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Gameday 79: Brewers vs. Phillies

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Tue, June 30, 2015 03:26 PM Comments: 0

Milwaukee Brewers (30-48) at Philadelphia Phillies (27-51)

Milwaukee_Brewers_Alternate_Logo.svgAtlanta Braves

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Cole Hamels, LHP (5-6, 3.26)
vs.
MIL: Taylor Jungmann, RHP (2-1, 2.74)

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

A Note for Today:

After a tough loss yesterday, the Phillies will look to get back on track against Taylor Jungmann, with Cole Hamels on the mound.  Cole had taken a loss in his last outing and looks to improve in his second game since he missed a start.

Teams are still interested in Cole and will look at this game tonight as a definitive moment before the trade deadline.  July is closing in, and rumors are still whirling, as Hamels came out a few days ago to state that he is ‘open-minded’ to any team trade.

Lineup stays the same today, minus pitcher and catcher.

Carlos Ruiz will look to expand his stats at the plate for the year where he has struggled.  Ruiz currently sits at a .218 average, which is hardly the worst on the team, but his worst since 2008.  Carlos has 188 ABs, with 37 hits and 12 RBIs.

First pitch at 7:05 EST.

Lineup:

Revere CF, Hernandez 2B, Franco 3B, Howard 1B, Brown RF, Asche LF, Ruiz C, Galvis SS, Hamels LHP

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Phillies Fans Have Second Worst Grammar in MLB

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Tue, June 30, 2015 09:38 AM Comments: 1

A recent study has added insult to injury for Phillies fans. According to Grammarly, an automated proofreading company hired by The Wall Street Journal, Phillies fans have the second worst grammar in MLB.

The Wall Street Journal had this to say about the result:

“The second-most mistake-prone fan base belonged to the Mets’ NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies. These results should come as no surprise to anyone who has sat in the upper deck of a late-night Mets-Phillies game. Typically, by the seventh inning of these games, the rival fan groups have forgone the English language to grunt and throw peanuts at each other.”

The Wall Street Journal had previously employed Grammarly to evaluate NFL fans’ grammar usage. The study found that Eagles fans had the third best grammar in the NFL.

The only redeeming quality of this study is that Mets fans finished first in grammar mistakes, averaging 13.9 mistakes per 100 words. Phillies fans averaged 13.5.

The fan base with the best grammar belonged to Cleveland, who averaged just 3.6 mistakes per 100 words.

The reasons for these results are puzzling, especially since it’s assumed that most Eagles fans are Phillies fans. One would think that proper grammar usage would translate to baseball, but it obviously has not. The Phillies do have some tricky names on their roster. “Maikel” could be mistaken for “Michael,” and “Ryne” could definitely be mistaken for “Ryan.”

But hey, at least the Mets are still the worst.

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Gameday 78: Brewers vs. Phillies

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Mon, June 29, 2015 05:33 PM Comments: 11

Milwaukee Brewers (29-48) at Philadelphia Phillies (27-50)

Milwaukee_Brewers_Alternate_Logo.svgAtlanta Braves

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Sean O’Sullivan, RHP (1-5, 5.34)
vs.
MIL: Jimmy Nelson, RHP (4-8, 4.34)

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

A Note for Today:

The Phillies will look to keep the wins going against a team just ahead of the Phillies in the overall standings on win-losses.

Jimmy Nelson will face the Phillies after the offense picked up 16 hits against the Nationals in game 2 of the double header.

Cameron Rupp will be behind the plate, and Ben Revere will get the start in center again, even after Odubel Herrera had a successful game yesterday  (I have seen some Seattle scouts still lingering the halls).

First game of the series at 7:05 EST.

Lineup:

Revere CF, Hernandez 2B, Franco 3B, Howard 1B, Brown RF, Asche LF, Rupp C, Galvis SS, O’Sullivan RHP

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Mackanin Manager Through Rest of Homestand

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, June 29, 2015 05:13 PM Comments: 3

Within the Andy MacPhail unveiling came a bit of interesting news. Pat Gillick would not commit to keeping Pete Mackanin as the interim manager past this four-game homestand against the Brewers. Gillick said a resolution should be had later in the week on who the manager will be for the remained of the year.

Mackanin spent four years as the Phillies bench coach under Charlie Manuel and stuck around under Ryne Sandberg, also playing the role of third base coach. He has publicly stated he no longer has the desire to be a major league manager, so it’ll be interesting to see who the Phils turn to for this job.

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MacPhail Introduced as New President; Middleton Speaks for First Time

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, June 29, 2015 05:05 PM Comments: 4

On Monday, the Philadelphia Phillies announced former Baltimore Orioles GM/President Andy MacPhail as their new President, effective at the end of the season.

MacPhail, 62, has not been with a major league ballclub since he left the Orioles in 2011.

Also present was Phillies owner John Middleton, who you’ve heard of but never actually heard from, until today. Middleton will assume a more public role with the organization than in years past.

