Tag Archives: Charlie Manuel

Phillies hope to treat fans to a win before treating them to a free concert

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Country star Brad Eldredge performs a post-game concert on Saturday

The Philadelphia Phillies (39-36) and Miami Marlins (28-46) will meet on Saturday afternoon in the second game of their weekend series at Citizens Bank Park.

For the Phillies, it will be another chance to put an end to a losing streak that has now reached five games. The club has also dropped seven of eight, and nine of their last 11 games.
This losing period has dropped the Phillies to 4.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East Division standings. The team is also now tied with the Saint Louis Cardinals, a half-game out of the NL Wildcard race.
The Marlins have now won three of their last four games. Their pitching staff has surrendered just 22 runs over the last seven (3.14 per game) and is now fourth in the National League in batting average against.
The Marlins pitching strength is certainly not good news for a struggling Phillies offensive attack. No matter how inept the Marlins own lineup is at scoring runs, the Phillies can’t win without scoring some themselves. This was perfectly demonstrated in last night’s 2-1 victory for the visitors.
No matter how the game plays out, fans will be treated to a post-game concert by country music star Brett Eldredge. The concert will begin as soon as possible after the conclusion of the game, and your game ticket is also your concert ticket.


SATURDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Bryce Harper RF
  2. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  3. Jay Bruce LF
  4. J.T. Realmuto C
  5. Jean Segura SS
  6. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Brad Miller 3B
  8. Vince Velasquez P
  9. Cesar Hernandez 2B
Kingery continues to get bounced between third base and center field, neither of which is his natural position, and neither of which he is anything more than passable, in Kapler’s lineup. Meanwhile, Franco is once again plopped on the bench. Miller becomes the fifth player to man the hot corner this season. Franco has the best fielding percentage (.986; two errors in 144 total chances) among all qualifying 3rd basemen in the big-leagues. The manager also is once again trying the old pitcher-hitting-eighth strategy, and is batting his 3-4 guys at leadoff and in the two-hole. None of this has worked to this point. But hey, let’s keep it going. The Analytics Department says it’s our best option. Or something.

MARLINS

  1. Miguel Rojas SS
  2. Curtis Granderson LF
  3. Garrett Cooper 1B
  4. Brian Anderson 3B
  5. Starlin Castro 2B
  6. Cesar Puello RF
  7. JT Riddle CF
  8. Wilkin Castillo C
  9. Elieser Hernandez P
Manager Don Mattingly has to cringe inside when he makes out this lineup card.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES – Vince Velasquez: 2-4, 4.71 ERA, 1.524 WHIP, 43 hits over 42 IP across 17 games (7 starts) with a 49/21 K:BB ratio. Velasquez is expected to be used as an actual starting pitcher today, not as simply an “opener”, which was the case in his last outing six days ago. His last true starting effort came all the way back on May 6. Velasquez posted a 2.08 ERA (5 ER, 21.2 IP) over his first four starts of the season, but has since posted a 10.80 ERA over his last three, lasting four innings or fewer in all of them. During his seven starts, Velasquez has received only seven runs of support while he was in the game (1.99 run support average), and never more than two runs. No starter in baseball with more than five starts has received as few runs in support this season.
This can be considered an audition for the right-hander, who had a 4.82 ERA and .342 batting average against over nine games coming out of the bullpen.
MARLINS – Elieser Hernandez: 0-2, 3.95 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 14 hits allowed over 13.2 IP over 3 games (2 starts) with a 13/2 K:BB ratio. Hernandez is a 24-year-old right-hander from Venezuela. He debuted in 2018 with 32 appearances, including a half-dozen starts. He began this season at Triple-A, and entered the Marlins rotation on June 11. This will be his third start since that time.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Catching today for the Marlins is the 35-year-old Castillo, who was last in the big leagues during the last season in which the Phillies won the National League pennant. He appeared in 22 games combined with the Cincinnati Reds over 2008-09. After that, Castillo bounced through five organizations over the last decade. He is finally emerging here out of the Miami minors system only because of an injury to Jorge Alfaro.
  • Realmuto threw out his 19th runner attempting to steal last night, and is credited with 23 total caught stealings on the season (he is co-credited for 4 instances when a pitcher caught a runner stealing). He is also the first Phillies catcher with 23 caught stealings before July since Carlos Ruiz back in 2012, and the first in MLB since 2016. Per Statcast, Realmuto’s pop time is 1.88 seconds, which is the quickest in baseball and would be the quickest ever since Statcast began measuring in 2015.
  • Kingery’s .650 slugging percentage ranks sixth among all major league players with at least 140 plate appearances this season. Over his last 10 games, Kingery is hitting .405 with 10 of his 15 hits going for extra bases. Among all major league players, his 14 extra-base hits in June are tied for third-most.
  • As part of last night’s sellout crowd, the Phillies have announced that Brian Morris became the 150 millionth fan ever to attend a Phillies game. Morris was presented with an autographed Phillies jersey with the number “150” on it by Charlie Manuel. He will also receive two 2020 partial season tickets, limited edition Chase Utley memorabilia, an autographed Rhys Hoskins ball and more. The Phillies reached their one-millionth fan in 1889, 50 million in 1977, and 100 million in 2000.
  • The Marlins got on the scoreboard first on Friday night. The Phillies are now just 14-28 when the opposition scores first. They are 25-8 when putting a run on the board first themselves.
  • Think the bullpen is glad to have southpaw Adam Morgan back in the mix? He has not allowed a home run to the last 118 lefty hitters faced dating back to last June, and only one homer to the last 193 lefty bats faced since August 2017.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Braden Halladay, eldest son of Roy, chosen by Blue Jays in 2019 MLB Draft

