We Hold These Phillies Truths to Likely Be Self-Evident (And We Love It)

We Hold These Phillies Truths to Likely Be Self-Evident (And We Love It)

Our man Rev helps us get ready for opening day next week. These are his words.

Not
long ago I wrote a post urging you to recognize and appreciate just
how amazing an era of Phillies baseball we’ve been treated to. As
a result of this success, Phils-mania has swept across the entire
Delaware
Valley. It’s getting to the point where you cannot go anywhere without
seeing something Phillies related.  Case in point - while waiting
for a prescription to be filled at CVS there was a copy of the most
recent issue of Philadelphia Magazine on the chair next to me. I picked
it up, looked at the cover, and saw Chase Utley staring back at me.
The cover promised details on which TV shows various Phillies DVR, which

teammate they’d least like to play poker against, and other similar
People Magazine/US Weekly insights into the local nine. Apparently there

are four separate covers with either Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins,
or Shane Victorino mugging for the camera. Their Phils coverage even
included an article featuring Phillies WAG’s. Yes, that’s how much
this team has captured our attention…their wives and girlfriends are
deemed worthy of coverage.

Now,
by no means am I anti all of this Phillies mania. If nothing else it’s
a reminder of how far they’ve come. However, there are certain truths
about this team which will reveal themselves over the course of a 162-game schedule. That’s the beautiful thing about following a baseball
team over the course of a season. You pick up on certain quirks,
idiosyncrasies,
and habits of your squad. You follow them day in and day out to the
point that you can anticipate what’s going to happen in any given
situation. This is especially true with a team that’s been together
as long as this one. We’ve had enough of an opportunity to watch them
to the point that we can predict, with a degree of certainty, what’ll
happen. In other words, certain truths about the Phillies have become
self-evident.

Based
on past experience, what follows is a list of things we know we can
expect to see from the two-time defending National League Champions.

  • Jimmy will go through a
    stretch where seemingly every time he steps into the box he’s already
    down 0-2 in the count. He’ll be sitting first pitch fastball and
    they’ll
    pull the cord on him. He’ll be sitting on something offspeed only
    to swing over it anticipating a fastball. During this time the chorus
    of “Jimmy’s not a leadoff hitter” will resume in full throat.
  • Shane, on a night where
    he’s batting in the two-hole in order to give Polanco a rest, will
    get thrown out trying to steal third with two outs and Ryan Howard at
    the plate. Uggghhhh. Mikey Miss will spend the entire next day killing

    him for a lack of baseball smarts.

  • Despite Charlie’s best
    but ultimately unsuccessful effort to give him days off during the
    season
    come September Chase will wear down, start opening up too early, and
    will hit .214 for the month. Everyone will freak out wondering what’s
    wrong with him only to see him hit .328 during the postseason.
  • After flailing at off-speed
    stuff away for the entire month of August The Big Fella will
    exponentially
    reduce the amount of heat on Utley with his annual September power
    surge.
    He’ll resume hitting bombs to leftfield and driving in runs by the
    bushel. Based on his September performance he’ll thrust himself into
    the NL MVP debate.
  • Towards the end of the year,
    Jayson Werth will be approaching a 30-30 season and will be forced to
    deal with a barrage of questions about his impending free agency.
    Werth
    being Werth, he’ll deflect each and every question and will reiterate
    his desire to remain a Phillie, that baseball is a business, and all
    he’s focused on is winning another World Series.
  • Pop Pop Moyer will go through
    a stretch in July where he fails to go more than 4 innings in any
    start.
    All of Philadelphia will be clamoring for Kendrick to take over the
    fifth starter’s job. Come August 3rd Jamie will face the Marlins in
    Florida and twirl a seven inning two hit gem.
  • The Scott Eyre watch. Phils
    LOOGY’s will struggle mightily the first part of the season prompting
    the beat writers to pepper Ruben Amaro Jr. with questions as to
    whether
    he’ll reach out to Scott Eyre. Ruben will deny any interest in
    bringing
    him back, but Eyre’s unwillingness to completely rule out a return
    continues to fuel speculation.
  • The lack of AB’s for the
    bench guys. If the last few years are any indication, and barring
    injury,
    Ben Francisco, Greg Dobbs, Ross Gload, and Juan Castro presumably
    aren’t
    going to see a whole lot of plate appearances. I am not including
    Brian
    Schneider in this mix as he’ll likely see a fair number of Sunday
    afternoon and day game following a night game starts behind the plate.
  • Following up an 11 run 14
    hit game in which they’ve chased a top of the rotation guy in the
    4th inning only to be followed up the next day by a 1 run
    3 hit effort against some career journeyman making an emergency start.
  • Ryan Howard costing the
    Phils a game by sailing a throw into left after Cole Hamels or Jamie
    Moyer has a guy picked off of first.
  • Sarge saying “as well”
    1,037 times. Sarge talking about J.R. Richard 311 times. Sarge saying
    “slide piece” 418 times.
  • Me cringing each and every
    time Tom McCarthy says “Oppo Boppo”.
  • L.A. coming close to being
    fined by the FCC after freaking out following a blown call by umpire
    C.B. Bucknor.

Despite knowing
in advance that all of these things are likely to happen it will do
nothing to take away from the enjoyment of watching them. Whether in
person, on television, or on the radio following a baseball team over
the course of a 162 game season is comforting and familiar. They become
part of your daily routine. Who’s pitching that day? How did Chase
deposit two balls over Utley’s corner and into the seats against Johan
Santana? How hot is Howard going to get when they visit St. Louis? It
never gets old. The daily drama is the best.

T-minus one week
until Opening Day.

