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Phillies Baseball

Updated: 2017-05-27T21:35:46.419-04:00


Eff This


Worst team in baseball...

Still Sad


Last 21 games for the Philadelphia Phillies has resulted in a 4-17 record. They suck.

Continued Sadness


Remember when the Phillies had that 6 game winning streak? Yeah, me too, barely. The date was April 28th and the Phils were 11-9 and heading to the West Coast to take on the Dodgers. They lost that evening and have been losing on the regular ever since. They have 3 wins over the last 16 games and have fallen to the 3rd worst record in baseball and are tied for the fewest wins in MLB. The sadness continues...

Sad Post



Two-strike home runs are killing the Phillies


The Phillies have given up an absurd amount of home runs. The team has given up 48 home runs in just 30 games. That puts them on a pace for 259, which would break the record 258 allowed by the 2016 Cincinnati Reds.
The scary thing is the number of two-strike home runs the team has allowed. Let's take a look. Here are the pitchers who have been hit by two-strike home runs.

Vincent Velasquez: 4
Jeremy Hellickson: 3
Adam Morgan: 3
Nick Pivetta: 2
Joely Rodriguez: 2
Zach Eflin: 1
Aaron Nola: 1
Hector Neris: 1
Joaquin Benoit: 1
Clay Buchholtz: 1

That's 19 2-strike home runs. To put that in perspective the Kansas City Royals have given up 27 home runs total all season. The Cleveland Indians have given up just 28 home runs in 2017. Let that sink in. The Phillies have given up a two-strike homer in two out of every three games.

That's madness.

What causes it? I'm not sure. Three parties deserve some part of the blame: the pitchers who aren't executing, the catchers who are calling the two-strike pitches, the pitching coach who sets the game plan.

It's still a small sample size, but Velasquez gave up seven two-strike home runs last season (24 starts) and four in six starts this year. Hellickson gave up 10 two-strike home runs in 32 starts in 2016 compared to three in seven this year.

What's interesting is, to a large extent, the cast involved is the same. It's the same pitchers, the same starting catcher, the same pitching coach.

I'd guess something is wrong in the game plan that is leading to bad pitch calling.

From 6 Game Winning Streak to Complete Crap in One Week


The Phillies set off to the Left Coast last week to start a 7 game road trip against the Dodgers and Cubs. They were riding high on a 6 game winning streak and looking to make a statement against formidable opponents. They were slayed. The Dodgers ended the winning streak last Friday and then a comedy of errors played out over the course of the following week. They have won one game over the past week, having gone a dismal 1-7 over that span. Relief pitching continues to plague this team. Lack of production from the corner infielders has also been a problem. This might just be a tough stretch, but closing out this series against the Nationals with two victories would certainly help boost spirits.

Release This Pitcher


The name of this blog is We Should Be GMs, so playing that role is the name of the game here. As a GM, one should always be evaluating their team and looking to make improvements wherever possible. Today I provide the reader with an exercise in roster management.

I present Exhibit A:
39 G, 36.1 IP, 8.67 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, and 7 HR allowed since All-Star break 2016.

This pitcher is not a prospect. This pitcher is not locked into a multi-year multi-million dollar contract. This pitcher owns a 0.3 WAR over 8 MLB seasons. 

What do you do with Exhibit A?

Peace out Jeanmar Gomez. Thanks for half a season of excellence followed by endless frustration.

I Hate the 9th Inning


Relief - a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress.

The 9th inning is a problem for the Phillies. A wasteland where seemingly quality relief pitchers go to die. If a loss is Hell then the 9th inning is the River Styx for the Phils.

Jeanmar Gomez began the season as closer and failed. Next in line was Joaquin Benoit, who also failed. Now Hector Neris. Once again, FAIL.

Collectively the Phillies bullpen has been the worst in the 9th inning onward this season, owning an 8.38 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP due to 9 homeruns allowed and a .321 average and 1.054 OPS against. Is the opposition batting Mike Trout, Eric Thames, and Ryan Zimmerman against them?!

This 2017 Phillies team is flawed and I don't have illusions of contention. However, any team, rebuilding or playoff bound, cannot continue to endure such suffering.

Maybe Mackanin should throw Mark Leiter Jr. into the fire. Couldn't do much worse...

