2014 Game Recaps

Hamels Sharp in Debut, but Bats Silent as Phillies Fall 5-2

After outscoring the Dodgers 10-2 in the first two games of the series, the Phillies bats went silent on Wednesday night as they lost in Los Angeles 5-2. In a familiar sight, the Phillies weren’t able to give a returning Cole Hamels much run support.

Hamels Sharp in Debut

-Cole Hamels looked sharp in his 2014 debut. Hamels struck out Yasiel Puig in six pitches to start his season off. The southpaw looked sharp in the early going of this one. Hamels’ deadly changeup looked especially effective in the early innings, and it didn’t look like he missed a beat. The three-time All-Star finished the game throwing 86 pitches in six innings, striking out five, and allowing six hits with two earned runs. Hamels even went one for three at the plate, including giving the Phillies their first hit of the game in the top of the third inning. If this is the Cole Hamels that the Phillies are going to get all season to go along with AJ Burnett and Cliff Lee, then no matter how poor the rest of the team plays they are going to be in a lot of games this year.

Bullpen Struggles Continue

-The Phillies bullpen continued to look like one of the worst bullpens in recent memory as Jeff Manship, Mario Hollands, and Shawn Camp, who was making his season debut for the Phillies, allowed a combined six hits and three earned runs in just two total innings. Hamels left the game with the Phillies still very much in it, however, the bullpen couldn’t keep the Dodgers off the board once they entered the game. It is an obvious point, but worth repeating over and over again, the Phillies are not going to be very successful this season no matter how great the offense and starting pitching staff is with a bullpen that is as disastrous as this one.

Howard Continues Great Play, Rest of Bats Struggle

-Ryan Howard continued his terrific road trip going one for three in this game with a walk and a RBI single that got the Phillies on the board in the fourth inning. It was Howard’s fifth consecutive game with a hit. The “Big Piece” has seen his average shoot up to .273 during the Phillies current road trip. Howard’s approach at the plate is the best it his has been in years right now, and if the Phillies want any chance of competing this year they need him to continue this kind of play.

-The rest of the Phillies bats were quiet tonight as they only mustered five total hits in the game. Jayson Nix homered to left center field for his first of the season, and was able to jump his average to a whopping .185 with that home run. Marlon Byrd continued his terrible offensive display this season by getting no hits in four at bats in this game and striking out another two times. Byrd had a chance to drive in a run in the sixth inning after a Chase Utley double and Ryan Howard walk, but was only able to dribble the ball in front of the catcher. Byrd, is now hitting an unremarkable .238 this season with a dismal .274 OBP while leading the Phillies in strikeouts. Not exactly the start Ruben Amaro’s big free agent signing was hoping for to start the season.



  1. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    April 24, 2014 at 3:46 am

    It can never be a good sign, in a close game, when you have to go from Jeff “Mangina” Manship to Shawn ” I couldn’t make the Cubs” Camp. At least Cole looked great, both pitching and hitting. Hopefully, Lee talking to Asche in the dugout was giving him hitting tips. Chance to win the series tomorrow with De. Kendrick and Mr. Kenhyde on the mound tomorrow – which one will show up?

    • Ken Bland

      April 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      “It can never be a good sign, in a close game, when you HAVE TO go from Jeff “Marginal” Manship to Shawn”

      I don’t know that “have to” is the right way to word it. Maybe there were reasons to cut Hamels off, and not use Adams a second straight night, that led Sandberg in the direction he went, but nothing seemed apparent to me. You have to use the guys on the roster, but the timing of it last night didn’t look real great.

  2. bacardipr

    April 24, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Agreed with Big E. You Scamp and Scrubmanship on your roster. A unknown wild card in Hollands which is more of a desperation move by Amaro that may or may not work out. Hoping a 36 yo Marlon isnt running out of gas. Whilst i was never a huge supporter of Rube i wasnt a huge a detractor either. At this point I really wish he would step down and im starting to see why he is largely hated on the blogs.

