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Utley Homers Twice in Phillies Win

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Wed, April 01, 2015 09:10 PM Comments: 2

The Phillies snapped a seven game winless streak on Wednesday with a 9-2 shellacking of the Atlanta Braves in Clearwater.

The Phils inconsistent offense piled up 10 hits, including eight off of Braves starter Julio Teheran. Two of those hits were home runs from second baseman Chase Utley, who homered in four consecutive at-bats after hitting two home runs in his previous contest against the Tigers on Sunday. Utley is hitting .448 with four home runs this spring. 

Lefty ace Cole Hamels picked up the win in his final tune up before he starts against the Red Sox on Opening Day. Hamels pitched six strong innings giving up six hits, two runs (one earned), one walk, and striking out three. The Phillies ace wrapped up his spring training with a 1-1 record and a 4.15 ERA in six games.

In relief, Jake Diekman pitched a scoreless inning, while Cesar Jimenez closed out the game with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts. This was a much needed clean inning for Diekman who has given up 10 earned runs in 10 innings thus far in spring training.

Offensively, the Phillies got some much needed power today as they clobbered four home runs today. Aside from Utley’s two home runs, Freddy Galvis blasted his second home run of the spring, and catcher Rene Garcia hit his first home run of the spring.

Galvis, whose offensive skills have been non-existent thus far in his MLB career, is hitting .288 this spring in 21 games. Whether or not he can transfer that to the regular season remains to be seen, but if the Phillies want any chance of surprising people this season he’s going to have to step up his offensive game.

The win brings the Phillies record to 12-16 in the exhibition season. They’ll play their final game in Clearwater against the Rays on Thursday before heading back to Philadelphia for a two game on-deck series against the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend.

  • 2 Comments
 

Four Reasons Why The Phillies Might Not Be That Bad In 2015

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Thu, March 05, 2015 05:10 PM Comments: 24

Sixty-eight. That is the number of wins that Las Vegas has projected the Phillies to win this season. That would make this the worst baseball club Philadelphia has seen in 15 years, when the 2000 Phillies finished the season 65-97. Combine that with the team losing its opening Spring Training game to Division II University of Tampa, and expectations and excitement for this ball club are downright abysmal this season.

However, allow me to be a slight optimist for a moment. I’m going to give you four reasons why the Phillies maybe, possibly won’t be that bad in 2015.

1. Ryan Howard Rejuvenated

Okay, first it is important to understand what I mean by rejuvenated. Ryan Howard is never ever going to hit .313 with 58 home runs and 149 RBIs again like he did in his MVP season of 2006. That’s just not going to happen for the 35-year-old first baseman. Nevertheless, that does not mean he still can’t be a productive baseball player for this team. As our own Pat Gallen wrote recently, Howard has come into Spring Training looking as fit as he has in years after reportedly losing 15 pounds in the offseason. He has also been running without any kind of a limp since his Achilles surgery way back in 2011. Howard seems to be completely healthy entering this season for the first time since the start of that 2011 campaign.

Another issue, which allegedly plagued him last season, that is finally resolved for Howard is the lawsuit he was going through involving his own family. This longstanding lawsuit between Howard and his family was settled this past November. Even last year, Howard showed that he still had some power in him hitting 23 home runs. With former manager Charlie Manuel helping out with his approach at the plate in Spring Training this year, and with more of a focus on beating the shifts he is used to seeing, it isn’t crazy to believe that Howard could improve his hitting this season.

It is going to take a lot of improving though. Last year alone, Howard ranked 22nd among first baseman with a -0.3 WAR. What that tells you is that Howard was actually costing the Phillies wins last year. It is no secret that “The Big Piece” has been a detriment in the Phillies lineup the last few seasons. However, with Ryan finally healthy, free of personal distractions, and working hard, he could get his average back in the .260 range and still pop 25 home runs this season, and more importantly be more nimble and athletic on defense. Those numbers do not come close to justifying his $25 million salary this season, but it could entice a club to finally make a trade for him, or who knows, it could even spike his WAR and help the Phillies win a few extra games this season. The question is, is Howard willing to put in that extra work to be a valuable player again at age 35? Only time will tell.

