It almost that time when we celebrate the begining of a new year
and invariably a new era in the successes of our teams. Before we jump forward
to what could be in 2011, here’s a small review of how my blog saw the Phillies
Here’s hoping you all have a very happy and safe New Year….
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.
The National League managed an upset of the American League by taking the All Star Game victory, because of recent history showing the dominance of the American League this is a good way to move forward into the second half of the 2010 season for National League teams.
At the beginning of the season I laid out how I thought the season would progress and how teams would position themselves for October baseball, with just over half the games played it’s a good time to reflect and update my season ending visions.
The American League has shown some surprises, out West the Mariners have not faired as I thought so this has left the Rangers and Angels duking it out for a post season place. In the Central the Indians are not performing in the manor they could have been and in the East the top 3 are as expected, but the Jays are doing better than I had thought, as a mid way summary I now have the following possible outcomes.
Angels ……..88-93 wins
Rangers ……..86-91 wins
The A’s will hover around the .500 mark and the Mariners will finish below .500 with about 70 wins.
ChiSox ……..84-89 wins
Twins ……..81-86 wins
Tigers ……..81-86 wins
The Royals and the Tribe will fight, but fail to reach .500 this year.
Yankees ……..93-98 wins
Rays ……..92-97 wins
BoSox ……..90-95 wins
As you can see this could be any of these, I had considered the Yankees breaking 100 wins again, but recent history shows last time they had 56 wins in the first half they had a dismal second half with only 33 wins, so the Yankees number is a crap shoot, the Jays should end around the .500 mark and the O’s will probably break 64 wins, but no more than 70 wins.
The National League has also given us a couple of surprises, the Padres are the biggest one for me, kudos to them, I thought they would struggle to be a .500 team this year, but they proved me very wrong. The Pirates are more disappointing than anything, I really thought they could be a above .500 team this year, but not going to happen, the Reds are better than expected or are the Cardinals not as good as expected. The East is as expected a 3 horse race and will continue through season end.
Padres ……..85-90 wins
Rockies ……..84-89 wins
Dodgers ……..83-88 wins
Giants ……..79-84 wins
Arizona will struggle to reach 70 wins this year.
Cardinals ……..85-90 wins
Reds ……..85-90 wins
The Brewers and Cubs will struggle stay around the .500 mark on the year, the Pirates and Astros will have chance to play spoiler or helper in September as the Cards and Reds are on target to give us a game 163 this year, but as the Astros and Pirates play out the year they’ll both struggle to get over 65 wins.
Phillies ……..90-95 wins
Mets ……..88-93 wins
Braves ……..87-92 wins
Still a close 3 team race and could go to any of the 3, itll be up to the Nats and Marlins to play spoiler, since both those teams wont even be knocking on the .500 door.
So these are my mid-term visions as far as the divisions are set, as for Phillies players and that dreaded date of July 31st, where teams negotiate to the wire to get the best possible deal, or they think is the best possible deal. The past few seasons the Phillies have faired pretty good at the trading deadline, this year I would say look to see Jayson Werth end up with one of 3 teams, Astros, Pirates or even the Reds, also movers could include, Dobbs, Castro or Ransom and maybe even Kendrick or Happ, I do not think anything major will occur, it is possible we could get Oswalt, but no breath holding here, or even one of the Reds pitchers, it maybe that the Dodgers decide they can lose Broxton, so the Phillies can lose Lidge, but that’s as farfetched as a straight trade of Pujols and Howard, or Werth and Ethier, dream on people ESPN’s got no inside track and the second half is just beginning. So tighten that safety belt, keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times and enjoy the ride, don’t forget to scream and raise your arms at the appropriate times, but most of all have FUN.
The Phillies brief residence at Yankee stadium came to an end Thursday night.
It was clear when the Phillies entered Yankee stadium on Tuesday that the
Yankees were in the midst of a ‘anti-cold’ streak and the Phillies still
appeared to be enduring the ‘anti-hot’ period.
Some had heralded this inter-league match-up as a re-duel from the 2009 World
Series, even the front page of MLBlogs endeavored to blast us with images of the
Yankees and Phillies, while hoping to drive us to
blogs that could portray this
match-up as a spill over rivalry from last years post-season. The one thing it
did manage to do was show us that the Yankees enjoy a good comedy, they had
moved on from the normal images that would instill you with the need to label
them as the ‘Evil Empire’, moved on to more humorous aspects of being the
Empire’, it was Rick Moranis batting in the 8 hole for the Yankees. Joking
aside, in this time when appearance is normally more important than comfort or
sensibility, it’s good to see someone throw that out the window for safety,
especially someone in New York.
think to try and conceive some hidden rivalry between these two teams who have a
long way to go before either can even contemplate the possibility of a post season
where it would be a meaningful rivalry. This isn’t a rivalry some were trying to
create it to be, but more it seemed like mutual respect, we did see some firsts during these 3 games.
