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
.

 


Phillies Swat Nats…

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 hitskend-fig.jpg 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
victo-dugout.jpgshut 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 finishpoly-lefties.jpg 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.

 


The Race is on…

Race for the N.L. East Division Title…

Looking at how the Phillies have been playing of late, I thought this division was going to be the closest run contest, but having seen how the Rockies and Dodgers are playing, the N.L. West could produce the biggest upset in September.

The teams in the N.L. East will all play a major role in the way this division unfolds during September, everybody plays everybody, so I am going to do a brief review of each team and the role they could play.

The Washington Nationals (47-90) in my opinion will have the biggest impact on the outcome of this division race. There current strategy seems to be reviewing players and setting up the team to go into the off season, so they can best decide who to trade and who to keep, plus they are looking at what areas they will need to fill during the off-season so as to not end up with the worst record in baseball in the 2010 season.

The Nats play everyone in the division which means they will be a spoiler and a helper, who they will help and who’s hope’s they will spoil is yet to be seen. They could even have a hand in the N.L. West with (2) 3 games still scheduled against the Dodgers. They host 3 games against the Phillies starting today (Tuesday, Sept 8th) and with the way the Phillies have been playing of late anything could happen.

The New York Mets (62-75) currently are in an ‘argumentum ad misericordiam’ state. They cannot decide if self-pity or pity from the fans right, considering the new stadium, the pre-season hype then the injuries, the ball park not very player friendly and of course the cross town Yankees doing so well, they are desperately seeking a ‘It’s NOT our fault’ acceptance from the not so fair weather fans.

Although they do play everyone in the division, the role of the Mets is more likely to be a deciding factor in where and how the Marlins and Braves finish.

The Atlanta Braves (70-67) are fighting to hold onto a winning record and at the same time desperately trying to stay in the wild card race. They are only 8 games back in the division race, but with Florida and the Phillies ahead of them, they would have to sweep both team during games this month and they only have 3 against the division leading Phillies. the wild card has it’s own challenges, currently 7 1/2 games out they have to hope the 3 teams ahead of them completely collapse.

They will probably be more inclined to spoil the chances of the Marlins while maintaining a winning record this year.

The Florida Marlins (72-65) are the FISH with a WISH. It’s tough to decide which is the hardest task for them, the wild card or division, both are very hard mountains to climb. Currently standing 6 games back in the division and 5 1/2 games back in the wild card it’s a 50/50 chance to make either one. They do have 6 games left against the Phillies and they did sweep the Phillies at CBP and the Phillies have been struggling of late, so there has to be hope in the hearts of the Marlins fans.

The Philadelphia Phillies (77-58) have a hard schedule ahead, with just 2 days off, but 2 double headers to play. They will play 6 games outside of the division, tough games against central division teams, but more importantly the in division games are critical. With Florida and Atlanta hoping for a shot the Phillies will have to bring the best of the season together to finish out on top.

A team in turmoil at the moment, with the starting pitching being the only element of the team delivering a winning performance, the offence needs to step up and the bull pen needs to refocus. the offense it’s all about the players, Raul Ibanez seems to be on a slow climb from his slump, the rest of them have to become more consistent, the bull pen is solid except for 2 or 3 players, who Charlie seems to favor.

It’s all about choices and this man has some to make…

Make the right choices and the Phillies can be in the post season shooting for a repeat, the wrong choices and the season ends October 4th.


September/October… the Final Countdown…

What’s in store for the Phillies
as we enter the final month of baseball, okay so the regular season runs
into October this year, but it’s only 4 days.

33 Games in 33 Days…

So the end of season
schedule is not being kind to a team trying to go back to back World
Series Champions, they have a full month and beyond. During September
they will play 30 games, in fact lets go from here to the regular season
end, 33 days to go, 33 games to play and somewhere they will get 2 days
off and play 2 double headers. Being 7 1/2 games up in the NL East is
certainly an advantage, but with this schedule it will definitely make
it a challenge to maintain. Finishing off the season is going to make
them tired even before post season play begins, at best you can hope for
a strong showing in the first half of September, so they can rest some
of the key players leading up to post season.

Offense and Defense…

 

The same guys that have
been producing the offense, (some days it may not have been much
offense
), are producing stellar defense. These guys are playing
every game like it is October baseball, they are making plays like it is
the last out, they are truly supporting every pitcher that takes the
mound.

The pitching staff seem to
be turning things around, yes your going to have the occasional game
where the opposition hit you around, those days make you more intense
the next time out. 

