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Archive for May, 2010

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

GO PHILLIES!

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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.

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Pat Gallen Previews the Mets and Phillies Series

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, May 25, 2010 01:05 PM Comments: 0

Today, I was a guest of “The Baseball Show” on SNY.tv in New York today to help preview the upcoming three-game set at Citi Field this week. We touched on a number of topics including the Werth contract situation and Cole Hamels heading into his Thursday start against the Mets. Check it out!

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PN Writers Roundtable: National League East

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, May 25, 2010 10:00 AM Comments: 20

This is the Phillies Nation Writers Roundtable. Every so often, we’ll come up with a topic we’d all like to address and post our opinions on it.  Here’s today’s question:

Q: The Phillies play the Mets, Marlins, and Braves this week. The Braves were looked at as the 2nd best team in the NL East before the season started but haven’t quite lived up to that hype. The Marlins are who they are. The Mets are the bottom feeder right now, but have had an up and down season. Who out of these three teams (sort of excluding the Nats) do you believe will give the Phillies the closest race in the NL East and why?

Mike Baumann: At the beginning of the season, I was as high on the Braves as anyone, and despite their early-season stumbles, I remain most afraid of Atlanta. Honestly, Hanley Ramirez appears to have checked out in Miami, which can’t help their chances, and the Mets, despite an early hot start, have lapsed back into Omar Minaya’s Flying Circus. In Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson, the Braves have perhaps the two best young players in the division, and they’ve climbed back into second place over the weekend despite age finally catching up with Derek Lowe and Nate McLouth having the worst eight weeks of his life.

Also, I know the Phillies aren’t playing the Nationals this week, but don’t sleep on Washington. They’re only half a game back of the Braves, and with Stephen Strasburg due to come up within the next month or so, and these rumblings of Roy Oswalt packing his bags and heading east, they could have the juice to stay around the middle of the pack at least. Now, Pudge Rodriguez is hitting .325 and Livan Hernandez has a 1.62 ERA despite a K/9 of about 3 and a K/BB ratio of 1, so some regression is to be expected. Coolstandings gives Washington about one chance in 12 to make the playoffs, which I think is about right, but until they actually fall off the pace, let’s give them some respect.

Amanda Orr: Entering Sunday, the Marlins were 11th in baseball in overall ERA. However, they have a better rotation than the Mets and Braves. However, their bullpen is a little worrisome. Leo Nunez has been a solid closer, but they don’t really have anybody other than him.

Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla can get the job done offensively. Chris Coghlan hit a sophomore slump, and Cameron Maybin has yet to play to his potential, but you have to like the Florida offense. However, I think the Mets have more offensive potential than the Marlins.

The Mets are last of the four teams in runs scored, but with players like Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Jason Bay, you’d have to imagine that they will snap out of the funk. The thing that will hold the Mets back is their pitching. Entering Sunday, the Mets were 8th in the majors in ERA, but they’ve had all kinds of problems, from injuries to moving Oliver Perez to the bullpen. Johan Santana hasn’t been “the best pitcher in the NL East” as he proclaimed, but you’d have to figure he’ll come around. Pitching is not something the Mets can rely on right now.

Continue reading PN Writers Roundtable: National League East

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Phils Scout Wrong White Sox Relievers

Posted by Michael Baumann, Mon, May 24, 2010 01:12 PM Comments: 62

It has been reported that agents of Philadelphia subterfuge are in Chicago. According to the rumor, Phillies scouts are examining two White Sox relievers, J.J. Putz and Bobby Jenks.

It’s good to see that the Phillies, having witnessed the rash of injuries to their late-inning relievers (Lidge, Romero, Madson) in recent months (and the maddening inconsistency of Danys Baez and David Herndon) are taking steps to rectify the situation. I’d even say that the White Sox, now seven games under .500 after being expected to contend for the division title, are in a position to cut payroll and throw in the towel on the season. The Sox also have a surfeit of effective relief pitching. As such, they’d be a perfect trading partner to the Phillies, a team trying to find a solution to its most dangerous weakness.

