Gameday 44: Phillies vs. Nationals

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Fri, May 22, 2015 06:35 PM Comments: 4

Philadelphia Phillies (18-25) at Washington Nationals (24-17)

NationalsAtlanta Braves

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Sean O’Sullivan, (1-2, 3.68)
WAS: Max Scherzer, (4-3, 1.75)

Time: 7:05 pm
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 80 degrees
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A note for today:

After splitting the series with the Colorado Rockies, the Phillies will face the division leading Nationals for a 3-game series.

Sean O’Sullivan gets the start on the mound and is looking to follow up his last performance with another win.  O’Sullivan pitched 6.0 innings, giving up 5 hits and no runs while striking out 4 batters in Arizona.

Ryan Howard’s bat has come alive again, hitting a home run in each of his last two games, and just missing the cycle on Wednesday by a triple.  He will hope to continue that success against a tough Max Scherzer, who has struck out Howard 5 times in his 6 at bats this year.

Freddy Galvis moves back a spot in the lineup behind Ben Revere.  Grady Sizemore gets the start tonight in right field.

First pitch of the series at 7:05 EST.


Revere LF, Galvis SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Franco 3B, Sizemore RF, Herrera CF, Ruiz C, O’Sullivan RHP


PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 77: Art Charles and Ben Wetzler Interviews

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, May 22, 2015 03:06 PM Comments: 0

Tug and Jay are back with the latest edition on the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast.  On the 77th edition of the show, the guys talk about Jake Fox‘s transition to Korea, Mark Leiter Jr.’s, Brandon Leibrandt‘s and J.P. Crawford‘s excellent efforts for Clearwater and Carlos Tocci posting terrific numbers in the Sally League.  Reading slugger Art Charles joins the show for the segment Nine Silly-ass Questions, plus Marlins pitching prospect Ben Holmes (AKA Ben Wetzler) takes time to answer questions about the Phillies reporting him to the NCAA for having an agent represent him at the negotiation table in 2013.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.  You can also check out previous episodes and subscribe on iTunes.

Thanks so much to the thousands of you that listen to each episode.  We appreciate you.


Ryan Howard Is The Hottest Man In Philadelphia

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, May 22, 2015 10:10 AM Comments: 2

A few weeks ago, we noted that Ryan Howard seemed to be heating up at the plate. He was seeing the ball well, getting lots of solid contact, and finally started to hit some home runs.

Since then, he’s hit .324/.370/.632, with five home runs–including one off a lefty yesterday–and 11 RBI. His 1.002 OPS is 7th in the NL among qualifiers over that time, and his .309 ISO (isolated power, or simply slugging percent minus average) is 5th. His hard hit % (46.8%) is third in the NL, and, if you want to really get advanced, both his wOBA (.429) and wRC (15) are good for seventh in the league as well.

Every single one of those numbers–OPS, ISO, hard hit %, wOBA, and wRC–leads the Phillies not only in May, but for the entire season as well. He also leads the team in home runs (9), and RBI (21).

He went from hitting .194/.247/.417 in April, to hitting .257/.307/.521 for the season, as of yesterday. That’s about a 24.5% increase across the board in three weeks. Prior to the season, ZiPS projected Howard to hit .234/.310/.415, with a total of 18 home runs on the season. He has half that, and it’s not even June yet. So far, he’s outperforming expectations. According to FanGraphs, he’s the most valuable hitter on the Phillies (excluding baserunning).

Trade value status: increased. He might even be on track to hit his way out of Philadelphia. 

He’s been good. Really good–just not Bryce Harper good. But there’s always a catch, right? He’s still striking out a ton–actually a bit more (27.5%) than he was in the first month of the season (25.6%). His line drives are slightly down as well. His BABIP is at .405 in the month of May, which is just a bit higher than his mark of .208 in April.

Putting those things together, it’s easy to say that no, he won’t be able to keep up this outstanding pace. He’ll likely come down to earth. ZiPS projects him to hit .238/.310/.436 the rest of the way, with 15 more home runs and 57 more RBI. He’s been hitting a home run every 16.78 plate appearances this year (once every 14.6 PA in May). ZiPS says that’ll come down to about once every 22.8. And stats aside, I simply can’t see this continuing for much longer, especially from a guy of his age and injury history. 

But he is the hottest player on the Phillies right now. That’s a fact. Who thought we’d be saying that, almost two months into the season?


Top Reasons For the Phillies’ Recent Success

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Thu, May 21, 2015 04:55 PM Comments: 15

It was only nine days ago when the Phillies were a season-low 12 games under .500, and held the worst record in MLB. Since then, they have enjoyed a successful stretch of seven wins in their last eight games, which included a six game winning streak; the club’s longest since September 2012.

With last night’s win, the Phillies improved their record to 18-24, and are currently 6.5 games back in the NL East.

