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Week in Review: 4/22/13-4/28/13

April 29, 2013

Well, by the looks of this week’s record it doesn’t appear to have been a bad week. But at one point it looked like this was going to be week that broke the Phillies. After winning their first game against the Pirates at home the Phillies then proceeded to drop the next 3 games to Pittsburgh in horrendous fashion. They were 9-14 on the season, 1-3 on the week. It looked bad. But then, Baseba’al sent a gift down from on high to deliver us. He sent his one and only son to save the Phillies, and his name was Kyle Kendrick. Kyle delivered one of the best games of his career in Friday’s win, a shutout of the Mets, which got the ball rolling for the Phillies who went on to sweep the Mets on the road. They now carry a 3 game winning streak into Cleveland. It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep it going against the 9-13 Indians. Until then, let’s look back.

Record for the Week: 4-3

Record for the Season: 12-14

Citizens Banker’s Confidence Meter: 6- Meh-crap. Need more cowbell. And wins. Need more cowbell and wins.

Game of the Week: Kyle Kendrick leads the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff in Win Probability Added with 1.05. Say WHAT?! Well, it’s true. And Kyle had one of his best performances of the season on Friday as he twirled 9 IP on 105 pitches against the Mets, allowing only 3 hits and 1 walk. IT WAS A COMPLETE GAME SHUTOUT. KYLE KENDRICK, EVERYONE. KYLE. KENDRICK. Oh, and then your TCB Player of the Week just busted the game wide open in the bottom of the 6th with a 3-run HR. It’s never not fun to beat the Mets and on Friday night it was a complete team win for the Phillies 4-0 victory at Citi Field. Here’s the boxscore.

Play of the Week: Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. go back-to-back (starts around 0:15 mark).

Player of the Week: As we said a few weeks ago, if the Phillies want to do anything in the NL East or in the playoffs this year they’ll need Ryan Howard to step up big time. Ryan did just that this week. Howard had the highest Win Probability Added to the team this week with a whopping 0.62. Ryan went 8-for-26, with 3 doubles and 2 homeruns. He had 10 RBI’s and scored 5 runs. His WAR for the week was 0.2, 3rd behind Kyle Kendrick and Michael Young (0.3 each). Close Seconds: Kyle Kendrick, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee.

Stat of the Week: This one from Twitter personality @Phylan who lets us know: The Phillies are 3rd out of 15 teams in the NL in batting average, 11th out of 15 in OPS. That’s just dandy.

Quote of the Week: “This wasn’t like being injured, it was completely different. I watched a lot of games, and it was hard for me because I would like to be here and I can’t do anything because I was under suspension.”– Carlos Ruiz, on what it was like serving a 25 game suspension to start the season.

Tweet of the Week: Surprising that it took this long to get That Balls Outta Here their first Tweet of the Week award. But here’s Justin Klugh, emphatic that he will never stop loving to hate Kyle Kendrick.

Week in Review: 4/15/13-4/21/13

April 22, 2013

The Phillies had such a blegh week. They got swept in Cincinnati in 3 games despite great pitching performances from Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick. Then they came home to face the Cardinals and after losing the first game managed to split the series. Roy Halladay had a marvelous game against the Reds but some peripheral stats indicate he might be in trouble going forward still (his BABIP in that game was 0.000 meaning everything the Cards hit into play was sucked up by the Phillies defense). Cliff Lee got shelled in his 2nd start of the week and it was looking like a 1-win week until Ben Revere got angry. The Phillies also lost #5 start John Lannan to the Disabled List for 6 to 8 weeks, so a new “John” (Jonathan Pettibone) will enter the arena to take his place. This next week the Phillies will host the Pirates for 4 games and then travel to New York to take on the Mets again.

Record for the Week: 2-5

Record for the Season: 8-11

Citizens Banker’s Confidence Meter: 5- Oh hey, look, the Phillies are on? They kinda suck, don’t they?

