Philadelphia Phillies Should Target These 10 Free Agents

October 31, 2010 by Dan Morales  
Filed under Fan News

As the Philadelphia Phillies' season came to an abrupt end against the Giants in the NLCS, the offseason went about itself the next day.

We have already seen J.C. Romero's $4.5 million option not picked up and heard from Jayson Werth about him testing the free agent waters. All odds are pointing toward him not being in a Philadelphia uniform in 2011. With that being said, there are definitely some needs that this Phillies team has to address, and the most likely way to address that is through free agency.

We don't have any major flaws and we don't have much payroll that were going to want to add, but that doesn't mean we won't be aggressive in the free agent market for the positions that we need to address.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: An Open Letter to Jayson Werth and Ruben Amaro

October 29, 2010 by Gary Suess  
Filed under Fan News

Dear Jayson and Ruben,

As you well know, the past few years have been a very special time for the Philadelphia Phillies and their loyal fanbase.  

Four division titles, three trips to the NLCS, two National League Pennants, and a World Series ring is the type of remarkable success that has not been common place in this city.

Every game is a playoff atmosphere with standing room only crowds filling arguably the best venue in all of sports. 

Baseball pundits and fans have debated whether this is the best era in team history—or even in Philly sports altogether. The "dynasty" word was being tossed around pretty freely, but regrettably has been shelved for now with the Phillies premature postseason exit this year. 

I think you could both agree that the Phillies still have some unfinished business. 

Ruben, it surely won't help the cause if Jayson is wearing a different uniform next season.

Some argue that top prospect Domonic Brown is waiting in the wings, and that this is part of baseball's natural order.  Although he showed some flashes, Brown's three-month tour with the big club highlighted that he's probably not quite ready for prime time. 

And importantly, he swings from the left-side. After the way the Giants lined up lefties in the NLCS to shut down the Phillies left leaning lineup, tipping the scales further in that direction clearly wouldn't improve the team's championship aspirations. 

Left field in 2012 sounds just about right. 

A lineup with Brown replacing Jayson in 2011 would likely have Charlie Manuel asking for volunteers to move to the right-side to balance things out like a US Airways Express flight attendant.  

Besides providing an important right-handed threat amongst the left-handed sluggers, Jayson contributes to winning in so many other ways.  

His athleticism, instincts and rocket-launcher arm make him one of the best right-fielders in baseball. He gets on base a lot, and then possesses the speed, aggressiveness, and hustle to freely move around them.  

Did I mention that Jayson is the National League's all-time postseason leader in home runs? For a team setting its annual goal to win it all, isn't having proven big game performers critically important? 

He is a true gamer whose total contributions sometimes only show up on the stat sheets in the win column. Additionally, keying in on a non-Sabermetric stat, he ranks very high in "cool" factor 

Jayson had it right when he said a few weeks ago, "Why mess with a winning formula?"

And, Jayson, it is very doubtful that you can replicate the electric atmosphere of Citizen's Bank Park, not to mention the tremendous camaraderie and chemistry with your teammates.  

Speaking of the baseball stadium, wouldn't you agree that it is pretty much ideal for a player of your skills?

You are a perfect fit for this club and this city. And they are a perfect fit for you. 

Why would you want to mess with a winning formula? Why not choose to remain as a key component of something very special that will be recognized in this town for generations to come?

You will be financially set for life with your next contract— here or elsewhere. Why accept anything less than the ideal situation— namely Philadelphia. 

I suspect the past few years have been among, if not the best times in your life. Why walk away from more of the same for a little extra money?

Wouldn't you miss all your close friends in The Bank's right field bleachers? Why risk a case of writer's cramp sending out postcards to stay in touch?

Let's face it, Ruben and Jayson, you need each other. And, Phillies teammates and fans need you to need each other.

So, how can we work this out? 

Jayson, although it might not be in your agent's DNA, perhaps you could whisper in his ear to negotiate nicely with the Phillies because they are like family. Tell him that RAJ didn't really intend to make you look bad when he mentioned that RISP stuff. 

After all, didn't the Phillies take a risk on you when others wouldn't and then provide the perfect surroundings for you to flourish? That sounds like family to me.   

And, how about telling that agent you're up for a hometown discount?  

Ruben, think about how difficult it would be to fill the gaping hole in the lineup and in right when it comes time to negotiate. 

