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Archive for June, 2012

Thome Walks It Off; Utley Back By Wednesday?

Posted by Corey Seidman, Sun, June 24, 2012 03:55 AM Comments: 7

Chase Utley could return to the Phillies' lineup by Wednesday, according to CSNPhilly.com.

The good news for the Phillies on Saturday was two-fold — they had their second walkoff win of the season on Jim Thome‘s ninth inning opposite field solo home run, and according to CSNPhilly.com, Chase Utley is headed back to the Philadelphia area and could be back in the Phillies’ lineup by Wednesday.

Jim Salisbury reports that Utley, who for the first time this weekend played second base on consecutive days, will likely play in one more rehab game with Lehigh Valley — perhaps Tuesday — before joining the Phils.

That is big, big news, especially in the wake of the Phillies taking Game 1 of their final interleague series vs. the Rays in preparation for Sunday’s Cole Hamels-Cliff Lee doubleheader. This is suddenly a sweepable series, as the Phils hold pitching matchup advantages at 1:05 and 6:35 p.m. Sunday. I wrote at the outset of the 10-game homestand vs. the Rockies, Rays and Pirates that an 8-2 mark was necessary, as it would put the Phils back at .500, at 39-39. Wins on Sunday would make the Phils 5-1 with four games waiting vs. Pittsburgh.

But back to Saturday for a second…

  • Jonathan Papelbon blew his first save of the season, allowing two two-out runs in the ninth inning after Antonio Bastardo maneuvered his way out of trouble an inning earlier. It was Pap’s first blown save in 18 chances and the first two runs he’s allowed in a save situation.
  • Thome hit an opposite-field, line-drive home run off Rays lefthanded fireballer Jake McGee to start the ninth. It was Thome’s first pinch-hit of the season, he was previously 0-for-12. Charlie Manuel thought seeing plenty of pitches in the at-bat helped Thome get his timing, which has clearly been an issue for him in this role. Thome saw eight pitches.
  • Jimmy Rollins hit his sixth home run to start the scoring for the Phils. A 2-for-4 afternoon has Rollins all the way up to .263. He began the month batting .239.
  • Juan Pierre smacked a no-doubter for his first home run as a Phillie, a three-run shot. Pierre also created a run on the basepaths, when he lined a ball to second that Ben Zobrist missed and hustled the whole way to beat the throw to second. Pierre then stole third and scored on Carlos Ruiz‘ 0-2 bloop hit to right field. Pierre is hitting .328.
  • The Phillies’ win, coupled with the Marlins’ loss to the Blue Jays, catapults the Phillies out of last place in the NL East. The Phils are 34-38, 8.5 games behind the Nationals. The Marlins are 33-38, 9.0 back. Miami has lost six straight for the second time this month. The Fish are 4-16 in June.

Cole Hamels opposes David Price in a battle of stellar lefties in the afternoon of Sunday’s split admission doubleheader. Cliff Lee will face 24-year-old righty Alex Cobb at night.

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Gameday: Phillies (33-38) vs. (38-31)

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sat, June 23, 2012 02:48 PM Comments: 43

Philadelphia Phillies (33-38) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (38-31)

Kyle Kendrick (2-7, 5.29 ERA) vs. James Shields (7-4, 3.72)

Time: 4:05, Citizens Bank Park
TV: CSN
Weather: Clouds, 88
Media: Twitter and Facebook

Nothing like a rain delay/postponement to bring back some great memories between the Phillies and the Rays.  Cole Hamels was probably sitting on the bench last night during the delay thinking ‘Man, they would have made me pitch.’

Instead, the game was called and it will be Kyle Kendrick, not Cliff Lee, starting today for the Phillies.  The Phils will hold off on Lee, who will mostly likely take the hill tomorrow.  Kendrick is 0-3 with a 9.00 in his last three starts.  He has bad outings in bunches this season, so hopefully he snaps out of it today.

The Phillies took two out of the three in their last series against Rockies, but have dropped 13 of 18.

James Shields will pitch for the Rays, and he’s coming off two starts against the Marlins where he threw a combined fourteen innings, giving up just one earned run and twelve hits. In the two starts prior, however, he posted a 8.18 ERA.

Shields was the starting pitcher in the Rays lone win against the Phillies in the 2008 World Series.

Lineup: Rollins SS, Pierre LF, Pence RF, Ruiz C, Wigginton 1B, Polanco 3B, Mayberry CF, Martinez 2B, Kendrick P

Your Gameday Beer: The Phils playing a Florida team so we’ll go with a Florida beer. Landshark is brewed by Anheuser Busch and the new king of Florida, Jimmy Buffet. It seems to be a direct competitor to Corona – the beers look similar in appearance and are really only palatable when they’re ice cold and you’re burning in the sun. So if you’re lucky enough to be in that climate, have some spicy Thai food tonight. -By Brian

Go Phillies!

