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Sizing Up Sandberg: Phills offer no support for skipper

It’s been a rough month for Ryne Sandberg. Not only is he struggling to get his team out of the basement of the National League East, seemingly being a terrible motivator. Now, for Ryno, it’s one thing to be overmatched on the field in strategy in his first season. We’ve talked at length about his bizarre moves and ideas, like expecting Kyle Kendrick to execute a run-scoring play at the plate, or playing Dom Brown over two much better players. But things have taken a much different twist and have really escalated, as the players have indicated a clear lack of respect for their manager, something that never surfaced for any prolonged period under Charlie Manuel.  

Each case is different, so let’s go player-by-player:

Ryan Howard: Howard was benched for three days in late July, because the manager said he wanted to see Darin Ruf—a player he clearly wants nothing to do with, playing him over the worst player in the big leagues. But then Sandberg passive aggressively ripped Howard, implying that he’s not his type of ball player, saying before benching him, "I do think it's important to have players who fit my type of players," Sandberg said July 18. "That's important going forward. I think getting younger will be a step going forward."

He elaborated on what that type of player is:

"An energy player," he said. "Versatile player. A baseball player. Does the little things. A guy that knows the game and plays the game the right away."

Howard seemed to have an issue when asked by reporters about the situation, saying, “Talk to the manager.”

Clearly, Sandberg was disrespectful to one of the most valuable Phillies in franchise history, implying he’s not a player with which you can win.

Kyle Kendrick/(A.J. Burnett): This one is more about Kyle Kendrick, but I’m going to lump A.J. Burnett in here as well. Both players clearly were upset with being pulled from games two weeks ago, though Kendrick was more demonstrative. Walking off the mound about to be yanked, he did not wait for Sandberg to get there, instead handing the ball off while passing by him.

I’m not going to fault Kendrick for being upset. I’m sure in some “unwritten rule books”, Kendrick did not follow protocol. But think about what happened earlier: Howard botched an infield pop-up, Dom Brown failed to catch a routine fly (can you believe it?), and Marlon Byrd played a double into a triple. He had no support whatsoever, and I’d venture to bet he was more upset with the way the game unfolded in the field behind him, not necessarily at Sandberg for pulling him from the game. A.J. Burnett was likely upset at himself for allowing a 2-0 game to turn to 5-0, but he slammed the ball into Sandberg’s hands.

This is a mixed bag here. While they were not directly upset with Sandberg (a reasonable assumption), the fact of the matter is they have no hesitation in showing up their manager.

Dom Brown: This one was flat out ridiculous. In a week, a season, and a career of gaffes and horrendous play, Dom Brown seemed to half-heartedly pursue a fly ball, then took his sweet time throwing to third base, only to throw the ball away. After the game, Brown indicated that it’s because Sandberg is not playing him enough is the reason why he can’t catch a fly ball. News flash Brown: you were not a gold-glover even before you lost your playing time—something Ryno pointed out himself. I see no logical conclusion other than to side with Sandberg on this one.

David Buchanan: This is similar to Brown, in that it is a guy without a leg on to stand on speaking up, but it’s not that big of a deal. Buchanan simply said he got caught off-guard getting pulled after five innings. Sandberg probably made the right move to pull him. I’m not exactly sure Buchanan was saying it was the wrong move, but just that he was caught off guard. I lean towards chalking this up as a young kid misspeaking and not meaning to show up his manager. He just used a less-than-ideal choice of words, as they were left open to be twisted.

Bottom line, however, is that when there is a track record of players disrespectful towards the manager, a case like this is just another one to add to the pile—especially when three other pitchers have been seemingly upset upon departing the game.

Cole Hamels: This is the strangest of all the cases. Hamels of course is a diva, as you likely recall, “I can’t wait for this season to end” and seemingly throwing at Bryce Harper out of jealousy.

Hamels was cruising through six innings Tuesday night, only to run into trouble in the seventh. In the eighth, he gave up a solo home run to the not-so-dangerous Asdrubal Cabrera and surrendered the lead. Tied at three, Sandberg lifted him for one of his two best relievers, Ken Giles. With three dangerous Nationals hitters up, Giles came in and struck out the side. Hamels after words indicated he was upset with Sandberg by not directly answering if he was upset that he was pulled.

