Monday, April 13, 2015

3-3 Homestand Kicks off the Season

Well, the Phillies were shut out on Opening Day, symbolizing an expected outcome for a good chunk of the Phillies' losses. Cole struggled again, which is normal for him (Tweet), so I'm not concerned. We need him to stay healthy & perform so he can be traded. Although, I've said it before: I'm amenable to building around him.

The next game was a win, thanks to Jeff Francoeur's three-run shot in the 6th, scoring Ruf (6-pitch BB) & Asche (single). Homeruns will be a bit more rare, with the multi-run variety being the most difficult. This team needs to get as many base-runners as possible, which can only happen if they work counts, get base hits, some through bunting (Revere & Herrera best fit that bill), put pressure on the opposing pitcher through getting more runners in scoring position.

The Phillies 6-2 loss to the Red Sox in Game 3 resulted in a home series loss to the team. Both teams scored those runs in their halves of the 3rd inning. The Phillies visit the Red Sox on Sept. 4-6.

The Phillies opened the Nats series with two consecutive wins. The Phils rode a four-run (4-R) 7th, Jerome Williams quality start (lead-off HR followed by 5.2 consecutive scoreless innings), and scoreless outing by the bullpen to win Game 1 of the series. Game 2 was an edge-of-your-seat game: the Phillies had exectuion problems early (bunts failed to advance the runners at 1st & 2nd) but never gave up. They tied the game at 2 in the 8th and won it on Ruiz's base-running and Herrera's first career hit (a double). Side note: After Howard doubled in a run, Hernandez pinch-ran for him and scored the tying run. Utley then played first base for the rest of the game.

The Phillies had the opportunity to sweep the Nats at home but ultimately failed. You could blame Howard: not only did he have a golden sombrero (4 Ks), but all of his Ks were inning-ending w/ runners on.

Starting the year 3-3 is not bad. Like I said a week or so ago, there is cause for hope. If Game 2 of the Nats series is any indication, these guys will not quit. Games are not won or lost on paper. And baseball is a funny sport: long games, long season, plus the "game of inches" factor. Anything can happen.

Today, the Phillies play the Mets in NY at 1:10 PM, the first road game of the season. De Grom (reigning RoY), Harvey (2nd start since 2013 - elbow), & Niese oppose the Phillies' hitters. I only hope that Howard is not in today's line-up. It better be Ruf at 1B. Howard is in the line-up. I'm not too happy with this, but I think DeGrom is a right-hander, and you need to give these veterans ABs. Watch him closely, Ryne.

Hitting Philosophy:

It's hard to say whether or not these guys are taking to the new philosophy. Looks like most are, but execution of bunts was an issue in Game 2 of the Nats series. The overall stats (Thanks, Todd Zolecki) show that sacrifices decrease the odds of scoring. However, that depends on the opposing pitcher & batter's skill (speed, mainly). I'm for it. The Phillies have tried all they could w/o bunting last year and scored only 619 runs (comes to 3.76 RPG w/o the 14-11 O.D. victory). Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, so with that said, let's change it up: bunt more.


I may post weekly summaries of Phillies games. If I do, don't expect as much game-to-game detail as this one had. I'll be looking at the stats behind the results. Enjoy the suspense of a long(er) baseball season!

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