Remember, too, there's nothing wrong with being creative. A trade here, a future expiring contract there, a deferred payment here, an advertising rate bump there— and you might be able to sell it up the line.  

Consider also that Jayson had something to do with those 100-plus consecutive sellouts. Fans are willing to pay to see winning teams, especially those comprised of winning, likable players with a work ethic. 

He's not going to come cheap, but isn't he worth it? (Or, if you prefer, Werth it?) Proven five-tool players are hard to come by— lets not let him go the way of Cliff Lee.  

Surely, seeing the Giants players dancing on the field last week has to make both of you want to take another crack at getting it right next year. Heck, a few more rings could fit on those hands, so why stop there?

Can't we do this together? Lets finish business the way it was intended. 

 

Best Regards,

Gary

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Rumors: 10 Players Who May Be On the Move

October 29, 2010 by Nicholas Goss  
Filed under Fan News

The 2010 World Series is not over yet, but that doesn't mean it's too early to talk about players who could be changing teams this offseason.

Notable playoff players such as Texas Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee, Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth and Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford all could start with different teams next April on opening day 2011.

Free agency and trades make the hot stove season very exciting, and this winter is sure to see major players switch cities.

Next, we will look at 10 significant players who are free agents or may likely be traded this winter.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

The 40 Greatest Philadelphia Phillies Moments of the Charlie Manuel Era (Video)

October 29, 2010 by bryn swartz  
Filed under Fan News

I can say without a doubt that I am seriously spoiled as a Phillies fan. I admit it.

Ten consecutive seasons of at least 80 wins. Eight consecutive winning seasons. Four straight division titles. Two pennants. And a world championship.

I cannot even imagine being a Pirates fan. An Orioles fan. A Nationals fan.

I have been blessed to witness 41 postseason games in the last four seasons—25 of them victories. I have witnessed countless moments that I will cherish forever. The moments that have helped define me as a passionate Philly sports fan.

I narrowed the list down to 40. My 40 favorite Phillies' moments of the Charlie Manuel era, which began at the start of the 2005 season. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Rumors 2010: Five Goals for the Philadelphia Phillies Offseason

October 27, 2010 by Erik Yost  
Filed under Fan News

As Ryan Howard watched a 3-2 pitch from closer Brian Wilson catch the plate, the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies season was over. An unsatisfying taste was left in the mouths of the team, manager, front office and the fans. This team, which had traded for Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt in the past year, had expectations of World Series or bust. 

Consider 2010 a bust.

While there were feel good moments such as Halladay's perfect game and playoff no-hitter and the team's rally in the second half to win the NL East, ultimately they did not reach their goal of playing in a third straight World Series as the National League Champions.

Last off season, they saw themselves upgrade at third grade and acquire Roy Halladay. What will the Phillies do before Opening Day 2011?

Here are five goals for the Philadelphia Phillies offseason. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

World Series 2010: Cliff Lee and the Trade That Just Won’t Go Away

October 27, 2010 by Matt Goldberg  
Filed under Fan News

After his red-pinstriped heroics of last season, Phillies fans were hoping that Clifton Phifer (Cliff) Lee would be back pitching Game 1 in the 2010 World Series.  After all, didn't the new Phillies pitcher dazzle the baseball world—and endear himself to Phillies Nation—with his performance in Yankees Stadium in last year's Fall Classic?

Well, we got our wish.  Sort of.

In case you may have forgotten, here are the "Cliff Notes" for the 2009 World Series.   

Game 1 opened at Yankee Stadium, and our new ace pitched a complete game in our 6-1 win (the one run being unearned in the ninth).  He scattered six hits, struck out 10 and walked nobody.  But it was the way he did it that truly impressed.

Do you remember him catching pop outs as if he were playing wiffle ball at a backyard barbecue?  Lee was the coolest guy on the field, seemingly impervious to pressure and oblivious to the fact that he was ho-humming his way to a historic victory against the most storied team in sports before their intimidating fans.

Lee went on to win Game 5 at home (well, it was home then) and score the 2009 World Series: Yankees 4, Lee 2.

For the 2009 postseason as a whole, Lee's record was 4-0 in five starts (all wins), 40.1 IP, 33 strikeouts and three walks with an ERA of 1.56. The only reason his ERA was that high was because he was charged with 5 (mostly garbage-time) earned runs in the 8-6 Game 5 win.

