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Giles’ Rookie Season is Best Historically Among Phils Freshman

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, September 21, 2014 12:12 PM Comments: 0

There have been a number of amazing relief pitching performances in the Major Leagues this year. The resurrections of once top prospects Wade Davis (9-2, 3 saves, 0.93 ERA) and Andrew Miller (14.84 K/9 IP) have gotten a lot of attention, as has the meteoric rise of Yankees’ reliever Dellin Betances (1.33 ERA, 13.50 K/9 IP). Aroldis Chapman (2.20 ERA, 17.45 K/9 IP) is averaging nearly two strikeouts per inning pitched while relievers who have had solid seasons have made their 2014 campaigns memorable like Jake McGee, Mark Melancon and Pat Neshek.

Although the Phillies will end the season well out of the playoff race, their bullpen has been one of their greatest strengths. Jonathan Papelbon put together another nice season in Philadelphia and sits just eight saves behind Jose Mesa for the franchise’s all-time record. Jake Diekman continued to strike batters out and has settled into a solid role as a left-handed set-up man. Mario Hollands was impressive early but fell victim to the wear and tear of a long season and Justin De Fratus is probably as close to a finished product out of the bullpen that the Phillies put on the field among their young arms.

Perhaps aside from Ken Giles. Continue reading Giles’ Rookie Season is Best Historically Among Phils Freshman

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Giles Notches First MLB Save, Phils Win 3-0

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, September 20, 2014 10:06 PM Comments: 5

Ken Giles entered the ninth inning in a situation he hasn’t yet faced in the Major Leagues earlier today: in his 42nd Major League appearance, the Albuquerquean entered a 3-0 game, Phils ahead, with a chance to earn his first big league save. On his 24th birthday, Giles got Stephen Vogt to strike out swinging then got third baseman Josh Donaldson to pop out to Marlon Byrd. The power-hitting Adam Dunn came to the plate in the ninth with two outs and Giles didn’t miss a beat. “100 Miles” Giles forced Dunn to pop out down the third base line to Cody Asche who made a nice catch to end the game and ensure Giles earned his first Major League save.

Galvis Puts the Phils Ahead

At one point this season, Freddy Galvis was the Majors’ worst player by FanGraphs’ version of WAR despite only tallying 46 plate appearances prior to his May 9 demotion. Galvis has been hitting the ball better since his August promotion with an .812 OPS and broke a 0-0 tie in the seventh with his fourth homer of the year, a two run shot that brought home Cody Asche. Marlon Byrd brought home Chase Utley with a single with two outs in the eighth to push the score to 3-0.

Williams Making Case for 2015

Don’t let their tailspin fool you: the Oakland A’s are still a solid offensive ball club. Jerome Williams did not let them show their skills this afternoon. Williams went seven innings, struck out three, while scattering four hits and one walk. This is Williams’ second-straight outing with seven or more innings pitched while allowing no earned runs after two shaky outings. Williams could be a nice buy-low option to return to the Phillies in 2015.

The Phillies look for the series win tomorrow when A.J. Burnett takes the hill against Scott Kazmir.

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LHP Loewen is a candidate for Phils rotation next season

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, September 20, 2014 12:00 PM Comments: 18

Adam Loewen, image- Jay Floyd

With a considerable level of anticipation that the Phillies will experience some turnover with their pitching staff leading to next season, it feels as though fans and media alike have begun to say goodbye to certain hurlers. Who replaces those arms promises to be the focus of the team’s offseason.

A candidate to fill a void in the Phillies’ rotation next is former big leaguer Adam Loewen, who the Phillies acquired earlier this season as a free agent.

Loewen, a left-hander, has been to the majors twice.  His initial ascension to the big leagues was as a pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles after he was selected as the fourth overall draft pick in 2002, two places before Zack Greinke and three spots prior to Prince Fielder.

He last pitched in the majors in 2008 as a 24-year-old.  After suffering a stress fracture in his throwing elbow, having a four-and-a-half inch long titanium screw surgically inserted into the joint and dealing with lasting complications from the ailment, it became apparent, at the time, that Loewen’s pitching career was finished.

The British Columbia native would spend that following off-season working on his offense and showed enough to the Toronto Blue Jays that they offered him a contract to begin a new path to the big leagues, as a position player.

As an outfielder, Loewen again reached the top level of the sport, playing in 14 games with the Blue Jays in 2011, batting .188 with a home run and four RBI.  After a couple more years in the minors trying to climb the developmental ladder with in the Mets’ and Blue Jays’ systems, he was told his time was up as a hitter.  Last winter, however, Loewen got the itch to pitch and his career was reborn once again.

“I wanted to continue at the time, but the decision was made for me,” Loewen stated.  “But, I’m not bitter about it anymore.  I love pitching and maybe it’ll work out for the better.” Continue reading LHP Loewen is a candidate for Phils rotation next season

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Ailing Watson suspended 50 games for drug violation

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, September 20, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 0

ShaneWatson

Shane Watson, image- Jay Floyd

On Friday, it was announced that injured Phillies pitching prospect Shane Watson would miss the opening 50 games of the 2015 season, after being served with a suspension as a result of testing positive for a banned substance.

