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.
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.
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
….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,
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.
What did we miss in the last few days.
Nationals Sneak a Win
Thursday, April 15th, 2010 – Philadelphia,
The Phillies tried to sweep the Nats, but as we saw last year
on those days that the Phillies decided to have some type of ceremony
the team didn’t meet the expectations on the field. This
year seems to be going that way too, with the presentation of the 2009 NL
Championship rings on Thursday before the final game against the Washington
Nationals, this laid down the jinx and the Phillies failed
to deliver. It was not a very fitting end to a day that honored Jackie
Robinson and saw 19 current Phillies receive the rings.
All seemed to be good up to the 8 inning, Baez came in to pitch the 8th
and hold a 3 run lead, for Madson. Unfortunately the reason Baez
was acquired did not pan out in this game he gave up 3 runs, which allowed the Washington
Nationals to tie the game at 5-5, then in the 9th Madson gave up
a couple giving the Nationals the win.
The good news was that Happ pitched 5 good innings, although his pitch
count was high, he only gave up 1 run on 3 hits. Utley managed to hit his
5th home run of the year and his 3rd in consecutive games. Polanco is
still hitting at a plus .450 clip and doesn’t look like slowing down soon.
Halladay has Fish on Friday
Friday, April 16th, 2010 – Philadelphia,
Roy ‘The Doc’ Halladay faced the Florida Marlins
Friday, some say after facing less than dominant teams, this weekend against the
Marlins would be the real tell for the Phillies. Halladay
stepped up like an old time mailman and delivered through rain and sleet, well
okay no sleet, but he delivered regardless of the weather conditions, which
seemed to bother the Marlins manager.
Halladay was all business, even when it came to the 8th
inning and he had an 8-1 lead, and was holding the Fish to just a
hand full of hits, the intensity he showed was that as if it was a tied game in
Even though the umpires let the game go on through the rain,
it was clear that the Marlins manager was doing all he could to
try and get a delay, primarily to get Halladay out as early as
possibly, since his players were going nowhere fast against him. In fact Halladay
was the main reason Florida’s Cantu had his record run of
It wasn’t just Halladay that caused the Fish
to have a slow day, even though I am told fish like the rain, believe it or not
the empty bench in the picture of Halladay, does not infer that the rest
of the players took the day off, Halladay had some very good defense
behind him too, even Raul Ibanez got into the act, showing that age
hasn’t stopped him taking the needed dives to make a catch, obviously events
like this, especially in the rain draw comments from his fellow team mates, I
think it took another 2 batters for Victorino to stop poking fun at Ibanez
for his attempt at gaining as much air time as an NBA player.
It’s still early in the season and with a 6 run lead going
into the 9th Manuel didn’t want to tax Halladay too much, so after last
it was time to see if the Pen could step up and show that they could hold
a 6 run lead.
In steps Herndon, a rule 5 pick from the Angels,
who won this spot fair and square at spring training, I just hope that this was
just a glitch in his capabilities, because he managed to give up 4 runs and only
get out 1 hitter, now this is a little unfair to him, because the rain was still
coming down and everyone that came up to bat seemed to hit a little bloop in the
infield or to a spot where no one was and everyone kept going point to point. So
Charlie had seen enough, made his AT&T call to the bullpen
using up those roll over minutes, although by now he was on his unlimited nights
and weekends minutes. This time it was Madson called upon to find out if
the Pen is mightier than the Sword, or Sword Fish in this case.
As it happens ‘Mad Dog’ Madson was mightier, it took
just 6 pitches to get the final 2 outs and give Halladay his 3rd win as
the Phillies ace.
WTF Saturday all around baseball
Saturday, April 17th, 2010,
Jamie Moyer took the mound for the Phillies
and Norlasco for the Marlins, the 1st inning was the Moyers
achilles heel, he gave up 5 runs, and that was it, after that he struck out 7
through the next 5 innings. Norlasco for the Marlins was
just as devastating and held the Phillies bats in check, he was on
target for a shut out game except for Jason Werth’s 9th inning home run,
ironically his first of the season. The Fish went on to win 5-1
against a Phillies offense that seemed to be sleeping all night.
