2010 Phillies Year in Review

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
during 2010….

 

Here’s hoping you all have a very happy and safe New Year….

 

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WTF Award for August goes to….

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.

xxxx, nude, naked, phillies, mlb, pujols, cards, obama, wtf, whitehouse, sex, scandal, nfl, teens, iphone, droid, whitehouseAugust 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..

xxxx, nude, naked, phillies, mlb, pujols, cards, obama, wtf, whitehouse, sex, scandal, terrrorism, angry, fight, scream, scary, hoaxThe 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.

xxxx, nude, naked, phillies, mlb, pujols, cards, obama, wtf, whitehouse, sex, scandal, houston, astros, lol, texting, appsOn 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.

xxxx, nude, naked, phillies, mlb, pujols, cards, obama, wtf, whitehouse, sex, scandal, iphone, att,verizon, cubsTalking 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….

xxxx, nude, naked, phillies, mlb, pujols, cards, obama, wtf, whitehouse, sex, scandal

….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.


Visions Part Deux …..

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.

AL WEST

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.

AL CENTRAL

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.

AL EAST

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.

NL WEST

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.

NL CENTRAL

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.

NL EAST

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, it’ll 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.


Strasburg Hyper Interest Tension Syndrome

– PhilliesOutside –

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
right.

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
Deficit Disorder’
,
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
for peanuts”.

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
‘anti-hot’ phase.

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.

The
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.


Virals and Conspiracies ….

– PhilliesOutside –

There are something’s happening in baseball that just don’t compute, if
baseball was a computer game you’d be running some virus protection or a seek
and destroy program, because you’d be convinced there was a virus of some kind
affecting the program.

It’s not just the fact that the Phillies are probably in the worst stretch in
the history of the club, it’s not that they gave up 12 runs in 3 innings
to the BoSox last night, but when you look at everything going on you’ve got
to question the reality of the situation. When normally the Phillies bats launch
balls into oblivion, you’ve got opposing players that do that and Phillies balls
seem to die as they reach the warning track. It’s not just the Phillies either,
how does the St. Louis Cardinals get swept 2 times in 2 months, and not just
swept by contending teams, we’re talking Astros and Dodgers.

There is actually a long list of divisional things that have happened or are
happening that seem just out of place, one or two of them okay but every
division there is at least two things going on that seems out of place. Ask the Giants
fans or the ChiSox fans or even the Rays
and Yankees fans, everywhere there is just
something a little odd.

I have watched
the Phillies and I have watched other teams
games and it seems like the same thing
going on, the teams that have been leading things all of a sudden are hitting
weak fly balls instead of homers, and balls that look as if they are a weak fly
balls go deep into the stands. Doubles by one team score runs yet by another it
puts players on 2nd and 3rd or turns out to be a long single. This, I understand
is how baseball can be, and from time to time this will appear somewhat odd,
like the fans of some teams have just a little to much go juice at times and
appear over-hyped as we saw at the Rays v Marlins
game last night.

There is one thing I have noticed with the Phillies this year, the
bats, they aren’t shattering like they have done over the last few years, is
this the norm across baseball or is it just certain bat suppliers or makers that
links this occurrence. I know it sounds like the ‘BAT CONSPIRACY’, that’s
because it probably is a conspiracy.

Then we have the ‘INTER-LEAGUE CONSPIRACY’, I know everything
is a conspiracy today, just asking is all how does the two New York teams
draw probably the best inter-league schedule. You know the place where MLB
makes everything happen, the place where the officials of MLB get
drunk with the folks from the Yankees and
the Mets (if it’s dark and they can’t be
seen),
yeah, that city, the city where everyone plays fair, the city where
nothing happens under the table or in a dark corner of a deserted underground
parking garage, you got it, the place umpires call if they have any doubt
about a home run ball, the city where everyone is unbiased because they don’t
have a favorite team, okay I made my point, maybe, unless your a New York
fan then you think I am being petty, I probably am, after the BoSox
v Phillies game last night I am entitled to
be petty.

Where was I, oh yeah, ‘INTER-LEAGUE CONSPIRACY’ and the New
York
schedule, so the Yankees get to
play Arizona and Houston, yeah there
tough ones, and the Mets get to play, Baltimore
and Cleveland, again tough scheduling, all
we can hope for is that the ‘unknown happening’ in the baseball
universe happens during those series.

Back to today and the World Cup is off and running with 2 games
gone and both games ended in a draw, don’t forget at 2.30 est today the long
awaited match-up of…..

…then it’s straight into the next round of the Phillies
and Boston demolition derby.


The Perfect Game….

– PhilliesOutside –

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.


Weekend from Hell ….

– PhilliesOutside –

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
my
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.