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Gameday: Phillies (31-35) at Twins (29-33)

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, June 13, 2013 06:35 PM Comments: 69

minPhiladelphia Phillies (31-35) vs. Minnesota Twins (29-33)

Cliff Lee (7-2, 2.55 ERA) v. Kevin Correia (5-4, 4.11 ERA)

TIME: 8:10, Target Field
Weather: 74, Mostly Sunny
Media: Twitter and Facebook

What a difference a week can make.

This time last week, the Phillies were defeating the Brewers for their fifth straight win, catapulting them over the .500 mark for the first time all season. At that time, things were looking up, as the Phils looked to finally be rounding into form.

They haven’t won a game since, following up their 5-game win streak with five straight losses. If they lose tonight, it’ll be the first time this season they’ve lost six in a row. It will also mark the third time this season they’ve been five games below .500. What makes this particular losing streak even more painful is the fact that it’s come against bottom feeders like the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins–teams good clubs will beat.

Luckily for the Phils, Cliff Lee is on the mound tonight. Lee has easily been their best starter this season, and they desperately need a vintage performance from him. Lee’s been pretty good against the Twins over the course of his career, posting a 3.64 ERA. He has never faced them at pitcher-friendly Target Field.

You may remember Twins starter Kevin Correia from his NL days with the Giants, Padres and Pirates. The 11-year veteran is in the AL now, and Phillies fans should lament that fact, as he’s posted a career 8.64 ERA against the Fightin’s. Of course, most of that came against competent offenses. We’ll see if this batch can pound him the way the Phils of days gone by used to. At this point, I’m not counting on it.

Lineup: Revere CF, M. Young 3B, Rollin SS, Howard 1B, Brown LF, D. Young DH, Nix RF, Galvis 2B, Quintero C

3498868847_cdfdc0e2edGameday Beer: Tommyknockers Maple Nut Brown

The Phils are in Minnesota, just a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. Nothing says Northern United States/Canada more than maple syrup. That’s the idea behind this offering from the Colorado-based Tommyknockers brewery. This brown ale has a malty taste with a hint of maple, and it is my favorite beer by Tommyknockers (though I like all of their brews). Have it with some flapjacks and make it a true Minnesotan night. – RD


Phils Beat Brewers For Fifth Straight Win

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, June 06, 2013 11:12 PM Comments: 18

Hamels has been a victim of poor run support all season. (Photo: AP)

Ryan Howard’s first inning sac fly started the scoring for the Phils. (Photo: AP)

It’s June 6, and the Phillies are finally over .500.

Soak that in for a little while. It’s the first time the Phils are above water this season, and it took five straight wins to get there. It feels good. A win streak like this is exactly what this teams needs, and they continued to roll tonight, knocking off the Brewers 5-1.

They had it all working, getting runs early and leaning on another positive start from Tyler Cloyd.


- Charlie Manuel raised some eyebrows when he tabbed Michael Young to be the leadoff man. The adjustment, as puzzling as it seemed to some people before the game, wouldn’t slow down a team that had scored at least six runs in their last four games, and at least five in five of their last six before tonight. Now you can make it six of their last seven.

- The bats got off to a fast start, scoring two in the first, one in the second and one in the third. Their run in the third was set up by Domonic Brown, who has decided he is now a premiere base stealer on top of his superhuman power. Brown stole both second and third in the inning, before scoring on a ground ball. He now has five steals this season, all of them coming after May 18.

- John Mayberry and Delmon Young are having themselves a week. After his late-inning heroics on Tuesday, Mayberry went 1-for-4 and scored a run yesterday. Tonight, he’d be in the mix once again, scoring a run in the first and driving in another one in the second. As for Young, he doubled in a run and scored a run in Tuesday’s win. His fifth inning home run tonight would make it 5-0 Phils. The two hitters would combine to go 5-for-8.

Continue reading Phils Beat Brewers For Fifth Straight Win


Gameday: Phillies (30-30) at Brewers (22-36)

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, June 06, 2013 06:45 PM Comments: 6

marlins-miami-new-logoPhiladelphia Phillies (30-30) vs Milwaukee Brewers (22-36)

Tyler Cloyd (1-2, 4.76) vs Willy Peralta (4-6, 5.94)

TIME: 8:10, Miller Park
PHL 17
Weather: 58, Mostly Cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

For the first time since April 15, the Phillies have an opportunity to rise above the .500 mark. That’s right, folks. With a win tonight, your Phillies will be above .500 for the first time this season. It’s been an uphill battle to get to this point. But with four straight wins, the Phils are on a roll and making some headway.

