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Saturday April 13, 2013
No one has ever questioned Chase Utley‘s hands. The knees, maybe, but never the hands and he most certainly put them to good use at the most crucial time in last night’s Extra – Inning affair in Miami. Turns out, the knees are just fine, too!
Batting with one out and the score tied 1-1, the Phillies’ resident speedster, Ben Revere, smoked a 10th Inning single to right field off of the Marlins 6’11″ giant, Jon Rauch. After a pop-out by Jimmy Rollins, it was Utley’s turn to slay Goliath with Revere still on first.
With the count full and Revere running on the pitch, Utley drilled a chin-high pitch over the First Baseman’s head for a laser down the line.
Revere could have moonwalked home from third as the ball rolled deep into the corner of cavernous Marlins Park. Utley hustled the hit into a sliding triple and after Ryan Howard was Intentionally Walked, Chase scored on a Michael Young single up the middle.
Chase Utley Speaks About playing a full season in 2013:
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Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The Phillies are top-heavy for their payroll in 2013. I talked a lot about this in Part 1 of this series (The Franchise). What they really need is for Domonic Brown, John Mayberry and Ben Revere to improve in their role with the club and get as much production as they can out of their superstars. 2013 looks a lot better than the years after. Roy Halladay must return to form in 2013.
I am predicting the team will win at least 90 games in this year with the Starting Pitching having a bounce back season. The fans should all come in droves to the park while this club is competitive. The Phillies will age really fast after 2013, so there will undoubtedly be some rougher times ahead, as Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard all fade into the back half of their careers.
The New York Yankees are facing a similar dilemma. You might even see a Yanks/Phillies World Series rematch in 2013. I am sure the Dodgers, Angels, Tigers and Nationals will try to have their say about that as well.
The smaller market teams might fight for another ring as well. You are starting to see some distances set forth from the high-priced salaried teams to the lower payroll clubs with both Los Angeles teams and Detroit nearing or going over the Luxury Tax Threshold of 178 Million Dollars in Player Salaries.
Again, I am thinking that MLB Baseball might have to realign soon-to make the divisions stack up for payroll and geography reasons. I wrote an article about this some time ago here. The Phillies have led the MLB in attendance for the last 3 years, so they will be able to keep the payroll at a high mark as long as the baseball revenue is able to match it. It is the long-term contracts that won’t garner them much value at the end of these deals, that will ultimately set the Franchise back awhile.
Ryan Howard highlights are below. He must return to his 40 HR self next year otherwise the Phillies will have a tough time competing.
For Part 1 of the Phillies Article Series: The Franchise click here:
For Part 2 of the Phillies Article Series: The Hitters click here:
For Part 3 of the Phillies Article Series: The Pitcher click here
For the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals Franchise 5 Part Series: click here
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Update: Friday March 1, 2013
By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer): Follow @ryandana1
2012 was a disappointing year for the Philadelphia Phillies, as they saw their stranglehold on the NL East diminish to the point that they missed the playoffs for the 1st time since 2006. In fact 2012 was the 1st time since ’06 that someone other than the Phillies won the NL East. The team is also not that far removed from a World Series championship which they won in ’08. In 2012 with the emergence of the Washington Nationals, and the re-emergence of a very capable Atlanta Braves organization, the Phillies found themselves finishing with an 81-81 record, only good enough for 3rd in the division.
The Phillies saw themselves selling at the trade deadline, moving OFs Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence, followed by a waiver induced trade of Joe Blanton. Make it clear though, Philadelphia plans to compete for the NL East again in 2013, made evident by their off-season moves. They are an aging team of veterans, with a depleted farm system, so this year might be their best chance to get back to the promise land and play some October baseball. The Phillies have a lot of money committed to players, so hopefully what they have on their current 40 Man Roster is enough.