Starting Pitching…

 

 

Cliff Lee, took
his first loss in a Phillies uniform, which was okay, this way there are
no added strains on him to go perfect to season end. He can now pitch
his game and do what he does best.

Cole Hamels, last
2 games have been more like the Hamels we know from last year, hopefully
he has his game back and we can move forward. His confidence was such
that his game against the Giants this week saw him stealing a base, the
first of his career and he also went a solid 9 shut out innings giving
up just 2 hits in that game.

JA Happ, has
been the rookie with a veteran look, he has been excellent all year,
even when the chips are down, he stays focused and pitches his game. He
is without a doubt prime candidate for ‘Rookie of the Year‘ this
year.

Joe Blanton, the
Hulk‘, the ‘Work Horse‘, when you see him pitch it is
obvious he enjoys what he does and he stays in command and doesn’t get
phased by anything, he’s had good numbers this year and his second half
is as usual, very good.

Pedro Martinez,
the newest member of the starting rotation, who has not yet produced
what you would call a quality start. Facing 2 rain games that lasted 2
and 3 innings for him and 2 other games where he was seemed to be still
trying to find his way back in the majors. We will have to see how he
does this week against the Giants, a team the Phillies don’t produce
much offense against, will Martinez be able to keep it close, we will
see this week.

Jamie Moyer, Although
Moyer is now in the pen, I have included him here, simply because he has
taken the 2 rain delay games from Martinez and been outstanding, he has
also pitched reasonably well all year as a starter, still holding the
most wins as a Phillies starting pitcher this year. With the 2 double
headers the Phillies will be facing I think his role will be very
important, especially as one is against the Marlins, a team he has
dominated.

The Bull Pen seems
to have had some rest of late, although there are some deep issues still
to be resolved, I haven’t included a breakdown for them here, because I
think we need a little more time into September to see if the looming
post season is going to spur them on or if we will continue to see the erratic
side of the pen. I will mention thus far the only two I am comfortable
with are Eyre and Park, but we will continue to watch and see how Lidge
and Madson perform during the next week, along with some notables like
Durbin, Walker and Taschner, now he’s back up.

With the ability to load up
the team with new faces in September, the Phillies have chosen to be a
little more conservative, holding room for some of the DL players to
make an impact in the post season, assuming the Phillies maintain the
current state of play and make the post season of course.

More to come over the
weekend, with a look at bench players and the expected return of DL
players…

 


Phillies Offense Wakes Up…

On a night that had been promoted by the media to be the second coming of Pedro Martinez turned out to be the awakening of the Phillies bats. The night at Wrigley Field was broadcast on ESPN, you have to ask yourself, was that just a coincidence that the rotation was switched around to debut Pedro Martinez, or were greater powers at play, the word is, that the Phillies would not change the rotation just to help ESPN get extra ratings, but conspiracy theorists believe otherwise. Personally it didn’t matter, the Pedro Martinez debut was over shadowed by the return of the long awaited Phillies offense.

How did Pedro perform in his return…

martinez.jpg

for me the verdict is still out!

It is really hard to compare how one pitcher would have performed over another pitcher on a specific night, since things may have been different for a different pitcher. When you consider he went 5 innings, anyone else out on the mound and Charlie would have pulled in the 5th inning, he loaded the bases with nobody out, the fact that he had a huge lead at the time and his name is Pedro Martinez on his debut in a Phillies uniform was the only reason he stayed in the game to get through the 5th, had the Cubs hit a grand slam I hope Charlie would have pulled him regardless of the circumstances. In the end he finished with a 5.40 ERA, I just cant help thinking had it not been a struggling Cubs, but a red hot hitting team, he would have been crushed and the huge lead the Phillies had would have been worthless, but I will wait for at least a couple more starts before rendering a verdict on his inclusion as the 5th starter.

The night really was all about the Phillies offense, which came to life, you could tell from the begining it was going to be a good night for them, even the defensive plays were considerably better than they have been over the last couple of weeks.

Who was the hero of the night…

offense.jpg

 All of them!!

Yes, some had more hits than others, some had more RBI’s than others etc. etc. but the real fact is they all hit, they were all swinging the bats well, and none of them made any errors. Until Eric Bruntlett came in to give Chase Utley a rest, then he managed to kick a ball into the outfield that should have been a routine double play.

