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Phils option Buchanan to Triple-A, promote Jimenez

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, August 12, 2015 01:20 PM Comments: 6

David Buchanan has been demoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following his rough 11-run outing in last night’s 13-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

To fill his spot on the roster, the Phillies have called-up veteran left-hander Cesar Jimenez. The 30-year-old has pitched in 36 games for the club since 2013, and has recorded a 2.67 ERA in 33.2 innings.

Buchanan has been roughed up in his last two outings, giving up 18 earned run in 5.2 innings-pitched. On the year, the 26-year-old is 2-7 with a 9.00 ERA in 10 starts.

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X-Rays on Franco’s wrist come back negative

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, August 12, 2015 10:22 AM Comments: 0

Fans who stayed up late to watch the Phillies take on the Diamondbacks took a collective deep breath when they saw star rookie Maikel Franco on the ground, grabbing his wrist in serious pain after getting hit by a Jeremy Hellickson fastball.

Luckily for the fans and Franco, X-Rays on his wrist came back negative and the 22-year-old has been diagnosed with a wrist contusion, according to CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury.

Despite avoiding a broken wrist, the third baseman will likely miss some time. He’ll likely be held out of the lineup for this afternoon’s series finale against the Diamondbacks. Thursday is an off day, so Franco will have at least two days to rest his bruised wrist.

“It’s still pretty sore,” Franco said after last night’s game. “When it hit me, I was worried something bad happened. I was scared. I thought it might be broken. I’m lucky.”

Franco has been the centerpiece of the Phillies’ potent offense since the All-Star break, and has been their best hitter since his call-up back in May. He leads all NL rookies in slugging percentage (.420), OPS (.828), and is fourth in home runs with 13.

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Utley to rejoin Phillies, will play when off DL

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Thu, August 06, 2015 10:41 AM Comments: 4

utley

Chase Utley was hopeful on Tuesday that he would be reunited with former teammate Jimmy Rollins before he skipped town following Thursday’s game.

“Obviously, we spent a long time together, but I imagine I might have the chance to see him on Thursday, or so,” Utley told reporters on Tuesday.

It appears that the second baseman will get a chance to catch up with his old friend, as Utley is expected to join the Phillies for today’s series finale against the Dodgers.

Whether or not Utley will play, or even be activated from the disabled list, has yet to be determined. Pete Mackanin, however, has already confirmed that the 36-year-old will see his fair share of playing time when he’s ready for action.

“I’m going to try and mix Chase in at second base,” Mackanin said. “I already had a conversation with Cesar to let him know that he is not a utility player, but it’s important to get Chase at-bats, [Utley] may play some first base, so hopefully three or four days a week I can get him in. We’ll see.”

To ensure Utley sees time at second, Cesar Hernandez will move around the diamond—playing some shortstop and third base to give Freddy Galvis and Maikel Franco some time off. He will also play a little first base for Ryan Howard.

Utley is coming off a solid showing in his last rehab game for Double-A Reading where he finished 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and an RBI. In his three minor league rehab games, Utley went 6-for-13, and looks ready to get back to work at the Major League level.

The veteran has been on the radar of a couple of teams interested in trading for him before the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline—including the Cubs and Angels. Utley was batting just .179 in 65 games before landing on the DL, but he’ll be looking to prove that he still has some good baseball left in him when he returns to the Phillies’ starting lineup.

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Prospects Thompson, Williams impress in Reading debuts

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, August 05, 2015 02:55 PM Comments: 2

Jake Thompson and Nick Williams, two of the biggest pieces the Phillies acquired in the deal that sent Cole Hamels and reliever Jake Diekman to the Texas Rangers, kickstarted their Phillies tenures in impressive style last night for Double-A Reading.

The Fightin’ Phils beat up on the Trenton Thunder, 7-1, with Thompson and Williams both playing a big part in the win.

The 21-year-old Williams finished 2-5 in his Reading debut, while Thompson pitched seven solid innings en route to his first win in the Phillies’ organization.

