Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Phillies Talk Podcast: Halladay in the Hall - Phils in Detroit - Trade Deadline Moves?

It's the latest podcast with Rich Baxter and Matt Veasey talking some Phillies baseball. This edition it's Halladay to the Hall, Phils go to Motown, can they beat Detroit? All of this and more, including some trade deadline talk.

It's Matt Veasey from PhilliesNation.com and MattVeasey.com joining me talking about all things Phillies on the longest running independent podcast talking Phillies baseball.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Phils in Motown - still in hunt for Wild Card

Embed from Getty Images
Phils win by slimmest of margins 2-1 yesterday in Pittsburgh

The Phillies squeaked out a win in Pittsburgh, the game was tied up 1-1 until Rhys Hoskins put the Phillies up in the 11th inning with a HR and the Phils were able to close out the Pirates who were 1-9 with RISP in this game.  Very much like the Phillies sometimes, they couldn't get runs across the plate, but the Pirates had plenty of opportunities.

The Phils move onto Motown on Tuesday night at 7:10 PM, the woeful Tigers are 30-65 on the season, if there is ever a time that the Phillies should sweep a series, it should be this one. Of course we know though, that baseball doesn't always work that way, especially the way the Phillies have been playing this season.

Embed from Getty Images
Phils get upgraded in the bullpen with Smyly added and he pitched yesterday

The Phillies have made a few upgrades, finally the bullpen is no longer a AAA pitcher on the Phillies team. It was crazy to stock a bullpen with pitchers that were brought up from the farm for the most part, except for a few pitchers that have been injured for what seems to be more time than they are healthy in the cases of Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter, and David Robertson. The Phils have added Drew Smyly as of yesterday, and Mike Morin on the 20th of July.

With all of the setbacks and miscues, the Phillies are still in the hunt for a wild card playoff spot as of July 22- they are a 1/2 game back in the crowded race at this point. The Phils are 7.5 GB from the Atlanta Braves and one game behind the Nationals who are 6.5 GB behind the Braves.

Embed from Getty Images
Tigers celebration of a win at home plate on Sunday vs. the Blue Jays

It's Inter-League play for a series with the Phillies and the Tigers, the Tigers are coming off of a win against the Blue Jays 4-3 in 10 innings and a walkoff victory.

Nola vs Boyd in Game 1 of the series, click here for the preview

Phillies batters over the years that have more than 1 RBI against the Tigers in a game:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI
1Scott Rolen2002-06-07PHIDETW 11-14141015
2Jason Michaels2004-06-17 (1)PHIDETW 6-23131014
3Maikel Franco2019-05-01PHIDETW 7-34121003
4Odubel Herrera2016-05-25PHIDETW 8-54110013
5Jimmy Rollins2007-06-15PHIDETL 8-125230123
6Pat Burrell2002-06-07PHIDETW 11-15220013
7Peter Bourjos2016-05-25PHIDETW 8-54120012
8Aaron Rowand2007-06-16PHIDETW 6-33120012
9Shane Victorino2007-06-15PHIDETL 8-125120012
10Jimmy Rollins2004-06-17 (2)PHIDETL 4-56031002
11Pat Burrell2002-06-09PHIDETW 7-54221102
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/22/2019.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

HOF Day: Halladay's accident covered by drugs cloud - it was no 'out of the blue' accident

Embed from Getty Images
The Pirates seemed to have fun in their throwback uniforms, beating the Phillies caused them to jump with joy

As my headline read yesterday, "Phils win, but can they keep winning?" - the answer was 'no' last night, as the Phils bats stayed in the racks and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat them by a 5-1 score. What happened to the small ball hits that got the Phillies back into the winning column?

Embed from Getty Images
Not sure who the Phillies should stay with as a starter, Pivetta or Eflin or neither so far Pivetta is in the pen, if the Phils add a starter, Eflin could be gone too

We saw some different relief pitchers last night, finally the Phils seem to have a clue about the fact that they needed to do this. Zach Eflin, Phillies starter, went 4.0 I and gave up 3 ER on 5 H - the bullpen then took the rest of the game and combined they gave up 8 H and only 2 R on the night. The Phils offense had no answer last night with 29 AB, they could only muster 3 H and were 0-5 with RISP.

It's Hall of Fame Day in Cooperstown, a huge heatwave has enveloped the entire Northeast, so it will be hot up there, and a former Phillies and Blue Jay will be going into the Hall. Roy Halladay will be a Hall of Famer today, unfortunately he died in a plane crash. Halladay was a fabulous pitcher, an autopsy revealed that Halladay was on many medications at the time of the crash, he was not even able to operate a motor vehicle let alone an airplane under these drugs that were in his system at the time of the crash. In other words he was on drugs. His final flight took his plane just 75 feet from houses, if he would have crashed into them, it could have been even a worse catastrophe. Was this a suicide attempt? The NTSB report from flight data revealed the plane also went down the beach line at just 11 feet GPS and 92 knots, this is really bizarre.

