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….
Major League Baseball at times contains some weird and wonderful
things, not because of umpiring screw-ups or because players tend to get a holier
than thou attitude and do something really really dumb, but just because of the
pure mathematics of baseball.
Last night at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, was another
night where a sell out crowd got to see history in the making….
….Ryan Howard hit his 30th home run of the season and became
the first Philadelphia Phillies player to successfully achieve 5 consecutive
seasons with 30 HR’s and 100 RBI’s.
Things that make you say ‘Really’ in a sarcastic
The AL East has had more changes to the division lead than any
other division this year
The AL Central has all teams at or below .500 eliminated.
The AL West has only 1 team above .500
The NL West has 3 teams above .500 contending for the division
The NL Central has 3 of the 5 worst teams in the National League
The NL East has mathematics….
….the Mets season is officially over, yet right behind them in
the standing the Marlins cling to, well nothing really, but it gives the
Marlins this weekend before the last remaining dozen or so fans stop going to
the stadium and with the sCrUBs in town chances are no ones going to the stadium
Okay, so it’s not about Miley Cyrus, but as she progressed from Hannah Montana to the big leagues of music, so Wednesday night Dominic Brown entered the world of big league baseball and like Miley he did it with some pop, his was in his bat though not his song choice.
Brown has been the Phillies untouchable prospect in all the trades over the last few years, he is a skilled outfielder, with lots to learn and a bat reminiscent of that from Ryan Howard when he made his debut as a rookie. He helped the Phillies last night and proved that he can swing the bat, he just has to learn to run hard from the hit and not assume it’ll go out of the Bank, his running speed could have got him a triple last night but he ended with a double, regardless he still came into score in the inning.
Well the Phillies landed Oswalt. It seems the local Houston Fox station laid it’s claims and scooped the deal claiming it was all up to Oswalt to accept or decline, that was yesterday, today Oswalt accepted the deal and told Amaro Jr that he would be available to pitch against the Nationals on Friday in Washington.
For some unknown reason there are still people out there that don’t pay attention to things unless the media highlights it, so the repetitive question of “Why trade Lee and now get Oswalt “? has become as repetitive as Two and half Men re-runs, the question has been asked and answered a number of times, so I would suggest all those still in the dark about Lee being traded, do your homework before trying to re-hash this same old question.
Further claims that the Phillies front office and Amaro Jr’s in-experience is driving the Phillies into oblivion or at best a status currently reserved for the Mets, is nothing more than the bull sh-it Mets fans seem to be knee deep in at CitiField, just because the over-hyped Mets team is starting it’s now all familiar season ending collapse, doesn’t mean other teams will do the same.
The Phillies move within 2.5 games of the Braves as we approach August, last nights win gave the Phillies an 8 game win streak and an 11 game home win streak, plus it’s 3rd home sweep in succession. Today the Phillies take the show on the road to Washington, where Roy Oswalt will take the mound for the Phillies, hopefully Philly fans will make the quick trip to DC and give Oswalt a home feeling in an effort to help him keep the winning streak alive.
Just a distraction and a face saver for Bautista a Nats pitcher, Miss Iowa will throw out the ceremonial pitch before tonight’s game, she is definitely much better on the eyes than either Bautista or the guy he replaced, Strasburg, and if you know the story she apparently has a great sense of humor too.
Useless stats 101 – Last year in August the Phillies acquired Lee which gave them a rotation with Lee, Hamels, Happ and Moyer, 4 lefties in the rotation, this August the Phillies now have more Roy’s in the rotation than lefties.
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.
Making history in Philadelphia again, in all the years the Phillies have been a baseball team it is hard to imagine they have never had walk off’s in extra innings in three consecutive games, it’s hard enough getting three consecutive extra inning games at Citizens Bank Park….
….Thursday we saw Brian Schneider the back-up catcher hit a walk-off home run, then Friday it was Ryan Howard swinging the big bat, going deep for a walk off home run, then Saturday it was Jimmy Rollins who drove in Carlos Ruiz from second to score the winning run.
All 3 games have been tight finishes and some freaky things have been happening, Thursday and Friday we saw 9 inning heroics to drive the games into extras, and Saturday we saw a pitchers duel go all 9 innings, in fact Halladay I am sure was seeing himself way back in 1998, when in just his 2nd major league start he went 26 outs with a no hitter, before it was broken up with 2 outs in the 9th inning. It was eerie how similar the effort from Travis Wood was, his 3rd major league start, went into the 9th inning, nobody out before Carlos Ruiz broke up his no hitter, however as a young rookie he can be proud in the knowledge he went pitch for pitch with one of the best in the business.
Cliff Lee is in Texas, who’d of thought that the city of New York could miss out twice in one week, for top trades in a sport. Just when everyone thought Lee was going to be a Yankee, after being beaten to the draw last year by the Phillies for Lee, this year it was a matter of tradeable merchandise, it didn’t pass inspection.
Then we had to endure what was created, when for a few years the media force fed everyone about how great someone is, and constantly fed that persons ego, add to that huge amounts of wealth and you crown yourself King then hold the sports world ransom for your own egotistical endeavor to spit in the face of the fans you spent so much time ripping off with your over priced merchandise.
The Yankee way of life rubbed off on at least one of it’s players, who managed to buy his way into the All Star Game, or so it would seem with all the advertising purchased etc, and yet you have to wonder, who would they have got to fill the Home Run Derby spot if he hadn’t made it.
One game left for the half way break, and time to reflect on how teams have done and how they may do in the second half, or rather the 74 or 75 games that fills the 2nd half.
I guess the rivalry between the BoSox and
Phillies has built somewhat over the last
few years, not to the same extent as between other teams. The stage was set
however for the first game of this weekend series, the opener to inter-league
play for the Phillies, and almost every
major league team.
Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies,
although he has pitched well in his last few starts, there is still some
elements in the back of your mind, asking who will show up to pitch tonight. The
fears were dispensed after the first inning hiccup, as he gave up a home run to V-Mart,
who by the way doesn’t look right in a BoSox
uniform, from then on he shut the Red Sox
down through 7 innings allowing just the 1 run on 3 hits and a walk, while he
picked up 8 strike outs.
John Lackey took to the mound for the Red
Sox, some of the media in Philadelphia
had labeled him as somewhat of a Halladay clone, when he is on his game.
It appeared as though Lackey was on his game and the Phillies
were in trouble through the first 3 innings. Then the bottom of the 4th inning
came and so did Ryan Howard, who started the Phillies
offense with a home run to left field, then it was like the Boston
Red Sox outfield was playing a game of….
….‘now you see me now you don’t’ or was it WWE‘s
John Cena’s ‘You Can’t See Me’ they lost a fly ball from Jayson
Werth somewhere in the night sky and lights, from then on it was all Phillies
who as a team ended the day with 5 runs on 9 hits, winning the first game by a
score of 5-1. The big set back for the Phillies was that Jimmy Rollins disappeared
into the dressing rooms half way through the game after feeling a twinge from
his right calf muscle. Rollins has just returned from the DL after the strain to
his calf put him there earlier in the season, Rollins will be day to day at the
Tonight the Phillies send Kendrick
to the mound, Kendrick has had a number of shaky starts this year, but
his last 3 have been fairly strong, inline with most 5th place rotation guys.
The Red Sox have the right handed Matsuzaka
who has really only had one good outing this year against the Blue
Jays, he has given up more hits than innings pitched and in 4 games
has served up 19 runs to the opposition.
We all expect our teams to win, but after the was the Phillies
offense failed to produce against both the Pirates and the Cubs,
we must realize you can’t win them all, just be nice to win the more than the
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…