Sunday, August 31, 2014

Looking at the Mets and Phillies rivalry in the past 7 years



Rollins has been the chef in the Phillies kitchen with the NY rivalry over the years




Rewind back 7 years ago, it was 2007 and the Phillies needed a small miracle to capture the NL East crown. There was tough talk between the Phils and the Mets about who was "the team to beat". Near the end of the season the 2007 Phils reeled off an incredible 13-3 run to make the impossible happen.




Jimmy Rollins specifically carried the torch for the Phillies back then, he boldly proclaimed more than a few times that "the Phillies are the team to beat." His words made headlines in the NY papers, and suddenly the NY fans had a poster boy to chant and mock every time he and the Phillies came to the big apple.

Last night, there was a comical story told by Tom McCarthy about a fan who was very vocal and stood up when Rollins came to bat and yelled, "You ruined my childhood Jimmy!".

It was 2007 and the final game of the season was being played at CBP, I happened to be in attendance for this game and it's still one of the most thrilling games that I've ever been to. The Phillies had to win and the Mets had to lose for the NL East title to belong to the Phillies. The Phils weren't even playing the Mets that day, they were playing the Washington Nationals to close out the season.


Jamie Moyer got the start on the last day of the season in 2007 and the win

The crowd was electric before the game even started in Philly. Yes, we were scoreboard watching too, every play was scrutinized on the field that day. It was almost like the Phillies had already made it to the World Series. There was such a long gap in between 2007 and the last time the Phillies even made the postseason, there was added excitement that the Phillies season might not be ending when the regular season was over.

In the end, the Phillies won the game vs. the Nats but NY had lost just minutes before thus handing the NL East crown to them and wild celebration broke out on the field and in the stands. I remember Harry Kalas singing "High Hopes" on the field after the game and a new air of Philadelphia becoming a 'baseball city' was about to dawn.

Since then, the rivalry has simmered here and there, but nothing like it had become a few years ago.

Management has changed, players have changed and moved on, but the rivalry is still there. It's just on the back burner on simmer at the moment.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Remembering Richie Ashburn and his buddy, Harry


 Chris Wheeler, who was silenced by the CSN Philly group after over 40 years on the air for the team, is the last in the line of great Phillies broadcasters included with Kalas and Ashburn



Every time the Phillies play the Mets near September or in September in New York, I think back to when we lost one of the greatest Phillies players ever, and most recently, a great Phillies broadcaster, Richie Ashburn.

It's been quite a long time since we lost Ashburn, it was on September 9, 1997. Ashburn was in the Phillies hotel in New York and never made the team bus to the Shea Stadium ballpark. He had passed away in the hotel room on the road with the team.

Ashburn had a life that was baseball. He traveled all year long talking about the game and his longtime friend and co-worker, Harry Kalas, was devastated with the news of losing Ashburn.



The camaraderie and conversations in the booth was things that you could only dream of now. Subtle stories told by two of the best announcers the game has probably ever seen in tandem are but a memory now in the minds of older Phillies fans.

How would we know that we would think back to some of those stories from time to time. We'll never forget Ashburn and Kalas. They were a class act that may never be duplicated.


Below, Mike Schmidt and Richie Ashburn go into the Hall of Fame on July 30, 1995

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Phils battling tough teams as end of August nears


The Phils have used the small ball approach to winning and it's working


The Phillies are battling the tougher teams lately, and have a nice 3 game win streak to show for it. The Phils are now in a postion to sweep the Washington Nats, a possibility that didn't see all that probable just a few short weeks ago.

They are doing it with small ball, the base hits that are turning into runs.

The team is still 15.5 games out of first place and have a record of 60-72, but it is now appearing that the Phils may be able to at least equal last year's disastrous 73-89 record if they continue playing like they have the past week.

No, it's not what we expected at the beginning of the season. At least some of us.

For some reason, this team hasn't been able to pull it together now in a few seasons. In 2012, the Phils were 81-81 and have been on a downward slide since then.

Charlie Manuel was let go last season at a 53-67 record, so far Ryne Sandberg has remained out of the spotlight for why the Phillies aren't doing so well.

