Posts tagged Philadelphia Phillies
Ball Don't Lie EP. 42 - That's Problematic!

A new Game of Thrones trailer precedes Thursday's premiere of the latest MCU hero! X from The Looking Glass joins Scott & Pierce to talk season 8 of Thrones, Captain Marvel and DC vs. Marvel. Then, Scott and Pierce ponder who's to blame for the Lakers season, dive into Antonio Brown's comments last week on The Shop, 2 Chainz' new album and our Goofy Mogs of the Week! The problematic button gets whipped out a bunch in this one.

Topics:
Game of Thrones trailer
Captain Marvel
DC vs. Marvel
Who's to blame for the Lakers season?
Will missing the playoffs stain LeBron's legacy?
Battle for the West 3rd seed
Luka vs. Trae Young for ROY
Antonio Brown on The Shop
Should the NFL abolish the franchise tag?
Kyler Murray to Cardinals done?
Bryce Harper signs with Phillies
2 Chainz "Rap or Go to the League"
Goofy Mog of the Week

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The Hunt for October

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks in the MLB.  A couple of teams have kicked their run into high gear, some are stuck in neutral, and others are hustling backwards.  Let’s start with one of the more memorable moments of the MLB season which took place on the North Side of Chicago.

Cubs leading a strong NL Central race
(CHC lead by four games)

The “David Bote Game” may be one that we look back on as a defining moment for the Cubs as well as a deathblow for the Nationals. Bote’s game-winning grand slam a few weeks ago was a good feeling, but the Cubs still have some work to do as the Cardinals (2.5 games back) have gone from .500 and selling off assets to a statement sweep of the Dodgers in a month, and the Brewers (three games back) hang around in the division as well.

The Cubs officially shut Yu Darvish down for the remainder of the season, but they added playoff nemesis Daniel Murphy for the stretch run. The Cardinals also added firepower to their lineup by way of first baseman Matt Adams.

Code Red in DC as the Braves separate themselves from the Phillies
(ATL leads NL East by 3 games)

The good news for the Nationals is they've won the first two games in their series with the Phillies, and they'll see Philadelphia and Atlanta for the final time in two weeks. The bad news is that they've already started their fire sale, sending both Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams to contenders, and pulling Bryce Harper back off waivers once the Dodgers claimed him. "Harper Watch" is officially underway.

Speaking of the Phillies, the question of their legitimacy away from Philly remains as they went 2-4 in Arizona and San Diego, and dropped their first two games in Washington. Philadelphia has to consistently beat the teams they’re supposed to beat as well as find success on the road.

The Braves had their own share of drama as young star Ronald Acuna Jr. was plunked by a Jose Urena fastball last week.  Acuna was RED HOT at the plate, homering eight times in eight games leading up to the incident.  Fortunately, Acuna did not suffer a significant injury. It will be interesting to see how things go this weekend when the Braves travel to play Urena’s Marlins.

Anyone’s Game in the NL West (ARI leads by 1.5 games)

While Arizona has been near the top of the division standings all season, the Rockies are the division’s hottest team. Colorado has won nine of its last eleven games, and welcome Matt Holliday into the lineup for the stretch run. The second half of their six-game homestand will be important as the Cardinals are playing great baseball as well.

Meanwhile, things haven’t gone as planned in Los Angeles. The Dodgers' slide continues as they were swept by St. Louis at home this week. Kenley Jansen's second appearance since coming off the disabled list was brutal as he surrendered the two-run homer that ended the game. LA is 4.5 games out of first, 3.5. games back of the second wild card.

RK-Oakland: A’s are AL West Contenders Out of Nowhere (HOU leads by 1 game)

In a way that would make WWE Superstar Randy Orton proud, the Oakland A’s have surprisingly found their way into the AL West race. Oakland’s success has been puzzling to just about everyone outside of the Bay Area being that they’ve entered the season in the bottom three of team payroll. Lately they’ve won their share of close games with the help of their retooled bullpen.  If they can keep this up, we might see the Oakland Coliseum being used for baseball past September.

Houston is trying to find their stride after a rough stretch which they lost three of their last ten. They took two of three in Seattle to push the Mariners down and stay atop the AL West. They'll host the A's in their final series of the regular season next week in Houston; one of the most crucial series left this year.

Seattle isn’t necessarily fading in the AL West; their play has been overshadowed by the two teams above them. So far, every time it looks like that playoff drought might live to see another year, the Mariners show that they still have life. Robinson Cano’s return to the team has been a plus in a variety of ways, although he’s ineligible for postseason play.  However, uncertainty surrounding Felix Hernández’s role on the pitching staff raises eyebrows.  “Will he go to bullpen?”, “Will he ever return to the starting rotation”, “Does he even have anything left in the tank?” are all questions the Mariners need to solve as soon as possible.

Elsewhere, the Boston Red Sox continue to play great baseball.  Since sweeping the Yankees they've gone 9-4, boosting them to a league-best 88 wins. They seem poised for a deep postseason run. Oh, and that JD Martinez guy?  He’s having an MVP-worthy season and very well could make the 50-home run mark this season.