Game of the Week: Roy Halladay pitched 7 innings and held the Cardinals to 2 hits, both of them homeruns, and got his 2nd win of the season as the Phillies cruised to an 8-2 win. The win snapped a 4-game losing streak for the Phils and was a return to form of the 2011 season for Doc. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come. This also qualified as a Complete Game because the game ended after 7 innings due to rain. Here’s the boxscore.

Play of the Week: Catch of the Year, son.

Player of the Week: For the first time this season the world’s foremost Kyle Kendrick apologists are naming Kyle Kendrick to be the Player of the Week. In all honesty, though, Kyle had the best week of any Phillies player. Kyle started 2 games but didn’t win either. While you could make the case that Roy Halladay had the performance of the week, Kyle put out a better overall piece of work with his 2 starts. He pitched 13 innings in those 2 games, had a 2 hitter against the Reds until the rain came and he was dismissed. He had a WHIP of 1.00 over those 2 starts, fanned 10 batters and only gave up 2 ER for both starts. He tied with Cole Hamels for the highest WAR for the week at 0.3 and had the highest Win Probability Added (WPA) with 0.50. Close Seconds: Chase Utley, Ben Revere, Roy Halladay.

Stat of the Week: This one brought to you by our friends at Zoo With Roy. “It’s a difficult feat to lose two major league baseball games in one four-hour span by a combined margin of 10, but the 2013 Phillies managed to do so, rather convincingly.” Bolg.

Quote of the Week: “I was really ticked. I thought that sucker was up the middle and it seemed like that ball just stuck. And the shortstop grabbed it right by the bag and stepped on it and got a double play. I just came in the clubhouse and tried to calm myself. Did a little meditation. Then [in the eighth] I was like, ‘I’ve got to redeem myself right here.’ And luckily I saw a pitch up and was able to drive it into center field.”– Ben Revere, on his sixth and eighth inning at-bats of Sunday’s 7-3 victory over the Cardinals. Revere hit into a crucial double play in the 6th but then put the Phillies up for good in the 8th.

Tweet of the Week: Noted Twitter Personality @DangerGuerrero pokes fun at our greatest fears of this hot and cold Phillies offense amidst a 4-run 8th inning to beat the Cardinals.

Week in Review: 4/8/13-4/14/13

April 15, 2013

The second week of the season was much better for the Phighting Phills, as they won back-to-back series against the Mets and Marlins. The Marlins are definitely a team you want to sweep if you can but the Phillies lost a game in the series. There’s no reason to throw a fit though, it was after all in Miami, and the home teams need to win eventually. The Mets series was much more impressive. After losing the first game 7-2 the Phillies came back and won the series by a combined score of 15-6. As expected, the team ERA came down considerably, especially after that first game. The Phillies gave up 7 runs to the Mets in the first game of the week and only 10 runs over the next 5 games after that.

Record for the Week: 4-2

Record for the Season: 6-6

Citizens Banker’s Confidence Meter: 6- Meh-crap. Need more cowbell. And wins. Need more cowbell and wins.

Game of the Week: The Phillies were tied with the Marlins 1-1 going into the 9th inning in the rubber match of the series. Roy Halladay had just pitched an incredible 8 innings in his first rehab start against a minor league team to stymie the Florida Marlins and Laynce Nix hit a game-winning HR in the top of the 9th. Roy Halladay also got his 200th career victory with the W. It was an incredible win, a crucial early season victory over a bad team, a series-winning game, a great performance from an otherwise broken Doc, a milestone win for the starting pitcher, and it was done in dramatic fashion. Game of the week, for sure. Here’s the boxscore.

Play of the Week: Laynce Nix’s double decker to get Roy Halladay his first win of the 2013 season.

Player of the Week: If the Phillies are going to make a run at the division title and have any chance of the post-season they need Ryan Howard to produce. And in the 2nd week of the season, against the Mets and Marlins, he certainly did produce. Howard debuted late last week on NBC hit comedy The Office as an exaggerated version himself and talked about his Super Hero screenplay that was part-autobiographical entitled “The Big Piece.” (Watch the episode here.) And the real Big Piece delivered the following week, batting .391, an on-base percentage of .400, and slugged at a team-high rate of .696. Ryan went 9-23, hit his first homerun of the season as well as smashing 4 doubles. He scored 4 runs and drove in 2 RBI’s. Runners up: Michael Young (!!!) and Cliff Lee *swoons*.

