May 24, 2013 |
CHICAGO - Shane Victorino can't wait to get back to Philadelphia. It has been nearly 10 months since the Phillies dealt the popular outfielder to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a journey that continued on to Boston when he signed 3-year, $39 million contract in the offseason. Victorino returns to Citizens Bank Park - the scene of memorable personal and team triumphs - for the first time Wednesday when the Red Sox visit for a two-game interleague series. But first, Victorino's Red Sox host the Phillies on Memorial Day and Tuesday at Fenway Park.
May 12, 2013 |
SURE, HINDSIGHT is 20/20 (which is also what Roy Halladay's ERA would have been after a couple more starts), but we really could have done without Hunter Pence ripping three extra-base hits, including two homers, in the Giants' recent series against the Phillies in San Francisco. Look, we know that the business of baseball, more than anything, made the trades of rightfielder Pence and centerfielder Shane Victorino pretty much the only plays Ruben Amaro Jr. had as last season's trade deadline was approaching . . . and the Phillies' sixth consecutive playoff berth wasn't.
May 9, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - If it wasn't for Hunter Pence, Cliff Lee may have very well shut out the San Francisco Giants on Monday night. In his first game against his former team, Pence tried to be a one-man wrecking ball in the Giants' lineup. He homered in his first at-bat and attempted to start a rally with an eighth-inning, leadoff double in his last at-bat. He went 3-for-3 and scored the only two runs San Francisco scored in a 6-2 defeat to the Phillies. "He looked good," manager Charlie Manuel said yesterday afternoon at AT&T Park.
April 29, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Last July, the Phillies shed Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence in two deadline deals and sought austerity in the outfield. They are paying their five outfielders a total of $3.4 million in 2013, and until Saturday's 9-4 romp over the Mets, the production matched the price. It dragged an offense carried by contributions from its veteran infield. Phillies outfielders ranked 29th in baseball with a .562 OPS before Saturday. They hit three home runs in the season's first 24 games, which tied for the fewest in the majors.
April 22, 2013 |
Watching the Phillies through the first three weeks of the season was a challenging exercise. The parts put together by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. did not work in unison much of the time. A couple of four-run leads disappeared during the first homestand and the offense disappeared shortly after that, scoring a Marlin-esque 13 runs in a recent seven-game stretch. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves sprinted out of the starting gate and placed the Phillies more than a week's worth of games behind them with school still in session for another two months.
April 20, 2013 |
The Phillies' season is only 18 days and 16 games old, which is a point most likely to be made by people who have some incentive to remind us it's early. People like Ruben Amaro Jr. "We've played 15 games," the general manager said before Thursday's 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park, when they left the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position to end the game. "It's 15 games," Amaro repeated. "Somebody said we still have 90 percent of the season left.
April 5, 2013 |
LEFTHANDER GIO Gonzalez homered, providing all the offense necessary to back his six scoreless innings, and the Washington Nationals beat the visiting Miami Marlins, 3-0, Wednesday night. Gonzalez (1-0), a 21-game winner in 2012 who finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting, allowed only two hits, along with five strikeouts and two walks. His solo shot to leftfield off Kevin Slowey (0-1) came with one out in the fifth. Slowey gave up one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Nationals leftfielder Bryce Harper, who hit two home runs in the opener, went 2-for-4 with a double.
April 1, 2013
THE STORM CLOUDS gathered early last March. Ryan Howard was fielding ground balls on a stool. Chase Utley was conspicuously absent from Grapefruit League games. Roy Halladay's velocity was down. The Phillies had no obvious leftfielder, no veteran setup man, and an aging third baseman who had struggled to stay on the field the previous season. The fan base was understandably nervous. My answer to all who asked: It wouldn't surprise me if this team won 100 games, and it wouldn't surprise me if it lost 80. This year, the answer is the same, minus the 100 wins part.
March 30, 2013 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - As exit strategies go, the one the Phillies executed Thursday from their spring training home was far from perfect. It was, however, preferable to the one they carried out of here a year ago. "I feel much better because we've got [Chase] Utley and [Ryan] Howard," Charlie Manuel said before his team's final Grapefruit League game, against the Toronto Blue Jays at Bright House Field. After the manager spoke, the Phillies watched another jagged pitching performance from Roy Halladay, the two-time Cy Young Award winner who entered and exited spring training as the biggest question mark in the starting rotation.