It almost that time when we celebrate the begining of a new year
and invariably a new era in the successes of our teams. Before we jump forward
to what could be in 2011, here’s a small review of how my blog saw the Phillies
Here’s hoping you all have a very happy and safe New Year….
Something I haven’t heard for sometime, recently changed, when I heard one of my all time favorite sayings – “Time is something to prevent everything happening at once” The game of baseball is testimony to that statement, with 162 games over 6 months to figure out which teams will play into month 7, although sometimes it seems like it all happens in month 6, it is just an accumulation of outcomes from the numerous WTF occurrences that have taken place during the season.
August saw it’s share of those WTF moments, from coast to coast baseball gave us some gems and as with other months most of those came from the umpires, from early in the month right through to the end. They never seem to have favorites or teams they actually really dislike, although at times your team is always the one getting the brunt of their wrath. With the ability to replay, slow down, freeze frame every pitch, play and call that can affect the outcome of every game the umpires are constantly under the spotlight, so this will constantly produce WTF moments from umpires everywhere..
The month also saw a couple of teams position themselves for this award, not because of the outstanding achievements they had as a collective body, but because they found the need to act like unruly children, NHL players even NFL players. You could say the heated moment between 2 teams fighting for the lead of a division can at times be explained, and is there such a thing as equal punishment, since both teams could have acted more like baseball players and not NHL players. The confusion was in Florida, although this happened on the first day of September, I decided to use it for August just so that we keep the fights together and keep them away from the post season run. We had 2 teams fighting to end the season better than the Mets, fighting each other, this wasn’t heated because the season depended on it, this was simply senseless and a definite WTF moment, but I will not reward those that are teaching our youngsters criminal behavior.
On a high note of the year for at least one team, they started the season off as, in my eyes, the worst team in the National League, they seemed to continue on that same line. In July they made some trades and things seemed to change in August, they had one of the best records in baseball for August with 17 wins, the managed 3 sweeps, yes one may have been against the Pirates, but they also swept the Cardinals and the Phillies. The LOLstros have acted like the worst team in baseball, but WTF have they been drinking in August, okay no chance of post season play unless the Cards continue to meltdown and the Reds follow suit.
Talking of meltdowns, I almost included the San Diego Padres in this list, they have managed to get swept back to back to back, but it seems to me there WTF moment is still ongoing. It would feel right if I didn’t include Lou in this months list, cause lets face it WTF was he thinking (insert retiring or staying this long).
I finally settled on giving the award to a man who has acted like a gentleman through hardship and adversity. His team started of the month in a divisional fight and a literal fight. It was difficult to find anyone worthy enough to present him with this award, but eventually someone who’ll do anything for a shot at being in the spotlight jumped at the chance. The WTF award for August 2010 goes to….
….Albert Pujols, and so we had the chance for the POTUS to award the PUJOLS. Even though he has brought his game and played well enough to give him consideration as the NL’s MVP his team has let him down as they slowly loose contention and could possibly give the chance of the 2010 MVP award to his counterpart at the divisions winning team. A pending free agent at next seasons end, he hasn’t demanded movement to a club that could give him another WS ring, he’s kept smiling and playing the game like the true sportsman that he is, this to some may not be a true WTF moment, but to me its a WTF must he be thinking.
Useless stats 101 – In 2003 Detroit had the least amount of wins in a season during the last 10 years, and they were eliminated from the race by August 21st, the earliest of any team in the last 10 years, Mike Maroth a Detroit pitcher lost 20 games that season. On the bright side they weren’t the 1962 Mets.
The National League managed an upset of the American League by taking the All Star Game victory, because of recent history showing the dominance of the American League this is a good way to move forward into the second half of the 2010 season for National League teams.
At the beginning of the season I laid out how I thought the season would progress and how teams would position themselves for October baseball, with just over half the games played it’s a good time to reflect and update my season ending visions.
The American League has shown some surprises, out West the Mariners have not faired as I thought so this has left the Rangers and Angels duking it out for a post season place. In the Central the Indians are not performing in the manor they could have been and in the East the top 3 are as expected, but the Jays are doing better than I had thought, as a mid way summary I now have the following possible outcomes.
Angels ……..88-93 wins
Rangers ……..86-91 wins
The A’s will hover around the .500 mark and the Mariners will finish below .500 with about 70 wins.
