Posts for phillies

A Look at Jake Arrieta’s Spring Debut

BWanksCB - March 22, 2018

Jake Arrieta made his much-anticipated Phillies debut this afternoon against the Detroit Tigers at Spectrum Field in Clearwater. In two innings of work, the 32-year-old former Cy Young Award winner allowed two earned runs on three hits, while striking out two and walking none. The results were mixed, but there are several reasons to like what we saw from Arrieta this afternoon.

Let’s get into it.

Like many veteran pitchers making their first start of the spring, Arrieta clearly had an attack mentality and wanted to fill the strike zone early and often. He threw 22 of his 31 pitches for strikes and consistently sat in the low-90s with his fastball. He even topped out at 95 mph. Several pitches featured good run and his velocity was encouraging for a guy who missed almost a month of spring training and had not pitched in a Major League game since last October.

Let’s first talk about that attack mentality. He came after leadoff man JaCoby Jones with three consecutive fastballs, including this 93 mph two-seamer that resulted in a called third strike. The noise I made in this video sums up my thoughts on the pitch:

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Minor League Baseball Players’ Unofficial Status as Second-Class Citizens Set to Finally Become Official by Law

Philip Keidel - March 22, 2018

Anyone who ever watched “Bull Durham” or ever read a book about minor league baseball (I recommend Bottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry) knows that the days are long, the nights can be longer, the bus rides are interminable, and the pay is bad.

None of that is apt to change soon, and given the likely passage of new legislation this week, the terrible pay is about to become the law of the land.

From the Washington Post:

A massive government spending bill that Congress is expected to consider this week could include a provision exempting Minor League Baseball players from Federal labor laws….

The league has long claimed exemptions for seasonal employees and apprenticeships, allowing its clubs to pay players as little as $1,100 a month, well under the pay that would be dictated under Federal minimum wage and overtime standards. But with those exemptions under legal challenge, Major League Baseball has paid lobbyists hundreds of thousands of dollars to write a specific exemption into the law.

The text of the “Save America’s Pastime Act” is dry as dust — if you really want to read it, go here — but its impact is a crushing blow to players on the lowest rungs of the baseball ladder who want to pursue their dreams of playing at the highest level while not going broke or into debt in the process.

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Phillies 2018 Hat and Jersey Overload has Arrived

Dan Fuller - March 20, 2018

It’s that magical time of the year again… new Phillies Special Event Jersey and Hat Dump Day! BUT, it’s actually not as bad as it has been in years past.

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Injuries to Starting Pitchers Have the Phillies in a Difficult Spot

BWanksCB - March 20, 2018

When the news broke late last week of Jerad Eickhoff’s lat strain that will reportedly keep him sidelined for the season’s first two months, I wrote:

As for his replacement, the door now opens for the slew of young arms who were competing for the final spot in the rotation prior to the Arrieta signing. Ben Lively, Mark Leiter Jr., Zach Eflin, and Tom Eshelman are the candidates.

If spring training performance is a factor, and it should be, one would think the nod will go to Leiter. The 27-year-old has posted a 1.93 ERA and 0.75 WHIP over 9.1 innings this spring, while striking out 13 batters and walking only one.

Leiter, of course, promptly took the mound Friday afternoon and was knocked around, allowing seven hits and four earned runs in only three innings of work. Making matters worse, word emerged yesterday from Clearwater that he has since flown back to Philadelphia to have his right arm examined.

It’s a tough setback for Leiter, who, at the very least, seemed a virtual lock to make the team out of spring training. Now, even in a best-case scenario, it appears unlikely that he will be with the team on Opening Day.

So now what? Will Matt Klentak be willing to pivot from his declaration last week that the Phillies are done in free agency and attempt to sign Alex Cobb? Would it be wise? It’s an idea that is now at least worth revisiting. Continue Reading

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Charlie Manuel Might be the Best Guy Ever

BWanksCB - March 19, 2018

There are lots of reasons to love former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. He guided the team to two National League pennants and a World Series win in nine seasons and won more games (780) than any other manager in franchise history. I also love him for the crazy stuff that he would say as he stumbled and bumbled his way through media sessions. Many people here did. Ironically, his oratorical imperfections, once a source of ridicule as the team failed to reach the postseason during his early years in town, quickly became one of his most endearing traits.

