Utley Stars, Hamels Stalls in Phillies Opening Day Loss – Phillies Nation
2013 Game Recaps

Utley Stars, Hamels Stalls in Phillies Opening Day Loss

Utley got off on the right foot in the Phillies loss. (AP)

Utley got off on the right foot in the Phillies loss. (AP)

A near-cycle from Chase Utley wasn’t enough to overcome a shaky start from Cole Hamels as the Braves held off the Phillies, 7-5.


-What a day for Chase Utley. In the fourth, Tim Hudson tossed a sinker that hung up in the zone and Utley tagged it to dead center field, over 400 feet away for the first homer of the season for the Phillies.

-In the fifth, Utley slapped a single to right that scored Cole Hamels and Ben Revere, moving the Phillies to within a run at 4-3. Beyond the single, Utley came hard out of the box and advanced to second base on the throw that went to third, where Jimmy Rollins had advanced on the hit.

-In the seventh, Utley tripled on a wormburner through the right-center gap. Really, it should have been a double, but Utley ran like his ass was on fire and made it just ahead of the throw. Ryan Howard sent him home on a ground out. Utley would finish 3-for-5 with three RBI.

-The offense was able to do enough to chase Tim Hudson from the game after just 4 1/3 innings. Hudson allowed three runs, walked three, and struck out three.

Michael Young was 0-for-2 but did walk twice. Domonic Brown went 1-for-3 with walk.


-In what was the first start of his career on Opening Day, Cole Hamels was unable to bring his spring success with him to Atlanta. Hamels lacked command early which led to a monster, two-run home run by Freddie Freeman and a solo shot by Dan Uggla in the first two frames. Justin Upton also crushed a 460-foot homer to left-center field in the fifth inning on a pitch that was right down the middle.

-Cole’s final line: 5 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 5 earned, 1 BB, 5K (89 pitches/58 strikes)

-Hamels had runners on base in each inning and lacked control with all of his pitches, which is something he tends to struggle with during his first start. Coming into the game, in his first start during the last four seasons(09-12), Hamels had given up 18 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings, a 10.00 ERA. Similar struggles in start no.1 of 2013 tonight.


Chad Durbin took over for Hamels in the sixth and did not record an out. He allowed two hits and a walk and two runners scored. Durbin is being looked at at the lead seventh inning reliever leading up to Adams and Papelbon, but after an ugly spring, you have to wonder how long his leash will be. It was not long on this night.


Tomorrow: Off
Wednesday: Cliff Lee vs. Paul Maholm



  1. Bart Shart

    April 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Howard was unimpressive against lefties. Perhaps next time.

    • R.C. Collins

      April 1, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Definitely a few areas of opportunity tonight.

    • Ken Bland

      April 2, 2013 at 8:39 am

      Let’s look at it this way. He fared pretty well against them in the spring. And probably faced a share of not great lefties, plus some others who were not in mid season form. But he did a good job against them.

      Last night, playing to win, not only did he face ready pitchers, but damned good ones. Over the course of the year, he’ll face some like that, and some of less ability, and hopefully keeps concentrating on whatever fundamental changes he’s made in his approach.

      I’m hopeful that in the overall scheme, Piece still has a year or tow of that ability to carry a club for a month.

      The bottom line is there’s a pretty decent chance he does better against lefties than the last couple years. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be too optimistic about his throwing ability, but the guy can scoop, for sure.

      I wonder why the end of this article says Cliff V Maholm Wednesday night. Did I miss something? I thought Doc was going.

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 9:01 am

        Agree on Howard, and also on Wednesday’s pitcher. Both phillies.com and espn.com have Halladay starting. Should be very interesting.

  2. arc

    April 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Can someone please tell me why the phillies still pitch to freddie “the phillies killer” freeman? Walk the s.o.b. for god sake!!!!

  3. arc

    April 1, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    1 ball 2 strikes why does Hamels lay a cutter right over the plate? I hope after becoming a 100 millionaire Hamles aint in for early retirement.

    • Rellis

      April 1, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      Maybe they can still trade him to Texas!!!

  4. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    April 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I’m really disappointed in Hamels. I really expected more out of him to start the season. I am hoping this was an anomaly; however, he looked like he was throwing batting practice out there. I loved the way the offense played, as thee were some positives: Ben Revere, the way they cut it to 4-3 against Hudson. However, the largest highlight was Chase F@$king Utley – what a performance! Mayberry looked lost, and Howard STILL CANNOT figure out left-handed pitching/the shift. Let’s get’em Wednesday!!

  5. Bruce

    April 1, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Geez.. I understand the need for venting frustration but I do wish a few here would save their rants for ‘gameday” thread.

    So Hamels was unexpectedly not sharp tonight with all the deep counts he ran up. As we know, that’s asking for trouble with the patient hitters. Durbin was disappointing too having the same problems with his command of pitches. These situations can happen during the course of the season and we move on to the next game.

    At least we can take one positive from the game with Utley looking so healthy and putting on a hitting display with power and running the bases full speed. That’s certainly reassuring for the fans.

    Let’s hope that over time Michael Young can adjust and improve defensively at 3rd base because he did looked lost there tonight with atrocious fielding.

    As mentioned, we move on to the next game, no.2, of 162 and hope for better results as Halladay’s turn is next for Wednesday.

    Let’s go Phillies!

