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Phillies Bring Back Jerome Williams With One-Year Deal

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, October 22, 2014 12:14 AM Comments: 17

081214-williams-jerome-600Jerome Williams will be returning to The Phillies after agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. This past season, Williams went 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA in nine starts with the Phillies.

Before coming to Philadelphia, Williams spent some time with both the Astros and Rangers and went 2-5 with a 6.71 ERA in 28 appearances. He seemed to find a groove once he landed in Philadelphia, with his best start coming against the NL Central-champion Cardinals. In that start, Williams went eight innings while giving up just one run on five hits.

With the health of Cliff Lee and the uncertain return of A.J. Burnett, the rotation is a huge question mark going into 2015. The Phillies are hoping that Williams can help by duplicating the success he had last season.

  • 17 Comments
 

Franco Makes MLB Debut as Kendrick Shuts Down Braves

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, September 03, 2014 12:53 AM Comments: 12

Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals

Following Monday’s combined no-hitter, Kyle Kendrick kept the Brave’s offense in check once again by allowing only three hits in one of his best starts of the season.

Kendrick threw seven innings of shutout baseball while striking out four and walking two against a struggling Brave’s offense, and led the Phillies to their 10th victory in their last 14 games.

Kendrick escaped a couple of jams, most notably in the first inning, which has been the toughest inning for the righty this season. After loading the bases, Kendrick was able to strike out Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson to end the inning.

maikel-franco-acbfe5b074b8992cKendrick was backed by Carlos Ruiz, who hit his fifth homer of the season and finished with two RBIs. Darin Ruf and September call-up Maikel Franco also contributed RBIs in the win.

Franco, who is the Phillies’ top prospect, is expected to see plenty of playing time at both first and third base during the last month of the season, and is expected to get about 50-60 at-bats.

Time to see what the kids got.

  • 12 Comments
 

Papelbon’s Legacy in Philly

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, August 27, 2014 12:56 PM Comments: 40

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Love him, or hate him, Jonathan Papelbon is quietly having one of the best seasons of his career, and is climbing the ranks on the Phillies’ all-time closers list.

Last night, Papelbon converted his 33rd save on the season, and his 100th save overall in a Phillies’ uniform, which ties him with Brad Lidge for 4th all-time in Phillies’ history. Since signing a 4-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies back in November of 2011, Papelbon has been great despite a “down” year last year when he only recorded 29 saves in 36 opportunities while posting a 2.92 ERA and a 1.135 WHIP.

This season, Papelbon has truly been “lights out.” His 33 saves ranks 9th in MLB, while his ERA (1.60) ranks 2nd among closers with 20+ saves, and his 2.9 WAR is tied for first among all closers.

Since giving up three ERs against the Giants back on July 23rd, Pap has been almost untouchable, giving up just one ER, while recording 10 saves and 17 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched over that stretch.

Papelbon’s best season in terms of ERA came back in 2006 with the Red Sox. That season, Papelbon finished with a .92 ERA while converting 35 of 41 save opportunities. His career high in saves came back in 2008, when he saved 41 games in 46 opportunities with the Red Sox while posting a 2.34 ERA

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This year, Papelbon is having a hybrid of his 2006 and 2008 seasons, and it is resulting in one of the best seasons of his career. With 29 games left to play, Papelbon could set a new career high in saves if he is able to record nine more.

At age 33, Papelbon’s fastball velocity is not what it used to be, but he has been able to consistently hit 92-93 with his fastball, and has utilized his breaking pitches effectively. He has learned to become more of a pitcher this season instead of relying on a 95+ fastball to blow by hitters. This is proven by his strikeouts. With only 54 SO in 56.1 innings pitched this season, Pap is on pace to finish with his 2nd lowest number of SO in a full season.

It seems like he has finally adjusted. Pretty nicely I might add.

So where does this leave Papelbon on the all-time Phillies’ closers list? Pretty high.

