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Gameday: Phillies (7-10) vs. Cardinals (9-7)

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, April 20, 2013 05:00 PM Comments: 23

CardinalsPhiladelphia Phillies (7-10) vs St. Louis Cardinals (9-7)

Cliff Lee (2-0, 1.52) vs Lance Lynn (2-0, 5.40)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: 54, partly cloudy
Media: Twitter and Facebook

So that’s what winning feels like? After what feels like forever (“forever” being four games in this very young season), the Phillies finally got back in the win column last night. Tonight, they look to make it two in a row, something the team hasn’t done in over a week.

If there’s any Phillies pitcher you have a ton of confidence in here in the early going, it’s the man on the mound tonight–Cliff Lee. Through three starts, Lee has been the Phillies anchor, getting two wins and allowing two runs over seven innings in his no decision. His 1.52 ERA ranks near the top of the NL among starting pitchers. It’s been nothing but smooth sailing for Lee against the Cards over the course of his career, as his 3-2 record and 2.44 ERA in six starts indicates.

Countering Lee will be righthander, Lance Lynn. Lynn is off to a shaky start so far this season, allowing nine earned runs in fifteen innings pitched, while managing to pitch into the sixth only once. In his lone start against the Phillies, he allowed four runs over five innings.

In the lineup, Ryan Howard sits for the second straight game due to soreness in his groin, while Domonic Brown returns, getting the start in RF. Freddy Galvis, Mr. Do It All, gets another start in the outfield.

Lineup: Rollins SS, Galvis LF, Utley 2B, M Young 3B, Brown RF, Mayberry 1B, Revere CF, Kratz C, Lee P

GAMEDAY BEER: Sam Adams, Alpine Spring

There’s nothing better on a cool Spring night than this Sam Adams seasonal selection, known as the Alpine Spring. The recent tragedies in Boston make the selection of one of Boston’s finest brews even more appropriate. This hoppy lager will do just the trick as you navigate your way through another Springtime game. It’s grainy, but also has a hint of honey. It goes down smooth and will leave you more than satisfied.   -By Ryan



Marlins Walk Off Against The Phillies

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, April 13, 2013 10:07 PM Comments: 20

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Cole Hamels had a bounce back outing tonight for the Phillies. (PHOTO: AP)

Can you say deja vu?

For the second straight night, the Phillies took a 1-1 tie deep into their game against the Miami Marlins. This time, however, the Marlins would come out on top, scratching out a 2-1 victory to push the Phillies back under .500


- During this Phillies era, a common theme has been offensive ineffectiveness when facing a young rookie they’ve never seen before. Without a comprehensive scouting report, it seems this team simply can’t hit young pitching. The issue reared its ugly head again tonight, as the Phils’ bats looked anemic against the 20-year old Jose Fernandez, making just his second career start.

Fernandez kept the Phils off balance all night, twirling a dazzling six innings, while striking out five and allowing just five baserunners. Domonic Brown was particularly excited to see Fernandez exit the game after the sixth, as he had struck out twice against the righthander before singling as soon as Fernandez was lifted. The hit would prove beneficial. Continue reading Marlins Walk Off Against The Phillies


Gameday: Phillies at Marlins

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, April 13, 2013 05:15 PM Comments: 29

Philadelphia Phillies (5-5) at Miami Marlins (1-9)

Cole Hamels (0-2, 10.97) vs. Jose Fernandez (0-1, 1.80)

Time: 7:05 PM, Marlins Park
Weather: 73, Isolated Thunderstorms
Media: Twitter and Facebook

Coming off their victory last night, the Phillies look to get above the .500 mark for the first time this season when they continue their series against the hapless Miami Marlins.

Cole Hamels takes the ball for the Phils after what has been a rocky start to the season in which he has gone 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA. Last year, Hamels performed well against the Fish, posting a 3.07 ERA. He only managed a 2-3 record, however, as the offense took a few of his starts against Miami off. For his career, Hamels has a record of 8-10 with a 3.36 ERA when facing the Marlins. In three games at Marlins Park, he’s posted a 3.60 ERA. The Phillies are looking for a strong outing from Hamels, as he tries regain the form that has made him one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Opposing Hamels will be rookie Jose Fernandez. In his Major League debut last week, Fernandez went five innings, holding the Mets to just one run. He struck out eight in that game and showed the ability to dominate hitters.

Charlie Manuel has deviated from the lineup he’s used thus far for the first time this season, benching the righthanded Michael Young in lieu of the switch-hitting Freddy Galvis, who is making his first start of the season. It’s a move that gives the Phillies a lineup stacked with lefthanders, with the first seven men in the order batting left-handed against Fernandez.