    • R.C. Collins

      April 2, 2013 at 7:37 am

      Most AL people have questioned whether Young could be an everyday player at 3B at this stage of his career. We’re finding out the answer.

      I was listening to the Atlanta broadcast on XM while in the car last night. The announcers were shocked at how long it took Howard to get down the first base line in the second inning.

  6. jake

    April 2, 2013 at 5:18 am

    Ugh, Durbin.

    What bothered me most was Hamels giving up that Upton homer. Phils cut the lead to 4-3 and first batter Hamels faces tees off.

    • brooks

      April 2, 2013 at 5:46 am

      Uggla’s home run was ugly. 3-0 pitch? He pasted it.
      This is not the first “big game” (spotlight) where Hamels has been shaky. Nerves? No radar gun but he definitely was struggling for control.

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 8:42 am

        So the theory is he’s gotten more nervous in the spotlight over time?

      • brooks

        April 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

        I don’t have a theory – schmenk – after all, on the biggest stage he was magnificent.
        What else could possibly explain his stellar performances during ST then his inability to control his fastball last night. 2 different pitchers, I would say nerves.
        I’m betting on he owns the next few months.. at least.

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

        I agree, I think he’ll be fine. Rather than nerves, I’d chalk it up to too much adrenaline.

  7. MikeyPaDc

    April 2, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Doc or Lee Weds?? You have Lee down.

  8. TheDipsy

    April 2, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Based on last night, Michael Young clearly cannot play third base.

    The Dipsy

    • Lefty

      April 2, 2013 at 7:56 am

      Not like Polanco, no, but officially he committed no errors.

      Would you rather have “hands of stone” Wigginton back?

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 8:45 am

        There were two misplays that could have been errors. A ball down the line that he tried to backhand, it trickled into foul territory as the runners went to 2nd and 3rd. That was charitably scored a hit. Later, he bobbled what looked like a double play ball and only got one out. No error was given, since you can’t assume the double play.

    • Ken Bland

      April 2, 2013 at 8:43 am

      That’s nice. Based on last night, Chase Utley has a great chance to be the first ever unanimous selection for the Hall of Fame. You gotta do better than a .500 fielding percentage, and with 2 pretty decent plays, and a couple lack of range demos, is about what it equated to, but overall, and spring defensive plays are NOT like off3ensive stats, he’s done a half decent job. Get some offense going, and he’s a plus. I mean what is really the big deal about 1 game when his defense is subject to limited expectations by anyone and everyone?

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

        He’s another year older, so we’ll see what this season brings, but last year he was still an excellent fielder based on both of the two main flavors of advanced stats, UZR and Total Zone. So my expectations at least are still quite high.

  9. Chuck A.

    April 2, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Dipsy – I was kinda thinking that, too. And hobbling Polanco woould have made those plays last night. And what the hell was Charlie doing “going with his gut” with Mayberry AND playing him in RF?? Shouldn’t Brown be in right? Doesn’t he have the better arm??

    • Lefty

      April 2, 2013 at 8:07 am

      I questioned Mayberry too. But upon further review, he was hitting .308 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI in 13 AB’s against Hudson. No gut involved.

      It did leave the bench in a precarious position later in the game with Nix a lefty and the three lefty Braves relievers.

      • Phillies fan from Germany

        April 2, 2013 at 8:16 am

        But you should not base any decision on 13 AB’s. Mayberry shouldn’t hit against righties. He always seems to be in 0-2 counts.

      • Chuck A.

        April 2, 2013 at 8:17 am

        Well, Wheels or TMac (I forget who) said at the beginning of the game that Charlie had a “feeling” or “hunch” or was going with his “gut” with JMJ (I can’t remember the exact words). I don’t give a damn that he had those numbers against Hudson. He was God-awful in Florida this Spring and didn’t deserve to start against a righty…ANY righty…on Opening Day. If he was starting the season smoking hot, then yeah, I get it. Plus, I think they said that Nix had decent numbers against Hudson, too.

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 8:55 am

        Before last night, Mayberry was 4 for 13 (.308) with 2 HR, and Nix was 8 for 26 (.308) with a double and a HR. But in any case, I agree with Phillies fan from Germany and small sample sizes.

  10. Lefty

    April 2, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I believe Michael Young will figure it out, he’ll never be as good as Polanco, but he might be on the field for more than half a season. In the meantime, he’ll rack up 180 hits.

    The pitching- all spring and last night, that’s my area of concern.

    • brooks

      April 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      I’m with you Lefty. I do believe that Young will be an extremely valuable assett to the Phils this year, even if his defensive skills are just average.

  11. Phillies fan from Germany

    April 2, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Best At Bat was the 12 or so pitch walk for Revere. If can work some walks like that he will have a good OBP on top of his hopefully good Avg. Combined with his defense I really think he will be a big asset for the Phillies this year.

    • Chuck A.

      April 2, 2013 at 8:19 am

      Germany – LOVE Revere at the top of the order! I really hope Charlie sticks with him there, but I know he probably won’t.

      • joyce.daffodil

        April 2, 2013 at 9:58 am

        What is it with Charlie and the lead off hitter position. I think we all see that if Rollins isn’t there he lacks any luster in the game, but we need someone like Revere who can take a walk to home without issues. I think he is the best trade of the off season.

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 10:44 am

        Joyce, I don’t know what you mean by “a walk to home”, but Rollins walks much more than Revere does.

