Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, April 22, 2013 09:59 PM Comments: 32
Jonathan Pettibone’s major league debut was a success in the Phillies 3-2 win.
-Really impressive outing for Jonathan Pettibone. After the first few batters it didn’t look like he’d make it one inning, let alone 5 1/3. The rookie struck out six, did not issue a walk, and allowed only six hits. Two of those hits were solo home runs.
-Before the game, Charlie Manuel expressed the need for Pettibone to stay in control and keep emotions in check. The cold weather couldn’t have helped, either, as the chill of the air probably made for a wonderful grip. But Pettibone made it work and the results showed.
Phils O Puts Up Enough
-In the fourth, Burnett loaded the bases with nobody out on a single by Michael Young, a walk to Domonic Brown, and a single by Ben Revere. Erik Kratz put together a tough at-bat, fouling off six pitches before striking out. Pettibone did his best in the box, but struck out. The final hope of the inning, Jimmy Rollins, got plunked on the knee on an errant 94 mph sinker. That probably felt amazing in this weather. The result was the Phillies second run. John Mayberry would strike out to end the inning. The Phillies really needed two runs there, no excuse for coming away with less against a pitcher on the ropes.
-And why did they need that run? Because Russell Martin went yard during the first at bat the following inning for the Pirates.
-Hitting with runners in scoring position happens to be a major chore for this club. The Phils were 1-for-10 before Rollins knocked in Kratz in the sixth on a single to make it 3-2 Phillies. Either way, situational hitting remains puzzling experience.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, April 22, 2013 09:08 PM Comments: 5
There’s a reason why the Philly native was the Phillies top pick in the draft just a few seasons ago. Jesse Biddle struck out 16 and brought a perfect game into the seventh inning on Monday night.
His final line: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 16 K. He threw just 104 pitches, 74 for strikes. Lets that line sink in for a second. Forget it feels like Fargo in the northeast right now. That’s incredibly impressive.
Biddle tearing up Double-A hitters at just 21-years-old is a fantastic sign. In the grand scheme, it means little that he nearly threw a no-hitter. But what it does mean is that he’s a rising star in the organization.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, April 20, 2013 03:21 PM Comments: 3
This is just cool. And we’re all baseball fans, so this should hit home no matter what team or city you root for. After a draining week following the Boston Marathon bombing, the Red Sox held a riveting ceremony. Here’s some of it, courtesy of Deadspin and NESN.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, April 19, 2013 08:05 AM Comments: 15
“I think it’s ridiculous that we’ve had no walks in three days. I cannot believe it. More importantly, it’s about not just walks, but producing, and we haven’t done that. We haven’t gotten hits, period. We haven’t gotten hits with runners in scoring position, we haven’t gotten hits to lead off innings. We need more people on base and more offensive production. You’ve got to give some credit to the pitchers, but not all of it. We just need to be better. It’s as simple as that. Right now we’re not.”
Truer words were never spoken. That was Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., before the Phillies/Cardinals series opener on Thursday addressing the lack of plate discipline the team has shown recently. During Thursday’s game, the Phillies did manage – walks, but one game hardly says slumpbuster.
Amaro’s frustration is shared by many who have asked that this team take more walks, or at the very least, more pitches. That was the calling card of the mid-2000′s Phillies, led by Pat Burrell.
In 2007, at the height of the Phillies offensive output, their on-base percentage was a robust .354. Burrell was third in the major leagues with 114 walks, Ryan Howard fifth with 107. As a team, they led the NL in both categories that season. And it’s no surprise that in 2007, five of the top six teams in bases on balls made the postseason.
Fast forward to this season, and the Phillies are doing their best to stay off the base paths. They’re getting on base at a lousy .291 clip, just ahead of bottom feeders like the Cubs and Marlins in the National League.
Certainly, it’s not all about drawing walks – you must be able to hit. The Phils can’t manage that either. Their 126 strikeouts are fifth worst in baseball, and they rank in the bottom third in the majors in several major offensive categories.
And when you can’t hit for power or get on base, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. The Braves have struck out a league-high 121 times, slightly more than the Phillies. However, they also lead the NL in home runs, which more than makes up for their high swing and miss rate.
