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Archive for June, 2012

Phillies Nation TV 17 – Utley’s Return, Wifflepalooza

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, June 26, 2012 03:39 PM Comments: 0

On this edition of Phillies Nation TV, Corey and I discuss the imminent return of Chase Utley and how he’ll impact a lineup that has shown promise lately.

I report from Wifflepalooza in Aston, PA, where Phillies Nation fielded a team. It was all for a good cause, so us losing badly wasn’t that big a deal.

Natalie Egenolf joins us for reader comments and questions and we discuss our AL All-stars. See if you agree. And in the final segment, we dive into the trade deadline candidates for the Phillies and other teams throughout baseball.

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Joe Blanton’s Strange Season

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, June 26, 2012 02:00 PM Comments: 1

Blanton is having a bizarre year. Photo (AP)

Pop quiz: which pitcher leads the National League in BB/9 IP (1.194)? Would you believe this pitcher also leads the National League in K/BB (6.308)? It would make sense, then, that a pitcher this successful this season would rank second in the NL in batters faced (419).

What if the same pitcher lead the NL in home runs allowed, has a 4.87 ERA, and a 7-6 record?

Welcome to Joe Blanton’s 2012 pitching odyssey.

On the surface, Joe Blanton won his seventh game of 2012 by nearly dominating the other team (8 Ks/1 BB) with one misstep (a Jose Tabata home run). Strangely, a lot of Blanton’s games have fallen into this category, all while pitching to nearly his career averages.

Take for instance Blanton’s BABIP for 2012 .299, just one point lower than his .300 career mark. Or his BAA which is exactly the same for 2012 as his career number (.270). His WHIP, even with splitting BB/9 IP in half for 2012 (1.2 on 2012 v. 2.4 for career), remains similar as well (1.24 for 2012, 1.34 career).

Blanton has the opportunity to have a tremendous 2012 season should he be able to reduce his HRs, perhaps his best since 2009 or even best as a Phillie. He is on pace to match or beat his strike out season highs and has improved his K/9 IP by 1.5 2012 v. Career.

Where Blanton’s crossroads takes place is at the intersection of home runs and strikeouts. Is Blanton’s agressive strike-throwing allowing for more home run opportunities? Possibly, although it is then odd that his standard stats remain so close to his career norms while his peripherals improved so greatly. If Blanton can avoid the long ball in the second half, he will enter his free agency is a valuable, middle-of-the-rotation option, vital to the Phillies reaching their sixth straight postseason.

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Phillies Jump on Pirates Miscues in 8-3 Win

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, June 25, 2012 10:01 PM Comments: 45

After an ugly Sunday doubleheader, the Phillies righted the ship, at least for one day. After getting good news that one of their leaders, Chase Utley, would return to the lineup this week, the Phillies opened up a four-game series with the Pirates with an 8-3 victory.

BLANTON SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN

Jimmy is swinging a hot stick and Chase could be back soon. (AP).

-It wasn’t awful Joe Blanton, but it wasn’t great Joe Blanton, either. He did his best to piss off 43,000+ by keeping the Pirates well within striking distance, even with the Phillies scoring seven runs in the first four innings. It was that Blanton we will most certainly accept, the Blanton somewhere in between those two, but more toward the good end.

-Blanton again threw a ton of strikes. It’s been his M.O. this year, almost to a fault. He threw 114 pitches, 72 strikes on the evening, and walked just one batter. His line: Seven innings, seven hits, three runs (two earned), one walk, eight strikeouts.

-Jake Diekman came on and allowed a four-pitch walk, then settled in for a double play and strikeout in the eighth. They NEED Diekman to step up, someone in that pen has to.

-Chad Qualls came on in the ninth holding a five-run lead and did not relinquish it.

J-ROLL ON FIRE

-It’s unlikely we’ll ever see Jimmy Rollins approach the MVP season of 2007. Even still, he’s done a damn good impression of it since June. And really, he stepped it up before that. Go back to when Rollins and wife Johari had their baby. Since retuning from paternity leave on May 24 (as Kevin Cooney pointed out on twitter) he’s hitting .321 with seven homers and 19 RBIs (after his homer). He doubled in the first and tacked on a monster home run in the fourth inning, even showing a little Jimmy swagger in the process as he admired the shot.