Philadelphia Phillies Highlights 2012:
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
In what could be one of the most exciting days in MLB History, we present to you a special edition of the MLB Reports Power Rankings,
1. Cincinnati Reds: The reason I have chosen these guys is because of their path to the World Series is probably easier than any other team in the MLB when it comes to Strength of Schedule. Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier will challenge for NL Cy Young Votes and the Rookie of the Year Award. They have a healthy Joey Votto and it is time for Brandon Phillips to show his playoff metal. They have the greatest bullpen in the playoffs and are playing in the 1st round against the San Francisco Giants. The Great American Ball Park should be a great home field advantage.
Unheralded Player to watch in this Playoffs: Starting Pitcher Homer Bailey has pitched really well this year and is coming off a recent no-hitter.
2. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers are playing their best baseball of the season and caught a break when the Athletics won the AL West. Miguel Cabrera was on fire in September en route to his AL Triple Crown win. The Tigers were 32-11 in their last 43 home games and their solid pitching bodes well versus all of the homer centric teams in the AL. Their toughest competition would be the Yankees and Rangers and I am not sure those teams will be able to match the pitching of the club. While in my rankings I have given the #1 ranking to the Reds, the Tigers were my preseason pick to win the WS Title and it will all be on the backs of Prince Fielder and Cabrera.
Unheralded player to watch in the Playoffs: Omar Infante. He is a great all around player who comes up with clutch hits.
Friday September 14th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Before fans of the Nationals start to write any angry comments in respect of this article, please do me one favor. Stop. Read the article in its entirety and then pass judgement. That’s the least I can ask from each of you.
Now that being said, I have a bone to pick with the Nationals. While I love the game with a passion, I also need to separate the fan in me from the writer. When it comes to the topic of Stephen Strasburg, I honestly have a hard time doing that. Shutting down Stephen Strasburg to me is like ripping up the winning lottery ticket. You just don’t do it. Too many stars have aligned this season for the Nationals, to have the season put into possible jeopardy due to a decision that could have been avoided. Putting it bluntly- Stephen Strasburg should be pitching right now. To the end of the season. And throughout the playoffs. You just don’t take out your ace when you don’t need to.
I have talked with colleagues, players, fans…everyone and anyone who has an opinion on the subject. Believe me, there are many of them. If I had to take an informal poll of say 200 people with knowledge on the game, about 195 are against the move. Plain and simple. In my eyes, it seems that everyone sees the logic to keep him pitching (including Strasburg himself), except GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson. Even Johnson I am not that sure about. How often do you criticize your boss? Exactly. Read the rest of this entry
Washington Nationals-The Pitchers and Hitters: 2005-2012 Best 25 Man Roster (Part 5 of Expos/Nats Series)
Wednesday July 25, 2012
Note from Chuck Booth: I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4. The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.) To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.
Chuck Booth (Lead baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- I think it safe to say that the best days of the Washington Nationals are purely ahead of them. They have a great nucleus of young talent with Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Drew Storen, Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Mike Morse and Gio Gonzalez. These guys are so good that they all made the ALL-Time 25 man roster for the 2005-2012 Washington Nationals. I am a firm believer that these guys will be the best team in the National League within 2 or 3 years. I like Ted Lerner’s attitude on spending for now. This will ensure the money will be spent on the team to keep competing for the city of Washington’s 1st World Series Title since 1924. I would venture to say that not many living fans of the old Washington Senators saw the club hoisting the trophy 88 years ago.
The Nationals Park went soaring up my ranks as a baseball venue to see in the 30 stadium circuit. This place is now electric. I was so elated when I was able to see Strasburg pitch and win for the Nationals back in April. Next year I hope to see Bryce Harper play ball when I go on another 30 park tour. Next year is when I will have the official rankings of all of the ballparks posted here. I can assure you that the President’s Race will probably be voted the most popular race of any in the Majors at the parks. My humblest of apologies to the sausage race fans in Milwaukee and racing legend heads in Arizona. I still follow the campaign to ‘Let Teddy Win’, however that may take all of the fun out of it if Teddy does win one of those races.
