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….
This weekend is what makes baseball a great sport, not a good sport, a GREAT
sport. With something on the line for 6 teams going into the final day of the
regular season, it is without a doubt, tense and nervous for some, exciting and
fun for others.
Just when you thought those teams that are comfortable will just sit back and
watch, along comes Charlie Manuel….
…. to place credibility back into the last weekend of the season. Initially
yesterdays line-up may have appeared a little weak compared to the last time the
Phillies and Braves met, but the game became a fight to the end with the
Phillies rookie Vance Worley giving a commanding performance thru 5 innings and
then the Phillies bullpen blanking the Braves thru the final 4 innings to give
the Phillies a 7-0 shut out on the day the Braves honored Bobby Cox.
Today I believe the Phillies may have jumped past Michael Vick to become the
most hated entity in Atlanta. Some Braves fans feel since the Phillies are in
why they don’t lay down and let the Braves get to the post season, as Charlie
Manuel said, "How is that fair to the Padres and Giants", so suck it
up Atlanta and win because you can, not because the Phillies let you.
The Yankees had a double header, while the Rays tried to find a way to beat
the Royals. The Rays managed to shut the Royals out in a 4-0 win, while the
Yankees took game 1 from the BoSox and looked like they may even sweep the
double header, except it was AJ on the mound and sometimes his cry baby attitude
gets the better of him….
….AJ’s mind went like this: let me check to make sure the
umpire called that play correctly, cause we all know, if I argue he’ll change
his mind, oh and while I argue let me see if I can trick the BoSox into thinking
it’s a dead ball. DOH!
It seems the only guy he tricked was Berkman, who just stood
there and looked dumb. Now I would like to know when AJ entered the dug out and
went down the steps, what the hell did AJ say to Girardi, it almost looked as
though AJ was blaming Girardi, and Girardi had this look on his face as if to
say AJ your just fu-cking crazy.
So we have the AL East all tied up again, but today it will be
decided, the winner of the east will also get home field advantage, the Yankees
passed the advantage back to the Rays yesterday, because now the Yankees need a
win and a Rays loss to clinch, so do they stay in Boston to find out or do they
grab everything and rush back to New York to see if they can celebrate.
The NL is a little more screwed up, the scenarios are bountiful,
the bottom line is the right wins and loses and there could be baseball everyday
till the post season starts. So we know the Phillies have home field in the NL,
but who will they play, we don’t know, since we could have 4 teams with the same
record at the end of today.
The introduction of video replay on the possibility of a home
run ball was supposed to make things right, everyone keeps saying we need more
video replays, to many errors by the umpires. What if the video replay shows one
thing yet they still make the wrong call after seeing it….
….there you have it fan interference, wait they’re playing in
Ohio, okay that means it must be a home run ball then. If you didn’t see this
then it’s worth a look, no matter how many time I replay it I still see the fan
reach over the fence touch the ball with his glove at the same time he hits the
fielders glove. The ball could have been caught by the fielder, if it wasn’t
caught it appears it may have hit the top of the wall and come back into play.
So how then will video replay prevent the umpires from getting in wrong, okay
it’ll involve someone in New York who’ll review it, lot of good that did.
This the last day of regular season is probably one of the most
exciting final days since they went to divisional play. We will at least know
the outcome of the American League battles and who the AL East champions are, as
for the National League, this could be done today or it could take till the end
of Tuesday for us to know.
3 Days to post season play – GO PHILLIES….
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.
Phillies v BoSox ‘Demolition
Derby’ turned out to be just that, Boston
demolished the Phillies in the first 2
games, the Phillies did however manage to
scrape out a win on the final day, by way of a Raul Ibanez homer and some
inventive base running by Jayson Werth.
The crowd continued to express the desires to ‘Beat LA’ even
though they were referencing a different sport. The Phillies
get a day off, before heading to Yankee
stadium, Charlie Manuel managed to play switcheroo with his starting
rotation so that Halladay and CC match up, not sure if this was
all Chuck’s doing or if there were any financial or other compensations
involved. Did I just infer that there may be some kind of bribing going on,
naaaa, I would never do that, but Sony Online Entertainment might
or at least that’s how I read it, might infer that money should make a difference
to official controlling bodies of sports.
How about a headline “World Cup Needs America, Like It Or
Not”, is this just someone trying to encourage the development of a
sport, or encourage the involvement for financial gain.
This head line was the headline of a blog post from the “Senior
Director of Global Public Relations” for “Sony Online
Entertainment”, yep way to go with the public relations there ‘Mr.