ChiSox ……..84-89 wins
Twins ……..81-86 wins
Tigers ……..81-86 wins
The Royals and the Tribe will fight, but fail to reach .500 this year.
Yankees ……..93-98 wins
Rays ……..92-97 wins
BoSox ……..90-95 wins
As you can see this could be any of these, I had considered the Yankees breaking 100 wins again, but recent history shows last time they had 56 wins in the first half they had a dismal second half with only 33 wins, so the Yankees number is a crap shoot, the Jays should end around the .500 mark and the O’s will probably break 64 wins, but no more than 70 wins.
The National League has also given us a couple of surprises, the Padres are the biggest one for me, kudos to them, I thought they would struggle to be a .500 team this year, but they proved me very wrong. The Pirates are more disappointing than anything, I really thought they could be a above .500 team this year, but not going to happen, the Reds are better than expected or are the Cardinals not as good as expected. The East is as expected a 3 horse race and will continue through season end.
Padres ……..85-90 wins
Rockies ……..84-89 wins
Dodgers ……..83-88 wins
Giants ……..79-84 wins
Arizona will struggle to reach 70 wins this year.
Cardinals ……..85-90 wins
Reds ……..85-90 wins
The Brewers and Cubs will struggle stay around the .500 mark on the year, the Pirates and Astros will have chance to play spoiler or helper in September as the Cards and Reds are on target to give us a game 163 this year, but as the Astros and Pirates play out the year they’ll both struggle to get over 65 wins.
Phillies ……..90-95 wins
Mets ……..88-93 wins
Braves ……..87-92 wins
Still a close 3 team race and could go to any of the 3, itll be up to the Nats and Marlins to play spoiler, since both those teams wont even be knocking on the .500 door.
So these are my mid-term visions as far as the divisions are set, as for Phillies players and that dreaded date of July 31st, where teams negotiate to the wire to get the best possible deal, or they think is the best possible deal. The past few seasons the Phillies have faired pretty good at the trading deadline, this year I would say look to see Jayson Werth end up with one of 3 teams, Astros, Pirates or even the Reds, also movers could include, Dobbs, Castro or Ransom and maybe even Kendrick or Happ, I do not think anything major will occur, it is possible we could get Oswalt, but no breath holding here, or even one of the Reds pitchers, it maybe that the Dodgers decide they can lose Broxton, so the Phillies can lose Lidge, but that’s as farfetched as a straight trade of Pujols and Howard, or Werth and Ethier, dream on people ESPN’s got no inside track and the second half is just beginning. So tighten that safety belt, keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times and enjoy the ride, don’t forget to scream and raise your arms at the appropriate times, but most of all have FUN.
What a weekend already, it’s almost the end of the month, July will be here
in the next few days and Independence Day celebrations will be upon next
weekend. All that to come and we still have this weekend to finish, the staring
role being out in Los Angeles and the headline hungry A-Rod, I am sure the media
make more of it than is there, I am sure we all add to the snowball effect of
hyping up a situation when it really is no big deal. It is difficult to look the
other way when it involves A-Rod, because lets face it, it’s probably not so
innocent, in fact it’s probably far from innocent.
got suckered like so many, way back in 2004 hailing A-Rod as the greatest player
in baseball, stating things about how Jeter should move to 2nd and let the superior
player take up at Short Stop, had someone then said, well it’s A-Roid not A-Rod,
they would have said you had sour grapes, you were a Rangers fan or even a
die-hard Jeterholic, the chances of agreeing with you were as slim as A-Rod
telling the truth to Katie Couric when she asked him point blank if he used any
PED’s, of course he said no, they all do.
He can give it but he can’t take it, ask Ashton Kutcher who punk’d him, ask
Dallas Braden who he dished it out too and finally ask his ex-wife who showed
her thought via a t-shirt at a ballgame. Now it’s Joe Torre’s turn, who A-Rod once
said he preferred playing under Joe than the Rangers organization chose to
ignore Joe at Dodgers stadium this weekend, when it was obvious others wanted to
say hi to Joe, A-Rod was uncomfortable when he got within 10 feet….
…..I didn’t set out to bash A-Rod, it just snow-balled out of
control, it’s just that A-Rod does so much and then denies everything, I am sure even when
he is in his 70’s he will still be saying “I’m young and stupid”
as someone I am sure has already pointed out, getting 1 out of 2 right is okay,
and trust me your not young anymore, and besides you lost that claim when you
chose to father children, I am sure you probably tried to tell everyone, you
didn’t know what you were doing then, the only thing left right now is to see who’ll claim the first use of
A-Fraud and A-Roid.