  12. TheDipsy

    April 2, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Lefty, if Young hasn’t figured out third base by now he never will. Truth be told, he just doesn’t look like he moves around that well around the bag. Only one game. But, with poor defense at the corners and in at least one outfield spot….thats not good. I just really don’t like Michael Young on 3B.

    The Dipsy

    • R.C. Collins

      April 2, 2013 at 8:29 am

      It’s not even a matter of figuring something out. He just doesn’t have the physical tools to be an everyday position player any longer. That’s why the acquisitions of both Youngs were so strange. Both guys are better suited to be designated hitters.

  13. JMills

    April 2, 2013 at 8:37 am

    The Revere, Rollins and Utley at bats that led to Hudson’s exit were awesome then Howard comes up and swings at five straight balls that had me yelling at the tv. Young and Brown also had good at bats last night so I am feeling optimistic about our offense just wish we had a quality right hand hitter to move Howard to the five hole.

  14. Phillies fan from Germany

    April 2, 2013 at 8:50 am

    That is exactly what I was feeling. Great At Bats by the top of the lineup and then Howards horrible approach against the lefty.

  15. Chuck A.

    April 2, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Pat- do you guys plan on reinstating the Jeltz or Ashburn awards after each game on the re-cap threads? I think the obvious choice for last night was Hamels. Three bombs….Jesus.

  16. Don M

    April 2, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Not even sure which comment – to comment on … so just starting fresh down at the bottom..

    The fact that Charlie won’t go to a straight-platoon bothers me more than the fact that Mayberry or Nix plays RF, instead of LF. If Ruben already stated that Delmon Young is the everyday RF upon his return – it makes more sense for Brown to be playing LF, and getting more familiar with it now, instead of playing RF for a month, then switching to LF , etc.

    Hamels wasn’t sharp – but are people actually MAD about it? It’s the first game of the season, we expected a bit more.. hopefully he learns his lesson and improves for the next start.

    Positive signs from Utley and Brown at the plate..

    • Chuck A.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:01 am

      I’m not MAD about it. I love the dude and will NEVER boo him, in public or in front of my own TV. BUT…. he sucked and deserves the Jeltz (if they’re being awarded). Agree that it’s the first game of the season, he probably was too amped up knowing he was the Opening day starter. (I think one of the comments from Wheels or maybe Sarge said just that).

      As for Mayberry, I also agree that that the straight platoon thing (or lack of it last night) is a concern. NO WAY Mayberry should start that game just because Charlie has some “hunch” or “feeling”. Nix has good numbers against Hudson so why the hesitance on Charlie’s part?

      And I thought of your opinion that Brown was in left to get used to it because D Young will be the RF upon his return…but I guess the first game of the season should be running out your BEST lineup, and putting guys in their BEST positions if at all possible. Just my two cents.

  17. Don M

    April 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Also … did anyone get confirmation that the Phillies didn’t wait for the Braves Pinch Hitter to be announced before our pitching change (I think the move to bring Horst in??)… if so that’s TERRIBLE game management on Charlie’s part

    • Chuck A.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:06 am

      That lack of game management by Charlie reminded me so much of Andy Reid’s weird decisions on calling timeouts.. Difference is I think Charlie just had a brain fart in that situation (where was Billmyer on one of the other coaches to double-check that??) and Andy actually CONSCIOUSLY did it.

      • Ken Bland

        April 2, 2013 at 11:08 am

        I saw in another post you were complaining about Mayberry starting. Mayberry and Nix’s numbers were posted on this board Sunday, and it was obvious, small totals that they were that somehow, Mayberry had to an extent solved Hudson, Nix hadn’t. So it didn’t work out, but I’m sorry, that was nowhere nearly as bitchable a decision as the hindsight crowd is latching onto.

        I found little fault with his use of Durbin, and especially pulling him early. Personally, any time a freaking pitcher starts an inning with a walk, I’d brush by the pitching coach and yank his ass off the mound my damned self, but I’d need a 35 man roster to be legalized to get away with that brilliance.

        One thing I’d have done differently, well, might have, and I caught this at the time, but there’s record of it here, when he pulled Cole (top 6?) he used Fransden. I might have saved Kevin for a better opportunity, and maybe had Galvis pinch hit. That way, you do use Galvuis up, and if they ever got a lead, which was iffy, Freddy might have been gone whereas he could have come in at 3rd for Young Mike.

        They got beat, Cole gave up long balls, but that is a long ball hitting team. Just seems like most of the other stuff, the manager, a handful of at bats and defensive chances that didn’t work out, it’s getting overblown.

        My couple pennies.

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 11:18 am

        Before the game, Mayberry was 4 for 13 (.308) with 2 home runs. Nix was 8 for 26 (.308) with a home run and a double. Arguably a little better for Mayberry, but 13 at bats is nothing to base a decision on. Now, we’re not talking about a choice of Mayberry or Joey Votto, but Nix is generally better vs. righties (and pretty good vs. Hudson as well).

        In any case, I couldn’t agree more with your overall point that losses make everything look worse than it is.

