Tag Archives: Freddy Galvis

Spring Training 2015: Phils Begin the Painful Process of Rebuilding

20 Feb
Cole Hamels had a career best 2.46 ERA, but didn't get enough run support in 2014 and now wants out of Philadelphia.  Photo by Webster Riddick.

Cole Hamels had a career best 2.46 ERA, but didn’t get enough run support in 2014 and now wants out of Philadelphia. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is hoping to be at full strength after struggling last years. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is hoping to be at full strength after struggling last year.
Photo by Webster Riddick.

 Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

PHILADELPHIA—With pitchers and catchers reporting to the Phillies spring training headquarters in Clearwater, Florida this week, fans would like to believe that there would be some hope onthe horizon.

But, the Phillies are a team facing more uncertainty now than they did at the end of last season’s 73-89 finish.
Don’t get too attached to the Phillies current 40-man roster because it’ll probably change by the July 31st trade deadline or when the season ends. Heck, it may not be the same when the Phillies open the season against the Boston Red Sox on April 6 at Citizens Bank Park.

During the offseason, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. tried to move veterans like Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee and Ryan Howard.

But the offers weren’t there. So guys, along with second baseman Chase Utley and his un-waved no-trade clause, remain on the roster.
While most of those guys will be gone eventually, Hamels is already looking at moving companies. The team’s ace pitcher told USA Today: “I want to go to a place where I can win again. I know it’s not going to happen here.”

On the other hand, that’s not to say Amaro didn’t make any moves this off season. He managed to jettison the team’s all-time hits leader, shortstop Jimmy Rollins (Los Angeles Dodgers), rightfielder Marlon Byrd (Cincinnati) and starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (Colorado Rockies).

The most notable addition of the Phillies offseason was former Los Angeles Dodgers Chad Billingsley, who hasn’t pitched in nearly two years because of elbow surgery. He missed all of last season and a good chunk of the 2013.

That one was a bit of a head scratcher. I guess that Amaro is hoping Billingsley will be healthy enough to be a functioning part of the rotation or better yet be good enough to be a tradable commodity. From 2006 to 2013, Billingsley has an 81-61 record with a 3.65 earned run average.

Health is also concern for lefthander Cliff Lee, who is scheduled to make $25 million this season. Lee ended the 2014 season on the disabled list with an injured left elbow, something that scared off potential trading partners. Amaro is hoping Lee can give teams the illusion that he’s still good enough to get some young prospects for him.

Speaking of possible pieces to trade, a big question is will Ryan Howard be healthy enough to be the slugger that struck fear in the hearts of pitchers from 2006 to 2011. If Howard has a hot start in the spring and summer, Amaro might find some willing trade partners, especially in the American League where he could help a team as a designated hitter.

But the team that does it is going to have to swallow the last two years—and $60 million—of Howard’s contract.

Rebuilding is obviously the Phillies ultimate goal. Amaro and manager Ryne Sandberg want to know if guys like Freddy Galvis, Ben Revere, David Buchanan, Cody Asche, Domonic Brown, Maikel Franco and Darin Ruf are ready and good enough to eventually become perennially contenders in the National League East.

The next few seasons will probably tell Phillies fans whether or not the light at the end of this rebuilding tunnel is attached to an oncoming train.

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Those Phumbling Phils Can’t Get Out of the Way of their Inconsistency

7 May

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report

Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said Phillies have to better fundamentally. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said Phillies have to better fundamentally. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—I know it’s only early May, but can you wake us up when we can get a true gauge on who this team is and who they’re going to be.

So far this season, the Phillies have given you glimpses of how good they can be and you have seen how awful they can be at times. On a day-to-day basis, you really don’t know what you’re going to get. The Phillies are a team that Forrest Gump would compare to a box of chocolates.

On some nights, a brilliant starting pitching performance gets negated by poor hitting, bad defensive or a bullpen that can’t seem to get anybody out. Even in the wins, the starting pitching may struggle, but then the offense comes through.

Tuesday’s 6-5 extra-innings loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizen’s Bank Park was a microcosm of the season to this point.

The Blue Jays jumped all over Phillies starter Cole Hamels for five runs on 10 hits including a pair of home runs. Meanwhile, the Phils offense spent the first five innings stumbling over themselves with base-running mistakes and bad plays on defense.

Most notably in the second inning when Freddy Galvis hit into a fielder’s choice double play. Marlin Byrd, who doubled to begin the inning overran third base and got caught in a run-down. Galvis was tagged out at second after being run down by the Toronto infield to complete the double play.

“We played some sloppy baseball for the first six innings,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “A lot of little things that added up with some runs coming in and some runs being stranded on the bases.

“A lot of little things that in a one-run game that, if you look back, if you execute, you play good fundamental baseball, it could have been a different outcome.”

But in the sixth, the Phillies exploded to score five runs to even the game—with the big blow coming on a grand-slam homer by third baseman Cody Asche, who finished the game with career highs in hits (four) and runs batted with four. First baseman Ryan Howard had an RBI single to score the Phillie’s first run.

Just when you thought the much-maligned Phillies bullpen was going to have a perfect night, the 10th inning comes along and Phils reliever Antonio Bastardo starts the inning giving up a pair singles to Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista. Cabrera eventually scores the winning run on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Juan Francisco.

“Bullpen did a good did a job putting up three zeroes (in three innings), giving us a chance to score and take the lead, but came up short in the end, ” Sandberg said.

