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…

 


The WILD WEST Trip…

It was a night that saw the Phillies produce 3 errors and give up 4 unearned runs in a 7-2 loss to the Giants.

The Phillies weren’t the only ones to commit errors last night,
it seems the 2nd base umpire needed something to help him see clearer….

How do you get this…

 
umpsafe.jpg

from this….

outtag.jpg

I am sure there is a special lesson at umpire school that tells them how to determine if a player is out, because the ball beat them to the bag, or if there safe when they are tagged before they reached the bag, probably some reverse logic to keep them in the highlight reels.

Now instead of nobody on with 1 out, there’s a runner in scoring position with no outs, then Velez, hits the ball deep to right field, okay a regular fly ball, Werth has this so we should be okay…. wrong…. it slides in and out of Werths glove then rolls to the base of the wall, Werth struggled to pick it up and throw it back in, so now instead of 2 out nobody on we have Torres scoring and Velez on third with nobody out…Cliff Lee hanging over the rail in the dug out must be thinking……I am in a nightmare is this the Indians in Phillies uniforms…….Okay so maybe he wasn’t thinking that, but it was looking like it… the Giants hit a sack fly to put 2 on the board in the bottom of the 1st and take a 2-1 lead from there they never looked back..

The WILD WEST show didn’t stop there after Sandoval hit a bomb into the bay in the 3rd inning to put the Giants up 3-1, the phillies continued on with the show, maybe to make Lee feel at home, who knows….

We somehow manage to get to the bottom of the 4th inning and with 1 out and 1 on, Feliz goes for the double play,

Utley didn’t agree…

error.jpg the ball flips off Utleys glove into the outfield, now you have 2 on at 2nd and 3rd and only one out, more timely hitting by the Giants and instead of being out of the inning they now have a 7-1 lead.

For the most part Lopez pitched okay, except for the extra pitches he had to throw due to the errors, but he only gave up 3 earned runs, the bull pen went to work in the 5th inning and shut the Giants down. The WILD WEST show didn’t end there though, top of the 6th Chase Utley at the plate, now to me Utley has given up and error been involved the error with Feliz, so all in all he’s kind of helped the Giants, what happens in the 6th…..

the WILD PITCH show….

utleyduck.jpg

Sanchez got wild with his pitches, this one was headed straight for Utleys head, normally very composed and used to being hit with balls, Utley was a little shaken, turn and glared at Sanchez, took the next pitch, then stepped out of the box as he was about to deliver the next one, Sanchez tossed a slow roller to the plate, the tension was mounting and you could tell there was a little animosity had developed between Utley and Sanchez in just 3 pitches…. well Sanchez obviously wanted to show he was boss and threw an 88mph and 89mph fast balls for strikes,
then a 90mph fast ball,

that Utley sends deep…..
utleyswing.jpg
home run… Chase Utley

That was almost the end of the WILD WEST show, although no more runs were scored, the bottom of the 7th inning with 2 outs and Garko at the plate Walker dings Garko on the shoulder, in what was clearly a payback pitch for the incident at Utley’s head, both teams get warned.

The question is will both team move on from this or will it generate more tension and create an interesting weekend….

Cliff Lee goes tonight, his first start for the Phillies here’s hoping the bats come to life and the errors dissapear…..