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End of An Era: Phillies Trade John Mayberry Jr.

  John_Mayberry_

The Phillies made one additional trade before the August 31 waiver trade deadline.  According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the Phillies shipped out extra man John Mayberry Jr.:

The Phillies likely had little time for Mayberry, given that finding at bats for Darin Ruf, also a right-handed first baseman/outfielder, has been tough.

Gustavo Pierre is a third baseman who formerly was a shortstop in the Blue Jays system.   In Spring Training, the Toronto Observe wrote that Pierre was seeing the benefits from the switch:

After spending three seasons at shortstop and having some flaws in his defence, the organization decided to move him to third in 2012. The move saw his errors drop from 44 to 16 in just one year.

“I feel comfortable at third base already,” he said. “When you are closer to the hitting, you’ve got to be ready all the time and be quicker than shortstop or second base and that’s what I am looking for. When I started to play as a kid, I used to be a third baseman.”

Pierre considers himself a hard worker, and will maximize his effort in whatever position he is designated to play in an effort to reach the big club.

Pierre spent most of the 2014 season with the Dunedin Blue Jays, a Class A opponent of the Clearwater Threshers, and nine games with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a Reading Fightin' Phils opponent in the AA Eastern League.    Pierre hit a combined .260 with eight home runs and 43 RBI, posting an OPS of .669.   Pierre turns 23 in December.


Flushing Flop: Phillies Fall To Mets In Finale

The Phillies entered Sunday having won eight of their last 11 games and hoped to take down the New York Mets on their own territory for what could have been their fourth straight series victory.  Instead, the Phillies combined sloppy play with a rough A.J. Burnett start, losing to the Mets to close out August.

The Game:

The Phillies struck first.  In the fourth inning, Jimmy Rollins led off with a single and advanced to second base with a Chase Utley groundout.  Ryan Howard followed with an RBI double to put the Phillies up 1-0, for Howard's 85 RBI of the season.

The Mets opened their scoring in the bottom of the fifth with two runs.  After Anthony Recker struck out and Dillon Gee grounded out, Juan Lagares singled to put a runner on.  Matt den Dekker followed with a double to drive in Lagares to tie the game at one.  David Wright lined a single to center to drive in den Dekker to put the Mets up 2-1.

The Phillies would quickly tie up the game.  After Chase Utley led off the top of the sixth inning with a lineout, Ryan Howard would go deep to the right field corner for his 20th home run of the season.  Howard's shot made it a 2-2 game.   However, the Mets were ready to go up for good.

To open the bottom of the sixth inning, Wilmer Flores singled to left field.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis grounded out, advancing Flores to second base.  Dilson Herrara followed with a walk, to bring Anthony Recker to the plate.  Recker belted a long, no-doubt-about-it home run to left field that would put the Mets up 5-2.

The Phillies got another in the seventh inning.  Freddy Galvis, pitch hitting for Burnett, led off with a double and Ben Revere followed with a single to put runners at first and second with no outs.   Jimmy Rollins singled, which would drive in Galvis to make the score 5-3.  In the eighth inning Domonic Brown added a solo home run which would make it 5-4.

Before it was all over, each team would add one more.   The Mets got another run in the bottom of the eighth inning.  Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled off of reliever Justin De Fratus and Dilson Herrara followed with a single that would drive Nieuwenhuis in to put the Mets up 6-4.  

The Phillies made it interesting in the top of the ninth.  Jimmy Rollins led off with a single and Chase Utley was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with no outs.   Ryan Howard would follow and ground into a double play, putting Rollins at third with one out.   Grady Sizemore singled in Rollins to make it 6-5.  Domonic Brown followed with a groundout to end the Phillies' threat and the game.

Key Offensive Statistics:

  • Domonic Brown went 4 for 5 with a home run.
  • Jimmy Rollins was 3 for 5 with two runs score and a RBI.
  • Ben Revere was 2 for 5 in the leadoff spot.