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The Best of Phillies Nation TV

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, June 23, 2012 10:02 AM Comments: 2

On this episode of Phillies Nation TV, we take the best segments of the year and put them altogether for your viewing pleasure. They include our Guys We Despise spectacular – the 10 guys that killed the Phillies in one way or another.

Also in there is our chat with Todd Zolecki, co-author of “The Rotation,” and Phillies fan Chris Kobela.

Enjoy!

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Surgery For Stutes; Could Miss Season

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, June 22, 2012 09:05 PM Comments: 6

Philly.com

According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, a source tells him reliever Mike Stutes could miss the rest of the season as he’s scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery on Tuesday.

The procedure will be done to clean up “fraying” from the shoulder, according to Gelb’s report. This comes just days after another reliever, David Herndon, was lost for the season after Tommy John surgery. Jose Contreras was lost to the same injury earlier in the season.

The 25-year old Stutes had trouble with the shoulder late in spring training but decided to give it a go for the season. The results were terrible as he put together a 6.35 ERA before being shut down. Stutes went to Clearwater to rest and rebuild strength in the shoulder, but that plan did not go well. And now, his season is in jeopardy.

Par for the course. This season has been a complete mess, with injuries wrecking the Phillies plans from the get-go. Unbelievably, there are four teams that have lost more players to the DL than the Phillies: Boston (18), Washington (16), San Diego (15), and Tampa Bay (14).

Stutes’ major league career began with so much promise, but now looks to be derailed until 2013.

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Gameday: Phillies (33-38) vs Rays (38-31)

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, June 22, 2012 06:30 PM Comments: 16

Philadelphia Phillies (33-38) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (38-31)

Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48 ERA) vs. James Shields (7-4, 3.72)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
TV: CSN
Weather: Lower 90′s, rainy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

After dropping the final game of the first series of this home stand last night to the Rockies 4-1, the Phillies turn to Cliff Lee tonight as they take on the Rays.

That is good news for the Phillies for a few reasons. Lee, despite not recording a win yet this year, is posting very good numbers. His 3.48 ERA, while not among the NL leaders, is still a very good mark, and his 3.12 FIP is among the NL leaders.

On top of that, the Rays  have struggled against left handed pitchers this year. They are 9-14 against left-handed starters, and hit just .225 against lefties overall.

James Shields will pitch for the Rays, and he’s coming off two starts against the Marlins where he threw a combined fourteen innings, giving up just one earned run and twelve hits. In the two starts prior, however, he posted a 8.18 ERA.

Shields was the starting pitcher in the Rays lone win against the Phillies in the 2008 World Series.

Lineup: Rollins SS, Pierre LF, Pence RF, Ruiz C, Wigginton 1B, Polanco 3B, Mayberry CF, Martinez 2B, Lee P

Your Gameday Beer: The Phils playing a Florida team so we’ll go with a Florida beer. Landshark is brewed by Anheuser Busch and the new king of Florida, Jimmy Buffet. It seems to be a direct competitor to Corona – the beers look similar in appearance and are really only palatable when they’re ice cold and you’re burning in the sun. So if you’re lucky enough to be in that climate, have some spicy Thai food tonight. -By Brian

Go Phillies!

  • 16 Comments
 

Blue Ribbon Shirts Back in the Phillies Nation Store!

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, June 22, 2012 03:23 PM Comments: 1

You’ve asked for them, so we got ‘em. The ever-popular Phillies Blue Ribbon shirts are back in stock in the Phillies Nation store, but quantities are extremely limited!

We also have a new shirt we’re thrilled about – the new Keep Calm design! It’s been a tough year for the Phillies. But if you just sit back, relax, and keep calm, things will work out. That’s kinda how we look at it.

The Blue Ribbon shirts sell for just $17 with shipping included! Add $3 for XXL tees, which are also extremely limited.

The Keep Calm and Go Phils shirts are $20, but are printed on super-soft, extra cool, vintage threads. They also range from S-XXL, adding $3 extra for XXL shirts.

Get ‘em before they’re gone!

Blue Ribbon Shirt
Phillies Blue Ribbon shirt
[add_to_cart item="T001" quantity="user:1"]
Our most popular shirt is back for the 2012 season.
Keep Calm Shirt
Keep Calm and Go Phils shirt
[add_to_cart item="T003" quantity="user:1"]
This shirt is printed on extra-cool red vintage threads.
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Is Blanton Throwing Too Many Strikes?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, June 22, 2012 12:10 PM Comments: 10

Blanton is struggling once again (AP)

“If you want to know the truth, you can never throw too many strikes,” said Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel after I asked him if Blanton was hitting the zone a little too frequently. “I think it’s where you put the ball…it comes back to location, location, location.”

