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Small victories, large defeats.

Updated: 2016-10-01T13:03:54-04:00


Game Thread: Phillies vs Mets 10/1/16



Fuck the Mets.


Today's Lineups

Jose Reyes - 3B Cesar Hernandez - 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS Andres Blanco - SS
Yoenis Cespedes - LF Odubel Herrera - CF
Curtis Granderson - CF Maikel Franco - 3B
Jay Bruce - RF Ryan Howard - 1B
T.J. Rivera - 2B Cameron Rupp - C
James Loney - 1B Jimmy Paredes - LF
Travis d'Arnaud - C Aaron Altherr - RF
Bartolo Colon - RHP Phil Klein - RHP

Piece Out Moment No. 2: The night Big Piece went to pieces


A lot of people don’t realize this, but Ryan Howard’s nickname, the “Big Piece,” comes from the “big piece” of umpire Scott Barry he once wanted to break off and devour. Early in Scott Barry's career, he got the call every little boy dreams of: He was going to the major leagues. But not to play baseball; to regulate it, study it, and determine its outcome. Yes, he would be donning the chest protector and fun little hat of one of the most secretive cults in sports: MLB's umpires. Technically, Barry would be going back to the majors, having made his first appearance the year before in 2006. This year, the promotion was made necessary by a bizarre altercation between the Padres’ Milton Bradley and umpire Mike Winters. Bradley, called out on strikes early in a game, flipped his bat in anger, as he commonly did when something occurred. Home plate umpire Brian Runge asked him in his next at-bat if he had flipped the bat in Runge's direction on purpose. "He said 'no,'" Runge said. "He said, 'Did he [Winters] tell you that I threw at you?' He started to point at Mike. I said 'no, no.' I even threw my hands up and told him to calm down." Anybody who has met, seen, or watched Milton Bradley on a TV from across a loud, crowded room knows that when his blood gets up, you need more than a set of waving hands to bring him down. Bradley got to first base and started in on Winters immediately; it turned into a shouting match that, for whatever reason, ended in Winters cursing Bradley out with a string of profanity--using one word in particular--that left first base coach Bobby Meacham stunned. "In 26 years of baseball, I couldn't believe my ears the way that he spoke to Milton. [It] was so disrespectful, so angry, so vindictive. The boiling point is when he called Milton a name. Milton did not saying anything to him to get him to do that." Winters was suspended by the league for his part in the debacle, but at least he got off with no bodily harm; Bradley fell over while being restrained and tore his ACL. Now an ump short, the league decided to bring up a 35-year-old Battle Creek, Michigan kid who to that point couldn’t get a permanent gig above Triple A. Scott Barry raced to the majors, his impression from the example set by the man he was replacing being that umpires should follow one rule: Always be the most arrogant, shit-stirring guy on the field. Flash ahead three years, and Barry was still not good enough for full-time work in the majors. On the night of August 24, 2010, he was filling in at third base at an Astros-Phillies game for a slightly different reason than his promotion years before. Barry, whose normal venue is triple A, was substituting on Gerry Davis' crew because Davis was enjoying some of the four weeks of in-season vacations that umpires, who earn between $84,000 and $300,000 annually, have won in collective bargaining in recent decades. At first, the appointment of Barry to his third base post did not seem to factor much into the game. The Phillies had won six of their last ten, which was exactly the sort of lukewarm baseball that had kept them two or three games out of first place in the NL East since earlier in the month. Ryan Howard was having a particularly tough time being helpful, skidding into the August 24 contest with only two hits in his last 25 AB. Deep into what Charlie Manuel called "hittin' season," the part of the summer when the air is hotter and thinner and allows easier travel for a soaring baseball, or something, the Phillies were ready for their slugger to turn it on any night now. This would not be that night... despite Howard getting almost an entire lineup's worth of ABs. Ryan Howard came up in the first inning, thanks to a Placido Polanco single that stretched the frame a bit longer than it had to be. He stretched it a little longer working a full count, then watched Bud Norris’ sixth offering whiz by for strike three. Ryan Howard came up in the sixth inning, with an out recorded moments before on a Chase Utley fly ball. He[...]