Impact:

This was it for the Phillies and the Mets for the 2014 season.   The Phillies won six games and lost 13 games in the season series.  

Up Next:

The Phillies head down to Atlanta for three, beginning tomorrow.  Two of the three are day games.

Game 1: Monday, 1:10 p.m. - Cole Hamels vs. Julio Teheran
Game 2: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. - Kyle Kendrick vs. Mike Minor
Game 3: Wednesday, 12:10 p.m. - David Buchanan vs. Ervin Santana


Do Not Expect Anyone To Fall For Ryan Howard's RBI Total

Will some padded stats for Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard help trade him this offseason?

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote the other day that the Phillies are playing Howard in the hopes that they can move him in a trade:

 

The front office's hope, according to sources familiar with the situation, is that an American League team will take a chance on Howard if he reaches plateaus such as 25 home runs and 100 RBIs. (He is on pace for 23 homers with 99 RBIs.) Howard, who turns 35 in November, is owed $60 million after this season. While the team held internal discussions about releasing Howard, according to CSNPhilly.com, that is viewed as a last resort. Ownership is not keen on the stigma of such a move.

However, Gelb remembered that Phillies Manager Ryne Sandberg stated he is well-aware of what Howard can do:

"I know what he can do," Sandberg said of Howard. "I've seen him for 100 games. I know what he can do. I think it's important to see what a guy like Darin Ruf can do also going forward."

Sandberg is not alone.  Will the other teams not already know what Ryan Howard can do?  Will RBI numbers be enough?

Here are the numbers Ryan Howard has that the team hopes will land them a trade partner:

  • 255 of his 485 at bats (53%) of Howard's at bats have come with runners on base.
  • 144 of his 485 at bats (30%) of Howard's at bats have come with runners in scoring position.
  • In comparison, RBI leader Giancarlo Stanton had 225 of 496 at bats with runners on base (45%) and 126 of 496 in scoring position (25%).   Stanton has 14 more RBI going into Sunday's game.
  • Howard's 19 home runs tie him for 16th in the league.   He is being outhomered by the likes of Corey Dickerson and Mark Reynolds, annual scrap heap inventory.

What teams will notice is Howard's WAR.  At a -0.9 (yes, that's a negative nine-tenths).  Only seven players in the National League with 450 plate appearances have a negative WAR.  

The Phillies would indeed prefer not to just release Howard out of respect.   However, there was the day that Bill Giles appeared on television with tears in his eyes to tell the fans that beloved "Lefty" Steve Carlton had played his last game with the Phillies.   The Phillies honored Carlton by retiring his number the season after he finally hung up his spikes, and have brought him back every year since to celebrate Carlton on alumni weekend.

Ryan Howard likely will have his face on the Wall of Fame.  I do not see number six ever being worn by another Phillie in history.   Whether the Phillies trade Ryan Howard to a team who pays just $5 million a season times two or just outright release him, none of this will change.  However, the delusion that padding RBI totals will help the Phillies save Howard's dignity is a secret to no one.


Marlon Byrd Homers, Jerome Williams Delivers Another Strong Start as the Phillies Beat the Mets

On a night that was Marlon Byrd's 37th birthday, Jerome Williams and Byrd delivered a present to the Phillies fans, who watched the Phillies take down the Mets on enemy territory.    Williams continued to give the Phillies a chance to win, and Byrd showed baseball that he was one of the best free agent bargains on the season.

