Saturday, April 30, 2016

Phillies Updates

Stat Attack:
The Phillies pitching staff leads Major League Baseball with 240 strikeouts in 207.1 innings pitched and their WHIP (1.17) is ranked 6th.

The Phillies offense has posted an OPS of .661, which ranks 28th in baseball. That needs to improve, as they've only scored 76 runs, which ranks 27th.

Odubel Herrera has now walked 23 times this season after only getting a free pass 28 times last year.

The Phillies record of 13-10 puts them in the top third of baseball in winning percentage. Enjoy it.

Position OPS Ranks:
C - .862/2nd
1B - .668/20th
2B - .634/24th
SS - .749/11th
3B - .808/14th
LF - .435/30th
CF - .881/3rd
RF - .474/30th
P - .302/13th
PH - .451/23rd

Imagine if the corner outfield positions didn't have an OPS worse that Michael Martinez. The tandem of Rupp/Ruiz is doing a great job. First base isn't all Howard's fault, Ruf is the one really slacking. Emmanuel Burriss needs to be released, because the pinch hit crew could use a bit of a boost and he's only batting .050 (1-20). Odubel Herrera is on his way to becoming a star.

Giles Trade:
Ken Giles has allowed half the amount of runs with the Astros already as he did in his entire time with the Phillies (Houston - 10 R/10 IP, Philly - 20 R/115.2 IP). Meanwhile, the trade has worked out pretty well for the Phils so far. Velasquez has a 1.78 ERA and 0.87 WHIP through his first 4 starts. Oberholtzer, while not pitching effectively, has eaten up some innings in long relief. Appel is like a new man in Lehigh Valley (1.64 ERA in 4 starts). Eshelman, the forgotten piece of the swap, has been dealing for Clearwater too (1.80 ERA in 4 starts).

Phillies Affiliates:
Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 11-10
Reading Fightins, 14-7
Clearwater Threshers, 15-7
Lakewood BlueClaws, 5-16

Winning is encouraging at all levels.  The BlueClaws are the only team in the organization currently with a losing record.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Series Preview: Indians at Phillies

If this isn't the highpoint of the season, this is going to be a better year than anyone anticipated. Twenty-two games into the season, the Phillies sit at 12-10 as they come off a sweep of Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals. They even touched up Jonathan Papelbon en route.
It was a glorious series that reminded you how fun baseball can be when you beat a rival.

Now the Phillies get to battle Terry Francona's 10-9 Cleveland Indians.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Let's enjoy this while it lasts

It's April 27...
The Phillies pitching staff has shut out its opponent four times this year.
It had seven shutouts all of last year, 12 in 2014.
The Phillies are over .500 with an 11-10 record.
They weren't above .500 after April 11 last year. The latest they were above .500 in 2014 was May 4.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Series Preview: Phillies at Nationals

It's primary day, so let's have some fun. Just a hypothetical situation.
You're walking down the street to get a slice of pizza. A man walks up to you and tells you he's a wizard. Somehow, he proves it to you. Maybe he floats. Maybe he makes you float. Maybe he tells you things no one knows about you.
The wizard says, I'm giving you a choice.
Either your team, the Philadelphia Phillies, can make the World Series this year and the next three years or your candidate can win the White House.
Now, that's all he tells you.
Not whether your candidate will go down in shame. Not whether your candidate will be effective in office or even win reelection.
You don't know what happens to America from Oct. of this year to Oct. 2019. (I know, this isn't the candidate's full term, which runs from January 2017 to January 2021.)
For the Phillies, you know that they would reach an almost unprecedented level of glory. A cinderella team that wins the World Series, followed by back-to-back-to-back repeats.
Which do you choose?

