Author Archive

Chase Utley, Offense Heating Up: Philadelphia Phillies Turn in 7-Game Win Streak

The Phillies have been fun to watch during this seven-game winning streak. The have scored a total of 43 runs, about six per game.

How can this team be stopped when the offense is hitting to their potential? The answer is simple: They can’t. 

Phillies fans have been waiting for the offense to break out, and they finally have.

Not only has the offense found its stroke, but its most important piece, Chase Utley, has too. 

Over this seven-game winning streak, Utley has turned in a .391 AVG (9-for-25) with two home runs and eight RBI. Finally, he looks like the old Chase Utley.

The big man at first base, Ryan Howard, has also started to produce like his old self. Over this seven-game winning streak, he has hit .363 (8-for-22) has two home runs, nine RBI and seven BB. 

When Howard walks seven times in seven games, it is a sign he is heating up. Teams become afraid of him and start to walk him. 

Another great sign for Howard is both of his home runs during this winning streak have been to left field. When he is hitting the ball the other way, the shift will start to decrease, and he can hit more singles to right field.

Also, we can’t forget about prospect Domonic Brown. In an increased role, he has contributed three home runs and four RBI during the winning steak.

All in all, with the offense producing and the dominant pitching, this team is unstoppable.

Oh, and on a side note, pitcher Cliff Lee is eight for his last 20 at the plate and has four RBI on the season. The guy is just a pure athlete.

Read more MLB news on

Fab Four Who? Why the Phillies Have Shown Us Not to Doubt Their Lineup

“They can’t hit.” “They’re too old.” “They’re all inured.” These phrases were all uttered toward the Phillies lineup leading up to the 2011 MLB season. Now, eleven games into the season, the Phillies have been proving these critics wrong. The Phillies are 8-3 and they have scored 66 runs. Also, they have hit a remarkable .318 AVG, and have a tremendous .386 OBP which leads the MLB. They are third in the MLB and second in the NL with 64 RBI.   

So, what have the Phillies been doing so well to silence these critics? Here are the reasons why the offense has gotten production like this out of a lineup that was expected to be mediocre at best.

1) Stars Producing

With Utley injured, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins knew they had to step up. They did just that. Howard has hit .333 with three HR and 13 RBI. Howard is striking out less than his usual total, with nine strikeouts through eleven games, and has an unbelievable .643 SLG. Jimmy Rollins does not have an RBI yet this season, but he is seeing the ball great. He has 15 hits, hitting .326. Not to mention, Jimmy has stolen a team high three bases. These two veterans need to continue there great play in order for the Phillies to succeed this season.

2) Ben Francisco

Jayson Werth who? Ben Francisco has been one of the, if not the, best Phillies hitter this season so far. Ben is hitting .279 with 2 HR and 8 RBI. Not to mention he had two potential home run balls pulled back by the wind at Citizens Bank Park. He has also produced four BB, and a .354 OBP. These numbers are coming from a lifetime bench player, who has not had more than 15 HR in his career. Look to see Ben francisco have a huge season for the Phillies.

3) Production in place of Chase Utley

Whether is has been Wilson Valdez or Michael Martinez, the Phillies have gotten great production out of their fill-in second basemen, in the field and at the plate. Valdez is hitting .353 with five RBI, and Martinez even though he only has nine AB had been described as the most upbeat player on the team by Charlie Manuel. Valdez has been great in the field, turning four double pays and not committing one error this season.

4) Bench Production

John Mayberry Jr. and Pete Orr are two names nobody outside the Phillies fan base would even recognize. However, Mayberry leads the MLB in pinch hits with four, and Orr is right behind with three. Mayberry had a walk-off RBI single in the first game of the season, and Pete Orr has appeared in four games this season. Also, Brian Schneider is a very reliable backup catcher. He has one HR and two RBI this season in two games. 

Read more MLB news on

Philadelphia Phillies: Why Ben Francisco Will Be the 2011 Team MVP

With the conclusion of the first weekend, Phillies fans have already learned a lot about the upcoming season. Already the rotation was known to be a sure thing. 19 innings were pitched by Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt while only allowing a collective 14 hits, six runs, one walk and 23 strikeouts.

Also, production needed from fill-in players on this team was taken away from this weekend. The production of Wilson Valdez, who provided two RBI this weekend in the absence of Chase Utley, will be vital to this team. John Mayberry, who contributed the game-winning RBI single in the first game this season, will be a very important bench player to this team.