In the American League, the A’s are in the same boat. Lots of strikeouts, but lots of homers and walks. They’re filled with no-named players, yet lead the AL West because of this approach.
So, how did we get here? Aging veterans means slower bat speed, resulting in the need to guess a little earlier. Those veterans are in place because Amaro felt they represented the best fit for his ball club, some of them on long-term contracts, others as a stopgap. Free-swingers like John Mayberry Jr, Laynce Nix, and Erik Kratz have compounded the issues as role players that lack plate discipline.
And don’t look for Charlie Manuel to ask his guys to sit there and wait for ball four. Prior to Thursday’s game, Manuel admitted he never preached walks, that he’d like to see the team put balls in play. But he did admit that something has to give. Even Manuel understands that to get guys home, you’ve gotta put guys on.
Aging, high-priced players and Amaro’s inability to execute on the lesser, role players has this team searching for a way to score runs. Can it change?
Delmon Young is the epitome of a free-swinging slugger. If healthy, he’ll help the power numbers, but has a career .317 OBP. Young is also a negative threat once he’s on base. Darin Ruf might give this lineup a shot of life, but can’t play the outfield. Does it make sense to trade for another veteran bat to add to an already-aging roster? Would Ruben attempt to overhaul the roster, clear out some of the vets, and attempt to start anew?
There are no easy answers right now, as the team you see is the team you get. Changes must come from within. But that’s part of the problem. Can this group of players become disciplined, when recent history shows a major decline in that department?
Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, April 18, 2013 10:01 PM Comments: 30
After experience major pains in Cincinnati earlier this week, an extension of the offensive troubles in Miami, the Phillies lit up the board with 13 hits, but still fell short against the Cardinals, 4-3.
Hamels Returning to Form
-Cole Hamels looked closer to the Hamels of old, as he struck out eight Cardinals in seven innings. He allowed five hits, two walks, and three runs, but looked to have better command of the strike zone, something that has plagued him in the early going.
-Mike Adams gave up a solo home run to Carlos Beltran and also walked Allen Craig in the eighth inning. On the surface, it would look like a small blip. However, on the home run to Beltran, Adams hit just 90 mph on the gun. His average fastball this season is below 90, a 2 mph drop from 2012 and a 3 mph drop from 2011. Adams is coming off a surgery where a rib was permanently removed, so it could be a rebuilding of strength. Regardless, it’s something to keep an eye on.
Offense gets to Wainwright
-The offense didn’t torch him, but the Phillies did “explode” for nine hits against a pitcher who was coming off a 12-strikeout shutout of the Brewers last week. All told, they managed 13 hits against Cards pitching.
-The issue wasn’t the base hits, but the lack of pitches taken. The Phillies did not walk and haven’t taken a BB since Sunday in Miami. As Ruben Amaro stated before the game, that is unacceptable. Wainwright threw just 28 pitches that were not strikes. Yes, he’s one of the best in the game at pounding the strike zone. However, the Phillies could only work two three-ball counts against the St. Louis starter. It’s not going to get any better unless they find better ways to get guys aboard.
For all those wondering (of course you are), #Phillies 1 inning away from becoming 4th NL team since ’35 to go 4 G in row without drawing BB
-Freddy Galvis is going to be a fan favorite soon. Not only was he in the lineup for the first time in his career as left fielder, but he belted a double deep to left-center field and finished the game 2-for-4 with a few hard hit balls. Charlie Manuel spoke very highly of him before the game. Could he be the spark? It’s going to be hard to keep him out of the lineup if he continues to have solid at-bats.
Ninth Inning Heroics Fall Short
-In the ninth, Ben Revere jump aboard with a single up the middle, then moved to third on an Erik Kratz bloop single. Frandsen moved Kratz up to second on a ground out. But that’s where it would end as Jimmy Rollins struck out and Galvis grounded out to end the threat.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, April 18, 2013 06:21 PM Comments: 21
St. Louis Cardinals (8-6) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (6-9)
Adam Wainwright (2-1, 2.05) vs Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.56)
Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park TV: MLB Network, The Comcast Network (Home of Phillies Nation TV) Weather: Cloudy, 60 Media:Twitter and Facebook
John Lannan will miss roughly 6 weeks with a quad strain in his left leg, just above his knee. I spoke with Lannan around 3:30 pm, and he thought that he’d be back much sooner. But the word from Charlie Manuel is that the lefty will be out an extended period.
