Tag:Ryan Howard
Posted on: December 17, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Rollins back to Phillies on three-year deal

Jimmy Rollins, the heart of the Phillies for the past several seasons, will continue to provide the pulse: He is returning to Philadelphia on a three-year, $33 million deal, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

The contract includes a vesting option for a fourth year that is described by one source as easily obtainable that likely will make the entire package worth $44 million.

The Rollins-Phillies deal has been a foregone conclusion in the industry for much of the winter, though the Brewers did inquire and show some interest in prying him away from Philadelphia early. However, once they signed Alex Gonzalez, and with St. Louis re-signing Rafael Furcal last week, there were few teams left looking for shortstops.

Which works well for both the Phillies and Rollins, because given perhaps the best run in Philadelphia baseball history over these past five seasons, the shortstop is back where he belongs.

Though the Phillies have seen some decline since Rollins' sensational 2007 NL MVP season, they also watched him produce a solid bounce-back season in 2011 after he played in only 88 games in 2010 during a season in which a nagging calf injury limited his production.

In 142 games last season, Rollins batted .268/.338/.399 with 16 homers, 63 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.

That's a far better fit for a Philadelphia team primed for another run at the World Series behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and the gang than, say, Freddy Galvis or Wilson Valdez would have been.

At 33 and still in terrific shape, Rollins should be able to play shortstop adequately through the duration of this contract. And despite Chase Utley's injury-checkered past couple of seasons, Rollins and Utley still give the Phillies a very solid -- and often potent -- middle infield.

With Rollins done, Philadelphia's biggest issue heading into 2012 will be at first base, and Ryan Howard's continuing recovery from the torn left Achilles tendon he suffered on the final play in the Phillies' final game last October against the Cardinals.

Howard is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season, given his original diagnosis of a five- to six-month recovery process. The Phillies this winter have traded for Ty Wigginton and signed free agent Jim Thome, and each is expected to help patch the void at first until Howard returns.

It will be a new-look Phillies team in a couple of areas, with free agent closer Jonathan Papelbon and with Wigginton or John Mayberry in left in place of Raul Ibanez. But with Utley, Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Carlos Ruiz, Placido Polanco and, now, Rollins in place, the Phillies mostly will look very similar -- and just as potent -- to what we've seen from Charlie Manuel's crew during the past several seasons.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 12:39 am
 

New Marlin Bell: We can beat the Phillies

DALLAS -- Heath Bell, done. Jose Reyes, done.

Now owner Jeffrey Loria says the Marlins can add more, and you'd better believe it. The Marlins met twice with the agent for Albert Pujols on Monday, sources said late Monday night, boosting its nine-year offer in the process and giving the slugger even more to think about.

No decision was imminent as midnight approached, and one person with knowledge of the talks said they likely will play out more before a decision is reached. The Cardinals also met with Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday, and so did the Cubs.

But it is the Marlins who have stolen the show early in these winter meetings, and it is their efforts for Pujols that have electrified the lobby here at the Hilton Anatole.

Pujols in the same lineup with Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton and others?

"That would be great," Bell told CBSSports.com Monday. "I'm telling you right now, we definitely can win the NL East, even with just Reyes."

Imagine that. Even with just Reyes.

As in, gee, even if we don't sign Pujols, we've got an embarrassment of riches.

"I think we can win the division right now," Bell continued. "The Phillies, I think we can beat 'em.

"Ryan Howard is hurt. They might not be getting Jimmy Rollins back."

It is a tilting landscape and a bizarro world. As Rollins continued to frost out on the free agent market Thursday, sources said the Phillies were discussing free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Then they'd trade Placido Polanco, and maybe get a shortstop elsewhere

Whatever on the Phillies front. The Marlins are charging hard toward their new stadium and toward the top of the NL East.

Owner Jeffrey Loria would not speak directly about Pujols on Monday, but not because that's some crazy rumor.

"I don't want to talk about Albert," Loria said. "That's not the purpose of today. This is Heath's day."

Tuesday or, more likely, Wednesday will be Reyes' day, the day the Marlins introduce him formally here at the winter meetings.

