Archive for September, 2011

Enjoy Rollins While He’s Still a Phillie

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, September 28, 2011 08:36 AM Comments: 45

Will Jimmy be a Phillie in 2012? PHOTO AP

It’s hard to imagine No. 11 not manning shortstop in the future. After all, he’s been with the Philadelphia Phillies organization for 15 years. Jimmy Rollins doesn’t see it that way – he wants to get paid because he sees baseball as a business.

Jon Heyman of SI.com wrote today that Rollins will be looking for a five-year commitment from a team this offseason following what he hopes will be another championship run with the Phils. He’s not in the business of giving the Phillies a hometown discount, realizing this could be his final chance to cash in. Plus, J-Roll gave a pseudo-discount before he signed his contract in 2006. Perhaps Rollins feels like the forgotten man.

Chase Utley promptly signed an $85 million deal just after Rollins inked his. Since then, the Phillies have invested over $100 million in Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee. Hell, Joe Blanton is making the same amount per season as Rollins.

It’s apparent Jimmy understands the constraints within the organization. Ruben Amaro can only spend so much money, and while they do have some breathing room this offseason with a couple of expiring deals, they’ll have a tough choice to make.

Continue reading Enjoy Rollins While He’s Still a Phillie


Oswalt Continues Tomahawk Choke

Posted by Michael Baumann, Tue, September 27, 2011 09:52 PM Comments: 20

Richie Ashburn Award: Roy Oswalt

So there’s no need to be worried about Roy Oswalt anymore. The righty, who has either been injured or spotty all season, turned in six stellar innings, allowing no runs and only four baserunners in six innings of work as the Phillies piled on the Braves, who dropped to 9-17 in September with the Cardinals (now even with the Braves after a 13-6 win in Houston half a game back and tied with Houston as I post this UPDATE: St. Louis has taken the lead, coming from down 5-0 to up 9-6 in the 7th) staggering at a slightly faster clip toward the finish line.

The 7-1 win featured a little something for everyone: apart from Oswalt, the Phillies got perfect innings of relief from Joe Savery and (more importantly) the heretofore unraveling Antonio Bastardo. Not only did Oswalt seem to have his velocity, command, and good off-speed stuff back, but Bastardo, who had been enduring about as bad a month as you could have asked for, looked rather like the classic Tony No-Dad in his inning of work. Kyle Kendrick allowed a towering home run to Martin Prado to lead off the ninth and break up the shutout, but I guess you can’t have everything. Continue reading Oswalt Continues Tomahawk Choke


Gameday: Phillies (100-60) at Braves (89-71)

Posted by Amanda Orr, Tue, September 27, 2011 06:05 PM Comments: 35

Philadelphia Phillies (100-60) at Atlanta Braves (89-71)

Roy Oswalt (8-10, 3.86) vs. Derek Lowe (9-16, 4.92)

Time: 7:10, Turner Field
TV:Comcast SportsNet
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 77
Media: Twitter and Facebook

Triple digits!  The Philadelphia Phillies reached 100 wins on Monday with their defeat of the Atlanta Braves.  The Phillies will aim for another milestone: a victory ties them with the 1976 and 1977 clubs for most franchise wins in a season.  If the Phillies sweep the Braves, they will be the all-time franchise record in wins.  Right now, the Phillies will focus on beating their opponent, potentially erasing playoff hopes.

Meanwhile, the Braves are still holding on.  The St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Houston Astros, remaining one game back in the National League Wild Card.  There are talks about how the heated Wild Card race could eventually help the Phillies in the playoffs.  The Cardinals are currently a hot team, like the San Francisco Giants were last year.

On the other hand, the Braves are falling apart.  If the Braves win the Wild Card, the Phillies will face Arizona in the first round.  If the Cardinals win, the Phillies will face them; the Cardinals took three out of four from the Phillies last week which started their week-long slump.  Everybody has their preference on who the Phillies should face, but right now it is up in the air.  All these two teams can do is worry about themselves.