So, Manuel wouldn’t completely concede that Blanton was throwing too many strikes. However, reading between the lines, you can tell Blanton is around the wrong parts of the plate.

Interestingly enough, Blanton rates second in Major League Baseball in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 6.17. He’s surrounded on the leaderboard by a slew of All-Star talent. Leading the way is Colby Lewis, but just behind Blanton are names like Lee, Strasburg, Cain, Dickey, and Hamels. What is the difference with those guys? Well, for one, they have better stuff. They can get hitters out by pitching out of the zone more often. Manuel did admit that he thinks Blanton is afraid to walk guys, which sums up his struggles. Too many pitches in the fat part of the dish. Lacking overpowering stuff and worrying about giving up free passes is a recipe for the disaster that his season has become.

That’s where the home runs come into play.

As was the case last night, Blanton has allowed his mistakes to really bite him. The 17 home runs he has allowed this season lead the National League, as do the 102 hits he has given up. We’re used to Blanton being hit around, but this season he’s approaching hazardous levels. His other numbers are ugly, too.

  • Blanton isn’t leaving guys stranded. At 61.3 percent, he ranks 6th worst in the National League.
  • Normally you’d be happy about his 1.19 BB/9 average. But I think we know that hasn’t translated to favorable stats
  • His 5.04 ERA is the 8th worst in the NL.

As I often see on twitter and facebook, fans are pining for the Phillies to do something about Blanton. The issue lies in his contract, which is an albatross for a pitcher of his standing. Blanton makes far too much money for other teams to take a chance on him. He also is too expensive to replace in the rotation. As ridiculous as that sounds – because why should money dictate such things – I think we all understand that salary plays a big part in allowing a guy to continue to pitch/play. Does he deserve a spot? Maybe, maybe not. But the fact is, he’ll be given every opportunity to right himself.

When I asked Charlie if this team was capable of running off five or six straight wins, he immediately put the burden squarely on the pitching staff. The starting pitching last season was it’s strong suit and now that’s no longer the case. So before a winning streak can occur, guys like Blanton need to tighten it up.

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Frustration Sets in for Victorino

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, June 22, 2012 09:41 AM Comments: 48

Will we be kissing Vic goodbye after the season? (Washington Post)

If you’re looked at as one of the leaders of your respective team in this town, you won’t get away with much. Shane Victorino is seen as such, and while he has said time and again that he’s doing his best to break out of his season-long malaise, eventually the backlash from that will get to you.

Victorino snapped out after Thursday night’s 4-1 loss to Colorado, one in which the centerfielder went 1-for-4, keeping his average at .252. With two outs in the eighth inning, Victorino stepped to plate with a chance to tie the game as Ty Wigginton stood on third base. Like the two hitters before him, Victorino was unable to bring Wigginton to the plate to tie the game. Instead, he was stranded and the Rockies would score twice in the top of the ninth to head out of town without being swept. It was a golden opportunity for the Phillies to do something they hadn’t done all year, and that’s give the fans a sense of hope with a three-game sweep. Instead, boos scattered across a rather-lifeless Citizens Bank Park.

“Do I want to win every game, yeah, who doesn’t want to win every game,” Victorino said following the defeat. “I mean hey we lost one…what more do you guys want?

“I want to go out there and score 10 runs every night, I want to be on base, I want to hit .300, I want to do all these things, but it’s not happening. We’ve just got to keep going, stay positive. Seems like you guys always want to bring up negative stuff.

“I’m over it.”

Continue reading Frustration Sets in for Victorino

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Brooms Absent As Phils Fall To Rockies

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, June 21, 2012 10:11 PM Comments: 12

Worley made one mistake tonight, but it would cost him (AP.

The bats were nowhere to be found tonight as the Phillies fell to the Colorado Rockies 4-1 in a game marked by offensive ineptitude.

FRANCIS OFF THE HOOK:

- The Phillies made Jeff Francis, who had a career 10.80 ERA pitching at Citizens Bank Park, look like a young Tom Glavine tonight. Well if Glavine was forced to adhere to a 75-pitch pitch count due to his manager’s change in philosophy, anyway.

- During his five innings on the mound, the Phillies were only able to amass six hits off Francis, but only two balls were hit hard. Of the 15 outs Francis recorded, 11 never left the infield, and three more came on a strikeout. When he left after the fifth, the score was 1-0. The Phillies should’ve battered this guy, and they didn’t. Their inability to do more damage against Francis wasted Worley’s third straight outstanding effort and cost the team the sweep.

