Monday, September 29, 2014

Phils season comes to an end for 2014

Utley climbs up the ladder for a ball yesterday afternoon in the final game of 2014 at CBP yesterday

There were more than 38,000 in the stands yesterday for the final home game of the Phillies 2014 season but despite there being so many fans there, not much cheering took place.

The Phils lost 2-1 to a Atlanta Braves team that folded down the stretch and also finished out of the money for the playoffs.

As in a lot of the games that the Phillies played this year, they had chances. In fact the Phils were 0-7 when it came to RISP (runners in scoring position) and that's usually not a good sign.

Before the game an award was given to ex-Phils broadcaster Chris Wheeler, he won the Richie Ashburn award for Phillies employees. Wheeler who is a Phillies employee for over 40 years and a broadcaster for many of those years, looked like he had found the fountain of youth. His time away from the TV broadcasting duties has been good for him as now he doesn't have the tremendous travel schedule to deal with all year long.

Jimmy Rollins made a short speech to the fans before the game. He thanked them for coming, and acknowledged the team had a rough year. There were some bright spots though, and he noted a few of them namely Ken Giles and his success with the bullpen this year.

We've seen a Phillies team that should be pretty well changed up by the Spring of 2015, a lot of the players on the field probably won't be in a Phillies uniform after this game.

Much more about the season, and stats for the year in future posts, so please stop by often in the offseason because the blog continues year round!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Phils putter into last series of the season for 2014

Longtime Phillie, Jimmy Rollins waites for the game to start at CBP tonight for the start of the final series of the season

Usually the last season series is a sad occasion for most fans when it comes to their baseball fix is coming to an end soon, especially if their team isn't going to make it to the playoffs.

For the Phillies though, it's a good thing the season is coming to an end, because this has been one long frustrating season for both players and fans alike.

 The players though are pulling down millions and will go on vacation soon while their fans try to stay loyal in a time when it's hard to stay positive about all of the things that went wrong with this team in 2014.

This past season has seen this team about as bad as it's been for the last several years. The team looked sloppy and not prepared most of the time in 2014, despite being managed by the Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg.

There was so many different lineups used this year, it's hard to call the Phillies a 'team' because there were so many adjustments to the daily lineups, it seemed like a team that was constantly changing.

Here's the Phillies offense by the numbers:

Runs:  23rd place of 30

BA: 25th of 30

OBP: 25th of 30

SLG: 27th of 30

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gillick backs Amaro to succeed

Phillies interim president Pat Gillick has given his backing to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr to turn things around at Citizens Bank Park, with the team having endured one of their worst seasons in living memory in 2014. Despite Gillick’s confidence there seems, on the face of it, to be little cause for optimism in 2015 but surely there must be one or two positives that Phillies fans can take through the winter months?

 Thursday night’s 7-3 loss to the San Diego Padres left the Phillies bottom of the National League East with a win percentage of .458 and a 70-83 record for the season. With just nine games of the regular season remaining, the Phillies’ push to qualify for the postseason play-offs ended quite some time ago but their dwindling support would still have wanted the team to go down fighting. On the road to the Padres the Phillies lost three of their four matches and any fighting spirit seems hard to come by.

Recent months have seen attendances at Citizens Bank Park drop dramatically. Indeed, reports suggest that through 78 home games in 2014 the Phillies are down over half a million attendances on this time last season. Over the course of the 2013 season the Phillies averaged over 37,000 fans per home game, but this season they are averaging fewer than 30,000. Having recorded the eighth highest average attendance in the whole of the Major League last season, they are down at 16th for 2014. The only team that comes close to such a drop in support is the Texas Rangers but their aggregate attendance has dropped by less than 400,000.

With the Rangers having dropped down four places this season after finishing second in the American League West in 2013, and the Phillies having dropped down one, there is certainly a pattern emerging: baseball fans aren’t willing to pay to watch a team performing badly and Pat Gillick knows this: "In Philly, if you don't win, they (the fans) don't come out. They come out to see winners. It's the way it is in Philadelphia. We have very knowledgeable and sophisticated fans, but that's the way it is," the former General Manager said.

Having won the World Series in 2008 and reached the final again in 2009 the Phillies looked to create stability and signed a number of their star names up to long contracts. In many respects this was a sensible move… if a team is winning then why break it up? Unfortunately there was no plan B for when the stars of the 2008 and 2009 teams went past their peak and now, with the likes of Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz reaching their mid-30s and failing to perform week in-week out the Phillies are stuck with few options to improve their results.