Personally, I didn’t always understand what he was saying, but dammit, I respected it.

I also respect how he handled being unceremoniously removed from a position he was not ready to concede to his successor, Ryne Sandberg, who demonstrated the personality of a rock and people skills that low-key rivaled those of Chip Kelly. By the time Manuel was discarded, the afterglow of five-consecutive NL East titles had long worn off, but considering how and for who Manuel was removed, well, let’s just say that he handled the situation much better than most would. Ultimately, he came back to work for the organization in an advisory role, further strengthening his Philadelphia baseball legacy.

And now, there’s yet another reason to love Manuel, as we learned in a story published yesterday by NBCSP’s Jim Salisbury. Over the weekend, he delivered on a public and heartfelt promise made to Roy Halladay’s children at their father’s memorial service back in November.

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Jerad Eickhoff’s Injury Might Open the Door for Spring Standout Mark Leiter Jr.

BWanksCB - March 16, 2018

It appeared the Phillies had their starting rotation set when they went out and signed prized free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta earlier this week.

So much for that, with reports emerging from Clearwater this morning that Jerad Eickhoff is set to miss 6-8 weeks with a lat strain.

Not ideal. The injury news makes the former Cy Young Award winner’s arrival all the more important as a rotation already filled with question marks takes a significant hit. Or maybe it doesn’t.

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Early Impressions of the New Food Items Available at Citizens Bank Park

BWanksCB - March 14, 2018

The baseball should be better at Citizens Bank Park this season and the food might be, too.

Aramark, the food and beverage supplier of eight MLB teams, released today its newest menu items that can be found at its partner venues in 2018.

From the company’s press release:

‘Food has become a major player in the fan experience and that increased role is a motivating factor for us to continue to enhance our menu offerings each season,” said Carl Mittleman, President of Aramark’s Sports and Entertainment.’

And that makes sense. It’s important to have a high-quality selection of items available for fans to soak up the copious amounts of tailgate and in-game beers they will consume. So, Phillies fan, what new items can you pair with those beers? Let’s have a look.

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Looking Like the Brawny Man, Jake Arrieta Says he Plans to be Ready for Start of Season

BWanksCB - March 13, 2018

“My body is in tremendous shape.”

And thus Jake Arrieta has arrived with his luxuriant beard to take baseball games from opponents with brute force and a virility that quietly but emphatically states, “I’m more of a man than you are, and I know it.” I foresee the consumption of many smoked meats, many power lifting sessions and plenty of visceral grunting taking place in the Phillies clubhouse this season. There’s a matter-of-factness about Arrieta that plainly says, “I will throw the ball. You will miss it. I will win.”

The Phillies introduced the 32-year-old former Cy Young Award winner, who looked quite like the Brawny paper towel man, during a morning press conference that had a little bit of everything. There was some organizational self-stroking, some verbal pats on the ass between Arrieta, Klentak and Kapler, and a bold proclamation made by the team’s prized acquisition. There was even Scott Boras pimping the Phillies as a destination team for future free agents (probably because they helped wipe some of the egg off of his face after his brutal and embarrassing Mike Moustakas market miscalculation).

Weird parallel, but fine. Between the flattery and cordial welcoming, we did learn some things. Perhaps of most importance, Arrieta told reporters he intends to be ready for the start of the season:

“I feel like we’ll probably sit down and game-plan and decide how quickly I get into a game and how many pitches I’m able to throw right away and develop a program to get me ready for the opening week of the season because that’s exactly what I intend to do.”

With only 15 days remaining before the start of the regular season, that’s a short turn around, but there exists a no-bullshit quality about Arrieta that was fully on display this morning, so I’m going to take him at his word. It’s possible with the smattering of early season off-days that the Phillies will roll with a four-man rotation over the first week of the season to buy Arrieta some extra time. Still, any delay to his debut would likely be minimal.

Arrieta very clearly wouldn’t have ended up in Philadelphia had it not been for the Phillies’ aggressive pursuit and contract offer, but he made it clear that he believes the Phillies are ready to compete with this answer that, if I had to guess, could very well serve as inspiration for a t-shirt available at a certain sports website:

Thank you for this, Phillies. This is going to be fun.