The Game:

The first four innings were very quiet.  Both Mets starter Bartolo Colon and Phillies starter Jerome Williams retired the other side quickly and quietly before the scoring began.   The Phillies would score first in the top of the fifth inning.   Leading off the fifth, Marlon Byrd connected on a Bartolo Colon fastball that cleared the right-center fence to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the sixth, the Phillies would switch on the offense in the form of a barrage of singles.   Ben Revere, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back-singles.   Howard's would come with the bases loaded and would knock in Revere and Rollins to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead.   Byrd struck out but the Phillies were not done singling in runs.  Domonic Brown singled next, driving in Utley to make it 4-0 Phillies.  Carlos Ruiz followed with his single, this time driving in Howard to make it 5-0 and end Colon's day.  Not to be left out, Cody Asche singled to drive in Brown to give the Phillies a 6-0 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Williams started leaking oil.  Lucas Duda, Matt den Dekker, and Dilson Herrara would all hit singles to load the bases.  Williams exited with one out and the bases loaded.  Justin De Fratus would get the softly-hit ground ball he was looking for, but it just barely slipped by second baseman Chase Utley to give the Mets their first run.   De Fratus would strike out Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but walked Juan Lagares to force in the Mets second run.  Antonio Bastardo would enter and strike out Curtis Granderson to end the Mets' threat.

The Phillies added one more in the top of the ninth inning.  Jimmy Rollins led off with a walk and stole second base.  A Chase Utley groundout got Rollins to third base.   Ryan Howard hit a sacrifice fly to score Rollins to make the score 7-2 Phillies.

Despite the lead being five runs, Jonathan Papelbon pitched a clean ninth inning to preserve the Phillies' win.

Significant Stats:

  • Jerome Williams went 6 1/3 innings allowing just two earned runs
  • Marlon Byrd hit is 25th home run of the season, a career high
  • Ryan Howard had three RBI, giving him 84 for the season.

Impact:

The Phillies have won eight of their last 11 games.  This does not mean a whole lot at this point, of course.   The Phillies are now one game behind the Mets for fourth place.   Every win just keeps the Phillies further and further back in the draft order next season.

Up Next:

Tomorrow is the waiver trade deadline.  Several Phillies have cleared, including A.J. Burnett and closer Jonathan Papelbon.   There is still a chance that the two be dealt.  Any deals must be official prior to midnight for those players to be eligible for the postseason.   Burnett (7-14, 4.30) is set to face Dillon Gee (5-6, 3.77) tomorrow at 1:10 to close out the series.


Season Expectations: Michael Carter-Williams

Who will be the leader of this year’s Sixers team? Who is going to pick this team up after another long losing streak in the middle of February and continue to keep fighting when everyone feels like waving the white flag on the season? Someone must step up and take control of this young roster. With the departure of Thad Young now behind us, the sense around the team is that last season’s Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams will fill the role as the “veteran leader” of the squad.

To call a 22 year old, second year player, a veteran doesn’t make any sense but MCW is the most viable candidate on the Sixers roster to fill the role. Carter-Williams is coming off a monster rookie season, averaging 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.3 assists, clearly showing he has a future in this league. In fact, he was one of just four players to average at least 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists last season. The other three were Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Gordon Heyward.

As one of the tallest PG in the league at 6’6, MCW uses his length to his advantage on the defensive side of the ball. Just his size alone as a PG makes him a serious defensive threat. MCW averaged 1.9 steals per game last season which proved to be one of greatest strengths. As for his strengths on the offensive end, his passing greatly improved over the course of last season and we should expect more improvements this year in his passing game especially with the addition of Nerlens Noel down low. Another thing that I enjoyed watching last season was his skill to get into the lane effectively. Expect MCW’s offensive game to improve greatly this season because of experience and the addition of Noel.

Although last season was indeed an impressive start to a promising career, MCW does have some weaknesses. The majority of them come on the offensive end, where he shot only 40.5% from the floor last season. Like I said earlier, one of his pros was his ability to get into the paint but he missed a countless number of close opportunities around the bucket. He was basically told to stop chucking up three point shots by head coach Brett Brown because of his pitiful 26.4 success rate from beyond the arc. Word is that MCW is expected to improve his shooting this year which will help the Sixers immensely. One final argument against Carter-Williams would be turnovers. He turned the ball over 247 times last season in 70 games. That’s a ton of turnovers and way too many in my opinion. Hopefully, we’ll see some growth this season from the second year PG.