- After Francis came out of the game, the Rockies bullpen, which ranks 28th in baseball with a 6.05 ERA, continued the dominance, holding the Phils’ bats scoreless.

WORLEY THE IMPRUDENT:

- Economical Vance Worley was not, at least not early on. He labored through four innings, throwing 69 pitches. He would be able to settle in, however, and make it through the seventh inning.

- In that seventh inning, Worley would give up a two-run home run to Chris Nelson, which gave the Rockies the lead. The shot to left center was particularly deflating because it came with two outs, after Worley had battled to get himself into a position to pitch seven scoreless. It was a mistake. But it was the only mistake Worley made during an outstanding outing. This loss was entirely on the offense.

- If there is one knock on Worley (and it’s a small blemish on what has been an otherwise fantastic start to a career), it’s his inability to pitch deep into ball games. He can almost always get you into the sixth or seventh inning with a great effort, but he’s pitched into the eighth inning just twice in his 34 career starts, and hasn’t yet this season. If there’s one area where you’d like to see him improve as he matures, it’s his ability to get guys out quicker and go the distance.

NO COMEBACK FOR THE OFFENSE:

- Last night, when Hunter Pence came up with Ty Wigginton on second base and the Phillies down by one, Pence was able to rip a double down the leftfield line to tie the game and open the door for the Phils first walk-off victory of the night. Tonight, Pence would once again come up with the Phils down one and Wigginton on second. This time, it was not meant to be. Pence would strikeout in an at-bat where he looked very overmatched by Matt Belisle.

A BIT OF HISTORY FOR ROLLINS:

- The lone run for the Phils came in their first at-bat of the game, when Jimmy Rollins laced a changeup into the left field seats for the 175th home run of his career. It was also the 39th career lead-off home run for Rollins. That makes him second on the active list behind Alfonso Soriano (54).

GAME NOTES:

- The Phillies have now lost all four games Worley has started since returning from the DL on June 4th. In those games, Worley has a 2.25 ERA.

- The Phillies have yet to sweep a three-game series this season.

- The Phillies return to inter-league play tomorrow when the Tampa Bay Rays come to town. Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48) takes the mound for the Phils while James Shield (7-4, 3.72) gets the start for Tampa.

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Gameday: Phillies (33-37) vs. Rockies (25-42)

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, June 21, 2012 06:00 PM Comments: 9

Philadelphia Phillies (33-37) vs. Colorado Rockies (25-42)

Vance Worley (3-3, 2.80) vs. Jeff Francis (0-1, 12.46)
Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
TV: CSN
Weather: Upper 90′s, sunny
Media: Twitter and Facebook

When the Phillies take the field for tonight’s game against the Rockies, they’ll have a chance to do something they haven’t done yet in 2012–sweep a series of three games or more. The timing couldn’t be better for a team that came into this ten-game homestand with just a 12-19 record at home, and looking to make up some ground in the standings.

Despite my fear of jinxing the team, you have to like their chances of winning their third straight when you look at tonight’s pitching matchup.

Vance Worley hasn’t skipped a beat since returning from the DL. In his last three starts, he’s posted a 2.12 ERA. The team has lost all three of those starts, but that was more the product of a lack of run support than bad outings from Vanimal. He has never started against the Rockies.

Worley’s counterpart tonight will be veteran left-hander, Jeff Francis. 2012 has been a struggle for Francis since the Rockies signed him. His ERA of 12.46 accounts for just two starts. Looking to build on the slight improvement he had in his second start, Francis may find himself in trouble pitching against the Phils. He has a career 6.84 ERA in five career starts against them. Pitching at CBP, that ERA jumps up to 10.80 in two starts.

One thing to note: Aside from the pitcher’s spot, manager Charlie Manuel has drawn up the exact same lineup as last night. That’s something he’s rarely done this season.

Lineup: Rollins SS, Pierre LF, Pence RF, Ruiz C, Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Mayberry 1B, Martinez 2B, Worley P

Your Gameday Beer: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

It’s the start of summer. What better way to ring in the hottest of the seasons than with a beer/lemonade combo? Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is just that. With a malted wheat and barley beginning, and a tart lemonade finish, this beer just tastes like summertime. The real beauty in it is that the lemon flavor doesn’t overpower the taste of the beer. It’s remarkably well-balanced. Whether you’re tailgating in the parking lot, enjoying an evening down the shore, or watching the game on your couch, this is the perfect beer for a sweltering summer night. Have it with some barbecued pulled pork and a side of baked beans. - by Ryan

Go Phillies!

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