Sunday, June 10, 2018

Phillies find themselves in a tough spot lately

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Can the Phils get back to the winning that they have experienced just a few weeks ago?

The past 14 days for the Phillies have been a very rough time for this talented team. The team finds itself in a losing way. They came into Sunday's game against Milwaukee losing their last 4 games in a row. The Phils now find themselves close to .500 again after being on the plus side of that .500 mark for a long time. The highest the Phillies have gone above .500 was 9 games over when they landed in first place on May 26th - since then though the team has gone on a slide. The Phils have lost 10 games out of while only winning 3 - that has put them back to 4.0 GB behind the NL leading Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves who are tied as of today.

What things can go right for the Phillies in the next couple weeks? They have a lot of home games to play. They have been very good at home for the most part, they share a tie for best home record with San Francisco at 19-11. If they can continue this, look for the Phils to rebound and again start to challenge the Braves and Nats as we go on in the season.

There has been a dramatic drop in the fan base in the Milwaukee series, crowds in the low to mid 20,000 fans range have perhaps signaled that maybe the recent amount of losses have kept some fans away. Baseball attendance in general has been down, the Phils have had a home average of around 25,059 per game as of today. The Mets have had a lot of back luck in the past few weeks as well, but they still average 30,000 at home per game.

Looking ahead at the Phils schedule, it seems like they have some formidable competition in the next couple weeks, they will play the Washington Nationals in 6 games before the end of the month and the Yankees for 3 games. 

Is this team a playoff team? Can they regain what they had just a few weeks ago? Starting pitching has been a bit dodgy lately and so has the offense, if the two can turn it around, we may see the optimism return to the fans that we may have a winner here.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Phils embark on one of the longest road trips of the year

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This Dodgers team for 2018 was picked by many to do really well, that hasn't worked out too well yet for them 

A West Coast road trip is usually a long one, and this road trip that the Phillies are on even has a stop in Chicago to visit the Cubs after going to LA and San Francisco. It's a 10-game road trip, and hopefully the Phillies will find what they did at home with their great home record of 19-9. On the road, the team is less than stellar, with a 10-12 record. This is going to have to improve if we start thinking about the Phillies as a team that has a chance to make the playoffs.

The next longest road trip that the Phils will play isn't until July 7th to July 15th - but with a makeup rained out game to do in Baltimore that will be played on the 12th of July, the Phils will actually have an 11-game road trip to do then.

Let's see if they can win some series on this current road trip though, a tough 4-game stand at Dodger Stadium is first up for them to try to conquer. A record of 29-21 overall has the team in 2nd place at this point in the season.

Again, this team hasn't really showed a side to them to go out and put teams away, they have been finding ways to win but not dominating. That is the concern, and this road trip is going to say a lot about what we may see from the Phillies for the upcoming weeks. Can they continue to find ways to win, or will they become mired in that kind of mediocre road play that we've seen from them so far.

Luckily both the Dodgers and San Francisco haven't been playing too well lately. The Cubs are another story, they have been picking it up over the past 2 weeks and have surged into 2nd place in the NL Central with a 28-22 record with going 6-4 in their last 10 games.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Phillies take over first place on Memorial Day Weekend 2018

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A huddle for first place, the Phils have finally won a game that takes them into first place

To hear the words, Phillies and first place in the same sentence is something that the fans of this team have been thinking about for many years now. The World Series win was an incredible 10 years ago (that went by really fast to this writer).

Well, like the ebb and flow of the tide, the winning can return to a baseball team over time, if the right ingredients are there on the team. It takes some winning pitching, and the Phillies have been experiencing this in the past few weeks. Aaron Nola is 6-2 on the season and the addition of Jake Arrieta, was another great add to this starting roster. We've seen Vince Velasquez have a few good starts in a row as well. Add this all up with some timely hitting and we're in first place!

It's not a dominating type of first place though, it's been at times a very tentative arrival in the top spot as the Phillies have had some bumps in the road with relief pitching over the past 10 days. The important thing though is they are finding ways to win. Again, it's not a dominating type of winning like this team is going on the diamond and beating up on teams.

Some timely hitting off of the bench by Nick Williams and a steady effort from both Odubel and Maikel have really transformed this Phillies offense for the moment.

