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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Phillies get replay marred loss in St. Louis

These are the games that the Phillies should win, but last night the Phils couldn't hold their slim lead into the 9th inning and lost 5-4 in a spectacular come back win by the Cardinals last night.

There was an hit that was bobbled by Freddie Galvis (this used to be called an error but for some reason this one wasn't called that) allowing 2 runs to score in the bottom of the fifth. The Phillies contested a safe call at home but the call was upheld and the 2nd run was a good score as somehow the hand of the Cardinals base runner, Eric Fryer, seemed to get in their in time.

 It took a very long time for a call to come back from the New York TV replay control center that makes the call. In years past, he probably would have been called out, but in this game of video replay era, the play was agonizingly replayed many, many times before a call was made. It was the second replay to be argued that inning and a very important one for the Phillies.

The Phils just couldn't close the door on the Cardinals as they rallied for a couple more runs in the bottom of the 9th for the walk-off win hit by Matt Holliday.

Even with all of the delays, the game clocked in at 3:03, at least that make the baseball timing gods happy.

This new way of playing baseball for video replay is strange, and it's not too appealing. Of course when the Phils lose because of it, that even seems worse but it interrupts the overall flow of a baseball game.

The series wraps up this afternoon in St. Louis, the Phils look to salvage a series here needed to win to make it at .500 in St. Louis. The loss brings the Phils to 16-12 on the season and 8-7 away as the lucky streak for them seems to be over at the moment.

Jerad Eickhoff vs Jaime Garcia this afternoon at 1:45 PM local time.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Cardinals break up 4-game losing streak last night

Adam Wainwright owns a chapter in Jeremy Hellickson's book last night with his long home run against him, that sailed into the 2nd deck at St. Louis

The Cards looked like a team that needed a spark last night to re-energize their offense. They went into last night's ballgame with a 4-game losing streak and we're looking to end the drought that the team had been on.

The drought ended last night, as Adam Wainwright got the win and he hit an upper deck home run against Jeremy Hellickson to drive in 3 runs on the night. That was the spark that the Cards needed to get on track again it seemed like.

Hellickson may have stayed in this game a little too long, after giving up the long home run to Wainwright, he then (2 innings later) gave up back to back home runs to Matt Adams and Aledmys Diaz . The score at that point was 6-3 in the bottom of the 6th inning.

Brett Oberholtzer came in to the ballgame to relieve Jeremy Hellickson in the bottom of the 7th inning, and gave up two home runs to put this one out of reach for the Phillies, the Cards added another run in the bottom of the 8th inning also against Oberholtzer. Phils lost this one by a 10-3.

Pitching deserted the Phillies in this game, both Hellickson and Oberholtzer had a night that they would have probably wish they can forget.

Last night, the Phillies owned the best winning streak (6 games) and the Cards owned the longest losing streak (4 games) going into last night's games in the NL.

The Cards like to score runs late in the game, they went into last night's game tied with the Cubs for most runs scored in the 7th inning or later so far this season.

It's the Cardinals 125th anniversary this year of playing professional baseball, and the Cards are in the middle of 2nd home stand of the year for them.

The 4-game series continues again at 8:15 PM local time when the match up is expected to be Aaron Nola, who pitched a gem last outing (1-2 with a 3.55 ERA) and Michael Wacha (2-1 with a 3.07 ERA)  for the Cardinals. 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Tough series to show Phillies real mettle

The Phillies seem to have players that are developing well for them this season so far

One of the toughest stretches of the Phillies season is about to happen as the Phils will pull into St. Louis for a 4-game series with the Cardinals.

There has been a lot of winning lately with this Phillies teams, but they've played a weaker opponent in the Indians than the Cardinals are. The Phillies are now 5 games over .500 on the season at 15-10 just 2.5 GB from the NL East leading Washington Nationals who are at 17-7 and then the Mets who are 15-8 on the year.