Stat of the Week: After 12 games the Phillies have a better run differential (-10) than the Nationals (-13). The Phillies also own the only defeat of the Atlanta Braves this season who are a sweltering 11-1.

Quote of the Week: “I’d rather win a World Series.”– Roy Halladay, after being presented with a big bottle of champagne by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley for winning his 200th career game.

Tweet of the Week: It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Doc this week. In his first start he got lit up by the Mets going 4.0 IP, throwing 99 pitches and giving up 7 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks. Enter the former Phillies starter and one of the four aces from the magical 2011 season, Roy Oswalt. Roy from the South blew a kiss to Phillies fans around the Twitter world with this tweet, which was made during Roy from the North’s unsettling 2nd start. It was like your hot ex-gf flirting with you while your current girlfriend is having face surgery. But it happened. And here it is.

Week in Review: 4/1/13-4/7/13

April 8, 2013

The first week of the season was rough for the Phillies, as they watched ball after ball leave the ballpark off the bat of Braves. Road series are difficult to win, especially against rivalry teams, so Cliff Lee salvaging the series in Atlanta was huge for the team. Then they came home and had a couple of implosions against the Royals when leading by a score of 4-0 each time. All in all the Phillies leave the first week of the season as a team that is hitting well but with the worst ERA in MLB. That’s bad but that’s something they will obviously and easily fix as the season presses on.

Record for the Week: 2-4

Record for the Season: 2-4

Citizens Banker’s Confidence Meter: 6- Meh-crap. Need more cowbell. And wins. Need more cowbell and wins.

Game of the Week: The Phillies only won twice this week so its slim pickings. Cliff Lee’s gem should not go uncredited in this report, but without a doubt the game of the week was the 4-3 walkoff win against the Royals. With Kansas City’s bullpen being so good it was hard to imagine the Phillies winning that game after getting down late. But they rallied in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs for a crucial early season win. Good work, Phightens. Here’s the boxscore.

Play of the Week: Is there really any question? Kevin Frandsen’s walkoff 3-RBI double to beat the Royals.

Player of the Week: The Man. Chase Utley, without a doubt is the player of the week. On Opening Day he came a double away from hitting of the cycle. So far he is hitting .391, with 2 walks, 2 doubles, a triple, and a homerun. Keep it up, Chase! Close seconds were Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown.

Stat of the Week: Before Cole Hamels Opening Day start: In 4 opening season starts Cole Hamels has 16.2 IP and 18 ER. He doesn’t shoot out of the gate the way you’d think he would. And he definitely did not in Atlanta last Monday.

Quote of the Week: “When you see Ryan Howard run at you full speed, that’s weird and you get scared.”– Kevin Frandsen, on his walkoff double and the celebration that ensued.

Tweet of the Week: Note: Tweet of the week will officially replace Picture of the Week. Enjoy.
Here’s Phillies ballgirl Rachael Matreale with a zinger about Hunter Pence, who had just let a pop-fly drop due to sun glare. Her tweet is both snarky as well as a horrifying reminder that that guy used to play RF for us every day.

The Story of Lyle Kendrick

March 29, 2013

Lyle Kendrick is a man among boys. Lyle Kendrick is the Ace of Aces. Lyle Kendrick makes Roy Halladay look like Aaron Cook. Lyle Kendrick is the hero Philadelphia deserves, but not the one it needs right now. Fans will hunt him. Because he can take it. Because Lyle’s not our hero. Lyle’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.

ImageThe truth of the matter is that Lyle Kendrick was just a typo that turned into a running joke between The Citizens Bankers and Twitter personality @ilovechooch. It started on June 23rd, 2012, when Kyle Kendrick drew an 8-pitch walk from Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields. Shields threw only four-seam fastballs to Kendrick, but Kyle fouled off two pitches at 3-2 before walking on the 8th pitch. The Phillies were down 3-0 to the Rays at the time of the at-bat so when Jimmy Rollins followed with a 2-run HR (see here!), it was a big deal for the game, which ended up being a pretty cool game because Jim Thome did THIS later that afternoon.