2. Starting Pitching

Coles Hamels is still a Phillie. With Ruben Amaro in no hurry to trade his most valuable asset, the Phillies long time ace will be the opening day starter come April 6th. Hamels posted a career best 2.46 ERA last season, and also ended the season with a WAR of 6.6, which was tied for the best mark of his career. Hamels is obviously in the prime of his career, and as long as he is throwing for the Phillies they will have a chance to win all 30 (give or take) of his starts.

Behind Cole Hamels is former ace Cliff Lee who is coming off a season where he was shut down on July 31st because of a strained flexor tendon in his elbow. There are many questions marks surrounding his health and how effective he can be at age 36. Still, Lee is only two years removed from a season which saw him make the All-Star game, and in which he started 31 games and went 14-8 with a 2.87 ERA. Lee also threw 222 strikeouts that season which was the second best mark of his 13-year-career. It is obviously fair to wonder if at 36-years-old Lee can return to full form from an elbow injury. However, early reports out of Spring Training have Lee throwing the ball like his old self. If Lee can pitch like he is capable of, then the Phillies will still have one of the better one-two punches in all of baseball atop their rotation.

Can Cliff Lee return to form in 2015?

Can Cliff Lee return to form in 2015?

The Phillies also brought back Jerome Williams who was the surprise of 2014 posting a 2.83 ERA for the Phillies in nine starts. Aaron Harang was also added as a fifth starter after a solid season in Atlanta last year. With a plethora of injuries and people moving in and out of the starting rotation, the Phillies still managed to have a 3.79 team ERA in 2014 which was just below the league average of 3.74. With a healthy Lee, and hopefully a more stable rotation in 2015, there is no reason that the rotation can perform even better this season.

3. Young Players with Something to Prove

With Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd being shipped out this offseason as well as the rumored trade attempts of Ryan Howard, the Phillies officially began going out with the old and in with the new(er) and younger players in the organization. That means five out of the eight starting everyday players on this team will either be 27 years old or younger, have five or less years experience in the Major Leagues, or for many a combination of the two. The only “old” guys that remain in the lineup are Utley, Howard, and Ruiz who can all still potentially produce at a solid level as we saw from Utley last year who was an All-Star.

You don’t think Domonic Brown is itching to prove that he isn’t a bust? After all, he did show plenty of All-Star potential in the first half of 2013. At age 27, he isn’t a complete loss yet. A positive to take from Domonic Brown’s poor season in 2014 was that only five other left fielders in baseball had a better strikeout percentage than Brown’s 17.8%. Brown has no trouble making contact with the ball, now it is just about putting the ball in play and improving his poor defense in left field that he has struggled with his whole career.

How about Freddy Galvis, who is finally getting a chance to be a regular every day starter at shortstop with Rollins departing, he is clearly the weakest hitter of the bunch, but defensively the Phillies shouldn’t lose too much with him at shortstop replacing J-Roll.

There’s also Cody Asche, whose work ethic has been compared to that of Chase Utley’s. He batted only .252 in his first full season at the Major League level, but don’t forget in Utley’s first couple of seasons up in the big leagues he batted .239 and .266 before erupting in his third season. There is a reason Cody was a highly touted prospect, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him amp up his game in 2015.

Lastly, you have Ben Revere, who already had a breakout season in 2014 hitting .306 and stealing 49 bases. Entering only his fifth full season in the Major Leagues, Revere’s game is on the upswing. Revere finished last season with a WAR of 2.0. This ranked him 14th among CFs and above guys such as Matt Kemp, Dexter Fowler, and Coco Crisp. His numbers will be even stronger if he improves his game defensively where he had a -1.8 dWAR, by far the worst of his young career. If Revere can cut down his mistakes in the outfield he could certainly become an All-Star player. With him leading off at the top of the lineup and a group of hungry young hitters behind him, it wouldn’t shock me to see this Phillies offensive pump a little more runs in 2015.

