Posts Tagged ‘Ryne Sandberg’

Chase’s Fall From Grace?

April 26th, 2015 by AmyMac | Comments Off on Chase’s Fall From Grace? | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies, Sports

image

The Phillies are now 18 games into the 2015 season, and here’s something I never thought I’d ever have to write: Chase Utley is batting an abysmal .125. That’s right – for every eight at-bats, Uts is getting just one hit. As you can probably guess, his OPS (.420 for those of you keeping track) is also depressingly low. To be fair, his 9 RBIs thus far (which put him on pace for 81 on the season) do resemble the Chase Utley we all know and love: the player who does that it takes to advance baserunners.

It’s painful enough to watch a 6-12 team that’s trailing the Mets (the Mets!) by a full 8.0 games. Most of us are accustomed to having to wait while some players (looking at you, Howard and Hamels) find their strides. Utley, though, is generally someone we can count on to be consistent, both offensively and defensively, right out of the gate. Watching him struggle at the plate like this is nothing short of depressing.

What’s going on with Chase? Ryne Sandberg has shuffled his lineup around a bit, but Utley’s batting woes won’t be solved by adjusting the order. His stance and timing are off enough to make me wonder if there’s pain about which Utley is remaining silent. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility that Uts could have a nagging issue (knee, hip etc.) and he’s just not saying anything about it. My concern is that Chase, as a 36-year-old second baseman, can’t possibly bounce back the way he might have been able to ten years ago. I don’t want to see Utley’s career unravel.

I love Utley as much as the next baseball nerd, but I can’t help but wonder why he always seems to get a pass from a fanbase that is arguably the toughest and most demanding. We don’t stand for it when Papelbon runs his mouth to the media, we let our disapproval known when Ruiz is hitting below .200, and we’re not shy about our anger when Howard repeatedly strikes out. Why, then, does fellow veteran Utley seem to be above such criticism? Is turning down trade offers really enough to win over the city of Philadelphia? We’re not really a town that issues lifetime passes to players, yet it seems that fan favorite Chase Utley has one.

Now what? Do we wait until Utley’s performance worsens before we admit there’s a major problem? Or worse – do we wait until he’s legitimately hurt? Hopefully, Chase is able to find an adjustment in his stance and swing soon, and all of this speculation will have been for nothing.

(more…)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Battered by Boston

April 7th, 2015 by AmyMac | Comments Off on Battered by Boston | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies, TalkSportsPhilly
Cole Hamels lasted 5 innings in today's opener.

Cole Hamels lasted 5 innings in today’s opener.

 Philadelphia Sports

In Shane Victorino’s first visit in a Red Sox uniform, seats at Citizens Bank Park were packed. Today’s beautiful weather was arguably the best in recent Opening Day history, but sadly, it was more of the same from starter Cole Hamels. Today marked his fifth consecutive season debut loss. Hamels lasted just 5.0 innings; despite his six strikeouts, though, Hamels allowed four homeruns on five hits and three walks.  For those of you who need a little math help, that translates to a 7.20 ERA. He was just no match for Boston’s Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts. Cole’s 100 pitches (64 were strikes) came with a called balk; of course, neither Hamels nor Sandberg  appeared to be happy. To be fair, though, it was Jake Diekman who allowed Hanley Ramirez’s grand slam in his third of the ninth inning. That’s right, folks: Diekman has begun 2015 with a 108.00 ERA.

To rub salt in the wound, Philadelphia’s offense was a no-show.  With just three hits (thank you, Howard, Ruiz, and Sizemore) the Phils’ lineup managed to strand six runners.  Boston’s starting pitcher Clay Buchholz fanned nine over 7.0 innings thanks in large part to the movement in his changeup and his 92-93 mph heater. Admittedly, Philadelphia lacks power in its lineup; however, there was no compensation for that today. The Phils simply must improve their situatiinal hitting and move baserunners. Period.

No one is happier than I am that the season is underway – unless you count Rockies’ new ace Kyle Kendrick, who bagged a win today. I’m expecting a tough season for Philadelphia, and I’m ready to move past Cole’s slow start, but I’m going to need to see some offense. On a side note, there were three highlights to today’s game: 1) Ben Davis sounded right at home in the booth with Matt Stairs and Tom McCarthy, 2) “God Bless America” singer, the lovely and talented Lori McCarty, gave me goosebumps, and 3) Cole’s beard stubble gets an A+ from me (raise your hand if that surprises you at all).

