Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Who has the longest streak of home runs so far for the Phillies?







And the survey says......... Raul Ibanez -he has a 4 game streak of a least one home run per game from 5/20/09 to 5/23/09 in which he hit 4 HR and 6 RBI during that streak of 4 games, he also batted .353 during that streak. Two other Phillies have their streak at 3 games in a row with at least one home run in a game..... that is Jason Werth and Chase Utley.

Werth hit a home run is each game from June 16 to June 18th he went 3-13 with 5 RBI all of his hits were home runs. Utley hit his streak of one home run in each of three games from 4-17-09 to 4-19-09 in that streak he went 4-13 with 6 RBI, and three of his hits during the span were home runs and one was a single.


Eight times, the Phillies have had a streak of players hit homeruns in two games back to back and Jason Werth did it twice so far in addition to his three games in a row as mentioned above. Raul Ibanez has hit home runs in back to back games three times so far in addition to his 4 consecutive game home run barrage.




So for pure power, it's Ibanez so far still leading the way offensively in the home run streaks department. He's a real surprise this year for the Phillies, can't wait for him to return to the lineup!




Thanks to Baseball-reference.com and the Player's Index they have there on that great site! I highly recommend becoming a member to this website.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Good riddance Interleague Play!

 

IMG_7571

Moyer pitches for the Phillies today

Today is the end of Interleague play and the Phillies can’t wait for this game to end so that they can get back on course with the regular schedule. The Phils have a 5-12 record against the AL so far but believe it or not, the Phils had a worse record last year in Interleague Play with a record of 4-11. That is why I haven’t been all that concerned with them with the current spat of losses.

 

   The series of losses that the Phillies have racked up have been not good, but it is a long season. The team just needs to get runners on base on keep moving them along with good pitching of course. JA Happ got his first shutout yesterday in the  10-0 win over Toronto and that’s a good thing.

 

     The Phils are 13-9 during day games, and in their last 7 games the Phils have hit .333 with runners in scoring position. A win today will give the Phils their first series win since the early part of June when they beat the Mets 2 or 3 on June 9-11.

 

      Don’t forget the Fightin Phillies Magazine now for sale here, started by this website for fans and by fans. My website, weekly podcast, and magazine are independently done and are not sponsored or supported by the Phillies baseball team.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Losses pile up, Interleague play almost over

IMG_7847

Rollins is all smiles talking to Chase a couple weeks ago pregame

                 The losses have been piling up on the Phillies in the past 20 or so games. It just so happens the losses started around the time of interleague play. I am not so sure the Phillies like playing interleague games, and their record seems to show that against the American league teams that they have been playing.

 

                 Every team the Phillies play is going to want to beat the “World Champs” so that puts the Phillies in the position of needing to play baseball like champs to beat those teams. The last 20 games have been the worst that the Phillies have played all year long, and the Phils have had incredibly bad luck to go along with that.

 

                  The Phillies need to start playing like they need to win, like they don’t have the rest of the season to start getting wins and like they want to make it to the playoffs again this year. They must stop making the mental errors and start getting on base and moving runners. If they have a guy on first with no outs, they need to do whatever necessary to move that runner into scoring position, and start putting runs on the board.

 

                   I thought the losing streak was over, but it was just a bump in the road as a new losing streak has now sprung up on the Fightin Phils. This team is better than that, it still is not too late to turn it around. The recent weeks have nullified all the great games that the Phillies have won so far, so they are almost starting another season for themselves from scratch again.

 

                   Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to get out there and get a pitcher. He says there are none out there, I think he is making excuses. There are plenty of opportunities and he needs to make something happen. The Phillies need a solid starter with ‘A’ caliber status. If it means trading Werth or Victorino then he must consider it, those two players may never be as valuable as they are right now, and the Phillies need a starter that they can count on in the second half of the 2009 season.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Phils need a win, Lidge returns

Tonight's game is huge for the Phils, as they look for the series victory in Tampa. Last night's game was much closer than the final score would indicate. The Rays fell into a lucky big inning late in the game, with bloopers and walks putting the game out of reach. Matt Garza was excellent for Tampa, and Joe Blanton was equally as good. Blanton's only mistake came in the form of a two-run blast off Pat Burrell's blast. I guess if someone is going to beat us, it may as well be Pat. We'll give him a pass last night, but the Phils need tonight's game.

Brad Lidge is set to return after being activated from the DL today. If Lidge is now healthy and can close out games anywhere near as well as he did last season, the Phillies are in great shape. Ryan Madson is tremendous out of the set-up role, and returns to familiar territory tonight.

What to watch: If you're any MLB.TV subscriber, while watching the Phils on TV, tune into the Boston Red Sox-Washington Nationals game on your laptop. It may seem like an odd suggestion, but John Smoltz is making his long anticipated return to Major League Baseball, pitching for Boston tonight. It should be interesting to see if he has anything left in the tank, and if he does, you may be able to start penciling in a Phillies vs. Red Sox World Series!!

Last night's box and recap

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Phillies Talk - the podcast June 23 2009

Before the big win tonight, we taped this podcast - Jim is hard on the Phils and is fed up with losing, I am a bit more optimistic.... hear it all on this week's edition of Phillies Talk with Rich Baxter and Jim Mulry!


It’s over… yet another road win for the Phils

 

 

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Yes, it’s over. The worst part is now over, the losses we endured as fans at home has come to a screeching halt in St. Pete’s against the Tampa Rays. The Phillies took it to the Rays by a score of 10-1.

     Man, it feels good to win again! I’ve nearly forgotten the 1-8 homestand and the 6 game losing streak.

Continuing anatomy of a losing streak part 2

 

     The Phillies were swept by the Toronto Blue Jays making the first time the Phillies lost a 3 game set against the same team at home this year. The Phils then welcomed in the Baltimore Orioles for a weekend series. Baltimore had just left the NY Mets in New York and there they took 2 out of 3 games from the Mets. In the series prior to NY, the Orioles did the same to Atlanta, they took 2 of 3 games from them. Baltimore is rolling along for a last place team in the AL East. Let’s look at some stats from the first game vs. Baltimore at home for the Phillies:

 

Jimmy Rollins 0-3 with 2 BB
Chase Utley 0-5 with 5 LOB
Pedro Feliz 0-4
Antonio Bastardo 7 IP – 5 H – 4 R – 4 ER
Phillies Scored 2 runs on 6 hits
   

   The losing streak brings out certain stats to the front. Several players are hitting “O fors” with just the three batters listed above, the total is 0-12 and with batting like that among your key hitters, you are not going to win ball games. The losing streak extends again as the luck luster offense can only manage 2 runs in the first inning against Baltimore who win it going away 7-2. The streak that Phillies fans hate to have is now at 4 and they are all at home which isn’t good for morale either.

