Strasburg vs Stanton ….

– PhilliesOutside –

I hear you saying Stanton wasn’t opposing Strasburg last night,
Stanton wasn’t the pitcher for the Pirates, and your right, it was
Stanton vs Strasburg in major league debut’s and although Strasburg
got the over-hyped coverage, personally I think Stanton will do more for
his club in the long run.

It was a day when the world would see the over-hyped Stephen Strasburg pitch
in his long awaited major league debut for the Washington Nationals at home to the
Pittsburgh Pirates, what more could you ask for, oh yeah, a sell out crowd, got that too.
The question is did everyone get their monies worth, most analysts, well
probably all of them will give a resounding ‘YES’ you did, on the night, you probably did, 14 strike outs through 7 innings, okay it’s not perfect,
he gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and he threw a lot of pitches really fast. Now any
normal person knows that the majority are going to expect the same if not better
the next time, and the next time, and the next time, and so on and so on, etc.
etc.

This we don’t know if it will happen, we know that the chances are it won’t happen, cause he’ll
come up against a team that loves the fast ball and is hotter than hell at the
plate and he’ll be lucky to go 5 innings, but till then he can bask in his glory
and the Nationals can have the pleasure of knowing that the over-hyped major
league debut, much like most things in Washington, was very well controlled and
we got to see what they wanted us to see.

 

The media over shadowed the major league debut of someone who, I believe,
will end up giving
more to his team and more to baseball in the long run than the over-hyped Strasburg, if you didn’t know the under-hyped
Michael Stanton made his
major league debut for the Florida Marlins in right field last night. The
expectation is that he will give to the Marlins what
Jason Heyward is giving to
the Braves, a young talented outfielder with a bat that can knock them out with
the best of them. He had a really good outing last night, albeit against the
Phillies
pitcher that is in the rotation by default, the fact that J.A. Happ is
still on the DL means Kendrick is still in the rotation, but he is a major
league pitcher, and Stanton came out of the chute swinging and got himself a
base hit in his first at bat, I tip my cap to Michael Stanton, he looked
good and he was far from cocky about his talents, he paid a lot of attention to
the game and other players on the field while he was in the dugout, he should
have no problem keeping his head on
straight and doing what it is he does best, play ball. I’m thinking this year
the Home Run Derby should have a special section that sees some
rookies get in on the action, like, Stanton, Heyward, Donald, Desmond to
mention just some of them.

 

It was also a night that saw the Phillies do something’s that haven’t been
seen for sometime in Philadelphia, all those doubters that didn’t believe it was going to
happen, well it did, During April they ‘did it’ 9 out of 22
times
, during the first
17 days of May they ‘did it’, 8 out of 16 times, May 17th was the last time they
‘did it’, and last night they ‘did it’ again, they scored 7 or more runs in 1 game,
well last night they scored double digit runs, another first since May 17th,
with a few fielding errors the Phillies managed to pull out a win with a come
from behind 8th inning. Carlos Ruiz was the only starter that didn’t hit, but he
drew two walks so he’s forgiven, Ben Francisco had a couple of
fielding errors out in right field that cost the Phillies
runs, but made up for some of that with a timely hit in the 8th to drive in 2
runs, which was all the Phillies would
ultimately need to win, but he was followed by Ibanez who drove in the
final run of the night to give the Phillies
10 runs on 13 hits, Ibanez broke out with a 4 for 5 night, while Howard
and Victorino both hit homers. All in all it was like spring break, it
was…..

….without the boobs.

 

Finally the MLB Draft, I hope one of the best picks this year
will turn out to be Perci Garner, Pick #77 by the Phillies.
Good luck to Perci on his MLB career, from the small town of Dover,
Ohio
.

 

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Charity Begins at Home…

Over the weekend the Phillies at home were very charitable to the Florida Marlins, the Phillies, we hope, have moved on from that, now someone else should take a turn to be charitable at home.