Standing in their way: the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers are one of the NL’s worst teams. But you wouldn’t know it from watching them kick around the Phillies in their three game series this past weekend. After a short layoff, the Phils now have a chance to exact some revenge, this time on the Brewers’ home turf. On the mound for the Brew Crew is the young Willy Peralta. Peralta has struggled so far this season, but he looked like Cy Young on Saturday against the Phils when he went seven innings, allowing two runs and striking out six. The Phillies absolutely cannot let a pitcher who has struggled do that to them again.

The Phils counter with Tyler Cloyd. In three of his four starts this season, Cloyd has managed to go at least six innings while allowing two runs or less. That includes a start on Saturday against Milwaukee when he allowed two runs over seven innings. The Phils will hope for more of the same from Cloyd tonight.

Charlie Manuel opted to go with an unusual lineup, batting Michael Young cleanup. It’s the first time Young has batted first since 2004. He also continues to keep Domonic Brown out of the three hole. Ben Revere sits while John Mayberry gets the start in center. Clearly Manuel isn’t reading this blog.

Lineup: M.Young 3B, Mayberry CF, Rollins SS, Howard 1B, Brown LF, D. Young RF, Kratz C, Galvis 2B, Cloyd P

Whirlwind WitbierYour Gameday Beer – Miller High Life
When the Phillies are in Milwaukee, there is no beer brand more fitting than Miller. Sure, they don’t make the fanciest beer on the planet, but it’s still a respectable name. Miller High Life is my favorite from the Milwaukee Brewery. Light in color and taste, this beer is far from great. But it’s also like $7 for a twelver. They call it the champagne of beers, and if couple it with a Phils game and some decent BBQ, you’ll truly be living the high life.  – By RD



Phils Fail To Get To .500 Once Again In Loss To Boston

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, May 30, 2013 10:22 PM Comments: 20

Hamels has been a victim of poor run support all season. (Photo: AP)

The game of baseball finally caught up with Jonathan Pettibone tonight. (Photo: AP)

The Phillies just can’t seem to make it over the hump. They had another opportunity to get back to .500 tonight, but as has happened every time they’ve had that chance since April 14–the last time they were even–they squandered it.

Jonathan Pettibone put the Phils in an early hole, and the offense wasn’t up the task of an uphill battle, as the hometown nine fell to the Red Sox 9-2. They’ll try to reach the .500 plateau once again this weekend.


- Through seven starts, Pettibone has been about as good as can be expected from a 22-year old during his first stint in the big leagues. But he’s also been very lucky with men on base, stranding 85.3% of baserunners, which is about 15% more than the league average. Tonight, his luck would finally give out, and fast. He gave up four runs in the first, allowing all but one of the baserunners who reached to score. Remarkably, he’d prevent the Red Sox from scoring after the first, despite allowing a baserunner in each of his five innings.

- Pettibone clearly wasn’t sharp tonight. He struggled with his control big time. He walked four and worked six three-ball counts. Given the amount of baserunners Pettibone allowed (with the 6 hits, his WHIP was an even 2.00), it’s pretty uncanny he only allowed four runs. It was the bullpen that imploded.

Continue reading Phils Fail To Get To .500 Once Again In Loss To Boston


Gameday: Phillies (26-27) vs. Red Sox (32-22)

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, May 30, 2013 05:45 PM Comments: 27

Boston Red Sox (32-22) at Philadelphia Phillies (26-27)

Franklin Morales (0-0, 0.00) vs. Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.21)

TIME: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Comcast Sportsnet
Weather: 86, Partly Cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

For the second time this series, the Phillies will catch a break by missing an ace-caliber pitcher. On Monday, it was Clay Buchholz who the BoSox held back due to shoulder soreness. Tonight, Boston will push back Jon Lester to take Buchholz’s scheduled start tomorrow. Pitching in Lester’s wake will be the versatile Franklin Morales, who is expected to be a reliever for the Sox over the long haul. Morales, 27, has yet to make an appearance this season. Over the course of his career, Morales has made five appearances against the Phils, with his lone start coming way back in 2007 as a member of the Rockies. In other words, he’s a pitcher the Phils haven’t really seen, and that usually spells trouble. Among the hitters starting tonight, only Jimmy Rollins has faced Morales more than five times. No one has yet faced him ten times.

