Tag Archives: Ryan Howard

10 weeks to go, Phillies begin priming for 2019 playoff push

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Rhys Hoskins (L), Bryce Harper (R) lead Phillies attack

There are now 10 weeks remaining in the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season. That makes for the perfect beginning of a countdown. So, each Monday over these next ten weeks, I’ll update you on exactly where the Phillies stand in their attempts to return to the MLB postseason.

The last appearance by the Phillies in the MLB playoffs ended with first baseman Ryan Howard crumped on the ground at home plate after striking out to end the club’s disheartening defeat in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Saint Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park.
That loss by a Phillies team that had won 102 games in the regular season became the swan song for a once-great aging championship team. Every starting position player was over the age of 30, with the exception of right fielder Hunter Pence. Three of the pitchers who made up the club’s vaunted “Four Aces” starting rotation were over 32 years of age.
Over the next half-dozen seasons, management would begin the process of slowly and systematically turning over the roster in what became a major, lengthy rebuilding program, one that would ultimately include a change in that management structure itself.
That rebuilding program took a major step forward in this past off-season when half the everyday lineup was turned over. Newcomers Bryce HarperJ.T. RealmutoJean Segura, and Andrew McCutchen brought excitement at the outset of the season that hadn’t been seen down in South Philly since those halcyon days way back at the start of the decade.

Ryan Howard is helped off field after crumpling to ground at end of winner-take-all defeat to Cardinals in the 2011 NLDS.
The Phillies bolted out of the gate, took over first place in the NL East Division on April 25, and held that top spot until June 12. Prior to Independence Day, the club was never lower than second place in the division standings.
But the Phillies have pretty much been treading water for the last two months. McCutchen was lost for the season, blowing out his knee and taking a huge piece out of the lineup. Since May 25, the Phillies record is just 21-27, and they have fallen to third place.
There have been some signs of life over the last week or so. Against tough competition in the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers, and through this past weekend series at steaming hot Pittsburgh, the Phillies have won five of their last eight games, including three of the last four.
Here is where the Phillies currently stand in both the division and wildcard races. Also included are the schedules for this week of any other club in reasonable contention.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST DIVISION

  1. Atlanta Braves  60-41 (KC – 2, at PHI – 3)
  2. Washington Nationals 52-46 (COL – 4, LAD – 3)
  3. Philadelphia Phillies 52-48 (at DET – 2, ATL – 3)

NATIONAL LEAGUE WILDCARD (TWO AVAILABLE)

  1. Washington Nationals 52-46 (COL – 4, LAD – 3)
  2. Milwaukee Brewers 53-48 (CIN – 3, CHC – 3)
  3. Saint Louis Cardinals 51-47 (at PIT – 4, HOU – 3)
  4. Philadelphia Phillies 52-48 (at DET – 2, ATL – 3)
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks 50-50 (BAL – 3, at MIA – 3), San Francisco Giants 50-50 (CHC – 3, at SD – 3)

Look back at the Phillies in the MLB All-Star Game during the 2010’s

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On right, Victorino, Polanco, Lee, Hamels repped Phillies in 2011

On Tuesday night, Major League Baseball will celebrate many of it’s top names with the playing of the All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

