Rain Man, to the Rescue…

Rain Man, Jamie Moyer
came to the rescue again, following another Pedro Martinez
start. He’s had 4 starts now, 2 of which he never got past the 3 inning
due to rain the other 2 he manage a combined 11 innings giving up 7
runs, that’s an investment any team should be proud to have made.

Martinez, praying
for more rain, or just that he doesn’t have to go back out there?

 

I felt sorry for the Braves
pitcher, Hanson, who is Atlanta’s version of the Phillies JA
Happ
. An excellent young pitcher who would have probably gone
deep into the game, I am sure this kid has a lot of good years ahead of
him.

 

It was 70’s night at CBP
and to add to the flavor of the night they posted images of the players
on the big screen in a 70’s theme, Ryan Howard who managed
to hit 2 "Howard Homers" picking up another 3
RBI’s to help the Phillies on their way to the 4-2 win, was somehow
given the image of what could only be described as a 70’s ‘Pimp
Daddy’
I am sure the guys had plenty of laughs at all the images
shown…

 

Rain Man,
pitched a solid 4 plus innings allowing only 1 run on a fielding
misjudgment by Victorino, which really couldn’t behelped
with the weather conditions…

 

Just in case some people were starting
to think Raul Ibanez was showing his age, he hit a rocket
into center field and raced around the bags for a triple, which is
normally only reserved for the young super fast players at CBP…

The double rain delay put a
damper on seeing how Martinez would perform against a hot rival team,
but the good news was the Phillies got the win and increased there lead
in the NL East to 8 games.

 

 

Tonight the Phillies
continue there hosting at CBP against the Braves, with the unbeaten Lee
in a Phillies uniform going against the Braves, Lowe, this is destined
to be a pitchers duel at its best, if both guys bring there top game
tonight…

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Three Close… One Cigar…

This last week, was a trip
across the state for a match-up with the recently revamped Pirates.
On paper this should have been nothing more than a formality, a quick
trip along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, from Philadelphia
to Pittsburgh, an interesting three days and a quick trip
back to Philly with a least 2 wins from a 3 game series. Instead the
Phillies experienced 3 close ball games which were not decided
until the last 2 innings, the biggest disappointment, wasn’t so much the
2 loses that Philadelphia took from the series, it was more that the
interstate rivalry between these two teams is nothing more than a mere whisper,
instead of a big boom. Since the two teams are no longer division rivals
the once interstate rivalry is just a few games a year, Philly fans
probably outnumbered the Pirates fans at all 3 games, probably due to
the fact the Pirates no longer have hope of a post season run this year.

A city that was once a
dominant force in the steel industry, a city that named a bridge after
one of its most famous baseball players, is a city rebuilding it’s
baseball team.

The view….

…the Roberto
Clemente
bridge.

 

All 3 games were closely
contested right to the end of each game.

Game 1 was
the walk off from McCutchen, with the now famous celebratory NBA type
dunk into his fellow team mates…

 

Game 2, gave
us extra innings and a towering ‘Howard Homer’ to break
the deadlock in the 10th inning.

 

Game 3 was just as close,
until the 8th inning, another long ball, this time by the Pirates
outfielder Jones, the Pirates went on to hold that lead and take 2 out
of 3 from Philadelphia.

These weren’t the only things I saw
during this 3 game series, I also got to see what could be the early
days of the career of a future Hall of Famer, okay so it’s way to early
to tell that and I only saw him in 3 games, but I looked at a few others
and the kid has a lot of talent that can only be improved upon. This kid
has the power to become an All Star next year and an MVP in the next 5
years. He obviously needs to keep his head on his shoulders, not get
carried away in the big picture, and definitely not be mislead by any
unscrupulous people found within the world of professional baseball, it
would also help if he stayed away from injuries. Pittsburgh fans should
know all this already and those who have kept a watch on young talent
that has emerged on to the seen in the last couple of months, I say this
kid is worth remembering…..

