Archive for May, 2010

Gameday: Phillies (26-19) at Mets (24-23)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, May 27, 2010 08:42 PM Comments: 176

Philadelphia Phillies (26-19) at New York Mets (24-23)

Cole Hamels (5-2, 3.92 ERA) at Mike Pelfrey (6-1, 2.86 ERA)

Time: 7:10, Citi Field
Weather: Partly cloudy, 68
TV: MyPhl 17
Twitter: @philliesnation

Not sure there is really all that much to say in this spot. The Phillies need to score runs, and that’s all there is to it.  They haven’t scored a run since Sunday and haven’t scored a meaningful run since Friday! They’ve beaten up Mike Pelfrey once this year and they’ll need to do it again to break out of this awful slump they’re in.

Cole Hamels toes the rubber in the quest for his 6th victory. He’s been very good lately, however, the Mets are a pesky club at home that can make it hell on opposing pitchers. Just ask Moyer and Blanton. The love to wreak havoc on the basepaths, so Cole might be firing to first base a lot tonight with that pickoff move.

Offensively, it’s not as if the Phils aren’t getting guys on base.  They’ve managed 24 hits the last three games combined.  It’s just what they do with those guys on base that is so unsavory.  This trend of stranding runners is a bit unnerving to say the least.  They’ll need a pick-me-up tonight.

Tonight’s Lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Valdez SS, Hamels P

Golden CapYour Gameday BeerYards Extra Special Ale

I’m going with my favorite beer for tonight’s must win. Yeah, I said it – must win.  Yards ESA is a hearty amber ale with a malt body and aromatic hop finish. It’s got some kick to it, 6.0% by volume, but is one of the best beers around, in my opinion.  Plus, it’s made in Philly, so what’s not to love.  Enjoy it with a porterhouse and mashed potatoes and be sure to scream at the TV all night.  The Phillies need all the help they can get.  – By Pat



Reading Phillies Report

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, May 27, 2010 12:59 PM Comments: 4

Here is another report on the Reading Phillies from David Hoppman.

The Reading Phillies fought back for a 5-3 come-from-behind win last night.

Vance Worley didn’t have his best stuff, but he made it through seven innings. He gave up six hits striking out three and walking four as well as giving up two runs. Sergio Escalona gave up the go ahead run in the eighth with one run on one hit while walking three – including the one that forced in the run. Michael Stutes put out the fire and then pitched the ninth. So he went an inning and a third of scoreless relief eventually getting the win.

Matt Rizzotti was the hitting star smacking his third and fourth home runs, knocking in five and scoring twice. His second homer was a three-run shot that let the R-Phils walk off with a win.


This Week in Schadenfreude: John Maine’s Arm is Coming Unattached

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, May 27, 2010 11:59 AM Comments: 15

Welcome to This Week in Schadenfreude, where we discuss why, no matter how bad things might seem for the Phillies, someone else in the division always has it worse.

This has not been a good week for schadenfreude. The Phils have suddenly decided that scoring runs is for wusses, dropping four in a row, including two to the hated Mets. Those Mets, at 24-23, are now prairie dogging .500, making the NL East the only division in baseball with five winning teams. Good for them. As much as I wish those wins hadn’t come at Philadelphia’s expense, the ‘Mazin’ Mets deserve credit for their strong play of late.

But all is not sunshine and puppies in Queens. You never want to see a player experience career-threatening injury, so this week we have a little less eye-poking and a little more sobriety.

Back in the day, John Maine was to the 2006 Mets as J.A. Happ was to the 2009 Phillies—a young kinda-prospect without any mind-bending stuff who had the ability to get batters out reliably. At 25, he pitched well in 15 starts for the Mets team that went to Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. The next year, he posted 8.48 K/9 and a 3.91 ERA in a 15-win campaign. In all, it looked like Maine was going to be a solid mid-rotation starter for many years, sort of an evolutionary Kevin Millwood.

Well, things are different now. Maine spent time on the DL and was not particularly effective in 2009, and this year, matters have been even worse. He left his last start after one batter, whom he walked on five pitches. Jerry Manuel scratched Maine from his next start and the righty is now on the DL with rotator cuff tendinitis.

The unpronounceable David Golebiewski wrote in depth at FanGraphs about two weeks ago about how the 29-year-old righty has drifted back toward mediocrity these past two seasons, possibly due to injury.

