Posts Tagged ‘Nl East’

Rollins Back in Starting Lineup

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Fri, March 14, 2014 11:03 AM Comments: 4

http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/1x17gzh1GiBU3l.CRO1U_Q--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYwMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/person/Ysports/jimmy-rollins-baseball-headshot-photo.jpgJimmy Rollins will be back in the starting lineup today batting second for the first time since Monday’s game against the Braves.

It was initially thought that Ryne Sandberg was benching Rollins in order to “send a message,” but it turns out it was not disciplinary and was just so Sandberg could get an extended look at the younger Freddy Galvis.

However, Sandberg was upset at Rollins for some comments that he made to the Philadelphia Daily News regarding the Phillies offensive struggles thus far.

“Who Cares,” Rollins said, and then expanded on that by saying Spring Training statistics are not telling of what will happen once the regular season begins.

“I just wanted him to clarify that, because I wanted to make sure that he cared. And I wanted to make sure  – I know that everyone else in the locker room cared. So when he told me about what he was talking about, it made sense…He was referencing himself and where he’s at right now,” said Sandberg

This is not the first time Rollins has attracted media attention for things that he said.

In 2007, Rollins got attention for his comments stating that the Phillies were “the team to beat” in the NL East. Those comments stuck throughout the season and seemed to fuel the Phillies’ quest to claim the division crown.

2013 was Rollins’ worst season of his career, hitting .252 with 6 home runs, 39 RBIs and a career .667 OPS.

Todd Zolecki reported that Rollins is not worried that the Phillies will try to have him share time at shortstop with Galvis over the course of the regular season.

“That hasn’t even crossed my mind,” said Rollins.

“(Rollins is) an important part of the team. He’s got his role on the team as a veteran player, and he comes into Spring Training in very good shape every year, and he has again this year. He’s got his playing time and at-bats coming up. It’s also a long season playing up the middle, so with him and Chase, I’m careful with their games. I know the grind of a season, and Jimmy plays over 150 games a year. It’s the time of the spring right now where he’ll have some time down the stretch,” said Sandberg.

Despite Sandberg’s comments saying that he benched Rollins to get more of a look at Galvis and to give Rollins a break, it would not be surprising if Rollins’ “who cares?” comment played a slight role in his benching. That being said, It’s good to see that Sandberg is willing to put his foot down when he sees the need to.



Phillies Season Ends with Ugly Loss to Braves

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, September 29, 2013 05:22 PM Comments: 46

The Phillies season ends at 73 wins, 89 losses after an ugly 12-5 defeat in the finale against the Atlanta Braves. It’s the most losses in a season since they hit 97 losses in 2000.

On the opposite end, the Atlanta Braves, winners of the NL East, finish the year 96-66.

On this day, the Phillies would be undone by the fact that their bullpen had to pitch the entire game again. Zach Miner started and allowed five runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. Cesar Jimenez and JC Ramirez came in and gave up five more runs.

Erik Kratz hit his 9th home run of the season; Chase Utley had two hits.

The outcome of this game obviously meant nothing other than another notch in the win or loss column. What is does mean is that the Phillies are in a world of trouble heading into the 2014 season, unless Ruben Amaro Jr. can get crafty.

Looking ahead, it would appear many of the players currently on the roster would be back. Ryne Sandberg is already in place as the manager, but his coach staff is still relatively unknown. There is a belief that Rich Dubee could be on the way out as the Phillies transition to a new regime. But other than that, what moves can be made?

There’s always next year, as the old adage goes. All Phillies fans can look forward to is an offseason of hope and some nice player movement, and then Spring Training. See you in March.


Hewitt, Collier, and the 2008 MLB Draft’s First Round

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, September 20, 2013 02:00 PM Comments: 2


Anthony Hewitt, Photo by Jay Floyd

When Tim Beckham took the field last night for the Tampa Bay Rays, he became the 34th first round or supplemental first round pick from the 2008 MLB Draft to reach the Major Leagues. It took the former number-one overall pick six seasons, including two-and-a-half seasons in Triple-A, to have enough seasoning to join the Tampa Bay Rays. Somewhat surprisingly, Beckham is the first player drafted by the Rays since 2007 to reach the Major Leagues.