But Jenks and Putz aren’t the White Sox relievers the Phillies ought to be looking at.

Because he’s not a closer and he pitches in a different league and a different time zone, I’d wager that many of you have never heard of Matt Thornton. But if he’s not the best reliever in the game, he’s in the conversation.

Thornton is a 6-foot-6, 34-year-old lefty who finished last year second among relief pitchers in WAR, behind only Jonathan Broxton. This season, he’s struck out 26 batters and issued only two unintentional walks in 17 IP. Over the past three seasons, batters swing and miss at his pitches in the strike zone almost 20% more often than the average pitcher. He throws hard (his fastball averages about 96 mph), gets ground balls, misses bats, and doesn’t walk batters. Worried about him being a lefty-only guy? His career platoon splits are negligible. There is literally nothing more you could ask of a reliever than what Thornton has delivered to the White Sox this season.

Are Putz and Jenks serviceable relievers? Certainly. Putz is having a good season, and has had even better in recent years (last year’s meltdown with the Mets notwithstanding). Jenks is the co-owner of the record for most consecutive batters retired, has a blistering fastball, and has been generally solid since taking over the closer’s role for Chicago in 2005. But both are flawed. Putz did melt down last year, and Jenks, in addition to always having had control problems, has seen his strikeouts drop and his home runs go up.

Are Putz and Jenks as good as anything the Phillies have? Sure. But Thornton’s better than either. The Phillies have traded for quality pitching often and wisely over the past three seasons, but they have paid dearly for Lidge, Blanton, Lee, and Halladay in both money and in young talent. If they trade for some combination of Jenks, Putz, and Thornton, they will pay dearly again from an increasingly thin pool of bargaining chips. So if you’re going to give up what few prospects you have left, it makes sense to get the best. And the best is Matt Thornton.

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Red Sox Crush Halladay; Wakefield Stymies Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, May 23, 2010 05:25 PM Comments: 31

Roy Halladay must have left his cape at the dry cleaners today – you know the one with the big “R” on it – because it was not his afternoon.  Boston, a familiar foe from his decade in the AL East, roughed up Halladay, making him look rather human in their 8-3 drubbing of the Phillies.

In his 5 2/3 innings, Doc allowed eight hits and six earned runs, while walking two and striking out just one batter. The last time Halladay struck out one batter or fewer in a game where he pitched at least five innings was June 3, 2006 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Yes, they were still Devil Rays.

Many will point to Halladay’s exorbitant pitch count in his last appearance against the Pirates (132 on Tuesday) as the reason for his struggles.  After the game when asked if overuse had anything to do with today’s less-than-stellar outing, Charlie Manuel said, “Not a damn thing.” Roy himself said the 372 pitches over his last three starts was not a reason for the Red Sox beatdown. “I just didn’t make good pitches, that was the bottom line,” said the Phillies ace.  ”It’s got nothing to do with anything before today.” What was the factor?  How about a Red Sox team that has owned him throughout his illustrious career.

Kevin Youkilis torched Doc for a triple and his ninth home run of the year.  Torture is the word that comes to mind when looking at the Youkilis/Halladay matchup over the years.  The Red Sox infielder is now 21-for-56 against the former Blue Jay. Old pal J.D. Drew went 2-for-4 today, with both hits coming against the Phils starter. Lifetime, Drew is now 11-for-32 in their head-to-head battles.

So before you point to those 132 pitches against Pittsburgh, realize that pitchers have a bad day once in a while.  And for Roy Halladay, many of those during his career have been brought on by this Boston club.  Even during his Cy Young-winning season of 2003, the Red Sox blasted Halladay in three of his six starts that year.  He allowed five, six, and seven earned in those appearances, (dis)respectively.

Chalk it up as one of those rough performances that will make Doc a better pitcher in the long run. Halladay has said himself that a starter is assured five good performances and five bad performances in a given season; it’s what you do with the other 25 that will determine how good you are.  Over the first two months of 2010, Halladay has had two “bad” starts.  He’s got three left.

