Tag Archives: Ryne Sanberg

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.”

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Revere Off to a Good Start After Season-Ending Injury in 2013

11 Apr

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

 

Ben Revere has batted .344 in his last 73 games coming into Thursday’s game against Milwaukee. Photo by Webster
Riddick.

PHILADELPHIA—If you want to get an indication of how far Phillies centerfielder Ben Revere has bounced back from a broken ankle, just watch him fly around the outfield, running down fly-balls and making the spectacular catch.

As fast on his feet as he is, Revere doesn’t get to every ball in the field and is prone to take some bad routes to the ball at times. But his speed and hustle certainly gives him a chance to get there and take away an extra-base hit.

“That’s something he’s working on a daily basis—whether it’s routes or getting good jumps,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. “I remember last year for about a month, he just had to adapt to see the ball off the bat in the different stadiums and I saw a lot of improvement as the season went on. He’s working at it. His throwing has gotten better.”

In Wednesday’s night game against the Brewers, Revere made a spectacular diving grab of ball hit by Milwaukee second baseman Scooter Gennett. In the eighth inning, Revere came within inches of diving and catching up to what turned out to be Ryan Braun’s three-run triple that broke open a tie game.

“I’m always going to go 110 percent after a ball and so I’m going to make the best catch I can,” Revere said before Thursday’s series-finale against Milwaukee Brewers. “The two balls I missed (Wednesday’s game) I was probably about an inch from catching the damn thing.

“Sometimes when I get close to it and dive it tips out of my glove and I miss it. Sometimes as an outfielder you want to be smart about it. It’s a mental aspect, should I go after this or do I make sure it’s not an extra-base hit?”

After missing the second half of last season, Revere has bounced back well this season on offense as well. He came into Thursday’s night’s game batting .324 and has a .359 on-base percentage. He has scored seven runs and has five stolen bases. Since May 1, 2013, Revere has batted .344 in his last 73 games.

While rehabilitating his foot, Revere said he spent a lot of time of working on his hitting, watching video and working on his swing. He stayed in Philadelphia and spent the offseason fine-tuning his hitting. He also spent some time working out at the Phillies spring training home in Clearwater, Fla.

“I’m reading the ball well. When I broke my ankle last year, I had a lot of time off to re-learn my swing and putting everything into perspective,” Revere said. “I was looking at film and looking at my swings and that helped me out.”

During spring training, Revere batted .294 and had a .338 on-base percentage with six runs batted and six stolen bases. Sandberg said his good spring has continued into the first nine games of the regular season.
“He’s a sparkplug at the top of the order with the way he’s staying on top of the ball and utilizing his speed,” Sandberg said. “He’s stealing bases and he’s a threat to score runs once he gets on. He’s got the ability to be a sparkplug type of player. He gives the team a spark offensively and defensively.”

If there’s a knock on the 5-foot-9 Revere during his short tenure with the Phillies is that he is not going to knock the ball out of the park on a regular basis. In his three seasons at the major league level, Revere doesnot have a homerun. He has five career homers at the minor league level.

In Tuesday’s home opener, Revere did hit a ball to the warning track in left center, but that’s as far as it got as the wind kept it in the park. In any event, Revere said he is comfortable with the idea that no one’s going to confuse him with Hank Aaron or even his slugging teammate Ryan Howard.

“For me to stay up here, I’m just trying to hit that sucker, line drives,” said Revere, whose walk-up to theplate music is Pharell Williams’ hit song, “Happy.”

“I’m not trying to go for it all and trying to hit a homerun. If I hit out, hey, praise the Lord. But if not, I’ll go the rest of the year or my career and not hit a home run.”