For those that have been following the FIFA World Cup, you must
have heard by now that the USA is a Ghana from the tourny, beaten by the little
country in Western Africa, a country which is younger than the USA, but one
where the kids play football barefoot from about 3 years old. I have to say I
have found out since being here that the knowledge of international geography in
the United States is somewhat appalling, so here is a map of the world with the
USA and Ghana indicated….
….this is the beauty of the FIFA World Cup, it doesn’t matter
how big you are or how much money you have, it’s a game of skill and talent that
comes about from practice. I am sure some pundits will tell you how the USA was
robbed and should be going through to play Uruguay, but I am here to say, the
USA was lucky to even go to extra time, Donovan almost missed the penalty kick,
which after the USA coach had made a big thing in the press of players that fall
down, there was a lot of it going on from the USA team during the 2nd half of
this game, especially near and in the penalty area. All in all Ghana out played
the USA and deserved the win, congrats to them.
England met with Germany, which is probably the biggest rivalry
between 2 countries in this sport, the young German players showed poise and
maturity, which had been promoted as being the advantage England should have
enjoyed. Germany advances to the next round and will meet the winner of the
Argentina v Mexico game later today. The biggest disappointment of this World
Cup was the over hyped Wayne Rooney who was a total non-issue regardless of who
England played. There wil be those who would say that if the goal England scored
had been allowed then they would not have left the defense so wide open as they
threw caution to the wind to try and win, that unfortunate is the name of the
game and crying won’t change the result, demanding rules change to accommodate
your teams needs is not how sports should be played. The England team will have
to endure the return home and suffer the full weight of the media,
Germany get to advance, well done to them.
The Phillies were on the road in Philadelphia, weird, road grays
at home, even the broadcasters changed locations, yet what of the dug out and
bull pen, why didn’t they change places, one of the mysteries we have to live
with like the rest of the G20 summit. Still not sure why all those countries
spend all that money to tell each other how sucky the world’s finances are
In Philadelphia, we had a weekend that saw….
…. Halladay take game 1 and Moyer take game 3, which put Moyer
over 4,000 innings pitched and the pitcher with the most homers hit off him, I
guess we’re going to see something every time he pitches now, so good and bad
records will be set, since he has pitched in 4 decades and is into his 25th year
in the majors.
It’s the end of inter league play as the Phillies head for a 1
week road trip closing June out in Cinci and opening July in Pittsburgh. I now
get a week of calling MLBTV to tell them I’m not in the blackout area for these
2 clubs, oh joy.
I am trying to understand what makes a pitcher good, great or just very
useful in the rotation to a team hoping to compete for the ultimate prize. There
are some guys pitching that I like, some are my favorites, not because of who
they are or what they can do, but just because they impressed me with something
they did, it may have been small, it may have been huge, but at the time to me
it seemed significant enough to make me believe that this guys is okay and
worthwhile having around any ball club.
There are only 4 current pitchers that fall into the category, in no specific
order are Jamie Moyer, Phil Hughes, Chris Carpenter and Randy
Wolf, as I said
none of them jump up and scream Cy Young, but if anyone has never heard of one of
these guys then, I think your missing something.
It seems some believe this to be the year of the pitcher, with the shut outs
starting to grow, the no hitters and the perfect games all having enjoyed a
growth this season already, there could be some truth in the statement. So, I go back to my original thoughts of what
makes a good, great or one of a kind pitcher and how soon can you tell what the
guy will be, by now you probably can see where I am going, Strasburg, you’d be
We had hype around Lincecum back in 2007 and he has appeared to fill almost
all the hype the media placed on him, my personal opinion, his Cy Young
achievement, at least last year (2009), was awarded to the name and hype, he didn’t
deserve it, there were other pitchers more deserving, in my opinion.
Some people say wins and loses, mean nothing, it’s all about the other stuff,
well here are some other stuff, which guy would you want.?…
….since this ‘year of the pitcher’ isn’t going to go away, I think we need
to know a
few of the ailments that will definitely surface towards October. It could be the
player, but with the way people are acting I think it could also be fans that
suffer, we already have things like ADD, yes the real thing ‘Attention
or for the sports fans, it’s those who can’t follow real football, soccer to
those who have no desire to grasp a sport that the majority of the world’s
children understand and play from about 2 or 3 years old.