 

Game 2 vs. Orioles

 

    The streak is at 4 now before the second game with the O’s, the Phillies have the third worst home record in baseball, yet they still occupy first place in the NL East. This is unprecedented, a World Series team from last year with such a bad home record the following year. By the time the night is over, the Phillies streak of losses will be to 5, and they now hold a 13-21 record at home after this one. Only the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks have worse home records. Let’s look at some stats in this game:

 

Jimmy Rollins 0-3  1BB
Chase Utley 1-4  1 RBI
Ryan Howard 1 HR pinch hit
J.A. Happ 6.0 IP – 10 H – 2 R – 2 ER
Ryan Madson Blown Save (3) & loss
   

   The Phillies were in the driver’s seat to win this one. Ryan Howard comes off of the bench and was just released from the hospital with flu like symptoms to hit a pinch hit 3 run home run in the 7th inning to give the Phils a 5-3 lead, but the ninth inning proved costly for the Phillies as the bullpen gave this game up again.  Ryan Madson gave up the go ahead home run to Brian Roberts, who had 4 RBI in this game, in the ninth inning. The Phils lost another tough one by a score of 6-5. So this is the second game that the Phillies by most accounts ‘should have’ won in both series with the Blue Jays and Orioles. Lady luck didn’t visit Philly recently though and the streak carries on.

 

Game 3 vs. ORioles

 

   The losing streak is in full swing now, it has a life of it’s own. Sunday looked as if that streak may have a chance to be over. Cole Hamels has the ball for the Phillies and there is optimism that the Phils will win this one. The game is a classic pitcher’s duel, it shouldn’t have been, because the pitcher for the Orioles isn’t the same caliber as Hamels, but on this day, the Phillies couldn’t get anything going offensively and both of their top run producers are now out with Ryan Howard being in the hospital with the flu, and Raul Ibanez still mending on the DL. The Phillies scored first with a lonely run. That wouldn’t be enough and the Phils drop another at home, and hit the road with the losing streak in their suitcases. When will it end? Next stop tonight at St. Petersburg Florida, with the defending Champs going against the guys they played in the World Series!

 

Phillies home record 2009 13-22
Current last 10 games 2-8
Losing streak 6 games
Current record 36-31 
Phillies road record 2009 23-9 best in the MLB so far

Monday, June 22, 2009

Anatomy of a losing streak

       Breaking down the causes of the recent Phillies losing streak is a tough assignment. Here’s a couple things that are discovered from a losing streak like the Phillies are currently in. The streak is at 6 games currently through June 21st Sunday, it started June 16th after the Phillies had won a convincing 11-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, June 14th. The Phillies dropped the first game on the 16th against the Toronto Blue Jays, by a score of 8-3. Let’s look at this game first with a mini table of stats:

Cole Hamels, starter Pitches 6.0 innings 2 ER – 7 H
Raul Ibanez 0-5 tonight
Ryan Madson Walks in tying run top 9th
Clay Condrey Gets loss- 0.1 IP, 3 H - 5 ER
Toronto Blue Jays 13 hits, 39 LOB

 

  As you can see, the Phillies blew this one late, it was a game they normally close out and win, but this time the game was tied in the 9th and then the bullpen collapsed like a house of cards. Toronto would go on to leave plenty on base in this three game series. In fact, the Jays stranded 85 players on base  with 85 LOB in the three game series. That is enough baserunners to load the bases 28.33 times in this series if you add up all the runners the Jays left on base.

  Exit stage left is Raul Ibanez after the next game, it is revealed that he has an injury and must go to the DL to heal it up. Tests show that Ibanez didn’t have a more serious injury but he’ll still be out of the lineup for the next 15 days and perhaps not make the All Star game if selected.

Game 2 vs. Blue Jays

  The threat of a ‘losing streak’ doesn’t start after the first game, but let’s look at the second game in the Toronto series. Toronto is currently third in the AL East only 5 GB off of the leader. In game two against the Phillies, it will be a washout 7-1 victory against the defending World Champs. Lets again look at a table of stats for Game 2:

 

Toronto Blue Jays Scored 3 runs in 1st inning
Jamie Moyer, starter 6.0 IP – 10 H – 6 R – 6 ER
Scott Rolen, ex-Phillies player 2-5 with 2 RBI – 1 HR, BA is .325
Raul Ibanez 0-3 tonight, then to DL
Scott Richmond, (who?) Jays 8.0 IP – 1 R – 1 ER- 11 SO
Rod Barajas 1-3 with a HR in the 2nd inning

 

   Former Phillies players Rolen, and Barajas come back after their old team with home runs each in this game. It is a 7-1 game, and the starter Jamie Moyer could probably share the blame if you will on this loss. The Phillies offense could not muster more than 1 run in this game, so that is also a contributing factor. Two games in a row for losses starts what is a mini losing streak. There will be more.

 

Game 3 vs. Blue Jays

 

  Game 3 was a game that the Phillies really wanted to win, and they almost did. The Phillies and the Blue Jays traded runs and leads throughout the game. A lot of good things happened for the Phillies in this one, the offense returned and the starting pitching wasn’t too bad. Jimmy Rollins went 3-4 with 2 RBI and the spark was back in the Phillies lineup. A late inning error by Pedro Feliz opened the door for this loss, with the scored tied 5-5, Feliz bobbled an easy double play ball that could have got the Phillies out of trouble in this game.

