Gameday Preview: Phillies vs New York Mets

The Phillies will try to get back to their winning ways this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park against the New York Mets at 4:05 Pm Eastern Time. The Phillies dropped the first game of the series last night when Cliff Lee gave up some early runs in the first inning off of two doubles to start off the game and a Jason bay big fly later in the first inning, the Phillies offense could not fight off the early deficient.

Vance Worley will take the hill for the Phillies this afternoon, Worley was charged with a no decision last Sunday in Pittsburgh after he pitched very well on Easter. Worley could not get any run support like all of the Phillies pitchers through the first four games of the season but the Phillies offense has been scoring some runs since then so lets see what happens.

The Phillies offense will have to face Lefty Jon Niese, Niese has pitched in the majors five seasons and has a career record of 23-23, has a career ERA of 4.40. Just a week ago Jon Niese signed a five-year $25.5 million dollar contract that has two team options with it and at the end of all of this the contract could be worth nearly 46 million. This is a lot for an unproven pitcher but we are talking about the Mets.

Mets pitchers have 10 or more Ks in five straight games, the longest consecutive streak since April 15-April 20, 1990.

It is supposed to be 72 degrees and a 10 percent chance of rain today in South Philly, beautiful day.

This game will be televised on CSN, 1210 WPHT for radio.

Phillies Lineup (3-4)

1. Victorino CF

2. Polanco 3B

3. Rollins SS

4. Pence RF

5. Mayberry LF

6. Wigginton 1B

7. Galvis 2B

8. Schneider C

9. Worley P

New York Mets Lineup (5-2) 

1. Tejada SS

2. Murphy 2B

3. Wright 3B

4. Davis 1B

5. Bay LF

6. Duda RF

7. Nieuwenhuis CF

8. Thole C

9. Niese P

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Offensive Woes

Well everybody kind of knew going into this season the Phillies weren’t going to come into ball games and score 10 runs every nite, if that could happen for the Phillies sports would sure be a more enjoyable event to watch but we do not have that type of offense as of right now, we have a real frustrating offense to watch that can’t really do much at this point early in the season with Howard and Utley on the disabled list, it is not time to panic just yet but things aren’t looking to good.

It seems like this year for the Phillies the name of the game is to bunt the ball a lot, over the past weekend in Pittsburgh the Phillies lost the series to the Pirates on two walk offs, But I sure saw a lot of bunting going on over there in the Steel City from the team in Red, one time I recall we had runners on first and second with the number three batter up in the order which happened to be Jimmy Rollins and he bunted the runners over, I really dislike having the number three batter in the lineup bunting at all but I guess to watch this team I’m going to have to get used to it this year. I remember a couple of years ago when the Phillies would just tally up runs in a heartbeat and blast home runs, you can’t take times like that for granted because now we have a team that can hardly chalk up one run.

Having an instant out at the top of the lineup does not help matters either, I have nothing against Juan Pierre as a human but as a baseball player I really dislike his winkey dink type of play, Pierre basically hits bloop singles and then gets caught stealing about 70 percent of the time. Pierre is a really fast player but he is a horrible base stealer because he can’t figure out how to get a lead off of first. A key to base stealing is getting a good lead, there is so many players that do not have the speed of Pierre but can steal bases because they understand how to get great leads, something that they need to teach Pierre but it’s really late to teach him at this point as he is in his 13th season as a player. The only real point to Pierre is his speed but if he can’t even steal bases with all of that speed then I would get rid of him. Just to add-on to my little Juan Pierre tirade, Pierre has a horrible outfield arm, probably couldn’t even throw out Bengie Molina trying to score on a single from second base, I have seen little league players with better arms.

If I was the skipper of the Phillies and had to construct a lineup I would not even put Pierre in the lineup, this would be the lineup and a brief reason why I would put them here.

1. Jimmy Rollins

Always been that lead off guy for the Phillies and he can get on base, also nows how to steal bases. He can get hits and also has some power, can pop the ball out of the ballpark.

2. Placido Polanco 

The perfect guy to bat second because he almost never strikeouts and is one of the best contact hitters in the game, can produce hits and set it up for the power hitters in the lineup.

3. John Mayberry Jr. 

I would put Mayberry in the third spot because he has the power to hit balls out of the ballpark as he showed last year, last year Mayberry blasted 15 home runs in his most productive year of his career. Now can someone explain to me why a guy who hit 15 home runs last year was sitting on the bench last weekend in Pittsburgh so we could have little wimpy Pierre in the lineup? The Phillies have only hit one home run so far this season but we bench a guy who hit 15 home runs last year? Juan Pierre only has 16 home runs over his 12 year career.

4. Hunter Pence

As long as Pence is with this team I sure hope Pence is always in the cleanup spot in this lineup, he can hit homers and bats in a ton of runs over the long season. I really don’t know how he hits some of these balls that are out of the strike zone but he is sure fun to watch, Pence has the only home run this season for the Phillies.

5. Shane Victorino 

Victorino is fast, can hit, and hit some home runs over the course of a season, I would put him in the fifth spot to and some speed in the middle of  lineup and also get on base for the batters later on in the lineup.