The only other incident, which I am sure will be picked up on highlight reels was that of a fan, with Victorino going back on to the warning track in left center, some stupid, idiotic, Cubs fan, I know I here some of you saying they just have to be a Cubs fan to to be those things, but this one was a little more of those things, he threw, what i can only believe to be perfectly good BEER at Victorino just as he was making a catch…

beer-mix.jpg

1 – Shows him throwing the BEER, (what a waste)

2 – Shows him pleading his denile case

3 – Shows him further denying it, while the wrong guy gets ejected

4 – Shows him bragging to fans around him how he got away with it. (okay, so I helped out a little with the t-shirt lettering)

It wasn’t over, I am guessing they reviewed the footage and decided the guy they ejected wasn’t the one,

because this lonely idiot…

beer-5.jpg

managed to get everyone around him ejected too…popular guy now I bet…

Today is a day game and Cliff Lee will be taking the mound, lets hope the offense stays alive and gives him similar support. It will be a day where the Phillies fans will be hoping to bounce back from the weekend and complete a sweep of there own.

Here’s something that came to me yesterday while watching this game, no real reason why it came to me just did, so thought I would share for others to ponder it, and if you know the answer great…

Has a hitter in a single game, hit for the cycle, been put on base by a HBP and got on base by a swinging strike that gets away from the catcher, thats 6 at bats, I know, but has anyone ever done that?…


Why do the Umpires Hate the Phillies…

What can anyone say about a game that your team gets demolished 12-3 to complete a sweep, in your own ball park, by a team that just got swept by the Washington Nationals. Just about the same as has been said for the last couple of weeks, offense, defense and pitching, without these you don’t have a ball club. A little unfair to Jamie Moyer, since he put in a good performance, held the Marlins at bay, between a couple of bad located pitches and some bad located fielders, the Marlins edged a small lead and Moyer was replaced by the bullpen. Not so bad 2 runs down the Phillies have come back from worse. So with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd and a runner on 1st, who else but Ryan Howard could come to the Phillies rescue, he’s been the hottest hitter the last couple of days, so now the Phillies have a chance, one big hit and it’s back in the lead, or he could walk then we would have bases loaded for Ibanez, almost as good, you would think….

That’s when the home plate umpire, Ed Rapuano decided the Marlins needed some assistance, so he called Howard out on strikes, wrong call, okay I am biased, so you decide…

The home plate umpire had been having issues with his strike zone depending who was on the mound and who was in the batters box, but that wasn’t it, this was a critical call and he got it wrong (in my opinion), the interesting thing was before Howard came up to the plate, you could hear the audible of Ed saying to Howard “it’s hot out here big fellow” I’m sorry but out of context that sound bite could be very damaging for Ed

You’d think that would be the end of it, ‘in Philadelphia’ I hear you saying, okay so the crowd probably won’t let him forget it, but they didn’t get the chance. With the Marlins now batting and Helms at the plate and Lopez on the mound the sequence of balls and strikes went something like this…

You guessed it the crowd went absolutely crazy, as you can imagine the Phillies players weren’t that impressed either…

Rollins shows his displeasure…

Look closely in the back ground behind Feliz you can see Victorino, who also shows his displeasure…

And then… it can only be described as all hell breaking loose, I may have only been watching baseball for 24-25 years, but I have never seen an outfielder be ejected for raising his arms, and needless to say it upset Victorino…

 

He came racing in from the outfield, almost threw Bako to the ground to get at the umpire, fortunately for Victorino, Howard is bigger and stronger and man-handled Victorino to the dugout, otherwise he would have surely ended up with a suspension.

That sort of put a damper on things, the Marlins went on to score 6 runs in that inning, and yes you guessed it, the crowd let Ed know of their displeasure at every opportunity. The Phillies managed to scrap back just 2 runs and the Marlins went on to add another 3 runs in the 9th.

So to finish a brief message to Ed Rapuano, stay out of Philadelphia, the fans have long memories, and if the league have any sense they will not assign him a game with the Phillies for sometime or this poster could become the norm around the City of Brotherly Love.

 

 The Phillies go on the road to Chicago, they have a day off Monday, which if they are wise, it will be used to find their missing offense and defense. Then on Tuesday we will find out if the fact that, “Jesus hates the Cubs”  according to the book of Psalms, or was that RSBS, I sometimes find it hard to distinguish between them, they are on occasion both full of useless, but humorous information. The point being we will find out if the umpires take pity on them for the curse cast upon them by this #2 blogger, yes it’s true and fortunately for everyone here, we would never live it down if there wasn’t a she fan with a confession to keep the combined efforts of a lonely Tigers fan and a (insert your own word here) Cardinal fan in their place.

 


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…