On the other side, Tim Wakefield sprinkled some magic dust on his patented knuckleball, deftly manuevering through the Phillies lineup for eight innings. He threw just 102 pitches and was stopped short of his first complete game shutout since July 27, 1997, saying he ran out of gas. The 43-year-old Wakefield carved through a Phillies lineup that less than 24 hours prior had been sapped by the mystery that is Dasiuke Matsuzaka.

The Phillies touched home plate three times in the ninth as Raul Ibanez doubled home Jayson Werth, and Ross Gload added a pinch-hit two-run home run.  Sadly, the crooked-run inning came far too late as Wakefield’s masterful performance was more than enough to give him his first victory of the season.

For the three-game weekend set, the Phillies managed just eight total runs, an injury to their starting shortstop, 19 men left on base, and two ugly losses. During this latest seven-game homestand, the Phils finished 3-4, but their offense produced very little.  The NL Leader in runs scored could only muster 15 runs following a 12-run outburst to begin the week against Pittsburgh. In three of those, they score one run or less.  For such a prolific offense, the bats were abnormally silent.

But as Charlie said in his postgame press conference over and again, “it’s part of the game.”  Indeed it is, however, as the Phils embark on a nine-game road swing to face three divisional opponents, they must wake up before the rest of the East catches up.

Here’s my postgame video with Ryan Lawrence of the Delco Times on the Halladay pitch count and the offense:

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Gameday: Red Sox (23-21) at Phillies (26-16)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, May 23, 2010 12:12 PM Comments: 71

Boston Red Sox (23-21) at Philadelphia Phillies (26-16)

Tim Wakefield, RHP (0-2, 5.31 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay, RHP (6-2, 1.64 ERA)

Time: 1:35, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Showers, 67
TV: MyPHL 17
Twitter: @philliesnation

UPDATE: Big news – Zach Galifanakis and Bradley Cooper are throwing out the first pitch for todays game.  Nice!

That was a close one. Daisuke Matsuzaka nearly no-hit the Phillies last night following a start in which he couldn’t get through five innings and gave up seven earned runs.  Today is a different story, as Roy Halladay takes the mound in search of his 7th victory.  The kids call it “Win Day” when Doc takes the hill. And rightfully so.

Halladay was the hard luck loser last time out against Pittsburgh, going the distance and tossing 132 pitches as the Phils lost 2-1. He’s facing a much more potent lineup today, however, he’s seen them a good deal in his illustrious career. The Doc is just 14-14 in 38 career starts vs. BOS, with an ERA of 4.28. His best work clearly hasn’t been against the Sawks, but this is also a different team than he’s seen before.

Today’s Red Sox lineup has Victor Martinez and Kevin Youkilis in it – both were absent from yesterday’s order. Both are All-Stars, both know Halladay well.  On the mound is the rubber-armed Tim Wakefield.  The story goes, “if it’s high left it fly, if it’s low let it go” with that nasty knuckler.  You’ll usually know if he’s on from the first inning.  This season, he hasn’t been as crisp, but he’s also pushing 50.  Patience is the key for the Phillies bats today.

Polly and Chooch get the day off today after a night game yesterday. Nothing there, just a routine resting day.

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

Your gamenight beer: Philadelphia Fleur de Lehigh

Philadelphia Brewing Company makes some so-so beers, but this one is probably their best concoction. It was their first Select Ale and now Fleur de Lehigh is part of the regular line up for the summer months. This unfiltered golden ale is brewed with chamomile, rhubarb, ginger, rose hips, and lemon grass; then fermented with our Belgian yeast strain to provide a uniquely full flavored yet highly drinkable spring/summer brew. 4.2 % abv makes it manageable for a six pack. Grab some at our favorite establishment, The Grey Lodge Pub – it’s on tap now. –By Pat

GO PHILLIES!

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Dice-K Nearly No-Hits Phillies

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, May 22, 2010 10:47 PM Comments: 22

Daisuke Matsuzaka was four outs away from tossing a no-hitter against the Phillies.  Juan Castro broke up the no-hit bid with a bloop single over the head of Marco Scutaro.  For the Phillies, it was appropriate that the only hit came on a blooper since the Phillies hit the the ball hard most of the night.