The Cardinals are at 12-13 on the year, they always seem to have a good team. Their record hasn't shown what type of team this really is, but the main probably that the Cards have had is their inability to hit better pitchers in the league. The Phillies just happen to have a few of those better pitchers, so we'll see if the Phils can continue their hot streak of late.

The Cardinals just got swept by the Nationals at home, so they'll be trying everything they have to avoid getting beat by the Phillies in the same manner.

The first 10 games of the season saw the Cardinals continue that winning way that they've had for years with a 6-4 record, but then the Cards started playing teams like the Cubs and Nationals and couldn't seem to find a winning streak in them.

For the Phils tonight it will be Jeremy Hellickson and for the Cardinals, Adam Wainwright. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Phils set eyes on the Indians at home

Jason Kipnis is a tough player for this Indians team, managed by Terry Francona

The Phillies pulled off a rare sweep of a series against Washington on the road. Even more rare for the Phillies (and this one, I didn't even quite believe just how bad things have gone for the team in the past few years) rose two games above .500 baseball for the first time since October 1st, 2012.

Now the Phils have their eyes set on a new opponent in the Cleveland Indians this weekend. Cleveland has a lifetime record of 6-7 against the Phils. The last time the Indians faced the Phils in Philadelphia was 2010, and the Phils swept that 3-game series.

The Indians bring their 10-9 record into tonight's game agains the Phils, they are tied for 3rd place in the AL Central. The series with the Phillies is the ending of the 9 game road trip for the Indians that saw them play Detroit, Minnesota, and now the Phillies. They stand at 4-2 on the road trip up to tonight.

It will be Adam Morgan for the Phillies tonight, called up because of the injury to Charlie Morton, who is out for the season now. Morgan's last start was a win for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA) when they played at Syracuse. Morgan began the season with Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies will face the 2014 AL Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber. Kluber has had a rough start to 2016, he is 1-3 with a 4.67 ERA.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Make it two against the Nats

Werth has had a tough year at the plate, he is batting .180 so far   

The Phils picked up another 'W' last night against the first place, Washington Nationals.

The Nationals couldn't get their offensive machine in gear again as the Phils broke a 0-0 tie into the 6th inning with a run to take the lead, the Phils also scored one run in the 7th and another run in the 8th inning.

Carlos Ruiz had a solo home run for the Phillies third run, and Jeremy Hellickson earned his 2nd win on the year, he is 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA.

Pete Mackanin said after the game that his goal for the team was to at least play at .500 this year, but he also said that he would see what 'transpires' if something better than that were to happen with this team.

The Mets have been surging lately, they've won 6 games in a row, and moving up the NL East after the Nationals first place spot. The Mets are just 1 game behind the Nationals now with the Phillies 3.5 games back off of the pace of the Nationals.

The Mets streak includes back to back sweeps of the Braves and the Reds. Miami has picked up the pace as well lately, they've won 4 games in a row.

The Phils have picked up a few wins even though their offense isn't really firing on all cylinders lately. They have a chance to sweep a series again tonight in the series finale against the Nats. The Phils will come home for a weekend series against the Indians for the weekend, then head out on the road again to St. Louis (4 games series), Miami, and Atlanta.

It's Aaron Nola vs. Tanner Roark at 4:05 PM today.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mackanin walks hottest hitter in baseball, and it pays off

The Phils gave a few passes to first base out to Harper last night, and it seemed to work 

The Phillies beat the Nationals 4-3 on Monday night, they were 2-12 with RISP, so they squandered a lot more opportunities to make this a much higher score against one of the better pitchers in the NL, Max Scherzer. The Phils constantly kept Scherzer in trouble, but they didn't blow the lid off of this game when they should have.

Kudos to Pete Mackanin, he finally intentionally walked the hottest hitter in baseball of late, Bryce Harper. Taking the bat out of Harper's hand was an essential part in the victory last night, even though the Phillies did have to pitch to him with runners on base later in the game. Harper was intentionally walked twice, walked another time, but still managed to get an RBI in an at bat that the Phils did pitch to him.