Meantime, they're working hard toward another addition. The Pujols talks are serious. So are those for a starting pitcher. One person close to the Marlins suggested Monday night that free agent left-hander Mark Buehrle actually is above Pujols on the club's wish list. Loria has told people that the club's payroll, roughly $45 million last year, could zoom to the $100 million range in 2012.

When this winter started, that seemed like a bad joke.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, thinks the Marlins aren't serious now.

"I'm a serious guy," Loria said. "I don't know how many times I have to tell you guys that."

You cannot even begin to describe how different life is for the Marlins, whose executives arrived here about midday Monday. These are the guys -- Loria, president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest, general manager Michael Hill -- who sold their wares on the streets of the winter meetings in years past because they were so poor.

These are the guys who traded Miguel Cabrera to Detroit, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. ...

"We had a plan a few years ago," Loria said. "That's the reason why Mike Stanton is here, the reason why Logan Morrison is here, the reason why Hanley Ramirez is here."

As Beinfest says, the Marlins plan always was to compete, they just had to find extra creative ways to do so.

Now?

"It's fun," Beinfest kept saying Monday. "It's fun to come in here and sign an All-Star closer. There's nothing wrong with that."

In a perfect Marlins world, they'd leave Dallas on Thursday with Bell, Reyes and Pujols or Buehrle all done. But as quickly as they're moving, there's still some uncertainty.

"We'd love to get things done as fast as possible and achieve our goals," Beinfest said. "But we don't control everything. It takes two to tango."

Sure does. But the Marlins have entered the free agent market with swagger and are causing some folks to dance as fast as they can. Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt said earlier Monday that he remains "hopeful" of signing Pujols.

"We're making every effort" to sign him, DeWitt said.

Well if they're serious, the Cardinals had better get moving. Because the Marlins are as serious as a spring breaker hell-bent on ravaging the Fort Lauderdale nightlife.

"We want to do more," Beinfest said. "We'd like to do more. There are some things we'd like to achieve.

"We're still in conversation with free agents and with clubs."

Every door is open, including trades -- with players both going and coming. Loria mostly remained tight-lipped regarding diva superstar Hanley Ramirez, who now must shove over to third base to make room for Reyes.

"Hanley is a super-professional," Loria said. "That's all I will say. We will work with him, make everything comfortable for him."

You bet they will. They're making everything comfortable for Bell, Reyes and others as they go. Loria anticipates attendance bumping up to somewhere between 2.8 and 3 million in 2012. They drew an NL-low 1.5 million last year.

They win like Bell says they can, maybe there really, finally, will be a buzz around the Marlins.

Said Beinfest: "It's time for this organization to play October baseball."



Posted on: August 9, 2011 2:47 pm
 

"Little pieces" add up to big things for Phillies

LOS ANGELES -- All credit to the all-world Phillies rotation. With Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels leading the way, it is pitching for a place in history.

And we've all seen the damage wreaked by a highly decorated lineup led by Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

But you don't compile baseball's best record based behind just eight or nine players. And as such, the Phillies are getting plenty of help from these easily overlooked parts in their machine:

-- Reliever Antonio Bastardo: With closer Brad Lidge on the shelf for most of the season, Bastardo has played a key, late-innings role and currently is holding opponents to a .128 batting average -- second lowest among NL relievers. His 1.49 ERA is fifth-lowest among NL relievers.

-- Starter Vance Worley: With Joe Blanton done for the year, Worley is 8-1 with a 2.35 ERA and currently has won six consecutive decisions. He's fanned 66 hitters against only 28 walks in 84 1/3 innings.

-- Infielder Michael Martinez: With third baseman Placido Polanco hurt again, it is Martinez, plucked from the Nationals as a Rule V pick last winter, who is providing steady relief. Martinez's 15 RBI during the month of July ranked third among all NL rookies, behind Atlanta's Freddie Freeman (18) and the Padres' Jesus Guzman (18).

-- Outfielder John Mayberry Jr.: Acquired from Texas in a trade in November, 2008, Mayberry, 27, continues to develop into a serviceable backup outfielder with an intriguing future. Of his past 23 hits, 17 have gone for extra bases (and overall, 52.5 percent of his major league hits, 31 of 59, have been for extra bases).

