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Archive for August, 2007

Update on Utley

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, August 08, 2007 01:20 PM Comments: 0

Chase Utley is slowing recovering from his broken right hand.  He visited with doctors yesterday to remove the stitches left over from the operation that inserted a stabilizing pin into his hand.  Chase has not been cleared to grip a bat or perform hand exercises, however he will continue to field ground balls and participate in other range-of-motion exercises.  Utley will see Dr. Randall Culp again on Aug. 20 and if the doc lets him pick up a bat, he could return to the team within a week.  This puts his earliest possible return at August 27, just in time for a four game series against the Mets in Philly. 

But even if Chase is ready August 27, will he be the same Chase Utley that went on the DL on July 27?  We all know Chase gives 100% in everything he does, but what if physically his hand is only at 80 or 90%?  There is a good chance at least for the first few weeks he is back that his offensive numbers will be lower, he might even be less inclined to lay out for a screaming grounder in the hole.  How Chase recovers from this injury will be an interesting clue into his status as a superstar.  He signed an $85 million contract in the off-season but an injury could mean the Phillies have a different player on their hands.  Good thing for Phillies and their fans that Chase Utley rarely disappoints.

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Lowered Expectations

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, August 06, 2007 05:21 PM Comments: 0

Monday off days are great opportunities for taking stock of the season, looking ahead on the schedule and managing expectations.   That said, the Phils have 51 games remaining in the 2007 baseball season - 51 games to get back to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.  So what are the chances the Phillies will make this playoffs this year?  Some say 25%; but as Phillies fans, we all know we can’t rely on the percentages.

There are 29 games remaining at home and 22 on the road.  Fortunately, this season the Phillies have finally begun to improve their record in Philadelphia (29-23 thus far).  To make it to 90 wins, they’d have to go 32-19.  In other words, the Phillies would have to win at least two games in each of their remaining 16 series.  A much more likely feat would be to reach Charlie Manuel’s magic number of 85 wins and go 27-24 the rest of the season.  However, much of deciding how many games the Phillies can win revloves around the matchups they face.  We know how the Phils stack up any given day so let’s look at their opponents.

Nine games remain against the NL West teams, save the one with Barry Bonds.  Then there is a three game series with the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.  There are also 3 games against the Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh which will involve a tailgate party with our friends from Philly Tailgate.  As always, the bulk of the schedule remains against the NL East with 35 games yet to play in the division.  Also as usual, the Phillies will wrap up September with some games against the Nationals.  Besides a DC tailgate party on September 22, we will have a group together for the games next week at RFK.  If any one from Washington, DC or the surrounding area is interested in going to the games August 14-17, let us know.  Although I’m not too worried about the 10 games left against the Nationals, the Phillies 18-19 record against the division does not bode well for reaching 90 wins.

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Another Game, Another Injury

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, August 03, 2007 11:00 AM Comments: 0

The Phils are dropping like a Ryan Howard pop up as newcomer Kyle Loshe is the latest player to be beset by injury.  After hitting batters Aramis Ramirez and Cliff Floyd in his 29-pitch first inning of yesterday, Lohse took a Jacque Jones batted ball off his right forearm.  In witnessing the injury it seemed like it would a real bad bruise, and fortunately that’s all it has turned out to be.  He is listed as day-to-day with a right forearm contusion. 

If anything, Loshe will miss his next start and be replaced by he-who-was-replaced, J.D. Durbin who came in to pitch after Loshe.  Still, between the two of them, they only managed four innings and allowed four runs.  Then of course the bullpen allowed the Cubs to chip away at the lead until the Phils finally put things to rest with a trio of insurance runs in the ninth to cap off a 10-6 victory.  Coming off the heels of Brett Myers’ meltdown Wednesday night, things look frightening heading into Milwaukee.  Kendrick, Hamels, and Eaton will all start against the Brew Crew who just dropped two of three to the Mets.

One parting note, yesterday’s "Under the Knife" feature on Baseball Prospectus hinted that maybe Aaron Rowand’s hard-nosed style of play has rubbed off on his fellow outfielders – and that’s why they are on the DL.

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