With his 100th save in a Phillies’ uniform last night, Papelbon is now only 12 behind Jose Mesa’s franchise high 112 saves. With one year still left on his 4-year contract, Papelbon will be the Phillies’ all-time leader in saves when it is all said and done. However, what will his legacy be in the minds of Philadelphia fans? His attitude, and some of the things that have come out of his mouth have rubbed some fans the wrong way during his time in Philadelphia. Love him, or hate him, Papelbon is having one whale of a season, and could very well be the best closer in Phillies’ history when his time in Philadelphia comes to an end.

 

  • 40 Comments
 

Jerome Williams Making Case for a Spot in 2015 Rotation

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Sun, August 24, 2014 09:12 PM Comments: 4

Journey-man right-hander Jerome Williams delivered another great game in his third game in a Phillies uniform Sunday afternoon, and is definitely starting to get some attention from the Phillies and their fans.

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The 32-year-old has been a different pitcher since coming to Philly. When he was with Houston and Texas earlier this season, Williams struggled mightily, going 2-5 with an ERA of 6.71 between the two ball clubs. However, in three starts with the Phillies, Williams is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA.

Sunday’s effort was his best yet, as he went 8 innings while giving up just one run on 5 hits to a very good Cardinals lineup.

So, could Williams’ performance make him a candidate for the Phillies’ 2015 rotation?

“He could be. We’ll have time to continue to watch. He’s had three outstanding games for us.” Ruben Amaro said after today’s game.

With A.J. Burnett possibly retiring after this season, and Kyle Kendrick’s future up in the air, the Phillies could use some help in the rotation next year.

Will Williams be a guy the Phillies can rely on? We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • 4 Comments
 

Time to Say Goodbye: A Fan’s Perspective

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Thu, July 31, 2014 05:57 PM Comments: 19

You know the song “Never Say Goodbye” by Bon Jovi? It seems as if Ruben Amaro Jr. has been listening to that song on repeat for last couple of years. He probably had it playing on his iPod up until today’s 4pm trade deadline concluded.

By now, every Phillies fan knows that the Phillies did not make a single move today, the final day of the non-waiver trade deadline. At this point, a lot of Phillies fans are probably feeling a little bit of confusion and anger. Does RAJ really believe that this same team will have a shot at competing next season? Has he been watching the same team us fans have been watching all season? How about the last couple of seasons? It appears not. Sadly, this current Phillies team will likely be the team we watch again next season, with potentially a couple pieces missing.

Today was the day to make a move. Today was the day to start planning for the future. Today was the right time to start sayingWorld Series: Tampa Bay Rays v Philadelphia Phillies, Game 5 goodbye.

I love the Phillies, and I love their players especially. I basically grew up with this core group of players. I started religiously watching Phillies baseball back in 2004 when CBP first opened. Players like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard are all I’ve ever known (with a little Abreu, Thome, and Burrell mixed in). These guys are my heros, and helped me find my love for the game of baseball by watching them play everyday. They have broken my heart many times, but they have also given me some of the happiest memories of my life. Memories like Ryan Howard’s ridiculous 2006 where he won both the home run derby and the NL MVP award. Memories like Shane Victorino hitting that dramatic grand slam against CC Sabathia in the 2008 NLDS. Memories like watching Roy Halladay throw a no-hitter in the playoffs against the Reds while I was bedridden with an ACL injury, and of course, memories like watching the entire team dog pile on each other after winning the World Series in 2008. Those memories can never be replaced.

However, there has been a lot of bad recently. The last two and a half seasons of mediocre baseball have been painfully hard to watch, especially considering that as recent as 2009 people around the sport were talking about a potential dynasty after the Phillies made their second consecutive World Series appearance. Despite all the bad, I have stuck with this team because I love them. When a sibling or a relative makes a mistake, do you stop loving them? Of course not. I will never stop loving them, but I can be angry with them.

The fact that not a single move was made today is unacceptable. Sure they can still make a move before the August 31st waiver deadline, but the time to make a big splash was today, and now that time is over. It is time to move on from this core group of players. RAJ and the front office needs to realize that this team’s winning days are over. Every fan realizes it, so why can’t they? There is no answer right now.

When this team finally decides to move on from the past, and start planning for the future, I’ll still be a fan. I’ll always be a fan of the fightins, but it needs to happen sooner than later.

It is truly time to say goodbye.

