Magazine, after managing the Phillies to their first winning season since 1993...Managed the Las Vegas Stars (SD's triple-A affiliate) to the Pacific Coast League championship in 1986...Served as bench coach for Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic
PLAYING CAREER: Five-time NL All-Star (three starts)...two-time Gold Glove Award winner...Finished with a .980 fielding percentage...Played 2,222 career games at SS and five at second base...12-year Phillies career ended Oct. 27, 1982, when traded to CHI with Ryne Sandberg for Ivan DeJesus...Played in one Division Series, four LCS and one World Series with the Phillies and one LCS with CHI...Holds World Series record starting seven double plays in 1980...Ranks second in NL history in most games played at SS (2,222), trailing only Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (2,511), and sixth in MLB history behind Omar Vizquel (2,709), Luis Aparicio (2,583), Derek Jeter (2,544), Smith and Cal Ripken Jr. (2,302)...Ranks second in NL history in highest fielding percentage (.980) by a SS (min. 1,000 games), behind Jimmy Rollins (.983), and sixth in MLB history trailing Omar Vizquel (.985), Rollins, J.J. Hardy (.982), Mike Bordick (.982) and Cesar Izturis (.981)...Led the NL in fielding six times: 1971-72, 1976, 1978-79, 1983...Finished third in MVP voting in 1978, behind Dave Parker and Steve Garvey.
PERSONAL: Lawrence Robert Bowa… Married Patty McQuivey (11/6/15)… Has one daughter, Victoria (Tori) Ashley (7/20/83)… 1963 graduate of McClatchy High School (Sacramento, CA), where he lettered in baseball and basketball… Attended Sacramento City College… Spent one winter working in the Phillies ticket office… Was formerly a member of the Phillies Speakers Bureau… Honorary Chairman of Christmas Seals Drive (1973)… Member of Phillies basketball team which participated in fund-raising games during the mid-1970s… One of many players who worked with Garry Maddox in fund-raising events for the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic… Has been a permanent resident of the Philadelphia area since 1976… Has written two books: Bleep: Larry Bowa Manages (1988) and I Still Hate to Lose (2004)… Was inducted into the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame in 2002, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame in 2016… Spent the 2005 season as a studio analyst for ESPN's Baseball Tonight and co-host for Sirius/XM Radio and worked three years (2011-13) as a studio analyst for MLB Network.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

They still left as champions, now only 1 left

Carlos Ruiz left the team to go to a contender out on the left coast this past week

Ruiz joins Chase Utley out in LA who continues to amaze at 2nd base for the Dodgers

One by one, the team that earned a championship now many years ago, in 2008, left this team to go their separate ways. Another important part of the championship team in the form of Carlos Ruiz made his way to Los Angeles to join the Dodgers this past week.

It's players like Ruiz that will remembered by Phillies fans for years to come, as now they move into the latter stages of their baseball careers. They will all surely be involved in future honors at the stadium when we bring back the alumni on the weekends that we honor the former Phils players.

Now, there is only one connection left to that time that the Phillies arguably had one of the best runs that they ever had in their history. That player is of course Ryan Howard. Howard isn't the same player that he was back in the magnificent run that this Phillies team put together, it looked as nothing would stop him around the time that Ruben Amaro signed him to a very big extension of  $125M back in 2011 that took him through this season with a club option for next season.

Howard and Utley came up to the big club around the same age timeframe. Howard made his debut as a 24-year old, back on September 1, 2004. Chase Utley made his debut for the Phils as a 24-year old as well back on April 4, 2003. Sometimes players have already established themselves as bonafide MLB players by that age. The Phils seemed to keep hold of players for a long period of time before bringing them up to the big leagues.

There is a lot of mystery into what goes into making a championship team, there is no real formula, it's just a kind of magic that seems to happen. The Phillies had 103 total victories in 2008 counting the playoffs and World Series, so the team put 103 diamonds on the championship ring, totaling a cool 3.84 carats add those to the ruby inlayed "P" on the ring, and this token of appreciation by the team really made it's way home with the players that earned it. These players will always be referred to as 'World Series Champions" - a rarity that has only happened twice in Phillies history.

Here's the World Championship ring of Harry Kalas from 2008, it recently was auctioned off, and fetched $45,000 at the Hunt Auction.

p.s.   A little fact about a Phillies World Series ring:  Mayor Michael Nutter donated his authentic 2008 World Series Phillies ring to the Philadelphia History Museum's baseball collection before he left office. The mayor also donated some items that Tanney Dragons gave him, a hat and t-shirt, that commemorated their Little League World Series championship run.