Middleton said this about the hiring of MacPhail, who will take over for Pat Gillick at the end of the 2015 season:

“Andy brings an uncommon blend of old school experience and new age thinking.  Old school because he has been building winning teams for over three decades.  In 1986, Andy was the youngest GM in the history of Major League Baseball when he served in that role for the Twins.  The following year, he became the youngest GM to win a World Series title. When the Orioles hired him eight years ago, Andy became the first president of baseball operations in Major League Baseball.  During his tenure in Baltimore, he greatly expanded the use of statistical analysis in player evaluations.  That’s the new age thinking.  These qualities, combined with his positive leadership style, make him the ideal candidate to lead the Phillies organization.”

Here are a few thoughts/comments from the press conference today:

-MacPhail eluded to being out of the game for four years quite a few times. It gives him a fresh start and perspective, but is also worrisome. He also mentioned how the game has evolved a few times over since his departure. Can the 62-year-old keep up with the rest of baseball after being away so long? I was sort of taken aback by how often he mentioned being out of baseball. His reasons were personal in nature, saying he needed to be with his father who was late in life at that time, and that if he wasn’t going to be 100 percent in, then he wouldn’t be in at all.

-Ruben Amaro is safe until the end of the season, but I think it’s safe to say he has to be a goner. Middleton and MacPhail put great emphasis on sabermetrics and analytics being at the forefront of the Phillies climb back to respectability. Amaro, and cohorts like Scott Proefrock, have publicly dismissed this side of the game in the past. That won’t bode well for their futures, nor should it. The team was far to lax in that area, and Amaro and his assistants will likely pay for it at the end of the year.

-Middleton spoke of a new analytical system being built in-house for the Phillies. They’ve finally caught up to the rest of the league. How they will utilize it remains to be seen, but with the emphasis being put on it, they’ll need to get down and dirty with it. It seems that is coming, if you are to take MacPhail’s words as gospel:

“I can assure you, as you probably already know, sabermetrics is something of intense interest to ownership. When it comes to that sort of thing, I believe you look at everything, absolutely everything. Why would you exclude any information? You’re gonna try to do every piece of homework you can to push the odds of being successful in your favor — every stat, every formula.”

-MacPhail declined to put any sort of timeline on the rebuilding process, however, he mentioned that he’ll take the next three months to learn about the organization and its inner workings. He didn’t call it an evaluation process, and actually steered away from that term. Let’s be honest – that’s what it is.

-Pat Gillick seems and sounds like a worn-out man. However, he will assume the role of President until the end of the season, meaning he and Ruben Amaro will be in charge of the major deadline moves that are soon to occur. MacPhail won’t necessarily have say, although he will be part of the process should Gillick and Amaro want him to be. This is key. The old regime will make perhaps the largest trade in team history when they [possibly] deal Cole Hamels before July 31.

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Phillies To Hold Press Conference at 2:30 on Andy MacPhail’s New Position

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Mon, June 29, 2015 01:44 PM Comments: 4

Jim Salisbury, of Philly.com reports that the Phillies will announce a new direction for the franchise in hiring Andy MacPhail.

The storyline for Ruben Amaro will follow closely thereafter, as we all expect to hear if he will keep his job or not under new direction.

Press conference is expected at Citizens Bank Park at 2:30pm.

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Huge night for Pointer helps Reading lock down win

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, June 28, 2015 05:50 PM Comments: 2

Pointer- Tug

Pointer congratulated on a HR, image- Tug Haines

In what was likely the top performance by a Phillies minor leaguer this season, outfielder Brian Pointer blasted three home runs in four at bats while driving in five runs and drawing a walk in Reading’s 8-5 road win over the Portland Sea Dogs on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Pointer got his big night rolling in the top of the 2nd inning, when he launched a solo shot off of Portland starting pitcher Heri Quevedo.  Later in the contest, he connected for a two-run line drive home run to center field off of reliever Mike McCarthy.  In the 8th inning, the lefty batter slammed another center field blast off of Miguel Celestino.

Confidence and comfort were big factors in the game, helping Pointer connect for the power trifecta, according to the six-foot tall 190-pounder.

“It was a pretty awesome feeling out there. I was definitely seeing the ball well and had a nice rhythm going on.  That really seemed to help me out and got some pretty nice results,” Pointer said via text message on Sunday.

Pointer, the Phillies’ 28th round draft pick in 2010, had been an occasional contributor as the team’s fourth outfielder until recently when an injury to center fielder Roman Quinn and the promotion of Aaron Altherr to Triple-A Lehigh Valley left more at bats available for the Nevada native. Continue reading Huge night for Pointer helps Reading lock down win

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Gameday 76 & 77: Nationals vs. Phillies

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Sun, June 28, 2015 12:19 PM Comments: 6

Washington Nationals (41-33) at Philadelphia Phillies (26-49)

NationalsAtlanta Braves


Starting Pitchers:

PHI: Kevin Correia, RHP (0-1, 4.30)
vs.
WAS: Stephen Strasburg, RHP (4-5, 5.90)

Time: Game 1 @ 1:05 pm ; Game 2 @ 30 min after
TV: CSN, MASN
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 74 degrees
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today:

After burning a pitcher for each team yesterday with a senseless start that lasted an inning and a half, the Phillies have brought in Severino Gonzalez to pitch the second game today, while Kevin Correia takes on the Nationals for game one.