-- Infielder Wilson Valdez: He's plugged in at second base, third base and shortstop at various times this season and, in an extra-innings pinch against the Reds on May 25, became the first player since Babe Ruth in 1921 to start a game in the field and then become the winning pitcher. Though light-hitting overall, Valdez is batting .390 with runners in scoring position this season.

Shane Victorino, twice a Rule V pick himself (the Phillies took him from the Padres in 2004 after the Padres took him from the Dodgers in 2002), raves about Martinez and the "energy" he brings.

"Little pieces," Victorino says. "It always takes 25 guys. Somebody gets hurt, somebody else steps in."

Recalling when the Phillies signed pitcher Pedro Martinez for the stretch run in '09, Victorino said he was extremely wary of Martinez because of the reputation the pitcher brought as a fiery headhunter. But Martinez went 5-1 for Philadelphia in nine starts, pitched the Phillies into position to beat the Dodgers in a key NLCS game and Victorino now calls Martinez "the greatest teammate I've ever had."

"Here, it's all about winning, and winning right now," Victorino says. "If you don't care about winning, don't show up.

"We have so many superstars in here -- MVPs, Cy Young winners, All-Stars, Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers. But Martinez is no different from me because it's all about winning."

That's the way it is throughout the Phillies' clubhouse right now, an impressive culture that is steamrolling everything in its path.

Likes: With the trade deadline having passed and at least a little more free time in August, looking forward to a big date night with my wife to see Crazy, Stupid Love sometime soon. ... Lots of TV to catch up on as well: Last couple episodes of Treme, last five episodes of Friday Night Lights (that's only with trepidation, though, because it's the last season and while I can't wait to see the last few FNLs, I don't want to get through them because then one of my favorite shows in recent memory will be done, sniff, sniff) and the first few episodes of Entourage. ... Haven't gotten all the way through it yet, but I'm liking Sky Full of Holes, the new Fountains of Wayne disc.

Dislikes: I realize there are plenty of parents out there who disagree with me, but man I hate to see summer dwindle down to its last few weeks before school starts again. Summer is never, ever long enough.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Then she wakes me with coffee
"And kisses my head
"And she starts to explain
"About something she's read
"I say, 'Darlin', you haven't heard a word that I've said'
"And I love that girl."

-- John Hiatt, I Love That Girl
Posted on: October 17, 2010 4:40 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 5:31 pm
 

Manuel tweaks slumping Phils' lineup

PHILADELPHIA -- If Sunday night's Game 2 of the NL Championship Series is not a must-win for Philadelphia, it's the next-closest thing.

More worrisome for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel than losing Game 1 is the trend toward silence from the Philadelphia bats.

Which is why he's shaking up the top of the lineup for Game 2, flip-flopping Chase Utley and Placido Polanco in the Nos. 2 and 3 spots. Against Giants lefty starter Jonathan Sanchez, Utley will bat second (out of his usual third spot) and Polanco will hit third (down from No. 2 in Game 1).

"Same reason I always do it," Manuel said Sunday when quizzed about his reasoning. "I want have right-handed hitter in between [the two lefties, Utley and Ryan Howard]. Polanco's hitting third."

Clearly, Manuel also is reacting to the presence of Javier Lopez, the Giants' situational lefty, on the other side. Lopez got two huge outs in the eighth inning of Game 1 when he was summoned to face Utley and Howard. He dispatched Utley with a ground ball, struck out Howard, and his evening was finished.

So far in four games this postseason, the Phillies as a team are hitting just .212. They've scored a total of only 16 runs, and their on-base percentage is just .300.

They went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position against the Giants in Game 1 and, against Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco bullpen, did not advance a runner into scoring position after the third inning.

There was some speculation that Manuel might return shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the leadoff slot for Game 2, a thought fueled in part by Manuel saying late Saturday night that he would think about it.

After sleeping on the notion, though, Manuel discarded the idea and left Rollins in the sixth slot for Game 2, same spot in which he batted Saturday.

