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Posts Tagged ‘Cole Hamels’

Phillies walk off on Francoeur’s home run

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Sun, July 19, 2015 06:06 PM Comments: 18

On a day where the Phillies celebrated Christmas in July, Jeff Francoeur gave the fans a present in the form of a walk-off two-run home run. In the process, he kept his team hot with an 8-7 win over the Marlins, completing the team’s first sweep since mid May.

“Hitting season,” as former manager Charlie Manuel used to call it, was in full effect as the two clubs combined for 15 runs and 24 hits on a scorching hot day at the park. The Phillies’ bats struck early in the second, scoring five runs highlighted by a pair of home runs by Ryan Howard and Freddy Galvis. Howard’s home run—an absolute bomb to the second deck in right field—was the 350th of his career and his 16th of the season.

While Francoeur’s homer wasn’t the longest, it was the one that decided the game. After Ken Giles gave up two runs in the eighth inning to give the Marlins a 7-6 lead, Francoeur followed a Carlos Ruiz walk with a two run shot to left, winning the game for the Phillies, 8-7.

In what could’ve been his last start at Citizens Bank Park as a Phillie, Cole Hamels had his second-straight poor outing, giving up five runs on eight hits over just three innings. The lefty has now given up 14 runs in his last 6 1/3 innings-pitched with only 12 days left before the July 31 trade deadline.

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Trading Hamels Now “Less Than 50/50″

Posted by Pat Egan, Tue, July 14, 2015 06:41 PM Comments: 42

NLCS Dodgers Phillies BaseballESPN Baseball Insider Jayson Stark joined Harry Mayes and Rob Ellis earlier today on 97.5 the Fanatic and had some interesting things to say on Cole Hamels. “I’ve talked to all the executives from other clubs that are here. I think Hamels getting traded, in the next three weeks, is now less than 50/50. ” Stark also later states that because of the strong free-agent market this offseason the Phillies could find themselves in the exact same situation next year. You can hear the full interview here

That is not exactly what any Phillies fan wanted to hear. The Phillies were in this exact situation one year ago and Hamels, like this year, was the Phillies best trade chip. But the deadline came and went, and Hamels remained in Phillies pinstripes. GM Ruben Amaro stated other teams were not willing to make a deal which was laughable because it was one of the busiest deadlines in years. The Phillies had a chance in August to trade Hamels to the Cubs who claimed him on waivers, but they eventually pulled the left hander back and it was thought that Hamels would be traded during the offseason.

As you know, Hamels was not traded in the offseason and now we are hearing he might not even be traded at the deadline?! The Phillies watched Cliff Lee’s trade value evaporate quicker than a drop of water in the Sahara thanks to an albow injury that will likely end his career. They waited too long, Lee got hurt, and instead of a top level prospect the Phillies get to send Lee a hefty paycheck every two weeks. So it is absolutely unbelievable to me that this organization saw themselves get burned waiting too long to trade Lee and they might end up doing the exact same thing with Hamels if he were to go down with an injury.

Some have said other teams have no idea who to deal with. It has been stated that Amaro is no longer making moves, but he is still the GM. When teams call up they do not know if they should deal with Amaro, or Gillick, or MacPhail. Other reports have stated that the Phillies asking price is still astronomically high on players which makes a deal even tougher to get done. The team that is the laughing stock of Major League Baseball just keeps creating a new punch line.

It is looking more and more like the Phillies 2015 MLB Trade Deadline will be highlighted by a trade of Jeff Francouer for a bag of balls. Someone give me a stiff drink.

  • 42 Comments
 

Top 5 Blemishes for the Phillies at the All-Star Break

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Tue, July 14, 2015 02:53 PM Comments: 12

Yesterday, I took the optimist route and wrote about the top five bright spots for the Phillies at the All-Star Break. Today, I’m taking the pessimist angle with their top five blemishes. While there have been positives and things to be optimistic, or even excited, about this season–whether it’s Ken Giles, Maikel Franco, or even the impending moves that will (hopefully) be made by the July 31 deadline—there has been a lot more bad than good.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five blemishes for the Phillies so far.