What makes this one so bizarre is that Sandberg clearly made the right move, as you can’t argue with striking out the side. But Hamels’ comments came after the game, after he witnessed the feat by Giles himself. Yet, he did not endorse his manager by saying something along the lines of, “Well Ryno made the right call, as Giles got the job done.” Hamels is the ace of the staff, so he may feel a bit sensitive getting lifted after throwing less than 90 pitches.

Overall, the bottom line in all these cases is that no player seems to willing to back their manager. No one at any point has indicated that they are on board with what he is doing nor that they respect him. While it is tough to say they blantantly hate playing for him and he’s lost the team, the evidence shows that no one is quick to offer any type of support whatsoever. This is something to keep an eye on moving forward.

The Final 53: Projecting the Eagles 2014 roster

The preseason is in the books and soon, we will know the 53 players that will make up the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles. Just 10 days remain before the Eagles take the field for the regular-season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Having watched four preseason games, there are a lot of opinions and thoughts about the players that should make the team and shouldn’t make the team.

Here is my final 53 projection.

Continue reading "The Final 53: Projecting the Eagles 2014 roster" »

Eagles close preseason with victory over Jets

Thursday night's preseason finale for the Eagles didn't feature any starters. That was known well before kickoff. But the depth of the Eagles potential roster showed in the final audition.

Headed by Matt Barkley starting at quarterback and powered by players on the lower end of the depth chart, the Eagles cruised to a 37-7 victory over the New York Jets in Week 4 of the preseason at Lincoln Financial Field.

Continue reading "Eagles close preseason with victory over Jets" »

David Montgomery Takes Health Leave From Phillies; Pat Gillick To Step In

Phillies President David Montgomery is one of the nicest, genuine men in the game of baseball.  Today, the Phillies announced that Montgomery would be taking a leave of absence from the team in order to tend to his health.   According to CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury, Montgomery will be stepping away from the team immediately.   In the interim, former Phillies General Manager and current team advisor Pat Gillick will step in to fill Montgomery's duties.

Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly has a statement from Gillick:

"I have the highest regard for David Montgomery, as does everyone in our industry," Gillick said in a statement issued by the team. "I am glad to be of assistance to the Phillies."

Gillick has not served as a team president before, but was rumored to be considered for such a post in Seattle upon his Phillies retirement.  Gillick, however, stayed with the team.

As Salisbury noted on Twitter, Montgomery was present at Citizens Bank Park last night for the Taney Dragons celebration and was joyously greeting the team.     Montgomery was hospitalized for surgery back in May, though he retained his role with the team.  The report from today indicates that Montgomery will reassume his duties soon as he is able to.   After surgery and a hospitalization next week at Thomas Jefferson Hospital, Montgomery will continue to recover at home.

We extend our thoughts and prayers to Montgomery during this time and wish him a speedy recovery.

Who Is This Phillies Team? Sizemore's And Byrd's Big Days Leads Phillies To Sweep

The Phillies entered tonight already securing their third series victory in a row.  Could the Phillies finish off a sweep against the first place Washington Nationals?  While the team had to promote the Taney Dragons to help sell tickets, the team stepped up to give fans some quality baseball that they had desired all along.

The Game:

In the first inning, Kyle Kendrick was... Kyle Kendrick.  Denard Span lead off the game with a single.  Anthony Rendon followed with an RBI double to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.  But, that was not it for the Nationals in the first inning.   After a Jayson Werth walk, Adam La Roche grounded into a double play.  However, Rendon moved up to third base.  He would score when Ian Desmond followed with a single.

But, the Phillies would not give up.  They would equal the Nationals' two runs with two of their own right away.  After Ben Revere was retired, Jimmy Rollins hit a solo home run.  Chase Utley followed with a single, and after Ryan Howard's single turned into an error by center fielder Denard Span, Utley scored to even it up.

The Nationals would get the next two.  After Denard Span doubled in the top of the third inning, Jayson Werth would single him in.  In the fifth inning it would be Denard Span all over again.  Span hit a solo home run to put the Nationals up 4-2.  But that would be it for the Nationals scoring.

