Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Phillies return home vs. Maddux

The Phillies are home against the San Diego Padres for three games. Game 1 is currently playing as I write this post and Greg Maddux, a future hall of famer, faces off against one of baseball's most promising pitchers, Cole Hamels.

Cole is appearing to look much more comfortable against the Padres at home, rather than his last outing which to me, he looked a bit rushed and mad that he wasn't making his pitches. Cole has been a little snake bitten already this season, he's pitched well at times and still didn't come out of the game with a win.

The NL East is starting to shape up now, and the Phillies and the Mets along with the surprising Marlins are starting to make this an interesting division race. Not to mention the Braves seem to be just waiting for that opportunity to move up in the standings. The Marlins aren't the only surprise in the standings around the MLB. How about the Tampa Bay Devil Rays leading the AL East, no one would have predicted that at this point in the season.

The Phillies need to keep the momentum going to stay up with the leaders. They've had one of their most successful April in some time. Just last year the Phillies were looking at a record of 14 losses for the month of April and only 11 wins. So they have really turned things around for the moment, especially if they can pull out a win tonight.

Rich Baxter / Fightin Phillies Blog

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Should Jason Werth be the Phillies centerfielder?

I like having a solid player like Jason Werth in center for the Phillies. He covers a lot of ground out there in center and has been doing great at the plate. When Shane Victorino does get back from the DL, I think he should be in right field as his everyday position.

According to baseball prospectus, Werth is the third best player offensively on the team at this point in the season. Players like him feed off of others successes and it makes him do better in the process. Victorino on the other hand has been a real disappointment since opening day, he struggled mightily from the first game. His lack of offense has hurt the Phillies.

Werth has been playing great and deserves to be out there. I said it within the first couple games of the year, Shane Victorino is not going to be the everyday center fielder for the Phillies. Yes, he is a good player and he deserves to start but right field is his spot, he throws guys out from right field better and it just is a better overall fit for him.

Here's the report for April so far for the Phillies:

14-11 .560 in second place behind the Florida Marlins .5 games behind

This has been a great start for the Phillies, April is usually there worst month, if they keep this up, 90 wins will be easily a possibility. They go for the their first sweep of the year of a series today in Pittsburgh and I think they get the sweep here. Ryan Howard never homered against Pittsburgh except for last night? I can't figure out why. Put a smile on your face Howard, have some fun and play some good baseball. Let's go Phils!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


The DNS servers have kicked in and now my site has a new name, it is "FightinPhillies.com" - a year round blog that will serve as the home of my blog and spot where my podcasts concerning the Philadelphia Phillies will be available from.

Please update any links you have to my site to reflect the new address, and as always I am looking to add links to my site, as I would like to be on your site. Email me at rich@phillywebcast.com to arrange the link exchange.

I hope to make this site one of the best on the web for Phillies fans like myself and you too!

Rich Baxter / Fightin Phillies . com

Friday, April 25, 2008

Phils road trip not half bad! Pittsburgh is next...

The Phillies road trip since Monday has been very good. After sweeping two from Colorado, the Phils split with Milwaukee in the shortest series of the year with the two teams they played. Pat Burrell has been carrying this team, it's his team. He's been winning games for the team left and right, and inspiring better play from Jason Werth as well.

Now the Phillies move into Pittsburgh for a three game set. Snake bitten pitcher, Adam Eaton throws for the Phillies in the first game of 3 with the bucco's. Eaton has pitched well but doesn't have the record to show that yet. Maybe tonight he'll get his first win of the year. The team is on a roll winning 4 out of the last 5 games in what has been a great April for Phillies fans. The team is stacking up wins even though the surprising Florida Marlins are still in the lead of the National League East. I say sign Pat Burrell for 5 more years now! He's paid dividends for the Phils the last two years and it seems like he is just starting to hit his stride.

Look for our new domain name, 'www.fightinphillies.com' coming soon to this site!

Rich Baxter / Fightin Phils Blog

Ryan Howard has been in a horrible slump, he seems like he has other things on his mind. Howard may have hit 100 homers faster than any other player, but he's also striking out loads of times when he is needed to produce. Don't pencil him into the Hall of Fame just yet, he's on video game boxes, baseball card boxes, and other marketing ventures that may be taking his mind off of his primary responsibility which is baseball.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bring on the Mets!

In what could be the best matchup of pitching between the two clubs of the Phillies and the Mets. Cole Hamels has been almost lights out for the Phillies:

In 3 games this year Cole is 2-1 and 15 strikeouts with a 0.82 era - he is projected to have 20 wins this year by ESPN - he faces a tough opponent in the NY Mets tonight, but Johan Santana hasn't been quite as stellar this year for the Mets but he's been close to that.