Series Preview: Phillies start critical road trip in Los Angeles


This might be the most important road trip the Phillies have taken since they traveled to St. Louis during the 2011 NLDS. Having started the season 11-9 and rolling into the trek on a six-game winning streak, the squad will battle two expected World Series contenders, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the reigning champion Chicago Cubs.
Coming home from the seven-game trip with three, four or five wins would be a huge boost for the young squad.
But it's not just the games on the field that will matter.
During the road trip, the Phillies will also find out how healthy Aaron Nola is. It's hard to expect the Phillies to have a strong season if Nola, who went on the new 10-day disabled list earlier this week, spends much time on the disabled list.
Luckily for the Phillies, the trip to the DL was only a precaution. Nola's back was bothering him; it wasn't the elbow that caused him to miss the final two months of last season forcing him to the DL this time around.
If Nola doesn't pitch during the road trip, the Phillies might be in trouble. As it stands, he's tentatively expected to start on May 1, the first game against the Cubs.


Friday April 28, 10:10 p.m.: Jerad Eickhoff (0-1, 2.55) vs. Kenta Maeda (1-2, 8.05)

Saturday, April 29, 9:10 p.m.: Zach Eflin (0-0, 2.25) vs. TBD

Sunday, April 30, 3:05 p.m.: Nick Pivetta (0-0, -.--) vs. TBD

What to know about the Los Angeles Dodgers

Opening the season at 10-12, Dave Roberts' club is struggling as it works toward a fifth straight division title. The Dodgers have started the season in an extremely pedestrian manner. They're 10th in the league in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage, eighth in slugging, 11th in home runs and eighth in stolen bases. The pitching staff, however, is first in the NL in ERA.

What to look for

Since we don't know who the Phillies will be facing, it's tough to predict what might happen during the series. We do know, however, that the offense is clicking right now. Cesar Hernandez, Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera are hitting well. Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders are starting to heat up as well.

If the offense keeps up its pace, the Phillies could take a couple games from the Dodgers as they start this road trip.

Let's Go Ranking


Our beloved Philadelphia Phillies are playing .500 baseball (9-9) and there are definitely some things to like through the first 18 games of the season. I don't want to be too optimistic though, as the bullpen has been garbage thus far, and the corner infielders aren't hitting. Also,  Kendrick is likely on the DL through mid-May and Nola was just disabled today. However, others are thriving and carrying the load. So, let's take a look at the Phils MLB ranks in major offensive and pitching categories.
Runs - 85 (tied for 12th)
Average - .250 (11th)
On Base % - .324 (13th)
Slugging % - .416 (11th)
OPS - .730 (15th)
Doubles - 35 (tied for 7th)
Triples - 5 (tied for 3rd)
Homeruns - 19 (tied for 19th)
Stolen Bases - 10 (tied for 11th)
Walks - 54 (23rd)
Strikeouts - 164 (24th)

ERA - 4.26 (25th)
WHIP - 1.26 (17th)
Strikeouts - 143 (tied for 19th)
Quality Starts - 8 (tied for 18th)
K:BB - 2.51 (17th)
Starter's ERA - 4.09 (19th)
Bullpen ERA - 4.52 (22nd)
Run Differential - +7 (tied for 12th)

16 games in, what have we learned?


allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="480"> One tenth of the season is in the books. So what have we learned about the 2017 Phillies?They sit at 7-9, in fourth place in the National League East. The offense is sixth, sixth, fourth and seventh in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. The pitching staff is 15th in ERA, 14th in home runs, 13th in strikeouts and 5th in walks.So the Phillies are a mediocre team that will win 70-75 games, right.Well, maybe not.Let's take a look. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="480">Are the Phillies better than their record?The Phillies are plus-3 in run differential. Now, you could argue that is thanks to a 17-3 whooping of the Washington Nationals. But don't forget the Phillies got thumped by the Mets 14-4 in a different game. Take away those games and the Phillies are at 0 in the plus-minus, which would theoretically put them at 8-8.Two other things impact the Phillies record. First, they've played two of the expected best teams in the league in all but three of their games so far. They've gone 5-7 in those games. The Phillies' early season schedule has them playing a ton of games against the Nationals (12), Mets (6), Cubs (4), Dodgers (3) and Rangers (3) in their first 42 games. That's 28 games against expected World Series contenders. They also play 3 games each against the Mariners and Pirates during that stretch. I said at the beginning of the year that the Phillies could start the season 16-26 and still end up being a good team. Opening the stretch with a 7-9 mark is a good beginning.Second, the Phillies biggest weakness so far is the bullpen; it won't end up a weakness. Adam Morgan and Jeanmar Gomez have double-digit ERAs while Joely Rodriguez has an ERA above 6. Morgan has already been sent down. Sure, Gomez might not end up in the closer's role again, but he had a 3.59 ERA, 3.84 FIP and 1.324 WHIP from 2013-2016. That's too long a record of success for him to not rebound. The bullpen should also get some help as the starters start pitching deeper into games. In the squad's first 16 games, starters have pitched seven or more innings three times and pitched five or fewer innings seven times. That has to change. If the starters aren't more reliable going deeper into games, then they will be replaced by guys who can.How have injuries affected the team?Injuries affect every team. The Phillies have had two main injuries so far this season. First, Clay Buchholtz was likely lost to the season. Second, Howie Kendrick, who started the season on fire, injured his core. He should recover. The Phillies also saw one of their pitching prospects, Zach Eflin, start the season recovering from an injury. He's already joined the big league club and contributing.What's to like?How about the Cesar Hernandez? He's picking up right where he left off last year. He's hitting .324 with a .358 OBP. Amazingly, he's got three home runs and three stolen bases in four attempts. But he's also struck out 21 times. Jeremy Hellickson looks really good, too. He's got an ERA below 2. He's barely walking anyone and he's really keeping batters off balance.Hector Neris has been filthy.Aaron Nola is healthy and has 15 strikeouts against six walks in 16 innings.Jerad Eickhoff continues to be reliable.Aaron Altherr is tearing the cover off the ball, hitting .360/.407/.600.What's not to like?The Bullpen has been mostly atrocious. We already talked about that.Maikel Franco is hitting home runs. He's got 3, which puts him on pace for 30. He's 13 runs batted in, which puts him on pace for 130. But he's hitting .164/.246/.344/.591. Interestingly, he's only got 10 strikeouts. So it's jus[...]

Hellickson Good, 9th Inning Woes, Unheralded Prospects, Improved Offense, The Howard & Run Support


*Jeremy Hellickson has the best WHIP (0.71) in the NL, albeit through merely 4 starts. However, this is on the heels of a strong 2016 campaign, so he's lining himself up as a sought after trade chip. Of course, he could potentially stay with the Phillies, as a mid-season extension could be a viable option.
*The 9th inning onward has been a disaster for the Phillies so far, no matter who is handed the ball. In 13.2 innings they've allowed 5 homeruns to go along with a ghastly 7.24 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, an .892 OPS against.

*Andrew Pullin is a bit of a forgotten man in terms of outfield prospects, but since being promoted to Double-A Reading last season he's laid waste to poor defenseless pitchers. In 59 games, he's hit .344/.967, with 38 R, 16 DBL, 13 HR, and 39 RBI. Double-A is where Dylan Cozens put his name on the map, so perhaps the same will ring true for Pullin.

*Cole Irvin was the Phils 5th round draft pick last year and he's making good on their trust. Through his first 13 G, 10 of them starts, he has a 7-2 record over 65.2 innings with a 1.64 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 54 strikeouts. Currently in Clearwater, he has the potential to move through the system quickly. A mid-season promotion to Reading is likely in my opinion.

*The Phillies offense has been improved overall since last season, especially considering many players still haven't found their stride (Franco, Galvis, Rupp, Joseph, Saunders). They lead MLB in pitches seen per plate appearances and are middle of the pack in runs, batting average, and OPS. Once the pitching sorts itself out, this team should be able to contend on the daily basis.
*Once again, WSBGMs is tracking The Howard (homerun, strikeout, and error by the same player in one ball game). Tampa Bay Rays' third baseman, Evan Longoria, has moved atop the leader board after committing his 2nd Howard of the seasons yesterday. Congrats! For reference, The Howard is on the right sidebar of the blog.

