What did we miss in the last few days.
Nationals Sneak a Win
Thursday, April 15th, 2010 – Philadelphia,
The Phillies tried to sweep the Nats, but as we saw last year
on those days that the Phillies decided to have some type of ceremony
the team didn’t meet the expectations on the field. This
year seems to be going that way too, with the presentation of the 2009 NL
Championship rings on Thursday before the final game against the Washington
Nationals, this laid down the jinx and the Phillies failed
to deliver. It was not a very fitting end to a day that honored Jackie
Robinson and saw 19 current Phillies receive the rings.
All seemed to be good up to the 8 inning, Baez came in to pitch the 8th
and hold a 3 run lead, for Madson. Unfortunately the reason Baez
was acquired did not pan out in this game he gave up 3 runs, which allowed the Washington
Nationals to tie the game at 5-5, then in the 9th Madson gave up
a couple giving the Nationals the win.
The good news was that Happ pitched 5 good innings, although his pitch
count was high, he only gave up 1 run on 3 hits. Utley managed to hit his
5th home run of the year and his 3rd in consecutive games. Polanco is
still hitting at a plus .450 clip and doesn’t look like slowing down soon.
Halladay has Fish on Friday
Friday, April 16th, 2010 – Philadelphia,
Roy ‘The Doc’ Halladay faced the Florida Marlins
Friday, some say after facing less than dominant teams, this weekend against the
Marlins would be the real tell for the Phillies. Halladay
stepped up like an old time mailman and delivered through rain and sleet, well
okay no sleet, but he delivered regardless of the weather conditions, which
seemed to bother the Marlins manager.
Halladay was all business, even when it came to the 8th
inning and he had an 8-1 lead, and was holding the Fish to just a
hand full of hits, the intensity he showed was that as if it was a tied game in
Even though the umpires let the game go on through the rain,
it was clear that the Marlins manager was doing all he could to
try and get a delay, primarily to get Halladay out as early as
possibly, since his players were going nowhere fast against him. In fact Halladay
was the main reason Florida’s Cantu had his record run of
It wasn’t just Halladay that caused the Fish
to have a slow day, even though I am told fish like the rain, believe it or not
the empty bench in the picture of Halladay, does not infer that the rest
of the players took the day off, Halladay had some very good defense
behind him too, even Raul Ibanez got into the act, showing that age
hasn’t stopped him taking the needed dives to make a catch, obviously events
like this, especially in the rain draw comments from his fellow team mates, I
think it took another 2 batters for Victorino to stop poking fun at Ibanez
for his attempt at gaining as much air time as an NBA player.
It’s still early in the season and with a 6 run lead going
into the 9th Manuel didn’t want to tax Halladay too much, so after last
it was time to see if the Pen could step up and show that they could hold
a 6 run lead.
In steps Herndon, a rule 5 pick from the Angels,
who won this spot fair and square at spring training, I just hope that this was
just a glitch in his capabilities, because he managed to give up 4 runs and only
get out 1 hitter, now this is a little unfair to him, because the rain was still
coming down and everyone that came up to bat seemed to hit a little bloop in the
infield or to a spot where no one was and everyone kept going point to point. So
Charlie had seen enough, made his AT&T call to the bullpen
using up those roll over minutes, although by now he was on his unlimited nights
and weekends minutes. This time it was Madson called upon to find out if
the Pen is mightier than the Sword, or Sword Fish in this case.
As it happens ‘Mad Dog’ Madson was mightier, it took
just 6 pitches to get the final 2 outs and give Halladay his 3rd win as
the Phillies ace.
WTF Saturday all around baseball
Saturday, April 17th, 2010,
Jamie Moyer took the mound for the Phillies
and Norlasco for the Marlins, the 1st inning was the Moyers
achilles heel, he gave up 5 runs, and that was it, after that he struck out 7
through the next 5 innings. Norlasco for the Marlins was
just as devastating and held the Phillies bats in check, he was on
target for a shut out game except for Jason Werth’s 9th inning home run,
ironically his first of the season. The Fish went on to win 5-1
against a Phillies offense that seemed to be sleeping all night.
Boston Red Sox has been hosting the Tampa
Bay Rays this weekend, Friday nights game got rain out and since it was
tied up at 1-1 they postponed it till Saturday, hoping to squeeze it in before
the start of the scheduled Saturday game, I am sure no-one expected this to go
to 12 innings, but it did and the Rays came out on top, the
scheduled game started late, obviously, but only went 9 innings and also saw the
Rays squeeze another win at Fenway by a score of 6-5, I am sure
there are some Tampa fans with brooms in hand for Sunday’s game.