To be fair, the Rays did draft Zach Rosscup in 2009 and Derek Dietrich in 2010, players who reached the Majors but did so after being traded by the Rays. Compared to the Rays’ seemingly-paltry tally of just three players drafted after 2007 reaching the Majors, the Phillies have had 20 (seven from 2007′s class, nine from 2008′s class, two from 2009′s class, one from 2010′s class, and one from 2011′s class). Some, Brian Schlitter, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Taylor, Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid among others, reached the big leagues with other teams after being traded with others, including 2007 30th round pick, bullpen impact arm Jake Diekman, slugging 2009 20th round pick Darin Ruf, and 2011′s fourth round pick Cody Asche reached the Bigs with the Phils.

Diekman and Ruf are examples of the Phillies doing well in the later rounds of the draft and this is an area of the draft the Phillies have excelled in discovering value. For example, the Phillies found a slew of Major League-caliber bullpen arms after the tenth round of the 2008 draft: Michael Stutes (11th), B.J. Rosenberg (13th), and Michael Schwimer (14th). And the 2008 crop also produced Vance Worley (3rd), Jonathan Pettibone (3rd), and Cosart (38th).  But it was the big misses in the first round of that draft that is one of the big reasons the Phillies are hurting in 2013.

Continue reading Hewitt, Collier, and the 2008 MLB Draft’s First Round


Phillies on Pace for Highest Player Count Since 1996

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, August 22, 2013 04:30 PM Comments: 3

The 2013 Phillies played their 48th player last night, Roger Bernadina, on pace to be the most “unique” group of Phillies since 1996, when the Fightins had 54 different players suit up for the club. By comparison, the 2012 Phillies played 49 players in an 81-81 effort while the five-time repeating NL East Champion squads averaged just 42.2 players and most of the numbers for the 2008-2011 clubs were inflated by a number of September call-ups.

For a detailed look at the last 25 years of the Phillies and how many players they used, check out the graph below. Click to enlarge:

8-12-2013 12-49-53 PM

A few thoughts:

- The better the Phillies team, generally the less number of players the Phillies used. Seems simple enough. This is seen most notably in the jumps each way from 2000 to 2001.

- The current 2013 squad has the highest player count since 2000 and may challenge 1996′s 54 players used.

- The 1996 Phillies – what the heck happened there? A lot of talented names – probably should have won a few more than 67 games.

- The highest total this century is 51, achieved by the 2000 Phillies. The Phillies have four players on the 40-man roster who have not seen the Majors in 2013 (catcher Sebastian Valle, pitcher Mauricio Robles, and outfielders Zach Collier and Tyson Gillies). It is very unlikely that Valle and Collier receive a call-up while Gillies and Robles have substantially better odds. It is also possible that players like Tyler Henson or Cameron Rupp, who are not currently on the 40-man roster, are promoted for September.

While the 2013 club could surpass 51 different Phillies, barring any surprises, the 1996 squad will likely retain its mark as the team to beat in terms of most Phillies used.


Charlie Manuel Reportedly Out, Press Conference at 2:30

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, August 16, 2013 01:47 PM Comments: 30

UPDATE: It is official. Charlie Manuel is no longer manager of the Phillies, and Ryne Sandberg has been named interim manager. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. informed Manuel that he will not renew his contract at the end of the season.

The Phillies called a surprise press conference for today at 2:30 PM, and were very tight-lipped about the details. Jim Salisbury then broke the news via his source that Charlie Manuel will no longer be manager of the Phillies. Logical speculation would say that Ryne Sandberg will take over Manuel’s duties as manager, but nothing is official.



The press conference will be shown on CSN at 2:30 PM and live streamed below. The Phillies official website will also carry the press conference.