"Because when I looked, I like him right where he's at," Manuel said. "I look at how he's been doing and how we lined up against Sanchez. Victorino's got some hits against Sanchez [6-for-15 lifetime], and Jimmy is 1-for-16 against him. Utley's got a few hits [3-for-11].

"I looked at the way we lined up, and I like Jimmy where he's at right now."

It isn't only Sanchez against whom Rollins is scuffling. In four postseason games this fall, Rollins is hitting .067 [1-for-15].

Which makes it easy to understand Manuel's reluctance to move him back atop the lineup, because that's no small part of the reason the Phillies' offense has been sluggish.

So far in the playoffs, the top two slots in the Philadelphia order are hitting .161 [5-for-31].

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, meanwhile, elected to keep his lineup the same for Game 2 as it was in Game 1 -- including leaving Mike Fontenot at third base instead of Pablo Sandoval.

Posted on: February 14, 2009 3:08 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2009 9:18 pm
 

Phillies: Less weight, and Hamels for opening day

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- You wouldn't know it by looking at their wallets -- Philadelphia's team payroll has ballooned to $131.5 million for 2009 -- but the world champion Phillies are lighter on their feet this spring.

Almost as soon as the Phillies' pitchers and catchers stepped onto the field here for their first workout, it was noticeable. Starter Brett Myers is significantly lighter from last year. Reliever Scott Eyre has dropped probably 10 pounds. Andrew Carpenter, who pitched at three different levels in the minors last year, has lost weight as he prepares to battle for a spot in 2009.

And hard at work scooping up ground balls on a different field, first baseman Ryan Howard, in early, has dropped 20 pounds, to 250 from 270.

"That's good," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think we showed up in good shape."

Of course, it's one thing to show up in good shape and another to stay there, figuratively speaking, and the Phillies are about to find that out. No team since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees has repeated as World Series winners. The Phillies return nearly their entire team from '08, and Manuel thinks they have every chance to be even better. He told them as much, too, during his season-opening speech before they took the field.

"It was about winning and winning again," Manuel said. "I told them that's behind us. If you're thinking about yesterday, you're not doing nothing to win again."

Manuel estimated that the speech lasted 10 or 15 minutes.

"I was trying to find an ending," he said. "I finally asked (pitching coach Rich) Dubee, 'Do I need to say anything else? And he said, 'No, Chuck, you covered it.'"

It's way too early to make any definitive assumptions, but the fact that several Phillies have reported in good shape certainly bodes well. Myers, for example, is coming off of a tough season in which he was shipped back to the minors for a time before the All-Star break. He finished 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA in 30 starts and helped redeem the year with his postseason work, but he still comes in with much to prove in '09.

To Manuel, Myers losing weight "means he's been thinking about the season and getting ready for it."

"He finished (last) season strong, which was really great for him," Manuel said. "Also, knowing him, he's definitely thinking about how he'll pitch this whole season. And this is the last year on his deal, and I think he's thinking about another good deal ... and staying with the Phillies."

Manuel was in midseason form already after the workout:

-- On how he views himself as a speechmaker: "Sometimes when I speak at banquets I can get on a good roll and be funny. I never have my speeches (prepared). Today's wasn't very prepared. Usually, when I do prepare it, I'll look down and I can't find where I'm at, so I have to start making it up."

-- On whether he's ready to name ace Cole Hamels as his opening day starter: "You might as well go ahead and pencil him in. There's no sense in me bulls----ing."

Oh, and no word whether the manager lost weight over the winter.

"I don't talk about the manager," Dubee said. "I like my job."

Cracked Manuel: "That's smart."

Likes: Good line from new Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. just after the Phillies took the field for the first time this spring, while they were stretching in the outfield. No, it wasn't when he said that it was "like Groundhog's Day." It came when someone asked him how the Phillies were looking this spring. "They're really stretching," he quipped. "They're lifting their legs well." ... Another terrific episode of Friday Night Lights the other night. The scripts, the acting ... what a great show. Coach Taylor's character is especially strong, from the way he's in charge on the football field to the way he's a little befuddled at home sometimes by his wife and daughter. Hmm, maybe I can relate. ... Gran Torino. Another really enjoyable Clint Eastwood flick. ... The way David Letterman handled Joaquin Phoenix last week. What a dope Phoenix is. Make sure to check out the YouTube clip if you missed it. ... Daily reports from spring camps. Ah, happy new year.

