Archive for April, 2012

Pence Out with Shoulder Injury; Utley Swings

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, April 23, 2012 07:09 PM Comments: 4

(Yahoo Sports)

Hunter Pence is getting a break tonight, but it’s not just for a breather in the midst of his 0-for-15 slump. Pence is dealing with a shoulder injury, according to Charlie Manuel (thanks to Matt Gelb and the beat reporters).

If you remember, Pence slammed into the wall at AT&T Park in San Francisco last week, jarring the shoulder. So far, nothing concrete has been said about him, but keep an eye on this.

UPDATE, 7:23pm: Pence says that was not when he injured the arm – that happened Sunday in San Diego, he told Todd Zolecki.


Chase Utley swung in the cages today, Charlie Manuel said he looked stronger than he had in Spring Training, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.

Manuel also told the beats that he was encouraged by what he saw. Could he return soon? As you know, he’s been working out in Phoenix with a physical therapist looking to strengthen the knee.

Utley will talk later on today with reporters, so keep an eye here for the latest on Utley.


De Fratus Checks In: Rehab Games, Struggling Offense & More

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, April 23, 2012 01:30 PM Comments: 0

Right-handed reliever Justin De Fratus has recovered from the elbow ailment that kept him out of action throughout all of spring training and has begun facing batters in minor league rehab appearances.  The Phillies’ 11th round draft pick from 2007 has been checking in, on a regular basis, and providing exclusive updates directly to the fans about his road back to action at the upper levels, throughout the past several weeks, right here on PhilliesNation.com.

De Fratus, 24, went 6-3 with 15 saves, a 2.99 ERA and 99 strike outs in 75 1/3 innings
in his time with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year
before making his Major League debut in September and holding opponents
to a .083 batting average in 5 appearances.

This week, De Fratus, who has been on the disabled list for the Phillies since the season began, is back in action, appearing with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers as he works his elbow into shape in somewhat of a delayed spring training.  This week, Justin shared his thoughts on his return to competition, his steps going forward, the Phillies’ struggling offense and more.  Read ahead for a full rundown of Justin’s exclusive comments.
On where he is with his progress right now and what is next…

After working to get myself prepared to throw in my first games of the year, I’ve thrown in two and everything’s going well.  I’m trying to get myself prepared for the season now…you know, being ready to pitch every day and that type of thing.

I threw in an extended spring training game on Thursday and I threw a scoreless inning for the Threshers (on Sunday). The cool thing about the game with Clearwater was that I had those first outing jitters and I missed that.  It was good to feel that. I’m happy with where I am. In the grand scheme of things, you’ve got to remember that this was essentially my second outing of spring training.  So, even though it’s April, I have to remind myself that I’m not going to be as sharp as I want to be.  I’m still trying to get a feel for the strike zone and everything.  I’m throwing strikes, but I’m not throwing it as aggressively as I normally would.  I’m getting into the flow.  No cause for concern, this is normal for the stage that I’m at right now.  Everything’s been completely positive right now.  I’m really happy with where I am. Continue reading De Fratus Checks In: Rehab Games, Struggling Offense & More


The Phillies’ Mediocrity Unique in Readjusted Reality

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, April 23, 2012 08:00 AM Comments: 56

Galvis has lead one of the best defenses in baseball. Photo: AP

There is nothing worse for a fan than watching your team lose to a team that is, in every way shape and form on paper, the worse team. While a 2-2 split in a four game set is usually satisfactory for any ball club thousands of miles from home, the Phillies could have, and should have, swept away the lowly Padres. Yet, as Phillies’ fans, we wake up confused and wondering what can be done.

By no means is it time to raise the white flag, but it may be time to reassess what we thought we knew as fans when the season started. Here are few preseason expectations with their corresponding readjusted realities and what that means for the Phillies.

Warning: Reading this may induce banging your head into the wall in frustration and calling into talk radio yelling about the need for “run producers”. The Phils have better than anticipated pitching and defense and are seemingly wasting it. If you read through the end, hopefully I will have convinced you, Phillies Nation reader, that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Continue reading The Phillies’ Mediocrity Unique in Readjusted Reality


New Phillies Posters Available

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, April 23, 2012 06:12 AM Comments: 2

To following up on the success of the posters by Dan Duffy (which are now available as canvas wraps in addition to prints), print-maker WordLion has released three new prints. Each design is made by a Philadelphia artist and printed locally. Check ‘em out!

