Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dodgers humiliate Phils on ESPN 16-2

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The Phils had some chances last night with Kershaw - they only came up with 1 run

Well, so much for being ready for the Dodgers. The Phillies did hang tough for the first 4 innings, and Zach Eflin should not be pitching for this team anymore. He's now 7-9 on the year, 9 losses attributed to the way he pitched the game. How many more times do we have to see games like this before there is a realization that Eflin falls apart most times. Last night it was in the 4th inning, and Eflin gave up 6 runs in the inning.

The game wore on, and the Dodgers kept scoring. Exposing the Phillies weaknesses to the national crowd watching on ESPN. The Phils did cling to a 1-0 lead prior to this explosion by the Dodgers. The Blue Crew had a huge contingent of fans with them for last night's game at Citizens Bank Park. At times they drowned out the Phillies crowd, especially on the radio.

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The Dodgers seem destined for greatness, but the Phils really looked bad last night

A national broadcast can bring out the problems and peculiarities with a ballclub, and the ESPN crew spared no expense at letting the viewers know what they thought. The prior game of course was on Fox Sports, and the Phillies ended up winning that game, but last night's game was ugly.

It's getting more difficult to watch the Phillies as the season goes on. I kind of thought the win on Sunday would give them a little more confidence to do well for Game 1 of the series with the Dodgers. There is no turning back sometimes from bad innings like we saw Eflin turn in. The Braves lit up Eflin for 6 ER on July 4th.

Gabe Kapler doesn't believe in advancing runners in a small ball type of play in most instances. The Phillies desperately need to do this a lot, but since Kapler doesn't think that's part of the game, it rarely happens. With all the sloppiness and things that are noted with not hustling, night after night with this Phillies team, you have to start wondering about Kapler now. This is Kapler's team, he's got to be responsible for all of this.

The nightly broadcast has been a tough watch, the bullpen is a subpar bunch of pitchers, once they get into a game, it's usually a very bad thing. Not too much more to say with this team, the weaknesses are apparent, and at this point, I think Kapler should be held accountable as well for this team, it's his players that are playing this way, maybe they benefit from a different manager?

The Dodgers have the number 1 record in all of baseball, it was evident to see as the Blue Crew are now 30 games over .500 - this is a winning ballclub.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Walk-off win prepares Phils for Dodgers

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Maikel Franco has been coming through for the Phils, despite again a call that some others could do better at the position

The Phillies couldn't hold the lead again yesterday afternoon at CBP, the Nationals stormed back and tied the game by scoring 2-runs in the 7th inning, but the Phils and Maikel Franco was the hero of the day (again), as he hit the walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th. That was his 100th HR of his career, in the last 7 games, Maikel is 9-21 (.429) with 3 HR and 4 RBI,

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Ryan Howard seemed like he would rather be back in uniform yesterday at his retirement party

It was Ryan Howard retirement day at the ballpark, it was a nice ceremony but I was surprised none of Ryan's close teammates made it to the ballpark to be with him on this special day. There were a few people including Charlie Manuel but not quite the amount I would have thought would be there. It was definitely an end to an era seeing Howard retiring at the age of 39.

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The Dodgers are a powerhouse, can the Phillies give them a run for their money (LA team salary $196.9M in 2019 4th highest in baseball)

Back to present day Phils, the LA Dodgers are now in town for an important 4-game series with the Phillies. The Blue Crew were taking on the Red Sox last night in Boston, and they handled the Sox 7-4 on Sunday Night Baseball.  

Bryce Harper went 0-3 for the Phils yesterday and 0-4 on Saturday, he was 2-4 on Friday. That's .181 for the series. I am wondering how much longer the fans are going to be patient with him. Yes, he does have 16 HR and 62 RBI - but I think he could do so much more with a few more hits. Hitting is contagious as well, if he starts hitting, maybe others will follow.

A lot of people are saying this series will make or break the Phillies, that may be all well and good, but the Phillies are still lacking some key pieces that are still going to be with this team even if the Phillies go out and sweep the Dodgers.

