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Halladay Set To Take Hill Against Cubs In Series Opener

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(Photo: Philliedelphia/Lindsey Crew)

The Phils are coming back from a West Coast road trip in which they finished 5-5. They won just one series match up, against the D-backs, in four tries. The Phils managed just 15 runs through the first seven games of the road trip, but in the last two they seemed to break out. In their second series win of the year (2-for-6), the Phillies scored 20 runs total against the D-backs. Their large amount of runs helped them take two games of three in Arizona. If the Phillies have found their groove, this is the perfect time to find it.

The 9-10 Phillies are starting a four-game weekend homestand against the 6-12 Chicago Cubs tonight and who other than Roy Halladay to get the ball in the opening game. Halladay is 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in four starts this season. He was handed his first loss last Saturday against the Padres as he tossed seven innings allowing just 2 earned runs on 5 hits. The Phillies' bats were unable to show up in time to get Doc off the hook. It was Doc's first loss of the season.

Tonight, Halladay will be looking for some help from his bats as he takes on the Cubs for the first time since July of last year. Halladay took the loss after allowing 3 earned runs on 7 hits through four innings before being taken out of the game due to heat related problems. In his career, Halladay holds a 1-4 record and a 3.72 ERA against the Cubs. 

The Cubs will send out the struggling Paul Maholm (1-2, 8.36 ERA) tonight to face the Phillies' lineup. Maholm got off to a bad start this season, dropping his first two starts after allowing 6 earned runs in each of them. But he is coming off of his first win as a Cub and first of the year. On Saturday, Maholm held the Reds to one run on four hits over six innings. In his career, Malhom is 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA in seven starts vs. the Phillies.

Charlie Manuel's team may be hitting a hot streak as they're coming off of a 20-run three-game series in Arizona. With big time contributions from Hunter Pence and home runs from Laynce Nix and Ty Wigginton, the Phillies are starting to see the ball. Hopefully his lineup tonight can take hold of Paul Maholm's problems. 

 TV: CSN ; Radio: 1210 WPHT AM & 94 WIP FM.

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. Contact him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


Overused Headline: Mr. Harper Goes to Washington (Bryce Called Up to Majors)

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Wikipedia commons

Well, the Washignton Nationals felt they needed an offensive boost and called up much-hyped prospect Bryce Harper, reports Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington.    The move comes as third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 15 day disabled list.

Zuckerman quotes Nationals GM Mike Rizzo,

Rizzo: "This was expedited by the circumstances and 2 of our middle of the lineup guys going down." Felt needed "impactful LH bat."

Harper was hitting just .250 with one home run at AAA Syracuse.

So, the Nationals are replacing their third baseman with a left fielder.  Mark DaRosa, who had been playing some outfield for the Nationals, I assume will play sime third base in Zimmerman's absence.

One interesting note: Zuckerman points out that Harper spent 20 days in AAA.  Why is that significant? It delays free agency for a whole extra year.


Misleading Reports Claim Phillies, Citizens Bank Park Have Expensive Beer; Numbers Show Otherwise

Beer

CBS Philly is running a piece today with this headline:

Study: Price Of A Draft At Citizens Bank Park Second Highest In MLB

Well, that's not really true.  If you find a better comparison, you'll see that the Phillies' prices are actually on the less expensive side.

You see, The Street (the basis for the CBS Philly report) simply went to each park and went for the cheapest beer available at the ballpark and ranked them accordingly.  They already had to correct a few by their own standards.

So, a 12-ounce beer for $7.25 at Fenway Park in Boston was ranked less expensive than a 21-ounce beer at Citizens Bank Park that costs $7.75.   Do the math and Boston beer drinkers are paying 60.4 cents per ounce, whereas Philly beer drinkers are paying 36.9 cents per ounce.  I would not say that the Phillies are charing more.

The Bro Bible has a much better study.  In this study, the most expensive beer is that aformentioned 60 cent-per-ounce beer in Boston.

The one that The Street claims to be most expensive beer price, Marlins Stadium is actually tied with Yankee Stadium, and is only 86% of the price of most expensive.  The Miami Marlins and the New York Yankees both charge 50 cents per ounce.  You'll see, a 12-ounce beer in Miami for $6.00 is 50 cents per ounce, as is the 16-ounce beer for $8.00 in New York.

The cheapest beer?  A 14-ounce beer for $4.00 in Phoenix at Chase Field, just 29 cents per ounce.

