The Phillies made the official announcement yesterday that Chase Utley will be a Phillie for life. They have signed him to a contract extension for 2-years at up to $27 million, with 3 option years that would max out the entire contract at around $75 million if he stays all 5 years. He would be 39 years old in the 5th year.
There is some risk involved as Utley has battled serious knee issues over the years. The 2nd year of the contract has a clause built-in which adds $5 million to his salary if he can avoid the disabled list. Although the specifics of that are hazy, it appears that he can go on the DL once, but no more than that. That does give the team at least a little insurance.
But Utley has not had any knee issues this year and his production is up. He is also the leader of this team and a stellar example to all the young players of what being a major league player is all about. That alone is worth keeping him around while the Phillies retool this beleaguered ball club.
There are so many reasons to be excited about Utley staying in Philadelphia that I cannot pick just one. So here are a whole bunch:
He loves puppies and running through fields of flowers:
He is the Terminator:
Yet, he is also mysterious:
He plays the game hard and looks good doing it:
It looks like Chase has found just the right fit:
And thank goodness for that!
Congrats, Chase! I am SOOOOOOO happy that you will be here for years to come!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Alumni Weekend for the Phillies is something for fans to look forward to each year. Players of the past come back to be celebrated and adored once again. This year, Brad Lidge retired as a Phillie; Curt Schilling was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame; and the 1993 NL Championship team was honored on their 20-year anniversary.
The following is a photo diary of Sunday’s events and, unfortunately, a few not-so-fun happenings from the Phillies 1-4 loss to the Braves.
Here is a photo of 1993 manager Jim Fregosi signing my championship pennant and another of the joining the celebration:
Players of old joined current Phillies players at their respective positions prior to the game as the National Anthem was played. Having the 1993 and 2013 players together was a very nice touch. And Darren Daulton got a standing ovation for the 3rd consecutive day. Surviving brain cancer surgery and being able to walk out onto the field with his friends was worth at least that, and much more. It was great to see Dutch still fighting.
But the fun ended there. Unless of course, you count the following events: The top photo shows a camera man focusing in on Kevin Fransden’s rear-end. And I can tell you, he lingered there for quite a while. I want that job.
And the photos below the Frandsen camera-rape episode show that Dan Uggla still has a serious man crush on Chase Utley as he tries to get as close to him as possible during the game. Remember my shocking 2008 All-Star photo of Uggla goosing Utley? In case you do not, I of course included it here for your enjoyment:
And then there was the rest of the game, which was horrible. The only events worth mentioning are the 2 times Braves players were caught in a rundown. One ended peacefully, with Carlos Ruiz applying the tag. The other was not so nice. Total jerk Jason Heyward, rather than take getting picked off like a man, decided to ram Frandsen, sending him flying into the air. I had nothing against Heyward (beside him being a Brave) until that moment. That was completely unnecessary, especially with a 3-run lead and the Braves about to sweep the series:
If a picture paints a thousand words, then these shots speak volumes. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley look downright infuriated by the team’s current situation. And manager Charlie Manual just looks defeated:
Defeated is a good word; it covers all of angles of this team. They have been defeated literally, figuratively, emotionally and any other way you can think of. The suspension of pitcher Antonio Bastardo today was just adding salt to the wound.
This is about as ugly as one can imagine for the Phillies. The only thing they can hope for now is maybe to find some new, young talent in the coming weeks. And perhaps they are also hoping for a quick end to this painful season.
Here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s events.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Seriously? As if losing 13 of their last 14 games in spectacularly horrid fashion was not bad enough, another bomb dropped on the Phillies today. Multiple sources are saying that lefty Antonio Bastardo has been suspended 50-games for violating baseball’s performance enhancing drug policy. Come on, man! Can Phillies fans get a break already?
Apparently not. So let me get this straight…I submitted myself to 9-innings of torture filled, late night baseball on Sunday night after ESPN, the geniuses they are, changed the afternoon game to 8:05pm. I then took my near 2-hour drive home while half asleep, arrived home at 1:00am and then had to wake up at 5:30am today to go to work. I am and tired, sick to my stomach and trying to distract myself on my lunch break by reading the news…
And then THIS is what I read! Bastardo, suspended! My day is officially ruined.
This is all so disappointing. It is just one more crushing blow in an already depressing season. I am at a loss for words beyond that.
