Photo Video: Erik Kratz Holds On After Chipper Jones Destroys Him On Play at the Plate

Chipper Jones decided to test John Mayberry Jr.’s arm on Friday night down in at Atlanta. Jones move may have paid off if Phillies backup catcher extraordinaire Erk Kratz wasn’t such a freakin’ beast.Holy Kratz!



Gameday: Phillies (62-69) vs. Atlanta Braves (74-57)

Philadelphia Phillies (62-69) at Atlanta Braves (74-57)

Roy Halladay (8-7, 3.88) vs. Mike Minor (7-10, 4.71)

Time: 7:35, Turner Field
TV: CSN
Weather: Mostly sunny, 82
Media: Twitter and Facebook

Jimmy Rollins is in the lineup tonight. And how do you feel about that? He was given a talk-to by Charlie Manuel about once again failing to run out a pop up in the Mets series. Manuel said Rollins “manned up.”  It’s unlikely he’ll ever learn from his mistakes, but Charlie probably should have benched him a game just to send a message. Not that it matters, but with a team of youngsters surrounding Rollins, he should be showing some more leadership qualities.

I’ve gotten into arguments with people about the whole “leadership” thing, but I do feel it exists. He is the elder statesman and players look up to him. Rollins’ longevity has made him one of the best shortstops in the game, and over a long period. But when he has these letdowns, it drains an already struggling team. Manuel said it himself, that he believes it could affect the rest of the team. My thought is, if you’re going to make millions playing a kids game, you should be going hard most of the time. Those few times he completely dogs it will always stand out.

And still no Domonic Brown, not sure what the issue is. If it’s his knee, it was clearly worse than he was letting on. But more injuries are stunting his growth.

LINEUP: Rollins SS, Frandsen 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Wigginton LF, Mayberry CF, Kratz C, Martinez RF, Halladay P

donnybrook stout

Your Gameday Beer: Brewery Ommegang Three Philosophers

Can you believe summer is nearly through? If you’re going out, go out in style with a taste summer ale from Samuel Adams. As you know, it’s always a good decision. Put the burgers on the grill, sear the steaks, and cut up some potatoes. Enjoy the final days of the summer season. -Pat Gallen

Go Phillies!



NHL, NHLPA play blame game as CBA talks hit stand still

Getty Images

(SB Nation) — 15 days before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, talks have broken off between the NHL and NHLPA while optimism has been thrown out the window.

“At this point, talks are off,” NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said at NHL headquarters in Manhattan Friday after a meeting that lasted approximately 90 minutes. He noted that it was the owners who opted to call off talks and that the players are ready to resume at any time. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called that claim inaccurate.

The union made a counter-proposal Friday based on a proposal submitted by the league earlier in the week, and cautious optimism had filtered through the hockey world due to the simple fact that the two sides were at least discussing the same proposal.

But Friday’s news seemingly brings us back to square one: The owners want more money — whether that’s from a direct roll back in salaries or increased escrow — and the players do not want to give it to them. The players are sticking by their initial CBA proposal, one from which the league is not prepared to work, saying that the players are not willing to budge on the “core financials.”

The NHLPA’s initial offer two weeks ago called for a reduction in player salaries for the next three seasons after which the deal would “snap back” to again give the players a 57 percent share of hockey-related revenue, the same terms under the current CBA. Fehr called the give back in the first three years meaningful, but Bettman called the fourth year a non-starter.

The PA’s initial proposal also called for greater revenue sharing — the NHLPA believes that larger-market teams should spread wealth around to smaller-market teams, and he praised the idea of an “industry growth fund” similar to one he negotiated as head of the MLB Players’ Association that would help struggling clubs.

The owners want a longer-term deal, and Bettman cited the 10-year agreements reached in both the NBA and the NFL a summer ago. The players disagree, citing an uncertain economic future and high player turnover rates as reasons to stick to a three or four year agreement.

All in all, it seems as though the two sides are back to the beginning and no real progress has been made.





Laboring to the Finish, Phillies Play Three in Atlanta

It’s a bit easier to stay interested when the Phillies are playing down at Citizens Bank Park. You can still hop on the Broad Street Line, get a cheap ticket, eat some tasty ribs or a roast pork, wash it down with a Langunitas IPA, and mingle with friends while watching some baseball on a warm summer night. But now that they’ve dropped to 17.5 out in the East and 9 out in the wild card race with just a month to play, it’s tough to get real excited about tuning in to watch the Fightins on the road, especially during Labor Day Weekend.



Dennis Veteri pleads guilty to beating up Rangers fans after Winter Classic

Guilty. An more guilty.

Dennis Veteri, one of three people who beat up a pair of Rangers fans outside Geno’s Steaks after the Winter Classic back in January, pled guilty to simple assault, aggravated assault and conspiracy in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia on Tuesday. He’s free on bail until a sentencing hearing on October 26.

Court documents show that further counts of simple assault, aggravated assault, conspiracy and recklessly endangering another person were dropped by the District Attorney’s office. Veteri’s guilty plea was not negotiated with the DA, and according to the Inquirer, the maximum sentence on the aggravated assault charge is 20 years in prison.

While it’s good that Veteri will be punished for this crime, two other men were involved in the beating but have yet to be brought to justice. If you have any further information, contact South Detectives at 215-686-3013. We’ll keep you posted on this story in late October when Veteri learns his fate.





Andy Reid Will Be Fired Over Another 8-8 Season, Unless He Isn’t

Jeffrey Lurie delivered his annual State of the Eagles address before Thursday’s preseason game, and while the CEO didn’t have much of interest to say, the media was quick to hone in on the ultimatum of sorts he imposed on Andy Reid. Let’s see if we can deliver this is the simplest of terms using Lurie’s own words.