Not to be outdone by Boston, the Indians have quietly put together a solid run of their own winning eight of their last ten. The Indians are the only division leader with a double-digit lead as they’re up twelve and a half games over second place Minnesota.  Looking at the state of the other four teams in the division, Cleveland very well could have the AL Central locked up by the third week of September.

Inside the 2018 MLB Playoff Race

It’s August and the games are starting to matter in the Major Leagues. One bad stretch of games in August could leave you on the outside looking in come playoff time. Let’s look at the close divisional and wild card races still going on.

Rex Sox rising, Yankees folding in AL East

For a team that boasts one of the deepest lineups 1-through-9 in the league, the loss of Aaron Judge (wrist injury) has really hurt the Bronx Bombers.  Entering Monday, the Yankees have lost five straight, including a four-game sweep to the rival Red Sox, who now hold a 9 and a half-game lead in the AL East.

Keep in mind that the Red Sox did all of this without the help of ace Chris Sale, who is expected to return from shoulder inflammation this weekend in Baltimore.

 

Second half magic puts Oakland in the thick of the Wild Card hunt

The Oakland Athletics keep winning, I don’t know how… but they just keep winning. The A's took off in June and July to push them right in the middle of the American League Wild Card hunt.

If you look at their roster, your kneejerk reaction is probably “Who are these guys???”. Their rotation consisting of guys who have bounced all around the league (I’m talking about you, Edwin Jackson), their starting lineup can flat out MASH, like Khris Davis (the major league leader in home runs since 2016) and the two Matts (Chapman and Olson). If the A’s find themselves in the Wild Card game, they will be the reason why.

Are the Phillies for real?

There’s a lot of winning going on in Philadelphia this year (shoutout to Meek) and surprisingly the Phillies have kept the trend going. They’ve won five straight and have a game and a half lead over the Atlanta Braves.

Most of their damage has been done at home, with a NL-best 37 wins at Citizens Bank Park. If they want to hold off the Braves and Nationals (there’s still hope for Bryce Harper and Washington), they’ll have to improve on that 25-30 record away from Philly.

The Cubs are finally playing to their potential

The Chicago Cubs hold the best record in the National League, despite missing key members for long periods of time (Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow). They're only a game ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central coming into Monday, but even without those stars they're playing to everyone's expectations.

The Cubs were relatively quiet at the trade deadline, acquiring Cole Hamels and a few relievers to add the pen. The Brewers have been a nice story, but it’s going to be a tough task matching wins late in the season with a team as good as the Cubs. Milwaukee may eventually have to turn its focus on maintaining its lead in the wild card race.

How the (NL) West is won

On paper, the Dodgers are the clear favorite to win the NL West for a sixth straight year, but it’s still wide open out west. They're tied atop the division with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have been solid behind MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. The Colorado Rockies have also managed to hang around behind their star Nolan Arenado. Even the Giants sit five games back in the West.

There can only be one division winner, but the added incentive for these teams is to avoid that one game playoff. This race will certainly come down to the last week of the regular season.

Key series to watch

Philadelphia Phillies (62-48) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (62-50)
August 6th-8th

The margin for error for both teams is extremely slim. Can the Phillies get some wins on the road?

Los Angeles Dodgers (61-51) @ Colorado Rockies (58-52)
August 9th-12th

The Dodgers have a chance to distance themselves from the Rockies in a packed NL West.

Milwaukee Brewers (65-49) @ Atlanta Braves (59-48)
August 10th-12th

A potential preview of the NL wild-card game.

What 2 Watch: Thursday May 10th

We don't have any basketball until Sunday. What the fuck am I gonna do with my life for the next three days?

While I try and maneuver my way through this thing called 'Life without the NBA', there's some pretty high stakes games on tonight, including a Game 7 in the NHL, a possible sweep in the Bronx, and Tiger and Phil teeing off at TPC. Enjoy your Thursday!


Boston Red Sox v. New York Yankees
7pm EST, MLB Network, MLB.TV, MLB At Bat app

The Evil Empire is back on top. The Yankees have won 17 of 18 and go for the sweep of the Red Sox tonight in the Bronx. It's been late hits from Aaron Judge in game one and Brett Gardner last night that have given the Yanks the edge. Now CC Sabathia goes for win #240 and a series sweep of their rivals.


(John Woods/The Canadian Press)

(John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Winnipeg Jets v. Nashville Predators, Western Conference Semifinal Game 7
8pm EST, NBCSN, NBC Sports App

Thanks to an unusual playoff alignment in the NHL, the two best teams in the Western Conference are playing in the semis. The Jets are trying to make their first Western Conference Final since Winnipeg got their hockey team back a few years ago. The Preds have unfinished business after losing in the Stanley Cup Final last summer, and a Game 7 L at home would crush a lot of spirits in Smashville. Look out for Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien, Nashville's PK Subban and Filip Forsberg in this one.


Minnesota Twins v. Los Angeles Angels
10pm EST, FS1, Fox Sports GO, MLB.TV, MLB At Bat app

The Twins take a five-game winning streak into Anaheim to face the Orange County Angels. Jose Berrios (3-3, 3.98 ERA) meets Mike Trout for the very first time as Minnesota looks to break even with the Indians in the AL Central. Garrett Richards (4-1, 3.93 ERA) is red hot coming off of his best outing of the season against Seattle last week.