On a slightly more upbeat note, check back here later tonight for game photos from Sunday and the Alumni Weekend’s tribute to the 1993 NL Championship team.
The 6th inning of Sunday’s Phillies – Tigers game was officially the worst baseball I have ever seen in my life. In fact, there is no point in even discussing the rest of the game that resulted in a 4-12 Phillies loss. This team has fallen far into the deepest recesses of hell…
That one hellish inning included 3 Phillies errors, 8 runs scored by the Tigers, all of which were unearned, a Tigers grand slam and 2 runs scored on walks. Rookie Steve Susdorf committed one of the three errors in his first major league start; this was a day he’d probably like to forget, along with the rest of us.
Veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins described it best after the game, telling reporters, “That was embarrassing. … If there’s a bottom, this has to be it. I can’t imagine things getting worse than they have this past week, culminating the way they did today.”
And although the trade deadline is just days away, I cannot imagine the Phillies will get much of a return on anyone they plan to dump. Jonathan Papelbon has done his best to ruin any chances of the Phils getting a good return for him in a trade. His salary is ridiculous, his attitude is deplorable and he has blown 5 saves in the last month and a half. He is worth nothing in a trade at this point, unless a team is desperate.
And frankly, nearly everyone else on this team has rendered themselves useless in a trade after this horrific 8-game losing streak.
So what do the Phillies do in the midst of watching this franchise ship sink? They spend $48 million on an unproven Cuban defector. The Phillies signed right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a six-year deal with incentives that could push the total salary to nearly $60 million.
I liken this move to what someone with a gambling addiction does…keep betting higher, despite a long, ugly string of losses (ie: Ryan Howard’s extension, Chad Qualls, releasing Jason Grilli, trading Cliff Lee, Papelbon, etc…). Ruben Amaro Jr. is still gambling away this team’s future and it is hard to watch. I hope I am wrong. Maybe this guy is worth every penny of that $48 million. But with a track record of contract busts, the odds are not in favor of the Phillies.
Welcome to Hell, Phillies fans.
Player photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
In their 4th consecutive loss on Wednesday night, I do believe the Phillies finally rolled over and died. They did not just lose 4 games, they were slaughtered in the ugliest and most painful manner possible.
Every problem this team has had this season was glaring in last night’s 3-11 drubbing, courtesy of the Cardinals. It was a proverbial highlight reel of all that is wrong with the 2013 Phillies. First, the starting pitching has been wildly inconsistent. John Lannan had 2 solid outings in his last few attempts; but last night, he was run out of the game after only 4 innings with 4 runs allowed. In the 4th inning, Lannan walked the opposing pitcher who then proceeded to steal second base and score after a single from the next batter.
Next, the defense was pitiful. John Mayberry Jr. summed up 2013 defense with a Little League play in the 5th inning that allowed 3 runs to score. He dove for a ball that he had zero chance at catching in the air, only to watch the ball sail past him into deep center field.
And then there was the awful bullpen performance. J.C. Ramirez allowed 5 runs in one inning of work. Jake Diekman added 2 more for the Cardinals in the 8th.
And how about that offense? What offense, you may ask yourself. Exactly. The Phillies have scored 4 runs total in their last 3 games.
But the whipped topping on this sh@!! sundae has got to be all of the injuries. Domonic Brown was pulled from the line-up with concussion symptoms. Ben Revere, the hottest hitter in June and July, went down earlier this month with a broken foot due to a foul ball. Ryan Howard is out with knee issues. Roy Halladay is recovering from shoulder surgery. And the list goes on…
The trade deadline is less than a week away. If GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has half a brain, he will begin selling as many players as he can and give this team some hope for the future. And if he wants anyone to attend games for the rest of the year, he should scratch Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee off any possible trade list. Anyone of the other veterans are fair game, in my humble opinion.
In the meantime, all we can do is wait for the hammer to fall…
Remember back on Friday night when the Phillies pounded the Mets to the tune of 13 runs? Remember all those hits and homers? Ah, memories…
Now back to reality…and reality has hit the Phillies hard this weekend as they dropped 2 games out of 3 to the Mets. Saturday’s game was winnable, but Cole Hamels floundered again and the offense blew many opportunities. Sunday’s game was an utter disaster that marked the Phillies 9th time being shut-out this year.
Pitcher Cliff Lee was, once again, killed by the long ball. The 5 Mets’ runs came off 2 homers and both were hit with 2 outs in the inning. With All-Star game starter Matt Harvey on the mound for the Mets, Lee did not stand a chance unless he controlled the long ball, which he did not.