Buy one of those "pints" at some bars down there?  It is a 16 ounce pint glass, and it's never full.   So, for that 14 ounces of beer for $5.00?  36 cents per ounce.  In fact, the picture above was a 12 ounce Yuengling bottle.  If your beer comes that full, you paid 41.6 cents per ounce, more than Citizens Bank Park.

The CBS piece has two quotes from two anonymous "fans in South Philly".  What information were they presented?   The one who called the prices "sad" should realize he is actually doing better there.   The only thing sad is the misleading information presented.

The CBS Philly report states,

A new report ranks Major League ballparks with the most expensive draft beer and it holds some bad news for Phillies fans.

I agree with the "bad news" part, but things look just fine for Phillies fans, at just 60% of the price of the highest-priced beer.


Phils clash with Cubs at CBP

Freddy Galvis and Ty Wigginton will play their first series against the Cubs as members of the Phillies. (Kevin Durso/Philliedelphia)

After a miserable start to their last series against the Diamondbacks, the Phillies rebounded with two of their best offensive games of the season to earn a well-deserved day off. Now, the Phillies are home against one of the worst teams in the National League, and trying to finally break the .500 mark.

The Chicago Cubs enter the series with a 6-13 record, far below the likes of even the Phillies, who are 9-10. The Cubs deal a lineup of has-beens it seems, as Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro are really the only offensive threats.

On the mound, the Cubs have had their struggles as well, but nothing is a guarantee for the Phillies.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series.

In the opener, Roy Halladay (3-1, 1.50 ERA) starts against Paul Maholm (1-2, 8.36 ERA) - Halladay took his first loss of the season in his last start against the Padres despite allowing only two runs in seven innings. In his career against the Cubs (five starts), Halladay is 1-4 with a 3.72 ERA.

Maholm allowed one run over six innings in picking up his first win as a Cub against the Reds on Saturday. In his career against the Phillies (seven starts), Maholm is 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

In the second game, Joe Blanton (1-3, 4.34 ERA) goes against Randy Wells (0-0, 3.60 ERA) - Blanton suffered the loss in his last start to the Padres allowing six runs in six innings. In his career against the Cubs (four starts), Blanton is 0-0 with a 3.04 ERA.

Wells allowed two runs in five innings in a no-decision against the Reds on Sunday. In his career against the Phillies (two starts), Wells is 0-0 with a 2.89 ERA. 

In the third game, Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 9.39 ERA) faces Matt Garza (1-1, 3.38 ERA) - Kendrick was hit hard in his last start, allowing seven runs in three-plus innings. In his career against the Cubs (two games, one start), Kendrick is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA.

Garza allowed two runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Cardinals on Monday. In his career against the Phillies (three starts), Garza is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA. 

In the finale, Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16 ERA) takes the mound against Jeff Samardzija (2-1, 4.13 ERA) - Worley pitched six solid innings in picking up the win over the D'Backs on Tuesday. In his career against the Cubs (one start), Worley is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

Samardzija took a no-decision in his last start against the Cardinals, going 6 2/3 innings allowing no runs on four hits. In his career against the Phillies (seven games, one start), Samardzija is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA.

Prediction:
April 27 - Phillies 4, Cubs 1
April 28 - Phillies 6, Cubs 4
April 29 - Phillies 2, Cubs 5
April 30 - Phillies 5, Cubs 3

The Phillies should be able to take at least three of four from a weak Cubs team that doesn't have much going right for them. However, the danger is that the Phillies will continue their hitting woes and fall in a couple of these games.

The Phillies clearly have the advantage on paper, but the Cubs can still shock the Phillies a couple of times this series. Pitchers like Halladay and Worley should be able to cruise to wins if they get some run support and pitchers like Blanton and Kendrick will need some runs but can also rebound. I've give the nod to Blanton on lower run support because he's proven he can pitch a gem like any of the other starters on the staff. Kendrick though could rebound from a shaky first start in place of the injured Cliff Lee to make a solid start of his own.

The Phillies hit the road after this series to face a pair of division rivals, the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.


Tigers Release Brandon Inge; Possible Infield Depth for Phillies?

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Today, the Detroit Tigers released third baseman Brandon Inge after a 12-year tenure together. Inge, who was batting .100 (2-20) with 2 RBI this season, was relieved of his duties at third base this season by Miguel Cabrera after the signing of Prince Fielder. 