Which do you pick

World Series championships
my iq tested

Now, to preview the series.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A glance at the upcoming schedule

Let's get something out of the way.
None of us expect the Philadelphia Phillies to contend for a playoff berth. None of us even really expect them to play close to .500 ball.
But 11 percent of the season is in the books and the Phillies are 9-10. Sure, the offense is woeful, the relief pitching scattershot and the baserunning worse than my son's T-ball squad. But on the back of very strong returns from a young rotation, the Phils are playing above their heads.
Will it last? Probably not.
But it might last longer than you expect.
The Phillies have had an impressive start despite playing .473 percent of their schedule against winning teams (Three against the Washington Nationals, six against the New York Mets.). They went 4-5 in those games.
The Phils meet up with the Nationals again, starting Tuesday.
After that, things get interesting.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tommy Joseph is tearing it up in AAA

Remember Tommy Joseph, the centerpiece of the second Hunter Pence deal?
The good hitting catcher who was at one point the second best prospect in the San Francisco Giants system. Then he kept suffering concussions.
And you thought it was OK to say, "Dammit, Another bust."
Well, guess what?
He is tearing up Triple-A. Through 12 games, he has a .385/.415/.744 mark with three home runs and five doubles.
While it seems like forever ago that he was a prospect, Joseph is still a relatively young 24.
The Phillies don't have a hot shot first base prospect right now.
Brock Stassi, 26, is hitting .250/.348/.350 at Lehigh Valley. Kyle Martin is hitting .262/.333/.492 in Clearwater.
Sure, everyone seems to have forgotten about Joseph, thanks to the concussions. But the Phillies could do a lot worse than start grooming him for first base.
Maybe he doesn't become an everyday player, or the star he was expected to be when Ruben Amaro acquired him, but he's proven he can hit.
Joseph hasn't been playing every day; he's been splitting time with Stassi.
Both players have their benefits, but the Phillies might have found something they thought they lost with Joseph.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Series preview: Phillies at Brewers

Phillies fans are still getting bent out of shape about the Hunter Pence trade.
The Phillies got an all-star caliber player for four young minor leaguers. One - Josh Zeid - flushed out awhile ago. Another, Jonathan Singleton, got a $10 million contract from the Houston Astros. They should have just set that money on fire. He hit .171/.290/.331 in his 114 games the last two years and was struggling in the early goings until he launched two homers yesterday. He's young, but it wouldn't be shocking to see the 'Stros ditch him if he continues to struggle. Then there's Jerrad Cosart, who looked like a big miss for the Phillies in his first two seasons.  Since then, however, he's had a 4.73 ERA and walked almost 5 batters per nine innings.
Then there's Domingo Santana, who now plays with the Brewers. He might be "the one that got away" in that deal. But we won't know for sure for a couple of years.
The Phillies will get to see Santana this weekend in Milwaukee.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bailey In, Russell Out

James Russell has been DFA'd and Andrew Bailey has been summoned from Triple-A.  Russell was beyond terrible, so Bailey is almost assuredly an improvement. In 7 appearances, Russell put together quite the ERA/WHIP combo (18.69/3.23).  If Jim Abbott lost his remaining hand, I'm pretty sure he would still fare better than that.  Meanwhile, Bailey amassed 10 strikeouts in 5 innings for the Iron Pigs.

*Stop batting Freddy Galvis leadoff.  The leadoff hitter is supposed to be the table setter for the top of the lineup (typically the team's best hitters), by getting on base via hit or walk. In 337 MLB games he has a batting average of .241 and a piddling on base percentage of .280 (he certainly ain't no Rickey f'n Henderson!).

*Andres "Whitey" Blanco needs to get more at bats.  He's done nothing but hit since donning a Phillies uniform in 2014.  Over parts of 3 seasons with the Phillies- 140 G, .293/.849, 29 DBL, 3 TRPL, 8 HR, 1.9 WAR.  Can he play 1st base, because Ryan Howard sure as hell can't (already 4 errors!).

*Check out this group of Phillies hitters (Hunter 3-34, Ruf 2-17, Goeddel 1-16, and Burriss 1-13). Don't worry, I'll do the math for you, that's a .088 batting average. Stephen Hawking could roll onto the field and post better stats.