Harper demoralized the Phillies in front of the hometown fans at Citizens Bank Park during a recent series there, but Mackanin didn't intentionally walk him then. A few other Nationals batters were also on fire in that series in Philly as well.

Winning (and losing for that matter) is a team sport in baseball. When things are going well, you can point to a lot of areas in which the team as a whole was doing well. Pitching and hitting at the right time, and some heroics thrown in from time to time on certain plays.

The Phillies have been showing some of those heroics lately. The team is now at 10-10 on the year, and winning against teams like the Nats and the Mets show them that maybe they aren't really that bad. We have a few days left in April now, and it is sure better to have 10 wins this far into the season than not. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Phillies seek first series sweep of year

Morton tripped and tumbled on his way to first base in last night's game, we'll find out more on his status today

We're a full three weeks into the MLB baseball season, and the Phillies are now poised to possibly sweep their first series from the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon.

The possibility didn't come easily, last night, the Phillies were leading most of the way through the game but their were a few times that the Brewers looked like they were going to capitalize on some less than stellar pitching from the bullpen. Dalier Hinojosa couldn't find the strike zone last night, he got into some serious trouble when in 0.2 innings, he gave up 2 H and 2 ER and 1 BB before getting the hook from manager Pete Mackanin. It almost appeared as if Mackanin may have waited a little too late to take him out.

Mackanin called in Elvis Araujo though, and he slammed the door on the late Brewers rally. Odubel Herrera added a much needed couple insurance runs in the 9th to give the Phillies a decisive 10-6 victory over the brew crew. Phillies closer, Jeanmar Gomez, who has assumed the role of closer on the Phillies, came in and got the job done sealing the victory for the Phils.

It's the first time in a long time that the Phillies have been a .500 ballclub, with the victory last night, the club is at 9-9 on the season. You have to go back to May 5th, 2014 to find this ballclub at a record of .500 or better, and that itself is an amazing stat. A testament to how bad this Phillies ballclub has been suffering in the wins department. Read more about last night's heroics here in the Philly.com article that was published last night.

Charlie Morton took a fall on the way down to first base, his status is being evaluated still, but the good news is the Phillies have suitable replacements for him should he need to go on the DL.

There were a few stars in the game last night, Maikel Franco made a couple of great defensive plays and added a long home run, Odubel Herrera contributed with a nice home run and the bullpen somehow pulled it all together to show that this team can accomplish a great bit of team work.

What's more is they really seemed like they were having fun doing this on the field, which of course is more apt when a team is winning.

Today it will be Jerad Eickhoff (1-2 with a 1.89 ERA) vs. Wily Peralta (0-3 with a 8.35 ERA) at 2:10 PM locally - we'll see if the Phils can pull the first sweep of the year.

Impressive stats from the game last night:

Phillies RISP  7-14

Six players on the Phils had a least 1 RBI in this game

This was the longest regular season games for the Phils this year at 4:00

Friday, April 22, 2016

Phils to take on 'scrappy' Brewers

The Brewers have stuck by Ryan Braun despite his public appeal that he never used steroids that of course was all a lie

The Milwaukee Brewers have been called scrappy lately. They have a 7-9 record on the season and they  played the Minnesota Twins in a game on Wednesday night that sounded like a home run derby. The Brewers hit 3 HR on the night, Aaron Hill, Chris Carter, and Domingo Santana went deep for the Brew Crew. The next night though it was the Twins that beat up on the Brewers 8-1.

That kind of sounds like the Phillies, they look good in a game or two and then come back and take a beating from a team.

We'll see if the Mackanin experiment with batting the pitcher in the 8th spot continues tonight. It may have been only a one-time use to try to generate some offense for the Phils, but it seemed to work, so why wouldn't you do this again?

Ryan "I didn't take steroids" Braun is still on the Brewers. He's getting into the meatier part of his contract extension now, earning $20M per year now (tailing off in '19 to $19M and $17M in 2020) until 2020 when the Brewers contract can either be renewed for a 2021 season or the Brewers can say goodbye.

