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Posts Tagged ‘Chase Utley’

“The View from the Philly Pressbox” – Cardinals Series 6 Recap

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 26, 2013 at 9:15 am

Erik Kratz

In the sixth of our season long series, “The View from the Philly Pressbox” takes a look at the first 4 game series of the season against the St Louis Cardinals. The Phils were lined up with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick to face Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook. Overall these are good matchups with what should’ve been a slight advantage to the Phillies. The Phils did hit the ball in the series but were still only able to manage a 2-2 split.

Hamels and Wainwright squared off in the opener and didn’t disappoint. Both aces pitched 7 innings allowing 3 runs each. Hamels allowed 5 hits, 2 walks with 8 k’s while Wainwright allowed 9 hits, 0 walks and 4k’s. The Phillies added 4 more hits off Cardinal relievers, for a total of 13 hits in the game but Mike Adams failed to hold the Cards in the 8th and picked up the lose, 4-3. For the Phils Ryan Howard had 3 hits while Chase Utley, Freddie Galvis and Eric Kratz added 2 each. Galvis started the game in left field and played pretty well. Yadier Molina had 3 hits and 2 RBI’s while Carlos Beltran added 2 hits including a home run to lead the Cards.

The Phils bounced back in Game 2 by scoring 5 runs in the 1st inning, 1 in the 2nd and 2 more in the 3rd to allow Halladay a nice cushion to cruise. Doc went 7 innings before the game was called due to rain. He allowed jus 2 hits, both solo homers to Beltran again and Matt Holliday. He walked 2 and struck out 6. It was not Docs most efficient outing throwing 59 strikes and 50 balls but either way he only gave up 2 hits and 2 runs. At the plate the 10 hit attack was led by catcher Humberto Quintero with 2 hits and 2 RBI’s, Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry and Ben Revere all had 2 hits as well. Ryan Howard was given the night off and replaced at 1st base by Kevin Frandsen. This was a good bounce back win with Lee coming up in Game 3.

Game 3 looked like a game from last week. The Phils only managed 3 hits, 3 walks and struck out 10 more times off of Cardinal pitching while being shut out 5-0. Lee gave up a 4 spot in the 3rd and that’s all it took. Beltran homered for the 3rd straight game. No bats in this one!!

In Game 4 of the series the Phils got another nice outing from Kendrick. It’s safe to say he’s been the most consistent pitcher on the staff to date. When Kendrick left the game after 6 innings of 8 hit, 2 run baseball the score was 2-2. The Phils quickly fell behind in the top of the 7th when an Utley error led to the Cards lead off of Antonio Bastardo and Chad Durbin. The Phils bounced right back to tie it in the bottom of the 7th then added 4 more in the bottom of the 8th. The big blow came off the bat of Kratz, who blasted a 3 run homer off of reliever Mitchell Boggs giving the Phils a well deserved 7-3 victory. Kratz homer also allowed Mike Adams to pick up the win. Jonathan Papelbon pitched the 9th but was not credited with a save due to the 4 run lead. Kratz led the offense with 2 hits and 3 RBI’s, Rollins added 3 hits and Utley added 2. For the first time in the series Carlos Beltran did not hit a home run.

On the plus side for the series:
• The Phils banged out 40 hits in the 4 game series.
• Discounting the 3rd inning by Lee the Phils got 4 solid starts.
• The bullpen allowed 1 earned run in 8 innings. Unfortunately the 1 run was also a game loser.
• Jimmy Rollins was moved back to leadoff spot and responded with a 6-18 series raising his average to .257.
• Freddy Galvis started the first 3 games of the series in LF but could only manage a 2-13 series.
• Utley went 5-15 in the series raising his average to .294.
• Ryan Howard sat out 2 games but went 4-7 raising his average to .277.
• Michael Young continues to get on base. He went 4-14 with a hit in each game. Young is hitting .333.
• Ben Revere was moved down in the lineup and responded with a 4-13 series.
• The Phils only struck 27 times in 4 games. This is improvement!

