ESPN’s Law Ranks Phillies Crawford 19th Best Prospect

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, May 30, 2014 05:30 PM Comments: 9

Keith Law of ESPN likes Phillies prospect JP Crawford. So much so that he ranked him 19th in his update Top 25 MLB prospect rankings on ESPN.com.

Here’s what he had to say about the Phillies shortstop:

After (Kris) Bryant, Crawford is having the best 2014 of any player drafted in last year’s first round, showing an outstanding approach at the plate and surprising doubles power along with very promising work at shortstop.

I loved him at the time of the draft but thought he’d be a slow-developing prospect; based on his work in pro ball so far, with a composite .324/.418/.440 line in his first 411 plate appearances since he signed, I might have been a little light on him.

Law is a well-respected voice and someone who has been in an MLB front office before, so I do trust his opinion. And it’s certainly outstanding news to hear that a Phillies has cracked the top 20. Can’t remember the last to do so.

The Phillies need more players like Crawford. And while he’s currently a few years away from making a major league impact, not to mention he’d be blocked anyway by Jimmy Rollins, it’s at least a good sign that the Phillies may have hit on a first round pick, something they’ve struggled with as of late.


Do the Phillies Deserve More than One All Star?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, May 30, 2014 11:25 AM Comments: 12

Chase Utley leads all NL second basemen after the first round of ballots for the All Star Game. Following a scorching April and in the midst of a solid May, Utley is more than deserving. But can the same be said about any other Phillies?

Corey and I talked about this a few weeks back on Phillies Nation TV and there’s no clear-cut answer.

Jonathan Papelbon’s season has been impressive following a rocky start in Texas. His 13 saves are 7th best in the NL and his 1.86 ERA is 5th among RP’s that have at least five saves. While his numbers certainly cannot be overlooked, there is a bevy of relievers who could be picked.

Huston Street could be the Padres lone selection. He has 15 saves and just six walks in 20 innings. Rafael Soriano has a miniscule 0.86 ERA and a WHIP below one. Francisco Rodriguez has had a rebirth in Milwaukee. Steve Cishek plays in relative anonymity in Miami, but has struck out 27 and walked only six. Also, Craig Kimbrel is a candidate every year. Even Jonathan Broxton has been exceptional, fired filling in for an injured Aroldis Chapman, then sliding into late-inning work, which still counts in the eyes of those who make the decisions.

At shortstop, Jimmy Rollins has a solid chance of making the team for the first time since 2005. The crop of shortstops in the NL in underwhelming this season, sans Troy Tulowitzki, so this is certainly possible. Among qualifiers at that position, J-Roll ranks 2nd in OPS. However, he’ll have to fend off Jhonny Peralta, Hanley Ramirez, and Starlin Castro.

Carlos Ruiz is the final Phillies who has a real opportunity to play at Target Field this year. His underrated presence at the plate should not be overlooked the roster makers. Among qualified catchers, Ruiz ranks 6th in the majors with a 1.0 WAR. His .387 OBP ranks 2nd.

While it’s relatively clear Utley is headed to Minnesota, who goes with him is not.


Wheeler Shuts Down Phillies as Mets Win 5-Game Series Opener

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, May 29, 2014 10:04 PM Comments: 23

Zack Wheeler had his way with the Phillies and led the New York Mets to a win in the series opener, 4-1.

Buchanan vs. Wheeler

-David Buchanan was OK. He dealt with trouble most of the evening, but kept the Phillies within striking distance. Over 6 2/3, Buchanan allowed four runs, three of them earned, while walking two and striking out two. For a call-up, fifth starter, you can’t ask for much more.

-Zack Wheeler was much better. He did not walk a batter and struck out nine Phillies over 6 1/3 innings. The only damage inflicted was off the batt of Marlon Byrd. Other than that, there’s certainly a reason why he’s highly thought of. Wheeler hit 94-96 with his fastball and even K’d Chase Utley looking with a sick, 90 mph, 3-2 slider. With Matt Harvey and Wheeler, plus Noah Syndergaard in the minors, the Mets rotation could be deadly in time.