5. Harang’s fall from grace: When it was reported that the Phillies would be without Cliff Lee for the majority (if not all of) 2015, the club was left with Cole Hamels and Aaron Harang atop the starting rotation. Hamels was the clear ace with Harang being more of a wait-and-see-type of deal. The Phillies sure loved what they saw from Harang early on, as the right-hander held a 2.02 ERA through 11 starts to begin the season. He looked great. He was pitching like an ace. It was understood, however, that the likelihood of the 37-year-old sustaining that pace wasn’t great. When it got bad for Harang, it got bad fast. Once the calendar turned to June, Harang began his abrupt fall from grace. It started with a start against his former team, the Reds, where he allowed five earned runs in 5.2 innings-pitched. His next start wasn’t any better, as he, against the Reds again, allowed seven earned runs over six innings-pitched. The trend for Harang continued, and before he knew it, he finished June with an 0-5 record and a 7.28 ERA. He made one start in July—his worst start of the season (8 ER in 5 IP)—before being placed on the DL with a foot injury.

4. Hamels’ worst career start coming at a bad time: Cole Hamels represents the future of the Phillies franchise not because he’s an ace in his prime, but because he’s a valuable asset heading into one of the most vital trade deadlines in the franchise’s history. Hamels’ value was soaring before his last start, which resulted in him surrendering nine earned runs on 12 hits in 3.1 innings-pitched. While it’s debatable whether or not the start diminished his trade value much if at all, the timing could not have been worse. With the All-Star Break this week, once interested GMs could have that last start festering in their heads until teams resume play on Friday. Maybe seeing that start resulted in GMs doubting the 31-year-old’s ability, or maybe they will take a wait-and-see approach and watch what the left-hander has to offer in his first start after the All-Star Break. Either way you slice it, the start came at a bad time for the Phillies, and whatever leverage they had prior could potentially be lost.

3. Utley’s sharp decline: Chase Utley is and always will be an iconic player in Philadelphia sports. He will go down as one of the greatest players to ever don a Phillies uniform, and is the model of player that Philadelphia fans gravitate towards. That is what makes his decline so despondent for fans. For Utley, the decline could be just as much of a surprise to him as it is to us, especially after batting .412 in spring training. It cannot be easy for him—a player who has always played the game hard and the right way—to come to the realization that at age 36, his baseball skills are deteriorating. His slash line of .179/.257/.275 speaks for itself. Perhaps his ankle injury, which landed him on the DL last month, played a part in his poor production, but the reality is that Utley’s days as the Phillies’ everyday second baseman are likely over.

2. Amaro’s comments regarding Hernandez and Utley: Ruben Amaro Jr. has had a shaky season so far to say the least in what is probably his final season as the Phillies’ GM. After saying that Phillies fans “don’t understand the game” of baseball, Amaro publicly belittled Utley by saying that Cesar Hernandez is the team’s “best second baseman.” At the time the comments were made, Hernandez was on an 11-game hitting streak and had just raised his average to a team-high .302. He was playing very well in Utley’s absence—anybody watching could see that. Anybody watching could also see that Utley hadn’t looked like the same player through 65 games this season. For the GM of a franchise to come out and publicly state that a third year player on a three-week hot streak is a better player than a guy who has been an integral piece to that franchise for his entire career is unacceptable. Oh, and it’s not the first time he’s done this. Maybe Hernandez is a better player right now, but Amaro should’ve shown more respect towards a player who has always left it all on the field for his ball club.

1. Sandberg’s resignation: The losing got to a guy who hates to lose. That was the main reason ex-manager Ryne Sandberg gave regarding his decision to resign as the Phillies’ manager. While Sandberg’s decision can be respected because he made the tough decision to leave on his own terms (instead of sitting and waiting for his inevitable firing), the perception that he quit on the organization, the team, and more importantly, his players is completely warranted. The man who was the “leader” of a last place team abandoned ship instead of going down with it. His decision can merit respect, but it can also merit cowardice. Sandberg may have been in over his head in regards to managing ability, but the situation doesn’t reflect well for a club like the Phillies that already has plenty of problems on and off the field.

The Phillies have been coated in blemishes so far this season. The most obvious is their record, which currently sits at 29-62. They are the only team that has yet to hit 30 wins, and are on pace to finish with one of the worst records in the franchise’s history. Their pitching and offensive numbers ranking towards the bottom in all of baseball, and things could get even worse if certain players are dealt. The blemishes listed above just add to what has been an ugly season for the Phillies through 91 games.