On the hill, Thompson scattered six hits and one earned run. He was quite efficient with his pitch count, as The 21-year-old only threw 75 pitches (51 strikes) through seven innings. His low pitch count was in part to the right-hander’s ability to pitch to contact.

“The first few innings I didn’t try to blow people away with fastballs, really wasn’t going after strikeouts, was trying to generate weak contact and I was able to do that,” said Thompson in a post-game interview.

Williams, who made his debut batting leadoff, secured his first hit on just the second pitch in his first at-bat. In the outfield, he played a clean game, catching everything hit his way.

“I’ve been off for five days, so I was nervous about how my at-bats were going to go, but it turned out good,” Williams said in a post-game interview. “Seeing my name as leadoff hitter today, I was like, ‘Yikes.’

Yesterday marked a great start for two players the Phillies are very high on. Thompson is now the organization’s top pitching prospect with 22-year-old Aaron Nola now in the Majors. The 6-4, 235-pound right-hander is projected to be a solid number two or number three starter as long as he can refine his command. Last night’s start was a good sign in that regard.

Williams, who is currently ranked as the Phillies’ number four prospect, is an outfielder with the tools to be a solid starter in the big leagues. He can hit for both power and average, and has the legs and arm to play any of the three outfield positions, although he’s been primarily a left fielder for his professional career.

Make sure to keep an eye on both these youngsters. If they continue to play like this, their progression through the Phillies’ organization should be quick and painless.

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Phillies Offense Has Spurts in a Blank Generation

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, August 03, 2015 05:03 PM Comments: 14

Howard has been unquestionably the Phillies' best hitter over the last fourteen days and largely responsible for their recent tear.

Howard has been unquestionably the Phillies’ best hitter over the last fourteen days and largely responsible for their recent tear.

A lot of folks who know me know that I’m a yard sale and flea market pack rat when it comes to vinyl LPs. I’m always on the lookout for things I’ve heard of but never heard, things I’ve seen on lists but haven’t physically seen. My genres of choice are 70s and 80s power pop. My collection is already full of local favorites like Todd Rundgren and Tim Moore but also tons of Marshall Crenshaw, Squeeze, and Rockpile. I also keep my eye out for 70s punk. One LP that has escaped my grasp thus far is Richard Hell’s Blank Generation.

The opening track of Hell’s debut solo album is a tune called “Love Comes in Spurts”. The opening guitar riff is a series of nearly-dissonant triplets before forcefully and quickly diving into the chorus:

Love comes in spurts (oh no, it hurts!)
Love comes in spurts (oh no, it hurts!)
Love comes in spurts (it always hurts!)
Love comes in spurts (oh no!) 

This season, the Phillies offense has been among the worst in baseball. Among traditional statistics, the Phillies currently rank 25th in OBP and SLG while ranking 26th in wOBA and wRC+ among more advanced stats. In everyone’s favorite stat, fWAR, the Phillies’ offense ranks 29th, ahead of only the White Sox. In Hell’s titular track, “Blank Generation”, Hell is fighting a duality, expressing frustrations with being labeled as a part of a particular generation, saying he could take it or leave it, while also seemingly lamenting that his identity is linked to a generation whose identity is that they have no identity.

Sadly, this group of Phillies seemingly belongs to a Blank Generation of their own, not so much frustrated with a particular label but literally having having a blank space in front of generation as their defining characteristic. The 2015 Phillies were a boring, lifeless squad with few prospects, both actual or hypothetical, with a wasted ace and a few nice complimentary parts.

That descriptor fit until the All-Star Break. Since then, the offense is coming in spurts and it is winning them ballgames.

Continue reading Phillies Offense Has Spurts in a Blank Generation

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Report: Trading Revere could be Phillies’ next move

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Thu, July 30, 2015 01:40 PM Comments: 15

ben-revereAfter a historic night that ended with ace Cole Hamels being sent to the Texas Rangers in return for a large batch of prospects, the Phillies may have one more move up their sleeve before tomorrow’s 4 p.m. deadline.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Ben Revere could be the next Phillie on the move.