For now though, we'll take these last couple of games and try to build off of the positive of this. Start from little and try to think bigger.

One thing is probably for sure, the bulk of this team will probably change this offseason, so you may want to get out to the ballpark before it all changes. It may be the last time you see some of these players in a Phillies uniform.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Here come the Nats



Jimmy Rollins hit a 2-run HR yesterday but had a serious look on his face rounding the bases for the Phils, possibly thinking about his Phillies career as the home games start to dwindle down in 2014



The Nationals have been a team that were rumored to be a playoff team for a couple of years now. Nothing quite worked out for them in those last few years but it looks like we may see them in this postseason for sure.

The Nationals just beat up on the SF Giants in Washington 14-6 on Sunday and now have a commanding 8 game lead in the NL East as the Braves appear to be fading.

The Nats are 9-1 in their last 10 games.

The Phillies did well against the Cardinals. They took the series but remain 17.5 GB in the cellar of the NL East. They still haven't been eliminated offically from postseason play but still have a very slim 0.1 chance which is close to no chance at all.

The Phillies need to regain their resspect in the NL East, and take some of the pain of this ugly season away by doing well against the Nationals in this series.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Brown says he tries to hustle for every ball but fans see something different







Domonic Brown had a very bad game for the Phillies last night. His play where it seemed like he allowed a ball to bounce in front of him and then throwing a ball off line to third base was the start of the Phillies looking very much like the 'Bad News Bears' last night at CBP. After the game, Brown explained that it was still very wet out there and he didn't want to risk the ball going by him if he slipped.

It's not the first time that this has happened this season. We've seen more than a few of these plays from Brown. Here's the play from last night:





In his defense, Brown only has 2 errors all season long, and that is 101 game appearances so far for Brown this year. Errors aren't earned on balls he just runs up on but doesn't catch though, and we've seen plenty of those.

Here is some numbers from Dom's Sabermetric Defensive fielding stats:


Year Tm Age Pos Rtot Rtot/yr Rtz Rtzhm Rtzrd Rof Rdrs Rdrs/yr Rpm
2010 PHI 22 RF -4 -42 -2 -3 1 -2 -2 -22 -2
2011 PHI 23 RF -5 -14 -4 -2 -2 -1 -9 -24 -5
2012 PHI 24 RF -3 -13 -3 -2 -1 0 -6 -23 -6
2012 PHI 24 LF -0 -2 -1 -0 -1 1 0 0 -2
2013 PHI 25 LF -4 -5 -10 -7 -2 5 -7 -7 -13
2013 PHI 25 RF 0 32 0 0 0 0 1 80 1
2014 PHI 26 LF 0 1 -0 0 -1 1 -6 -9 -6
3 Seasons LF -4 -2 -11 -7 -4 7 -13 -7 -21
4 Seasons RF -12 -17 -9 -6 -3 -3 -16 -21 -12
5 Seasons TOT -13 -5 -11 -7 -5 -1 -29 -11 -33
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/24/2014.



The negative numbers aren't good, and that's what is adding up to big trouble for the Phils and this season in particular. Didn't the Phils hire a sabermetric stats guy this year?



Some fans have compared Domonic's outfield style to John Mayberry Jr, which is also mentioned in the same breath as a 'lack of hustle' at times. It's been described as not getting to balls quick enough and shuffling your feet but not going anywhere at times.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Phillies might enjoy spoiler role



The Phillies would like to spoil the chances of the Cards, we'll see how they do in the weekend series starting on Friday night at CBP



The Phillies won't be making the playoffs in 2014, that news we already know. The Phils managed to pull off a series victory on Wednesday afternoon, the last businessperson's special on the schedule for this year against the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners are still in the hunt for the playoffs, and the Phillies probably liked the fact that they can do a little to prevent that from happening with the series win at CBP.

Who else can the Phillies 'spoil' the chances for? How about the St. Louis Cardinals who are in to play the Phillies next?

