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.


Back To Winning Ways, Phils take Padres 9-4

This was the make-up game that was PPD because of rain back on April 20th, before we get into the game itself, I think we need to give a thought to the San Diego Padres, who when this game was PPD was a winning team and playing very well, busoverloaded.jpgso the benefit with this has gone to Philadelphia, who’d have thought back then. In addition to that the Padres are in Washington this weekend, so the Padres bosses thought it would be beneficial to help their team out by flying into Washington late, then getting the bus to Philadelphia to play this game, then getting the bus back to Washington, and if anyone has ever travelled between Washington and Philly then you’ll know it’s not the best of times even in a vehicle you can kick back and relax in. We can at this point only assume that the Padres arrived at the ball park not very well relaxed and ready to play ball, however, I will say this the players played like they wanted to win, the problem was they were playing a team who is not only hot at the moment, but wanted to prove that yesterday’s afternoon game against the Cubs was an error on their part.

The Philadelphia Phillies of yesterday, literally, the team of Sloppy Joe’s (no offence to Joe)
EXPIREDsloppygiftcard.jpgwas nothing more than a day game following a night game where all the players were just sluggish and what seemed hung over.

A different story today, not just because they won, not because they won with authority, but because they played like they wanted to win and acted like they wanted to be there playing baseball. They just looked different, they had a spring in there step, even Utley who against the Cubs yesterday, looked as though he may be suffering, from some sort of injury, acted like he’d just come off a weeks rest, without any sign of an injury. The team was swinging the bat better, running the bases better, and more importantly today they were pitching better.

Cole Hamels came out throwing strikes, he had command of all his pitches and was showing all the elements he had as the 2008 ACE that we saw during the speed-bump.jpgWorld Series, he hit a minor speed bump in the top of the 4th inning where he gave up 3
runs on 3 hits. Hamels ended the day with a solid 7 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks with 6 strike outs. Carpenter who had just been re-introduced to the big’s today came in, in relief of Hamels to start the 8th inning managed to get a batter out on a fly ball, then gave up a couple of hits, with a run and a walk, Manuel not wanting to let this slip away, nipped this in the bud early and went to the pen again for Chan Ho Park who has been nothing but exceptional from the pen. It didn’t even seem to phase him, 1 pitch and he was out of the 8th inning, it did take a very unusual double play by Feliz and Utley, a  5-4-5 double play. I am not sure what the base runner was thinking, but it certainly put a smile on the face of Utley and Feliz as they ran to the dug out, even as late in the game as this was, it was just another sign that the Phillies were here to play, they were having fun out there. Park came out in the top of the 9th to finish the game off, he did it as calm as he started with 3 outs, he ended up pitching 1.2 shut out innings.

The Offence went to work in the bottom of the 2nd inning and never looked back, by the end of the 4th inning everybody, except Ruiz and Hamels had had a hit and there were 8 runs on the board, they continnued to threaten with more but never quite got across the plate until the 7th inning when Ruiz, not to be left out hit a solo home run to left field. Feliz and Werth each went 3 for 5 with an RBI each and Werth also scored a couple of runs, excellent work from the 6 and 7 spot of the batting order, both managed to raise there averages to respectable levels.

As I said at the begining, excellent show by the Phillies, but spare a thought for the Padres who had to endure that bus ride to Philadelphia after getting off a plane ride…. Okay thought over, I know the Padres are struggling, but I don’t feel that sorry for them.

The only damper on the game, was again the Phillies commentators, unfortunately I watch via MLBTV and since I am in BFE, OH. I can not get the radio station for the Phillies so have to put up with the TV commentary, and after reading a blog post today at How ‘Bout Them Phils  it just emphasized how they comment on the most obvious things, and seem to talk and joke about things that unless you have been with them all day would have no idea and not get the humor of it, enough of that, read the entry “Phillies Need a New TV Team” from the above blog and you’ll hopefully get it.

The weekend is on us, almost and we have the St. Louis Cardinals in town, so since I showed sign of pity for the Padres do I show signs of pity for the Cards, you see today they flew in to Washington from Texas, have a night game with the Nats, which has overloadedtrain.jpgalready had a rain delay and I think at this time they are in another rain delay and it’s only the top of the 7th inning, you know, I know you have to be fair to all but the Cards are going to catch the
train from Washington to Philly, not sure if the plan is tonight or tomorrow, well the way the game is going there now it will be tomorrow regardless, but surely it’s not going to affect the Nats and the Cards have a 4-1 lead, you’d think they’d call the game and give it to the Cards. Back to the question should I have pity on the Cards for these  unfortunate occurances that could be detrimentle to their stay in Philly, well I thought about this for all of a minute, I know to long, shouldn’t hesitate, but I don’t think so.

I am sure the Cards fans wouldn’t have any sympathy for the Phillies if the tables were turned, we even did them a favor by issuing 2 loses to the Cubs, what more could they want. Nope sorry no sympathy, enjoy your stay in Philadelphia, you know the ‘City of Brotherly Love’,

UPDATE:

Since I wrote this at around 11:30 pm last night the Cards and Nats game was called early, around 1 am this morning I think, so the ump’s did the Cards a favor, so they could get the train to Philly. We are bound to see their newly acquired Lugo in Philly this weekend, I am sure some Cards fans are thrilled with this and others not so happy, we’ll see if it makes a difference in Philly this weekend.


