Author Archive

NLCS 2010: Philadelphia Phillies’ 10 Biggest Hits in Postseason History

We’ve already seen some awesome pitching from the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2010 MLB playoffs. But will the Phils be able to display some equally clutch hitting as the postseason continues? Let’s hope.

In the mean time, let’s look back at the 10 biggest hits in Phillies’ postseason history.

Keep in mind that the following rankings are not just based on the timeliness of the hit itself, but also on the relative magnitude of the game in which the performance came (basically, World Series hits count for extra).

Enjoy this trip through Phillies’ history!

Begin Slideshow

Philadelphia Phillies’ 10 Greatest Starting Pitching Games In Postseason History

Roy Halladay’s no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS is without question the greatest starting performance in Phillies’ playoff history. But it certainly isn’t the only great one.

Here are the 10 best postseason starting pitching performances in Phillies’ history.

Keep in mind that the following rankings are not just based on the excellence of the pitching line itself, but also on the relative magnitude of the game in which the performance came (basically, World Series performances counts for extra).

Enjoy this trip through Phillies’ history!

Begin Slideshow

Charlie Manuel: Is The Philadelphia Phillies’ Skipper Manager of The Year?

Before autumn 2007, Charlie Manuel had about the same chance of ever being Manager of the Year as Michael Vick had of ever being the Eagles’ starting QB, right?

Guess a lot has changed in three years.

But can the skipper of a team that was an overwhelming World Series favorite in the preseason actually win Manager of the Year?

Well, The Phillies are on the doorstep of their franchise-record fourth straight NL East title. Ho hum. Nothing too surprising.

Right now the Phillies are where everyone expected them to be back in March, but the road they’ve taken over the past six months to get here has been anything but routine.

The Phils have trailed in the division for the majority of the season, slept-walked through inexplicably prolonged spells of offensive stagnancy, and sustained a mind-boggling rash of injuries.

Yet, these Phillies have overcome all the adversity that everyone quickly assumed would derail them in the regular season, and you could actually make a point that Charlie Manuel has done a more impressive job of managing in 2010 than he did the past two seasons.

Yes, the 2008-09 Phils made it to the World Series. Yes, Charlie didn’t blow up when things got rough. Yes, managing Phillies games wasn’t always easy. Remember last year’s Brad Lidge situation?

But the Phillies were one of the healthiest teams in baseball each of the past two seasons. They had very, very few injuries. Charlie had the luxury of relying on, for the most part, a set lineup and a set pitching staff where everyone knew their roles.

The 2008 Phillies had four players that started at least 145 games, four starting pitchers with at least 30 starts, and four relievers who pitched in over 70 games.

The 2009 Phillies didn’t have that same kind of health in the pitching staff, but made up for it in the starting lineup. Remarkably, six of the Phillies eight regulars played in over 150 games.

Having so many talented players so healthy over the prior two seasons was a great gift for Manuel and the Phillies. John Russell, currently the proud manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, would look like more of a baseball genius if he had the chance to write Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard and company into his lineup card on a nightly basis.

But obviously the Phillies haven’t had health in 2010. Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth are the only regulars that will play in at least 150 games, and a grand total of 18 Phillies have been on the DL.

Actually, Manuel’s managerial job in 2010 is quite reminiscent of his outstanding 2007 season, when he finished second in the NL Manager of the Year voting behind only Arizona’s Doug Melvin.

While the ’07 Phils had one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball, the 2010 Phillies have had one of the most erratic offenses in the league. Yet, in each year, Manuel relied heavily upon his reserves and less-proven players as his club sought to navigate the rough seas of a team constantly riddled by injuries. 

The Phillies were also given up for dead by most followers on several occasions during ’07 and ‘10, yet somehow managed to rebound from the countless times a total collapse seemed imminent. Of course, the on-field resilience that the 2007 and 2010 Phillies showed was partially made possible by the positive attitude of their man in the dugout: Charlie Manuel.  

Turning our full attention back to 2010, the never impulsive Manuel has shown faith in his players, and they have rewarded him for it, as usual.

If Charlie had listed to the fans he would have benched Ibanez in June and demanded the promotion of Domonic Brown.

If Charlie had listened to the fans he would have canned Mr. Valdez just for the sake of making a change after Wilson had grounded into about 40 double plays in his first 10 games.

If Charlie had listened to the fans he would have replaced closer Brad Lidge with Jose Contreras in July (I was one of those fans).