The Brewers last made the playoffs in 2011 and prior to that 2008, but the dry stretch from there until the next previous time the Brewers made the playoffs goes back to the early 1980's. To say they have been in a dry spell in that department is an understatement.

The Phils will pull into Milwaukee for a three game series. It's will be Nola, Morton, and Eickhoff for the Phils against Davies, Anderson, and Peralta for the Milwaukee Brewers in this series.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mackanin tries a little Joe Maddon-like lineup

Peter Borjous has been coming up a lot of clutch hitting lately, last night was no different

Something needed to be done to mix this Phillies lineup up a little bit. Pete Mackanin may have found a solution with what he has done with the Phillies batting order last night.

Mackanin batted the pitcher 8th, the very move that we see Joe Maddon, now with the Cubs, doing quite a bit. It's worked for Maddon, so why wouldn't it work for the Phillies? Of course lately the Cubs haven't needed to score a bunch of runs, they've been doing quite well enough, currently they are tied for 2nd in the NL for runs scored with 81 total. According to the STATS, LLC service, it was the first time since 1979 that a Phillies pitcher hadn't been in the 9th position in the batting order.

Peter Bourjos made contact with a pitch in the 7th inning and scored David Lough, who had gotten himself into scoring position with a double just prior, tied this game up 4-4 and led the game into extra innings.

This ballgame went extra innings, a combined effort with the Phillies bullpen who all together had 11 strikeouts and 11th inning clutch hitting with an RBI infield single by Peter Bourjos again, led this Phillies team to a much needed win to salvage one game from the 3-game series.

Meanwhile in the NL East, the Washington Nationals just keep sailing along, they are 11-3 on the year so far, with the New York Mets coasting into 2nd place after taking 2 of 3 from the Phillies, and then the Phils settling back into 3rd place with a 7-9 record.

Next up is Milwaukee for the Phillies. It's a long road trip for the Fightins as they have only 3 home games sandwiched in the middle of their next 19 games. The Phils go visit the Brewers, and then the Nationals, come home for a 3-game series with the Indians next weekend, and then take to the road for 4-game set against the Cardinals in St. Louis, then onto Miami for 3 games, and finally Atlanta for another 3-gamer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mets barage Phillies in home run embarrassment

Franco isn't staying consistent at the plate recently

The Mets barraged the Phillies last night at Citizens Bank Park. It was an embarrassing loss to the visiting team who hit 5 HR against the Phils on a windy evening in Philly.

The Phillies still don't have a team leader. There is no one on this team that is stepping up and giving others a reason to rally behind them.

Maikel Franco started the season off pretty nicely but he has since cooled down tremendously as we've seen his taking some wild hacks at pitches lately that are no where near the strikezone. Freddie Galvis has settled back down as well, as both Galvis and Franco went 2-8 combined in the game last night. The Phils lost 11-1 in a real hometown smack down.

Left field continues to be an incredibly weak spot for the Phillies. The experiment of Cedric Hunter was ended as Hunter was sent down to the minors after not being able to hit the ball well in 34 AB, and the Phils brought up David Lough. Last night though it was Tyler Goeddel who got the start in left, he is hitting worse than Hunter at .063 in 16 AB so far. Goeddel has played in 9 games so far and hasn't contributed much to this team.

My question is what happened to these players? They both did fairly well in Spring Training. Now, though they both seem like they are destined not to be on this team in the coming months.

This whole team seems like it slips into a malaise at the same time. It's just a feeling that nothing is going right despite the upbeat signing of Pete Mackanin to an extension for next season, we've seen very few moves from him in regards to intentionally walking hot batters from the opposing team and things like that.

The series with New York continues tonight. This series is very much like the one with Washington. The Phillies look incredibly flat and this is their home field, but they look like the road team down there on the field.

Hopefully this starts to change and fast.