*Now, time to give Jerad Eickhoff some freakin' run support!

Aaron Nola Watch: Episode 2


Aaron Nola's second start built off of his first. He pitched just five innings, but he looked very strong. The right-hander scattered six hits and no walks against six strikeouts. He's building up a strong base for the season.Let's break down his last start and his season so far.Goal No. 1: HealthNola left his second start without an injury scare. So we're starting off nicely there. While he did only pitch five innings, he tossed 90 pitches. His arm is getting stretched out. Grade: ACommandIn his first start, Nola threw first pitch strikes on 13 of 24 batters he faced. He did slightly better this week, getting first pitch strikes on 12 of 21 batters. Overall, he threw strikes on 61 of his 90 pitches. That's pretty nice. He didn't walk anyone. So his control was close to pristine.Grade: A-ResultsNola didn't get a quality start because he didn't make it through the sixth, but he pitched strongly against a good lineup. You can't take this start for granted. Nola has to have some confidence as he goes into tonight's start against the New York Mets.[...]

Tuesday Tee-Up


As I type this, Tommy Joseph pops up to the 3rd baseman. He's been woeful so far this season. Small sample size, but whatever, I wanna see some good results.

Before that crap at-bat by Joseph, Odubel went deep for his first HR of the season. Woo hoo!

Alright, onto business.
*Howie Kendrick, one of the guys actually contributing at the plate, has hit the DL. In his place the Phils have called up Mark Leiter Jr., who is not an outfielder, nor even a position player. He's a relief pitcher that'll hopefully show his mettle and remain in the bullpen. He's capable of going multiple innings, as he's started 69 of his 95 minor league appearances. Minor league numbers - 445.1 IP, 417 K, 3.38 ERA, and a 1.22 WHIP. WSBGMs wishes good luck to the 26 year old right-hander.

*Remember Alec Asher? Klentak traded him to the O's at the end of Spring Training and the player to be named later remains nameless. Asher sucked, like really bad, like extremely bad, in his MLB debut season of 2015. However, he bounced back in 5 starts last year and turned in a nifty 2.28 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. Hey, guess what, he made his debut with Baltimore over the weekend and went 6.1 innings, allowing only 1 run and 4 base runners. That would look good in the Phillies rotation, wouldn't it?!

*Speaking of the Phillies rotation, Clay Buchholz underwent surgery today by the famed Dr. Andrews and is out for the next 4-6 months. As you know, or should if you read regularly, I didn't see a purpose in trading for Buchholz. He was kinda terrible last year with the BoSox and cost them a fringe prospect and $13.5M in contract obligations. Now he's likely out for the year. If Klentak truly wanted another veteran in the rotation to absorb innings and be a potential trade chip come July, he could have went another route - see contracts signed by Bartolo Colon, RA Dickey, Scott Feldman, Derek Holland, Jered Weaver, Clayton Richard, or Brett Anderson. Just sayin'. Or he could have let one of the bountiful prospects toe the rubber every 5th day. Just sayin'.

*Zach Eflin's 2017 Phillies debut is not going well. Jitters? Hopefully...

Monday Morning Musings


Phillies relief pitchers have surrendered 13 homeruns. That's 3 more than the next closest team (Nationals).

Phillies bullpen ERA is 5.62, which ranks 24th in MLB. That is not improved from 2016. Trust the process though, right?

Phillies starting pitchers have a 4.50 ERA, which ranks 25 in MLB. What's that company line again? Oh yeah, "trust the process". Ahem, bullshit. Sorry, had something in my throat.

I'm tired on Maikel Franco's pull happy, swinging from the heels approach at the plate. It's as if I'm watching the right-handed version of Ryan Howard.

Cesar Hernandez, Howie Kendrick, Odubel Herrera, and Daniel Nava are the only Phillies doing anything worth a damn at the plate. Corner infielders need to get straightened out and start contributing.

I don't hate that Joaquin Benoit was moved into the closer's role following Jeanmar Gomez's debacle, but how long is Mackanin going to try avoiding the unavoidable and finally give his blessing to Hector Neris?

Zach Eflin gets first dibs as Buchholz spot in the rotation. Godspeed.

