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SPORTS
May 5, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
ST. LOUIS - The Phillies bullpen entered the season as one of the team's glaring uncertainties. A month into the season, it has been an obvious reason for the team's surprising start. The unit - which entered Wednesday with 98 strikeouts in 87 innings - is finding success without having firepower. It is unconventional, but it is working. The Phillies relief pitchers, according to PitchF/X data, throw an average fastball of 91.7 mph. It is the fourth-slowest mark by a Phillies bullpen since the data began being tracked in 2007.
SPORTS
May 5, 2016 | By Sam Donnellon, Daily News Columnist
YOU KNOW it can't last. I know it can't last. So why were we sweating the ninth inning Tuesday night, with Mr. Imperfectly Perfect on the mound, after Hector Neris churned through the Cardinals' hitters in the eighth inning, after Aaron Nola threw a near-perfect seven innings before that, allowing only a game-opening double and an infield single? Why did it seem to matter so much, that 1-0 lead produced by, of all things, the feast-or-famine swing of Ryan Howard, a swing that already has won outright four games this season?
SPORTS
May 4, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
ST. LOUIS - The mental side of baseball, David Hernandez said, is the game's most taxing aspect. And last month the Phillies righthander was dealt a heavy challenge. Hernandez labored through spring training with a sore arm. Then he was pelted in his season debut, allowing three runs in Cincinnati without registering an out on opening day. This was the season for Hernandez to prove that Tommy John surgery two years ago did not seize his ability. The rough start allowed doubt to creep into his mind.
SPORTS
May 1, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
The Phillies emptied the dugout, hopped over the railing, and spilled onto the field. Another victory - this time a 4-3 win over Cleveland - waited to be celebrated. Ryan Howard's walk-off homer in the 11th inning handed the Phillies their seventh win in eight games Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. Winning has somehow become the norm for the team expected to spend the season in baseball's basement. They are guaranteed to end April with a winning record. Howard dropped the bat as soon as he blasted the pitch, a full-count fastball.
SPORTS
May 1, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
Peter Bourjos does not feel slighted batting ninth. The Phillies outfielder said he likes hitting behind the team's pitcher. Bourjos, who has struggled through the season's first month, batted last on Friday night against Cleveland as manager Pete Mackanin slotted his starting pitcher into the No. 8 spot for the eighth straight game. Bourjos' offensive game is built on speed, which he said makes batting eighth a challenge. He felt as though he could not bunt for a base hit because the pitcher was going to be bunting behind him. And Bourjos could not attempt a steal because if he was thrown out the pitcher would be up with the bases empty.
SPORTS
April 25, 2016 | By Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER
Triple-A Lehigh Valley Adam Morgan, who added a cutter and some velocity in spring training, struck out 20 batters in his first three starts. His best outing was Thursday, with six strikeouts and a walk in seven innings of two-run ball. . . . Tommy Joseph's slash line through 10 games is .367/.406/.733. Seven of his first 11 hits were for extra bases. . . . Darnell Sweeney, 25, has split his time between second base and center field. He has made three errors. . . . Last winter, a rival scout described the waiver-wire acquisition of infielder Taylor Featherston as a "nice buy-low move.
NEWS
April 22, 2016
ISSUE | BASEBALL Robinson not the only black trailblazer Once again, Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on Friday ("Howard, Baker pay tribute to No. 42, Jackie Robinson," Saturday). We are aware of Robinson's tribulations as he fought courageously to become the first black player in the major leagues. But how many people remember another black baseball player, Curt Flood? It was Flood who tested baseball's reserve clause in 1970 when he refused to play for the Phillies, who had obtained him in a trade with the Cardinals.
SPORTS
April 22, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
Andrew Bailey's first taste of the majors came when he would ride with his family across the Delaware River to watch the Phillies teams of the 1990s at Veterans Stadium. Bailey grew up in Haddon Heights. He was 9 years old in 1993, when the Phillies won the pennant. Darren Daulton was his favorite player and Bailey recalls the way Mickey Morandini's name was announced. And on Wednesday afternoon - for the first time in Bailey's career - the fan from South Jersey wore a Phillies uniform in South Philadelphia.
SPORTS
April 14, 2016 | By Matt Breen, STAFF WRITER
Pete Mackanin said the Phillies have encouraged slumping shortstop Freddy Galvis to use a heavier bat in an effort to slow down his swing and give him a relaxed approach. However, they have yet to demand that he do so. "There's going to come a point where I'm going to say you're either going to do it or you're not going to play. Hopefully it won't come to that," Mackanin said. "He's been trying to get back to it, but you can see in batting practice he hits the way we want him to and then sometimes you get into a game and the adrenaline kicks in. It's just uncomfortable.
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