Gameday 103: Diamondbacks at Phillies

Posted by Pat Egan, Fri, July 25, 2014 05:50 PM Comments: 35



Arizona Diamondbacks (44-58) at Philadelphia Phillies (44-58)

Starting Pitchers:
ARI: Wade Miley (6-6, 4.16)
PHI: Kyle Kendrick (4-10, 4.87)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly cloudy, 77
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight:

Lineup: Sizemore CF / Rollins SS / Utley 2B / Byrd RF / Ruiz C / Brown RF / Ruf 1B / Asche 3B / Kendrick P


Phillies Nation celebrates 10 years

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, July 25, 2014 02:28 PM Comments: 4

Phillies birthday cakeOn this day ten years ago, Phillies Nation was born.

Back in 2004, I was living in baseball-less Washington, DC and had no quality Phillies news readily available.  So I decided to take it upon myself to start something I would enjoy reading.  Thankfully, a decade later Phillies Nation is still my go-to source for news and analysis on the Phils.

I’m thoroughly amazed by how much it has grown.  At first it was just friends and family reading and posting comments.  Then around fall of 2005, when the Phillies were searching for a new GM, I began to notice the traffic spiking and several new commentors joining the blog.  Ever since then, we’ve welcomed hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of fans each with a special love of the Phillies.  Thank you to everyone who reads the site and interacts with Phillies Nation – whether as one of our 300,000 Facebook friends, 27,000 Twitter followers or 25,000 email subscribers – it’s wonderful to share this experience with you.

I hope you all have enjoyed the ride and all the things we offer Phillies fans like yourself.  After the blog, we began organizing road trips first to DC, then to Clearwater, New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston.  Soon after, we started making fun shirts and other merchandise.  All the while, we were heavily involved in local charities from the Arc of Philadelphia and Liberty USO to player charities and even our #Give4Mark campaign (which launched our own charity, the Phillies Nation Foundation).  More recently, we launched Phillies Nation TV which we feel further fills a void in sports media by providing baseball analysis with context and statistics, yet still from the perspective of die-hard fans.  And finally, last year we got involved in a local retail apparel shop, Shibe Vintage Sports, that simply sells cool sports stuff you can’t find elsewhere.

Of course, Phillies Nation would be no where near as wide ranging and insightful without the talented people that have helped to grow it along the way.  Thanks to the editorial leadership of, first, Tim Malcolm and, now, Pat Gallen we’ve been able to meld quality journalism with passionate fandom.  Following closely in their footsteps are the variety of reporters, columnists, hosts, writers and beermen that have lent their unique talents to our collective goal, including:  Rob, Amanda, Ian, Corey, Jay,  Natalie, Ryann, Paul, Michael, Jon F., Nick, Jim, Jon N., Don, Eric, Kieran, Ryan D., Alex, Kenny, Pat E., Ryan, Marty, Ryan G., Dipsy, Ben and Jason.

To those listed above and everyone reading this, thank you for all your support over the past ten years. Phillies Nation has grown and thrived because of people like you who are dedicated not just to winning a World Series, but to enjoying the journey with fellow fans. Go Phils!

And to wrap up our 10 Year Anniversary Post, I’ll leave you with the very first article posted on Phillies Nation.  Do you remember this day?

Milton Perfect though 8 1/3

What a game! Supurb pitching by Eric Milton, and Doug Glanville won’t have anything funny to say about this nailbiter. Phils funnyman nearly cost his team the win, which brings the unoffical total of 5 defensive mistakes in centerfield in the past week.

It was nice to see the Phillies’ young stars, Ryan Madson and Chase Utley, perform well today. Utley had the Phils first two RBIs including a HR. Smoltz just got the save up in New York, that means the Fightins’ are still a half game out.


Amaro Not Contemplating Releasing Howard

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, July 25, 2014 11:43 AM Comments: 24

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com spoke with Ruben Amaro Jr. who vehemently denied that the Phillies were discussing releasing Ryan Howard.

“That is not something we are contemplating,” Amaro said Friday morning. “I don’t know where that’s coming from.