Then again, if Charlie had listened to the city’s pulse in August 2008, he would have sent his struggling second-year, eight-hole hitting catcher to the bench for the rest of the season. Oh by the way, Carlos Ruiz is now one of the most popular players on the team and one of the finest catchers in MLB.

Well, right now, this particular author doesn’t question any of Charlie’s moves in 2010, except for perhaps giving Roy Halladay a slightly longer leash than need be. 

The patience, and dare I say poise, that Manuel has shown in his team has really paid off over the past four seasons, but especially in 2010.


So, Will Charlie Win?

Unfortunately for Mr. Manuel, there’s at least a little bit of truth to the old cliché, “A manager is only as good as his players.”

That saying tends to stack the deck against the Manager of the Year chances of any skipper guiding a team as well assembled as the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies.

Charlie won’t win manager of the year.

The San Diego Padres’ Bud Black will, and Cincinnati’s Dusty Baker should finish second in the voting.

Both the extremely young Padres and Reds have won without much proven big-league talent, and, despite being overlooked by mainly everybody in the spring, appear poised for the postseason. Their managers deserve the recognition they’ll get.

And yes, Charlie deserves accolades for the job he’s done in 2010. But they just won’t come in the form of a Manager of the Year award at the end of the season.

Read more MLB news on

Philadelphia Phillies Prove Winning on the Road is Still the Mark of a Champion

In sports, the ability to win on enemy turf often distinguishes the contenders from the pretenders.

That’s proven to be true during the 2010 MLB season, particularly in regards to the marathon-style NL East race.

The Phillies, who begun the season just 22-30 away from home, have now won 17 of their last 20 on the road. The 2010 season will mark the seventh straight season in which the Phillies have had a winning record when needing room service. Simply remarkable.

Then again, maybe it’s not too remarkable, since these Phillies seem to prove every year that divisional standings only matter at the end of September, not at the end of July.

Remember the type of rhetoric that was being thrown around on sports-related radio, TV, and web pages in early July? You remember, right? Try not to laugh…

The Phillies were not going to win the NL East in 2010 because the division was so dramatically improved. 

The Braves and Mets were motivated by and hungry for success, while the Phillies were emotionally and physically drained from all the baseball they had played the past two seasons, and had grown (gasp) complacent.

Of course, the experts prognosticating Philadelphia’s free-fall from greatness in early July forgot to take both Atlanta and New York’s incompetence on the road into consideration.

By Independence Day, the Braves and Mets were both “lights out” at home (30-10, 28-12 respectively). However, each team had an underwhelming 18-24 record on the road.

In the 10 weeks since, both teams have learned how difficult it is to win seven out of every 10 games at home, while neither has ever been able to rectify their road woes.

Being a road warrior is the signature of a champion, and longtime Atlanta skipper Bobby Cox has always known it.

From 1991 to 2005, Cox’s Braves were perennially one of baseball’s best road teams and finished all but two of those division-championship seasons with a winning record on the road (1996 and 2005).

Still, Bobby’s upstart 2010 Braves spent much of the past three months in first place, as it took the veteran Phillies a pretty long time to begin rounding into October form.

By the end of July, Philadelphia had lost 23 of its previous 32 road games. The last time the Phillies suffered through that bad of a prolonged stretch on the road was back in 2003, a telltale year in which the Phils were dynamite at Veterans Stadium (49-32) but were ultimately undone by their inability to win on the road (37-44).

Philly hasn’t suffered a losing season away from home since, and has made winning on the road a staple in its very own twenty-first century glory days.

The 2007 Phillies won their last six games in Shea Stadium against the Mets. As it turned out, every one of the wins was critical.

The 2008 Phillies won all nine of their games in Turner Field against the Braves.

The 2009 Phillies averted disaster by starting the season 24-9 on the road, despite beginning the year 13-22 at home.

The 2010 Phillies recent excellence away from Citizens Bank Park has placed them on the doorstep of a franchise-record fourth consecutive division title.

Of course, the Braves hopes of a NL East championship aren’t dead yet. They still have six road games remaining and end the regular season with six more at Turner Field. But for Atlanta, it all might be too little, too late.

The Phillies meanwhile, when it comes to winning on the road, have once again shown that it’s better to do it late than never.

And that’s a cliché that suits this club just fine.

By the way, since July 8 the Phillies are 27-10 at Citizens Bank Park. That too is the sign of a team who’s “for real.”

Read more MLB news on

Top 10 Three-Man Rotations in Philadelphia Phillies History

C’mon Philadelphia, please put down the Michael Vick Kool-Aid…just for a second. We’re talkin’ baseball right now.

