Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Phils go down in extras vs. Mets

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Is there a photo op that baseball commish Rob Manfred doesn't like to get into? Here he is with Jamie Foxx 

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And another, the commish with Phillies billionaire part-owner John Middleton

The Phillies and the Mets battled last night at CBP. This was to be expected as both teams have really started out the season very well. The Mets really were an unknown commodity entering this season and so far even the ardent Met fan would agree that this really wasn't foreseen to be happening this early in the season.

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Noah Syndergaard throws the baseball vs. the Phils last night

The Brody Van Wagenen (Mets new GM) era has begun. If you listened to the ESPN baseball feed of the game last night, you have my sympathies. That broadcast was a really whiny weak example of the way a game should be called. Ryan Howard was in the both, he really outshined the veteran broadcast team and was understated in doing so. The ESPN crew droned on about every conceivable thing unrelated to the game at times, I really had to turn the volume down on this game.

Back to the game, (as the ESPN crew couldn't do much of the time) it was a back and forth event like a heavy weight fight that went slug for slug. The Mets prevailed in less than perfect conditions, in fact it was really cold with a biting wind. It's mid-April, and we're reminded how cruel the weather can actually still be in this month around the Philadelphia area.

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Nola hasn't looked like the Aaron we know lately

Noah Syndergaard faced off against Aaron Nola, and again, the conditions were less than perfect for sure last night, so I am not so sure we can really use this to gauge the starting pitching performances. Nola hasn't been his usual self, for sure. We'll continue to keep a close watch on him especially his next start, but the Mets just out hustled the Phils last night. Oh yes, did I tell you how much I do not like every player wearing the number 42?

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B Harp could have gone a long way to be a hero last night

Bryce Harper was setup to be a hero last night, he came up in the bottom of the 8th inning with the bases loaded. The drama, the tenseness, Harper missed a big chance to deliver on that mega contract he received as he harmlessly popped up to end the inning. These are the spots where Mike Schmidt use to deliver on time after time for the Phillies, for those of us old enough to remember, that is what makes a great baseball player, one who delivers when it is counted upon to do so.

The Mets and the Phils square off again tonight in Philadelphia. It will be a tiny bit better out there weatherwise, not the biting wind that we had, but it will still get chilly. Bring a blanket, have some hot chocolate and enjoy the game! It was a tough 7-6 loss last night in extra innings.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Phils playing the Mets tonight - the surging NY Mets

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It took the Phils 14 innings to beat the Marlins, now the Mets are in town for a quick 3 game series

The Phillies come home after a brief road trip to Miami, Florida. Is it me, or has this Phillies schedule been a little odd lately? A lot of time off, and odd series being played. The Phillies managed to pull out the victory yesterday in Miami and it took them 14 innings to do it. A win is a win though, and we'll forget about how the Phillies should have put the Marlins down easier but didn't in this series.

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The NY Mets and new phenom Pete Alonzo are in town, Alonzo reminds me of player by the name of Mike Trout

We'll forget about that Marlins series, because the first place NY Mets are in town for a three game series and tonight's game is going out on ESPN. Wow, when is the last time we've seen the Phillies having been so many times on National tv broadcasts? Probably back to 2009, the year after the team won the World Series, and then reappeared the the '09 WS against the Yankees.

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It's Jackie Robinson Day, on top of all of this, so maybe the team can go out there and get down to business. I am not a fan of everyone wearing the number 42 tonight during the game. We know Jackie's number, and why have everyone wearing it? Major League Baseball has a way of really beating a point into the ground sometimes, and this is one of those times. The celebrations for Mother's and Father's Day is getting close as well. Ok, we get it, let's play ball and limit all the distractions.

The Mets have really surprised coming out of the gate as one of the early leaders in the NL East, they took the spot from the Phillies, who looked convincing for first 9 games, then have settled back to earth in the last several games.

The good news is that we'll miss Jacob DeGrom in this series, again an odd one for the Phillies, as they come home from Miami to play the Mets for 3 games then head right back out on the road. DeGrom pitched a bad game against the Braves last night, he took the loss. The Mets have won 3 out of their last 5 games. The NY Mets have also scored 6 or more runs in their last 8 games. So the Phillies have a formidable opponent to deal with.

The Mets are throwing Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler at the Phillies in this series, and the Phils will counter with Nola, Pivetta, and Arrieta. The only real uneven matchup is the middle game, with Steven Matz at 1-0 (1.65 ERA) going up against Nick Pivetta 1-1 (9.45 ERA) but other than that, we should be good for this series.