(more…)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Phils Off to Rough Start on West Coast

August 14th, 2014 by AmyMac | Comments Off on Phils Off to Rough Start on West Coast | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies
A.J. Burnett looks to split the series in Anaheim tonight.

A.J. Burnett looks to split the series in Anaheim tonight.

Jerome Williams, a right-handed pitcher claimed off of waivers from Texas, made his debut for Philadelphia last night in Anaheim.  The 32-year-old starter, whose pink glove is in honor of his late mother and her battle with breast cancer, tossed 5.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits.  His pitch count was only 72; however, it makes sense that Williams would appear tired after not having pitched for ten days.  (Sean O’Sullivan was designated for assignment in order to make room on the roster for Williams.)

With a 2-1 lead, one out, and a runner on first, Antonio Bastardo took the mound.  Surely, by now, we’ve all included “take a shot every time Bastardo walks his first batter” into our Phillies drinking games … and he delivered.  Bastardo walked Josh Hamilton on four pitches (not a typo), which prompted the downward spiral of the sixth.  After having pitched 0.1 inning and allowing five runs (again … not a typo), Ryne Sandberg called in Jake Diekman to stop the bleeding.  Mario Hollands pitched the seventh inning, and Cesar Jiminez handled the eighth without incident.  The damage, however, was already done: Bastardo earned the loss after a 7-2 final score.

What does this mean for Philadelphia’s pitching? For starters, Bastardo might need a one-way bus ticket to a little town called Out of My Sight Already.  As non-contenders, though, the Phillies could have certainly done far worse than Jerome Williams.  If he’s able to pitch a decently solid six or seven innings, with roughly 2/3 his pitches as strikes, I’ll be happy.  He’s not Cliff Lee, and you shouldn’t expect stellar performances.  At this rate, though, we’ll take what we can get.

Offensively speaking, there’s not much to say about last night.  Darin Ruf outhit DH Ryan Howard, and the Phils still have just three players (Byrd, Utley, and Revere) batting above .240.  You needn’t be good at math to realize that that’s a depressing statistic, and you needn’t know me personally to know that I hated typing it.  Philadelphia is bringing up the rear in a lackluster division – only Atlanta and Washington have records above .500 – and their record going into tonight’s game is a pitiful 53-67.  Q: What’s more depressing than being in the basement of the NL East? A: Being a full four games behind the Mets.  The Mets, folks.

(more…)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

With Phillies’ Golden Era Over, It’s Time to Sell Assets and Rebuild

July 2nd, 2014 by Jim Chesko | Comments Off on With Phillies’ Golden Era Over, It’s Time to Sell Assets and Rebuild | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

We had it darn good for several years, Phillies fans: a packed ballpark almost every night, a trio of best-in-franchise-history position players in the lineup each game, postseason excitement every fall – even a World Series title, the first one in a generation. Those days are now fading nearly as fast as a Ken Giles heater.

Yes, from 2007 thru 2011, attending a Phillies game was a real treat – Ryan Howard knocking home runs to every section of the outfield stands, Jimmy Rollins backing up 83274804CC097_World_Series_his “We’re the team to beat” proclamation, Chase Utley proving that he is indeed “the man,” Cole Hamels blossoming into one of the game’s top southpaws, and closer Brad Lidge capping a perfect 2008 season with that never-to-be-forgotten, down-on-his-knees exultation on the pitcher’s mound, arms and eyes skyward, in reaction to the Phils’ first World Series win in 28 years.

Five straight postseason appearances. Back-to-back trips to the Fall Classic. A franchise-record 102 wins in 2011. Yep, 2011 – a mere three years ago.

Of course, in 2011, Utley’s knees were still pretty healthy, the “big piece” at first base was still one of the most feared sluggers in the game, Roy Halladay took the mound every fifth day and could be counted on to go seven or eight innings, no problem. And the Phils’ defense was among the best in the sport during most of those glory years.