The following is the Twitter conversation that ensued when noted Kendrick-apologist the Citizens Banker tried to point out Kendrick’s walk.

The Birth of Lyle

The LOLs

The Apology

The Beginning

The Future

On Josh Hamilton and the Phillies 2012 Offseason

December 8, 2012

Josh Hamilton will be your starting LF for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013. And 2014. And 2015. And 2016. And, if everything pans out right, 2017.

Ruben Amaro Junior has played a shrewd hand so far this offseason. He came into it proclaiming that CF was his top priority, but then Phillies fans watched BJ Upton and Angel Pagan, two players the Phillies had close ties to in the rumor mill, sign with despised opponents the Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants. Rube first attempted a trade with recently NL departed Houston Astros for undervalued Wilton Lopez, but the deal fell apart when Lopez supposedly came in for a physical and then he was shipped to Colorado. Still, the rumored deal had been a good one for the Phillies and one that would have solved the late inning set up problems the Phillies had in 2012 (Never Forget: “The Gap to Pap”).

When the Wilton Lopez trade fell through Rube returned his attention to CF, where he pulled off an interesting trade to acquire a CF of the future in Ben Revere. While a lot of people think they gave up too much in terms of Vance Worley and Trevor May, Worley had arm issues in his first full season as a starter and May took a step back in 2012. Revere’s noodle arm and lightening legs have drawn comparisons to young Juan Pierre and Michael Bourn. But acquiring Revere first was and will be of the utmost importance.

The trade for Micheal Young has an interesting twist to it involved in all but first let’s take a step back and look at the market for JH. When the offseason began, the list of teams that needed an OF and who could be suitors for Hamilton included, by my own count: Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, Braves, Mariners, Blue Jays, Giants, Brewers, and Phillies. Well the Blue Jays inked Melky Cabrera, as mentioned the Braves and Giants signed Upton and Pagan, respectively, and the Red Sox signed Shane Victorino for 3 years, 39 million dollars. The Yankees, against all odds, have not been strongly linked to Hamilton, and the Rangers, the most likely landing spot for the left-handed slugger, reportedly would prefer to sign SP Zach Grienke and complete a rumored 3 or 4 team trade involving the Arizona Diamondbacks for slugging outfielder Justin Upton.

That leaves just the Phillies, Mariners and Brewers. Of course, the Yankees could always cease the day and sign Hamilton anyway. Or the Dodgers could sweep in and steal Grienke, leaving the Rangers to re-sign Hamilton and change the focus of their massive trade to acquire a starting pitcher like James Shields. But if they don’t then the market for Hamilton is small and not very strong. The Brewers corner outfielders are Ryan Braun and Michael Hart, and while Hamilton is labeled a CF, by the end of whatever deal he receives he won’t be a CF anymore. So the Brewers would have that to handle in the near future. The Mariners have discussed a 3-year deal with Hamilton’s agent but considering the asking price started with 7-8 years, it is very unlikely the slugger will go as low as 3 years. The Mariners are also a team without a plethora of talent to which they can surround Hamilton. They have a flurry of young and up coming offensive players like Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero, Kyle Seager, etc. but if Hamilton were to go to Seattle, he would be THE guy. He’d be the one the team would rely on turn the latent potential into a perennial power. Can Hamilton handle that sort of pressure? Would he want to? I would think not, not after being surrounded by All-Star caliber players in Texas.

So that leaves the Phillies, who are still without a power bat in the outfield despite all acknowledgement that they are looking for one. Some good options are Nick Swisher and Cody Ross, both of which can play the corner outfield and provide some pop to this lineup, all the while hitting from the much-needed right side of the plate, something Hamilton can not offer. But the Phillies have the need and while they are not as offensively gifted as the Rangers, they have the right make up to be a potent lineup if Hamilton were to be added to the mix. And the Phillies have an opening in either of their corner OF spots.