Who the interested American League team is has yet to be determined, but it was rumored that the Seattle Mariners were interested in Revere earlier this month. The Angels were reportedly looking at him as well, but the move for Indians veteran David Murphy has likely satisfied their need for a left-handed bat in the outfield.

The 27-year-old is the Phillies’ best hitter in regards to batting average. He has led the club in average each year since joining them before the 2013 season. He is a great singles hitter, but lacks an ounce of power. With some talented power bats around him, however, Revere could flourish in a contributing role.

The Phillies have a younger center field option in Odubel Herrera—who has shown promise with the bat this season but needs more polish as a defender—and have been experimenting with him and Cesar Hernandez in the lead-off spot.

Revere’s ability to get on base and use his speed on the base paths is a trait that would appeal to a contending team. His defense, which was shaky earlier in his Phillies tenure, has improved—especially since being moved to the corner outfield positions. In 362 at-bats this season, Revere is hitting .298 with a .335 OBP and 24 stolen bases.

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Suddenly, the Phillies are fun to watch again

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Mon, July 27, 2015 01:44 PM Comments: 2

What a weekend it was for the Phillies, who capped off a three-game sweep of the Cubs with an 11-5 lopsided victory in the “friendly” confines of Wrigley Field. The series provided some of the most entertaining baseball the city of Philadelphia has had the pleasure of watching since 2011.

It had everything a baseball fan could ever want—a dramatic comeback victory, an offensive explosion, and a masterful no-hit performance from a guy who could very well have pitched his final game for the only team and city he’s ever known during his 10-year Major League career.

It all began during the top of the ninth inning Friday afternoon, when Cody Asche smashed a game-tying ground-rule double into the ivy in center field to tie the score at three. After a scoreless frame by Ken Giles, Jeff Francoeur, yet again, played the role of hero by delivering a two-run blast to left field to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead. Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 17th save in as many opportunities, and the Phillies won the game in exciting come-from-behind fashion.

Then there was Saturday afternoon’s game with Cole Hamels on the mound seeking redemption.

After struggling in his previous two starts—14 runs in 6 1/3 innings—and trade rumors swirling around him, the left-hander took the mound to prove that he is one of the game’s top pitches. It was evident early on that Hamels had his “good stuff.” His fastball, which had averaged out at 92.3 according to FanGraphs, was consistently hitting 95-96, according to Wrigley’s radar gun. The increase in his fastball velocity made his already effective change up even more so, and the pinpoint location of his curveball had hitters off balance, which helped him earn 13 strikeouts. Continue reading Suddenly, the Phillies are fun to watch again

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Offense erupts to back Nola as Phills sweep Cubs

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Sun, July 26, 2015 06:55 PM Comments: 5

On a Sunday afternoon in late July in front of a sold out crowd, Ryan Howard homered and the Phillies’ offense scored 11 runs on 17 hits with a 22-year-old future ace on the mound, making only his second Major League start. It felt like 2006 all over again, except the 22-year-old was Aaron Nola, not Cole Hamels, and the sold out crowd was there to cheer on their hometown Cubs, who are currently in a dog fight for the National League’s second Wild Card spot.

On the heels of Hamels’ historic no-hitter, Nola followed with solid outing of his own, pitching 7 2/3 innings en route to his first career win. The offense erupted for 11 runs, and the Philles completed their second sweep since the All-Star Break, crushing the Cubs, 11-5.

Each player in the Phillies’ starting lineup had a hit, including Nola, who notched his second career hit and his first career RBI. Maikel Franco and Howard led the offense, as the Phillies’ three and four hitters combined for five RBIs, including two home runs. For Franco, the home run was his first since June 23 at Yankee Stadium.

Domonic Brown also added three hits of his own to go along with three RBIs. Of the Phillies’ 17 hits, eight went for extra bases, including three doubles, three triples, and two homers. For the series, the Phillies’ offense recorded 21 extra-base hits (13 doubles, four triples, and four home runs).