  • 19 Comments
 

Sizemore, Giles Proving Their Worth to Phillies

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, July 30, 2014 01:11 PM Comments: 8

The 2014 season has been a huge disappointment for Phillies fans. The Phillies find themselves 13 games under .500, and in last place in the NL East. The core group of players have not been productive enough to save this team, but some newcomers have found success since putting on a Phillies’ uniform. Those newcomers include Ken Giles and Grady Sizemore.

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Since signing with the Phillies, Sizemore has shown flashes of the young, talented, all-start center fielder he used to be back in 2008 with the Indians where he hit 33 home runs and drove in 90. He played 157 games that season, his last full season.

In 14 games with the Phillies this season, Sizemore has a .314 batting average, a .352 OBP, and hit his first home run as a Phillie last night against the Mets. It’s a small sample size, but the Phillies have struggled in the outfield all season long (besides Marlon Byrd). If Sizemore can finish the year strong, he could play into the Phillies’ future plans. Albeit the Phillies will likely be in the beginnings of a rebuilding phase, it would still be nice to watch Sizemore try to find the player he used to be back in 2008. Hopefully his injury days are over.

Ken Giles has been absolutely lights out since coming up to the big leagues. Hitting 100 mph at times, his fastball has been blowing by Major League hitters, and just jumps out of his hand like a rocket. Down 0-2 against him? You better watch out for a nasty slider. Needless to say, Giles has been very impressive in his 18 games with the Phillies. In 19.1 innings pitched, Giles has a .93 ERA, has struck out 27 batters (wow!), and has only walked 4 batters. Like Sizemore, Giles will definitely play into the Phillies’ future plans, and is shaping up to be their closer of the future. We could be witnessing the making of a star in the bullpen for the Phillies.

As we enter into a rebuilding period for the Phillies, these players could make the transition a little less painful.

  • 8 Comments
 

Players’ Performances Hurting/Helping Trade Value

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Tue, July 29, 2014 01:40 PM Comments: 12

The Phillies’ front office has been hard at work trying to get some pieces on the move to trade suitors in an attempt to re-tool for the future. Some players are making their job easier, while others are making things more difficult.

A.J. Burnett may have just pitched his final game in a Phillies uniform….or maybe not.

The right-hander’s performance in last night’s game could have been a turn off for potential trade suitors in regards to the July 31st trade deadline.

Burnett had an awful outing last night against the Mets, going five innings while allowing 7 earned runs on 8 hits. 

This season has been an up and down season for Burnett, as he was coming off one of his best performances of the season in his last start against the Giants where he threw 8 scoreless innings.   

On the season, Burnett is 6-10 with a 4.15 ERA, and has just not been able to find the same consistency he had last season with the Pirates. If last night’s start has indeed hurt his trade value, and the Phills cannot move him before Thursday, then they will have to clear waivers and try again before the August 31st.

Marlon Byrd is another player who could very likely be on the move by Thursday. Unlike Burnett, he has helped his trade value with his recent play on the field. Last night was no different, as Byrd went 4-5 from the three-hole with 4 singles. He also flashed the leather in right as he made a great back-handed catch on a ball that was heading towards the gap in right-center.

On the season, Bryd is having one of the best seasons of his career, batting .273 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs. He is on pace to set a new career high in home runs, and might be the best right-handed bat on the market. His value as a right-handed power bat would definitely be a lift to any contending team in need of one.

Tonight, Cole Hamels takes the mound in game two against the Mets, and while the Phillies have said that Hamels is on the market, it would take a ridiculous deal for the Phillies to even consider moving their 30-year-old left-handed ace. Hamels has been outstanding since starting the season on the DL, despite the fact that he only has a 5-5 record. He has a 2.72 ERA on the season, and has not allowed more that 3 earned runs in a game since May 27th against the Rockies. Baseball is a strange game, however, and anything can happen. Do I think that this could be Hamels’ last start as a Phillie? Nope. There is a slight possibility though.

