Batters don't swing enough against Skip Schumaker.
"Of course for Philadelphia, I mean they're not fooling around even though they have 16 runs. Every base hit, that's food on the table. You think Ruiz doesn't have the idea right now as if it's the big at bat in the World Series? He sees a couple of ribbies out there." -- Vin Scully
Rebounds from Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are critical to the Phillies' 2013 hopes.
Mike Schmidt was quick to point out that this Phillies team is younger—younger than the “Wheeze Kids” of 1983, whose average roster age was 32. This year’s group should average just a shade below 30, thanks to an outfield that most likely will feature a troika of 20-somethings.
After a mediocre showing last summer, Brown could face a make-or-break campaign this year.
When I was a junior in high school, I took a job working concessions for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. If my parents asked, it was a just a half-hour trip from my home in northwest New Jersey to Coca Cola Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but a GPS would tell you that, with traffic, the trip would take just over an hour. I didn’t take the job for the money; when all was said and done, I probably spent the entirety of my earnings on gas, speeding tickets, and McChickens. I took the job because I liked the feeling of going to the ballpark every day.
I was a vendor, tasked with selling soda and candy, and persuading fans to spend their money as I walked up and down the aisles, shouting all sorts of nonsense. During my first summer with the Iron Pigs, a prospect arrived, fresh off a strong start at Double-A Reading. I hadn’t looked at the game through a scouting lens, but I could tell that this kid was special. In his short time with the Iron Pigs, I had seen him do it all; he scored game-winning runs, he sprayed the ball all over the field, he hit home runs, he stole bases, he rocketed-out runners attempting to tag from third base. He was chiseled and tall. If anyone was born to play baseball, surely it was this 22-year-old: Domonic Brown.
When we talk about "impact" rookies, it's important to note that several rookies will be getting the call to the majors and failing to help their team in any way shape or form. Coming up with a few big hits or making a couple of quality starts, however, could make a big difference at the end of a 162-game season. Beginning in the NL East, I'll be taking a look at each team and picking out some rookies who I think will make an impact on their team's success in 2013.
The Phillies have reportedly agreed to complete another big-money, long-term extension, this time with Cole Hamels.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to extend Cole Hamels to a six-year extension in excess of $137.5 million. However, the deal and the amount of money involved have not yet been confirmed. If and when the extension is announced and/or the contract details are finalized, we'll update this post.
Manager Charlie Manuel's bullpen management has been doing Philadelphia no favours this season.
They may have entered the year as favorites to win their sixth straight NL East flag, but with every passing day, the Phillies look increasingly like a team whose time has passed. Over the weekend they dropped two out of three to the division-leading (!) Nationals and fell into the NL East cellar. On Monday, they suffered a shocking 5-2 loss to the Mets when Jonathan Papelbon surrendered a three-run pinch-homer to Jordany Valdespin, a pinch-hitter collecting his first major-league hit. On Tuesday, they blew a three-run lead against the Mets thanks to sloppy defense and ultimately fell 7-4. The skid dropped their record to 14-17, matching their worst start of the past six years, which came via their division-winning 2007 team. Their offense is wheezing, and while their star-studded rotation may be in reasonable shape, their manager is suffering from rigor mortis when it comes to handling his bullpen.
Which NL starters are off to a worse start than the Angels' not-yet-sluggy first baseman?
On Wednesday, I examined a half-dozen American League hitters who are off to chillier starts than even Albert Pujols in an attempt to shine a light on a handful of developing stories centered around underperforming players. Of course, none of those hitters has the track record or the job security of the Angels' newest marquee attraction; neither do seven billion other people on Earth. In other words, they're a wee bit more likely to find themselves riding the pine or worse if they continue to flounder, and at the very least, their small-sample struggles—and for this the threshold is 70 plate appearances, not long enough for any key hitter statistic to stabilize—are worth your attention.