4. The Bullpen

If you want him traded or here, if you love him or hate him, it doesn’t matter. There is no denying that Jonathon Papelbon, even at age 34, is one of the best closers in the game. He proved that again last year by posting a 2.04 ERA and 39 saves in 43 attempts with a WHIP under 1.00. Under Papelbon, was closer-in-waiting Ken Giles who wowed Phillies fans with his 100 MPH fastball. However, Giles isn’t just a circus attraction as he posted a 1.18 ERA and had an amazing 68 strikeouts in just 44 games pitched. Papelbon and Giles make a great one-two punch in the bullpen that is going to make it hard for teams to score late against the Phillies.

Last year, Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus finally showed some of their great potential by being a lethal 7th inning combo. Lefties hit only .239 off of Diekman last year, while righties hit only .230 off of De Fratus. Actually, it didn’t matter what side you batted on against De Fratus last year as lefties hit only .209 off of him as well! The Phillies have potentially their best 7th-8th-9th inning bullpen combo since “The Bridge to Lidge” in 2008 with Chad Durbin, JC Romero, Ryan Madson, and Brad Lidge.

Look, I’m no fool. With all this being said, I don’t expect the Phillies to seriously compete in the NL East or make any kind of a postseason run. I fully understand that runs are going to be hard to come by this season, and it is going to be difficult to rely on the health of guys like Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, and Carlos Ruiz. This team has a plethora of problems that 25 other experts can depress you with. I’m just looking for some reason to be optimistic that I believe exists within this team deep inside. This Phillies club has nothing to lose and expectations for them could not get any lower. If on the slim chance all the stars aligned and this team played up to the potential of the talent they have, then maybe just maybe they could win some extra games that Phillies fans aren’t expecting. If you’re stopping by Vegas, that over 68 might be worth a look.

  • 24 Comments
 

Utley Plans on Staying, Is He Our Jeter?

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Tue, July 15, 2014 07:46 PM Comments: 37

Ruben Amaro recently said he would be looking to sell as the July 31st trade deadline approaches. While some current Phillies players might welcome a trade to a contending team, such as closer Jonathon Papelbon, others have no plans but to continue wearing red pinstripes. One of those players is the Phillies lone All-Star, second baseman Chase Utley.

“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” he said Monday. “I’ve picked some brains over the course of the last few years. I really enjoy Philadelphia. I love playing baseball in Citizens Bank Park. I love playing in front of Philly fans. There’s no better place to play in my opinion. Obviously winning is important and you want to do that, and I would like to do that in Philadelphia.”

Utley has played all 12 years of his professional career with the Phillies batting .288, with 225 career home runs, and never having a season with a WAR below 2.3. Of course, he was an integral part of the 2008 World Series Championship team.

However, Utley made it clear that he won’t over stay his welcome in Philadelphia either.

“If someone at some point comes up to me and says you’re not wanted in Philadelphia anymore, I might have to rethink that,” he said. “I think if I was a betting man I would say probably there will be no change.”

I would have to agree with Utley on this one. When Ruben Amaro signed him to a new contract that has the potential to go five years in length, he essentially was deciding to make Utley a Phillie for life. In a day and age where it is rare for a player to play his entire career with one team, it would be nice to see Chase Utley retire as a Phillie just as Derek Jeter is retiring as a New York Yankee.

The flip side of that is that aside from pitchers Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, Utley has the most value out of any other potential trade piece on the Phillies. Would you rather get assets in return for Utley while you still can, or have him be Mr. Phillie and retire in Philadelphia?

