Interview with Ryan Howard

– PhilliesOutside –

A week in any other year you would be happy to have come out of with an even
record splitting both the Pirates and the Cubs series evenly, but not this year,
the Phillies should have swept both teams, but it wasn’t to be, now we head into
the inter-league weekend and the Phillies host the
Red Sox, so I thought it was
time I went back onto the interview circuit, which allowed me to meet up with Ryan
Howard
, this is how it went…

http://www.xtranormal.com/site_media/players/jwplayer.swfhttp://www.xtranormal.com/site_media/players/embedded-xnl-stats.swf

 

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Howard Slams Pirates ….

– PhilliesOutside –

The Phillies hosted the Pirates in the first of 2 games during this weeks mish mash of
games, this year the Phillies are lucky, previously they have been on the road
for these stupid series that are only 2 games, this year they get to play host
all in the same week.

There was no great revelations last night, Kyle Kendrick, did well
pitching a good game, but then can you really judge how good or bad a pitcher is
against the Pirates, okay you can judge how bad a guy pitches. Now I have
no intention of knocking the Pirates and their abilities too much this
year, because I would like them to do well, yes I would like them to end the
season above .500 this year. This however doesn’t change the fact that a pitcher
who when performing slightly above average or better should be able to beat the Pirates,
providing the teams offense play along.

So far this season some teams, like every year are struggling, and media,
bloggers and fans in general start to call for the coach to be ousted, I read
recently that teams such as the Cubs, ChiSox,
Royals and even the New
York Mets
have fallen into this category, however I believe all to
quickly the pressure is applied to the manager. There is evidence to suggest
that in some cases this is true, as is the case with the Washington
Nationals
, see then now and with the old coach, this may not be the
best litmus test but it proves the manager can have some bearing on the matter.
I also believe other coaches play a
role, and for me the biggest role of the other coaches is the pitching coach, 2
guys I believe should be ousted and be replaced while the season is young enough
to salvage would be Joe Kerrigan of the Pirates and Rick
Peterson
of the Brewers, I don’t think I
have made it a secret that I detest Kerrigan as a pitching coach, I never
liked him even when he was an analyst on Comcast and then when he wormed
his way into a job with Bowa at the Phillies I liked him even less
and rumor has it that he wasn’t much liked by any of the pitchers at Philadelphia
either. Just last night is a clear example, I know there arguments for this and
against, but a lot of coaches seem to do it when they don’t need too. Everyone
knows Taschner was with the Phillies
and at times he had a love/hate relationship with them, so why would you punish
him and send him to the mound at time when your down 8-2 and lets face it a
situational leftie isn’t going to make any difference, and what happens, yep,
the same as always the guy loads the bases and gives up a slam to the one guy
who has difficulty hitting lefties. So I say this to the Pirates get rid
of Kerrigan before he does so much damage to you pitching staff you have
to completely rebuild your pitching capabilties.

The
Brewers, I think know they have a problem,
but are probably having issues on how to fix it, which is replace Peterson. I
mentioned Peterson in yesterdays post, because it seemed like the catcher
Zaun, has issues with him, I don’t know if he does or doesn’t, but there
is just something strange about the guy and it didn’t look as though he had much
respect in the dugout during any of the games against the Phillies.
The fact that he was with the A’s and the Mets
with Macha and Randolph respectively tells me he is there because
these guys employed the management 101 rule of surrounding yourself with those
you know and that are going to have your back in a time of crisis, cause i don’t
think this guy would get a pitcher coaching job on an open market with just his
resume from the A’s and Mets.
I say the same to the Brewers, dump this guy
before you have to dump your pitching staff for a new one.

There were something’s that came out of last nights game for the Phillies,
with Jimmy Rollins returning so his energy returned to the club as well,
the guys were energized before, but this was like adding the energizer bunny,
the running game started again, hitting in the 3, 4 and 5 spots. Chase Utley
came up missing, he developed flu-like symptoms and went home, hopefully he’ll
be back today or tomorrow. Carlos Ruiz returned to the line-up behind the
plate, it doesn’t matter how good the back-up catcher maybe, there is something
about having your regular guy behind the plate, you get used to the things he
does and the timing of when he does things. Wilson Valdez, was designated
for assignment, after doing a great job filling in for Juan Castro and
ultimately J-Roll, his services were no longer required so he drew the
short straw as they say.