What a difference a few years makes. Halladay and Lidge are now retired, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez are long gone, and all of the other core players from 2011 still with the team – Howard, Utley, Rollins and catcher Carlos Ruiz – are three years older and showing it. Skipper Charlie Manuel was fired nearly a year ago, a scapegoat for a fading, underperforming squad – replaced by Ryne Sandberg, whose 2014 club may well finish with an even worse record than last year’s sad 73-89 campaign.

(more…)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jon Stewart Bashes Philly, Oh No You Didn’t … Did You?

May 23rd, 2014 by Leo | Comments Off on Jon Stewart Bashes Philly, Oh No You Didn’t … Did You? | Filed in General, Phillies, TalkSportsPhilly

Jon Stewart took some pop shots at Philly recently, although I love ya Jon, TalkSportsPhilly would gladly debate the subject with you on air about our great cities, I lived in NYC as well, so the challange is out….Hopefully us Philly boys won’t be Flushing you down the toilet, LOL … We can take it!!

Go to the 4:40 mark of the video to watch the segment about Philly…



(more…)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Explaining Cody Asche’s struggles this season

April 30th, 2014 by Kyle Lutz | Comments Off on Explaining Cody Asche’s struggles this season | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

(Kim Johnson Flodin/AP)

The Phillies’ young, 23-year-old third baseman Cody Asche has seen his fair share of struggles thus far this season, and the learning curve for him appears to be in full effect going forward.

Asche’s in his second season with the team after being promoted from AAA Lehigh last July, on the 30th. Cody put forth a solid effort with Lehigh last year, eventually earning himself a spot on the IL team (Class AAA International League) in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Prior to his promotion to the Major League level, he was batting a solid .295, with 15 home runs and 68 RBIs to boot. He would go on to be named the team’s Player of the Month for the month of July. The Phillies’ upper management decided to call him up in order to give him an extended look at playing third base, particularly to compare him to fellow third baseman Maikel Franco, the latter of which is currently with Lehigh; filling in for Asche. 

Even if Franco ends up becoming a star; all while overshadowing and making Philadelphia fans forget about Asche; if the latter doesn’t succeed in his Major League career, Asche is a piece that could remain in the organization nonetheless. This of course depends upon his willingness to be liberal; in trying new approaches at the plate, field, or within a new position on the field, given it comes down to that.

The team doesn’t have as much depth in positional spots like they did a few years ago when they had a successful blend of young stars and veterans yearning for a championship ring.

Asche somehow won a spot on the team out of Spring Training this past season over Franco, despite only hitting a meager .170 in Spring Training. In Spring Training he was tied for the team lead in home runs and RBIs with 3 and 8, respectively. Thus, it’s assumed that the team considering that fact, as well as the lack of depth at third base coming into this year, when determining whether or not he’d make the club. Apparently they saw something in him that his batting average didn’t.

(more…)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The 2014 Philadelphia Phillies Season: Analysis, Roster, Predictions, and more!

April 1st, 2014 by Kyle Lutz | Comments Off on The 2014 Philadelphia Phillies Season: Analysis, Roster, Predictions, and more! | Filed in Baseball, General, Phillies

philssched2014

Ah, Spring Training baseball has concluded, and now the real season begins.

Today commences the official start of baseball in Philadelphia for the season. For the Phillies, what does that mean? Well, here’s the roundup heading into the season:

Seven position players over the age of 30
-A team payroll of over $180-million (ranked third best in baseball behind the Dodgers and Yankees)
Cole Hamels out (most likely) until sometime in May with shoulder fatigue
-Ryne Sandberg in his first full year of coaching (the team not only removed the interim tag, but honored him with a three-year deal to boot)
-Starting the season in inter-league play at Texas (at Globe Life Park)

-Lee returns to Texas

Today in the opener, squaring off against 27-year old Tanner Scheppers (who’ll start in place of Yu Darvish, due to a neck injury), Cliff Lee will take the mound against his former team, the Texas Rangers. Lee was a member of a successful Rangers’ team that went on to represent the AL in the 2010 World Series against San Francisco, after Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels acquired the lefty from Seattle months prior in July. Cliff also debuted in 2009 against Texas, back then as a member of Cleveland. He got rocked around in that start, being accounted for seven earned runs in a 9-1 loss.

(more…)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,