Video: Zoo with Roy’s Awesome Emma Hits the Red Carpet

Cole and Heidi Hamels held their Diamonds and Denim event earlier in the week to raise money for charity and Zoo with Roy’s top reporting prospect, Awesome Emma, was there on the red carpet to interview all of the celebrities in attendance. And Ryan from the Bachelorette.



Dugan Pleased with Success, Focused on Future

Injuries and setbacks have prevented former Phillies top draft choice Kelly Dugan from becoming a highly regarded prospect — hamstring problems, a severe ankle sprain and a troublesome staph infection have held the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder down in his pro career. Moving forward, though, Dugan is focused on taking strides and making an impact at as many levels of baseball as he possibly can.

The 21-year-old has posted remarkable numbers over the second half of this season for Class A Lakewood. A .324 average with six home runs and 37 RBI in 64 games since the South Atlantic League All-Star break has helped the young outfielder and occasional first baseman to finally show why he was regarded so highly three years ago, when the Phillies selected him in the second round of the MLB amateur draft.

Avoiding injury setbacks is key for all players, but Dugan’s level of confidence has spiked this year after getting past the ailments that previously kept him from going full bore on the field of play. Kelly, son of Hollywood heavyweight director Dennis Dugan (Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore), has shown considerable improvements this season and the steps in the right direction can be attributed to not needing to hold back physically.

“When I feel healthy, I think things are more consistent, while not having to battle through anything. I know the game’s not always played at 100%, but when you are feeling closer to 100%, physically, I think that helps (the mental side). Now, I got my legs under me and I can run, so I think that’s helped with the confidence for me, being able to do that and run a little more and feel stronger in my lower body,” Dugan said.

Additionally, the physical ailments limited Dugan’s defensive range, which left him manning first base instead of chasing down fly balls in the outfield, where he is more comfortable and became an All-Star in the New York-Penn League last season for the short season A-level Williamsport Crosscutters. Back in the outfield in recent months, Dugan has been more relaxed and able to focus on hitting.

A refined approach at the plate has delivered some solid results for Dugan and it was all his own doing. Faced with the occasional struggles involved with developing an ability to switch-hit, Dugan made the call to discontinue his efforts from the right side and chose to focus solely on being a lefthanded batter. The results are evident, as his splits — .297/.379/.496 vs. righties and .290/.391/.421 vs. lefties display a considerably even amount of success.

“I decided that I didn’t want to switch-hit last year, and I decided I’d give myself an opportunity to just hit lefthanded,” Dugan explained. “I felt like I could hit lefthanded pitching better lefthanded if I gave myself a chance. The (Phillies) wanted me to give switch-hitting an opportunity and I did that and I made the decision (to stop) and I think it was a good decision.

“I know switch-hitting has its advantages, but I feel like if I can keep hitting the way I am hitting from one side, then it’s an easier craft to practice… and work on everything from one side.”

It’s clear that the Encino, CA native is now back to where he and the Phillies feel he belongs, among a group of prospects that are on the rise and worthy of being talked about in the future plans of the big league club. Dugan is pleased to have made an impact this year and is excited about what is forthcoming.

“I’m happy with the way things have gone this season. I think things can continue to improve and I’m just glad that the team is playing better in the second half. Overall, it’s been a pretty good year and I look definitely forward to what’s next.”

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Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league insider.  You can read more from Jay by visiting his site, PhoulBallz.com.



Friday Morning Fly By: Hooray Holiday Weekend!

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Today’s open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers-related news and notes…





The First Eagles Cheerleader Photo Gallery of the Season



Jimmy Rollins Benched for Lack of Hustle, and ‘Hell, No’ He Doesn’t Want to Talk About It

Jimmy Rollins has been known to commit the mortal sin against Phillies fans every now and again by not hustling to the fullest. Such an occurrence took place yet again today, with Rollins failing to really give it his all on the base paths on two separate occasions.



Eagles Finish Up Preseason Against Jets Sorry, No Tebow

The Eagles and Jets will rest their starters — and Tim Tebow — in the fourth and final preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field.



Lavoy Allen’s Meteoric Rise in the NBA Player Rankings

You may recall after Allen showed up big time against the Celtics this postseason that Truehoop’s Henry Abbott extended an apology to Lavoy. Instead of accepting the apology, Lavoy actually thanked Abbott for putting him at the nice even mark of No. 500 at the end of the list because he could use that as motivation.Well, ESPN isn’t putting him last this season. Lavoy jumped a couple of hundred spots to come in at No. 232!



Why do you love the Phillies?

Phillies DVD

Win this Phillies DVD set!

Why do you love the Phillies? – it’s a simple question and probably one we’ve not thought of much.

Like many of us, I started loving the Phillies because I was born in Philadelphia. That seems like a simple enough answer, but why then do I still love the Phillies after all these years? Sure they have provided some exciting baseball the past several seasons…and watching good baseball is certainly an enjoyable hobby. But why do we still love going to games this year, when they are so inconsistent? Better yet, why did I go to all those games in the late 80s and 90s to watch Bruce Ruffin, Steve Jeltz and Kevin Sefcik?

Maybe you have some ideas. Why do you love the Phillies? Submit your story below and you’ll be entered to win The Essential Games of The Philadelphia Phillies 4-disc DVD showcasing 4 of the greatest games in Phillies history.



Game Chat: Lerud Is the New Kratz; Also, Please Beat the Mets

I don’t want to say the Phillies are giving up exactly, but Ty Wigginton is your left fielder, Michael Martinez is your right fielder, and a guy name Steven Lerud is making his big league debut behind the dish. You can only Kratz so hard before you need a breather, especially on a day game following a night game. It’s Lerud’s time.