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Losses Keep Piling Up

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, July 07, 2012 11:00 PM | Comments: 43
2012 Game Recaps, Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Another night, another loss. It’s a familiar story in Philadelphia these days. This time, the Phillies lost 6-3 in front of a lifeless home crowd that had mostly retreated by the time the final out was recorded. Looking back at the Phillies’ history since moving to Citizens Bank Park, this final series before the All Star Break has to be absolute rock bottom. They’ve now lost 9-of-10.

The Phillies wanted to get back in the win column tonight. Tommy Hanson had other plans. (AP)

HANSON DAZZLES THE OFFENSE

- Earlier this season, the Phillies knocked around Tommy Hanson in Atlanta, chasing him from the game before he could finish the fourth inning. Following a three-run second tonight–an outburst that included a Joe Blanton one-out, one-run single to give the Phillies the lead–it looked as though the Phils might be able to touch up Hanson again. It was a mirage, however, as the right-hander would retire thirteen straight batters, and 15-of-17 following that second inning. He struck out six and walked just one, and allowed just two hits outside of that second inning. He flat out dominated during his eight innings of work. Craig Kimbrel came on in the ninth and put the Phils away 1-2-3.

PROTOTYPICAL JOE BLANTON

- Tonight’s start was typical of Joe Blanton, who has been the epitome of hit-or-miss this season. He’d go 6.1 innings, alloweing five earned runs. In nine of his eighteen starts this season, Blanton’s allowed four runs or more. In seven of those starts, he’s allowed at least five earned runs. Seeing that he had a decent outing in his last start, he could be expected to turn in a less than stellar effort. Considering how dominant Hanson was, Blanton needed to come close to replicating his complete game shutout of the Braves on May 3 to give his team a chance to win. He stood no chance.

UTLEY STRUGGLES

- Since going 3-for-5 in his 2012 debut, things have been rocky for Chase Utley. He’s gone just 4-for-25 (160), with one walk, one home run, two RBI and no other extra base hits. He hasn’t been nearly as electric as he was in that first start. These games are essentially the equivalent of what would be spring training for Utley, so there isn’t too much cause for concern yet. With his numbers declining each year, though, you’d like to see a sign at some point from Utley that he can be some semblance of the player he once was. I don’t think we’ll ever see the Utley of old again, but he’s under contract for next season, and really needs to show he has something left as the season moves forward.

NOTES

- Vance Worley will try to take the Phillies into the All Star break with a sliver of dignity tomorrow, but, the way this team’s playing right now, it’ll take one hell of an effort from Vanimal. Jair Jurrjens will pitch for the Braves.

Avatar of Ryan Dinger

About Ryan Dinger

Ryan Dinger has written 125 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ryan stated writing for Phillies Nation in 2012.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    Anyone that thinks that any potential trade candidate on this team i.e Victorino, Polanco, Pierre, Fontenot will bring more than a bag of balls is kidding themselves. Only Hamels has any real value. If the Phils had any respect for Halladay they would trade him too because this team will not be significantly better next year only older and slower.

     
  • Posts: 517 Morris Buttermaker

    Avatar of Morris Buttermaker

    I’ve seen wet pieces of cardboard show more signs of life than the Phillies did tonight.

     
  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Utley’s “under contract for next season.” ?? You mean next HALF season, right?

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    8 out of 9 innings the Phils sent 3 batters to the plate. Include the 7th and 8th where they hit into double plays.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    The attendance tonight was announced as 44,7??. This, of course is not surprising considering the last few years, and optimism for this year. But what I can’t help but wonder iswhat the Phils smallest crowd for a single game next year will be. With far different advanced salles to be counted on, a Tuesday night game against San Diego… I wonder if 26,000 might be announced. Who knows, maybe lower? A much tougher sell this off season, to say the least.

    And I wonder what kind of free agent deal Sterling Joe Blanton winds up getting. About a month ago, I was thinking 1 year for 4 million. I guess 3 million might come before 5 million.

     
  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Why do I keep watching this shit? It’s hot, I have a headache and I sat there and watched this freaking game. What’s wrong with me? Jesus, this is brutal right now…

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Just cut chase the three year wonder. Sell Howard

     
  • Posts: 5189 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Well it’s a good think Charlie talked to all the players today. Must have been real inspiring huh? I didn’t actually get to see this game courtesy of Fox Sports, maybe they did me a favor.