Phanatic Print
Phanatic Print

Look closely, this matted print by local artist Stan Ping is composed entirely of Phillies P logos (sized 16in by 20in).
[add_to_cart item="LION005" quantity="user:1"]

Phinally Print
Phinally Print

Relive the 2008 World Series with this lithograph by local artist by Mike Kyper (sized 18in by 24in)
[add_to_cart item="LION006" quantity="user:1"]

Phillies Logo
Phillies Logo Print

The Phillies logo splashed on this print by local artist Tim Raines (sized 16in by 20in)
[add_to_cart item="LION007" quantity="user:1"]


Week In Review – Panic Sets In

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, April 22, 2012 09:00 PM Comments: 29

Panic is setting in.  I mean, how could it not?  The Phillies are only 16 games into the season but however you look at it, .500 ball is not winning anything.  The pitching, per usual, has upheld their part of this baseball bargain but the offense has failed to cash in any of their chips this season.

Like I said it is still early, and baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint.  There is plenty of time left for the Phillies to figure this whole thing out.  And my guess is that they will.


Offensive Woes The Phillies as a team have hit seven home runs this season.  For the month of April last season the Phillies had hit 23 homers, well off the pace of this year.   Matt Kemp of the Dodgers already has hit 8 home runs himself.  Combined with Andre Ethier, the two have 43 RBIs.  The Phillies have only managed 42 runs total this year.

At the forefront of these offensive struggles are the injuries of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.  How close are they to returning? And is the season still salvageable once they do get healthy?

Continue reading Week In Review – Panic Sets In


In Series Finale, Phils Lose Ugly To Padres

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sun, April 22, 2012 06:26 PM Comments: 25

The Phillies fell to the San Diego Padres, 6-1, today in a comedy of errors. In a game that featured a combined six errors between the two teams–plus plenty of mental mistakes that won’t appear on the scorecard–the Phillies inability to capitalize on mistakes by the Padres, coupled with the Padres opportunistic play, was the biggest reason for the loss.


- To answer the question posed by Pat in today’s Gameday, no, the Phillies would not outscore the Flyers, who put up five goals against the Penguins. This is not a surprising result for the Phillies and their offense at the moment. They have scored three runs or more in just six of their sixteen games this season.

- After starting the first inning with a walk, Juan Pierre was picked off first base–an early sign of the type of day it would be for the visiting team. On the pickoff move, Pierre flinched towards second before diving back to first late. The out proved costly as Victorino followed it up with a walk. Yonder Alonzo then booted a ground ball hit sharply to first by Rollins, before overthrowing Anthony Bass covering to give the Phillies a first and third with one out. Pierre’s mistake cost the Phillies at least a bases loaded situation with nobody out, and perhaps a run on the throwing error. When you’ve got a team that is as anemic offensively as the Phillies have been, you can’t afford to give away outs with baserunning errors. Pierre leaning on Bass is inexcusable, especially in a scenario where he’s never seen Bass’s pickoff move before.

- Jim Thome collected just his second hit of the season, both of them singles. Like many of the Phillies players, Thome is off to just a putrid start. He entered today’s game hitting just .077 in 13 at bats. He had seven strikeouts and just one walk. Today, Thome went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts and one walk. He also left three on base. With a veteran like Thome, who is known as a professional hitter, you expect him to come out of it. He is just in a funk at the moment.

Pitching and Defense

- The Phillies entered today’s game with the best defense in the NL, but they certainly didn’t look like it. Will Venable started the bottom of the first with a well-placed bunt for a hit. Mark Kotsay then hit an easy one hopper back to the mound that went off of Blanton’s glove for an error instead of a 1-6-3 doubleplay. Following Blanton’s error, Chase Headley doubled over the head of Hunter Pence to score a run and make it 1-0. The Padres would score once more in the inning on Nick Hundley’s sacrifice doubleplay. With Pierre’s gaffe in the top half of the inning, the Phils were plagued by errors (mental and literal) in both halves of the first inning.

- The Phillies porous defense continued in the third inning when Blanton issued a walk to Headley with two outs. It would come back to cost the Phillies as Hundley followed with a triple to score Headley, making it 3-1. Blanton then got Yonder Alonzo to roll over on a pitch, hitting it softly towards first. Thome fielded the ball, but overthrew Blanton covering the bag, giving the Padres yet another run. It would be the third unearned run of the game for the Padres.

- Blanton again walked Headley with two outs in the fifth. This time, Hundley followed up with a long two-run home run. The Padres scored four of their six runs with two outs, Blanton walks opening up the door for all four of them. After an electric performance in his first start of the season, Blanton has come back with two clunkers, allowing 7 earned runs over 11 innings.

