Only Phillies Player Who Can Hit Benched for Not Hustling

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera.

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera.

Odubel Herrera went 3-for-4 last night. But it was his only out of the game that made Phillies manager Pete Mackanin upset. That’s because Herrera — who grounded out to the Tigers pitcher, Justin Wilson — lolly-gagged it to first base.

Normally, it wouldn’t have mattered. But Wilson stumbled, and was just as lackadaisical throwing to first as Herrera was jogging to first. Wilson’s throw just beat Herrera, but if Herrera had run it out — he might’ve been safe.

It’s possible to think of it this way: If Herrera had hustled, Wilson would have as well. He would’ve been out no matter what. But Mackanin looked at it this way: Here was a player who needed to be benched. Herrera is the only hitter on the Phillies having a good season; to bench the only good hitter on the team in 2016 would be silly. But: If you wanted to teach a 24-year-old a lesson, this was a good time.

Mackanin did the latter. The Phillies lost. How should we take this? Read more »

The Phillies Are One of Baseball’s Best Teams — But for How Long?

Andres Blanco reacts in the dugout after scoring during the third inning of a May 18th game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

Andres Blanco reacts in the dugout after scoring during the third inning of a May 18th game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies beat the Marlins, 4-2, on Wednesday night. It was the Phils’ fourth straight series win and improved their record to 24-17. If the season ended now — a popular refrain in stories about the surprising Phillies currently — they would be in the playoffs as the first Wild Card. They are 1.5 games ahead.

And, yet, they’ve been outscored this year. Though tied for sixth in baseball in wins, the Phillies are just 23rd in run differential. The Phillies’ opponents have outscored them by 28 runs this season.  Read more »

Can John Middleton Make the Phillies Champs Again?

John Middleton

John Middleton | Photograph by Chris Crisman

Standing in the sanctuary of Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where blue bloods go to worship, John Middleton begins to cry. He has just looked up at a stained-glass window near the back, a small purple triangle with his father’s initials, too small to really be visible. Something else in the window is clear, though: a red P, perhaps three inches high — the logo of the Philadelphia Phillies. John’s father, Herbert, bought 15 percent of the team in 1993, for $18 million. Herb didn’t get to enjoy his Phils for very long — he dropped dead of a heart attack in 1998. Over the years, John chipped away as other team owners wanted to sell their stakes, and now he owns just shy of a majority of the Phillies, about 48 percent. His share is worth better than half a billion dollars. But none of that has anything to do with why John tears up.

after the jump »

I Went to Every Phillies Game in April and It Was Great

Citizens Bank Park - April 2016

Photo by Dan McQuade

When the Phillies return home tonight after a 10-game road trip, they’ll be playing their first home games since they swept Cleveland in a series that stretched from April into May. They’ll have rookie Tommy Joseph, who was promoted today, in the lineup for the first time. And it will be the first time this season I won’t be there.

This April, the Phillies were one of a few teams to offer a new gimmick: The Spring Pass. For just $50, you could get tickets to every April game besides Opening Day. I scored an Opening Day ticket on StubHub for $33, so that meant I paid about $6.38 a game to attend every Phillies game in April in the stands.

Here’s how the Spring Pass worked: For every game, you got a standing-room only ticket to gain access to the park. About an hour before the game, you click an option in the app to “claim” seats. Where these are depend on how crowded the game is. For some cold weeknight games in early April, I sat in the lower levels in the outfield. At the Sunday game that was the Phillie Phanatic’s birthday, I was banished to the 400 level. Mostly, I sat in the 300 level. Read more »

You Can Buy This Photo of Jim Fregosi and Richard Nixon

Jim Fregosi and Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon meets former Phillies manager Jim Fregosi. (Courtesy Worthridge Auctions and Retail)

Jim Fregosi was the manager of the Phillies’ pennant-winning 1993 team. Now, you can get a signed photo Richard Nixon gave him.

That’s just one of the items Fregosi’s estate put up for auction at Worthridge Auctions and Retail, a North Carolina auction house. Fregosi died in February 2014. Read more »

10 Years Ago Today, Aaron Rowand Ran Into a Wall in South Philly

Aaron Rowand broken nose catch

Aaron Rowand broke several bones in his face when he made this catch on May 11th, 2006. (AP Photos: Miles Kennedy, left; H. Rumph Jr.)