Continue reading Phillies Jump on Pirates Miscues in 8-3 Win

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Gameday: Pirates (38-33) vs. Phillies (34-40)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, June 25, 2012 05:16 PM Comments: 25

Pittsburgh Pirates (38-33) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (34-40)

TIME: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
TV:
CSN
Weather: 71, partly cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

Chase Utley news! He is in Philadelphia today and will hang with the team until tomorrow, when he plays with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He’ll then return to the Phillies, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. No word yet if he will play with the Phillies on Wednesday, Thursday, or to start their upcoming road trip to Miami.

Brian Schneider hits the DL with an ankle sprain, Erik Kratz returns to the team, being recalled from Lehigh Valley.

Other than that, the Phillies pretty much need to win 3 of 4 here, or even all four against the Pirates, which is not an easy feat. They’re five games over-.500 and are doing well in a diluted NL Central. However, they have a guy that I would pretty much sell the house for in Andrew McCutchen. Can’t feel too bad about the Pirates – it’s good to see them succeeding and hopefully they sustain that. Just not this week against the Phillies.

Perhaps the imminent return of Chase Utley will re-energize the team. But I feel like we’ve tried that before.

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

Whirlwind WitbierYour Gameday Beer– Woodchuck Summer Hard Cider

Woodchuck Summer Cider is the perfect refreshment on a warm summer day. Exhibiting a slight tartness, it begins with a full, robust flavor followed by a rich taste reminiscent of New England blueberries. Summer Cider is an excellent accompaniment to cheese, fruit, chocolate and cheesecake. Sign me up for all of that. We can drown our sorrows in a few of these and some rich food. -Pat Gallen

GO PHILLIES!

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Schneider to DL, Kratz Recalled

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, June 25, 2012 02:52 PM Comments: 2

After getting blown up at home plate in the Game 2 loss to the Rays yesterday, Brian Schneider was officially placed on the 15-day DL, making room for the return of catcher Erik Kratz.

In what was apparently an unavoidable collision, Schneider sprained his ankle as Tampa Bay third baseman Sean Rodriguez barreled over him at the plate in the sixth inning. The ankle appeared to get caught under Schneider’s body, a la Buster Posey. Schneider stayed in the game for one more pitch, but signaled that he could no longer continue.

Kratz has one home run and one RBI in four plate appearances with the Phillies this season. By my count, Schneider is the 15th Phillie on the DL this season.

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Clearwater Facilities Flooded by Storm

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, June 25, 2012 08:00 AM Comments: 6

Tropical Storm Debby swept through Florida this weekend and impacted the home of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Brighthouse Field.

In these images tweeted by rehabbing Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus, the flooding left by the heavy rains can be seen. With lingering effects of Debby expected to continue to drop moisture on Florida through Monday, it is unclear exactly how the team’s schedule will be effected, as the Threshers are on the road until Thursday. The Gulf Coast League Phillies, who also play in Clearwater, have home games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. The GCL team plays most of its games on the neighboring Carpenter Complex field. Continue reading Clearwater Facilities Flooded by Storm

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Utley Goes to Lehigh Valley on Tuesday

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, June 24, 2012 06:27 PM Comments: 22

Utley moves to LV on Tuesday. (AP)

Chase Utley is moving north, but not to Philadelphia just yet.

Utley will join the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs on Tuesday to continue the rehab of his chronically injured knees. He made enough progress in Clearwater that they felt he was ready for a larger test.

Charlie Manuel told me on Thursday that Utley could rejoin the team sometime this week. CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reported yesterday that Tuesday or Wednesday was the likely date.

The Phillies did not release any other information regarding his rehab, so it’s unknown how long this stint in Allentown will last. However, it’s good news as he draws closer to the majors.

Utley is hitting .156 through nine games of this rehab stint.

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Bastardo Blows It For Hamels, Phils Lose

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, June 24, 2012 05:08 PM Comments: 11

This match up lived up to the hype.  Cole Hamels versus David Price was exactly what they advertised.  They combined for 14 innings and only one run was scored.  Both of these guys are top tiered left handed pitchers and show up every game ready to go.

