Monday, September 26, 2016

If Sandberg was still managing Phils, there would be calls to run him out of town

Jake Thompson raises his hands in the air, yesterday as the Phils lost 17-0

Somewhere Ryne Sandberg is sitting back and reading these Phillies headlines and quietly shaking his head. The Phils haven't really improved all that much, despite a slightly higher win total this season, and suddenly my thoughts have changed to why we are all giving Pete Mackanin a free pass at every turn in the season.

The Phils suffered the worst defeat in their modern era of baseball yesterday in New York at Citi Field by a score of 17-0. Pundits were quick to look up other shut out losses, Phillies VP, Larry Shenk, tweeted out that the Phils actually lost 28-0 back in 1883. That was then, and this is now Larry, the Phils haven't been beat this bad in the modern era since 9/4/99 when the Phils lost to the Cards by a 22-3 score, that wasn't a shutout but it was a bad beating at Veterans Stadium before 16,357 fans.

Back to my original point, if Ryne Sandberg had still been managing this team yesterday, the headlines would have been how his job is in jeopardy. There would have been people calling for his firing after the season. Pete Mackanin has been with this team for many seasons now, including when Ryne was here and he's getting a free pass.

Pythagorean theory has this team at 60-96 on the year, with the numbers the team has put up, that probably should be the record that they are at. This stat says that the team got lucky on 10 games during the season and that is why they are at 70 wins right now. So, is this Phillies team actually a better team than last year?

What has this team accomplished this season? We've seen we have some players that have some potential. We saw Ryne Howard, who the Phillies have paid a $25M season to, take the bench quite a lot this season. We've seen an anemic offense, arguably the worst offense in terms of numbers in the league.

Maybe there is a reason that Mackanin hadn't been given the chance to manage a big league team in all those seasons he was coaching except for filing in from time to time. There doesn't seem to be many good reasons to talk about why he is still the Phillies manager at this point. The team has played very lackadaisical at various points in the season and couldn't even execute basic baseball plays too. He has had his chance to run with this team and it's turned into what we saw yesterday, a 17-0 loss without much to show for it.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

New Phillies Talk Podcast: 2016 Phillies Down to last 10 games, 7 with the Mets

It's time for another edition of Phillies Talk Podcast, we're talking about the end of the season already? Wow, that was another fast baseball season. The Phils are down to their last 10 games and 7 out of those 10 games are against the Mets.

I am on my good friend's podcast called Mets Musings, the great Gary Mack. Gary is interviewing me, and I am asking him some questions about the Mets and we ponder the question if the Phillies are going to try to spoil the Mets chances of making the Wild Card this year. All of this and more on this edition of the Phillies Talk Podcast. Tune into this show!

Phillies hold the key to Mets Wild Card dreams

Phillies collar Sale at CPB

The Phillies whipped up on the Chicago White Sox last night, and their best pitcher, Chris Sale, who gave up 7 H and 6 R on the night against the Phils. Sale hit many Phillies with pitches on the night, in fact, a new record was set with 4 Phillies who were HBP during this game. Sale, who is considered to still be a front runner for the AL Cy Young, was involved in one of the most bizarre sports stories I've ever read earlier in the year when the Sox had a throwback uniform night, and Sale didn't like that the jersey's had collars on them and went into the clubhouse and took a pair of scissors or a knife to all of the jerseys. He was suspended by the team and it cost him $250K plus a $12,500 fine.

The next opponent for the Phillies is the NY Mets, the Phils play the Mets an incredible 7 times of the last 10 games of the season. The Mets need to win every ballgame they can as they are in the middle of an intense Wild Card race. The Phillies now hold an important key to that Wild Card dream of the Mets.

The Amazin' Mets have dropped their last 3 games in a row against the Braves. Who are arguably the worst team in the NL, that is the weird thing about baseball. Some of the teams you think a team would be able to beat, are just not going to let that happen, can the Phillies be the team that shows the door to the Mets playoff dream?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Phils broadcast on TV without McCarthy is more upbeat

Last year and seasons before that, Tom McCarthy took a pause in his season as the main play-by-play Phillies TV announcer to go and do his football games that he does for both college and professional football announcing. That left the Comcast Sports Network in Philadelphia to find a replacement for him and they tapped Gregg Murphy, who has been doing sideline reporting for the network for a few years now.

Murphy wasn't really ready last year  and times prior, when he was elevated to the broadcast booth, his call of the game was kind of off kilter and you could tell that he just wasn't ready to do that job.

Fast forward to this year and last night, and again, McCarthy was gone to do other broadcast duties. His absence from the booth gave Murph another chance at being the play-by-play announcer and surprisingly, he is much improved over last year.

Not only was Murphy's call of the game better, his optimism and positiveness was a welcome change to what we have heard from McCarthy for a good part of the season.

Of course it always helps when the Phillies played as good as they did last night. They banged out 11 hits and 8 runs on the way to a shutout 8-0 win for the 67th win of the year.

The McCarthy-less broadcast booth continues today with the wrap-up game of the series with Miami, it's really a breath of fresh air for Phillies fans. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

First look at the 2017 Phillies schedule

What else can we do now except to hope for better things next season?

Well, nothing like getting you ready a little early, the Phillies released the 2017 preliminary schedule the other day and it's got a few interesting things to point out right off the bat.

How about facing the Washington Nationals for 9 games in the first 5 weeks of the season for one thing. That is very peculiar and then you can look to the other division rival for the Phillies, the New York Mets. We play the Mets a total of 6 times in the first month.

We'll be playing the Texas Rangers next season, and an old fan favorite, Cole Hamels.

A home and home quick two-game series with Boston will be played at both Fenway and CBP on June 12-15th.

We have 4 straight games in Chicago against the Cubs at Wrigley in 2017, will they be the World Champion Cubs? This series runs from May 1st - May 4th.

Another 4-game series against the San Francisco Giants is scheduled for '17 as well, it is an even year this year, will they be the World Champs in 2016? This SF trip is from Aug 17- 20.

Worst picks for road trips next year for the Phils... Arizona, Seattle, then to New York to play the Mets from June 23 to July 2nd. Washington Nats, then to Texas, and finally ending up in Pittsburgh from May 12 to May 21. These road trips have some odd routing that doesn't sound all that appealing.

This was a first look at the schedule, looking forward to seeing some of the promotions that the Phils will have next year. Those promotions usually are announced a few weeks from now. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Phils excel with September call-ups, but is this our team of the future?

Joseph, Quinn, Alfaro... is this the future of the Phillies? We've been rebuilding for so long, it's hard to tell?

The Phillies have looked a little rejuvenated with the September call-ups as many thought they would. The 25-man roster was tired and just not getting the job done on a daily basis as the season went on through July and August.

Tyler Goedel turned in an anemic .184 BA in 90 games, and Peter Bourjus had some bright moments at times, but he was equally bad with only 5 HR and 23 RBI in a 118 games so far this season not counting last night's game for both players. I think I could have done better than that and I am a lot older than either one of them.

The team on the field is essentially a minor league club on the field for the Phillies. Ryan Howard is in his last days in the uniform for the team, and surrounding him are a bunch of players that play well but are they everyday players?

We've been promised a 'rebuild' - but that has not been the case. The Phillies should have taken a page from the Cardinals, who over the last few years have been doing a good job getting new players in who can play and they don't appear like a minor league team as do the Phillies.

We passed the total number of wins last year, whooped to do, I guess that's a good thing, but this season has been horrible in it's own way as well. Only a couple more weeks left and we don't have much to show for it.

If the Phillies management is fielding a minor league team, shouldn't fans be charged a lot less to see this caliber of play? The only way management will start to get this picture is if the fans stay away from the stadium, as painful as that sounds, and not give your hard earned money to an organization that is not committed to winning. Sad to say but true.

p.s.  On the Baltimore Orioles player, Adam Jone,s comment that 'Baseball is a white man's sport' comment he made, that is nothing more less than a racist comment and I am surprised that not more players or writers had the fortitude to call him out for it. Racism has no bounds and when it's ugly head is raised, it's easy to spot sometimes, and this was an easy one.


Sunday, September 04, 2016

Stuck on 60 - Phils can't budge off the 60th win

Only a few more home series remain, the last chance to see Ryan Howard in a Phillies uniform

If it seems like the Phillies have been stuck on 60 wins for a while now, you're right. They earned win 60 back on August 28th when they got a 5-1 victory over the Mets. In fact, they had 57 wins on August 18th a full 10 days before that.

What happened to this baseball team? They seemingly stopped producing and now have only won 4-games since August 20, if you count back to their last 4 wins.

Maikel Franco looked as if he would be close to getting 100 RBI by the end of the season for a little while in the late summer, but that has all but become a pipe dream, as he hasn't been doing too well in the past couple of weeks. Odubel Herrera is the same way, he's become wildly inconsistent as if he is unconcerned about what his future will be on this team or maybe he's become too concerned about what his future is on the team?

2016 will be five full seasons for the Phillies that they haven't made the playoffs, after an impressive run that saw them reach two trips to the World Series, one to the NLCS, and two other division series appearances.

A planned rebuild looked like something was on course early on in the year, it seemed as if this Phillies team would be at least looking at the possibility of a .500 season. Now that seems next to impossible as there are only less than 30 games remaining in the season.

The player who has risen up the most in the past couple weeks has been Cameron Rupp, he has 14 HR and 45 RBI in only 86 games prior to the start of play earlier on Sunday.

Where did the Phillies really go wrong this year? In the month of June, their record was 9-19 for June. June included a 9-game in a row losing streak which really took a lot of spirit out of this team. They snapped out of the June funk, then started to make things look good for them the next couple weeks, but then couldn't sustain it. In the next 13 games after the end of that epic losing streak of 9 in a row, the Phils only lost 3 games through Wednesday, July 6th.

Looking at contracts for next year: Freddie Galvis would be up for arbitration, he is earning $2M for 2016, he put some some good numbers but hasn't been too clutch, he leads the team in GIDP, and needs to put the bat on the ball and get on base more. He is the lowest OBP of any starting everyday player. Odubel is still under club control, he's going to be a bargain next year at club minimum. That is if the Phillies don't bring someone else in for the job. In pitching the Phils may want to try to extend Hellickson if they can at least for another year or two at a decent price, they will have Nola, and Eickoff back at a club minimum.

A lot of work must be done with this team again this offseason, we have some starts down in AAA that can make the jump right into the majors next year. J.P. Crawford got his first invitation to Phillies Spring Training this year, and should compete for the job next season in Spring Training for the big club. Where does that leave Galvis? He could fill out the bench or be a decent back up player for the 2017 team.

For now though, we're still stuck on 60-wins for this season which is again a pretty disappointing way to be at this point in the season.

Phils notes: Vincent Velasquez has been yanked for the year, he's been one of the best pitchers for the Phillies this season, and will be rested for the rest of the season. 

Friday, September 02, 2016

Battle for worst offense shapes up this weekend in Philly

Nick Markakis won't have to worry about playoff baseball this year, his Braves are in last place but who is worst in the league in runs?

Well, the Eagles wrapped up their preseason schedule last night just across the street from where the Phillies will take on the Atlanta Braves in a weekend series starting tonight.

We used to be a baseball town, around this time for a few years, the baseball fans would still be in the forefront of the news, making their playoff plans, and getting ready for some of the best baseball that they would be seeing all year from those playoffs. We haven't had that in a couple years now, but the ebb of Philly being a baseball town is now at an all-time low.

It will be a battle for who has the worst offense in South Philly this weekend. The Phillies and the Braves are having a really tough time with their offenses. Both teams rank down at the bottom of all 30 Major League teams in just about all categories that matter. The number one concern would be run production. Today, the Phillies are at the bottom of all teams in runs scored, with 492 on the season. They are also on the bottom of the league with OBP which is .296 - that is really bad.

With this team in a perpetual rebuild, this fact is a real glaring one for fans, but it doesn't seem to be stirring much response from management. In fact, we haven't heard too much from either GM, Matt Klentak, or team President, Andy MacPhail, about this subject. Are these guys even at the ballpark? They don't make themselves available very much in the press, and it seems like they feel like they feel that they may be better off in the shadows.

The Phils got whipped by the Nationals in the last series. I know there was some close games in that series, but the Phils just keep getting out played and out hustled. This current Phils team just doesn't have that magic ingredient, it has some talent but it just doesn't have that team pull that is needed to start winning consistently. Phillies vs. the Nationals used to be an entertaining series to watch but lately it's be a one-sided affair. In fact, the Nationals have now beaten the Phillies in the last 9 times that the team teams have played one another.

Is this Phillies team going anywhere? Or does it need to be imploded like we've seen happen many times in the last couple years? I am not so sure that the blueprint that management is following is the right one to make this a winning team.