Now let’s move on to the Michael Young trade, in which the Phillies acquired an upgrade at 3B over Kevin Frandsen and are only paying him 6 million dollars for the one year. What’s so odd about this trade, for me, was the fact that Jeff Pasan reported that Phillies were going hard after Young while he was weighing the option of waiving his No Trade clause.

How badly do the Phillies want Michael Young? Source says “they are recruiting him like he’s the No. 1 pick in the country.”

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 8, 2012

That quote, “recruiting him like he’s the No. 1 pick” is outstanding to me. They want a 3B stopgap until Cody Asche is ready to get the call up to the majors, but all indications were that Young was going to waive the NTC any way because the Phillies were offering him a starting spot while the Rangers were offering him the chance to be the backup of 5 different positions. Could it be because Ruben wanted Young here as a bargaining chip to sign Hamilton? There hasn’t been much coverage on it so we might just be grasping at straws but we know at least that Hamilton looked to Young for leadership. (http://www.wfaa.com/sports/baseball/rangers/Josh-Hamilton–115517589.html.)

Another factor playing into this is the following: Hamilton’s starting asking price was a 7-8 year deal, 20-25 AAV. That has now fallen more into the realm that the first team to offer him 5 years will likely sign him, and it’ll most likely be close to 20 AAV than 25. Every day that passes by that JH is without a contract increases his odds of lowering his price in both years and money. Every day it becomes more apparent that teams like the Rangers, Yankees and Phillies will move on without him. Even though the market of teams is down to 3 or 4 teams, every day that those teams go about not singing Josh Hamilton decreases his value.

Josh Hamilton

Starting in left field, batting 4th for the Philadelphia Phillies…    Josh Hamilton!

So what can the Phillies offer JH? They won’t give him 8, 7, 6 or 5 years guaranteed. And they won’t give him a starting CF job because Ruben has already gone out and gotten the center fielder of the future in Ben Revere. Imagine if he had signed Hamilton and then traded for Revere? The job would be assumed to belong to Hamilton instead of the other way around (for those multi-sport Philly fans reading this: consider the recent news surfacing that the Eagles offset the power dynamic by hiring Jim Washburn and then hiring his superior in Juan Castillo). Hamilton, who over the last 3 years has spent over 760 more innings playing in LF (1,968.2) than in CF (1,208.0), would assume the role of every day starting LF in Philadelphia. There have been concerns about Hamilton’s health, and that is legitimate but perhaps exaggerated: JH missed only 24 games in 2012, while missing 50 games in 2011, and 43 more in 2010. But he still won the MVP with those 43 missed games in 2010. But as Josh gets older those injuries won’t heal as quickly as they did before so health is still a huge factor nonetheless.

The question of money and years comes into play as well. Hamilton is worth about 22 million dollars per year, but the years has always been the sticking points. Most sources say Hamilton can not quite reach the 5th year of any deal. So what the Phillies could do is quite familiar to what they’ve been doing with some of their recent big signing such as Roy Halladay and Jimmy Rollins, and add a vesting option for an additional year based on playing time. If Hamilton is given a 4 year, 90 million dollar contract with a vesting option for a 5th year based on starting 560 games for the Phillies over 4 years, meaning starting an average of 140 of 162 games a year, at another 20 million dollars it would have the potential to be a 5 year/110. If Hamilton never reaches that 560 game plateau then the Phillies avoid the catastrophe of signing him to that 5th year and Josh has every incentive to try and stay healthy as he grows older.

The Phillies need Josh Hamilton. Ruben Amaro Junior can not honestly look at the team he has assembled thus far and compare it to the improvements NL East rivals the Washington Nationals (Denard Span) and Atlanta Braves (BJ Upton, Reed Johnson) have made and believe that this team will be able to keep up. The Phillies finished 16 games behind the Nationals last year and while full seasons of healthy Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will help them make that up, they don’t change the balance of power in the NL East the way signing Hamilton would.

The Phillies are so Inception’d

June 5, 2012

Inspired ENTIRELY from this tweet: https://twitter.com/Phylan/status/193032530482577410

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