More to work on:
• Phils pitching gave up 5 home runs while the Phils only hit 1.
• The Phils aren’t scoring runs early in games. They only got 1 win from a starter, Halladay. The starters are pitching pretty well but the games are being left to the bullpen.
• The Phils were 12-37 with runners in scoring position.

Next Up:
The Pittsburgh Pirates are up next at Citizens Bank Park for a 4 game series. Jonathon Petibone will make his big league debut in Game 1. The excitement will be building for the 22 year old. Hamels, Halladay and Lee will follow. The Phils need to win 3 out of 4 from the Pirates

Looking forward:
Update: we predicted a 2-2 split against the Cardinals and that’s what we got. Here’s how we stand for the season; we predicted 2 out of 3 from the Royals, instead losing 2 out of 3. We picked the Phils to win 2 of 3 from the Mets and they did. We picked 2 out of 3 against the Marlins and they did that. We picked 1-2 against the Reds and they went 0-3. The Phils are now 8-11 going in to the 4 game series against the Pirates.
We had predicted the Phils would be 10-9 so far so 8-11 isn’t looking very good. We added they would be 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month, obviously with 11 losses already there’s no room for more losses.

The Fightin’s play a total of 27 games in the month of April. This includes 3 at home against the Mets, 3 in Florida, 3 in Cincinnati, 4 back home against the Cardinals, 4 more at home against the Pirates, 3 at New York and the first game of a series against the Indians in Cleveland on the last day of the month. Here’s what we see from the Philly Pressbox, 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month. How did we get there? 1-2 Braves, 2-1 Royals, 2-1 Mets, 2-1 Marlins, 1-2 Reds, 2-2 Cardinals, 3-1 Pirates, 2-1 Mets, 1-0 Indians. Losing an extra game to the Cardinals or Pirates wouldn’t be unreasonable. Either way 15 or 16 win

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“The View from the Philly Pressbox” – Reds Series 5 Recap

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 25, 2013 at 9:38 am

Kyle Kenrick

In the fifth of our season long series, “The View from the Philly Pressbox” takes a look at the Cincinnati Reds series. The Reds came in to the series on a 5 game losing streak while the Phillies came out of the Marlins series with cold bats. The cold bats continued and the Phils were swept in Cincinnati, 4-2, 1-0 and 11-2.  

In the opener, Cliff Lee threw well for 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 runs, walked 1 and struck out 4. Lee allowed the 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th of a scoreless game and was pitch hit for in the top of the 8th by Chase Utley who responded with a game tying home run. Charlie Manuel went with Jeremy Horst in the 8th and that backfired as Horst allowed 3 hits, 2 runs and a walk while only retiring 1 batter. By the time Michael Adams finished up the Phils were behind 4-2 and the game was over. On the offensive side the Phils had no answers for Branson Arroyo and Aroldis Chapman who combined to allow just 5 hits to the Phils.

In Game 2 of the series Kyle Kendrick threw a gem for 7 innings, allowing 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks and 4 k’s and again the Phils couldn’t score any runs or get any hits. Homer Bailey matched Kendrick allowing just 2 hits through 8 innings of work. This time it was Phillippe Aumont that faltered in the bottom of the 9th, allowing 2 hits, a walk, an error by Ben Revere, and the Phils lost 1-0 in the suspended game that was finished quickly on Wednesday prior to the regularly scheduled game.

Game 3 started out bad for John Lannan and ended up worse. Lannan, who has pitched well, was rocked for 8 hits and 6 runs in just 1.2 innings of work. Following the game he was placed on the disabled list. Raul Valdez came on as the long reliever and things just got worse. The Phils were down 11-0 after 5 innings and went on to lose 11-2.

Again, we go back to the drawing board:

  • The Phils managed just 13 hits in the 3 game series.
  • No Phillie had more than 1 hit in any of the games.
  • Ben Revere was 0-12 in the leadoff spot. He’s now hitting .194.
  • Jimmy Rollins was 1-11. He’s hitting .232.
  • Ryan Howard was 1-11. He’s hitting .241
  • The catchers position was 0-9.
  • Jonathan Papelbon did not get on the field in the series.
  • The Phils scored just 4 runs in the series coming off the Marlins series where they scored just 6 runs. That’s 10 runs in 6 games.
  • The Phils struck out 24 more times in the 3 games series.