The Phils came just short in 2009 and many fans were feeling and craving a rematch in 2010. 

So what happened to prevent the rematch of the two teams considered to be the best teams in baseball?  Two words: Cliff Lee.  Okay, these may be Cliff Notes again, but consider this.

The Phillies did have great pitching in 2010, probably their best staff in recent history, but would you have liked your chances even more with a postseason rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Happ?  (More on this later.)

The Yankees—I guess Lola does not get everybody and everything Lola wants...forgive the musical reference—lost out to Texas in its attempt to acquire you-know-who at the trade deadline.  You may have seen that Lee dominated Tampa twice at (ugly) Tropicana Field, earning an ALCS showdown with the Yankees, who he made look like incompetent little leaguers in the pivotal Game 3 of the ALCS.

If it was humanly possible to do so, Lee has had an even better postseason this year than last and is now widely heralded as the best big game pitcher on the planet and one of the best—if not the best—of all-time.  All this after only two seasons on the biggest of stages.

And who could argue with these postseason numbers?

In eight starts, Lee is now 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA.  He has 67 strikeouts and seven walks in 64.1 innings pitched.  Oh yes, he has averaged eight (masterful) innings per postseason start.

 

SO...WHAT HAPPENED?

What happened on that winter morning when Phillies GM Ruben Amaro outdid himself and made it a blockbuster day.  None of us were privy to whatever negotiations took place between the Phillies and Lee, but we well know the result.

On the day that the Phillies acquired the great Roy Halladay—probably the best overall starting pitcher in the game—they also traded Cliff Lee to Seattle for a bunch of minor league suspects.

The dream 1-2 punch of Halladay and Lee (and who would be able to match that?) was dissolved before it even materialized.  It then transformed itself into "H20," and if I butcher any more chemical equations, please stop me.

It is hard to beat up on Amaro, who has acquired Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt within a year's time.  And anyone who even starts to complain about either Roy wasn't really watching.

But, but, but...we are still left to question what really happened in those negotiations, and why could we not have had Halladay and Lee together for just one season, and then let 2011 and beyond take care of itself?

Would the law firm of Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Happ have gotten us by the Giants?  I, and many other Phillies fans, would say yes, even as I realize that Oswalt pitched great for us.  He just wasn't October Cliff Lee-great, but who is?

 

CLIFFHANGER

It may be that Cody Ross and the Giants come out and shell Lee, and Lee could become human again or pitch like he did during some lackluster August outings with Texas when he was suffering through some back ailments.  I guess there are smarter things to do than to bet against Bruce Bochy, Tim Lincecum and those San Francisco misfits.

There are also few, if any, dumber things to do in life than to bet against Cliff Lee in a big game, and the baseball fan (and Cliff Lee fan) in me would love to see him add to his instant-legend status in the 2010 World Series.

In a surprisingly candid media session yesterday, Lee still seemed to be more than a little miffed, and very surprised, that he was traded by the Phillies.  When asked if he watched the Phillies-Giants NLCS, and what his emotions were, he replied:

"Kind of mixed emotions, to be honest with you. I pulled for a lot of those guys (Phillies players), but it's weird, when a team gets rid of you, you kind of like seeing them lose a little bit."

Lee has had only good things to say about his former Phillies teammates and about the fans, and indeed, hasn't really taken any potshots at management.  Indeed, at the time of the trade, he praised them for picking up Halladay, who he referred to as the best pitcher in the game.

And one has to wonder about the mindset of a pitcher who won the AL Cy Young Award for a mediocre Cleveland team in 2008 and has now been traded three more times, despite one of the very best pitching resumes the last three years.  One senses that he will sign a long-term contract this offseason with either the Yankees, or maybe he'll actually stay with the Rangers, if they can pony up enough cash.

As for Lee's thoughts if he were to face Halladay and the Phillies, the best big game pitcher on the planet remarked, "I know that's weird, but part of me wanted them to win where I could face them in the World Series, too. It would have been a lot of fun."

Yes, it would have been a lot of fun for us to watch as well. And as much as I admire and respect Halladay, if Phils-Rangers had materialized, I would have rooted for the Phillies and for Cliff Lee.  Make that Phillies 4, Lee 2.

But we'll never know what would have happened, and Phillies fans will have to settle for watching a World Series in which their team is not participating for the first time in three years.