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Top 5 Bright Spots for the Phillies at the All-Star Break

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Mon, July 13, 2015 02:55 PM Comments: 23

The Phillies are heading into the All-Star Break with 62 losses–the most losses any Phillies team has had before an All-Star Break since the Midsummer Classic’s conception back in 1933. The club is the only team in MLB not to hit 30 wins, and have the worst record in baseball at 29-62. They have ten more losses than the second-worst team in the league, the Milwaukee Brewers (38-52), and sport a 10-29 record since June 2. The 2015 Phillies have been historically bad in all phases of the game. However, through 91 games, there have been bright spots scattered around the club. Very few of them, but bright spots nonetheless.

Let’s take a look at the top five bright spots for the Phillies so far.

5. Francoeur flourishing in minimal role: After signing with the Phillies as a non-roster invitee last November, veteran Jeff Francoeur knew that he would have to work hard to earn a spot on the regular season roster. His hard work has certainly paid off, and the 31-year-old journeyman has made his opportunities count. In only 184 at-bats this season, Francoeur has a .245 average with six home runs and 26 RBIs. Despite the low season average, Francoeur has thrived off the bench. In 15 at-bats as a pinch hitter, Frenchy has a .467 average with six RBIs and a 1.038 OPS. He has also come through in tie games. In 58 at-bats with the score tied, Francoeur has a .292 average with three homers and 10 go-ahead RBIs.

4. Hernandez and Galvis developing into everyday starters: With the departure of Jimmy Rollins and the absence of Chase Utley, 25-year-old middle-infielders Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis have gotten the opportunity to play everyday. While both have had their ups and downs, they each have shown the potential to be everyday Major League starters. Galvis came out of the gates swinging one of the hottest bats in MLB, recording an average of .355 through 22 games in April. He crashed back to earth hard in May and June, however, batting 219 between the two months. Continue reading Top 5 Bright Spots for the Phillies at the All-Star Break

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Phillies Shut Out for Second Straight Game

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Fri, July 10, 2015 10:44 AM Comments: 3

When an offense faces two starting pitchers who have a combined four Cy Young Awards between them, the hitters know scoring runs will be a challenge.

After being shut out by three-time Cy Young Award Winner Clayton Kershaw Wednesday night, the Phillies were shut out again by 2009 Cy Young Award Winner Zack Greinke in a 6-0 loss.

For Greinke, the game marked his fifth consecutive start without allowing a run, and extended his scoreless streak to 35 2/3 innings. In the process, he became only the 6th pitcher in the “Live Ball era” to have at least five straight scoreless starts. The 31-year-old threw eight innings, allowing just one hit and striking out eight. He could have followed Kershaw’s complete game effort with one of his own, but Don Mattingly elected to pull the right-hander after throwing only 94 pitches through eight innings. Greinke is now 8-2 with an MLB-low 1.39 ERA.

In his seventh start for the Phillies, Severino Gonzalez surrendered four runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings-pitched, his longest outing of the season. The four runs came on a two-run double by Yasiel Puig, and a blast off the right-field foul pole by Adrian Gonzalez. Puig added a two-run homer of his own in the eighth off reliever Hector Neris, finishing with four RBIs on the night.

Ryan Howard had the only hit off Greinke, a line drive single to the vacant left-side of the infield in the second inning. That was the only baserunner Greinke allowed. Ben Revere added the Phillies’ second hit with two outs in the ninth inning, a single off Dodgers reliever Joel Peralta. Cesar Hernandez had a rough night at the plate, going 0-4 with three strikeouts. He now has just one hit in his last 12 at-bats with five strikeouts. After last night’s shutout, the Phillies’ offense has gone 20 innings without scoring a run.

Jimmy Rollins went 1-3, and finished 5-15 with one HR and five RBIs in his first series against his former ball club.

The Phillies will head to San Francisco to take on the Giants for a three-game weekend series. The Giants have struggled lately, losing seven of their last eight games. They will turn to left-hander Madison Bumgarner to stop the bleeding. Bumgarner faced the Phillies back on June 6 at Citizens Bank Park, giving up five earned runs and striking out 11 over eight innings-pitched. Expect to see Jeff Francoeur in tonight’s lineup for the Phillies. In six career at-bats against Bumgarner, Francoeur is 2-4 with one home run and four RBIs.

The Phillies will send ace Cole Hamels to the mound. The left-hander has a been dominant lately, posting a 2.42 ERA in his last four starts. Hamels is 3-1 with a 4.61 ERA in six career starts at AT&T Park.

