Friday, April 29, 2016

Phils set eyes on the Indians at home

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Make it two against the Nats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mackanin walks hottest hitter in baseball, and it pays off

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Phillies seek first series sweep of year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impressive stats from the game last night:

Phillies RISP  7-14

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

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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Phils to take on 'scrappy' Brewers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mackanin tries a little Joe Maddon-like lineup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mets barage Phillies in home run embarrassment

Franco isn't staying consistent at the plate recently

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hopefully this starts to change and fast. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Phils wasting a lot of good pitching

His ERA is 1.89 on the year, but so far Eickhoff has a 1-2 record behind the anemic Phillies offense

Phillies pitchers have been routinely getting 9 strikeouts on a night but can't seem to win because the offense can't get it together. Last night was no different, Jerad Eickhoff struck out 9 batters in 7 innings but the Phillies lost 5-2 vs. the NY Mets.

The Phillies need to pickup someone who can consistently hit the ball. That is their weakspot on this team again this year.

The Phils optioned Cedric Hunter down to the Iron Pigs yesterday, that was a start to fixing the blight in the batting for the Phils. Hunter impressed in Spring Training but when the season started, he couldn't get it going. His BA was .088 in 13 G for the Phillies and 34 AB, For whatever reason Hunter got the job done in Spring Training but when it came time to shine in the MLB, he just came up empty.

In Hunter's place, the Phillies called up David Lough from Lehigh Valley. Lough started last night and went 1-4 on the night. The Phils also acquired Alfredo Marte from the Baltimore Orioles system yesterday, so he will probably get a chance to play at some point..The Phils are trading a player to be named later and or cash for Marte.

Game 2 vs the Mets continues tonight, the battle of the "V's" - Verrett for the Mets, against Velazquez for the Phillies.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Mets take on the Phils for three game series

Noah Syndergaard and the NY Mets look to gain ground against the Phillies for the start of a three game series tonight in South Philly

The Phils somehow managed to pull a game out of the series with Washington. Extra inning heroics did the job yesterday as a couple well placed hits led to a Phillies victory in what looked like it would be a sweep by the Nationals and Bryce Harper.

The inability to contain Bryce Harper duing this series was evident, as Mike Schmidt even noted during the game broadcast, he wouldn't have blamed Pete Mackanin if he decided to intentionally walk him late in the game yesterday, all Harper seemed to do during the series is devastate the Phillies.

A new foe will be in Philly tonight as the Mets pull into town for the first series against the Phils at home in Philadelphia.

Tonight we will be facing a guy that is called Thor, Met's pitcher, Noah Syndergaard. He'll match up against Jerad Eickoff for the Phils. Syndergaard is the best pitcher on the Mets the first two weeks in the season, he has a 1-0 record and an .069 ERA to show for his 13.0 IP so far.

Syndergaard is still a bargain for the Mets, he's making $535K this season, with just his second season underway. He isn't arbitration eligible until 2018.

Eickoff should match up well with Syndergaard, Jerad is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA. The Phillies offense needs to find itself again. Manager Pete Mackanin metioned that he needs more production out of his corner fielders. He's been switching left and right field out more and more as he tries to find someone out there that can be hit the ball. He really hasn't been all that successful yet in doing that.

Aaron Nola and Jeremy Hellickson both pitched poorly in their third starts on the season. Is this just and anomaly or is their something more to it? Hellickson will pitch again on Wednesday vs. the Mets and Nola will pitch in Milwaukee on Friday night.

For the Phillies the word is offense, they need more of it. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Phils sink back to earth with humbling loss to Nats

The Phils have to contain this player as well as Mr. Jayson Werth if they are going to be successful in playing the Nats, they didn't do this last night

Well, we knew it wouldn't last forever. The Phillies had won 5 of their last 6 coming into last night's game with the Nationals. The Nationals let them know why they are in first place by dismantling Jeremy Hellickson from the first inning on.

On Jackie Robinson day, which is getting more and more revered as the years seem to go on, the Phillies played similar to the way we don't like them to, as Hellickson gave up 7 H, and 5 ER on the night in only 3.0 IP. Brett Olberholtzer, who relieved Hellickson, got the same treatment as he gave up 7 H and 3 ER in 4.0 IP.

Ryan Howard added a HR to give the Phillies 1-run on the night in the 9th, and in the process he tied Joe DiMaggio for HR in his career. The Phils only managed 4 hits the entire game, and Maikel Franco turned in an 0-4 as did Peter Bourjos, and Emmanuel Burriss. Phils lose 9-1 in a very uninspiring performance.