Continue reading Charlie Manuel Reportedly Out, Press Conference at 2:30


Free-Falling Phils Swept by Braves

Posted by Alex Lee, Sun, August 04, 2013 11:29 PM Comments: 21

Returning from injury, Cliff Lee had his fourth consecutive shaky start on Sunday.  (PHOTO: AP)

Returning from injury, Cliff Lee had his fourth consecutive shaky start on Sunday. (PHOTO: AP)

Behind rookie lefthander Alex Wood, the Braves completed a sweep of the Phillies on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, winning 4-1 and dropping the Phils to a season low 11 games under .500.  They now trail Atlanta by 16.5 games in the NL East.

Cliff Lee was not himself in his first start in two weeks, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered considering the lackluster state of the Phillies offense right now.  They managed only four hits, three walks and a run against the Braves, who have the second best team ERA in baseball.  John Kruk summed it up best in the ninth inning when he commented that despite only being a three-run game, it had the feel of a blowout.

The Phillies have lost 13 of their last 14 games, and have been swept in three of the five series after the All-Star break.  They are the owners of a minus-88 run differential, which is the worst in the National League and only better than the anemic Houston Astros in all of baseball.  The sweep dropped the Phils to 3-6 on the year against the first place Braves.  Atlanta has now won 10 in a row.


- In his first start since July 21, Lee lasted only five innings, surrendering four runs (three earned), eight hits and two walks.  He looked off from the start, uncharacteristically walking the first batter of the game and later that inning crossing up Carlos Ruiz on a curveball that ultimately cost him a run.

- The lefty was visibly frustrated in the fourth inning when his outing was delayed about five minutes while the umpires tried to determine via replay if a B.J. Upton home run should stand.  Upton was sent back to second with a double, but Lee gave up drives to Jason Heyward and Justin Upton that put the game out of reach at 4-1. Continue reading Free-Falling Phils Swept by Braves


Phils Drop Sixth Straight With Loss To Tigers

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Fri, July 26, 2013 09:32 PM Comments: 4

Hamels has been a victim of poor run support all season. (Photo: AP)

Hamels pitched well tonight, but the bats were silent. (Photo: AP)

Following their 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, the Phillies have now lost a season-high six games in a row. The loss pushed them 8.5 games back of first place in the NL East, and, as of this post, the Braves were winning. For the fifth time this season, they’re five games under .500. Since the All Star Break, they’ve gone 1-6.

In the event that you’re not picking up my vibe here, what I’m trying to say is, if you haven’t picked out a seat on the Sell! Sell! Sell! bandwagon, I suggest you do it now while some spots still remain.


- As so often goes in the game of baseball, Cole Hamels was offered a chance at redemption tonight when the Phils once again spotted him an early 1-0 lead. This time, Hamels seized the opportunity. The only problem was the Phillies bats felt one run was enough.

- Hamels one shaky inning came when he found himself in a jam with runners on second and third and one out in the fifth. Nursing a slim 1-0 lead, there was little room for error. Unfortunately, Hamels couldn’t find a way out of it. He allowed a two-run double, the fourth double of the night for Detroit, to Alex Aliva–the nine-hole hitter. The fact that it was Avila, who is batting a robust .188, that did the damage made the moment all the more cringe-worthy. Continue reading Phils Drop Sixth Straight With Loss To Tigers


My Day at ESPN Headquarters

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, July 22, 2013 08:30 AM Comments: 2

Last Wednesday, I had the great fortune of visiting the sports fan’s version of Disneyland, also known as ESPN headquarters.  It’s a wonderful place filled with celebrities, athletes, and people that care a lot about broadcasting sports to fans like us.  A big thanks goes out to Kristen Hudak, Senior Publicist at ESPN and displaced Nationals fan who organized the day for me.  Besides seeing the sights, I wanted to meet some of the Philadelphia-area natives that make the magic happen in Bristol, CT.

Kevin Negandhi

Kevin Negandhi and Brian

Upon entering the ESPN campus, I was immediately impressed by the sheer size the place – dozens buildings, miles of roads, and more satellite dishes than NASA.  My first visit of the day was with SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi at the on-site Starbucks.  Kevin’s enthusiasm for Philly sports is infectious.  As I came to discover throughout day, whenever I told someone that I was from Philly, the first thing they replied was, “have you talked to Negandhi yet?”  It’s that obvious.  As a West Philly native and Temple grad, Negandhi is constantly talking Philly sports.  I spoke with him on camera for a few minutes for this week’s episode of Phillies Nation TV but probably could have continued for hours.