For years, the Phillies have relied heavily on their “Big Three” to win games; the “Big Three,” of course, being the trio of homegrown studs (Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard) the Phillies have featured in their daily lineup for the past several years .

Sure, that “Big Three” is still pretty good. But over the final two months of the 2010 campaign, the Phillies have made it to the brink of the postseason on the strength of a different kind of big three: the kind of big three that occupies their starting rotation.

Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt.  Game-set-match.

That three-man rotation is pretty good. But is it the greatest 1-2-3 rotation punch in Phillies history? Let’s count down and find out.

Begin Slideshow

Philadelphia Phillies: Red-Hot Team Making Its Own Luck…Lots of It

Uh, one problem, Geovany—you forgot the ball…

When things are going well, this is the kind of stuff that happens.

Obviously things are going really well for the Phillies right now: good defense, timely hitting, and absolutely incredible pitching.

But that’s not all. Anyone who’s followed this team for the last four weeks knows the Phillies have repeatedly capitalized on their opponents’ tendencies to commit numerous fielding or throwing errors that have directly led to big innings by the Phils’ offense.

Please know that I’m not saying that the Phillies don’t deserve to have as good a record as they have now. They DO deserve it. Remember, there’s a reason why teams like the Nationals or Royals never seem to win games like this. Bad teams always let the competition off the hook.

Good teams, like the Phillies, truly make the opposition pay for their mistakes, and that’s exactly what the three-time defending NL East champions have been doing for the past month.

Enjoy this look back. You just can’t script this stuff…

Begin Slideshow

Pat Burrell and the 10 Greatest Outfielders in Phillies History

Pat Burrell’s return to Citizens Bank Park is a logical time to evaluate where “Pat the Bat” ranks among the Phillies best outfielders of all time.

The Phillies came full-circle during Burrell’s time in Philly, beginning as a last-place team during Pat’s rookie season in 2000 and ending as world champions of baseball by the time Burrell’s tenure ended after 2008.

The following rankings were based upon these three categories, listed in order of importance: Hitting, Longevity, Defense (CFs get a slight edge over LF and RFs).

Ranking/comparing players of different vintages and centuries is always tough, but I did my best. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane!

Begin Slideshow

A Tribute To Larry Bowa: The Manager Who Saved the Philadelphia Phillies

Just 10 short years ago, professional baseball in Philadelphia was dead.

Totally, undisputedly, dead.

I was a sixth-grader at the time, back in 2000, and nobody at Elkins Park Middle School in the Montgomery County Philly suburbs even wanted to talk about our city’s ball team.

No one. Wanna talk about Pokemon? Sure. The Harry Potter books? Of course. The Fightin Phils? No way.

The Phillies were nobodys. They were losers.

They were losers until Larry Bowa became the Phillies 49th manager in team history on November 1, 2000.

Now to the present: The 64-year-old Bowa has returned to Philadelphia this week as the Dodgers third base coach. Back in the ‘70’s, Bowa made a name for himself as the Phillies’ terrific shortstop. But 20 years later, he also oversaw the Phils’dramatic turn-around at the start of the new millennium.

Larry’s only previous managerial experience came with San Diego, where he was fired midway through 1988 after just one-and-a-half unsuccessful seasons.

Twelve years later in Philadelphia Bowa inherited a Phillies team, a franchise, in total disarray.

Rebuilding wouldn’t be easy.

Losing had become habitual. From 1987 through 2000, the Phillies had suffered through 13 losing seasons in 14 years. 1993, as great as it was, was simply lightening in a bottle (Bowa was actually the Phils’ third base coach that year).

The 2000 Phillies had the worst record in MLB. It was a brutal year. As a young fan still trying to establish some kind of a love for Phillies baseball, I couldn’t take too many more seasons like 2000.

In 2001, the culture of Phils baseball started to change.

In his time as Phillies’ manager, Larry repeatedly admitted that he wasn’t as outwardly confrontational or emotional as he had been in his initial managerial stint with San Diego. But Bowa still had more than enough passion as the Phils’ skipper.     

Larry didn’t tolerate the complacency that sometimes sets in within the clubhouse of a struggling team. He had learned to handle losing, but he would never, ever learn to settle for it.

Under Bowa, the Phillies weren’t going to be the doormats of MLB any longer. Bad baseball in Philadelphia wasn’t to be expected, or accepted, the way it had been since the Simpsons became America’s most famous animated family in the late 1980s.    