For Phillies fans, this 90th version of the Midsummer Classic will feature just one member of their favorite ball club. That has been the case in most recent years with the team usually in a non-contending position.
However, this second decade of the 21st century did not begin that way. When the decade opened, the Phillies were on top of the National League. The were two-time defending NL champions, had been legitimate contenders for most of the previous decade, and featured a star-studded lineup and pitching staff.
In the 2010 MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the Phillies had three representatives. First baseman Ryan Howard started and batted in the cleanup spot for the NL squad. Second baseman Chase Utley was voted as the starting NL second baseman for a fifth consecutive year, but sprained his thumb in late June and had to miss the game. Roy Halladay was one of the NL reserve pitchers.
Howard went 0-2 that night, striking out to leadoff the top of the 2nd inning against David Price. Halladay came on to pitch in the bottom of the 6th inning. He surrendered a leadoff single to Derek Jeter, but then got Paul Konerko to roll into a double play. After giving up a base hit to Josh Hamilton, the Phillies righty was lifted by manager Charlie Manuel.
The 2011 MLB All-Star Game was played at Chase Field in Phoenix, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. For the first time since 2004, no Phillies position players were voted in as starters. However, Halladay was selected to start on the mound for the National League.
After Doc pitched two perfect innings, he was followed to the mound by rotation mate Cliff Lee. The Phillies lefty would retire the first five batters he faced before Adrian Gonzalez homered with two outs in the top of the 4th inning. It would be the only run allowed by NL pitching in a 5-1 victory.
The Phillies had three more All-Stars in 2011, but none got into the game. Those three were pitcher Cole Hamels, third baseman Placido Polanco, and center fielder Shane Victorino.
Interesting note: Also on that 2011 NL All-Star squad were Andrew McCutchenJay Bruce, and Hunter Pence. The latter would be dealt to the Phillies at the end of that month. For Cutch it was the first of five consecutive appearances as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bruce was enjoying his first of two straight and three overall with the Cincinnati Reds.
By the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, the Phillies fortunes were waning. After winning the NL East Division for five consecutive seasons, the club sat at 37-50 at the All-Star break. That was last place in the division, 14 games out of first. They would make a second-half run to finish at 81-81, finishing in 3rd. For the first time since 2003, no Phillies appeared in the NL starting lineup.
Despite the struggles, that team still placed three players on the team: Hamels, catcher Carlos Ruiz, and new closer Jonathan Papelbon. The NL squad also featured an exciting 19-year-old phenom outfielder named Bryce Harper, who was making his first of a half-dozen all-star appearances over the next seven seasons with Washington.
Ruiz would replace starter Buster Posey behind the plate for the bottom of the 6th inning, given the dubious honor of handling knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. In the top of the 7th, ‘Chooch’ flew out to left against Oakland A’s reliever Ryan Cook in what would be the lone all-star at-bat of his career.
Hamels tossed a perfect 7th inning in that 2012 game. Papelbon retired Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, the only batter he faced, on a fly ball to left field to end an 8-0 National League victory at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
The Phillies had a pair of NL All-Stars in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field. One was outfielder Domonic Brown, who had gotten red hot for the only stretch of his big-league career, lasting about seven weeks, to earn the nod. The other was Lee, who was greeted, uh, lustily by the New York fans at Citi Field and who responded, uh, stoically.
Brown entered as a replacement in left field for Carlos Gonzalez in the top of the 6th inning and then struck out against Toronto lefty reliever Brett Cecil. Lee pitched the top of the 5th, surrendering a leadoff double to Adam Jones followed by a single by Joe Mauer. After Jones scored on a ground out, Lee got out of the inning by getting 21-year-old Mike Trout to ground into a double play.
Target Field in Minnesota was the site of the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, and the Phillies returned to placing a starter when Chase Utley was voted as the second baseman for the sixth time in his career. He was also the only Phillies all-star that year, the first time since Randy Wolf represented the club back in 2003 that the club had just one player named to the NL squad.
Batting 7th in the lineup, Utley ripped a one-out RBI double off Jon Lester in the top of the 2nd to get the NL on the scoreboard. With two out in the top of the 5th, Utley was hit by a pitch from Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale and was lifted for pinch-runner Dee Gordon.
In the 2015 MLB All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Papelbon was the lone Phillies rep. He did not pitch in the game, and would appear in just five more games for the club before being traded to Washington exactly two weeks to the day after the game.
Petco Park in San Diego hosted the 2016 MLB All-Star Game and outfielder Odubel Herrerawas the lone Phillies representative. He took over in center field in the bottom of the 5th inning, then flew out against Kansas City pitcher Kelvin Herrera in the top of the 6th inning. He was pinch-hit for by Starling Marte in the top of the 8th inning.
The National League hosted for a third straight year when the 2017 MLB All-Star Game was played at Marlins Park in Miami. Reliever Pat Neshek represented the Phillies, then much as Papelbon two years earlier, pitched in five more games for the club before getting traded just over two weeks later.
Which brings us to last year. At Nationals Park, Harper got the start in center field in front of his former home fans after putting on a major show the previous day to win the Home Run Derby. One of the backup catchers was J.T. Realmuto, then with Miami and serving as that lone Phillies rep in tonight’s game.
The lone Phillies player selected for last year’s 2018 MLB All-Star Game was pitcher Aaron Nola. The righty came in for the 5th inning and struck out the first two AL batters that he faced in Salvador Perez and Mookie Betts. After giving up a single to Jose Altuve, Nola got Trout to pop out to first base foul territory to complete a shutout frame.
Howard, Utley, Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Polanco, Victorino, Ruiz, Papelbon, Brown, Herrera, Neshek, Nola. Those 13 players all appeared in the MLB All-Star Game during the decade of the 2010’s for the National League squad as a representative of the Philadelphia Phillies. Realmuto joins the list tonight in Cleveland.