*Tyler Goeddel has 1 hit in 16 at bats and has struck out 50% of the time (8 Ks).

*Odubel Herrera has become a patient hitter. 28 walks all of last season...14 walks already this year in only 15 games.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Phillies Represent in Disney

Hello WSBGMs readers.  Sorry I haven't posted over the last week or so, but I was enjoying Disney World with the family.  Something that really grabbed my attention, other than the amazing Frozen Sign-a-long, was the amount of Phillies garb in Orlando.  The first day I noticed a dude wearing a  Tigers Miguel Cabrera t-shirt and from then on, I paid attention to every sports team on hats or shirts.  The Phillies, by and large, outnumbered every team.  Sure, there were some Mets, Yankees, and Tigers gear, but Philly represented the best.  I was rocking my red Phils hat, so often I would say "Go Phils!" to another Phan and it would be reciprocated with some sort of enthusiasm.  It was nice, especially since the Phillies haven't been good since 2011.

While I Was Gone:
*This offense needs to improve.  They're near last in almost every category, averaging only 2.6 runs per game (prior to Monday's game). Both left and rightfield have been black holes.  Cedric Hunter was just demoted with David Lough promoted. Tyler Goeddel doesn't look like a MLB player and Peter Bourjos has continued his non-hitting ways.  Problem is, nobody is really tearining it up for the Iron Pigs to warrant a promotion (I'm looking at you Will Veneable and Nick Williams!). Oh, Emmanuel Burriss needs to go too.  Call up Ryan Jackson, Darnell Sweeney, or Taylor Featherstone to be the other utility fielder.  Outfielder Alfredo Marte was just acquired from the O's for AAA depth, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in a Phillies uniform soon if the outfield continues to sputter.  Marte has hit .283/.772 in 858 minor league games and has been great in Triple-A (.304/.840 in 263 games).

*Jeanmar Gomez and Hector Neris are the 2 best relievers the Phils have. Gomez has done alright in the closer's role, but I'd switch him back to setup and give Neris the chance in the 9th.  Jeff Russell needs to be demoted immediately.  I'm thinking Bobby LaFramboise needs to be called up, as he had a good spring and has continued it into the regular season.

*The Phillies rotation is pretty good.  Yes, Hellickson and Nola just got lit up by the juggernaut known as the 2016 Washington Nationals, but they'll rebound.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Series Preview: Mets at Phillies

You'd have been pretty excited if, back in Spring Training, I'd told you at the beginning of the season, the Phillies would be 6-7 after 13 games, having won 2-of-3 against the Mets, and the pitching staff having hurled three shutouts.
But there's a problem.
It's not the rotation. Even after getting smacked around by the Nationals in 2-of-3 games, the team still has a very respectable ERA (3.86) and stingy WHIP (1.137).
The defense has been solid, if you take away Ryan Howard's play at first base.
But the offense - including the base running - has been terrifying.
The Phillies have scored more than three runs twice so far this season. The offense has been limited to two or fewer runs seven times. They've gone 2-5 in those games.
This team really misses Aaron Altherr.
I kid.
I had high hopes for him, but he was as untested as some of the other guys in camp.
But there's no denying this team is in need of another bat or two.
OF the starters, only Odubel Herrera (.805), Ryan Howard (.769) and Maikel Franco (.771) have an OPS above .750.
Carlos Ruiz is pulling off an .815 coming off the bench and Andres Blanco has an .862.
But the outfield, aside from Herrerra, is pathetic.
Tyler Goeddel has a .154 OPS, Cedric Hunter has a .315 OPS, Darin Ruf has a .376 OPS.
At least Emmanuel Burriss (.503) and Peter Bourjos (.535) are above .500.
I'm not sold Nick Williams is ready for prime time, so I'm glad his .192 average will keep people from knocking at the doors to call him up ahead of time.
There are times I look at this team and think its closer to contention than everyone expected. But the offense is clearly holding it back. Anyway, let's look at the series against the Mets that starts today.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Series Preview: Padres at Phillies