My final predictions for MCW this season: 75 games, 18 ppg, 5 rpg, and 7 apg. If he can cut down on the turnovers and improve his shooting ability this would be a quality second year stat sheet for the PG. Sam Hinkie is asking for a lot from MCW. He will be asked to be the veteran leader and as a 22 year old that can be a daunting task but I believe MCW is up for the challenge. He’s the future of this team and will hopefully be leading this team in a parade down Broad Street one day. Until that day comes, hard work and dedication is what will carry MCW to the top of the PG rankings.

-Follow @WillRock2424 on Twitter


Curt Schilling Cannot Taste Or Smell, Blames Chewing Tobacco For Cancer

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Former Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling was pretty quiet after undergoing cancer surgery back in February.   Schilling has undergone his fair share of troubles and then some after retiring from baseball: a bankruptcy, heart attack and subsequent stint placement, and now cancer.   For the first time, Schilling opened up to Boston radio station WEEI.

MLB.com's Spencer Fordin transcribed Schilling's remarks from his appearance on WEEI where he makes his experience with cancer known:

"I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably, that chewing is what gave me cancer," he said.

During the broadcast, Schilling issued a warning to smokeless tobacco users.

"It's like being given a death sentence without committing a crime," Schilling said.

The good news is that Schilling's cancer is contained.  But, there were unfortunate side effects:

"I am in remission," Schilling said. "[However], I don't have any salivary glands. I can't taste anything and I can't smell anything."

Phillies farmhand Tony Gwynn watched his Hall of Fame father pass away from throat cancer this past year, and baseball has taken steps to attempt to ban chewing tobacco in the major leagues, according to MLB.com's report.  Currently, the substance is banned in the minor leagues.


Phillies Take the Loss due to a Misplay in the Seventh Inning.

After a day off yesterday, the Phillies (61-73) headed north to New York (63-72) to face the Mets for a three game series. To open the series, the Phillies rookie right hander, David Buchanan (6-7 4.03 ERA) to the hill. Buchanan has been an excellent stretch since being recalled to the majors. Lowing his ERA almost a whole run from 4.95 to 4.03. Buchanan was opposed by fellow rookie right-hander, Jacob deGrom (7-6 2.94 ERA). deGrom is having an excellent rookie season as one of three of the Mets strong young starters.

The Game:

 Both starting pitchers were stellar heading into the fourth inning. In bottom of the fourth, the Mets struck first. Buchanan got Curtis Granderson to strike out for the first out. David Wright followed with a single to center, who moved up to second after a ground out by Lucas Duda. Travis d’Arnaud followed with a single to left on a ball deflected by Jimmy Rollins. 1-0 Mets

In the seventh, the Phillies battled to tie up the game. Marlon Byrd singled to center to lead off the inning. Grady Sizemore then reached on a throwing error by Lucas Duda. After Ruiz popped up a bunt for the first out, Cody Asche hit a single that fell into short left center field to tie the game. 1-1 TIE

The bottom of the inning was one that the Phillies would like to forget. With one out, Jake Diekman walked Matt den Dekker. After getting Dilson Herrera to line out sharply to Chase Utley, Diekman hit Wilmer Flores with a pitch and walked Eric Campbell to load the bases. That would end Diekman’s night; replaced by Justin De Fratus. Just when De Fratus and the Phillies thought they were able to get out of the innings, Grady Sizemore botched an inning ending catch allowing two runs to score. Eric Campbell then stole home. 4-1 Mets FINAL

Significant Offensive Stats:

Chase Utley: 2-4

Marlon Byrd: 1-3 BB R

Cody Asche: 1-3 BB RBI

Impact: With tonight loss, the Phillies ended their four game win streak. Phillies need a win tomorrow for a chance to series win streak alive. Tonight’s loss again showed the Phillies biggest problem this season, allowing one bad inning to get the best of them. That will be something they will look to fix next season in order to be successful.