The Phillies will make a corresponding move to bring a reliever up, then make a move Monday for a starter from Lehigh Valley. They’ll select from Jonathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin, or Tyler Cloyd, Ruben Amaro said today. He also mentioned Adam Morgan, but he’s least likely to be selected as he tossed 100 pitches today.
Domonic Brown is OK; he had a x-rays on his back, which came back negative. Saw him out in the field shagging flies, and he looked fine.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, April 15, 2013 05:03 PM Comments: 47
Philadelphia Phillies (6-6) at Cincinnati Reds (5-7)
Cliff Lee (2-0, 1.08) vs. Bronson Arroyo (1-1, 5.25)
Time: 7:10 pm, Great American Ballpark TV: ESPN, PHL 17 Weather: Partly Cloudy, 68 Media:Twitter and Facebook
First, let us send out thoughts and prayers to the people who may have been affected by the heinous bombings at the Boston Marathon. We certainly hope that if you have friends or family in the area that they are safe and accounted for. After this tragic event, baseball will be played. Jonathan Papelbon: “I used to live right above where one of the bombs went off.” So sad.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, April 14, 2013 06:06 PM Comments: 13
Roy Halladay won his 200th career game, as the Phils held on for deal life, 2-1, over the Marlins.
Doc Looking Better
-Anything would be better than the first two starts, but Halladay was in full control for most of the day. Through eight innings, Roy gave up just one run and one walk while striking out two. He needed only 87 pitches to go that deep, as the young, inexeprienced, and downright terrible Marlins offense was impatient.
-The question that stands out about this outing from Doc; how much of it was Halladay figuring things out, and how much of it had to do with it being the Miami Marlins? The answer is both. Halladay was clearly more crisp, especially as the game got into the middle innings. But you couldn’t help but think that a more talented offensive team would have punished Doc a little bit more.
Offense Gives Little
-The Phillies put up just six runs in three games against a bad team. Perhaps most importantly, they won two of the three. It was a sluggish showing and one they’ll have to quickly forget. Coming up, a Reds team that can slug, meaning they’ll have to be more focused offensively.
-The issue that stands out is leaving runners on base. The Phillies managed 12 hits on the day, but finished with only two crossing the plate. They’ll have to tighten up their situational hitting or it’ll be an ugly three-game set with Cincy.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, April 13, 2013 09:20 AM Comments: 14
Q: “42” a film about the life of Jackie Robinson opens in theaters this weekend, which got me to wondering: What are some of your favorite baseball movies and why?
Amanda Orr: The Sandlot! One of my all time favorite movies. I watched it all the time as a kid. It’s a movie I have to watch at least once every summer. Not only is it funny and has some great lines, but it taught me who Babe Ruth was when I was young.
Eric Seidman: For me it’s a tie. From a rewatchability standpoint, you can’t beat The Sandlot, which is just a terrific feel-good movie and not a “kids” movie but rather a great baseball movie about kids. From a technical standpoint I’ll take 61* any and every day of the week over everything else. It has great performances from Thomas Jane and Barry Pepper and a really informative behind-the-scenes look at that season. This movie doesn’t get a lot of love as it was an HBO original movie, but all non-Sandlot baseball movies I’ve seen pale in comparison.
Pat Gallen: It’s Mr. Baseball with Tom Selleck and it’s not even close. The mustache alone is worthy of 3 stars out of 4. Plus, in the movie, Selleck’s character led the team in 9th inning doubles in the month of August. Quite a feat. And, Dennis Haysbert from Major League is in it! In all seriousness, it’s Major League, the original. Bob Uecker is hysterical and makes the film what it is. And who wouldn’t want a skip like Lou Brown? Continue reading Writer’s Roundtable: Favorite Baseball Movies