Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, April 26, 2013 09:47 PM Comments: 18
Richie Ashburn Award: Kyle Kendrick
The Big Piece can still dazzle us with his monster home runs. (PHOTO: AP)
Kyle Kendrick pitched a gem and the offense was able to put up four runs as the Phillies topped the Mets Friday night at a atmosphere-less Citi Field. Michael Young and Ryan Howard drove in all the runs for the Phillies in the sixth inning, and the game featured just three umpires after home plate umpire Brian O’Nora ran off the field in the first inning with what was later called “flu-like symptoms.” The game was delayed for a few minutes while first base ump Adrian Johnson went to get the proper gear to take O’Nora’s place. Very odd. Continue reading Kendrick Shuts Out Mets, Phils Win 4-0
Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, April 25, 2013 04:28 PM Comments: 30
In yet another lame showing, the Phillies fell to the Pirates, 6-4, dropping three of four in the series.
LEE BLOWS LEAD, BULLPEN STRUGGLES
-Even the great Cliff Lee is not immune to the virus spreading through this team. With a two run lead in the seventh, Lee gave up back-to-back singles to center field, the first to Gaby Sanchez – who also homered to put the Pirates on the board – and then Michael McKenry, tying the game at 3-3. After seven innings and 122 pitches, Lee fanned seven, allowed 10 hits, three runs, and one walk.
-With the score tied in the eighth, Phillippe Aumont was summoned from the bullpen and did the chic thing – give up runs. Aumont allowed three runs on three hits in just 1/3 of an inning before being pulled in favor of Chad Durbin.
-Consider me someone who has been a believer in Aumont. With his power arm, he seemed destined to become a very good major league relief pitcher. Instead, he has a WHIP of 1.95 in just 6 2/3 innings this season. That won’t cut it. The Phillies need pitchers they can rely on and right now Aumont is not one.
-Nor is Durbin, who came in and allowed one inherited runner to score. He also allowed two moon-shot foul balls to Pedro Alvarez before finally retiring him on a hard hit ball to center. This bullpen is completely bi-polar. Durbin has made 7 appearances this season, and has either allowed an earned run or inherited runner(s) to score in 6.
OFFENSE SPUTTERS AGAIN
-Domonic Brown knocked in two of the three Phillies runs, the first on a bloop double to center field. Nice to see him running hard on a ball that landed in no-mans land and stretch it into a double. Brown brought home a second run on a bullet sac fly to center field. He would double for a second time in the ninth, finishing 2-for-3.
-Jimmy Rollins finished 0-for-3 and his average dropped to .258 in the process. After such a hot start, Rollins seems to be leveling off. Ryan Howard raised his average to .284, but is still putting up some nasty-looking at-bats.
-Kevin Frandsen got a start for Michael Young at third base and reached base twice in four PA’s.
-Odd moment: After Frandsen’s eighth inning double, Chase Utley bunted him to third with no outs. The Phillies best hitter should not be bunting under any circumstances, ever. Ever. Utley also committed his fifth error of the season dropped what looked like a routine line drive in the ninth. While he is hitting, his fielding is suspect, which is very un-Utley-like.
-I’m actually happy to see Charlie Manuel get ejected. After an odd play in which Erik Kratz was interfered with at home plate by Clint Barmes, Manuel came out and argued until he could argue no more. That’s as much fire as we’ve seen from this team in quite a while.
Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, April 23, 2013 09:51 PM Comments: 50
In what was one of the more miserable games of the season, the Phillies fell to the Pirates, 2-0.
Hamels Moves to 0-3:
-Just call it the Curse of Cliff. When your starting pitcher throws well enough that he should have a victory. Cole was pretty much on his game from the start, except for mistakes to Brandon Inge and Gaby Sanchez that hurt him. Hamels has gotten better every start since the first two duds of the year. In eight innings he gave up seven hits, two runs, one walk, and struck out six. Hamels tossed a season-high 118 pitches, with 82 strikes, a fantastic ratio. Unfortunately, it ended in a loss.
-The problem was someone named Jeff Locke outdoing him. Locke didn’t really outdo Hamels, per se, but did well on his own against a lifeless offense. The lefty Locke kept the Phils off balance, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks through six innings.
-Former Phillie Jason Grilli closed it out for his eighth save of the season in eight tries. He has not allowed a run yet this season. He’d look nice in the Phils pen, no?
Four Hits Won’t do it:
-John Mayberry Jr. tripled to lead off the fourth inning, followed by a Dom Brown HBP. The next batter, Ben Revere, tapped a grounder to third, and Mayberry broke for home. It was cleanly fielded by Brandon Inge, who easily threw out Mayberry.