First baseman Howard is of particular concern to the Phillies fans as his batting slump seems to have been going for the last three seasons now, with his hit percentage since 2012 down at .233. This season he has fallen further down to .222, with a .311 on base percentage. Like many of the other aging stars, Howard is under contract until 2016 and, like it or not, he looks likely to be on the roster for next season.

Many fans hold general manager Ruben Amaro Jr responsible for the team’s current position after he allowed the July 31st non-waiver deadline to pass without making any substantial moves, and only moved out Roberto Hernandez and John Mayberry during the August waiver period. Having been general manager since 2009, Amaro should have seen the rising tide ofaging players within his squad sooner and acted faster to ensure that the team would not be so susceptible to a mass dip in form. Despite this being the view held by many fans, Gillick seems to have confidence in the 49-year-old and believes in his vision for the future: "Ruben has got a pretty good idea of what he wants to do," the Hall of Famer said. "Sometimes you can't do everything people expect you to do right away. It's got to be the right deal, the right move."

So, with little prospect of Gillick acting to move Amaro on, what do the Phillies fans have to look forward to in 2015? The first positive to come out of this season was the form of center fielder Ben Revere, who for much of the season was challenging to win the National League batting title. After a poor couple of weeks, he now looks to be out of contention but he can still boast a batting average of .309 for the season, with a record of two home runs, the only two of his career. Another star has been relief pitcher Ken Giles who, after being called up in June, has allowed just six runs in the 41.2 innings that he has pitched as well as striking out 60.

With the controversy surrounding closer Jonathan Papelbon’s recent crowd gestures, there have been calls for Giles to step up into his role next season and the 23-year-old certainly looks capable.

Another cause for optimism, in more ways than one, is the form of pitcher Cole Hamels. Hamels has enjoyed an exceptional season, pitching a 2.47 ERA including a run of 21 straight starts (and counting) where he has been charged with three runs or less. Hamels is contracted to the Phillies until 2018 so, if they opt to keep him, fans can look forward to more improvement from the 30-year-old, who has notched 187 strikeouts so far in 2014, in coming years. Alternatively, given Hamels’ form, the Phillies may look to trade him in the winter, freeing up funds to bring in a number of new players and really freshen up the roster. Either way, Hamels looks to be central to any prospects that the Phillies may have for next season.

Pat Gillick clearly has faith in Ruben Amaro Jr’s ability to make the changes necessary to improve the Phillies’ fortunes in 2015. Whilst many Phillies’ fans may not share Gillick’s optimism, they must respect the opinion of the man who led their team to the World Series as GM in 2008. With the right trades and a return to form and fitness of some of the legendary players still on their books, the Phillies may just spring a surprise and rise up the National League East in 2015. Fans of baseball betting can follow their odds with Betfair.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Phillies go with Cole to open series

Cole Hamels pitches tonight for the Phillies. He's looking for his 10th win of the year tonight against the Marlins. This is the 29th start of the year for the lefty that is still only 30 years old as of this season, Cole turns 31 on December 27th.

The start tonight puts Cole into position to also get the last start of the year at home on Sunday afternoon against the Braves coming up this weekend.

Hamels has lowered his ERA to 2.47 this season, even with a Phillies team that hasn't been able to get it together batting this year.

Let's see if the Phillies offense can find themselves for this series. Somehow I don't think you can blame all of this on the players, there are far too many lineup changes with this ballclub. The lineup needs to stay steady for the most part with a team, but with the Phillies there are different players being fielded every game, so it's hard for them to get a common rhythm.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Live, it's Phillies Talk Podcast at 10 AM - Talking about the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Phillies collapse

Listen live to Phillies Talk Podcast on Sunday morning at 10 AM Eastern as the Phillies Talk Podcast is joined by special guest and writer, Bryan Soderholm as we talk about the epic collapse of the 1964 Phillies.

What went wrong, how did the Phillies go from a team that was destined for the World Series to a team that lost 10 in a row down the stretch and finish out of the money?

We'll talk about that on this show, join us live!