DiMaggio though played a total of 13 years in the MLB, he took 3 years off for World War II military service in the middle of his career. When he came back from his 3 year tour of duty, he picked up where he left off without missing a beat.

This was the Phillies team we don't want to see, mistakes on the field, uninspired play and just a general blah to them. Will they find the team that won 2 of 3 against the Mets in this series vs. the NL East leading Nationals?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Bring on the Nationals

Harper had been voted 'most overrated player' by his peers in the MLB prior to the start of last season, so he went out last year and won the NL MVP, I guess he's not overrated anymore

One of the hottest teams in baseball will be playing the Phillies this weekend. The Washington Nationals stop in Philly for a weekend series, a closer look at the Nats schedule though reveals that they played the Atlanta Braves a full 6 times already since the season started, and the Nats have swept all 6 games from them, the Nationals have posted 1 loss, losing once so far on the season to the Miami Marlins. So the Nats have a 7-1 record so far, but with 6 games won against the Braves, maybe those results are skewed.

One of the hottest players in baseball last year and so far this year is Bryce Harper. The Phillies have got to contain him. Harper just hit his 100th career HR the last game, and it was a grand slam, his first of his career.

The Nats have a new skipper in Dusty Baker. Baker has been a manager with 3 other MLB teams in his managerial career, the Giants, Cubs, and Reds. Up to now his winning record of 1677-1505 tells you that he's had some success in those endeavors. In his 21 career years that he has managed though including this year, he has only 1 pennant win.

The Nationals had a very friendly way in which they opened the season, they started out with a two game series on the road in Atlanta to open up the Braves home opener and then they went home for a 7 game home stand in which one game got rained out. Playing the Braves in 6 games of the first two weeks of the season is a little strange.

The Phils are due to face Joe Ross, Max Scherzer, and Gio Gonzalez in this series. The Phils will counter with Jeremy Hellickson, Aaron Nola, and Charlie Morton. With the Phillies pitching so well as of late, it will be interesting to see how they do against a better team like the Nationals.

The Nationals acquired a solid second baseman in Daniel Murphy in the off season. Murphy, who was signed as a free agent, played for the Mets previously. Murph has put up some good numbers with the Nats already, he has 2 HR and 7 RBI on the season. His BA is a sizzling .480 with 25 AB so far.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Phils win again, find themselves in 2nd Place in the NL East

Maikel Franco provides a spark last night with two RBI which was all the Phils needed

The Phillies have made the first homestand of the year a bit interesting. They won again last night by a score of 2-1 and put themselves into 2nd place in the NL East with a 4-5 record. They wrap up the 4-game series today in an afternoon match up with the Padres.

Jerad Eickoff went 7 innings for the Phillies, with 9 SO and only giving up 4 H on the night.

The Padres starting pitcher, Colin Rea, kept the Phillies in check as well during this game. He struck out 5 and allowed and gave up 5 H on the night. Maikel Franco hit a solo homer in the first inning and then ripped an RBI double in the third inning to put the Phils up 2-0 when he scored Odubel Herrera. That was all the offense the Phillies needed on this night.

The announced crowd of 17,638 was the smallest attendance of the year,  although near the middle of September last year, the number was around 15,500, so the lack of good play hasn't been attracting the fans to the stadium.

For now though, it's awesome to see the Phillies ascend up to 2nd place, especially with a weekend series that will see the Phillies take on the Washington Nationals. The Nats are in first place with a 6-1 record. They've won 4 games straight and wrap up against the Atlanta Braves later this afternoon before coming to Philadelphia.

Today for the Phils it will be Vincent Velasquez, and the Padres will counter with Drew Pomeranz at 1:05 PM

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Phils win 3rd game of season - first encounter with Rule 6.01

This was not the disputed slide but is Herrera sliding into the bag here?

The Phillies won their 3rd game of the season last night, Odubel Herrra hit an RBI triple in the 6th inning to break a 0-0 score up to that point.

Charlie Morton picked up his first win and brought his ERA down to 5.23 on the season, as he struck out 7 batters last night and ended up giving up only 3 H on the night.

The Phillies first encounter with Rule 6.01, which is the new slide rule, as a review of the play was made on a slide into second base by Odubel Herrera. Herrera didn't slide into the second base bag, because the fielder was right into the path of the base. Herrera slide away from Padres second baseman, Cory Spangenberg, who made a poor throw to the first baseman in a double play attempt. The play was ruled not a violation of the rule and the play was legal on the field.

