2014 Game Recaps

Utley Lifts Phils Over Fish

Chase Utley‘s eight inning home run lifted the Phillies over the Marlins on Sunday, 4-3. Kyle Kendrick threw a solid six innings, and the bullpen got the job done. This completes a three game sweep of the Marlins–something that was much needed after getting swept by the Brewers in the first series at Citizens Bank Park in 2014.

More Issues on Defense

Ryan Howard had another error at first base, this time on the first batter of the game. He missed a very playable ball down the line that allowed Christian Yelich to reach second base.

Good Day For Nieves

Wil Nieves got the start (Carlos Ruiz had the day off) and had himself a day. He was 3-4 with two RBI’s, including a double that tied the game in the fifth.

Kendrick Gets The Job Done

Kyle Kendrick threw six innings, giving up three runs (two earned), and striking out seven. It was a great outing by a guy coming off a poor performance against the Brewers his last time out.

Walks on Walks on Walks

The Phillies, who came into the game leading the National League in walks, walked six more times. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Marlon Byrd, Domonic Brown, and Cody Asche (2), all drew walks. All of these guys make up the heart of the lineup, and walks usually equate to more runs. This is an extremely positive development this season.

Utley Stays Hot

What can I say? Chase Utley is absolutely on fire. With his 3-4 day today, he’s now hitting .500 on the season. His last hit of the day also happened game winning home run. His slash line for the season is .500/.565/.875.

The Phils are now .500 on the season, and welcome the Braves to The Bank next.




  1. Ken Bland

    April 13, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    It’s not like a 3 game sweep solves the world’s problems, but….

    Isn’t it at least fair not to write this club off as a 90 loss team before tax day now? With a seemingly monster trip ahead of them after this homestand, don’t they deserve the rest of this homestand before anything close to conclusive judgments are made? The one team that thrashed them was not only hot, but now has 3 game sweeps over the Red Sox and Pirates as well. Losing 3 or 4 against the Braves still doesn’t necessarily provide closure, but maybe they don’t lose 3 of 4 anyway.

    Last Monday, off a 3-3 start, the Monday SI power poll had the Phils at 26 out of the 30 teams. There’s some preceded by their reputation in that. And it’s not unfair. But it will be interesting to see if there’s upward movement toward 20 with twice as many games in now, and the pace the same. The offense is doing a good job, and Hamels is getting closer. And Papelbon blew another 9 saves this week, but that’s only in the minds of those that love to hate the guy. I mean, we’re talking 20th, not playoff lock territory.

    Darned if it didn’t happen AGAIN. Via Elias, Todd Z reported this week something along the lines of the last time the Phils gave up 10 unearned runs in 3 games, which is a recipe for 12/21/12 finally coming to fruition, they won 3 straight. Guess what sports fans. They done did it again, including a beating (despite 6 straight K’s at one point) Jose Fernandez. Not my style to mention that was in 2008, and the results of that year played out with a rotation that at this time of year didn’t look so good. Sure, youth, Bridge and Lidge were there, but we’re talking an upstart club that was a good club (forget that they won it all…maybe the best team didn’t win), but that was a good club versus the image of a 95 loss team.

    Finally, season ducat sales, and advance sales a way down, we won’t see miracles at the gate this week, but maybe there’s some impetus now to get some walk ups, and play before some better numbers. You somehow win the first 2, and as we get to the getaway portion, maybe they can get announced crowds of 30 plus even without any promotion that might kick the figure higher, if there is one.

    Here’s to hope. 3 of 4 against the Braves would be a sight to see. And if not, maybe Utley can get up to .600. Man keeps saying you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    • Ken Bland

      April 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Well, we got our all important wish out of the SI.Com power rankings. Let’s se…the last timeI as so excited was….

      up to 20 from 26. Funny thing is that while SI concensus moved the Phils up 6 spots, the 3-3 week resulted in a drop in the ESPN power poll from 23 to 25. Maybe Judy Garland can posthumously record a tune called Somewhere Under the Radar. Under the Radar suggests you be better than thought, and a push to establish that better would be nice.