The Runs

Not much else went on in this game. Chris Young’s 4th homer of the year gave the Mets all they needed as the Phillies didn’t put up much of a fight against Wheeler.

-Marlon Byrd went opposite field on his 7th homer of the season in the 7th inning. Playing the on pace game with Marlon: .284 avg, 28 HR, 98 RBI, 51 doubles. You’d sign up for those final numbers.

Cesar or Not?

-Cesar Hernandez committed another error at third base and also made a boneheaded play by throwing to second base when he could have stepped on third base in the 5th inning. I can tell you this: the Phillies are probably itching to see if Maikel Franco is ready for prime time. It could happen soon. He’s just a better player than Hernandez, can actually play third base, and allows for the Phillies to not rush Cody Asche back. Asche hasn’t yet restarted baseball activities yet. And this is no knock on Hernandez who could be a valuable utility player.


Revere Homers, Rockies Still Win

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, May 28, 2014 09:57 AM Comments: 5

Ben Revere’s first career home run was not enough as the Rockies beat the Phillies, 6-2.


-Cole Hamels was on point Tuesday night until the seventh inning rolled around. With the score tied at one, Wilin Rosario hit a three-run homer into the first row in right field, ending what would have been a solid start by Hamels. Instead, it was another frustrating occurrence in a season with many.

-All told, Hamels completed seven innings, allowing four runs on just three hits while striking out four and walking two. Seventy-one of his 99 pitches were strikes, an insanely efficient amount. Too bad, one was a mistake to Rosario that cost the Phillies the game.


-Ben Revere hit his first career home run in at-bat no. 1,466. and 1,565 career plate appearances. I guess it was bound to happen at some point, and didn’t it come off a lefty, Boone Logan? So, history was made. Congrats, Ben.


-Really, the killer was having the bases loaded with nobody out in the third inning and getting no runs. It summed up nicely what the Phillies have gone through all season. With the top of the order up, you’d think at least one run would be possible, but not on this night. Ben Revere grounded into a fielders choice, Jimmy Rollins weakly popped out, and Chase Utley flew out to the warning track in left field. Absolute killer.

-Carlos Ruiz did his part. After telling the media an incredible story of financing a rescue mission for friends of his in Panama prior to the game, Chooch reached base four times. Ruiz singled twice, walked, and was hit by a pitch. His on-base percentage rests at .396.

-Darin Ruf hit his first home run of the season. He could be in line for some playing time against lefties.


-The rain began before the start of the game and lasted 1 hour, 22 minutes into the tilt.

-Carlos Gonzalez left the game in the sixth inning with a calf contusion after he fouled a ball off his leg.


MAG has Dead Arm; Amaro Says Franco’s Not Ready

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, May 27, 2014 06:47 PM Comments: 5

-When word spread last summer that the Phillies were nearing a deal with Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, much of the fan base looked at the move as a progressive step for a franchise that recently had been lax when it came to the open market in the Caribbean. It’s still early, but it’s nearing the stage where the MAG signing could be looked at as a mistake.

The Phillies signed him to a three year, $12 million contract and he’s barely been able to throw this season. Ruben Amaro Jr. stated on Tuesday that Gonzalez complained of dead arm and is back in Philadelphia to have it checked. “Hopefully it’s nothing serious,” Amaro stated.

-Amaro also spoke of The Man Who Will Save Everything, Maikel Franco. Ryne Sandberg was asked about the future MLB’er prior to Amaro and was non-committal. Amaro was much more definitive in his stance with Franco.

“He’s just not playing good enough baseball yet, he’s not really ready to be a big leaguer yet. There’s no reason to bring [Franco] unless he’s ready to be a big leaguer as far as I’m concerned. If he puts together a few days. Offensively, he’s made some adjustments, he’s made some improvements better than in the earlier part of the season, but he’s not really going on all cylinders now. We’re still contemplating it. We’ll see how it goes.”

That may not make the fan base all that happy, but if he’s hitting .231 at Triple-A, he’s probably not quite there. But he clearly is close because the organization is contemplating it. We could see him sooner than later.