Johan is 1-2 with an average 3.05 era and 18 strikeouts in 3 games so far.

So bring in the Mets, we're ready for them!

Rich Baxter / Fightin Phillies Blog

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Phils vs. 'Stros Game 2 ...

The Phillies masterful comeback last night was certainly unexpected. I was lucky enough to be at the game for the first game of the three game set against the Astros and the Phillies provided me with one of the greatest 10 games that I've ever seen as a Phillies fan last night.

We even stayed the whole game and were standing directly behind home plate for the bottom of the ninth when it looked as though the Phils would go down in defeat. The miraculous comeback was one for the books and Jeff "Freight Train' Jenkins was running full barrell towards home even blowing through the stop sign set up by the third base coach. It was so close at the plate, we had a perfect view of the play and it really looked as though Jenkins was out. He was safe, and the Phillies win in dramatic style.

With the first win under their belts, the Phils then turned to tonight's game with hopes of making two in a row. It was not to be tonight though, a great game pitched by both Phillies pitcher, Kyle Kendrick and the Astros pitcher, Roy Oswalt. Oswalt picks up his first win of the year after losing his first three games. So it's a tied up series going into the Businessperson's Special at Citizen's Bank Park on Thursday, April 17th 2008!

Rich Baxter / Fightin' Phils Blog

Monday, April 14, 2008

Phils can't finish sweep of Cubbies

My pic of Pat The Bat saying "It was foul" (c. 2008 r.baxter)

Pat the Bat making contact (c. 2008 r.baxter)

We arrived at the ballpark yesterday for our Sunday matchup with the Phillies going for the sweep of the Chicago Cubs. The stage was set for the first sweep of the season. The Fightin's could have won this one, but through a combination of errors and miscues, the Phils failed to convert this game to the 'win' column.

We love our Sunday package because it allows us to get a nice Sunday afternoon of relaxation and watch baseball. Jamie Moyer did a fantastic job, he pitched very well. Jason Werth played center, I like the way he plays, although the ball that sailed over his head added to the miscues of the Phillies on the day. Chase Utley missed a great opportunity to blow the game open for the Phils with the bases loaded, and a costly throwing error on the day.

We trudge on though, and next up it's the Astros coming in Tuesday night for three games. So wrapping up the fourth series for the Phillies on the 2008 season, the Phils win the series 2-1. With 13 games into the season the Phils are 6-7 - they had the chance to go 7-6 but, they will seek to do better against the Astros.

Rich Baxter / Fightin Phils Blog

Friday, April 11, 2008

Phils drop 2 of 3 to Mets,... Win 1st vs. Cubs

The game lasted long last night in New York. A team has to lose, this time the Phillies came out on the bottom and lost against the NY Mets. Tom Gordon just happened to be pitching, again. The relievers roll is never pretty, but Gordon is costing this team plenty. His play is not up to par anymore and it's going to be adding up as the year goes on.

Losing two in NY is not the worst thing that can happen yet in this early season. J Roll is out, and the offense sputtered a bit before Pat The Bat stepped up again and won the first game of the 4th series of the year for the Fightin's, this time back at home against the Chicago Cubs.

Brett Myers gave up two homeruns in the first to Chicago, and it looked as though it was going to be a short night for him. He regained his composure and battled on. Boosted by the play of Burrell, Myers and the Phillies were right back into the game tonight and even though they faced a tough Carlos Zambrano, who started the game 1-0 with a 1.32 era, the Phillies came out on top for the first of three against the Cubbies.

So recapping the third series for the Phillies:

1-2 vs. NY Mets in New York
Notes: The Opening Day game at Shea was a sellout, the next two games were not,

Here's the attendance all three games: 1. 56,350 2. 47,127 3. 49,045

Phillies bad news during series: Rollins injury

Rich Baxter / Fightin' Phils Blog

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mets and Phillies latest rivalry continues

The Phillies vs. The Mets

The rivalry grows into 2008

The 2004 opening of Citizen’s Bank Park seems to have ignited a better rivalry between the Phillies and the Mets. The rivalry may have been there before this time, but with sitting in the stands and hearing the numerous Mets fans get vocal in the smaller Citizen’s Bank Park makes me feel that we are in for several more good years of Phils/Mets rivalry ahead. Both teams have a lot of great players, and are contenders.

Met fans have taken to Citizen’s Bank Park, they have been holed up in Shea Stadium for so long it’s no wonder that they felt like they were in fantasy land when they drove down the turnpike and arrived at the sparkling ‘new’ ballpark that the Phillies play in. In 2009, Met fans will get their own shiny new stadium and upon monitoring some of the New York sports radio shows, a lot of baseball fans are looking at the capacities of the new Mets and Yankee stadium and are damn mad that the prices will be rising and previous great seating will probably be going to corporate types that are the only people that will be able to afford astronomical ‘premium’ box seats. That is the topic of another blog column though.