But that’s the kind of year it’s been the Phillies who are now 15-16. That record is the very symbol of a team’s woefully inconsistency. As former New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells used to say you are what your record says you are and it reflects how the season has been up and down.

The Phillies would probably be in first place if they were a more consistent team in every phase of the game. Some of their losses have come in the form of mistakes on defense, a bullpen that couldn’t stop teams from scoring in the late innings and a team that can’t find its offensive groove when the pitching is going well.

What’s really confusing about this team is that they are a lot better than what we thought they were going to be. The issue is how good this team could be if they can be consistent with pitching hitting and defense on a regular basis.

Notes—Shortstop Jimmy Rollins missed his second straight start with a pulled right groin strain, Sandberg said. He came into pinch hit and grounded out to second.
“Jimmy needs another day. He still has some sensation in his upper leg area,” Sandberg said. “It’s a day-to-day thing. He’s going to come out and field some ground balls and do some light stuff.”

Back-to-Back Homers by Galvis and Kratz Give Phillies an Improbable Walk-off Win over Reds

20 May

Revere’s Hustle Fuels Phillies Comeback

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Ben Revere's two out single in the eighth started the Phillies come back. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Ben Revere’s two out single in the eighth started the Phillies come back. Photo by Webster Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—After the Phillies were shut out by the Cincinnati Reds the previous day, Charlie Manuel talked about the importance of his team hanging in there and not quitting.

“You stay aggressive and keep working on trying to get a good ball to hit. Not trying to overdo it, but just stay within yourself and do something. … Never get down, play 27 outs,” Manuel said.

For a team that was scoreless for 16 and two-thirds innings, that mentality would pay dividends in the Phillies 3-2 walk-off win over the Reds in the series finale at Citizen’s Bank Park Sunday afternoon.

The back-to-back homeruns off the Reds hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman by third baseman Freddy Galvis, who hit the game-winner and Erik Kratz, whose homer tied it gave the Phillies an improbable win.

“As soon as I hit, I thought hit it good,” Galvis said. “It was the first time in my life (hitting a walk off homer). I don’t think I’ll forget it.”

The Phillies ninth inning heroics were set up by the speed and hustle of centerfielder Ben Revere, who had three hits in four at-bats. It was his last hit that put the Phillies on the path to victory on a day when it looked like they were going to get shut out again.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth and the Phillies trailing 2-0, Revere smacked a hard grounder to Reds first baseman Joey Votto who dived for the ball and gloved it, but couldn’t get the ball to the pitcher covering first base in time put out the Phillies speedy centerfielder.

“It’s just all about hustle,” Revere said. “I could have just gave up on the play. About a week ago that could be an out, but no way today because I was feeling comfortable at the plate.”

After stealing second and a walk to Michael Young, Revere scored on a single by Chase Utley to cut the Reds lead to 2-1.

“Maybe that was the moment to get stuff going off of this,” Kratz said. “Anytime Ben gets on base, he can score from anywhere because of what he can do on the base paths.”

Kratz’s game-tying solo homerun should have been the game-winner if Chapman had not picked off pitcher Cliff Lee, who was pinch-running for Delmon Young who walked to open the bottom of the ninth.

“That was brutal. I’ve never been so disappointed when a guy hit a home run to tie the game in my life,” Lee said of his gaffe.  “That was bad. I felt horrible. Fortunately, Kratzy hit the home run and Freddy right behind him and that was a really good feeling. They made up for my mistake, which was unacceptable and basically brutal.”

Rookie Jonathan Pettibone kept the Phillies in the game. He gave up two runs on seven hits in seven innings. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Rookie Jonathan Pettibone kept the Phillies in the game. He gave up two runs on seven hits in seven innings. Photo by Webster Riddick.

For about seven and two-thirds innings, it was looking like the Phillies offense was going to waste another outstanding effort by a starting pitcher. Rookie sensation Jonathan Pettibone definitely pitched well enough to win. The offense’s late heroics turned a certain defeat into a no-decision.

In seven innings, Pettibone allowed just two runs-solo homer by Jay Bruce in the second inning and an RBI double to Todd Frazier in the sixth-and seven hits. He had four strikeouts and three walks.

More importantly, Pettibone and relievers Justin De Fratus and Antonio Bastardo kept the game within reach and didn’t allow the Reds to score anymore runs after the sixth inning.

“It was huge,” said Kratz, who came into the game in the third inning after Carlos Ruiz left the game with a strained right hamstring. “It doesn’t matter if we would have gone through seven guys in the bullpen or one guy, as a catcher you come out and you tell them we got to keep it right here.

“We got to play it like it’s a zero-zero game. You can’t let them get to three. Chapman with a two-run lead is tougher than Chapman with a one-run lead.”

HOWARD TO GET MRI

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard missed Sunday’s game because of soreness in his left knee. Team officials said Howard will get an MRI Monday in Miami where the team will begin a four-game series against the Marlins.

Howard said the knee had been bothering him for awhile and that the pain was bothering him more than normal Saturday night.

“It’s been acting up since Spring Training and I was able to tough my way through it,” Howard said. “(Saturday) it just kicked up a little bit.”

When asked if he thought that soreness was affecting his hitting in any way, he said it’s been tough trying to push off that knee. Howard has just four hits in his last 33 at-bats.

“We’ll see if the rest helps it,” Howard said.