It’s always that time of year when every game counts, early in the season
there is less emphasis placed on making every game count. When you look at the
games ahead and see 150 or 135 to play, you’re always thinking ‘plenty of time to
make that up’, the problem is come August it almost seems like it’s almost too late.
Every opportunity to gain ground on your opponent or to increase your lead on
the next placed team is important, which makes the thought that every game counts more
important all year long.
The biggest problem for teams, not just the Phillies, is loses to teams you
should really win. When errors or lack of offence is your downfall then all you
are doing is ‘BEATING YOURSELF’. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that if your
chasing a team in a close race the games you lose will coincide with a game lost
by the team your chasing, which makes the loss all the more disappointing, since
the idea is to win those so you catch the team ahead, or extend your lead on the
When ‘BEATING YOURSELF’ it can be a team effort, which will include some
talented errors, even some possible web gems, it’s when you can attribute an
above average amount to one player it becomes an issue. With the Phillies, early
on after the All Star break it was Wilson Valdez, who without fail would hit
into a double play. This however is now a benefit since they will walk a player
to get to Valdez, who in clutch moments is actually getting those hits now. On a
slow incline, since the All Star break, to become a clear leader these
days for the most assists in getting the Phillies to play ‘BEATING YOURSELF’ is
Jayson Werth. He has actually got some good numbers at the plate, but the
important stat that really helps the team win is where he has really su-cked of
late, ‘hitting with RiSP’. Hopefully he’ll get this out of his system and
September he’ll be hitting like Choooch.
Useless stats 101 – The Phillies 2010 starting line up has appeared in
just 6 games this season, those 6 game were all early in the season, tonight,
(8-24-2010) along with the ‘Chooch Bobblehead’ the Phillies starting line all
appear together again.
The Phillies and the Mets conclude there weekend of fun in the
sun. The Mets as usual were a tough opponent for the Phillies, but with players
like Ibanez and Ruiz swinging hot bats at the moment the advantage went to the
Phillies. This weekend was the first time this year the Phillies saw Beltran and
as a special treat, Beltran got to taste….
….the cushioning placed on the center field fence, he can
thank former Phillies center fielder, Aaron Rowand for soft get together with
the fence. If you didn’t see this as a web gem you should hunt it down, he back
tracked hoping to catch a ball that just kept going back and he wasn’t expecting
the fence to be there. Obviously it wouldn’t have been so humorous had the fence
not been padded, Beltran suffered no ill effects, just shock of the moment.
in baseball the trading took a curious turn when instead of players on the move
we saw the Pirates finally came to their senses and moved the pitching coach,
Joe Kerrigan, to the long list of unemployed. I have made it no secret that I
have a complete and utter dislike of Kerrigan. The Pirates now need to find
themselves somebody who can help develop the pitching staff into what they
should be, someone like a Duncan, Anderson, McDowell or even a Hickey style
pitching coach, all these guys have different styles yet are very good with
young upcoming talent and can assist the more seasoned pitchers as and when they
need it too.
The Phillies welcome the LA Dodgers to town for a 3 game stint.
Although just 4 games over .500 and currently sitting 4th in the West division,
they are never an easy mark and should be looked upon as if they are running
away with it like last year. Hopefully they’ll leave Manny Ramirez in
California. I guess we can’t do anything about having to endure the onslaught of
Padilla’s constant flesh fluid secretion dowsing the mound on day one of the 3
days, at least it’s Kyle Kendrick sharing the mound with him and not Hamels or
Oswalt or even Halladay, that could scar them for the rest of the season. Lets
see what the Phillies make fo the os called ‘Soap Bubble’ pitch.
Useless stats 101 – This time last year the Phillies had
just experienced umpire Ed Rapuano’s ever changing strike zone and his ability
to to throw out Shane Victorino in center fielder from home plate for throwing
his arms in the air, when an obvious strike was called a ball.
The baseball madness continues, after a road trip that saw the Phillies lose the last 2 games of July to the Washington Nationals, since August began the Phillies haven’t lost, they took the last of 3 from the Nationals, sweeping the Marlins in Florida and now back home taking the first of 3 from the Mets. I think enough has been said of the Marlins game, without a perfect over head shot it’s going to be debated for ever, fair or foul, regardless of everyone’s opinions, it was called foul, and as we know there’s no changing the call.
The Phillies returned home, arriving in the very early hours of Friday morning. The Phillies haven’t lost at home since before the ASG, and even then the last series was a sweep of the Reds, so with the Mets in town the Phillies were trying to extend the 11 game winning streak at home to 12.
At CBP the weekend is the alumni weekend, it kicked off with the induction of Darren Daulton into the Phillies Wall of Fame….
….Daultons plaque resides on the wall next to the late great Vuk.
The game got under way and it wasn’t too long before the hot hitting Carlos Ruiz……………..
……..proved that he’s still swinging a hot bat, much to the delight of the ‘Chooooooch’ screaming fans.
The fans also got to see the debut in a Phillies uniform of the most recent acquisition……….
…….Mike Sweeney, I have heard good and bad of Mike, the bottom line is he has to fill a roster spot and not the shoes of Howard. Last night he came through, showing he hasn’t forgot how to play 1st base and he can swing a bat. His only downfall may be that he picked up the number 5 shirt. It will take more than one game to prove critics wrong or right, so we’ll see how he has made out come September.
The 3rd and 4th innings saw the Mets take the lead and silence a lot of the Phillie fans, the 8th inning managed to turn that around as the Phillies sent 11 to the plate and scored 6 runs. The Mets came back in the 9th and scored 3 causing Manuel to bring Lidge in for 1 out, it was again one of those occasions where you could feel it slipping away, fortunately for Phillie fans Lidge managed to get the 1 out needed. It was this guy you may have felt sorry for…..
…..he had a great seat at CBP, but was surrounded by Phillies fans, as most of the Mets fans left by the end of the 8th inning this guy stuck it out to the end and the TV camera crew for some reason seemed to single him out and show his changing emotions, so not only did he have to suffer the onslaught of celebrating Phillie fans around him, I am sure he would find out lately he got his 15 minutes of fame at the cost of a Mets loss. As for feeling sorry for him, naaaa, being a Mets fan surely he has to expect embarrassment and disappointment….
Phillies are now 1 game back in the NL East with a long home stand ahead.
Useless stats 101 – The Mets and the Phillies have been sparing rivals on and off since ’62 over 827 games, both team shave had 10 game winning streaks on each other, largest victory 26-5 Phillies over Mets in ’85. My favorite exchange Tug McGraw in ’74.
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,
Same sh-it different day…. Yes the Phillies are in the middle of
of the month‘, actually they are now on the tail end of it, with just 5 days
left, they have to get through the last few days with minimum damage to the
players and their psych, they have a couple of wins to bag before the end of the
month, then it’s all new, the month of June arrives and it all starts again.
In this time of phunks and stupidity, they have nearly been no-hit, they have
struggled to score runs, they
have even struggled to get hits. Jimmy Rollins has struggled to stay off the DL,
Ryan Madson is still wishing he hadn’t kicked that chair, while Brad Lidge is
thankfully still on the DL, although he keeps telling everyone his elbow is
fine, Really? isn’t that what you said last year.
Charlie Manuel has been keeping his cool, with a few changes here and there
to the line up, sometimes not making any sense to me, but that’s what baseball
is all about, being able to find those things that the manager does that doesn’t
seem to jive with the rest of what’s going on. It’s also good that you can see
things that you feel you would have done differently, lets face it, if you agree with
everything someone does all the time then you have to be brainless or just plain
stupid, yeah okay you could be a (insert political party of your
we are talking baseball and that means June will see the world of fastballs,
sinkers, sliders and change-ups get a strange jolt in the equilibrium which will
see the baseball planets align once again and settle into a more balanced
a time when the All Star voting is well under way, the Phillies catcher
Ruiz suffered a knee injury earlier this month, is now back off the DL, but is
still suffering from some aches and pains, in an effort to try and change things
around he tried out a new catchers mask, going from the traditional to the
hockey style, needless to say by inning 3 he was back to his original style
mask. Charlie Manuel even sat him out of last nights loss, just to give him a
All the favorites seem to be in the running for the All Star Voting, but is
this proving it’s just a popularity contest and teams with fans that attend home
games actually punch that ticket, or they have fans that go online and vote.
Recently on the front page of the MLBlogs
(it’s gone now) they promoted the All Star voting and some blogs that
appeared to have relevant posts about the voting, one in particular, which I
will not name, due to probably selfish reasons, but the point being this blog
had 1 post, no bio, and looked as though it had been set up just for that
specific post, the post indicated views and selections the poster had made for
the All Star game, this was not an objective review, but a promotion of Yankees
and Reds players, where am I going with this, just trying to show some elements
of things where this has become nothing more than a popularity contest, or at
the worst a contest where players get selected because the fan base for that
team is larger, i.e. Yankees in the AL, the NL has a little more even
distribution of fan base amongst some teams, although teams like Florida,
Milwaukee and Washington will always lose out.
Am I someone who sees a conspiracy in everything, maybe not everything, but
in today’s world probably most things that include some type of opinion based decision
has an ulterior motive, but that’s a whole new post, maybe even my next one.
We all think we know which State has some type of mojo working
against it, well I am here to tell you that the worst has to be Ohio, not
because I live there, although that maybe the problem, because they really can’t
win anything. The Cavs should have been in the NBA finals, with the players they
had, they were definitely the hot favorites to take it all, and some saw it
again last night, or those people that had nothing better to do with their
lives, saw what I am told was a guaranteed win for a girl from Ohio lose to some
guy with less talent in the final episode of American Idol with the only judge
who offered a real opinion. So for all people and teams Ohio based why bother,
oh okay.. it’s all in the fun of competing… yeah right…
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.
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
…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…..
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.