“Our goal is to try to get Ryan Howard straightened out so he can be a more productive player for us. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t expect him to be the Ryan Howard of 2006, 2007, 2008. What we expect is him to perform better than he is. I know he’s a better player than this.

“Has to keep working and it’s up to us to help facilitate that. That’s on him and on us to help him get back to being a productive player.”

That’s, of course, what a GM is paid to do; soothe the ego of the expensive first baseman while attempting to quell the rumors that will inevitably emanate from this steaming pile of a season. That’s fine. But is it true?

I do not believe outright releasing Ryan Howard is the correct move – not yet anyway. I’d give him another offseason to rework his swing and start him ONLY against right handed pitching next season in a straight platoon with a first baseman who offers solid splits against lefties. If that fails, then the Phillies will have no choice but to move after during, or after, the 2015 season.

But back up to what the GM is supposed to do.

Is it really Ruben’s job at this juncture of the season to stick up for anyone involved with a team that is underperforming in spades? If anything, Amaro should be leaving all options open, even in comments to the media and fans. Also from Salisbury’s post on CSNPhilly.com:

Amaro was asked if he expected to see Howard in Clearwater in February.

“I absolutely anticipate that to be the case, certainly,” he said.

How can that absolutely be expected? Wouldn’t Amaro be better served by saying “we’ll be looking at every angle with every single player on this roster because, frankly, no one has earned or deserves anything after the last three seasons.” That certainly sounds like something Amaro would say. And it would apply here. More from Amaro:

“It happens to the best players in the game. Guys go in funks. He’s been there a while.”

Amaro said Howard “should have no concerns” about being released.

It’s understandable that Amaro is attempting to play peacemaker between Howard and manager Ryne Sandberg, who benched Howard the last two nights, including sitting the Big Piece against Tim Hudson, a pitcher he has destroyed frequently in his career. However, everyone with two eyes knows that Ryan Howard is much more than “a funk.” He’s been in that funk for a while because his swing is broken and his body likely failing him in its lower half. There’s no more room for coach/GM-speak. Time to lay all the cards on the table and leave no stone unturned.

Howard should absolutely be concerned about being released. He should be concerned about everything involving this situation with the Phillies. As should Amaro, who is short-changing himself by 100 percent sticking up for the most expensive player on his roster outside of Cole Hamels. Amaro has the opportunity to send a message with his words to the underachievers and he failed to do so here.


Phillies Trade Notes: Hamels and Byrd

Posted by Pat Egan, Fri, July 25, 2014 08:30 AM Comments: 33

Could Cole  Hamels be shipping up to Boston?

Could Cole Hamels be shipping up to Boston?

Put this into the “where there is smoke, there is fire” category of sports. The Phillies continue to say that they are not trading starter Cole Hamels, but the Phillies scouts picked an interesting game to attend Thursday night. Jayson Stark of ESPN is reporting that the Phillies sent scouts to the  Boston Red Sox AA (Portland Sea Dogs) game Thursday night after the Red Sox inquired about Cole Hamels. Maybe its all a coincidence? Maybe the Phillies scouts just happened to be in the area? Well that would be one hell of a coincidence considering who was pitching for Portland.

Pitching for the Sea Dogs Thursday night was the Red Sox number one prospect Henry Owens. The 22-year old California native was the starting pitcher for Team USA in the 2014 MLB Futures Game this year. Owens didn’t have his best stuff on Thursday surrendering five earned runs, on five hits, in just four innings of work. The big lanky lefty did manage to fan six batters though. Owens has a 13-4 record for Portland this season with an impressive 2.56 ERA. Opposing hitters are batting just .197 off of him this year, and he is striking out over a batter an inning (123 K in 116 IP).

The only other player for Portland Thursday night, who is also a top 10 prospect for the Red Sox, was catcher/DH Blake Swihart. The switch hitter, and former first round pick in 2011, went 2-4 at the plate while scoring the Sea Dogs only run. Swihart posses a slash line of .298/.353/.489 in his first season at AA. The 22 year old has 11 home runs with 53 runs batted in. With Tommy Joseph‘s catching career in question Swihart would be a nice piece to have.