Phillies will try to take the series with Fish on Sunday

Phillies wrap Marlins series in South Philly
After the first-place Philadelphia Phillies (15-12) dropped the opener of this four-game series with the last-place Miami Marlins (8-19), an unlikely and troubling scenario was presenting itself.
The Phillies roster was noticeably improved this past off-season by an influx of free agents and trade acquisitions. Much was expected of a team that was viewed as a legitimate contender, and they got off to a hot start.
But that loss in the series opener left the Phillies just a game over the .500 mark and struggling. They had lost six of their previous eight games and had suffered a series of recent injuries that seemed to sap the life out of the squad.
In order to win a division crown or a Wildcard playoff berth, teams are going to need to find a way to overcome injuries and other challenges. They are going to have to win series. And they are especially going to have to win the series that they are supposed to win.
This series against a bottom-dweller team at home was one that the Phillies needed to win, injuries or not. Losing the opener meant that in order to accomplish that, the club would have to capture three straight.
Well, we are almost there. The Phillies have recovered to win on Friday and Saturday nights, setting up the chance to win the series with a Sunday afternoon victory.
They won on Saturday night after building up what seemed to be an insurmountable 10-1 lead after five innings. But the Marlins, who have made an early-season habit of playing their best baseball on Saturdays, roared back to cut the deficit to just 10-9. 
Rhys Hoskins stepped up with a huge two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to clinch a 12-9 victory, setting up this Sunday opportunity.
Phillies shortstop Jean Segura, playing in his first game since being activated from the Injured List, was literally knocked out of the game on Saturday night when he was hit in the head by a pitch from Marlins starter Trevor Richards. His initial concussion examination came back negative, and after a re-evaluation this morning, Segura was cleared to play.
Phillies Nation wishes public address announcer Dan Baker well. An undisclosed illness caused Baker to miss his first game since Citizens Bank Park opened back in 2004. Generations of fans have listened as he introduced lineups, served as emcee for many events, and made numerous other announcements both at Veteran’s Stadium and CBP since 1972.
The Phillies currently are the only team in the National League East Division standings with a winning record. They hold a 1.5 game lead on the New York Mets, one game in the loss column. The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals are both two games back in the loss column.

SUNDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. Nick Williams LF
  6. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  7. Andrew Knapp C
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Zach Eflin P

MARLINS LINEUP

  1. Jon Berti 3B
  2. Martin Prado 1B
  3. Brian Anderson RF
  4. Starlin Castro 2B
  5. Miguel Rojas SS
  6. Isaac Galloway LF
  7. Chad Wallach C
  8. Lewis Brinson CF
  9. Pablo Lopez P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Zach Eflin: 2-3, 4.15 ERA, 1.346 WHIP, 30 hits allowed over 26 IP (5 starts) with a 23/5 K:BB
  • In his only other appearance at Citizens Bank Park this season, Eflin went 7 innings to beat the Twins
  • Eflin has five career starts against Miami: 2-2, 5.52 ERA, 31 hits including eight home runs over 29.1 IP
  • Pablo Lopez: 2-3, 4.44 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, 26 hits allowed over 26.1 IP (5 starts) with a 29/5 K:BB
  • Lopez registered his best start of the season thus far in his last outing. Went 6.1 IP at Cleveland allowing just two hits and no earned runs to the host Indians with six strikeouts and two walks.
  • Lopez has one career start at Citizens Bank Park and it was a good one. Last August 2 he allowed just five hits over six innings, one of those a solo home run from Hoskins, in a 5-2 loss to the Phillies.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • With a win today it would be the first time that the Phillies have won five straight home series against any team since they defeated the Padres in six straight over 2011-16. The Phillies are 13-3 against the Marlins over these last five series, outscoring the Fish by 118-49.
  • Per Elias, Hoskins 60th career home run in his 229th game made him the second-fastest Phillies player ever to reach the 60-homer plateau behind Ryan Howard, who did it in 209 games. Since his MLB debut on 8/10/17, Hoskins leads the National League in home runs. He and Mike Trout are the only big-leaguers with at least 50 homers and 140 walks in that time period.
  • The Phillies now have 96 extra-base hits, tying the franchise record prior to May. They now have a combined 38 home runs, the most prior to May since the 2008 club banged out 41.
  • Both Hoskins and Maikel Franco have 22 RBIs, five behind Howard’s pre-May club record. The Phillies have one remaining April game after Sunday. If Bryce Harper (19 RBI) drives in another run on Sunday or Tuesday it would mark the first time in team history that three players drove in 20+ prior to May.
  • Cesar Hernandez has hit safely in eight straight games and 13 of his last 14. Over the last 76 plate appearances he is hitting .333 with a .395 on-base percentage.
  • The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau and its PHL Sports division have announced that Phillies Chairman David Montgomery would receive its Lifetime Achievement Award during a ceremony on June 11.

SUNDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION

  • Sunday April 28 at 1:05 pm vs. the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park
  • This will be the Phillie Phanatic birthday celebration: hooded towels to kids 14 and under
  • TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Spanish)


Phillies will try to snap out of a recent funk on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park

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Phillies look to get on track vs Marlins on Friday night

The Phillies (13-12) are scheduled to host the division-rival Miami Marlins (8-17) on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. There is a high probability of rain in the forecast for around game time, so there could be at least a delay in the start of tonight’s game.

This is scheduled to be the second of a four-game long weekend series between the two teams. The Marlins took the opener last night on a two-run homer from second baseman Starlin Castro in the top of the 10th inning off Phillies reliever Hector Neris.
Marlins pitcher Caleb Smith tossed a gem for the second straight start against the Phillies. He previously one-hit them over six innings back on April 13. This time, Smith allowed a run on three hits while striking out eight and walking one in another six-inning outing.
The Phillies won two of three earlier this month against the Marlins, and will be looking to snap out of a funk that has seen them drop six of their last eight games. The Phils currently trail the New York Mets by a half-game in the National League East Division standings.

FRIDAY STARTING LINEUPS AND PREVIEW

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen CF
  2. J.T. Realmuto C
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. Nick Williams LF
  6. Maikel Franco 3B
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Sean Rodriguez SS
  9. Jerad Eickhoff P

PHILLIES HOT & COLD

Cesar Hernandez had a pair of hits on Thursday night to remain hot. The much-maligned second baseman is now slashing .344/.403/.508 going back over his last 15 games and 67 plate appearances with seven runs scored and six extra-base hits.
Sean Rodriguez smacked his first home run of the season last night. He was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday and became the fourth player to start a game at shortstop for the Phillies this season. Though starting shortstop Jean Segura is due back tomorrow it may not be Rodriguez whose spot is in jeopardy since he can play every position on the diamond except perhaps behind the plate.
Lefty reliever Adam Morgan retired the lone batter he faced in last night’s game and remains unscored upon this season. Morgan has allowed just four hits over 10.1 IP across 13 appearances with a fine 12/1 K:BB ratio.
Since the start of 2017, righty reliever Pat Neshek has a 1.96 ERA, the lowest mark among all major league pitchers with at least 75.0 innings pitched.
Per Statcast data, the average fastball velocity of 97.1 mph being recorded by reliever Seranthony Dominguez is 14th among the 490 pitchers to pitch this season. He now has eight straight scoreless appearances after allowing five runs in his first 2.1 IP this season.
Right fielder Bryce Harper went 0-3 with a walk on Thursday. He is now slashing just .196/.305/.333 over his last 13 games and 59 plate appearances. The slump was the subject of my piece published earlier today. On the good side he is batting .333 with a double, two home runs and 10 RBI with runners in scoring position in 2019.

MARLINS LINEUP

  1. Curtis Granderson LF
  2. Martin Prado 1B
  3. Brian Anderson RF
  4. Starlin Castro 2B
  5. Jorge Alfaro C
  6. Miguel Rojas SS
  7. Jon Berti 3B
  8. Lewis Brinson CF
  9. Jose Urena P