Maine’s performance just creams catastrophic shoulder injury. The first time I saw one of those live, I was 10 years old, watching Alex Fernandez fall apart in the 1997 NLCS. His velocity was down, his off-speed stuff wasn’t moving, and he had no control. Fernandez threw 57 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, got yanked by Jim Leyland, and didn’t pitch again until 1999.

Well, Maine is much the same this year. In walking Nyjer Morgan to start his May 20 start, Maine’s fastball topped out around 84, down 5 MPH from his season average, which, in turn, is down about 3 MPH From last year. His walk rate went from 3.53 BB/9 in 2007 to 4.20 BB/9 last year to an alarming 5.67 BB/9 this year. He’s only getting 45.5% of his pitches into the strike zone in 2010, down from 52.8% last year. With no control and no velocity, it’s pretty obvious Maine is hurt—seriously, I fear. With a starting rotation of Johan Santana and four other guys, the Mets can ill afford to lose Maine.

This might not be a reason to point and laugh. But it’s certainly a reason to be glad you’re not a Mets fan.


Phils Need a Gem From Hamels Tonight

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, May 27, 2010 10:41 AM Comments: 16

Maybe the headline above is completely obvious.  Maybe you’re not so worried about the Phillies pitching; that it’s the offense that needs a gem tonight. Just look at the Phillies starting pitching before you rip the lineup some more.

During this four game skid in which the Phils have plated a total of three players, the pitching staff hasn’t really been lights out either. Joe Blanton didn’t last through the sixth inning yesterday – he gave up six hits and four walks, a very un-Joe-like stat line. Jamie Moyer looked off in Tuesday’s 8-0 loss to the Mets; he couldn’t make it six.  Sunday was supposed to be win-day for Roy Halladay, instead it was get-your-ass-kicked day as the Red Sox continued their overall domination of the ace righty. Daisuke Matsuzaka nearly no-hit the Phils on Saturday, however, Kyle Kendrick was lucky to have left the game allowing just five earned; it could have been much worse.

On the flip side, the offense is not hitting, plain and simple. Or should that be rephrased: they aren’t getting runners around the bases. Over the last three games, they have 24 hits and three (meaningless) runs to show for it. When it looks like they’re guessing, bad things occur. Jayson Werth has even shaved his grizzly beard in an attempt to kick start something (we think). Still, not one starting pitcher has given them an effort to rally behind.  Four straight starts, four straight duds. And this, after a hot start to May with four of the five Phillies starters posting an ERA of 4.05 or lower.

Tonight, a masterpiece will need to be created by Cole Hamels.  Not only for his own sake as he continues to build strong start after strong start in an attempt to recreate his 2008 form, but for his flailing offense which has been stymied by Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Dickey, and Takahashi.  Not exactly shades of the ’89 Oakland A’s starting four.

This is where Hamels needs to excel.  It’s not fair to put the burden on him when the offense isn’t scoring; there just isn’t an alternative. A starter needs to step up and keep them in a game.

On the flip side, Mike Pelfrey will engage the Phils lineup.  The Fightin’s have had success against him this season, actually his worst start of the year, pounding him for six earned runs in a 10-0 Phillies win on May 1st.

The Phils started the month with a bang.  Let’s see if they can end it that way.  Cole Hamels – show them the way.


Phillies’ Lineup Still MIA as Skid Hits Four

Posted by Jonathan Fogg, Wed, May 26, 2010 11:22 PM Comments: 31

The NBA in late May: Where Amazing Happens.

The Phillies’ offense in late May: Where Nothing Happens.

After the Phillies’ 5-0 loss to the Mets at Citi Field tonight, what else is there left to say about the offense’s slump? (Other than that word “slump” doesn’t come close to quantifying whatever has sapped the offense the past four games.)

When a team gets shut out, that’s normal. Back-to-back nights, well, that happens, too. But three times (nearly four) in four games, and being held scoreless in 37 of 38 innings? That’s no accident. It’s a sign that something isn’t right. The pitchers the Phillies have faced the past four games are Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi. That’s not in the same class as the starting rotation of the 1971 Orioles. If the Phillies faced Tim Lincecum four straight times, they’d probably score more than three runs, which is what they’ve managed against those four … shall we say lesser-caliber pitchers.

The truth is that every offense goes through slumps, some worse than others (and some really, really bad). While the Phillies haven’t had a dry spell quite like this the past few seasons, the combination of a couple of slow starts (Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez) and having two starters either on the DL or severely banged up (Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz) has caused a perfect storm.