The bright spots of the Reds series:

  • Lee and Kendrick both had excellent starts. They allowing just 2 runs between them which should’ve gotten 2 wins.
  • Michael Young had a hit in each game, going 3-10. His team leading average is now .346.
  • Chase Utley was 2-6 in the series. Utley was rested in Game 2, being used as a pinch hitter, and replaced in the Game 3 blowout by Kevin Frandsen.
  • Freddy Galvis hit his first home run of the season.
  • Aumont has 1-2 record but his ERA is 0.00. Both of the runs he’s allowed have led to losses and both have been unearned.
  • Antonio Bastardo has pitched in 6 games, allowing 1 hit and 0 runs, ERA 0.00.

Next Up:

The St. Louis Cardinals back at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils are lined up to throw Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick. If the bats can come alive this could be an interesting series. If not, the Phils will fall deeper in to the hole.

Looking forward:

Update: No one expected the Phils to be swept in this series, or ever, with the starting rotation they have, but it happened. Our 1-2 prediction became 0-3. So here’s how we stand for the season; we predicted 2 out of 3 from the Royals, instead losing 2 out of 3. We picked the Phils to win 2 of 3 from the Mets and they did. We picked 2 out of 3 against the Marlins and they did that. The Phils are now 6-9 going in to another tough 4 game series against the Cardinals. We’re hoping for a split at worst.

We had predicted the Phils would be 8-7 so far so 6-9 isn’t looking very good.

The Fightin’s play a total of 27 games in the month of April. This includes 3 at home against the Mets, 3 in Florida, 3 in Cincinnati, 4 back home against the Cardinals, 4 more at home against the Pirates, 3 at New York and the first game of a series against the Indians in Cleveland on the last day of the month. Here’s what we see from the Philly Pressbox, 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month. How did we get there? 1-2 Braves, 2-1 Royals, 2-1 Mets, 2-1 Marlins, 1-2 Reds, 2-2 Cardinals, 3-1 Pirates, 2-1 Mets, 1-0 Indians. Losing an extra game to the Cardinals or Pirates wouldn’t be unreasonable. Either way 15 or 16 wins.

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“The View from the Philly Pressbox” – Royals Series 2 Recap

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 8, 2013 at 9:46 am

Fransden Walkoff

In the second of our season long series “The View from the Philly Pressbox” takes a look at the Kansas City Royals series. The Phils blew 2 games that they had leads in and won the one game they trailed the entire game, finishing with 1-2 weekend.

Oh, where to start?

  • The Phils spotted Kyle Kendrick a 4 run lead in Game 1 of the series. Kendrick was cruising along with 4 shutout innings before running in to trouble in the 5th. He gave up 2 in the 5th but the Phils still held a 4-2 lead. Things fell apart in the 6th for Kendrick and Jeremy Horst. Horst couldn’t get outs in relief and before the inning was over the Phils trailed 5-4. Horst, Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes got beat up the rest of the way allowing a 4-0 Phils lead to turn in to a 13-4 Royals blowout in which they got 19 hits.
  • In spite of the 4-3 win in Game 2 of the series, the Phils managed just 3 hits.
  • The Phils spotted Cole Hamels a 4-run 1st inning lead only to watch him get bombed for 9 hits and 8 runs with 4 walks in just 5.2 innings of work. Hamels has had two miserable starts to open the season and now has an ERA of 10.97.
  • The bullpen has been awful! They have inherited 11 runners so far this season and 10 have scored.
  • 5 members of the pitching staff have ERA’s over 10, Hamels, Roy Halladay, Chad Durbin, Horst and Raul Valdes.
  • Ryan Howard continues his slow start. He was 3-12 in the series and 4-24 on the season, a .167 average.
  • Phils hitters have struck out 53 times in 6 games, an average of 8.8 strike outs per game.
  • Howard has struck out 8 times on the season, Jimmy Rollins 7 and Erik Kratz 7 after just 6 games.
  • The Phils are getting just .143 and .174 production out of the 7th and 8th spots in the lineup and one of those hits was from Kevin Frandsen as a pinch hitter. Add that to Howard at .167 in the 4th spot.

