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Archive for May, 2012

Phillies Win Wild One In St. Louis

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, May 24, 2012 11:47 PM Comments: 19

Shane Victorino pulls into second after a two-run double in the second inning.(AP)

As Charlie Manuel would say of the warm night in St. Louis, “Tonight was hittin’ weather.” And, oh, how true that would prove to be. Both teams would combine to score 19 total runs with 33 hits in a slug fest that found the Phillies outlasting the Cardinals by a score of 10-9.

FAST START FOR PHILS BATS

- As Ian Riccaboni wrote earlier today, Placido Polanco has had an offensive renaissance of sorts, getting hot at the end of April and continuing it into May. He’d get things started tonight for the Phils, starting off the top of the first with a one-out double. The early momentum with the hit would lead to a four-run inning for the Phillies, who would bat around, forcing Jake Westbrook to throw 39 pitches before recording the final out. Their patience led to two walks in the inning.

- After driving in one run in the first, Shane Victorino would drive in two more in the second to make it 6-0 nothing early. Much like Polanco, Victorino has started to get going at the plate after a slow start. He’s now hitting .312 in the month of May with an OPS approaching .900. He’s had 12 extra-base hits in that span, compared to just four XBHs during the month of April. He is currently 11 for his last 25 at-bats (.444).

TWO-OUT RUNS

- Most impressive about the Phillies quick start was the fact that five of their six runs came with two outs. Despite their offensive inconsistencies, scoring two-outs run is not something new for the Phillies this season. On the night, all but two of their runs would come with two outs, including the run they’d score in the fifth and the two they’d tack on in the sixth. Coming into tonight, they ranked seventh in the majors in two-out runs and fourth in the N.L. With tonight’s game, close to half their runs–88-of-188, to be exact–have come with two outs.

Continue reading Phillies Win Wild One In St. Louis

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Gameday: Phillies (22-23) at Cardinals (25-19)

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, May 24, 2012 07:15 PM Comments: 62

Philadelphia Phillies (22-23) at St Louis Cardinals (25-19)

Joe Blanton (4-4, 3.74) vs. Jake Westbrook (4-3, 2.41)

Time: 8:15, Busch Stadium
TV: PHL 17
Weather: Sunny, 84
Media: Twitter and Facebook

For the first time since they eliminated them from last year’s playoffs, the Phillies will take on the St. Louis Cardinals tonight at Busch Stadium. Seeing the Phillies back in St. Louis will no doubt conjure up images of David Freese and the rally squirrel for Phils fans everywhere. This is not the same Cardinals team that beat the Phillies in game 5 of last year’s NLDS, however. Albert Pujols is now in L.A., Lance Berkman could be calling it a career, and Chris Carpenter has yet to throw a pitch in 2012, dealing with a shoulder issue. Despite their new look, this Cardinals team is in first place, and still a very formidable opponent. A big reason for their success so far this season has been their prolific offense, which ranks at or near the top of the N.L. in just about every offensive statistic.

Tonight, Joe Blanton will be tasked with shutting down that offense. 2012 has been very solid for Blanton so far, though he is coming off his worst start of the season, one in which he allowed seven runs (six earned) to the Red Sox over 4.1 innings. For his career, Blanton has faced the Red Birds six times (five starts), posting a 3-2 record and an ERA of 3.03–something that bodes well for the Phils tonight as they try to get back to .500. Another positive sign for the Phillies is the fact that Blanton has pitched better on the road this season, posting a road ERA (3.48) that is almost a half run less than his home ERA (3.90). However, his only two losses against the Cardinals came in his last two starts against them. He’ll look to end that skid tonight.

Veteran right-hander Jake Westbrook will take the ball for the Cardinals, and has pitched quite well this season. For his career, he’s faced the Phils three times, going 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are hitting .269 against him in a combined 93 at-bats. Several players in tonight’s lineup have had a ton of success against Westbrook, including Polanco (.321), Pence (.583), and Wigginton (.333). Interestingly, no player on the active roster has ever homered against Westbrook. Jimmy Rollins returns from paternity leave and has been inserted at the top of the batting order.

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

Your gameday beer: Saranac Summer Ale

What better way to quench your thirst during the summer-like day we’re moving into than with Saranac’s Summer Ale? With hints of honey and lemon, the Summer Ale is not too bitter in taste and goes down rather smoothly. Have it with a summer salad and some barbecue chicken. – By Ryan

GO PHILLIES!

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The Rapid Turnaround of Placido Polanco

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, May 24, 2012 01:00 PM Comments: 1

Polanco has remained healthy and has gotten hot at the plate. Will it last? Photo (AP)

Placido Polanco was one of the Phillies biggest question marks headed into 2012. After a hot start in 2011 that lead to a starting All-Star nod, Polanco cooled off down the stretch. After returning from the disabled list on July 30, Polanco hit a very nice .284 but slugged a paltry .324, a far cry from his .524 SLG% in April 2011 or even his current career .405 SLG%.