Can this Phillies team hold on to first place and stay there? We'll see, the Atlanta Braves have been playing really well and have two top hitters in Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. If the Braves are going to make a run at this division, they will have to pitch better. It will be fun to see how this race shapes up, the Mets have been playing some poor baseball but they are still only 3.5 GB off the pace.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Phillies are starting to associate themselves with winning

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The Cardinals are going back home to face the Phillies after a victory today in Minnesota

The Phillies managed to play in Baltimore today despite a threat of rain and the washout from last night that will be made up on July 12th. More than play today in Balto, the Phillies managed to win their 24th game of the year and improved their road record to 8-10 by a score of 4-1 this afternoon.

Nick Pivetta improved to 3-2 on the year and his ERA is now 3.72 - he also struck out 11 batters on the day so it was a very good outing for him. The bullpen did have a test late in the game, the Orioles had the bases loaded but the relievers managed to curtain the Orioles two good hitters in Adam Jones, and Manny Machado who both came up to bat when the bases were loaded.

The Phils now travel onto an important test in St. Louis, perhaps the most important series of this year so far, that just past the 1/4 pole of the season with the 40th game of the year. So this season that really seems to have been off to a slow start with bad weather through April has suddenly been moving on pretty fast.

Can the Phillies continue to win in a St. Louis vs. a more powerful opponent in the Cards? The Cardinals beat the Twins earlier today in Minnesota, they are 23-17 on the year. The Cards were on top of the NL Central for a good part of May, they were in first place in the NL Central as recent as the 12th of May but slipped in the past couple of days, the Pirates have surged back into first place as of the time this column is being written. So, the Cards are still very much a good team and it will be an important test for the Phils to see if they are for real.

The Phils will be pitching Velasquez, Arrieta, Eflin, and Nola in this series. All have done really well in their last starts. Arrieta had a lead in a game the Phillies should have closed the door on but didn't, and that cost Arrieta and the team a valuable win. Let's see if the Phils can continue to find ways to put runs on the board and keep winning.

Notes on the Cardinal series:

2 of the 4 game series with be played in the afternoon, on Saturday and Sunday

The Cardinals have a team BA of .228 (Phils .248) - though the Cards have 49 total HRs to the Phils 44 HR team total

Odubel Herrera still leads the NL in BA at .357 and extended his on base streak today in Baltimore with a hit

The Phillies come into the Cardinal series with a 24-16 record - just behind the Braves in the NL East

Monday, May 14, 2018

Phillies to play Orioles in brief 2 game series

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The Orioles are coming off a big 17-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Baltimore on Sunday.

On Tuesday, the Phillies will play the Baltimore Orioles in a 2-game series down in Baltimore and then in July, the Orioles will travel up to Philadelphia for another brief 2-game series on July 3 - 4.

It was mentioned on a recent broadcast that the team will actually travel down to Baltimore from Philly on the day of the game. It will give the players an extra day to be home in the Philadelphia area, and they will no doubt be a bit pressed for time as they still have to check into a hotel and then get down to the ballpark for the game on Tuesday.

There will be a homecoming for Phils current Team President, Andy MacPhail, who got a job with the Baltimore Orioles on June 20th 2007, when Baltimore owner Peter Angelos hired him as Team President of the O's. Phils current GM Matt Klentak also met MacPhail there in Baltimore in 2008 when MacPhail hired Klentak as his Director of Baseball Operations.

Nick Pivetta and Vince Velazquez will be getting the ball on the mound to start the games for the Phillies. The Orioles have announced Andrew Cashner as facing off against Pivetta but have yet to announce the starter vs. Vince. The Orioles are in last place in the powerhouse AL East at 13-28 (15.5 GB) on the year.

The Phils will then travel to St. Louis for a 4-game series against the NL Central leading Cardinals. This should be another test to see whether the Phils are indeed for real this year with a 1 GB second place NL East spot that they have today just behind the Braves.

The Phils have 7 wins and 4 losses in the month of May so far, let's see what they can do on this road trip.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Tough loss to Mets with Neris in the 9th

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Jake Arrieta had a good game against the Mets, the Phils could only put 1-run up on the board the whole game

This moment last night looked almost too easy, the Phillies clinging to a 1-0 lead going into the 9th inning and the Phils closer, Hector Neris on the mound. The bullpen has been brilliant in the past week, but now time was about to catch up with that, as Hector served up the go ahead runs to the Mets after a stellar outing by Jake Arrieta.