LINEUP: Revere CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Brown LF, Nix RF, Galvis 3B, Kratz C, Hamels P

Whirlwind WitbierYour Gameday Beer – Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen
On tap tonight, we have one Sierra Nevada’s finest brews–the Kellerweis Hefeweizen. What makes this beer so great is that it gives drinkers the best of both worlds. The initial taste is sweet, with a hint of banana and yeast. But as you swallow, you’re hit with an unexpected spiciness that serves as a perfect compliment to the sweet. It serves as a year-round offering, and while it is ideal for a hot summer day, it is equally delicious on a cool spring night. Try pairing this one with a B.L.T. and some potato salad.  – RD




Phillies Starters Need To Show Improvement

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Thu, April 11, 2013 07:00 PM Comments: 14


Cole Hamels will have to overcome his slow start and improve for the Phillies to have success. (AP)

“It’s still early.”

That’s the mantra the informed baseball fan repeats to him or herself over and over when the urge to react (or overreact) to the things they see from their team on the field in the first few weeks of the season inevitably crops up.

It’s a phrase that is time-tested and accurate–there is quite a bit of folly in trying to glean too much information from such a microscopic portion of the schedule.

What we know about the team right now isn’t much, and what we think we know can change drastically over the next few weeks and months.

Still, it’s very difficult to ignore the disaster that has been Phillies middle relief through nine games. Continue reading Phillies Starters Need To Show Improvement


How Much Does Doc Miss Chooch?

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Fri, April 05, 2013 09:00 AM Comments: 19

Utley got off on the right foot in the Phillies loss. (AP)

Carlos Ruiz has guided Roy Halladay through many memorable games. Is his absence hurting the Good Doctor? (AP)

Everyone’s got a theory for what’s wrong with Roy Halladay.

The prevailing argument is Halladay is a victim of the unrelenting perpetual forward motion of time, and the effect it has on the body. That, physically, he is no longer the person he once was.

Rich Dubee and Halladay himself have come up with a bevy of excuses as to why Doc has not been himself. Everything from a wet mound to a stomach virus has been thrown out there as a reason for the lack in results. Just yesterday, Dubee pinned Halladay’s shaky start on Wednesday on a lower arm slot.

Whatever ails the once preeminent pitcher, one thing is clear: He is struggling mightily to adapt to his new-found deficiencies. What once was considered a strength for Halladay–the ability to think ahead of hitters–is now something he is lacking.

Everyone can see that Halladay has lost a few ticks on his velocity, yet he continues to pitch with the same strategy as the guy who once could touch 94 on the radar gun. Maybe it’s sheer stubbornness. But without his dominant fastball, he seems lost.

Continue reading How Much Does Doc Miss Chooch?


Phillies Drop Forgettable Game To Braves

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Wed, April 03, 2013 10:36 PM Comments: 119

Utley got off on the right foot in the Phillies loss. (AP)

The Phillies were hoping for a better debut from Roy Halladay. (AP)

On a rain-soaked night, the Phillies lost an ugly one to the Braves, 9-2, in a game that left them with more questions than answers about the once vaunted Roy Halladay.


-The wet conditions tonight didn’t make for an ideal stage to evaluate Halladay (remember the wet mound from a couple weeks ago?), but evaluate we must. So what are the returns after his first start of 2013? Not great. Somebody file a missing persons report, because the Roy Halladay of lore is still nowhere to be found.

-Halladay’s first inning got off to a great start. He recorded a strikeout using a nasty splitter on an 0-2 count. But it went all downhill from there. Jason Heyward reached on a broken bat single to right and Justin Upton followed with a two-run dinger. The control issues Halladay exhibited during the Spring resurfaced, as he followed up Upton’s home run by issuing a walk to Freddie Freeman. It’d be the first of two walks in the inning. Halladay would allow another run before finally retiring the side. The 40-pitch inning certainly didn’t do anything to help quell the uneasiness Phillies fans are feeling about the righthander. However, Halladay would improve from there. Slightly.

-He got through the second using 16 pitches and cruised through the third. Remarkably, his first eight outs were recorded by strikeout. He ran into some more trouble in the fourth, allowing another home run and a single before getting pulled with one out. His final line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, x ER, 3 BB, 9 K. The strikeouts were encouraging. The three walks and four runs were not. His velocity on his fastball was between 88-92 MPH.

-It’s notable that Halladay struggled in the first inning, as it was notoriously problematic for him last season (He had a 6.48 ERA in the first in 2012, his highest in any inning). If you take that away, he actually looked pretty good. Problem is, you can’t take that away. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about exactly what this team will get from Doc this season. He’s struggled, but his main problem area–fastball command–is something that can seemingly be fixed. Whether he is able to do that or not remains to be seen. So far, he has not adjusted.

Continue reading Phillies Drop Forgettable Game To Braves


Gameday: Phillies vs. Braves

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Wed, April 03, 2013 05:00 PM Comments: 80

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves

Roy Halladay vs. Paul Maholm

Time: 7 PM, Turner Field
Weather: Chance of rain, 47
Media: Twitter and Facebook

After what must be the longest off day of the season–the day off immediately following Opening Day–the Phillies return to action tonight, seeking to even their series with the Braves.

