August 21, 2015 |
YESTERDAY was a scheduled off day for Chase Utley, according to interim manager Pete Mackanin. He may not have been in the lineup, but it just so happened that all of the attention was on the 36-year-old second baseman, as trade rumors echoed throughout the clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park. Not long after last night's 7-4 win over the Blue Jays, it was official: The Phillies traded Utley and cash considerations to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for outfielder Darnell Sweeney and righthander John Richy.
August 11, 2015 |
SAN DIEGO - With Jerome Williams fashioning his best start of the season and an opportunity to break the game open, manager Pete Mackanin decided to stick with the team's longtime cleanup hitter, Ryan Howard, with two on, two out and his team up two runs in the seventh inning of yesterday's game against the Padres at Petco Park. Maikel Franco had just been walked intentionally and Howard was matched up against San Diego lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski. Howard, who is hitting .192 with 142 strikeouts in 328 at-bats against lefthanders since the beginning of 2013, struck out to end the rally.
August 9, 2015 |
SAN DIEGO - When Pete Mackanin drew out his lineup before Friday night's series opener against the Padres, he didn't treat his newly activated second baseman as if he entered with a dismal .179 batting average. Mackanin looked at it as if he pushed the reset button on Utley's season, which resumed Friday after 37 games missed because of a right ankle injury. The six-time all-star reentered the Phillies' lineup as their second baseman and leadoff hitter, the first time in 11 seasons he batted out of the top spot.
August 7, 2015 |
IF NOTHING ELSE, the Phillies' 13-5 record since the All-Star break has offered us a reminder of how much fun it is to have a winning baseball team in town. It also offers us a good opportunity to think about the next couple of seasons. Make no mistake: The Phillies are still likely to be among the worst teams in the majors next year, and they won't contend in 2017, either. The simple truth is that it will be almost impossible to cobble together a rotation that would be deep enough for even an average offense to win regularly.
August 3, 2015 |
Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin gathered his players before last month's all-star break. He challenged them to "choose one of two paths" before they departed San Francisco for a four-day recess. "Either we're the team that has the bad record, or we're a better team than our record," he told them. Mackanin believed the Phillies were better than baseball's worst record. He hoped his team agreed. Since that meeting, the Phillies have been the major leagues' hottest team.
August 2, 2015 |
The Phillies may not be turning heads, but at least they haven't succumbed to the easiest of temptations - packing it in following a seemingly hopeless first half of the season. On the day Cole Hamels' departure to Texas was made official, the Phillies continued their unexpected second-half turnaround with a 9-3 win over the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night. Entering the evening, the Phillies were tied with the San Francisco Giants for the best winning percentage since the all-star break.
July 26, 2015 |
CHICAGO - Jeff Francoeur, among the unlikeliest of Phillies' trade candidates entering the season, reiterated Friday he does not wish to be dealt elsewhere before the July 31 trade deadline. The hot-hitting journeyman rightfielder is not helping his case the more he provides late-game heroics. His two-run home run in Friday's 10th inning sparked the Phillies to their 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, the sixth win in seven games since the all-star break for the team still with baseball's worst record.
July 21, 2015 |
Jeff Francoeur spent the first three months of last season in the minor leagues. He was a nine-year major-league veteran traversing the western United States by bus with the El Paso Chihuahuas. He worked his way back to the major leagues, first, by accepting the Phillies' non-roster invitation to spring training. The 31-year-old then played himself onto the opening-day roster by securing the final bench spot. And now Francoeur is playing himself into a starting role. Francoeur's major-league comeback continued Sunday as his walk-off homer lifted the Phillies past the Miami Marlins, 8-7, at Citizens Bank Park.
July 20, 2015 |
Chad Billingsley cruised through the first five innings in a 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies starter threw just 70 pitches as he scattered four hits without allowing a run. It was his finest performance of the season. Four more outs and it would have been his longest outing since 2012. But the mound was empty to start the sixth inning. The bullpen door opened and Jake Diekman jogged to the infield. Billingsley was done. The righthander's stellar night ended with a bizarre finish.
July 14, 2015 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The most defeat-filled first half in Phillies history ended Sunday with a brisk 2-hour, 23-minute afternoon game at AT&T Park. After a 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, the players on baseball's worst team packed their bags and headed opposite ways for a much-needed all-star break. "One good thing is, we've got the four-game break," interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "So we can go home and relax and try to get our heads together, just take the pressure off for a while and see what happens.