One batter later, Erik Kratz grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning that started with two on and no outs. That’s just brutal.
Clarify: I earlier wrote I thought it was ridiculous that they sent Mayberry that quickly. Charlie said on that play, its as old as the game that you send the guy. But I question that. If Inge is off the base a bit, like he was, and you have Mayberry take a lead that he’s comfortable with, and able to get back to the bag if needed, then you shouldn’t have to send him. Wouldn’t Inge’s first reaction be to check what Mayberry was up to? Inge would likely look Mayberry back to the base, therefore allowing Revere time to beat out the possible double play. I’d have to watch the play again, but I don’t feel as though that should be Mayberry going 100%. What are the thoughts on that play?
-With the temps settling into the 40′s as the sun went down, it’s easy to understand why fans aren’t coming out. It’s uninspired baseball in football weather. Is it worth it to shell out $100 or more if you’re going with the family to watch this sort of product? The inconsistencies must be maddening. The tally was 31,002 in the seats tonight, but it looked to be far less than 30K.
-Laynce Nix continues to thrive off the bench. With his single in the eighth, Nix is now 6-for-11 as a pinch hitter this year. He’s settled into that role nicely, and as we know, the bench has been an issue for quite a while.
-Chase Utley pinch-hit in the eighth but it was a brief appearance: he struck out.
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.
Posted by Alex Lee, Sun, April 21, 2013 11:48 PM Comments: 8
After striking for two runs in the first, the Phillies offense was unable to get to a very hittable Jake Westbrook through six innings on Sunday night. Enter the Cardinals bullpen. The Phils scored five runs in the seventh and eighth – three of which came off a towering three-run shot from Erik Kratz – to notch a 7-3 victory and a series split against St. Louis. Kyle Kendrick kept his team in it with a gutsy six-inning performance against a potent Cardinals lineup.
Kyle Kendrick was solid again on Sunday for the Phillies.
OFFENSE COMES UP BIG WHEN IT COUNTS
- After grounding into a rally-killing double play in the sixth, Ben Revere redeemed himself two innings later when he stung a tie-breaking single up the middle in the eighth off Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs. Kratz hit the next pitch from Boggs deep into the cold Philadelphia night to blow it open, and the Phillies concluded their nightmarish week on a high note.
- Within that eighth inning, Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games in controversial fashion. Young hit a routine ground ball that deflected off Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs’ glove into the infield’s no man’s land. The hometown scorer quickly credited Young with a hit. Young scored the game-winning run shortly thereafter on Revere’s single.
- It wasn’t all good for the Phillies on Sunday night. Revere’s double play was one of three in big spots for the Phillies and squandered a bases loaded, one-out opportunity. An inning later, the Phils couldn’t get Laynce Nix home from second base with no outs after he tied the game with a pinch hit double. The Phillies left nine runners in scoring position.
PITCHERS DO THEIR JOB
-Kyle Kendrick put together his third consecutive solid start, battling through six innings despite throwing 53 pitches in the first two frames. Kendrick gave up two runs, eight hits and a walk, striking out six Cardinals in the process. In his last three starts, Kendrick has given up only four runs in 19 innings, lowering his 2013 ERA to 3.28. Continue reading Offense Erupts Late, Phils Earn Split With Cards
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, 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 Ian Riccaboni, Thu, April 18, 2013 02:30 PM Comments: 3
The Phillies announcedJohn Lannan was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained quadriceps tendon in his left knee. Lannan attributed his knee troubles to tendonitis to reporters after last night’s game.
There has been no corresponding move made yet but Adam Morgan is making quite the impression in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Morgan has thrown five innings, giving up one earned in today’s start and now has an ERA of 1.42 in three starts.
Analysis: Will Morgan be called up to replace Lannan? Tough to say but probably not. Morgan was pulled today after five effective , but long (100 pitches) innings, not because of any news related to Lannan. He is not on the 40-man roster while each of the other IronPigs starters (Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone, B.J. Rosenberg, and Ethan Martin) are. Morgan has outperformed all four pitchers and is among the best in the International League right now but Morgan did pitch today and Lannan’s next turn is Monday, which means Morgan would go on slightly short rest if he gets the call.
When I scouted him on April 6, Morgan used a fastball, change-up, and a slider to challenge hitters and induce weak contact. Morgan has Major League stuff, no doubt about it. The only flaw I found was his out pitch (slider) always came on 0-2 or 1-2 from 1-1. He varied his pitches early but looked to the slider away against righties every time the count when in his favor.