Big Shot’ actually I don’t know the guy, he may be a very nice person and
his name isn’t really Mr. Big Shot, it’s Mr. Scott Gulbransen,
and some of what he says maybe perfectly true, but it’s the end of his post that
my concern is with, he says:
“With a global recession, Americans and their wallets –
including the large television networks – throw more money at the
tournament than everyone else combined. FIFA and the World Cup
increasingly need American interest and money to keep the expensive show
afloat. Yes, it might be the world’s most popular sport, but America is
its richest and most important benefactor.”
This is why players of the sport stay in this country to play the game, so
they can benefit from all the big bucks that are invested so readily and easily
into the sport. (note the sarcasm).
I would probably agree that most Americans are going to say, ‘yeah and what’s
wrong with that statement’, to someone who was not born here, who has
experienced how people have over the years perceived Americans, this does
nothing more than play into the typographical role of the rich arrogant American
who believes throwing money at it will get them preferential treatment, the same
way a lot of Americans have seen the Yankee
organization. The humorous part of this post was the closing statement, where he
“For once, this non-soccer fan will be rooting for our US
team to kick some arrogant international soccer booty. Even if that
means I have to wake up at four in the morning to watch it.”
Something like this from an everyday person, would probably be excusable,
even laughable, after all it is a free country with freedom of speech, but let
me remind you this came from someone claiming to work for what could be
considered a very large global corporation and their job is high up in global
public relations for that corporation, so to me this sounds more like a gripe
from a company that wasn’t able to ‘BUY’ it’s own way, or even rights to a FIFA game, say World Cup 2010.
Yes my post also sounds like a gripe, but I am not associated with a large
corporation, my post will not receive preferential promotional treatment from a
website that seems to pay attention to the bigger names, now it’s grown, and
honestly it just goes to show that corporate is in the belief that it can buy whatever
or into whatever it wants whenever it wants. You can read the
full post from the man from Sony Online Entertainment here
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.
Well maybe not from hell, but a weekend to move on from, one to let settle in the back of your mind till
one day you may need the knowledge to use as some stupid inconsequential pieces
of data. It wasn’t so much that the Phillies had a losing weekend against the
BoSox, obviously a losing weekend is never good, but inter-league play has not
been a National League strong point since it started. Also don’t forget, in
post of May 19th I had gone into details of why ‘it is that time of the
month’ and for those doubters, let it be known that between now and the end of
the month, the Phillies, will lose at least 4 more,
there is 7 games left in May all against division rivals, which means if they
prove me right could put the division lead back into tight contention, which
makes for some excitement as the season goes on.
News broke that the Phillies were scouting for pitchers, because they had
scouts at the ChiSox and Marlins
over the weekend. I am not sure the White Sox have much to look at, it is
possible they were looking at the Marlins, since
we will be meeting them this week. The Phillies
front office did acknowledge the fact that looking is part of the game, and as
any normal person would do the media asked what of Martinez, just because
the Phillies picked him up last year and it
worked out, doesn’t mean they’ll do it again and again. Amaro did
indicate that since Martinez, just casts them money and no talent then
they keep checking in with him, but they haven’t seen him throw or had any face
to face time with him.
Forewarned is forearmed, so Amaro, here is your warning, “You
got lucky last year with Martinez, regardless of how desperate you think you may
be this year, DON’T do it again”. I know I was not a big fan of
Martinez last year and I stand by that, I believe we would have had the same or
similar results had they not spent the time and money on Martinez. I
believe he had no influence on how things turned out and was at times more of a
distraction than an benefit.
Let’s face it the only real addition we may need is a solid closer, because
no matter what anybody says, if it’s Lidge out there then everyone is going to
be holding their breathe
for every pitch, knowing that this could be the pitch that blows the save. It’s possible
that Contreras could be converted to a closing role, he’s only had 1 save
in his career thus far, but I have to admit I was more comfortable watching him
close than I have been watching Lidge close.
We still need Happ to return from the DL healthy and give us a solid last two
thirds of the season, and then if we could convince Seattle to let us get Lee
back before July 31st, then we would be in good shape. Lets face it, we don’t
have many prospects to trade, but I don’t think Lee will stay in Seattle
after this year and there is a chance the Phillies
could unload 2 or 3 players, like Kendrick, Dobbs, Bastardo, or mix them
up and throw in a couple of minor leaguers, who knows what Seattle
would do, and Lee would probably sign with a 3 year deal where both Lee
and the Phillies would be happy. A dream
maybe, but after the weekend that’s all I have today, a dream.