The Cardinals are the current Wild Card leader along with the SF Giants with the Braves just a half game back from the Giants in the WC race, and making the Cards stumble a bit would be probably just fine with the Phillies.

Incidentally, the Phillies aren't officially eliminated from the playoffs but the elimination number is 26 as of tonight for the team for a Wild Card bid into the playoffs.

Who knows what would happen if the Phillies happened to go on a 10 game winning streak?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Seattle comes in for rare series



The Phillies will miss Felix Hernandez for this series





The Seattle Mariners have been a revived ball club lately. Their road record of 33-24 is very good, and they just came off a a game where they beat the AL Central leader Detroit Tigers by an 8-1 score. The win also took the series from the Tigers in Detroit.

The M's are also 11-3 over their last 14 games. So they have been a hot team that is starting to churn with about 6 weeks left in the regular season.

For the Phillies, this matchup is rare, the Phillies and the Mariners have only played a total of 9 times since interleague play started and the Phillies have a 2-7 record against them.

Pitching tonight for the Phillies, it's 32-year old waiver wire pickup Jerome Williams on the mound tonight for the team. The Rangers put him out on waivers after only 2 games with them after he showed them a 9.90 ERA, he was with Houston before that and he had a 6.23 ERA in 26 games for the Astros.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Phils limp home from road trip, this team has folded up and quit

Tim "The Freak" Lincecum wasn't even on his best game, and ended up with the win over the Phillies in the final game of the series today in San Francisco




The Phillies haven't been this bad in a while. They are near the bottom of the MLB in a lot of categories in offense. The team returns home to Philly face the Seattle Mariners, who are 67-56 and winners of 8 of their last 10 games.

Phillies ranked by offense of the 30 teams in the MLB:

Runs: 22nd

Batting Average: 26th

On Base Percentage: 26th

Slugging Percentage: 28th


How does the Phillies hitting coach still have a job? Steve Henderson should be asked to pack his belongings into a box and not return. He's like the absent hitting coach at this point, as the Phillies have turned into a cold stone in the offensive runs production department.

It isn't the first year that these bad numbers have existed either, it's a few years now that this team has just folded up and haven't put up any respectable numbers to speak on in the NL East.

This team has notched it's 70th loss in this ugly season for them. Tough to watch this team play like this day after day.

Phils try to win the series in SF before heading home



An aerial view of AT&T Park, a privately financed baseball park, the first MLB park to be privately financed since 1962


A series win for the Phillies has been very rare this year for this Phillies team. The Phils will go for a series win this afternoon in San Francisco.


The Phillies are now a full 15 games behind the Washington Nationals and the Phils home win/loss record of 26-36 is the worst in the National League.

In yesterday's game, Antonio Bastardo was tagged with his second loss in a week, and he had another blown save thrown in during this week as well. Bastardo's ERA has ballooned to 4.64 as well.

Ryne Sandberg doesn't seem like he has an answer to the Phillies woes this season. His postgame recaps almost sound like a carbon copy of one another, in this the worst season since the Phillies won the World Series, now 6 years ago.

This week's ESPN's Power Rankings had the Phillies at 26 of 30 MLB teams.


It's game 124 on the season for the Phillies today.


For the Little League World Series, it's Taney Baseball from Philadelphia on ESPN2 at 7pm tonight. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Angels sweep Phils in Anaheim



Trout is the best player in baseball ever according to stats before the age of 22



It was a brief two-game series in Anaheim. The results for the Phillies were not very good, they were swept in the fast series by the Angels.

Since June 6th, the Angels have the best record in the MLB going into the game last night against the Phillies.

Mike Trout went 0-4 last night against the Phillies. The South Jersey phenom is the only player ever in baseball to hit 80+ HR and steal 80+ bases before the age of 23 which he just turned the other day. By his age, Mike Trout is the best player ever by WAR statistics before the age of 23, his WAR stats are 26.5 compared with Ty Cobb's 25.5 at that young age.

The Angels also own the best interleague record since 2007, and the Phillies have one of the worst records in interleague matchups.

Jared Weaver won his 13th game last night, and AJ Burnett got his 13th loss of the season, and of course the game was played on August 13th, 2014.

