Monthly Archives: April 2010

Series Recap: Phils at Gigantes

In Short: Phils go out west, drop 2 of 3 after being largely outdueled on the mound and overmatched at the plate, and then come up with a huge win in a barn-burner finale.

Pithching

Who’s Hot: Tough call here, but we’ll give another nod to long reliever Nelson Figueroa for securing the win in that last game and notching a big save in the 11th inning of the final game of the series, his first save of the year and the first of his career.  A moderately impressive feat for a guy who’s been in the league for 10 years now since debuting with the Phils in 2000.  (In a related note, I saw on SporsCenter that another former Phillies great Bruce Chen notched his first career save this week for the Royals, his 10th team in 12 years of big league service)  Good on ya, fellas.

Who’s Not: Pretty much everyone, although we’ll give our man Roy Halladay the benefit of the doubt considering his stinker is a 7-inning, 5-run performance.  Maybeif the Phils could have mustered some runs he still could have come away with a win.  Ryan Madson is the choice here, though, after blowing his second save of the year, bringing his ERA for the year into 2009 Brad Lidge territory (aka over 7).  Speaking of “Lights Out,” it looks like he’s on his way back for this weekend’s series with the Mets.  Also coming soon, Joe Blanton.

Hitting

Who’s Hot: The bats went pretty stagnant in the series, and really for the whole road trip, but Chase Utley is still the man right now, having added a few career milestones in the last couple of games.  Mr. WFC himself racked up the 600th RBI and his 1,000th hit of his career in the Giants series.  In other news, Raul Ibañez has raised his average to .219 for the year.  So there’s that.

Who’s Not: Tough to criticize this guy too much for falling off after a ridiculous start, but Ryan Howard has cooled on the heels of his 5-year $125-million contract extension.  Shane Victorino has been having a tough time at the leadoff spot, too.  The Phils went homerless in the Giants series, unusual for a team who ranks up there with the league leaders in team home runs every year.  They can not get back home to Citizens Bank Park soon enough.

Standings/MLB Ranks/Stats

NL East standings, up to the minute

  1. New York       13-9
  2. Philadelphia  12-9
  3. Washington  12-10
  4. Florida           11-11
  5. Atlanta           8-14

The Phillies find themselves in second place for the first time this season by just half a game.  Perfect timing for the Mets series, though, as the Phils will have a shot at taking it back right away if they can put together a good weekend in their first matchup against their division rivals this season.

  • 6th in NL in batting, 12th in MLB
  • 4th in NL in runs scored, 5th in MLB (no thanks to Giants series)
  • 8th in NL in ERA, 16th in MLB
  • 9th in NL in runs against, 19th in MLB
  • 2nd in NL in (fewest) walks, 3rd in MLB

Next Series: Home vs. Mets

As mentioned before, the Phillies welcome the New York Metropolitans into the friendly confines of South Philadelphia this weekend to try to recapture their spot at the head of the division.  The Phightins will send out a struggling Kyle Kendrick against relative unknown John Niese in game 1, followed by Roy Halladay’s redemption tour on Saturday before a lopsided Moyer-Johan Santana matchup looms on Sunday.  Trap game on Saturday, with a hot Mike Pelfrey matching up against our boy Roy.  Let’s hope the bats wake up a bit with some home cookin’.

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Highlight of the Week

This game was ridiculous, but I couldn’t find a full game highlight so the game winner will have to do.

Bronco

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Series Recap: Phils at Dbags

In Short: Poor starting pitching and a plethora of homers benefit the Diamondbacks as the Phils lose 2 out of 3 in Arizona over the weekend.

Pitching

Who’s Hot- Nelson Figueroa.  The long reliever was able to get through 5 innings and, in my mind, exceeded expectations as he got the no decision in his start Saturday night.  He was given a tough task, but was just good enough to keep the Phils in the game and ultimately pick up the much needed win.  Good work being a starter, but let’s hope that he never has to do an encore performance.

Who’s Not- Cole Hamels.  He let up 4 home runs in his start Friday night.  That’s right, 4.  For how dominant Cole looked last Sunday in his 8 inning gem, this game was at the complete opposite end of the spectrum: very embarrassing and extremely frustrating to watch.  Does this mean Hamels’ outings for the remainder of the season will be a Jekyll and Hyde scenario?  Let’s hope not, but right now his moments of brilliance are being out weighed by the bad.

Hitting

Who’s Hot- Jayson Werth.  The only member of our 3-4-5 hitters who is actually hitting right now.  Werth has been picking up the slack the past couple of games and single handedly provided the offense Saturday night.  His 2 Hrs, one being the game winner, were the reason that the Phillies won that game and avoided a series sweep.  Honorable mention to Ruiz for his 2 out, 2 RBI single in Sunday’s Loss.  He was 1 for 17 coming into the game with RISP.  That’s what we call getting off the schnide, Chooch.

Who’s Not- Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.  The Phillies offense has been stalled recently by the lack of production from the 3-4 hitters.  This weekend, they went 3 for 24 with 9 Ks.  Howard seems more like a defensive replacement than a premier slugger.  He hasn’t gone yard since April 10th while in Houston.  The Phillies have a great lineup, but these guys count for half of it and without them it’s not the same team.

Standings/MLB Ranks/Stats

Standings after week 3:

  1. Philadelphia 11-7
  2. Florida 10-9
  3. Washington 10-9
  4. New York  9-9
  5. Atlanta 8-9

Again, Phils could have separated themselves from the rest of the pack with a good showing in Arizona.  What’s the over under for when the Nationals start to tank?  May what?

  • 2nd in NL in Batting; 3rd in MLB
  • 7th in NL in ERA; 13th in MLB
  • 1st in NL in Fielding %; 3rd in MLB
  • 2nd in MLB in RS (104); 20th in RA (73)
  • Dbacks outscored the Phils 17-13 this weekend; 14 of 17 runs came way of the long ball.  Phillies pitching gave up 8 home runs in total.  Super.

Next Series: At San Francisco

Phils start up the last series for this road trip Monday night as they go to San Fran to play three against the Giants.  The match up will feature arguably the two best RHP in the NL with Roy Halladay on Monday and Tim Lincecum on Wednesday.  Right now, the Phils are 3-3 on the road trip and need to take the first game to give themselves a shot at winning the series.  With Halladay on the mound tomorrow, the Phils can be confident going into the game and you can bet the bullpen is looking forward to a day off after this past weekend.  That being said, the Phils offense needs a jump start and it needs to come from the middle of the lineup.  Utley needs to get back into the groove he had going earlier this month and give the pitching staff leads to work with.  Coming back home with another winning road trip would bode well as we get ready to go into the second month of the season.

Also, I saw another fake green man during the Phillies’ broadcast this afternoon.  To everyone who thinks they can pull off green man, you can’t so stop trying.  I’m getting sick of seeing sucky green man wannabes killing the joke.  All you are doing by putting on the green man costume is saying that you’re an unoriginal loser who paid $70 for the costume and now you need to justify that expenditure by wearing it to sporting event.  Leave the comedy to the professionals and leave green man to the professional: Charlie Kelly…

-FredEx

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Round One

I’m going to start with my thoughts on the 2010 Draft in general, then tell you what I think of the Eagles move to get Brandon Graham.

First of all, the fact that it is now a three day event is just ridiculous. While ESPN is NOT showing the NHL playoffs because of God knows why, they’re showing us the NFL Draft. Don’t get me wrong I love Mel Kipers slicked back hair and how he actually thinks he’s useful for ESPN but c’mon man (NFL Live anyone?). The Draft should start on Saturday at noon, go for 3 rounds which should be televised, and then Sunday the last 4 rounds should happen untelevised. Have you ever watched the last 4 rounds? It is all the analysts sitting there continuing to break down every first round pick like we don’t already know their whole goddamn life story from the 8,000 hours of draft coverage between the end of football season and the draft.

The top 9 picks didn’t really surprise anyone. I hope pick #8 tears his ACL every year of his career, but the Jacksonville Jaguars at pick #10 came up with a doosie. Tyson Alualu out of Cal. A projected late first to second round pick went 10th overall. Are you kidding me Jacksonville? Do you pay attention when the Eagles are on the clock, don’t you know you can trade down? I don’t know much about this guy, which says a lot. Because out of the 8,000 hours of draft coverage, I probably watched 7,000. So if I don’t really know you, and you get drafted, you’re not that good. And 10 overall is just ridiculous.

The Broncos gave up a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round pick to get Tebow at 25. That is just plain silly. The Bills were the only other team interested in picking him in the top 32, and they also were going to have to trade up to get there. I think the Broncos could have waited and maybe saved a pick if they tried to move up to maybe pick 30. That being said, props to Josh McDaniels for having balls to not only pick Tebow, but to trade up to get a guy he wanted.

