November 13, 2011
With the addition of Jonathan Papelbon as the closer, we now know that the Phillies' pitching department is at least going to remain among baseball's elite, if not the gold standard. We also know that pitching was not the problem during these past two postseasons, when the Phillies were eliminated first by the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series and then by the St. Louis Cardinals one round earlier. Nothing is wrong with the plan that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies have implemented.
July 24, 2011 |
Roy Halladay spent all those years in Toronto, watching big-market, big-money American League East rivals make bold moves. "It was frustrating to watch Boston and New York do that when we were close at the [trade] deadline," Halladay said Sunday after winning his 12th game of the season. "The teams that win, they do those things. They are aggressive. " Put another way, Halladay the Blue Jay knew firsthand what it felt like to be a Phillies player and fan for about two decades (not to mention the century before 1976)
May 23, 2011 |
Every day, Charlie Manuel has the best seat in the house for the worst show in sports. From his perch in the dugout, the manager watched the Phillies spray five singles around hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park Sunday afternoon. They were shut out, meaning they scored a total of five runs in a three-game series against the Texas Rangers - and still managed to win two games. Honestly, if Ruben Amaro Jr. had called up the entire single-A Lakewood lineup and let it face Rangers lefthander Matt Harrison, it almost certainly would have done better than J-Roll, Ryan, Rauuuuuuul and the guys.
April 2, 2011
JAYSON WERTH was an excellent player in these parts over the past few years. Not only that, as English poet, songwriter and dramatist Thomas Haynes Bayly so shrewdly observed, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Thomas Haynes Bayly would have been a Phillies fan. As everyone knows, Werth doesn't live here anymore. He was lured into a Washington Nationals uniform by the guarantee of $126 million over the next 7 years and, honestly, who among us wouldn't have done the same?
August 25, 2011 |
At times, it takes something a little ugly to remind the followers of a baseball team how fortunate they've been to watch someone field his position as exquisitely as Jimmy Rollins has for the last dozen seasons. Like many athletes who have plied their trade in this town, Rollins probably won't be fully appreciated until he's gone, which may happen following this season, the final one on his contract. And if the 33-year-old shortstop moves on and signs with another club, only then will Phillies fans fully realize they've lost the best this club has ever had at manning the most important position in the infield.
June 16, 2011 |
THE TRAINING room can be a lonely place during the final innings of defeat. It is just you and some trainers and your ice-wrapped arm, watching a conclusion you were paid to prevent. This is Roy Halladay's world when a two-run deficit proceeds to the ninth. The training room during a comeback? You can only imagine how it feels. Watching Carlos Ruiz, the catcher who called your seven innings of work, bring the tying run to the plate with a one-out single to right-centerfield. Watching Ross Gload hit a line drive that drops just short enough.
August 13, 2012 |
Silver linings and gray hairs have a lot in common. You never really want to be looking for either one, but sometimes that's all you have, so you pull them out and examine them. In this, the season of mounting losses and unmet expectations, the Phillies have found their silver linings from some guys who were not even here at the beginning of the year. One of them came through with a game-tying home run Sunday afternoon, and the other picked up his first major-league victory as the Phillies finished a nine-game homestand with an 8-7, 11-inning victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park.
August 18, 2011 |
Wilson Valdez makes it a priority to change his hair style on a biweekly basis. He dyes it blond or red or keeps the natural brown, depending on his mood. Usually he fashions a mohawk, with some wonky pattern shaved into the back. This week, he buzzed it short. "Because," Valdez said, without elaborating. He is a strange character in a game that happily breeds them. So there was Valdez, in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 9-2 Phillies victory over Arizona, admiring a deep fly to center.
March 7, 2011
LAKELAND, Fla. - Let's pretend for a moment that Chase Utley has been abducted by space aliens. Or that he suddenly renounced all worldly possessions and became a Tibetan monk. (Pssssst. What we're really suggesting here is that the continuing problems with Utley's right knee just might end up being serious enough to sideline the All-Star second baseman for some significant time. Apparently this is a subject that isn't supposed to be contemplated out loud, though. After all, the condition was first described as general soreness.