A writer from Sports Illustrated talks about Roy and what happened

Another question was Halladay addicted to these drugs? For how long? Here's an excerpt from Flying Magazine about the Halladay crash, this was no 'happened out of the blue' accident, he was intoxicated and under the influence of drugs. Very little has been said about this. I guess drugs pass the muster of the Hall of Fame and Baseball? Or worse a connotation that when Halladay died, he was actually risking a catastrophe with the way he operated that plane, taking a guy who is as celebrated on the field as Halladay was and replacing him with a 'John Q Public' if they did this, what would the opinion be?

Halladay’s blood report listed zolpidem, amphetamine, free morphine and ethanol, while the urine test uncovered cotinine, dihydromorphone, fluoxetine, hydromorphone, morphine, morphine metabolities, nicotine and zolpidem. A physician/pilot I spoke to about the results said there was no doubt Halladay was “soused,” when he crashed. He also said some of the drugs, most of which are not on the FAA’s list of approved medications, were essentially contradictory, like zolpidem, a generic name for Ambien, a sleep aid, and amphetamine and Adderall a medication to perk people up and is often used to treat ADD. Fluoxetine was another strange addition to this medical cocktail of Halladay’s. Fluoxetine is a generic name for Prozac used to treat depression.

This kind of changes my opinion about Halladay, of course I loved his pitching but I wonder if he was on these meds when he was playing? I've always heard of his awesome work ethic, his getting to the ballpark early. But then all of this? It doesn't really sit that well, straitlaced looking athlete during his career and then drug addicted flyer in his retirement? It just goes to show you that you don't know about these players, they have a public persona that everything is just great, and then these kind of things happen.

This is a quote from Forbes Magazine on the Halladay levels of amphetamines in his body at the time of the crash:

"That amphetamine level shocks me," Dr. Mitchell Garber said after reviewing the report of the District 6 Medical Examiners office in Tampa. The level taken from Halladay's cardiac blood was 1,800 ng/ml. "I saw that number and said, 'Am I reading that right? 1,800, holy cow.' That just jumps off the page at me."
Amphetamine in the system can cause death at 500 ng/ml. An overdose can produce symptoms that could lead to reckless piloting of an airplane or debilitating the pilot with convulsions, hallucinations, restlessness and cardiac arrest. Dr. Garber noted that according to reference material on amphetamine overdose, death does not happen right away but can take several hours.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Phillies look comfortable winning again, but will it last?

Embed from Getty Images
Bryce Harper has been a catalyst for hitting in the past couple days, it has inspired the Phillies to do better

It's always better to win than lose especially in baseball. The Phillies pulled off another victory last night and rose their record to 51-47 behind another strong outing from Jake Arrieta, a pitcher who since he said he may have bone spur issues, has actually pitched better than before this was known.

Embed from Getty Images
Pittsburgh is currently in 4th place in their division

Last night the victory was over the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that has had some good players over the years but has sold them off in an alarming rate similar to the way the Marlins sell their players off. The Pirates are a franchise with 5 World Series championships, and they have been playing baseball for around the same time the Phillies franchise has been in existence. The Pirates have won a chance into the NL Wild Card game playoff in both 2014-2015 (they lost both games) and in 2019 lost in the NLDS 3-2 against the Cardinals. Prior to this brief exposure to the playoffs though, you would have to go back to 1992 to find the next nearest time this franchise has been in the playoffs.

The Phillies need an appearance in the playoffs this year, another win last night puts them in the right direction to accomplish that, but can they keep maintaining a winning way? We've seen some more hitting and scoring from the team and that's a good sign.

The series continues tonight,  7-9 Zach Eflin vs. 6-8 Joe Musgrove are the projected starters.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Phils showing some rally with a Dodger team built to win

Embed from Getty Images
Hector Neris could hardly be contained after earning the save yesterday, the Dodgers had already hit him hard this year

Alright we saw this Phillies team wake up and start to grind it out yesterday afternoon. The Phillies beat a team that is a whole 30 games over .500 and now the Phils are just two games over the .500 mark at 49-47 on the year.

Embed from Getty Images
What made the difference for the Phils yesterday? 

Some extra effort and some well placed hits went a long way for the Phillies as the Phils earned the split with the Dodgers in the 4-game series. The special start time of 12:30 PM saw the Phillies on Youtube for this special broadcast.