It seems like we're going to be seeing this Rule 6.01 interpretation a lot this season even know it's the first time that the Phillies have encountered it this year. Talk about adding time to a game? You're going to need a lot of extra time to deal with all of these stoppages. There were two plays reviewed in the home opener for the Phils, and it's a drag when you're in the crowd at the stadium because you don't know what is happening. They don't typically play replays in the stadium so you're paying a lot of money to be there, but sit there like you're waiting for a bus or something until the umpire comes back with the ruling from the almighty umpires in the New York replay center.

The Phils continue the opening 4-game series at home with the Padres tonight ( Jared Eickoff vs. Colin Rea ) and then wrap up the series on Thursday for a businessperson's special  at 1:05 PM ( Vincent Velasquez vs. Drew Pomeranz )

Phillies notable:

Tyler Goeddell picked up his first Major League hit of his career as he subbed for Cedric Hunter in left field. Hunter is batting .095 so far for the Phils so far. He is in danger of finding himself demoted if good things don't start happening for him soon.

Ryan Howard went 1-4 last night, his BA is .217 so far

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Howard's substitution sets off wild chain of events at Opener

The scene yesterday for the home opener for the 134th season of Phillies baseball

The Phillies were poised to do something great on Opening Day at Philadelphia. You couldn't have asked for anything better, Phils down 3-2, the bases loaded, and Ryan Howard up to bat. The Padres put in a left-handed reliever and Ryan Howard was pulled from the game. That was the first really weird event to happen and it set off everything else to follow as Darin Ruf went to the plate to pinch hit for Howard.

Ruf popped up, a ball that drifted back, and further back, to the middle of the left field where the Padres shortstop, Alexi Ramirez, never had a chance to catch that ball, but an infield fly rule was called by the umpire. Ramirez never was underneath the ball, he just kept backing up on it, and finally, it dropped to the ground in which he never even got a glove on it.

The ensuing play left the game tied, and interpretation was needed on the field as fans booed loudly that this wasn't the right call. How could this be an infield fly rule if it were no where near the infield? It resulted in two outs for the Phils but the score was tied 3-3.

Pete Mackanin really pulled a surprise on Opening Day with taking Howard out of the game with the bases loaded. We know Howard's not the best against left handed pitching but this was a special moment for him, there were no outs and bases loaded. Ruf hasn't been exactly setting the diamond on fire lately. How can you take Howard out here? The move itself was simply bizarre.

Had Ruf connected for a home run, Mackanin's move would have been genius, almost Nostradamus like. In hindsight, the subbing of Howard ended up looking like a little league play when you have your clean-up hitter up to bat with bases loaded and you bring in a replacement for him. We've heard him constantly that he wants players to play the game the 'right' way. He should take a page from that book and start managing the 'right' way.

In the end, the Phils lost 4-3 after the dust settled.

Take aways from the game:

Big sellout as the Phillies faithful showed up for Opening Day, an awesome time was had by all, it will be interesting to see the attendance figures at home this year.

Two play reviews during the game really upset the pace of the game. Despite that, the game was over in 2:51, which was really making good time despite all that went on with the disputes on the field.

Nola struck out 9 and looked fairly sharp, but the Padres did manage to get 4 ER from him and that resulted in the loss for Nola.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Welcome back to Philly, baseball today in South Philadelphia

After an ice cold Spring, maybe Howard can show Phillies fans some of that awesome power he used to display at CBP over the years

Opening Day for the Phillies, and yet another magical start to a baseball season for the hometown fans that come to see their baseball team play a kid's game and make it seem so special.

It's a time to think about opportunities. All the teams come out of the gate with even records around now. We saw the Phillies take a steep nosedive for the first 4 games of the season, but they pulled together and won 2 out of 3 from the NL Champs, the New York Mets.

That's really what defines a baseball team, can they get through some adversity and still pull it all together to get the job done and start to win baseball games.

Something always changes with a team during an offseason, and the Phillies went through a total change during this past offseason. A new team President, Andy MacPhail, was put into place last year near the end of the season, and he brought his choice in for GM in Matt Klentak. Couple this with a tremendous amount of new players on this team and you have change.

Pete Mackanin has been around the Phillies organization for a few years, so I won't call him new, his ascension to the manager's post is new though for him, It's the first time he has had the chance to skipper a team from Opening Day.

A great story emerged in the past couple of days about the Phillies infield being changed out to make it much slower. A change in the type of grass is all that was needed, from Bermuda to Kentucky Blue Grass was all that was needed to make the change. It's going to be subtle at first, but very noticeable towards the time when summer starts to kick in. Read more about it here from Matt Gelb's article.

