Results tagged ‘ Gio Gonzalez ’

Asche Making His Case

Cody AscheIf Cody Asche keeps playing like this, you’ve got to think he will be the Phillies’ Opening Day third baseman in 2014.

He went 3-for-4 with one home run and three RBIs in last night’s loss to the Nationals. Asche has hit in 10 of his last 11 games. He is hitting .375 (15-for-40) with three doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBIs in that stretch. He is hitting .312 (24-for-77) in 22 games since beginning his big league career with one hit in his first 17 at-bats.

Two of his hits last night came against Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, making him 5-for-13 with one double and four RBIs against left-handers this season. That is impressive, although it is a small sample size. Asche had an .869 OPS against right-handers this season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley compared to a .691 OPS against left-handers, so it remains to be seen how successful he can be against left-handers over an extended period of time. But that is why Asche has started 21 games against right-handers since joining the Phillies, compared to just three starts against left-handers.

Easing in a left-handed hitter against left-handed pitchers is nothing new. Larry Bowa did the same with Chase Utley and Charlie Manuel did the same with Ryan Howard.

The Phillies faced 31 left-handed starters (19.1 percent of their games) in 2003. Utley started just two of his 36 games (5.6 percent) against them. The Phillies started 28.4 percent of their games against left-handers in 2004. He started just seven of his 57 games (12.3 percent) against them. That disparity grew a little closer in 2005 — 29.6 percent of total games started against lefties compared to 20.6 percent for Utley — before Manuel truly turned Utley loose against lefties in 2006.

Howard started just one of five games in 2004 against lefties, and just 14 of 79 (17.7 percent) against them in 2005. Manuel turned him loose during his MVP season in 2006.

“I thought he had great at-bats,” Ryne Sandberg said about Asche. “It goes a long way with his ability. I think he can hit righties or lefties. He has the ability. He should get a big boost from his game tonight.”

Nats’ Top 3 over Doc, Cliff and Cole? Whatever

The Nationals are trying their best to build a rivalry with the Phillies in the National League East.

It started with their Take Back the Park campaign, designed to make tickets less accessible to Phillies fans for the Phillies-Nationals series May 4-6 at Nationals Park. But then Nationals manager Davey Johnson told The Washington Post the other day he would take Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann and the rest of his rotation over Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels and the rest of the Phillies’ rotation, in part because of their youth and potential.

“Their top three versus our top three, stuff-wise, we match up as good,” Johnson told the Post.

“I guess that’s his opinion,” Rich Dubee said.

Asked what he thought about Johnson’s comments, Lee said, “He should (take them) because that’s his only option. It’s what he’s got to do.”

In other words, whatever.

Lee said he wouldn’t compare Halladay, Hamels and himself to any other pitchers on any team in baseball.

“I’m not trying to compare myself to anybody,” Lee said. “There’s nothing good that’s going to come out of that. I know we’re proven and we’ve shown what we can do, and if we’re healthy we stack up pretty good against anyone. I’m not going to sit here and try to create something out of nothing because to me really that’s nothing.”

Asked about the Take Back the Park campaign, Lee said, “That’s another nothing thing for me. Whatever. They should try to get more fans to come out and support them. They should expect a lot out of their team. It’s normal stuff. He should think his pitchers are better than anyone. He should think all his position players are better than anyone else. He should think he’s got the best bullpen. If he doesn’t, what’s he thinking?”

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • March 19: Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL, TBA
  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
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