Up to this point in the season, the Phillies only had one other blown save at home since the season started, it's been one of the reasons that the Phillies have had the best home record in the NL so far.

Phillies closer, Hector Neris got the first out in Adrian Gonzalez, and we were down to needing only 2 more outs. But that's the kind of thing that makes baseball so special. It's never a sure thing in this game, a team can battle back in an instant. Neris then had 2 strikes on Wilmer Flores, Flores then took a check swing that was actually a strikeout, but it wasn't called. On the next pitch, Flores singled to reach base.

Michael Conforto came up and launched a long foul ball that was long enough to be a homerun if it were straight. The table was set at this point, with Conforto who after the next pitch, launched a ball into right field off of the ATT sign.

Then things became unglued with another HR hit by Devin Mesoraco to put the Mets ahead 3-1 and give the Mets a victory in Game 1 in Philly.

What can you say? We haven't seen the bullpen give up too many games this year, they have been a solid part of the Phillies game so far. Maybe Neris had been a bit rusty in a game saving situation, he's been going into games with leads and the last blown save from him which resulted in a loss was just 6 days ago against the Nationals. Neris has an ERA at 5.17 ERA with giving up those HRs to the Mets.

Game notes:

Jake Arrieta -  5 SO  -  5H  - 7.1 IP

Odubel Herrera -  2-4 with 1 RBI - the HR which gave the Phils their only run

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Phillies gliding along at home best home record in NL

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The Phillies have shown a potent offense with Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, and now Carlos Santana seems to have caught fire as well

The best home record in the NL? No, we couldn't be mentioning that and the Phillies in the same breath. It's true though, the Phillies are the current owners of that title. Just behind them is the Arizona Diamondbacks at 13-6 at home.

If the Phillies could somehow start to do better on the road, we could have a really fun baseball season in front of us. I say this with caution though, as sometimes this team seems to slip and not look like the same good team that it has been the last couple of games.

With an overall record of 21-15 the Phillies are just a 1/2 game behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. That's really amazing as we are 36 games into this baseball season. To say that it is going to happen this way the rest of the season, we can't say for sure.

I talked with a few fans recently about the success of the team. One person I talked with admitted to be a 'bandwagon' jumper Phillies fan. He said he couldn't watch them the past couple years with how bad they were. That's understandable, to a person who may really not be a huge baseball fan like this guy, it was probably too much for him to watch on a nightly basis. The Phils had finished in 4th or 5th place in the NL East the last 5 years with at least finishing the season 23.0 GB from the leader.

Well, it's certainly refreshing to see this team finally start to put some decent wins into their season, we can only hope it continues. With this type of early success, if it continues, we may see the Phillies become buyers for the trade deadline. I know this is still far away, but one can hope!

Today, the Phils play another Facebook exclusive game with the final game of the series against the San Francisco Giants. It's the third time that the Phils have been included in this Facebook exclusive type of broadcast. I am still not sold on it, I prefer to watch the regular broadcast of the game on television, but I will probably list to a lot of this game on the radio broadcast.

The Phillies Talk Podcast is recording as well later today with myself and Matt Veasey, so, check this blog out for the show when it is finished and of course you can listen in on iTunes just search for the Phillies Talk Podcast and subscribe to the show!

Notes from last night's game and Phils stats:

Pivetta is now 2-2 on the season with the win last night

Carlos Santana is now batting .189 - still low but he is showing signs of getting better - had 5 RBI last night in the cleanup spot

Nola is leading the NL Starting pitchers in WAR at 2.5

Phillies team pitching is in the Top 5 in the MLB in runs allowed per game with 3.81 - Houston leads all with 2.77

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Phillies needed a win in Florida and delivered

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When is the last time we heard, 'The Phillies need a win'?

Chances are we haven't heard this in reference to them and a NL East race in quite some time. That was the phrase that was being repeated by many though yesterday before the game in Miami that saw the Miami Marlins threatening to sweep the Phils in their 3-game series with the Phils.

The resurgent team in the NL East is the Atlanta Braves, they are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and winners of their last 4 games in a row. They have shot straight to the top of the NL East surpassing the Mets for first place last night, who were swept by the Braves. The Mets also lost Jacob DeGrom who left the ballgame with a hyperextended elbow.

The Phils won last night by ending their drought of putting up some runs and some good pitching on the part of Aaron Nola. Nola earned his 4th win of the season (4-1) and struck out 7 batters on the night. The Phillies offense banged out 12 hits on the night even though they were 1-8 RISP, they managed to put up 7 runs on the night.