MARLINS HOT & COLD

The game-winning two-run homer in the 10th inning last night was the third of the year for Castro, who is now tied for the Marlins team lead with eight RBIs.
Despite producing a three-hit game, Neil Walker is out of manager Don Mattingly‘s starting lineup on Friday. Walker is hitting .500 with three doubles and three walks over his last four games.
Former Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro continues to lead Miami with four home runs on the season. With two hits last night, Alfaro now has multi-hit efforts in all three games that he has played against his former team this season. He is 6-12 (.500) with a run scored in those three contests.
Reliever Tayron Guerrero was dominating last night, earning the Win while firing multiple pitches over 100 mph in a lockdown 9th inning. Guerrero now sports a 0.82 ERA and 1.091 WHIP with 13 strikeouts over 11 innings in which he has allowed just five hits.
Veteran closer Sergio Romo recorded his third Save of the week, his fourth of the season. He has successfully closed out his last three appearances without surrendering a run or hit over three innings.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jerad Eickhoff: 0-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 10 hits allowed over 10 IP across two games (1 start) with a 14/4 K:BB ratio
  • Eickhoff is making just his second start of the season. He has six career starts vs the Marlins with a 2-3 record, 37 hits allowed over 36 innings, and a 35/8 K:BB.
  • Per MLBAM Statcast data, 10 of Eickhoff’s 14 strikeouts this season have come on the curveball. Since 2015 (the start of his career and Statcast Era), batters are hitting .163 in at-bats ending in his curveball, 11th-lowest among the 71 pitchers with at least 200 AB ending in a curve in that span.
  • Jose Urena: 1-3, 5.74 ERA, 1.688 WHIP, 39 hits allowed over 26.2 IP across five starts with a 21/6 K:BB ratio
  • Urena was outstanding in an April 14 start vs the Phillies down in Miami. He allowed just seven hits and one run over seven innings with seven strikeouts, but was let down by his offense in taking a 3-1 loss.
  • Urena has 15 career appearances against the Phillies, 11 of those as a starter, with a 3-4 record and a 55/16 K:BB over 63.2 innings.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Through 13 games at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies have drawn a total of 488,292 fans, an average of 37,560 per game which ranks fourth in MLB behind the Dodgers, Cardinals and Yankees.
  • Since pitch data began being tracked in 1988, J.T. Realmuto’s 33 pitches seen last night rank in a tie for first among all Phillies with four plate appearances in a game. Ryan Howard saw 33 pitches in four PA on 7/19/07 at SD as did Mickey Morandini back on 9/24/96 vs MON. Since data began being tracked, Realmuto became just the 25th player in the majors to have seen 33 or more pitches in four trips to the plate.
  • Rhys Hoskins has 10 homers and 30 RBI against the Marlins over his career, the most damage he has done against any opponent. Hoskins leads the NL with 59 homers since making his MLB debut on 8/10/17. He is the only hitter in the majors with more than 55 HR and 140 walks since that debut. Since that debut he ranks in a tie for 2nd in MLB (tied for first in the NL) with 25 go-ahead home runs. In his last 45 games at Citizens Bank Park since 7/22/18 he is batting .275 with 14 doubles, 17 homers, 37 RBI, 29 walks and a 1.077 OPS.
  • Andrew McCutchen is one RBI and two walks shy of 800 in each category for his career. Maikel Franco is two doubles shy of 100 on his career.

FRIDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Chase Utley to join the broadcasting ranks during first season in retirement

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Officially retired as a player, Utley will remain involved in the game

The ball player who grew to be known around Phillies Nation as ‘The Man’ appeared in his final big-league game on September 30, 2018. Stepping to the plate as a pinch-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Utley struck out in his final plate appearance after 16 seasons in Major League Baseball.

Over parts of 13 years with the Phillies, Utley had become a heroic fan favorite. He banged out 233 home runs, drove in 916 runs, and crossed the plate with a run scored 949 times. He was a six-time National League All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and finished among the top 15 in NL MVP voting for five straight years.
Nearly seven years after helping the Phillies to win the 2008 World Series, Utley was traded out to his native California to play for the Dodgers. He would finish up his playing career in Los Angeles, getting back to the playoffs in four straight seasons but never winning another championship ring.
The Phillies announced months ago that Utley would join former teammates Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard in being officially honored by the team for which they played their greatest baseball.
At what is now a sold-out June 21st game against the division-rival Miami Marlins the Phillies will hold “Chase Utley Retirement Night” with a number of special events. Those will include a pre-game highlight package and a bobble figurine giveaway as Utley officially retires from baseball as a member of the Phillies organization.
However, just when it seemed as if he might ride off into the sunset, it turns out that Utley will not be away from the game after all during the coming season.

Chase Utley will be joining our @SportsNetLA crew as a studio analyst on select broadcasts in 2019. Welcome to the club, Chase!

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SportsNet LA has announced that Utley will join their network as a studio analyst for select television broadcasts during the 2019 Dodgers season.
In a quick piece on Wednesday, Grey Papke at Larry Brown Sports captured the reasoning behind the hire well: “Though he will likely always be best known for his tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies, Utley carved himself out a nice niche in Los Angeles in a little over three years there. Though he didn’t put up big numbers, he was valued as a leader and a winner, and he clearly knows a thing or two about the sport.
With the famed infield trio of Howard, Utley and Rollins all retiring as members of the Phillies this year it will be only a matter of time before they are each honored with another special night when they are honored with a plaque on the Phillies Wall of Fame. That won’t come until some time in the early-2020’s.

Even though he will be commenting on another organization, I’m sure that I can speak for all of Phillies Nation in wishing ‘The Man’ well in his latest career venture.