Marlon Byrd led off the the sixth inning with a single.  Domonic Brown followed with an RBI double to the right-center gap and Byrd would score to bring the Phillies within one.  Wil Nieves would ground into a fielder's choice that would get Brown out at third.  But pinch-hitter Grady Sizemore would take Kendrick's spot in the bottom of the sixth and belted a two-run home run that put the Phillies up 5-3.

The Phillies would add three more.  In the seventh inning after Ryan Howard singled, Marlon Byrd hit a home run to drive in two more to put the Phillies up 7-3.  The Phillies started the bottom of the eighth with a pinch-hit single by Darin Ruf, who contributed his first pinch-hit of the year.  Ben Revere followed with his own single, and Jimmy Rollins bunted them to second and third.  Chase Utley was intentionally walked for Ryan Howard.  Howard responded with a single to put the Phillies up 8-4.

That would be the final score.

Notable Performances:


  • Jimmy Rollins went 2-2 including a home run, and also contributed two walks and a sacrifice
  • Grady Sizemore was 1-1, a pinch-hit home run
  • Marlon Byrd was 3-5 with two RBI and two runs scored of his own


It's too little too late for the Phillies to have any impact forward, but in the last three days the Phillies allowed the Atlanta Braves to pick up one game in the standings.   With a 6.5 game lead, the Nationals probably have the division locked up, but every game matters as the teams head down the stretch and will face each other.

One nice thing to see: Ken Giles closing out a ninth inning.  It was not a save situation, but with a four-run lead, it was close.  Giles responded to the situation and got the last three outs.  The future Phillies closer did a good job; with two singles in the ninth inning, Giles was able to keep the Nationals from scoring and shut the door.

Up Next:

The Phillies have a day off Thursday before heading up to New York to face the Mets in Flushing.  The Phillies will send to the mound David Buchanan, Jerome Williams, and A.J. Burnett.    The Mets will counter with Jacob de Grom, Bartolo Colon, and Dillon Gee, respectively.  The trade deadline is Sunday, and with both Colon and Burnett having cleared waivers, maybe either could end up switching teams during this three-game series.


Phillies In Position to Sweep the NL East Leading Nationals

Last night, the Phillies (60-72) took the series over the Washington Nationals (75-56). In the victory, Freddy Galvis and Darin Ruf hit home runs, but the it ultimately came down to an over turned call at first base with Kevin Frandsen coming off the bag allowing Ben Revere to reach base. That allowed Revere to steal second and move to third on a fly ball by Jimmy Rollins. Revere would score thanks to a sacrifice fly by Carlos Ruiz.  Cole Hamels was very strong through six innings, before getting into trouble in the seventh and the first batter in the eighth which would lead to him getting pulled for Ken Giles. Giles followed by striking out the side. Papelbon closed out the game earning his 100th career save as a Phillie.

Tonight, the Phillies will send Kyle Kendrick (6-11 4.93 ERA) to the hill looking for the sweep of the NL East leading Nationals and four win in a row.  Kendrick got the win in his last start over St. Louis and Adam Wainwright. Kendrick went six and a third innings giving up four runs on eight hits. The Nationals will counter with Doug Fister (12-4 2.38 ERA). Fister is having a career year after going 14-9 with 3.38 ERA with the Tigers. Fister took the loss in his last start against the Giants. In the start, he went six innings giving up four runs on seven hits.

Game Notes:

  • With yesterday’s win the Phillies took three series in a row for the first time since July of 2013.
  • Ryno Sandberg said yesterday that Papelbon is the closer and will continue to be the closer until he is no longer in a Phillies uniform. Though Sandberg also said that he has confidence in Giles and did not think it would be a problem if Giles were to close.
  • Tonight, the Phillies will honor the Taney Dragons for their run in the Little League World Series.

