The Curious Handling of Jake Diekman

Ryne Sandberg‘s managerial decisions in the second game of the season understandably raised some eyebrows, but his most egregious mistake wasn’t sending Mario Hollands out to make his major league debut in the bottom of the 9th of a tie game. While that move was hardly defensible, it was at least understandable if you squinted your eyes and tilted your head a little. No active manager in baseball would go to his closer in that situation and with two dominant left-handed batters due up in Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder, you can at least understand where Sandberg was coming from when he turned to Hollands, the only lefty remaining in the bullpen. What defies understanding, however, is Sandberg’s usage of Jake Diekman through the first two games.

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Meet the New Boss, Same As the Old Boss

When the Phillies replaced Charlie Manuel with Ryne Sandberg as manager last seaeson, no one expected a completely new modus operandi. Both are cut from the old-school cloth. But there was the hope that a changing of the guard would signal a willingness to adapt and modernize. To the Phillies’ credit, there has been some of that with the implementation of an analytics department and GM Ruben Amaro acknowledged a potential willingness to platoon Ryan Howard. Through the first two games of the 2014 season, however, Sandberg has shown the same flawed bullpen management that plagued Manuel during his tenure with the Phillies, particularly in the last few years.

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Phillies Lineup Shake Up

Let’s face it, Ryne Sandberg as a manager is still a mystery. After 9 seasons of the thoroughly predictable managerial stylings of Mr. Charles Fuqua Manuel, it may be slight uncomfortable for Phillies fans to not know what to expect from their manager. With his first opportunity to surprise us with a lineup in 2014, Sandberg didn’t disappoint.

Tonight’s starting lineup vs. LHP Martin Perez via‘s Todd Zolecki:

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With Good Health, the Phillies Should Score Many More Runs in 2014

Not that you needed yesterday’s 14-run outburst against the Rangers to identify that. The premise of the title does requires some suspension of disbelief. No, this is not an April Fool’s Day article. Now that the legal stuff is out of the way…

The Phillies scored 610 runs last season, the fewest they’ve scored in a live ball era, non-strike-shortened season since scoring 597 in 1988. They scored double-digit runs in a game only five times and exceeded yesterday’s 14 only once. And as our own Corinne Landrey pointed out on Twitter, those 14 runs represented a whopping 2.3 percent of their total runs scored in 2013.

The reasons for the lack of offense, of course, are obvious: they were ravaged by injuries to key players (Ryan Howard and Ben Revere most noticeably) and were ill-equipped to replace them, and they also somehow forgot about properly addressing right field.

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Thoughts on the Phillies’ 14-10 Opening Day Victory

After an off-season that lasted for what seemed like an eternity, baseball returned to us this afternoon as the Phillies battled the Rangers in Texas. Cliff Lee opposed Tanner Scheppers, filling in for the injured Yu Darvish. The two teams combined for 24 runs, 31 hits, and 10 walks. With 14 of those runs, the Phillies set a franchise record in the live ball era for runs scored on Opening Day. While it was nice to see the Phillies’ offense come alive after ending the spring with three consecutive shut-outs, there weren’t many moments of comfort during the game.

Source: FanGraphs

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Phillies Opening Day Roster Announced

The Phillies 25-man roster has been finalized:

Starting Lineup
C – Carlos Ruiz
1B – Ryan Howard
2B – Chase Utley
SS – Jimmy Rollins
3B – Cody Asche
LF – Domonic Brown
CF – Ben Revere
RF – Marlon Byrd

Cliff Lee
A.J. Burnett
Kyle Kendrick
Roberto Hernandez

Antonio Bastardo
Justin De Fratus
Jake Diekman
Mario Hollands
Brad Lincoln
Jeff Manship
Jonathan Papelbon
B.J. Rosenberg

Tony Gwynn, Jr.
Cesar Hernandez
John Mayberry, Jr.
Wil Nieves
Jayson Nix

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Phillies Alter Fate with New Clubhouse Signs‘s Todd Zolecki just tweeted this:

Beats optimizing roster construction through the development of a healthy Minor League system, the prudent use of team resources, and taking advantage of the latest and greatest advances in technology and data collection. Because, really, what good is a 95-win team with a new World Series trophy if each player can’t look himself in the mirror and say, “I respected the game, was the ultimate teammate, and played the game the right way”?

Phillies Starting Pitching Depth Receives A Much Needed Boost

There were two decidedly positive developments in Clearwater today. Of the eight starting pitchers atop of the Phillies depth chart to begin camp, four have succumbed to injuries over the past six weeks: Cole Hamels, Jonathan Pettibone, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, and Ethan Martin. Today, two of those pitchers exhibited signs that they may be returning sooner rather than later.

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