    • schmenkman

      April 2, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Explanation from Matt Gelb:

      (A few fans on Twitter noted that Manuel did not wait for the Braves’ pinch-hitter, Juan Francisco, to be announced before making the pitching change. Francisco never appeared in the official box score. Reed Johnson pinch-hit when the lefty Jeremy Horst entered. But Manuel said he saw the umpire wave Francisco into the game — Francisco was scratched out on Manuel’s lineup card — before making the pitching change. It is possible the official scorer did not see the umpire’s signal and Francisco’s fake plate appearance disappeared into baseball’s twilight zone. Either way, it was inconsequential to the game’s outcome.)


      • Lefty

        April 2, 2013 at 11:22 am

        Thanks for that Schmenkman. So it was a mistake, well we’ve never seen a good manager have a mishap before. (cough, Larussa World Series, cough)

  18. joycedaffodil

    April 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Fearful of being called a dummy again, I will get into the fray. The first game demonstrated where the Phillies (and us hard nosed fans) have some issues. Several fielding issues abound. But the major concern is still hitting, take Chase out of last night and the game is quite different. I was concerned with R. Hoffman on Daily News Live when he made a nasty, and I mean girlie nasty comment about Polanco, in watching Young at third I wanted Polanco back. I wish him the best this year. It seems strange to see this team on the field, so many new faces. Twice during the game I had to go to the computer to find out “who is that and where did he come from?
    Our hopes for the Pennant seem far away, but I still will be jumping up (new knee this year) and screaming until the cat runs away with all of the plays. I do believe this will be the Swan Song for Charlie and that is sad. I do wish it was the Swan Song for Amaro. He has made some weird and not wonderful choices.

  19. arc

    April 2, 2013 at 10:02 am

    My take on the Phillies regular season game “where it matters”. Management still has gone the cheap route on 3rd base/left field, Howard is still to easy to shut down when it matters,
    Revere; a cheaper younger Victorino, Charlie Manuel is still interchangeable with anyone on this site as a manager. prereq. must know how to chew gum and stare. Pitchers to arrogant.
    Hamels gave up two unnecessary HR challeging MLB batters with a 2-1, and 3-0 count.
    do our pitchers know how to pitch around certain batters? Freddie Freeman again? Bull pen? accounted for two runs? In a nutshell, outside of Howard and Utley being back, i dont see how this club has improved. Last nights game was winnable. With this team? maybe not. They are what they are.

    • Chuck A.

      April 2, 2013 at 10:09 am

      YOu just ripped Howard in your first paragraph and then sung his praises about being back in your third. Which is it?

      • Lefty

        April 2, 2013 at 11:37 am

        He doesn’t respond to questions, especially when he’s caught in a bind, I’ve tried before.

      • arc

        April 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm

        Howard is who he is. He’s a good ballplayer, and I dont think I indicated that he wasnt. All im saying is that opposing teams will automatically shut him down in clutch situations. Also, my point was and is: this team has not improved from my perspective which I knew even before ST started, except for the fact they have two above avg injured players back. How you came to your conclusion about what I said is mind boggling, yet typical from you. As to leftys comment? well, like he said; I wont even respond to it. by the way, how in the world does the phillies allow Atlanta to aquire the Upton Bros. I hate RAJ.

      • Chuck A.

        April 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm

        So, AGAIN you contradict yourself. You’re saying Howard “is who he is” and will be “automatically shut down in clutch situations”. Yet you go on to call him an “above average player.” How can a player be above average but still be automatically shut down in clutch situations?? That makes no sense.

        I agree that he’s above average. But I DON’T agree that he automatically gets shut down in clutch spots. Last night…yes, that was a bad at-bat. But it’s not automatic.

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 2:24 pm

        Chuck, you might be on to something. As it happens, Howard actually hits better in clutch situations than he does in other situations.

        High leverage: .984 OPS
        Med. leverage: .927
        Low leverage: .862

        with 2 runs ahead or behind: .953 OPS
        3 or more runs ahead/behind: .830 OPS

      • Chuck A.

        April 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm

        schmenkman, thanks for those stats. That’s VERY interesting, I don’t think I realized how that broke down like that.

      • arc

        April 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm

        Dude if you cant reason out my statement, then Im sorry for you. But again, let me say this slowly. Its not that he cant hit, its that pitchers will do their best to not allow him to hit in clutch situations. I f you were pitching with youre a** on the line would you pitch him anthing other than junk. Me, Id rather walk him. Sometimes we are so filled with wrath, or trying to be right that we cant see or think straight. Dude i know youre automatically disposed to disagree with anyone critical of youre sole reason for existence, but chill out!!!!!

      • Chuck A.

        April 2, 2013 at 4:27 pm

        DUDE. I’m not the one getting his panties all tied up here. And if you want to actually “reason out” something look at schmenkman’s stats with Howard in clutch situations and not in the clutch.. Those are the facts, DUDE.

    • Ken Bland

      April 2, 2013 at 11:12 am

      “Charlie Manuel is still interchangeable with anyone on this site as a manager”

      god damn, that is definitely the nicest thing anybody ever said about me.

      And Chuck A, too, but he seems more concerned with asking you about Howard which since his reply ended in question form, invites another post. Interesting strategy.

    • Chris Norton

      April 2, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Revere doesn’t possess enough power to be considered “a cheaper younger Victorino”. Not even just HR power – he has very few extra base hits during his career so far.

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 11:55 am

        Agreed on this. Revere (literally) has about as much extra base power as the average NL pitcher. Which is why pitchers have little incentive to throw anything but a strike (too much risk once he’s on base), which is why he hardly ever walks. At least that’s been the pattern to date. Can he develop some power? Or become even more selective than he already is and work some more walks? Maybe.