The first week of the season is in the books. Let's face it: It was kind of ugly. Sure the Phillies took two out of three from the New York Mets. But that bullpen is terrifying. In our first series preview - sorry I forgot to preview the second series; completely thought I'd done it - we said it would be important to see the who got what roles. Well, we know what role a lot of these guys should have: minor leaguer.
Meanwhile, the starters pitched well (a 2.97 ERA). The offense, which scored two or fewer runs in four of the six games, needs to get better. Now the Padres come to town for the home opener. Winning a second straight series is going to be difficult with this squad, but setting the tone by squeaking one out could be good for the young guys on the team.
The games
Monday, April 11: 3:05
Wednesday, April 12: 7:05
Thursday, April 13: 7:05
The matchups
Andrew Cashner ( 0-1, 11.25) vs Aaron Nola (0-1, 1.29)
Robbie Erlin (1-0, 0.00) vs. Charlie Morton (0-1, 14.73)
Colin Rea (0-1, 12.460 vs Jerad Eickhof (0-1, 3.60)
What to know about the Padres
Matt Kemp is not taking any prisoners. Fella is hitting .360 with three home runs in the early going. The Padres rotation is supposed to be better than it has pitched, so don't be surprised if Andrew Cashner returns to the mean.
Key matchup
Ryan Howard versus the Padres pitching staff: Thanks to an injury to Tyson Ross, the Padres have one lefty in their bullpen. That means Howard might get to feast on Kevin Quackenbush or Brandon Mauerer. It's been awhile since the Big Piece has been a key to anything for the Phillies, but he seems to be swinging a warmer bat, posting an .888 OPS and already having launched a pair of jacks. He also happens to be a career .304 hitter against the Friers.
If he can hit well, it just might force the Pads - and some upcoming teams - to pitch to Maikel Franco.
And that's something we want to see.
What we can't wait to see.
Today's home opener. Aaron Nola's going to be on the hill.
Big issue for the Phillies
The Bullpen is rough. There's only so much you can handle of Meathook James Russell (54.00 ERA), not-ready-for-prime-time Daniel Stumpf (40.50), Gascan David Hernandez (10.13) and Merry-go-Round Dalier Hinojosa.
Russell is the only guy I'm confident will have an ERA below 5.00 before this is all said and done.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

WSBGMs Interview with Brew & Orange

A cool Mets blog, Brew & Orange, reached out to me for an interview for the Mets/Phillies series. They know their baseball and their beer. Much respect. Below you will find my answers to their questions...enjoy.

A couple of interesting veterans who are making their Phillies debut figure to get major time this year – Peter Burjos and Jeremy Hellickson. Does it seem like they’re on the squad primarily to provide veteran presence for such a young team, or is that a convenient byproduct of hoping to flip them at the trade deadline (assuming the perform well)?
Both Bourjos and Hellickson were needed additions. I don’t want to completely discount the “veteran presence” they bring to the squad, but truth be told the Phillies needed an innings eater in the rotation and someone that could adequately man all 3 outfield positions. They both came relatively cheap and are only here for 1 year. I could easily see Hellickson pitching well enough to be flipped for a prospect, but I’m very skeptical Bourjos will hit enough to even warrant a starting gig for the Phillies the entire year.

As hard as rebuilding can be (trust me, we know), Philadelphia has done a nice job of restocking the farm in a relatively short amount of time. Who are you most excited about making contributions at Citizens Bank in 2016?
The hype machine is in full effect for shortstop JP Crawford. He’s one of the best prospects in baseball. However, I’m most excited to see outfielder Nick Williams. Williams is the complete package and I envision him turning into a Michael Brantley type player.