Ryan Madson came in late in the game and though it wasn’t a save situation, he actually just got the loss in this one. The lead changed so many times, but the Phillies ended up again on the losing end of an 8-7 score. Here again is a table of stats to look at in this one:

 

Joe Blanton, starter 5.1 IP – 9 H – 4 R –4 ER
Jimmy Rollins 3-4  2 RBI – 1 BB
Shane Victorino 2-4  1 RBI
John Mayberry, Jr 2-5   1 RBI
Vern Wells, Jays 3-6  2 RBI
Rod Barajas HR pinch hit
Toronto Blue Jays 31 LOB this game

 

 

     Again, the tough loss here. Pedro Feliz with a costly error, and Ryan Madson with a 90 + mph pitch down the middle to Rod Barajas was the difference in this game. Old players of a team love to come back and haunt them, Rod Barajas and Scott Rolen did just that in this series against the Phillies. Here’s the line for the three game series for each player:

 

Rod Barajas 3-9 4 RBI 3 HR .333 series
Scott Rolen 6-14 4 RBI 1 HR .429 series

 

 

  Stay tuned for Part 2 to Anatomy of a Losing Streak  …  only on Fightin Phillies Blog.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cole looked sharp again in loss to O's

pic. c. Jun 21, 2009 R.Baxter

Hamels delivered the goods in the Father's Day game June 21, 2009 vs. Baltimore

Here's Cole's line from today:

8.0 IP - 9 H - 2 ER - 110 total pitches

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Great Father’s Day matchup, Phils get swept again at home though

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Moyer’s Dad gets the World Series 2008 bling bling

You could tell it was going to be a great day. The rains stayed away from Philly on this afternoon, and it was Father’s Day. Upon arrival to the game, all men 15 and over got a nice ‘bucket hat’ with a Phillies logo on the front. Cole Hamels would be pitching today and if nothing else, it looked as if the Phillies might snap out of a losing streak today at home, more on that later though.

Before the game, a very special presentation was made near the Phillies dugout by Jamie Moyer. He presented his own dad with a World Series ring on this Father’s Day! What a nice gift for him, and another classy move by Jamie. I had a feeling that the Phillies may take it out on the Orioles this afternoon with their hitting, but after the game it would be quite the opposite with the Phillies narrowly losing again in front of 45,256 at home.

The game was a classic pitcher’s duel. Only 1 run by the Phillies is what separated the two teams for most of the game. In the end, the Orioles tied the game in the sixth inning and then went ahead of the Phillies with a score in the 8th inning and that would be enough to win the game today at CBP. The Phil’s bats just feel silent, with Rollins 0-4, Werth 0-4, Utley 0-3, and Feliz and Ruiz were both also 0-3. You just can’t win ballgames without any hits. Cole Hamels hung in most of the game, pitching 8.0 innings and giving up only 2 runs on 9 hits. Cole fell to 4-3 on the season. The problem is the Phillies weren’t facing a pitcher with the qualities of Cole Hamels, they were facing a 4-7 Jeremy Guthrie who is not in any way- a quality pitcher. Guthrie looked like Cy Young today though, and the Phillies couldn’t get it going with much of anything.

The Phillies now go on the road and face the Tampa Rays down in Tampa/St. Pete, and then up north to Toronto, and off to Atlanta before they finally come home for the July 4th holiday homestand which starts on July 3rd with the Mets on July 3-4-5, then the Reds on July 6-7-8-9 and then Pittsburgh on July 10-11-12 which brings the team into the All Star break.

What more can you say about this losing streak, it happens and it’s ugly. The Phillies are filling up the sick bay very fast. Ryan Howard is now out with the flu, offensive producer Raul Ibanez is still out, and things are not looking too good at this point. The bright spot in all of this is the Mets losing along with Phillies, if the Phils could have won a few games in the last couple, they could have sent the Mets reeling about 6-7 games back, but as it is now, the Phillies still occupy first place.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tide has turned on Phillies but don't abandon ship just yet

Phillies not in treacherous waters just yet



The past week or ten days has been tough for the Phillies and their fans. Their last ten games find the team 3-7. That is a far cry from the week or so that they were 7-3 in their last ten games. Such as baseball. Peaks and valleys, sweeps and swept. What we hope for is the team get this ship turned around and get back to winning.


The home losing has been in a word: unbelieveable. To think that the Phillies have had so many home games and so little wins at home startles the mind. Why? How come? This is all a bad dream and it really isn't real.... You look in the standings though and it is real and guess what? They are still in first place.


Don't hand me stories of black clouds, cursed fields, or unlucky baseball diamonds. We have to realize this is baseball, this is the Phillies and they'll be alright. I always start thinking about the movie, "The Wizard of Oz" - and the part of the movie where Dorothy says... "There's no place like home.......... there's no place like home....."



Things to be happy about with the Phillies despite their losing streak:


  • Jamie Moyer is still the team's win leader with 4
  • The team's pitching ERA is not last, it's next to last in the NL at 4.78
  • Ibanez is the team's offense leader in these stats: HR, RBI, BA, R
  • There are only 8 more games in a row of interleague play
  • The Phillies are still in first place
  • The Phils are 19-12 vs. NL East and can't wait to get back to them!
  • Even though the Phils are losing at home, every night is a sellout
  • The Phils 23-9 road record is still tops in the MLB



Some of these are tongue in cheek things to be happy about, but for the most part, I wouldn't say it's time to panic just yet. As was said in the movie, Titanic, "There's reports of iceburgs ahead, Captain" and that may be the little chunks of ice the Phillies have broken up over the last couple games, but I don't see that big iceburg in the distance just yet. Stay on course, full throttle ahead and start winning some more ballgames please!






Raul Ibanez: he is really that good!


Raul is not Manny when it comes to steroids
pic: r.baxter 2008





Forget the recent flap involving Raul Ibanez and the connection with steroids or PED's as they are starting to be called. That started out so innocently and really got taken out of context and blown out of proportion. The simple fact of the matter is Raul Ibanez is that good. That is why he is leading this Phillies baseball team in most of the offensive leading catagories this year.


The area press and most baseball fans don't really follow west coast AL teams all that much for the most part. Over the past several years, this is where Raul Ibanez quietly assembled such a great career. Just tonight, I am sorting through some stats on Baseball-Reference.com and their great player index that lets you search all the stats of baseball up to and including this season.