There is a NEW one about to strike the world of baseball it’s the Strasburg
Hyper Interest Tension Syndrome, yes you can
tell the baseball fan who is suffering, the day after the Washington
Nationals send Stephen Strasburg to mound, these guys will be paying
too many visits to the little boys room, we’re not sure if it’s due to the
excessive food and drink or a need to find relief from the tension.
Sports the lighter side:
The Marlins fired a manager that was actually doing
his job, but feel they found someone more suited and are considering offering the position to the USA’s national soccer
coach, they said, “if he can find 23 guys in the USA that can play
football that aren’t fat f-cks then he must be able to find 8 players and
someone who knows how to pitch in the Marlins club house that will play baseball
The Phillies go on the road to Philadelphia and play the Toronto Blue Jays,
this will be the hardest road trip the Phillies have ever made, if they win
it’ll be unfair on the Jays, if they lose everyone will have them back in a
The ChiSox have a 9 game winning streak and the Rangers have an 11 game
winning streak and the Rangers get to play the Astros for 3, so it’s possible we
could have a 14 game win streak by the time the weekend is over.
USA soccer star, I use the term loosely, Landon Donovan, is trying to force his
ex to get back with him by spreading rumors of their pending reconciliation and
blowing fake kisses to her via TV, I mean, dude you look really frickin gay, why
would she want you back.
Perfection is a hard thing to achieve, in baseball terms for a pitcher, it’s
throwing 9 innings and facing the minimum number of batters, just 27, without
giving up a hit, walk or anything else that may put a batter on the bases. It
was the end of the worst week of the Phillies
season so far, it was Saturday night in Florida, the Phillies
had set a record for innings without a run during the week, they were what could
only be described as having a case of hitlessness…..
Tonight the Phillies ‘ACE’ Roy
‘The Doc’ Halladay turned the tables and threw the perfect game, not just a
no hitter, a perfect game, the 20th in baseball history, 27 Marlins
came up and 27 Marlins went down, including
3 straight pinch hitters in the 9th inning.
Roy Halladay, definitely imprinted himself in the Phillies
history books and it is well deserved. A man of class, saying he just followed
Ruiz from the 6th inning on, so to the pair of them congratulations.
I guess the rivalry between the BoSox and
Phillies has built somewhat over the last
few years, not to the same extent as between other teams. The stage was set
however for the first game of this weekend series, the opener to inter-league
play for the Phillies, and almost every
major league team.
Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies,
although he has pitched well in his last few starts, there is still some
elements in the back of your mind, asking who will show up to pitch tonight. The
fears were dispensed after the first inning hiccup, as he gave up a home run to V-Mart,
who by the way doesn’t look right in a BoSox
uniform, from then on he shut the Red Sox
down through 7 innings allowing just the 1 run on 3 hits and a walk, while he
picked up 8 strike outs.
John Lackey took to the mound for the Red
Sox, some of the media in Philadelphia
had labeled him as somewhat of a Halladay clone, when he is on his game.
It appeared as though Lackey was on his game and the Phillies
were in trouble through the first 3 innings. Then the bottom of the 4th inning
came and so did Ryan Howard, who started the Phillies
offense with a home run to left field, then it was like the Boston
Red Sox outfield was playing a game of….
….‘now you see me now you don’t’ or was it WWE‘s
John Cena’s ‘You Can’t See Me’ they lost a fly ball from Jayson
Werth somewhere in the night sky and lights, from then on it was all Phillies
who as a team ended the day with 5 runs on 9 hits, winning the first game by a
score of 5-1. The big set back for the Phillies was that Jimmy Rollins disappeared
into the dressing rooms half way through the game after feeling a twinge from
his right calf muscle. Rollins has just returned from the DL after the strain to
his calf put him there earlier in the season, Rollins will be day to day at the
Tonight the Phillies send Kendrick
to the mound, Kendrick has had a number of shaky starts this year, but
his last 3 have been fairly strong, inline with most 5th place rotation guys.
The Red Sox have the right handed Matsuzaka
who has really only had one good outing this year against the Blue
Jays, he has given up more hits than innings pitched and in 4 games
has served up 19 runs to the opposition.
We all expect our teams to win, but after the was the Phillies
offense failed to produce against both the Pirates and the Cubs,
we must realize you can’t win them all, just be nice to win the more than the