Tonight’s game is the most highly-anticipated Roy Halladay start in quite some time. In year’s past, the feeling going into a Halladay start was confidence bordering on arrogance. Those days seem a distant memory, as Halladay is the biggest question mark the Phillies have right now. How will he fair in regular season action? Can he bounce back from the lethargy/stomach bug/wet mound/poorly rubbed baseballs? We’ll soon find out. There are no more excuses hanging out there for Doc. It’s time to put up or shut up.

Truth be told, he could’ve drawn a better opponent than Atlanta to make his 2013 debut. Over four starts last season, Doc posted an 11.21 ERA against the Braves (including infamously blowing a six-run lead). That was the highest ERA Halladay had against any opponent in 2013.

Countering Halladay will be Paul Maholm. At 30 years old, Maholm, a veteran, has spent his entire career in the NL. So the Phils have seen a lot of him and have had success. Maholm has a 5.16 ERA in nine career starts against Philly. Michael Young, John Mayberry Jr., and Erik Kratz have great numbers against him in limited ABs.

LINEUP: Revere CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Young 3B, Brown LF, Mayberry RF, Kratz C, Halladay P

QUESTIONS: How will Halladay look after struggling in his last handful of Spring starts? Can the Phillies offense continue to make starting pitchers work like they did on Monday?

GAMEDAY BEER Abita Purple Haze

Brewed in Braves country, Abita’s Purple Haze is a perfect accompaniment to watching the Phillies play in the heart of Dixie. A fruity beer with a hint of wheat in the aftertaste, it’ll pair well with some Memphis-style barbecue and a side of coleslaw.  -RD



Is This Chase Utley’s Last Hurrah?

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Fri, March 29, 2013 09:00 AM Comments: 25

Is 2013 the last time we’ll see Chase Utley in a Phillies uniform?

Last week, I was having a discussion with an old friend about the upcoming Phillies season when he posed a question to me: Do you re-sign Chase Utley after 2013?

“Ask me in six months,” was my concise, detached response.

This type of exchange is not exclusive to my friend and me. All over the Delaware Valley, people are asking the very same question about Utley. Most Phillies fans have had the same uncertain response I did about whether to bring the long-time second baseman back.

There’s still time to decide and no reason to rush it.

But the common uncertainty surrounding Utley forces everyone to ask themselves the uncomfortable question: Is 2013 the last time we’ll see Utley in red pinstripes?

The thought causes a stir in me. It makes me reflect on the last decade watching Phillies baseball. Continue reading Is This Chase Utley’s Last Hurrah?


Sorting Out The Bullpen Logjam

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Fri, March 15, 2013 10:30 AM Comments: 17

One of the best parts about Spring Training is the positional competition. In recent years, Phillies fans have gone without this interesting and usually very entertaining aspect of the preseason because the team has had so few question marks about which players would make the Opening Day roster.

But 2013 has changed that. For the first time in a while, the Phillies entered February with uncertainty abound. While the infield and rotation seemed set, the organization was still asking itself many questions: Who would play the corner outfield positions? Who would fill out the bench? Who would be the last members of the bullpen?

A month into the Spring and many aspects of those questions are no longer relevant. The emergence of Domonic Brown, the injury to Delmon Young, and the lack of performance from Darin Ruf have seemingly answered the questions regarding the outfield. On the bench, it’s just a matter of choosing which utility infielders you’d prefer at this point.

While the picture of this team seems much clearer after a month of baseball, there is still a considerable amount of doubt about just how the bullpen will look.
Continue reading Sorting Out The Bullpen Logjam


Can Inciarte Stick With The Phillies?

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Fri, March 08, 2013 10:30 AM Comments: 0

Ender Inciarte entered Spring Training a few weeks ago as something of a forgotten man.

Selected as a Rule 5 draftee from the Diamondbacks all the way back on December 6, Inciarte was the first player acquired by Ruben Amaro, Jr. this past offseason. Typically, a Rule 5 selection isn’t met with much fanfare to begin with. But the subsequent additions of Ben Revere–whose popularity grows daily–and Delmon Young, plus the focus on Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf, took even more of the spotlight from Inciarte in the perception of the fans and media.

When camp opened, Inciarte, who has never played a game above High-A Visalia, figured to be a long-shot to win one of the five outfield spots on the 25-man roster.

But as the Spring has gone on, Inciarte has made himself harder and harder to ignore as a legitimate possibility to crack the Opening Day roster.

So far, he’s gone 3-for-8 with three walks, two runs scored and a stolen base. Tack on his fantastic play in the outfield, and Inciarte looks like a man with some very valuable tools, albeit in a microscopic sample size. Continue reading Can Inciarte Stick With The Phillies?

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