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….
Those of us who are baseball addicts are engrossed in the events
of the Worlds Series and as it stands now the thoughts are varied, will the
Giants sweep the Rangers and force their total fade out or will the Rangers go 3 for 3 at home and take it back
to San Francisco, who knows, that’s the beauty of baseball.
While all this headlining play by play unravels the remaining 28
teams have their own soap operas going on, moves being made to set up an off
season of player movements, operations and I am sure controversies.
In Philadelphia some actions involving players have already
taken place and as always the right things are being said, the team says things
like, ‘in order to give the player a chance at free agency’, when they
really mean, ‘we don’t want you back so we’re letting you go as early as we
can’. The players say things like, ‘it was great playing with a good
bunch of guys and a manager like Charlie’, when they really mean, ‘I’ll
miss you guys it was fun and thanks for nothing Amaro’.
So in Philadelphia, we could see Werth buddy up with his new
agent and head to Chicago to try on some White Socks, maybe. We could also see
other players held in a state of frozen animation until the club finds it’s
off-season direction. They have already managed to get the Phillies
beat writer to plant the seed of a return to the Phillies uniform by Cliff Lee.
Pie in the sky? Maybe, but it’s baseball stranger things have happened.
There are obviously a few players in the World Series making
impressions on possible future teams, who’d have thought after his stint in
Tampa Burrell would have found a team willing to give him a shot, and when
Florida unloaded Ross, who would have said by accident the Giants would be
putting him in the outfield every game. So yes strange things do happen in
baseball more often than we realize, who would have guessed back in 1945 that
October 30th would see the Brooklyn Dodgers sign a player from the Kansas City
Monarchs and make a resounding change in history.
With Halloween a day away and mid-term elections 3 days away,
strange things will happen more than ever. Mid term elections actually tend to
bring out even stranger happenings than Halloween, scarier people come to the
surface, it just gets totally weird, all in the name of ‘Vote’ getting. So when
your at the polling booth remember the 5 key issues when making your selections:
There is no Santa Claus.
The WWE may not be real, but the t-shirt’s are and you
can wear them to vote.
You’re not choosing the Cy Young or MVP.
It’s not a Fantasy League.
Politicians LIE, again and again and again and
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.
who has participated as an exhibitor at a trade show of some kind will be all to
familiar with ‘Tire Kickers’, although not specific to
trade shows, since it’s origin is from used car lots, it is where we have seen the most concentration
any given event over the years. I am sure, some will disagree and claim they have seen
more together in one place somewhere else. In the grand scheme of things, the fact that ‘Tire Kickers’ exist
everywhere is enough.
This time of year baseball has it’s own brand of ‘Tire Kickers’,
the front office people for some clubs transform into these at this time of
year. All the ranting and raving as fans will change none of
that, yes we are all armchair GM’s at some time and we all know what
is best for the teams we help through the season by cheering for them relentlessly
regardless of how they actually perform.
Not every team’s front office can legitimately transform, the Phillies
front office has transformed and can on occasion be seen ‘Kicking Tires’ in
places like Houston, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Washington, and rumor has it even
The Phillies of recent years have done relatively well by
‘Kicking Tires’ till the deadline makes them transform back to actual decision
makers, lets hope this year is Werth the wait. There are those Phillie fans who
think some players are Werth keeping, regardless of performance or contribution,
I think this year the Phillies should make a stab at a good starting pitcher to
assist the teams continued run at post season and if the offer a Werth-while
everyday player then so be it.
In an effort to curb some disdain by the fair weather booing fans, or just to
show they are action minded, they decided Milt Thompson should join the over
crowded list of unemployed in this country. In just the few days since this
occurred the ever drivelous incoherent commentator booth add on of Gary ‘Sarge’
Matthews has pointed out pertinent hitting features for players that apparently
weren’t there two or three days ago, after weeks of telling us what they were
doing wrong at the plate, yet insists he doesn’t want another hitting coaches
job. If you’ve been watching the Phillies for a number of years now you’ll all
remember similar style of added information from non other than Joe Kerrigan
when he was on the Comcast post game show, right before he weaseled his way into
the pitching coach job for Bowa.
Since I’ve missed a few days or more, the Phillies, after the
ASG break have….
….given 3 out of 4 to the sCrUBs and given 3 out of 4 to the
Cards, while on the road, back at home they currently have won the first 2 of a
4 game set against the Rockies with game 3 being played today at CBP. They actually
managed to knock Ubaldo Jimenez out of the game in 2 plus innings, but
today is another day and it all starts again, especially for JA Happ who is back
with the club, his last start was in April and has been on the DL, rehabbing and
just plain getting back into the swing of things.
Just a Thought:
If a player can have specific balls put into the game when
it’s his at bat, what stops teams from rotating balls in and out for home team
hitters and away hitters. I know a ball is a ball is a ball, but if the Rockies
can process their balls to reduce flight, why can’t teams do that for visiting
teams and process for increased flight for home hitters. I know many will
dismiss this as just another conspiracy with no substance, but isn’t anything
possible in this day and age, and won’t teams grab every advantage they can fair
or foul…. the big prize seems to cloud the judgment of people in and around
sports, no matter what the sport.
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.
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.