 In spite of the disappointing weekend there were a few positives.

  • John Lannan was outstanding in his first stat as a Phillie. Lannan went 7 innings allowing 5 hits, 3 runs, 0 walks and 5 K’s. Mike Adams pitched a 1 hit 8th and Antonio Bastardo a 1 walk 9th for the win. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.
  • Kevin Frandsen came up big with his pitch 3-run walk off double for the win in Game 2.
  • Chase Utley continues to swing a hot bat. Utley was 4-12 in the series. His team leading batting average is now .391.
  • Michael Young had 4 hits in the series finale, going 6-12 on the weekend raising his average to .333.
  • Rollins is off to a good start. JRoll is hitting .308 from the 2nd spot in the order.
  • Rollins and Ben Revere each stole another base in the series, giving them each 3 for the season.

 Next Up:

The New York Mets come to Citizens Bank Park. The Phils will throw Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kendrick. The key game in this series will be Game 1 with Hallady. It’s time to see what Doc can do!

 Looking forward:

Update: We didn’t fair too well in our prediction of 2 out of 3 from the Royals, instead losing 2 out of 3. The Phils will need to pick up a game against either the Mets or Marlins this week. They can not afford to fall too far behind.

 The Fightin’s play a total of 27 games in the month of April. This includes 3 at home against the Mets, 3 in Florida, 3 in Cincinnati, 4 back home against the Cardinals, 4 more at home against the Pirates, 3 at New York and the first game of a series against the Indians in Cleveland on the last day of the month. Here’s what we see from the Philly Pressbox, 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month. How did we get there? 1-2 Braves, 2-1 Royals, 2-1 Mets, 2-1 Marlins, 1-2 Reds, 2-2 Cardinals, 3-1 Pirates, 2-1 Mets, 1-0 Indians. Losing an extra game to the Cardinals or Pirates wouldn’t be unreasonable. Either way 15 or 16 wins.

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“The View from the Philly Pressbox” – Braves Series 1 Recap

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Chase Utley

In the first of our season long series in review “The View from the Philly Pressbox” takes a look at the Atlanta Braves series. The Phils opened the season with a 3 game series in Atlanta, losing 2 of the 3 games. What did we learn from the chilly start to the season?

First some positives:

  • Chase Utley appears to be healthy and ready to go. Utley finished the series 5-11 with a home run and 6 rbi’s.
  • Dom Brown brought his hot Spring Training bat to the regular season. Brown was 4-11 in the 3 game series.
  • Jimmy Rollins got off to a good start by going 5-14 with 2 doubles.
  • The top of the Phils lineup appear that they plan on running the bases. Leadoff hitter Ben Revere stole 2 bases in the series as did Rollins.
  • Cliff Lee threw a solid 8 innings of 2 hit, no walk, shutout baseball in Game 3 preventing a sweep.
  • Phillies pitching struck out 34 Braves while walking 9.
  • Jonathan Papelbon was solid in Lee’s save opportunity.
  • Mike Adams, Phillippe Aumont, Antonio Bastardo and Jeremy Horst combined for 5 innings of 1 hit shutout relief.
  • The Phils committed just 1 error in the series. (Utley)
  • Roy Halladay struck out 9 batters of the 10 outs that he recorded. Although he made some mistakes with his location he’s around the plate. His location will improve.

 Now for a few negatives:

  • Cole Hamels and Halladay combined to give up 13 hits and 10 runs, including 5 home runs, in 8.1 innings, while both gave up 1st inning homers.
  • Chad Durbin was unable to record an out, allowing 2 hits, 2 runs and a walk to the 3 batters he faced.
  • Raul Valdez was shaky relieving Halladay; however the game was already out of hand.
  • Ryan Howard finished the series 1-12. Not unusual for Howard in the cold weather.
  • Michael Young made his Phillies debut going 1-9.

