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Gameday 13: Phillies vs. Braves

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Mon, April 14, 2014 05:30 PM Comments: 28

philliesPhiladelphia Phillies (6-6) at Atlanta Braves (8-4)braves

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Roberto Hernandez
vs.
TEX: Ervin Santana

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
TV: ESPN, TCN
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 77
Media: Twitter and Facebook
Tickets: Phillies tickets

A Note for Tonight:

The Phillies will continue their N.L. East play Monday night as they open a four-game set with the Braves, and their newly acquired right-hander Ervin Santana. Santana, who tossed eight scoreless in his debut, has faced the Phillies only once in his career, pitching seven innings and allowing just one unearned run in that start. The only Phillies who have ever faced him are Marlon Byrd, Tony Gwynn Jr., Jayson Nix and Will Nieves, with the latter two collecting the only hits. Santana will have to quiet the league’s hottest hitter in Chase Utley, who, after going 3-for-4 on Sunday, rose his average to .500 (20-for-40) with three homers and 10 RBI. This is the Phillies’ first game this season against Atlanta, who in 2013 won the season series over the Phillies 11-8.

Lineup: Gwynn Jr. CF / Rollins SS / Utley 2B / Howard 1B / Byrd RF / Brown LF / Ruiz C / Asche 3B / Hernandez P

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Adams to Return from DL, Torre Tells Amaro Call was Wrong

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Mon, April 14, 2014 04:53 PM Comments: 2

Phillies reliever Mike Adams told reporters on Monday that he will come off the disabled list on Tuesday. The 35-year old righty has yet to appear in a game with the Phillies after undergoing shoulder surgery this past off-season.

Adams made a brief minor league rehab, stopping for three appearances in Clearwater, and one in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Between the two stops, he pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out six. There has been no mention of the corresponding move, although some reports indicate the move may depend on the status of A.J. Burnett.

As expanded instant replay continues through its early sages of life in the MLB, it is still causing its bit of controversy. According to a tweet from Ryan Lawrence of The Daily News, Joe Torre called Ruben Amaro Jr. and told him that Tony Gwynn should have been ruled safe on the play at the plate in the sixth inning of Sunday’s game because he had no open lane to the plate.

The play in question came after Gwynn tried to score from first after Chase Utley smacked a ball into the left-field corner. Gwynn was thrown out at home plate, but Ryne Sandberg came out to question whether catcher Jeff Mathis was in violation of the Collision Rule, which states that catchers cannot block the plate before they are in possession of the ball. After review, the umpires upheld the original ruling, and later on Torre spoke with Amaro to let him know he thought that was the incorrect call.

 

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Gameday 10: Phillies vs. Marlins

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Fri, April 11, 2014 05:34 PM Comments: 26

phillies

marlins-miami-new-logo Philadelphia Phillies (3-6) vs Miami Marlins (5-5) 

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: A.J. Burnett
vs.
FLA: Jose Fernandez

Time: 7:05
TV: TCN
Weather: Cloudy with possible T-storm, 72
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight:

The Phillies will face a tall task Friday night, when they go up against one of the best young pitchers in baseball, and one who has handled them well in his short career. Jose Fernandez is 2-0 with a minuscule .71 ERA in two starts thus far. Domonic Brown, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and Marlon Byrd are hitless in 32 combined career at bats against Fernandez, and Jimmy Rollins, who is the only other player in tonight’s lineup that has faced him, is hitting .143.

Phillies’ pitcher A.J. Burnett will be making the start against is former team, who he has had success against the times he has faced them. In two career starts against the Marlins, Burnett has allowed just two earned runs in 14 innings and struck out 11 hitters.

Lineup:

Gywnn CF/ Rollins SS/ Utley 2B/ Howard 1B/ Byrd RF/ Brown LF/ Ruiz C/Asche 3B/ Burnett P

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Kendrick’s Turnaround Stems from Success vs. Lefties, More Strikes

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Fri, April 04, 2014 10:30 AM Comments: 4

A few years back, it looked as if Kyle Kendrick’s MLB career was headed in the wrong direction. But now, in 2014, the right-hander has proven himself as a dependable back-of-the rotation pitcher, and will be invaluable to the team as Cole Hamels works his way back from an offseason injury and the bullpen continues to scuffle.

What was the reason for Kendrick’s turnaround?

The answer is simple—Kendrick learned how to pitch to left-handers. Lefties mashed Kendrick through the first half of his career. From 2007-10, left-handers hit a hefty .320 off him, and on average, Kendrick surrendered 1.6 homers to lefties per nine innings.

Yikes.

But since then, Kendrick has cut that batting average against down 80 points to .240, and has dropped his HR/9 against left-handers all the way down to .6 — a full home run less per game on average.

He did it with a combination of a new pitch repertoire and increased control.

Continue reading Kendrick’s Turnaround Stems from Success vs. Lefties, More Strikes

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Asche Showing Signs for Promising Career

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Thu, April 03, 2014 09:00 AM Comments: 13

Cody Asche came out of the gates on fire on Opening Day, smashing a home run, driving in two and scoring four times in the Phillies’ 14-10 win over Texas.

Asche has now been in the league for 52 games—a little less than a third of a full season. It is time to start looking at his numbers and thinking about him less as a serviceable player, and more as a future All-Star.

It’s a bold statement, of course, but it is steeped in reason. Based on what we have seen from the 23-year old Asche, there is no reason he should not be able to put up a consistent 25/90/.285 line as his career progresses into its prime. Continue reading Asche Showing Signs for Promising Career

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Phillies Release Stutes, Frandsen Signs with Nats

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Wed, March 26, 2014 11:54 AM Comments: 20

Right-handed pitcher Mike Stutes, who was outrighted by the Phillies early in March, has officially been released by the club. It was hardly a shocking move, as Stutes pitched in just three innings this spring and struggled mightily, allowing seven earned runs on five hits while walking three.

Stutes was a pleasant surprise as a rookie for the Phillies with a lively fastball out of the bullpen in 2011, but injuries have marred his past couple of seasons. In 2012 he pitched in only six games before requiring season-ending shoulder surgery, and he managed only 16 games in 2013 because of biceps tendonitis in his throwing arm.

Infielder Kevin Frandsen, who was also outrighted off of the 40-man roster, has reportedly signed with the Washington Nationals to fill out their final bench spot. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Frandsen will have a “fully guaranteed major league deal for $900,000,” which is the same amount he would have been paid by the Phillies if he had agreed to join the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and not elect free agency. Crasnick also reports Frandsen’s deal comes with $300,000 in performance bonuses and an award package of $400,000.

 

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Citizens Bank Park Adding to Award-Winning Menu

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Mon, March 24, 2014 05:00 PM Comments: 0

Cardinals Phillies BaseballCitizens Bank Park, which took home the “Best Ballpark Eats” award at the 2007 The Food Network Awards, has added to it to its already delectable menu for the upcoming 2014 season.

According to a report from Philly.com, Aramark, whom the Phillies use for catering, has upgraded its 11 kitchens and in doing so is also able to upgrade menus throughout the park.

Many of the changes can be seen-and tasted-at the famous Phillies restaurant Harry the K’s, located behind the first level of seats in left field.

In addition to the already served lamb gyros, roast beef sandwiches and nachos, Harry the K’s will be adding mouth-watering dishes such as poutine (a Canadian favorite of french fries, cheese, bacon and gravy), Prince Edward Island muscles served in a sauce with shallots, ale and bacon, and the “over easy” burger-a 5.5 angus beef burger with a fried egg, pepper jelly and oven-dried tomato.

And of course, who can forget about dessert.

Harry the K’s will also be implementing a sundae bar, with soft-serve ice cream and an array of toppings. On Sundays after the fourth inning, the ice cream and root beer floats will be only $5.

Harry the K’s is not the only place in the ballpark with a new and improved menu, however.

Continue reading Citizens Bank Park Adding to Award-Winning Menu

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Hamels throws from the mound for the first time since March 1

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Wed, March 12, 2014 11:30 AM Comments: 5

Cole Hamels, who has been side lined with fatigue in his left shoulder throughout much of the first half of Spring Training, threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday morning. It was his first time throwing from a mound since March 1, before his minor setback.

Though the bullpen went well, and pitching coach Bob McLure said Hamels looked “free and easy” according to Jim Salisbury, he also acknowledged that Hamels is quite behind.

Todd Zolecki reported that Hamels said this 20-pitch session is something that he would normally do the day before Spring Training starts, with McLure adding that Hamels is essentially starting from scratch.

Zolecki also reported that from here on, Hamels’ regimen will depend on how he feels. As of now, he is scheduled for another bullpen on Friday or Saturday but it depends how his arm is feeling on Thursday. If all goes well, McLure said he might be able to go right into throwing batting practice after that, according to Zolecki. He also added that there is a chance he could pitch in a Grapefruit League game this month, but that the chance of him pitching in a big-league game in April is “remote.”

Other injury news: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez has a sore shoulder, and will not pitch today as scheduled. According to Ryan Lawrence of The Daily News, the soreness was brought about by long toss yesterday and is in the anterior part of the shoulder. In the same report, Ruben Amaro said Gonzalez was checked by the medical staff, and stressed that it is just soreness. Amaro also said that Gonzalez will be pushed back, and that “Hopefully it is only a day or so.”

 

 

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Phillies continue to lack offensive production

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Mon, March 10, 2014 06:34 PM Comments: 57

I know, I know, it is only Spring Training and it means nothing once April hits. But regardless, it is worth pointing out after another one run effort today against Atlanta, that the Phillies are still lacking incredibly at the plate.

Apart from an 11-run outburst against Houston on Saturday, the Phillies have scored just 16 runs in their other nine games since March 1- an average of less than two per game. Today, seven different Braves’ pitchers combined to allow just a run on six hits, and the run didn’t even come across for the Phillies until the eighth inning. Five of their six hits were singles.

Currently, the Phillies are in dead last place in all of Major League Baseball in batting average, and by a hefty margin. The 29th place Dodgers are hitting .228, more than 30 points more than the sub-Mendoza line .194 from the Phillies. They also rank dead last in on-base percentage, and are in the bottom third in baseball in runs and RBI.

The big guns-Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, who they will so desperately count on this season, have combined to go 9-for-56. Marlon Byrd, one of the only players producing this spring, has the same number of hits in almost half the at bats.

What does it mean? Maybe nothing. But it is certainly not good. As the minor league pitchers start to get weeded out, the talent they will be facing is only going to get harder throughout the spring and especially into the regular season. Something needs to change, because .194 is not going to score a whole lot of runs.

On a different note…

The starting pitching has been great the last couple of days. Jeff Manship, who could be an important piece in the injury ravaged rotation, made his first start of the spring Sunday and was lights out. He allowed just a run on two hits in three innings of work. It was the only run he has allowed the spring so far.

Today, Cliff Lee pitched well despite taking the loss, tossing 3 2/3 innings while striking out five. He gave up two earned runs on three hits, but one run was a leadoff homer from Jason Heyward and the other was a runner that was his responsibility who came around to score after he was lifted. Twenty of his first 26 pitches were thrown for strikes, and he walked just one in the outing.

 

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Stairs gives insight into new job,’08 NLCS homer, Olympic hockey and, of course, the Wing Bowl

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Fri, February 21, 2014 08:45 PM Comments: 6

Earlier today, my co-hosts and I had the honor of talking with new Phillies color commentator Matt Stairs on our radio show. The former Phillie, legendary for his home run off Jonathan Broxton in the 2008 NLCS, opened up about his new broadcasting position, his opinions of the 2014 team and his classic homer, throwing in some other odds and ends along the way.

 (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Excerpts from the interview can be read below, with the questions to him in bold and his answers in quotes. (By the way, there is no question he is going to be the humor-man in the booth)

Before we get into things, the Canada-U.S.A. game just ended and I know you are a big hockey fan. Did you catch the game at all?

“You know what actually I missed the [women’s] game yesterday for the gold, and I missed it again today because I’m on my way down to Clearwater for baseball spring training and I decided to drive down. I’ll park somewhere on Sunday to watch the finals.”

Do you like Canada against Sweden? Sweden has been pretty good so far.

“So has U.S.A. U.S.A. was an awful tough team and I followed on Twitter as much as I could. It should be a good battle. It definitely was a big win for Canada, it gave us some confidence going against the powerhouse United States team.”

You mentioned you are on the way to Clearwater, where you and Jamie Moyer will start as two new broadcasters this year. Are you excited to finally get things going?

“I’m very excited. It should be a blast. It’s going to be different at first for both Jamie and I because we have never really done this before. It’s probably going to take a couple of innings to get used to it but we are both guys that have been around the game for a long time and know the game well. Jamie is more of a straight level guy that is straight to the point, I’m the type of guy that is going to be the comic relief in the booth and have fun with it, and be straight as well. I’m going to tell the people what is going on and that’s what it should be. That’s what the listeners deserve to hear.”

Continue reading Stairs gives insight into new job,’08 NLCS homer, Olympic hockey and, of course, the Wing Bowl

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