Who is Raul's favorite pitcher to hit? Survey says.... Jon Garland. Ibanez has victimized Garland over the years. He has 59 AB's against Jon, and has 21 hits against him. Of those 21 hits there are: 5 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homeruns, and 5 walks. His average against Garland is .356 That's pretty good. It doesn't stop there though.

Ibanez has a history of hitting good pitchers. Most of the hits he has in quantity are against the big names of Freddy Garcia, Kevin Millwood, Bartolo Colon, and surprise, Johan Santana. All of these pitchers would be considered your A type free agents so that in my eyes makes Ibanez look really special.


Raul seems to hit better for average than home runs, although this year is more of an anomaly than the norm. Up to tonight, he has 204 career home runs, he is added 10 percent of those in this year so far. In his career Ibanez has 5 walk off home runs, his first one for the Phillies came on 4-19-09 against San Diego in the bottom of the ninth to win it for the Phils 4-3. The most home runs hit by Raul off of another team is LAA or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, he's hit 19 combined home runs off of that team. That team also happens to have the worst identity crisis of any team in the MLB, whose team is it? Los Angeles or Anaheim?



If you can say anything about this year's breakout season for Ibanez, you'd have to say he's just playing his tail off for the team. This is his 14th season in the big leagues and his years of experience are finally paying off. He's not a player that is destined for the Hall of Fame, but he is a solid all around baseball player. He's hard nosed, and as we found out when confronted with a half hearted allegation, snapped back like a ferocious lion which is how he is playing this year.



Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for their support! We used the super PI feature that you can configure all the stats you can read in baseball from 1954-2009 for the regular season and more for the playoffs, we recommend you to use this site!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Former Phillies make impact on Jays sweep

 

 Phillies get swept at home

Broom

 

 

When he was here, Rod Barajas got little respect. Well, he returned in a big way to say “Remember me?.” All throughout the series, the former Phillies showed that they still had game. Scott Rolen went 2-5 in this game and was on a tear the other games in this series. The Jays have been surging of late despite a setback at home recently against the young Florida Marlins. The Blue Jays came into this game this afternoon only 5 GB behind the Boston Red Sox in 3rd place in the AL East.

 

  Players love to come back and haunt old teams. Pat Burrell would do the same if he was healthy against the Phillies next week in Florida. That is just the way the game is played. It’s a player’s chance to say, “Hah, I am better than you thought!”  The Blue Jays didn’t even need the services of ace Roy Halladay who was put on the DL retro to June 14th for a groin pull, the same affliction that Raul Ibanez has.

 

  A couple disturbing events in recent games that I’ve noticed: Pedro Feliz making costly errors that are leading to losses. The game was tied 5-5 and Feliz went to field a grounder and couldn’t get a handle on it, and thus the Phillies didn’t get out of the 8th inning with a double play. Ryan Madson saying to hitters, “I am going to throw the ball straight down the plate at 90 mph, see if you can hit it”, and Barajas did with a long center field homerun that he didn’t even get the whole bat on. Madson didn’t get a blown save there, but he got the loss today which is even worse. Suddenly, what was so automatic is not appearing to happen so automatic for the Phillies anymore. The Phillies making stupid errors that are allowing teams to capitalize and beat them on stupidity rather than superior play. The Phillies aren’t getting any mileage out of their starters, they all barely make the 5th inning and they are getting used to it.

 

   Bring in Baltimore now, as the Phillies continue to look for answers. Ruben Amaro should start to do something with pitching real soon, I don’t think it will be good to stand pat with this rotation much longer. Moyer is looking worse as the starts go, he is keeping the team somewhat close but teams are tagging him almost every time out there.

 

Don’t forget to get your first edition of Fightin Phillies – The Magazine

   Click below to order the first edition it will be mailed to you in a plastic wrapper!

 

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Ibanez to DL, Mayberry Jr. promoted

Raul Ibanez has been placed on the 15 day DL with a groin strain. John Mayberry Jr. was promoted from Triple-A to replace him.

The team is attributing his recent struggles to the strain, and not the sore left Achilles as a result of some bad shoes. Hopefully Ibanez will have time to recover fully and not miss any more time, and come back in his earlier season form after two weeks.

Mayberry Jr. and Matt Stairs figure to both see time in Ibanez's absence, with Stairs getting a few starts against tough right-handed pitchers. Greg Dobbs and Eric Bruntlett will likely also see some time in the outfield.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Two series in a row, the Phillies lose first two at home






This year is unprecedented for the Phillies. Nearly every home game has been a sellout but the team just can't seem to get it together at home. Their record at home is legendary for the wrong reasons. A first place team without a winning record at home? This is almost impossible to imagine. The Phillies dropped another interleague game tonight to the Blue Jays 7-1 in which the Jays pounded out 12 hits against the World Champions.


A 13-18 record at home is simply inexcusable and unexplainable for this season. There is no good reason for it except to say the team simply isn't in a groove on it's own field. This isn't the first time this has happened. In 2007 the home winning record was 47-34 and in 2008 the home winning record was 48-33. So the Phillies must start making up some ground to get to those numbers. The scary thing is when they go back out on the road, will they continue to win there? July is coming and the Phillies have been red hot in the month of July in the past two years, they are 15-10 for both July's in '07 and '08.


The businessperson's special takes this series outta here on Thursday afternoon, then the Phillies welcome in the team that beat the Mets tonight, The Baltimore Orioles.

Great new Kalas memories book on sale at Wawa

table style="width:auto;">From Desktop



The other morning while driving to work, I heard an interview on a local sports radio show. The author was speaking about his book that was just made available to readers. He was on the show talking about a guy that is really missed around this area, the great Harry Kalas. The author's name is Rich Wolfe and he is a nice guy with a pretty unique way to distribute this book. Your local Wawa Food market!

For a limited time, Wawa is making the book available to it's customers at a great price $9.99!
I got mine just minutes after hearing the interview, and I'll tell you I love the stories in the book. It will make you laugh and really shake your head at all the fun stories that people tell about the late great Harry Kalas.

I am going to try to get Rich Wolfe on an upcoming appearance on the Phillies Talk - podcast in the near future, so listen it and perhaps you'll hear it in an upcoming show!