It would have been nice to have been able to root for Cliff Lee as a Phillies ace, or co-ace, one more time on the biggest of stages.  But, as that wise philosopher Michael Phillip (Mick) Jagger once rocked, "You can't always get what you want."

What we do get is Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the Fall Classic trying to beat the team that beat his former team—our beloved Phillies.

And what we still have is the trade that—even after the brilliance of H20—just won't evaporate.

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MLB Playoffs: My Dad Said, ‘Don’t Pick on the Heavy Guys.’

October 26, 2010 by Flattish Poe  
Filed under Fan News

After the Phillies failed in their League Championship quest, I planned a hard luck blog in my head.

While words festered in there like a zit from a chocolate Ding Dong, I asked my dad to share a story I’d once heard him tell. But before he did, he wanted me to make one promise:

“Title your blog: My dad says, ‘Don't pick on the heavy guys.’”

I had to commit because every writer loves a theme and every story needs a hero, and my old man was the key to both. So after I exchanged a title for a gift, he fed me one:

“Bradley was his name. Bradley Johnson. He was our second baseman. Good little leaguer. Always was the best dressed eleven-year-old I ever coached. Hard-nosed and bright—extremely so. We were playing Guttenberg and their pitcher was good-sized for twelve and threw hard. Smoke came behind the ball. After three innings of him it seemed we had done nothing but hit foul balls and cower.

Now I had kids who were not usually afraid because our pitchers threw hard to them in practice. But this guy was exceptional and just that much faster, and perhaps because he was bigger, they were jumping out of the box. So I had a talk about this between innings. I was never one to sugarcoat things, and to stick with this philosophy, I said, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t play teams that are this good. Or maybe I could ask their coach to throw the ball slower. Or perhaps we should just put some girl teams in the schedule.’

No one had anything to say.

The next batter up was Bradley. I don’t remember which pitch it was—the second or third, but he sent it screaming into center field. I was coaching first and after he rounded the bag and hustled back, he looked up from under his too large helmet with bright eyes—eyes that said he’d heard me, and said, ‘That’s a lot harder than you think.’

Our next hitter one-hopped it off the wall and before the inning closed, their coach walked to the mound, head down, and took his pitcher off the field in tears. I found out this was the first time any team had ever hit him. I didn’t share that with my players until much later, and their reactions are a bit foggy in my mind now, but I still vividly recall Bradley’s eyes when he glared up at me and said, ‘That’s a lot harder than you think.’”

The Phillies are still feeling the sting of elimination in a playoff season where all signs pointed to world domination.

We could talk on and on about who was out-pitched, out-hit, out-coached, or out-dueled; we could analyze the stats and ascertain why the underdog came out on top and the odds lied.

We could examine why the Giants “hit the ball where it’s pitched” while the Phillies were looking for their pitch to hit.

We could compare Charlie’s devotion to his starters to Bochy’s bench theory of musical chairs.

We could analyze the shortfalls of a long-ball game and the benefits of small ball.

And we could live the rumors that Phil’s fans are frontrunners or we can stand behind our team and buy what Charlie says, “That’s baseball.”

The reason I’m not distraught about the night where all the rally stayed on the towels is because I spent the hours before that game reflecting on the life of a friend. Glenna’s last wish was to be celebrated in an atmosphere of joy and gratitude with friends rejoicing in the music she loved and the service she had planned.

But as hard as I tried, every word that was spoken made it harder to breathe. Each attempt to utter a word to a song she had chosen made my face tremble, my throat seize and my tears run. It was a trifecta of sadness.

A few hours later, it occurred to me that I had failed miserably to carry through on Glenna’s request to pay my last respects with happiness in my heart, but it wasn’t for lack of effort or desire.

And if I ever see her again, I know exactly what I’ll say: “It’s not as easy as you think.”

I’m sure that’s how the players who made up the postseason roster feel about baseball—someone wins and someone loses.

We can sit back and point fingers, pass blame, analyze misfortune, and harbor guilt, or we can accept that everything worth having in life is hard to get.

I’m not embarrassed by the loss nor do I feel let down by the performance. What disappoints me is that most of the post game reports still refer to the series as lousy.

Maybe they're writing this because that's what people want to hear. Perhaps fans aren’t happy until they know the loss has taken its toll on the team.