Gameday 49: Rockies vs. Phillies

Posted by Amanda Orr, Tue, May 27, 2014 06:21 PM Comments: 30

Colorado Rockies (27-24) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (22-26)

Starting Pitchers:
COL: Jorge De La Rosa (5-3, 3.91)
PHI: Cole Hamels (1-2, 4.30)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Chance of Rain, 84
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight: Jorge De La Rosa has been red hot as of late. In his last six starts, the left-hander is 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA in 34 innings. Cole Hamels has also pitched pretty well as of late. Hamels has a 2.14 ERA and 26 strikeouts in his last 21 innings of work.

Although the Rockies were shutout 9-0 last night, they remain as the highest scoring offense in the Majors.

Revere CF / Rollins SS / Utley 2B / Byrd RF / Ruf 1B / Mayberry LF / Ruiz C / Hernandez 3B / Hamels P


Lee’s DL Stay Longer than 15 Days

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, May 27, 2014 07:54 AM Comments: 26

Cliff Lee said he was still feeling discomfort in his left elbow after being reexamined by the team on Monday. It appears his disabled list-stint will last longer than the minimum 15 days. The team will reevaluate their star pitcher again later this week.

Lee told the media “They decided to let me wait until I have no symptoms to start throwing. I pretty much agree with that and it makes sense.”

This hurts the Phillies two-fold.

As they attempt to tread water and keep pace with the wild card leaders, doing so without their ace will prove to be a daunting task.

As they near the trade deadline, Lee represents their best trade chip. However, the longer this lingers, the less and less he’ll be able to fetch the Phillies in return should he OK a trade to a contending team.



Phillies Shake Off No-Hitter, Beat Rockies 9-0

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, May 26, 2014 08:55 PM Comments: 2

There were hits. Many hits today. The Phillies were no-hit by the Dodgers on Sunday, then came back to beat the Rockies 9-0 on Monday. Just as expected, right?


-Ryan Howard had a big day, finishing 3 for 5 with a home run and five RBI. Chase Utley had another monster day finishing 3 for 4 with three runs and his league-leading 21st double. How many doubles is he on pace for, you ask? 71.


-Kyle Kendrick was good Kyle on Monday, throwing 6 2/3 innings, allowing no runs. He did walk four and only struck out two, so he did minimize the damage. That’s always tough to do with the Rockies offense that boasts Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.




Asche hits DL, De Fratus Returns

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, May 25, 2014 12:57 PM Comments: 13

Bad news for the Phillies as 3B Cody Asche has hit the DL with a left hammy strain. Justin De Fratus takes his spot on the Phillies roster.

Asche has had a bright May, hitting .317 with 5 doubles and 3 homers. His defense has been suspect, but he’s definitely picked it up with the bat. Cesar Hernandez and Reid Brignac look to pick up the slack with Asche down. Doesn’t look like Maikel Franco is an option…yet.

The 21-year-old has been out of Lehigh Valley’s lineup for two days, described as “under the weather”.

For the IronPigs, De Fratus sported a 4.50 ERA with three saves in 15 games. The 26-year-old notched 13 strike outs while walking four batters over 16 innings during his stint with Lehigh Valley.


Gameday 45: Dodgers vs. Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, May 23, 2014 06:08 PM Comments: 30

Los Angeles Dodgers (25-23) at Philadelphia Phillies (20-24) 

Starting Pitchers:

LAD: Clayton Kershaw (2-1, 4.43)
PHI: Roberto Hernandez (2-1, 3.98)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly cloudy, 70
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today:

The Phillies are loading up with righties against Kershaw. Darin Ruf makes his first start of the season, he’ll play left field for Dom Brown. Bobby Nandez starts again for the Phillies, he hasn’t done so since May 9.

Also, keep an eye on Cesar Hernandez and how he responds to defense at third base. Ryne Sandberg wants to see if he has a viable backup at that position.


Rollins SS / Ruiz C / Utley 2B / Byrd RF / Howard 1B / Ruf LF / C. Hernandez 3B / Mayberry CF / R. Hernandez P

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