Reliever Kyle Farnsworth was released by the New York Mets last night, as Wednesday was the deadline on his advance consent agreement, which allowed the Mets to pay him for 45 days as opposed to a full season. The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been nearly as bad as the Phillies’, but it has been in a similar state of flux. That the Mets released him is odd, considering he only would have been paid $1 million for the full season. The situation left Farnsworth with some anger towards the Mets:
Left fielder Domonic Brown‘s struggles have been well documented here since the start of the year. In the latter half of 2013, opposing pitchers stopped giving him as many pitches in the inside half of the plate as well as up and on the outer half, where he hit all of his May home runs:
In the time since, Brown has had trouble adjusting, posting a .299 weighted on-base average since the start of July last season. To his credit, he has recognized the changes made by the opposition, and he has tried to go with the flow, going the opposite way more frequently.
Hey Crashburn fans! My name’s Adam Dembowitz (@adamd243) and I’m very happy to be joining the team here. I was born in Philadelphia and raised in Cherry Hill, and I grew up listening to Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn get through bad baseball on late summer afternoons. I still hate Joe Carter. I was at Game 4 of the 2008 World Series, so, you’re welcome. And with that, let’s get to it.
He’s a former MVP. He’s one of the best shortstops in baseball (yes, still), and we expect a lot from him. But last year, he wasn’t himself. Now 147 plate appearances into the 2014 season, is Jimmy Rollins back?
During the offseason, jokes about the advanced age of the Phillies roster were as ubiquitous as loud middle schoolers on awkward group dates at your local movie theater. Did you hear the one about Ruben Amaro scouting a game at a retirement community?! Or the call he put in to Ron Reed while evaluating his bullpen options?! Well, I hope you got your jollies in while you had a chance, because the Phillies well-seasoned veterans are no laughing matter.
Back in mid-April, a couple weeks following an ugly blown save in Texas against the Rangers, Jonathan Papelbon asked the media why they worry so much about his declining velocity. In 2011, Papelbon’s fastball averaged 95 MPH. In 2012, it was 93.8, 92 MPH last season, and 91.6 MPH so far in 2014.
Did he have a point?
Positive emotions were high after the Phillies took the final two games of a three-game set against the division-rival Washington Nationals, making them winners of eight of their previous 12 games and leaving them one game over .500, just 1.5 games out of first place. As the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb noted on Twitter prior to Monday’s series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at home, a win would have put them two games above .500 for the first time in 581 days.
What ensured over the next four days was some of the most frustrating, embarrassing, and pitiful baseball the Phillies have played since the turn of the millennium.
It turns out there might be a bit of truth to that cliché about old dogs and new tricks. Two weeks into the season, the Phillies’ offense garnered attention due to a development in their collective plate discipline. In 2013, the Phillies’ sub-par 6.9% walk rate was tied for 25th in MLB and 13th in the NL, but on April 15th of this year they sat atop the NL with a dramatically improved rate of 10.3%. Was this a hint that Ryne Sandberg was putting an increased emphasis on plate discipline and times they were a-changin’?
Ben Revere has stepped to the plate 1500 times in his Major League career without recording even one Major League home run, yet he currently has a higher slugging percentage (.320) than Phillies’ left fielder, Domonic Brown (.317). So far in 2014, Brown is batting a paltry .253/.314/.317, a stark departure from a breakout 2013 campaign in which he hit 27 home runs and made his first All-Star Game. Let’s see if the numbers provide any clues as whether or not to worry and what to expect going forward from Brown.
A.J. Burnett finished off a successful West coast road trip for the Phillies with eight shutout innings against the Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon. The win, completed by Jonathan Papelbon, left the Phillies with a 6-4 record over their ten games against the Rockies, Dodgers, and D-Backs. For Burnett, it was his third successful start out of three since being diagnosed with — and choosing to play through — an inguinal hernia.
The hernia isn’t affecting him too much. If anything, it’s made him better. Here’s a look at those three starts:
A pamphlet titled How To Pitch To Ryan Howard sits in every dugout in Major League Baseball published and bound in a sexy, leather cover, or at least I assume that’s the case. The text is simple, concise and goes something like this: To retire Ryan Howard, bring in a left-handed pitcher who can pound him down and away with sliders. It probably even has nifty illustrations that look like this. To date, no team has gone looking for a refund on their copy of this book because the strategy has worked like an absolute charm.