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
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 Giants came to town on Tuesday and will stay until after the
game Thursday, giving the 2 teams the opportunity to mix it up 3 times and
between them one of the teams will go into the weekend the wild card leader.
These games should the Phillies dominate, also help the Cardinals and the
Braves, should the wild card be needed by these teams.
The return of ‘Pat the Bat’ to the Bank was a warm
welcome by many fans, Pat also honored his return with a run long ball in the
1st, but was quieted by Oswalt after that…….
…..but was kept busy in left field his normal hunting
ground when he was with the Phillies.
The other player in a return to the Bank was the
Phillies 2nd baseman Chase Utley…..
…..he may have been dormant in his return, but it’s good to
see the familiar moves at 2nd base and the ease in which he slipped right back
into his role, although tonight should see him batting in his regular 3 spot
against Matt Cain.
Useless stats 101 – Tuesday’s game against the Giants saw
the Phillies start a 24 game stint with out a day off till September 9th, in the
middle they have a double header against the Marlins. The 24 games will see the
Phillies play at home then travel to the west coast with no travel day, then
after 6 games travel back to the Bank stopping in Colorado on the way. Get ready
for some jet lag at the plate…
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.
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.
I am trying to understand what makes a pitcher good, great or just very
useful in the rotation to a team hoping to compete for the ultimate prize. There
are some guys pitching that I like, some are my favorites, not because of who
they are or what they can do, but just because they impressed me with something
they did, it may have been small, it may have been huge, but at the time to me
it seemed significant enough to make me believe that this guys is okay and
worthwhile having around any ball club.
There are only 4 current pitchers that fall into the category, in no specific
order are Jamie Moyer, Phil Hughes, Chris Carpenter and Randy
Wolf, as I said
none of them jump up and scream Cy Young, but if anyone has never heard of one of
these guys then, I think your missing something.
It seems some believe this to be the year of the pitcher, with the shut outs
starting to grow, the no hitters and the perfect games all having enjoyed a
growth this season already, there could be some truth in the statement. So, I go back to my original thoughts of what
makes a good, great or one of a kind pitcher and how soon can you tell what the
guy will be, by now you probably can see where I am going, Strasburg, you’d be
We had hype around Lincecum back in 2007 and he has appeared to fill almost
all the hype the media placed on him, my personal opinion, his Cy Young
achievement, at least last year (2009), was awarded to the name and hype, he didn’t
deserve it, there were other pitchers more deserving, in my opinion.
Some people say wins and loses, mean nothing, it’s all about the other stuff,
well here are some other stuff, which guy would you want.?…
….since this ‘year of the pitcher’ isn’t going to go away, I think we need
to know a
few of the ailments that will definitely surface towards October. It could be the
player, but with the way people are acting I think it could also be fans that
suffer, we already have things like ADD, yes the real thing ‘Attention
or for the sports fans, it’s those who can’t follow real football, soccer to
those who have no desire to grasp a sport that the majority of the world’s
children understand and play from about 2 or 3 years old.
There is a NEW one about to strike the world of baseball it’s the Strasburg
Hyper Interest Tension Syndrome, yes you can
tell the baseball fan who is suffering, the day after the Washington
Nationals send Stephen Strasburg to mound, these guys will be paying
too many visits to the little boys room, we’re not sure if it’s due to the
excessive food and drink or a need to find relief from the tension.
Sports the lighter side:
The Marlins fired a manager that was actually doing
his job, but feel they found someone more suited and are considering offering the position to the USA’s national soccer
coach, they said, “if he can find 23 guys in the USA that can play
football that aren’t fat f-cks then he must be able to find 8 players and
someone who knows how to pitch in the Marlins club house that will play baseball
The Phillies go on the road to Philadelphia and play the Toronto Blue Jays,
this will be the hardest road trip the Phillies have ever made, if they win
it’ll be unfair on the Jays, if they lose everyone will have them back in a
The ChiSox have a 9 game winning streak and the Rangers have an 11 game
winning streak and the Rangers get to play the Astros for 3, so it’s possible we
could have a 14 game win streak by the time the weekend is over.
USA soccer star, I use the term loosely, Landon Donovan, is trying to force his
ex to get back with him by spreading rumors of their pending reconciliation and
blowing fake kisses to her via TV, I mean, dude you look really frickin gay, why
would she want you back.
It’s only June, we are still voting
on the which players will make the All Star teams and yet I am already
tired of hearing the word ‘funk’, so for me this is one buzzword that can
not go soon enough and find it’s way into the pile of so many other buzzwords
that have been annoyingly popular for short periods, I have been told however
that for this word to be banished then it can no longer apply to your team or
players, so I am officially declaring the end of the Phillies
relapse from winning…..
….from here on out the Phillies
team will hit and score runs, they will no longer be connected to this buzzword.
So Phillies players, coaches and management,
take note it’s over, now go out and play baseball like you mean it.
Look out Marlins you will
feel the brunt of the Phillies without the…
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.