Results tagged ‘ Ryne Sandberg ’

I’m Back – Can the Same Be Said for the Phillies?

After a very long vacation from blogging, I’m back. I have just a quick list of excuses for my absence. For starters, I have experienced a complete life “do-over.” After some hair-raising experiences including the deaths of 3 friends/family, I changed jobs, relationships, bought a house and am going back to school to work on my Master’s degree. Change is good. Trust me on this one.

Change for the Phillies thus far this offseason, however, has been minimal. It was less change and more resurrecting history when the Phils signed Marlon Byrd, Bobby Abreu (minor league deal), Larry Bowa (bench coach) and Charlie Manual, rehired as an advisor. Not to mention dumping Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews in favor of Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer in the broadcasting booth. And don’t forget Mike Schmidt on air for Sunday games. It’s a reunion!

Did you realize there are now no less than 4 Phillies managers back with the 2014 team? The current manager, obviously, is Ryne Sandberg. Former managers on staff also include Manual, Bowa and Dallas Green (front office). That is incredible. If you want to be with a team for life, sign with the Phillies!

With all of these blasts from the past, the season will at the very least be interesting to watch. But my initial impressions so far in watching Spring Training games are not too encouraging. The offense is still in hiding, as it has been for about 3+ years now. Ok, I know it is only Spring Training, but the Braves have no problem putting up 8-9 runs a game right now so why can’t the Phils? Also, many pitchers, like Cole Hamels, are already or still hurt. But hey, the defense looks pretty good J

Of the few moves the Phillies did make this offseason, I actually like the return of Marlon Byrd. He did well with the Pirates last year, he has been open about his previous suspension and above all, he has something to prove. I love his attitude so far and he appears to have at least brought some smiles back to camp.

Beyond that, not much stands out. Ryan Howard has proclaimed his perfect health. That is nice, but we will have to wait to see if results follow. Howard will be under even more pressure this year now that he and the team are adamant that he is 100%. If he falters early, I shudder to think of the reaction from the press and the fans. They will tear the Big Piece into little pieces. I do not envy his position.

I have begun counting the days until the first real pitch of the season to see what this team really has to offer. Is the winning team back or just a rerun of last year? More thoughts on Spring Training to come…stay tuned.

Sandberg Signed; Phils Swept by Mets

It’s official – The Phillies announced today that Ryne Sandberg is no longer the “interim” manager.  He has been signed to a 3-year deal, with a club option for a 4th year.  With a new manager in place, everyone was smiling and laughing before the game.

But the smiles faded as the day wore on.  It is a shame the Phillies could not scrape out a win for Sandberg today; they got swept by the Mets in a 3-game series.

For the first 3 innings, Cliff Lee was so sharp, it looked like he may pitch a no-hitter.  But he ran into trouble in the 4th inning and allowed a run.  He wound up allowing 2 runs over 7 innings, which is still great, but only helpful if the offense does its part.

At the plate, the Phillies left too many runners on base (8) and went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position.  There were a few amusing moments, like when Cliff Lee swung the bat so hard, it split in two, even though he did not hit the ball (see photo).  And Chase Utley apparently got a big chuckle out of the Mets pick-off attempt.

There were also many adventures in the outfield with balls played off the wall that could have been caught, Domonic Brown bobbling a ball which allowed an extra run to score and the Phanatic lost his shirt again.

And in the end, the Phillies could not muster a win.  I suppose that was a fitting end to the home games in a sad 2013 season.

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game, including pre-game shots.

The Phillies go to Miami on Monday for the second-to-last series of the year.  Game time is 7:10pm.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

The Phillies Week In Weird

This has certainly been an interesting week for the Phillies.  Let us review the many weird happenings:

– First, manager Charlie Manual got the axe last Friday and Ryne Sandberg took over.

– People cried, complained and gave Charlie lots of hugs.

Manual admitted to CSN Philly’s Leslie Gudel that he knew he could not win this year or last year with the team assembled as it was.  Shocker.  Not really…

– On Monday, David Murphy of Philly.com posted an article about how the front office was to blame for the Phillies failures.  Also not a shocker…

– The Phillies Triple-A Iron Pigs gave away a free funeral valued at $10,000 as part of a promotion.  Seriously.

– After 2 losses, Sandberg got his first win as manager on Sunday.

– Sandberg got that win, despite starting Michael Martinez at short stop.  Martinez was boo’ed throughout the game, I assume because starting him or just the fact that he is on this team at all, is emblematic of a very troubled 2013 Phillies season.

– On Tuesday, Roy Halladay made a rehab start in Lakewood.  He appear to be near-MLB ready.

– After Tuesday’s game, Roy Halladay spoke out on the firing of Manual.

In his comments, he added that he thought things were being “overlooked” and said, “I mean guys being at places on time, being on the field on time, taking ground balls and taking extra bp and all those little thing that nobody thinks make a difference.”