Could the Phillies be interested in Inge's services?

Personally, I don't want anything to do with him. But, I'm not the Phillies and I don't make those decisions.

Inge had been an All-Star just once in his 12-year career, coming in 2009. Inge batted .230 with 27 HR and 84 RBI that season, and he had a semi-good 2010 season. But a deficient 2011 season showed his sudden decline. His .197 average, 3 HR, and 23 RBI in 102 games may have carried his slumpage into this season.

The Phillies do need infield depth, but if any depth is needed it's at third base. Freddy Galvis is doing work over at second, but Placido Polanco is not an everyday third baseman anymore. 

It's going to be interesting. 

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. Contact him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


Mets' Pelfrey "Likely" To Have Tommy John Surgery

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The third place New York Mets may be three games over .500, but they have some bad news to break. Righty Mike Pelfrey will undergo Tommy John Surgery, ending his 2012 season prematurely. Pelfrey, 28, was put on the 15-day DL Tuesday afternoon with elbow soreness that was retroactive to April 22nd. 

Pelfrey made just three starts this season, one against the Phillies. He posted a 0-0 record with a 2.29 ERA in those three starts. On April 15th, Pelfrey held the Phillies to one run on eight hits through six innings of work, but the Phillies got to the Mets's bullpen later in the game.

Tommy John Surgery will most likely make Pelfrey a better pitcher, as it does to most of its patients. We won't be seeing Pelfrey again this season, so what does this mean for the Mets?

Well since Pelfrey is out for the season, the Mets will have to use Robert Carson. Carson, a call up from Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League, went 0-0 with a 3.18 ERA in five games with Binghamton. 

It's highly unlikely that the Mets will play good baseball all year long. Ike Davis can't carry this team for 162 games. The Mets also have no fan support and that will affect them in the long run. We can basically rule out the Mets as a threat for us this season, but with the absense of Pelfrey it will make it a little easier. 

Erik Seybold is a Contributor for Philliedelphia. Contact him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.

 


D-Backs Fall to Phillies, 7-2; Hamels Outstanding in Strong Eight Innings

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After last night's win thanks to a breakout of the offense, the Phillies were looking to take this series from the Diamondbacks, their last game on this west coast trip. Cole Hamels took the mound this afternoon against Trevor Cahill, the former Athletics starter.

The Phils would jump ahead early once more thanks to an RBI single from Hunter Pence which scored Placido Polanco. 

The game remained 1-0 until the sixth inning when the offense really broke out. First, Juan Pierre scored on a wild pitch. Hunter Pence then hit an RBI single, making it 3-0. Carlos Ruiz followed with an RBI single of his own. To top it all off, Cole Hamels hit a two-run single with the bases loaded, putting the Phillies up 6-0.

Speaking of Cole, he pitched arguably his best start of the season. He didn't strike out as many batters as he did against the Mets on April 15 (10 K in 7 IP), but he allowed just one hit through his first six, retiring fourteen consecutive batters afterwards, striking out three and walking none in the process. 

Hamels allowed a single to Aaron Hill in the seventh inning, ending his streak of consecutive batters sent down at 18. That is simply unreal. 

Aaron Hill ended up scoring after Hamels allowed two more singles in the inning. He walked former Phillie Cody Ransom to load the bases for Paul Goldschmidt who nearly hit into a double play. However, Pete Orr dropped the exchange ball from Freddy Galvis, and everyone was safe. Another run would score courtesy of the error on Orr.

Freddy Galvis made some spectacular defensive plays today at shortstop. It was his first major league start at his former position (Jimmy Rollins was given the day off). So, know we know he can hold his ground at both shortstop and second base. Curious to see how he would make out as a third baseman now!

Hamels came back from his wretched seventh inning and struck out the side in the eighth. His day would be complete after that. His final line: 8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Not bad at all. 

Placido Polanco scored Juan Pierre from first on an RBI double in the top of the ninth. Both Pierre and Polanco had outstanding afternoons. 

Michael Schwimer, who just flew in this morning from Philly, entered the game in the ninth. He pitched a scoreless, 1-2-3 inning to close it out. Phillies win, 7-2!

The Phillies went 5-5 on this west coast trip, and will have the day off tomorrow. They'll start a four-game series with the Cubs at home on Friday at 7:05. 