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Halladay surrounded by sons Braden (L) and Ryan (R) in 2014

The late Roy Halladay is justifiably beloved by the Philadelphia Phillies fan base. The big right-hander, who died tragically at the young age of just 40 while piloting his private plane in November 2017, was chosen as one of the 2018 Phillies Wall of Fame honorees after going 55-29 over parts of four seasons with the club.

‘Doc’ registered a 3.25 ERA and 1.119 WHIP mark across 103 starts with the Phillies, allowing 649 hits over 702.2 innings with a 633/137 K:BB. He also tossed a Perfect Game in a Phillies uniform, as well as one of only two postseason no-hitters in Major League Baseball history. Halladay was the 2010 NL Cy Young Award winner, finished as the runner-up for the honors the following year, and was an NL All-Star in each of those two seasons.
But as beloved as Halladay is in Philadelphia, he is at least as popular north of the border in the city of Toronto. There, Halladay pitched for parts of a dozen seasons in the uniform of the Toronto Blue Jays. He went 148-76 in Toronto and was a six-time American League All-Star. He captured the 2003 AL Cy Young Award while with Toronto, and finished among the top five in voting four more times.
Now, Halladay and his family will enjoy another tie to the Blue Jays organization, at least temporarily. Braden Halladay, the 18-year-old eldest son of Roy and his wife, Brandy, was selected today by Toronto with their 32nd round pick as the 957th overall player chosen in the MLB Amateur Draft.

If that draft round seems familiar, it should. That was the uniform number worn by Braden’s dad while a member of the Blue Jays. Doc was unable to keep the number when he was dealt to the Phillies, as it had been retired in honor of Phillies Hall of Famer Steve Carlton. Halladay instead wore uniform number 34 in Philadelphia.

