Results tagged ‘ Jose Reyes ’

Victorino Is Clutch (Again)

The Phillies got good news last night when Cole Hamels pitched six strong innings at Great American Ball Park.

They could enjoy his efforts a little more thanks to Shane Victorino‘s game-winning homer in the eighth.

Victorino is having a heck of a season. He ranks eighth in the National League in batting (.308), eighth in on-base percentage (.381), ninth in slugging percentage (.544) and eighth in OPS (.925). He has 21 doubles, 14 triples, 15 home runs, 53 RBIs, 17 stolen bases and 79 runs scored.

He’s been especially clutch late in games, too. In close-and-late situations (seventh inning or later with the batting team ahead by one run, tied, or with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck), he is second in the league in batting (.396), sixth in on-base percentage (.448) and first in slugging percentage (.849).

An .849 slugging percentage in close-and-late situations is ridiculous, but it looks even more ridiculous when you see the guy ranked second in slugging in those situations, Jose Reyes, has a .627 slugging.

That’s a .222 differential.

No big deal.

If I had a NL MVP vote, Victorino would be my top Phillies player on the ballot. Not sure where he will finish overall, but if you’ve watched the Phillies play every day you know how valuable Victorino has been, both offensively and defensively.

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Magic Number Is 2

lidge 0924 2010.jpgLots of stuff happened during tonight’s 3-2 victory over the Mets:

- The Phillies’ magic number is two. They can clinch their fourth conscutive NL East championship tomorrow with a victory over the Mets and a Braves loss to the Nationals.
- The Phillies have an 11-game winning streak, which is their longest since a 13-game hitting streak July 30-Aug. 12, 1991.
- They are 19-3 in September.
- They are 93-61, which is the best record in Major League Baseball.
- Joe Blanton allowed two runs in seven innings to improve to 8-6 with a 4.94 ERA. He is 5-0 with a 3.54 ERA (29 earned runs in 73 2/3 innings) in 12 starts since his last loss July 21 in St. Louis.
- The Mets are upset with Chase Utley.
- Charlie Manuel is upset with the Mets.

The Phillies were upset with the Mets for calling time when Brad Lidge was in the stretch, ready to deliver a 0-1 pitch to Jesus Feliciano with runners at the corners and two outs in the ninth inning. The Mets were upset with Utley for a late slide into second baseman Ruben Tejada in the fifth inning.

“I think that was terrible,” Manuel said of the timeout in the ninth.

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It's A Big Series, But It's June

mets slide.jpgIt’s June.

No matter what happens this week between the Phillies and Mets at Citi Field, just remember it’s only June.

The Phillies could sweep the Mets to take a six-game lead in the National League East, but it does not guarantee anything.

If the Phillies can overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 games to play in 2007, the Mets certainly can overcome a six-game deficit with more than 100 games to play. And if the Mets sweep the Phillies, it doesn’t mean the Phillies are in big trouble. The sky is not falling. It just means the Phillies played a bad series against a division rival in June.

You get the idea.

That is not to say the Phillies won’t be looking pretty good or feeling pretty good if they take 2 of 3 from the Mets this week. They will. And they should. It always feels good to win a series against a division rival, especially when that division rival is the Mets. But knowing the players in the clubhouse, they won’t be getting too high or too low this week. A lot can happen in 100 games.

Or just 17.

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Being a manager is more than just making out lineups and making pitching changes. It’s managing 25 different personalities in the clubhouse.

Charlie Manuel has had a knack for handling those personalities over the years. Why do I say this? Because you very rarely hear a player gripe about Manuel in the clubhouse. I heard that frequently during Larry Bowa‘s final two seasons. I hear it coming from other clubhouses, too. But Manuel seems to have the right touch. When to sit a player. When to stick with a player. That stuff plays up big in a clubhouse, where manager, coaches and teammates are together seven-plus weeks in Spring Training and over the course of a six-month season.

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It is easy to make a case for Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley to be National League All-Star starters.

Ibanez leads NL outfielders in home runs (19), RBIs (54), runs (46), hits (72) and slugging percentage (.676). He ranks fourth in hitting (.329), fifth in doubles (15) and seventh in on-base percentage (.386). Utley leads NL second basemen in runs (39), home runs (12), walks (37), on-base percentage (.438) and slugging percentage (.548). He is third in RBis (38), fourth in hitting (.296), and fifth in hits (55) and doubles (11).

But Jimmy Rollins, the NL’s leading vote getter at shortstop, is another matter. He ranks 12th out of 12 qualifying players in hitting (.222) and on-base percentage (.261) and 10th in slugging percentage (.322). He ranks second from the top in runs (34), third in doubles (13), sixth in hits (53), eighth in home runs (3) and ninth in RBIs (18).

What is interesting is that Rollins is getting some of his best fan support during one of his worst first-halves. He hasn’t been to the All-Star Game since 2005. Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein and Jose Reyes went in 2006. Reyes and J.J. Hardy went in 2007. Hanley Ramirez, Cristian Guzman and Miguel Tejada went in 2008. Rollins could have gone in 2006 and 2007 (he had no shot last season after suffering an ankle injury in April), but never went. Now in a season he is struggling, he might get to start. Go figure.

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Meet the Mets

reyes.jpgPhillies fans hate the Mets and Mets fans hate the Phillies, which means this weekend is a big weekend at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies meet the Mets for the first time in 2009.

What happened since the last time they met Sept. 5-7, 2008?

Let’s see:

- The Mets blew a 3 1/2 game lead with 17 games to play, a year after they became the first team in baseball history to blow a seven game lead with 17 games to play.

- The Phillies won the World Series.

Other than that, not much. But this weekend should be fun. I’m not going to say these two teams hate each other, but there is a healthy rivalry between the two. The Phillies don’t like some of the Mets’ antics during games (i.e. showboating, which mostly seems to involve Jose Reyes.) A day after Shane Victorino hit a grand slam off CC Sabathia in Game 2 of the NLDS, somebody from the Phillies took the photo of Victorino rounding the bases in USA Today (Victorino had his finger pointed in the air) and wrote “Reyes” over Victorino’s name on his jersey and replaced Victorino’s No. 8 with Reyes’ No. 7.

Baseball is funny like that. Guys can pimp home runs, but not too much. Guys can celebrate, but not too much. I asked somebody last year what the difference is between Reyes’ elaborate handshakes with teammates after he homers and J.C. Romero pounding his chest after he strikes out a batter to end an inning? He said the difference is that Romero’s actions aren’t premeditated, while the the other stuff (I recall Fernando Tatis doing a quick slide step across home plate after he homered last year at Shea) is.

Hey, if those things get under the Phillies’ skin and boost the rivalry, I’m sure fans are all about it.

Play ball.

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