Download the shows here:

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Howard's 22nd HR was the 333rd of career the other night

Howard hits #333 of career on the Jon Lester pitch the other night in Oakland

Ryan Howard's HR production has went down this year. The other night, he hit is 22nd HR of the year and he recorded his 93rd RBI of the year. I remember when that used to be a pretty great season for a major league player.

We call this a 'bad year' for Howard but it's just because we are used to him being much better than that when he was in his prime during the Phillies great run of 2007-2010.

Howard is now 34 years old, and to drive in 93 runs, isn't that bad of a feat.

If his injuries didn't sideline him for much of the seasons of 2012 and 2013, I think we would have someone who has over 400 HR's right now and seeking the 500th of his career at some point in the future.

Unless Howard finds his magical swing again, a 500th HR still appears possible, but he would also have to stay healthy for the rest of his career. There's always a need for a power hitter, and he'll probably drift over to the American League at some point and just DH for a team. The Phillies should probably have tried to arrange this already but no deal had been worked out.

Howard's new Florida digs are just about ready for him in Florida

That hasn't slowed Howard though. His Philadelphia mansion is sold in Blue Bell PA, and he's just about finished with a new $25M+ mansion just south of Clearwater Beach, Florida. Read more about the construction of the mansion here.  Baseball and it's rewards have been good to Howard as he helped the Phillies win a World Championship in 2008.

See all of Ryan Howard's HR's right here at

Friday, September 19, 2014

Phils drop 3 of 4 to Padres

Will Venable sinks the Phillies last night with his 3-run HR, the Phils lost the final game in San Diego by a 7-3 score

It's a bad time when the Phillies lose 3 of 4 games to the Padres. That's what happened though as this 2014 Phillies team still sinks to new lows on this horrible season.

The Phils had come into Petco Park with the best winning percentage of any team against the Padres since the ballpark opened in 2004. You wouldn't know that from this series that the Phillies played against them though.

What is the answer with this ballclub? It's just plain bad, from the GM down, including Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg has got to share the blame of this losing season.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pap gets 7 gamer for grab

Jonathan Papelbon grabs the wrong spot after getting booed by the fans for blowing the game on Sunday

 How often have we seen 'the grab' by a baseball player?

Chances are quite often, especially when a player is at bat, but what Jonathan Papelbon did on his way to the dugout was just an expression of being exasperated. He lost the lead in the 9th inning and heard lusty boos and probably a few good choice comments and tried to give the rude bunch something to think about.

Now Papelbon's actions will cost him a 7 game suspension handed down from the MLB. Yes, the 'adjustment' just couldn't be explained by Papelbon and he did go to far, but that's Papelbon. And yes, I know that Rap singers do this all of the time without fear of such retribution, but this is baseball and rude is rude.

He's the Phillies closer for a reason and most closers march to the beat of a different drummer. We must remember that he made an announcement that Phillies fans were also 'smarter' than his previous team the Boston Red Sox, so he shouldn't be that roasted for this.

 Remember "Pat The Bat" and the imfamous finger he gave to the opposite dugout during game? That didn't happen in the age of 'instant replay' so it was quickly forgotten by the baseball establishment. How about Chase Utley with his comment on National TV that was recorded from his All-Star Game, he said, "Boo ... F**k You", and also caused a stir after the Phillies won the World Series in '08 with his "World F**king Champions" statement.

Yes, we express ourselves quite a bit here in Philly, but this one by Pap crossed the line.

Papelbon losses game, gets tossed in process

 Pap protests to no avail to the ump that saw his obscene gesture towards the stands after he was booed when he gave up the lead to the Marlins in the 9th

You never know what's going to happen in the world of Jonathan Papelbon.

He's kept somewhat under the radar in recent months, but that has all changed yesterday in Philadelphia after he blew the lead that the Phillies had, he walked off the mound to a round of boos and then made an obscene gesture into the stands (adjusted his cup demonstratively as he walked to the dugout).

Pap then got thrown out of the game, he protested to the ump who had no sympathy for him.

Paps been like a bad penny for the Phillies, he plays fairly well, but he's not worth the extra baggage.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Asche isn't ready to be an understudy just yet

The Phillies brought Maikel Franco up this year to see how he looks at third base, and he hasn't looked all that bad.

Where does that leave Cody Asche though? As far as he knew, this was his spot on the Phillies and now suddenly there looks to be some dissension among the Phillies management on who will play third for this team.

Asche delivered a win last night with a long home run to right field in extra innings.