A long inning for both starters would end their outings after the seventh and hand the game over to the bullpens.

In just the eighth inning alone, more runs would be scored than the entire game before it.  Antonio Bastardo gave up three runs after throwing just 16 pitches.  Hamels threw 111 pitches and did not allow one.

The Breakdown –

Cole Hamels had a long fourth inning, throwing over 30 pitches.  Hamels had been averaging around 12-15 pitches per inning up to that point and also did so after.  When the seventh inning was over Hamels had thrown over 100 pitches and his spot in the batting order was due up third.

Not even 12 hours after throwing 29 pitches in an inning and a third, Charlie Manuel decided to go with Antonio Bastardo for the eighth.  It did not end well.  Bastardo, after walking two batters, gave up a three run home run to Carlos Pena.  Those three runs would be all the Rays needed beating the Phillies 3-2 going into the second game of the double header tonight.

Quick Hits –

Jimmy Rollins hit his third home run in as many days and went 3-for-5 at the plate.  Rollins has now hit five home runs in the month of June.  Hunter Pence had two hits tonight, both doubles.  His first, was all hustle on his part.  Pence ran hard right out of the box and turned what would have been a single for most into a double.

Cliff Lee will be on the mound for the second game tonight still looking for his first win.

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Gameday: Phillies (34-38) vs Rays (38-32)

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Sun, June 24, 2012 12:35 PM Comments: 29

Philadelphia Phillies (34-38) vs Tampa Bay Rays (38-32)

Game 1: Cole Hamels (10-3, 3.25) vs. David Price (9-4, 3.08)
Game 2: Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (3-3, 3.82 ERA)

TIME: 1:05, 6:35; Citizens Bank Park
TV:
PHL 17
Weather: 80′s, partly cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

If you like pitching, you will be in for a treat today. The Phillies and Rays will play a day/night double header, and the four starting pitchers all have ERA’s under 3.83. Cole Hamels will get the start in the first game, and he will face off against David Price. In the second game, Cliff Lee will take the mound, and he will oppose Alex Cobb.

As mentioned before, the Rays have really struggled this year against left-handed starters. They have a 9-14 record against them, and are set to face two the best left handed starters in the majors in Hamels and Lee.

Hamels was named World Series MVP in 2008 when he went 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against the Rays. He hasn’t faced Tampa Bay since, but Jeff Keppinger, who was 5-5 yesterday, is 6-12 lifetime vs Hamels with 3 RBI.

In his last and only start against the Phillies, David Price allowed a career high 10 runs (only five earned). However, he is 3-0 in his last four road starts, including a 7 IP, 3 ER performance against the Washington Nationals.

Lineup:

Game 1: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Pence RF, Ruiz C, Wigginton 1B, Mayberry LF, Luna 3B, Martinez 2B, Hamels P

Game 2: Rollins, SS, Pierre, LF, Victorino, CF, Pence, RF, Polanco, 3B, Mayberry, 1B, Schneider, C, Martinez, 2B, Lee, P

Whirlwind WitbierYour Gameday Beer– Whirlwind Witbier
Tonight we have a gentle offering by Victory. This classic German Witbier is supremely drinkable on any evening, especially a rainy one like today. The flavor is comprised by wheat malt and yeast with notes of orange zest, coriander, and clove. Essentially, it’s another more sophisticated version of Blue Moon, if you fancy those. If you can find some fresh shellfish, like a bushel of crabs, have that with it. – By Brian

GO PHILLIES!

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BJ Rosenberg added to Phillies for Day-Night Split

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, June 24, 2012 10:46 AM Comments: 0

A new rule in the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows the Phillies to carry 26th man BJ Rosenberg with them today. Photo AP

B.J. Rosenberg gets his second crack with the Phils today as he becomes the beneficiary of an adjustment within the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Per the CBA, teams can now carry a 26th player on days where there are split-admission, day-night doubleheaders at least two days after the game was originally scheduled to be played. Rosenberg allowed 2 runs each in both appearances he had, putting his ERA at 21.60 in 1 2/3 IP, exceeding his equally monstrous 16.20 K/9 IP. Rosenberg has a 1.52 ERA and 11.42 K/9 IP for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Credit: Jake Kaplan, MLB.com

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