Boston Red Sox has been hosting the Tampa
Bay Rays this weekend, Friday nights game got rain out and since it was
tied up at 1-1 they postponed it till Saturday, hoping to squeeze it in before
the start of the scheduled Saturday game, I am sure no-one expected this to go
to 12 innings, but it did and the Rays came out on top, the
scheduled game started late, obviously, but only went 9 innings and also saw the
Rays squeeze another win at Fenway by a score of 6-5, I am sure
there are some Tampa fans with brooms in hand for Sunday’s game.
Well this was one of those games where even the commentators
were wondering if anyone had the capacity to end this game, I’m guessing that
the Mets bench figured the only guy that could possible end it
would get walked and so he did 4 times, although in 20 innings and 9 times at
home plate with a bat in his hand, 4 walks wasn’t bad, and as it also turns out
he got the only Cardinals run in the 19th. Both these teams were
suffering from some variation of the ‘canthitaball-phobia’, both teams
posted a lot of ‘zeros’, over the 20 innings of work, this was definitely
a marathon no-one expected, just like the outcome, Mets finally
won it 2-1.
There has been a lot of hype in spring training and early on in this season
about how good the Atlanta pitching
staff is, personally I think hype is all it is, yes they are good, but it’s more
about the only thing the Braves can push in order to try and make Bobby
Cox’s final year a pay off year. Anyway during the Phillies
game the commentators started to mention a no-hitter going on in Atlanta,
I thought okay, maybe I was wrong, so I flicked to the Atlanta
game to see the Rockies up 4-0 and Jimenez for the Rockies
throwing the no-hitter, okay so he had 6 walks, but he also had 6 strike outs, I
have to admit he wasn’t the first pitcher I would have selected to throw a
no-hitter this season, in fact I didn’t expect a no-hitter before mid May from
anyone in baseball, so to see one this early, by a guy who obviously needed all
the stars to align for this to happen, and for it to happen against a team who
has been hyped for it’s pitching staff, in my eyes definitely wins the ‘WTF’
award for April. I know there’s still lots of playing time in April, but it
would take a Kyle Kendrick to throw a no-hitter to beat this ‘WTF’.
This was a game of games, it was a battle of the pitchers, the first 2 innings was 1 game, a pitchers duel, not the way you’d expect a pitchers duel, instead of strike out and non hitting batters, it was a duel on who would stay in the longest, who would give up the most hits and runs and who would throw the most pitches. It turns out both starting pitchers got to take early showers, for Stamman of the Nats managed just 53 pitches through 1.1 innings, giving up 7 runs on 7 hits and Kendrick of the Phillies managed 52 pitches through just 1.2 innings giving up 6 runs on 6 hits.
The game was also a game of offensive plays with hits, runs and walks being in good supply, the Phillies relief pitcher Figueroa, got in on that part of the game, with 2 at bats he picked up 2 hits and a run, on the mound he threw 3.1 innings and gave up 1 run on 2 hits. Chad Durbin also pitching in relief and threw 2 shut down innings on 24 pitches. For the Nats, English came out of the pen and shut the Phillies down for 2.2 innings, but after that the Phillies bats came alive, with both Victorino and Utley going deep, it was Utley’s 2nd homer of the game, Victorino also managed a bases clearing triple after the bases were loaded in the 7th, just a double short of a cycle in this the first game he was in the lead off spot with J-Roll on the DL, Wilson Valdez was added to the roster to replace J-Roll.
By the 9th inning the Phillies had 14 hits, 14 runs and 5 walks, while holding the Nats to 10 hits and 7 runs. The Phillies are on a roll to start this season, some are comparing it to the 93 season when the team went start to finish on top of the division, personally without putting a damper on things remember who we’ve played, the Nats and the Astros, lets wait till then end of the month when we will have played at least a couple of other teams before awarding ourselves something we haven’t won.
