Tag Archives: Braves

Downward Spiral Continues

29 Jul

With their second straight loss to the Braves yesterday the Phillies have almost certainly sealed the fate of some of their teammates. They have had their chances, but yesterday’s game was filled with poor at-bats, and uninspired play from a team that needs to be giving it their all.

The Phillies only mustered up 4 hits, and are now 0-10 with runners in scoring position in this series.  They also committed two more errors in the field.

The Phillies are 11 1/2 games back from the second Wildcard spot.  No, not the Division, the Wildcard.

Yesterday’s pitching performance bodes well for Joe Blanton.  As you probably remember the Phillies acquired Joe from the A’s in 2008 and he was instrumental in their championship run.  He would certainly help solidify a contenders starting rotation, and in his last three starts has proven to be as durable and reliable as ever.  Joe allowed just four hits and two runs over seven innings. He walked just one and struck out seven.

At this point I’m starting to think that Blanton, Victorino, and possibly Juan Pierre are as good as gone. With the amount of speculation surrounding these three, and how poorly the Phillies have played this weekend, it’s almost a forgone conclusion.

What else should Ruben Amaro Jr. do?  It would be irresponsible of him to let the opportunity to trade and try to re-tool this team pass him by.  The current Phillies have done little to tell him that he should keep them together.

There are three days left until the deadline… Such a shame.

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Off Night for Hamels Costs Phils

28 Jul

The Phillies came up pretty short in a series that is said to have serious implications for their season.

The series with the Brewers, and their terrible bullpen is over, and once the Braves went up 5-1 it was hard to believe that the Phillies could come back.  The Phils were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and left nine on base.

Defensively they committed two costly errors.

The $144 million dollar man didn’t quite have it either.   Cole Hamels threw more balls than strikes when throwing 100 or more pitches for first time in his career.  It was also the shortest outing of the season for Hamels, who only went five innings. Hamels surrounded a career high six walks to the Braves.

“Obviously, I didn’t do my job,” Hamels said. “We’ll find it. We hit some rough patches. With the caliber of players we have, I know we’ll be able to find it. I know it’s a little more urgent to do right now, but I have the confidence all five of us will work hard and get the job done.”

Some were saying that the humidity was having an effect on Cole’s grip.  Hamels didn’t deny it, but said it was no excuse despite having to change his undershirt and jersey, twice.

“It’s not going to be the last time it’s ever going to be humid” Hamels said.

Yep, six homers, in six games. The story of the night might just be Brian McCann, who just KILLS the Philles. McCann is 9 for 25, with six homeruns, and 16 RBI against the Phillies this season.  He’s homered in every game he’s played against the Phillies this season.

This series might just decide if the Phillies are buyers, or sellers for the season.  Ruben Amaro Jr. and several of his front office cronies got to witness the defeat in person, as they are traveling with the team.

“These three games are important, yeah,” Ruben said before the game. “How determinant they are about how we go about our business from here on in, I don’t know yet. Again, it’s kind of a fluid situation. If we get swept here, it’s going to make things very daunting for us. We take two out of three, that’s good. We happen to sweep them, even better.”

Well, the sweep is out, but two of three is still a possibility.

If the Phillies are going to make up any ground in the race to the playoffs, it’s going to have to happen in their division.   The Phils are 11-23 against NL East and 29-22 against the rest of the National League.

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O you Bastard

7 Jul

Antonio Bastardo did a pretty nice job blowing up Kyle Kendrick’s great pitching performance, and the return of Ryan Howard.

However, you have to question why he was even out there.

Charlie Manual must have gotten some false sense of security from Bastardo’s performance the night before in New York.  I get the lefty vs. lefty thing, but in this case Charlie just out-managed himself.  With a bullpen as bad as the one that we have, sometimes you have to ride a hot hand, and when your pitcher is at 89 pitches, and he’s pitching a shutout… You let him go.

Kyle Kendrick had thrown 7 great innings, possibly the best 7 innings of his career. He threw seven shutout innings, allowed four hits, one walk and struck out five. Kendrick was yanked for Bastardo after 89 pitches with the game knotted at nil.

“My fastball is my best weapon,” Bastardo said, post-game. “I’m not commanding it.”

One would have seen that if he had been watching Bastardo’s warm-up.  He was all over the place.

Bastardo faced seven batters and gave up five singles, three walks and a big homer.  This just one night after Jonathan Papelbon was rocked by the Mets.

Though the offense never scored, this game was lost by Charlie Manual and the bullpen.

Welcome back Ryan Howard, in case you missed it, we stink.  The Phillies are 1-8 since Chase Utley’s return. They’re 0-1 with Ryan Howard


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The Home Stretch

12 Sep

Technically the Phillies could win the National League East while they are in Houston.  If the Phillies sweep and the Braves are swept, then the Division is theirs on Wednesday… But that’s pretty unlikely.

Sunday’s loss is nothing more then that.  One loss after six great wins.  The Phillies swept Atlanta and took three of four from a good team in Milwaukee. These two teams are very likely going to make the it to the Postseason, and winning six of seven with Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard playing very little is a huge deal.  Our pitching did what they do, and kept the game in reach.

Do I think that the Phillies will sweep in Houston?  Yes.  I do.

Do I think that the Braves will be swept in Florida?  No, I don’t.

The most likely scenario is that the Phillies will probably clinch this Thursday or Friday at home.  The Phillies are playing well, but are pretty banged up, and the bullpen looks tired.  I’d like to see them get healthy and play out their last few games tough in preparation for October.

I don’t care how many wins they rack up at the end of the season.  They will only be the best Phillies team in Phillies history if they cap it off with a title at the end of October.

 

A Little Afternoon News

22 Jul

Will fans be more excited about the activation of Brad Lidge, or the DFA of Danys Baez?

Nobody is really sure what role Brad will play in the Phillies bullpen, although my guess is that it will depend on what kind of success he has in his appearances.  He can’t really do much worse then Baez at this point who has had a dissappointing two seasons with the Phillies.  Danys posted a  5.48 ERA in 2010 and a 6.25 ERA in his appearances in 2011.

The Phillies had given Baez a two-year, $5.25MM contract before the 2010 season after his successful 2009 campaign in 2009 with the Baltimore Orioles where he was a very successful ground ball pitcher.  With the Phillies most of his pitches went skyward, and eventually over a few fences.

In other Phillies news, Roy Oswalt pitched to live batters at Citizens Bank Park today, and early reports are that his fastball had some good life to it.  Oswalt has asked the Phillies if he can pick up the pace of his rehab work.  That’s good news!

Trade Buzz – 

I’m still hearing that the Phillies are active in their pursuit of Carlos Beltran, but it’s currently a race with a lot of horses in it.

Also other teams have reported the when discussing trades the Phillies have said that Domonic Brown is NOT on the table.

Phillies Trade Buzz 7/21

22 Jul

There has been a little buzz around Hunter Pence that involves the Phillies, and it leads me to believe that the Phillies don’t have much of a chance to acquire him.

Rumor has it right now that the Astros asking price is so high that he’ll probably end up staying put in Houston.  It’s believed that the Astros are interested in both Vance Worley and Domonic Brown.  To me that’s just crazy talk.  Brown was considered untouchable in both the Halladay and Lee trades, and even though we’ve gotten to see a little more from him I believe that the Phillies are not ready to give up on him just yet.  Personally I’m not ready to part with Worley since it’s unknown how soon Roy Oswalt will return to the rotation, and I haven’t a clue who could be a starter if he doesn’t come back, or God forbid something should happen to one of the healthy aces.

If the playoffs were tomorrow, I’d say go for it, but there is almost 2 1/2 months left in the season and the Braves are just 4 games back from the Phillies.  That’s not that big of a gap.  The Astros are not looking for a package of unproven prospects.  I don’t think a combination of Singleton, Cosart, and you pick the others, would do it.  They are going to want someone that they can throw out on the field right now.  I was at the Lakewood BlueClaws game on Thursday to watch Phillies first round pick Jesse Biddle, and I encountered a scout from the Houston Astros that was there to watch him pitch, so I can’t say with certainty that they wouldn’t take accept a collection of prospects, but I still doubt it .

I’m interested in a “Rental” player if we don’t have to give up very much, but I don’t necessarily think that’s the long term answer.  The Phillies desperately need some protection for Ryan Howard.

The teams linked to Pence right now are the Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, and now the Braves.

Phils Poised for Second Half?

15 Jul

The Phillies are ready to make their run for another championship. They currently have the best record in baseball and are 3 1/2 games up in the National League East. I wish I could say that they are healthy, but they are getting there. So what if any thing stands in there way? I thought that we could take a look at these things and then I would give you my predictions.

The Bullpen – This seems to be where a lot of the questions lie, so I figured I’d talk about this first.