The Phils travel up to Washington for the weekend series with the Nationals on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They are making the NL East interesting as are the rest of the teams that are jostling for the lead in the division.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Phils face Diamondbacks on MLB Live on Facebook Watch exclusively

The Phillies have now played exclusively on Facebook Watch for the 2nd time of only the 4th episode that Facebook has broadcast exclusively this year. The announcers were Scott Braun, Eric Byrnes, and Ben Davis. It was an early 1:05 PM business person's special today at Citizens Bank Park.

Unfortunately, the Phils didn't play all that well today behind the 7 H 4 BB and 7 ER that Ben Lively gave up in the first 3 innings of this game. The thousands of viewers that tuned into the game were treated to an afternoon game in sunny Philadelphia. Viewers averaged around the 30K mark most of the game on Facebook. 

The Phillies lost this afternoon game 8-2, now the Phils are 15-9 on the year.

Facebook signed on with the MLB to stream 25 games this season exclusively. It is said to be the first time that a sports league granted a company like Facebook an exclusivity deal. 

The Phillies had mother nature against them in the first game of this series with the Diamondbacks, they ended up losing 8-4 on a rainy miserable night. A convincing win followed on Wednesday night, 5-3 with Jake Arrieta's 3rd win as a Phillies pitcher. He is now 3-0 with an 1.82 ERA that is currently 11th best in the MLB among starters. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Arrieta strong on a cold night

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Arrieta may be use to the chilly nights in Chicago, the way it looked last night at CBP

Jake Arrieta earned his 2nd win in a Phillies uniform (last night it was the throwback uni!) behind a 10 strikeout night and 9 hits by the Phillies leading to a lopsided 7-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates were no easy foe going into the game at 12-6 on the year, the Phillies improved to 11-7 on the season, and dropped the Pirates down a notch to 12-7. The Pirates are in first place in the NL Central.

You never know what you're going to see at the ballpark, and last night, it was J.P. Crawford scoring from first base on a three run single, the first time the Phillies have done that in 40 years as reported on Cut4 on

The Phils play Game 2 of the 4-game series with the Pirates on Friday night at 7:05 PM - it should be a lot warmer than it was at the ballpark last night. The pitchers will be Ben Lively (0-1 5.87 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (2-1 4.88 ERA)

The Pirates have been one of the hottest teams in the MLB in the first couple weeks here's how they got to first place in the NL Central:

Team Game-by-Game Schedule
Gm# Date Opp W/L R RA Inn W-L Rank GB Orig. Scheduled
1Friday, Mar 30boxscore@DETW1310131-020.5
Gm# April Opp W/L R RA Inn W-L Rank GB Orig. Scheduled
2Sunday, Apr 1 (1)boxscore@DETW102-01Tied
3Sunday, Apr 1 (2)boxscore@DETW863-01Tied
4Monday, Apr 2boxscoreMINW544-01up 1.0
5Wednesday, Apr 4boxscoreMINL374-11up 0.5
6Thursday, Apr 5boxscoreCINW525-11up 1.5
7Friday, Apr 6boxscoreCINW1436-11up 1.5
8Saturday, Apr 7boxscoreCINL476-21up 1.5
9Sunday, Apr 8boxscoreCINW507-21up 2.0
10Tuesday, Apr 10boxscore@CHCW858-21up 3.0
11Wednesday, Apr 11boxscore@CHCL5138-31up 2.0
12Thursday, Apr 12boxscore@CHCW619-31up 2.5
13Friday, Apr 13boxscore@MIAL279-41up 2.5
14Saturday, Apr 14boxscore@MIAW1010-41up 2.5
15Sunday, Apr 15boxscore@MIAW7311-41up 2.5
16Monday, Apr 16boxscoreCOLL2611-51up 2.0
17Tuesday, Apr 17boxscoreCOLL0211-61up 1.0
18Wednesday, Apr 18boxscoreCOLW10212-61up 1.5
19Thursday, Apr 19preview@PHI7:057:057:05GameGameGameGame
20Friday, Apr 20preview@PHI7:057:057:05GameGameGameGame
21Saturday, Apr 21preview@PHI4:054:054:05GameGameGameGame
22Sunday, Apr 22preview@PHI1:351:351:35GameGameGameGame
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/20/2018.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hoskins is coming through for Phillies early so far

The game in Atlanta last night was another pitcher's duel, a 1-1 score was all the scoring that Phils and Atlanta could score during the first 9 innings. Rhys Hoskins hit the go ahead runs in last night in Atlanta for the Phillies win to solidify them into 2nd place in the NL East. Before than Scott Kingery almost made an out at 2nd base in a steal in the top of the 10th - he somehow got back to the base after over sliding it. Cesar Hernandez hit a bunt single to move Kingery to third.