As for Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone, many of us are still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Pettibone has gotten great results so far, but the numbers seem hollow. He’s got a 3.21 ERA, but a 4.51 xFIP. That is largely due to an 85.3 LOB%. As our own Corey Seidman tweeted earlier, opponents are hitting .330 against Pettibone when the bases are empty, but just .206 with runners on base. Those numbers aren’t sustainable. Eventually, Pettibone is going to come back to earth. This could spell bad news with a potent Red Sox offense that is third in the AL in runs scored and fourth in OPS. Consider that the Red Sox have an OPS of .818 versus righthanders (compared to a .684 against lefties), and it could be the first rocky outing of Pettibone’s young career.

A couple lineup notes: Cesar Hernandez makes his first big league start after being recalled from Lehigh Valley yesterday in place of the bereaved Michael Young. It should be a short stay for Hernandez, but fans will get a glimpse of what the 23-year old brings to the table. Ryan Howard sits, likely in need of the rest because of a balky knee. Domonic Brown moves up in the order, but Manuel curiously opts not to bat him cleanup in lieu of the resting Howard.

Lineup: Revere CF, Hernandez 2B, Rollins SS, D. Young RF, Brown LF, Frandsen 1B, Kratz C, Galvis 3B, Pettibone P

Your Gameday Beer: Sam Adams Boston Ale

Boston’s most famous brewer is Sam Adams. When people go with Sam’s standard offerings, the most popular is the Boston Lager. I’ve always been more of a fan of the Boston Ale, however. The taste starts off with a combination of sweetness and malts, but finishes heavy on the hops, leaving drinker’s with a taste much more complex than its lager counterpart. While the lager may be the casual Sam drinkers selection, the Boston Ale is the beer drinker’s beer. Have it with a steak, some vegetables and some cheeses to get in touch with your Colonial America self. -RD



Phils Bats Breakout In Win Over Marlins

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Tue, May 21, 2013 10:13 PM Comments: 14

Hamels has been a victim of poor run support all season. (Photo: AP)

Tyler Cloyd pitched another gem. (Photo: AP)

Behind a second straight admirable start by Tyler Cloyd, the Phillies were able to snap a three-game losing streak against the Marlins, beating them 7-3.

After scoring three runs in three straight against Miami, the Phillies offense finally found its stride. The team notched 15 total hits, including four doubles and a home run. The outburst was a welcome sign for a team that had really been struggling. It’s a step forward. Now the challenge becomes doing it consistently and preventing the two steps back.


- Juan Pierre has always been known for causing havoc on the base path, finding inventive ways to get on. Tonight, it was Tyler Cloyd injecting a little chaos of his own that allowed Pierre to reach base. Leading off the game, Pierre bunted a ball hard down the first base line. Ryan Howard fielded it cleanly and should have been able to tag Pierre with ease. Except Cloyd, who also broke on the ball, was still standing on the base line, directly in Howard’s path to Pierre. Using Cloyd as a human shield, Pierre averted the tag and slid safely into first. The play looked like a potential tone setter for Cloyd, an indication of snake bite. That proved to be untrue, as Cloyd would instead shake off the mishap and go on to pitch another good game. By the time Cloyd walked off the mound to close out the seventh inning, the unrecorded error was a distant memory.

- Much like his last outing, Cloyd wasn’t particularly dominant. The Marlins managed eight hits, but only two for extra bases. It was ex-Phillies who did all of the damage. Pierre had an RBI and Placido Polanco scored two runs–the only ones Cloyd allowed. Hovering in the mid-80s, he doesn’t blow it by anyone. But right now, he’s missing bats. He struck out five and walked two. Cloyd also got two doubleplays to get out of tough jams, including one to erase his first inning gaffe. Thus far, Cloyd has turned in two very valuable starts.

Continue reading Phils Bats Breakout In Win Over Marlins


Utley Scratched After Pain In Side

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Tue, May 21, 2013 07:13 PM Comments: 0

Shortly before tonight’s first pitch, the Phillies were dealt another crucial blow when Chase Utley pulled himself from the lineup due to soreness on his right side. He was replaced in the lineup by Freddy Galvis.

Utley began to feel the discomfort during batting practice, and the issue was obviously strong enough to raise concern for the long-time Phillies second baseman, as Utley is often not wont to take himself out of a ballgame.

Utley will be reevaluated on Wednesday, and more information should become available at that time. If there is one silver lining here, it’s that Utley’s injury was not to his knees.

Still, with Carlos Ruiz and Mike Adams already on the DL, and Ryan Howard battling soreness in his knee, a DL stint for Utley, who leads the Phillies with an .814 OPS, is the last thing this team needs right now.


Gameday: Phillies (21-24) at Marlins (13-32)

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Tue, May 21, 2013 05:45 PM Comments: 7

marlins-miami-new-logoPhiladelphia Phillies (21-24) at Miami Marlins (13-32)

Tyler Cloyd (0-0, 2.84 ERA) v. Jose Fernandez (2-2, 3.48 ERA)

TIME: 7:10, Marlins Park
Comcast SportsNet
Weather: 77, mostly cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook


Apparently this Miami Marlins team is supposed to be pretty bad. You wouldn’t know it from watching the Phillies last three contests against the Fish, in which they were outscored 21-3. It’s no wonder then that four of the Marlins 13 wins (30.7%) have come against the Phils this year. Last night’s loss may have been the most frustrating of the season, as the Phils wasted an otherwise dominant outing from Cole Hamels by once again forgetting to bring the lumber.

If you’re looking for a reprieve tonight, you’ve come to the wrong place. That’s because the man on the mound for Miami has flatout owned the Phillies so far this season. For that reason, you probably already know the name Jose Fernandez. He’s an unpolished rookie with a very high ceiling, who has been an otherwise pedestrian pitcher this year, except when facing the Phils. In fact, if you remove Fernandez’s two starts against the Phils–in which he’s held them scoreless over 6 innings and 7 innings, respectively–he would have a 4.94 ERA. That’s right. Simply facing the Phils has saved Fernandez a cool run and a half on his ERA. That needs to change tonight.

Starting for the Phils is Tyler Cloyd, who’s making is second start of the season in place of the injured Roy Halladay. In Cloyd’s first start, a couple weeks ago in Arizona, he pitched well enough to get a win. Though his numbers looked pretty good, for those who watched the game, it seemed apparent Cloyd had been let off the hook by Arizona. He left a few balls over the plate, and Arizona failed to capitalize. While it’s always a slippery slope to delve to deep into statistics after one outing, Cloyd’s 4.56 xFIP suggests there is going to be quite a bit of regression over the long haul, if the Phils continue to go with him. For now, he has a (supposedly) weak Marlins lineup to deal with, and he should be able to handle them.

Despite speculation on this website that Howard could be headed for a DL stint, he returns to the lineup and is batting cleanup tonight.

Lineup: Rollins SS, Utley 2B, M. Young 3B, Howard 1B, D. Young RF, Brown LF, Revere CF, Kratz C, Cloyd P

LandSharkLagerGAMEDAY BEER: Shiner Red Ruby

When you think of Florida, what’s the first fruit you think of? If you said oranges, you are 100% correct. But the second fruit you’d probably associate with the Sunshine State would be grapefruit, as Florida is one of the world’s largest exporters of the tart citrus fruit. The idea behind Shiner’s Red Ruby is to give you a hint of that grapefruit taste in your beer. Combined with the a strong malt taste, the beer has a citrus aftertaste, and a subtle bitterness. It’s definitely a summertime beer, which goes great in Florida, or on an 80 degree, humid night in Philly.  – RD


On A Dreary Evening, The Reds Thump The Phillies

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, May 18, 2013 07:16 PM Comments: 36

Phillies Mets Baseball

Kyle Kendrick was due for lackluster outing, and that’s just what he had today. (Photo: AP)

On April 15, Bronson Arroyo dominated the Phillies for eight innings in Cincinnati, allowing just two runs and five hits in a deflating 4-2 defeat. Today’s ballgame felt eerily similar to the one that took place at Great American Ballpark last month, only this time the Reds more than doubled their output, while the Phillies didn’t bother scoring any runs–though they did equal their five hits–in an 10-0 defeat. The damp weather was a perfect accompaniment to the sleepy feeling this game had, a long and painful loss.