Phillies prospect Andrew Knapp is determined to win a job in the majors

Phillies prospect Andrew Knapp is determined to win a job in the majors

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The dew on the infield grass had barely dried when Andrew Knapp was marched out to the firing squad at Phillies camp early Sunday morning.
 
He took his position at first base and looked across the diamond where Phillies instructors Doug Mansolino, Chris Truby and Larry Bowa were lined up at third base, shortstop and second base, respectively. Armed with fungo bats and a dozens baseballs each, the trio of sharpshooters proceeded to smash bullet one- and two-hoppers at Knapp, who was tasked with pulling them out of the dirt to complete the putout.
 
“Good job,” shouted Bowa, a tough grader when it comes to infield work, as Knapp finished up the hellacious early-morning drill.
 
Knapp is a catcher by trade, but he will continue these intense individual sessions at first base throughout the spring — in addition to his regular defensive work behind the plate.
 
A 25-year-old switch-hitter, Knapp was the Phillies’ second-round selection in the 2013 draft. He’s getting a lot attention in this camp because he has a shot to make the club as a reserve player. The Phils are in need of a backup catcher and a backup first baseman and Knapp, in big-league camp for the second time, is trying to show he can handle both assignments in one package.
 
“Last year it was more of a happy-to-be-here thing,” he said. “I was just trying to pick as many brains as I could and take in as much knowledge as I could.
 
“But this year it’s more of a let’s-go-win-a-job kind of deal.”
 
General manager Matt Klentak and manager Pete Mackanin first floated the idea of carrying Knapp as a two-position reserve at the winter meetings.
 
Of course, it came with a lot of qualifiers. Knapp is still considered a developing player and team decision-makers would have to consider what impact a reserve role would have on his development. Also, the prototypical backup catcher in the majors is a plus defender who has experience handling a big-league pitching staff. Knapp has never played in the majors and his defense is considered a work in progress. Later in the winter, the Phillies signed two big-league veteran catchers (Bryan Holaday and Ryan Hanigan) to minor-league deals and they are very much in the mix for the job.
 
“I kind of understand there’s a definite value in having a veteran guy as a backup, but I think I can do the job on the field,” Knapp said.
 
A potential separator for Knapp could be his bat and his versatility if he can continue to develop it. He is not a novice at first base. He played there as a sophomore at the University of California. Knapp also has this going for him: He’s on the 40-man roster and with so many young prospects on it and the probable need to add an outfielder like Chris Coughlan later in camp, that could work in Knapp’s favor.
 
Another factor that could held Knapp’s chances: The Phillies’ development blueprint calls for Rhys Hoskins and Jorge Alfaro to get the bulk of the playing time at first base and catcher, respectively, at Triple A.
 
“You’d like to see him get 500 at-bats, but it’s not a perfect world,” Bowa said. “Our Triple A team is loaded. He might find himself in the same role at Triple A. if that’s the case, it might be best if he came here if he swings the bat like he can and he can provide versatility.
 
“A guy like him can give you some options and flexibility. When you face the Mets and they have three stud right-handers throwing 95, it might be nice to have a guy like that to give (first baseman) Tommy Joseph a blow.”
 
Knapp had a brilliant season with the bat at Double A in 2015. He hit .360 with 11 homers, 56 RBIs and a 1.050 OPS in 55 games, earning him the franchise’s Paul Owens Award as minor-league player of the year.
 
Knapp tapered off at Triple A last season. He hit .266 with eight homers, 46 RBIs and a .719 OPS over a full season. Knapp’s day last summer typically started with defensive work at 1:30 in the afternoon.
 
“I would get my hitting in, but I don’t think there was as much of a focus on it as there was the year before,” he said. “I do think last year I took a real step forward defensively, especially in the second half of the year. I kind of had a tough first half, but the second half I really honed in on the defensive part, blocking and throwing mostly, just kind of keeping everything in front and shutting down the running game.”

A lot of eyes will be on Knapp when the exhibition games start next week.
 
“We need to find out if he’s capable of doing it,” Mackanin said. “Catching is a defensive-oriented position. We need good defense. We need good game calling, a catcher who can handle pitchers, and that’s what we’re going to be looking at from a guy like Knapp as well as the other guys. We’re going to take a good long look at that.
 
“He’s definitely in the mix. I want to play him a lot to see him. We all want to see what he can do offensively and defensively. From what I’ve been told he’s shown a lot of improvement and we’re going to look for that. We’re looking for the 25 best men. There’s a good chance he might be one of them.”
 
Knapp is determined to show that he is.
 
“It’s open for someone to go take it and I want to be that guy,” he said.

Penn beats Yale for 4th straight win, moves into Ivy League Tournament picture

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Penn beats Yale for 4th straight win, moves into Ivy League Tournament picture

BOX SCORE

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Darnell Foreman scored 15 points with four assists, Matt Howard added 14 points, including three 3-pointers, and Penn used a big second-half run to beat Yale 71-55 on Sunday for its fourth straight win.

AJ Brodeur had 12 points with nine rebounds, Ryan Betley also scored 12, and Devon Goodman had 11 for the Quakers (11-12, 4-6 Ivy League), who won their fourth straight game and moved into a fourth-place tie with Columbia in the conference standings. The top four teams will play in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, March 11-12, at The Palestra.

Goodman's layup off a steal capped a 17-3 run as Penn extended a 31-30 halftime lead to 48-33 at 14:39 in the second half. Howard hit two 3s in the run and Foreman added a third. Goodman hit a 3, Foreman followed with a layup and the Quakers led by 20, 62-42, with 6:17 left and held on.

Penn shot 50.9 percent from the field to Yale's 32.8 percent and made 9 of 23 from behind the arc to the Bulldogs' 6 of 28.

Miye Oni scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Yale (14-9, 6-4), which entered the game in third place behind Harvard and Princeton.