David Hernandez looks like the early favorite for biggest headache of 2016. What do you think it is that’s putting him in such a curiously high leverage role out of the gate? Front office support? The fact that he’s the only reliever making any more than $1.5 mil? Mackanin?
He was guaranteed $3.9M this year. Dumb move! The other day on my blog, I documented a list of relievers with better stats than Hernandez that had to settle for minor league deals this off-season. Hernandez hasn’t been good since 2012. So, yes, I think his contract has a lot to do with it. In the front office’s and manager’s defense, the entire bullpen pretty much sucks, so it’s not like there is a clear better choice for high leverage situations.

There are quite a few breweries from Philly and the surrounding area that get solid distribution up and down the East Coast – Victory Brewing, Yards Brewing, Sly Fox, Neshaminy Creek. Any local favorites for you?
Pizza Boy Brewing is awesome! Not only do they have 101 beers on tap and make some kick-ass pizza, wings, and other pizzeria style yummies, but they typically have about 20 of their own brews on-tap as well. They are becoming known around America for their sours, but it’s their IPAs that I’m the biggest fan of. They push the limits of brewing styles and ingredients, much like Dogfish Head does. It’s become a destination spot for craft beer enthusiasts, and I’m lucky enough to have it be 15 minutes from my house!
Always a plus to have the best right nearby. From time to time you on the blog, you mention “What To Imbibe On.” What’s in your fridge, ready for imbibing while you watch the Mets series?
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. – Sunday Morning Stout. Every year, Founder’s KBS gets sold out in days throughout it’s distribution area. Sunday Morning Stout is every bit as good and is great to sit back, relax and sip on while watching some baseball. You’re going to want to sip it too, because it weighs in at 11.3% ABV and is a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. It’s a beautiful ebony pour with a large, creamy head that remains throughout. The aromas of roasted coffee and bourbon awaken your senses while hints of chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla and caramel also fancy your palate.

Sounds delicious. The Mets – Phillies rivalry isn’t what it’s always been (Mets took 14 of 19 in 2015), but that could soon change. Any thoughts on the Mets’ recent success?
I’m currently in my 11th season blogging Phillies baseball. Back in the early days I constantly poked fun at the Mets (namely because they were the Phils’ biggest competitor in the NL East). I want to say that I truly admire the way the Mets organization has built its team up into what should be a contender for years to come. The rotation is the envy of everyone and some of the homegrown position players are pretty damn good too. It’ll be nice to have the Phillies challenging them again within, hopefully, a couple seasons. Good luck to your team in 2016.


Quick Thoughts:
*Why the hell is Freddy Galvis batting leadoff?

*Phillies starting pitchers - 3.74 ERA (12th) and  a 0.97 WHIP (4th) with 4 walks over 21.2 innings.  Phillies "relievers" - 12.66 ERA (30th) and a 2.44 WHIP (30th) with 8 walks over 10.2 innings.

*Phillies offense - 12 runs (24th), .212 average (25th), and a .641 OPS (22nd).  This needs to improve.

*The Phillies and their farm teams are a combined 1-11 in the early going of 2016. Ouch!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

This Bullpen Will Ruin Everything

The Phillies bullpen will ruin everything. Everything.  I don't give two squirts of piss if it's "only been 2 games".  The writing is on the wall, this bullpen is epically ineffective.  The Phils starting pitchers (Hellickson & Nola) have been amazing - 0.69 ERA (3rd), 0.54 WHIP (3rd), and 0 walks allowed (1st).  The shit-a-rific relief corps on the other hand...18.90 ERA (30th) and 3.00 WHIP (30th).  The Phillies farm system is starling, but they haven't been been able to produce relief pitchers, which honestly should be the easiest thing to churn out other than possibly utility infielders.

Exciting News: Japanese ace-in-the-making, Kenta Maeda, made his MLB debut last night and performed The Howard.  He twirled 6 shutout innings, hit a homerun, made an error, and also struck out at the plate.  Congrats!

Monday, April 04, 2016

We're one game in and .... make it stop

Are you excited? Things are looking up. It's the eighth inning and your favorite team has a lead. Get ready to put this one in the win column for the Phightin' Phils. Enjoy the Harry Kalas version of "High Hopes." "Now entering the game for the Philadelphia Phillies, David Hernandez."