As I mentioned earlier Taschner gave up a slammy to Philadelphia‘s
slammy king….

…his 9th slam in the bigs, it’s almost to the point where
managers will start to walk in a run than pitch to him with the bases loaded,
regardless of his performance against lefties or righties on the mound, this all
goes out the window when the bases are loaded. He also showed he can play small
ball last night too, I just wish people would stop talking about how much
influence Barry Bonds has had on his hitting, because quite frankly,
after the Bonds assist Howard went into a slump, so leave Bonds
out of any accomplishments that Howard has this year.

All zero’s for the start of tonight’s game and if Halladay has
anything to do with it the Pirates will still be on all zeros at the end,
okay now I probably jinxed him, damn…..


Phillies leave Brewers Drained….

– PhilliesOutside –

The Phillies left Milwaukee
after sucking the life out of the Brewers,
the sweep was a back to back the Brewers
suffered at the hands of the National League East. It was a little cooler
last night in Brewer Town or were the Milwaukee
Brewers
just trying to change their luck at home by closing the roof,
either way it made for a pleasant atmosphere, gave the pitchers a comfortable
environment, but it didn’t change the Brewers
luck as the Phillies completed a 3 game
sweep in a 4-2 win.

The game aired live on ESPN, who as usual showed their lack of up to
date knowledge of teams and players, other than the advanced scouting reports,
which at times are grossly out of date or inaccurate at best, given to them so
they could show some elements of knowledge about the 2 teams that were playing.
They pounded the commercial breaks with the information on the upcoming FIFA
World Cup
, which is great for me, but I just hope they really do their
homework on the countries and the players, and don’t just go at it with the
minimum information on the players and the countries abilities and
accomplishments. It’s a little more insulting when you get information about a
country wrong than a home grown city or town.

So last night Cole Hamels got win number 4 and put him at 4-2 on the
year, coincidence that matches last nights score, it means about as much as Mick
Billmeyer using binoculars in the bull pen in Colorado, absolutely
nothing. It was a relatively okay performance by Hamels, nothing earth
shattering, he managed to get a RBI hit, but then left the bases loaded twice,
still ESPN felt he did enough to warrant being player of the game, personally I
don’t think he did, I am not sure anyone player jumped out at me, everyone
seemed to do their thing and no one really screwed anything up, except maybe Weeks,
should have had the out, on the Victorino base stealing, but let the ball
fly into centerfield instead, and he just didn’t seem focused, and
as good a game as Zaun called for the Brewers,
I was a little concerned at how when he went to the mound with the pitching
coach, he just stood there gazing into the air, paying absolutely no attention
to what was going on, does he not like, Rick Peterson, the pitching
coach, because he had that same attitude each time he came to the mound during
all 3 games.

The Phillies are utilizing back-ups for back-ups, with Ruiz out
and 3rd string catcher Hoover working everyday, Ruiz should be
back Monday, maybe. Valdez filling in at shortstop while JRoll
rehabs, Valdez is also filling in for Castro who is also out of
action, Rollins should be back on Monday, then we have Madson out,
Happ out the good news is that Lidge is also back on the DL, the
list goes on a bit, but really the Phillies
have managed just fine and when these guys return it should only be an
improvement, except for Lidge of course.

Last year we saw the images of Lidge where each time he came into a
game you had
to hope that for just this game he was able to hold it together long enough to
close the game. Unfortunately that didn’t happen to often, it was like a Holiday
Inn commercial, where Lidge is on the mound and Dubee comes out
cause Lidge is struggling and you know the conversation, Dubbe to Lidge
“Lidge you good, your our closer, right, you can do this” then Lidge
would reply “Yeah sure, I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night, no
problem”.
We all know how that worked out.

This year I think we should stay with the Holiday
Inn commercials, you must have seen the new ones, where people are sometimes
doing dumb things, like being total idiots, yep that’s it, we’re going to work
with that this year for Lidge.

