Saturday, June 30, 2007

TKO

What the hell just hit me? Oh, that was the right jab from the Mets that landed squarely on my right eye. I knew we didn't have such a great chance of winning the first game of the day/night double-header, because J.D. Durbin was pitching for the Phils. I'm glad I didn't set my expectations high, because aside from 3 up, 3 down, 3 k's in the 1st inning Durbin sucked like the Triple A trash he is giving up 6 runs in just under 5 innings of work. Not all was bad though, as there were some rarities in the day portion of the double-header, as Chris Coste had a nice pinch-hit homerun (a symbolic F-U to the organization for having him in the minors), a 2-run Wes Helms homerun, a pinch-hit rbi single by Pat Burrell, and a little over 4 scoreless innings from the bullpen. In the end it didn't matter though, as the Phils dropped the first game 6-5, thanks in part by our "defensive catcher" Rod Barajas' inability to catch a ball and make a tag and then block a pitch in the dirt resulting in 2 of J.D.'s surrendered runs. Thanks again Gillick for signing Rod, without him I don't know what we'd do (probably win more games).

Holy crap, did anyone catch the license plate of that truck that just hit me? What was that, it was another jab to the facial region by the hated Mets, this time to the left eye. Going into yesterday, I thought we'd split the double-headed, especially with "King" Cole on the mound in the nightcap. Hamels continued to serve up meaty pitches as Carlos Beltran deposited 2 of his offerings over the outfield fence, which leaves Cole's total at a MLB leading 19 homeruns surrendered. I'm going to play the part of an a-hole here and break this harsh news to everyone...Cole Hamels is not a savior, Cole Hamels is not going to the be starting pitcher for the NL in the All-Star game, and Cole Hamels is not a Cy Young hopefull. Don't get me wrong, Hamels is good and he is our staff ace, but his era isn't all that great at 3.87, and until he finds a way to stop giving up so many long balls he'll never truly dominate. The loss wasn't all Cole's fault though, as the offense aside from Michael Bourn and Chase Utley forgot to show up. End result, Phils lose 5-2 and get swept at the hands of the NL East leading Mets, entering the day 3 games back and falling to 5 back when all was said and done. Ding, turkey's done...TKO!



Have no fear, we have our prize fighter J.A. Happ making his MLB debut today, a win for sure. Ah, who the hell am I fooling? He'll probably get lit up like your weird Uncle Vernon then try to make inappropriate advances on you.

~Carson

Friday, June 29, 2007

Phillies Phlashback Phriday: Glenn Wilson

Don't mess around with the guy in shades, oh no! Say hello to a Phucco, a man with a cannon from the outfield, a former 1st round pick (18th overall) by the Detroit Tigers in 1980, a man that wore shades to the plate...Glenn Wilson. Glenn Wilson played for the Phillies from 84-87, racking up an eye-popping 60 outfield assists during that span (with a career high 20 in '86). Whenever Chris Wheeler draws back on his memories of Glenn, he always remembers to add about his rocket arm. Wilson's finest season of his career was '85 when he was an All-Star, finished 23rd in MVP voting, and batted .275 with 39 doubles, 14 homeruns, and 102 rbi. As mentioned above, Glenn also played with the Pirates (88-89 and '93). Lets not forget that he rocked the token 80's stache too.

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Two-Headed Monster:
The Phils are set to open a 4 game weekend series against the rival and NL East leading New York Mets with a day/night double-header today. Taking the ball in the 1st game will be former Twins phenom J.D. Durbin, and pitching the nightcap is King Cole. Durbin is filling the vacancy left by Donut-Eater Lieber, and either him or tomorrow's starter (J.A. Happ) will be looked upon to make some more starts down the road. This is a huge series as well, because the Phillies currently sit 3 games back of the Mets. Lets go Phils, screw NY!

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Rattle and Hum:
In order for J.D. Durbin to pitch today he had to be added to the Phils active roster, which meant Yo-Yoel Hernandez was optioned back to Ottawa. Hernandez was like most of the Phils' relievers, sometimes good, but mostly crappy. The Phils weren't done shifting the roster around yet, as Chris "East vs. West" Coste has been summoned to take the place of Jayson Werth. Yes, the same Jayson Werth who scored the winning run in last night's game is heading to the DL with a left wrist injury, but the injury wasn't suffered during his pinch-running appearance. Another move is pending, as J.A. Happ will have to be activated much like Durbin, meaning another bullpenner will be getting sent down (preferably Jose Mesa).