      • arc

        April 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        we will eventually see.

      • arc

        April 2, 2013 at 8:58 pm

        Power is of no consequence, its the run production that is the issue; which in 2012 Revere is actually more impressive. With 25 less games and 28 less xbase hits Revere only produced 2 less runs for his club. You do the math. As I stated Revere Is just a younger Victorino with less power who produces the same amount for his team. On the base paths their performance is eerily similar.

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm

        “Power is of no consequence”

        No offense, so to speak, but that’s a ridiculous thing to say about a hitter, regardless of where they bat in the lineup. Every hitter comes to bat in a variety of situations. Sometimes their job is just to get on base, and even then an extra base hit puts the batter closer to scoring (or 23 more times for Rollins last year), just scores the run without requiring another hit or hits. Sometimes there are runners on base and obviously a double (or home run) advances those runners (i.e. produces more offense) more than a single.

        “its the run production that is the issue”

        Incredibly, this seems to refer only to actual runs scored. Did you happen to consider who hit behind each hitter, or how well they hit with men on base? Which is why runs and RBIs are extremely flawed in judging individual hitters, since they depend so much on the lineup around them.

        “As I stated Revere Is just a younger Victorino with less power”

        That’s like saying Howard is like Pujols but with less ability to get on base. That makes a huge difference in that case, and the difference in power likewise makes a big difference in the value (i.e. the offense generated) by Victorino and Revere.

      • George

        April 3, 2013 at 12:14 am

        Schmenkman (and others): I’m certain that arc is a dues-paying member of the Flat Earth Society.

        Debating some people is like trying to convince a houseplant to eat a rhinoceros.

  20. Rick

    April 2, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Wanna Read more on the Phillies? Check out http://fan2fanexperience.blogspot.com, help us vote on a new name, read our analysis of last nights game or follow us on twitter @Fan2FanExp

  21. Dr. Dave

    April 2, 2013 at 10:37 am

    HOWARD: facing the lefty, the first 2 pitches were way inside. Swung at both. Behind 0-2, he got 2 straight pitches on the edge of the strike zone and stayed alive. Pitch 5, way inside again and the big K.

    WORST CONTRACT on the club!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • schmenkman

      April 2, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Agreed, worst contract. But also possibly the best hitter.

      • Publius

        April 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

        lolllll yes and Kyle Kendrick is possibly the best starter

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

        There must be a joke in there, but I don’t get it. Why would KK be the best starter?

      • Publius

        April 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

        Why would a platoon bat be the Phillies’ best hitter?

      • schmenkman

        April 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm

        Because over the course of the season, he generates more offense than any other hitter.

  22. TheDipsy

    April 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Lefty, I like Michael Young as a hitter. I think he will be22/85/.285 this year. I understand that when a guy hits, you can afford to forgive his fielding liabilities. Thats why all the butchers that can hit are in LF and 1B, not 3B. A crucial fielding position. If those two plays that Young could have made, but didn’t, had played a large part in a losing outcome, we would be all over him. I’m not Brooks Robinson but he just doesn’t look that good around the bag. He’s stiff and seems a little tentative. He’s never gonna be able to make that backhand that he tried to make last night. He’s not good enough. It’s one game – I hope he improves. We need the D.

    The Dipsy

  23. Lefty

    April 2, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Michael Young will be fine. I respect all of you, and the arguments I’ve read are worthy and understandable.

    But when I see that 13 AB’s are too small a sample, yet somehow, one game defensively is a big enough sample, then I just don’t get it. Are we saying we’d rather have Juan Castro, Pedro Feliz, Wilson Valdez, Michael Martinez, Half Season Polanco, or Hands of Stone Wiggy at third? More than a guy that might actually be able to contribute some semblance of offense to the club? He won’t get 200 hits anymore, but he may get 170, some in the clutch.

    Like it or not, this offseason, they made up their mind that they had to curtail their spending, and that’s how we end up with lesser defenders. I commend their restraint in not making a big splash, a huge commitment of money and years to the FA’s that were available on the market this offseason. In the end, I believe they did the best they could. Michael Young will help this club way more than he hurts it, you read it here first.

    One game? that’s not even a small sample, it’s infinitesimal. The guy will be fine, not excellent, but fine. Now, – if he doesn’t hit, well that’s another story.

    • Steve Bosell

      April 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      Lefty – Nobody is really basing their judgements of Young’s defense on just one game. The Rangers have known for a while that he’s a defensive liability – that’s one of the reasons they went out and signed Beltre a few years back. Nobody wants Wigginton back, but from the day the Phillies brought Polanco back on that three year deal they knew they’d need a starting thirdbaseman in 2013. So it’s not exactly a surprise or the result of an injury where they needed to find a stopgap solution. They’ve actually had three whole seasons to address this issue. As someone on ESPN said yesterday, expecting Michael Young to be a full time position player is a bit of a desperation move.

      You may expect his offense to outweigh his defensive lapses – but he played in one of the most hitter friendly parks in baseball last season and was one of the worst offensive players in the league. CBP pretty much plays neutral despite the notoriety it received it’s first few seasons. We’ll see what happens this year.

      • Lefty

        April 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

        Hey Steve, good comment. I think you may have missed my third paragraph, but that’s alright.