Pitching matchups for the series:

Tonight: Kershaw vs. Eflin
Tues: Buehler vs. Velasquez
Wed: Maeda vs. Pivetta
Thur: Stripling vs. Nola

Note: The Phillies are 13th in the MLB in team payroll, but right at this point, about a third of the overall payroll is on the IL right now

p.s. Jake Arrieta had a strong outing yesterday going 5.0 and yielding just 1 ER - let's hope other Phillies pitchers do as well with the Dodgers

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Phils drop first two vs Washington, old habits continue

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Franco had another good game last night, as most of the Phils have been quiet so far

The Phillies dropped the first two games since they have been back from the All-Star Game, last night it was the bullpen who couldn't hang on in the 9th - Hector Neris with his 3rd blown save of the season and his 4th loss of the year. It couldn't have come at a worse time for this team, they really needed this win to build their confidence up.

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Soto put a ball into the stands to ruin the Phils chance (unless they answered in the 9th) to win last night

The Nationals were 1-9 with RISP last night, they were in a position to lose this game to the Phillies. The game did see the Phils play a little better but then in the end the game is lost to the bullpen. Again exposing that this bullpen can't seem to hold a lead.

The night before, the Phils got blanked, 4-0 in the return to the diamond. So it's back to the grind for this team, and the things that have vexed them before the All-Star Break have continued. The team is now 47-45 on the year, and they are 8.5 GB from the first place Atlanta Braves.

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Andy MacPhail is not Pat Gillick, that is for sure

Will the Phillies go out and spend for the trade deadline? That all sounds like it's not going to happen with the interview that Phillies team President, Andy MacPhail, said upon the Phillies return. His reasoning that the Phils as of the day of the interview would be in the playoffs but only for a 1-game playoff. Talk about being optimistic for the future? That was one of the dumbest things I think I've ever heard come out of the mouth of  Phillies upper management.

So, we're probably going to go to the trade deadline without making any significant deals for this team to get better. So, the season could be a tough watch going forward. It kind of doesn't sit too well that management thinks that everything is just rosy from a perspective of how this team is doing.

Ticket sales are up this season, and that is the goal of a ballclub, so maybe it's a situation of the Phillies just going with the flow now that the fans seem to be back behind this team. Things won't change until the fans get vocal, and perhaps stop showing up at the ballpark supporting the moves that are in place.

Ryan Howard's official retirement is today at CBP, hard to believe, his career seemed to go by so fast, as did others of the 2008 World Series champs team. A big celebration is going on at the ballpark prior to the game. It just seemed like a couple seasons ago that we had one of the best starting rotations in baseball, along with the Howitzer, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and of course Jimmy Rollins and the rest of the Phillies that did their part to get to the World Series.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Phils get back to the baseball diamond

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If the Phillies are going to get better this half, they need more clutch contributions from Bryce

The All-Star Break seemed to last forever, but tonight, the Phillies will retake the field in the start up to the second half. Days without the game of baseball seemed to be really boring, the teams had an extra day off this year.

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Scott Kingery has been hitting the ball regularly, sporting a .292 BA and .889 OPS

The Phils have their work cut out for them. The Washington Nationals are in town, and they have been a very good ballclub lately, they have reversed their fortunes and now occupy the spot that the Phillies were in for a while, second place.

What the Phillies need to do of course is to start winning, sounds like it's easy but it hasn't been lately for this team. The month of June the team went 11-16, they are 3-3 in July. It's interesting to see what happens after this break, do the Phillies start to get better again?

It's Steven Strasburg vs Nick Pivetta in Game 1 of the series at 6:05 PM - Fireworks at the ballpark tonight and tomorrow, with the special start time for each night.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What do the Phillies do, post All-Star Game towards the trade deadline?

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What will the Phillies management do with this team. The Phils started off like a house on fire, stormed to the lead of the NL East in the first couple months of the season, but the last two months of the season, they have been a much different baseball team.

Are they buyers or sellers at this point? They are still very much capable of doing some great things with some tweaking to this team, but that would probably need to spend more money. Are the Phillies willing to do this?

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Jake Arrieta is awaiting results of the test for bone spurs he recently had. He's also awaiting possible league action for his comments in the post game interview of him with him saying that he would 'dent the skull' of Todd 'Todd Father' Frazier of the NY Mets. Will they need a quality starter? Yes, in my opinion, they needed one with or without Arrieta staying on this team.