 Next Up:

The Kansas City Royals come to Citizens Bank Park to open the home season. The Phils will throw Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan and Cole Hamels against the improved Royals. Look for the Phils to win 2 out of 3.

 Looking forward:

The Fightin’s play a total of 27 games in the month of April. This includes 3 at home against the Mets, 3 in Florida, 3 in Cincinnati, 4 back home against the Cardinals, 4 more at home against the Pirates, 3 at New York and the first game of a series against the Indians in Cleveland on the last day of the month. Here’s what we see from the Philly Pressbox, 16-11 or 15-12 at the end of the month. How did we get there? 1-2 Braves, 2-1 Royals, 2-1 Mets, 2-1 Marlins, 1-2 Reds, 2-2 Cardinals, 3-1 Pirates, 2-1 Mets, 1-0 Indians. Losing an extra game to the Cardinals or Pirates wouldn’t be unreasonable. Either way 15 or 16 wins.

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“View from the Philly Pressbox” – 2013 Phillies

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Phillies

What can we expect from the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies? Can the Phils get to the 88-92 wins it will take to make the playoffs? Here’s how we see the keys to the season from The Philly Pressbox. Lets start out by saying we think they can win 88 games, however, we don’t think they can win 96-100 that it will take to beat the Nationals. They must get off to a quick start when the schedule is in their favor.

 Here’s what has to happen:

  • ·        A combined 50 wins from Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee whether it’s 18, 16 and 16 doesn’t matter.
  • ·        A combined 22 wins from Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan. Again, whether it’s 12 and 10 or 14 and 8, they need to get to 22.

That gives 72 wins from the starting rotation. Are we asking too much? It should be safe to say that Hamels will have another solid season and should win 18 games. It should also be safe to say that Halladay and Lee will improve on the 17-17 record they posted in 2012. That brings us to Kendrick. Last year Kyle posted an 11-12 record with a respectable 3.90 ERA. Can he improve upon that as the #4 starter? We’ll take the 11 wins if he can cut down on the losses. Some run support will help. The #5 starter is lefty newcomer Lannan. Last year with the Nationals he finished 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in just 6 starts. Basically the Nats gave up on the big man after 6 seasons in the big leagues and a 42-52 record. Can Lannan win 10 games for The Fightins? We think so. He will have to!

 The down side to this thought process is, as always, injuries. Last year the Phils had some depth with Kendrick as the 6th starter but that luxury is gone with the present big league roster.

 Mark this down, the bullpen will be better! Jonathan Papelbon will be solid as the closer. The addition of Chad Durbin and Mike Adams is huge. Add Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst, Phillippe Aumont and Raul Valdes. I like this bunch. They are capable of grabbing 16-18 wins and more importantly not blowing leads late in games that seemed to be the norm in 2012. It will be up to Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee not to overwork them so they’re ready in the stretch run of late summer.

 Lets talk position players. This is where it gets dicey. I like the infield regardless of its age if they stay healthy. We know what to expect from Jimmy Rollins. We will get 25-30 HR’s and 110 RBI’s from Ryan Howard if he plays 130 games. Michael Young at 3rd base will have to play 120 games, at least, if this lineup will be successful. Young is a good player and has been for a long time but it’s a long season playing every day and not just being a DH. Young contributing in the 5 hole will be huge. Chase Utley has got to have a big year. Watching Utley in the spring was fun again as he finally looks healthy. Chase has averaged just 100 games each of the last 3 seasons contributing 38 HR’s and 154 RBI’s. A healthy Utley playing 130+ games means 25 HR’s and 90 RBI’s in 2013.

 The infield depth could be a real question mark. Kevin Frandsen did a nice job in 2012 and deserved to be on the roster. Frandsen will be solid resting Young, however his lack of pop, his career 9 HR’s changes the dynamics of the lineup if he has to play an extended period of time. Freddy Galvis rounds out the infield. We are not big on Galvis and stand behind what we said last season, “he can’t hit big league pitching” and that was before he was suspended for performance enhancing drugs.

 The outfield is full of questions marks. Ben Revere will be a solid young player that will hit for average and steal bases. Hopefully he will be the leadoff hitter. Dominic Brown had a real good spring but the jury is still out on him. He has a lot to prove at the big league level. Lance Nix is not a starting everyday outfielder. John Mayberry has never earned a full time job. Delmon Young hasn’t shown much interest in playing and starts the season on the disabled list. The last spot currently belongs to Ezequiel Carrera. Who? Overall this outfield is not very strong.

 The catching position is also in flux. Erik Kratz will be the man for the first 25 games due to the suspension of Carlos Ruiz. Kratz played in only 50 games last season, a career high, and hit .248. Kratz will hold down the fort until Ruiz returns. Chooch will need another strong season. Humberto Quintero will back up Kratz.

 The summary is, can the pitching win without a strong lineup? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs. Can the Phils stay healthy? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs. There is no depth! Can Utley and Howard return to years past? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs. Can Chooch have as good a year as he did in 2012? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs. As important as anything can Halladay and Lee return to years past? That’s what it will take to make the playoffs.

 The Philly Pressbox prediction is 88 wins, 74 loses, 3rd in the East and the #5 playoff spot. Once you get to “The Party” the pitching takes over and The Fightins could surprise people in a short series.

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Phillies Profile – Chase Utley

In Philadelphia Phillies on March 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Over the next 28 days Philly Pressbox (https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com) (@phillypressbox) will be doing a review and analysis of each Phillies player, Manager Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff leading up to Opening Day 2012.  On Day 10 we preview Chase Utley.

Chase UtleyChase is a former Phillies 1st round draft pick in 2000 out of UCLA. Utley made his big league debut on April 4, 2003 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He became the full time 2nd baseman in 2005. Since that time, Chase has had a 203 hit season, scored over 100 runs 4 times, driven in over 100 runs 4 times, hit over 30 home runs 3 times, led the league in hit by pitches 3 times, won 4 Silver Slugger Awards for 2nd basemen and made 5 All Star teams. His career batting average is .290 with 188 Home Runs and 694 RBI’s. Chase has also contributed 10 career post season home runs and 25 RBI’s.

Chase is a key part of the middle of the Phillies line up. The 3rd spot in the lineup is critical to protecting Ryan Howard or Hunter Pence in the 4th spot. Utley’s injuries over the last several seasons have directly affected Howards output as well. Howard hasn’t seen the quality pitches he was seeing. Part of the reason for that is Utley hasn’t been on base as much or been the feared hitter he has been in the past. The injuries have limited Chase’s games to 115 and 103 the last two seasons. Many of those games were played at less than 100%.

Personal Analysis:

The Phils need Utley to raise his game closer to the pre-injury plagued seasons of 2010 and 2011. Chase is absolutely critical to the success of the Phillies by getting on base and driving in runs. Utley’s numbers have declined drastically over the last few years. His average has dropped from .332, .292, .282, .275 to .259 in 2011. His home run numbers have also declined over that period, 22, 33, 31, 16, and 11, and with that comes RBI reductions, 103, 104, 93, 65 and 44.Chase has been given a pass because he has been injured and because he was such an integral part to the 2008 World Series Champions and to the return to the World Series in 2009. As of this writing, Chase is yet to play in a Spring Training game due to a knee problem. There seems to be no set time table on his return. There has even been some discussion that Utley could start the season on the DL along with Howard. That would be a big blow to the Phillies to start the season. Utley continues to say he will be ready to play soon and will be ready for opening day, however, Charlie Manuel doesn’t seem convinced: “His problem is not going away. More than likely it maybe never goes away. We want him to be at a real good percentage of playing. Will he ever be 100 percent? I don’t know about that. He might never be that.” We’re going to stay on the positive side with Utley’s health. We feel that Manuel will rest Chase on a regular basis, especially on day games after night games. We’re going to predict 130 games at 2nd base, a .290 batting average with 20-25 home runs and 90 RBI’s. The one thing that will be constant with Chase Utley is that if he goes on the field he will be giving 100%, whether he’s 100% healthy or not. The big question for the Phillies in 2012 is will that be good enough?

Tomorrow we will preview Jimmy Rollins.

The series: Day 1, Charlie Manuel. Day 2, The Coaching Staff. Day 3, Roy Halladay. Day 4, Cliff Lee. Day 5, Cole Hamels. Day 6, Vance Worley. Day 7, Joe Blanton. Day 8, Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz. Day 9, Ryan Howard.

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Pick Your Favorite All Time Phillie

In Philadelphia Phillies on February 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

After watching a disappointing 1 point 76ers lose to the Clippers last night we woke up to several inches of snow on the ground and it’s still snowing. It made me think that we’re only a week from Pitchers and Catchers reporting to Spring Training in Clearwater. Opening day of April 5 is not far away!!!

 What a great time to look back at our favorite Phillies of all time.

 Depending on how old you are there are different groups of Phils that you would probably consider your favorites. I’m sure you have your own list but here are a few to jog your memory. Remember you only get to pick 5. It makes it a lot tougher.

1950’s – Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Del Ennis, Andy Seminick, Jim Konstanty, Willie “Puddin Head” Jones

1960’s – Jim Bunning, Johnny Callison, Richie Allen, Tony Taylor, Cookie Rojas

1970’s & 80’s – Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, Gary Maddox, Larry Bowa, Bob Boone, Tug McGraw, Greg Luzinski

1990’s – John Kruk, Darren Daulton, Lenny Dykstra, Curt Shilling, Dave Hollins, Jim Eisenreich, Mitch Williams

2000’s – Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Roy Halliday, Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, “Chooch” Ruiz

Here are my 5 favorites Phillies of all time:

  1. Mike Schmidt – I could switch 1 and 2 with no problem. Schmitty played every day, hit 548 Home Runs, won 10 Gold Gloves and 3 MVP’s.
  2. Steve Carlton – There was no one better. Lefty won 329 games with 4,136 strikeouts. He won 4 Cy Young Awards. To put his career in perspective he has 141 more wins and over 1,200 more strikeouts than Halliday who’s arguably the best pitcher of this era.
  3. Brad Lidge – His perfect season in engrained in my head. In 2008 he was 2-0, 1.95 ERA, and 41 saves in 41 opportunities in the regular season and added 7 more saves in the playoffs. This is possibly the greatest season ever by a Phillie at any position. In 4 seasons with the Phils he had 41, 31, 27 and 1 save for 100 regular season saves and 12 post-season saves.
  4. Johnny Callison – My first favorite Phillie as a kid. He played for the Phils from 1960-1969 and hit 185 Home Runs. He was a runner up MVP in 1964 and the All Star game MVP.
  5. Chase Utley – Although it doesn’t look like Chase is going to get the Hall of Fame numbers I thought he was I still just like everything about the way he plays. He’s fundamentally sound player you love to coach and have on your team. As “Harry The K” would say “Chase Utley you are The Man”!!!

The Phils, Hamels and Spring Training

In Philadelphia Phillies on January 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

I woke up this morning to the great news that Cole Hamels is back in the fold for another year. As I’m looking out the window watching the snow fall on this frigid January day the Hamels signing makes me think about getting started in sunny Clearwater Florida. I can see Doc Halladay working out at the Carpenter Complex as I’m typing. As far as Hamels $15 million is nothing to sneeze at but I’d sure like to see a long term deal, 3 -4 years, made to keep Hamels through his prime years. It seems hard to believe that Cole is just 28 years old since he’s been in the big leagues with the Phils since 2006. I think he was the most consistent of the starters last season, including Halliday. The offense just didn’t score runs for him. His 2011 stats of 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA and 0.99 WHIP (walks, hits per innings pitched) were career bests. He could have easily won 4 more games with a little more offense.

That brings us to the 2012 season. Is this a better team than the 2011 team? As it stands today I don’t think so. It’s safe to say that the offense hasn’t improved at all. We have lost Raul Ibanez, it was probably time to go, and plan to replace him on a full time basis with former part timer John Mayberry. Mayberry deserves a chance after having a nice 2011 as a reserve. He hit .273 with 15 HR’s and 49 RBI’s. The problem is that Mayberry has never had more than 8 RBI’s in a season before that and he’s 28 years old. To be safe there needs to be a backup plan. At this point the outfield reserves are Lance Nix and Dom Brown. I’m not comfortable there. Obviously there’s a lot expected from Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence in the other outfield spots. Pence will have his hands full early in the season with Ryan Howard on the disabled list. Pence will likely be asked to bat in the clean-up spot.