Reports stated that the illegal substance was not a performance enhancer, but instead was a drug of abuse.

The 21-year-old right-hander, who recently announced his engagement to be married via his Twitter account, missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair an enlarged capsule last winter.  Watson rehabbed this summer, but experienced a setback which was going to keep him out of action till next spring.

Watson’s injured status will not impact his suspension.  In fact, the required time off could force the young hurler to proceed at a much slower pace and could be good for his physical health in the long run.

Watson was chosen with the 40th overall pick by the Phillies in 2012.  He sports a 4-7 record with a 4.44 ERA and a .227 batting average against in 21 professional games.

Prior to the 2014 season, Watson was ranked as the Phils’ number 14 prospects by PhilliesNation.com.

Update: Watson responded to a request for comment via text message late Saturday morning.  He did not wish to comment on the circumstances surrounding his suspension, but offered the following thoughts on his rehab process, which he is conducting under the Phillies’ supervision in Florida:

“Nothing but good news (regarding my throwing shoulder) right now.  I just have to remember there’s no rush back and to take my time, but also push myself to the limit while giving myself enough rest.”

The California native has been throwing from flat ground and is up to a distance of 75 feet, doing so every other day without discomfort.

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Gameday 154: Phillies at Athletics

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, September 19, 2014 07:39 PM Comments: 10

Philadelphia Phillies (70-83) at Oakland Athletics (83-69)

1929 Philadelphia Athletics Phillies

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: David Buchannan (6-7, 3.75 ERA)
vs.
OAK: Jon Lester (15-10, 2.45 ERA) 

Time: 9:35 EST, O.co Coliseum
TV: CSN
Weather: Partly cloudy, 72
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A note for today: 60 years ago today, the A’s played their last home game in Philadelphia before moving to Kansas City and eventually Oakland.  The A’s were better than the Phillies for most of their stay in Philly and they’re certainly a better team this year.  Although they’ve been reeling as of late – dropping 8 of 10 at home and 6 of 8 overall - you can’t pin the blame on Jon Lester.  He’s gone 5-3 (despite paltry run support) with a 2.30 ERA since joining the club.  David Buchanan is searching for his first win in over a month, though he has posted a 2.70 ERA in his last seven outings.  He was in line for a win his last time out, but Jonathan Papelbon squashed those hopes.

Lineup: Reverce CF / Ruiz C / Utley 2B / Howard DH / Byrd RF / Brown LF / Ruf 1B / Franco 3B / Galvis SS / Buchanan P

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Gameday 153: Phillies vs. Padres

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, September 18, 2014 09:08 PM Comments: 14

Philadelphia Phillies (70-82) at San Diego Padres (70-81)

San Diego Padres Phillies

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Kyle Kendrick (9-12, 4.72 ERA)
vs.
SD: Robbie Erlin (3-4, 4.89) 

Time: 9:10 EST, Petco Park
TV: CSN
Weather: Clear, 76
Media: Twitter and Facebook

Lineup: Revere CF / Galvis SS / Byrd RF / Ruf 1B / Franco 3B / Brown LF / Nieves C / Blanco 2B / Kendrick P

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Gameday 152: Phillies vs. Padres

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, September 17, 2014 08:00 PM Comments: 8

Philadelphia Phillies (69-82) at San Diego Padres (70-80)

Florida Marlins Phillies

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Cole Hamels (8-7, 2.51 ERA)
vs.
SD: Eric Stults (7-16, 4.49) 

Time: 10:10, Petco Park
TV: CSN
Weather: Clear, 77
Media: Twitter and Facebook

Note for tonight:  Last night was an ugly offensive showing for both teams. Tonight, Cole Hamels will look for just his ninth win despite the third-best ERA in the National League. Fun fact: the Phillies have a .666 OPS going into the game.

Lineup: Revere CF / Franco 3B / Utley 2B / Byrd RF / Ruf 1B / Brown LF / Ruiz C / Galvis SS / Hamels P

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Former Phils Finding Varying Degrees of Success on Contenders

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, September 16, 2014 01:00 PM Comments: 5

With the Phillies firmly out the playoff race and few stories of interests to watch for outside of Ken Giles’ dominance, Ben Revere’s outside shot at the Phils’ first batting title since Richie Ashburn, and Ryan Howard having the worst 100 RBI season in the history of  baseball, attention has turned squarely to the playoff races. A few are in hand (the Nats, Orioles, and Angels have just about clinched their respective divisions) while the NL Central and both Wild Cards are up for grabs.

With the nature of modern baseball, many former Phillies are scattered across playoff contending teams. Some have been huge contributors while others have been key bench pieces. Let’s take a look at some of the former Phils that find themselves in the thick of playoff races.