He looks like he should be
a wide receiver for the Steelers instead of centerfield for the Pirates.
Initially he doesn’t appear cocky or arrogant like some other
young talent that in the past has shot on to the baseball scene, (i.e.
Reyes… yep I here Muts fans booing,)
This kid should be a center
piece during the rebuilding of the Pirates team. If McCutchen
wants to continue to build, what should be a huge career, he needs to
stay away from New York, remember your beginnings.

 

 

Tonight the Phillies are
back at CBP for the weekend, playing host the visiting Atlanta Braves.
Tonight Pedro Martinez goes for the Phillies, we’ll see if he can
produce a quality start for the Phillies. The scoreboard is running, I
said he would not produce 6 good starts of 6 innings
before he is crucified by a team. So far he has 3 starts and 1 of those
contained 6 innings.


Something OLD, NEW, BORROWED, BLUE…

I know you thought you were
going to hear about some wedding, sorry to disappoint, just another
‘quickie’ blog.

Did you ever have one of
those weekends where you wanted some peace and quiet after a work
consumed week, yet a favor was needed by someone and you new the only
right thing to do was do the favor. The only reason you were the one
selected to complete the favor task, was because you were the only one
they knew who, could or would, do what they wanted for free and you knew
this yet still felt obligated to do it.

Well that’s how my weekend
went and the favor became more consuming than the work week, I guess
here’s my gripe, they want it for free, but they want it done in a way
that they know they could not even closely afford, if they had to pay
for it to be done, and they want it in a third of the time that it would
take if they had to pay for it. Yeah irritating, but you still do it,
and you still smile, and you still accept the comments that are only
made by someone who has no idea of what goes into doing what you have
just done for them. Why because it’s a close relative of that someone
special in your life and you know you can’t say anything derogatory if
you still want your super cooked, your clothes laundered and you house
kept clean.

How does this relate to
baseball, well, because I had to miss some important parts of my normal
baseball routine. I still managed to get enough to see a few things that
went down, so here is how I got the…"Something OLD, NEW,
BORROWED & BLUE"

 

"THE OLD"…

John Smoltz on the mound
as a starter for the Cardinals, not that he’s that old, but the
thing that struck me was the way he moved around and acted out there,
you would have thought he was OLDer than Jamie Moyer.

 

"THE NEW"…

Eric Bruntlett, has really sucked
this year, I was one of those saying he should be released, replaced, or
just sent down to the minors. Well he played Sunday and it was like a
NEW lease on life, he got 3 hits and seemed to be okay on defense, made
a couple of errors of judgment, then to end the game surprised everyone
by completing an ‘unassisted triple play’.

 

"THE BORROWED"

Pedro Martinez, I know I have
mentioned this guy a few times lately, but I think I have made up my
mind now. I believe Pedro is on ‘BORROWED’ time, he started to show it
during the first 2 or 3 innings Sunday, had he not gotten the run
support and if Citi Field didn’t have a large outfield, I believe he
would have given up a lot more runs,  he will prove me right,
before has completed 6 starts of 6 innings.

 

"THE BLUE"

The LA Dodgers come
under this heading at least 3 times, the obvious, just because they have
it posted around the stadium Dodger BLUE, also because the guy that
should be doing Gieco commercials in left field, obviously found, it
wasn’t so easy for a caveman in the 6th inning Sunday and let a ball go
through his legs, which ultimately led to the Cubs scoring and winning,
which left these guys seeing BLUE, and if that wasn’t enough, 2 months
ago they had a 10 game lead over the Rockies and were being, classed as
the prime candidates for the NL team in the World Series, now heading
into Colorado, there is a chance, if the Rockies beat the Giants
today
, that the Dodgers could depart Colorado tied with them for
first in the NL West, which will, if it isn’t already leaving them
feeling BLUE.

I, like the Phillies
head into a week with a full schedule, have to wonder what will happen
this week and what will next weekend bring, only time will tell and that
thing, time, no one can stop.