Polly’s 2 for 19 performance with 3 uncharacteristic Ks against the Cardinals in the 2011 NLDS started the questions of “Is Polly done?” His slow start after 18 games, .196/.237/.214 in 60 PA, panicked fans even more. Even with an 0-4 last night, however, Polanco has managed to turn it around. What has changed? Continue reading The Rapid Turnaround of Placido Polanco

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LOB: The 2012 Philadelphia Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, May 24, 2012 10:47 AM Comments: 11

How bad has it been for the Phillies in run-scoring situations?

Pence is struggling with RISP.

Only Ike Davis has more at-bats with runners in scoring position than Hunter Pence in the National League. Pence is getting his opportunities and doing nothing with them. Among batters with at least 25 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, Pence’s .714 OPS ranks 63rd in the NL. But it’s not just Pence failing. Jimmy Rollins has struggled his fair share as well, ranking 97th in the NL with a .576 OPS with RISP.

It’s really bad with a runner on third base and less than two outs, when the Phillies seem to have an uncanny ability to leave their guy on base. They’ve managed to plate only 42 runs in that situation, 13th out of 16 National League teams. Only Washington, San Diego, and Pittsburgh are worse. Is there a correlation between knocking in guys with runners on third and less than two outs? You might say so.

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When All Else Fails, Turn to Hamels

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, May 23, 2012 10:04 PM Comments: 73

Cole Hamels did what Roy Halladay, Kyle Kendrick, Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton couldn’t do before him — won a game for the Phillies to end a four-game losing skid.

Hamels pitched eight shutout innings as the Phillies won, 4-1, in the final game of a three-game home series with Washington. The Phils will now travel to St. Louis for four games.

Some observations from Wednesday’s game:

- The Phillies have won two games against the Nationals since last August 20, and both of them have been gems pitched by Hamels. He beat the Nats on May 6 in a game remembered more for his plunking of Bryce Harper than his eight innings of one-run baseball.

- Hamels is obviously very, very good. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth and looked absolutely dominant in all but one inning.

- Hamels leads the majors with seven wins.

- Carlos Ruiz had three hits in his first-ever appearance in the four-hole. So it doesn’t look like his spot in the batting order will affect a swing that refuses to go cold.

- In the last four or five days, Shane Victorino has looked the best he has all season. He homered and doubled to drive in two on Wednesday and is now batting .267/.330/.439.

- The Phillies bunt a lot and run a lot. Maybe it’ll end up being a positive. Maybe it won’t net them anything. Wednesday’s suicide squeeze was exciting, as Juan Pierre sacrificed in Mike Fontenot from third base. But Pierre was also easily out at first base earlier in the game retreating after a hit-and-run resulted in a shallow flyout. That’s the danger of playing too much small ball.

- Jonathan Papelbon is filthy. The Phillies shouldn’t have committed that much to a closer, but if you’re going to, this was the guy. His fastball and splitter can disappear in any count to seemingly any batter.

- It’s pretty amazing that the Phillies have ONE complete game this season, and it was from Blanton.

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Gameday: Phillies (21-23) vs Nationals (26-17)

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Wed, May 23, 2012 06:05 PM Comments: 23

Washington Nationals (26-17) at Philadelphia Phillies (21-23)

Edwin Jackson (1-1, 3.31) vs. Cole Hamels (6-1, 2.48)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
TV: CSN, ESPN2
Weather: Cloudy, 74, chance of t-storms
Media: Twitter and Facebook

The Phillies, who are already on a season high four game losing streak, hope to avoid a sweep at the hands of their new rivals the Nationals. The Phils nearly got swept earlier this season in Washington, but a solid start by Cole Hamels and a mini offensive explosion helped the Phillies to victory.

Hamels will be on the mound again tonight, which means the highly anticipated round two of Hamels v Harper will indeed happen. As for the other hitters that Hamels will face, most have not fared well against him in the past.

Continue reading Gameday: Phillies (21-23) vs Nationals (26-17)

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Phillies Nation Quarter Pole Awards

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, May 23, 2012 10:25 AM Comments: 36

Galvis has played a role in the Phillies success this season. (AP)

The Phillies have played just over 1/4 of their games. So, we give out the awards for what has gone down thus far.

MVP AWARD: Carlos Ruiz

-This is an easy one. Chooch has been phenomenal from the minute the season began. In spring training, he knew he would have to take on a larger role within the offense. No way he – or anyone else for that matter – thought he’d be this good, right? Chooch has been the saving grace for this offense. Over the last month, Ruiz has a 1.132 OPS and has been moved up to fifth in the order. Thank the Lord for Chooch.