The Phillies offense was just as awful; they managed only 3 hits off Harvey and piled up 12 strikeouts. Domonic Brown got the Golden Sombrero with 4 K’s in the game. Was it not just 2 days ago this team scored 13 runs? After their performance on Sunday, you would never imagine this was the same group of guys.
Granted, Harvey is one of the best pitchers in the game right now. But the 12 K’s tells you that the Phillies could not even manage to make contact with the ball. Zero walks then equals zero patience at the plate as well. It was just plain ugly.
And now the Phillies are once again in limbo as management decides whether or not they have any shot at all at making the playoffs. Personally, I do not see it happening. This team has lacked consistency all season long; they have too many injuries and no sense of urgency. But since both the Braves and the Nationals went cold this weekend as well, the Phillies did not lose or gain any ground in the division. And that will make the decision to buy or sell before the trade deadline even more difficult.
Then again, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. may already have made up his mind after this weekend’s performance. And certainly no one can blame him if he goes into sell-mode. This team has not given anyone any real reason to hope, especially after their 2 best pitchers bombed on back-to-back nights.
The Phillies are off today before starting a 3-game series with the Cardinals on Tuesday. The Cards have the best record in the majors…and that is not good news for the Phillies.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
It was a very weird weekend for the Phillies heading into the All-Star break today. Sunday’s game commenced a 3-game series with the White Sox that included a postponed game turned into a doubleheader, during which another rain delay occurred. All 3 games went extra-innings, with the teams playing 24 innings total in one day; each game on Saturday lasted exactly 3 hours, 53 minutes, excluding the 41 minute rain delay. In the midst of all that, Ben Revere broke his foot by fouling a ball off it; he will be out for about 6-8 weeks. Very sad news for the Phillies :O(
Sunday’s game went 10 innings, 3 hours and 26 minutes. Jonathan Papelbon blew his 5th save of the year in this one, denying Cole Hamels yet another win. But Hamels pitched very well, allowing just 2 runs over 8 innings, which is what kept the Phillies in line for the win.
The offense started strong, but sputtered again later in the game, which has become a pattern with this team. Still, they managed enough runs to get by. Hamels, in addition to pitching well, led the team in hits with two; he also had a fabulous sacrifice bunt and a crucial RBI in the 4th inning.
The defense was a bit better on Sunday, although Chase Utley still had a blunder. Luckily, no damage was done.
The only real damage was Papelbon’s blown save. However, his teammates got him off the hook. Utley redeemed his previous fielding error by leading off the 10th inning with a double. And John Mayberry Jr., getting playing time since Revere is on the DL, singled the winning run in for a 4-3 victory.
Prior to the game, the Phillies All-Star’s, Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown, got their jerseys:
This win was a nice way to send them off to New York and finally put the Phillies at the .500 mark.
The Phils are now 6.5 games out of 1st place and a half-game behind the 2nd place Nationals. But whether or not they can make a run at the playoffs still seems like a long shot after watching their struggles against a last place White Sox team this weekend.
In 3 games, they left 25 men on base and went 6-for-28 with runners in scoring position. In Saturday’s 1st game loss, the Sox practically handed the game to them. But with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no outs in the 9th, they failed to score. That just cannot happen. Similar situations played out in the 10th and 11th innings with the same result. It was gut-wrenching; very difficult to watch.
Now with Revere gone and the bullpen situation still tenuous, there is no way to know how the 2nd half will play out, but the odds are certainly stacked against the Phillies.
While we all wait and see, here is the Photo Album from Sunday’s game. Enjoy!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
With a 3-1 win on Thursday night, the Phillies managed to just barely squeak out their 3rd win in the 4-game series with the Nationals…and it was not without drama, as usual. Even with 4 errors in the game, somehow, this team found a way to win.
Of those 4 errors, 3 belonged to Chase Utley. He was so off-kilter in the field, one may have wondered whether or not someone spiked his Gatorade. But he did have a hit in the game and also ran the bases well, scoring a crucial run in bottom of the 8th inning.
The real heroes of the night however, were Darin Ruf and Kevin Frandsen…again. Ruf started off the 7th inning with a double off the Nat’s lone All-Star, Jordan Zimmerman. Carlos Ruiz bunted him to third and then, Mr. Clutch, Kevin Frandsen stepped to the plate. Frandsen smacked a double into no-man’s land in right-centerfield to score Ruf and give the Phillies their first lead of the night.