The Phillies beat the Mets on 4/8/08 at Shea, the last time the Mets opened at home against the Phils at Shea was 3/31/1998 and the Mets won 1-0. The winner of that one was not Bobby Jones who started for the Mets, it was Turk Wendell, and the loser for the Phils was not the starter who was Curt Schilling, but it was Ricky Bottalico. Schilling pitched a great game, 8 innings with only giving up 2 hits.

In the last ten years, from 1998 to Apr 8, 2008 the Phillies and the Mets have met 169 times. The Phillies hold a slight edge in wins with Tuesday’s win included: 86-83. So the recent surge of the past 19 meetings between the Phils and the Mets have helped the Phillies get into the positive win column against the rival NY Mets, the last 19 games including Tuesday’s game the Phils record is: 13-6. Remember the Phils will face the Mets 18 times during a season as a division team.

Fans have a big rivalry factor in this Phillies vs. Mets topic. A lot of Mets fans have high opinions of the Phils players and likewise, there is a common respect factor involved here, even though there may be an intense bitterness between the two fans. That’s what goes into making such a great rivalry. A lot of Phillies fans have not taken the low road and trashed the Mets for falling apart in 2007. Some are still in disbelief as I am. I still cannot believe that the Phillies came out of nowhere to win the division last year on a Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia before one of the liveliest crowds that I ever watched a baseball game with. We stared at the scoreboard in disbelief when we saw the Mets losing, hopelessly spiraling out of control that Sunday, as the Phillies poured it on to beat the Nationals and win the division.

The good natured rivalry goes on, and I suspect a lot of Phillies fans will make the trek to the new Citi Field in 2009 to check out a Phils / Mets game in the new digs of the NY Mets. Time will tell what happens over the 2008 season with the rivalry burning on.

Rich Baxter / Fightin’ Phils Blog

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Phillies spoil Mets last Opening at Shea .. Win count at 4

We'll take 'em ...4 Wins into the season
picture by r.baxter - I love ballpark workers! they give a ballpark character

I didn't count this one as a win before the game started. You've got opening day for the last time at Shea, a hungry Mets team looking for a revengeful win, and so much more going for the Mets with the hometown crowd.

The Mets got some revenge at Chase Utley hitting him three times during the game. I expect the Mets should watch their backs tomorrow night. Kendrick doesn't seem like a feisty character, but I think he 'll be throwing inside to someone tomorrow night. Watch the benches for this one possibly, I sense a bit of trouble brewing, and I wish Myers was on the mound because he wouldn't play, he'd go out and protect one of the most important players on the Phils.

Chalk it up as a win though, we'll take it and look to go above .500 Wednesday night. The Phils win the first one 5-2 and defy the odds to beat the Mets again. I am getting a bit used to the Phillies beating the Mets!

Scary moment when Victorino and Werth collided, it almost looked like Werth tackled him after watching the replay several times. Great catch out there though, I don't know how Shane held onto that ball. Rollins is feeling ok after feeling his ankle make some strange movements. I think he'll play for game 2 of the series.

Monday, April 07, 2008

If we can make it there, we'll make it anywhere .... onto New York

The Phils split with the Reds with a win in the getaway game earlier this afternoon. I would have preferred to see the Phillies go to New York with a winning record. The Mets haven't been doing all that well either lately. The Braves just ruffed them up, but I suspect they are lying in wait for the Fightin's to get some revenge from last year.

Pat Burrell is showing leadership on the team. He is setting the pace for others to follow at this point. The Phillies star left fielder is starting to 'pay back' the Phillies for all those millions that he earns with games like these. Pat the Bat went 2-4 with two homeruns and 3 rbi's in this game. His average sits at .435 as he sweeps into a ballpark in New York where he is known to 'own' New York at.

Cole Hamels gets his first win of the year and evens up to 1-1 - his next spot will be pitching at home in front of his own fans this coming Saturday against the Cubs at Citizen's Bank Park. The bright spot is he era which is 1.20 . Believe it or not, that stat does not lead the MLB, Jake Peavy of the Padres has an incredible .56 era with 2 wins so far this year. Who says you can't find a decent pitcher out there?

Gordon got in an inning's work, and Lidge earned the save. Lidge made some fans squirm again, walking two though before the game ended with the Reds threatening in the bottom of the 9th. Again a win is a win, and we'll take it even though we got a little nervous near the end of the game.

So wrapping up the Phillies second series of the year, it's a split 2-2 for the series in Cinncy. Myers looked very shaky, Hamels looked great. Burrell leads the offense along with Chase so far early on in the season. Onto Series # 3 for the Phillies, a trip to New York to face the NL rival, NY Mets. I hope our pitching elder, Jamie Moyer bounces back from his very rough last start and has what it takes to get back on track.