     
    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      lefty don’t worry you didn’t miss a thing! i actually didn’t watch them tonight! i could have but i chose not to get aggrevated. i told my son it feels like the old days when schmidt and luzinski and those guys would pound other teams into the ground and every day dad and i would ask each other how many runs are we gonna win by? and now for the last few years it was how many games are we gonna finish on top! now.. like deja vu the mid eighties and mid nintie’s and our current team it’s how the eff are we gonna lose tonite! sad isn’t it?

       
  • Posts: 534 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    I had held out hopes for my team that there may be a spark of life for the most crucial 9 game stretch against the NL East teams (Marlins, Mets and Braves). For me this would be the make or break period as to what direction this team will take for the remainder of the season. As the 9 game stretch against the NL East teams concludes tomorrow, I have received my answer with an exclamation mark. Now that I accept the reality that there is no hope left for the team, I find it pointless (for myself) to further complain about another loss as the malaise continues.

    As a Phillies fan first and foremost, I’ll continue to watch my team for the rest of the season and look for something positive..anything! And like the rest of the members here on this site, to offer some anaylsis, reasonable ideas or solutions for our team. It’s fitting that the trade deadline is approaching and GM Amaro will have some crucial decisions to make based on his outlook for the team’s future. Let’s hope he can point this team in the right direction without the need for drastic cuts. After all, the core of the team that provided a great run of success for the last five seasons with 5 division titles, 3 division championships, 2 league championships and a World Series championship can still be productive next year.

     
    • Posts: 0 David

      A good GM would replace the players in the core piece by piece so the team does not fall off of a cliff. Amaro has failed to do this. Instead, he is left with an aging, unproductive core which has lost its value all at once. The only guys on this team who you would expect to have similar, if not better, years next year as compared to this are Pence, Galvis and Hamels. Everyone else is on the decline. This points to a potentially long down period for this team. Unfortunately, the GM and manager are part of the problem too. Amaro has made so many errors in judgement (Lee, Howard, Hamels, Papelbon, Rollins). And Manuel is now being exposed because he can no longer just dial it up. He has no ability to think outside the box. He isn’t the reason this team is bad but he certainly will not help.

       
  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

     
    • Posts: 5189 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Gelb is stealing my material. I basically wrote that column yesterday in the the comments on the game recap.

       
  • Posts: 0 jimmy

    So who goes first ? Charlie or Ruben ?

    Something has to happen real soon. The players quit on Charlie a while ago, and Amaro just seems to shuffle guys back and forth from AAA.

     
    • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      This has to qualify as one of the most ridiculous comments I have seen in awhile.

       
    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      Perhaps you’re getting caught up in the massive criticism of Amaro that permeates many websites in the comments section. I kinda get the feeling that it’s more than venting, a representative quantity of those angry fans might actually hold out hope that Amaro is canned.

      This is extremely unlikely, and that’s understated. He’s in the first year of a 4 year contract and must be making 4-5 million per, so that’d be a lot of money to pay for any reassigned position within the organization. Perhaps the only way that occurs isn’t very realistic. A complete dropoff in advance sales for next year coupled with a loud droppage in corporate sponsorship. Even then, time wise, it’s so early in the downward process, and reactionary moves are unlikely.

      Charlie himself still has about 6 mil coming to him, so that’s not so easily dismissed, although there would be a better chance to see him removed earlier than later.

      People are quick, or at least inclined to formulate guesses on the players having quit on him. That’s a very difficult thing to guess at without interaction with the personalities involved. I don’t quite get that feeling, at least with any conviction. The ballclub has some players who are not up to the task. If anybody’s quit on anybody, maybe it’s the other way around, that Charlie is fed up with them. Just like most everyone who reads and writes on this board is.
      And as one who feels the frustration, and disgust, I can’t say I blame him. That’s not to say he’s a great tactical manager, but I empathize with the challenge of trying to talk to the beat writers with fresh angles every now and then the way this plot continues to unfold.

       
  • Posts: 0 George

    The Phils seem to lose no matter what, and there isn’t an answer that I can think of. I’m sure there’s no real answer for management, either.