On paper, the 2001 Phillies who finished 86-76 and came within two games of winning the division weren’t significantly better than the 2000 Phillies who finished 65-97. The Phils’ payroll was actually $3.5 million less in 2001 than it had been in 2000.

Clearly, the Phillies players took to Bowa’s intense, hands-on style of coaching much more than they had former manager Terry Francona’s mild-mannered laid-back approach. 

Sure, Bowa rubbed a few players the wrong way in 2001, namely star third baseman Scott Rolen, but the majority of Larry’s players seemed to respond to him.

Back to the present—In case you haven’t heard, these 2010 Phillies are in a pennant race and have a dynamic three-man rotation of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt.

The 2001 Phillies went deep into a pennant race too, equipped with a “Big Three” starting rotation of Robert Person, Randy Wolf, and Omar Daal.

It wasn’t quite the same back then.

Bowa was named NL Manager of the Year in 2001, an honor well deserved. 

Overall, the Phillies had a mid-level payroll during Bowa’s four-year reign, and the Phillies won 86 games three times in a season.

But by September 2004, it was clearly time for Larry to go. Another promising season would end just short of the playoffs, and it seemed that the Phillies players were no longer inspired by Bowa’s intensity and passion. Finally, Larry was fired on the second-to-last day of the ’04 season.

Bowa had taken the Phillies as far as he could. And that was far enough. Thanks to a beautiful new ballpark that helped to keep the stadium turnstiles in motion and a roster loaded with young talent, the road was fully paved for the Phillies to achieve much bigger, better things in the years ahead.

The Phillies 2008 roster featured just six players who were around at the end of Bowa’s tenure, but all six played major roles in the Phillies’ World Series championship that season (Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Brett Myers, and Ryan Madson).

Larry Bowa wasn’t just the Gold Glove shortstop who helped the Phillies win their first, long-awaited World Championship in 1980, but also the manager who steered the franchise toward its second title in 2008.

Charlie Manuel was at the helm when these ultra-talented Phillies made it back to the summit of the baseball world, and he deserves credit for that. But no one should forget that it was Larry Bowa who got the long-time moribund Phillies finally pointed in the right direction and helped make Philadelphia a baseball town once again.

Phillies Four Seasons Under Larry Bowa:

Year    Record       NL East           Payroll

2001    86- 76       Second           $38, 563, 833

2002    80- 81       Third              $49, 304, 999

2003    86- 76       Third              $63, 260, 000

2004    86- 76       Second           $89, 119, 167

TOT.    338-309

Read more MLB news on

How David Herndon Is Killing the Philadelphia Phillies

No, David Herndon isn’t one of the main reasons the Phillies have disappointed thus far in 2010.

Not even close.

Obviously he doesn’t deserve the same amount of heat that teammates like Shane Victorino and Brad Lidge have been getting. But that doesn’t mean Herndon should be getting a free pass.

It’s safe to say that Herndon, the 24-year-old rookie sinker-baller, hasn’t exactly been a positive addition to the bullpen this season.

Not just because opponents are hitting a ridiculous .343 against him. Not just because he’s allowed nine out of his 14 inherited base runners to score since May 14.

But also because he is in part preventing the Phillies from giving some of their minor league prospects a shot in the majors. Herndon has hand-tied the Phillies.

How? Well, entering 2010, Herndon was out of options.

In other words, the Phillies could not send him to the minor leagues. They’d have to keep him on their 25-man roster all season (barring injury, of course) or be forced to offer him back to his former club, the Los Angeles Angels.

With the Angels’ Double-A affiliate last year, Herndon had a 3.03 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in 50 games.

The young righty impressed the Phillies in Spring Training this season with a 1.42 ERA in 10 games. But he hasn’t been anywhere near as effective with the big club in 2010, despite pitching in 32 games so far.

It’s hard to imagine Herndon would have remained on the Phillies staff this long if he actually had minor-league options. The thing is, the Phillies have some fairly decent arms at Double and Triple-A that could have replaced Herndon already in the pen.

How about Drew Carpenter? The 25-year-old righty has been biding his time at Triple-A since 2008 and has amassed an 18-14 record and a 3.43 ERA overall with Lehigh Valley.

How about Vance Worley? The 22-year-old right-hander was 9-4 with a 3.03 ERA in the minors this season before pitching in one game for the big club on July 24.

OK. Both Carpenter and Worley are starting pitchers, so maybe the Phillies wouldn’t want to use them in the Citizens Bank Park bullpen.