“I didn’t want to go into the wall for nothing.”

That was Aaron Rowand, three days after he broke several bones in his face making a catch in center field in Citizens Bank Park. Still heavily bruised, Rowand held a press conference and was explaining his action immediately after running into the wall while making that catch. He held his glove up in the air — to show the umpires he’d caught the ball.

Rowand was in just his 33rd game in a Phillies uniform when he made the catch that broke his nose. He’d been acquired in the offseason for Jim Thome, who’d become expendable after Ryan Howard‘s breakout rookie year. He’d looked good so far: Rowand was hitting over .300, he’d hit six homers already and the Phillies were 18-15.

It was in the top of the first inning in a game against the Mets, and it was raining. Forecasters said it was going to rain harder later in the night, and there was a possibility the game would be shortened. (Games in Baltimore and Pittsburgh had already been rained out that day.) Then the Mets loaded the bases against Gavin Floyd in the top of the first. When Xavier Nady drove a two-out, 3-2 pitch to center field, it looked like the Phillies would be down 3-0 in what very well could have been a five-inning game. Read more »

Ryan Howard Puts His House On The Market

The House of Howard resides in Blue Bell.

The House of Howard resides in Blue Bell. | Images via Bristol Real Estate

After a rough couple of seasons, the Phillies are turning things around so far this year, sitting at 16-11 after a 1-0 victory over the Cardinals in St. Louis Tuesday night. The one run came on a home run off the bat of Ryan Howard, who already has six on the season.

It looks like Ryan is trying to take the positive vibes from the plate into the real estate market, as Philly.com reports that he has recently put his home in Blue Bell back on the market. Howard, who also has property in Rittenhouse, tried to sell the home in 2014. Like the Phils were in 2014, however, he was uncuccessful.

Now, after a significant price cut, it’s back on the market. The home has six bedrooms, seven full and one half bathrooms and 8,921 square feet of interior space, and was refurbished last year for $500,000. The first floor has hardwood flooring and a gourmet kitchen with handcrafted cabinets, granite counters and a butler’s pantry with copper sink and wine cooler between the kitchen and dining room. The home also comes with a walkout basement, a gym, a movie theater and a sauna. Outside, a manicured lawn frames the house’s stone exterior. In the back, there’s a large slate and brick patio, a pool, pool house and fire pit.

THE FINE PRINT

BEDS: 6

BATHS: 7 full, 1 half

SQUARE FEET: 8,921

PRICE: $2,690,000

ADDITIONAL INFO: It’s got a three-car attached garage and a three-car detached garage that has a finished area with a full bath above it.



The Red-Hot Phillies Are Five(!) Games Over .500

The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after a 2-1 win against the Cleveland Indians at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, May 1, 2016.

The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after a 2-1 win against the Cleveland Indians at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, May 1, 2016.

In late December, ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote that baseball had a tanking problem. He singled out the Phillies, Braves and Brewers as three teams that weren’t really trying to be good in 2016. “This practice is a growing source of conversation and controversy in front offices,” he wrote, “with some executives believing that MLB and the players’ association need to step in and do something to reduce or eliminate the incentive to lose.”

He ended up writing a follow-up column singling out the Phillies — some local writers didn’t like Olney’s first column — and adding that “the concern about this kind of thing among some club executives is growing.”

Those club executives were right to be angry at the Phillies, but for the wrong reasons: It’s May 2nd. The Phillies have won six straight games and are 15-10. If the season ended today, the Phillies would be in a play-in game for the final Wild Card spot. (It would be really weird if the season ended after 25 games, however.)

Bringing up Olney’s columns isn’t done to pick on him. It’s to point out that the Phillies were expected to be so bad this season they were accused of being like the Sixers. But 15 percent of the way into the season, only three teams in baseball have more wins than the Phillies. Read more »

Hey, the Phillies Have a Winning Record

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera.

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera.

When Jeanmar Gómez struck out Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning last night, the Phillies got something they hadn’t had in a really long time: A winning record.

The Phillies lost 99 games last year, but they actually started last season 3-2. But the last time they were over .500 this late in the season was early May 2014, when they were 15-14. Read more »

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