One loss that day had taken its toll on me and I refused to let the outcome of Game 6 do the same. So I decided since I’d started Tweeting the series in Game 5, I’d bow up and do the same in Game 6.

I’d failed to keep my chin up for a friend so I thought the least I could do was be there for the Phils. My attempt went something like this:

“If the Phils lose I’m gonna start making Jayson Werth paper dolls—I’ll dress him in whipped cream.”

“If the Phillies are facing elimination, they just had a Kaopectate inning.”

“Ken Rosenthal is hanging out in the Phillies dugout hoping the momentum will help him grow.”

“Jayson Werth's hair is wild. Man, I wish it was regulation to wear no pants.”

“Blown opportunity. I will not expand on that as an innuendo.”

“Watching Jayson Werth on TV through my binoculars definitely enhances a few things.”

“I'm so nervous I've had four hairstyles in five innings. Lincecum's had two.”

“I wish I was a base. What I'd give to be tagged by Jayson Werth.”

“If ears get longer as we age, Lincecum better grow more hair.”

“I've been watching pitch placement on the Fox Tracker. Sooner or later they have to find me.”

Giants are as hot as jalapeño peppers. You'll feel the effects the next day too.”

“They said, ‘Buster's the kind of guy who would sneak behind the barn to ‘chew a piece of gum.’’ I wish I’d thought to call it that.”

“I'm gonna brew a new Phillies beer. It'll have no calories, no carbonation, and no color. I'm calling it, ‘O-fer’”

“Phillies have a double play deficiency. I probably have a salve for that.”

“My son said if you take the first letter from his name, you have ‘ick.’ I said, ‘If you do that to mine, you're left with an ‘itch.’”

Harmless these one-liners were, but the Tweets that got me in trouble with my dad accumulated over the last two games:

“Sandoval took 10 pitches. They're giving him oxygen.”

“How to get Pablo Sandoval to hit a single: put a chicken pot pie on first base.”

“The Giants gave Sandoval #48 because they needed numerals that covered a lot of space.”

“If I made a Pablo Sandoval paper doll, I don't know that there's enough whipped cream in the world to dress him.”

“I can't tell the difference between Juan Uribe and Pablo Sandoval, especially at the buffet.”

That’s when my dad said, “Don’t pick on the heavy guys, they’ll come back to haunt you.”

Sure enough, Uribe did. He got me and Ryan Madson with a rare dinger over the right field wall for the go-ahead run. If you want to blame me for the Phillies' downfall, go ahead.

Since my chest is flat, my shoulders have very little to do but carry this burden.

It will simply add to the pain of my Jayson Werth withdrawals.

One fan said to me, “You ho, what happened to your lust for Raul last year?”

Guilty as charged. Matter of fact, that’s probably one thing I qualify for: The Phillies Whore. It has a nice ring to it: A middle-aged woman with a knack for turning a lewd phrase about baseball doesn’t have a lot of options.

My husband says, “Tell them it’s not as easy as they think.”

Now you know why I keep him around.

All the attention I pay to men in uniform including pregame, post game, news and blogging certainly doesn’t pay an enviable hourly wage, but it’s a wonderful passion to have.

Like my friend, Glenna, said about her obsession with playing music: “You might have to pay me to stop.”

That’s exactly how I feel.

See you at the ballpark.

 

Copyright 2010 Flattish Poe all rights reserved.

Catch life one-liner at a time on Twitter.

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Heartbreak of the Last Pitch: 10 Postseason Series To End with a Backward K

October 25, 2010 by Christopher Howland  
Filed under Fan News

As everyone witnessed this past ALCS and NLCS, postseason games come down to the final pitch.

Some ballplayers are propelled toward excellency in this one moment, and some are forever distastefully remembered for it, but it's the rare feat of striking out looking that really pushes the buttons of baseball fans everywhere, and the mere fact that a backward K can end a team's season as quickly as it began is cause for an anxious pit in any fan's stomach. 

The dismal feat of striking out looking to end a playoff series has only happened 10 times since Major League Baseball has been in existence, and this is the first year that a backward K has ended both League Championship Series. From the looks of history, though, it sure won't be the last time we see a player end their season watching strike three fly by.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

NLCS Review: Phillies Fall To Giants

October 25, 2010 by Jason Glogau  
Filed under Fan News

The Giants celebrate their victory over the Phillies in Game 6 of the NLCS to win the NL Pennant

I don't want to do this.