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Can I Kick It?:
*With a fruitless pinch-hitting appearance in last night's game, Pat Burrell's dive to sub .200 came more of a reality as the average is down to .203.

*Another stat I like to keep track of is the ridiculous amount of strikeouts racked up by Ryan Howard. He k'd 3 times yesterday and now has 82 punchouts on the season and 10 in the last 3 games.

*2007 NL MVP: Chase Utley- .331 avg, 58 runs, 30 doubles, 15 homeruns, 64 rbi, 6 sb, and a marvelous .999 OPS.

*I know we all grow tiresome of Jimmy Rollins' bouts with pop-ups, but he is an excellent shortstop. He's always been slick with the glove, possessed good speed, and now he's proving to be quite the capable batter as he has already reached the quadruple-double (double digits in doubles, triples, homeruns, and stolen bases). Way to "clutch up" in extra innings yesterday.

~Carson

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Usual Suspects


















6 runs in 3 innings plus all 3 inherited runners scored. Comfort in consistency.
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The Phils score eleven runs with Bourn in left and Dobbs at third, so naturally the next night Abe Nunez is back at third base. I think the shock of trying something different and having success was so frighteningly difficult for Manuel to comprehend that he had to screw it up.

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Speaking of Abe Nunez, did he get intentionally walked last night? There is no way that actually happened. Far and away the most surprising play of the year so far...
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Hopes of a series win lie with Gavin Eaton. Yikes. Matt Belisle goes for the Reds. The last time the Phils saw Belisle, Freddy Garcia was picking up his one and only win as a Phillie. Remember Freddy Garcia? Ah, good times...

Corey

Poll Position

If you had your choice between playing a shoot-em-up zombie game, a racing game, pinball, or a boring role playing game like Final Fantasy, which would you choose? Today I am going to help you decide by comparing each of these games to our possible left fielders.

Pat Burrell- is playing the part of a zombie, as he's sucking the life out of this team. His batting average has fallen to .205, his homeruns are equal to Shane Victorino's at 8, he's managed only 31 rbi, and his OPS has dipped to .748. Basically, like a zombie, all Burrell can do any more is walk, and despite his 13.25 million dollar price tag, that's not enough for me to insert him into the starting lineup. Pat had been a WSBGM's favorite, as he was called our "boy", but like Corey said, "it's the end of an era".

Michael Bourn- now that he's getting more playing time, I will need to think of a proper nickname for him. I've pondered "Bourn Identity", but I'm sure the other schmuck bloggers will be using that. I've thought of "Bourn Again", but I don't want to get all "holier than thou on you". Then I came up with "Bourn to be Wild", and I think I'll stick with that. Anyway, Bourn is the racing game in this video game scenario, as he is the anti-Burrell in the speed category. Bourn's defense is superior to Burrell, his speed is disruptive, and he has upside unlike the deteriorating Burrell. In limited exposure this season he's batted .306, has stolen 11 bases without being caught, and has a respectable .791 OPS. The major drawbacks with Bourn are his lack of experience and lack of power (no double or homeruns in 15 hits this season, but 2 triples).

Greg Dobbs- is our classic pinball game, as he bounces around from 1st base, to 3rd base, to LF, and he's even played some 2nd base. This is one of Patty G's quality pickups, as he's played nicely for a waiver wire acquisition posting a .281 average with 7 homeruns, 30 rbi, and an above average OPS of .845. I want him in the lineup any time the Phils are facing a righty, but to be honest, I'd rather see him manning 3rd than in the outfield because that also means No-Hit Nunez or Wes Helms aren't stealing at bats.

Jayson Werth- is the boring role player game like Final Fantasy, but for the sake of this discussion, lets refer to it as "Phantasy". A phantasy is all Werth has left and indeed this may be his final one, because he's been pretty werthless with the exception of a few games. In 85 at bats he's collected a pitiful 4 extra base hits and struck out 22 times while batting .233 with a paltry .686 OPS. *Instead of posting an image of the real Final Fantasy video game, I opted for this more eye-friendly version.

Who should be the Phillies starting LF?
Pat Burrell
Michael Bourn
Greg Dobbs
Jayson Werth
  
pollcode.com free polls

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Game Thoughts:
*Chooch, or as Jacobin put it yesterday "Cooch", had an awesome game with 3 hits, 4 rbi, and a steal of home. This was the first steal of home since butt-plug Scott Rolen did it in 1997...thanks for erasing his name from that distinction Ruiz.

*Ryan Howard continues to be an all-or-nothing slugger, going deep in the 1st inning yesterday for a 2 run bomb then proceeding to whiff 4 straight at bats. That's now 17 homeruns and 76 k's on the season.