      Wonder when the last time there was head to head comp between what’s coming the next 4 games, or at least tonight to start the series. I’m sure the last time 2 hitters cranking the way Chase and Freeman are is closer to the present than I’m aware, but at least each team knows what hitter thy can’t let beat them. Must be a nice feeling for Justin Upton to be playing second fiddle to someone, hot as he is.

  2. crow

    April 13, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I’ve been looking everywhere on the blogs for the “Chase Utley is over the hill and resigning him was stupid” comments that have been so common for the last year. Can’t find them anywhere.

    If the Phillies don’t win a title again in my lifetime, that’ll be sad, but if Chase makes it to the Hall, that’ll be some consolation.

    • Ken Bland

      April 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      I ran across one expression like that today in the Philly.com comments. But it was mild mannered, so considering the belligerence Phillie fans can express, maybe that doesn’t count.

      I had very mixed feelings about resigning Chase. I still don’t know that unleashing Hernandez at second would have been so horrible, but I can just imagine how much pain I’d have felt watching Chase in another uniform. Realistically speaking, we’ll see how he holds up physically, and how quick the recovery time would be at his age, but it’s real easy to latch on to what it is that he brings that draws a fan to be enamored with him, and it’s a lot.

      Your second paragraph…If the Phillies don’t win a title again in my lifetime, that’ll be sad, but if Chase makes it to the Hall, that’ll be some consolation… is perfect.

      • crow

        April 13, 2014 at 7:03 pm

        I think that the type of contract they signed him to offered about as much protection as you are likely to see in a contract for a player of Utley’s stature. The worst case would be continued good health vesting his options, but weak performance.

  3. Lefty

    April 13, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    If you want to say it’s only the Marlins we swept this weekend, that this team is still not good, it would be hard to argue against that. But it sure was a fun weekend to be a Phils fan anyway.

    The walks are a huge improvement, although I have no idea whether that was a point of emphasis by the coaches going into this season or just happenstance. One way or the other it works for me.

    Chase Utley, you are still the man.

    • hk

      April 14, 2014 at 7:03 am


      I think that the walks are more than happenstance. The Phils went into last season fresh off the GM’s claim that he wanted production, not walks and with a manager who also seemed to downplay the importance of walks and, not surprisingly, they finished 26th in BB%. This year, in the admittedly small sample size of 12 games, they rank 4th in MLB in BB%. Whether it is the new coaching staff or maybe the new analytics guy pointing out to the new coaching staff the importance of walks, something has clearly changed in their approach that seems much more than coincidental.

      • Lefty

        April 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

        It’s been a long time friend, hope all is well.

        I think and hope you are right about the walks. When I coached I always believed that you don’t wait for mistakes to hit, you force mistakes and hit those pitches. There is no better way than practicing patience, time and situation, understanding the value of fouling balls off and studying your opponents. At the same time, I also believe there are some pitchers, along with time and situations, where patience is not the right approach. I hope that the analytics man has had a positive influence, providing all of that information giving them an edge that didn’t used to have. Sure seems that way.

      • schmenkman

        April 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm

        @hk, “…with a manager who also seemed to downplay the importance of walks…”

        I am not sure how Manuel felt about walks, or patience in general, but either he at least tolerated them, or he had little influence on his hitters’ approach, because over the 9 years of his tenure, the Phillies had the 2nd highest walk rate in the NL: 8.9%, just behind Atlanta’s 9.0%.

      • wbramh

        April 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm

        Manuel did make one curious statement where he seemed to downplay the importance of walks as opposed to hitting. I can’t remember the exact comment but it may have been more his frustration with the team’s reduction in runs scored and just an ill-considered way of phrasing that frustration – like Howard saying a strikeout was no worse than a fly-out. I’m sure he knew better but was tired of having to discuss his whiffs.

        But as the stats prove, just like hits and runs, a good team draws walks and a bad team doesn’t. I think it’s that simple. I doubt that Manuel, even though he was a hitting coach, instructed his crew to start swinging at everything near the plate once the team started to struggleThat would seem counter-intuitive and Charlie’s a far better baseball man than that.