San Francisco Giants v. Philadelphia Phillies
1pm EST, Facebook

The Phillies go for the four-game sweep in this matinee affair. It would be their fourth of the season, their third at home where they're 14-5. Two teams over .500 and you can watch them while you dodge your family's desperate attempts to get your attention. Fun fun fun!


The Players Championship
1:52pm EST, Golf Channel, ESPN+

TPC at Sawgrass is the biggest non-major of the PGA Tour season, and while golf usually isn't appointment TV for me, it is when Tiger Woods is playing. You factor in he's teeing off with Phil Mickelson? Some mid-afternoon golf just turned into really good background noise for ya boy.


West Ham United v. Manchester United
2:45pm, NBCSN, NBC Sports App

Man U heads to East London in need of a point to secure the second spot in the Premier League table. There awaits former gaffer David Moyes, who got sacked 10 months into his stay at Old Trafford in 2014. Current Man U manager Jose Mourinho has a lot to figure out about his lineup before the summer transfer window opens.

Winners & losers of the first weekend of the MLB season

The first series of the MLB regular season has concluded and boy was it a crazy one. Things got started off with the Cubs taking on the Derek Jeter-sabotaged Marlins. Expectations are low for Miami this season but expectations couldn’t have gotten any lower for the Fins after Ian Happ took the Marlins deep on the very first pitch of the season. Giancarlo Stanton made his arrival in Giancarlo Stanton fashion, smacking two home runs in his debut with the Yankees. The White Sox, Nationals, Brewers and Pirates all swept the weekend while the Reds, Tigers, Royals and Padres went empty-handed. Here are my winners and losers of the opening weekend.

Winners

Mike Stone - Getty Images

Mike Stone - Getty Images

New York Mets: The Mets rotation looked like their dominant selves this weekend as Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom were lights out against a St. Louis Cardinals offense that, heading into the season, had a top 10 lineup. Although he let up four runs, Syndergaard went six strong on Thursday by striking out 10 in a 9-4 victory. DeGrom was just as impressive by only allowing one run in 5.2 innings at striking out seven in their 6-2 win. Although they dropped their series finale on Easter, the Mets have a three game set against the Phillies (I will get to them later).

Los Angeles Dodgers: Although they split their opening series with the Giants, the Dodgers pitching looked impressive, even in their first two losses. The offense was no where to be found in the first two games as they combined to score zero runs. On the other hand, in the first two games, the Dodgers only allowed two total runs, one per game. If you only allow one run per game, most of the time, you’re going to win. The Dodgers bounced back by blanking the Giants in the final two games and combined to score 14 runs in that time span. Up next for the Dodgers is a rematch of last year’s NLDS against the Diamondbacks.

Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers: Although the White Sox went undefeated in the first weekend, they only played two games against the Royals due to a rainout on Sunday. The Nationals, Pirates, and Brewers on the other hand, all swept their three game series against the Reds, Tigers, and Padres, respectively. Yes those three teams all stink but to come away with a sweep to start the season makes you a winner in my book.

Losers

I’ve already covered the Giants but aside from them, I only have one loser this week,

Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

Philadelphia Phillies: Oh man where do I even begin? I am not a Phillies fan by any means but living in the Philadelphia area, I have access to their games. With baseball being back, I needed to watch baseball so I wanted to watch the up-and-coming Phillies and boy was I in for a show.

In case you haven’t heard, the Phillies hired former outfielder Gabe Kapler as their manager in the offseason. Aside from managing the Red Sox single-A affiliate, the Greenville Drive, and leading them to a 58-81 record in 2007, the 42-year-old Kapler has very little managerial history. Heading into this season, it would be interesting to see what he’d do.

First game of the year against the Braves and their ace Aaron Nola was lights out. Striking out three, allowing three hits and allowing one earned run, Nola was pulled after 5.1 innings and a total of 68 pitches as the Phillies held onto a five run lead. Somehow, some way, the Phillies managed to blow the lead and blow the game 8-5 on a walk-off. Kapler used up six pitchers that game (keep that in mind).

The second game, the Phillies won in extras 5-4 and used up nine pitchers including five from the previous night. The third game is where the rails came off. The Phillies got smacked 15-2 but the story came in the second inning when starter Vince Velasquez couldn’t even make it through three innings as he let up nine hits, and four runs. Kapler went to the bullpen but here’s the problem: nobody was warming up. Poor Hoby Milner (who was pitching his third straight game in as many days!) had to come out of the bullpen cold but kudos to him, he only let up one hit and no runs in 0.1 innings and was replaced by Jake Thompson the next inning.

Kapler’s mis-management of the bullpen led to reserve infielder Pedro Florimon to throw one inning in a game that was already decided. In case you were wondering, Florimon walked one hitter and let up one hit, a two-run bomb by Braves outfielder Lane Adams. We’ll see if Kapler has learned from his mistakes as they take on the Mets this week.