I mean, I really don't want to do this.  I put it off for a day, but I suppose I owe it to you all.

As a Phillies fan, nothing was more frustrating than the past week and a half.  Watching a team that was built to win championship after championship play like the Phillies of 2000 (65-97) was agonizing. 

The Giants' offense--self-described as "torture"--looked more like your favorite slippers and a warm blanket when compared to that of the Phillies.

Yeah, it really was that bad.

Before I get too carried away, let's look over the points discussed in the NLCS Preview.

The Rust Factor
The Phillies didn't really show so much rust in Game 1.  At least not looking back on it.  At first, it may have appeared that way--Roy Halladay didn't have his "A" game, and the offense sputtered and struggled to score.  But as we reflect on the series as a whole, it wasn't rust for the offense, and maybe, just maybe, the Giants were so well prepared that they were able to jump on every opportunity and mistake.

Coming Back

Cody Ross hurt the Phillies more than
any other Giant in the NLCS

Neither Pat Burrell, nor Aaron Rowand wound up doing much damage to the Phillies in their return to Philadelphia.  Actually, both were quite ineffective.  Burrell hit a measly .211 and knocked in just one run.  Rowand started a couple of games and went 1-for-5 with a run scored.  In the end, it wound up being another guy the Phillies were quite familiar with in Cody Ross that did the most damage.

Pitching, Pitching, Pitching
Well, we didn't really see much in the way of pitchers' duels, but we didn't exactly see the scoreboards light up, either.  This was a dirty series where most of the runs were scrapped together.  No pitcher was truly dominant (aside from maybe Roy Oswalt in Game 2), but on the flip side, only Jonathan Sanchez really failed on the hill.  In the end, pitching really didn't determine this series.  The offenses did, but not in the way I expected, either.

Playing a Clean Game
Here's where the games were decided.  Chase Utley played some poor defense all series.  Placido Polanco drilled Buster Posey in the back on a throw to first.  Shane Victorino couldn't corral an over-the-shoulder catch at the wall.  The Phillies offense, well, they couldn't do anything right. 

They had a horrible approach at the plate, swinging at bad breaking pitches and taking belt-high fastballs.  And they had opportunities, they just didn't take advantage of them.  On the other side of the field, the Giants jumped on every bad pitch and made a point to get the runner home one way or another.

Not to take anything away from the Giants--they clearly wanted this more and played a damn good series--but the Phillies beat themselves first and foremost.  A team with this much offensive talent should not finish a six game series with a triple slash line of .216/.314/.321.  Note the last number.  The Phillies are known for their home run power.  Their postseason lineup slugged .449 in the regular season.  Ouch.

Chase Utley and the Phillies position players
couldn't do anything right against the Giants,
in the field or at the plate


The Phillies couldn't do anything right at the plate this series.  They struckout 56 times while walking just 20.  They left 45 runners on base (7.5/game) and hit just .178 (8-for-45) with runners in scoring position.  Countless times they couldn't drive a leadoff baserunner home.  The only player who actually hit the baseball--Ryan Howard--finished without an RBI (and 12 K).

I'll leave you with a rundown of some key players in the series.

 Giants

  • Cody Ross - .350, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R, 2 BB/5 K
  • Matt Cain - 1-0, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 K/3 BB, 0.714 WHIP, 0.00 ERA
  • Tim Lincecum - 1-1, 14.1 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 16 K/4 BB, 1.116 WHIP, 3.14 ERA
  • Brian Wilson - 1-0, 3 SV, 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7 K/2 BB, 0.800 WHIP, 0.00 ERA

Phillies

  • Roy Oswalt - 1-1, 14.2 IP, 14 H, 3 ER, 14 K/3 BB, 1.159 WHIP, 1.84 ERA
  • Carlos Ruiz - .167, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB/7 K
  • Chase Utley - .182, 1 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB/2 K
  • Ryan Howard - .318, 0 RBI, 1 R, 3 BB/12  

 

 

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Best Team Ever Heads Home for a Long, Cold Winter

October 24, 2010 by Gary Suess  
Filed under Fan News

Without the benefit of a Farmer's Almanac or sophisticated meteorological computer modeling, it is clear that it will be a long, cold winter in Philadelphia.  