From the NY Mets broadcast department and special statement from the owners of the Mets, Fred and Jeff Wilpon:

“Our thoughts and prayers continuously remain with Ron for a full recovery and we look forward to seeing him back in the broadcast booth soon.”

Statement from SNY sent earlier Saturday night
SNY broadcasting analyst Ron Darling, announced this evening that he will be taking a temporary medical leave following tonight’s Mets game. Doctors have been monitoring Darling over the last few months and tests revealed a mass on his chest. Darling is now scheduled for a medical procedure next week. The doctors have told him that if there are no complications he should be back in the booth alongside Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez next month.
“My health is the top priority right now for my family and I,” said Darling. “I’m looking forward to being back in the booth with our crew and my friends Gary and Keith as soon as I can.”
SNY studio analyst and former New York Met Todd Zeile will fill in for Darling during his medical leave.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Miami series says a little about this team

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JT Realmuto makes his return to his former team's city: Miami

How long will the Phillies believe in Zach Eflin? He's up, and down but rarely is he consistently very good. Pitching will be the undoing of this team and so far that is proving true. An upgrade to the pitching staff was really needed in the off season. Granted, Eflin has started out very good this year with a 2-0 record, but how much of that is because of the offense?

Standard Pitching
4 Yr4 Yr1719.4725.0449271.248207
162 162 1213.4725.0434189 33144
Generated 4/14/2019.

Looking at Zach's record, he was 11-8 last year with a 4.36 ERA. Last night he gave up 10 H and 6 ER to get the loss- his first of the season. Eflin is signed through the 2019 season, with his $590,000 salary, so based upon that, what can we really expect from him? A pitcher like him will be able to make about $3-4 million a year after his contract is over, and he's a pitcher who isn't all that dominating.

The Phils look like a dominating team at times, then other times, they look very much like an above average team. What do we have here this year? It's mid-April and we've seen a very good start to the year, then the team cooled off fast.

Teams like the Marlins should be handled by the Phillies, but they are not. That is the mark of a really good team. You're faced with an opponent that isn't evenly matched up with your team, and you go in there and show them why. The Phillies really haven't been doing that. They play really well at times, then not so well.

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We've seen our old catcher in this series, Jorge Alfaro, here is what Jorge has done so far in his career:

Standard Batting
4 Yr4 Yr4 Yr155549505521381857.273.330.761
162 162 162 162574528541441960.273.330.761
PHI PHI PHI 143508467471261551.270.327.749
MIA MIA MIA 12413851236.316.366.918
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/14/2019.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nationals cool off early Phillies fire in this series

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Nick Pivetta ran into a buzzsaw of Nationals hitters last night, and it wasn't too pretty

The Phillies had been sailing along since the home opener in the month of April so far. But last night the Washington Nationals put the Phillies fire out with a 15-1 drubbing that really seems to have set this team back on it's heels a little. The Phils dropped 2 of 3 games to the Nationals at home in the series.

Pitching has been the source of the Phillies weakness so far in 2019 - the offense had been essentially working like a machine for the first 9 games, a well oiled machine that had produced a lot of Phillies wins and had propelled them into first place in the NL East.

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Anthony Rendon has always hit well in the Phillies home ballpark, and last night, he did it again. Phillies pitching was pounded for 17 H on the night from the Nationals. Matt Adams is only batting .143 but went 2-5 with 4 RBI on the night, Rendon added 3 RBI and Adam Eaton chipped in with 2 RBI - so those 3 players had the bulk of the Nats 15 runs they scored last night.

Pivetta gave up 7 H and 7 R all of which were earned. It was easily one of his worst games as a starter for this team. Last season, he gave up only 9 runs combined in all of his 5 starts of April 2018. He has already given up 14 ER in 3 starts this year so far in April.

A big April crowd of 30,805 paid admission to see this beating of the Phils, and they probably didn't expect his outcome. Jeremy Hellickson, a former Phillies pitcher, brought his 9.00 ERA into last night's game and pitched a gem of a game for his first win on the year. The loss brings the Phillies record down to 7-4. The Phillies home crowd coming into this game last night was second in total (309,210) only to the LA Dodgers (324,327) out of all of the MLB, as many Phillies fans have visited the ballpark this early season to see what all the excitement is about with Harper and the rest of this team.

Today is an off day for the Phillies, the team heads down to Miami for the weekend.