But the most important player on the Phillies this season is not Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino or any other star on this team. It is the quiet right fielder who has been a bench player his whole career, Ben Francisco. Francisco is filling some big shoes, of Jayson Werth who was lost to the Nationals in free agency this offseason. In the first three games this season, Francisco had 13 AB, hitting .462 with 1 HR and 4 RBI.

In spring training, Francisco blew away Charlie Manuel and the rest of the Phillies organization with a huge performance. He hit .361 with 5 HR and 14 RBI this spring, and had an astounding .667 slugging percentage.  In order to be successful, the Phillies need to give their star pitchers run support. Francisco can contribute valuable RBI and HR hitting behind Ryan Howard against lefties. 

With this being said, Ben Francisco has a very good chance of putting up great numbers this season. Many experts have predicted a 20-25 HR and 75-80 RBI season for Francisco. He has decent speed, good power, and is good in the field. But most importantly Francisco has the right attitude needed for a Philadelphia sports player. The Phantastic phour, Fab Four, or whatever the Phillies starters are called have gotten all the media attention along with Howard, Rollins and Utley. But it is Ben Francisco who will have the biggest impact on the team this season.

Read more MLB news on

Rumors: Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard Swap Likely by the Dedline?

Ever since last season, there have been rumors of an Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard swap between the Cardinals and the Phillies. Since Albert Pujols did not get a contract extension done with the Cardinals this offseason, St. Louis may want to get something out of their star first basemen, instead of having him walk. The Cardinals want to avoid being “Lebron’d” in other terms. The Phillies would benefit greatly from this trade, gaining the best first basement in baseball, and losing a power-hitting, strike-out machine Ryan Howard.

However, I do not see why either team would do this trade. The Phillies yet again, will probably have to give up prospects. With their depleted farm system after the many trades made, this would not be in the Phillies interest. Also, the Phillies signed a $125 Million extension through 2016. Why sign a player to a huge extension then trade him the next year? That is not logical. 

On the other hand, Albert Pujols is one of the best, if not the best player in baseball. The Cardinals still do have a great chance of resigning Pujols in the offseason. They will exercise ever single chance they get to resign Albert. No matter how many teams go after Pujols, the Cardinals will still make there push to resign him. There is no way Albert will not consider resigning with the Cardinals; after all he has spent his whole career in St. Louis. The rumor of a Howard-Pujols swap will heat up towards the trade deadline, but after all the trade will be very hard to complete.

Read more MLB news on

Dilemma in Philly: Whom Do the Phillies Play in Right Field in 2011?

The Phillies are going into the 2011 season with sky-high expectations. Of course, they earned those expectations with a rotation of the god-like right arm of Roy Halladay, big free agent signing Cliff Lee, 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels, and former 20-game winner Roy Oswalt. But, like an old cliche says, “Nobody is perfect.” The Phillies have one big flaw, and that is right field. The dilemma grows in Philadelphia, and everybody is uncertain who will play in right field for the Phillies with the loss of Jayson Werth. Here are a few options for the Phillies in 2011:

1. Ross Gload

Ross Gload is a great pinch hitter. Not an everyday player. Charlie Manuel has already expressed his concerns in Gload as a fielder. Gload, typically an infielder, does not have much experience in the outfield. Last season, as mostly a pinch hitter, Gload hit .281 and had 128 total at-bats. He added six HRs and 22 RBI. Gload’s left-handed bat would overload the Phillies lineup with lefties and switch hitters like Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins. Teams could strategically tear the Phillies apart with late-inning left-handed specialist relievers.


2. Ben Francisco

Ben Francisco is a very legitimate answer to the Phillies’ right field problem. Last season, he hit .268 with 6 HRs and 28 RBI. Francisco was a starter on rest days for Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth, and usually a defensive substitution for Ibanez in late innings. Francisco has decent speed, which will make up for some of the lost speed in Jayson Werth. Francisco, a tested veteran, could be a valuable asset for the Phillies in 2011.


3. Domonic Brown

Domonic Brown is the Phillies’ biggest up-and-coming prospect. Last year, in a short stint in the majors, Brown hit two HRs and drove in 13 RBI. He hit .210. One of his two home runs was a towering shot that broke the 400′ mark, and landed in the second deck of Citizens Bank Park.

In 65 games in Double-A Reading last season, Brown hit 15 HRs and drove in 47 runs. In 28 games in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he hit five HRs and drove in 21 runs—very impressive numbers. Also, to add on to those, he stole a total of 18 bases in double and triple-A ball.

Brown has very good speed, which would definitely replace that of Werth. Brown also has a rocket arm. He might not be ready for the majors yet, and that showed last year, but he is our right fielder of the future. Brown has postseason expierence, which many rookies coming into the league lack.