It looks like Ryan Madson is ready for his return. Ryan has made some appearances with the Clearwater Threshers and has had success and feels good. Madson was a huge part of the Phillies first half and is pretty vital to their continued successes.

Brad Lidge appears to be progressing. He hasn’t had a lot of work, and his outings so far really havn’t been all that spectacular. On Thursday night Lidge made a rehab appearance with the Reading Phillies in Trenton and gave up two runs in 2/3 of an inning. Lidge allowed one hit, one walk, hit two batters and threw three wild pitches during the seventh inning before being taken out of the game. However, his outing on Monday was a perfect outing. Lidge was unhappy with his control, but said that his arm strength is getting better and that he thinks he’s feeling well enough that he could return to the Phillies pen during the Phillies next home stand which is next Friday when the San Diego Padres come to Philadelphia.

Jose Contreras is expected to return to the bullpen at some point this season, but it is unknown at this point when exactly that will be. Currently Contreras is not partaking in any baseball activities.

The rest of the pen seems to be healthy and you just have to hope that the Young Guns can continue to find success. It cannot be overstated how big Antonio Bastardo and Michael Stutes have been for the Phillies.

The Rotation – Charlie Manuel at the request of pitching coach Rich Dubee has shuffled the cards in the Phillies rotation to give Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee a little extra rest after the All-Star game which both of them participated in. The Phillies have activated Vance Worley, and will start him against R.A. Dickey and the Mets tonight in New York. Cole Hamels will go Saturday against the Jon Niese, and it hasn’t been said yet formally, but I’m hearing that Kyle Kendrick might start, and face Mike Pelfrey on Sunday. So Halladay and Lee have been pushed back.

Joe Blanton is still sidelined with an elbow injury and no timetable has been discussed for him to this point. If Blanton returns, don’t be surprised if it’s in a different capacity like the bullpen if Worley continues to progress as he has. Kyle Kendrick might just get a shot to stay in the rotation for a while, but there are a lot of “If’s” there.

The Phillies are also staying mum when it comes to Roy Oswalt. If Oswalt returns and can pitch well it would be a huge boost to the Phillies. I’m not high on Oswalt right now and if things don’t progress for him then I wouldn’t be surprised if he asks for his walking papers after the season ends. It’s pretty well documented that Oswalt has had strong feelings of an early retirement, but a deep run in the playoffs may just give him the itch to give it one last shot. Right now there is no timetable for Oswalt’s return either. I’m thinking that the end of August would be a fair guess.

The Lineup – Shane Victorino should be activated as soon as he is eligible. One could argue that Shane was the Phillies first half MVP, and his healthy return will be vital to the Phillies second half run.

Protection for Ryan Howard is another big issue for me. Ryan has had a pretty decent season despite little protection from the revolving door that is the 5-hole spot. I’m still pretty convinced that adding another bat to the lineup, in the form of a right-hander. I have some feeling that that spot may get filled through a trade, but for now Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino will need to find a way to offer Howard some help. Ibanez had a great series against the Braves, and let’s hope that that continues. Our corner outfielders have not have the seasons we expected.

Placido Polanco is a HUGE question mark for me. I think that Polanco can play through his injury but it’s not going to be pretty. Polly is dealing with a bulging disc in his back, and hasn’t been productive in over a month. It’s likely that he’s going to have to get a cortisone shot to help him manage his pain. Polanco has been a very productive hitter in his career, but as for as this season is concerned it’s going to be a daily question for him.

Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown have both had fairly disappointing seasons. Though they both come pretty cheap, the Phillies are going to have to try and procure some help in the outfield because I’m not fully convinced that John Mayberry Jr. is the answer. If they do make any sort of move it’s going to have to come in the form of a trade. The Phillies have next to no money to work with so Ruben Amaro Jr. is going to need to be creative.

With Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson’s expiring contracts the Phillies are going to want to use some of the money that is coming off the books in 2012 (Ibanez, and Lidge being the two biggies) to try to resign these two. The Phillies are also going to look into negotiating a long term deal with Cole Hamels. These things will make it hard for them to work something out this season.

Let’s not forget that Chase Utley is still playing with an injured knee. Proper rest is necessary for Utley because he really needs to step up his game and have a great second half.

Predictions – I don’t think that the Braves are going to go away quietly, but I do think that the Phillies have what it takes to fend them off until the end of September because they have plenty of question marks, too. My best guess is that the winner of the National League is going to come from the N.L. East, and that the two teams that will compete for a spot in the World Series are the Phillies, and the Braves.

Have a great Friday.