CY YOUNG AWARD: Cole Hamels

-Jonathan Papelbon certainly deserves a look too, but he only pitches one inning at a time. So the award goes to Cole, and rightfully so. Hamels is tied for the league lead in wins with six and ranks high in pretty much every other category. He has been the horse this season. Not that Halladay and Lee haven’t been good, it’s just that Hamels has been excellent.

GUY YOU WEREN’T SURE ABOUT AND STILL AREN’T SURE ABOUT BUT ARE HAVING FUN WATCHING AWARD: Freddy Galvis

-Galvis can play the field. He’s one of the smoothest son-of-a-guns on a diamond this team has seen in a while. Like a young Young James. But, we’re still not sure about his bat. Galvis has had some really big hits, but he’s also looked completely over matched. Either way, it’s been cool watching him make it in the majors.

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True Phillie Material: Bob Stumpo

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, May 23, 2012 07:15 AM Comments: 0

Throughout the 1990’s and into the 2000’s, Bob Stumpo, a resident of Wilmington, DE, grew up rooting for his local Major League Baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Currently, Stumpo is a catcher/first baseman for the Phillies Class A affiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws in the South Atlantic League, where he is developing into a player worthy of wearing a Philadelphia uniform.

Through 14 games with Lakewood, the switch-hitting Stumpo has posted a .314 batting average with 2 doubles, a triple and 7 RBI. Prior to joining Lakewood, Stumpo sported a .313 average in 4 games with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers. In the two seasons prior, Stumpo combined to bat .243 with 1 HR and 26 RBI in 67 combined games at three levels.

Back in June, 2010, Stumpo, a West Chester University graduate, was stunned to hear his name selected by his favorite club during the annual Major League Baseball amateur draft (33rd round). He describes that draft day as one of the most remarkable moments of his life.

“When the Phillies called my name on draft day, I was really excited,” Stumpo, whose father is a Phillies season ticket holder, recently told PhilliesNation.com’s Jay Floyd. “I talked to them before the draft and I thought it might happen, but getting drafted by the team you’ve been following your whole life is really exciting. Hopefully, I can keep moving up and up and be out in Citizens Bank Park one day. It’s almost a dream come true.”

Almost is a meaningful element to that statement for the 6-foot-3-inch 225-pounder. His ultimate goal is to one day don the catcher’s pads for his big league parent club. Continue reading True Phillie Material: Bob Stumpo

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Halladay Admits Phillies Feeling Pressure

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, May 22, 2012 11:12 PM Comments: 5

Doc says guys are pressing (AP)

Roy Halladay owned up Tuesday night and admitted that a lot of the guys in the Phillies clubhouse are putting added pressure on themselves. As you can tell, it’s not working.

Halladay had one of his best post-game press conferences since joining the Phillies. Here are some audio excerpts. If you have time, take a listen:

Halladay May 22 – On Chooch getting tossed “I didn’t see anything wrong”

Halladay 2 – May 22 – Losses are definitely frustrating

Halladay 3 – May 22 – Guys are trying to carry the weight of the team, including him

Halladay 4 – May 22 – “You do it cause you want to, not cause you have to”

Halladay 5 – May 22 – Finding the right time to talk to the team is tough

Halladay 6 – May 22 – Matter of going out and enjoying it

Halladay 7 – May 22 – Different than Toronto

Halladay 8 – May 22 – Have such a good team, they do press more

Halladay 9 – May 22 – Leadership on the team

Halladay 10 – May 22 – Charlie is the leader, you dont want to interfere with him too much

Halladay 11 – May 22 – Feels like he needs to be a little better

Halladay 12 – May 22 – Not Happy with results

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Phillies Lose Their Fourth Straight Game

Posted by Amanda Orr, Tue, May 22, 2012 09:44 PM Comments: 14

Photo Credit: Philly.com

With tonight’s 5-2 loss, the Phillies dropped their second straight to the Washington Nationals. Their fourth consecutive loss drops them two games below .500. Just when it seemed like the Phillies turned things around, they go back to their losing ways.

HALLADAY NOT HIS BEST

-Roy Halladay struggled through six innings. He allowed five earned runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out six, but he surrendered two home runs.

-The month of May hasn’t been pretty for Doc. In 33.1 innings, Halladay has given up 40 hits. In five starts, he has allowed 20 earned runs. That’s a 5.40 ERA in the month of May.

-Halladay’s ERA is now 3.58 this season. At the end of May in 2007, Halladay had an ERA of 3.90: that would be the last time Halladay had an ERA this high through the first two months of the season.

BIG THIRD INNING FOR NATS

-Halladay ran into most of his trouble during the third inning, where he allowed four earned runs. Jordan Zimmermann and Steve Lombardozzi led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Bryce Harper continued to hurt the Phillies, smacking a triple over Shane Victorino‘s head. Two runs scored on the play, giving the Nationals the lead. Harper would then show off his speed by scoring on a sacrifice fly.

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