    I read the Gelb article and I have to disagree with him somewhat. Amaro did rely too heavily on the health of Contreras, but there’s no way he could have anticipated the injuries to all the others, the poor starts by Lee, Halladay’s DL stint, and the short outings of the other starters (which strains any BP) or the inconsistency of Bastardo. The BP should have been good enough even as constructed, and there’s just no way even a great GM can replace three or four injured arms mid-season with great players, whether he’s signed an expensive closer or not.

    I can’t fault those who propose even radical solutions, but from what I see, there probably aren’t any, because this season is just a “perfect storm” of injuries, poor play by usually reliable players, trying too hard, and plain bad luck. It’s frustrating for fans, but I’m certain it’s even more so for the players and those people who have put this team together. I’ve never met a player of any game who wants to lose.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    Ryan, I need to take issue with what you and Amanda both said (her in the summary posts from other games, er losses) about the opposing pitcher “dazzling” the Phils.
    If the starters can keep the Phils at bay that would be one thing but getting into the BP, the Phils are still displaying the same ineptitude.
    It’s not the opposing pitcher who stymies the Phils bats, its the Phils bats that are in fail mode. For the longest time, when my buddy and I would go to the games and the Phils would have 2 hits and no runs going into the 7th, I used to gripe to my friend and he would tell me, “Don’t worry, we are about to get into their BP” and he was right. The Phils bats would come alive and things (runs!) would happen. It just does not seem the case at all this year. Starter, BP or not, if the Phils are in suck mode offensively, its over. For those looking for an example, how about pivotal game 3 of the 08 NLCS – when Stairs sent a bomb “Deep into the night” after a very droll performance by the offense – Vic of course followed up with a HR as well and history was wrote.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    CF – Bourn
    3B – Headley
    LF – Utley
    1B – Howard
    RF – Pence
    C – Ruiz
    SS – Rollins
    2B -Galvis

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      This would be a fine lineup, but I wonder who would have to go to obtain some of those players. San Diego reportedly wants a boatload for Headley, and Bourn will be a very expensive free agent. I also wonder if the weak-kneed Utley would survive a move to left. I’ve seen loads of outfielders having to make dives, leaps, and pivots, and there’s always more running involved in chasing a fly ball than an infield grounder.

       
    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      good one dipsy! i’d have rollins off that list. galvis at short and utley back at second. we have a couple of middle inf at reading who will probably be at AAA next year in case things don’t work out with utley and galvis. an out fielders can be found.we also have a few of those at reading who will be at AAA next year. in fact the players i’m talking about will be playing in the AA allstar game on comcast wednesday night. check em out! oh and i like headley! decent 3rd sacker and a switch hitter who will have better power numbers in our park.

       
  • Posts: 5189 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    In many ways I agree with George about the “perfect storm”. It happens frequently in pro sports, and the next year teams bounce back.

    But sometimes they don’t, so that leads me to two questions:

    1) Was this preventable as many sooth sayers seem to think?

    I believe you could see some of this coming, I like to listen to interviews of other GM’s and particularly over this past winter when MLB Network did a lot of those on shows like Clubhouse Confidential and others. That combined with many interviews I’ve read over the years gave me a sense that our GM wasn’t quite as good at the planning end of the stewardship of his ball club as some of the others. He does show a tendency to be impulsive, something I don’t get a feel for in Andrew Friedman, Jon Daniels, Neil Huntington etc.

    What I don’t know is, in a historical sense, is that always a bad thing. I know the opinion which Andrew points out each day in his posts about the “Minaya” way this ball club is being handled, certainly that did not go well for the Mets. And the former PN writer Dr Strangeglove and his forewarnings, but we still don’t know how it will affect the long term success of the Phils. But then again, we have had a nice five year stretch, a rarity in sports.

    2) What should be done to make sure that low pressure system and cold front do not meet again next season?

    There are three choices here basically- Hold the core believing this season is an aberration, tweak it a just a bit, or just be total sellers, i.e. blow it up.

    I don’t have an answer to this one in all honesty, I keep flip flopping on it. I try to look at analytics, chemistry, management- I don’t know, the fan in me wants it to get better fast, the planner says it will take longer. Thoughts?

     
    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      i agree lefty. but most of us liked the idea of a GM not afraid to payout and get good players! and most of us wanted them to sign our stars, but as with most of sports the amount and length does come into question. and then if they get injured. yuk. imagine the angels giving puhols that 10 year contract! whew you know 3-4 years from now that’s gonna bite them. i kinda wish baseball had a deal like football, you give them up front money and if they don’t perform they’re just off the books. of course if they’re injured they can’t come off till they’re healthy, but that wouldn’t hamper teams like the phils and other teams who go after FA,or sign slugs like j-bag.