Weekend Prospect Mailbag #7: Prospect Profiles


By Your Request 10 Prospects Last week I needed to finish out the mailbag with a player profile and so I asked all of you for a suggestion and of course a bunch of names came pouring in. So this week I took those suggestions, plus a few others and that is this week's mailbag. Enjoy! This Week's Version of a Mailbag! (I have included the player, but also the requester, much like we would with mailbag questions) Scott Kingery: (@jeffpaternostro, @Jon_W_Cohen, @CracktheYank) Kingery was the Phillies 2nd round pick in 2015 and at the time it was universally praised. It is easy to see why as Kingery is the prototypical second baseman. Kingery has turned himself into a pretty good fielder for a former center fielder. He lacks solid power, but he showed this year that he can pepper the gaps with doubles and hit the ball out occasionally. He is a bit aggressive at the plate, which was fine in the Florida State League where his strikeout rate was 12.9%. His walk and strikeout rates collapsed in AA as he faced stiffer competition and also tired from the long season. He will get a bit of a break before heading to Arizona Fall League this year to get more work. Kingery will need to keep his Florida State League plate discipline rates going forward, if so he can be a solid second baseman hitting .280-.290 with a decent on base, a ton of doubles, and a good quantity of stolen bases on the back of plus to plus plus speed. Cornelius Randolph: (@StelliniTweets, @sflomenb) We already talked about 2015 2nd round pick, so why not the first round pick too. There is a lot to like about Randolph, he has great bat speed, feel for hitting, and advanced approach. There are a lot of things to not like, starting with his lack of game power and the fact that he is limited to left field with a maxed out physical frame. The raw power is there, but his swing is more gap to gap and he need to get better at turning on the ball to reach his power ceiling. He missed a lot of time due to a shoulder and back injury, but after getting back to Lakewood he hit .283/.364/.361 for the BlueClaws. His 20% strikeout rate was a bit high for a player who is not mashing home runs, but his 10% walk rate in that time was very encouraging. Randolph won't turn 20 until June so there is plenty of time for him to continue to improve. Chace Numata: (@RooseMoscow) Numata was drafted by the Phillies back in 2010, meaning he is actually a minor league free agent after this year. He has hit all of the check boxes for slow development. He is a converted shortstop, switch hitter, from a non-baseball state (Hawaii), was injured, and was young for his draft year. It took 4 years for Numata to make it to full season ball, and then he missed 2014 with injuries. He is a light hitter with poor power, but a good approach. He took a big step forward this year at the plate and ended up contending for the FSL hitting title. Behind the plate Numata has made big strides with his receiving this year, but he still needs work. His big strength is his throwing arm and so far he has the best pop time of any Phillies catching prospect at sub 1.8, this shouldn't be surprising since he was topping out at 94mph as his HS team's closer. Numata's upside is backup catcher and that could still be many more years in the future, but he is yet another example for the idea that catchers develop weirdly. Jose Pujols: (@jmurz) I am very intrigued by Jose Pujols as a prospect. The power is as easy as you will see and while it has mostly been to the pull side he has has the strength to go to right field too. Over his 4 years he has shown the ability to make adjustments, the problem is that not all of them have stuck and he started so raw that it was always going to take a ton of work. He has a real problem with breaking balls, and he spent most of the first half hacking at curveballs that had no chance to be strikes. He finished up strong, but he will need to show that it is more than a fluke. He is getting better in the outfield, but that was a low[...]

Game Thread: Phillies vs Mets 9/30/16



Shut up, Mets fans.


Today's Lineups

Jose Reyes - 3B Cesar Hernandez - 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS Freddy Galvis - SS
Yoenis Cespedes - LF Odubel Herrera - CF
Curtis Granderson - CF Maikel Franco - 3B
Jay Bruce - RF Ryan Howard - 1B
T.J. Rivera - 2B Cameron Rupp - C
Lucas Duda - 1B Jimmy Paredes - LF
Rene Rivera - C Aaron Altherr - RF
Robert Gsellman - RHP Alec Asher - RHP