Phillies Interleague play nothing to be concerned about

Interleague play is not new, in fact it's been going on for 13 years now. The Phillies haven't thrived on winning interleague games. The loss last night against the Blue Jays isn't good, but given the fact that the Phillies don't really fare all to well against interleague matchups doesn't cause me great concern or alarm.

I don't like seeing the Phils lose like they did last night though. Some nights no matter what happens it just looks as if the Phils wouldn't win. Last night was one of those games. No reason to sound an alarm, no reason to get upset, we're still 3 whole games up on the Mets.

They'll play two national anthems again at CBP tonight, when the Phils will again take on the scrappy Blue Jays.


Upcoming pitchers:

UPCOMING PROBABLES:
Wednesday, June 17 vs TOR (7:05): RHP Scott Richmond (4-3, 3.90) vs LHP Jamie Moyer (4-5, 6.11) CSN
Thursday, June 18 vs TOR (1:05): RHP Casey Janssen (2-3, 6.23) vs RHP Joe Blanton (4-3, 5.17) CSN
Friday, June 19 vs BAL (7:05): LHP Rich Hill (2-1, 5.81) vs LHP Antonio Bastardo (2-1, 5.25) CSN
Saturday, June 20 vs BAL (7:05): RHP Brad Bergesen (4-2, 3.79) vs LHP J.A. Happ (4-0, 3.53) myphl17
Sunday, June 21 vs BAL (1:35): RHP Jeremy Guthrie (4-6, 5.52) vs LHP Cole Hamels (4-2, 4.62)* myphl17
Monday, June 22: Phillies Phestival to benefit the ALS Association

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Phillies Talk - the podcast tonight @ 6:30 PM

Join us live or listen to the show right here on the blog later on or subscribe to the show on iTunes and download it! We're talking your language, "Phillies Talk" the podcast only here on FightinPhillies.com!


Listen right here!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Phillies bring out big offense to beat Red Sox

My wife said to me, this was the most exciting game she's been to. This said a lot to me about how good this game was this Sunday afternoon with the Phillies looking to not have the Red Sox sweep them at home. The Phillies lost the first two games to the Boston Red Sox at home but on this Sunday afternoon, there wouldn't be a third win by the Sox who again had a big fan following sweep into Citizens Bank Park and support their baseball team.

The Sox fans weren't your typical fans to coin a phrase. These fans following the Red Sox were more baseball educated, more knowledgable about the game, and generally less annoying in a big way than say the group of ignorant Mets fans that come in from New York to see the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. The Sox fans looked like they were loving the Philly foods at the ballpark and except for a few isolated situations there were no real fan vs. fan battles in the stands this Sunday.

J.A. Happ has come a long way. He is a young pitcher who is getting a chance to pitch big league baseball, and he is making a good time of it lately. Happ kept the Phillies somewhat close to the Red Sox today, except for a 4 run second inning- Happ was really great. He didn't earn the win for this game, but he is still 4-0 with a 3.53 era.

We finally got a win at home today for the Phillies. This is refreshing as the team looks to welcome in the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday for a three game series. The Phillies will return the favor to the Blue Jays by the end of the month and will travel up to Toronto for a weekend series June 26-27-28 in Canada.



Stars of the game for the Phillies 11-6 win today:

Jimmy Rollins - homerun with 3 rbi's
Pedro Feliz- 3-5 with 2 rbi's
Shane Victorino- 2-4 with 2 rbi's
Chase Utley- 2-4

All in all it was a total team effort in this victory today, it had the crowd energized and gave them a lot to cheer for against a tough Boston Red Sox team.

Inquirer's Gonzo, I give him a thumbs up!

I like a guy that will stand up for what he believes in. John Gonzales is that kind of guy and a good writer. He stood up for what he thought was right, in this day and age, professional sports and PED's have been out of control. Here's a reprint from his column in today's Philly Inquirer:


Because of a dust-up involving Page 2, a blogger, and Raul Ibanez, today's mailbag will feature fewer reader questions but longer responses.

I think it's important that people understand my thought process involving the initial column, and that will require more words on my end.

But don't worry - I got and read all of your many, many angry e-mails on the topic. Don't think you were ignored, or that your outrage went unnoticed.

We hope to return to our regularly scheduled frivolity next Sunday. Until then, once more unto the breach. . . .

Why dignify and amplify the comments of a blogger [about Raul Ibanez] by repeating them in your column? Even if the context of your column is to criticize the blogger, you risk perpetuating the harm. People who get their sports news solely from TV/radio, the papers or newspapers would know nothing of the blogger's speculation without repetition of it in those legitimate media.

- Jeff
Jeff,

I think you missed the point of my column. You can't ignore anyone anymore. Everyone links to everyone's stuff. Even if I hadn't written about the Midwest Sports Fans post, there were other Web sites/blogs that wrote about it. Hugging Harold Reynolds linked to it and put it on Twitter. The MSF post was already out there, and people were talking about it long before I came along.

And if there are people who only get their news from TV and newspapers, they're quickly dwindling. The lines have blurred between old school media and bloggers. That's why I wrote that all of us - from the biggest traditional media outlets to the smallest blogs - need to be really careful what we say or write because the spotlight shines on everyone now, and far more brightly than in the past. Because of that, stories can get blown out of proportion quicker than ever before. That was the gist of my piece. Some people missed that and also overlooked my defense of Ibanez. I repeat: no one should be accused of taking PEDs without proof, Ibanez included.

I'll cop to joining the conversation and even making it bigger, but I didn't create the controversy. I don't have that much power. Someone said I "spread the blog virus." Truth is, we were already infected.

- Gonzo





Jason Varitek is the Boston Red Sox “C” who would the Phillies captain be?

CaptainRollins

Hockey teams all have them, but hardly any baseball teams do anymore. What would that be? The team captain, as denoted by the player wearing the ‘C’ on their jersey.

There are a couple more players that have been designated ‘team captain’ by different teams but no one but Varitek wears the ‘C’ on his uniform. Derek Jeter is the named captain of the New York Yankees, but chooses not to wear anything to denote that. I think it’s pretty cool to wear the ‘C’ if you are indeed the captain of the team.

