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Archive for April, 2011

Phils Salvage a Win in Arizona After Oswalt, Ruiz Depart

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, April 27, 2011 08:10 PM Comments: 31

(Photo: AP)

Roughly an hour after announcing that Roy Oswalt had taken a leave of absence to be with his family in tornado-torn Mississippi, the Phillies decided to leave behind him without their tail between their legs.

That tail can wag freely after Cole Hamels stymied the Diamondbacks, keeping the Phils from being swept for the first time this year. Hamels wasn’t dominant, but was close enough as he went seven innings, allowing three runs, while striking out eight batters. For once, Hamels was actually helped by his offense; one that had been in a serious funk for quite a while.

It seems like light years ago when eight runs was simply adequate for the Phillies. Now, it’s only looked at as a possible stepping stone to a breakthrough. The eight runs were the most for the Phillies since April 10 against Atlanta when they tallied 10.

Continue reading Phils Salvage a Win in Arizona After Oswalt, Ruiz Depart

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Gameday: Phillies (15-8) at Diamondbacks (10-12)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, April 27, 2011 03:26 PM Comments: 10

Philadelphia Phillies (15-8) at Arizona Diamondbacks (10-12)

Cole Hamels (2-1, 2.92 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders (0-2, 4.98 ERA)

Time: 3:40 pm., Chase Field
Weather: Sunny, 82
TV: CSN
Twitter: Phillies Nation

Here we go again. Looking like last seasons slumping lineup, the Phils have managed five runs in two games. Their streak of futility was snapped – they’d gone 14 straight without scoring more than four runs thanks to Ben Francisco’s ninth-inning homer – however, they still could not get themselves a victory.

Avoidance of a sweep rests on the shoulders of Cole Hamels, who has been very, very good since being booed in his first start. He probably remembers those things and wants you to eat your boos. Hamels will need to be on point once again as this Diamondbacks lineup has been quite good in the first two games of the series. But really, we all know it’s not about Hamels. It’s about this damn offense waking up and going on some sort of a tear.

Continue reading Gameday: Phillies (15-8) at Diamondbacks (10-12)

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Oswalt Leaves Phillies for Personal Reasons

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, April 27, 2011 02:13 PM Comments: 5

Roy Oswalt has left the Phillies, who are in Arizona today for the finale of their three game series with the Diamondbacks, due to personal reason.

According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the team does not know why Oswalt has left. A team official told Gelb that Oswalt was lifted from last night’s start due to ineffectiveness, not because of the personal issue.

More to come…

UPDATE, 2:58 pm: A statement from the Phillies regarding Oswalt’s departure:

“There has been a tremendous amount of tornado activity near Roy’s home in Mississippi resulting in several tragic deaths and significant devastation to the area.  Because of this, Roy is concerned about his family’s well-being.  He has chosen to take time to make sure there wasn’t significant damage to his home, but more importantly, to make certain that his wife and children are okay.

It is almost a year to the day that his parents’ home was destroyed by a tornado which has heightened his concern about the current situation.

We are hopeful that he will rejoin the team for his next start, but will take that day by day.”

Ruben Amaro Jr.

Senior Vice President & General Manager

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Bumblers on the Corners

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, April 27, 2011 07:00 AM Comments: 51

The Phillies are getting absolutely nothing from their corner outfielders. Nothing at the plate, nothing in the field, nothing on the basepaths. The left and right fielders have batted fifth and sixth in every game, making their struggles something like a package deal. “Ben, I’ll see your infield fly with a ground ball to first base,” says Raul.

Of the 186 qualifying major leaguers, Raul Ibanez has produced the lowest WAR, -1.0. You read that correct. Ibanez is 186th of 186. To those unfamiliar, WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement. It is as all-encompassing a stat as you will find; WAR takes into account offense, defense, and the difficulty of one’s position. Take Chase Utley, for example. Utley has averaged a little over 7.0 WAR per season since 2007. This theoretically tells us that if the Phillies started Michael Martinez in those four years rather than Utley, they would have won about seven fewer games per year. Get it? Good, let’s move on to Ibanez.

Ibanez has been worth -1.0 WAR so far. That would be one win below replacement. He has cost the Phillies 5.4 runs at the plate and 5.9 runs in the field. After Tuesday’s frustrating loss, Ibanez’ slash-line sat at .171/.253/.232. His .485 OPS is lower than Placido Polanco‘s slugging percentage.