But what about Scott Mathieson? He’s been the Phillies’ best “feel good” story since 33-year-old rookie Chris Coste made his major-league debut in 2006.

Mathieson made eight starts for the Phils four seasons ago before suffering through a string of severe injuries, including one that required Tommy John Surgery at the end of ’06.

It’s taken the 26-year-old Mathieson a long time to rise back through the minor leagues, but he’s now having a fantastic season as the IronPigs’ closer, posting a 2.85 ERA and 20 saves. He’s allowed only 34 hits in 47 innings, striking out 61 while walking just 17.

Mathieson, like Worley, has pitched in just one major-league game so far in 2010.

What about journeyman Nelson Figueroa? He actually did better than Herndon when given a chance with the Phillies this year, posting a 3.46 ERA and a .220 opponent batting average in 13 games.

Houston claimed Nelson off waivers once the Phillies designated him for assignment July 15.

Of course, there’s no guarantee any of those guys would have pitched much better than Herndon has. They might have been even worse. But we don’t know. And one of the main reasons we don’t know about any of them is because Herndon has been occupying a spot in the bullpen all season.

The Phillies like Herndon’s ability as a sinker-baller, but so far in 2010 the righthander has proven to be nothing more than a useful arm in “mop-up duty”—slightly more effective than Danys Baez.

Offering David Herndon back to the Angels might not be such a horrible thing. He hasn’t made the most of his generous four-month opportunity with the Phillies in the bigs, so it’s time to see if any of the Phils’ minor-league hurlers can do any better.

Read more MLB news on

Phillies Must Become Road Warriors To Win NL East in 2010

In sports, being able to take care of business at home usually separates the bad teams from the good ones. But being able to win on the road is ultimately what separates the good teams from the very best.

It’s no secret that the Phillies’ uncanny ability to consistently win away from home has helped make them of baseball’s best teams in recent years.

Winning on other teams’ home turf has been a staple for this club ever since 2004 and is also a huge reason why they’re three-time defending NL East champions.

The 2007 Phillies won their last SIX games in Shea Stadium against the Mets.

The 2008 Phillies won ALL NINE of their games in Turner Field against the so-called division rival Braves.

The 2009 Phillies averted disaster by starting the season 24-9 on the road, despite beginning the year 13-22 at home.

Yet, it’s been a much different story so far in 2010.

The Phillies are 22-28 in games played outside of Citizens Bank Park.

It gets worse.

This month, the Phillies have lost three-of-four to both the lowly Cubs and Pirates. Remember that Chicago would have swept that four-game set if catcher Geovanny Soto could have just handled that perfect one-hop throw to home plate…

Since starting the season 13-7 on the road by mid-May, the Phillies have lost 21 of their last 30 road games. The last time the Phillies have suffered through that bad of a prolonged stretch on the road was back in 2003, as that team lost 24 of its final 33 road games en route to coughing up the Wild Card on the season’s final week.

But thankfully there’s now a renewed sense of optimism here in 2010, with these Phillies embarking on their next road-stint as both the winners of eight straight and the rightful owners of Mr. Roy Oswalt.

This upcoming six-game road trip against the Nationals and Marlins is a great place for the Phillies to start improving their play away from home. Recently, the Phillies have enjoyed playing in these two cities, as the Phils have gone a combined 16-5 in Miami and Washington since the beginning of 2009.

Twenty-one of the Phillies final 28 road games this season will come against the NL East, so playing well against the division will be pivotal, as usual.

The Phillies will also catch a few lucky breaks this week, as they will not face Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg nor Marlins’ ace Josh Johnson. Strasburg is on the 15-day DL while Johnson is slated to pitch the day before the Phillies arrive in Miami.

But winning on the road ain’t easy.

So far this season, 21 of the 30 ML teams have winning records at home, including all four of the Phillies NL East adversaries, but only eight have winning records on the road.

Can the Phillies turn it around away from home? You bet they can. They have the talent, the tradition, and right now they surely have the confidence.

After all, this great era of Phillies baseball has been partially defined by this group’s knack for performing well in enemy territory…especially when it matters most.

The fate of the 2010 Phillies hinges on their ability to start doing it again, and this upcoming trip down the East Coast is the perfect place to start….


Phillies Yearly Road Record (Since 2004)

Year                Record              ML Rank

2004                44- 37              Tied 5th

2005                42- 39              Tied 6th

2006                44- 37              Tied 5th 

2007                42- 39              Tied 5th

2008                44- 37              2nd     

2009                48- 33              Tied 1st

2010                   22- 28                 17th      

Read more MLB news on

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