*Chase Utley is nothing short of amazing. He's is quickly climbing up the ranks of my favorite Phillies of all-time.

*Kyle Kendrick went from being fill-in 5th starter to needed 4th starter in the matter of about a week. His 3rd MLB start wasn't spectacular, but he kept the Phils in the game and ended up collecting his 2nd win.

*Grand Pappy Moyer vs. Aaron Harang tonight. Hopefully Jamie can baffle the Reds tough left-handed batters (Griffey and Dunn) or lull them to sleep, which ever is easier and more effective.

~Carson

Monday, June 25, 2007

Starting Options

With Willis and Buerhle too expensive, Carrasco and Happ too inexperienced, and Durbin too crappy, I think the Phils should look to some former staff aces to fill in the back end of the rotation. Here are the guys I think are the best options to make a few starts:

Joe Roa - With long wavy hair parted down the middle and a look that screams "sexual predator," Roa was one of the great Phuccos of the Larry Bowa Era. (He pitched for the Pirates in spring training of '05 and started four games in AAA, that's good enough for me.) Roa posted a respectable 4.04 ERA in '02 for the Phightins and he hasn't pitched since being released by the Pirates, so his arm should be well rested.

Paul Abbott - Abbott was atrocious for Philadelphia in 2004 (1-6, 6.24) but he does have playoff experience with Seattle. Combine seasoned veteran that "knows how to win" (obviously everyone who makes the postseason falls into this category) with the fact that he pitched in Seattle, and you know Gillick would love to sign this guy to start a few.

Carlton Loewer - Remember when Carlton took over mananging The Peacock from Will and charged people to use the bathroom, then used the money to buy a handheld metal detector, "Less flatwear theft means lower prices for you, our valued customer." I love that show. I say bring him back and make him do this dance after every strikeout.

Matt Beech - 53 starts for the Phils, and a 5.37 career ERA. He pitched in the minors with the Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, Reds and Tigers but never made it back to the show. He has spent the last two years in the independent Atlantic League, winning 7 games for the powerful Bridgeport Bluefish last year. Glad he's been keeping in shape, it's his time to return...

Adam Bernero - This one is a little bit of a stretch, considering that Bernero is property of the Red Sox and will miss all of 2007 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. However, he proved in his one start last year that he has enough dominant stuff to get through 5 innings even without elbow ligaments. The power is in the Amish-like facial hair. Diamond in the rough is only way to describe this fireballer.

Danny Cox - This is the guy I think has the best chance to make a return. Cox pitched for the Phillies in 1992 and sported a hardluck 5.40 ERA. He was released by the Phillies, signed by the Pirates (hello Phucco!), then released again. However, this unappreciated talent and fu-manchu was snatched up by one great GM, as Cox signed a free agent deal with Toronto. Not coincidentally, the Blue Jays won the World Series. That GM: Pat Gillick. Genius.

Gavin Floyd - I think it's time the Phils realize they gave up on Floyd too soon. He's ripping it in AAA (3.22 ERA, 70 K's to 23 walks.) With the Sox interested in Rowand, it may be time to reaquire the Bulldog.
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Love Triangle
After seeing Carson's glowing report and picture with Jayson Stark, Chris Wheeler may be a little jealous...

Corey

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Trimming The Fat

Not since fat-ass Scientologist Kirstie Alley started the Jenny Craig program have we seen a race to 200 quite like this. A few months after Alley surpassed the Mendoza line by dropping 75 pounds and sported a bikini (ugh) on Oprah, Pat Burrell has plummeted his average to an area even Abe Nunez has yet to explore.

After this weekend, Burrell is now down to .205, 75 points lower than it was at the beginning of May. I wrote last week about the end of the Pat Burrell Era, but even so I was still supporting him. I looked at Burrell's Mendoza-hovering average with the rosiest colored glasses of all time, seeing potential instead of reality. I feel like a family member of an addict on the show Intervention, waiting for that bald guy to get hired as a hitting coach, admit Burrell to some sort of hitting detox center, and turn his season around. But I realized on Saturday, after watching Burrell desperately and unsuccessfully try to turn a low and away slider into a homerun to leftfield, that it isn't going to happen. I have to give up on Pat the Bat. The days of me being a Burrell supporter are over. End of era #2 for this week...

It's not helping Pat's cause that Michael Bourn got three hits in the game yesterday, an accomplishment Burrell has reached only twice in 61 starts this year. Bourn has speed, defense and a .304 average; Burrell has a huge contract and the look of an underachiever. I say Bourn has to play everyday in left until, like Burrell has done this year, he proves he can't.