  3. Rabbi

    April 24, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Somewhere, Sarge must have been going bonkers last night. He always preaches about hitting low fastballs and high breaking ball (NOT the other way around). Well, last night Greinke had the Phils swinging at high cheese and curveballs in the dirt…and the results were pathetic.

    • schmenkman

      April 24, 2014 at 9:17 am

      FYI, the last time Greinke allowed more than 2 runs in a game was July 25, 2013, 17 starts ago.

      • schmenkman

        April 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

        Tweet from the Dodgers: “Zack Greinke has made 17 straight regular-season starts of 5+ IP w/ two or fewer runs allowed. The longest such streak since 1914.”

        (“since 1914”, not because there necessarily was such a streak before then, but because that’s when those records begin)

      • wbramh

        April 24, 2014 at 11:46 am

        Yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a happy person.

    • Lefty

      April 24, 2014 at 9:33 am

      I ask this question with respect for your opinion Rabbi, but isn’t it just a little tiny bit possible that the Phils “were pathetic” because he is Zach Greinke? And per schmenkman’s comment- Were all 17 of those teams pathetic?

      We never give the other team’s athletes credit for anything here. It seems to me that they are major league ballplayers just like our guys. And Zach Greinke is a darn good one, that has made a lot of teams look “pathetic” over the years. Were the Dodgers pathetic against Cliff Lee Tuesday night, or was Lee just that good? Just saying that it works both ways.

      • Chuck A.

        April 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

        What did I say yesterday? I wasn’t feeling a win for two reasons – 1) I was expecting some rust on Cole ( he looked pretty good though) and 2) the Phillies were facing Greinke.

        Give props to Greinke….he’s a PREMIER, LEGIT top of the rotation pitcher. What did you all expect?

      • Lefty

        April 24, 2014 at 9:58 am

        He’s absolutely top 5 in my book


        And Jose Fernandez and Max Scherzer if they have similar years to last, are right there too.

      • Rabbi

        April 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

        I’ll give Greinke his due! I’m just pointing out what I saw last night — and other nights, too, with Greinke. He preys on the aggressive nature of most hitters. His fastball is as straight as an arrow, but he totally commands it. That’s what separates the great ones from all the others –COMMAND.

  4. galvis4life

    April 24, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Can we talk about how awful freddy galvis is at the plate?

    • Lefty

      April 24, 2014 at 9:41 am


    • Vinnie

      April 24, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Galvis and Nix appear to be good defenders, but neither can hit. I guess when Ruf is ready, Nix will be gone.

      Galvis is really just a late inning defensive replacement at this point.

  5. wbramh

    April 24, 2014 at 9:37 am

    I think we’re experiencing an ironic twist with this team. The aging core that Ruben is trying to milk for one more good season is surprisingly stable. Howard has a respectable BA (and hasn’t gotten hurt), Utley just had a great streak at bat and has been looking far more fluid on defense and Rollins has also contributed on offense – and as usual, with his glove. In fact, the big three are leading the team in RBIs.

    The problem is everywhere else.

    Chooch is showing some signs of resuscitation but has had a dismal start, Asche can barely hit his weight and Byrd, while still a defensive upgrade has had an atrocious start at the plate. So the typical power positions in RF and 3B are currently non-existent. You can bet management is going to stick with Byrd and hope he returns to his 2013 form but a .274 OBP for the month isn’t cutting it. At this rate, I could make a case for handing the job back to a healthy Darin Ruf.

    Then there are the substitutions in the outfield and 3B – a great idea but Ryno and Ruben don’t have the players to pull it off. Sure, Galvis and Gwynn are reasonable late inning defensive moves but no better than “A” ball players at the plate. Minus the power of Ruf, this bench remains terribly weak. They don’t have an Eisenreich or Gross who can get on base and drive in runs. Kevin Frandsen is currently out-performing every one of the Phillies active bench players.