Aaron Nola Watch, Episode 1


Aaron Nola's first start was fairly impressive.
Though he seemed to have trouble locating his curveball in the game, the right-hander held a very good lineup to limited damage.
We'll recap all of his starts this season.
Considering how important his health and success is to the Phillies' season and future, we'll look at specific goals

Goal No. 1: Health

If Nola leaves his start without grabbing his arm, we're in good shape. Nola walked off the mound a bit battered at the end of his start. But he was healthy.
Grade: A


Nola's bread and butter is his command. With his movement, having good command means he can dominate a lineup.
Nola threw first pitch strikes on 13 of 24 batters he faces. That's a notch below his normal numbers. The more he's ahead, the better off he is. He also threw just under league average for strike percentage, coming in at 64 percent. However, 24 percent of his strikes were
Grade: C+


Nola gave the team a quality start. Considering his biggest trouble came in the first inning and his last inning, it wasn't a bad outing at all. He struck out 7 against two walks and seven hits. He ended up allowing 3 earned runs.
Nola ended up throwing 89 pitches in six frames.

His next start is tonight against the Washington Nationals. It's a lineup that now has seen him already. So if he pitches well again, that's a good portend for the season.

Series Preview: Phillies look to keep up strong work against the Nationals in DC


The Phillies won five games against the Nationals last year. If they sweep the Nationals this week, they'll have that many wins against the Nats in April alone.

OK, no one expects a sweep in Washington, but let's be honest. We'd love two victories in this series.
Luckily, the Phillies have what are probably their three best pitchers going in the series.
So let's break it down.

On personnel notes, Adam Morgan is gone and we're waiting for a second opinion on Clay Buchholtz' forearm injury.


Friday April 14, 4:05 p.m.: Aaron Nola (1-0, 4.50) vs. Stephen Strasberg (1-1, 3.21)

Saturday, April 15, 1:05 p.m.: Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 0.90) vs. Tanner Roark (2-0, 4.09)

Sunday, April 16, 1:35 p.m.: Jered Eickhoff (0-1, 1.95) vs. Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 0.69)

What to know about the Nats

The Phils laid a beatdown on Washington last Saturday. They got a nice victory on Sunday two. But Washington is a great ballclub. It's got hitting to spare and brilliant pitching. Thankfully, the Phillies avoid ace Max Scherzer this series.

What to look for

The Phillies offense looks a lot better so far this year. Sure, it's skewed a bit by the outburst against the Nationals on Saturday, but the team has 34 walks in nine games. That's almost 4 walks a game, a big improvement over last season. The Phils are seventh in runs scored, fourth in OPS, fifth in batting average, third in stolen bases and 11th in home runs.

The Phillies scored more than three runs twice in their first 15 games last season. They've done it in seven of nine games this year.

It would be nice to see Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp break out this series. Heck, just putting up slightly better numbers would help.

The Phils will face two tough righties. So Michael Saunders will probably be an important cog in the lineup this weekend.

Simple Truths (No Alternative Facts)


Wanna read something terrifying? Of course you do, that's why all baker's dozen of you that the follow this blog come here semi-regularly. Anywho...

The Phillies pitching staff is the worst in Major League Baseball. I know, that can't be! We're supposed to have a new and improved bullpen with a rotation to be reckoned with. Well, not so much. Luckily the 2017 season is still in its infancy. Unfortunately, it's been a disaster.

5.35 ERA - worst in MLB
.876 OPS allowed - worst in MLB
18 HR allowed - worst in MLB
1.47 WHIP - 26th in MLB

Possible good news - Buchholz could be sidelined for a long time, meaning Eflin likely gets the call-up to fill his void (something he could have done from the beginning because Phils never needed Buchholz to begin with!). Also, batting practice pitcher Adam Morgan has been demoted and Luis Garcia has been promoted. Garcia is an enigma. He has lights out stuff, but that has not be the case in terms of performance. Maybe it'll be different this time around. And maybe if I flap my arms really fast I'll fly. Just sayin'...

Jake Thompson's AAA ERA is 28.93 in 2 starts. Only Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder is outpacing him.

Lefty for the Sake of Lefty...Dumb


The Situation - tie game (2-2) in the top of the 8th inning with 2 outs, a runner on first base, Edubray Ramos on the mound, and Jay Bruce at the plate.