        But I believe this team’s only route to a .500 season is centered around maintaining patience at the plate. It’s not a team comprised of high batting average hitters with fat OBPs. They’re going to have to manufacture their breaks through patience at the plate, more aggressive base-running and improve their defense to see 80 wins. Then again, if the Mets, Braves and Nats keep losing key players to injury at the current rate the Phillies might have 90 victories in October. I’m still only counting on 67.

  4. Carlos

    April 13, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Go Phils! Miss you Harry.

  5. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    April 13, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Another exciting, solid win. Like Lefty, I am loving all the walks. We probably have more now, than last year’s entire total. (This pure hyperbole, by the way). Tony Gwynn, Jr has been filling in nicely for Revere. Chase Utley is the Man. He is off the charts right now. I think he secretly met with Chuck Norris, split one of Chuck’s stem cells and injected a half into each knee, and….BAM!
    On a negative note, Ryan Howard’s fielding is not worth $25 million, nor 25 cents for that matter. Apparently, Procrustes needs to stretch him out on the rack, so he can be limber enough to make a catch or play. He has to lead first baseman in errors.
    Bring on the Braves!!!

    • Johanna

      April 14, 2014 at 11:48 am

      I really like Tony Gwynn Jr. I’d love to see him play permanently.

      • wbramh

        April 14, 2014 at 4:23 pm

        All Junior has to do is play more like Senior.
        At age 31 it may be a decade too late to expect him to be a regular but I’d be happy if he works out as a good situational player.

  6. DavideE

    April 14, 2014 at 1:14 am

    Revere has an OBP of .304 although he has scored 7 runs (Utley’s 1.440 OPS may have something to do with that.). He has only 2 walks in more than 40 plate appearances. In order for him to be a successful player, his OBP has to be closer to .350. Revere has to get on base. I think that’s why Gwynn is out there. Gwynn’s OBP is .450. He has drawn 3 walks in 20 plate appearances. At this point, I think Sandberg is just playing the hot hand.

    Other than great bloodlines, there isn’t much in Gwynn’s past that would indicate that he could be successful. His lifetime OBP is .313 and he is 31 years old. But you never know with some guys. In the Phillies past, there have been players such as Jay Johnstone and Bill Robinson who didn’t become solid players until about 10 years after they first began in the league.

  7. Hogey's Role

    April 14, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Howard’s poor defense is puzzling to me, didn’t he have a stretch last year of like 71 errorless games….

    I’m loving the way utley is tearing the cover off the ball, here’s hoping he keeps it going!!!

    This was a well played series, I always say you still have to beat the teams that you’re supposed to and that’s something the phils struggled to do the last couple years so let’s hope they can keep this winning streak going

  8. Chuck A.

    April 14, 2014 at 9:16 am

    A split against a hot Atlanta team at the very minimum…just to keep pace. Taking 3 of 4 would be sweet.

    If they can play like they did this weekend that’s not impossible. If they play like they did against the Brewers???… (Come up with your own obvious answer).

  9. Manny

    April 14, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Chase is still THE MAN. Freaking beast!

  10. Johanna

    April 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

    It was a great day to be at the park. Fun game even if it was the Fish.

  11. bacardipr

    April 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Chase is still the man this is true. Howard has to pick it up both offensively and defensively. LIke it or not this offense is built on Howard been productive. Ruben has finally come to grips that Howard probably wont have a repeat of 2009. However a slash line of .275/.350 OBP and 30 HR should be within his realm. Unless the past injuries having taking more of a toll than what is believed.

  12. Ken Bland

    April 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Here’s a quirky factoid in Braves history that probably rates as uncommon. The 1993 Bravos, who the Phils beat in the LCS had a trio of players that shared the same birthday, April 14. David Justice, Steve Avery, and Hall of Famer Gregory Allan Maddux. Larry Jones was also on that club, and his birthday is April 10. Swing 4 days the other way, and another Braves hurler, who also pitched for the Phils, Marvin Freeman checked in with a birthday.

    Pretty cool that Maddux, Peter Edward and David Justice all share today as a birthday. Whole lotta baseball ability in that trio.

    I bet if this was my first post on a website’s message board, people would be dying in anticipation to see what I wrote in a second message. As breathtaking as it gets.

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