You can catch Chase Utley tonight as the starting second baseman for the National League All-Star team. Utley will be making his 6th start for the NL All-Star team and batting 7th. The game airs at 8:00 tonight on FOX.

  • 37 Comments
 

Gameday 79: Braves @ Phlliies

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Sat, June 28, 2014 07:22 PM Comments: 65

Atlanta Braves (42-38) at Philadelphia Phillies (36-44)

Starting Pitchers:
ATL: RHP David Hale (2-2, 3.14)
vs.
PHI: RHP Sean O’Sullivan (0-0)

Time: 7:15, Citizens Bank Park
TV: Comcast Sportsnet
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 85
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight:

The Phillies will attempt to salvage the day-night doubleheader against the Braves after losing the matinee game. Veteran Sean O’Sullivan was called up from Lehigh Valley to make this spot start for the Phillies. O’Sullivan was 3-6 with a 4.31 ERA in 15 games started for the Iron Pigs in 2014. Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, and Cody Asche are the three Phillies players who are starting both the afternoon and night game today.

Lineup:

Revere CF / Rollins SS / Byrd RF / Howard 1B / Mayberry LF / Asche 3B / Hernandez 2B / Rupp C / O’Sullivan P

  • 65 Comments
 

Gameday 78: Braves @ Phillies

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Sat, June 28, 2014 01:01 PM Comments: 32

Atlanta Braves (41-38) at Philadelphia Phillies (36-43)

Starting Pitchers:
ATL: RHP Ervin Santana (5-5, 4.15)
vs.
PHI: RHP Roberto Hernandez (3-6, 4.41)

Time: 2:05, Citizens Bank Park
TV: Comcast Sportsnet
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 85
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight:

The Phillies will be looking to take the first game of a day-night doubleheader against the Braves with Roberto Hernandez on the mound. The Braves took the first game of this four game series last night with a 4-2 victory. The Phillies lineup will be looking quite differently for the first game of this doubleheader with former Washington Nationals catcher Koyie Hill getting the start for the Phillies at backstop and batting seventh. Jimmy Rollins will also be getting the day portion of the doubleheader off as Ronny Cedeno gets the stop at shortstop and will be batting eighth. Manager Ryne Sandberg looks to put some speed at top of the lineup with Gwynn starting in right field and batting second behind Ben Revere. Domonic Brown is also back in the Phillies lineup after not playing last night, and he will be hitting sixth behind Cody Asche.

Lineup:

Revere CF / Gwynn RF / Utley 2B / Howard 1B / Asche 3B / Brown LF / Hill C / Cedeno SS / Hamels P

  • 32 Comments
 

As the Weather Gets Warmer, So Might the Phillies

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Fri, May 23, 2014 02:10 PM Comments: 7

As we enter Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of Summer, baseball may be an afterthought for many Phillies fans as they head down the Jersey shore. Who can blame them? The Phillies sit four games under .500 and in last place in the National League East.

Many fans anticipate a long summer, but a short Phillies season, without any hope in it. That belief is understandable, after all the Phillies are only 20-24 while being relatively healthy this season, and have put together one of the worst bullpens in recent memory. The veteran players such as Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have been playing well, while the younger players who were expected to step their game up this season such as Ben Revere and Domonic Brown have played poorly up to this point. The future is not looking so bright.

However, there is reason to believe that as the days get hotter so will the Phillies. The three members of the Phillies core (Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley) all perform better as the season progresses. In fact, all three begin peaking around July, and all three perform especially well in September/October when it matters the most. For instance, in 207 career games in the month of May, Howard has a merger .244 batting average and a .326 OBP. As opposed to the month of July where Howard has a career .283 batting average with a .378 OBP. Howard’s heat up continues all the way into the final month of the season where he has a career batting average of .291 with 67 home runs and 199 RBIs. It is also the only month of the season where Howard averages an OBP over .400.