Piece Out moment No. 3: Sunday September 3rd, 2006


Ryan Howard faced Tim Hudson three times that Sunday. Three times Howard circled him on the bases. Memory is an intriguing trait. We have a relatively tenuous grasp on both the neuroanatomy of memory, and the psychological packaging that categorizes our sensory inputs into memory. Generally we understand a lot of how things work, but there is still a great deal of speculation and theory at work. A thorough understanding of memory, however, isn't necessary to know that some things stick with us like few others. Of all the things we see and do in our day to day lives, only a small fraction are encoded into long-term memories. Fewer still are those moments in time where you tend to remember exactly where you were, and what you were doing when those particular events happened. Over the course of Ryan Howard's career we've seen many memorable hits, or games, when he hit baseballs that changed the course of a game. Or even when he simply hit a baseball with distance and authority rarely seen, even at the highest levels of baseball. The prelapsarian Howard was a something to behold, a hulking, home-run launching, centerpiece to one of the most prolific offensive teams Phillies fans have ever seen. And he's the only reason I remember where I was September 2nd, 2006. The 2006 season was Howard's first full one, coming off a 2005 in which he won the Rookie of the Year award in only 88 games. It was his best offensive season, the only one in which his on-base percentage eclipsed .400 (.425), the year he set the single season home run record for the franchise, and culminated in an MVP award, however ill-deserved it might have been. September 2nd, 2006, was a Saturday, I spent the shank of the evening at a local bar that a friend had purchased the year prior. One thing about having friends who own bars is that it can lead to imprudent amounts of drinking. Luckily, our friend also happened to have an office apartment directly above this bar so when the aforementioned imprudence occurred that night a few of us ended up crashing in the apartment above the bar. Sunday the third came around pretty quickly, and we decided as a group to get something to eat for lunch, so we went to the nearest and recently opened Starters Pub (which later became somewhat infamous) where we watched that Sunday afternoon's game on their 60 inch projection screens. Howard came into the game sitting on 49 home runs, having passed Mike Schmidt's record 48 homers the previous Thursday. He was facing Tim Hudson. You likely remember the rest: width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src=""> Howard left that game as the 23rd player in baseball history to hit 50 home runs in a season, and as the record holder for most home runs in a second season, besting Ralph Kiner's 51 in 1947. He would go on to hit another 6 home runs the rest of the season, crammed between intentional walks and pitch-arounds that became so common to him those seasons, finishing with an awe-inspiring 58 home runs. It was great. It was great because you were watching mammoth home runs. And lots of them. It was great because they were untainted by the specter of the PED era. It was great because he was passing historic milestones. It was great because you got to hear Tim Hudson whine about how small the ballpark was, as if there was a park in the sport that could hold Howard. It was great because we had those goofy fan groups like Howard's Homers cheering him on and that little kid changing his shirt three times that day. It was great mainly because it was fun. And that's what we remember. The impuissant Howard we see before us today, and to whom we say goodbye at the end of this weekend, has been dispiriting the last few seasons simply because of the height of the peak from which he descended. Had his star never shone so bright we'd not have missed its being extinguished. His three home runs in his first three at bats of that Septembe[...]