The Cubs managed to out-homer the Phillies 3-2, but Jason Hammel and the Cubs’ relievers were unable to quiet the Phillies’ bats. Backup catcher David Ross had arguably the easiest inning on the mound for either club, managing a 1-2-3 9th inning on just eight pitches. He then added the Cubs’ fifth run of the game on a solo shot to left.

The Phillies are now 8-1 since the All-Star Break, and are playing their best baseball of the season. They’ll look to stay hot on the north side of the border, as they head to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays for a quick two-game inter-league series.

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Reports: Nats discussing trade for Papelbon, three teams interested in Utley

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Sat, July 25, 2015 01:49 PM Comments: 11

The Nationals and Phillies are reportedly engaging in discussions for a deal that would send Jonathan Papelbon to Washington D.C., according to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal.

The main obstacle, which has been the case for almost every potential Papelbon deal, is his salary. The Nationals are hopeful that the Phillies would be willing to eat the majority of the $13 million he’ll make this season.

According to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury, Papelbon will not sign off on a deal unless he’s in a position to earn his vesting option ($13 million in 2016), which vests if the 34-year-old completes 14 more games.

The Nationals already have an excellent closer in Drew Storen, who has recorded 29 saves in 31 opportunities and a 1.73 ERA. If Papelbon were to go there, he would likely not be the closer.  There is a chance, however, that the Phillies include the vesting option as a guaranteed condition of the deal, which the club would have to pay the majority of. Papelbon converted his 17th save of the season yesterday, and lowered his ERA to a minuscule 1.59 in the process.

Chase Utley trade still on the table: 

Remember this guy? Well, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, there are “three teams interested” in Chase Utley, including the Amgels, who are reportedly “monitoring” the 36-year-old’s progress.

The Angels believe they can get Utley as a cheap rental bat, especially since he is unlikely going to reach the 500 plate appearances needed for his $15 million option to vest. He has only 249 plate appearances this season.

Utley, who has been on the DL since late June with an ankle injury, is nearing a rehab assignment in the Phillies’ minor league system. Because of the injury, any deal would have to take place after the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

Due to his no-trade clause, any potential deal would need Utley’s approval. The chance to play for a playoff contender, and Ruben Amaro Jr.’s comments regarding him and Cesar Hernandez, could push the veteran to seriously consider a change of scenery.

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A Sellers Guide To Cole Hamels

Posted by Pat Egan, Fri, July 24, 2015 06:56 PM Comments: 23

What team will Cole Hamels be on come July 31st at 4:01? Will it be the Dodgers? The Red Sox? The Cubs? The Rangers? The Phillies? It has been a question that has been on the minds of Phillies fans for well over a year now. The Phillies reportedly have been waiting for the “perfect” offer for Hamels, which leads to the question “what exactly would that offer entail, and who is making the demands?” There is a strong likelihood that Hamels will be in Phillies pinstripes come August 1, with the Phillies once again waiting to move Hamels in the offseason….. or maybe next years trade deadline….. or maybe never. Either way, talk should start to really heat up in the coming days so lets look at some teams top prospects and who the Phillies should target.

Red Sox: The interest that the Red Sox have for Cole Hamels is just annoying at this point. They are the guy who goes to a car dealership every week, looks at the car he clearly wants, and never buys it. They have heavily scouted Hamels for over a year now, and yet they will not make a move. The Phillies have reportedly coveted catcher Blake Swihart, and outfielder Mookie Betts, both are currently with the Red Sox Major League club. The Red Sox have long balked at that price and with both having reached the big leagues it is unlikely that the Red Sox would trade either as it would leave two holes in their lineup. The Phillies could of course offer up Carlos Ruiz and Ben Revere along with Hamels but I do not know if that would get it done. So lets take a look at a few other Red Sox prospects that could intrigue that Phillies.

Continue reading A Sellers Guide To Cole Hamels

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