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Gameday 22: Phillies vs. Cardinals

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Wed, April 29, 2015 08:00 PM Comments: 16

Philadelphia Phillies (8-13) at St. Louis Cardinals (13-6)

philadelphia-phillies-p Cardinals

Starting Pitchers:

PHI: Aaron Harang (2-1, 1.97)
vs.
STL:
 
Carlos Martinez (2-0, 1.35)

Time: 8:15 EST, Busch Stadium
TV: ESPN, CSN
Weather: Cloudy, 71 degrees
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A note for today:  Aaron Harang looks to continue his success on the mound versus the St. Louis Cardinals after throwing eight shutout innings in his last outing.  Even though the final score didn’t show much hope from last night, the Phillies offense was able to score five runs on nine hits for the night.  Sevorino Gonzalez had a harsh welcome to the Major Leagues and gave up seven earned runs in the 2.2 innings he pitched and didn’t help the Phillies offense there.  Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus continue to struggle in the bullpen as we are all hoping they can turn things around.  Jeff Francoeur continues his clean up stint, batting .193 with 11 hits and 4 RBIs in 57 at bats.

 Lineup: Revere LF, Herrera CF, Utley 2B, Francoeur RF, Howard 1B, Asche 3B, Ruiz C, Galvis SS, Harang RHP

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Gonzalez Hammered in Debut, Phils Lose 11-5

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, April 28, 2015 11:56 PM Comments: 9

To say things didn’t go as planned for Severino Gonzalez would be a massive understatement. The 22-year old rookie made his Major League debut this evening and was tasked with facing one of the NL’s best offenses.

He did not do well.

Gonzalez was hit hard and hit often, allowing seven earned runs in just two and two thirds innings pitched. Three straight hits in the first plated two for the Cards off the Panamanian hurler while two more were plated in the second via three Cardinals hits, a walk, and a ground out. Down 4-0, the Phillies punched back in the top of the third, with Odubel Herrera driving in Freddy Galvis with Herrera’s sixth double of the season. Chase Utley would follow Herrera with a RBI single to pull the Phillies to within two.

But the wheels continued to fall off for Gonzalez until the chassis hit the ground. Gonzalez’s final line? Seven runs, all earned, allowed via ten hits and two walks in two and two thirds innings pitched.

Gonzalez, leaving pitch after pitch over the plate, allowed three more runs in the third, getting pulled after an RBI single by pitcher Michael Wacha. Dustin McGowan shut the door in the third and pitched a scoreless fourth.

The offense, now down 7-2, did not give up. In the top of the fifth, Galvis scored after his second of three singles on a Herrera ground out. Utley would drive in Grady Sizemore, who had a pinch hit walk, on a ground out as well. But the Phillies couldn’t keep the game close: Jake Diekman would let Jason Heyward walk before retiring Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong. With two outs, Diekman walked the pitcher, Wacha, and the Baseball Gods responded accordingly with a Jon Jay RBI single and a Matt Carpenter double.

The Phillies would draw the game to 9-5 with an RBI, pinch hit double by Andres Blanco scoring Ben Revere but that would be the closest they came all night to the lead. The Cards would score a pair of unearned runs by way of a Grady Sizemore error in the eighth and the Phils would fall 11-5.

The Phillies send Aaron Harang to the mound tomorrow night in Game 3 of the four game set to face Carlos Martinez. First pitch is scheduled for 8:15 PM EST.

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Prospect Injury Notes: Crawford activation imminent, Watson progressing

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, April 28, 2015 11:30 PM Comments: 0

JPCraw2

JP Crawford, image- Jay Floyd

Top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford, who has been out of action since late March with an oblique strain, is nearing a return.

After required rest, the 20-year-old is back in action, playing daily with the extended spring training team in Florida.

According to Crawford, he is feeling “ready to go”, but the decision to activate him to a full-season team roster, either Class A Advanced Clearwater or Double-A Reading, will come from the team’s athletic training staff, who is keeping a close eye on the youngster.

Crawford, who represented the Phillies in last year’s MLB All-Star Futures Game, was the organization’s top draft selection in 2013.  He sported a .285/.375/.406 slash line in 123 games combined at two levels last year.

Additionally, right-handed hurler Shane Watson continues to recover from his second shoulder surgery.

According the the 21-year-old Watson, he tossed two innings of live batting practice on Tuesday.  He’ll continue his throwing program and anticipates competing with the extended spring training team in one week.

Watson, who last pitched in a regular season game with Class A Lakewood in 2013, was the Phils’ top draft pick the year prior.  He tallied a 4-7 record with a 4.44 ERA and a .227 batting average against in 21 combined games at two levels.

The goal for Watson, once he’s stretched out without any setbacks this season, is for him to return to Lakewood, according to Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan.

Crawford and Watson grew up as childhood friends and were teammates at Lakewood High School in California.