Ben Revere got things going yesterday with a single and a steal in the bottom of the first inning, and we can hope he does it again today going up against the division leading Nationals, and Stephen Strasburg.  Revere is also coming off his first home run of the year on Friday.

During the Nationals-Phillies series’ for the year, the home team has won each series, and the Phillies have won 5 of the last 7 games against the Nationals at home.

Game 1 at 1:05 EST.

Lineup:

Revere CF, Hernandez 2B, Franco 3B, Howard 1B, Francoeur RF, Asche LF, Rupp C, Galvis SS, Correia RHP

Herrera CF, Herdandez 2B, Franco 3B, Brown RF, Ruf 1B, Asche LF, Ruiz C, Blanco SS, Gonzalez RHP

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Ryne Sandberg Steps Down as Phillies Manager

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Fri, June 26, 2015 04:57 PM Comments: 38

Ryne Sandberg has abandoned his position as Manager with the Phillies, stating, “With some changes at the top looming, I did not want to be in the way of anything happening and progress going forward.”

Sandberg finishes his tenure with a 119-159 record as Manager of the Phillies.

He has also mentioned that “Wins and losses was a big thing that took a toll on me.”  Ruben Amaro was quoted on the subject stating, ”I don’t think Ryne should feel that he should shoulder all the blame, we win and lose as a team. I also take responsibility for the things that are happening on the field.”

Sandberg will be replaced by third base coach, Pete Mackanin, until the front office is situated and decides on what will happen next going forward.

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Can The Phillies Put a Dent in The Nationals’ Armor?

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Fri, June 26, 2015 02:11 PM Comments: 10

The Phillies come into this weekend’s home series against the Nationals with one of the worst offenses in baseball. The Nationals come into the series boasting one of the best starting rotations, and after last night’s game against the Braves, have set a franchise record with 41 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

While the Nationals have been tearing it up on the rubber, the Phillies have been tearing it up at the plate, scoring 33 runs in their last four games. Over their last seven games, the team’s offense ranks fifth in the NL in home runs (8), fourth in total bases (110), fifth in OPS (.795), and second in hits (70). This could be a case of good timing for the Phillies. Unfortunately, the Nationals’ starters are enjoying a pretty successful stretch of their own.

Over their last seven games, Nationals pitching ranks first in the NL in ERA (1.38), second in average against (.215), and first in walks allowed (8). Max Scherzer, whom the Phillies will face tonight, will attempt to be the first player since Johnny Vander Meer in 1938 to pitch back-to-back no-hitters. Scherzer has been dominant for the Nats all season long, but in his last two starts, the right-hander has been exceptional, giving up no runs with 26 strikeouts and one walk in 18 innings pitched.

Scherzer will face a Phillies lineup that is coming off a poor showing against Yankees starter Ivan Nova, who made his first start since April 2014. Before facing Nova, however, the Phillies’ offense crushed a couple notable starters. Their first victim was Cardinals starter Michael Wacha, who the team tallied five runs in five innings against. Before that start, Wacha had been one of the best starters in baseball with a 9-2 record and a 2.48 ERA. Their next victim was Yankees starter Michael Pineda, who sported an 8-3 record and a 3.54 ERA going into the start. The Phillies torched Pineda, scoring eight runs in just 3.1 innings. C.C. Sabathia was next in line, as the offense knocked the former Cy Young winner for six runs in 4.2 innings.

How will Franco look against Scherzer tonight? He went 0-3 against him earlier this season.

How will Franco look against Scherzer tonight? He went 0-3 against him earlier this season.

Now the Phillies will take on baseball’s hottest pitcher, and in the process, will try to snap Washington’s scoreless streak. The offense’s most dangerous weapon is 22-year-old Maikel Franco, who has enjoyed a historic month of June, batting an incredible .395 with a .441 OBP and a 1.208 OPS. Franco has been even hotter over the last week, batting .550 with three homers and 11 RBIs.

The two players in front of Franco will be just as important for the Phillies’ offense as they get set to take on the Nationals’ starters. Ben Revere has had a successful month of June in Franco’s shadow, with a .367 average and a .394 OBP. The outfielder has been able to raise his average .40 points this month, and is now hitting .292 on the year.

While filling in for Chase Utley at second base, Cesar Hernandez has shown an ability to get on base, and was earning himself more playing time by doing so even before Utley landed on the DL. The 25-year-old is second on the team in walks behind Utley with 19, but he has done so in 86 less at-bats. He currently sits behind Franco for the team lead in OBP at .344. In the last week, Hernandez is batting .333 with a .429 OBP.

Obviously, the Phillies need to get runners on in front of the likes of Franco and Ryan Howard. Franco especially, since he sports a .355 average with runners on base. Getting runners on will not be easy against the Nationals, but if Revere and Hernandez can continue to set the table, then the Phillies could very well end the Nationals’ scoreless streak, and put a dent in that shiny armor of theirs.

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