Braden, a right-handed pitcher like his father, was born and raised to age 9 in Canada but moved with the family down to Tarpon Springs after the trade to the Phillies.
I find myself at the first day of school, when they ask your name and your grade and a fun fact about you, my fun fact is always I was born in Canada,” Braden said per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm last March. “I feel like I couldn’t have had a better place to grow up. I feel I would not be anywhere near where I was. I still go back once or twice a year, and even though I’m not living there, I still feel it’s a part of who I am.
He was chosen out of Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater, Florida. All during his career, Braden wore a patch with the Canadian flag on his glove, and proudly considers himself as having dual citizenship.
Braden was invited to Baseball Canada’s U18 spring training camp on March 6, 2018, and pitched a scoreless inning in the Canadian Junior team’s exhibition game against the Blue Jays on March 17, 2018.
On hand that day to watch? None other than Doc’s old Phillies manager, Charlie Manuel, who had promised during his speech at Doc’s memorial service the previous November at Spectrum Field in Clearwater to see Braden play. “I’m so glad I came over,” Manuel said per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia after the outing. “He did good. I’m glad he got ‘em out.
Thank you @BlueJays for drafting me in the 32nd round today! It’s a great honor! It’s with mutual understanding that I’ll still be honoring my commitment to Penn State! I look forward to college and bettering myself as a player and person, thank you to all who have supported me! pic.twitter.com/tUcKWZESPl
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

The Blue Jays know that they will not be able to sign Braden, who is committed to attend Penn State University. If Halladay produces at the collegiate level with the Nittany Lions he could find himself taken again when he is eligible for the 2022 MLB Draft.

If the Phillies want to contend in 2019 then improvements to their bench will be needed

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Nick Williams and the Phillies 2019 bench have not produced early

This is no “woe is us” tale, nor will it be a “the sky is falling” story about how it is all going to come crashing down on the National League East Division-leading Philadelphia Phillies.

But as I pointed out in my Monday piece on three looming lineup and roster issues, the team’s bench players have not been producing to this point.
Over the first nine games, manager Gabe Kapler has used the exact same starting lineup of position players seven times. He gave catcher J.T. Realmuto a rest last Saturday with Andrew Knapp getting the start behind the plate. Then in Monday’s series opener against the Nationals, Kapler started Scott Kingery over Cesar Hernandez at second base.
Nick Williams has been the primary left-handed bat off the bench. He has appeared in eight of the nine games, all as a pinch-hitter. Williams is just 1-8 with the lone hit an RBI single during last Wednesday’s loss in Washington.
Aaron Altherr has appeared in six games, with all of his appearances also as a pinch-hitter. Altherr is off to a 1-6 start and contributed an RBI single during last Friday’s victory over Minnesota.
Kingery registered his first two hits of the season in Monday’s starting opportunity. Prior to that he was 1-4 while coming off the bench with a walk and a run scored. Three of his four previous appearances had come as a pinch-hitter. He also came in as part of a double-switch, replacing Hernandez during the loss in D.C. last week.

Andrew Knapp received one start behind the plate and is going to be counted on to spell J.T. Realmuto a couple of dozen times.
Knapp was just 0-2 in a pair of pinch-hitting appearances prior to his lone start in which he went 1-2 this past weekend. In that game, Realmuto came on as a pinch-hitter and stayed in to catch, going 0-2. Hernandez did not see action in Monday’s game.
So with the single starts for both Kingery and Knapp out of the equation and Realmuto’s relief effort factored in, the Phillies bench has been a collective 3-22 for a collective .136 batting average, two RBI, and one run scored. They have no extra-base hits to this point.
There is hope that the dynamic Roman Quinn will be able to return from his latest injury in the coming days. But even with his addition the bench may require some upgrading if the Phillies truly hope to extend their hot start over a full season of contention.
Having an experienced bench group can be extremely important to a team with deep October aspirations. Think back to the players who came off the bench for Charlie Manuel in 2008. 33-year-old outfielder Geoff Jenkins in his 11th big-league season. 30-year-old Greg Dobbs in his fifth season. 30-year-old Eric Bruntlett in his 6th season.
When that club needed even more help later in the year they reached out and brought in 40-year-old, 16-year veteran slugger Matt Stairs for some extra pop down the stretch during the crucible of September baseball and then through the postseason.
The backup catcher that year was the famous “33-year-old rookie”, Chris Coste. He was then 35 and in his third season. Together these five leading members of the bench group provided 31 homers and 125 RBI to that team.
The Phillies current starting lineup matches up well when compared to the 2008 World Series champion Phillies. But in a comparison of the two bench groups, there is no comparison.
Williams is a talented ballplayer who could still prove to be a big-league regular. At just age 25, he is probably best served, both for himself and his value to the team should an injury strike a starter, by playing everyday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. That is the move which I recommended the club make when Quinn does return.