Varitek is an interesting player. He is one of only two players in all of MLB history to have been in the Little League World Series, MLB World Series, and the College World Series. In fact, the Red Sox have only had three players named ‘Captain’ in the history of the ballclub. After last season, Varitek looked to join a different team with perhaps more money, but in the end the Sox signed him back. Incidentally, Varitek filed for divorce as well last year, so a lot of changes happened to him after the Sox got beat in Game 7 of the ALCS from last season.

Who would the captain of the Phillies be? I know who it should be, Jimmy Rollins. Jimmy has the time with the Phillies club, and has the experience in helping the team be successful. The only impediment to this might be his relationship with Charlie Manuel. At times the two have been a bit like The Odd Couple, even though they have always worked things out in the end. Have the Phillies ever had a named Captain? No, I haven’t been able to find any player that has been a named ‘Captain’ of the team. It could be a fun thing to do for the MLB if they encouraged this naming of captains and if the captain would wear the ‘C’.


New Phillies Fan's magazine!



First Edition of Fightin Phillies - The Magazine now available!







Phillies play Sox in Citizens Bank 'E' Fest

     The Phillies looked as if they had been completely out of sorts in the first inning on Saturday night. First, Carlos Ruiz throws down to second trying to get a runner out stealing second, and the ball goes into center field outside of Chase Utley's reach. It set up another couple of strange plays to haunt the Phillies in the top half of inning 1 and tack on three errors to the season total.

    The next play to make the Phillies look amazingly unlike they usually do, was when Ryan Howard dinked a throw off his glove from Antonio Bastardo at first and then he chased the ball down and it was bad enough that had happened, but Howard sheepishly tracked the ball and forgot their was a runner who went to second base on this and the runner, Kevin Youkilis, ran all the way to third base. That actually looked like two errors on that one play to me but Howard only picked up one. 

   The next play was more explainable, the ball has hit out to center by Julio Lugo, and Shane Victorio tried to play it on a hop and the ball skipped right under his reach and back to the center field backstop. So three errors in the first inning until the rains came that is. After the rain, the Phillies settled down on the field but couldn't stop the surging Red Sox as the Sox had the Phillies measured 10-5 by the 7th inning.

   Dice K didn't need to overly impress the Phillies tonight but he kept the Phillies at bay for a while pitching 4.0 innings and leaving with 7 hits and 4 ER given up.  The Phillies were a late threat, but in the end it wasn't enough as the Sox take the first two from the Fightins. We have the last game in the series coming up on Sunday with a great pitching matchup,  Josh Beckett for the Sox and JA Happ for the Phils. I wish it was a Beckett vs. Hamels matchup but what can you do?


  See you at the ballpark on Sunday, where I hope the Phillies will win at least one of these games  against the Red Sox.

   



Saturday, June 13, 2009

We may have seen the last of Kyle Kendrick

Kendrick once looked like the 'real deal'  photo: Baseball Almanac
  



 KK looked like he was the real deal for a while. He reminded me of a young Greg Maddux the way he threw the baseball and went about his business. He somehow managed to completely lose it out on the mound on several occasions in '08 which led to his initial demotion to the minors after being a favorite to earn a spot on this year's starting rotation. On June 13th 2009 after he got the loss to Boston, he was sent down again but this time I think that's the last we'll see of him.

    Kendrick got his start in the MLB in mid summer of 2007 when Freddie Garcia turned in such a terrible start to the 2007 season and went out on the DL. Kendrick surprised the Phillies and turned in a really great half a season with a 10-4 record in 20 starts for the team. In the beginning of the 2008 season Kendrick seemed like he had made it, like there was no going back to the minors until mid season in '08 when to much surprise again, it seemed like Kendrick was a changed pitcher. Kendrick still finished with a 11-9 record for 2008 but wasn't included in the playoff roster and thus isn't a member of the World Series team as he basically gave the Phillies no option but to drop him off the roster after becoming very unstable in August and September of 2008.


   Is he finished in pitching? No, I don't think so. Is he finished as a Phillies pitcher? Yes, in the long run I think he's gone for some time unless the Phillies have no other option but to bring him up because of an injury to another starter. At one time, Kendrick could have garnered a real trade opportunity for the Phillies to get someone for him. As it stands now, Kendrick will probably get a shot with another team but he needs to gather his pitching ways of old to again be successful as a MLB pitcher.




MLB replay? Why the umpires don't want it used

The Phillies had more than a legitimate gripe with Greg Dobbs monster fly ball that sailed over the right field foul pole in game 1 with Boston on Friday night. Was it fair or foul? The ball was called foul very late by first base umpire, Jim Joyce. It took literally forever to call it foul. A plea was made by Charlie Manuel but it went unheard by the crew chief, who must make the call to have a play reviewed.

Why don't the umpires call for a replay? They don't want to be far removed from the decision making process that then goes to the MLB to help out by replaying the play on specially installed equipment at every MLB ballpark. The call is then solely resting in the hands of the MLB crew chief who will make the call, and determine that there is clear and unrefuted evidence that the wrong call was made. Plainly put, if the umpire crew chief determines that a ball was fair instead of foul, it would be called a homerun in this instance. In a close play, why wouldn't this be reviewed?


I personally think the MLB umpires don't really want this system. It's a system that is in place for close homerun calls now, but how soon will it be used for other calls? A close play at first, a throw to second, a double play call. Where would it end? It's true that the umpires aren't perfect in their calls but will instant replay solve this? The MLB is a weird organization that in the not to distant past have made decisions on things like postponing last year's Game 5 World Series game - after it was tied. A rule that Bud Selig just came out and made himself.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kyle Kendrick has the worst luck - Phils lose in 13

I don't want to be Kyle Kendrick. He gets called up from the minors after being demoted to the minors after pitching for some time in the regular rotation of the Phillies last year. Remember the gag the players played on him in Spring Training last year? He's been traded to Japan? Now they couldn't give him to Japan.

Kyle Kendrick gets called up today, and is a pitcher that probably won't be called on in game 1 against Boston. Well, so much for quietly blending in. Kendrick gets the ball in the 13th inning and gets the loss and looks like the goat in this Phillies loss tonight.

I'll say what I said in this blog a while ago, What happened to Kyle Kendrick? He was cruising around as a Phillies starter doing very well, and then all of a sudden, he lost his stuff completely. The Phillies came close to losing this game in the bottom of the 9th, they've just entered into their third extra inning game in the past three games. They won't win every game in extra innings.