It's onto Pittsburgh to see if the Phillies can continue this winning attitude even on the road. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dodgers humiliate Phils on ESPN 16-2

Embed from Getty Images
The Phils had some chances last night with Kershaw - they only came up with 1 run

Well, so much for being ready for the Dodgers. The Phillies did hang tough for the first 4 innings, and Zach Eflin should not be pitching for this team anymore. He's now 7-9 on the year, 9 losses attributed to the way he pitched the game. How many more times do we have to see games like this before there is a realization that Eflin falls apart most times. Last night it was in the 4th inning, and Eflin gave up 6 runs in the inning.

The game wore on, and the Dodgers kept scoring. Exposing the Phillies weaknesses to the national crowd watching on ESPN. The Phils did cling to a 1-0 lead prior to this explosion by the Dodgers. The Blue Crew had a huge contingent of fans with them for last night's game at Citizens Bank Park. At times they drowned out the Phillies crowd, especially on the radio.

Embed from Getty Images
The Dodgers seem destined for greatness, but the Phils really looked bad last night

A national broadcast can bring out the problems and peculiarities with a ballclub, and the ESPN crew spared no expense at letting the viewers know what they thought. The prior game of course was on Fox Sports, and the Phillies ended up winning that game, but last night's game was ugly.

It's getting more difficult to watch the Phillies as the season goes on. I kind of thought the win on Sunday would give them a little more confidence to do well for Game 1 of the series with the Dodgers. There is no turning back sometimes from bad innings like we saw Eflin turn in. The Braves lit up Eflin for 6 ER on July 4th.

Gabe Kapler doesn't believe in advancing runners in a small ball type of play in most instances. The Phillies desperately need to do this a lot, but since Kapler doesn't think that's part of the game, it rarely happens. With all the sloppiness and things that are noted with not hustling, night after night with this Phillies team, you have to start wondering about Kapler now. This is Kapler's team, he's got to be responsible for all of this.

The nightly broadcast has been a tough watch, the bullpen is a subpar bunch of pitchers, once they get into a game, it's usually a very bad thing. Not too much more to say with this team, the weaknesses are apparent, and at this point, I think Kapler should be held accountable as well for this team, it's his players that are playing this way, maybe they benefit from a different manager?

The Dodgers have the number 1 record in all of baseball, it was evident to see as the Blue Crew are now 30 games over .500 - this is a winning ballclub.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Walk-off win prepares Phils for Dodgers

Embed from Getty Images
Maikel Franco has been coming through for the Phils, despite again a call that some others could do better at the position

The Phillies couldn't hold the lead again yesterday afternoon at CBP, the Nationals stormed back and tied the game by scoring 2-runs in the 7th inning, but the Phils and Maikel Franco was the hero of the day (again), as he hit the walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th. That was his 100th HR of his career, in the last 7 games, Maikel is 9-21 (.429) with 3 HR and 4 RBI,

Embed from Getty Images
Ryan Howard seemed like he would rather be back in uniform yesterday at his retirement party

It was Ryan Howard retirement day at the ballpark, it was a nice ceremony but I was surprised none of Ryan's close teammates made it to the ballpark to be with him on this special day. There were a few people including Charlie Manuel but not quite the amount I would have thought would be there. It was definitely an end to an era seeing Howard retiring at the age of 39.

Embed from Getty Images
The Dodgers are a powerhouse, can the Phillies give them a run for their money (LA team salary $196.9M in 2019 4th highest in baseball)

Back to present day Phils, the LA Dodgers are now in town for an important 4-game series with the Phillies. The Blue Crew were taking on the Red Sox last night in Boston, and they handled the Sox 7-4 on Sunday Night Baseball.  

Bryce Harper went 0-3 for the Phils yesterday and 0-4 on Saturday, he was 2-4 on Friday. That's .181 for the series. I am wondering how much longer the fans are going to be patient with him. Yes, he does have 16 HR and 62 RBI - but I think he could do so much more with a few more hits. Hitting is contagious as well, if he starts hitting, maybe others will follow.

A lot of people are saying this series will make or break the Phillies, that may be all well and good, but the Phillies are still lacking some key pieces that are still going to be with this team even if the Phillies go out and sweep the Dodgers.

Pitching matchups for the series:

Tonight: Kershaw vs. Eflin
Tues: Buehler vs. Velasquez
Wed: Maeda vs. Pivetta
Thur: Stripling vs. Nola

Note: The Phillies are 13th in the MLB in team payroll, but right at this point, about a third of the overall payroll is on the IL right now

p.s. Jake Arrieta had a strong outing yesterday going 5.0 and yielding just 1 ER - let's hope other Phillies pitchers do as well with the Dodgers

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Phils drop first two vs Washington, old habits continue

Embed from Getty Images
Franco had another good game last night, as most of the Phils have been quiet so far

The Phillies dropped the first two games since they have been back from the All-Star Game, last night it was the bullpen who couldn't hang on in the 9th - Hector Neris with his 3rd blown save of the season and his 4th loss of the year. It couldn't have come at a worse time for this team, they really needed this win to build their confidence up.