The Phillies return home to face 2
against the Pirates, and 2 against the sCrUbs,
then it’ll be on to that stupid thing they call inter-league play. I think we
should get one of those hidden dog fences to keep American League teams out of
the National League games, I am still not sure why there pitchers are such prima-
donnas that they can’t pick up a bat. The
Philles
get to host the Boston Red Sox as
the first of what will no doubt be long drawn out inter-league play.


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 ‘Waiting Game’…

… gets harder and harder as the post
season progresses.

That feeling of anticipation as each game
progresses as you get closer to the final out of each game, becomes a
drug, an addiction, when the game is finally over, if your team wins
there’s that state of euphoria, but it isn’t long before you just want
the next game to start again, you want that feeling of anticipation, you
long for your team to be back out there battling it out for the ultimate
prize in Major League Baseball.

I was not expecting to have to wait till
the 7th day before I saw the Phillies
back out on the field again, both the ALCS and the NLCS
had the makings of being 7 game series.

The ALCS between the Angels
and the Yankees could be just that, with the Angels
winning last night in an exciting 9 innings it has now driven the series
back to New York with the Yankees holding on to a 3
games to 2 lead.

The Phillies
managed to seal the deal in 5 games, taking a 4-1 series win over the Dodgers
in true Philadelphia style, in the 3rd game to be played at CBP
before heading back to LA the Phillies
clinched the NL crown.

So now we have to sit back and wait to
see who we will face in the 2009 World Series scheduled to start
this coming Wednesday. For the Philadelphia Phillies
I am not sure if they have a preference, since home field advantage is
with the winners of the ALCS.

The pro’s and con’s of facing each team
are obviously long, when you consider each teams line-up and each teams
starting rotation, but they’re the obvious points to reference when
looking into reasoning, but when evaluating the pro’s and con’s, in
simple terms it would be better if the Phillies
played the Yankees in the World Series, for 3
reasonable reasons, color, distance and the memories.

COLOR

If everyone in the stands is wearing red
and waving rally towels, it would confuse the players, they wouldn’t
know if it were the pitcher or batter that was being cheered. So we need
a team that wears the color blue
to play against.

DISTANCE

This really is a no-brainer, having to
contend with west coast times during the World Series would make
me very tired each morning. Keeping an east coast timetable and giving
the players a short little trip to New York where the Phillies
have already played this year would make so much more sense.

MEMORIES

It was fun watching the Phillies
at the new Yankee Stadium back in May, I remember the first game,
first pitch, Jimmy Rollins went deep off of AJ, next
batter Utley, AJ threw the ball right at him and hit him
square on the shoulder. The 3 game set went in favor of the Phillies
2-1, but that was way back in May and both teams are a lot different
now. Although with AJ and CC in the Yankees rotation they
both bring back memories when facing the Phillies.

Back to the ‘Waiting Game
although irritating and annoying for Phillies
fans, it is considerably short at 7 days (now down to 4 days)
compared to other NL team fans who are having to wait and see if there
team will have a shot next year.

As for the World Series match-up

it will be, who it will be

 


Phillies take Game 1 of Series with Rockies…

No major entry here, it’s just the first game of the series and the predicted wind was supposed to produce a long ball extraviganzer… but the only player to tame the wind was Jimmy Rollins, who managed to capture 2 fly balls that went from the outfield and almost came back into the infield.


leeonbase.jpgCliff Lee
started a little shakey, but after the 2nd inning managed to send down 16 straight and hold the Rockies scoreless through 8 2/3 innings, finally gave up a run in the 9th with 2 outs, then went on to close the game for a complete game in his first post season game. Lee threw 113 pitches 79 for strikes. He also got a hit, sac bunt and stole a base.

Phillies won 5-1 with RBI’s from Ibanez (2), Ruiz, Howard and Werth.

Game time tomorrow is 2:37, Still not sure what genius came up with the game times, because they seem to be odd times for home field fans at every game.


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…

happ.jpg

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…


cubsharden.jpg
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…


ruiz.jpg
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…


rollins.jpg
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


cubsmound.jpg


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


cubsmarmol.jpg


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…


lidge.jpg


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…


francisco.jpg


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…


durbin.jpg


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…


RAYScrawford.jpg


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.