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Can the Phillies offense start doing better when it needs to? That is a good question. We're waiting for Hoskins and Harper to start hitting, they have hit HRs but, getting base hits are just as important sometimes. We'll see if this happens. Harper was rarely not an All Star before joining the Phillies.

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The first 7 games back to playing in the second half may tell us a lot more about this ballclub. The Phillies face the hot Washington Nationals for three games and then the LA Dodgers for 4-games. So a test awaits this team right out of the gate. All of these games are at home though, and that's the Phillies strength at this point, they are 27-17 at home and just 20-26 on the road.

Monday, July 08, 2019

A look at the Phillies at the All Star Break

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Hoskins deposits home run 20 into the stands in New York yesterday

The Phillies won the last game leading up to the All Star Break , a break that will give them an extra day off, they are off until Friday, all except JT Realmuto, who is in Cleveland to join the festivities at the Midsummer Classic and represent the Phillies there. Incidentally, the reserve players and pitchers are now sent to the All-Star game with a combination of the players ballots and the Commissioner's office, no longer does the manager recommend who goes to the AS Game. The Phils record stands at 47-43 on the year, 4 games over .500 - they have dropped into 3rd place in the NL East just behind the Washington Nationals.

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Harper is going to be out attempting to stretch his hit into a double yesterday

The Phillies slide from 1st place has been an interesting in the fact that including off days, the team was in first place for 76 days, then started a steep fall from there on June 11, which was the last time the team was in first place. A few injuries, and some questionable play on the field, along with Odubel Herrera getting into trouble in Atlantic City seemed to signal a downward trend for this ball club.

The Phillies were 17-11 in the month of May, then when June arrived, things started to unravel, the team went 11-16 - a total opposite of the month before. The combination of quiet bats and poor pitching showed up, as well as a few times when players weren't hustling on the field. Jay Bruce was added to this ballclub and has paid some big dividends so far, it's kind of scary to think what might have happened with this team without his contributions (10 HR and 29 RBI in 28G).

Here's the Phillies offensive numbers at the break:
Team Batting
1CJ.T. Realmuto288533830855841910422477.273.328
21BRhys Hoskins268939231547832020596894.263.401
32BCesar Hernandez#29893663334295187402349.285.339
4SSJean Segura298035533155922010401842.278.322
53BMaikel Franco268229726935611113412736.227.296
6LFAndrew McCutchen (60-day IL)325926221945561210294355.256.378
7CFOdubel Herrera*27391391261228101161133.222.288
8RFBryce Harper*2690395332538424166259105.253.370
9CFScott Kingery255821820231591611271261.292.344
10LFJay Bruce*3228107103143061029316.291.308
11OFNick Williams* (40-man)25508681814414330.173.221
12CAndrew Knapp#274081667102121326.152.291
13UTSean Rodriguez343571581113328719.224.324
14UTPhil Gosselin30325049312306110.245.260
15CFRoman Quinn#2619504565102519.111.200
16OFAaron Altherr282230292110119.034.067
17UTBrad Miller*291727234702445.304.407
18CFAdam Haseley* (40-man)232872110111.143.250
19Mitch Walding* (40-man)262220000002.000.000
20Dylan Cozens* (40-man)251110000000.000.000
21PAaron Nola2619443541001521.029.150
22PJake Arrieta3317403526004115.171.194
23PZach Eflin2516302914001019.138.138
24PNick Pivetta2611242312000017.087.087
25PJerad Eickhoff (10-day IL)281219140000017.000.067
26PVince Velasquez272015121301222.250.357
27PCole Irvin* (40-man)255641100021.250.500
28PRanger Suarez*2352101000001.0001.000
29PJuan Nicasio (10-day IL)3231220000001.000.000
30PDrew Anderson (40-man)252110000001.000.000
31PEnyel De Los Santos (40-man)235110000001.000.000
32PSeranthony Dominguez (10-day IL)2426110000001.000.000
33PPat Neshek# (10-day IL)3820000000000
34PEdgar Garcia2223000000000
35PHector Neris3036000000000
36PVictor Arano (60-day IL)243000000000
37PFernando Salas341000000000
38PAdam Morgan*2930000000000
39PTommy Hunter324000000000
40PJ.D. Hammer2417000000000
41PAustin Davis* (40-man)267000000000
42PJose Alvarez*3034000000000
43PEdubray Ramos (40-man)2616000000000
44PDavid Robertson (60-day IL)347000000000
45PYacksel Rios263000000000
Team Totals27.89034603057442753171115421334775.246.325
Rank in 15 NL teams86104104898
Non-Pitcher Totals27.99032752899432735171114413323689.254.333
Pitcher Totals27.39018515810180181186.114.172
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/8/2019.