I’ll spare the highlights of tonight’s game because, frankly, there aren’t any. But for the Phillies, one moment stood out above the rest. With Victorino on second base in the sixth inning and one out, Chase Utley lined a solid single to right field. We’re used to seeing the fleet Victorino zip around third on plays like that, but he was held at third. With the offense needing a spark, Victorino had to score on that play, but the fact that he didn’t served only to illustrate how the offense has lost its way. Third base coach Sam Perlozzo thought he was playing it safe by holding Victorino, but it was the wrong decision – especially considering Ryan Howard’s propensity to strike out against left-handed pitchers (Howard entered Wednesday with a .308 career OBP against lefties and a nearly 40 percent strikeout rate).

If there’s any positive news from tonight, it’s that Charlie Manuel held a short team meeting after the game. When Manuel gets mad, good things often follow.


Gameday: Phillies (26-18) at Mets (23-23)

Posted by Jonathan Fogg, Wed, May 26, 2010 06:15 PM Comments: 166

Philadelphia Phillies (26-18) at New York Mets (23-23)

Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.06 ERA) at Hisanori Takahashi (3-1, 2.53 ERA)

Time: 7:10, Citi Field

Weather: Partly cloudy, 86

TV: Comcast SportsNet

Twitter: @philliesnation

The conventional wisdom said the Phillies would be comfortably in first place in late May. It also said the Flyers would be on the golf course.

But in sports, the conventional wisdom is all too often wrong. Don’t believe me? Grab a copy of “The Wages of Wins” by David Berri, Martin Schmidt and Stacey Brook. The authors are all sports fans who happen to be economists, and they make compelling cases as to why many of the beliefs regarded as canon in sports aren’t borne out by the numbers. Their research is thorough, and as a bonus, the book is an enjoyable read, too.

While the last three games have been anything but enjoyable for Phils fans, with the team having been shut out twice and held scoreless in 28 of 29 innings, an economist would say that it simply can’t hold up. The silent Phillies offense (which has batted a mind-numbing .203 and scored 15 runs in the past seven games) will crackle back to life – it’s just a matter of when and where.

What’s not helping with that are ever-present injuries. In addition to Jimmy Rollins being back on the DL, Carlos Ruiz acknowledged today that his right shoulder has been bothering him for, oh, about five weeks. He’s not in the lineup tonight but hopes to return tomorrow. The question remains of when – or if – his shoulder will be right.

Joe Blanton takes the ball for the Phillies tonight, and if anyone has the credentials to pitch a gem in Flushing, it’s Big Joe, who is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts against the Mets in his career.

Tonight’s Lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Francisco LF, Valdez SS, Schneider C, Blanton P

Golden CapYour Gameday Beer – Golden Cap Saison Ale

Lately, runs for the Phillies have been slightly rarer than flying monkeys. So while you wait for the offense to come around, grab one (or more) of these – it has a huge winged monkey on the label. It’s a farmhouse ale with faint lemon and yeast flavors which go down smooth – a definite summer ale. I’m drinking one right now and recommend a savory crepe with it. – By Brian



Reading Phillies Report

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, May 26, 2010 10:33 AM Comments: 8

Here is another report on the Reading Phillies from David Hoppman.

The Reading Phillies won again last night beating the Portland Seadogs by the score of 6-0.

Drew Naylor was sensational going the distance. He struck out six, walked one and gave up only three hits for the game (only one after the first inning). He spotted his fastball well and had a great curve and change up. He was in complete control the whole way as his velocity stayed seemed the same from beginning to end. He needed about 105 pitches to secure his fourth win of the season.

Offensively, Domonic Brown had back-to-back triples in consecutive at bats – both to right-center field. Tagg Bozied hit a two run homer, and Matt Rizzotti continues to hit knocking in a run with a single. Also, Mike Spidale and Kevin Mahar had RBI singles.


Dickey, Mets Offense Fluster the Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, May 25, 2010 10:28 PM Comments: 55

It tumbles, it’s erratic, it’s unpredictable. It’s hard to hit, and the Phillies are making it a well-known fact.  Facing a knuckleball pitcher for the second straight game, the Phils were unable to cross the plate as R.A. Dickey shut them down in the Mets 8-0 win.

Jamie Moyer was not sharp in his five innings of work as he allowed four earned runs by way of seven hits and two walks – he did not strike out a batter. Prior to this latest outing, Moyer had pitched six innings or more in every start this season. Normally efficient, tonight was not his night. He threw just 59 strikes in 104 pitches, although Tim McCleland’s strike zone did seem slighty thin.