The Eagles traded up and got Brandon Graham. He’s probably going to play DE, but he can also play linebacker. Overall, I like him, but I’m not so sure about right here. I think they should have picked a defensive back here. Earl Thomas was still on the board. I think he would have been a great pick, but that is who we expected and when do the Eagles do anything expected. The Birds have pick 37 overall, look to see a DB here, hopefully. In reality, I’d rather see them trade it for an established defensive back but I doubt that happens.

The real question today is when is the best running back in the draft going to get drafted, and by who? Yes, I’m talking about former Auburn standout Ben Tate. I hate the combine, but, if you like it, he put up ridiculous numbers there. He had the best speed score out of any running back. He benched more than most lineman, and still ran the 3rd fastest 40 out of the RB’s. He ran for 1300 yards in his senior season, where he shared carries with 2 other people, and Auburn set school records in almost every passing category. Oh yeah, and he never fumbled one single time in 4 years at Auburn, which plays in a real conference unlike Ryan Matthews.

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Series Recap: Phils at Braves

In Short: Despite losing the first game in extra innings and riding a 3 game losing streak, Roy Halladay and the Phillies’ starters right the ship and get out of Atlanta with a 2-1 series win for the Fightins.

Pitching

Who’s Hot- The Starters.  Kyle Kendrick, Roy Halladay, and Jamie Moyer.  These guys are the reason the Phils dominated the series; they came to win.  They went up against some of the Braves’ best arms and beat them in their home parks.  The Phillies’ starters for the past 3 games have accounted for 23 innings pitched, in which they only allowed 2 unearned runs and 13 hits.

Who’s Not- Ryan Madson.  Say what you want, but the Braves’ should have been swept.  I’m not going to put any blame on Contreas because he wasn’t even supposed to be in that game on Tuesday.  Madson epically blew that save; the only hits he gives up are back to back homers to Glaus and Heyward with 2 outs in the 9th.  Glaus isn’t even batting above .180; thats how poor of an effort it was.  In other news, Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless inning for the IronPigs on Thursday.  See you soon.

Hitting

Who’s Hot- Juan Castro?  He went 5 for 13 for the series which was pretty lackluster offensively.  You could also make a case for Utley, seeing as he contributed to all of the Phillies 3 runs on Tuesday.  Looking back however, no one really stood out.

Who’s Not- Shane Victorino.  He’s above the Mendoza line for now, but he has been doing a poor job batting leadoff.  His inconsistency is really killing the production of the 3 4 5 hitters and putting a lot of pressure on the pitching.  Luckily, Halladay was pitching when he decided to go 0 for 5 with 2 Ks.  JRoll can come off of the 15 day DL as soon as next Wednesday, just in time for the home series against the Mets.

Roster Changes

J.A. Happ goes on the 15 Day DL with a left forearm strain and will be available as soon as May 1st. Until then, Charlie Manuel and the Phillies will have to rely on the four remaining starters and long reliever Nelson Figueroa to carry the load.  The training staff could just be cautious with Happ, but then again you can never tell with baseball injuries.  2 Seasons ago, Josh Beckett missed almost a month of the regular season because of a blister on his index finger.  Seriously, what an asshole. The move makes room for J.C. Romero, who was activated from the DL before Thursday’s game and adds some strength to the Phillies’ bullpen.

Looking forward

The Phillies are in Phoenix, AZ this weekend as they take on the 6-9 Dbacks.  Lucky for the Phillies’ hitters, Dan Haren isn’t scheduled to start.  To the same extent, neither is Halladay.  Instead, Cole Hamels will take the mound tomorrow night and will try to match his performance from last Sunday’s loss to Florida.  The Phillies have momentum coming off a series victory for the 4th time this season and are looking to add to their 7-2 road record, the best in the NL.  Reason to worry? The 2nd game of the series has Nelson Figueroa as the probable starter.  Conventional wisdom says Charlie will have to go to the bullpen early in that game, so if Cole gets into trouble early on Friday, the bullpen could be decimated for Kendrick’s outing.  Remedy for that is a strong offense; I like the Phils chances against Arizona.

I also want to send my condolences to anyone who was listening to the Thursday night radio broadcast.  Franske flew home to be with his wife as they are awaiting the birth of their first child, so you guys got stuck with Wheels doing play by play.  The last thing anyone wants is for Chris Wheeler to talk more than he already does. If Franske is going to be MIA for more than a week, could we get Scott Graham back in the interim?  Do LA and the rest of us a favor.

-FredEx

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Phillies Week in Review: Nats and Marlins at Phils

Author’s Note: I was traveling Friday and didn’t have time to throw together a recap for the Nats’ series, so I thought this would be the next best thing.  I have a desktop computer; you know, one of those old, prehistoric computing machines?  You may remember using one in the 90s to play classic, Catholic school computer class games such as Treasure Mathstorm, Cross Country USA, or Oregon Trail.  If anyone is heading out from Independence, MO anytime soon, just remember: Doctor as a profession, buy 8 oxen, load up on fresh veggies and ammo, and sprint for Oregon.  Has not failed me yet.

In Short: The Phils go 3-3 in their opening week at CBP.  Each game had its own storyline and the Phils never seemed to be a complete team during the homestand.  If the pitching was good, the offense struggled.  If the offense was scoring runs, so was the opposition’s.  Because of the lack of consistency, the Phils squeak out a 2-1 series win against the Nats’ and flail against Florida for 1-2 series loss, the first of year.

Hitting:

Who’s Hot- Chase Utley.  No contest.  His line for the week: 7 for 21, 5 HRs, 8 RBIs.   It is safe to say that he was seeing the ball well.

Who’s Not- Pinch Hitters.  T-Mac and the gang are always pointing out that the Phillies’ bench has great pinch hitting with the likes of Gload, Dobbs, and Francisco.  How did our boys do coming off the bench this week?  0 for 9 with a sac fly.

Pitching

Who’s Hot- Cole Hamels.  He pitched well enough to get a win on Monday and pitched lights out Sunday only to get the loss.  That’s baseball.  After two weeks of play, Hamels is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA.  Even more promising, he is using all of his pitches and his curve is starting to look just as good as his changeup.  It would be a great one-two punch to get both Halladay and Hamels clicking together at the top of the lineup.

Who’s Not- Kyle Kendrick.  Again. When he’s aggressive, he gets pelted.  When he throws defensively, he gets himself into jams.  There is already talk about sending him down once Blanton becomes available if not sooner.  He’s not just doing one thing wrong, he is doing everything wrong and needs to figure out a way to re-tune his pitching fast or else he’s back with the Iron Pigs.

Honorable Mention: Juan Castro

So he is no Eric Bruntlett, but Castro seems to be the right fit at SS while Jimmy Rollins is on the DL.  He doesn’t need to be great during JRoll’s absence, but you can tell that he is feeding off the adrenaline in the early going.  He has some clutch hits and has been solid in the field thus far.  If he can continue to stay error free and be above .200 for the next 2-3 weeks, my expectations for Juan Castro will have been sufficed.

Also, the guy will fit right in with the Philly fans.  This past Sunday, “Behind the Pinstripes” did a special about Castro’s “game glove”.  To be brief, Castro has used only one glove during his 10 year career.  The guy is a head case about it; he keeps trying new gloves in practice and can’t find one he likes.  The “game glove” is so worn, he had to stitch a piece of foam to the palm where it was starting to rip.  Keep up the good work, Juan.  Maybe someday you can rank among obscure fan favorites like Ricky Ledee and Todd Pratt.

Standings and MLB Ranks:

After two weeks of play in the NL East:

  1. Phillies 8-4
  2. Marlins 8-5
  3. Braves 7-5
  4. Nationals 6-6
  5. Mets 4-8

Phils had a great chance this week to separate themselves from the rest of their division.  With the weak finish, they fail to capitalize on the opportunity and allow the Braves and Marlins to stay within a game.  Still early on; a lot can change in the coming weeks.

  • 2nd in NL in Batting Average; 3rd in the MLB
  • 6th in NL in ERA; 13th in the MLB
  • 2nd in NL in Fielding Pct.; 6th in the MLB
  • 1st in MLB in RS (78);  T-20th in RA (49)

Week Ahead

The Phils hit the road again for a 9-game stint which starts off in Atlanta Tuesday Night.  The Phillies’ hitters need to shake out of their recent slump before then, because they drew the Braves’ proverbial gauntlet: Hanson, Hudson, and Lowe.  Also, Kyle Kendrick, and all of his recent success, will do the honors in kicking off this road trip.  So when does Halladay pitch again?

Sarcasm aside, the Phils need to focus on winning at least 6 games from this road trip. And considering they will have to face the Giants last, the sooner the better.  This is the first real test for the Phils this season.  No more bottom teams to pick on; they will be going against some of the NL’s premier talent and early playoff favorites.  We’ll have to wait and see how they stack up.

-FredEx

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Highlight of the Week

This is a rarity, 2 Highlights of the week in a row being hockey highlights. That being said, there are very few situations that are more intense than OT in an NHL playoff game. Score you win, get scored on you lose. Flyers up 2-1 in the series thanks to maybe the ugliest person ever, Danny Carcillo.

Bronco

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