The infield hasn’t changed except that it got a year older and hopefully gets healthier. This is the year for Chase Utley. Utley is still a solid player but has fallen out of the elite group over the last couple years. Most of that has been blamed on health issues, which may be true; however it’s time to get back to the old Chase. Over the last 5 seasons his batting average has been .332, .292, .282, .275, and .259. His HR numbers have also declined over that period, 22, 33, 31, 16, and 11, and with that comes RBI reductions, 103, 104, 93, 65 and 44. Chase turns 32 years old this Spring. As stated earlier this is a critical year for both Chase and the Phillies success. Placido Polanco had an outstanding first half of the season. It was obvious he fought through injuries for a good part of the season. He was still selected to the All Star game and won the Gold Glove at 3rd base. Polly is 36 years old. He needs a healthy 2012. It’s good to have Jimmy Rollins back. I like JRoll but didn’t want to over pay him or sign him for too long. He’s been the leader of the line-up but has obviously tailed off since his MVP year of 2007. His average from 2007-2011 has been .296, .277, .250, .243 and .268 although his On Base Percentage has stayed pretty much level. Jimmy needs to get on base and be the guy that drives this offense. JRoll is now 33 years old. That brings us to Ryan Howard and his health. The Phils need a healthy Ryan Howard and they need him soon. Howard still strikes out way too much but there are only a few players that can say they’ve driven in over 100 runs 6 years in a row while hitting between 31 and 58 HR’s over those years. Howard is also 32 years old and won’t be able to keep producing these numbers forever. The infield bench doesn’t look much different. We’ve added future Hall of Famer and 1st class guy in Jim Thome and his 604 career home runs and Ty Wiggington as reserves. Thome is expected to be the left handed and Wiggington the right handed reserves/pinch hitters off the bench.  Wouldn’t it be great if Thome can be ready to start while Howard is injured and produce great numbers? The other infield reserves are Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez. They both are adequate reserves. One of these two likely won’t be around when camp breaks. Overall I don’t see any improvement in the infield.

The catchers are still Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider. Chooch had a nice season last year and has become a top notch catcher in the National League. He caught 132 games last year and turns 33 years old before Spring Training. Schneider does a nice job as a backup but it’s time to be getting someone ready to take over the catcher spot in the near future.

The starting pitching will still be strong with Halladay, Hamels, Cliff Lee, and 2 of the 3, Vance Worley, Joe Blanton or Kyle Kendrick. Whoever loses out on the 5th starter spot will move to the bullpen unless a trade is made. I like Worley and Blanton in those spots but Kendrick pitched well at the end of last season.

I’m having real problems with the bullpen. I’m okay with the signing of Jonathan Papelbon. In the last 6 seasons he’s recorded 35, 37, 41, 38, 37 and 31 saves. He’s a proven guy that can get it done. With that said I’d like to have seen Ryan Madson stay. Obviously something went wrong whether it was the Phillies, Madson or agent Scott Boras. Either way, Madson didn’t get the free agent deal he was expecting, 1 year – $8.5m with Cincinnati, and will not be back. It would’ve been nice to have Papelbon and Madson if it was possible. The rest of the bullpen looks like Antonio Bastardo as the lefty, Michael Stutes as the righty. Both of these guys had outstanding rookie years before running low in the gas tank toward the end of the season. That leaves just 2 spots left, assuming that either Valdez or Martinez is not with the club clearing out a spot, those choices are Jose Contrares, coming off an injury, David Herndon, Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery and Justin De Fratus. I don’t know about you but that bullpen doesn’t scare me. The key could be Savery, a former 1st round draft pick that seems to finally be coming in to his own as a left handed reliever. He needs time to prove he can pitch at the big league level.

It’s time to get started. I think I can hear bats and balls as I’m looking through the snow. It’s time to make another run to a World Championship!

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