       
      • Posts: 5189 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Ryne, In general I am against long term contracts like Pujols, but it seems the market says you have to do SOME of those to be competitive. I agree that some other Pro Sports have better salary systems. I don’t care for the way basketball players build super-teams. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all legal under their CBA, I’m just glad it’s not that way in baseball.

         
    • Posts: 0 George

      My thoughts are pretty much as yours are. I sometimes think that things have gone so wrong that the team needs to be torn down completely. But then I realize that the core of this team would be pretty difficult to deal, given their contracts, and that they probably aren’t as bad as they seem right now.

      A few moves could be made. Peripheral players could be replaced, but they’d only be replaceable with trades for other peripheral players or low-ceiling prospects. Potential free agents could be traded. Victorino might actually return a decent player, and Hamels would definitely bring in real talent. But to me, Hamels is pretty essential for the next few years. The others, like Blanton, are worth more as potential draft picks than they are as trade bait.

      Possibly a management change could help, but chemistry might not be the biggest issue, and a new manager might take the wrong approach entirely. Amaro could be told to pack, but his replacement would be faced with the same issues.

      I think the Phils are pretty much stuck. I don’t envy Amaro, and I don’t envy Manuel. No matter what they do or don’t do, fans are now going to question them and belittle them if only because of this one bad year.

       
      • Posts: 5189 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        Thanks for your answer, it’s easy to be conflicted right now and I would imagine RA Jr. is too.

        The only reason I worry about chemistry is that change, though it is tough to prove mathematically does make a difference, and not always a positive one. It would certainly appear that the Phils made the right move trading Thome, both for him, and what they got in return.

        But their record is 1-7 since then.

        Sometimes chemistry has to be taken into account before you make a move especially with long term guys like Victorino and Hamels.

         
    • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

      Great points, Lefty. I really would not want to be in the precarious position that Amaro is in right now. On the other hand, I do think he has to make some moves, shuffle some players, and keep SOME of the core that won you a World series and five straight division titles.

      We need a third baseman. I like Polanco, but he is old and injury-prone. I’d love to see us obtain Olt, but we would have to give up Hamels, and I would not want to see Cole leave. Headley would be a decent pick-up, and probably, as some mentioned, would be a comparable trade for a Victorino, etc.

      We need a left fielder. How much longer can we wait for Mayberry, Jr. to find his way consistently?
      We need a strong righty in the pen. The rest, as George commented, will be back from the DL (Stutes, etc.)

      I think a new manager next year, and the influx of new staff, especially a hitting coach would benefit the team greatly. The Phillies cannot hit in the clutch, even if we summon the spirit of Ted Williams, when he hit .406.

      We need to get Hunter Pence lessons or send him to a camp on how to play right field and catch the ball, or trade him.

      I’d like to see us… trade Victorino and sign Bourn, or bring up Brown and try him in CF.
      Trade or get rid of Polanco. Trade or get rid of Sloppy Joe Blanton. Trade or get rid of Kendrick (7.5 million!) and bring up Tyler Cloyd as a long reliever.

      Sign Hamels and bring up Sandberg. But what do I know? Maybe Ruben has a better plan. Either way I hope he has one.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Lefty – I too believe that this has been a perfect storm of bad things happening. Some avoidable, some not so. I believe that through some trades and FA that we can make then team right for next year. I want the following things have to happen:

    1. A refocus of the offense from relying on gap power up to homer run power to more of a balance: more reliance on OBP. You see the Mets succeeding this year with a cruddy offense but those guys get on base. I’m not a Moneyball nut but we need guys on base.

    2. A recommitment to defense – Right now, we have bad D at 1st, LF, RF. That should change.

    3. Bolstering the Pen (obviously).

    Hey, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Time for injuries to heal and some well thought out trades and a few FA signings are really all this team needs.

    I wanna see Cole back. The money and years he wants is so high and so long. I can’t blame them for not signing him though. They need to trade him and that will bring back a piece for next year.

    The 1970 Reds were in the WS. The 1971 Reds had a losing record. The 1972 Reds went back to the WS. Sh!t happens. I think this can get done.