J-Roll’s career numbers in July, August, and September/October are all better than his May and June numbers. Like Howard, Rollins normally finishes his season on a high note in September/October where he averages 47 home runs, 11 home runs more than any other month, and an OBP of .482 with the next closest month being 53 points lower. Utley’s best month of the season always seems to be July where he holds a .314 batting average and a SLG percentage over .550. The best is yet to come for the Phillies veteran core players in 2014.

Those numbers don’t just extend to the core players either. Statistically, Domonic Brown’s best baseball is played in July. Carlos Ruiz, a notorious slow starter, seems to always finish his seasons strong as his career averages point to August and September/October being his two best months of the year. Even ace Cole Hamels has a 3.65 career ERA in the first half of the season compared to a 3.07 ERA in the second half of the season.

Even with their “mediocre” start, as General Manager Ruben Amaro put it, the Phillies woke up Friday morning only 5 games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in a tight division. To put that into perspective, the Phillies were 6.5 games back on this exact same date seven years ago in 2007. Of course, the Phillies would go on to win their first of five consecutive NL East titles that year. The division is still very much within reach for any of the five teams competing in it.

Here’s the point, a baseball season is a marathon not a sprint. As frustrating as the Spring has been for the Phillies, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful for the Summer. Not only has the team remained generally healthy, but veteran players that many people had begin to write off (myself included) such as Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Marlon Byrd are all currently having all-star caliber seasons. More importantly, none of those three players or Ryan Howard have seen the disabled list yet. If the Phillies core group of players can remain on the field, then they should revert to their career averages as most baseball players do. If that is the case, then Phillies fans are only about a month away from seeing some exciting baseball at Citizens Bank Park this summer. This 2014 season is far from being a goner. So, relax on the beach this weekend, enjoy your burgers and hot dogs, crack open an ice cold beer, and get ready for the start of  summer, filled with Phillies baseball. It promises to get hotter.

  • 7 Comments
 

Hamels Sharp in Debut, but Bats Silent as Phillies Fall 5-2

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Thu, April 24, 2014 03:04 AM Comments: 31

After outscoring the Dodgers 10-2 in the first two games of the series, the Phillies bats went silent on Wednesday night as they lost in Los Angeles 5-2. In a familiar sight, the Phillies weren’t able to give a returning Cole Hamels much run support.

Hamels Sharp in Debut

-Cole Hamels looked sharp in his 2014 debut. Hamels struck out Yasiel Puig in six pitches to start his season off. The southpaw looked sharp in the early going of this one. Hamels’ deadly changeup looked especially effective in the early innings, and it didn’t look like he missed a beat. The three-time All-Star finished the game throwing 86 pitches in six innings, striking out five, and allowing six hits with two earned runs. Hamels even went one for three at the plate, including giving the Phillies their first hit of the game in the top of the third inning. If this is the Cole Hamels that the Phillies are going to get all season to go along with AJ Burnett and Cliff Lee, then no matter how poor the rest of the team plays they are going to be in a lot of games this year.

Bullpen Struggles Continue

-The Phillies bullpen continued to look like one of the worst bullpens in recent memory as Jeff Manship, Mario Hollands, and Shawn Camp, who was making his season debut for the Phillies, allowed a combined six hits and three earned runs in just two total innings. Hamels left the game with the Phillies still very much in it, however, the bullpen couldn’t keep the Dodgers off the board once they entered the game. It is an obvious point, but worth repeating over and over again, the Phillies are not going to be very successful this season no matter how great the offense and starting pitching staff is with a bullpen that is as disastrous as this one.

Howard Continues Great Play, Rest of Bats Struggle

-Ryan Howard continued his terrific road trip going one for three in this game with a walk and a RBI single that got the Phillies on the board in the fourth inning. It was Howard’s fifth consecutive game with a hit. The “Big Piece” has seen his average shoot up to .273 during the Phillies current road trip. Howard’s approach at the plate is the best it his has been in years right now, and if the Phillies want any chance of competing this year they need him to continue this kind of play.