What will we see from this new grass? Maybe a lot more infield hits, as the ball will slow down. Maybe Herrera will start making a living off of it as the speed of the runner will really start to play a part with this new infield grass.

The San Diego Padres will be in to open up the season with the Phillies at home. Both teams come into this game with 2-4 records. The Phils have their young phenom, Aaron Nola ready to go for today's game against Andrew Cashner who went 6-16 in 31 starts on the season last year and got roughed up in his first start of the year with a loss against the Dodgers that saw him give up 5 ER on 6 H and the Padres lost that one 7-0.

So at 3:05 PM this afternoon, a new era gets ushered in for the hometown fans, a new team and new attitude. Time will tell how successful the team will be. A win on Opening Day would be nice, and would make a lot of fans wanting to come back for more. 

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Phils win for first time in 2016

Baseball is measured in contributions, Ryan contributes tonight in NY

There wasn't going to be a blog post here on until the Phils won their first game. We were down 0-4 coming into tonight's terrible conditions for baseball at Citi Field, they may have been worse if the game was in Philly, but incredibly the Phils have their first victory with great pitching by Vincent Velasquez and a home run by Ryan Howard.

The conditions:

41 degrees and cloudy at game time, it was feeling like 32 degrees with the wind chill the whole game.

The good:

Vincent Velasquez - went deep into the game for the Phils and kept the Mets off the base paths.

Ryan Howard - delivered the game winning hit, a home run which was his 45th career against the Mets, Mets fans will remember Howard as a Met destroyer as he has hit the 2nd most home runs against the Amazins in his career. Can you guess who Ryan has hit the most home runs against in his career? (The Atlanta Braves with 50 HR against)

The Bullpen - the bullpen finally held up tonight. If they blew this one, someone would have packed their bags and left NY tonight!

1-0 and the Phils win

The not-so good:

We got 8 hits but only went 1-4 RISP

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Nola looks to put Phils in win column

Nola gets the ball for the Phillies today

The Phillies only got 79 pitches out of starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson during the first game against the Cincinnati Reds. A decision was made to take him out of the game after pitching 6 full innings. Hellickson wasn't in trouble at all during his start, but still got the gate after 6 IP and the Phillies bullpen couldn't hold the thin lead that the Phils had going into the 7th inning.

Today, Aaron Nola is on the mound for the Phillies, making his first start of the year for the team and looking to help them earn the first victory of the year.

Looking at some other teams and their first starts on the season gives a little different result. Yesterday, Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard earned the first Mets win with throwing 92 pitches. Johnny Cueto pitched his first game and got a win with 96 pitches thrown for the Giants yesterday. Jake Arrieta got his first win with 89 pitches thrown in the game for the Cubs first game.

Looking at the above pitchers, it's easy to see that if someone is pitching well, you can leave them in for a full game. The Phillies management chose not to do that, and handed the ball over to a bullpen that doesn't even know who the closer is. Somehow this doesn't seem to be all that great by manager Pete Mackanin, a team needs to know who it's closer is, as much as who it's starting pitchers are.

Nola will be making his debut after going 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA last year, so far this year, Nola has looked good but some speed hasn't been what gets the job done for him, you can read this article in to see that.

Hopefully, if he is pitching well, Nola will be given the chance to go the distance for the Phillies tonight. It's the regular season now, pitchers need to get a full game in, and the Phils need to get some offense going.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Votto and Bruce pace Reds to Opener win vs. Phils

Play ball in Cincinnati, as the Phils open up the 2016 season there

The Reds won this Opening Day game the way the Phillies should learn how to play this game.

Small ball won the day for this Reds team, as Joey Votto and Jay Bruce delivered key hits with runners in scoring position. Those hits came off of the bullpen too, so for game one, I guess a lot of emphasis must again be placed on the 'pen and the lack of Phils offense coming up a close second.

Galvis showed a bit of being a seasoned player with the Phils in the Opener

Freddie Galvis put up a home run for the Phillies with a ball that landed in the first row of right center field , and the Phils looked like they may do something, that was the extent of the Phillies offense on the day though, as the Phils went 0-5 for RISP the whole game. Overall Galvis played a great game, almost saying to the Phils management silently, "I know you have a guy named J.P. in the wings, but my name is Freddie."

Jeremy Hellickson did very good on the day, letting up only 1 ER and striking out 6 in his 6 innings that he pitched.

Things that weren't so good for the Phillies:

The Phils got very sloppy late in the game, Herrera showed a lack of concentration out in center that led to an error.