No matter what general manager Matt Klentak and the rest of the Phillies brain trust decides to do with the Williams, Altherr, and Quinn decision that is looming, the broader issue of an unproductive and largely inexperienced bench could end up determing just how far this 2019 Phillies team can go.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as The bench has been cold during hot Phillies start” 

Bryce Harper scheduled to see first game action next weekend

Bryce Harper during first Phillies practice
The signing has been made official. The press conference has been held in the gorgeous and warm Florida sunshine. Phillies Nation has now seen their new superstar right fielder, Bryce Harper, don the Phillies red pinstripes and cap.
The fans watched with adoring eyes and listened with melting hearts as he extolled the values of family and community and dedication to the organization that he feels for and from Phillies ownership and management. The very values that were so important to him and his wife, Kayla, in picking Philadelphia as city to both play for and in which to raise a family.
The fans are flooding the phone lines down at Citizens Bank Park to order game tickets at a rate in the tens of thousands daily. They streamed in to the Majestic Clubhouse store in South Philly and waited in line by the hundreds to be the first to purchase Harper merchandise: jerseys, shirseys, caps, t-shirts.
Now the sense of excitement is beginning to transform to the ball field. Today for the first time, Bryce Harper strode from the clubhouse at Spectrum Field and walked out into that Florida sunshine to take part in his first practice with his new teammates.
Harper stretched and did sprints. He played catch. He chatted up beloved old-timers Larry Bowa and Charlie Manuel. And he stepped into the cage to take his first hacks with that powerful left-handed bat, the first of tens of thousands that he hopes to take over the next 13 years with the Phillies.
What the fans are waiting for now is to see their new hero step up to the plate in that Phillies uniform in an official game. To see him trot out to man his position in right field. They cannot wait to see him play in Grapefruit League action. But they are apparently going to have to wait just a little bit longer for that event.
Harper told the media following today’s practice session that he hopes to get roughly 40-45 in-game at-bats prior to the start of the regular season on March 28. Towards that end, the Phillies are going to ease him in by letting him face live pitching on the back fields in Clearwater during this coming week.
Bryce Harper said he hasn’t seen live pitching yet. He’s been working out and hitting BP from his dad in Vegas. Seems like Phillies will attempt to get him as many looks at live pitching this week, probably on back fields.

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The Phillies are almost certainly going to want him to make his debut in front of the home fans in Clearwater. So, when might that debut actually occur? You can rule out Harper playing in Tuesday’s game against the Saint Louis Cardinals. There is a split-squad game on Thursday against the Yankees, but that is not likely either.
The best guess from here is that Harper will make his Phillies game debut either next Saturday, March 9, against the Toronto Blue Jays or on Monday, March 11, against the Tampa Bay Rays.
NOTE: a few hours after this piece originally published it was announced that Harper would likely debut on Saturday, March 9

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js If Harper debuts next Saturday against the Jays, it would be the first of 16 remaining Phillies spring games. Assuming an average of three plate appearances per game, that would give him 48 appearances against opposition pitching before the regular season opener. That seems about right.