6. Ty Wigginton/ Jim Thome

I would have either Wigginton or  Thome in the sixth spot, whoever is playing first base that particular day always batting in the sixth spot. Thome can not play every single day but when he does play he still has some power in him to put balls into the seats, Wigginton is a great player to have on your team because he can play every where and produce some hits, he is no Babe Ruth but his bat can make contact with the ball.

7. Freddy Galvis

Galvis was able to get his first career Major League hit yesterday against the Marlins, his double also scored two runs and that ended up being the only runs the Phillies scored in the ball game, hopefully this sparks some offense out of Galvis. Galvis has not proven a lot so far so that is why he bats 7th.

8. Carlos Ruiz

I would bat Ruiz 8th because he understands national league baseball, he understands how to try to turn over the lineup so the pitcher does not lead off the next inning. This is very important because if you can’t turn over the lineup your sure going to have a lot of first outs in the next inning over the season.

9. Pitcher

Other than Cliff Lee there is not a lot of pitchers who can hit the baseball.

I just have never liked Juan Pierre and would defiantly not put him in this lineup at any point in time, I cringed when I heard the Phillies gave him a contract. I just really hate is style of play he brings to the ballpark every single day, yes he is fast and gets little singles but I just can’t stand seeing him play the game of baseball.

I really don’t see this lineup produce much offense until Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are back, you kind of take for granted the offense until one of your big stars or out with injury and your offense is just sputtering around. I don’t know about you but for me watching this offense is one of the most frustrating things ever, they can never get the leadoff batter on base and it seems like all of the rallies so far this season have come with two outs, sure would be a lot more fun if we could get those same rallies with no outs and chalk up some more runs on the board, our pitching is going to have exactly no run support with Howard and Utley out.

That is just me but if you would like to voice your opinion on what lineup you would like to see from the Phillies, feel free to post it in the comment section.

Phillies Lose Home Opener 6-2

It was a very windy home opener for the Phillies today at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, lots of hot dog wrappers blowing all over the field most of the game but it sure was wonderful seeing the Phillies playing at Citizens Bank Park again.

Cole Hamels obtained the honors to start the home opener for the Phillies this afternoon. Hamels got into some early trouble in the first inning when he allowed singles to the first two batters of the ball game, Hamels would get out of the jam and inning only allowing one run. Hamels allowed a run in the fourth inning after Hanley Ramirez stretched a single into a double to lead off the inning, the problem with Pierre in left field is he does not have a great arm, a player with a better arm may have been able to throw him out but nonetheless Hanley Ramirez is really fast. In the top of the fifth inning Omar Infante took Cole Hamels deep to left field even with the wind and put the Marlins up 3-0. Marlins would chalk up another run in the sixth inning off of a misplayed bunt when no one was covering first base and the ball scooted down the right field line and allowed the runner to third base and would eventually  score later in the inning, that would end the day for Hamels, Hamels would pitch 5.1 innings and allowed four runs off of eight hits and struck out nine in his 2012 season debut.

Hamels is a slow starter apparently: 1-4 with a 5.97 ERA in his last six season-opening starts. Philies are 3-6 in home openers at CB Park. This stat was via Todd Zolecki of Mlb.com

Joe Savery came out of the pen in the sixth inning in relief for Hamels, Omar Infante took Savery deep to left field in the top of the seventh inning for his second home run of the game, this home run was a line drive to left filed that landed in the front row. Savery would pitch 1.2 innings today and would allow one run off of one hit. The Phillies really needed a good outing from Savery because this Phillies bullpen was really heavily used over the past weekend, some relievers the Phillies could not use today. I would have never thought Omar Infante would hit two home runs in a game.

Phillies would also use David Herndon and Jonathan Papelbon in this ball game, Papelbon was used because he has not be given a lot of work thus far this season. Papelbon allowed a home run to the first batter he faced in the top of the ninth inning.

Phillies offense again was pretty lack luster through the first six innings and could not give Cole Hamels any run support, it always seems like when Hamels pitches the Phillies offense ceases up. Phillies produced there first runs of the ball game in the bottom of the seventh inning off of Freddy Galvis’s first Major League hit which was a double that scored two runs, a huge hit to get the Phillies some life and back into the game. That would be all of the runs the Phillies would mustered up today as they lose to the Miami Marlins 6-2

The only real postive affair that happen today was that Freddy Galvis finally got that first hit of his Major League career out of his way after three hitless games, he can now take a deep breath and just relax, Lets hope this sparks some great hitting from Galvis and the rest of the Phillies.

“It was good to see him, but I couldn’t put him in the lineup.” Charlie Manuel on Ryan Howard taking ground balls before todays Phillies game. We really need the big piece back in this lineup, quickly.

Phillies fall to a record of (1-3) on the season and now have lost three straight games, time to raise the red flag? Phillies have not started a season 1-4 since 2007 and lets hope Doc can pitch a shutout on Wednesday.

Phillies have tomorrow off and resume the series on Wednesday against the Marlins, a great pitching matchup for that game as Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson will face each other.

