Archive for April, 2010

ESPN’s Keith Law on 97.3 ESPN FM

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, April 27, 2010 05:24 PM Comments: 26

ESPN.com MLB analyst Keith Law joined the Sports Bash with Mike Gill earlier today and bashed the extension the Phillies gave to slugger Ryan Howard.  In the interview, Law said Howard was being paid like the second best player in the game, but might not even be the 20th best player in the majors.

Law said that he doesn’t see the logic in giving him that many years in a deal when he is so far away from free agency.  He also bashes Howard ability, or lack thereof, to hit left handed pitching saying the decline is well under way.

Click here to listen Listen to Keith Law discuss the Ryan Howard deal on ESPN Radio


The Case Against the Howard Extension

Posted by Paul Boye, Tue, April 27, 2010 09:10 AM Comments: 90

So, there it is. The big debate over whether the Phillies would keep Ryan Howard or Jayson Werth has been answered with a resounding “HOWARD.” At least, for now. The big first baseman has inked a five-year extension worth about $125 million, with an option for a sixth year and a limited no-trade clause. Howard will become the only player not named Alex Rodriguez to make at least $25 million a season when the new deal kicks in for the 2012 season, at least for now.

With his current deal running through next season, the timing of this announcement comes as bit of a surprise. That notwithstanding, the new big debate immediately revolves around Howard’s worth. Is this contract an accurate projection of what Howard will accomplish from the 2012 to 2016 seasons? Remember, contracts are for production you expect, not production you’ve received. Will Ryan Howard, from age 32 to 36, be a player even more valuable than he was from 2006 to 2009? Will he be as valuable as other players being paid that much, a la Rodriguez and (presumably) Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder?

The fact is that no one knows the answer to that question, for sure. Not yet. All a person like me can do is look at the numbers and the history and make a determination for my own sake, and that determination is simple: Ryan Howard is not now and will not be worth his new contract extension.

In what will be a point/counterpoint argument, I’ll be playing the bad cop to Corey’s good cop. I’m about to tell you why this is a bad deal for the Phillies. He’ll rebuild your spirits in a post of defense to follow. There’s even some thematic music at the bottom to tap your toes to as you read.

Continue reading The Case Against the Howard Extension


Halladay Gets Comeuppance as Phils Fall to Giants

Posted by Michael Baumann, Tue, April 27, 2010 01:03 AM Comments: 30

Maybe we should concentrate on Ryan Howard’s contract extension after all, because tonight’s 5-1 loss to the Giants turned out to be a real doozy.

I guess we couldn’t realistically expect Roy Halladay to keep winning games by himself all year. Halladay, who until tonight had been doing his best impression of 1968 Bob Gibson, didn’t pitch all that badly but gave up 5 earned runs in 7 innings as the Phillies offense left what seemed like hundreds of runners on base. Already without the services of Jimmy Rollins, Charlie Manuel sat left fielder Raul Ibanez against tough lefty Jonathan Sanchez, a decision that proved to be fateful.

Ibanez’s replacement, Ben Francisco, was a one-man rally killer. Disco flied out to end the third inning with the bases loaded, did the same with runners at the corners to end the fifth, and struck out to end the seventh with the bases loaded again–all told, he left 8 runners on base, 5 in scoring position. The $125 million man himself, Howard, went 0-for-3 with a walk in a performance that the gloom-and-doom crowd will surely call the first step on his road to turning into Mo Vaughn.

Despite the litany of  mishaps, a lot of things went relatively well tonight. Struggling leadoff hitter Shane Victorino reached base three times, and the Phillies managed to chase Sanchez by running up his pitch count after only 5 innings. But seldom can a team let up 5 runs, leave 19 runners on base, and expect to win. Giants relievers Guillermo Mota, Jeremy Affeldt, and Tony Sergio Romo picked up Sanchez, and while you hate to lose this kind of game, there will be a few over 162 games where the breaks just don’t go your way.


Gameday: Phillies (11-7) at Giants (10-8)

Posted by Amanda Orr, Mon, April 26, 2010 10:42 PM Comments: 27

Philadelphia Phillies (11-7) at San Francisco Giants (10-8)

Roy Halladay (4-0, 0.82 ERA) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (1-1, 1.86 ERA)

Time: 10:10 p.m at AT&T Park
TV:Comcast Sportsnet
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, 53
Twitter: @philliesnation

The Phillies are coming off a frustrating loss, and hope that Roy Halladay can stop the bleeding.  He’s done it a few times this year.  Halladay will open the series in San Francisco against Jonathan Sanchez and the Giants.