Just a Random Quickie…

Time for a quick blog, choosing the subject was a challenge, there have been a few recently. So it was a pick out of the hat between, John Smoltz and some sarcastic banter about the Cards recent addition, last nights performance by Cliff Lee, which is already covered plenty of times and opportunities will keep arising,  my verdict or lack of on Pedro Martinez, Brett Myers fight to get out of a car or Yankees/Boston and the Rays chance to take over Wild Card.

and the winner is…….

Pedro Martinez, my verdict….

What has Pedro done for us lately, well unfortunately his recent start against the D-Backs was shortened, so we were unable to see if he could go beyond 5 innings and if he would give up any more runs as he tires, so I guess the verdict is still out on that subject….

But still, since it was Pedro Martinez that was chosen lets review what he brings or could bring to the Phillies…

We all know he’s a 3 time Cy Young winner, but his last one was 9 years ago

so he’s a 7 time All Star, again last one was 4 years ago

how about a 5 time player of the week, yep, 7 years ago

he’s an innings eater, yeah okay, highest ranking was ’98 and ’04 when he was 6th in the AL

How about he was an All Star MVP, that’s true 10 years ago

Here’s one, he won  ‘MLB.COM ODDITY OF THE YEAR’, and that reflects on what exactly? – Oh I see he found it amusing that the sprinklers came on at Shea, while he was pitching for the Mets.

So he’s a comedian, a clown, someone fun to be around, well the Phillies have there fair share of those guys, I guess the question will be….

Is Pedro going to be the CLOWN…

or will he turn out to be just another side show…

Only time will tell…

…for me there hasn’t been enough time or action to determine. This weekend he is scheduled to start against the Mets at Citi Field, we’ll see if his old club comes out and destroys him or if he manages to destroy them. Based on the Mets current state of affairs I would have to say the advantage is Pedro’s going into the game, but we’ll see. Truth be known I would like to see him face the Marlins, but that probably isn’t going to happen. Till the next time when I hope there will be more action and evidence to show if Pedro’s involvement is worth the hype or not…

Tonight Blanton goes to the mound, and we’ll see if the Phillies offense can support him and clinch a sweep of the D-Backs.


Spell Check for the Phillies…

This week is going to be
a struggle to stay on top of things, work has become an issue, or rather
a time consuming event at the moment, so let me apologize in advance if
I miss commenting some of your blog’s, I will try and catch up at the
weekend, with that said my own blog will suffer and I may not get
another post in till the weekend, we will see how things transpire, so I
leave with these thoughts on the closers situation in Philadelphia.

How successful can a team
be with a 74% chance of your closer giving you a successful finish. At
this time it means you could be 4 1/2 games up in your division with 47
games left to play, with more than 50% of those against division rivals.
How important will your closer be during this final stretch. Well it’s
all a numbers game and if you make the math work for the worst scenario
then you could find yourself 1 game back at the end of the season, best
scenario is you will win the division by a sizeable margin, but we all
now that is less likely than worst scenario. It’s time to look at
alternatives to try and make sure we are going to have a better chance
to win the division and get to the play offs, after all isn’t that why
Pedro Martinez is pitching tonight, which is currently in a rain delay.

If we review Brad Lidge’s
stats we can decide if we should be at least trying to utilize someone
else, or restricting the situations when he actually comes into the
game. Recently, both Manuel and Amaro, expressed their confidence in
Lidge, with Charlie saying "he thinks Lidge needs just one clean
inning to get back on track"
, sorry Charlie, but I think he’s
missed that boat.

Career, Lidge averages
about 17 pitches per inning, 2008 he averaged 18 pitches per inning,
2009 he’s averaging 20 pitches per inning, this stat tells you he’s
losing something.

Career, Lidge saves about
84% of save opportunities, 2008 he was at 100%, 2009 he’s at 74%, again
says he’s losing something.