So if you’re headed down from the Philly area or elsewhere for some Florida warmth and spring training action, those are the games for which I would be sure to have tickets. And if you’re going to be down after that point, you’re in luck, because you are certainly going to get a look at the newest Phillies superstar.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies plan to ease Bryce Harper into game action

Some potential nominees for the 2019 Phillies Wall of Fame honors

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Manny Trillo of the 1980 World Series champs is a legit Wall of Fame candidate

Approximately one month from now the Philadelphia Phillies will announce the 2019 honoree who will be enshrined on the franchise Wall of Fame this coming summer.

Last year for the very first time the team honored two individuals, and in a rare occurrence, Phillies fans had no say in either selection. One of those was Pat Gillick, who has served for 14 years as general manager, president, and senior advisor. Gillick was the first “executive inductee” to the Wall of Fame.
The other honored a year ago was former pitcher Roy Halladay, who had died suddenly and tragically in Florida back in November 2017 while piloting his private plane. Publicly released ballots seem to reveal that ‘Doc’ is also about to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame this coming summer.
Those two joined the manager of the 2008 World Series champions, Charlie Manuel (2014), the organization’s all-time greatest pitcher Steve Carlton (1989), and the greatest player in Phillies history, Mike Schmidt (1990) in becoming the only individuals honored without fan voting as part of the process.
The Phillies had honored no one in the prior summer of 2017. That year, Pete Rose had been scheduled to be enshrined on the Wall of Fame. In early-August, less than two weeks before that was to take place, the club cancelled the ceremony after Rose became embroiled in controversy surrounding allegations that he had sex with a minor while a player with the Cincinnati Reds back in the 1970’s.
Otherwise, the Phillies have honored one individual each year other than 1983. That year an entire “Centennial Team” was named and celebrated in honor of the 100th anniversary of the franchise.
Odds are that one individual will be honored when next month’s announcement is made, so who might that be? One thing that should be obvious is that with an increasing number of worthy individuals now retiring from the 2008 world championship team, we are going to see many of those players enshrined in the coming years.

PARADE TO THE WALL COULD CONTINUE FOR ’08 CHAMPS

Already on the Wall of Fame from that team, joining general manager Gillick and manager Manuel, is outfielder Pat Burrell. The Phillies already have individual ceremonies scheduled for this summer to honor Jimmy RollinsRyan Howard, and Chase Utley due to the announcement of their formal retirements as players.
If the honor goes to another member of those 2008 World Series champions this time around, the leading candidates would be Shane VictorinoCarlos RuizJayson WerthBrad Lidge, and Jamie Moyer. The favorite might be Victorino after the popular Flyin’ Hawaiian was fetted just last season at Citizens Bank Park upon his formal retirement from baseball.
But the Phillies could also take another tack, choosing to honor some other worthy individuals before beginning what should prove to become a veritable parade to the Wall of Fame for a half-dozen or more of those 2008 players during the decade of the 2020’s.
If the club chooses through their own selection, or through a fan vote, or some combination to honor someone other than a 2008 player, who might be a few worthy candidates to consider?

NINE POTENTIAL NON-2008 WALL CONTENDERS

Baker has been Phillies PA announcer
for nearly a half-century
(Phillygd1/WikiCommons)

Before getting into the players, there is one non-player who absolutely deserves consideration. That would be 72-year-old public address announcer Dan Baker.