This is getting to the sublime now, the Phillies can't seem to win at home, they have some sort of jinx on them and they need to shake it soon. Call Billy Penn's ghost and find out what the problem is, get this straightened out, it's getting scary.

Boston- one game away from being the opponents in last year's World Series



Last year's ALCS Game 7 rosters, the day after Tampa won it all!




I know a thing or two about last year's AL playoffs for the ALCS. I happened to be down in the Tampa area for the Game 7 game with the Tampa Rays and the Boston Red Sox. The whole series looked as if the Tampa Rays would handily win it early in the ALCS series and proceed into the World Series without a problem. That wasn't how it quite worked out, Tampa came within a few innings of not even going to the World Series last year.

The whole season for the American League boiled down to one more game. One more game to determine who the Phillies would play for the World Series for all the marbles. From the outset, I didn't think that Boston really gave it's all in this game. The Game 7 was won by the Rays in the end but what if they didn't win this game? What would of a Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies World Series have looked like?

I dreaded that scenario, I looked at the pitching staff of Boston. I looked at all the history of Boston's Fenway Park, I didn't want the Phillies to have to face Boston in a World Series match up. But if they did? What would it have meant to baseball? The weather was not exactly the best in the Northeast all of the week that the World Series was played in the Philly area. That would have been compounded by the Boston area weather, would have the cold conditions led to very bad playing conditions for both clubs? One day someone will come up with a "what if" concerning the Red Sox and if they just happened to win that Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS in Tampa.

Phillies take series from Mets at Citi

Ibanez nickname?: Wheaties

RaulWheatiesChamp

Raul Ibanez – who was born in New York, NY beats Mets with HR last night

The Phillies played well enough to stay within reach of the NY Mets last night. Every night it seems like it’s a different player stepping up to make the big play needed to win ballgames.

Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins each played a part in last night’s victory. Rollins sacrifice fly was crucial enough to give the Phillies an extra run needed to keep pace with the Mets, I can’t tell you how many times runners get stranded without scoring at times, but the Phils were able to get Feliz home on that sacrifice fly last night.

Raul Ibanez went from having a bad night at the plate, up to the point where he hit the homerun to put the Phillies ahead in the 10th, he was 0-4 with two strikeouts. That’s the funny thing about baseball, you can have a real bad game and then turn up as the hero with a game winning hit. Maybe Ibanez should get a Wheaties commercial after all of the flap about the comparisons with how well he is doing and the possible explanation that there is something extra helping him do it that has been introduced in the past couple of days.

Once again the two starting pitchers that started the game didn’t get a decision. Jamie Moyer went 6.0 innings and gave up 8 hits with 3 ER and 3 strikeouts. Moyer’s ERA stands at 6.11. It was Scott Eyre who earned the win after only pitching .1 winning and Madson got his fourth save of the year to close out the game for the Fightins.

The Phillies had a terrific road trip, and now they come back home…

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ibanez should get a grip

There was an ugly incident yesterday that is in the end, much ado about nothing. A simple innocent blog post out in the Midwest started a chain reaction that culminated with Raul Ibanez taking things way too personal. He blew up literally for no reason in the Philadelphia media, and then said that blog writers are 42 year old guys that live in their mother's basements.


I am not a 42 year old blogger living in my mother's basement. Yet, that's what Raul Ibanez thinks a blogger is who writes about baseball or any other thing for that matter on a blog based upon his quote yesterday in the Philly Inquirer. Well, Raul - get a grip. You're a professional baseball player making millions of dollars playing a kid's game, you have the life. Yet, when a 'press' writer from Inquirer asked you a simple question about something that started so obscure from a Midwest sports blog, you went into a rage.

Why?

I followed this story after it broke in the media, and as a professional baseball player you are going to be asked questions you don't really care to hear. Claiming you're going to sue everyone involved in this silly matter even goes further into the sublime. Did listeners on television who heard Chase Utley utter those famous words after the Phillies won the World Series, that incidentally rang out over public airwaves. Was there a rush to sue anyone? Nothing, not that I am aware of.

The official 'press' feeds off of blogs now as much as bloggers feed off of the printed words of the official press.That is just how it is. Bloggers aren't a bunch of yahoos looking to diss sports players, they are writers that write about a million different things. Drugs in sports is one of them. The fact that a reporter from the Inquirer actually confronted Ibanez should have been an opportunity for Raul to take the high road and explain the dangers of taking illegal banned substances and he never took them would have been a sufficient answer.

You know, in Seattle there used to be a player named Alex Rodriguez he also said he never took steroids, we now know that to be untrue. Not to say Ibanez isn't being truthful but in this day and age you don't really know. The saga of the drug scandal in the MLB has many names involved in it, and a simple question shouldn't turn out to be a raging volcano.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Phillies rebound against Mets late, win Game 2




The Phillies pulled out a few tricks of their own in game 2 of the series with New York on Wednesday night. It looked not so good to the sixth inning when the Mets had what seemed to be an ironclad lead behind the pitching of Mike Pelfrey. It was all down hill for the Mets from there, as a dropped fly ball by Carlos Beltran opened the door for the Phillies to load the bases and start their comeback at Citi Field to win it 5-4 in 11 innings.


Cole Hamels got a no decision in this one, despite having the Mets hitting 11 hits and 4 runs off of him. Chase Utley had two homeruns to help in this victory and the Phillies delivered with a error from David Wright with the bases loaded to even help the cause more. This had shades of a complete Mets collapse that came from no where, and yet the great game that they had in the first half of the game went for nothing in the end.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

First Edition of Fightin Phillies - The Magazine now available!







Lidge to DL - Live show Phillies Talk right here tonight 6:30

Brad Lidge moves to the DL as of Sunday, in a surprise announcement made just today. Hear about this and more talk about the Phillies tonight on Phillies Talk at 6:30 pm.

Will the Phils stay on top of the NL East? The Mets would like to think they won't. Join Rich and Jim tonight right here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Young Phillies pitchers are 6-0

  

 

The Phillies have a couple of pitchers at their disposal from the minors that we’ve been hearing about for some time. Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Drabeck are two that come to mind. So far the majors hasn’t seen much of either of them, but quietly, the Phillies JA Happ and Antonio Bastardo have combined to go 6-0 so far this year for the Fightins.

