Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 World Champs

Congratulations to Hunter Pence and the SF Giants for winning the 2012 World Series!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Phils move to 6 back, Chooch and Ruf in Town

While extending the 2012 season into the postseason remains a major long shot, there are plenty of positives surrounding this Phillies' ball club for a nice change.

First and foremost, after sweeping the Colorado Rockies the Phils are 8-2 in their last ten games and six games out of the wild card. They still need to leapfrog four teams to jump into one of the two wild card positions. It's a longshot for them to pull that off, but at least they have something to play for in these final three weeks.

Chooch is back! Carlos Ruiz saw his first MLB action since August 2 last night, coming off the bench in the 6th and picking up right where he left off, going 2-for-2 with an RBI.

There's a buzz amongst the organization as Double-A slugger Darin Ruf (or Babe Ruf as he's already been dubbed) has been selected by the Phillies and is in Philadelphia for tonight's game against Miami. He's not in the lineup, as Charlie Manuel likely didn't want to overwhelm the youngster right off the bat. But there's a good chance Ruf makes his first appearance as a pinch-hitter tonight, and he claims he can play Left Field, even though he's only played there in 29 career games.

This is a big week of win-able games against Miami and Houston and will determine if next week we're talking about a legitimate shot at a wild card spot... although a ton of chips are going to need to fall just right.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just When I think I'm out, They Pull Me Back In

Well, not really.

The Phillies are playing much better baseball of late, leading to speculation on the possibility of making a run at a wild card spot. The odds are ridiculously low.

They pulled off a pretty surprising sweep over the Washington Nationals over the weekend, the team with the best record in MLB. They've ripped off four straight wins and are 7-3 in their last ten games. They haven't lost a series since dropping two of three to Atlanta from August 6-8.

None of that would be possible without the production from unsung contributors like Kevin Frandsen, Erik Kratz and Domonic Brown. Frandsen especially, who sports a .351 batting average and a .402 OBP. With just one home run and seven RBI in 94 at bats, he's not the power hitting third baseman the team would like, but he's been clutch and certainly gets on base.

Even with all that, the Phillies remain ten games back in the NL Wild Card race. Even worse, there arefive teams in front of them, four of which they'd have to leapfrog for one of the two spots. Atlanta and St. Louis are leading the race, with the Dodgers and Pirates in striking distance and two and a half and three games back respectively. Arizona is seven and a half games back.

The Phillies look to continue their hot streak when they host the Mets tonight with Vance Worley (6-9, 4.06 ERA) on the mound against Chris Young (3-7, 4.33 ERA).

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brown scratched, promoted in preparation of trades

The first move of what should be many on Trade Deadline day was an internal one by the Phillies. Domonic Brown was scratched from Lehigh Valley's lineup. He's on his way to Washington DC to join the big club.

Shane Victorino appears all but gone; expect him to be a Los Angeles Dodger tonight. Relief pitcher Josh Lindblom is reportedly in the deal, and possibly another prospect or two.

Joe Blanton's most likely destination is Baltimore, but his salary and the Phillies' unwillingness to eat a significant portion is the biggest stumbling block. They continue to try reaching a deal, but it's becoming increasingly likely that Blanton stays, at least for now. Guys like Blanton would likely clear waivers, and could still be dealt before the waiver deadline if a deal isn't reached today.

It's going to be an interesting day to see how the face of this team changes.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Phils open season deciding series with Braves

This is a make or break weekend for the Phillies. They're in Atlanta, and the result of these games will likely determine the direction the organization moves for the 2012 season.

Should the Phillies get swept by the Braves, expect Ruben Amaro Jr. to move some pieces. Shane Victorino, Ty Wigginton and Juan Pierre would likely be on the move. Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton could also be on the move in that scenario.

Should the Phils manage to sweep or even take two-of-three, there is a good chance major pieces like Pence and Victorino stay put, and Amaro Jr. intensifies his search for a right-handed arm for the bullpen.

It all starts tonight with the $144 million man on the mound against the tomahawk chopping loons. Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.23) takes on Ben Sheets (2-0, 0.00). Hamels is 11-6 in his career against Atlanta with a 3.69 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 148.2 innings. He faced them on May 1, allowing two runs over six innings with two walks and six strikeouts in a no decision. Sheets has made two starts for Atlanta this season after not pitching since July 2010 for Oakland. He's 2-0 and has yet to allow a run in 12 innings, striking out 11 and walking four. He's 2-4 in his career against Philly with a 4.88 ERA and 35 strikeouts over 48 innings.

The Phils are aiming for their fifth straight victory.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hamels signs 6 Year, $144 Deal

Phillies fans awoke to great news this morning. Cole Hamels has agreed to a six-year, $144 million contract.

On a pitching staff with three aces, Hamels has emerged as the most valuable of the three and the organization has rewarded him handsomely. The deal makes him the second highest paid pitcher in the history of baseball, behind a seven-year, $161 million deal CC Sabathia signed with the New York Yankees.

There will be a press conference at noon today to announce the deal.

Meanwhile, the team is in the middle of a three-game winning streak and has pulled off back-to-back late inning comebacks after previously being 0-42 when trailing after eight innings.

Vance Worley (5-6, 3.82) takes the hill this afternoon looking for the sweep against Marco Estrada (0-4, 4.10).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Three homers including one from Hamels not enough vs SF

Today's 6-5 extra inning loss did not heed the results a pitching match-up as phenomenal as Cole Hamels vs. Matt Cain most would expect.

It was a wildly entertaining game though.

Hamels and Cain each allowed five runs and three home runs. And each pitcher homered off the other.

It was the sixth home run of Cain's career, and the first for Hamels.

Cain hit his in the top of the third inning, while trailing 1-0 after a first inning Chase Utley bomb off the facing of the second deck in right. Buster Posey added a two-run shot in the third.

Hamels got his revenge quickly, jacking a high fastball way out to right in the bottom of the third. Ryan Howard put the Phils ahead in the sixth inning with his third home run of the season, a three-run bomb.

Unfortunately, Melky Cabrera took Hamels deep in the eighth to tie the score, and Papelbon once again struggled in a non-save situation, allowing a run in the tenth inning and picking up his fourth loss of the season.

The Phillies came out of the wrong side of a great pitching match-up for the second time in three games, after a 5-3 loss on Wednesday that saw Cliff Lee and Clayton Kershaw combine for two runs over 16 innings and 11 strikeouts.

Mired in a three-game skid, the Phils will look to salvage a game against San Francisco tomorrow afternoon with Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.79) on the mound against Barry Zito (8-6, 3.75)