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Who Will Represent the Phillies at the All-Star Game?

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Mon, July 06, 2015 02:00 PM Comments: 4

Yesterday, the starters for the 2015 All-Star game were unveiled, with 22-year-old Bryce Harper setting an NL record for All-Star fan votes with 13.86 million, and the Kansas City Royals having four players in the starting lineup for the American League.

It wasn’t too long ago when the Phillies sent FIVE players of their own to the All-Star game, albeit they didn’t all find themselves in the starting lineup simultaneously. In 2011, the Phillies sent starting pitchers Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels along with third baseman Placido Polanco and outfielder Shane Victorino to the Midsummer Classic. Those were the good old days.

Four years later, the Phillies’ roster is scarce of All-Star-caliber talent. The All-Star reserves, pitchers, and final vote candidates will be announced tonight, and at least one player will be a Phillie. As the All-Star Game rules state, every team much be represented. That includes the Phillies, who currently sport the worst record in MLB at 28-56.

There are three front-runners for the Phillies’ representative. Those players are Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, and rookie Maikel Franco. Each player is deserving, although you could make the argument for or against each.

Hamels is the ace of a horrendous Phillies starting rotation. Their starters rank dead last in the National League in ERA (5.24), BAA (.290), and wins (17). Hamels has been the only bright spot for the rotation, and has had himself another great season. The 31-year-old has a 3.02 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, and 119 strikeouts in 113.1 innings-pitched. He also ranks 4th in the NL among starting pitchers with a 3.5 WAR, behind Zach Greinke (4.8), Max Scherzer (4.7), and Shelby Miller (3.6), all of whom will likely be selected to the All-Star Game. Continue reading Who Will Represent the Phillies at the All-Star Game?

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Gillick: Phillies’ Rebuilding “Might Take a Little Longer”

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Mon, June 22, 2015 12:54 PM Comments: 20

After yesterday’s 9-2 win over the Cardinals, Phillies president Pat Gillick retracted his statement that the club would contend as early as 2017 or 2018, according to Phillies beat-writer Todd Zolecki.

“It might take a little longer,” Gillick said in regards to the Phillies’ rebuilding process.

The Phillies are in the midst of one of the worst seasons in their franchise’s history, and currently have the worst record in MLB at 24-47. They are near-the-bottom in a number of key categories such as runs scored, home runs, OBP, and ERA.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Gillick, who will likely step down from his current position in the front office before next season, did not share any news regarding the Andy MacPhail rumors that surfaced earlier last week.

“I can’t confirm anything in regards to Andy MacPhail,” said Gillick.

Ruben Amaro Jr.’s future with the club was another topic Gillick touched on by saying that “there will be no change” with the team’s general manager.

In regard’s the job Ryne Sandberg has done as the team’s manager, Gillick had this to say:

“We knew what a challenge we would have on wins and losses. If you want to judge a guy on wins and losses then no, he hasn’t done a good job. If you want to judge the way he’s conducted the club, the way he’s kept them battling in games, that indicates to me that he’s keeping these guys in a positive frame of mind and that’s the most important thing.”

Sandberg cannot take the blame for the state of the team right now, especially with certain players not performing at their expected levels. However, his in-game management has been questioned along with his decision making.

The Phillies have not shown a lot of reason to be optimistic for the future, besides the solid play of 22-year-old Maikel Franco. The farm system has shown some promise, with pitcher Aaron Nola quickly moving through the team’s organization, and the  performances of outfielder Roman Quinn and shortstop J.P. Crawford.

With the July 31 Trade Deadline approaching, the club’s future will become a little clearer. The Phillies have pieces that they would like to part ways with, such as Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon. The key for the Phillies is Hamels. If the Phills get the right return for the 31-year-old left-hander, then there can be reason for some optimism. If they don’t, Gillick’s deadline of 2017 or 2018 will become more of a stretch.

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Ken Rosenthal, Awkward Press Conferences, and Why The Phillies Are Stuck In Neutral

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Thu, February 12, 2015 10:30 AM Comments: 81

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“Stuck in neutral”

Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal wrote about the Phillies in his column over at Fox Sports.

He started out with four hypothetical “awkward” press conferences–Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, and Ryan Howard–asking the players about potential trades when Spring Training rolls around. These are all guys that the Phillies probably should’ve parted ways with by now. They know it, reporters know it, most fans know it. Heck, even the Phillies might know it. Here’s a quote from Rosenthal following the intro:

We’re talking awkward — painfully awkward. And unless things change before the Phillies’ first workout a week from Thursday, their offseason will look like a major fail.