Phillies Lose Opening Series To Pirates

The Phillies again acquired the early lead at PNC Park in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania today off of a Hunter Pence RBI double down the left field line, Pence batted the only run in for the Phillies yesterday in the first inning also. Hunter Pence also hit the first home run of the year for the Phillies in the top of the fourth inning, it was a hanger and he hit it to the deepest part of the ball park, in left center field, it is a relief to get that out-of-the-way.

Vance Worley took the hill today for the Phils, he was pitching a scoreless ballgame through the first four innings until Pedro Alverez crushed a solo home run to right field to cut the Phillies 2-0 lead in half, he hit the ball so far it went over the right field bleachers and almost into the river. Worley would pitch six innings strong and only allow one run off of 5 hits, it turned out that the bullpen was the source of the problems again today.

I watched the game until about the top of the eighth inning and then I had to split to go to my family’s house for our Easter get together, I’m sure glad I did not stick around to see the end of the game because I would not have been one happy camper at all

I thought for sure we had todays game won after Juan Pierre batted in two runs off of a single to right field, Pierre who was in the lineup today starting in left field for the first time this season. But I also thought we had yesterdays game won too but again I was wrong, it was just one disappointing opening day weekend and I have sure seen too many walk offs at PNC Park. I always hate it when the Phillies play at this park, it just seems like we can never win there.

Pirates produced a rally after Ty Wigginton dropped a ball while playing first after pitcher Antonio Bastardo struck the batter out, that play would spark a rally and the Pirates would eventually score two runs in the inning and pull within one of the Phillies, then the Phillies bullpen blew the game later on.

This bullpen has blown the last to ballgames for the Phillies, our starting pitchers have pitched great ball games but then the relievers blow it. I was sort of worried about this going into the season and now I’m seeing that there is a problem, other than closer Jonathan Papelbon at the end of the Phillies bullpen who can get us through those 7th and 8th innings? So far nobody can and that’s not a good situation.

It just seems like every team in Major League baseball has that one team that they can never beat, that team for the Phillies is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ever since Pittsburgh built this brand new beautiful ballpark the Phillies have completely stunk it up when we travel to the Steel city. I really don’t know why this happens but it seems like this happens to a lot of clubs where they just can never beat that one team, but that is sports for you.

Well at the end of the first weekend in Major League baseball for the Phillies we come out of it with one win, Roy Halladay pitched a great game on Thursday and pitched all the way to the eighth inning and then allowed Papelbon in the ninth to shut it down to collect the save.

Offense still is a problem we are going to have to deal with this year, Phillies only produced five hits today. Not a lot of runs scored over this weekend either.

Just a quick sidenote here, I really dislike fans waving their teams flag the entire game when you have really nice seats, I was watching the game on tv and right behind home plate this idiot Pirates fan was waving here stupid flag the entire game, seriously get a life.

Phillies head back home now to Philadelphia for tomorrows home opener against the Miami Marlins, Cole Hamels gets the nod to start the home opener. This game will be at 1:05 Pm EST.

See you in a little bit Philly

Kyle Kendrick Continues Hot Spring

The way Kyle Kendrick is pitching this spring it really looks like he wants to Prove to the Phillies that he wants and deserves the fifth spot in the Phillies starting rotation. Kyle continued that great pitching today against the Pirates where Kendrick went 3 1/3 innings not allowing any hits and striking out five, if thats not impressive I really don’t know what is.

This spring Kyle Kendrick has pitched a total of 8 1/3 and has not allowed a run yet. He has not walked a batter and has struck out nine, Kendrick has only allowed four hits total this spring.

Kyle is truly pleading his case for that fifth spot in the rotation and it sure is a good case. Since the Phillies cut Dontrelle Willis this morning that fifth spot is down to two players battling for it, Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton are the two going for the fifth spot in the Phillies starting rotation.

Kyle Kendrick is 43-30 over in his career with a ERA of 4.41.

Kyle Kendrick is open to do anything out of the bullpen and in past years the Phils have used him as a long man out of the bullpen. He also has filled in when a starting pitcher has been hurt, like when Roy Oswalt missed sometime last year due to injury. There ha been some thought that the Phillies could trade Joe Blanton before spring training, if that happens then Kyle Kendrick will be the fifth starter this year for the Phils. I really do think the Phillies should trade Blanton because he is getting paid way too much money, more money then he is worth.

Joe Blanton signed a three-year contract in 2010 worth 24 million, that means Blanton gets paid eight million dollars a year. Wow that may be the worst contract ever since Blanton did not even play half of the season last year and in 2010 he only won 9 games and lost 6. Looking over Joe Blanton’s whole career he really hasn’t had one really standout season that is worth a 24 million dollar contract. Blanton’s career record is 73-62

Now the problem the Phillies have run into is that since they gave Blanton a way too big of a contract its hard to trade him anywhere because teams don’t want to pick up that contract so they might as well keep him on the team to finish out the contract and then let him go at the end of the season, or renegotiate a more respectable contract.