The bullpen has been shaky of late, however Halladay likes to give the bullpen a rest.  Including his last few starts in Toronto, Halladay is 6-0 with 0.53 earned run average, four complete games, and three shutouts in his last six starts.  The Giants have scored a few runs off Halladay thus far, but Halladay has proven that he can settle down and pitch a gem.

Ryan Howard is fresh off his 5-year, $125 million contract, and would like to show fans why he’s worth that amount.  Howard has faced Sanchez 12 times in his career, collecting a .250 average against him.

Overall, Sanchez is starting the year off on the right foot.  He’s been collecting strikeouts right and left.  Sanchez has a tendency to become wild though.  Working the count and drawing walks will be key for the Phillies against Sanchez.

Red Rocket AleYour Gameday Beer- Today’s beer is Red Rocket Ale. Careful, this Amber/Red Ale is on fire. Its deep cinnamon color makes for a beautiful pour so be sure to release it from the bottle. Its hoppy, caramel malt flavor comes from a complex recipe of five different grains. If you can, roast a chicken with all the fix-ins. -By Brian

Go Phillies!


Ryan Howard Inks 5-year Extension

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, April 26, 2010 04:06 PM Comments: 122

By now you know; Ryan Howard will be here for a long, long time.  Howard and the Phillies have come to an agreement on a five-year, $125 million contract extension that could go to six years. It also includes a limited no-trade clause.

With this contract, The Phillies payroll will undoubtedly swell past the $140 million plateau that had been deemed the limit by the brass.  Many of the Phillies Nation writers are on different sides of the fence regarding this news, so our opinions will be up soon.  We want to know – what do you think about this massive deal?


April Minor League Report

Posted by Amanda Orr, Mon, April 26, 2010 08:55 AM Comments: 19

Despite the team’s recent struggles, the Philadelphia Phillies are off to a decent start. Several current Phillies are homegrown, so it is important to keep an eye on some potential future Phillies. Here are the latest updates from the minor leagues:

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs: AAA (7-10, 3rd in International League North)

The IronPigs find themselves three games under .500 despite having a 3.60 team ERA and .274 team batting average, which are better than the league average.

John Mayberry Jr. and Chris Duffy have been the two best hitters for IronPigs. Both have 13 runs batted in. Mayberry is batting .288 with two home runs, but he still continues to strike out at a high pace. Cody Ransom has provided most of the power for the ‘Pigs, crushing a team-leading four home runs.

Nate Bump has been the most consistent starter, posting a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings. He has been pitching to contact; he has allowed a lot of hits, and has a low total of strikeouts.

Scott Matheison has done well in 8.2 innings. Opponents are batting just .179 off the right-hander who is returning from Tommy John surgery. On the other hand, Drew Carpenter (7.15 ERA) has been rocked.

Reading Phillies: AA (8-9, 5th in Eastern League)

The Reading Phillies are a game below .500, despite having several of the Phillies’ top prospects. Domonic Brown has yet to disappoint though. Brown is batting .325 with a .936 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Phillipe Aumont had his troubles during spring training, but he threw six no-hit innings on Sunday. Overall, Aumont is 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA.

Yohan Flande is 0-2, but that is mainly due to a lack of run support. Flande’s ERA is 0.96 in 18.2 innings. He has allowed a lot of hits, but he has not walked many batters.

Lakewood Blue Claws: A (9-9, 4th place in Northern South Atlantic League)

The Blue Claws were the 2009 South Atlantic League champions, so they will have some expectations for 2010.

Darin Ruf has opened some eyes this April. The first baseman is batting .328 with a .921 OPS. 2008′s first round draft pick, Anthony Hewitt, has two home runs and a .282 average.

Nicholas Hernandez is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in four starts. Jarred Cosart is 3-1 with a 3.26 ERA and has 0.88 walks and hits per innings pitched.

Clearwater Threshers: A+ (11-6, 1st place in Florida State League North)

Record-wise, the Threshers have been the best team of all the Phillies affiliates. Cody Overbeck leads the team in home runs (3) and RBI (11). The third baseman also has a .333 average and .965 OPS.

Anthony Gose has struck out a lot, resulting in a .247 average, but he has six stolen bases to lead the team.