As those word emanated from Roy’s mouth, the Phillies experienced something like a meteor/asteroid shower as their happy little universe slowly imploded.  All Halladay really said was what we have all been thinking/wondering about for years.  This team lacks discipline and focus.

But the media took those comments to a whole new level, posting headlines that seemed to indicate that Halladay endorsed Manual’s firing, to which he took great offense.

– Also on Tuesday, the Phillies hosted their 6th annual Jewish Heritage Celebration.  I think we can all agree that releasing Delmon Young prior to this event was a good idea.  Because, man, that would have been AWKWARD.

– On Wednesday, Halladay “clarified” his comments and reiterated his love for Charlie, saying he did not endorse anyone being fired.

– Also on Wednesday, the Phillies took out the Washington Nationals’s trash by signing Roger Bernadina, who was cut by the Nats on Monday.  Bernadina is hitting .176 this season and has not had a hit in over a month.  He will fit right in.

–  On Thursday, Philly.com reported on the secret pornography stash at Veteran’s Stadium, presumably, because they had nothing better to report on.

And yes, all of that and more happened in just under a week.  Is this a great time to be a bored Phillies fan, or what?

Maybe don’t answer that question.  Please feel free to go on with your life as originally planned.  Thank you!

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Sandberg Gets First Managerial Win

Well, it took a few days, but the Phillies finally squeaked out a win for interim manager Ryne Sandberg.  The 3-5 win over the Dodgers ended yet another long losing streak for the Phils who are now solidly in 4th place in the NL East, 2.5 games behind the Mets for 3rd place.

Getting this win against the hottest team in baseball was going to require a combination of things to occur.  Pitcher Cole Hamels had to be good, which he was.  Hamels went 7 innings, allowing just 2 runs.

 

The Phillies offense had to produce.  And although it was not at all pretty at times, 7 hits and 3 RBI did the trick.  Carlos Ruiz, who has struggled lately, went 4 for 4 and Darin Ruf smashed a solo homer in the game.

Defensively, the Phillies were coming off a game in which they committed 3 errors.  On Sunday, they managed to cut that down to 1 error.  Ah, progress!

And for once, the bullpen did not implode in late innings.  Both B.J. Rosenberg and Jonathan Papelbon pitched scoreless innings to maintain what was at that point a 2-2 tie game.

And in the bottom of the 9th, a little bit of luck was in order to seal the Phillies win.  Two errors by Dodgers shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, allowed the Phillies to walk off with the victory.  Michael Young got the game-winning RBI as Ramirez fumbled his grounder with the bases loaded.  Casper Wells scored on the error and Ryne Sandberg finally got a win!

Here is the full Photo Album from the game, which includes some fun shots of the Dodgers as well.  Fun stuff like this right here:

Is he pitching or trying some new form of karate?  I cannot decide.

The Rockies come to town for a 4-game series tonight.  Game time is 7:05pm.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Charlie Manual Out; Ryne Sandberg In

This just plain sucks.  The firing of Charlie Manual was announced this afternoon at a 2:30pm press conference.  Apparently, Manual was told he was out before Wednesday’s night game in Atlanta.  He managed his last game in a Phillies uniform knowing his fate was already sealed.

GM Ruben Amaro Jr. actually cried as he made the announcement.  But I do not think anyone in that room or anyone watching at home felt sorry for him.  Because much of the demise of this team can be directly linked to many bad moves Amaro has made over the years.  While no one was placing blame, some moves speak for themselves.

Manual was offered a job, presumably in the front office, but he had not made any decision on that.  Getting canned with only 41 games left in the season seems harsh, so maybe that will weigh into his decision.

Hearing Charlie talk about how he loves coming to the ballpark every day and how he does not know what he will do now when he wakes up in the morning was tough.  It was very difficult to listen to and my heart aches for him.

What’s done is done and Ryne Sandberg is the new manager.

But Charlie will always be #1 in my heart!  He brought this team out of the darkness and into the light; 1 World Series Championship; 2 NL Pennants; and 5 Division Championships…it is hard to picture this team without him :O(

We love ya, Charlie!

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Offense on Locke-Down

On Monday night, Phillies rookie Jonathan Pettibone made his major league debut against the Pirates.  He went 5.1 innings and allowed only 2 runs after a fairly shaky start and some good defense.  The Phillies offense put up 3 runs for the rookie, but two of those runs came from a wild pitch and a hit batter.

The lack of offense took another turn for the worse on Tuesday night.  Cole Hamels pitched a great game, allowing 2 runs over 8 innings.  But his teammates did nothing to help him.  As a result of the 0-2 loss, Hamels still does not have a win this year.  This is exactly what happened to Cliff Lee last year, who ended the season with only 6 wins, despite his 3.16 ERA.

There were only 4 hits for the Phillies last night.  Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke had them all tied up in knots that they could not untangle.  Sadly, it was a total Locke-Down.