The next stop was a behind-the-scenes viewing of a Baseball Tonight taping.  First off, the studio is incredible, every bit as cool as it looks on TV.  Adnan Virk was moderating a “baseball’s best lineups” segment with Tim Kurkjian and Curt Schilling.  After the taping, I spoke with Adnan and Tim about the NL East race and what kind of roster moves the Phils will make this month.  Tim thinks they’ll be buyers – at least as of the All-Star break. Continue reading My Day at ESPN Headquarters


Phils Need Epic Second Half to Make Playoffs

Posted by Alex Lee, Tue, July 16, 2013 02:46 PM Comments: 26

After the All-Star festivities end tonight, Cliff Lee, Domonic Brown and the rest of the Phils have plenty of work to do. (AP Photo)

After the All-Star festivities end tonight, Cliff Lee, Domonic Brown and the rest of the Phils have plenty of work to do.  (AP Photo)

As I opined last week, gauging where you stand on the Phillies can hinge on what day you check in on this ambivalent bunch.  Nowhere is it more visible than within the Philadelphia media, where readers are bombarded with recurring “buy” and “sell” advocacy within the same publication, sometimes on the very same day.

For Phillies fans, it really is a recipe for whiplash.

Today is one of the good days.  Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown will represent the city in tonight’s All-Star Game at CitiField.  The Phils are riding high, winners of nine of 13 and four straight series, three of which came against teams in contention.  They are at the .500 mark for the first time since June 7 – six-and-a-half games behind Atlanta in the NL East and five-and-a-half behind Cincinnati for the second wild card spot.

There is nothing wrong with fans craving the excitement of a playoff run.  That remains true even if they don’t truly believe this team has the talent to make one (count me in with that cautiously hopeful bunch).  But while this group’s recent penchant for second half improvement has me conceding that a playoff spot is a remote possibility, it still seems pretty implausible when you crunch the numbers.

Continue reading Phils Need Epic Second Half to Make Playoffs


Mayberry Bails Out Papelbon, Phils End Half at .500

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, July 14, 2013 06:20 PM Comments: 6

John Mayberry Jr. singled with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth after Jonathan Papelbon‘s blew his fifth save to grab a 4-3 victory for the Phillies. The win puts the Phillies at 48-48 entering the All-Star break and, coupled with today’s Braves loss, puts them just 6.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East race. The 48-48 mark is 6.5 game better than last year’s 37-50 at the All-Star break and is six games ahead of last year’s 42-54 pace through 96 games played.

Papelbon Wastes Fine Hamels Outing

Cole Hamels notched his third straight quality start, scattering eight hits in eight innings pitched, walking none and giving up just two earned while striking out seven. Hamels benefited from a first inning, two-run RBI double from Dom Brown and helped his own cause with an RBI single in the fourth. Hamels was en route to his third straight win, handing the 3-2 game over to Papelbon in the ninth.  Papelbon allowed Dayan Viciedo to reach via single and Viciedo’s pinch runner Blake Tekotte stole second. Josh Phegley singled Tekotte home to knot the game at three. After a scoreless bottom of the ninth and top of the tenth, Chase Utley doubled in the bottom of the tenth off of former IronPig David Purcey. Purcey would intentionally walk Jimmy Rollins to face Brown. Brown advanced both runners on a fielder’s choice and Darin Ruf was intentionally walked. Mayberry singled up the middle to win the game 4-3.

.500 at Last

The Phillies are now 6.5 back of the NL East lead for the first time since June 22, ending a ten game homestand with seven wins and reached .500 for the first time since June 7. The Phillies sit just 5.5 back of the Cincinnati Reds with just the Nationals (0.5 games) and the Dodgers (0.5 games as of press time) in between. The Phillies will resume their season on Friday July 19 when the Phillies start a tough, nine-game road trip at Citi Field.

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