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Gameday 21: Phillies vs Cardinals

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, April 28, 2015 07:24 PM Comments: 16

Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals (12-6) at Philadelphia Phillies (8-12)

Starting Pitchers:

PHI: Severino Gonazlez (0-0, 0.00, MLB Debut)
vs.
STL: Michael Wacha (3-0, 1.33)

Time: 8:15 EST, Busch Stadium
TV: CSN
Weather: Clear, 66 degrees
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A note for today:

Alright you guys, let’s listen up. We won a game yesterday. If we win one today, that’s two in a row. If we win one tomorrow, that’s called a ‘winning streak’. It has happened before. – Lou Brown, manager, Cleveland

The Phillies look for their third win in a row, going head-to-head with the St. Louis. The Phillies’ Severino Gonzalez makes his MLB debut tonight taking on the undefeated Michael Wacha. Don’t be fooled by Wacha’s ERA: he is hittable. Wacha’s peripherals have taken a nose-dive early in the season (5.31 K/9 IP  in 2015 v. 7.91 in 2014) and he has gotten pretty lucky (98.8 (!) LOB%, .206 BABIP) while posting the highest FIP of his career at 3.77.

The Phillies may want to temper their expectations, however, as Wacha has a pretty large reverse platoon split: right-handed hitters hit Wacha at 150 OPS higher than the opposite-handed lefties. This is the Phillies’ first go round versus Wacha and no players that have played on other teams currently with the Phillies have seen him before, either, making the game somewhat of a rarity in that nobody on either side of the line-up has seen the opposing pitcher in the Major Leagues.

Lineup: Revere LF, Herrera CF, Utley 2B, Francoeur RF, Howard 1B, Asche 3B, Ruiz C, Galvis SS, Gonzalez RHP

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Dom Brown Optioned To Lehigh Valley, Has Yet To Report

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Tue, April 28, 2015 06:03 PM Comments: 0

The Phillies activated Domonic Brown (left Achilles tendinitis) from the 15-day DL on Tuesday, and promptly optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. As of the writing of this post, he has yet to report. He has 72 hours. Manager Dave Brundage said he doesn’t know when he will. Phils manager Ryne Sandberg wasn’t exactly enthusiastic, either.

Brown was hitting just .139 for the IronPigs during his rehab assignment.

Baseball wise, the Phillies could’ve used Brown on the roster–their collective outfield has the 2nd lowest OPS in the NL. But the Phillies are clearly trying to send a message to their 27 year old outfielder. We’ll see how this unfolds, but this is certainly could be the beginning of the end of the Dom Brown era in Philadelphia. But then again, this could light a fire under him, too.

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Send us your Mother’s Day photos

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, April 28, 2015 12:17 PM Comments: 0

Phillies momOn an upcoming episode of Phillies Nation TV, we’d like to pay special tribute to moms in honor of Mother’s Day. We’re going to include a collage of photos on the show, so if you have any you’d like to share, upload them below. The photos can be of you and your mom at a game, her rocking her favorite Phillies gear, or anything showing a Phillies fan mom being awesome!

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Hamels Returns to Form, Phils Win 4-1

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, April 27, 2015 11:03 PM Comments: 7

Cole Hamels looked every bit an ace tonight, cooling off the NL Central-leading Cardinals en route to a 4-1 Phillies victory, the club’s second win in as many days. In what some outside observers saw as a possible audition for the Cardinals, Hamels went seven strong, striking out nine while allowing just one earned run on four hits and four walks. Ken Giles struck out two in a scoreless eighth while Jonathan Papelbon secured his 111th save as a Phillie, moving him just one behind Jose Mesa for the club record.

Offense Shows Some, Timley, Moxie

The Cards struck first when Matt Holliday singled to left field to score the red-hot Matt Carpenter. The game would remain 1-0 St. Louis until the Phillies finally broke on to the scoreboard with their seventh hit of the game in the seventh inning, a ground-rule double by Ben Revere that scored Carlos Ruiz and Freddy Galvis. Odubel Herrera would drive in Revere before getting thrown out at second to make the game 3-1 Phils. Darin Ruf, pinch hitting for Giles in the ninth, would drive in Ruiz from third on a ground out to second to put the Phillies up 4-1.

Ruiz had a game-high four hits with two runs scored to raise his average to .260, while Herrera had three hits to raise his average to .300. The Phils were able to put together 11 hits while only striking out twice in what was one of their better offensive performances of the young season. But just four of those hits came from players not named Ruiz or Herrera and one was from Hamels. Chase Utley, Jeff Francoeur, and Ryan Howard combined to go 1-12 in the middle of the line-up with a Howard single being the only hit for the trio while Cody Asche kept his average above .300 with a single.

Notes: The Phillies send 22-year old Severino Gonzalez to the hill tomorrow night in his Major League debut to take on one of the Major’s best in 2015, Michael Wacha (3-0, 1.33 ERA). Gonzalez was 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA, striking out nine in 17.2 IP with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2015 and was the recipient of the organization’s Paul Owens‘ Award for best minor league pitcher in 2013. To make room for Gonzalez, the Phils optioned Hector Neris to Lehigh Valley and moved Jonathan Pettibone to the 60-day DL.

Also of note, manager Ryne Sandberg indicated today that outfielder Domonic Brown may not be called up as soon as he is healthy and instead may spend some time in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Brown is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday but is currently hitting .129 in 31 PA with the ‘Pigs.