Phillies Lineup:

  1. Ben Revere CF
  2. Jimmy Rollins SS
  3. Chase Utley 2B
  4. Ryan Howard 1B
  5. Marlon Byrd RF
  6. Domonic Brown LF
  7. Wil Nieves C
  8. Cody Asche 3B
  9. Kyle Kendrick P

Nationals Lineup:

  1.  Denard Span CF
  2. Anthony Rendon 3B
  3. Jayson Werth RF
  4. Adam LaRoche 1B
  5. Ian Desmond SS
  6. Bryce Harper LF
  7. Wilson Ramos C
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera 2B
  9. Doug Fister P

First Pitch: 7:05 PM ET

Location: Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA 

Weather: 65o F Partly Cloudy with showers/tstorms around


Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP


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

Darin Ruf By The Numbers

When Darin Ruf belted a home run to center field last night, Phillies fans began to say louder what they have asked all along: What does it take for Darin Ruf to play?   I wrote before that manager Ryne Sandberg's hands are tied on the issue: he probably is being forced to play Ryan Howard.   And with Ben Revere getting hits in droves and Marlon Byrd entrenched in right field, Ruf has to share time in left field with Domonic Brown and Grady Sizemore.   Let's look at how Ruf has fared.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inqurier passed along this statistic:

Springer may have battled Jose Abreu for the American League rookie of the year had he not gone down with an injury.

Here are some other notable stats for Darin Ruf this season:

  • As a first baseman, Ruf is hitting .333 with two home runs, .393 on-base percentage and 1.018 OPS.
  • As a left fielder, Ruf is hitting .278 with a .435 on base percentage and .991 OPS.
  • As a pinch hitter, Ruf is 0 for 10.  Otherwise, he is hitting .310.
  • Facing left-handed pitchers, Ruf is hitting .355 with a .500 on base percentage and 1.210 OPS.  All three home runs and five RBI have come against left-handed pitchers.

Yet, Ruf has had to fight to even make the Phillies team, let alone get some playing time, despite poor-performing left-handed batters playing regularly against left-handed pitchers.

Since August 1, Ryan Howard has started every single game at first base, most likely thanks to upper management forcing Sandberg's hands.   Howard has continued to embarrass himself, hitting just .225 in that span and clogging the cleanup spot in the Phillies lineup.   In 2014, Howard has hit about the same against left-handed pitchers and right-handed pitchers, .220 to .223, respectively.  The Phillies' lineup could clearly use Ruf's prowess against left-handed pitching, at the very minimum.

Instead, Ruf continues to sit, and may very well end up being the next Brandon Moss.

Hamels Upset, Departs Mound in Disgust

With the Phillies leading 3-2 in last night's game against the Nationals in the top of the eighth, starting pitcher, Cole Hamels, took the hill for another inning of work around 80 pitches. On the first hitter of the inning, Asdrubal Cabrera, Hamels surrendered a game-tying solo homer. Shortly after Cabrera rounded the bases, manager Ryne Sandberg emerged from the dugout to pull Hamels from the game.

Hamels clearly looked upset, but at what exactly? As Sandberg went to take the ball, Hamels began his walk to the dugout with a face of disappointment. At 84 pitches in the eighth inning, you can imagine that Hamels may have been angry with being removed, but late in the game, giving up a game-tying home run on the first hitter isn't exactly a great start. So, the question from a reporter that was posed to Hamels was, "Were you mad at yourself or at the manager for taking you out?". Cole avoided the question with a rather textbook answer. (via

“Um, I just think it was a good game and we were able to win,” said Hamels as he pointedly dodged a question about why he was so visibly upset upon leaving the game.

After Hamels answered some other questions, the reporter asked for clarification on the earlier question of whether he was mad at himself or at the manager for pulling him. Cole made sure that was the last question asked. (via

“It was a good game that we won today,” Hamels said. “See you guys.”

Two weeks ago in San Francisco, Kyle Kendrick did the same thing to Sandberg. Normally, the pitcher waits for the manager to get to the mound to take the ball from the guy. Instead Kendrick and Hamels began their walk to the dugout without even looking at Sandberg. The Phillies manager commented on it, though he hadn't spoken with Cole about it yet.

“You know what, I had given him a verbal,” Sandberg said. “He knew he was out there hitter by hitter.”

Sandberg was asked if he knew whether Hamels was angry with himself or angry about being taken out.