Jimmy Rollins On the Bench as Phillies Close Out Series With Diamondbacks

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Finally something is changing: the Phillies are sitting Jimmy Rollins today in hopes of a better offensive output.  Pete Orr, last night's hero gets Rollins' slot in the lineup but at second base as Galvis slides over to shortstop.

Rollins is in a 3 for 32 skid, helping his batting average sit at .239 and has a whole two extra base hits.  Not exactly three-hole hitter material.   Charlie should bat him 7th or something if he is allowed to return.

Pete Orr, however, would have been on pace for 162 extra base hits if he was allowed to play.  He has two doubles and a triple in three games.  

Cole Hamels hopes the offense works.  He is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA in the early going.  Trevor Cahill is a decent pitcher, sitting at 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA, their prized acquisition this winter.

Today's Lineup:

  1. Pierre LF
  2. Polanco 3B
  3. Victorino CF
  4. Pence RF
  5. Nix 1B
  6. Orr 2B
  7. Ruiz C
  8. Galvis SS
  9. Hamels P

Well, game is at 3:40 on Comcast Sports Net so you'll probably have to cheat and listen/watch at work.  Unless you don't have a job, of course, which is wonderful in that it frees you up to watch South Beach Tow later.


Dontrelle Willis Can't Make a Bad Team; Demands Release as if Someone Would Take Him

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Well, Dontrelle Willis could not make the Phillies.   So, to increase his chances of making a major league team, he went for one of the worst possible teams: The Baltimore Orioles.

But, he could not make the Baltimore Orioles after signing a minor league contract.  The Orioles assigned Willis to AAA Norfolk, but he is said to have "stormed out" of the clubhouse.   The hangup, it appears, is that Willis is no longer willing to pitch in a bullpen.

But wait, didn't the Orioles sign him to do that?  Willis told the Baltimore Sun what his role would be:

“The role is still the same. “So I’m definitely still getting used to coming out of the bullpen, but it seemed like their bullpen was already set for Philadelphia. It’s just another opportunity to go out there with another young, talented team and go out there and show my stuff.”

The "young, talented team" did not find him talented enough, so they sent him to the minors.  Then Willis did not want to relieve.  So, the Orioles put him on the restricted list after failing to show up for work.

Now, Willis is filing a grievance against the Orioles, saying the Orioles are "holding him hostage" by placing him on the restricted list.  He "thought he had clearance" to walk out and quit.

Here's an idea, Willis: be happy anybody will pay you money to play baseball still.


Here's A Thought: Chase Utley, Left Fielder?

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Courtesy MLB.com. (Also, I miss you.)


You've seen the updates over the past couple days. Ryan Howard is about a week away from resuming baseball activities and you could estimate that he'll be back sometime in June. Chase Utley has also been quoted as feeling better right now than at any point last year, as far as his knee pain is concerned.

It's most likely that Utley returns to the lineup before Howard. I agree with most that it would be ideal to play him at first base a couple times a week to ease him back into playing shape. However, what do we do once everyone is back, healthy, and ready to contribute (assuming there are no injuries before then. Not likely)?

Why not put Chase Utley in left field? Hear me out.

Ryan Howard has returned and will be playing every day at first base. That's his spot and will be for the rest of his Phillies career. We've seen what Freddy Galvis is capable of with his glove. Sure, he needs to improve at the plate, but we're strictly talking defense here. One could argue that his glove, along with the overall performance of our starting pitchers, is one of the lone bright spots for this team right now. Let's keep Freddy here and see what he can do with a full Major League season.

That leaves Chase Utley without a position and we currently have a hole in left field. Juan Pierre has overall been a disappointment and John Mayberry has went from "Yayberry" to "Booberry" (Just ask the people of Twitter) quicker than any of us would have liked. Why not try Chase Utley?

Chronic knees issues will follow Chase around for the rest of his career. He has two years remaining on his current contract so why not get the most we can out of those two years? Left field will come with a learning curve for him, however, it is unarguably the easiest of the three outfield positions to play. The everyday wear and tear of a leftfielder is far less than that of a second basemen. With playing second base you risk a base runner sliding into you, pivoting on double play balls and diving for ground balls in the hole or up the middle. We don't need Chase doing any of that if we can avoid it.

This idea hasn't been mentioned by anyone in the Phillies organization, but it's worth thinking about in my opinion. I like this lineup:

Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Utley LF, Howard 1B, Pence RF, Ruiz C, Polanco 3B, Galvis 2B, Pitcher.

What do you think?