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“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” – Mets Series 3 Recap

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Cliff Lee

In the third of our season long series “The View from the Philly Pressbox” takes a look at the New York Mets series. Quite frankly the Mets are awful. If it weren’t for John Buck hitting a home run in each of the three games the Mets would’ve shown nothing. If Roy Halladay would’ve been able to find the strike zone the Phils should’ve had a much needed sweep. In the end the Phils won 2 of 3 and move their record to 4-5, 4 games behind the red hot Atlanta Braves, 8-1.

 The bright spots of the Mets series:

  • You have to start with Cliff Lee. Two consecutive times Lee has had to be the stopper after miserable outings by Halladay and Cole Hamels. Each time Lee has done the job. Against the Mets he threw 8.2 innings, allowing 8 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 0 walks and 6 k’s. Lee lowered his ERA to 1.08. Lee has also not walked a batter in his 16.2 innings of work while Hamels and Halladay can’t find the strike zone. Lee also threw first pitch strikes to 27 of 34 hitters he faced.
  • The Phils again spotted Kyle Kendrick a huge lead, 4 runs in his first outing and 5 runs against the Mets. Although Kendrick struggled some he held on to get the win going 6 innings, allowing 8 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks and 6 k’s. Antonio Bastardo, Michael Adams and Jonathan Papelbon allowed 1 run in 3 innings of relief.
  • In spite of Halladays struggles in Game 1 of the series the bullpen of Chad Durbin, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdez combined for 5 innings of shutout relief, allowing just 3 hits and 2 walks.
  • Michael Young had a 5-11 series with his first HR as a Phillie. Young raised his average to a team high .375.
  • Chase Utley continues to swing the bat well. Utley was only 2-10 in the series but did hit a HR, drove in a couple runs and stole 2 bases. He’s presently hitting .333 with a team high 9 RBI’s.
  • Jimmy Rollins had 4 more hits in the series in 12 at bats, raising his average back up to .316.
  • The Phils scored 17 runs in the 3 game series, 5.6 runs per game.

 Areas to improve:

  • As mentioned earlier, Roy Halladay struggled immensely against the weak hitting Mets. Halladay threw 99 pitches just to get through 4 innings allowing 6 hits, 7 runs, 3 walks and a home run while striking out 3. A telling statistic to Halladays troubles were first pitch strikes, he threw just 11 to the 22 batters he faced. A second telling statistic was he was only able to get 10 swinging strikes, while the Mets fouled off 21 strikes. He had trouble getting the ball by the hitters.
  • The Phils were only able to collect 4 hits off Mets pitchers Matt Harvey and Josh Edgin in the 7-2 loss on Monday.
  • The Phils have struck out 79 times in 9 games, 8.8 per game. This ranks 4th in the NL.
  • Although Hamels didn’t pitch in the Mets series it’s imperative that he and Halladay get things turned around. They will both have an opportunity to pitch this weekend against the Marlins.
  • Ryan Howard went 3-11 against the Mets but is still hitting just .200 with 12 k’s in 9 games.
  • Ben Revere is struggling hs well. Revere is hitting just .211 with an OBP of just .268 from the leadoff spot.
  • Dom Browns average has dropped all the way to .242. He seems to be losing some of that Spring Training hot that he had. Brown has to hit to stay in the lineup.

 Next Up:

The Miami Marlins in Miami. The Phils will throw John Lannan, Hamels and Halladay. The Marlins are just 1-8 on the season. This would be a good weekend for a sweep and good pitching performances from all of the starters.

 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. We picked the Phils to win 2 of 3 from the Mets and they did. Now they need to pick up a game by sweeping the Marlins especially with the Reds and Cardinals on the schedule next week. You have to beat the teams that you should beat.

 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” – Calling Out Jimmy Rollins!!

In Philadelphia Phillies on July 4, 2012 at 9:47 am

It is very rare that you will ever hear the Philly Pressbox criticize a player, but we’ve seen all that we can stand, and somebody needs to be held accountable. Who would’ve ever thought that sitting here on the morning of the 4th of July that the Phillies would be sporting a 36-46 record and be 12 games behind the Washington Nationals in the Eastern Division? As Spring Training approached we knew we would not have Ryan Howard until July, but tried to make up for that with the signings of Ty Wigginton and Jim Thome. Wigginton obviously isn’t Howard; he’s hitting .246 with 8 HR’s and 33 RBI’s. The Thome experiment “busted out” and he’s gone. We didn’t know in March that we wouldn’t have Chase Utley for the first half of the season. For some reason management didn’t know he was injured, Utley didn’t tell them, or the fans were kept in the dark, maybe all three. Without Utley and Howard out the lineup became a crap shoot with each night looking more like a science project. We did find a young 2nd baseman in Freddy Galvis who could field the position, but isn’t ready to hit big league pitching. Add his serious back injury and drug suspension and Galvis future is in question. We gave the leftfield position to John Mayberry after a decent finish to last season, only to find out that he can’t handle the job. Mayberry is currently hitting .226 with 6 HR’s and 23 RBI’s.  What about Shane Victorino? Victorino has been a solid player for the Phillies the last 7+ seasons, hitting close to .280 and bringing excitement to the ballpark every night. We’re not seeing that this season! Shane is at the top of the list in fundamental errors this season. How many times can you miss the cutoff man? Hunter Pence has also been a mystery in the outfield. Quite honestly, he’s been brutal with the glove, but made up for some of it with his arm. The injuries put Pence in the tough position of hitting clean up, with no protection in front of or behind him. Overall, Pence has put up decent numbers, .286, 16, 48, which should improve in the second half with some help in the lineup.