Asche has been quietly on fire for the Phils lately, he came into last night's game with a .324 batting average in his last 11 games.

Last night's HR by Asche was his first career walk-off, and his 16th as a Phillies player. 11 of his 16 total HR's have been hit in Philadelphia. 

15 Million reasons why AJ Burnett wasn't the right choice for the Phillies

AJ Burnett was going to retire at the conclusion of last season. Maybe for this year's Phillies he should have made good on that promise.

Burnett was lured away from retirement with a great deal from the Phillies. He gets to play closer to his Maryland home and gets a nice $15M plus from the Phillies in the first year, and the chance to return next year at about the same deal including his signing bonuses.

But was this signing the best move for the Phillies?

Let's start out with the way Burnett has been pitching this year. He's having his worst season ever for a full season as a professional pitcher. The only other time he's lost as many games during a full season was when he was with the NY Yankees in 2010 and he lost 15 games.

Burnett's record stands at 8-16 this season with the Phillies. That's 16 losses that he's been tagged with in this season that has been a complete and utter failure on all accounts with this team. Before I get a lot of mail saying "you can't tell how good a pitcher is by his record" type of emails, let me continue.

Here's some stats on Win Probability, naturally the (-) negative numbers aren't good. Burnett has seemed to turn in those negative numbers in bunches with the Yankees and now this year's Phillies team.

Year Age Tm PtchR PtchW WPA/LI Clutch RE24/boLI
1999 22 FLA 1.4 0.1 0.0 0.3 -0.0
2000 23 FLA -2.5 -0.2 0.1 -0.0 0.8
2001 24 FLA 5.2 0.5 0.6 0.9 6.0
2002 25 FLA 15.3 1.6 2.6 -0.5 26.0
2003 26 FLA -1.1 -0.1 -0.2 -0.2 -2.4
2004 27 FLA 7.7 0.8 1.4 -0.3 16.1
2005 28 FLA 8.1 0.8 1.5 -0.9 12.4
2006 29 TOR 8.0 0.8 0.0 0.0 3.4
2007 30 TOR 13.8 1.4 1.5 0.5 15.3
2008 31 TOR 3.9 0.4 0.7 0.3 9.2
2009 32 NYY 13.1 1.3 0.9 -0.1 10.1
2010 33 NYY -19.0 -1.8 -3.3 1.2 -34.2
2011 34 NYY -15.6 -1.5 -2.4 0.9 -24.4
2012 35 PIT 5.9 0.6 0.5 0.6 5.4
2013 36 PIT 3.4 0.4 1.0 -0.6 9.4
2014 37 PHI -15.8 -1.6 -1.4 -0.3 -16.3
16 Yrs 31.9 3.3 3.4 2.2 36.7
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 9/13/2014.

Burnett has been a player that has careered an aura about him. When he won a World Series with the Marlins and Yankees, his legend grew. His career record speaks differently though. His overall record as a pitcher is just a few games above .500 now for wins/losses but he's made over $135M over his career and a 4.02 ERA averaged out.

Here's Burnett's career record:

Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA Awards
1999 22 FLA 4 2 .667 3.48
2000 23 FLA 3 7 .300 4.79
2001 24 FLA 11 12 .478 4.05
2002 25 FLA 12 9 .571 3.30
2003 26 FLA 0 2 .000 4.70
2004 27 FLA 7 6 .538 3.68
2005 28 FLA 12 12 .500 3.44
2006 29 TOR 10 8 .556 3.98
2007 30 TOR 10 8 .556 3.75
2008 31 TOR 18 10 .643 4.07
2009 32 NYY 13 9 .591 4.04
2010 33 NYY 10 15 .400 5.26
2011 34 NYY 11 11 .500 5.15
2012 35 PIT 16 10 .615 3.51
2013 36 PIT 10 11 .476 3.30
2014 37 PHI 8 16 .333 4.34
16 Yrs 155 148 .512 4.02
162 Game Avg. 13 12 .512 4.02
FLA (7 yrs) 49 50 .495 3.73
NYY (3 yrs) 34 35 .493 4.79
TOR (3 yrs) 38 26 .594 3.94
PIT (2 yrs) 26 21 .553 3.41
PHI (1 yr) 8 16 .333 4.34
NL (10 yrs) 83 87 .488 3.73
AL (6 yrs) 72 61 .541 4.39
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 9/13/2014.