While the Phillies have said that they are not going to trade their 30 year old ace, you have to assume that there is something to these rumors. The Red Sox current ace Jon Lester has tabled contract talks to the offseason after both sides were unable to come to an extension. The Red Sox could fear that Lester wont be back, and look to add Hamels as a comparable replacement. If Thursday night was Cole Hamels last start in Philadelphia he certainly went out strong. The lefty went eight innings, giving up just one earned run while striking out 10. He even managed to ramp up his fast ball to 96 MPH.

While any trade for Cole Hamels would be sure to yield a great return for the Phillies, a trade for outfielder Marlon Byrd probably would not. On Thursday the Seattle Mariners, who were said to be interested in Byrd, decided to bring back Kendrys Morales. Morales, who has a little over two months left on his contract, brought the Twins back a 25-year old AAA relief pitcher named Stephen Pryor. Pryor was not in MLB.Com’s top 25 prospects for the Seattle Mariners, and he likely wont be in the Twins top 25 next season. The right handed reliever posted a 4.65 ERA in 31 innings of work.

Marlon Byrd is obviously having a stronger season than Kendrys Morales, but Morales is five years younger than Byrd, and isn’t signed for next season. Byrd also has a…. wait for it….. vesting option for 2016 when he will be 38-years old. If the Phillies end up finding a buyer for Marlon Byrd then you are probably looking at a Jeremy Horst type player in return.


Second round pick Imhof prepared for transition to minors

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, July 25, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 0


Matt Imhof, Image- MiLB.com

When lefty pitcher Matt Imhof was drafted by the Phillies with the 47th overall pick this year, it came as a surprise to the young hurler.  The transition to the professional ranks isn’t something that has surprised the 20-year-old though, as he feels he knew exactly what to expect.

The Cal Poly product took time after the draft to wrap up his final exams, then headed straight to Philadelphia to sign with the Phils, who weren’t really on his personal radar as a team that might select him in the draft until minutes before the pick was announced.

“We were watching from the first pick and I got a call from my advisor at, like, pick 45 and he said, ‘The Phillies are going to pick you at 47.’   I got that call and let my family know and pick 47 came up and my name flashed across the screen and everyone stood up and screamed and my dad knocked a chair over,” an excited Imhof explained.

“There was a level of surprise. I didn’t really know who was going to take me, but I hadn’t really talked to the Phillies especially leading up to the draft. I had talked to them early, kind of in the fall. They kind of left me alone. Not that they didn’t want me or anything, I just didn’t know. And it just happened to be that and they said they were hot on me from the beginning. It was just one of those things where they were playing their cards close and it worked out,” Imhof added. Continue reading Second round pick Imhof prepared for transition to minors


Gameday 102: Giants at Phillies

Posted by Pat Egan, Thu, July 24, 2014 12:44 PM Comments: 32



San Francisco Giants (57-44) at Philadelphia Phillies (43-58)

Starting Pitchers:
SFG: Tim Hudson (8-6, 2.78)
PHI: Cole Hamels (4-2, 2.83)

Time: 1:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Cloudy, 79
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight:

The curious case of what to do with Ryan Howard continues Thursday. The $25 million dollar (former) slugging first basemen has found himself in a platoon with Darin Ruf. Ryne Sandberg elected to go with Ruf Thursday even with Howard’s exceptional track record against Giants starter Tim Hudson. In his career Howard is hitting .328 off Hudson with 7 homeruns, and a 1.112 OPS. Reports have surfaced that the Phillies are ready to move on from Howard, and have even thought about cutting the 2006 MVP.

Cole Hamels enters Today’s game with a 2.83 ERA. He is having one of the best seasons of his career, falling only behind his 2011 year. Since June 1st the lefty ace has a 1.81 ERA, and needless to say his trade stock is very high right now. Will he get traded before the deadline? Probably not. But ESPN’s Jayson Stark said the Phillies are listening to offers for the 30 year old All Star.