Lifetime first was game 2 with Jamie Moyer as the winning pitcher, this was a
first because no pitcher this age has beaten the Yankees before, but then as old
as Moyer is, each win is probably going to be a first for the teams that lose.
It was actually on this day 24 years ago that Moyer made his major league debut,
June 16th 1986, where he pitched for the Cubs against the
Phillies and got the win while Steve Carlton took the loss for the
Things weren’t what they seemed at Yankee stadium this week, Tuesday was
supposed to be a pitchers duel, but turned out to be one of Halladay’s worst
starts this year, Sabathia faired a little better for the Yankees, as he faced a
Phillies team that has struggled during the ‘anti-hot’ period. Even with the
lack of offense the Phillies still managed to get some hits, runs and put
Sabathia under some stress, but ultimately the Yankees took the game much to the
delight of the Yankee fans.
This 3 game series saw for the first time this year the return of the man who
hit the longest home run at the NEW Yankee stadium, last year a monster
homer was hit by the Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez, another first this
year was seen during game 2 as the Phillies launched back to back home runs,
something they’ve lacked since September ’09.
Game 3 had Kendrick pitching for the Phillies
and Pettitte for the Yankees, after
the Yankees sneaked a win from Halladay,
I am sure most fans were surprised that Moyer was able to fend off the Yankee
bats and get a win in game 2, game 3 was one that Yankee
fans must have felt confident about, with probably the best Yankee
pitcher taking the mound and the Phillies
default pitcher because Happ is stuck on the DL, anyone that knows
baseball would have given this to the Yankees.
This is still a sporting event and not all things are as we expect them, this
year is a prime example of how normal is not really normal, so much to
the pleasure of the Phillie fans Kendrick
faced off against the Yankees for the very
first time in his short career and got the win.
put my hand up and admit even as a Phillie
fan I was almost sure Pettitte was going to win this one, with the way
the Phillies have been playing and the way
the Yankees have been playing, there were a
number of Yankee fans, even before the first
game, laying it out in the comments section of a number of online articles on
how the Yankees would easily sweep the Phillies,
this ramped up even more after they beat Halladay, with comments telling Phillie
fans they don’t have any other pitchers after Halladay and with the lack
of offense the Phillies may as well concede
and go home without the major embarrassment that the Yankee
hitters will give them. Then after game 2, Yankee
fans seemed confused that a 47 year old had had the audacity to actually
beat them, now after Kendrick held the Yankees
to 4 hits and 1 run there is probably a few Yankee
fans telling Joe how to best re-arrange his line-up so that the Yankees
When it comes right down to it, the Yankees
have an impressive 41 wins which ties them with the Rays,
okay maybe Yankee fans are used to being on
top, but we still have almost a 100 games left and as we have seen anything can
happen. Of those 41 wins 22 are against teams with a below .500 record and 19
are against teams with a better than .500 record, okay so that’s fairly even,
until you look at the 25 loses, only 8 to teams with a below .500 record, which
really means they are almost a .500 club against winning teams. I am sure you
can look at this with any club and see similar things, but when you consider
they can only play the Orioles so
many times and I think they have played them some 12 times already this year, or
it certainly seems like it, and they’ve played the Astros in
inter-league with the D’Backs still
to come, as long as they don’t drown in self pity and lose to the Mets
this weekend they should at least be able to stay on pace with the Rays,
until they have to play a long string of games against winning teams that is,
then who knows.
The Phillies host the Twins
this weekend, but then the Tribe come
to Philadelphia, at least we get 1 club that’s not a winning team
this month, not that it seems to make a difference to the Phillies,
at least during the ‘anti-hot’ run anyone and everyone has a 50/50 chance
Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful weekend and just in case you’ve been traveling
around with your eyes closed or surfing the interwebs with blinkers on, Sunday
is Father’s Day, so don’t forget, unless your the dad, then it’s
customary to act surprised and still have to break out the grill and cook for
everyone that stops by….
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.
The weather in Colorado wasn’t quite the weather one would expect for May
time baseball, so we still have one make up game to play after splitting what
turned out to be a 2 game series with the Rockies. Roy Halladay didn’t get
homecoming/birthday win, I am sure the weather being the weather he and all the
Phillies players are happy to see Colorado disappear as their plane
altitudes worthy of leaving Colorado.
I started this post on May 11th, then changed it and changed it and on May
13th got a little further, it’s now an hour before game time on the 14th, so we
are going to change some of the future, present and past tense expressions so
that I can keep most of the post, at least the next 3 paragraphs, after that we’ll try
and jump to current thoughts and hopefully have this posted by
midnight or early Saturday morning.