Continue reading Gameday: Phillies (100-60) at Braves (89-71)


Changes Leading to Bright Future For Hollands

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, September 27, 2011 11:00 AM Comments: 0

Lefty pitcher Mario Hollands had a roller coaster of a season in 2011 with the Phillies Class A affiliate the Lakewood BlueClaws. Hollands, who had a strong showing in spring training to earn the spot as the ‘Claws’ opening day starter in April, was removed from the pitching rotation after a rough 7 start stretch in which the 6-foot-5-inch 210-pounder posted a 6.95 ERA.

Once he was moved to the bullpen the 23-year-old improved greatly for Lakewood. Having posted a 4-4 record with a 4.64 ERA in 15 starts, Hollands looked much stronger in relief, going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 13 outings. In addition, Hollands’ batting average against was over 100 points better in relief (.205) than it was as a starter (.306).

Hollands, who was a 10th round pick by the Phillies in the 2010 amateur draft, expressed a preference for working out of the bullpen following the success he had appearing in relief.

“I don’t mind doing either one, but since I made the move, I kind of enjoy the bullpen a little bit more,” Hollands said. “I get to pitch more often and I like that a little more. It seems a lot easier, just because you can go in there for one or two innings, and just blow it all out, then you can come out there a day or two later and do the same thing. My success out of the bullpen is only encouraging for the years to come.” Continue reading Changes Leading to Bright Future For Hollands


Phillies Hit 100 Wins and Hurt Braves Playoff Chances

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, September 26, 2011 10:49 PM Comments: 24


As Charlie Manuel said last week (and I’m paraphrasing, but if you read it in Charlie’s voice it makes it funnier) “It’s only one more win, but 100 wins looks a lot better than 99.” Charlie was right.

The Phillies got to triple digits on Monday night with a 4-2 victory over the Braves in the opener of the final three game series. It’s just the third time in franchise history they’ve reached the 100 win plateau, joining the 1976 and 1977 teams. Those teams were extremely talented, but failed in the postseason. This club will not settle for anything less than a title.

For Atlanta, it was a wasted opportunity to stave off the Cardinals who continue to make a late move in the NL Wild Card standings.

Cliff Lee started and went six innings, just as Roy Halladay had done on Sunday. It’s a way to keep both aces on track for Games 1 and 2 on an extra day of rest while not overusing them. Lee tossed 92 pitches, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out six. The runs came on a solo homer by Chipper Jones in the first inning, his 18th of the year, and on an RBI double by Alex Gonzalez in the second inning. Overall, a fine final tuneup for the Game 2 starter in the NLDS.

Continue reading Phillies Hit 100 Wins and Hurt Braves Playoff Chances


Gameday: Phillies (99-60) vs. Braves (89-70)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, September 26, 2011 06:10 PM Comments: 22

Philadelphia Phillies (99-60) at Atlanta Braves (89-70)

Time: 7:10, Turner Field
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Weather: Isolated Storms, 77
Media: Twitter and Facebook

It’s the beginning of the end for the Phillies. They finish out the 2011 season against their divisional rival on the road. However, the Braves have plenty more riding on this series than do the Phils. With a good showing, Atlanta will secure a playoff spot. But, they’re up just one game on the St. Louis Cardinals meaning any slip up in the next three days could mean they fall out of the postseason; something that was all but assured for Atlanta not even a month ago. They went cold at the very moment that St. Louis got hot and here we are. A photo finish is ahead.

What does this mean for the Phillies? Well, if the Cards overtake the Braves in the Wild Card standings, the Phillies will head to STL for games three and four (if necessary) in the NLDS. If Atlanta hangs on, it comes down to Milwaukee or Arizona. So there is plenty to watch for in the next 72+ hours. Postseason baseball is nearly upon us, but before that can happen it’ll be hell of an ending in the National League.

Continue reading Gameday: Phillies (99-60) vs. Braves (89-70)


What Should the Phillies Do?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, September 26, 2011 11:05 AM Comments: 33

You’ll never see a baseball team tank purposely. There is an unwritten rule that says a team must play out their schedule and “try” to win games through the full 162. The Phillies find themselves in a predicament.

Starting Monday night at 7:05, they will close out the season with a critical three-game series against the Atlanta Braves that will shape the structure of the NL Playoffs. Atlanta is currently clinging to a one game lead in the Wild Card chase over the surging St. Louis Cardinals, winners of 14 of their last 18.