Gotta bring in the lefty, right?


Not when the lefty is Joely Rodriguez and his lifetime line against same-handed batters is .417/1.101 in 29 plate appearances and only 2 K. 

Stay with the power armed righty with a chip on his shoulder (Ramos). Using a lefty for the sake of using a lefty is being too cute with your pitching staff. It might make Tony LaRussa proud, but the outcome was predictably disastrous (2-run homerun, Mets went onto win the game 4-3). 

Ramos career against LHB - .244/.774, which isn't ideal, but is a helluva lot better than Rodriguez's.
Joaquin Benoit career against LHB - .215/664, would have been the best choice for a 4-out save, but I'd have just rolled the dice with Ramos.  

Mackanin and Co. need to learn how to manage a pitching staff. This has been my major complain against him since he took over as manager. Well, that and his unwarranted loyalty to players despite better choices (Howard, Jeanmar, Chooch).

Series Preview: Phillies host expected contenders, the New York Mets.


There has been a lot to like so far in the Phillies young season.
The first time through the rotation, Aaron Nola, Jeremy Hellickson and Jerad Eickhoff looked very good. The team continues to show patience. After walking 12 times in the first series, the Phils added 14 walks against the Nationals. The offense looks a bit improved over last season, which was to be expected.
The next three games against the New York Mets will test that early season trend.


Monday April 10, 7:05 p.m.: Jacob deGrom (0-0, 0) vs. Jerad Eichoff (0-1, 2.60)

Tuesday, April 11, 7:05 p.m.: Matt Harvey (1-0, 2.70) vs. Clay Buchholz (0-0, 7.20)

Wednesday, April 12, 1:35 p.m.: Zach Wheeler (0-1, 11.25) vs. Vince Velasquez (0-1, 9.00)

2016 and 2017 series

The Phillies and Mets will play two series in the next two weeks. The Phillies open the season with a tough run of series against World Series contenders. Pulling off a few wins against the Mets could go a long way in the development of this team.

What to know about the Mets

The New York Mets have a legitimate shot at the 2017 World Series. Terry Collins' squad has a dynamic rotation of aces. The offense, though old, can pop a ton of home runs. However, the offense has struggled out of the gate and the team is bunched together with the Marlins, Nationals and Phillies for first place with 96 percent of the season to go.

What to look for

We wanted to see the Phillies do some damage with the sticks against the Nationals. Michael Saunders, Tommy Joseph and Maikel Franco had some big hits against Washington.
The Phillies will need to see more improvement in that area if they're going to be successful.

One game that should be fun to watch is Zach Wheeler vs. Vince Velasquez. Both pitchers have elite stuff and are coming off bad outings. At least one of them will bounce back this week.

Jeanmar No More!


Pete Mackanin, omnipotent manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, announced prior to the 2017 MLB season that Jeanmar Gomez would be the club's closer because he earned/deserved it. Well, he couldn't be anymore wrong. I've been pitching a fit with my pitchfork over Mackanin's decision and I'm about to recruit an angry mob to overthrow him if he doesn't change his mind soon.
Jeanmar Gomez since All-Star break 2016:
34 G, 30 IP, 9.00 ERA, and a 2.00 WHIP

If those numbers have earned him the closer's role, then dig Tim Worrell's ass outta retirement and let him have a go at it too.

More puzzling Mackanin moves...
The rotation's #1 starter is Jeremy Hellickson and he's pitched accordingly, having allowed only 1 run in 2 starts. However, Mackanin has yanked him after 5 innings in both of his starts, with only 67 and 70 pitches thrown respectively. WTF?!

If I'm To Keep Going...


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

The year - 2006. The place - We Should Be GMs blog. The mission - writing non-sugarcoated shit about the Phillies. Aka - keepin' it real.
Fast forward to present day...

Here I am, GM-Carson, in my 12th season of blogging Phillies baseball. I was there for the rise to prominence, whence the Phils reigned supreme o'er the NL East for 5 straight seasons. I was there for the collapse, circa 2012. I am here for the rebuild. I am here.

IF I am to keep blogging, I've gotta be me, and me is not always liked. I'm harsh, dramatic, and bi-polar. But dammit, I'm fun and funny (at least according to my Mom).