For example, in the 4th inning, John Mayberry Jr. led off with a triple.  Still, the Phillies managed to squander that opportunity as well.  Not scoring a runner from 3rd with no outs to start the inning is ridiculous.  But that has been the story of the Phillies offense for a number of years now, and it does not appear it will change anytime soon.

These guys get anxious at the plate, swing at bad pitches and watch good ones fly past them.  There is no discipline at all.

Think about that 4th inning again.  With no outs, Mayberry stood at 3rd and Domonic Brown on first after being hit by a pitch. Locke was getting wild and losing his command.  So the only thing Ben Revere needed to do was not pop out or hit the ball the 3rd base side of the infield.  Even a double play would have scored the run with Mayberry going on contact.  So what does Revere do?  He swings at the first pitch and hits the ball to third; Mayberry is thrown out at the plate.

This is not Mayberry’s fault either…Ryne Sandberg told him to go on contact which was verified by manager Charlie Manual after the game.  As for Revere, remember he is only 24 years old.  Clearly, he still has a lot to learn.  But the same excuse cannot be made for the rest of the team.  This is a very experienced ball club.  Yet they continue to approach at-bats like frightened rookies.

When the only relief of the night is seeing bench player Laynce Nix step to the plate, something is very, very wrong.

The Phillies hired not one, but two new hitting coaches this season in an effort to improve the offense.  And even though both Steve Henderson and Wally Joyner have gotten rave reviews from the players, nothing changes once a guy steps to the plate.  Can you teach an old dog new tricks?  Apparently not.

Pretty soon they will have a big offensive day again and the critics will be silent until the next several games when the bats go back to sleep again.  This has become a pattern.  They give us a small bit of hope, and just like that, the hope is squashed the very next day.  I am seriously beginning to wonder if this is fixable.

In the meantime, all we can do is wait and see.  Roy Halladay will pitch tonight; game time is 7:05pm.

 

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

Phillies Roster Moves


P2263638a.jpgThe Phillies added one more alumni back to the organization this week.  Former Phils All-Star 2nd baseman, Mickey Morandini has been assigned to manage Class A Williamsport next season.  He had been coaching High School baseball and also helped out the Phillies during Spring Training over the past several years as well.  Morandini joins other former teammates hired this offseason in coaching roles including Juan Samuel and Ryne Sandberg.

Earlier this week as well, the Phillies picked out 5 young players to add to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected in the Rule-5 draft.  This is the current roster below with those 5 players highlighted in blue and I added their fielding positions as well:

Roster.jpg

In addition to these players, 12 non-roster players have been invited to Spring Training:

  •  Josh Barfield, INF
  • Eddie Bonine, RHP
  • Tagg Bozied, INF/OF
  • Ryan Feierabend, LHP
  • Erik Kratz, C
  • Jeff Larish, INF
  • Dan Meyer, LHP
  • Matt Miller, OF
  • Brandon Moss, OF
  • Pete Orr, INF
  • Juan Perez, LHP
  • Dane Sardinha, C

Most of these players have a good amount of major league experience and if they do not make the team, they will probably help fill up the AAA roster.  It is thought that if southern Jersey native Dan Meyer is healthy, he may have a shot at a bullpen spot.  And Pete Orr could end up as a utility man since he plays multiple positions.  The rest are long shots.

This list of players also means we have likely seen the last of Mike Sweeney, which is very sad.  Many had hoped he would at least get an invitation to spring training as he was a powerful positive force in the clubhouse since arriving in Philly.  He may choose to retire; whatever he does, we wish him the best!  Sweeney’s team spirit and upbeat attitude will be missed.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Contreras and Sandberg On Board


140a.jpgThe Phillies worked out a 2-year, $5.5 million dollar contract on Monday with bullpen pitcher Jose Contreras.  In 2010, Contreras served a variety of roles on the bullpen, including filling in for Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson when they were injured.  Contreras appeared in 64 games and ended the season with a 3.34 ERA.

The only real concern with this signing might be Contreras’ age; he is 38 now and will be 40 by the end of his contract.  But the Phillies have had some good luck dipping into the senior player pool in the past (Jamie Moyer, for one) so it may be a non-issue.

The Phillies also added Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg to the organization; he will manage the AAA Iron Pigs team.  Sandberg was originally drafted by the Phillies in 1978 but played only 13 games for the Phils in 1981 before they traded him in the off-season to the Cubs in what remains one of the worst trades in baseball history.  Sandberg went on to have an amazing 15-year career with the Cubs, landing him in the Hall of Fame.

Almost 29 years later, Sandberg is back where he belongs.  After the Cubs declined to give him the job as team manager since Lou Piniella retired, Sandberg made his way back to Philly.  The Cubs may have made a huge mistake.  While that does not really make up for the disastrous trade back in 1982, their loss will still be our gain.  And when Charlie Manuel retires, who knows?  It could be Sandberg at the helm.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

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