That brings us to Jimmy Rollins. JRoll seems to be getting a free pass and we’re not sure why. No one expected Rollins to ever match his MVP season of 2007; however, he has declined in nearly every category every year since 2007. Even at that we were willing to give him a pass based on one thing, LEADERSHIP. Jimmy was, as they say, “the straw that stirred the drink”. He brought “swagger” to the ballclub. His brash statements about the ballclub and the other teams in the division, created a cockiness that seemed to spread throughout the ballclub and the fan base. There’s nothing like calling out the Mets! Where is that Jimmy Rollins this season? Maybe JRoll thinks the Phillies aren’t that good. If you’re not bringing something different to the party then you need a leadoff hitting shortstop to produce more that a .256 batting average, 5th among the starters, and a .310 on base percentage, OBP, 7th on the team, ahead of only Mayberry and Galvis. Those are not the numbers of a leadoff hitter. Add to that the number of pop outs and fly outs and it spells trouble for the lineup.  If JRoll and the Phillies are going to be successful he has to hit the ball on the ground or hit line drives and use his legs. If he can’t, or won’t do that, he needs to go to the bottom of the lineup. With that said, the Phillies will be paying Rollins $11m a year for 2012, 2013, 2014 and an option year of 2015.

Let’s get back to Rollins “swagger”. It’s easy to have “swagger” when you’re on top, as the Phillies have been as the NL East champions the last 5 seasons. It’s much more difficult to step out on the edge when your team may not be as good as it used to be. Rollins actions on the field look like he’s representing a bad ballclub. He’s still very good defensively, however, his approach at the plate and the look on his face tells a different story. Pop out after fly out result in a non-hustling leadoff hitter that barely makes it to 1st base before the ball is caught. The electrifying, contagious smile of a guy loving what he’s doing is gone. You don’t even see the constant TV shots of Rollins endlessly talking to Charlie Manual in the dugout as he has for years.

If passing out blame for this first half of the season, there’s plenty to go around. You can blame injuries, you can blame the Chad Qualls set up man disaster, you can blame a middle bullpen full of guys that aren’t ready for the big leagues yet, or you can take responsibility and play with the hand you’re dealt. JRoll received a lot of credit, as the leader, when things went good for all of these years so he needs to be held accountable when they’re not.

The Philly Pressbox is calling out Jimmy Rollins to step up his game and be the $11m, leader, “the straw that stirs the drink” that he’s capable of being!! There’s still time but it needs to start TODAY!

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5 Phillies Things to Ponder – You Rank Them!!

In Philadelphia Phillies on May 18, 2012 at 10:41 am

While driving down the interstate of Missouri I’m pondering a few things about the Phillies and the first 38 games of the season. I’ve come up with a list of 5 things and I ask you, what do you think will happen in what order? I’ll list them randomly and give you my list at the bottom.

  • ·        The Phillies take over 1st Place in the NL East.
  • ·        Greg Gross gets fired as the hitting coach.
  • ·        Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz is named the starting catcher for the NL in the All Star game.
  • ·        Cole Hamels is signed to a long term contract.
  • ·        Jimmy Rollins will be moved out of the leadoff spot permanently.

 

Here is our list and our reasoning:

  1. Greg Gross will be fired. It’s not fair to blame everything on the hitting coach but that’s what happens, ask Mickey Hatcher who was fired after 13 seasons as the hitting coach of the Angels because he and Albert Pujols had a disagreement and the team was underachieving at the plate. GG has been fired before in favor of Milt Thompson who was replaced again by GG. When it’s all said and done, there are a lot of the same hitters that have been here throughout and they haven’t changed, regardless of who the hitting coach is. The Phils are presently playing .500 ball, 19-19, and in last place in the NL East. They rank 4th in the NL in batting average at .261, however, they rank only 10th of 16 teams in OBP, on base percentage, are 8th in runs scored  and home runs but 15th in bases on balls. It’s a shame to say but someone may have to be the scapegoat if the Phils don’t start to score more runs and GG will be that guy. Maybe Chase Utley and Ryan Howard can help out if it’s not too late.
  2. “Chooch” is named to start in the All Star game. At this point in the season he has done it all. Always solid on defense and managing the pitching staff, he has now added some pretty significant offensive numbers. He’s sporting a .343 batting average, .388 OBP, 7 HR’s, 24 RBI’s and 19 runs scored, all second on the team to Hunter Pence. It’s a no-brainer that Chooch is the NL starting catcher.
  3. Cole Hamels signs a multi- year deal. Every time Hamels goes to the mound it’s costing the Phillies money. He’s presently 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA. He’s started 7 games and the Phils have won 6 of them. He leads the team with 49 strike outs while holding the opposition to a .229 batting average. The 28 year old lefty has not reached his prime yet and needs to be locked up for the long haul. We’ve been on that bandwagon since Spring Training. The Dodgers, Angels and Yankees will likely be interested if Cole tests the free agent market and will all be willing to dish out big money. The Matt Cain contract in San Francisco has set the bar at $120m and the Phillies need to beat it and they need to do it now. Following is the link to our preseason player profile on Hamels.   https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/phillies-profile-cole-hamels/
  4. The Phils take over 1st place in the NL East. The Phils have played poorly through the first 38 games of the season. Utley and Howard are out, the middle bullpen is a mess, Cliff Lee has been on the DL, Jim Thome has been a bust, Freddy Galvis, Lance Nix and John Mayberry, among others, have struggled and the Phils are only 4.5 games out of 1st place. Although the division has improved the Phillies still have the top line of starting pitchers. It’s just a matter of time until they find some consistency at the plate and start scoring runs in bunches.
  5. Jimmy Rollins is moved out of the leadoff spot. The Philly Pressbox doesn’t under Charlie Manuals love for JRoll in the leadoff spot. Those days are gone. Jimmy is presently hitting a measly .232 with an OBP of .290. That is awful for a guy in the leadoff spot.   He has also already struck out 27 times while walking only 13 and stealing 8 bases. Only Galvis and Mayberry have a lower OBP than Rollins. With Juan Pierre swinging a hot bat, .343 average, with a .388 OBP, he needs to be in the leadoff spot until he can’t get the job done. Pierre is a proven big league player and he will produce. JRoll and Manuel need to swallow the egos and move Rollins down near the bottom of the lineup where he belongs. We don’t see it happening any time soon and the Phils will suffer because of it unless Jimmy turns back the clock to 2007 and 2008. See our preseason preview of JRoll at the following link. https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/phillies-profile-jimmy-rollins/

There you have our thoughts at close to the quarter point of the season.

What do you think????

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Phillies Profile – Jimmy Rollins

In Philadelphia Phillies on March 19, 2012 at 8:24 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 11 we preview Jimmy Rollins.

Jimmy Rollins2012 will mark the 12th season for JRoll as the starting Phillies shortstop. The 33 year old Rollins is a former 2nd round draft pick from 1996. He made his big league debut all the way back on September 17, 2000. Since that time, Rollins has done just about everything you can do as a Phillie. Although his style has never been that of your prototypical leadoff man he’s had great success. He has led the league in At Bats 4 times, runs scored once, triples 4 times and stolen bases once. He won the NL MVP in 2007, won a Silver Slugger Award for shortstops, he’s won 3 Gold Glove Awards, been named to 3 All Star teams and won a World Series and been to another. He has had over 200 hits one time, 212 in 2007. He has had over 190 hits in three other seasons.  The knock on JRoll as a leadoff hitter is that he doesn’t get on base enough and still strikes out too much even though his yearly strike out totals have decreased throughout his career. Last season he struck out 59 times. His On Base Percentage (OBP) is .329 for his career. As a comparison, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s career OBP is .383 while former Phils great Larry Bowa had a career .301 OBP. Jimmy currently holds nearly all of the career hitting records by a Phillies shortstops. He trails Bowa by 103 games played in his career. Barring injury he will pass that mark this season.

Personal Analysis:

JRoll is still “The Straw that Stirs the Drink” for the Phillies lineup. When Jimmy puts the ball in play by hitting ground balls or line drives on a consistent basis he sets the table for the middle of the lineup. At age 33, the Phils don’t need a power hitting shortstop, they need a guy who hits for contact, drives the ball in the gaps and is a pest on the bases while stealing 25-30 bases. Jimmy also needs to be patient at the plate, work the pitchers, and get on base by walking. In 2011 he matched his career high with 58 walks. Exceeding that number this year should be a goal for Rollins and for the Phillies. I’d like to see that number be at least 75 but that hasn’t been Jimmy’s style. Rollins will be solid on defense, as always, teaming with Chase Utley or whoever ends up playing 2nd base. The Phils decision to sign Jimmy for the next 3 years means he will likely end his career in Philadelphia. He’s been a solid player throughout his career, the hope here is that it continues. We’ll predict a .270 season with 90 runs scored, 10 home runs, 55 RBI’s and 25 stolen bases.  

Tomorrow we will preview Placido Polanco.

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. Day 10, Chase Utley.

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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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