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Nola looks like he is regaining his better form lately, still the only pitcher the Phillies can count on

What changed with this team from one month to the next? A few injuries popped up, it may have upset the delicate balance of chemistry on the ballclub. Bats went silent as well, there were many stretches where the Phillies were losing, at one point a 7-game losing streak happened. Pitching wasn't too reliable either, here's a look at the pitching in the first half:

Team Pitching
Rk Pos Name Age W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
1SPAaron Nola2682.8003.741919110.210049461544124
2SPJake Arrieta3387.5334.671818108.01186056184085
3SPZach Eflin2578.4673.781717100.01044742172683
4SPNick Pivetta2643.5715.84111161.2724240161952
5SPJerad Eickhoff (10-day IL)2834.4295.71121058.1583737181851
Rk Pos Name Age W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
6CLHector Neris3013.2503.1637037.027141351349
7RPJuan Nicasio (10-day IL)3212.3335.2432034.142222031531
8RPJose Alvarez*3002.0003.8635132.235161451228
9RPSeranthony Dominguez (10-day IL)24301.0004.0127024.224131131229
10RPAdam Morgan*2933.5004.1530021.21410102719
Rk Pos Name Age W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
11Vince Velasquez2725.2864.63201056.1563029132363
12Cole Irvin* (40-man)2521.6677.826325.13323227723
13Edgar Garcia22201.0006.0824023.225161681226
14Pat Neshek (10-day IL)3801.0005.0020018.0231110529
15J.D. Hammer24101.0003.3817016.011662810
16Edubray Ramos (40-man)26101.0004.1517013.01676249
17Enyel De Los Santos (40-man)2301.0007.365111.01399459
18Ranger Suarez*23003.485010.111442311
19Austin Davis* (40-man)26007.207010.0128831010
20David Robertson (60-day IL)3401.0005.40706.2844166
21Drew Anderson (40-man)25007.50206.0655166
22Victor Arano (60-day IL)24101.0003.86304.2222127
23Tommy Hunter32000.00404.1200005
24Yacksel Rios26000.00302.2330132
25Fernando Salas34009.00101.0311101
26Sean Rodriguez34000.00101.0000001
27Aaron Altherr28009.00101.0211002
Team Totals27.84743.5224.649090800.0820440412153297751
Rank in 15 NL teams311129 14111115814
Rk Pos Name Age W L W-L% ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
Generated 7/8/2019.

What can the Phillies do to turn this around? Is it still possible for them to be a playoff contender? The answer is yes to both questions, but the team has to find out how to do that. Is Arrieta injured? The Phillies have some work to do to figure out if this is a team that has a future in the playoffs.

Will the Phillies be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline? The answer may yet still to be determined, how will they do when the team gets back together on Friday and faces the Nationals, a team that has gone 8-2 in their last 10 games.

The 90th All-Star game will be played in Cleveland, the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Love the logo for the game this year). Last night, in Cleveland, there was a Futures game in which young MLB talent was displayed, namely for the Phillies, Alec Bohm was there at 3rd base. Of course there are going to be All-Star snubs as everyone that is having a very good season doesn't always make it to the game. It's an honor to make it there, but I am sure a few players would love to spend a few summer days at home with family as well.

The MLB Home Run Derby (Bryce Harper will not be there) is tonight at Progressive Field (it features a top prize of $1M to the winner tonight), a stadium that cost $175M to build in 1994, when it was known as Jacobs Field, wow, the contracts in baseball have soared well above that amount now for the top players.