The Phils are off today, and then it's time for a series with the SF Giants.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Saturday Starter: Looking at Cole Hamels WAR numbers



Looking at this chart, we see Cole Hamels and his WAR stats or (Wins Above Replacement player) in which Cole's career is plotted with his yearly results in which he contributes to the team.

Read more about WAR here. WAR is a measurement of the number of wins that Cole brought to the team instead of a replacement player, it's amazing that you could 'measure' this and I am not so sure it's such an accurate measurement but it's a stat that is thrown around in baseball quite a bit.

Despite he is appearing to have a much better year on this year's team, his WAR numbers aren't really keeping place with his prior highest WAR years of 2010 and 2011.

Here's a look at the career of Hamels from Baseball-Reference.com, look at 2012 when Cole won 17 games for the Phillies and his WAR is virtually the same as his next season in 2013 when he went 8-14 for the Phils, of course he didn't get any support that year either.

Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA GS CG IP WHIP Awards
2006 22 PHI 9 8 .529 4.08 23 0 132.1 1.247
2007 ★ 23 PHI 15 5 .750 3.39 28 2 183.1 1.124 AS,CYA-6
2008 24 PHI 14 10 .583 3.09 33 2 227.1 1.082
2009 25 PHI 10 11 .476 4.32 32 2 193.2 1.286
2010 26 PHI 12 11 .522 3.06 33 1 208.2 1.179
2011 ★ 27 PHI 14 9 .609 2.79 31 3 216.0 0.986 AS,CYA-5
2012 ★ 28 PHI 17 6 .739 3.05 31 2 215.1 1.124 AS,CYA-8
2013 29 PHI 8 14 .364 3.60 33 1 220.0 1.159
2014 30 PHI 6 6 .500 2.42 20 0 137.1 1.107
9 Yrs 105 80 .568 3.30 264 13 1734.0 1.138
162 Game Avg. 13 10 .568 3.30 34 2 223 1.138
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/9/2014.

Halladay back on the mound for the Phillies



Roy Halladay took the mound for another time for the Phillies last night before the Mets and Phillies game. Not as the starting pitcher, but for his honorary first pitch on a night in which the Phillies honored him for the accomplishments as a Phillies player and it was Roy Halladay Bobble Head Night at the ballpark.

Roy was very humble and only spoke a few lines at the ballpark but was very thankful for having pitched for the Phillies and wished he had played for them earlier in his career.

Halladay is missed around Philadelphia, not only because of his great pitching but he brought a positive feeling to the team. Something that seems to be missing in the past year since he's been gone.

The esoteric blog called "Zoo With Roy" was a baseball blog devoted to blogging about the Phillies and specifically Roy Halladay, had his moment with Halladay as well. Halladay visited the Philadelphia Zoo with the writer of that blog as reported on http://www.zoowithroy.com

So that was a great celebration with Roy Halladay last night at the ballpark, Roy we miss you!


Friday, August 08, 2014

Phillies Talk Podcast: Let's Play 4 With The Mets







It's time for another edition of Phillies Talk Podcast, and this week we join Gary Mack on his show called Mets Musings as we talk about the upcoming series with the NY Mets with 4 games at Citizens Bank Park against the Amazins.

Roberto Hernandez gets traded to the Dodgers, and the Phillies swept the Astros, a sweep is a rare occasion anymore by the Phils.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Hamels and Byrd claimed but will deal be struck?






The waiver wire process is a strange one, it's primarily a secret offering of a player to other teams in order of how poorly they are playing on up to the top teams in the league. If a team 'claims' a player offered on the waiver wire, a deal could be negotiated to trade that player or the offering team can elect to just pull the player back and rescind the waiver all together.

Word has leaked that Cole Hamels and Marlon Byrd have been claimed by a team.

Now the deal for the two players is being ironed out. Or there may be no deal at all for them. The team claiming either player could be a team like the Cubs or the Royals, you don't know because it's all done in secret.