On the road this week, with the road trip opener at Wrigley Field it was hopeful that the Cubs would be the one’s to be charitable at home, as luck would have it they obliged, at first it didn’t look as if they wanted to be nice and play the charity game, the Phillies had to show then the way to encourage them.

J.A. Happ started the ball rolling by giving the Cubs a taste of the charity bug…

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through 6 innings he gave the Cubs, 11 base runners and 2 runs…

During those 6 innings where Happ was trying to encourage the Cubs with his charity work, you would have thought that…

Harden was more interested in pitching a perfect game…


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I think he must have started to feel guilty about all the fine charity work Happ had been doing for the Cubs, and realised that charity begins at home, 1 out in the 6th inning he very charitably gave us, (the Phillies), our first base runner. Yes, I have to admit it came out of the blue and was not expected, hoped for, but not expected, I am sure he felt bad that our guys couldn’t hit his pitches.

Mr Harden very kindly gave up a walk to our very own 8th hole hitter and #1 catcher…

Carlos Ruiz…


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and of course he graciously accepted the free pass to 1st base


with Ruiz on first and 1 out, Happ who having seen the charitable donation by Harden bunted the ball into the air, high enough to allow 1st baseman, Lee, to make a spectacular diving catch to give them 2 outs, 1 on in the 6th. Now is when you would find out if Harden was truely playing the charity begins at home game. With Rollins at the plate, having swung at the very first pitch of the game making a lame infield out, on one pitch, was now looking to Harden to be charitable, so as not to make himself (J-Roll) look so foolish again.

Rollins being a recovered struggling lead-off man had become greedy…


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he wasn’t content with a line drive hit, he had to go the whole 9 yards, or in this case 350+ feet into the bleechers for a home run.


Now with the game tied at 2 each we were in the 7th and Harden had gotten the charity bug really bad, with a hit and a walk and a fly ball he managed to have a couple on 2nd and 3rd base, Piniella, wanted to do his part, but wasn’t sure what that was,


so he wandered out to the mound to ask his players


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they weren’t exactly sure what his charitable role should be,


so he asked the homeplate umpire, who I am guessing told him staying in his dug out was more than anyone could hope for, so with his, out of this world, I’m on something look about him, he aimlessly wandered back to the dugout as if he forgot why he went out to the mound in the first place. so the Phillies, feeling sorry for Piniella did the charitable thing and got themselves out of the inning.


The 8th inning came around and the Cubs felt Harden had done enough giving, so they sent Marmol to the mound to keep up the charity work, Marmol turned out to be in a very giving mood,


his charitable donations started with a walk to Ruiz


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Dobbs came in as a pinch hitter and gave himself up with a lazy fly ball, Rollins tried to take advantage of Marmol’s kindness, but the inbound wind prevented another charitable donation of a ball into the bleechers. Marmol wasn’t very happy with his donations so far, he decided to give some more, so he hit Victorino with a pitch, who by the way was on his best behaviour, he didn’t charge at anyone today, then Marmol walked Utley to load the bases, then his generosity got the better of him, he walked Howard to push Ruiz across the plate for the go ahead run.


What could be more exciting than this, 1 run lead bottom of the 9th, time for the Phillies closer, who last year was putting the fear of god into every hitter he faced, this year however he’s putting the fear of god into the fans for every hitter he faces.


Don’t worry though this was a giving game so the Cubs would give themselves up for Lidge…


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Someone should have explained the rules of charity begins at home to Lidge.


He thought he was the one supposed to be doing the giving, cause he gave them a walk , a hit and a run to even the score 3-3.


Each side played the charity thing as best they could into the 12th inning, then the Cubs didn’t realise that Francisco is new to the National League and doesn’t fully understand,


with Francisco at the plate…


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Gregg tossed a donation to him…


Francisco, not really understanding everything in the NL, sent the ball on a line drive to left field and instead of it hitting the wall it dropped nicely into the basket on top of the left field wall. Once again the Phillies get the go ahead run. This time the make sure everyone is aware that it’s the home team giving the charitable donations,


fresh off the DL, Chad Durbin comes into to halt the donations…


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and halt them he did, Durbin picked up his 2nd save on the season,


giving up a charitable walk, and a strike out he gave the Phillies the win in the opener of a 3 game set in Chicago.