In the midst of all that, Kyle Kendrick managed to pitch a very solid 7 innings, despite all the fielding errors and the lack of run support. And then both Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon broke recent routine and pitched one drama-free inning a piece to nail down the win. It was as if the stars had finally aligned….
But even after taking 3 of 4 from the Nats, and 2 of 3 from the Braves, the Phillies still have a lot of work to do.
Slightly off topic here, did anyone else see the interview with Darin Ruf that aired a few days ago on CSN Phillly? He was asked why his offense has improved since being called up. While I cannot find a video of this anywhere (and there may be a reason for that), he said basically that he was taking advantage of the “detailed scouting reports” that were available in the majors, but not in the minors.
Here is my question – do they seriously not have scouting reports in Triple-A? Or perhaps they have generic, inferior reports? Either way, am I the only one who thinks this is a major problem? You cannot tell me this organization cannot afford to pay someone to produce minor league scouting reports. Heck, I’ll do it for a very modest paycheck and some free baseball!
Just sayin’… Thoughts anyone?
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Visions of pitcher John Lannan must have haunted the National’s dream last night after he held them scoreless for 8 innings in a Phillies 3-2 win. It was Lannan’s best outing of the year and the first time since 2009 that he made it through 8 innings. Lannan completely dominated his former team, which had to be the cherry on the sundae for him.
Lannan had some help last night as well. Ben Revere had 3 hits and scored twice, while showing off his acrobatic moves. After sliding hard into home plate in the 6th inning, Revere lost his balance and flipped over onto to his head. He turned the handstand into a full gymnastics flip, which announcer Gary “Sarge” Matthews termed an “upsie-do,” thus coining yet another Sarge-ism.
I said before the season began that Revere was going to surprise everyone, countering the naysayers about the trade. I had hoped the surprise would come sooner than it did, but here we are and Revere has been outstanding for the past 2 months. He is batting .300, stealing bases, getting extra base hits and scoring…a lot.
Not to mention that little Ben is cute as a button. He is like an adorable, yet slightly spastic, little puppy dog, bouncing around to win your attention. I seriously want to pat him on his head and feed him a milk bone.
Puppy’s aside, this team is not out of the woods yet. The bullpen remains a serious issue. Even Jonathan Papelbon nearly blew a 3-run lead last night. His outings are beginning to conjure memories of past Phillies closers who, aside from Brad Lidge in 2008, were frustrating fans with every pitch. Let us hope the Phillies do not need to use him for at least a game or two.
Cole Hamels will pitch tonight; game time is 7:05pm.
Photo – Courier Post Online: Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Braves did not think it was very sunny in Philadelphia after losing to the Phillies by a score of 7-3. Even in blinding sunshine and near 100 degree temperatures, it was a dark day for the Braves.
Rookie pitcher Jonathan Pettibone was outstanding against a heavy-hitting Braves line-up. Freddie Freeman was so frustrated after striking out at one point that he smashed his bat into the ground, picked it up and then smashed it again. And B.J. Upton was thrown out of the game after mouthing off to the umpire about calling him out on strikes in the 5th inning.
Pettibone went only 5.1 innings, likely due to the excessive heat. It was obvious he was getting tired. But he did manage to leave with only 1 run allowed.
Both the Phillies offense and defense were solid. Domonic Brown had 2 hits, including his 23rd homer of the year. Darren Ruf, starting for Ryan Howard who is now on the DL, had a hit, a walk and scored twice. Carlos Ruiz added 2 hits as well.
The only defensive snafu was when Michael Young, who has been not great at third base lately, nearly ran over Jimmy Rollins going after a pop-up:
And for the most part, the Phillies bullpen held steady. J.C. Ramirez allowed 2 runs in the 6th; those were his first runs allowed since being called up. Aside from that, things were mostly quiet from the 6th inning on.
The Phillies took 2 of 3 from the Braves with this win today. Still, with Howard’s future uncertain and a very young and inexperienced bullpen, this team is going to have to annihilate the Nationals this week to keep GM Ruben Amaro Jr. from breaking up the team.
Here is the Photo Album from today’s game, including shots of Roy Halladay actually throwing pitches before the game! The Doc may not be done just yet…
Game time Monday night is 7:05pm. John Lannan will pitch.