The Mets never really rocked Moyer, they just slowly gouged him throughout the evening. Single runs were scored by New York in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th innings off of the Phillies starter. They added another single run in the 6th when David Herndon entered.  In the 8th, three insurance runs were added as the Mets slammed ex-teammate Nelson Figueroa. Jose Reyes was a beast on the basepaths, swiping two bags and adding a triple to his stat line.  On the other side, the Phils offense was yet again silent against a knuckleballer.

The bases are beginning to resemble small islands where the Phils have become stranded. They need a life preserver, ASAP. R.A. Dickey, one of the few pitchers around who still throws a knuckleball, stifled the Phillies bats through seven innings. Dickey would allow seven hits and three walks, with just one of the hits being of the extra-base variety. Even a line drive to the arm off the bat of Ryan Howard couldn’t stop the knuckler from tumbling.  Raul Valdes made the lefties in the lineup look ridiculous as he came on for a three inning save.

All told, the Phils left 13 runners on the sacks.  Add that to the seven runners left behind against  Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox, and it has to be a frustrating time in the clubhouse.

Those struggling include Carlos Ruiz (one for his last 17) and Shane Victorino (three for his last 24). Scoring runs has become a chore as the team has managed to cross the plate four times in the last 36 innings. With runners in scoring position the Phillies are three for their last 21 (1-for-9 tonight, although the runner didn’t score). You can’t win games when you can’t knock runners in.  Fairly simple.

There is reason to believe this offense can, and will, turn it around soon enough. Over 162 games, swoons are inevitable. That still doesn’t make it any easier to watch as the team-wide struggles mount.


Gameday: Phillies (26-17) at Mets (22-23)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, May 25, 2010 05:35 PM Comments: 119

Philadelphia Phillies (26-17) at New York Mets (22-23)

Jamie Moyer (5-3, 4.30 ERA) at R.A. Dickey (0-0, 3.00 ERA)

Time: 7:10, Citi Field
Weather: Clear, 74
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Twitter: @philliesnation

Before we get to tonight’s game, the first NL All-Star Ballots have been counted and the Phillies are kicking ass and taking names so far.  Five Phillies lead their respective positions, with Chase Utley leading everyone in the National League with over 687,000 votes.  He leads Rickie Weeks at second base by over 500,000! Ryan Howard is well behind Albert Pujols, but is in second place. Carlos Ruiz sits behind Yadier Molina at catcher.

Jamie Moyer won’t be making the ASG this year, but he’s pitching pretty well, all things considered. He’s going for his 6th win of the season tonight at Citi Field. In actuality, he’s been a bit of a savior. No one believed he would be as good as he’s been so far, and rightfully so. Moyer was awful a season ago and with all the injuries to the rotation/bullpen, his innings have been much needed and appreciated.

Another knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey, goes up against the Phillies this evening. It’s the first time that the Phils will face knuckle-throwers back to back since 1983 when they went up against Phil and Joe Niekro. Sunday was an ugly attempt at hitting as Tim Wakefield made the Phils bats look foolish over eight strong innings. Perhaps seeing a knuckleballer already will help this time around.

Tonight’s Lineup:Victorino (CF), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Ruiz (C), Castro (SS), Moyer (P).

Your gamenight beer: Brooklyn Pennant Ale ’55

A baseball-themed beer? Yes, please. Brooklyn Pennant Ale is a honey-colored pale ale, right up my alley. It’s aptly named for the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Championship team, a very cool homage to a city that lost its team to the west coast unfortunately.  It’s 5.0% ABV, so not too strong, not too light. It should be paired with some BBQ ribs or a plate of crabcakes. Oh yeah. Whether or not you despise New York, Brooklyn Brewing Co. makes a damn good beer. –By Pat



Reading Phillies Report

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, May 25, 2010 03:38 PM Comments: 5

Here is a report on the Reading Phillies from David Hoppman.

The Reading Phillies won last night against Portland by a score of 7-2. Yohan Flande pitched seven great innings – striking out two and walking two while giving up one run on six hits. He recorded his third win of the season. Michael Schwimer pitched two innings of relief striking out three, walking two and allowing two hits and a run.

Offensively, Matt Rizzotti had two hits including a two-run homer, his second of the year. Domonic Brown also hit a two-run homer, his eighth. Freddy Galvis and Kevin Mahar both knocked in a run a piece on singles. The other run scored on a wild pitch.

Drew Naylor tries for his fourth win tonight.

Previous Page Next Page