Dislikes: Sad to hear of the passing of Ted Uhlaender, the former major-league outfielder and longtime coach who most recently was working as a scout for the San Francisco Giants. Uhlaender died of a heart attack on Thursday after battling cancer -- multiple myeloma -- for a couple of years. Uhlaender was a first-class guy who, among other things, was extremely proud of his daughter, Katie, who is an Olympian in the skeleton. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was exceptionally close to Uhlaender from their days together in the Minnesota organization in the 1960s, so much so that Manuel added Uhlaender to his coaching staff when Manuel managed in Cleveland a few years ago. Saturday, Manuel recalled how Uhlaender was in Double-A ball when Manuel signed professionally, and how they stayed in the same barracks in Melbourne, Fla., during spring training. "I was with him a long time," Manuel said. "I used to go fishing with him, go eat dinner with him, and we'd have cocktails together. He was a good friend." The two were so close that Manuel is considering attending Wednesday's memorial service in Colorado, though that's the day of the Phillies' first full-squad workout.

Sunblock day? Nice and warm, but very overcast much of the day.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
"Keep me in your heart for awhile
"There's a train leaving nightly called 'when all is said and done'
"Keep me in your heart for awhile "

-- Warren Zevon, Keep Me In Your Heart

 

 

Rants:

Posted on: November 17, 2008 2:40 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2008 2:49 pm
 

Pujols right choice for NL MVP

Because, in a perfect world, the Most Valuable Player award should be one part player-of-the-year and one part importance-to-team, Albert Pujols' claim to the National League award on Monday was right on the money.

Pujols was the MVP in the NL because, in addition to superior numbers, he was the most consistent best player from early April through late September. No, two of his numbers weren't superior -- Philadelphia's Ryan Howard out-homered Pujols 48-37, and out-RBI'd Pujols 146-116.

That's a whopping margin, particularly in the RBI department. Because of that and the fact that Howard helped push his team into the playoffs, no doubt there will be Phillies fans ranting and raving up and down Broad St. this week screaming that Howard was robbed.

He wasn't. Pujols' NL-leading .653 slugging percentage and .462 on-base percentage (second in the NL) tell only part of the story. An essential part of the story, to be sure, but there is more.

Pujols remains the most feared hitter in the league, and no, his Cardinals did not make the playoffs. But they were in contention into September, because of him. Ryan Ludwick had a career season, because of him. All those meaty pitches Pujols didn't get -- he was second in the league in walks at 110 -- Ludwick, usually hitting after Pujols, did get. To Ludwick's credit, like a kid turned loose in a 31-flavors ice cream shop, he took full advantage.

Do you know where Howard ranked in walks? Fourteenth, with 81. He was neither as selective as Pujols nor as feared by opposing pitchers (Pujols drew exactly twice as many intentional walks as Howard, 34- 17). Yes, many of Pujols' intentional walks were because he didn't have Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell in the lineup -- he was much easier to pitch around. That's why this isn't a cornerstone of Pujols' case for MVP. But it is part of it.

Yes, Howard's scorching hot August and September helped push the Phillies past the New York Mets and into the playoffs. But his 199 strikeouts (second in the NL) also were part of the reason the Phillies took so long to get going this season -- and his pre-All-Star Game numbers, .234 batting average and 129 strikeouts -- hurt, not helped, the Phillies' case.

Look, Howard still had a fantastic season. Micro-analyzing these numbers to a degree sounds like nitpicking, because to a degree, it is.

But you've got to break down the numbers and, almost every way you break them down -- save for the RBI and homer totals -- they fall strongly toward Pujols.

As for Manny Ramirez -- more on him, too, in the fleshed-out column I'll file here before the afternoon is out -- yes, he was outstanding for two months. But he wasn't in the NL in April, May, June and July. And while the argument that the Dodgers don't make the playoffs without Manny certainly is valid, so, too, is this: They were 30-24 with him.