Phillies line up to be Mets-fodder for one final time in 2016


Wipe off your seat with some napkins from the condiment station and let's power through 27 more innings of this. The Phillies When this began with new leadership installed, there was palpable positivity in the air. As usual, it had all worn away by about June, and when the Phillies entered September well out of any race, scoring an inhumanly low amount of runs, their successes limited to small, strange pockets like Freddy Galvis' power or Tommy Joseph's output, it was hard to find anything to cling to. Then the NFL season started, the weather changed into sort of a cold, wet spitting, and baseball was deemed all but unwatchable. But yet, many of your favorite TGP personalities will be attending this final series, bidding farewell to Ryan Howard, hoping for a victory to somehow gum things up for the Mets, or generally carrying on in the same way that has drawn them annoyed glances from strangers all season long. Some of us will be loudly citing obscure statistics while others will be loudly decrying their findings. It'll be like Twitter, but in an open-air forum. You're going to love it. Which is obvious, given how appealing of a description I've written here. Thanks. Thank you. The Mets Suck. Heavy Hitters Ryan Howard: You get down to that stadium and you gawk at Ryan Howard for the last time, you ungrateful swine. Jay Bruce: Jay Bruce was terrible when he first came to the Mets, but now he's hitting well enough to spawn columns that start with intros like "Jay Bruce never lost faith in the process. He couldn't." Curtis Granderson: Enough already, Curtis Granderson - I'd say baseball has had quite enough of your late inning clutch hits that have helped keep the Mets in the NL wild-card mess and your Robin Hood-like charity that has you in The Bronx on off days handing out food to families in need. What happened to the ball players who used their off days to drink absinthe and force street urchins to race each other. Grow up, Curtis. T.J. Rivera: A siren from the undercity, Rivera climbed out of an open manhole and has seduced most of baseball Twitter into being in awe of his every stat and swing. T.J. Rivera is hitting .373 (22-59) with three homers and 11 RBIin 18 games this month, 6th best September average in NL. — Michael Mayer (@themainemets) September 30, 2016 T.J. Rivera is batting .429 over his last 15 games. — Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 28, 2016 Wow, that's a great late swing by T.J. Rivera to protect the runners. There is no stat for that. — (((Jesse Spector))) (@jessespector) September 22, 2016 Darin Ruf: Ruf is 4-for-9 this week with two homers. Let's just end this stupid season. Probable Pitchers Robert Gsellman vs. Alec Asher, 7:05 p.m. Bartolo Colon vs. Phil Klein, 1:05 p.m. Noah Syndergaard vs. Jerad Eickhoff, 3:05 p.m. Seven of the nine tortuous innings in which the Phillies were beaten 17-0 in their game against the Mets were pitched by Gsellman. That game should have excused the Phillies from the rest of their schedule. Now, they're at risk of being erased by almost 20 runs again, and Gsellman will stand out on the mound, shouting hateful things at the Phillies as they just try to figure out where to stand during an at-bat. Yes, this series will see the second ever career Phillies start of one Phil Klein, who was last seen on September 28 giving up a hit, two walks, and two earned runs to the Braves in 1.1 innings. His ERA is 8.22. His counterpart on Saturday afternoon will be Colon, the most beloved pitcher in the entirety of the sport, leading his team into the playoffs. Meanwhile, Klein has had his own recent successes. Or has at least imagined them. I had a dream about @DraftKings last night....I had 2 players score 70 points #MakeItComeTrue — Phil Klein (@PhilKlein31) September 24, 2016 Finally, the Fan Appreciation Day card is a furious blonde-locked young hurler nicknamed with the god of thunder, while the Ph[...]

Good riddance, Turner Field: Braves 5, Phillies 2



The 2016 Phillies: Blowing chances they never had

Despite the fact that the Phillies have been emitting their 2016 death knell for over a week now, the season just keeps rolling on. Baseball demands that they play 162 games, so that’s what they’ll do.

They played yet one more last night, a 5-2 loss to the Braves that featured an injury and a messy inning.

Honestly, if Jeremy Hellickson had to get injured, this was the time to do it. Garbage time. He left the game after 3 13 innings, having allowed just one hit and no runs. Add four strikeouts to that and it had the makings of a great start. Hellickson might take the qualifying offer this offseason, but he might now. And if he doesn’t, it’s been a good run. The Phillies needed a guy like him this year, and Hellickson needed the Phillies. They needed a relatively cheap but solid starter, and Hellickson needed a chance to give his career new life. Everyone got what they wanted. The diagnosis on Hellickson’s injury was just a sprained knee, so it’s nothing terribly alarming.

The big mess came late, in the eighth inning. And why don’t you guess who was on the mound.

BZZT! Time’s up! It was Jeanmar Gomez! Yes, Jeanmar Gomez. If you picked anyone besides Jeanmar Gomez, you get no parting gifts. Please see yourselves out.

Yes, it was another putrid outing from Jeanmar. He gave up four runs on three hits and two walks. At this point, there’s almost nothing else to say about what’s happening with Jeanmar. I mean, there’s a lot to say about it, but there’s nothing productive. Over the last two months, he’s pitched to an ERA of 9.90. In September alone? 19.13! WOOF.

The runs that Gomez allowed came so late that the Phillies didn’t have a chance to make up for it. Not that they could have made up for it if they did in fact have the chance. The 2016 Phillies: Blowing chances they never had.

Oh god, the Phillies got swept by the Braves. The BRAVES! I hate them, I hate Turner Field, and I’m glad we don’t have to see them until next season. And we never have to see Turner Field again. Let’s hope SunTrust Park won’t turn into a house of pain.*

*famous last words

2016 Phillies recap: The Felske Files Episode 70


In this not-so-nice *wink* Episode 70 of The Felske Files, host John Stolnis recaps the Phils' 2016 season with Phillies beat writer Kevin Cooney of Calkins Media. What was the best moment of the season? Biggest surprise? Biggest disappointment? And what kinds of moves will the Phils make this off-season?

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