Austin Hyatt is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. Also, he has struck out 27 batters in 22.2 innings. Other pitchers to watch are J.C Ramirez and Trevor May, who have both pitched well so far.


Kendrick Struggles as Phils Snakebitten Again

Posted by Jonathan Fogg, Sun, April 25, 2010 08:44 PM Comments: 21

No matter where you looked on Sunday, you couldn’t have liked what you saw. Even before the game started, something didn’t seem right. Ross Gload and Wilson Valdez in the starting lineup? Clearly, this was not the same group that has piled up runs the past four years.

And after the game began, there were more troubling sights. Kyle Kendrick reverted back to the shaky pitcher who struggled in his first two starts of the season, and the bullpen again revealed itself to be short on the shutdown arms needed in tight games.

The result was an 8-6 loss to the Diamondbacks emblematic of most of the Phillies’ problems this season.

After Greg Dobbs – another component of a lineup that many Phillies fans never want to see again – put the Phils on top with a two-run homer in the first, Kendrick managed to scrape by through four innings despite loading the bases in the second and putting two on in the fourth. But in the fifth it all caught up with him. Kelly Johnson launched a two-run homer – his fourth of the series – before Mark Reynolds slugged a bomb to one of the deepest parts of the park to give the Diamondbacks a 5-3 lead.

The lineup still did have enough juice to muster a rally, with Carlos Ruiz’s two-out, two-run single off starter Rodrigo Lopez putting the Phillies up 6-5 in the sixth. But the bullpen – which also bears little resemblance to the one that helped carry the Phillies to the last three NL East titles – simply couldn’t hold the lead. Danys Baez (6.43 ERA) allowed a leadoff double to Chris Young in the seventh, and he scored on a bad-hop single over first base by John Hester.

In the eighth, David Herndon (7.04 ERA) was momentarily saved by a stellar relay throw from Valdez to Ruiz to get Stephen Drew at home. But Herndon allowed an RBI double to Reynolds, the next batter. Then Young singled in a run to pad the lead, and the Phillies went quietly in the ninth.

The Phillies had a chance to grab some wins in this series against the D’backs, but thanks to struggles both on the mound and at the plate, they barely managed to steal one win, falling to 3-3 on a road trip where their record could easily be 5-1 or 6-0. Too bad, too, because the Giants’ Jonathan Sanchez and Tim Lincecum are waiting in the next series.


Phillies (11-6) at Diamondbacks (7-10)

Posted by Jonathan Fogg, Sun, April 25, 2010 03:26 PM Comments: 51

dbacksPhiladelphia Phillies (11-6) at Arizona Diamondbacks (7-10)

Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 7.24) vs. Rodrigo Lopez (1-0, 3.50)

Time: 4:10, Chase Field

Weather: Sunny, 87 (Retractable Roof Stadium)


Twitter: @philliesnation

An outbreak of injuries hampering Phillies both old and new. An ace winning over the hearts of fans, as well as every game he pitches, and looking nearly unhittable in the process. Sounds a lot like last year, doesn’t it?

The plot from last August is again playing out in the early 2010 season. Of course, some things are different. Some of the cast (Juan Castro, Jose Contreras, Danys Baez) has changed. Oh, and the leading man is Roy Halladay. (Am I ever going to get used to writing that? I don’t think so.)

But Halladay and his 0.88 WHIP can go only every five days, meaning other players have to step up, especially when the core of the lineup falls into a slump, as it has for the past week. One of those guys is Kyle Kendrick, who in his last start pitched brilliantly against the Atlanta Braves, allowing only four runs in eight scoreless innings. Kendrick’s performance was especially encouraging because the Nationals had scored 11 runs on him in two starts that totaled only 5 2/3 innings.

Against the Braves, Kendrick looked like a completely different pitcher. He mixed his pitches effectively and—most important—kept the ball down in the zone. Unfortunately for him, Ryan Madson allowed a pair of two-out home runs in the ninth inning and Contreras gave up another in the 10th in a historic, are-you-bleeping-me loss. But the game was encouraging if only because it gave Kendrick a foundation to build on.

One thing to watch for in the coming games is when the Phillies lineup comes out of its recent doldrums. In the past few years, cold spells have almost invariably followed explosive stretches like the one to start the season, and then the hits start coming again and the wins start piling up. But considering that today’s bizarre starting lineup features three members of the 2005 Seattle Mariners (who finished 69-93), don’t count on the offensive tide to change this afternoon.

LINEUP: Gload, Dobbs, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Valdez, Ruiz, Kendrick

Artois BockYour Gameday Beer- Artois Bock

Tonight we’ll try another bock, this time from Stella Artois. This strong Belgium lager is 6.2% alcohol by volume. The bock has all the components of a good dark beer, sweet flavors of molasses, caramel and toffee. Some might think there is too much sweetness. It goes well with bbq shrimp. – By Brian



Phils Rediscover Long Ball, Top D-Backs 3-2

Posted by Nick "Beerman" Staskin, Sat, April 24, 2010 11:14 PM Comments: 42

Jayson Werth put the Phillies on his back and got a little help from Raul Ibanez along the way.

Werth hit a pair of solo home runs while Ibanez added a solo shot of his own, as the Phillies came from behind to beat the Diamondbacks, 3-2.
Werth’s big shot was the game-winner in the top of the ninth inning off of Juan Gutierrez.

It had been 46 innings since the Phillies had put a ball in the seats, exactly one week dating back to Werth’s solo shot against the Marlins last Saturday; however the three solo home runs, combined with a solid night out of the bullpen propelled the Phillies to their third win in their last four games.

Making the spot start due to the injury to J.A.Happ, Nelson Figueroa took the mound and kept the Phillies in the game through five innings. His lone mistake was a two-run homer off the bat of Kelly Johnson that put the D-Backs up 2-1. All things considered, you couldn’t have asked for much more out of Figueroa as he scattered five hits, two walks and struck out four.

After Figgy’s night was over, the trio of Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras and Ryan Madson kept Arizona off the scoreboard, and struck out eight batters over the course of the final four innings.

Werth and Ibanez combined to go 4-8 with the three home runs, picking up the slack for the top of the lineup. Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard all failed to reach first base, combining to go 0-16.

One last interesting nugget from this one, the Phillies only struck out four times, but managed only six hits. Of those six hits, there were three homers and a pair of doubles. Ibanez provided the only single of the game for the Phils.

Tomorrow Kyle Kendrick will take the mound as the Phillies try to take the second series of this road trip and improve to 9-3 on the road.


Gameday: Phillies (10-6) at Diamondbacks (7-9)

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, April 24, 2010 07:10 PM Comments: 38

dbacksPhiladelphia Phillies (10-6) at Arizona Diamondbacks (7-9)

Nelson Figueroa (1-1, 4.25) vs. Ian Kennedy (0-1, 5.65)

Time: 8:10, Chase Field
Weather: Sunny, 81 (Retractable Roof Stadium)
Twitter: @philliesnation

Due to last night’s poor outing from Cole Hamels, the Phillies dropped the series opener to the Diamondbacks. The Phillies lost the first game of the Atlanta series, but fought back to take the series, 2-1. The Phillies are hoping for a similar outcome in Arizona.

With J.A Happ on the disabled list, Nelson Figueroa will make a spot start in his hometown. Instead of calling up a minor league pitcher, the Phillies opted to pitch Figueroa, who was claimed off waivers from the New York Mets this April. Figueroa has pitched well out of the bullpen this season, but his career numbers against Arizona are ugly. (Figueroa is 0-2 with an 8.68 ERA against the Diamondbacks. Mark Reynolds is 2-for-2 against him; both are home runs).

Figueroa will be opposed by Ian Kennedy, who was acquired in a three-way trade with the Diamondbacks, Yankees, and Tigers. Kennedy was a highly touted prospect in the Yankees organization, but has yet to live up to expectations. Due to high pitch counts, Kennedy has yet to make it through five innings, although he didn’t allow a run in his last start against the Padres.

It’s always unsure what the Diamondbacks will get out of Kennedy. He could pitch to his potential, or get rocked. The Phillies will have to be patient and work the count. The Phillies offense hasn’t been scoring as many runs as they were in the first two weeks of the season, and they could use a lift. Excluding Thursday’s win, the Phillies have scored a total of ten runs in five games — which is low for the numbers they’re used to putting up.

LINEUP: Victorino, Polanco, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Castro, Ruiz, Figueroa

Your gameday beer: Long Trail’s Belgian White Ale. It’s from the Vermont brewery, and they make pretty good beer for the most part. This is no different, a very nice offering that has a hint of lemon and goes down pretty smooth. Tonight, eat a chicken Caesar salad with it. — By Tim

Go Phillies!

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