With this game in the bag, I thought I would just flip over and see if the Rays could do the same to the Angels,


I was just in time to see…


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Crawford let a ball go to the fence and give the Halo’s 3 more runs…


this was not what I hoped for, the Angels bea the Rays 6-0, but it was somewhat ironic in a way since these 2 games had something in common, just different outcomes.


The Cubs and Angels each had 10 hits, the Rays and Phillies each had 3 hits, but the outcome was the Angels had 6 runs and the Rays 0, while the Phillies ended with 4 runs and the Cubs 3 runs.


Tomorrows game at Wrigley sees the return of Martinez, in a Phillies uniform for the first time, ironic that his last game in the majors was against the Cubs. All Philly fans are looking for the win, and all are very curious as to how Martinez will fair in his first start after fan favorite Moyer was bumped from the rotation to make room for him.


Phillies Struggles Continue…

Game 2 against the Marlins in this 3 game series was again an eratic performance, this time they managed to give up a lead and throw the game in a 6-4 loss.

Cole Hamels pitched in manner consistant with his seasonhamelsalter-ego.jpg performance, very up and down, one minute he looks like no one could touch him, the next they are hitting everything he throws. So it turned out to be another shortened outing for him where he gave up 4 runs, then the bullpen started off with excellent command, and yet they also manged to give up 2 runs with 2 outs.

The defense and offense again was spuradic to say the least, offensivly, Howard who seamed to be the only one with anything to offer, helped by Feliz and Ibanez, but not all at the same time.

Defense, they weren’t bad, they had some good plays, but I have reviewed the games since these issues have arisen, which I believe to be during the recent west coast trip, it all started in Arizona. Victorino got injured, which wasn’t really a problem, since it came at the time Francisco joined the team, but when Victorino returned to play he didn’t quite seem right, he played more shallow than normal and that seemed to put all the outfielders in positions where they were not able to catch up to long fly balls as often as they had in the past. The infield also didn’t seem to be in the right spots either, or they were juggling balls they would normally play cleanly.

Are the coaches adjusting the fielders locations correctly, according to who is hitting, and who is pitching, and in what manner they are pitching? This does not seem to be the case, so for this I do not entirely blame the players, but will lay blame for at least 40% of the missed fly balls, or miss infield hits, squarely on the shoulders of the coaches, instead of sucking up to Charlie, or having fun in the dug out, WATCH THE GAME, and adjust the outfielders accordingly, just because were the current World Series Champions, it doesn’t mean we don’t play by the basic’s….

Today Jamie Moyer is on the mound, he has in the past dominated the Marlins, however, the defense and offense must show up to play and support his efforts, since he is a fly ball pitcher, they have to get their positioning right to prevent the extra base hits…


Alumni Weekend, Kalas Induction, Fish sink Phils…

It was the start of Alumni weekend at CBP, and before tonight’s game they inducted Harry Kalas onto the Phillies Wall of Fame. The activities delayed the start of tonight’s game, but it was all well worth it. A number of the Phillies Alumni were in attendance and were surprised by Harry’s voice being the one to introduce them to the waiting fans.

Yes there was a game tonight, the Phillies and the Fish, went at it in a 3 game series opener, for the Phillies it was Joe Blanton on the mound and he was squaring off against the Marlins right hander Nolasco. This in my mind (which is a little warped and sometimes x-rated) should have been a chance for Blanton to get his 8th win on the year and prove his recent solid performances will continue on through the rest on the season. (sigh) Blanton showed up to pitch, which is always a good sign, and as all good pitchers in a starting rotation do, from time to time, he had a little bit of a shaky start, but settled in and pitched well through 6 2/3 innings, the problem was the Phillies defense and offense decided to take a night off.