As a fan of the old Expos franchise, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Washington Nationals. Playing meaningful baseball in September and October this year would be incredible to witness. So without further speak, let us start with our 25 man roster for the best players in the last 8 years. I picked the roster based on longevity or utter greatness for a couple of players. If this team was to play an alumni game right now, all of the positions would be filled. I don’t think I excluded anyone entirely crucial here. Please feel free to let me know if I did on any social platform. If you make a solid case for someone for whom I may have omitted, I could always add them later.
For Part 1 of the Article Series, The Expos Hitters: click here
For Part 2 of the Article Series, The Expos Pitchers: click here
For Part 3 of the Article Series, The Demise of the Montreal Expos: click here
For Part 4 of the Article Series, The Washington Nationals Franchise 2005-2012: click here
For Part 6 of the Article Series, The Nationals 2013 Payroll and Contract Statuses click here
Here is the highlight reel from Stephen Strasburg’s debut at Nationals Park. 14 Strikeouts is amazing!
Sunday April 29th, 2012
Sam Evans: In a recent interview with The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, former MLB legend Pedro Martinez said that he could be ready to pitch in only twenty days. Even though Pedro was probably joking, pretty much every team in baseball could use a quality back-end starter. So in honor of Pedro’s comments, let’s look at some free agents and veteran pitchers in Triple-A that could help MLB teams this year.
John Lannan, LHP, Syracuse Chiefs (WSH AAA): Perhaps the biggest surprise with the Nationals Opening Day roster had nothing to do with a certain Bryce Harper. National’s manager Davey Johnson decided to use Ross Detwiler instead of the veteran lefty John Lannan as the Nats’ fifth starter. Lannan who had a 3.70 ERA and 4.24 xFIP in thirty-three starts last year, was demoted to Triple-A. The Nationals could definitely trade Lannan, now that Detwiler has become a quality starter in the majors. A team like the Red Sox could acquire Lannan and he could provide some value to a Boston team lacking starting pitching.
Kyle Davies, RHP, Free Agent: Kyle Davies used to be the top pitching prospect in baseball. While he does deserve credit for surviving as a major league starter for a few years, Davies never reached his potential as top of the rotation starter. Last year with the Kansas City Royals, Davies only lasted thirteen starts. Even though his ERA was 6.75, his FIP was only 4.39. If Davies pitched like that for the rest of the season, he would have been worth around 2.3 WAR. That’s better than both Colby Lewis and Chad Billingsley’s 2011 WAR totals. I’m not saying Davies can become that kind of starter, but if someone gives him a fresh start he could hang on in a MLB rotation. He’s still only twenty-nine and a team could sign him to a minor league contract and see if he’s got anything left in the tank. Read the rest of this entry
Monday April 9th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!
Let’s get to your top questions of the week:
Q: My question this week is about young pitchers. Do you see any of today’s young pitchers winning 300 games in their lifetime? Thanks in advance. Larry
MLB reports: Hello Larry! Great opening question by our #1 fan. To win 300 games in the big leagues, a pitcher needs to pitch for approximately 20 seasons and win 15 games per year. A difficult, but not impossible task. Many factors come into play. Good health. Consistent performances. Run support. Backed by a strong bullpen. If a pitcher can achieve most of these factors, 300 wins is do-able. By my count, I can only see a handful of current pitchers having a shot at the big 3-0-0-. Jamie Moyer. 33 wins away. He could go 3-4 more years with his rubber arm. If he wins 8-10 games per year…could happen. Unlikely, but he has at least a 15% chance. Roy Halladay. 189 wins with at least 5 good years left in him. He will definitely do it. Justin Verlander has 107 wins and possibly 10 more years- he could do it. C.C. Sabathia is the only other fairly sure bet that I have. 176 wins at age 31. Pitching for the Yankees and going deep into games, C.C. will do it. So yes- we will still see 300 games winners in Major League Baseball. But they will be rare occurrences. Read the rest of this entry