One thing is for sure, if Cole Hamels is dealt, the many Phillies jerseys that a lot of fans out there have purchased over the years will become collectors items. Hamels would have been one player that I wouldn't have thought the Phillies would even think about moving.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Get 'er done: Phils need 15 innings to put away Astros




The Phillies have some struggling games against teams that haven't won a whole lot of games this year. Hey, wait, the Astros have about as many wins as the Phillies do this year too! That sort of says something about this season.

Last night, the Phillies ended up on top in 15 innings, and it was Ryan Howard, who brought his horrible road trip slump home to CBP last night, with the two lone RBI's to the game. He said afterwards, "You guys forgot what I done" to the press, yes you were good previously Ryan but your not always living on that couple magical years. The Phils topped the Astros 2-1 as this 2014 season rolls on for them.

The home win improves the Phillies home record to 23-33 at home in 56 games so far this season.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Waiver whispers: Howard, Kendrick, Burnett and more players on the wire



Ryan Howard used to look much happier than this photo that was taken over the weekend in Washington, he also used to play a lot better than he has been playing especially this season.



The semi-secret waiver wire between baseball clubs always has it's tattletales and word has leaked out that the Phillies have made available for trade offers a few Phillies players.

Ryan Howard, who the Phillies would love to part ways with, is on the list. Not on a personal level, but because his play has suffered. The Phils also supposedly put Kyle Kendrick, and AJ Burnett on the list of players to dangle in front of other teams.

Now what the intent of the waiver wire is, and what happens because players are on it is more to gauge interest in a player, but if a deal can be struck with a team that is looking for the services of a player on the wire, there may just be a deal.

Just what are waivers? Here's an excerpt from wikipedia and the full article can be found here on baseball transactions

Waivers

Any player under contract may be placed on waivers ("waived") at any time. After MLB's July 31 trade deadline and through to the end of the season, however, a team must place a player on waivers if that player is to be traded.
If a player is waived, any team may claim him. If more than one team claims the player from waivers, the team with the weakest record in the player's league gets preference. If no team in the player's league claims him, the claiming team with the weakest record in the other league gets preference. In the first month of the season, preference is determined using the previous year's standings.
If a team claims a player off waivers and has a viable claim as described above, his current team (the "waiving team") may choose one of the following options:
  • arrange a trade with the claiming team for that player within two business days of the claim; or
  • rescind the request and keep the player on its major league roster, effectively canceling the waiver; or
  • do nothing and allow the claiming team to assume the player's existing contract, pay the waiving team a waiver fee, and place the player on its active major league roster.
If a player is claimed and the waiving team exercises its rescission option, the waiving team may not use the option again for that player in that season—a subsequent waiver would be irrevocable with a claiming team getting the player essentially for nothing.[6] If no team claims a player off waivers after three business days, the player has cleared waivers and may be assigned to a minor league team, traded (to any team), or released outright.
The waiver "wire" is a secret within the personnel of the Major League Baseball clubs; no official announcement of a waiver is made until a transaction actually occurs, although information sometimes leaks out.[6][7] Players are often waived during the post-July "waiver-required" trading period for teams to gauge trade interest in a particular player.[6] Usually, when the player is claimed, the waiving team will rescind the waiver to avoid losing the player unless a trade can be worked out with the claiming team.
The National League (NL) was the first of the two major leagues to adopt the trade deadline rule in 1917. Originally it was enforced after June 15, but was later changed as the result of a new collective bargaining agreement.[8]For many years, players could not be traded from one league to another without being waived by all of the teams in the trading team's league. Then an inter-league trading period was established, centered on the winter baseball meetings in December. Later, there were two "inter-league" trading periods each year, one from after the World Series until mid-December and the second from a week before spring training began until March 15. So intent were leagues on keeping their stars from being moved from one league to the other, that then-National League President Warren Giles threatened to keep NL clubs from trading major stars to the American League after the deal that sent Frank Robinson from Cincinnati to Baltimore.[9]


   Ken Rosenthal, who has sources that tell him just about everything, has tweeted out that several other Phillies are on the Waiver wire as well, but again, it doesn't mean all that much most of the time: