Archive for April 10th, 2011

Plenty Of Questions As Flyers Begin Cup Run

April 10th, 2011 by JGlenn | 2 Comments | Filed in General

Let's Go Flyers!!!

Which team will show up against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night?  The team that cruised into the All Star Break as the #1 team in the NHL or the team that collapsed after the All Star Break barely hanging on to win their own division?

As the playoffs get set to start on Thursday vs. Buffalo that is one of multiple questions that need to be answered.  The health of Chris Pronger and the play of rookie goaltender Sergio Bobrovsky are huge issues as well.   “Bob” was just pulled in the season finale Saturday night after letting in 3 goals on the first 10 shots, not exactly the way you want to head into the playoffs.  Bank on Pronger being there for the opener, he is an animal and i think the time off will only benefit him and the rest of the Defense.  Pronger may be a little rusty but he doesn’t expend that much energy out there where conditioning should become a factor.  My biggest concern is the play of the so called Captain Mike Richards.  This guy was an absolute beast during last years playoff run.  Hitting everything that moved, scoring clutch goals i.e The Shift

This year the only thing that stands out are his turnovers. Forcing cross ice passes or silly saucer passes during key power plays.  When Pronger went down he became even more invisible on the ice and in some of his post game interviews he bristled at questions concerning the teams struggles.  In all honesty the NHL playoffs is a season in itself so I am hoping they can amp things up.  They are deeper than any team in the East and if they play like they did from Oct to Jan they go back to the Cup, period. No team would be able to beat them in a 7 game series.  However, if they play like they have lately a first round exit would not shock me in the least.

Shutout So Shut Up!

April 10th, 2011 by Christian | Comments Off on Shutout So Shut Up! | Filed in General

Take That!

Cole Hamels threw seven shutout innings, struck out eight and gave up only four hits and a walk today against the Braves.  For those of you who booed him in his first start, just shut up.  This guy is a fantastic pitcher who today dominated the Phillies arch rival in the NL East, giving them the series victory – and a big mental edge –  in their first matchup against Atlanta this season, 2 games to one.

Make no mistake, this was an important win today.  The Phillies and Braves play 18 games this season and you do not want to giove a talented, young squad like the Braves any confidence this early.  Nice bounce back hgame cole, keep it up!  And for you boo birds, keep it down!

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Is Lineup Better Without Utley?

April 10th, 2011 by Christian | 2 Comments | Filed in General

I Can't Believe What I'm Hearing...

Let me start by saying that when Chase Utley is healthy, he’s one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen.  The Phillies would NOT have won the 2008 World Series without him.  But, since 2008 the lineup has been less potent because of one primary reason: Charlie Manuel is immovable from his position of batting Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back-to-back.  This leaves the Phillies extremely vulnerable to left handed pitching.  This was exploited by the Yankees in the 2009 World Series and by the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 NLCS.

Last year, the offense struggled with regularity.  Prolonged slumps prompted the firing of hitting coach Milt Thompson and ultimately led to their demise against the Giants.  So, let’s take a look at what’s happened so far this year, without Chase in the lineup.  The Phillies record is 6-2.  The hitters’ numbers are eye popping.  In order, their averages are: Victorino (.375), Polanco (.353), Rollins (.333), Howard (.406), Francisco (.333), Ibanez (.258), Ruiz (.304), Valdez (.333).  Are you kidding me?  Seven of eight hitters are batting over .300!  Ryan Howard is batting over .400!!

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Sure, they’ve only played eight games and it’s easy to write this off as just a hot start.  And it may be.  But what I see is a lineup that is more flexible and dynamic as it is currently constructed than it was last year.  Now, in order you have 1. Switch hitter, 2, Righty, 3. Switch hitter, 4. Lefty, 5. Righty, 6. Lefty, 7. Righty, 8. Lefty.  That is about as balanced as you can get.  And that’s the reason you can lose a hitter of Utley’s caliber and actually get better.

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Schneider, Ruiz Can, Braves McCann’t

April 10th, 2011 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Schneider, Ruiz Can, Braves McCann’t | Filed in General, Phillies

Chooch Crushes One

I usually don’t do individual recaps of games, but this one was just too good. After a heartbreaking loss on Friday night, the Phillies bounced back Saturday in a big way. A great outing by Roy Oswalt, but the story of the game was the catching.

Atlanta’s Brian McCann is known as probably one of the top offensive catchers in the league. McCann got a roaring round of applause for his contributions in the game: 0-for-2 with a walk. To be fair, McCann’s batting average dropped to a miniscule .406 after the game today. The Phillies used two catchers today and it was well worth it. Brian Schneider got the start and went 1-for-2 with a two run bomb. Carlos Ruiz came in as a pinch hitter and hit an 0-2 pitch for a grand slam. Between the two catchers, they combined for seven of the ten runs for the Phillies.

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Pedro?

April 10th, 2011 by Mike H. | Comments Off on Pedro? | Filed in General

Could Pedro be in red pinstripes for a playoff push?

Pedro Martinez is back in the news as the Hall of Fame bound pitcher is looking to pitch in 2011. The eight time All Star is already training and playing catch. Martinez says he could be ready to go within 4-6 weeks. When given the hypothetical of the Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees all offering the same contract, Martinez’ first choice is the Red Sox. He says he would love to retire wearing the same hat he expects to be enshrined with. He did also point out that the Phillies would be in the mix due to his desire to win a championship in the National League as well. In 2009, Pedro was good for a 3.63 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over nine starts. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Amaro kick the tires on Pedro if he someone comes calling about Joe Blanton.

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From the “It’s Early” Files

April 10th, 2011 by Mike H. | Comments Off on From the “It’s Early” Files | Filed in General

It’s only three games, but failed pitching prospect turned first baseman/designated hitter, Joe Savery has been on a tear. In 13 plate appearances for Clearwater, Savery has 10 hits, 1 walk, and zero strikouts. That’s good for a batting line of .833/.846/.1.250. Hopefully Savery can regain value as a prospect, but I highly doubt that Savery will ever become a Phillie.

Another offensive standout is Reading first baseman Matt Rizzotti. Rizzotti is back to his old ways, hitting .455 with 4 doubles. Rizzotti has very little power but a great approach to the plate. He’s been very solid at the plate, but seems to be put into RBI situations sporadically. In his career, Rizzotti has 216 RBIs in 398 games. That’s almost one RBI every other game.

The final standout so far almost made the team out of spring training. Michael Stutes has been just as good a reliever in Lehigh Valley that he was this spring. So far Stutes has pitched in 3.1 innings over two appearances. He’s given up one hit and one unearned run, which should be pretty common for high quality relievers, but the amazing thing is his strikeout rate. In 3.1 innings, Stutes has 7 strikeouts and one walk. That’s almost a strikeout per nine of 18.9! If Stutes can stay somewhat close to this rate, there will be no doubt that he will be the first reliever up in case of injury or trade.

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