Lineup: Revere CF / Rollins SS / Utley 2B / Byrd RF / Sizemore LF / Ruf 1B / Asche 3B / Nieves C / Hamels P


Phils Exploring Options with Howard

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, July 23, 2014 06:06 PM Comments: 68

In what was already a busy day, full of transactions for the Phillies, John Clark of CSN Philly tweeted this bombshell:


There may be smoke where there is fire in what is likely informed speculation by both Clark and Salisbury. My PNTV colleague Corey Seidman wrote at CSN Philly today that “enough is enough” with Howard, and I’m not sure there is anyone that would disagree. Howard is due $25 million per year through 2017 and will receive either $23 million in 2018 or a $10 million buy out. For his price tag, Howard has ranked 32nd out of 32 qualified first baseman according to fWAR.

What created this speculation, you ask? Well, it was likely a series of comments made by manager Ryne Sandberg as reported by Salisbury:


We will certainly keep an eye on this situation. It is worth noting that the recently recalled Darin Ruf is tonight’s starting first baseman.


Gameday 101: Giants at Phillies

Posted by Pat Egan, Wed, July 23, 2014 04:06 PM Comments: 47



San Francisco Giants (56-44) at Philadelphia Phillies (43-57)

Starting Pitchers:
SFG: Madison Bumgarner (11-7, 3.38)
PHI: A.J Burnett (6-9, 4.08)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Thunder storms, 88
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Tonight:

Both teams are looking for its starter to go deep into tonight’s game after a 14 inning affair last night. That might be a bit easier for the Giants who send Madison Bumgarner to the mound. Away from his home park of AT&T field Bumgarner is sporting a 1.94 ERA this season. However, in his career against the Phillies Bumgarner has compiled a 4.05 ERA.

This could be the last game Phillies fans see A.J. Burnett in red pinstripes. This will be his last start before the July 31st non waiver trade deadline, and the right hander is garnering some serious interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates will have scouts at tonight’s game, as will a handful of other teams. Here’s hoping tonight ends in a nice timely fashion!

Lineup: Revere CF / Rollins SS / Utley 2B / Byrd RF / Ruiz C / Brown LF / Ruf 1B / Blanco 3B / Burnett P


Phillies Recall Aumont, Activate Carlos Ruiz

Posted by Pat Egan, Wed, July 23, 2014 02:30 PM Comments: 4

After a 14 inning game on Tuesday night the Phillies needed some relief help for a tired bullpen. The Phillies recalled 25-year old Phillippe Aumont from AAA Lehigh Valley. The Phillies also activated Carlos Ruiz from the disabled list and optioned catcher Cameron Rupp to AAA Lehigh Valley. To make room for Aumont on the 40 man roster the Phillies designated reliever Jeff Manship for assignment.

Who knows, maybe the 22nd time will be the charm for Aumont…..


Antonio Bastardo Garnering Trade Interest

Posted by Pat Egan, Wed, July 23, 2014 01:45 PM Comments: 12

Jim Salisbury of CSN.Com is reporting that Phillies left hander Antonio Bastardo is drawing the most trade bastardointerest at this current time. Teams that are linked to Bastardo are the Royals, Tigers, Pirates, and Blue Jays. The Reds had some interest earlier this month as well. Bastardo is signed for $2 million dollars this year, and is under team control next season. The lefty specialist is also one of the few Phillies who does not have a ridiculous vesting option in his contract. All of these things make Antonio Bastardo a very attractive piece for teams needing relief help.

Bastardo is having a solid season compiling a 3.27 ERA with a 10.8 K/9 rate. Bastardo is not only having success against lefty hitters, but righty’s as well. righty’s are hitting just .175 off the 28-year old while lefty’s are hitting just .140. The Royals, Tigers, Pirates and Blue Jays all have scouts in Philly scouting the series with the Giants. Because of his team friendly contract, age, and success this season, Antonio Bastardo could be the first, and possibly the only Phillie moved by the July 31st trade deadline.

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