Phillies take series from Reds, set new club record

Jayson Werth went deep to record his 20th home run of the season making him the 4th player to be on 20 home runs or more before the All Star Break, a first for the Phillies franchise and only the second MLB team to accomplish this feat. Werth has put up impressive numbers in the first half of this season and has more than proved that he can be an everyday player, I personally thought he would struggle as an everday outfielder, so well done Jayson, you are on a season setting personal best. Jayson’s name has been thrown in the mix for the All Star Game, since Beltran is injured, is Werth worthy of an All Star pick, well he has certainly put up the numbers, however I believe there are others who are a little more deserving, if it’s an outfielder they need then I would have to go with Kemp, he has better numbers this year, if it’s just any position player then there are a number to choose from and everyone will have there own personal favorite.

Chase Utley, in a ball park that is suposed to allow almost anyone to go deep, showed everyone last night that you dont need to hit the ball over the fence to get a home run, his second inside the park home run against the reds. This one came in the 3rd inning and it was Utley’s 20th homer of the year, although there wasn’t a play at the plate this time, he needed some recovery time to catch his breath, who wouldn’t.

Jamie Moyer pitched through 5 innings giving up 6 runs on 8 hits, since the offence took the lead in the bottom of the 5th Jamie was the pitcher of record giving him, his 254th career win. Jamie gave up two home runs, not unusual for Jamie, all in all a good outing for him.

Chan Ho Park gave another stellar performance from the bullpen, 3 scoreless innings, giving up 1 walk, with 4 strike outs.

Brad Lidge continues to make everyone nervous in the 9th inning, after getting the 1st two batters he gave up a walk, but came back nicely to close out the game with a scoreless inning.

Even though the Phillies have taken six of seven in this home stand, they still have a below .500 record at home this season, a sweep of the Pirates would put them still 1 game shy of the .500 mark. We all know that sweeping the Pirates is a huge task, they have played well against NL East teams this year, I for one am glad we have Blanton, Hamels and Happ to face them this weekend.

Victorino won the vote for the final spot on the All Star team, he is more than deserving of his place, he again last night picked up a couple of walks, a hit and a couple of RBI’s and continues to play gold glove quality defense in the outfield. Well Done Shane!!

To the Pirates, welcome to Philadelphia, the in state rivalry isn’t quite as intense as some would think, but still it will make for a good weekend, especially if the Phillies keep up this excellent home stand performance.

RAUL IBANEZ will he return today or will they wait till tomorrow, I think he will probably be here today, but my gut tells me they should probably wait till tomorrow.


Victorino gives, NOW give back to Victorino

The headlines around MLB say it all, the race for the #33 All Star pick is a tight one, since Victorino and Sandoval are playing cat and mouse in the NL ballot, the campaigning is reaching new heights never before seen in an All Star ballot.

Victorino added to his case last night with a walk off RBI to give the Phillies a 3-2 win over the Reds, this was definately the highlight of the game.

Lopez, had another good start, although he only went 5 innings, due to a sore shoulder (last reports), his pitch count was low and he held the Reds to just  2 runs on 5 hits. Rest up Lopez your fast becoming an asset in the starting rotation.

BullPen was again outstanding last night, Madson’s speed was up, location was good, both Durbin and Romero also had good outings. Although for me the best activity from the bullpen was without a doubt Chan Ho Park, the sandwich boards campaigning for Victorino votes, was terrific, I wonder if he lost a bet or won a draw to do that, hopefully we’ll find out on The Pen on MLB Network, whenever that returns.

The Phillies have teamed up with the Detroit Tigers to try and double the voting capacity for each of our respective players, wow, politics in baseball, colaborations between parties, who’d have thought it would come to this, who knows next year they may have to call in the people from American Idol to get telephone voting too.

The only soar note on last nights game was the strike zone, seemed to be a little too flexible when the chance of a called third strike loomed, maybe the home plate umpire was auditioning for an upcoming movie, or maybe a chance to grab a headline and get himself noticed.

All that really matters is that Victorino gave to us last night with the walk off RBI, now it’s our turn to give back and vote him in the All Star game. Voting ends at 4pm EST today, hopefully we will be celebrating during tonights game and Detroit will be celebrating too, which will just go to show the NL and AL can work together for the good of the fans.


BLANTASTIC, Phillies SWEEP Mets

Blanton surpassed all the hopes and expectations of the Philly fans just dreaming of a sweep, he pitched a good seven and a third shut-out innings, having good command of his fast ball and change-up, he kept the Mets of balance and guessing wrong, he gave up just 4 hits and walked 3 and set the phillies bullpen up nicely to clinch the win and the sweep.

The bullpen was again outstanding, not body likes to see a player get hurt and nobody wants to see an extra guy on base, but admit it, when Romero hit Cora I am sure there were a few fans thinking, ‘wish I could have done that’, so that set up Park to come in and get a double play, which just left the ninth. The commenators seemed confused as to if Lidge would pitch or not, then it was confirmed he was stretching in the pen, just 14 pitches today to go 1, 2, 3 in the ninth, was definately scenes from Lidge of ’08.

Rollins has surely quietened down the sceptics just a little, a lead off homer gave the Phillies an early lead, having another multi hit game Rollins is either back or just really likes to stick it to the Mets.

Utley, Mr. Second-Base God, hits another long ball to give Phillies a two zip lead and that’s all they would need, the defense was outstanding, turning double-plays when they were needed, Howard showed his fielding skills and that all the extra pre-season in-field training has paid-off.

With a home stand start like this I find myself looking forward to the next game, in anticipation of what extraordinary feats the team will show off next, bring on the Reds.

Congratulations go to Utley and Ibanez for making the All Star starting line-up and congrats to Howard for making the All Star team.

I realise it is fan based voting, but why wasn’t it a closer race between Feliz and Wright, Feliz is a better defensive third-baseman than Wright and has been above average with offence this year, just a thought.

Don’t forget send Victorino to the All Star Game as the 33rd man voting is open so get to it he deserves to be there: VOTE NOW