  • 12 Comments
 

Phillies Need to Find Consistency

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Thu, May 08, 2014 04:49 PM Comments: 1

The Phillies have had a lot of trouble staying over the .500 mark so far this season. Just when it looks like this team has turned the corner, just when it looks like they might start winning more consistently, they disappoint us. Whether the offense spoils a brilliant outing by a starter, or the bullpen blows a late lead, the Phillies have struggled to win consistently.

Last weekend’s series against the Nationals got most fans excited because the Phillies made a statement, and it looked like they might be ready to go on a hot streak. Unfortunately, this week’s four-game series against the Blue Jays has been a major let down. Carrying the momentum from the Nats series, the Phillies looked poised for another potential series win against a struggling Jays team. That has not been the case so far, as the Phillies have lost three straight games. The offense has been the main problem so far in this series, as they have only scored five runs in the three games, and have been shut out twice. Last night’s game was defined by a nightmarish 7th inning where the Jays scored nine runs after Cliff Lee had been cruising; kind of a metaphor for how the Phillies’ season has gone so far.

If the Phillies want to return to the playoffs this season, they will need to start winning more consistently. Luckily for the Phillies, no team in the NL East has ran away with the division early in the season. An important thing for the Phillies to do is to get over .500, and stay over .500. This is something that they have struggled with recently, and it’s beginning to frustrate fans such as myself. Players like Ryan Howard (8 hits in his last 10 games) and Chase Utley (8 hits in his last 10 games) will need to pick up the slack, and Cody Asche will need to swing the bat like he did against the Jays on Tuesday night. The rest of May will be a huge test for the Phillies as they play six games agains the Mets, three games against the hot Marlins, three games against the Dodgers, Reds, and Rockies, and two games against the Mike Trout-lead Angels. The Phillies will need to beat some good teams down the line in order to find their consistency, and the fate of their season could depend on it. The great teams find ways to win games day in and day out. The Phillies will need to start finding ways to win games consistently if they want to contend this season.

  • 1 Comments
 

Nationals Series is Another Big Test for the Phills

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Fri, May 02, 2014 03:23 PM Comments: 3

If the Phillies have any hope to return to the post-season in 2014, they will need to play better than the other teams in the division, especially the Nationals and Braves. When the Phillies and Braves met up for a rain-shortened four game series a couple of weeks ago, the Phillies needed to prove that they could play with the Braves. Generally, they did that despite losing two of three. Much like that series was, this weekend’s series against the Nationals is another big test for this Phillies team.

The Nationals are a better team that the Phillies both on paper and statistically. Their offense is third in the NL in runs per game (4.50) while the Phillies’ offense ranks sixth (4.12). The Nationals also have a better on-base percentage (.328 versus .315) and slugging percentage (.415 versus .376). Their pitching is better than the Phillies’ as well. Their starters’ ERA is 3.74 while the Phillies’ starters have a 4.06 ERA. Their bullpen is significantly better as well with a 2.14  ERA compared to the Phillies’ 4.84.

While the Phillies have been playing better lately, this series against the Nationals is a big one. The Phillies need to prove that they can play on the same level as the Nationals, and in doing so, send a message to the rest of the division. The fact that they pushed back Kyle Kendrick’s start says a lot about the importance of this series as well since Kendrick has bad  career numbers against the Nats with a career 4.85 ERA. They will be throwing Lee, Burnett, and Hamels, their best arms, at the Nats this weekend, which makes this series a must win for the Phillies. A series win would be a huge boost to this team’s confidence, and would be a great bounce back after a sloppy loss against the Mets last Tuesday. Also, being more than one game over .500 would be nice for a change.

 

  • 3 Comments
 

Gameday 16: Rockies vs. Phillies

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Fri, April 18, 2014 05:15 PM Comments: 8

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otherPhiladelphia Phillies (7-8) at Colorado Rockies (8-9)

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Jonathan Pettibone
vs.
COL: Tyler Chatwood

Time: 8:40, Coors Field
TV: CSN
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, 52
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight:

The Phillies will send Jonathan Pettibone to the hill for his second start of 2014 after going five innings and giving up one earned run in his first start.

The Phillies’ offense has been dreadful ever since that eighth inning against the Braves last Monday. Hopefully the thin Colorado air will help wake the bats up.

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

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