Phillies welcome D-Backs for weekend series at Citizens Bank Park

Kyle Kendrick hopes to put an end to his first inning struggles on Friday night.

Ryan Howard's future in question as struggles at plate continue

Phillies officials are considering possibly relasing the three-time All-Star at season's end.

New book due out this fall looks at importance of baseball post 9/11

Gordon explores the symbiotic relationship between baseball, journalism and nationalism.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Burnett, Phillies head to New York for series with Mets

A.J. Burnett

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 28 2014, 4:15PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

A.J. Burnett hopes to replicate his most recent start tonight when he and the Phillies open a three-game series with the New York Mets at Citi Field.

Burnett tossed eight scoreless innings last Wednesday, scattering four hits and four walks while striking out six.

"I felt solid out there," Burnett said. "I had command and felt comfortable, this is what needs to continue."

Burnett enters Monday with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. He also comes into the series with scouts keeping a watchful eye as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline inches closer on the calendar.

"I've been down this road before, it's nothing new," Burnett said of hearing his name mentioned as a potential trade chip. "If it happens, it happens, but I'm not looking to move on."

Burnett has a limited no-trade clause in his contract, meaning he has say on where he'll be traded. His no-trade clause excludes the Pirates, Orioles, Mets, Yankees, Nationals, Royals, Cardinals, Red Sox and Reds - meaning the Phillies could deal him to any of these clubs without first getting permission.

The 37-year-old right-hander has a mutual option with the Phillies for $15 million next season. If the Phillies decline the option Burnett can trigger an option to remain with the club for $7.5 million.

The Pirates appear to be the club most interested in the veteran, but a source close to Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington indicated to the Review on Monday the organization is not happy with the details of Burnett's current contract.

"Too rich for us right now," the official said. 

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Phillies take series opener from D-backs; Sizemore shines again

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 25 2014 11:15PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

PHILADELPHIA - Sometimes in baseball the least likely players make the biggest contribution and that happened Friday night for the Phillies.

Grady Sizemore, Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf finished a combined 6-for-11 with four doubles, a home run and five RBIs to lead the Phillies to a 9-5 victory over the Arizona D-backs at Citizens Bank Park.

Sizemore collected his 1,000th career hit in the third inning with a double and scored on a Chase Utley single to push the lead to 3-0. On the night, Sizemore went 3-for-5 and improved his batting average to .400 while batting in the leadoff spot in the Phillies lineup.

"These guys are great," Sizemore said. "They've been so welcoming since I've come here. I feel good no matter where I'm at. I just want to be in the lineup, honestly. I feel like the more I play, the stronger I get."

Sizemore, 31, was released by the Red Sox earlier this year before signing with the Phillies. He's battled injuries for most of his career, but he's showing glimpses as to why he was a three-time All-Star.

"I feel like I've just kind of come in and just been able to play my game and go out and work hard," Sizemore said.

Ruf and Cody Asche each drove in runs in the fifth, pushing the Phillies to a 5-0 lead.

Kyle Kendrick tossed 5 2/3 innings and left with a 6-0 lead, but Antonio Bastardo surrendered a pinch-hit grand slam to allow the D-back to trim the deficit to two.

Brown added some insurance in the seventh with a two-run homer. He finished the contest with a pair of hits and three RBIs.

"There's a lot of time left in the season," Sandberg said. "It might be right on time for [Brown] to have nights like this and to put together some at-bats and to get hot. Now's a good time to do that."

The two clubs resume their three-game series on Saturday.

"Now's as good of a time as ever to do something," Sandberg said.

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ryan Howard out of lineup again as Phillies open set with D-Backs

Phillies - Kyle Kendrick

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 25 2014, 3:00PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

PHILADELPHIA - Kyle Kendrick hopes to put his first inning struggles behind him tonight when he toes the rubber for the Phillies in the first game of a three-game set against the D-Backs.

"It's something I've been trying to work on," Kendrick said. "I just have to make better pitch selections."

Kendrick has a 10.80 ERA in the first inning over his previous 20 starts.  He's surrendered 18 runs in 16 2/3 innings over his past three starts, including two that resulted in losses.

"I was just trying to be too fine," said Kendrick, who surrendered six runs over five innings of work on Sunday. "It's just been a tough year for me. I don't know why. I just have to keep pitching."

Kendrick, like so many other players on the Phillies roster, has heard his name mentioned as a candidate to be moved with the non-waiver trade deadline less than a week away.

"All I can do is keep going go out there and giving my team a chance to win," Kendrick said. "The rest will fall into place."

Kendrick is 4-10 on the season with a 4.87 ERA.

He'll be opposed on the mound by Wade Miley who is 3-0 in his last four starts while sporting a 1.88 ERA. 

Howard sits again

Ryan Howard is not in Friday's starting lineup, marking the third consecutive day he's been left to open a game on the bench.

"Talk to the manager," Howard said following Thursday's contest against the Giants. "Talk to him, not me."

The 34-year-old is hitting .156 in the month of July with a .270 on-base percentage and a .219 slugging percentage.

Despite being owed nearly $60 million over the next two seasons, club officials are reportedly toying with the idea of releasing Howard at the end of the regular season.

"It's insane, but it may be their only option," said one American League scout. "Someone else would be crazy to pick up that contract or take it in a trade."
 
Phillies lineup: Sizemore 8, Rollins 6, Utley 4, Byrd 9, Ruiz 2, Brown 7, Ruf 3, Asche 5, Kendrick 1.

D-Backs lineup:  Peralta 8, Hill 4, Goldschmidt 3, Montero 2, Trumbo 7, Prado 5, Parra 9, Ahmed 6, Miley 1.

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hamels tosses a gem as Phillies avoid sweep from Giants

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 24 2014, 4:15PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

PHILADELPHIA - Cole Hamels tossed eight strong innings for the Phillies on Thursday, collecting 10 strikeouts in a 2-1 victory over the Giants at Citizens Bank Park.

The win is just the fifth of the season for Hamels, but that's mostly due to poor run support. He's now also pitched at least seven innings in 13 of his last 15 starts while posting a 2.04 ERA over that span.

"He's pitched like an ace for us today," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "He's at the top of his game."

Jimmy Rollins hit a double in the opening frame and eventually scored on a Marlon Byrd single to give the Phillies an early 1-0 lead.

The Giants answered in the fifth with Ehire Adrianza collecting an RBI-single scoring Gregor Blanco who reached on a single.

The Phillies countered in the bottom of the inning with Ben Revere reaching base on a dropped pop-up and eventually scoring on a Chase Utley single to center.

Jonathan Papelbon tossed a scoreless ninth, picking up the save after a loss and a blown save opportunity earlier this week.

The Phillies open a three-game set Friday with Arizona at Citizens Bank Park.

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.