Ibanez is pretty much done as a major leaguer. Looming hot streak or no looming hot streak, the fact remains that he is at best a league-average offensive left fielder and the league’s worst defensive leftfielder. Straying away from numbers for a second, I want you to recount every throw home Ibanez has made in 2011. Think of as many instances as possible. STOP! How many of those images involved a throw bouncing before or parallel to the pitcher’s mound?

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Murphy Tees Off for Lakewood; News and Notes

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, April 27, 2011 04:06 AM Comments: 2

With a strong showing at the plate on Tuesday night, first baseman Jim Murphy accomplished a feat rarely seen. When he flew out to the warning track in the bottom of the 8th inning, he received a rousing ovation from the crowd on hand to see the Class A BlueClaws take on Yankees affiliate Charleston RiverDogs.

“It was surprising for sure,” Murphy said of the nod he received from the appreciative home crowd of 3,644 after his attempt to mash a third homerun in the game fell short.

Murphy, who stands 6-feet-3-inches tall and weighs in at 230 pounds, went 3-for-4 on the night while driving in a career-high 6 runs with a single and 2 powerful homeruns.

The Phillies’ 17th draft selection in the 2007 amateur draft, Murphy, played with Lakewood in 2009 and was with the High A level Clearwater Thresher in 2010.

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Hudson, Diamondbacks Take Game Two

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, April 27, 2011 02:00 AM Comments: 0

Well, the offense woke up–the middle of the order, Jimmy RollinsRyan Howard, and Ben Francisco, combined to go 7-for-14 with a walk. On its face, one would think that five runs on twelve hits with Roy Oswalt facing a second division lineup would be enough to eke out a key road win, but it was not to be. The Speedwagon was not himself tonight, allowing five earned runs in three innings and not registering a strikeout. While many of the hits were bloopers, Oswalt suffered what was, by far, his shortest outing in a Phillies uniform, and his shortest start since a 7-3 loss to Washington last May 31, when he lasted only 2 1/3 innings while he was still with Houston.

Meanwhile, Daniel Hudson pitched well enough to earn his first win of the year, and while he allowed three earned runs in six innings, he struck out six without walking a batter and added an RBI double in the second inning for good measure. Oswalt left with the score 5-2, leaving the Phillies to stage a comeback.For the first time in ages, the Phillies were able to string together a few hits against a Diamondbacks bullpen that’s been rather hit-or-miss this season, but they were unable to make up the difference. The Phillies had two on and one out in the sixth but were only able to push across one run. Then, an inning later, Ben Francisco struck out with two on and one out, then John Mayberry struck out with two out and the bases loaded.

It might not have mattered had the Phillies bullpen held serve. But after Kyle Kendrick pitched two perfect innings,Mike Zagurski allowed a long foul ball to Miguel Montero, who eventually struck out, then the next batter, Ryan Roberts, banked a home run off the left field foul pole. The next inning, David Herndon failed to cover first on a hard grounder to first. The batter, Kelly Johnson, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single to make it 7-3. By the time Ryan Howard and Ben Francisco strung together a single and a home run with two out in the ninth, it was too late.

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Gameday: Phillies (15-7) at Diamondbacks (9-12)

Posted by Michael Baumann, Tue, April 26, 2011 08:00 PM Comments: 58

Philadelphia Phillies (15-7) at Arizona Diamondbacks (9-12)

Roy Oswalt, RHP (3-0, 1.87 ERA) vs. Daniel Hudson, RHP (0-4, 5.92 ERA)

Time: 9:40 pm., Chase Field
Weather: Clear, 82
TV: TCN
Twitter: Phillies Nation

So Michael Stutes turned out to be pretty decent, huh? I mean, it’s only one inning, but it’s nice to see a young pitcher come up and pitch well in his debut. Plus there wasn’t a whole lot else that was positive from last night’s 4-0 whimper. So let’s move on.

With any luck, the Flyers will have Game 7 wrapped up early so no one with divided baseball/hockey loyalties needs to miss the first pitch. Or, if the Sabres eke out yet another heartbreaking victory, at least there’s Phillies baseball on immediately after to lift your wounded spirits. Or something like that.