Up Next: Tomorrow the Phillies will look to tie up the series at game apiece when they send Jermone Williams (4-5 5.42 ERA) to the hill. Williams has been excellent since starting his career in a Phillies uniform after Roberto Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers. In 20.1 innings, Williams has a ERA of 1.77 ERA with only 13 hits allowed. The Mets will counter with veteran right-hander, Bartolo Colon (12-10 3.82 ERA). Colon is having a stellar year for a 41 year old. In his last start versus the Phillies, Colon took the win going eight innings earning the win only giving up one run.

 

Andrew Shipotofsky is a writer for Philliedelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Ashipotofsky


Seeking Fifth Straight Win, Buchanan Faces deGrom, Mets

After a 7-2 homestand that ended on a three-game sweep of the Nationals, the Phillies (61-72) hit the road tonight with the first stop in New York against the Mets (62-72). While the Phils are looking for their fifth straight win, the Mets are seeking to rebound after losing two out of three from both the Dodgers and Braves. Tonight's matchup at Citi Field features two rookie pitchers in David Buchanan and Jacob deGrom.

We have all come to know David Buchanan (6-7, 4.21) as a guy who will give the Phillies a good chance to win. Though the Phils have lost the last three starts in which Buchnan has started, the rookie right-hander has held his opponents to three runs or less in those starts. Actually, you have to go back to June 8th against the Reds to find the last time Buchanan gave up more than three in a start. He has gone six or more innings in five of his last six starts. Last time, he tossed just five innings and gave up two runs in the Phillies 6-5 loss to St. Louis in Philadelphia, the one game of the series they didn't win. Buchanan has posted a 3.75 ERA over his four starts this month

The Mets will send fellow rookie, Jacob deGrom (6-6, 3.13), to the hill to oppose Buchanan. DeGrom has made one start for New York since coming off of the disabled list, against the Giants. He cruised through the early parts of the game, but gave up a three-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez, which tainted his hopes at a solid outing. He gave up five runs total over six innings, but still struck out seven. deGrom has faced the Phillies once this year, back on May 31st. He took a no-decision after tossing 6.1 innings, giving up three runs in the Mets win. 

Game Notes:

  • Ryan Howard provided the offensive spark against deGrom back in May for the Phillies with a three-run homer, accounting for all three runs that night.
  • Meanwhile, David Buchanan has faced New York twice this season, losing both decisions, giving up six earned runs in 12.2 innings. Matt den Dekker, Juan Lagares and Daniel Murphy all go doubles off of Buchanan this year. No Met has taken him deep yet.
  • According to Ryne Sandberg, John Mayberry will be activated on Monday. In seven games with the Ironpigs, he's hitting .192 (5-for-26) with a double, homer and four RBI's. He's been recovering from a wrist injury since July 21st.
  • The Phillies lineup looks the same with the exception of Grady Sizemore, who starts in left field tonight.

Mets Lineup:

  1. Juan Lagares CF
  2. Curtis Granderson RF
  3. David Wright 3B
  4. Lucas Duda 1B
  5. Travis d'Arnaud C
  6. Matt den Dekker LF
  7. Dilson Herrera 2B
  8. Wilmer Flores SS
  9. Jacob DeGrom P

Phillies Lineup

  1. Ben Revere CF
  2. Jimmy Rollins SS
  3. Chase Utley 2B
  4. Ryan Howard 1B
  5. Marlon Byrd RF
  6. Grady Sizemore LF
  7. Carlos Ruiz C
  8. Cody Asche 3B
  9. David Buchanan P

 

First Pitch: 7:10 PM ET

Location: Citi Field, New York, NY

Weather: 72o F Partly Cloudy, 0% PoP

TV: CSN

Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP

Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia.com