Here are the probable starting pitchers for the Marlins series:

Friday: RHP Jake Arrieta (1-1, 2.77 ERA) vs RHP Sandy Alcantara (1-0, 1.50 ERA)

Saturday: RHP Zach Eflin (2-0, 0.75 ERA) vs LHP Caleb Smith (0-1, 4.09 ERA)

Sunday:  RHP Vince Velasquez (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs RHP Jose Urena (0-3, 9.22 ERA) 

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Phillies continue winning with team baseball

Odubel Herrera puts a ball into the stands as he and Rhys Hoskins carried the Phils last night

The Phils continued their excellent start to the season last night with another win (4-3 over the Nationals) and the team effort again showed up as the number 1 reason that team is really doing well so far this excellent start to April. The Phils lead the season series now against the Nats 2-1.

The team looks like it's got an injection of youth now that Bryce Harper is on the team, players are seeming to have a lot more fun on the field. Maybe it's the "Positive Vibes" hat that Bryce Harper wore the other night in a press conference?

It just seems like everything is coming together for this Phillies team and they are starting to be consistent in getting wins, in games night after night. Odubel Herrera is known to put some baseballs over the wall for HR's and he got his first last night.

Rhys Hoskins has continued his pace as being the pacesetter for this team. Getting clutch hits when needed, he smacked 2 HR last night in the win. It's starting to get really fun to watch this team again, is this the team we've been waiting for?

Finally some warmer weather crept into the area last night, it wasn't the freezing scene that we saw the other day with fans all covered up in blankets with the tricky month of April when it comes to playing baseball looks like it will give way to the warmer weather from here on out.

A marquee matchup with Aaron Nola taking on the Nat's Stephen Strasburg tonight at CBP, this should be a good test for Nola and the Phillies offense, can they continue their winning ways this evening?

From the Nats Game notes:

 The Nationals and Phillies will meet 19 times in 2019 (10 in D.C., 9 in PHI)...These clubs will meet during the first homestand and the final homestand of 2019...Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper played in 927 games for Washington from 2012-18...He was a six-time All-Star, 2015 NL MVP and 2012 NL Rookie of the Year.

Zimmerman closes in on 1,000 RBI

With 996 in hand, Ryan Zimmerman is four RBI shy of reaching the 1000 RBI mark for his career...When he does so, he will become the first Washington National to record his 1000th RBI in a Nationals uniform. • Zimmerman clubbed his first home run of the season on Wednesday, a two-run blast off Aaron Nola.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Expectations of winning, sets the bar higher for Phillies team so far

The Phillies have gotten off to a tremendous start so far, with a record of 5-1 so far, they are taking the first step towards telling the other teams in the NL East, that they are the team to beat this year. Last night, the Phillies capped off a win against the Minnesota Twins at home, and put up a 10 run barrage to do so. NBC Sports Philly describes the offense as relentless.

The Phillies have Bryce Harper, but he really hasn't been carrying this team yet, it's more of a team effort that has led to the success of the Phils so far this year. Yes, Bryce has brought a spotlight to this team, and having him in the lineup is a tremendous help to other players in the lineup. You can't just keep walking Bryce Harper to get to other players in the Phillies lineup because they are almost as good, and in Rhys Hoskins example, he is having his plate set for him a lot so far this early season. Hoskins went 3-4 last night with 4 RBI

Pitching hasn't been rock solid for this team so far, but we knew that going into the year. We'll see how this continues to evolve as the season starts to progress. Jake Arrieta needs to have a good game this afternoon, in a special Saturday matinee game that will be broadcast nationally on MLB Network - yes the same network that had the Phils on just a few days ago. His ERA is only 1.50 and he is 1-0 but the consensus is that he just hasn't displayed the dominance that has been associated with his previous years in Chicago.

Not a lot of people expected the Phillies to be contenders going right out of the gate, but it appears that they are becoming that in some people's eyes. As the season is going on, the bar is being raised a bit higher for this team. Expectations are raised and fans start to expect certain things to run in a good way. When it doesn't there is a problem.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

NBC Sports Philadelphia sets new records with Bryce Harper's return to WAS game

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Maikel Franco has been the hottest Phillies player so far in the early season, Franco went into today's afternoon game in Washington leading the club in BA and other categories

The game last night in Washington was a really special game, it was broadcast nationally on MLB Network with Bob Costas, and it was the highest watched baseball game since 2012 for NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Here's the official announcement for the 'most streamed game' ever in Philly sports history:

Phillies’ 8-2 Win Was Most-Streamed Phillies Game Ever

PHILADELPHIA- (April 3, 2019) – Bryce Harper returned to Washington, D.C., to face his old team, and with the Phillies off to their best start since 1915, last night’s game posted a 7.7 household rating on NBC Sports Philadelphia. The Phillies’ 8-2 win-- highlighted by Harper’s two-run home run-- is the highest-rated regular season game of any sport on either NBC Sports Philadelphia or NBC Sports Philadelphia+ since July 2012 (8.11 HH Rating, 7/5/12, Phillies vs. Mets).