Now, I think I disagree that the offseason will be a major fail if they don’t move any of those four guys before Spring Training. They did manage to make deals to part ways with Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd, which was noted by Rosenthal. Those weren’t exactly blockbuster deals, but they were something.

But I agree that a failure exists with the Phillies front office. The failure, in my opinion, does not lie in the 2015 offseason. It has already happened. They should’ve moved Cliff Lee a long time ago. Ryan Howard, in my opinion, should’ve been simply released during the season last year. Jonathan Papelbon should’ve been traded for something, either at the deadline last season, or any time during this offseason. Only Cole Hamels was worth hanging on to going into 2015. The David Price trade at the deadline last year hurt Hamels’ value, and the free agent moves this offseason (Jon Lester to the Cubs, James Shields to the Padres, to be precise) didn’t help either. I think they’ll get some better offers leading up to the deadline, as contending teams realize that they need a starter.

But Rosenthal is right. Maybe the Phillies are being too stubborn, and maybe it’s doing more harm than good. Here’s what he had to say about it:

The front office’s stubbornness, though, appears to go even deeper, whether it’s Amaro or Gillick who is actually calling the shots. The Phillies refuse to accept that they might not get exactly what they want.

Can the Phillies fix their mistakes? Sure. But, as Rosenthal states, it would require the Phillies to loosen up and entertain some offers that might not be up to their standards. Unless something changes soon, things will only get worse. Here’s how he put it:

And good luck to the Phillies persuading their fans to buy tickets for a team that remains stuck in neutral.

Stuck in neutral. I like it. The car that is the Phillies is on a downward path, stuck in neutral, and Ruben Amaro Jr. is at the wheel. He still has time to turn that baby around, but time is running out. Tick, tick, tick.

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Phillies Uniforms, and the Color Blue

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, September 01, 2014 12:30 PM Comments: 10

Happy Labor Day, Nation! Here’s a little change-of-pace post on the Phillies uniforms.

I was browsing the Phillies hat selection on Lids.com and came across this. That hat was worn by the Phillies in the 2000′s as an “Interleague Hat”, as they wore it, as an alternate, for when they played teams from the American League. It got me thinking: what would the Phillies look like if they added more blue to the uniform?

In recent years, they have worn the new “Diamond Era” batting practice (BP) hat for a few games, both home and away. But it kind of looks out of place, since the rest of the uniform lacks any kind of blue, save for the blue stars that dot the i’s on the front logo.

So, my idea is to add more blue to the entire uniform. Let’s start with hat. I would change the normal red hat with a white “P” to something that resembles the current BP hat. Something like this.

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Now for the home pinstripes. I’d like to see blue outlining on the “Phillies” script on the front, and on the name and number on the back. It would look like this:

cliff lee

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For the gray away uniform, I would make the same changes, and add a little blue to the stripe on the pants.

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Some History

The Phillies have had blue in their uniform in the past, as well. The current “day game” home alternate uniform is based off an old Phillies uniform from 1948. (H/t Uni Watch). Also, the classic throwback jerseys that you see around Philadelphia and at Citizens Bank Park are powder blue, and were worn for road games in the 70′s and 80′s. The Phils also had an away jersey prototype that featured “Philadelphia” across the chest (the norm for away jerseys in MLB), and a blue outline on the sleeve numbers. That is taken from this, by Bill Henderson (via Dan Fuller here).

What do you think? Do you want to see more blue in the Phillies uniforms? Or should they stick with the classic red look?

  • 10 Comments
 

Why The Phillies Failed At The Trade Deadline

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, August 01, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 34

Mo Money Mo Problems

Yesterday, the 4 PM MLB trade deadline came and went without a single move by the Phillies. Marlon Byrdthe player thought to be the most likely to be dealt, and the one who should have been dealt for at least something, didn’t go anywhere. A.J. Burnett wasn’t traded, and neither were Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, or Cole Hamels.

Around the league, Jon Lester was traded along with Jonny Gomes to the Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes. David Price was traded to the Tigers in a three team deal. John Lackey was sent to the Cardinals, and Martin Prado to the Yankees. The Phillies? Nada.

Continue reading Why The Phillies Failed At The Trade Deadline

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