The only player who really showed up to give 110% was Francisco, the new arrival from the Cleveland trade. Since Victorino was again suffering, this time from a slight quad strain, Francisco got a starting role. In an effort to get the defense fired up he threw a bullet in from the outfield to gun down a runner at the plate to end the top of the 7th inning, then his continuing efforts were trying to jump the offense into action he hit a 2 run home run to left field which landed in the flowers beds, in the bottom of the 7th inning. Unfortunately for Blanton, he was out of the game by this time, but it was still, too little too late, the Phillies could do little to support his efforts and they ended up losing 3-2.

One thing that, again in my mind, (see previous note about my mind), I found entertaining was the presence of one of my favorite Phillies players from seasons past. It took me a while to find this picture in my archives, and it was the only one that I had that showed the mullet hanging out of the cap. How times change.

Okay so he’s not on everyone’s list of Philadelphia’s finest players, he didn’t really carve anything specific into the Phillies history books, but for me he was and still is the type of character I like to see.

Scandal Brewing or was this just innocent:

The Yankees and the Red Sox go 14 shut out innings, then bottom 15th 1 on 2 out A-Rod at the plate….‘possibly’ deep in the depths of the new Yankee stadium the under paid supporters of A-Rod were discreetly turning all the AC fans to suction mode for the left field, bullpen area. A-Rod hits his home run then in an effort to prevent discovery he sends a electronic signal to the guys below to switch the AC fans back to normal,

 how else do you explain the shortened celebration and anxious run toward the dugout while messing with something obviously hidden in his uniform… these questions need answers….

 


the CLIFF LEE show….

Cliff Lee made his debut as a Philadelphia Philly last night in San Francisco, he was acquired this week by the Phillies as a top addition to the Phillies starting rotation, this was his first start for a National League team having spent his major league career with the Cleveland Indians.

This was a chance for the fans and the Philly players to see what Ruben Amaro Jr. had acquired for the team, before the game Dubee and Manuel had said ‘they would sit back and watch, mostly, so they could see what he could do’.

Now before everyone gets overly excited and thinks that he is being put on a pedestal with expectations way above what he could possibly deliver, we all must understand it’s his first game and this cannot be expected every time he goes to the mound… you can hope… but don’t expect it. With that said Cliff Lee came out last night and looked like a natural born NL starting pitcher, the Phillies wanted a pitcher and they got one.

He showed poise and confidence….

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He showed he could field his position…

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and the Kung-Fu Panda was no match…

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and this was just the 1st inning…

What we didn’t know was, could he swing a bat?…

he showed us…


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not just once but twice…

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he hit a single and a double, with a short sharp swing, you’d almost think he had been through an intense Utley hitting course.

and he was enjoying it…

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but how would he fit in with the other Philly players?….

How couldn’t you fit in with the guys in the dugout….

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Cliff Lee is officially a Philly….

Yes there was other players on the field, and they all played their parts with the normal characteristics that the Philly players have, this may have only been a 5-1 win for the Phils, but if they had really hit with RISP, it could have been double digits for the Phil’s.

Ben Francisco had another start in place of the injured Victorino, who by the way, probably wont be back till Tuesday is my guess, had another good game with hard hits at each at bat, he picked up a hit and an RBI.

Well done!! the front office for the new players, initial showings make them an excellent fit for the reigning World Series Champions.

Joe Blanton the Phillies work horse, goes today against Lincecum, Phillies have had a tendancy to come alive when facing the Ace of the opposition, lets hope this happens tonight…


D-Backs Freeze Phil’s Bats….

It was another hot night in Phoenix, with the news of the days trading activities that brought Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco into the Phillies organization, it was an opportunity for the team to show the new arrivals how good they really are with a sweep in Arizona.victorinodive.jpg Unfortunately this was not to happen, Petit who started this game for the D-Backs was 0-5 on the year, but to watch him pitch tonight you would think he had been 5-0, he kept the Phillies hitters off balance and swinging wildly at the plate, the only 2 Philly players that even was remotely succesful off him was Howard and Ibanez, both picking up 2 hits off him.