Well this was one of those games where even the commentators
were wondering if anyone had the capacity to end this game, I’m guessing that
the Mets bench figured the only guy that could possible end it
would get walked and so he did 4 times, although in 20 innings and 9 times at
home plate with a bat in his hand, 4 walks wasn’t bad, and as it also turns out
he got the only Cardinals run in the 19th. Both these teams were
suffering from some variation of the ‘canthitaball-phobia’, both teams
posted a lot of ‘zeros’, over the 20 innings of work, this was definitely
a marathon no-one expected, just like the outcome, Mets finally
won it 2-1.
There has been a lot of hype in spring training and early on in this season
about how good the Atlanta pitching
staff is, personally I think hype is all it is, yes they are good, but it’s more
about the only thing the Braves can push in order to try and make Bobby
Cox’s final year a pay off year. Anyway during the Phillies
game the commentators started to mention a no-hitter going on in Atlanta,
I thought okay, maybe I was wrong, so I flicked to the Atlanta
game to see the Rockies up 4-0 and Jimenez for the Rockies
throwing the no-hitter, okay so he had 6 walks, but he also had 6 strike outs, I
have to admit he wasn’t the first pitcher I would have selected to throw a
no-hitter this season, in fact I didn’t expect a no-hitter before mid May from
anyone in baseball, so to see one this early, by a guy who obviously needed all
the stars to align for this to happen, and for it to happen against a team who
has been hyped for it’s pitching staff, in my eyes definitely wins the ‘WTF’
award for April. I know there’s still lots of playing time in April, but it
would take a Kyle Kendrick to throw a no-hitter to beat this ‘WTF’.
Race for the N.L. East Division Title…
Looking at how the Phillies have been playing of late, I thought this division was going to be the closest run contest, but having seen how the Rockies and Dodgers are playing, the N.L. West could produce the biggest upset in September.
The teams in the N.L. East will all play a major role in the way this division unfolds during September, everybody plays everybody, so I am going to do a brief review of each team and the role they could play.
The Washington Nationals (47-90) in my opinion will have the biggest impact on the outcome of this division race. There current strategy seems to be reviewing players and setting up the team to go into the off season, so they can best decide who to trade and who to keep, plus they are looking at what areas they will need to fill during the off-season so as to not end up with the worst record in baseball in the 2010 season.
The Nats play everyone in the division which means they will be a spoiler and a helper, who they will help and who’s hope’s they will spoil is yet to be seen. They could even have a hand in the N.L. West with (
The New York Mets (62-75) currently are in an ‘argumentum ad misericordiam’ state. They cannot decide if self-pity or pity from the fans right, considering the new stadium, the pre-season hype then the injuries, the ball park not very player friendly and of course the cross town Yankees doing so well, they are desperately seeking a ‘It’s NOT our fault’ acceptance from the not so fair weather fans.
Although they do play everyone in the division, the role of the Mets is more likely to be a deciding factor in where and how the Marlins and Braves finish.
The Atlanta Braves (70-67) are fighting to hold onto a winning record and at the same time desperately trying to stay in the wild card race. They are only 8 games back in the division race, but with Florida and the Phillies ahead of them, they would have to sweep both team during games this month and they only have 3 against the division leading Phillies. the wild card has it’s own challenges, currently 7 1/2 games out they have to hope the 3 teams ahead of them completely collapse.
They will probably be more inclined to spoil the chances of the Marlins while maintaining a winning record this year.
The Florida Marlins (72-65) are the FISH with a WISH. It’s tough to decide which is the hardest task for them, the wild card or division, both are very hard mountains to climb. Currently standing 6 games back in the division and 5 1/2 games back in the wild card it’s a 50/50 chance to make either one. They do have 6 games left against the Phillies and they did sweep the Phillies at CBP and the Phillies have been struggling of late, so there has to be hope in the hearts of the Marlins fans.
The Philadelphia Phillies (77-58) have a hard schedule ahead, with just 2 days off, but 2 double headers to play. They will play 6 games outside of the division, tough games against central division teams, but more importantly the in division games are critical. With Florida and Atlanta hoping for a shot the Phillies will have to bring the best of the season together to finish out on top.
A team in turmoil at the moment, with the starting pitching being the only element of the team delivering a winning performance, the offence needs to step up and the bull pen needs to refocus. the offense it’s all about the players, Raul Ibanez seems to be on a slow climb from his slump, the rest of them have to become more consistent, the bull pen is solid except for 2 or 3 players, who Charlie seems to favor.
It’s all about choices and this man has some to make…
Make the right choices and the Phillies can be in the post season shooting for a repeat, the wrong choices and the season ends October 4th.