On digital, the game delivered 43,000 unique devices and more than three million minutes, making it the most-streamed Phillies game ever.  The prior high was set for Phillies’ Opening Day, which registered 37,000 unique devices and two million minutes. 

The Phillies play the second of a two-game series with the Nationals today at 1 pm on NBC Sports Philadelphia and on the MyTeams app.

Phillies fans should follow @NBCSPhilly on all social media channels for exclusive articles, videos, podcasts and photos all season long. 

Phillies off to one of the best starts in the 'modern era' of baseball

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Harper's triumphant return to Washington and a big Phillies win brings them close to best start ever

Don't look now, but the Phillies have quickly acquired a 4-0 record, which is a great start for them in the modern era, they last were 4-1 in 1905. The Phillies did start out 8-0 in 1915, a streak that may never be broken.

Maikel Franco is leading the MLB right now with a .545 BA , 6-11 with 3 HR and 8 RBI and the Phillies have only played 4 games. If Franco keeps up this pace, he'd have over 200 RBI's on the season!

The big story last night was Bryce Harper's return to Washington, the game was broadcast on MLB Network and the whole country got to see that the Washington Nationals fans are still sore about losing Harper because he was heartily booed in his old home. Phillies fans though were there in numbers, many of numbers, at times, Phillies fans out cheered the Nats fans in their own ballpark, and that's not too easy to do.

Bryce Harper is right behind Franco with a .429 BA on the season, 6-14 with 3 HR and 5 RBI. Not too bad for B Harp. In fact the Phillies offense is showing one of it's best showings in years, as the lineup is very solid and everyone has been pitching in and hitting at various times so far in the early season.

Harper of course spent his first 7 years as a big leaguer in Washington, he was a fan favorite and Washington was his home, but the Nats couldn't lock him up. Harper had 92 HR hit at Nationals Park before the start of last night's game, but he managed to hit his 1st HR as a member of the Phillies now there, so he has 93 total HR's at Nat's Park.

The Phillies smashed Nat's pitcher, Max Scherzer, for 7 H and 2 R before he was lifted. He's now 0-2 on the year with this loss. This is quite a different season in 2019, it's not so long ago when the Washington Nationals won 5 of the final 6 games against the Phillies just last season.

Today's game with be an afternoon matchup at 1:05 PM to finish up this quick two-game series, it will be Anibel Sanchez going up against Aaron Nola for the Phillies today down in DC. 

Monday, April 01, 2019

Phils with a stellar start to 2019

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The Phillies swept the Atlanta Braves, yes, the NL East champs from last year, to start off the season in grand style for the first series of the year. Fans were ecstatic to have the first 3 wins of the season with this baseball team that appears to be very capable on offense.

The Phillies are finding out why Bryce Harper has had so many walks, teams just don't want to pitch to him. If they walk Harper though, they have to contend with a guy named Hoskins though, and last night, Rhys Hoskins got hit by a pitch that was very inside, but was it intentional? Inentional or not, Phils manager, Gabe Kapler, was livid after the game.

The only few concerns of the first series of the season is the bullpen to a certain extent, and Jake Arrieta pitched ok yesterday, but he wasn't dominant. Is this the Jake we're going to see all year? This is Jake's 10th season in the MLB, his Spring wasn't particularly great, although that is something that isn't counted.

Here's Jake's record for his first 9 years in the bigs:

Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G
9 Yr9 Yr9 Yr9 Yr9867.5943.62228
162 162 162 162 1510.5943.6234
CHC CHC CHC CHC 6831.6872.73128
BAL BAL BAL BAL 2025.4445.4669
PHI PHI PHI PHI 1011.4763.9631
NL (NL (NL (NL (7842.6502.95159
AL (AL (AL (AL (2025.4445.4669
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/1/2019.

The Phillies now head down to Bryce Harper's old team, the Washington Nationals. I don't think Nats fans will boo him, but you never know. It was rumored that Harper was offered $300M to stay in Washington, and it was declined. That is rumor, not fact. Whatever the case, Bryce Harper has really endeared himself to fans in Philly already, his work ethic and the fact that he's smacked a couple of HR's already has helped that.

This Phillies team is a rock solid team right now, there is no reason to believe anything else that this team is the team to beat in the NL East. The only question mark is pitching at this point in time, and that will be more known as the season goes on.