Rich Baxter / Fightin' Phils Blog

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Phils flat against Reds lose 8-2

It's not a predictable game. You have Brett Myers pitching for the Phils, he was on fire in Spring Training. You figure him to throw a win here for the Phils but not only does that not happen, the combination of Howard-Feliz-Victorino post up a combined 0-10 at the plate. I've said it before the season started, I don't think you'll see Victorino in center too much longer everyday. He is not playing the power spot center fielder that the Phillies so desperately need him to.

Losing can get into a team's psyche, Manuel has got some juggling to do. Mix it up here, and there. Howard hit a homerun yesterday but hasn't contributed that much. Victorino hasn't come through, in fact he is batting .130 with only 2 rbi's so far in 6 games. Jenkins will be in center by the end of the month as your everyday center fielder that is for sure, maybe sooner if the flyin' Hawaiian doesn't change things around real soon.

2-4 is the record with one more at Cincy before the Mets look to take a bite at the Phillies anemic offense.

Rich Baxter / Fightin' Phils Blog

Podcast for April 6 2008 - Fightin' Phils Phillies Talk

Play this Show

Show Notes:
This is the 3rd Game at Cincy with one more to play on Monday, the Phils look to go to .500 behind Brett Myers today.

The current club leaders going into play today are discussed.

The Phillies move onto New York for three games after the series in Cincinnati and then home against the Cubs next Friday.

Go to The Phillies Zone for some special posts on the Phillies!

Rich Baxter / Fightin' Phils Blog

Phils sqaundering 'good' starts with losses

I am trying to stay completely in tune with the whole Phillies season with this blog and my podcasts. What I have noticed here in the second series of the year with the Phillies is this is the second 'quality start' this one by Adam Eaton, which goes along with another by Cole Hamels when the Phillies had good pitching, but in the end lost it eventually do to one reason or another.

What is the current theme where the Phillies can't hold a lead? Nothing is a sure lock, but when the Phillies have a lead you can never figure the game to be in the bag as a win until the game is officially over. They are finding these 'black holes' so to speak where they open the door to teams to come back and beat them in the late innings.

Last year it was very much like this. A nail biter to end of every game. This shouldn't be from a team that is going to win the division if they are to do so. The Phils must some how break this terrible habit. How will they do it? That is the question.

The other day in the Philadelphia Inquirer, readers got to ask Ryan Howard questions. Click here to read about it. That's great, because the questions didn't just ask, "How did you feel when you hit that towering homerun?" - no the questions came from the readers and I am most disappointed with Howard's first answer to what should have been a softball sized question that Ryan could have hit out of the park with the right answer. The question simply was, "Given the choice would you prefer to be a Phillie your entire career?" Howards simple answer: "That's not up to me." Wow, talk about a serious head trip. If it isn't up to you, who is it up to? Players like this even though it is Ryan Howard are more indicative of the 'me' first type player, one who doesn't care about 'team' he cares about 'me'. Here's someone who went on a preseason tour two years ago, was really happy about making the big league team, now he barely makes the radar as a 'happy Phillies player.' He won a big decision in the offseason and 'that's not up to me' is about all you can get out of him as an answer about his team, the Phillies. Instead of Howard saying, "Sure, Philly is a great town, they've made me the ballplayer that I am today' or something like that, he swung and missed and that is a shame.

Rich Baxter / Fightin' Phils blog

Thursday, April 03, 2008

One win down, 90 more to go? Here we come Reds!

The Phils finally have the first win to build upon. I was hoping this would happen today, if it didn't I would have thought what a lot of other Phillies fans were starting to think: it's going to be a long season.

The Fightin's didn't win pretty, but we'll take it. A win is a win they say and this was an ugly win but it still counts. I wish the Phillies would stop this 'come from behind' mentality. It seems like they did that all last year, pulling out these rabbits out of a hat. The Phils tie it, then go ahead, but no lead is safe it seems.

I don't want to say too much more at this point in the season as the team is 1-2 and going into a series with an improved Cinncy team who is 2-1 and on a 2 game win streak. Ken Griffey is still at it, although to me it seems like he is always hurt. He stands at 593 homeruns. The Phils will face a lifetime record of 60-60 Josh Fogg, formerly with Colorado and now with the Reds for the first game of the series.

Adam Dunn is still with the Reds, he is still a deep threat with this his 8th season in the MLB all with the Reds. Second baseman, Brandon Phillips has been hot lately with the Reds, and his season batting averages have been getting higher each of the past couple years.

I don't want to be greedy, but let's get a least two games here guys if not a sweep to get us on a winning record!

Rich Baxter / Fightin'Phils Blog