July 6, 2014 |
PITTSBURGH - Frequently when a team goes bargain hunting in baseball, it gets what it pays for. That has been the case so far with the Phillies and righthander Roberto Hernandez. In the offseason, he was signed as a free agent to a one-year $4.5-million deal. It shows a few things - $4.5 million doesn't go very far when purchasing starting pitching and even at that less-than-outlandish price, Hernandez, like his team, has been wildly inconsistent. While he has enjoyed some strong moments this season, Friday certainly wasn't one of them as the Phillies suffered an 8-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
July 4, 2014 |
MIAMI - The Phillies batted for 12 minutes Wednesday in the first inning. The first two hitters, Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins, singled. Rollins stole second. There were two men in scoring position with none out, a chance for Cole Hamels to pitch with a rare, quick lead. "Make two outs and get two runs," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Maybe it's a different tone. " The Phillies never scored, and went on to lose, 5-0, to the Marlins. Hamels watched the familiar horror from the Marlins Park dugout.
July 3, 2014 |
MIAMI - With two swings in consecutive at-bats off veteran reliever Kevin Gregg, Marlon Byrd and Cody Asche did two things. They tied Tuesday night's game at Marlins Park with two outs in the eighth inning. And they helped the Phillies avoid scoring two runs or fewer for the 32nd time in 83 games this season. But they could not prevent the Phillies from losing for the ninth time in their last 11 games. Ed Lucas' one-out, walkoff single to right off Justin De Fratus in the 11th inning sent the Phillies to their fifth straight defeat, 5-4, to the Miami Marlins.
July 2, 2014 |
THE ASSUMPTION that the Phillies needed to win this season or be disassembled is flawed. It makes more sense that the Phillies need to win this season or next season. Mainly, the assumption is flawed because the franchise lacks ready replacements. Even if the Phillies could get rid of the weighty contracts and heavy personalities of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, they could not replace any of them with anything close to a comparable peer.
June 29, 2014 |
The last time they met the Braves, the Phillies scored 21 runs and allowed only eight over a three-game set to earn a crucial sweep at Turner Field. Last night's series opener at Citizens Bank Park failed to follow suit. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman homered and drove in four runs, all in the first two innings, and the Philadelphia bats couldn't muster a comeback in a 4-2 loss. The defeat snapped the Phillies' four-game winning streak against the Braves, their longest such streak against the division foe since 2011-12.
June 28, 2014 |
It was the first of three straight fireworks nights at Citizens Bank Park. That's one more than the Phillies have staged in recent seasons, but you have to do something to get the fans back in the seats when the ball club has lost the firepower it once displayed on a daily basis. Fireworks never fail to attract crowds and applause even in the worst of times. (See 1984 through 1992 and 1994 through 2002). It was up to the Phillies, a team that has mostly tortured its fans at home this season, to provide something extra Thursday night.
June 27, 2014 |
IF YOU STAYED at Citizens Bank Park late enough last night, you got some early Independence Day fireworks. You got to hear a second rendition of "Take Me Out to The Ball Game. " And you got to see one of the franchise's most popular players end the game in dramatic fashion for the first time in 7 years. After the Phillies and Miami Marlins took part in an old-fashioned staring contest for six innings, with neither team blinking, Chase Utley swatted a ball deep into the early summer night, providing a memorable souvenir for a lucky fan. Utley followed a leadoff single by Jimmy Rollins with a two-run, walkoff home run off Chris Hatcher in the 14th inning as the Phillies overcame an early deficit to beat Miami, 5-3. "I just tried to square one up, go home," Utley said after the conclusion of the 4-hour, 41-minute game.
June 26, 2014 |
EVEN AFTER a five-game winning streak was followed by a three-game losing streak, Ryne Sandberg managed to remain upbeat. It was a lot of, "We'll put this one behind us," and "We'll start another good streak," or "The boys will bounce back tomorrow" following the most recent defeat. (Editor's note: Sandberg never said "the boys. " He's not a hockey coach.) But the baseball season isn't even halfway over and it's Sandberg's first full season as a manager, so there's no reason for him to operate any other way. And since they haven't hit the midway point and are closer to the top of the division after 75 games this year than they were last year, the Phillies are not clinically dead yet . . . even if they haven't been able to climb above fourth place in their own division in more than 2 months.
June 25, 2014 |
ON A NIGHT that began with a who's who of former Phillies from the turn of the century taking the field to honor the franchise's newly crowned all-time hits king, Jimmy Rollins, starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez collected the first hit of his 9-year career. Hernandez, who entered the game hitless in his first 40 big-league at-bats, singled to rightfield to lead off the third inning. Hernandez is paid to pitch, however, and he fared well on the mound after a shaky first inning. For the first time in a Phillies uniform, Hernandez managed to pitch six innings in consecutive starts.