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Gameday 20: Phillies vs Cardinals

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, April 27, 2015 07:15 PM Comments: 15

Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals (12-5) at Philadelphia Phillies (7-12)

Starting Pitchers:

PHI: Cole Hamels (0-2, 3.75)
vs.
STL: John Lackey (1-0, 4.34)

Time: 8:15 EST, Busch Stadium
TV: CSN
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 59 degress
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A note for today:  The Phillies look for win number two in a row as they square off against the NL Central-leading Cardinals. The Phils and Cards engage in a match-up for former World Series heroes: Hamels and Lackey. Hamels will have his work cut out for him facing one of the Senior Circuit’s best line-ups. Matt Carpenter (.366/.423/.634) is one of five St. Louis regulars hitting .280 or better for the season but Hamels has held Carpenter hitless in seven plate appearances. Hamels has also had success against Matt Holliday (.200 BAA) and Yadier Molina (.240 BAA).

With Hamels’ start tonight, number 279, he will be just one behind Grover Cleveland Alexander for a tie for fourth place in Phillies history at 280. 

Lineup: Revere LF, Herrera CF, Utley 2B, Francoeur RF, Howard 1B, Asche 3B, Ruiz C, Galvis SS, Hamels LHP

  • 15 Comments
 

Small Ball? Not So Much

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, April 27, 2015 09:01 AM Comments: 6

PHOTO: AP

PHOTO: AP

Coming into the season, the Phillies offense wasn’t expected to be much of anything. So manager Ryne Sandberg figured that the best way to get these guys to produce would be small ball. Here’s what he told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki in March:

That’s something that I’m stressing this spring. We’re working on it. We’re practicing it. If it’s not a bunt, it could be a hit and run. Get a baserunner, make something happen–really to set the tone for the season. … I look at our bats and our type of team, and I think we’re going to have to be good at that game.

And so far in 2015, they’ve been trying. Kind of. They’ve been one of the worst teams at the plate–last in the league in total runs and runs per game, last in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, and more. But they have the most sacrifice bunt attempts (17) and successes (8) in all of baseball. However, their 47% success rate is near the bottom of the league at 26th. So in reality, they aren’t that good at sac bunts, they just lead the league because they attempt so many.

So what about other forms of “small ball”? I define small ball as advancing the most baserunners as possible. That can come in the form of bunts and steals, but also things like going 1st-to-3rd on a single to right, or advancing a runner from 2nd to 3rd on a ground ball. Elias/ESPN classify a “productive out” as (1) successful sac bunt by a pitcher with one out, or (2) advancing any runner with none out, or (3) driving in a baserunner with the second out of the inning. A failure is determined as making an out without advancing the runner(s). Using that criteria, the Phillies are 11th in the league in with 22 successes in 61 opportunities. So at least they’re in the top half in that category.

But how about baserunning? They have 10 stolen bases in 13 attempts, which is about the league average. However, they haven’t been very good on the basebaths. According to Baseball Reference, the Phillies have taken extra bases (defined as taking more than one base on a single or more than two on a double) at a rate good for third-worst in the league. Furthermore, they are 2nd-to-last in the rate at which any baserunner scores on a batter’s play. They are last in total baserunners that scored and last at advancing a runner from second with none out as well.

So, the Phillies are trying the small ball thing with lots of bunts, but they don’t do the other things that are required to make “small ball” successful. If they really want to stress this play style, they need to do a better job, as Andy Reid would say, of situational hitting and running the bases. They could vastly improve their run output if they just improve in those areas.

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Righty prospect Gonzalez gets the call for Tuesday start

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, April 26, 2015 02:00 PM Comments: 11

SevGonzalez

Severino Gonzalez, image- Jay Floyd

The Phillies announced on Saturday that 22-year-old right-hander Severino Gonzalez will make his big league debut on Tuesday at St. Louis.

The Panama native was honored as the Phils’ top minor league pitcher with the annual Paul Owens Award in 2013 when he posted a 7-5 record, a 2.00 ERA, a .224 batting average against along with his 10.33 K/9 and his 1.91 BB/9 combined across three levels.

Last year at Double-A Reading, Gonzalez’s stats took a dip.  En route to leading all Phillies minor leaguers in starts and innings, he posted a 9-13 record with a 4.59 ERA with a 6.52 K/9 mark.  Not great numbers there, but he wrapped up his 2014 campaign nicely, notching a 3-1 record and a 2.53 ERA in his final five starts of the season.

This year, with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the six-foot-two 155-pounder has tallied a 1-1 record and a 3.57 ERA along with nine strike outs and two walks in 17 2/3 innings over three starts.

To put the progress of Gonzalez, at age 22 in the big leagues this week, into perspective, there are six pitchers on the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws roster (four levels down) that are older than Gonzalez.

What to expect:
Gonzalez’s repertoire includes a cut fastball that peaks in the low 90′s, a curve ball that dives down and away from righty hitters as well as a a quality change up. Continue reading Righty prospect Gonzalez gets the call for Tuesday start

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