    I won’t harp on the pen. It’s been awful. Duh, but I do think Diekman could be excellent if he can just control his slider. when it’s working he’s unhittable – but when he hangs it… Certainly his fastball is lights out but he needs both pitches working for him. Bastardo can be effective and we saw a ray of hope for Adams. Then there’s Papelbon who will likely remain an adventure but still far better than nothing. The rest of them don’t belong on a major league roster.

    • Chuck A.

      April 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

      That’s why this is a .500 team at best.

      • Chuck A.

        April 24, 2014 at 10:04 am

        But who knows…. a .500 team has a shot at a Wild Card berth. It’s early and it will change but right now 9 teams are between a 12-10 and a 10-12 record.

      • schmenkman

        April 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

        I feel safe in these three predictions:
        – Rollins/Utley/Howard combined won’t be as good as they’ve been so far
        – All others combined will be better than they’ve been
        – The bullpen will be better than it’s been

        Beyond that, to what degree each of those happen or how it all shakes out by the end of the year, we each have our guesses but no one really knows. To me, the range of possible outcomes is still anywhere from 70 to 90 wins.

      • wbramh

        April 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

        Schmenk: Yes, the big 3 will probably not sustain their first month’s production. Chase isn’t going to finish the year with a .350 BA and Ryan will fall back into old habits, etc etc. and the rest of the pack couldn’t possibly remain as atrocious as they are, now.
        But if you seriously believe this team’s upside is 90 wins… well, let me just say that I would place the odds of a 90-win season slightly lower than Amelia Earhart reappearing in Oakland.
        I’d say their best effort would be worth 80 wins, and even then, I’d give you even odds that Hoffa turns up as a used car dealer in Las Vegas.

      • schmenkman

        April 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm

        wb, it could all go pear-shaped with injuries and underperformance, too, but these are my reasons for saying the upside may be as high as 90:

        – overall, they haven’t hit over their heads so far, and with some declining and others improving, I can see them maintaining the overall level of offense they’ve shown in the first 21 games

        – with the pitching (esp. the bullpen) as bad as it’s been, they’ve managed to stay around .500 despite facing decent teams. For example when ESPN factors in strength of opponent, it ranks the Phillies 6th in MLB in its relative power index: http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/rpi

        – While I think the offense won’t get much better or worse (overall), I expect the pitching to be better than it’s been, with the additions of Hamels and to a lesser extent Adams, and possibly later this year Giles and Martin.

    • Vinnie

      April 24, 2014 at 9:48 am

      WB, I agree 100%.

      No offensive production out of RF and 3rd is killing them. LF is ok with Brown, and CF could use some improvment but not their biggest problem. Perhaps AJ and Cole can pinch hit… (just kidding)

      I kind of see Franco at 3rd and Ruf getting playing time at some point this season.

      Bullpen…. not sure what to say, but other than Diekman, Bastardo, Adams and Papelbon, start rotating guys in from AAA until one of them want earn the postion.

      • crow

        April 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        *LF is ok with Brown*

        Brown got one big hit recently. LF is not OK. His groundball rate currently stands at a ridiculous 57.4%. His weighted on-base average is .287. That’s “weighted” with extra-base production. His wRC+ (runs/PA, park adjusted) is 78, in a league where 100 is average. His WAR is currently in the minus column.

      • Ken Bland

        April 24, 2014 at 1:07 pm


        You’re comments on Brown are I assume accurate (the data), and to the point of whether his play is okay or not, I’d be inclined to agree. And while I didn’t go into great depth on his numbers, I did recently look at his 2013 April, and from what I saw, he’s not doing anything too different results wise. That’s not to say he’s gonna blister like he did for a while last year, or play sudden Gold Glove defense, but I don’t see why he should be thought of far removed from an okay label on the whole. In other words, I’d expect him to play better as the season goes on rather than admonishing him for a similar start to a year ago.

