February 28, 2015 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The two most assumable things when the gates swung open at Citizens Bank Park in April of 2004 were that no elite pitchers would ever want to come to Philadelphia and the Phillies would never finish last in baseball in home runs. In the ballpark's infancy, lots of guys pitched and moaned about the close proximity of the left-field flower beds to home plate. Recently named Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz infamously called the ballpark a "joke" and "the worst decision ever made" because of how easy it was to hit a home run there.
January 9, 2015 |
CURT SCHILLING took to Twitter hours after appearing on a Boston radio station to tweet he was kidding when he said his right-wing views cost him votes in the recent Baseball Hall of Fame election. Damage control? Let's just say that Schilling, not known as a funny guy, sure sounded serious when he appeared on WEEI yesterday morning. On Tuesday, the former Phillies ace received 39.2 percent of the Hall of Fame votes, well short of the 75 percent needed to get to Cooperstown. The four players who were selected - John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Craig Biggio - all received more than 450 votes.
August 2, 2013 |
As major-league debuts go, Ethan Martin's will likely be among the most nerve-racking. The Phillies announced Thursday that the 24-year-old righthander will make that debut Friday night at Citizens Bank Park when the Phillies open a three-game series against the first-place Atlanta Braves. The fact that the Braves come in as one of the hottest teams in baseball and with a huge lead in the National League East will make Martin's debut tough enough. Adding to the degree of difficulty will be the fact that the Braves are the team that Martin grew up watching and rooting for as a young boy in Georgia.
June 9, 2012
After a six-day preliminary hearing, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Friday ordered the two men accused of brutally beating a San Francisco Giants fan last year outside Dodger Stadium to be tried on charges of committing mayhem, and assault and battery. Authorities say Louie Sanchez, 30, and Marvin Norwood, 31, so severely beat Bryan Stow, 43, on March 31, 2011, that the paramedic from Santa Cruz suffered permanent brain injury and will require care the rest of his life.
April 5, 2012 |
THIS IS THE year the Phillies can be had, according to former Oakland A's pitcher, and current TBS analyst, Dennis Eckersley. "If there was a time to get them, it's now, I think it wears on you not scoring runs after a while, and if they don't get guys healthy, it puts so much pressure [on pitchers] - I don't care good you are," Eckersley said. "They were so great last year, but it's hard to keep it going. " Eckersley and fellow TBS analyst John Smoltz are skeptical the Phillies can win their sixth consecutive National League East crown, especially in light of injuries to first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley.
September 30, 2011 |
Baseball is a series of tests, with the first examination lasting six months and 162 games. The Phillies literally aced that one, then declined a chance for extra credit by losing eight straight meaningless games near the end of September. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s plan for winning a fifth straight National League East title and a second World Series was to gather as many stud starting pitchers as possible. The Phillies were not the first team in history to conquer the long season by pummeling the opposition with one quality starting pitcher after another.
August 15, 2011
THE SIMPLE mathematics say they are on pace for 106 victories. A lot can slip between the cup and the lip, as Don King used to say, but the math says the 2011 Phillies will win more regular-season games than all but a handful of teams in baseball history, and more than they ever have in theirs. And this makes you what? Thrilled? Happy? Excited beyond belief? Of course not. That would be like putting ketchup on a soft pretzel or Gouda on a cheesesteak. You're anxious already.
June 13, 2011 |
HOUSTON - Tommy Hanson struck out a career-high 14 in seven innings, Brian McCann and Dan Uggla hit two-run homers, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros, 4-1, Sunday for their sixth straight win. Hanson (8-4) gave up one run and three hits while improving to 3-0 in five career starts against the Astros. The 24-year-old righty struck out five in a row early in the game and fanned the last three batters he faced. Hanson's strikeouts were the most by a Braves pitcher since John Smoltz had 15 in 2005 against the Mets.
March 17, 2011 |
Does he know what he's getting into? Clint Hurdle guided the Colorado Rockies to their only World Series appearance, in 2007, a year Phillies fans recall all too sadly. Now he's taken the reins with Pittsburgh, a team that has endured 18 consecutive losing seasons. "I'm not afraid to work, and I'm not afraid of a challenge," he said, bravely. That's good, because here's the challenge - the incredibly bad Pirates were last in the National League in hitting, pitching, and defense last season.
December 15, 2010 |
Let's face it. At this stage of the off-season, the Phillies' rotation, lifted from intimidating to awe-inspiring by the unexpected return of Cliff Lee, looks like the mound version of Murderers' Row. Cy Young Award winner Lee, Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, NL Championship Series MVP Roy Oswalt, and World Series MVP Cole Hamels are a formidable foursome no matter the identity of the rotation's fifth wheel. Given good health and good fortune, it's already difficult to envision a scenario in which the '11 Phils don't advance to their fifth straight postseason and perhaps a second World Championship since 2008.