Victorino, was shut down completely, in a rare shortened game for him. The bottom of the 1st inning with a runner on first Victorino made an unbelieveable diving catch in the outfield, somewhere it appeared a spike got caught, then his glove under victorinopain.jpghis body, regardless he held onto the ball for the 2nd out of the inning, however as he started to come to his feet you could see some pain showing in his expression. As with team mates Werth came over to check him out, but Shane was definately walking with a slight limp as he moved back towards center field. He would leave later in the game and is now listed as day to day.

The very next hitter, Upton, launched a ball to left field just clearing the fench and missing Ibanez’s glove for a 2 run home run. That was all Happ would allow the D-backs for the 6 innings he pitched, Happ may not have
victorino-werth.jpgbeen the winner today, but showed maturity and quality with every pitch after the home run holding the D-Backs to just 1 more hit.

The Phillies bullpen also gave up 2 runs, giving the D-Backs a 4-0 shut out over the reigning World Series champions.

The Phillies head to San Francisco for a 4 game set and to meet up with their new team mates, it was reported yesterday on MLB Network, from other media sources that Lee would wear #34, since Lopez had the #31 shirt, but who knows that could change and Francisco would wear the #10, they also reported that Lee would start Saturday, but as yet that is unconfirmed, as reports say Charlie hasn’t decided yet.

In other news, the AP are reporting that New York is offering free airline tickets to anywhere in the world for homeless people, there are obviously some provisions attached, I am just speculating but could this seriously affect the Mets fan base, or this an attempt by the Yankees to try and strong arm the Mets team out of New York, only time will tell. AP further reports that this practice has been going on since 2007 and some 550 families have been sent somewhere else in the world, because their homeless and New York would rather they weren’t in New York…. Watch out Florida, they may be sending some new Marlins or Rays fans your way…


Phillies and the Tribe, Do the Deal of the Year……(UPDATED)

I have decided to update this entry, having had more time to consider everything, not much more, but some more, while this update is still in the state of flux awaiting the physicals, which I am told is just a routine thing now, I have added the update at the end of this entry…..

 

The Phillies get left handed, Cy Young winnerCliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Indians, they also get to keep JA Happ and Drabek. In return thleecliff.jpge Phillies are sending prospects, Jason Knapp (RHP), Carlos Carrasco (RHP), Jason Donald (SS), and Lou Marson (catcher) to Cleveland.

This will definately make the Phillies rotation a left handed ‘DOMINATION ROTATION’ depending on how they line the guys up, the Phillies now have an over abundance of starters, once Martinez gets through his rehab work, it could also line the bull pen with fresh strong arms, something the Phillies are in need of on the road to the post season.

As good as this deal is, it does not guarantee the Phillies a post season, hard work and continued strong team play is what will get them there.

Well done Ruben Amaro, Jr, I think your first big trade deadline deal is a good one and the fans should be very happy with the outcome.

What of Halladay, well I have said all along I didn’t think the Jays were serious, but who knows, I say go at it, let the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox get into a bidding war if they want him.

With Lee out in LA the chances are he will join the Phillies when they hit San Francisco.

 

UPDATE: 

This update is nothing more than further considerations of what this deal really means, or what we gave and what we got. Many of the comments on the main news story blogs, both Philadelphia and Cleveland are calling this a one sided trade, and initially it looked like that even to me, but consider this, it only appears one sided because it didn’t include Drabek or Happ, thats it, that the bone of contention from everyone. Now the names Drabek and Happ were thrown around by the media and the Jays as must haves for the Phillies to land Halladay. Look at the Phillies counter offer, this is what the Phillies thought Halladay was worth.. whats the difference between that and this trade, Happ and Knapp plus Marson and Taylor, so when you look deep at this it really was much of a price drop in the eyes of the Phillies front office to get Lee… I hope I have made this clear enough to at least generate some consideration that this wasn’t such a one sided deal….