Friday, May 31, 2013

Phillies and Brewers Series Preview

This weekend the Phillies look to build on some recent success and rebound from Thursday night's tough loss. They will take on the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. This season has not been kind to the Brewers.  They are in last place in the Central Division and have the 3rd worst record in the MLB. The Phillies however have seen a recent hot streak from Domonic Brown help out the team Cliff Lee pitches this weekend and has been the team’s best and most consistent pitcher.

Friday 7:05 Yovani Gallardo (3-5, 4.79 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (1-8, 4.43 ERA)
Hamels looks for his second win while Gallardo wants to rebound from his previous 2 starts where he allowed 7 runs.

Saturday 4:05 Michael Fiers (1-3, 5.66 ERA) vs. Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 5.74 ERA)
Photo day and all fans will receive a 2013 Phillies Print.
The Phillies rookie, Cloyd is also seeking his second win and to rebound from his previous start against Boston when he lasted only 2.1 innings and gave up 6 runs and 9 hits.

Sunday 1:35 Wily Peralta (3-6, 6.35 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (6-2, 2.43 ERA)
Fathers Appreciation Day , all Men over 15 years old receive a free t-shirt courtesy of Chevrolet.
The struggling Peralta faces the white hot Lee who in his past two starts went 17 innings and only surrendered 1 run.

Other notes
  •           Will Charlie Manuel move Domonic Brown up in the lineup?
  •           Will Cesar Hernandez see more playing time before Michael Young returns?
  •           How will newly called up bullpen arms Mike Stutes and Justin De Fratus fare?
  •           Chad Durbin has been released after posting a 9.00 ERA in 16 innings.
  •           Joe Savery called up from Leigh Valley to replace Durbin on the roster.

Injury updates
  •          Chase Utley will miss a few more weeks and could return mid-June
  •           Carlos Ruiz is also expected to be back mid-June
  •           John Lannan is scheduled to throw 3 or 4 innings on June 1st.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why Domonic Brown has Arrived

Dominic Brown was named the National League player of the week yesterday. He hit .348 with 7 RBI's. This award is fitting for a player who has not met the expectations set when he wasn't traded in 2009 or 2010. Finally he might achieve his potential. With his best showing in the bigs since he was called up in 2010, he is on a roll. In fewer games and at bats he has hit career highs in home runs, RBI's, batting average and on base percentage. These stats are including a slow start to the year for Brown. If he continues at this pace or even exceeds it, he could be a candidate for the all star game. Domonic has given the Phillies a bat in the middle of the lineup that can help us win. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Jimmy Rollins' Case For The Hall of Fame

        Is Jimmy Rollins a Hall of Famer? His stats, accolades, and other Hall of Fame shortstops’ achievements say yes. Through Rollins’ 13 year ongoing career, he has already accumulated enough for him to be a Hall of Fame inductee. Currently there are 23 shortstops in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.  The most recent inductee is Barry Larkin. Let’s compare Larkin to Rollins.
Larkin, in 19 seasons, batted .295 with 198 home runs and 960 RBI’s. He stole 379 bases and had 2,340 hits. Larkin won an MVP award, 3 Gold Gloves, 9 Silver Sluggers, 1 World Series, and appeared in 12 All-Star games. Rollins, like Larkin, has 2,000 hits, won a World Series, multiple Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger and of course an NL MVP. Rollins’ career batting average is 25 points below Larkin’s at .270, however Rollins has hit 196 homeruns and is still playing while Larkin only hit 198. Rollins should easily reach the 200 home run mark by the end the current season. Rollins also has better speed numbers stealing 407 bases while Larkin only stole 379. The two shortstops both have good fielding percentages, over .975. In a complete look at the two careers Larkin is a better player than Rollins but is not too far behind and is still better than some other Hall of Fame shortstops such as Ozzie Smith and Luis Aparicio.
        Ozzie Smith, The Wizard of Oz, is one of the best fielding shortstops, if not the best ever. He retired with 13 Gold Gloves, 15 All-Star Game appearances, 1 Silver Slugger, and a World Series Championship. However, Smith never won an MVP like Rollins. Rollins was much more productive offensively then Smith was. As stated before, Rollins career average is .270. Smith’s was .262. More importantly, Rollins hit more home runs in his MVP season, 30, than The Wizard hit in his career, 28.  Both were also great base base stealers. Rollins power numbers are much better than Smith’s which sets him apart in a way but Smith has many more awards than Rollins. If Ozzie Smith is in the Hall for what he did Rollins should be too.
        Luis Aparicio, like Smith, outdoes Rollins with All-Star Game appearances. Aparicio appeared in 13 All-Star Games. That is the only way Aparicio outdoes Rollins.  Rollins power numbers are better, has a higher batting average, and a higher fielding percentage. Rollins has not played as many seasons as Aparicio, but still has better numbers. If Luis Aparicio is in the Hall of Fame, Rollins deserves it too.
Rollins is the best National League shortstop of his generation. While he is no Honus Wagner or Cal Ripken he is still better than some Hall of Fame shortstops. Rollins numbers are enough to put him into Cooperstown and there is nothing holding him back.

Around the League: Thursday's action

It was a slow day in Major League Baseball with only 5 games on the schedule, but there were still plenty of headlines. 

-Terry Francona returned to Boston and led his new team to a 12-3 victory over his former team at Fenway Park. The Tribe used a 6 run 6th inning to pull away and take the first of the four game set. Francona won two World Series while managing for the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007. He was fired after the 2011 season due to the Red Sox's epic collapse at the end of the season.
 -Kevin Gausman, the #4 pick in last year's first player draft, pitched in his first major league start last night. He gave up 4 runs in 5 innings but when he left, the Baltimore bullpen imploded. They gave up 8 runs and the Blue Jays beat the Orioles 12-6. Edwin  Encarnacion hit a grand slam and J.P. Arencibia also tacked on 4 RBI's. 

-The Pirates finished off a sweep of the  Cubs 4-2 after a 1 hour47 minute rain delay. Andrew McCutchen went 3-4 with 2 RBI's to lead the Pirates to their 4th straight win. 

-Miguel Cabrera homered in his 4th straight game and the Tigers made a late rally to edge the Twins 7-6. Detroit trailed 6-3 after the 7th inning stretch, but they scored 3 in the bottom of the 7th to tie it and Prince Fielder drove in the eventually game winning run in the bottom of the 8th. 

-Former Phillie Joe Blanton finally got his first win as an Angel. 0-7 to start the season, Blanton pitched well enough to recieve the win as the Angels beat the Royals 5-4. The Royals made it interesting though. Down 5-2 in the 9th, Kansas City rallied and scored 2 but was unable to tie it and fell one run short. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Phillies call up Michael Martinez

   The Phillies have called up infielder, Michael Martinez from AAA Lehigh Valley. He will take Utley's spot on the roster due to Chase's recent oblique injury, which sent him to the 15-day DL. Martinez was hitting .226 after 31 games and 106 at-bats with the Iron Pigs before being called up today.

The Chase Utley Effect

Last Night Phillies fans learned that Chase Utley would join an expanding Disabled List. His injury leaves a hole in the teams lineup that is hard to replace. But, Chase's attitude and drive to play the game are irreplaceable pieces of this club. Chase is a great leader and an all-star caliber player.

From 2010-2012 Chase's career was interrupted with Knee issues one way or another. This year, in an effort to return to his former glory, Chase began using a rigorous workout that ensures his knees would stay healthy. This seemed to light a spark to Chase as he began to show the skill that made him an all star. Now, he is out 2-4 weeks with a strained oblique.

Before the injury and after 44 games His performance was a big help to a team that can't generate much offense. With a .272 batting average, 7 homeruns, 25 RBI's and a .339 On Base Percentage. Saying he helped our offense is an understatement. He was the guy that could start rallies from the 3 or 4 spot in the lineup. Chase's defense has been superb as usual this year. His plays have saved the team runs multiple times in his career. The best example being his fake throw during game 5 of the 2008 World Series.

With Utley's injury the Phils lose a great leader and player. But, now is the time for Freddy Galvis to show he has what it takes to be in the majors. 

Series Preview: Phillies vs Nationals

Our Phils head to D.C. this weekend to take on the division rival Nationals. After two straight series wins over the Reds and Marlins, the Phillies look to continue their success and possibly pass the Nationals in the NL East. Heading into the 3 game series the Phillies (23-24) sit one game back of the 2nd place Nationals (24-23). The Nationals have been struggling lately, posting a record of 4-6 in their last 10 games while the Phillies have played well lately going 7-3.

Friday's game - Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 2.82 ERA) vs Jordan Zimmerman (7-2, 1.62 ERA).
The Phils face one of the best pitchers in the game against Jordan Zimmerman. The Nationals ace has the 3rd lowest ERA in the bigs and looks to continue his dominance on Friday. While it may look like a pitcher's duel, the two offenses could surprise you. Both pitchers have struggled against their opponent; Kendrick is 4-5 with a 4.68 ERA in his career against the Nats while Zimmerman is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA against the Phillies.

Saturday's game - Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.00 ERA) vs Dan Haren (4-5, 5.54 ERA)
Pettibone has been a pleasant surprise this year for the Phils. After taking John Lannan's spot in the rotation he has been very consistant and always keeps the Phillies in games. Washington's starter, Haren, has been a disappointing free agent signing to this point for the Nats. Haren is 0-3 vs the Phillies his career and look for Delmon Young to have a big game. Young is 6 for 12 lifetime against Haren.

Sunday's game - Cole Hamels (1-7, 4.45 ERA) vs Stephen Strasburg (2-5, 2.66 ERA)
An intriguing pitching matchup to finish the series as the teams two "aces" take the mound. Hamels and Strasburg were supposed to be their teams best pitcher, but both come into the game with losing records. While Strasburg has pitched extremely well in his last 3 starts (1-1, 0.90 ERA), Hamels has lost 4 straight starts. Still, Hamels has dominated the Nationals throughout his career and look for him to get back on track Sunday.

Prediction - Zimmerman leads the Nationals to a 5-2 victory on Friday, but the Phillies come back to win on Saturday as they get the best of Haren in a 7-3 win. In the rubber match, Hamels outduels Strasburg and Papelbon closes out the 3-2 win, giving the Phillies the series.

Around the League: Wednesday's action

Some story lines from Wednesday's games
-Miguel Cabrera continued his torrid start to the season by hitting a home run and adding 3 RBI's in the Tigers 11-7 victory over the Indians. Cabrera's 3 RBI's give him a league leading 52. Justin Verlander got the win although he did not pitch his best. 
-Clay Bucholz improved to 7-0 pitching 7 strong innings as Boston won the battle of the Sox 6-2. Chicago was going for the sweep but Bucholz had other ideas as he helped the Red Sox win in Chicago. 
-30 year old Ross Wolf pitched in his first major league start on Wednesday and helped the Rangers avoid a sweep by defeating the A's 3-1. Wolf pitched 5 innings and recorded his first major league win. 
-Chris Davis and the Orioles win the rubber match of a 3 game set with the Yankees 6-3. Davis went 4-4 and added a home run as the Orioles win the series. Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda left in the 3rd inning after taking a line drive off the leg. He is considered day to day and his next start is in question. 
-Joey Votto continued his hot streak going 2-3 with a home run and 2 RBI's in the Reds 7-4 win over the Mets. The Reds took the lead in the 9th and Aroldis Chapman recorded the save. 
-Ian Desmond drove in the go ahead run in the top of the 10th and the Nationals beat the Giants 2-1 to avoid a sweep. Gio Gonzalez and Madison Bumgarner both pitched well in this pitchers duel. 
-Jordan Lyles out pitched James Shields and the Astros took 2 out of 3 from the Royals with a 3-1 win. The lowly Astros beat Jeremy Guthrie on Monday and Shields on Wednesday to surprise the Royals and win the series. 
-Francisco Liriano threw 7 shutout innings and struck out 9 as the Pirates edged the Cubs 1-0. Liriano is now 3-0 in 3 starts for Pittsburgh. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Game Recap 5/22/13

   Phillies beat Marlins 3-0. Cliff Lee goes the distance only allowing 3 hits which makes him our Player of the Game. He is now 5-2 and the Phillies are one game under .500, at 23-24. Slowey gets the loss and is now 1-5. 
Delmon Young stays hot, hitting a solo homerun. Brown and Galvis with the other 2 RBI's. Phillies get an off-night tomorrow, and will start a series in Washington on Friday.

- Andrew

Photo Credit to Courier Post

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Tonight's Matchup 5/22/13

Phillies at Marlins, 7:10 PM ET, Marlins Park, PHL 17

Cliff Lee (4-2, 2.83 ERA) vs Kevin Slowey (1-4, 3.44 ERA)


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