So without further ado...

*Vinnie Velasquez striking out 10 in 4 innings = awesome. Being chased from the game due to high pitch count and ineffectiveness after 4 innings = poop.

*I'm predicting Tommy Joseph starts the year 0-27. I've not seen a string of at bats so hapless since Kevin Millwood "attempted" to hit. 

*Eff Jayson Werth. Skeezy looking MF'er.

*I'm starting to think Maikel Franco is overrated/over-hyped. He's got the talent, but what goes on between his ears is puzzling.

*It's time to cut bait on Adam Morgan. Terrible last season and looks to be playing the part again.

*Jerad Eickhoff is getting the Cole Hamels treatment, in that the offense never produces for him and therefore his win-loss record is unimpressive despite good ERA/WHIP. If I were Eickhoff, I'd stand on the table of the post-game spread and piss all over it, because that's what the offense does to his chances of picking up the W every time he starts.

*I've been beating the "Mackanin sucks at managing" drum for awhile now, but to no avail. He yanked Hellickson after 67 pitches/5 innings/1 run. He yanked Eickhoff after 80 pitches/6.2 innings/2 run. Take the kiddie gloves off and let the big boys play for shit's sake! 

*I originally prognosticated 79-81 wins for the Phillies this season. I renege. I now foresee 23 wins, 26 max. They're shitty.
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Series Preview: Phillies start first homestand with Washington Nationals


Two things looked good in the first series of the season. The Phillies showed more patience than they have in recent years. The team earned 12 walks over three games. That's four walks a game. I know, small sample size. But the Phillies walked just 2.6 times per game last season. Secondly, the pitching staff held the Reds two five runs over the first two games.
The bad thing is that the Phillies lost two games with the offense struggling. Pete's boys scored just eight runs in three games.
The offense needs to get going.

Friday April 7, 3:05 p.m.: Max Scherzer (0-0, 0) vs. Vincent Velasquez (0-0, 0.00)
Saturday, April 8, 7:05 p.m.: TBD (0-0, 0) vs. Aaron Nola (0-0, 0.00)
Thursday, April 6, 1:35 p.m.: Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 2.57) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 1.80)

2016 and 2017 series

The Nats, unsurprisingly hammered the Phillies last year, winning all but 5 games against them. The Phillies play Washington a lot in the first half this season. They visit Washington next week for a three game set then play six more times in May.

What to know about the Nationals

Washington is a serious World Series contender. With a dominant rotation and balanced lineup, the Nationals should breeze past 90 wins and into the postseason. The Phillies will face off against two of the league's best pitchers, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

What to look for

The Phillies got some runners on base. But they didn't come close to bringing them in. Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera have a combined on-base percentage above .500. But Maikel Franco, Michael Saunders and Tommy Joseph have three total hits.
That's not going to win you any games.
Breaking out against Strasburg and Scherzer isn't going to be easy. If Michael Saunders can get going, that could make it easier on the Phillies.