- Though it won’t appear in the boxscore, Hunter Pence was especially shaky in right today, costing the Phils two runs on two bad plays. First he misread Headley’s double in the first inning, letting the ball get over his head and allowing a run to score. Then he got caught in between on Hundley’s third inning triple, diving for the ball and missing it instead of choosing to keep it in front of him. There has been discussion lately that perhaps Pence is feeling the pressure offensively and is starting to press a little bit at the plate (Pence entered today’s game hitting just .200 with RISP). Hopefully this isn’t an instance of a player taking a few bad games at the plate into the field with him.

Game Notes

- The Phillies made far too many mistakes to deserve a win today. The shame of it is, as bad as the Phils were, the Padres weren’t much better and the game was there for the taking for a while. When you’re plodding along like the Phillies are, games like this are the ones you have to win to get back on track. When the other team gives you opportunities, you have to take them. Right now, the Phillies are failing to capitalize on the opportunities other teams are affording them, and that is a big difference between this team and the Phillies teams of the last few years who were great at making teams pay for their mistakes.

- One last thought: Remember in the past when the Phils would get down in a game and you felt confident that they could stage the comeback? That feeling is completely absent right now–so much, in fact, that I had this recap ready to go around the sixth inning, certain that the deficit was too much for the bats to overcome.

- With the loss, the Phillies were unable to win a series in San Diego for the first time since 2006.

- The Phillies have won just one series so far this season, none on the road.

- As a team, the Phillies are now hitting just .227 with RISP, good for 21st in the majors.

- Up next: The Phils travel to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks in a three-game set. They’ll send Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 1.93) to the mound in place of the injured Cliff Lee. In 15 starts last season, Kendrick went 5-4 with a 3.14 ERA. Daniel Hudson (1-1, 6.00) is in line to make the start for the Diamondbacks.


Gameday: Phillies (7-8) vs. Padres (4-12)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, April 22, 2012 03:56 PM Comments: 81

Philadelphia Phillies (7-7) vs. San Diego Padres (3-12)

Joe Blanton (1-2, 4.26) vs. Anthony Bass (0-2, 3.38)

Time: 4:05 PM, Petco Park
TV: PHL 17
Weather: 62, partly cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

The Phillies will look to close out the 4-game set against the Padres with a victory against a guy named Bass.

Joe Blanton takes the hill and has had an up and down start to his season. Which Blanton will we see? If all holds true for the series, we should see another low-scoring affair with this awful Padres offense against a still-sputtering Phillies offense.

Question: Will the Phillies outscore the Flyers, who put up a 5-spot against the Penguins in their clincher today.

Lineup: Pierre LF, Victorino CF, Rollins SS, Pence RF, Thome 1B, Wigginton 3B, Ruiz C, Galvis 2B, Blanton P.

Your Gameday Beer: Corona Light

Drank way to many of these at a wedding last night, so I can still pretty much taste them on my breath. Either way, I enjoy Corona Light over Corona for the sole fact that you can drink several more of them at a wedding. I got without a lime – there’s no real need for one. CL tastes fine on its own. Wedding or not. -Pat



Weekly Developmental Roundup

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, April 22, 2012 08:00 AM Comments: 9

The big league team isn’t the only one worthy of focus here on PhilliesNation.com. With plenty of stuff going on throughout the Phillies’ developmental ranks, we’ll bring a weekly glance at all the things of importance related to the organization’s farm clubs. Welcome to the first edition of our weekly minor league roundup.

-Right from the top we take it to Allentown, where theTriple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs sport a 7-0 record at home and are holding down second place in the International League’s North division, 1/2 game behind the Pawtucket Red Sox.

36-year-old starting pitcher Scott Elarton has been a shining star for the ‘Pigs, as he has posted a 1-0 record with a 0.56 ERA while holding opponents to a .217 batting average over his first 3 starts this season.

Domonic Brown has put together 4 multi-hit games is his last 7 played. Overall, the highly rated prospect has posted a .264 batting average with 4 doubles a triple and 8 RBI in 14 games.

First baseman Cody Overbeck has been the offensive star for Lehigh Valley, leading the team in RBI (9), total bases (22), hits (15) and batting average (.294). Continue reading Weekly Developmental Roundup


Bats Once Again Fall Silent In Loss To San Diego

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, April 21, 2012 11:07 PM Comments: 26

Shortly after learning that they’d lose Cliff Lee for at least 15 days to a left oblique strain, the Phillies had their 13-game win streak in San Diego snapped in a 5-1 loss.


- The Phillies had just three hits tonight, and one of them came off the bat of Roy Halladay.

- In the fourth inning, the Phillies wasted a gift from the Padres. After Polanco led off the inning with a single, Jimmy Rollins reached on a fielding error by shortstop Jason Bartlett. With two on and nobody out, Hunter Pence struck out on a fastball up in the zone, and Shane Victorino flew out to center. Following a walk by Ty Wigginton to load the bases, Galvis was retired on a lazy fly to center. Two on,  nobody out. No runs. It’s becoming a familiar story.

- This team is not coming through on situational hitting, as the fourth inning indicates. They’re now hitting  just .227 with runners in scoring position, and .179 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

- The Phillies came within one out of failing to notch an extra base hit for the third time this season. However, Wigginton bailed them out with a meaningless double to score Rollins in the ninth. The Phillies are 0-2 in games in which they fail to slug an extra base hit. They’re 7-6 in games in which they register an extra base hit. Though it is a limited number of games, this statistic is more evidence that the Phillies biggest problem offensively is a lack of pop. This team is capable of stringing a few hits together; the problem is they’re predominantly singles. When it comes to scoring runs, extra base hits are crucial.

- For the first time this season, John Mayberry Jr. did not get the start against a left-handed pitcher. He did have a pinch hit appearance against Luebke in the eighth, but struck out, looking lost in the at bat. There’s not too much more you can say about Mayberry right now. He’s been a far cry from the man we saw in the second half of last season. Still, it’s early, and the law of averages suggest he’ll come out of this terrible funk.

- The Phillies have scored 2 runs or less in 9 out of 15 games this season.

Pitching and Defense

- Halladay and Brian Schneider were battery mates for the first time since 2010, and though he pitched well, Doc didn’t look quite like himself being paired with Schneider. He went 7 innings, allowing five hits, with four walks to five strikeouts. It took him 117 pitches to get through seven. The walks and high pitch count made for an uncharacteristically inefficient start by Halladay’s standards. Still, he only allowed two runs, and certainly pitched well enough to win. To borrow the familiar term, he battled tonight.

-In the second inning, Doc did something he has never done before. After striking out Nick Hundley to start the inning, the good doctor issued three straight walks to load the bases. It was the first time in his career that Halladay had ever done that. He was bailed out though when Freddy Galvis made a fantastic play, diving to his left, and throwing to first from his back to get Orlando Hudson. The play was superb, and that’s something we’ve come to expect from Galvis as he has been nothing short of amazing at 2B this season. The Padres would score a run on the play, but Galvis’s effort allowed Halladay to get out of a bases loaded jam with minimal damage when he struck out Cory Luebke in the subsequent at bat.

- Walks have been something of an issue in the early going for Doc. After walking just seven batters through all of April last season, he already has eight walks this season. There is not too much cause for concern, however, as Halladay has walked more batters in the month of April than any other month throughout his career.

- Michael Stutes pitched a rough 8th inning. After getting the first two outs, he walked Cameron Maybin, opening the door for a three run rally by the Padres. With a player like Maybin at the plate, who was hitting just .167 coming into the game, Stutes has to be more aggressive and get the out there.

- Four of the Padres five runs came with two outs.

Game Notes

- Halladay has yet to throw a home run ball this season.

- This was another demoralizing loss for the Phillies as their starting pitching was once again good enough to win the ballgame, but the bats failed to pull their weight.

- Despite the loss, chances are this day will be remembered more for the injury to Lee than anything else. After starting the season with Howard and Utley on the DL, the Phillies now take a hit to their greatest strength–starting pitching. The injuries, coupled with the current lack of offensive execution, certainly make it seem as though the Phillies are a snake-bitten team right now.

- The Phillies go for the series victory tomorrow when they send Joe Blanton (1-2, 4.26) to the mound against rookie righthander Anthony Bass (0-2, 3.38). The Phillies haven’t lost a series in San Diego since 2006.


Phillies Place Cliff Lee On The 15-Day DL

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, April 21, 2012 08:07 PM Comments: 20

The Phillies have announced that they’ve placed starting pitcher Cliff Lee on the 15-day DL with a left oblique strain. The move is retroactive to Lee’s last start on April 19th. The team will recall left-handed reliever Joe Savery to take Lee’s place on the roster. During his first stint with the team, Savery pitched 2.1 innings, allowing one earned run. He had one walk and no strikeouts.

Kyle Kendrick is expected to make the start in place of Lee on Monday when the Phillies open a series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This is bad news for the Phillies as their hopes of staying afloat until Howard and Utley are able to return rest firmly on the shoulders of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Lee. With the offense already scuffling, the Phillies can ill afford to lose Lee for any amount of time. Lee has been relatively healthy throughout his career, so there’s a chance he’ll be able to return shortly after being eligible. Lee has thrown at least 210 innings every season since his Cy Young season of 2008.

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