Anyway, let’s take a look at tonight’s starting pitching matchup. Many people, including me, were predicting that this year would mark the beginning of Roy Oswalt’s slide from a top-tier starter to an aging rotation arm. So far, that has been emphatically not the case. In 17 appearances (16 starts) in the regular season since being traded to Philly, Oswalt has gone 10-1 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.891 WHIP, and 94 strikeouts against only 27 walks in 106 2/3 innings. Not too shabby. This portends a strong outing for the Phillies’ only remaining undefeated starting pitcher, one would hope.

Continue reading Gameday: Phillies (15-7) at Diamondbacks (9-12)

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Domonic Brown Set for Rehab Assignment Wednesday

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, April 26, 2011 03:46 PM Comments: 16

Domonic Brown is nearly ready for a return.

According to our own minor league reporter Jay Floyd, the Phillies top prospect will begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday with the Clearwater Threshers.

The 23-year-old prospect has been out since early March with a broken hamate bone in his right hand. He had surgery to fix the problem on March 8.

If Brown is able to swiftly return to form, he could be an option for a struggling Phillies offense. The only question is; will the Phillies keep him in the minors or bring him back to the majors where he struggled late last season?

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Phillies Gifts for Mother’s Day

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, April 26, 2011 01:14 PM Comments: 1

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8 which means you are running out of time to get her a present. Don’t wait until the last moment and think a card and some junk from Rite Aid is in any way adequate. If you’re a Phillies fan, there’s a good chance your mom is too. If you want to get her something cool, here are some ideas.

Phillies CookiesForget flowers, how about a Phillies Cookie Gift Tower? Our friends at Cooperstown Cookies bakes delicious all-natural baseball cookies and have even been featured on the Food Network.

Why not bring her on one of our fun-for-all-ages road trips? You won’t have to wait long since we have a trip going up to CitiField in New York on Sunday, May 29. Then the next day, Memorial Day Monday, we’re heading down to Washington, DC to join thousands of Phillies fans at Nationals Park. If a road trip isn’t your mom’s cup of tea, then bring her to South Philly, we have a handy tool that scours the internet for the best prices for tickets to home games.

If your mom loves the old-time teams of yesteryear, try a custom newspaper of Phillies history. This 60-page compilation of historic newspaper pages from The New York Times features original articles detailing major moments in the Phillies 128-year history. It’s fascinating and only $15.

How about a #1 Mom Phillies shirzey?

Need more ideas? We have an entire store of Phillies merchandise for mom after the jump…
Continue reading Phillies Gifts for Mother’s Day

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Kennedy Shuts Down Lowly Phils Offense

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, April 26, 2011 12:04 AM Comments: 58

You know something is up when a West Coast game is over before midnight. Normally a launching pad, Chase Field was the site of a one-sided affair; one in which the Phillies once again gave zero output offensively. Cliff Lee was good, yet the Phillies lineup made Ian Kennedy look great in the Diamonbacks 4-0 win.

Lee again was not razor sharp, giving up two home runs on the night. His final line will show dominance in the strikeout category as he fanned 12 batters. His four runs on five hits and one walk paled in comparison to the show Kennedy put on.

Ian Kennedy – yes, Ian Kennedy – struck out 10 Phillies and tossed the first complete game shutout of his career. When you say the offense is struggling, you’d be making a gross understatement. This Phillies O is a dinghy with a giant hole in it. They can’t scoop the water out fast enough.

Kennedy looked like Greg Maddux for nine innings, allowing three hits and no walks. Only one batter, Placido Polanco, made it to second base.

For Arizona, the home runs came from Chris Young in the third and Gerrado Parra in the fifth. Xavier Nady also knocked in a run with an RBI single in the sixth inning.

Lee really only made those two mistakes on the night. They were miscues, however, that would prove costly.

Really, there are few words, if any, to describe this abominable showing from a lineup that was once the most feared in all of baseball. Working counts was not on the menu as the Phillies forced Kennedy into throwing just 114 pitches.

Before the game, Charlie Manuel got heated as he spoke about Jose Contreras, and his alleged misuse of the closer.  He may need to channel that energy into a team meeting. Their leader will need to provide a spark somewhere, somehow. If not, this could be 2010 all over again.

The best news of the night was the scoreless inning thrown by Mike Stutes, who was brought up to replace the injured Contreras. He looked excellent in his major league debut, striking out one.

—————–

Tomorrow: Roy Oswalt vs. Daniel Hudson

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