The Phillies have arrived in Milwaukee for the weekend and a 3 game series
against the Brewers, at Miller Park, a stones throw from the
Harley museum, a
hop skip and a jump from Chicago or a good 9 to 10 hour drive from me, and yet I
am still not going, sigh!
The first game tonight sees Jamie Moyer take the mound for the Phillies, on a
little extended rest, and a former
Phillies favorite Randy Wolf for the
Brewers. This will either be a pitchers duel in slo-mo or a home
run derby, neither guy has dominating stuff, but when location is close to
perfect either can be un-hittable, unfortunately if they are missing their spots
or if the offense is on key then the ball will be flying everywhere and we could
see, if not both one team hit double digits in runs or at least hits. I guess
this we will see before the nights out, since they are due to start in about
55 minutes at 8:10 pm (EST) or to those 24 hour clock buffs, 20:10 hrs (EST) or
if your adventurous and dealing in global military time then 00:10 hrs Zulu, or
if you were being military and local to the game it would be 19:10 hrs Sierra.
Not sure how I got onto time zone ramblings then, but there does seem to be
some things that just aren’t right with the world as we think we know it.
British elections ended in what can only be described as a ‘hung
not going to explain that one, so google it, but make sure you read the right
answers if your really that interested, cause there are some US American takes
on what it means that are not very accurate.
Some US sports analysts, on the upcoming FIFA World Cup, think that
Beckham has been aligned with the England team to help them defeat the
Guys, Beckham is one of the best England players to have graced a soccer field,
if not for his injury, he would more than likely be on the England squad as an
active player, his presence alone will help the team, however, I am not sure his
purpose is to give England an advantage over the USA on June 12th, because quite
honestly if they can’t beat the USA, then they don’t deserve to be in the
More natural disasters have occurred in the first 4 months of this year than
I can remember, with earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes and volcanoes all causing
more than enough destruction to last us the year.
Even baseball has some freaky things still going on even as we come to the
end of week 6 of the season, so tell me how do these things happen and it not
cause us to wonder if something weird is happening this year to everything.
How does the St. Louis Cardinals get swept at home by the
Houston Astros, who
had this seasons worse start of the year, when they went 0 – 8 and ended the
first 10 games 1 – 9.
The Los Angeles Dodgers managed to scrap together enough wins to reach .500
and still could drop below .500 before the weekend is over, as they play 3 in
The New York Yankees are playing second fiddle to the
Tampa Bay Rays, who
have the best record in baseball at 24 – 10 as they finish the week out at home
The New York Mets, Florida
Marlins, Atlanta Braves are all left in the dust
as they trail the Washington Nationals, who
have managed to match the Phillies
with 20 wins at the start of Friday, and while the Mets
and Marlins go at each others throats the Nats
are in Colorado hoping for no postponements.
Chicago looks as though it has a double curse, with the White Sox struggling
to have as good a record as the Cubs, who themselves are one of the few teams
living up to expectations, or down to them.
The BoSox, but for the O’s would be the laughing stock of the
AL East, except
they have been making an effort and are now above .500 and a good weekend could
make them challenge for 3rd place, if Toronto continues to suck at home,
especially as the Texas Rangers are in town and riding high a top the
Well it’s almost game time so now I’ll watch the Phillies and
completing this post….
came closer to a home run derby than a pitchers duel in slo-mo, with 3 homers from
the Phillies and 3 homers from the Brewers and it all started in the first
inning with 1 on and 2 out Howard hit a bomb deep to give the Phillies a 2 run
lead, after the Phillies scored again to
make it 3 – 0, it was the Brewers turn with
3 home runs in
one inning off Moyer to tie the game up, after that the Phillies never
looked back with Victorino on fire in the lead off spot and Ibanez and Utley
both going deep the Phillies took this first one by a final score of 9 – 5. We
do it all over today on Fox and tomorrow on ESPN, but they won’t be wearing the
70’s uniforms. The only one who really looked at home was Moyer, who actually
made his major league debut against the Phillies when they were still wearing
Sunday was a day that companies had the opportunity to commercialize and reap the
financial benefits from all those feeling guilty about not having given enough
attention to their Mothers during the year, a time when that expensive,
worthless, tradition of sending or giving a piece of stiff paper with some words
created by someone paid not nearly enough to dream up such drivel, just so that
those doing the giving can feel good about themselves for having at least on
this day given some attention to the person that gave them life. Yes folks it
was ‘Mother’s Day’ here in America, this past Sunday. For those that don’t care,
it was not Mother’s Day in England, that was back in March and it’s true calling
is ‘Mothering Sunday’, which is actually different than Mother’s Day, as with
most things that are commercialized propaganda, it’s different because it’s
something to do with religion. I personally didn’t receive any cards or well
wishes, even though throughout the year I have heard the word Mother used
in conjunction with other words when referencing me or calling to me.