-The rest of the Phillies bats were quiet tonight as they only mustered five total hits in the game. Jayson Nix homered to left center field for his first of the season, and was able to jump his average to a whopping .185 with that home run. Marlon Byrd continued his terrible offensive display this season by getting no hits in four at bats in this game and striking out another two times. Byrd had a chance to drive in a run in the sixth inning after a Chase Utley double and Ryan Howard walk, but was only able to dribble the ball in front of the catcher. Byrd, is now hitting an unremarkable .238 this season with a dismal .274 OBP while leading the Phillies in strikeouts. Not exactly the start Ruben Amaro’s big free agent signing was hoping for to start the season.

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Gameday 21: Phillies vs. Dodgers

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Wed, April 23, 2014 07:40 PM Comments: 19


Philadelphia Phillies (10-10) at Los Angeles Dodgers (12-9)

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: LHP Cole Hamels (0-0, 0.00)
vs.
LAD: RHP Zach Greinke (3-0, 2.42)

Time: 10:10, Dodger Stadium
TV: Comcast Sportsnet
Weather: Sunny, 70
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight:

Cole Hamels makes his long awaited season debut tonight. What better place for Hamels to make his season debut than in a stadium that has been home away from home for him. Hamels is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in four career starts at Dodger Stadium. The three-time All-Star will look to solidify the top of the rotation alongside Cliff Lee and AJ Burnett. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg made it clear that there will be no restrictions for Hamels who is starting in his first major league game since September 25th of last year. Hamels will be looking to help the Phillies clinch a series win in this four game set against the Dodgers.

Standing in the way for the Dodgers is their ace Zach Greinke. Greinke may very well be the best pitcher in the National League right now. Greinke, who won his first three starts of the season before getting a no-decision last Friday, has not allowed more than two runs in any of his four starts this season. The Dodger right-hander has gone 10-1 with a 1.71 ERA in his last 15 starts dating back to last season. As good as Cole Hamels has pitched against the Dodgers, Greinke has been even better against the Phillies going 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last four games against them. Adrian Gonzalez will not be in the lineup for the Dodgers tonight which I’m sure Cole Hamels has no problem with. This game is setup to be a pitching duel with two of the best pitchers in the National League squaring off against each other.

Lineup:

Revere CF / Rollins SS / Utley 2B / Howard 1B / Byrd RF / Brown LF / Ruiz C / Galvis 3B / Hamels P

  • 19 Comments
 

Burnett Struggles Early, Cubs Blow Out Phillies 8-3

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Sun, April 06, 2014 06:20 PM Comments: 13

There was a classic Chase Utley at-bat today. #Phillies GIF: on Twitpic

Chase Utley gets hit by a pitch for the 157th time in his career

After outscoring the Cubs 9-2 in the first two games of the series, the Phillies were outscored 8-3 on Sunday afternoon as they failed to sweep the Cubs in Chicago for the first time since 2009.

Burnett Struggles Early

-AJ Burnett struggled early in this ball game. Burnett faced eight batters in the first inning, walking three of them, and gave up all four of his earned runs here. Burnett struggled controlling his pitches as he walked six batters. However, he did manage to settle down after the first inning and went on to pitch 4 2/3 more innings without giving up any earned runs. Burnett finished the game with 5 2/3 innings pitched, striking out three, and giving up five hits. Burnett was charged with eight total runs, four earned, and four unearned after Ben Revere’s error in the sixth inning.

-Brad Lincoln made his Phillies debut in the sixth inning by recording the final out. Lincoln gave up a single to Anthony Rizzo which lead to a run, before getting Nate Schierholtz to fly out to end the inning. It is a bit curious as to why manager Ryne Sandberg waited until the sixth game of the season to debut Lincoln. However, he did look solid in his brief appearance as he threw eight of his twelve pitches for strikes. It will be interesting to see where Sandberg utilizes Lincoln moving forward.