    JA Happ gets the start in New York on Tuesday against Johan Santana, but Happ isn’t doing all that bad himself with a 2.48 compared to Santana, who is the ace of the Mets, who comes in with a 2.00 era and a 7.3 record.

 

    Raul Ibanez is continuing to set the pace for the Phillies offense, he leads in BA with .329 and homeruns with 19 and RBI with 54. Who could have guessed this would happen with Raul, who is a hard nosed player who doesn’t seem full of himself.

 

     The Phillies pitching staff as a whole is still near the bottom of the NL in several important categories. It’s a wonder that the team is 3 games above the NY Mets, and in first place with this kind of performance overall by the pitching staff. There is a guy named Tom Glavine out there, how about bringing him in for the youngsters to learn from?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Phils cooling off out in LA with 8 pm game tonight


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The Phillies hot streak is slowed to a barely tepid pot out in LA for the last two games. The playoff atmosphere of last year is in full swing out in tinseltown and the Dodgers are playing like they are in the playoffs here in June already. These two clubs are battling tooth and nail with games that are going down to the wire the past two nights.

Brad Lidge has been bitten again, this time it's two BS in a row. Blown saves that stands for, and I hope they are all out of his system now. This slide down the mountain of success has been fast for Lidge and a lot of his armor from last year is already worn down by the battering he is taking this season so far. Teams are making him pay for the season he had last year, and let's face it the Phillies are the reigning World Champions of Baseball, so every team wants a piece of them if for nothing else to say, "We beat the World Champs."


Antonio Bastardo gets the ball for the Phils tonight, and the MLB Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki has reported that Matt Stairs will not be available tonight so that he can view his daughter's graduation. So it's up to the rest of the team to bring home a victory so the Phillies can even this series up and get out of LA with a split. The Phillies will take on Randy Wolf, the pitcher that the Phillies could have had back, if they only made him an offer.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Hottest team in baseball continues tear out West





The Phillies are now the hottest team in baseball, and people are starting to take notice. I just heard the other day on the ESPN radio show, Mike and Mike, when the guys mentioned, "The Phillies are back on track". Of course a sports commentator is expecting the Phillies to play like World Champions, and now they are playing much better than at any other time in this season.

The Phils are on a seven game win streak, and that's a good thing. They have the best road record of any team in the MLB. The Phillies are 8-2 in their last ten games, they are also 32-20 on grass and 4-1 in extra innings.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bastardo's first win brings the first headline


Bastardo, The Magnifico







You knew it was coming, and yes it did! Antonio Bastardo's win produced a vintage headline in the Philly papers this morning. "Bastardo the Magnifico" was in the Philly Inquirer and it's great to see this, now the team has more character to follow.


I can't believe the Daily News didn't feed off of this for the back cover in the sports area.

Internet radio show / podcast tonight at 6:30 pm

Listen to "Phillies Talk" the show -right here! The Phillies are on a roll out West, we talk about the great outing that Antonio Bastardo had and so much more!


Will Philadelphia host an MLB All Star Game in the near future?

AllStarLogo2009

When a team opens a new stadium chances are that in the not too distant future, the MLB would want to host an All Star game there. This isn’t the case in Philly though. The ‘new’ stadium is now in it’s 6th season and still no game is on the horizon for Philadelphia.

The last All Star game to be held in Philly was in 1996 at Veteran’s Stadium on July 9th. Prior to 1996 it was a 20 year span to 1976 when the game was held in Philadelphia. The game last year was in New York to close Yankee Stadium, and this year it is in St. Louis at new ‘Busch' Stadium. For 2010, the game moves out to the West coast in Anaheim for the Angels to host the game it is the third time for the Angels hosting this game. The 2011 game was just awarded to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, it will be the first time there.

The National League still leads the series since the All Star Game was started in 1933 with a record of 40-37-2 . There was no game in 1945 and there was two tie games one in 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee when it was called 7-7 in the 11th when there were no more pitchers available for either side and the All Star Managers met with Commissioner Bud Selig and decided to just call the game in the 11th inning the two pitchers last to pitch were Vincente Padilla for the NL and Freddy Garcia for the AL, and once more time it was called a 1-1 tie in 1961 at Boston’s Fenway Park because of rain. The 1961 tie was actually the ‘second’ All Star Game of the year for 1961. There was a time from 1959 to 1962 when the MLB held two All Star Games for the season, but that format only lasted 4 seasons.

Remember to cast your votes for your favorite Phillies, if you can’t make it out to the ballpark, you can always go online to MLB.com to cast your vote!

Birthday guy Ibanez excels against Padres


Raul Ibanez is the team leader on the Phillies



Raul Ibanez had a birthday yesterday. What a way to celebrate! He hit two homeruns and a double to propel the Phillies to the win out in San Diego last night, 10-5. The Padres tried a late run at the Phils leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

The Phillies are now an important 2.5 games up on the Mets with the Pirates last night taking it again to the Mets beating them for the second night in a row. The Phils are now 18-6 on the road and are on a 5 game winning streak. Antonio Bastardo was as advertised for the Phillies he went 6 innings and only allowed 1 run. Bastardo is 1-0 on his first major league start.

I am not going to mention the 's' word today, I don't want to jinx the Phils but they could do that 's' word tonight out in San Diego. Another young arm for the Phillies, JA Happ, goes tonight against the Padres, have the brooms ready.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Winning ways continue out West

The Phillies are on a roll, they are 9 games over .500 with last night's win in San Diego. This in addition to the NY Mets on a bit of a losing streak has propelled the Phillies into first place fairly solidly being 1.5 games up on the Mets.

Tonight is the debut of a Phillies minor leaguer, Antonio Bastardo. Bastardo has been in the Phillies minor league system since 2006 when he made it to the rookies league at age 20. Antonio went 10-0 in 2007 in the minors. John Mayberry Jr. has been sent back down to AAA in another move for the Phillies. I think Mayberry Jr. may have a future as a Phillie but where will he play? He could also be trade bait for a top quality pitcher if needed.

Another late one on tap for tonight, I wish I could stay up for these games but the boss won't like me in the morning!