        And screw ESPN. If they want to call getting your team’s costs under control “desperation”, I guess they have a right to their opinion, but to me it’s more a matter of Phillies management finally coming to their senses. The Yankees are in the same mode, and have been for two years now. I’m delighted they’re spending more sensibly, looking under rocks for deals like they got from Texas to take Young off their hands, trying to find lightning in a bottle is what they have to do now.

        I once heard a story about a guy that bought a truck and filled it with 1000 bags of potatoes which he bought for a dollar a piece. He then sold them all for a dollar and at the end of the day when he counted his receipts, he stated- Man I didn’t make any money, I need a bigger truck!

        Sell outs and standing room only crowds look good on TV and generate excitement, but if you have to have a $200 million payroll to do it, you might as well just buy a bigger truck.

        I do agree that they had three years to solve the problem, but it’s just not that easy. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to say – okay just plan ahead manage properly and keep the holes filled. But you draft, prospects, and many times the guys you might have planned to plug in don’t work out. It’s just not that easy. If you want, you could say third base is a 11 year old problem since Rolen left. ( I guess David Bell did have one decent year) During that time there have been a number of really good 3B’s come through, but like the playoffs it’s a crap shoot. Some teams discover Evan Longoria’s, Ryan Zimmerman’s and Chase Headleys, the Phils did not. That’s just the game.

        In terms of Michael Young, he’ll be fine, you have to trust me, the guy has the make-up of a leader and he’ll work his ass off. He won’t be excellent, he won’t be Polanco, but he’ll be fine. Hopefully one of Cody Asche or Maikel Franco will work out, and be ready to replace him next season.

      • George

        April 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm

        As Lefty pointed out, great 3rd basemaen don’t grow on trees. I’ll point out that when Beltre first became available, Amaro tried to sign him but Beltre opted for a one-year deal; when he became available again (the following year), Polanco was already the Phils’ 3rd baseman. Polanco also had an option year for 2013, so he might have been an option for this year if he hadn’t had so many injuries.

        There are always time when things don’t go as you’d like. That’s not Amaro’s fault. It’s also not his fault that there just weren’t any third basemen available (there weren’t any available last year, either) who could help the lineup and he had to settle for a defensive question mark.

      • George

        April 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm

        One other thing: I don’t want to hear any garbage saying “Amaro could have traded for someone better than Young.” Teams don’t always want what you can offer. A case in point: many people thought Chase Headly would be available at the 2012 deadline and that the Padres could get a ton in return. Headly is still with them, despite the fact that there were many other teams, and still are many other teams, that need a 3rd baseman. Even those “powerhouse” Braves are using a platoon at that position, even though their farm system is higher ranked than the Phils’ and they had enough money in the till to overpay for a center fielder.

      • Steve Bosell

        April 3, 2013 at 12:10 am

        George – We’re on a blog which welcomes the opinions of it’s readers. Those opinions won’t always agree with yours. That doesn’t mean they’re “garbage”. If you “don’t want to hear” differing opinions, you’re probably in the wrong place. If you read carefully, I never mentioned any “trades” or any “players better than Young”. I never mentioned Headley – the Phillies don’t have a package good enough to get him. I did say that as an organization they knew they would need a thirdbaseman in 2013. Option or not, in reality, the idea of a 37 year old Polanco still being here was a longshot. So they had three full seasons to figure something out, and Michael Young was the best they could come up with. He’s a guy that played below replacement level last season. Even that Atlanta platoon that you don’t like performed better than Young last season.

  24. George

    April 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Too many people seem to be thinking that one loss is the end of the season. Some even appear to think it’s the end of the world.

  25. Don M

    April 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    We all knew before the game last night that no matter the outcome- there would be a massive overreaction.

    If they won, everything would’ve been perfect – and they were World Series bound, etc.

    If they lose, everything was doomed – the season was over, etc.

    ……….. the important things are Utley and Brown looked good… Hamels didn’t … and Howard’s ABs against LHP so far – aren’t any different than last year …. when you’re 0-0, 1-1, in the count … why even swing at that low-inside pitch ?? Even if you make contact, it’s not going anywhere …..Hopefully he can improve his approach … look for pitches in his zone early in the count, and only take defensive swings with 2 strikes.

  26. Andrew from Waldorf

    April 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Howard is never good against front line pitching. Thats why he will always flounder in the playoffs. Unless its a blow out game and he faces some skelled middle reliever.

    The look out he is dangerous to make that 10-1 game 10-2 or 11-1.

    When good pitchers and teams have time ( and care) to focus in on him and get him out. Because of all the holes in the swing and lack of discipline it is a very easy out.
    Not even counting bringing in a lefty to get him out.

    Last Saturday I went to the track with my buddy and his dad. I never really talked baseball with his dad before. They were visiting from Pa. Anyway out of nowhere his dad basicly does the same rant Ive been doing on Howard. I think things like this site tend to be more in the teams ( or players) favor. The people who find their way here are the true believers. I have been following an Islanders site/blog ( I have a flyers islanders better record bet) and there are people there who still think Rick Dipietro will rise from the ashes and be great again. He is still some peoples favorite player? I guess you should admire the loyalty.

    Since howard is the DH on my fantasy team this year I hope he gets it back.
    At some point though you cant teach an old dog new tricks.
    Having a GM and Manager who have discouraged him from taking walks and not try to hit every pitch hasnt helped.

