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.
TIME: 8:00, Citizens Bank Park
TV: ESPN Weather: 52, mostly cloudy Media: Twitterand Facebook
A day after being shutout and managing only three hits against the Cardinals, the Phillies are tasked with solving Jake Westbrook tonight, who has yet to give up an earned run in 15.2 innings this season. The Phils counter with fellow sinker baller Kyle Kendrick, who is also off to a solid start in 2013 with an ERA of 3.38.
Westbrook’s sparkling statistics are a little misleading; the 35-year-old has allowed 10 walks in his two starts and was fortunate to have his third start against the Pirates, in which he gave up four runs in the first two innings, washed out due to rain. Meanwhile, the Phillies are 27th in baseball in walks, with only 39 through 18 games. Westbrook’s WHIP of 1.34 is just a tad under his career mark of 1.39. His career ERA, however, is 4.26… much higher than the 0.00 he is sporting at the moment. In short, something here has to give.
After getting hit with the injury bug late this week, the Phillies have both Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown in the lineup for the first time since Wednesday. A week ago today, the Phillies clawed their way back to .500 in Miami behind Roy Halladay. They are 1-5 since, scoring a microscopic seven runs in the five losses. The Phillies desperately need to salvage a split with St. Louis on Sunday night to try to get back on track. And they need to get both Howard and Brown going to do so.
Kendrick will have his hands full tonight. The Cardinals, fifth in baseball in runs (90 in 17 games), are led by Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina. Beltran has homered in all three games of the series. Matt Holliday is not in the starting lineup for the Cardinals, but he is essentially being replaced by rookie sensation Matt Adams. The lefty slugger is hitting .524 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI in only 21 at-bats, all of which adds up to an unconscionable OPS of 1.613.
Lineup: Rollins SS, Mayberry RF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Young 3B, Brown LF, Revere CF, Kratz C, Kendrick P
GAMEDAY BEER: Busch Heavy
Sticking with the St. Louis theme, let’s switch it to straight up Busch Heavy tonight. Everybody needs a good night’s sleep on Sundays but with the Phillies playing the late game, that will be a little more difficult tonight. My solution? Busch Heavy.
Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, April 20, 2013 09:58 PM Comments: 15
Cliff Lee didn’t look himself tonight (Photo: AP).
Cliff Lee was cold and the bats were colder. The recipe was toxic, and made for a long and boring night for the Phillies, who fell to the Cardinals 5-0. The loss dropped the Phillies to 7-11 on the season.
LEE LOOKS HUMAN
- As I wrote in tonight’s Gameday, no Phillies pitcher has instilled more confidence in the team than Cliff Lee so far this year. Tonight, however, he’d stumble for the first time in 2013.
- Lee had baserunners early and often, including walking three straight batters in a four-run third–something he had never done before in his career. The lack of control was uncharacteristic of Lee, and it really cost him in the inning. Though, Lee should only be held responsible for two of the runs, despite what the box score says. That’s because of a strange play involving Chase Utley. With two outs and runners on first and second, Utley inexplicably went to his right on a ground ball hit to his left. There’s no telling why Utley got crossed up on the play, but it cost the team at least one run, and arguably two as the next hitter also singled to score the runner from third. When the inning was over, it was 4-0 Cardinals. Continue reading Phillies Bats Go Missing In Loss To Cardinals
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 Corey Seidman, Fri, April 19, 2013 11:40 AM Comments: 26
The Phillies are getting absolutely nothing out of their outfield. In 183 at-bats, Phillies outfielders are batting .219 with five home runs.
Ben Revere hasn’t gotten off the ground, Laynce Nix and John Mayberry are doing pretty much what you’d expect in one outfield corner and Domonic Brown remains the wildly inconsistent, baseball version of Evan Turner.
The Phillies’ outfield is as unsettled as it was months ago when the offseason was just underway. Of these four players, Revere has the longest track record as a starter and that was one full season in Minnesota. So it is odd today — as it was months ago — that the Phillies so easily gave up on Nate Schierholtz.
Schierholtz is hitting .350 with eight extra-base hits for the Cubs, who are paying him a measly $2.25 million. The Phillies had a chance to offer him arbitration but instead non-tendered him at the end of November.
It was a curious move at the time. The Phils had no regular outfielders, had to know a platoon would be utilized in one corner, and yet still parted ways and got nothing for Schierholtz. This despite his well above-average defense, his .287 batting average vs. righties since 2011 and his overall superiority to Nix.
The Phils’ reasoning? Nix was under contract already for $1.35MM in 2013. High-priced outfielders were still on the market, and they were still “players” for guys like Angel Pagan, Cody Ross, etc.
But it’s not as if the Phils have never eaten the final year of a bad, unnecessary contract. They did it in Danys Baez’s second year. They did it in Adam Eaton’s third year. If you didn’t want both players on the 25-man roster, Nix could have been moved or cut. To keep him over Schierholtz just because Nix had a small guarantee … well, that’s the kind of move that has gotten the Phillies to this place. It’s poor talent evaluation. Had Schierholtz not gotten hurt after being traded to the Phils, they probably would have kept him. But instead his track record was dismissed, and Ruben Amaro chose to go with Nix, the guy who has some power but never walks, plays worse defense than Schierholtz and doesn’t put the ball in play as much.
It just made no sense, and it continues to make no sense as the Phillies’ outfield gives them nothing. This is a poorly assembled team. Schierholtz isn’t some sort of savior, but he has 2.5-WAR potential as a platoon outfielder getting 70% of at-bats in a given season.
This 6-10 record, this pathetic offense, these situational struggles, they just feel like the culmination of years of myopic moves and strict adherence to an organizational philosophy that doesn’t mesh with winning in this day and age. Schierholtz is yet another example.
Amaro expressed shock on Monday that the Phillies had gone three (now four) games without a walk.
Why is he shocked? This is the only organization in baseball that doesn’t employ an advanced stats department, and he’s the one who built the team.
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.
The latter two pitchers had the potential to hit 3 WAR but they were significant injury risks and costlier investments. Lannan’s ceiling wasn’t as high but his floor wasn’t as low either. A team in the Phillies situation was more interested in the floor for this role.
Through two starts this season, the former Phillies foe has thrown 13 great innings with one walk, seven strikeouts and a 71% groundball rate. It’s obviously still very early in the season but Lannan’s first two outings have proven very promising.
However, it isn’t just his two starts in 2013 that are cause for analytical intrigue, as his six starts with the Nationals last season were pretty darned solid as well. Combining his most recent major action we get the following line: 8 GS, 45.2 IP, 41 H, 6 BB, 24 K, 61% GB rate.
And if we go back a bit further and take a look at his last 30 major league starts dating back to 2011 we get the following line: 30 GS, 169 IP, 169 H, 52 BB, 57% GB, 3.46 ERA. That’s pretty solid for a #3 or #4, let alone the fifth rotational cog.
At $2.5 million guaranteed and a maximum of $5 million via incentives, Lannan really only needs to hit his traditional career averages to outproduce his contract. If his most recent eight starts are any indication of things to come, this might just stand to become one of the best value deals of the offseason. Lannan has been doing more than just minimizing risk — he has been pitching very well.
I guess my take on your comment is this. What difference does it make how we spin what they do? Does it help that the other sites criticize more? Has it changed anything? Do you think RA jr. is influenced […]