No. No. No. You know how this is going to end.


See. There are two new rules for the season. 1. Until a healthy starting pitcher has reached 85 pitches, anyone who approaches the bullpen phone will be treated as such.


2. Until he proves he can hold a lead, David Hernandez should not enter the game. If the Phillies have less than a three run lead and he is warming up in the bullpen, someone needs to saddle up next to him. And that person needs to be Hulk.


David Hernandez is a Lucky S.O.B.

David Hernandez is one lucky son of a bitch. He makes millions, yet is bad at his job. He was a free agent and somehow secured a guaranteed deal worth nearly $4M! He hasn't been good since 2012, missed all of 2014, and has posted an ERA of 4.41 and WHIP of 1.28 over 96 innings in the last two years he's pitched (2013 & 2015).  That's worthy of a minor league contract, not a guaranteed pact of $3.9M. Signing Hernandez was a mistake by Klentak.  Let's hope he's not allowed to blow too many games. Many relief pitchers with better stats than Hernandez had to settle for being nothing more than non-roster invitees in hopes of being added to the 40-man roster for 2016. Let's take a look at some of those guys.

Relief Pitchers Signed to Minor League Deals:
Cumulative stats over past 2 seasons pitched
*Fernando Abad - 2.74/1.17 , 105 IP
*Burke Badenhop - 3.09/1.31, 137 IP
*Matt Belisle - 4.12/1.44, 98.1 IP
*Blaine Boyer - 2.91/1.17, 105.1 IP
*Joba Chamberlain - 3.97/1.41, 90.2 IP
*Neal Cotts - 3.88/1.30, 130 IP
*Brandon Gomes - 4.06/1.17, 93 IP
*Joel Peralta - 4.38/1.20, 92.1 IP
*Cesar Ramos - 3.33/1.35, 135 IP
*Carlos Torres - 3.67/1.33, 154.2
*Alex Torres - 3.26/1.48, 88.1 IP

Opening Day Thoughts:
*Ryan Howard looked absolutely pathetic, at both the plate and in the field.

*Carlos Ruiz started for sentimental reasons according to Mackanin. That's bullshit, you play the best player (aka - Cameron Rupp).

*Speaking of mistakes by Mackanin, pulling Hellickson after only 6 innings and 79 pitches was the wrong move. Going to the bullpen before necessary is moronic with the crapfest the Phillies have in relief this season.

*Maikel Franco was trying to kill the baseball. He didn't. Don't press, just swing normally.

Series Preview: Phillies at Reds

Hey, hey it's Opening Day!
The Phillies travel to Cincinnati, the birthplace of Major League Baseball, to face the Cincinnati Reds to start the season. Let's take a look at what to expect

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Phillies 2016 Opening Day Roster?

With Opening Day for the Phillies only 2 days away in Cincinnati, they have seemed to settle on a 25-man roster to begin the season.  Beware, the bullpen is far from inspiring.
Catchers: Cameron Rupp & Carlos Ruiz

Infielders: Ryan Howard, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco, Darin Ruf, Andres Blanco & Emmanuel Burriss

Outfielders: Peter Bourjos, Odubel Herrera, Tyler Goeddel & Cedric Hunter

Rotation: Jeremy Hellickson, Aaron Nola, Charlie Morton, Jerad Eickhoff & Vince Velasquez

Bullpen: David Hernandez, James Russell, Hector Neris, Jeanmar Gomez, Brett Oberholtzer, Daniel Stumpf & Dalier Hinojosa

*Notable cuts - Andrew Bailey, Ernesto Frieri, Edward Mujica, Adam Morgan, Elvis Araujo, Luis Garcia, Bobby LaFramboise, Colton Murray, Yoervis Medina, Darnell Sweeney & Will Venable all head to Triple-A for depth.  Wouldn't be surprised to see most of them in a Phillies uniform at some point this season.