    One of the reasons Young was run out of Texas was because he refused to DH.
    Since he isnt much of a hitter anymore whats the point?

    I will say it was nice to see him get a few walks. At least maybe he and Utley will give us professional at bats and take a walk. I hope.

    Not too worried about last night. If Hamels gives even a so so hamels start they win or lose by a run. He gave a terrible outing. Not too worried about him though.

    How can Halladay be ahead of Lee in anyones rotation?

    Oh I follow a team with a GM and Manager who like to give the fans wha they want. I suppose the fans want to see Halladay in game two?

    Go Phils.

    Wednesday becomes a must win now!
    I hope Ken and lefty can understand this.

    Enjoy the season everyone.

    • Ken Bland

      April 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      “Wednesday becomes a must win now!”

      I like the war cry. Truth in advertising always was my thing.

    • schmenkman

      April 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      “The look out he is dangerous to make that 10-1 game 10-2 or 11-1.”

      This must be fun to type, because no matter how many times it’s debunked as nonsense it keeps getting trotted out there.

    • Chuck A.

      April 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Ken? Lefty? You guys understand this?

      • Ken Bland

        April 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm

        I can’t speak for Lefty, well, I could, but heaven knows how lefthanders think, but after careful study, reseacrh, and analysis, the moral of the story appears to be Mike Bossy and the Islanders are a captivating hockey ballclub.

        I don’t know what the deal is with Howard. He’s a nice guy, seems law abiding, carries teams for 2-3 weeks at a time, but somehow winds up unique as a ballplayer like he’s the only guy in the game that pads his stats against weak teams. Freakin guy gets locked up last night against a tough lefty that MAYBE Ted Williams years ago (not recently) would have at least fouled off, which like 1 out of 10 could do, but Howard gets ripped for it.

        I say we discuss Howard’s contract next. Another refreshing topic for regurgatation.

        Over/under on the original post is 5.5 bourbons mixed with Phillies flavored kool aid.

        What a day! What a blog!

        By the way, Andrew. huuuuge Beltran fan. Hope you win the fantasy league even with The Big Contract on the roster.

      • Lefty

        April 2, 2013 at 6:43 pm

        Sure I do Chuck, You don’t think the second game of a 162 game season is a must win? Get it together man. 🙂

  27. Andrew from Waldorf

    April 2, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I never blame the contract on Howard.

    Thats on the Phillies and Ruben.

    I actually dont harp on it much. Except to point out that is a historicly bad one.
    But again not the players fault.

    To me as a fan of the sport all my life.
    It seems to me that he rarely gets the tough hit.

    But I have purposely through the years been overly negative.
    Because there are some ( at one point a majority) here who think he i sa hall of famer. The most feared hitter in the sport and the reason they ever won a game.

    I will always believe Ruiz and Victorino did more for the 2007-2012 Phillies than Howard.
    While always understanding that most fans wont ever grasp that.

    Speaking of Ruiz. I am really hoping the starting pitchers dont all miss him.
    Cole starts 0-1 minus him.

    Now Howard is an anchor( used in both good and bad context) on my fantasy team as well as my real life team.

    I will have fun with this season either way.

    Ken I would never mislead the public.

    • "Big Ed" Delahanty

      April 2, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Hey AFW,
      This post on Crashburn Alley made me think of you!

      “By humbug on Apr 2, 2013

      Ryan Howard managed to hit one ball not directly into the shift. I’ll call that a win.”


  28. Chuck A.

    April 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Andrew, funny you should mention Ruiz and whether the starters would miss him. Darren “Dutch” Daulton was on 97.5 a little while ago and he responded to a caller who basically said that last night Ruiz would have had the presence of mind to go out and try to settle Cole down. Tried to help him shake those opening day jitters that he HAD to have had. Would that have altered the game at all?? Who knows. But Dutch DID go on to say that he, as a player for all those years, was and still is a big believer in stuff like that. He even called it that word that some on here absolutely hate – CHEMISTRY.

    • Andrew from Waldorf

      April 3, 2013 at 12:58 am

      Chuck even though Kratz had a great record as a starter last year. That was with Ruiz in the mix.

      I am worried about his absense these first 25 games.

      Not because of his bat in any way but in how he handles the staff.
      He should have never hit 4th.

      He should have always hit 8th and whatever you get offensively is a bonus.

      He is an all time great defensive catcher. Catcher is a defensive position.

      I am very worried that they will all miss him and start horribly these first 25 games.

      IMO the Worley and Happ and the entire pitching staff trending so well was because of Ruiz.

      Of course he is my favorite player in the last 7 years. And my favorite of all time.

      He could have hit .100 last year or any year and I’d still feel that way.
      I wish he had stunk at the plate last year if it would mean he was calling the games for these first 25.

    • Don M

      April 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Chuck .. I heard that last night too and was actually surprised to hear Dutch be so blunt about it.. I thought he’d give some sugar-coated answer

      Definitely agree with you guys that Ruiz makes all their pitchers better (look at what he did with Lidge – just giving him confidence to throw any pitch and any count, even bouncing sliders when needed) . .

      and I definitely agree that a Catchers main job is defense and game calling – any offense you get is a bonus – which makes Ruiz, Yady Molina, etc.. all the more impressive

  29. schmenkman

    April 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Way off-topic, DeadSpin on one of my favorite people in the whole wide world:

  30. Ken Bland

    April 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Here are some matchup highlights for Wednesday night’s ballgame.

