August 22, 2012
THE PHILLIES ARE surprisingly interesting these days, particularly as they begin a stretch of games that began Monday night in which they will play against the National League's top three teams in 13 of 16 games. Domonic Brown is again a person of interest, his at-bats a reason to suspend the eat-athon these games have become, his throws from the outfield capable of creating a PT Barnum collective gasp. Thirty-two-year-old Erik Kratz, who hit another home run Monday night and threw out another runner from his knees, is just such a feel-good success story.
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 8, 2012 |
RIGHTHANDER Vance Worley has spent most of the season pitching with bone chips in his throwing elbow, but it was his stomach that gave him problems in Monday night's 6-1 loss to the Braves. The second-year starter fell ill about an hour before the game, but felt he could muster enough energy to take the mound. The Braves quickly proved otherwise, scoring four runs in 3 2/3 innings to knock him out of the game. "I definitely wasn't feeling my best, but I wanted to go out there and pitch for the team," Worley said.
August 7, 2012 |
Stand in the middle of the Phillies clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park and look up. The white ceiling is splotched with brown stains, the remnants of champagne celebrations from yesteryear. The mood in the room is decidedly less festive these days. Each one brings another failure or empty victory. Apathy has spread to the blue seats, which are becoming easier to spot. High above right field, Section 305 was barren Monday night, with about 15 rows unoccupied. The fans booed when first baseman Ryan Howard, 80 feet from second base, threw a ball straight at leftfielder Domonic Brown.
August 6, 2012 |
Not a lot has been going right for Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in his return from injury, so seeing him mobbed by teammates after his game-winning hit Sunday at Citizens Bank Park was something he hopes can lift him out of his funk. After Chase Utley was intentionally walked to load the bases, Howard delivered a one-out single, and the Phillies beat Arizona, 5-4. The win was their second in the three-game series against the National League West-contending Diamondbacks. Since returning from surgery on his left Achilles tendon, Howard has struck out 33 times in 77 at-bats and is hitting .208 with four home runs and 10 RBIs.
August 4, 2012 |
Ryan Howard had his head down when his jog slowed to a near crawl. By the time he made it halfway down the first base line, he was already out, his third out on the way to an 0-for-4 line as the Phillies lost, 4-2, to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. Even after Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt fielded the sixth-inning grounder and tagged first base, Howard kept heading to the bag, finally reaching it with his left foot. By that time, the baseball had nearly gone all the way around the horn.
August 2, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Wow, what a 367-day cycle of life that was for the Phillies. When it started on July 29 a year ago, Hunter Pence was coming and Domonic Brown was leaving, and all was right in the Phillies' world. They had the best record in baseball, and all they needed was a righthanded bat in the middle of the order to fill the void that Brown, John Mayberry Jr., and Ben Francisco could not. Pence was the answer, and no price seemed too high to pay for a team with a World Series-or-bust motto.
July 26, 2012 |
The key factor behind the Phillies dramatic 7-6 victory over Brewers Tuesday night wasn't just the walks that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard drew against Manny Parra to load the bases. It was also the fact that the Milwaukee bullpen still had to deal with Carlos Ruiz and Hunter Pence, who earlier in the season might have been hitting No. 3 and No. 4, with a significant drop off behind them. As Ruiz showed with his game-tying three-run double and Pence showed with his go-ahead bloop single, the Phillies suddenly have a real major league lineup again.
July 13, 2012
IF NOTHING ELSE, the remainder of 2012 can determine the foundation of the Phillies franchise. Will they retain Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins? All but Hamels have limited control of their destinies immediately. Hamels, of course, is a free agent with total control in a few months. If the Phillies play for anything, they will play for self-preservation most of all. They will play for respect, perhaps, but understand: After five straight National League East titles, a 2008 World Series championship and 102 wins last season, this club's players firmly believe their recent postseason failures to the Giants and Cardinals were flukes.
July 11, 2012 |
FROM DOMINANCE to irrelevance in 9 months; so have the Phillies fallen. Charlie Manuel guided the club to its best days and, now, to some of its worst. Andy Reid should send him a basket of Reid's favorite crullers, because Chuck and Co. have replaced the 8-8 Eagles as the city's biggest sports disappointment in decades. Maybe ever. According to the general manager's logic, Manuel will not be fired for it. Not after winning 102 games last season and hoping to hit .500 this year.