The game got away from the Phils quickly. The Reds went up early, and the bats never had an answer for Arroyo. It was the perfect formula for a dull drubbing, the Reds asserting their will over an overmatched Phillies team.


Kyle Kendrick hadn’t allowed more than two runs in any start since he allowed five to the Royals in his 2013 debut. That streak swiftly came to an end today when he served up a second inning meatball to Ryan Hanigan, who sent it into the seats in left to give the Reds a 3-0 lead. The homer looked to be a portentous sign of how things would go for Kendrick today.

He would calm down, though. And while Kendrick didn’t pitch a great game–the Reds hit a lot of balls hard off him–he did manage to limit the runs after Hanigan’s long ball. In fact, I’d even argue that the fourth run Kendrick allowed was more on bad managing than Kendrick himself.

It looked like he’d be lifted for a pinch hitter after five when he had over 90 pitches, but Charlie Manuel inexplicably let him hit with a runner on first and two outs in the fifth. Kendrick struck out to end the inning, and went on to allow another run in the sixth. There was absolutely no reason to let Kendrick pitch in that spot and it cost the Phils a run–not that it would matter in the end. Kendrick’s final line looked like this: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K. It was no doubt a battle for KK, as he failed to record a single 1-2-3 inning. A definite throwaway game.

Continue reading On A Dreary Evening, The Reds Thump The Phillies


Gameday: Phillies (20-22) vs. Reds (25-17)

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, May 18, 2013 02:37 PM Comments: 0

Indians_LogoCincinnati Reds (25-17) at Philadelphia Phillies (20-22)

Bronson Arroyo (3-4, 3.76) vs. Kyle Kendrick (4-1, 2.47)

TIME: 4:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: 70, cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

BIG Z UPDATE: Carlos Zambrano made his debut in extended Spring Training today, throwing two innings, allowing one hit and striking out five. A pretty good return to professional baseball for Big Z.

With last night’s win, this series is already going better for the Phillies than the one they played last month, when the Reds swept them out of Cincinnati. It’s been a struggle to get back to.500 for the Phils, but with ace Kyle Kendrick on the mound, they could actually pull to within one game of that mark for the first time since April 15 when they were 6-7.

Kendrick has pitched at least seven innings and allowed two runs or less in his last four starts, and five of his last six. In fact, since his rocky 2013 debut, he hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any start. Against the Reds, he has posted a career 4.19 ERA, but much of that came when he was a less seasoned pitcher. He hadn’t started against the Reds since July of 2010 before this season when he held them scoreless of seven innings on April 16 in a 1-0 loss. He’ll have his work cut out for him against a Reds lineup that is third in the NL in runs scored.

It’s the rock star, Bronson Arroyo, on the bump for Cincy. Hard to believe the 37-year old is still pitching the way he is, as he’s consistently given the Reds solid seasons over the course of his 30s. But even at 3.76, Arroyo has the highest ERA of any Reds starter. The Phils need to get to this guy. Over the course of his career, Arroyo’s had trouble when facing Philly, posting a 6.00 ERA. Surprisingly, much of that has been done is his home ballparks, as his ERA is a very respectable 3.33 when pitching at CBP.

John Mayberry gets the start in center for the fourth consecutive game, while Erik Kratz gets a look behind the plate.

Lineup: Rollins SS, Utley 2B, M. Young 3B, Howard 1B, D. Young RF, Brown LF, Mayberry CF, Kratz C, Kendrick P

GAMEDAY BEER: Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre

The box on this brew from Dogfish Head proclaims, “American beer of the year!” I’m too lazy to verify whether that’s actually true or not, but I can tell you the Raison D’Etre is one hell of a craft beer. It’s a mahogany ale, brewed with Belgian beer and green raisins. Like most Dogfish Head selections, it’s got a rich flavor and is quite heavy. At 8% alcohol by volume, it’s a great beer to get your night started. Enjoy! – RD


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