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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


That's what the Phillies have, have had and will continue to have unless they make changes. That was the only conclusion after back-to-back sloppy, extra-innings losses in Baltimore, including a 5-4 10-inning defeat Sunday.

“They made the big play and we couldn't put them away,” Charlie Manuel said. “We had a chance to score some runs early but couldn't get a two-out hit. If we could have gotten another hit or two, we could have scored more runs. We scored four, but it didn't hold up. We just couldn't get it done.”

It's about the middle of June and Cliff Lee, who wasted a 4-1 lead Sunday, still does not have a victory.

So off they go to Minnesota, hoping for answers.

“Many times it turns around real quick,” Hunter Pence said. “The potential is here. We just have to go out and play.”

Check out my column in the Daily Times and on Monday, along with Manuel's explanation on why he did not use Jonathan Papelbon in either extra-innings loss and full Phillies-Orioles coverage.

Monday, June 4, 2012


After his inability to preserve a 3-3 tie in the ninth inning at Citizens Bank Park, $50,000,058 reliever Jonathan Papelbon criticized plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.

Papelbon was upset that Reyburn seemed to miss a strike call on Dee Gordon, who would triple, before Papelbon would surrender the game-winning hit to Elian Herrera.

“I said, 'You know you messed that call up,'” said Papelbon, who confronted Reyburn after his one inning. “I guess he was motioning for Charlie (Manuel). I said, 'I just want to ask you a question.' The other umpire came over and said, 'What are you doing over there?' I said, 'I'm going to ask him a question.' He wouldn't let me even ask him a question.”

The question?

“I wanted to know if he could throw me out for what I was thinking,” Papelbon said. Which was? “I thought he was terrible. All day. Not just that pitch. All day. And I wanted to know if he could throw me out for what I was thinking. And if he could, I thought he (was bad). Just that simple.”

Papelbon did acknowledge that his pitching was less than perfect.

 “I just caught too much of the plate,” said Papelbon, who had not allowed a run in his seven previous appearances. “I have to execute my pitches better than that.”

Check out the complete Phillies coverage, including an update from Chase Utley's extended spring training in Clearwater, Chris Vito's column on Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies' activity in the baseball draft in the Daily Times Tuesday and, as always, on

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Just before a horrible weekend for the Phillies could grow worse, Chase Utley surfaced in the clubhouse Sunday and gave fans a welcome distraction.

Utley has not played all season, and will not play soon. But he announced that he is heading to Clearwater for some DHing Monday. After that, he would have to go to the minors for some games and then, only then, would he return to the Phillies, where he is not likely to play everyday anyway, at least not right away.

As good Phillies news went, it wasn't quite Brad Lidge's last pitch of the 2008 season. But it was a distraction on a day when they lost, 5-1, to the Marlins to remain trapped in last place, when Hector Luna was their cleanup hitter, when Jimmy Rollins continued to be booed at the top of the lineup, and when Joe Blanton was typically ordinary.

Yes, that's what the Phils have been reduced to ... hoping that an advanced-age second baseman can recover from a six-syllable knee condition a few weeks from now.

Check out my column in the Daily Times Monday and, as always, on