    The Dipsy

     
    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      you make some really good points there dipsy. and i agree with them all. but there’s a bigger problem and i don’t know what it is. we do get guys on base! but thats where they stay! i checked the paper this morning and as of friday we were 5th in the nl in HR’s 3rd in batting ave. i mean if you look at this stuff you just got to shake your head. on paper offensively we look good! we just don’t get the hits when they count! that’s what it boils down to. why? that’s what drives me insane. we’ve had so many oportunities to blow games up and didn’t do it. and so many times the tying or winning runs were on base and we grind the wood off the bat and pop up or strike out or hit into a dbl play. i think a new manager would help. and a few changes but they shouldn’t blow the whole thing up. i think with a few moves we can be back next year.

       
    • Posts: 5189 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Some encouraging insight Dipsy, I appreciate it.

      And The Reds are exactly the historical example I was looking for. The other strong one for keeping the core/ tweaking is the 1979 Phils who were 18 games over .500 in 1978, only 6 games over in fourth place in 79, and of course won it all in 1980.

       
    • Posts: 0 George

      The pen will automatically be bolstered as players return from the DL and some of the rookies gain experience. But someone with experience already should be added. I agree that the defense has gone bad and needs to be addressed. I sort of agree that the offensive approach needs tweaking, but I also feel that part of what’s lacking this year is not the OBP, but the power, and that some of the hitters are pressing to supply that power.

       
  • Posts: 0 bloodclotter

    My 7 yr old daughter has convinced me that it’s not over yet, and she still wants to go to more games

    That’s pretty much all I needed to hear

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      I absolutely love this comment!

       
      • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

        yea man, god love her!

         
    • Posts: 5189 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      Excellent! Let’s go to the ball park.

       
  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    A week ago or so I brought up that example of the Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s. And it was brought to my attention that the ’72 Reds – the beginning of the Big Red Machine Era – was a younger bunch on the rise. Tony Perez and Pete Rose were in their low to mid 30s. Joe Morgan late 20s to early 30s and Dave Concepcion low to mid 20s. Those are just 4 players but you get my drift.

    So is this a legitimate comparison to the present day Phillies?? I’m not so sure…

     
    • Posts: 5189 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      How about the 79 Phils? They weren’t as bad as this team is as far as record goes, but this team could still end up a few games over .500, similar to them.

      In 79 their biggest moves were signing Pete Rose, and trading for Nino Espinosa and Manny Trillo. Those few tweaks carried them to success in 1980. But as Bowa once said, even in 1980 they were threatening to break them up. He credits that as a springboard to their performance.

       
      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        Lefty,

        I think using the 79-80 Phils as a blueprint supporting holding onto a core carries only partial merit. As Bowa mentioned, there was a lot of break em up spirit in 80 as well, and as key as the acquisitions you mentioned were, it seemed more influential, at least time wise when they got productive Septembers out of callups Bystrom and Walk, let alone Lonnie Smith who by far more than coincidence, went on to collect 4 WS rings in a pretty underappreciated career. Plus, Tug got hot at the right time, and no disrespect to that wonderful club, but the playoff matchups were certainly more favorable than the ’77 and ’78 clubs drew. Schmidt and Lefty were better from 80 through 83 than age would encourage predicting the likes of Doc, Cliff, Chase and RyHo will be.

        There just don’t seem any simple answers to this mess, a theme your other posts carry, which I would be inclined to offer more agreement with.

         
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    I didn’t hear that the Padres needed a boatload for Headley. He’s not ALL that. He ‘s good for our lineup due to his position and OBP. He’s just a piece and not a star. Bourn would be a great sign. He’s 30 and I wouldn’t mind having to sign him to 4 or 5 years if I had to.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Chuck – Just and example of how a really good team can have a really bad year and nothing more. This team can do very much what that team did, they swapped out a few guys that were good, but not necessarily good for them in Bobby Tolan and Lee May and brought in Geronimo, on paper not as good as Tolan, and brought in Morgan and put him in 2B. Mogan was not the Morgan he later became when the Reds got him? Example Shane and Polanco, two nice players leave and two other players, Bourn and Headley come in for us. Its a switch out of comparable talent. I think the comparison is VERY legitimate.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 2990 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Dipsy – All fair points you make. I can see that.

    Lefty – I don’t think the Phillies end up this year over .500.

     
 
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