The Contributors

Hunter Pence

The Giants enter play today four back of the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West but with a four game cushion between them and the runner up to the second Wild Card, Milwaukee. One of the biggest reasons they are likely headed back to the playoffs again in 2014 is Pence. Hitting .292/.347/.467 with 19 homers and 13 steals, Pence ranks ninth among National League hitters in FanGraphs’ version of WAR, made his third All-Star squad in 2014, and at one point, was a legitimate 2014 NL MVP contender. Continue reading Former Phils Finding Varying Degrees of Success on Contenders

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Jonathan Papelbon Suspended Seven Games

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, September 15, 2014 09:10 PM Comments: 33

After giving up a career high four runs while blowing a save on Sunday, Jonathan Papelbon appeared to grab his crotch while walking back to the dugout in response to fans booing him. Umpire Joe West thought the gesture was worthy of an ejection, and now we have learned that MLB thinks it was worthy of a seven game suspension. He will begin serving the suspension tonight, and will not appeal. He was also fined an undisclosed amount.

Video of the crotch grab didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary, although it’s tough to really tell from just a video. Papelbon told reporters he was “adjusting himself”–which isn’t farfetched. But seven games, even if Papelbon was doing it in an intentionally rude manner, is an absurd amount. Pitchers who throw at hitter’s heads or players that get into brawls are often suspended for five games. On top of that, Joe West actually grabbed Papelbon by the jersey and, as of now, has not received any punishment. Contact with an umpire is usually a big deal. Not so when it’s the umpire initiating the contact, I guess. I think MLB got this one wrong.

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Phillies Recent Winning Ways Could Prove Costly in the Long Run

Posted by Pat Egan, Mon, September 15, 2014 02:35 PM Comments: 24

Ruben Amaro Jr. could stay put thanks to the Phillies recent winnings ways. (AP Photo).

Ruben Amaro Jr. could stay put thanks to the Phillies recent winnings ways. (AP Photo).

Lets face it, this has not exactly been a fun year for Phillies fans. The aging team that we all thought would struggle to compete has lived up to our expectations. The GM that fans thought was incompetent did nothing to diminish that philosophy at the trade deadline when he failed to make a move on one of the most active trade deadline’s in years. The baseball legend turned manager has made questionable calls, and come under criticism by his own players. Yes this has certainly not been a fun year for Phillies fans. Yet the Phillies have been doing something lately that has been out of the ordinary this season; They are winning. Not enough to actually make a run, but enough to have a possible negative impact on the future.

In 1968 Eagles fans jumped into the national spotlight when they threw snowballs at a Santa Clause look-a-like. Yes, I am here to dispel the myth that Eagles fans threw snowballs at the real Santa. It was not him, but a skinny guy in a bad Santa suit. What does not get mentioned by the national media when this story gets brought up a few times a year is the reason why. In 1968 the Eagles were terrible, arguably the worst team in the NFL. The saving grace for Eagles fans was a running back from the University of Southern California named Orenthal James Simpson. The Eagles however did not end up with the future Hall of Fame running back, but instead they drafted Leroy Keys (who?!). The Eagles ended up winning the final two games of the season, which dropped their draft stock from first, to third. Sitting in frigid temperatures, watching a terrible team lose out on Simpson was the last straw for those fans that day. The Phillies are doing the same thing that the Eagles did in 1968.

On August 19th the Phillies held the sixth pick in the draft with a record of 55-71. After a series win against the Marlins that ended with a loss on Sunday the Phillies now hold the eleventh pick in the draft. Thanks to the Astros failing to sign their first round pick Brady Aiken they will be awarded the second overall pick in next June’s MLB draft, pushing the Phillies draft pick back by one pick. So while the Phillies have the tenth worst record in Major League Baseball, they hold the eleventh pick thanks to the Astros ineptitude.

The immediate impact is obviously not the same in Major League Baseball as it is in the National Football League. But the long term impact of the Phillies recent winning ways doesn’t stop at the draft, but could also bleed into the front office. The Phillies 16-14 record is tied for the eleventh best record in baseball over the last 30 games. This could possibly give the front office reason to not only not change a thing, but actually believe the team can compete in 2015. Because of the recent mediocre success of the team we could be looking at déjà vu come 2015.

The top 11 picks in the 2015 MLB Draft will be protected. So if the standings stay as is Phillies fans wont have to worry about Ruben Amaro Jr. giving away the teams first round pick for a Type A free agent. Since Ruben Amaro Jr. will likely be feeling the burn of the hot seat that he currently sits on, he will likely look to sign a top free agent, and then once again tell fans this team can compete, the window is not closed, and 35 is the new 25.

If you are hoping for change this offseason the Phillies are doing just enough to ensure there wont be any. The depleted farm system could certainly use a top five pick in the draft, but likely wont get one at this rate. For sheer sanity’s sake Phillies fans need a major change in the front office, but the seventh worst team in 2013 is now the eleventh worst team in 2014 and to this front office that is seen as “improvement”. Watching the Phillies win these meaningless games in September is fun. But the long term impact might prove that these games are not meaningless at all. If you are hoping for change this offseason you need the September Phillies to play like the May Phillies.

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