Charlie Manuel has made it clear that he intends to put his playoff lineup together to end the year in an attempt to gain a little momentum heading into the NLDS on October 1. By doing so, Manuel may also be screwing himself, in no uncertain terms.

If the Phillies are to go through with their plan of rolling into the playoffs on a high note, they may very well end up playing the one team that has had their number in the National League.

Continue reading What Should the Phillies Do?


Dr. Strangeglove: One Chance in Three

Posted by Michael Baumann, Mon, September 26, 2011 08:00 AM Comments: 8

“You’re afraid of our fleet. Well, you should be. Personally, I’d give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?”

Sean Connery as Capt. Marko Ramius, The Hunt for Red October

I’ll go out and say it: I think the Phillies are the best team in the playoff hunt, and have been all year. It’s hard to imagine the possibility that their starting pitching wouldn’t carry them three-quarters of the way to a title, and the bullpen and offense will do as well as is needed. Here’s a warning: I’m about to say that it’s more likely than not that the Phillies, despite having assembled a great team and despite having embarked on a great season, will once again fall short of a World Series title. So if you reject that premise out of hand and can’t be bothered to read the argument behind it, you know where to go. But I’m not saying that to be all doom-and-gloom, or even because I’m worried by the recent eight-game losing streak (I’m not). I’m saying it because the facts support the argument.

If you asked me to bet money on any one team to win the World Series, I’d put it on the Phillies. They’ve got the best record, the best pitching staff, a pretty decent offense that has all its starters back for the first time in weeks, and the easiest road to the Fall Classic. The logical conclusion is that the Phillies would win, but because of the vagaries of small sample size and the whoopee cushions and banana peels that shroud playoff baseball year in and year out, nothing is for certain.

Am I optimistic? Sure. But there’s a long way to go. Just like the crew of the Red October, I give us….about one chance in three.

Continue reading Dr. Strangeglove: One Chance in Three


Losing Streak Ends as Phillies Avenge Eagles

Posted by Michael Baumann, Sun, September 25, 2011 05:28 PM Comments: 7

Richie Ashburn Award: Hunter Pence

Photo Credit: Associated Press

The Phillies, fresh off an eight-game losing streak, won comfortably in the last game of their three-game series with the Mets, jumping all over Met starter Mike Pelfrey to salvage a split with today’s installment of the Philadelphia/New York rivalry.

Roy Halladay, pitching for the last time this regular season, was typically surgical in six innings of work, allowing no runs, four hits, and a walk while striking out three. Halladay threw only 77 pitches and faced one over the minimum through five, before pitching himself into and out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.

Meanwhile, the Phillies scored in each of their first four innings, chasing Pelfrey after three innings and five runs before adding four more off D.J. Carrasco. Every Phillies starter, including Halladay, had at least one base hit, led by Hunter Pence, who went 3-for-5 with a triple, a home run, two runs scored, and three RBI. Jimmy Rollins had three singles and a stolen base, and scored twice, and John Mayberry, who pinch-ran for Ryan Howard in the fourth and stayed in to play first, reached base all three times he batted. Carlos Ruiz also had a great day, reaching base on all five plate appearances and driving in two runs. Continue reading Losing Streak Ends as Phillies Avenge Eagles


Gameday: Phillies (98-60) at Mets (76-82)

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Sun, September 25, 2011 01:30 PM Comments: 20

Philadelphia Phillies (98-60) at New York Mets (76-82)

Roy Halladay (18-6, 2.41) vs. Mike Pelfrey (7-12, 4.58)

Time: 2:10, Citi Field
TV: PHL 17
Weather: Cloudy, 75
Media: Twitter and Facebook

Can we get a win, please? The losing streak is up to eight now–and I’m getting tired of it. If there is anyone that might be able to turn the tables, it’s Roy Halladay. He’ll be on the mound for the Phils today, and his 2.41 ERA tells me he will get the job done. He’ll have an easy time with David Wright, who has just three hits in 23 at-bats against the Phillies righty.

Continue reading Gameday: Phillies (98-60) at Mets (76-82)

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