A native of Philadelphia, Baker became the PA announcer for Phillies games at Veteran’s Stadium beginning with its second season in 1972. His voice has now greeted, entertained, and informed generations of fans over nearly a half-century at both ‘The Vet’ and Citizens Bank Park.
There are eight former Phillies players who, in my opinion, deserve at least some measure of consideration for the Wall of Fame, and who are not associated with the 2008 world championship team. They are: Fred LuderusBobby WineRon ReedManny TrilloScott RolenBobby AbreuCliff Lee, and Rose.
Luderus was the Phillies starting first baseman, one of the best in all of baseball during the ‘Dead Ball Era’ of the 1910’s. I have previously championed his cause in a pair of pieces when he was nominated for the Wall of Fame back in 2016 and the previous year.
Now 80 years of age, Wine was the Phillies starting shortstop for much of the 1960’s, winning the 1963 National League Gold Glove Award at the position. After retiring from baseball, Wine joined the Phillies coaching staff. He remained a valuable coach under four managers during the club’s rise to power, serving from July 1972 through the 1983 NL pennant-winning campaign.
Reed already had a dozen big-league seasons under his belt when he joined the Phillies in a January 1975 trade from the Saint Louis Cardinals. Over the next 10 seasons, the tall right-hander became one of the most effective relief pitchers in club history, going 57-38 with 90 Saves and allowing 702 hits over 809 innings. He registered a 3.06 ERA over 458 games with the club, including nine starts. Reed further appeared in 21 postseason games, and recorded a Save in Game One of the 1980 World Series.
Trillo, now 68-years-old, originally signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent in January 1968 but was left unprotected and was lost to the Oakland A’s in the Rule 5 Draft in December 1969.
He returned to the club as part of an eight-player swap with the Chicago Cubs in February 1979 and became a vital key over the next four years. Trillo won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, appeared in three MLB All-Star games, and was the MVP of the dramatic 1980 National League Championship Series.

Abreu was an offensive machine as the Phillies grew from late-90’s also-ran to mid-00’s contender (Rdikeman/WikiCommons)
Rolen is 43-years-old and is now the director of player development for the University of Indiana Hoosiers collegiate baseball program. He was the Phillies second round pick in the 1993 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school in Indiana.
Rolen broke into the big-leagues in 1996 and became the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year. He then won four Gold Glove Awards at third base over the next five years and was also an NL All-Star and Silver Slugger winner in 2002, his final year with the club.
Abreu was just 23-years-old when he joined the Phillies in a November 1997 trade with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He became an immediate starter with the Phillies, and over nine seasons was a key performer as the club rose from also-ran to contender.
Abreu, now 44, was a 2x NL All-Star, a 2004 Silver Slugger winner, and a 2005 Gold Glove Award winner. He also won the 2005 Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star festivities. For seven straight seasons he was a 20/20 player, including two 30/30 campaigns.
The 40-year-old Lee is easily the most well-known of these candidates to current Phillies fans. He was already an AL Cy Young Award winner when he arrived from the Cleveland Indians in July 2009 as part of a six-player deal.
After he led the Phillies back to the World Series that October, GM Ruben Amaro dealt him away on the same December 2009 day that Halladay was acquired. But Lee chose to return when the became a free agent a year later, and was part of the 2011 ‘Four Aces’ starting rotation that led the Phillies to a franchise-record 102 regular season victories.
Over parts of five seasons with the club, Lee put together a 48-34 record with a 2.94 ERA, 2.85 FIP, and 1.089 WHIP. He allowed 777 hits over 827.1 innings with an incredible 6.56 K:BB ratio. Lee was also a 2x NL All-Star with the club, and finished top six in the NL Cy Young Award voting.
And then there is Rose. As with the Baseball Hall of Fame, on playing credentials alone he is worthy of the Phillies Wall of Fame. He was the first-ever big Phillies free agent signing in December 1978 and was an NL All-Star each of the next four years with the club.
Rose won the 1981 NL Silver Slugger at first base, received NL MVP votes twice including a top ten finish in that 1981 campaign, and has been credited with pushing the Phillies over the hump to the 1980 world championship.
As for the allegations of statutory rape, Rose continues to deny them. Would the Phillies ever re-open his Wall of Fame case during this current “Me Too” movement era? Despite America supposedly being an innocent-until-proven-guilty country, that is likely a longshot.
Will the 2008 World Series championship team continue to be honored with another member getting a plaque on the Phillies Wall of Fame later this summer? Will one of the worthy non-2008 players finally find their way on to the Wall of Fame? Will fans even get a say in this year’s selection process? Those questions will be answered in the coming weeks.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as As Phillies prepare to honor a parade of 2008 players, who else deserves the Wall of Fame?