-Right-hander Jeff Manship continued to look good early on in the season as he pitched the final two innings for the Phillies giving up no hits, one walk, zero runs, and striking out two.

Ryne Sandberg Misses First Challenge

-Ryne Sandberg made his first challenge of the year in the top of the fifth inning after Utley was ruled out on a close play at first base. In my eyes, Utley appeared to reach first base just as the ball was hitting the glove of Cub’s first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Sandberg went out to talk to first base umpire CB Bucknor, before getting confirmation from Larry Bowa in the dugout to challenge. The call on the field stood, however, as the video replay evidence was not strong enough to overturn the original call. Utley was credited with a RBI on the play as Ben Revere scored.

-The Phillies offense missed a great opportunity in the fourth inning when they had bases loaded and only one out. Cody Asche grounded into a fielder’s choice to Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva who threw to home plate to record the second out. AJ Burnett then weakly flied out to center field. While it was still early in the game, this may have been a situation where Sandberg should have thought about pinch-hitting for AJ Burnett. With the Phillies down 4-0 and the bases loaded this was an opportunity for them to get back in the ball game. Sandberg has already shown this year he is not afraid to make some bold moves, and Burnett only went on to pitch another 1 2/3 innings.

-The Phillies would get one more bases-loaded opportunity in the ninth inning. Asche scored on a Rollins fielder’s choice, and Revere crossed home plate after a wild pitch by Cub’s relief pitcher Pedro Strop. However, it was too little too late as Ryan Howard’s fly out to center ended the threat and the game.

-Chase Utley continued his torrid start to the season by getting on base three more times in this contest and raising his OBP to .536. This included being hit by a pitch in the first inning in typical Utley fashion. You may refer to the above video for what has become a staple in his career. Remarkably, that was the 157th time that Utley has been hit by a pitch in his career.

  • 13 Comments
 

Gameday 6: Phillies vs. Cubs

Posted by Martin Shnayder, Sun, April 06, 2014 01:01 PM Comments: 6

phillies

other

Philadelphia Phillies (3-2) at Chicago Cubs (1-4)

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: RHP A.J. Burnett (0-0, 1.50)
vs.
CHI: RHP Carlos Villanueva (0-2, 13.50)

Time: 2:20, Wrigley Field
TV: CSN
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 54
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight:

The Phillies will be looking to bring out the brooms on Sunday afternoon, as they attempt to sweep the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field for the first time since 2009. The Cubs are still looking for their first home win of the season, their 100th in the confines of Wrigley Field. Carlos Villanueva will be looking to stop the Phillies from sweeping. Villanueva, who has already earned two losses on the season, will be making his first start of the year. The 30-year-old righty appeared in two late-inning relief appearances against the Pirates, and gave up the walk-off runs in both contests. Villanueva is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 14 career games against the Phillies. However, 13 of those games were out of the bullpen, and his sole start against the Phillies came with the Toronto Blue Jays on July 2, 2011, when he went 6 2/3 innings with three earned runs in Roy Halladay’s winning return to Toronto.

The Phillies will be sending AJ Burnett out to the mound for his second start of the season. Burnett had a solid if unspectacular debut for the Phillies against the Rangers when he yielded just one run in six innings, however, had some clear control problems as he walked three batters and gave up seven hits as well in a no decision. The good news for the Phillies is that Burnett has never lost in Wrigley Field. Burnett is 5-0 in his career at Wrigley Field, and 7-2 overall with a 2.99 ERA in 11 lifetime games against the Cubs. The Phillies have outscored the Cubs 9-2 so far in the series. If the Phillies can continue to stay patient at the plate and work the count as they have been, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to get to right-hander Carlos Villanueva. With Burnett backing the Phillies offense up on the mound, they very well may get their first three-game sweep in Wrigley Field since 2009.

Lineup:

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

  • 6 Comments
 
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