“I haven’t talked to him yet,” Sandberg said.

 This obviously bears a question of whether Sandberg has the respect and control of the clubhouse. First Kendrick snubbed him in SF, then meetings with David Buchanan and Dom Brown about managerial decisions. Now, former World Series MVP Cole Hamels leaves the mound in disgust. Sandberg and Kendrick spoke the day after his ordeal, so that is likely to happen today between him and Cole. 

To review, there are two ways to look at this really. First, Hamels is angry at Sandberg. Sure, he has some right to be with his pitch count being at 84 when he was pulled. That would have to be the only reason. Cole had cruised through six innings before allowing two runs in the seventh and the solo homer in the eighth. It was clear that the Nationals were seeing something they hadn't in the first six frames. Obviously, if you surrender a game-tying solo home run when you are in line for the win, it is frustrating and that showed. 

Though we never may get the answer of whether Cole was more angry at himself or Sandberg, I think it is common knowledge that it is a little of both. If I were Hamels, I wouldn't be happy giving up that homer and not be able to come back and get the next three hitters. As a manager though, no matter if you have an ace or someone else on the mound, if he sees something he doesn't like it is his decision to make the move to the bullpen.

Sandberg opted to go to rookie flamethrower Ken Giles, who promptly struck out the side following Hamels' exit. The Phillies added on a run in the bottom half of the eighth before Jonathan Papelbon saved it with a perfect 1-2-3 ninth. The Phillies were powered by a two-run Freddy Galvis home run and a Darin Ruf solo blast. Carlos Ruiz added the go-ahead sac fly in the eighth.

While Sandberg may have had his meetings with Kendrick, Brown and Buchanan, today's meeting with Hamels is the most important as he is an important, cornerstone piece of this franchise. He had issues earlier this year with Rollins and Howard, so it is clear to see that there is some distance between the manager and some of the veterans on the Phillies.

All this aside, the Phillies have won three consecutive series' for the first time since last July. Oh happy day.

If you didn't happen to catch Hamels leaving the mound last night, fast forward to the 1:14 mark in this video -

Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia

Galvis, Ruf Homer As Phillies Win Third Straight

Recap 826

Freddy Galvis came up big with his first homer of the year, giving the Phillies the lead in the fifth against Gio Gonzalez

The Nationals made things interesting late, but a strong effort from the bullpen in relief of Cole Hamels helped the Phillies escape with the win Tuesday night in the second game of their teams’ three game set.

Gio Gonzalez has been more hittable this season than in years past, and his last start, seven shutout innings against the Diamondbacks, was his first quality start since his July 26th start against the Reds. The Phillies chased him early in the start that followed, but the lefty more than held his own in the early goings of this game, as the two starters combined to allow just six base runners through the first four innings. Hamels looked especially good, hitting his spots and getting his fastball in the 94-95 range with a low pitch-count all game.

The Phillies broke through against Gonzalez in a big way in the fifth. Grady Sizemore led off with a triple to the wall in deep center, but didn’t have to exert nearly as much effort coming around to score. Freddy Galvis, starting at second with Chase Utley off for the night, turned on and drilled a high fastball from Gonzalez down the line in left for his first homer of the season, putting the Phillies up 2-0. An inning later, they tacked on another run when Darin Ruf jumped on a pitch down the middle of the plate for a solo homer, his third of the year.

Hamels had been mowing the Nationals down to that point, recording four innings where he needed less than ten pitches to retire the side, but things didn’t go quite as smoothly in the seventh. Anthony Rendon led off with a single into center field, and Ian Desmond reached on a groundball to third.  Scott Hairston walked to load the bases before Wilson Ramos and Kevin Frandsen hit consecutive singles to right, scoring Desmond and Rendon to cut the Phillies’ lead to 3-2.

Hamels came back out to start the eighth, but was greeted by Asdrubal Cabrera’s 12th home run of the year, a solo shot to left center to tie the game at three. Ryne Sandberg then gave Hamels the hook in favor of Ken Giles. Giles (3-1) dominated the Nationals’ 3-4-5 hitters, striking them out in order on 13 pitches.