Another option is John Mayberry, Jr. He is a long shot for making the team, but certainly will be a consideration. He has great speed and power and is a decent fielder. He has six home runs in 69 major league at bats. Not to mention, Mayberry’s genes have baseball in them. John Mayberry, Sr. was a great player for the Kansas City Royals. Mayberry will most likely end up in the minors, but there’s a chance the Phillies will keep him up in the majors.

All in all, the Phillies, year after year, have made the right moves when needed and always get the job done. All fans have confidence in the Phillies front office, and if their outfield does not produce, look for a move to be made at the trade deadline. The Phillies in the end will make the right choice and have success in 2011.

Read more MLB news on

2010 Hot Stove: Why the Phillies WILL Be the 2011 World Series Champions

The Philadelphia Phillies have been one of the most successful baseball teams in the MLB the past three seasons. Recently, as most of you have heard, the Phillies lost their all-star left fielder, Jayson Werth, to the Washington Nationals for a ridiculous amount of money, but also gained the most coveted free agent in the 2010 class, Cliff Lee. Also, they are looking to shop Raul Ibanez, which would mean they would not have a stable outfield. However, this is no reason why the Phillies should not still be an elite team.


1)    Starting Pitching

Pitching wins championships, and the Phillies have plenty of it. Their Big Three, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, all return next season. Now the Phantastic Phour after the HUGE signing of Cliff Lee, the Phillies can almost not even dress any relievers.

Halladay is coming off a career season, winning 21 games and striking out 219 batters, both career highs. He also added another Cy Young Award to his collection, a perfect game and a no-hitter in the postseason. Cole Hamels had a great season to bounce back from a terrible 2009 campaign. He posted a 3.06 ERA after an abysmal 4.32 ERA in 2009. After the Phillies acquired Oswalt, he was un-hittable. His record did not show it at 13-13, but he had a 2.76 ERA, and after losing his first game as a Phillie he won seven straight.

Oh, not to mention, they now have Cliff Lee. Lee is coming off another spectacular postseason. He played in his second World Series, one with the Phillies and one with the Texas Rangers. Last season he posted a very good 3.19 ERA, but for the first half of the season he played on a terrible Seattle Mariners team. He was 12-9, and was injury-plagued in the begging of the season.

This prized free agent signing gives the Phillies the most feared starting rotation in the MLB, if they didn’t have it already. Also, Joe Blanton (who they are also looking to shop) and Kyle Kendrick are pretty good options for fifth starters, winning a combined 20 games in 2010.


2)    Charlie Manuel

As much as I hate Charlie’s in-game strategy, the players love him. He can get any player to play hard. He’s led the team to four straight division titles, back-to-back National League crowns in 2008 and 2009, and another three straight NLCS berths from 2008-2010. The players will always listen to him, and respect him.

For example, Jimmy Rollins did not run a ball out to first base on a ground ball last year. Charlie immediately pulled him from the game, and benched him the next game. He sent a message to the team, to make sure this did not happen again. The Phillies will continue to win under Charlie Manuel. One thing he needs to work on if his public speaking ability in post-game press conferences, but that’s irrelevant at this time.


3)    Howard, Utley, and Rollins

Despite losing Werth, the Phillies return their core players Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins. All had injury problems last season, so they’re bound for bounce-back seasons.

Jimmy has not been the same after his 2007 MVP season. His stats and games played have taken a very noticeable drop since the 2007 season. Howard, despite being on the DL twice last season, still hit for 31 HRs and 108 RBIs. Utley has been debatably the best second basemen in the league, but also had an injury-plagued season.

All these players will pick up the team, and fill Werth’s RBIs and HRs. In the postseason, the Phillies looked like a Little League team at the plate. Especially Ryan Howard looking at strike three to end the season. That is just inexcusable, and the Phillies will have to be better from the plate this season.


4)    Fielding

The Phillies are one of the best-fielding teams in the Majors. As a team they only had 83 errors, which was sixth-best in the league. They also were sixth in fielding percentage, and eighth in total assists. Yes, they lose Werth’s big arm in right field, but Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz is one of the better-fielding catchers in the game, and Shane Victorino just won his second Gold Glove in two years.


To wrap things up I will admit the Phillies are losing a big part of their team in Werth, but they will continue to have success like in recent years. A point I did not address in the article is their bullpen. Brad Lidge has to be the Brad Lidge of 2008 for them to be a World Series team again. Without Werth it will be a struggle, but the veteran Phillies will survive and still have great success. 

Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress