April 16, 2013 |
MIAMI - A clubhouse attendant stuck out his right hand and Freddy Galvis shook it. He fist-bumped another with his right hand. Less than hour before, an 89-m.p.h. Jon Rauch fastball struck his right knuckle. "It's good," Galvis said. The Phillies were pleased with that because Galvis contributed about as productive a two days as possible. After much inactivity, he made his first starts on Saturday and Sunday against the Miami Marlins. He reached base five times in eight plate appearances.
April 4, 2013 |
ATLANTA - Last year, Roy Halladay pitched eight scoreless innings and allowed two baserunners in a 1-0 win over the Pirates on Opening Day. Two years ago, Cole Hamels allowed six runs in 2 2/3 innings in a performance that elicited boos in his first start of the season. In 2008, the Phillies lost their first two games of the season, both against the Washington Nationals. In 2009, they lost their first two games of the season, both to the Braves. The moral of the story is that the opening week of the baseball season, more often than not, is amoral.
December 22, 2012 |
Some of the Phillies' recent risks with relief pitchers haven't exactly panned out. There was the two-year, $5.25 million contract they gave to Danys Baez before the 2010 season and the two-year deal worth $5 million they gave to the 39-year-old (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) Jose Contreras after the 2010 season. There was also the infamous $1.15 million spent on Chad Qualls before the 2012 season. For $11.4 million, the Phillies got a combined 7-9 record, five saves, and a 5.30 ERA from that trio of veteran relievers.
December 21, 2012 |
IN THE LAST game of the first series of the season - on a Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh - the Phillies took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. They ended up losing the game, 5-4. Less than a month later in Atlanta, in the forgettable game that Roy Halladay surrendered a 6-0 lead, the Phillies rallied to take a 12-8 lead into the bottom of the eighth at Turner Field. They would lose 15-13. The trend would continue through September, when the Phils had a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning in Houston only to drop a 7-6 decision to the lowly Astros.
November 3, 2012 |
Fourth in a series examining the Phillies' potential offseason moves. Chad Qualls is a name that will live in Philadelphia infamy. The righthander signed with the Phillies for $1.15 million last offseason, and the team decided he could serve as their eighth-inning bridge to newly acquired closer Jonathan Papelbon. Oops. Not such a bright idea. In fact, it was among the worst moves of Ruben Amaro Jr.'s four-season tenure as general manager. Qualls was traded July 1, but the Phillies' eighth-inning problems remained because Antonio Bastardo was unable to duplicate the eighth-inning success he had in 2011.
October 15, 2012 |
Every day, Jonathan Papelbon made the solitary walk from the dugout around the sixth inning. The bullpen door opened and a $50 million reliever presided over an ever-changing cast. It was a group that caused consternation and, ultimately, some hope. "For me, next year if we're not the top bullpen in Major League Baseball, we'll definitely be the top in the National League," Papelbon said after Game 162 in Washington. "That's just the way I look at it. " Why, because of those young arms?
October 11, 2012 |
WHEN THE PHILLIES report to spring training in 4 months, they'll be confident and borderline-cocky that they can return to the top of the National League East simply because they have the following three names on their roster: Cole Hamels. Roy Halladay. Cliff Lee. When they signed Hamels to a 6-year, $144 million deal in July, the Phils ensured they'd have a trio of aces atop a rotation that's been heavy on Cy Young candidates in each of the last two seasons. Starting pitching has been a strength, and should remain a strength, especially if Halladay is healthy and anywhere close to his normal self.
September 21, 2012 |
NEW YORK - The conversation was initiated by Ryan Howard about two hours before game time. As he waited to take batting practice at Citi Field, the Phillies first baseman had a question for a couple of reporters sitting in the visiting dugout. "What do you guys think about the comeback?" Howard asked. He didn't mean Wednesday night's rally, when the slumping slugger stepped to the plate with the Phillies down to their last out and smashed a two-run home run that provided a stunning victory over the sinking New York Mets.
August 10, 2012
IN ALL LIKELIHOOD, there is a more delicate way to broach this topic, but regardless of how you spin it, the notion remains the same: If any major league organization decides to hand Michael Bourn the $15 to $20 million salary that some national pundits estimate he is worth, the next owners meeting better feature a Brooks Brothered line of executives waiting to purple nurple the guilty party. And Phillies fans better hope that it isn't David Montgomery wincing in pain. Michael Bourn is a relative topic for a variety of reasons, mostly because he happens to be in town at a time when the lower half of Charlie Manuel's lineup reads Mayberry-Kratz-Schierholtz-Frandsen.
August 5, 2012 |
ALLENTOWN - Jake Diekman will never forget his major-league debut with the Phillies, but the lefthanded reliever doesn't want to dwell on it, either. Diekman is back pitching for Lehigh Valley, having been sent down by the Phillies after they made their two trades with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. On May 15 Diekman pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros in 10 innings at Citizens Bank Park. He relieved Chad Qualls with runners on second and third and the score tied, 3-3, in the ninth.