The Phillies celebrated Mother’s by giving away Phillies
scarves or is it scarf’s, does it matter, since those that got the
scarves/scarf’s wore them with pride, unless they were an Atlanta Braves
fan of course, then they probably kept them to remember the day they went to Citizens
Bank Park to see Atlanta get beat.
Even though the Phillies offense had the Braves pitcher on the ropes
early with hits and home runs by the start of the 4th inning the Phillies
were up 4 – 0, because guys like this….
….decided to show up and play ball, Polanco hit a homer in the
2nd with a pink bat, not that it matters too much the color of the bat, it’s
still a home run, no extra points for the bat being pink, probably extra cash
when it gets auctioned off for the charity.
The Braves pitcher, Kawakami, held his own
from the 4th and stayed in putting up respectable numbers through 6.2 innings,
even though he took the loss. The Phillies had Cole Hamels on
the mound, who during the first 4 innings looked as though he was going to be
cruising his way to a shut out and show Jamie Moyer he could do it too.
Alas it wasn’t to be, even after a major conflab on the mound…..
….somewhere the old ‘K’ Cole got lost and
confused about where to throw the ball….
….he managed to give up 3 runs in the 5th inning, that was
enough for Manuel who let the bull pen finish the game, led by Chad Durbin who
threw 2 scoreless, the bull pen was un-hittable, literally, they struck out 5
over the 4 innings of work and never allowed a base runner, even Lidge pitched
the 9th without giving anyone a mild seizure.
As with any day when the Phillies play at CBP, there is always at
least one creature that gets onto the field, no tasers needed on Sunday it was
….doing his duties, or should I say trying too. Yes, he’s been
reportedly hailed as the best mascot in sports and I understand you either love
him or hate him, but it has become clearer that most hate him because of the
team he’s associated with, not for what he does, because lets face it, no matter
who you are, if he was your teams mascot you’d think he was the coolest mascot
ever, or at least your kids or grand kids or great grand kids would think he was
So the celebration of Mother’s is over and the Phillies
headed to Colorado where the air is thin and they use some kind of machine
to make the balls stay in the park, or so they say.
There was something in the air, maybe it was moisture of some
sort, but Charlie was trying to figure it out….
….as the Rockies made some accusations of
someone spying on the game from the Phillies bullpen, not sure
what it was all about and I’m not sure Charlie was to sure either, but it
prompted Victorino to use the bullpen phone and tell them to stop clowning
It certainly wasn’t the bull pen the Rockies
needed to watch, it was the Phillies catcher, Carlos Ruiz….
….who went 4 for 5, one of them a homer, and it wasn’t a fluke
or the thin air or altitude or something they put in the bottled water in Colorado,
he’s actually been hitting that good of late, with a.354 avg, he’s got himself a
little ‘on base’ streak going, I think he’s actually been on base in all but 1
of the games he’s played this season, he’s picking up more walks and now he’s in
the number 7 hitting slot, he’s getting more hits, lets hope he can sustain this
for the year or majority of it anyway.
The Phillies defense were showing off some quality
….but that still didn’t stop Colorado, with Hawpe
back off the DL and going 2 for 4 on the night, the Rockies managed
to get it all tied at 5 going into the 9th inning. In fashion of the last couple
of years the Phillies put up a 4 spot in the top of the 9th and
the Rockies where unable to find a way to answer, with Contreras pitching
the 9th, who seems to be solidifying himself as a late inning guy that Manuel
can depend on, the Rockies went down on just 1 hit in the 9th, giving the
Phillies game 1 of this series.
Brad Lidge has a sore elbow, waaaaaaaaaa!!! go back on
the DL then don’t tie up a roster spot if your going to keep whining all year so
you have an excuse when you blow your first and subsequent saves this year.
Dallas Braden, who became news worthy earlier this month
when he accused A-Rod of being a ‘dick’, which by the way Braden,
we all knew this before you accused him, just threw a perfect game. So congrats
to him, but you did sour your win somewhat by both you and your Gran-Ma
referencing A-Rod when talking of your perfect game. As much as A-Rod
will take credit for anything good and nothing bad, this I am sure he played no
part in, so let A-Rod go back to denying PED use and not have to
deny knowing unwritten rules of baseball. He’s a Yankee player,
those unwritten rules don’t apply, that’s another unwritten rule.
Milton Bradley is still a bigger ‘dick’ than A-Rod.
Cliff Lee goes for his first win of the season tonight,
the question is if he gets it, will it count, since it’s against Baltimore.
Roy Halladay goes home for first ever start in Colorado,
hard to believe that a guy like Halladay never pitched in Colorado.
This homecoming should be sweet for Halladay and not so sweet for Rockies
fans as Halladay goes for win number 7 and the Phillies try
and clinch the series tonight.