So, what are the reasons for the Phillies’ recent success?

1. Ryan Howard heating up: Since May 2, Howard has raised his batting average .80 points to give him a current batting average of .257. His OBP has increased .73 points, and his slugging percentage has increased .127 points. In his last seven games, Howard has been one of the hottest first baseman in MLB with a .444 batting average, a .444 OBP, and a .778 slugging percentage. On the season, he has eight home runs, which ranks third among NL first basemen, and 20 RBIs.

2. Starting pitching doing the job: Over their last seven games, the Phillies’ starters have gone 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 43.1 innings-pitched. Aaron Harang and Cole Hamels have been especially good, as both have combined for a 2-0 record, and a 0.43 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched. The other starters have combined for a 3-0 record and a 2.05 ERA.

Maikel_Franco_1280_umcia7yz_69g4ttqq3. Maikel Franco providing energy: The Phillies were in desperate need for an infusion of energy, and the 22-year-old Franco has provided that since being promoted to the big-league roster. In 24 at-bats, Franco has recorded a .292 average with a .356 OBP, one home run, and five RBIs. Defensively, he has shown quick reflexes and a strong arm at the hot corner.

4. Offense doing the job, too: Since May 14, the Phillies offense has been hitting the ball well, with a .300 team batting average (4th in MLB) and a .356 OBP. They have scored 38 runs over that stretch, averaging about five runs per game. Overall, the offense has 72 hits with 28 extra-base hits (1st in MLB), and have outscored their opponents 38-26 during that stretch.

For a team that had the worst record in baseball only nine days ago, this stretch of success has been a pleasant surprise. Whether or not the team will be able to maintain this success has yet to be seen. In the mean time, the Phillies and their fans can bask in the team’s recent success.


Revere trade rumors; Would you deal him or someone else?

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, May 21, 2015 01:26 PM Comments: 14

On Wednesday night, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported the Phillies have had discussions with the Angles about a possible trade of outfielder Ben Revere.

The 27-year-old Revere, who becomes a free agent following the 2017 season and is making $4.1 million this season, is batting .258 with 12 RBI and nine stolen bases through 40 games this year.

The Angels have a struggling offense and their left fielder Matt Joyce is sporting a .155/.203/.236 slash line in 34 games. The addition of the speedy Revere could certainly prove to be beneficial for the team that sits 5 1/2 games behind the Astros in the American League West division.

Left field is a crowded position for the Phillies, who have options to replace Revere, who has also played plenty of center field, if he is dealt.

Domonic Brown, for Triple-A Lehigh Valley is 15-for-40 (.375 avg) with six RBI over his last nine games as he pushes he way back toward the big league roster. Overall the 27-year-old sports a .272 average with five doubles, a triple and 16 RBI in 30 games for the IronPigs.

Cody Asche, recently demoted to Lehigh Valley tasked with a switch to the outfield, has no timetable for a return to the bigs. The 24-year-old has looked serviceable in his new role as the ‘Pigs’ leftfielder. The 24-year-old batted .245 with two home runs and four RBI in 30 big league games this year.

Aaron Altherr, who had a proverbial cup of coffee with the Phils last year, has continued to progress in the minors with Double-A Reading this year.  Current big leaguers Darin Ruf and Grady Sizemore could also see more at bats with the absence of Revere.

Would you, the fans, like to see the Phillies trade the affordable and productive Revere, who batted .306 and swiped 49 bags last year? Do you think he’d get the best return or could he be a valuable part of the Phils’ future, as they rebuild? Do any of the team’s outfielders have better value if they are traded?  Vote in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments section!

Which Phillies OF has best trade value?

pollcode.com free polls

Howard leads offense, Phils down Rockies 4-2

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, May 21, 2015 12:00 AM Comments: 6

phils logoA night after the Phillies’ six-game win streak ended, the team returned to its winning ways on Wednesday, with a 4-2 victory over the Rockies in Colorado.

The Phils got on the scoreboard early, when they plated two runs in the first frame. Maikel Franco reached on pitcher Eddie Butler‘s throwing error, which led to Chase Utley scoring. The next batter, Jeff Francoeur, slapped a single to center, bringing home Ryan Howard, to put the visitors ahead 2-0.

The veteran slugger Howard, who laced three hits on the night, added another run in the 3rd inning, mashing a deep home run to left-center. A run-scoring single by Odubel Herrera later in the inning put the Phils up 4-0.

Rookie hurler Severino Gonzalez got the victory with five solid innings. The 22-year-old righty allowed just one earned run to record his second big league win after being recalled this week to replace the injured Chad Billingsley.

The Rockies’ runs came on a Carlos Gonzalez RBI single in the 4th inning and a RBI ground out by Nick Hundley in the 7th.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon recorded the final three outs of the contest, successfully notching his eleventh save in eleven chances this season.