Ryan Howard wasn't a factor in this game. He also had an error in the game. Howard, Bourjos, Herrera, and Hunter put up goose eggs, combined they went 0-14 at the plate.

Phillies Talk Podcast: Opening Day 2016 in Cincinnati

It's Phillies Talk Podcast celebrating Opening Day 2016 in Cincinnati.

It's the day that Phillies fans have been waiting for. Opening Day 2016! Join in for a great show talking with Brandon Kraeling from and the Red Reporter Podcast all about Opening Day baseball in Cincinnati talking baseball.

Brandon talks about the Opening Day pitcher for the Reds, and what he expects the Reds to do in 2016 and also we have a convertation about Pete Rose, who is going to be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in June of 2016.

Tune into the show here, but subcribe to Phillies Talk Podcast on iTunes and leave a review if you'd like. Stop over to listen at Stitcher Radio too! The links are on the right side of the blog.

Stay in touch with the podcast by sending us a voicemail, just look to the left of the page here on the website for a link to leave us a voicemail, if you'd like we can share it on the show!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Final roster selections made, as Phils get ready for 2016 season on Monday

The best news to come out of Cincinnati this year is Pete Rose being inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2016

It's being billed as "Opening Night" on Sunday by the MLB, a night game matchup between the Mets and the Royals to pickup where the World Series left off nearly a half a year ago. Along the way though, two day games were added to the schedule and now people think that Sunday is actually Opening Day, which technically it is, but the MLB wants you to think Monday is actually the real Opening Day. Confused? Yes, thanks to a couple of day games added to the schedule we actually will have real baseball to watch all day on Sunday so we can be happy for that whatever the MLB calls it.

The Phillies though will begin their season on Monday at 4:10 PM in Cincinnati and the final cuts have been made to the Opening Day roster with a few surprises added to the mix. The starters will be Jeremy Hellickson for the Phils vs. Raisel Iglesias for the Reds.

 Here's the 25 player roster that will start off the season for the Phillies:


Jerad Eickhoff
Jeanmar Gomez
Jeremy Hellickson
David Hernandez
Dalier Hinojosa
Charlie Morton
Hector Neris
Aaron Nola
Brett Oberholtzer
James Russell
Daniel Stumpf
Vincent Velasquez


Carlos Ruiz
Cameron Rupp


Andres Blanco
Emmanuel Burriss
Maikel Franco
Freddy Galvis
Cesar Hernandez
Ryan Howard
Darin Ruf


Peter Bourjos
Tyler Goeddel
Odubel Herrera
Cedric Hunter

5 players are on the DL: Aaron Altherr, Cody Asche, Matt Harrison, Mario Hollands, Michael Mariot

The surprise player to make the team is Cedric Hunter, who was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. He impressed manager Pete Mackanin and was humbled by the opportunity and hopes to make the most of it.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Baseball returns to South Philly for 2016

Baseball returned to Philly last night for a Spring Training game vs. the Orioles - 

The Phillies returned to South Philly for Spring Training baseball with a game against the Baltimore Orioles last night. It's part of the "On Deck" series that the Phillies have been doing the past many years.

Aaron Nola took the mound for the Phillies and he faced off against former Phillies pitcher and now pitching for the Orioles, Vance Worley. Nola had his final tuneup of the Spring Training season, his next trip to the mound will see him start the second game of the season for the Phillies.

Nola hasn't been exactly lights out in Spring Training, it's been said that he was working on several things in this season, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the real season starts.

Ryan Howard hit 6th for the Phillies last night, he went 1-3 and has batted only .220 during this Spring Training season.

The Phils lost this entertaining game, after making a tremendous rally and fell short, losing 8-7 when the Orioles came back and scored two runs in their half of the 9th inning to seal a victory.

A lot of fans thought they might see some action from Peter Bourjos in right field, but Will Venable, who has batted only .167 on the Spring Training season since being picked up by the Phils, played there instead.

Team RISP was a dismal 2-13 last night, and that's what hurt the Phillies last season, they are getting people on base and in scoring position, then can't seem to get hits to score those runners. Ernesto Frieri got tagged for 4 runs in giving up 2 HR and 2 BB in his brief appearance in relief of Aaron Nola.

The Phils return to the diamond in South Philly this afternoon, they will take on the Phillies Futures team at 1:05 PM. The Phils regular team beat up on the Phils Futures team 19-4 in Reading on Thursday night. 9,320 was the attendance in Reading for that game.

Last night concluded the official Spring Training season for the Phils, they ended with a 15-11 record, much better than expected.