The San Francisco Giants ensured that when they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies last night, wresting away the National League Pennant that the Phillies had held for two years.  Regrettably, the Phillies helped the Giants' cause, continuing their trend of failing to generate runs in the postseason.  

Last season's playoffs star hitter Ryan Howard stood frozen, unable to pull the trigger on a Brian Wilson 3-2 cutter that barely touched the bottom edge of the strike zone. After a pregnant pause that suspended an entire fanbase, home plate umpire Tom Hallion rung up Howard to end the Phillies' two-year NL reign. 

That strikeout, which left two runners stranded, will be replayed for generations to come. It aptly symbolizes the Phillies' disappointing 2010 postseason performance. 

Despite their high profile and seemingly high power offense, the Phillies simply could not push runs across the plate. They could not come through with big hits or even score runners from third. All they needed to do was put a ball in play, and they failed. 

The night started with great promise, as the Phillies seemed to finally find their missing mojo. Chase Utley's ringing double into the right field corner and Jayson Werth's warning track sacrifice fly gave them a 2-0 lead in the first.  

Then, it was radio silence the rest of the way. The Phillies reverted back to 2010 form, unable to push another run across the dish with the entire season on the line.

The first inning evoked deja vu that hearkened back to the 2008 and 2009 championship teams. It appeared as if the bats had broken out of their slumber and the Phillies were primed to play to expectations. 

2010 postseason reality quickly kicked back in, however, when a "shoulda-woulda-coulda" top half of the third allowed the Giants to even the score. Utley whiffed on grounder that appeared within his reach. Shane Victorino couldn't quite hang on to make a Willie Mays-esque catch. Placido Polanco threw away a swinging bunt.  

Then, a promising bottom half of the inning began with a walk and yet another hit batter. After Utley flipped the ball back to the mound after it drilled him just below the neck, Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez went ballistic. 

Isn't the batter who took the heater in the spine the one entitled to be annoyed? 

Sanchez's actions touched off a bench-clearing scrum that allowed valuable time for Jeremy Affeldt to get loose in the pen. After the field cleared, Bruce Bochy replaced the rattled Sanchez with Affeldt, who promptly extinguished the rally.  

The Giants' hurlers worked themselves into trouble over the balance of the game, but Phillies hitters could never cash in.

The Phillies seemed ready to break through with two outs in the fifth, when Howard lined a double to left center with Rollins on first. Third base coach Sam Perlozzo somewhat shockingly held Rollins on what would have been a close play--one in which the speedy shortstop typically crosses the plate with the certainty of death and taxes.   

In the sixth, the Phils were knocking on the door again when Raul Ibanez doubled to left and was moved over by a Carlos Ruiz bunt. After working a 2-0 count, pinch hitter Ben Francisco missed a couple hittable pitches before taking a called third strike. The looping curve ball seemed to be high and wide, but as Howard discovered later, with two strikes, swinging at anything close was advisable in this game. 

After both teams took turns leaving men on base for a long stretch, Juan Uribe jumped on Ryan Madson's first pitch fastball with two outs in the eighth and lofted a high fly ball to right that had just enough carry to reach the seats. The Citizens Bank Park crowd was suddenly silenced as the Giants took a 3-2 lead. 

Bochy called on Thursday's losing pitcher Tim Lincecum. After surrendering singles to Victorino and Ibanez with one out, his night was done. Brian Wilson trotted in with his crazed closer act and got extremely lucky when Carlos Ruiz lined into a double play. 

Brad Lidge loaded the bases in the ninth but got Wilson to bounce out to maintain the one run deficit. The stage was set for one last ditch effort to rally to keep the Phillies season alive. 

With one out, Rollins walked, but it was erased on Polanco's fielder's choice.  Utley worked another walk, putting the Phillies 2010 season into the hands of their cleanup hitter, who had yet to record an RBI in either playoff series. 

Howard lingered in disbelief after being rung up, while Wilson celebrated himself with his signature ritual. Giants players rushed to the center of the field to celebrate their large upset and a trip to the "Fall Classic." 

The winningest team in baseball, the odds-on favorite and the Phillies' most talented team ever, had fallen short of its goal and expectations. 

A season so full of promise was prematurely over. A marvelously talented and highly appealing team was exiting the big stage before the final act.  

All that remains is a cruel winter of wondering what went wrong and what could have been for the Phillies players, coaches, front office, and fans.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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