Dice-K didn’t exactly dominate.  He had a high pitch count, walked four, and struck out five.  Yes — the Phillies weren’t able to collect hits off him, but they did scorch the ball.  The Red Sox made several incredible defensive plays.  Dustin Pedroia made a leaping catch to rob Chase Utley.  Jayson Werth lined a shot right back at Matsuzaka, who made an insane catch.  Adrian Beltre dove to take a hit away from Carlos Ruiz, and turned it into a double play.  Overall, the Phillies were hitting the ball hard, just right at fielders.

While Dice-K was literally unhittable, Kyle Kendrick was the complete opposite.  He surrendered five runs, all earned.  Kendrick cruised through the first couple of innings, but hit a rock in the fifth.  The Red Sox already led 1-0 at the time, thanks to a sacrifice fly in which Raul Ibanez failed to nail David Ortiz at the plate.  Kendrick was one out away from keeping it a one-run game, however J.D Drew, Ortiz, and Beltre each knocked in runs.

The Red Sox took a 5-0 lead, and did not look back.  Matsuzaka got a lot of luck on Saturday, and perhaps things will come easier tomorrow for the Phillies with Roy Halladay on the mound.

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Gameday: Red Sox (22-21) at Phillies (26-15)

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, May 22, 2010 06:15 PM Comments: 306

Boston Red Sox (22-21) at Philadelphia Phillies (26-15)

Daisuke Matsuzaka, RHP (2-1, 7.89 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick, RHP (2-1, 5.24 ERA)

Time: 7:10, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Few Showers, 71
TV:  FOX
Twitter: @philliesnation

These aren’t the same Boston Red Sox that we’ve seen in recent history, as witnessed in the Phillies’ 5-1 win last night.  At this time of year, we’re used to seeing the Red Sox towards the top of the American League East, but instead they are quickly falling to the .500 mark.

Today, Jacoby Ellsbury will be coming off the disabled list for the Red Sox.  Ellsbury will need to be watched on the base paths, but the speedy outfielder missed a significant amount of time due to broken ribs.  On the other hand, Jimmy Rollins was placed back on the disabled list.  Rollins re-injured his calf by running out of the batter’s box in last night’s game.  The grade one strain is not said to be worse than the first injury, however Rollins is still expected to miss two weeks.  Wilson Valdez was recalled to take his spot.

Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the hill for the Red Sox.  Dice-K has had high expectations since coming over from Japan in 2007, but struggled last year and to this point this year.  Dice-K faced the Phillies once in his career, and gave up four runs in as many innings.

Dice-K will be opposed by Kyle Kendrick, who is coming off a great start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Kendrick has been up and down all season, so it’s always a mystery as to what kind of performance the Phillies will get out of him.  Kendrick is 0-2 with a very high ERA in his career against Boston.  Kendrick would like to continue the Phillies’ recent success on the mound.  In May, Phillies starters are 11-4 with a 2.96 ERA.  Starters went at least six innings in 18 of the last 19 starts, including 13 quality starts.

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

Your gamenight beer:  A spring seasonal from Flying Dog, Garde Dog is a worthy Biere de Garde entry. It’s a bit tart, loaded with malts to create a toasted body. But why Garde Dog? Because tonight we protect our house. This is Phillies Nation. Let’s keep it that way.  –By Tim

GO PHILLIES!

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New Phrontiers: Contreras, Ruiz, Cosart

Posted by Paul Boye, Sat, May 22, 2010 03:34 PM Comments: 3

Hi, Nation. I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about not having an abundance of time to contribute as often as I’ve wanted to. To make it up to you, I’m going to start an irregularly scheduled new column called “New Phrontiers,” taken off my shiny, beautiful Twitter account handle and the deceased Phrontiersman blog from which Mike and I emigrated. Within, I’ll take a look at some of the subplots of previous or future games, as well as some other details of the Phillies’ game.

Let’s get to it, then! I’m so excited!

Continue reading New Phrontiers: Contreras, Ruiz, Cosart

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