    Weather vs Umpires

    60% chance of rain. Money line terms, I guess that’s bet 120 to win 100. Or vice versa. This is a baseball board, not a junkie board. Daytime, cloudy, high of 60, overnight low, 48.
    Guesstimated game time temp, 54. Check out of town listings for celsius equivalentss.

    Players versus the house

    Paul Maholm is a 119 (maybe it was 117) favorite over Doc.

    Pitchers versus hitters

    Regretfully, The Mart that’s known as Mini is no longer with the ballclub. Relatively speaking, Mini’s success against Mahom was among his highest peaks during his Philly stay. Maholm retired Mini only once. That’s in one career at bat, by the way.

    Mini’s replacement on the most hated list, Del Yerah Mon Young is 4 of 6.

    What’s seriously interesting is that Humberto Quintero is 6 out of 17 against him, including only 1 strikeout. We’ll see what Charlie makes of that.

    Mike Young and John Juniorberry are both 2 for 2 against him. Both have a single, and an extra base hit, Yioung’s a homer.

    Chase is 6 for 18, Jimmy and Piece are both in the 5 for 20 range.

    Maholm pitched toward the end of spring against the Phils. What I remember about the particular game was he threw a good amount of breaking stuff to Howard and Brown. Brown had a couple at bats, and saw several breaking pitches, not picking them up real well. I believe Howard tried going the other way in 1 at bat, we’ll see if he can script some success agaiunst a breaking ball lefty with his adjustments unlike that hard and in stuff he got crushed on last night.

    For Doc, regular work now extends to his 4th straight assignment on regular rest. Whether that plays any factor remains to be seen. And in light of where he’s at of late, consistently hit around, I don’t know if matchups on a career basis matter. But one guy who has demonstrated ownership of Doc, even in better times is Freeman at 7 for 15, with 3 shots..
    BJ is 15 for 42, with 4 goners, but 13 Ks. Uggla has 13 Ks in 34 at bats, but 11 hits, and 4 homers. These are pretty much the guys Doc can’t let beat him, add Justin, who’s 2 for 6.

    Should be a fairly high scoring game. I don’t know abiut 17-10, but we might see more than the 7-5 opener. Win 10-8, and the worry warts will be out arranging Doc’s funeral. It’d be a concern, but it’s about winning. Progress every start is what matters on the comeback trail as the big secondary factor.

    And for a wrap, here’s a team of Braves announcers and former announcers over the years.


    Tom Glavine

    Don Sutton

    Dizzy Dean

    Ernie Johnson, Sr.

    Al Downing

    Catcher Jeff Torborg

    1B Brian Jordan

    2B Frankie Frisch

    SS Mark Lemke

    3B Darrell Cheyney

    LF Ron Gant

    CF Dale Murphy

    RF Number 44, Henry Aaron

    Closer John Smoltz

  31. Ken Bland

    April 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Tonight, weather permitting, the mentality amongst the baseball world is to focus on Doc Halladay in the here and now, and focus on just how stable is his pitching ability.

    Perfectly understandable, and the lack of attention to his going for career win 200 isn’t wrong, or surprising.

    Fact is, Doc has a chance to join remarkable company, although 200 game winners get left in the background by the rare 300 win club. That’s still unique enough a group, 24 members, that even those with disdain for W-L recordsought take their feelings elsewhere. Whatever one feels about wins, 300 is beaucoup.

    Circumstances as they are in Doc’s regrouping status, it seems silly to speculate as to if he might have any shot at 300. You have to do some pretty permissive thinking to touch on a shade of possible, but there actually are 4 names that might crack this coveted club.

    There are, as mentioned 24 300 gamers. 8, or a third of them crossed the line late in their careers, at age 41 or later. Soon (May) to be 36, if Doc pitched through his age 42 season, he’d need to average 14 and a fraction per year to get there. Now how long the competitive juices flow, who knows, but numerically, that’s a shot, even if it’s a long one.

    The other 3 candidates, going from youngest include Clayton Kershaw. At 25, he’s got 62 wins. This is impressive, but still too early to discuss as if he’s a hip choice to make it.

    Justin Verlander is recently 30, and at the 125 win mark. Power pitchers are subject to quick demise. Age might just be a number to older women, but the baseball gods are male, and Verlander is subject to their whims. But he’d need to average 17 wins per year to have his application accepted by age 40.

    CC Sabathia is soon to be 33, and has already had a great career, including 191 wins. CC doesn’t wear a physique that makes you think he’ll go deep into gray hair stages as an effective pitcher, but if he could average 15 wins for the next 5 years, he’d need 35 wins after his age 38 season to get there. That’s 9 wins per year..

    This is what longetivity records are, the willingness to hang in. All these guys might walk off in the sunset early, but the general public consensus that 300 game winners are yesterday’s news isn’t quite the slammed door that can’t be cracked open. I’d say the chancers of 1 of the 4 I mentioned making are semi discussable.

    Here is a list of the 8 of the 24 that won their 300th game at 41 or older. If you have enough vision to see these candidates several years ahead, or in Kershaw’s case further, you can see it’s possible. Now how possible, well, that’s questionable.

    Glavine 41

    Early Wunn 43

    Unit 45

    Ryan 43

    Lefty Grove 41

    Sutton 41

    Niekro 46

    Perry 43

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