Phillies open second half with a three-game set in Atlanta

With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, several Phillies may be on the move.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Burnett, Phillies fall in series opener with Braves

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 19 2014, 11:00PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

A.J. Burnett admitted last week he's heard his name mentioned as a potential trade target, yet he was quick to say the talk never seeps into his mind while on the mound.

"You learn to deal with it," Burnett said. "Especially if you're around the game long enough. I don't comment on it."

Burnett's value may have taken a slight hit Friday night in Atlanta as the Braves scored four times in the second frame en route to a 6-4 victory over the Phillies at Turner Field.

"Everything was up," Burnett said. "I was off. [Jason] Heyward hit a change-up up. The curveball was up. A few innings in the middle I got it where I wanted to but it was inconsistent. You can't pitch against this club and be inconsistent, that's for sure."
Phillies pitcher A.J. Burnett
The Braves had nine of 10 hits and five of six runs come with two outs.

"Not the start we wanted the second half," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We had some good at-bats though, with some men on base. It felt good jumping out early but they came right back with the four runs."

The Phillies jumped ahead with a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Braves quickly answered with four runs in the second and another two runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

The loss knocked the Phillies to 12 games below .500 and increased the probability that major changes to the roster will come prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"The guys bounce back each day and they come out to win the game," Sandberg said. "That's been the demeanor of the guys and that'll continue. We have a game [Saturday]. We have Cole [Hamels] so I'm looking forward to that."

Hamels will oppose veteran right-hander Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.53 ERA) on Saturday. 

Hamels had a 2.18 ERA in his past 13 starts entering the All-Star break, but was just 3-3 during that stretch thanks in part to poor run support from the Phillies offense.

"It's kind of something I think I've battled for a while, and hopefully I don't have to battle it for too much longer," Hamels said. "I know I am human and it does always kind of creep into your head a little bit. I think that's just kind of the competitive nature that I have and just the understanding of what's going on in that sense. But I still have to be able to locate and I have to throw strikes and I have to go after guys."

- 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 18, 2014

With trade talks swirling Phillies open second half in Atlanta

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 18 2014, 3:00PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

The Phillies open the second half of the regular season with a three-game series in Atlanta beginning Friday night.

With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, the remainder of July presents an opportunity for the Phillies to retool by shopping players to contenders.

Marlon Byrd ranks as one of the top power outfielders in the National League and is under contract for another year at a reasonable $8 million. Jonathan Papelbon, despite an outstanding first half, is a bit more difficult to move with a $13 million price tag for next year and a vesting option for 2016.

Other potential players on the move include Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo and Friday night's starter A.J. Burnett.

"Time is running out," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "I'm hopeful we turn things around now, especially with [Cliff] Lee and [Carlos] Ruiz returning soon."

The Phillies enter Atlanta with fourteen of their next 24 games against teams from the NL East.

"I know we've been saying it for a while now, but it really is now or never," Burnett said. "Things need to turn around quick."

Burnett has pitched extremely well over his last seven starts, putting together a 3-3 mark to go with a 2.94 ERA. He's another chip with the potential to be moved.

"I don't talk about those things," Burnett said. "Whatever happens, happens."

Scouts from at least four different clubs were at Citizens Bank Park last weekend when the Phillies hosted the Nationals. More are expected tonight in Atlanta.

"That's part of the game," Byrd said. "If you're around long enough you run into this sort of thing."

- 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.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kendrick's first inning struggles continue; Phillies fall 10-3

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 13 2014, 4:15PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

PHILADELPHIA - Jayson Werth set the tone early with a three-run blast in the first inning as the Nationals rolled past the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, 10-3.

After showing life and sweeping a four-game series in Milwaukee against one of the better teams in baseball, the Phillies dropped two of three this weekend to the Nationals and limp into the All-Star break 11 games below .500.

"I don't think this is what anyone set out for during Spring Training," said Chase Utley. "At this point all we can try and do is continue to get better and that's part of the game because I think we can play better than we have. We've shown some glimpses of it, but we need to continue to grind and put out that effort every day."

Kyle Kendrick struggled again in the opening frame, surrendering a pair of singles before serving up an 0-1 slider that Werth deposited several rows deep in the left field seats.


The Nationals scored another four runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

The Phillies offense never really threatened Washington starter Tanner Roark, having just one runner reach third base through the first six innings of the contest and finishing 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Kendrick's difficulties in the first inning are significant; entering Sunday he had allowed 21 earned runs over 18 first innings with hitters putting up an unsightly .371 batting average against.

"It's just the quality of pitches," Kendrick said. "I need to keep working at it and I'll fix it."

Of Kendrick's 21 first inning pitches, 9 were sliders or change-ups.

"We've talked about it and he's been experimenting with some things," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "He seems to, at times, get away his fastball and go to his secondary pitches early on and those were two pitches that were hit today where he doesn't really establish his fastball. It's a tough way to start when those first three guys come in."

With the trade deadline less than three weeks away it's expected that major changes are on the horizon for the Phillies. Scouts from at least three different teams were in attendance Sunday and the Phils have several pieces that could help a club in contention.

Even so, Sandberg is trying to remain positive with more than two months of baseball remaining.

"I've had a glimmer of hope with the stretches we've had as of late," Sandberg said. "Cliff Lee coming back, along with Ruiz, is big. Having everyone back and seeing what we can do at full-strength is where my head is at heading into the second part of the season."

- 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.

Cliff Lee set to return to Phillies following All-Star break

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 13 2014, 1:00PM EDT.
@Philabaseball

PHILADELPHIA - Cliff Lee will return to the Phillies rotation on July 21 when the San Francisco Giants visit Citizens Bank Park.

Manager Ryne Sandberg announced the post All-Star break rotation on Sunday prior to the Phillies contest with the Washington Nationals.

A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick will open the second portion of the season when the Phillies begin a three-game series with the Braves in Atlanta on Friday.

Lee is scheduled to make his final rehab start Monday with Single-A Clearwater. He's allowed three runs over six innings in his first two rehab appearances.

The 35-year-old left-hander has been on the disabled list since mid-May with left elbow strain.

- 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.