Embed from Getty Images
Soto put a ball into the stands to ruin the Phils chance (unless they answered in the 9th) to win last night

The Nationals were 1-9 with RISP last night, they were in a position to lose this game to the Phillies. The game did see the Phils play a little better but then in the end the game is lost to the bullpen. Again exposing that this bullpen can't seem to hold a lead.

The night before, the Phils got blanked, 4-0 in the return to the diamond. So it's back to the grind for this team, and the things that have vexed them before the All-Star Break have continued. The team is now 47-45 on the year, and they are 8.5 GB from the first place Atlanta Braves.

Embed from Getty Images
Andy MacPhail is not Pat Gillick, that is for sure

Will the Phillies go out and spend for the trade deadline? That all sounds like it's not going to happen with the interview that Phillies team President, Andy MacPhail, said upon the Phillies return. His reasoning that the Phils as of the day of the interview would be in the playoffs but only for a 1-game playoff. Talk about being optimistic for the future? That was one of the dumbest things I think I've ever heard come out of the mouth of  Phillies upper management.

So, we're probably going to go to the trade deadline without making any significant deals for this team to get better. So, the season could be a tough watch going forward. It kind of doesn't sit too well that management thinks that everything is just rosy from a perspective of how this team is doing.

Ticket sales are up this season, and that is the goal of a ballclub, so maybe it's a situation of the Phillies just going with the flow now that the fans seem to be back behind this team. Things won't change until the fans get vocal, and perhaps stop showing up at the ballpark supporting the moves that are in place.

Ryan Howard's official retirement is today at CBP, hard to believe, his career seemed to go by so fast, as did others of the 2008 World Series champs team. A big celebration is going on at the ballpark prior to the game. It just seemed like a couple seasons ago that we had one of the best starting rotations in baseball, along with the Howitzer, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and of course Jimmy Rollins and the rest of the Phillies that did their part to get to the World Series.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Phils get back to the baseball diamond

Embed from Getty Images
If the Phillies are going to get better this half, they need more clutch contributions from Bryce

The All-Star Break seemed to last forever, but tonight, the Phillies will retake the field in the start up to the second half. Days without the game of baseball seemed to be really boring, the teams had an extra day off this year.

Embed from Getty Images
Scott Kingery has been hitting the ball regularly, sporting a .292 BA and .889 OPS

The Phils have their work cut out for them. The Washington Nationals are in town, and they have been a very good ballclub lately, they have reversed their fortunes and now occupy the spot that the Phillies were in for a while, second place.

What the Phillies need to do of course is to start winning, sounds like it's easy but it hasn't been lately for this team. The month of June the team went 11-16, they are 3-3 in July. It's interesting to see what happens after this break, do the Phillies start to get better again?

It's Steven Strasburg vs Nick Pivetta in Game 1 of the series at 6:05 PM - Fireworks at the ballpark tonight and tomorrow, with the special start time for each night.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What do the Phillies do, post All-Star Game towards the trade deadline?

Embed from Getty Images

What will the Phillies management do with this team. The Phils started off like a house on fire, stormed to the lead of the NL East in the first couple months of the season, but the last two months of the season, they have been a much different baseball team.

Are they buyers or sellers at this point? They are still very much capable of doing some great things with some tweaking to this team, but that would probably need to spend more money. Are the Phillies willing to do this?

Embed from Getty Images

Jake Arrieta is awaiting results of the test for bone spurs he recently had. He's also awaiting possible league action for his comments in the post game interview of him with him saying that he would 'dent the skull' of Todd 'Todd Father' Frazier of the NY Mets. Will they need a quality starter? Yes, in my opinion, they needed one with or without Arrieta staying on this team.

Embed from Getty Images

Can the Phillies offense start doing better when it needs to? That is a good question. We're waiting for Hoskins and Harper to start hitting, they have hit HRs but, getting base hits are just as important sometimes. We'll see if this happens. Harper was rarely not an All Star before joining the Phillies.

Embed from Getty Images

The first 7 games back to playing in the second half may tell us a lot more about this ballclub. The Phillies face the hot Washington Nationals for three games and then the LA Dodgers for 4-games. So a test awaits this team right out of the gate. All of these games are at home though, and that's the Phillies strength at this point, they are 27-17 at home and just 20-26 on the road.