The Phils return to action on Thursday, when they close out the four-game set in Colorado at 3:10 EASTERN time.

Bonus nuggets-

Howard has boosted his batting average 46 points in the last seven games and has four multi-hit games during that stretch.

RHP Ken Giles has a 1.96 ERA in 20 games this season.  Giles, who tossed a scoreless inning on Wednesday, has a 1.17 ERA in 29 career road games at the big league level.


Nola continues to dominate for AA Reading

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, May 20, 2015 02:06 PM Comments: 6


Aaron Nola, image- Jay Floyd

Top Phillies pitching prospect Aaron Nola continued to mow down the competition in the Double-A Eastern League on Wednesday, throwing seven scoreless frames for the Reading Fightins.

With Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr and special advisor Pat Gillick in the house at FirstEnergy Stadium to view the outing, according to the Reading Eagle’s Mike Drago, the 21-year-old righty struck out seven, walked one and allowed four hits.

On the season, Nola, who was drafted 7th overall last year, sports a 1.54 ERA in eight starts for Reading in 2015.

Last year, after signing his first pro deal, the LSU product sported a 4-3 record with a 2.93 ERA and a .240 batting average against in 12 appearances (11 starts) at three levels.

Reading won Wednesday’s contest by a score of 4-0 against New Hampshire.  The victory took Nola’s season record to 6-2.


Phillies Nation Epsiode 9: Adam Morgan, Steve Degler, Kevin Wilson

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, May 20, 2015 08:00 AM Comments: 2

On the latest edition of Phillies Nation, Pat and Corey talk about the call up of 3B prospect Maikel Franco and what the team could expect from Domonic Brown. Looking for what other players would help the big club, Rachel interviews IronPigs broadcaster Steve Degler, while Jay talks with lefty pitcher Adam Morgan.  Hitting consultant Kevin Wilson also returns to the show, running down the mentality of hitting with two strikes. The gang also unveils some huge news about an upcoming addition to the PN family.

To view the full episode, check out the media player below. New episodes of Phillies Nation premiere each Tuesday at 6PM on The Comcast Network.


Gameday 41: Phillies at Rockies Game Preview

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, May 19, 2015 05:00 PM Comments: 16

rockiesPhillies (17-23) at Rockies (13-22)

Starting Pitchers:

PHI: Aaron Harang (4-3, 2.03 ERA)
COL: Chad Bettis (0-0, 7.20 ERA)

Time: 8:40 EST, Coors Field
Local TV: CSN

Social Media: Twitter and Facebook

Game notes: The righty Harang has posted a 1.29 ERA over his last three starts. In 14 career starts against the Rockies, Harang sports a 6-6 record along with a 4.50 ERA. Carlos Gonzalez is 6-for-15 (.400 avg) with two doubles and a HR in his career against Harang. Bettis, the Rockies’ 2nd round draft pick in 2010, will be making his second big league start of the season after allowing four earned runs in five innings against the Dodgers last week. The right-hander has allowed one earned run in 7 1/3 career innings against the Phillies. Bettis, 26, has a 9.00 ERA in 21 career appearances at Coors Field.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki entered this series with a .330 career average against the Phils with six homers and 21 RBI in 31 games.

Chase Utley entered this series with a .341 career batting average in 29 games at Coors Field. Utley had a .094 batting average in 14 road games this season, prior to Monday’s series opener.

The Phillies ride a six-game winning streak, while Colorado has lost two straight.


Watson progressing in rehab with Extended Spring team

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, May 18, 2015 08:00 PM Comments: 20

shane w

Shane Watson, image- Jay Floyd

Phillies righty pitching prospect Shane Watson was back on the mound on Monday, throwing four innings worth of action for the team’s extended spring training club in Clearwater, FL.

Against the Yankees XST team, the 21-year-old tossed 12 outs, pitching three innings, but staying on the mound for an additional three outs, to reach his predetermined pitch count of 45.

Watson, who mixed in his change up for the first time, after throwing strictly fastballs in his previous two outings, walked one, struck out one and reached 92 MPH, sitting mainly at 90 MPH.

The six-foot-four 200-pounder expressed that his secondary pitch felt good, but needs a lot of work.

Watson, who underwent his second shoulder surgery last year, is slated to make three more starts in the coming weeks, in an effort to stretch him out and return his arm to full strength, before he’s eligible to be activated from a 50-game suspension for a positive banned substance test. His next start will come this Saturday in extended spring training.

Prior to being sidelined with his initial shoulder injury as a member of the Class A Lakewood rotation in July 2013, the California native posted a 4-7 record with a 4.44 ERA and a .227 batting average against in 21 professional outings.

Watson is expected to join the Lakewood staff next month.

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