Career, Lidge averages
1.3 base runners per inning, 2008 he averaged 1.2, 2009 he is averaging
1.9, again says he’s losing something.

Career, Lidge averages 0.42
runs per inning, 2008 he averaged 0.24, 2009 he is averaging 0.88 runs
per inning, again says he’s losing something.

With all this in mind I
propose that if the Phillies will not look into other options than they
should at least consider a spelling change.

Lets face it a closer with attitude is
going to strike out more than he lets his fielders assist, so if you
can’t strike them out your going to be in greater jeopardy of BLOWING
the save as well as your hand.

The recommendation, try Chan Ho Park a
few times, what can he do that Lidge isn’t except save more games. If
Park is doing okay, send Lidge to ‘AAA’ to work out his problems, be
them physical or mental.


Rain Delay, Howards Homers and a Phillies Win in Atlanta…

Well it looks as though
it’s going to be a busy week, but I’m going to try and keep up with
stuff. This one will be a quickie, since it’s already really late.

Last night we had a rain
delay and eventually a ball game of which JA Happ pitched a solid
outing giving up just 1 run on 3 hits, he did manage to walk 6, throwing
117 pitches through 7 2/3 innings.

 Howard’s Homers was on
display yet again, after the longest dry spell for Howard, he has
now hit 4 bombs in as many games, 2 of which came last night, it must be
all that meditating he does before he leaves the dug out for the on deck
circle.

His swing was almost
identical for each homer, even though the pitches were in completely
different parts of the strike zone.

It was one of those events
that could have bought a tear to the eyes of anyone…

My guess though is he was
just wiping away the sweat from all the hard work swinging the bat.

Since they were up by 3
runs, they took a little time to amuse themselves in the dugout…

What could these guys be
finding so hysterical…

So many choices what is a
closer to do!!….phew!! a 1/3 of an inning gotta get that right…

Tuesday will be here soon
and the Phillies host the D-Backs for a 3 game set at CBP, we’ll definitely
be looking to move above the .500 mark at home again….


Brad Lidge…’it’s all about you’

When a team has got a lead going into the final inning of a baseball game it’s the closers job to come in and shut down the opposition so that your team gets the win. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the 9th, 10th or even more, and it doesn’t matter if your at home or on the road, it is without a doubt the primary responsibility of the closer to secure that win.

Yesterday in Atlanta the Phillies did exactly that, Cole Hamels pitched good, for him this season, through 6 innings, giving up just 2 runs on 3 hits, okay he walked 4, but still considering how he has performed this year, when it came to crunch time and the Phillies needed a good outing he gave us one.

The bullpen came in to relieve Hamels in the 7th inning and gave another good performance, shutting the Braves down in the 7th and 8th innings. So now its up to the closer, Brad Lidge, to enter the game and not give anything away. We have all seen him this year, but Charlie Manuel and his coaches still have confidence in Lidge to come out and do his job. Maybe its time to re-think Charlie, Lidge is not cutting it at the moment. Yes the error by Utley didn’t help, but then loading the bases, because your afraid of the strike zone doesn’t help either.

Trying to blow magic on your hand, like a magician, isn’t going to work Lidge, you shouldn’t have loaded the bases in the first place.

If this wasn’t a message to Charlie Manuel then I don’t know what would be, and if Lidge can’t do it, if he has some inner- self that’s giving him a hang-up, then he should be a man and tell Charlie, and save us all the continued embarrassment of sending a closer out there that nobody is afraid to face.

I could offer up some suggestions, I am sure many a blogger will, I am also sure many fans that don’t  blog here will be commenting at the ZoZone about what should be done and how to do it, but the bottom line is you get paid to make those decisions Charlie and it’s time you made one regarding Lidge. You had no trouble telling us “it’s for the best interest of the team”, when you sent Moyer to the pen, so how about that same attitude regarding the closers spot.

Today JA Happ goes to the mound, I just hope if this is a tight game and the Phillies have the lead at the end, we use an alternative to Lidge…