      • crow

        April 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        Ken, I’m hoping for Dom the same as you, and yeah, I posted just the other day (I forget where) that his April of last year was similarly slow and that this is grounds for hope. The grounds for concern, on the other hand, are (1) that his season to date has basically been a continuation of spring training, (2) that he wasn’t relentlessly killing worms last April the way he is this, and that (3) there wasn’t a “book” on how to pitch him then as there is now. When he took off in May last year he was pulling pretty much everything–grounders, line drives, flyballs. This year he’s flatly unable to get the ball airborne to right or right-center. He has to figure something out because a LFer is expected to be a power bat, and the odd single here and there doesn’t really pay the freight. So I can’t say I “expect’ him to play a lot better, though I certainly hope he does. Frankly, it would be hard to play a lot worse.

    • Lefty

      April 24, 2014 at 9:48 am

      Hope you were knocking on wood when you wrote that first paragraph. If the core suddenly goes down with injury or slumps horrifically, I’m putting it on you 🙂

      • wbramh

        April 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm

        Hah! On the other hand, Lefty, if the bull pen goes down with injuries we may be looking at another World Series parade down Broad Street.

      • Lefty

        April 24, 2014 at 4:54 pm

        wb- I am literally laughing out loud, thanks I needed that today.

    • Ken Bland

      April 24, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      “while still a defensive upgrade has had an atrocious start at the plate”

      Maybe that’s the contrarian indicator call of the day. Byrd is 10-21 off Haren lifetime. For what history is worth.

      Haren’s got some disconnected stats going. Well, if you don’t read through He’s 3-0, ERA of 2.16. Headliner enough stuff. But his BAA is 250, and I doubt too many guys have a BAA that “high” with 2.16 ERA’s. Just seems like most good pitching records are the results of BAA’s of more like .200. And considering the Dodger’s inept to date defense, it’s that much more surprising. Early season, or not.

      But the truth is, the guy, placed in a strike throwing contest against Cliff Lee wouldn’t necessarily lose. Cliff’s struck out 37 batters to 1 walk this year, Haren, despite a hit per inning in 24 innings, has walked only 2..

      So the Phils might see a few hitter’s counts along the way tonight. but they’re probably wasting their time being ultra selective.

      Not a bad guy to have as 4th in a rotation.

  6. bacardipr

    April 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    A bunch of “ifs” going into the season. Dom Brown and Asche are two examples. More ifs going into the season, most of the “ifs” would have to break right for this team to contend. We could carry the weight of a struggling Asche and still contend but not both him and Brown.

  7. Hogey's Role

    April 24, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Idk maybe it’s just me but I don’t feel like dom brown is playing terrible, he’s not tearing the cover off the ball like hitting 12 homers a month but he’s playing solid baseball right now, once he gets his stroke down the power will come, it’s the same with any hitter, at least he’s not striking out in every at bat… It wouldn’t be the first time virtually everybody jumped off the downtown brown train only to jump back on it when he heats up…

    I’m not worried about brown, I’m worried about the bullpen, asche and the third base spot in the order and I’d like to see Franco start coming around in the minors…. I’m happy with the start to the season as it could be a lot worse, but I’d love to see us play a lot better baseball and win more ball games

    • wbramh

      April 24, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      I suspect Dom Brown will always be a deep streak guy – and by “deep streak,” I mean a player who hits like Billy Williams one month and Shirley Temple the next. But if he continues to improve in the field, that’s just fine. He’ll hit his 27 dingers and drive in 90 RBIs. The down periods are just going to be very frustrating. Considering his time off last year between physical problems and the slump that followed, it’s tough not to dream about what he could do if he stays healthy and on his game.

      Dom is certainly a great athlete and that’s half the battle but I sense he’ll always have trouble with his fine tuning – finding and staying in a groove… at least at the plate. He’d certainly benefit from the eyes and advice of a smart hitting coach, someone who can get him back on track when his mechanics go south (as happens to every player). If necessary, I’d bring back Joyner just to babysit Dom. Wally seemed to work wonders the last time.

      I was ready to give up on him before last season. While I’d still trade Brown and Asche for Kemp, or Kemp’s equivalent, I’d be sad to see him go (Dom, that is – Asche maybe not so much).

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