That's simply not enough to warrant more than he got -- a fourth-place finish. And there's certainly no shame in that.

Posted on: October 26, 2008 4:52 am
 

Phillies live to talk about blown call in seventh

PHILADELPHIA -- The play everyone in Philadelphia would have been talking about had the Phillies not eked out a 5-4 Game 3 win over Tampa Bay came in the seventh inning and might have been the kind of play that would have made umpires (not to mention the Phillies and their fans) cringe for years.

With Philadelphia leading 4-1, Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford led off the seventh with a bunt single. Except, he looked out. And television replays suggested he was out.

Crawford pushed the ball down the first-base line, and Phillies starter Jamie Moyer scrambled over to get it. He wound up diving and making a sort of shovel pass to first. With Crawford bearing down on him, first baseman Ryan Howard reached out and caught the ball with his bare hand.

That's, I think, where the problem arose. From the television replays, it appeared as if first-base umpire Tom Hallion was anticipating a bang-bang play -- which it was. But as such, he appeared to be watching the first-base bag to see when Crawford was going to get there.

Which means he wasn't watching Moyer's throw to Howard (partly, it appeared, because he didn't have a good angle, he was partly screened by Howard). The logical assumption is that Hallion was listening for the thud of the baseball into Howard's glove, and would measure that against what his eyes told him regarding Crawford's foot speed.

But there was no thud of the glove when Howard made his stabbing catch bare-handed.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel came out to argue, but the call stood.

And in a matter of moments, Philadelphia's 4-1 lead was sliced to 4-3 because Crawford and Dioner Navarro both scored in the seventh.

Howard said he did not speak with Hallion about the play.

"It happened so fast, I don't know what angle he had," Howard said.

Howard also said that as the game moved along, some of his teammates who had seen the replay in the clubhouse told him Crawford was out.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins likened it to the infamous Don Denkinger call at first base in the 1985 World Series between Kansas City and St. Louis. That came in Game 6, with St. Louis leading 1-0 in the ninth inning. Royals leadoff batter Jorge Orta hit a slow roller to first baseman Jack Clark, who tossed to pitcher Todd Worrell covering the bag.

Denkinger called Orta safe, but replays showed that he was out. Kansas City came back to win the game, pull even in the series after six games, and win Game 7.

"These guys are here because they're some of the best," Rollins said of the umpires. "But if they're out of position, they need to get back into position."

Posted on: October 25, 2008 7:41 pm
 

No wholesale lineup changes for Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- After considering splitting lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the lineup so that the Phillies wouldn't be so susceptible to left-handed relievers in the late innings, manager Charlie Manuel decided to leave his lineup mostly intact for Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night.

Utley remains in the three hole and Howard is hitting cleanup.

"I thought about maybe switching Howard and Utley, but when I go back to it, if you look at their production against left-handed pitchers, they're as high as anyone on our team.

"Jayson Werth has 16 homers, he's got good numbers against lefties. But Utley and Howard, they've got numbers that go against lefties, and I didn't see no reason why to bust them up."

Against left-handed pitchers this year, Utley hit 13 homers and had 33 RBI. Howard had 14 homers and 49 RBI.

The one move Manuel did make -- and it's been part of his regular lineup rotation all year -- is move right fielder Jayson Werth into the second slot and drop Shane Victorino to sixth. Also, Pedro Feliz is playing third base instead of Greg Dobbs.

Manuel is hoping that this will bring the desired results to the Phillies lineup. They are 1-for-28 with runners in scoring position in this series (.036), and their overall postseason hasn't been much better. In three series so far -- against the Cubs in the divisional series, Dodgers in the NLCS and the Rays -- the Phillies are 18-for-102 (.176) with runners in scoring position.

Meantime, at 7:37 EDT here, the tarp remains on the field, a steady rain is falling and a warm wind is blowing hard. Still, the latest I'm hearing is that baseball officials think the worst of it will be past by 8 and they're hoping to get the game in after a short delay.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com