The game had it’s other moments with Polanco picking up another 2 hits to maintain a .486 batting average, yep it’s still early, but if he keeps this up I’ll be screaming MVP, the Phillies bench also saw the 3 lefties deep in conversation, actually more like Moyer conversing, Hamels smiling and Happ just staring into space, but still could be a caption picture later on in the season, depending on how these 3 progress.
In summary the Phillies add another 14 hits and 14 runs to the already inflated numbers they have, it’s tough this time of year to do the customary comparisons because with the limited games played and the fact that some teams have played 2 or 3 games more than others it can be very deceiving. So lets just say the Phillies have a lot of offensive numbers and it’s “Ripley’s Time“, because believe it or not they are ranked last in MLB for strike outs.
Celebrations are running
Commiserations go out to all
The Phillies and the Rockies
…Martinez has experience
With the extra day the
… so tonight, weather permitting
The Yankees and the Angels
Today will definitely be a
For this fan I just have 2
GO PHILLIES and GO EAGLES…
As normal, with large mug of
What made me think it could
Was it that Charlie Manual
…NO…that could be
Was it that the new star of
…NO… that too could be
Maybe it was rumors that the
… NO… that was
It wasn’t even sports
I just hope tomorrow puts me
What’s in store for the Phillies
33 Games in 33 Days…
So the end of season
Offense and Defense…
The same guys that have
The pitching staff seem to
Cliff Lee, took
Cole Hamels, last
JA Happ, has
Joe Blanton, the
Jamie Moyer, Although
The Bull Pen seems
With the ability to load up
More to come over the
Well it looks as though
Last night we had a rain
Howard’s Homers was on
His swing was almost
It was one of those events
My guess though is he was
Since they were up by 3
What could these guys be
So many choices what is a
Tuesday will be here soon
When a team has got a lead going into the final inning of a baseball game it’s the closers job to come in and shut down the opposition so that your team gets the win. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the 9th, 10th or even more, and it doesn’t matter if your at home or on the road, it is without a doubt the primary responsibility of the closer to secure that win.
Yesterday in Atlanta the Phillies did exactly that, Cole Hamels pitched good, for him this season, through 6 innings, giving up just 2 runs on 3 hits, okay he walked 4, but still considering how he has performed this year, when it came to crunch time and the Phillies needed a good outing he gave us one.
The bullpen came in to relieve Hamels in the 7th inning and gave another good performance, shutting the Braves down in the 7th and 8th innings. So now its up to the closer, Brad Lidge, to enter the game and not give anything away. We have all seen him this year, but Charlie Manuel and his coaches still have confidence in Lidge to come out and do his job. Maybe its time to re-think Charlie, Lidge is not cutting it at the moment. Yes the error by Utley didn’t help, but then loading the bases, because your afraid of the strike zone doesn’t help either.
Trying to blow magic on your hand, like a magician, isn’t going to work Lidge, you shouldn’t have loaded the bases in the first place.
If this wasn’t a message to Charlie Manuel then I don’t know what would be, and if Lidge can’t do it, if he has some inner- self that’s giving him a hang-up, then he should be a man and tell Charlie, and save us all the continued embarrassment of sending a closer out there that nobody is afraid to face.
I could offer up some suggestions, I am sure many a blogger will, I am also sure many fans that don’t blog here will be commenting at the ZoZone about what should be done and how to do it, but the bottom line is you get paid to make those decisions Charlie and it’s time you made one regarding Lidge. You had no trouble telling us “it’s for the best interest of the team”, when you sent Moyer to the pen, so how about that same attitude regarding the closers spot.
Today JA Happ goes to the mound, I just hope if this is a tight game and the Phillies have the lead at the end, we use an alternative to Lidge…