Our take: What the GMs think the season will bring


GMs Carson and Pat fired off some emails, regarding their expectations for the season. Here are their thoughts.I guess we'll start with our predictions. How many wins do you expect from the 2017 Phillies? Carson: I look across the entire team and see players that can make incremental steps forward in performance, but not many players I expect to regress (aside from maybe Hellickson). I think the rotation, bullpen, and offense will all be better, so I'm going with 79-81 wins.Pat: It depends on so much. I really think the season hinges on Aaron Nola's performance. If he pitches a lot and pitches somewhat well, I see them winning 77-79 wins. If he returns to his early season 2016 form, I could see the Phillies sneaking up on every one and getting to 82 wins. What are the storylines you're most interested in? Carson: What happens to the veterans blocking up-and-coming minor leaguers. What if Cozens, Crawford, Quinn, Williams, Hoskins, Eflin, Thompson, Alfaro, and/or Lively are killing it for Lehigh Valley? Do you wait until the end of July to trade a Hellickson, Buchholz, Kendrick, or Saunders? What about young controllable guys like Rupp, Joseph, and Galvis? Do you trade them while value is high and hand the job to a rookie? This is a HUGE transition year for the Phillies and it's going to be interesting to see how the organization handles it. Pat: Aaron Nola's arm is No. 1. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop there. No. 2 is Tommy Joseph and Aaron Altherr. Neither of them are uber prospects like J.P. Crawford and such, but they have some intriguing potential. No. 3 is how the minor leaguers do. Will we see J.P. Crawford, Jake Thompson, Mark Appel, Roman Quinn or Nick Williams.How long will Jeanmar Gomez remain the closer?Carson: I'm hoping he never loses it, because that means, theoretically, he pitched well all season and deserved to remain the closer. However, I don't think that will be the case and I'm thinking early May...Cinco de Mayo.Pat: I think he could end up in that spot all year. He was solid last season, until September. Financially, it might help the Phillies to have Neris not close much this year. That said, if Gomez is going to lose the spot, it will happen early. So by April 25. Who gets traded first?Carson: Honestly, if Hellickson is pitching as well as he did last season, I could see him being an early-to-mid July trade, and not waiting until the end of the month. My second choice is Cameron Rupp and for a decent prospect.Pat: I think Saunders is the most likely trade prospect just because Roman Quinn is probably the most likely candidate to push for playing time early in the season. My second choice is Pat Neshak.What could surprise fans in 2017?Carson: Biggest surprise...hmm...Cesar Hernandez bats .315/.780, 100+ R, 35+ SB, and makes the All-Star team.Pat: Aside from a breakout season from the entire club - which I don't think is very likely - I think the Phillies might trade for a decent player and not just offload veterans. There's a chance the Phillies are close to competing in 2018. They have a lot of nice assets in the minor leagues. They could make a move now that won't cost them as much as it would this winter. [...]

Series Preview: Phillies Open the Season in Cincinnait


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It's finally here. The 2017 starts with the Phillies in Cincinnati, the birthplace of professional baseball.
For the second time, Jeremy Hellickson gets the nod as Opening Day starter. The Phillies enter the season with a ton of question marks and some interesting plotlines.
The first quarter of this year's schedule is going to be brutal. This is one chance to start out on the right foot.


Monday, April 3, 4:05 p.m.: Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 0) vs.Scott Feldman (0-0, 0.00)
Wednesday, April 5, 7:10 p.m.: Jerad Eickhoff (0-0, 0) vs. Brandon Finnegan (0-0, 0.00)
Thursday, April 6, 12:35 p.m.: Clay Buchholz (0-0, 0.00) vs. Rookie Davis (0-0, 0.00)

2016 and 2017 series

The Phillies went 2-4 against the Reds in 2016, which is somewhat surprising when you consider the Reds finished with three fewer wins than the Phillies last year. FiveThirtyEight has the Reds and Phillies expected to win 71 and 70 games this year. The Phillies and Reds will meet again on May 26-28 in Philly.

What to know about the Reds

Cincinnati doesn't have a lot to be excited about. Joey Votto is still amazing. Billy Hamilton is fun to watch. Brandon Finnegan has great stuff. After that, it's basically Scott Feldman, Zach Cosart and Drew Storen.

What to look for

You always want to win on Opening Day. Other than that, it would be nice to see the Phillies jump out of the gate fairly strongly because it's going to be a brutal month.
The next 12 straight games are against the Washington Nationals and New York Mets.
In fact, of the Phillies first 42 games, they play legitimate World Series contenders a vast majority of the time.
The Phillies play the reigning champ Chicago Cubs four times. They play the Nationals 12 times. They play the Los Angeles Dodgers three times. Oh, and they play the New York Mets six times. As if it wasn't brutal enough, this part of the schedule also includes three games against the Texas Rangers.

That's 27 of 42 games coming against the big boys. One of their easier matchups is two home games against the Seattle Mariners and three games against the Pirates, who are also considered favorites to reach the playoffs.
Thank God for the Cincinnati series and three games each against the Marlins and Braves.

That first stretch could be brutal for the team's outlook. It's not hard imagining them coming out of those 42 games with a 10-32 mark. Considering 25 of those 42 games are on the road, it wouldn't be a disaster to start the season 16-26, even though that would look like a disaster in the standings. However, if the Phillies start out somewhat hot, winning say 19 of those 43 games, the rest of the season starts to look more interesting.