Carlos Santana, who the Phillies acquired in the offseason for a bit of an offensive pop couldn't get the runners moving when he came up in the top of the 10th, there was an interesting article about him in the Philly Daily News the other day, in which he said among other things that he needed a little 'luck' to happen for him on the baseball diamond. So far, Santana hasn't had any luck in batting for the Phillies. We sent a guy away from the Phils that played a good first base for the Phils last year in Tommy Joseph - he hit 22 HR and 69 RBI for the team. We're still waiting for Santana to catch on.

Hoskins has played like a guy who has many years experience for the Phils here's how his career looks with some of his numbers here:

Standard Batting
Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB Pos Awards
2 Yr2 Yr2 Yr66219486014020615
162 162 162 1625381181473404915012
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/18/2018.

The Phils and the Braves will wrap up the series tonight in Atlanta, then the Mets will move into Atlanta for a 4-game series down there. Here's a link to the preview for tonight's Phillies vs. Braves matchup.  Vince Velasquez (1-1 3.52 ERA) vs Brandon McCarthy (2-0 3.31 ERA) first pitch at 7:35 PM in Atlanta.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Phillies have to find that winning mentality

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Odubel hit a HR for the Phils last night, but he got some attention for things he didn't do right

Watching the game last night, we once again saw a good game by the Phillies. The team just couldn't catch up to Julio Teheran, who had a good command of his pitches, and struck out 9 Phillies batters in the process.

Small mistakes crept up here and there. Odubel Herrera is an exciting player on offense and defense, he sometimes makes you wonder why he does certain things though. Last night, he needed to slide into the base at 2nd base but for whatever reason, he didn't. It's little slips like that sometimes that makes you wonder about the whole player that Odubel is. We've seen that from him since he's been a Phillie, so it's something that evidently, he can't control. He did have the only Phillies run of the game with a HR. He's also in 2nd of all Phillies batters with a .340 BA - Hoskins has a .341 BA

Certain Phillies bats have not awakened yet however this season. New first baseman Carlos Santana is batting .143 on the year, and he was supposed to be someone we could count on for some offense. Aaron Altherr, who has an .077 BA on the year.

Last night, it was pitching that kept the Phillies in the game, Aaron Nola only had 2 SO on the night, but kept the Braves to 2 ER which was the final score of 2-1 in favor of the Braves. The weather in Atlanta was a chilly 49 degrees to start off the game, so again the conditions weren't optimum. The weather should be improving for the rest of the series.

The Phils and the Braves will face off tonight again, at 7:35 PM with Nick Pivetta (1-0  2.70 ERA) pitching against Mike Foltynewicz  (1-1 2.93 ERA)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Test coming for Phillies in Atlanta

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The Phillies will face a much better team in Atlanta than the previous 2 teams they've faced

The Phillies have have performed extremely well and a past 2 weeks but their opponents haven't been that good, so it is hard to tell whether the Phillies were playing extra good or just good against bad teams.

The increase in offense was much welcomed because the Phillies started out near the bottom of the MLB in that category. On team batting average the Phillies are in 21st place out of the 30 MLB teams which is an improvement from where they were.

With the six game streak,  the Phillies have found themselves in second place in the NL East at 9-5 right under the New York Mets. The Mets have been playing fantastic baseball and are sporting a 12-2 record so far in this early part of the season.

The Braves are just following the Phillies in the standings so far at 8-6 so far. The Braves wrapped up a series with the Cubs that had yesterday's game rained out in Chicago. Atlanta started out strong, but has taken a couple of steps back lately.

Tonight's starter for the Braves, Julio Teheran has started out with a high ERA in 3 starts, here is how his career has been with the Atlanta Braves:

Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA GS IP SO/W Awards
8 Yr8 Yr8 Yr5854.5183.641651023.22.90
162 162 162 1211.5183.6434209 2.90
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/16/2018.