Ben Revere hit a groundball to short to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and while Desmond’s throw was quick and on-time, Frandsen’s foot was shown to be off the bag at first after official review. Revere then stole second, and came around to score after long sac-flies by Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz, the latter collecting the RBI that gave the Phillies back the lead against Tyler Clippard (7-3). Jonathan Papelbon came in for the ninth and got a strikeout of Bryce Harper to start the ninth en-route to the save, sealing the 4-3 victory for the Phils. It was his 100th save as a member of the team.

Notable Statistics:

Darin Ruf: 2-3, R, HR (3), RBI

Freddy Galvis: 2-3, R, HR (1), 2 RBI

Cole Hamels: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K   (84 Pitches, 58 Strikes)


The Phillies have looked solid in taking the first two games of the series from the Nationals, who came into the game with the best record and run differential in the National League. It was a shame that Hamels sputtered late, as he just looked locked in all game before the seventh. In addition to his solid day at the plate, Galvis also looked as good as ever defensively at second. Prior to the game, Hamels commented about the good job done by the bullpen, and Giles showed why that praise was well deserved during his inning of work. He hopped off the mound after getting the final strikeout on a filthy slider to Desmond. The Phillies might not be a very good team, but its hard to be completely down on them with guys like Giles around.

Up Next:

The Phillies will look to sweep the Nationals with a win Wednesday night, as Kyle Kendrick (6-11, 4.93 ERA) takes the hill opposite Doug Fister (12-4, 2.38). Kendrick pitched into the seventh in the Phillies’ 5-4 win over St. Louis last Friday, allowing four runs on eight hits. Fister suffered just his fourth loss of the season his last time out, surrendering four runs over six innings to the Giants, but was on point in his last start against the Phillies, allowing just two runs over seven innings.


Phillies Send Cole Hamels Looking for Third Series Win in a Row

Yesterday, the Phillies (59-72) took game one of a three game series over the Washington Nationals (75-55). In the game, home runs by Cody Asche and Carlos Ruiz, as well as a stellar performance by A.J. Burnett, who went seven innings, striking out 12 batters on two hits, powered the Phillies to victory. The only blemish on the night for Burnett was a home run by Anthony Redon. The win ended a streak of five consecutive loses. 

Tonight, the Phillies will send ace Cole Hamels (7-6 2.53 ERA) to the hill. Hamels, who is coming off a rough outing where he gave up three runs over five innings, will look to get back on track. Before his last start versus the Mariners, Hamels went seven consecutive games of seven innings or more. The Nationals will counter with former Phillie, Gio Gonzalez (6-9 3.83). Gonzalez pitched seven innings giving up no runs on four hits in his least start against the DBacks. Before that start, Gonzalez only pitched six innings or more in three of the last seven starts including two starts under four innings. 

Game Notes:

  • The Phillies organization is still debating whether or not they will call up top prospect Maikel Franco up as a September call up. After a slow first half of the season, Franco has hit .313 and has 31 doubles and 15 homers on the season.
  • Phillies have not won three straight series in a row since winning four in a row from July 2-14, 2013.
  • Roman Quinn highlights Phillies prospects heading toward AFL. Other players include: Logan Moore (C), Colton Murray (P), Ryan O'Sullivan (P), Nefi Ogando (P), and Ethan Stewart (P). Kelly Dugan was suppose to be in the mix before he broke a bone in his foot. 
  • Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Cody Asche will all sit to start tonight’s game.

Phillies Lineup:

  1. Ben Revere CF
  2. Jimmy Rollins SS
  3. Carlos Ruiz C
  4. Marlon Byrd RF
  5. Darin Ruf 1B
  6. Grady Sizemore LF
  7. Freddy Galvis 2B
  8. Andres Blanco 3B
  9. Cole Hamels P

Nationals Lineup:

  1. Denard Span CF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera 2B
  3. Anthony Rendon 3B
  4. Jayson Werth RF
  5. Ian Desmond SS
  6. Scott Hairston LF
  7. Wilson Ramos C
  8. Kevin Frandsen 1B
  9. Gio Gonzalez P

First Pitch: 7:05 PM ET

Location: Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA 

Weather: 62o F Clear


Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP


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