And memo to Kirstie Alley: you're still a fat-ass. The only people who benefited from your cow-in-a-scarf routine were bulimics with broken fingers. I think Oprah was even disgusted, but the gravitational pull from your ass wouldn't let her get away. Jeebus, put some clothes on.

Corey

Yep, We're Screwed!

Yesterday was not a good day. The Phils lost to the lowly Cardinals because Patty G's star offseason acquisition Gavin Eaton sucks, Pat Burrell's average dropped to .205 with no hopes of rebounding, and Shane Victorino's hitting streak was halted at 14 games. Believe it or not, that's not the worst part of yesterday...Donut-Eater's career as a Phillie very well might be over like a fat kid tearing through a box of cream-filled. Jon Lieber was placed on the 15-day DL while Jars of Clay Condrey was recalled from Ottawa. Lieber's stint on the DL will take far longer than 15 days, and most likely the remainder of the season. Results from a MRI exam taken Saturday unveiled a ruptured tendon in the bottom of Lieber's right foot, with a timetable for return if everything goes "perfect" at mid-September, but season-ending surgery is the likely alternative. That leaves the Phils with yet another hole to plug in the rotation. We've probably already lost Freddy Garcia for the season, Tom Gordon and Brett Myers are still on the mend, and now Lieber too. That's $29.5 million on the DL and roughly 30% of the payroll. For the short-term the Phils are planning to fill the void internally with either J.A. Happ, Carlos Carrasco, or J.D. Durbin (none of which excite me at this stage in their careers). A trade remains a route Gillick may take, but probably for a free-agent-to-be suckfest like the "Human Rain Delay" Steve Trachsel. Yep, we're screwed!

~Carson

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Saturday Shuffle

In a world where most 44 year old men are popping Viagra and flipping through the obituaries to see what high school acquaintance died from congestive heart failure, here stands Grand Pappy Moyer looking young and spry in his most recent triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals. Most baseball enthusiasts would call him a crafty-lefty, but I'll refer to him as a southpaw with a blistering slowball and rolling offspeed pitches. Call Jamie whatever you want, bottom line is he's a quality pitcher that proves speed isn't everything, as he now has 7 wins on the season with a fine 4.12 era.

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Relief Hunting:
Patty G has already tagged and bagged the likes of J.D. Durbin, Francisco Rosario, Jose Mesa, and Rick Bauer in an attempt to find relief help after the season started, and now his quest has brought him to J.C. Romero. Romero is a lefty that has been recently released by the BoSox, and Gillick signed him to a minor league contract. He'll be reporting to Phillies' rookie-level Gulf Coast team in Clearwater to get himself back into pitching shape and allow time for the Phils to evaluate him. I look for him to make an appearance in a Phils uniform following the All-Star break and with Fat Mike Zagurski being optioned to Ottawa. J.C. may have a decent era this season of 3.15, but his WHIP is an atrocious 1.95, so basically he's been lucky. Overall, his career has spanned 9 seasons with the Twins, Angels, and Red Sox pitching in 415 games with a 4.54 era, and 1.53 WHIP. He's held lefties to a .233 average over his career compared to a .279 average against righties. I think this is a worth while signing, as he's an experienced lefty that might be able to handle pressure situations better than the youngster Zagurski.

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Pitchers Hit?:
Last year our pitchers were the worst in the NL with a measly 29 hits on the season, all but meaning an automatic out. This year they have done a complete 180, while leading the NL with 25 hits as a staff...only 4 less than last year's total. Hamels leads the way with 7 hits, but Eaton and Moyer have chipped in 6 a piece as well. I know pitchers are supposed to pitch, and ours could stand to do a better job at that, but swinging the stick with the intent of hitting is better than Kevin Millwood ever did for us.
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Quick Hits:

*Believe it or not, or like it or not, Jose Mesa's era as a Phillie stands at 3.18.

*Shane Victorino has a nice 14 game hitting streak going on.

*Chase Utley continues to play his way into early MVP consideration (with Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder, and Matt Holliday), as he's now batting .322 and plays a high energy all-around game.

*Ryan Howard may get bashed on by me, but his average is now up to .253 and despite a 15 day stay on the DL he has 50 rbi.

*Pat Burrell is mired in a 1-for-17 slump and hitting .149 since April 25.

~Carson

Friday, June 22, 2007

Phlashback Phriday: Wells for Howard

I'm not phlashing back to a player today. Instead, with the Phils set to open a series against the Cardinals, I thought I would look back at a rumored trade between the Phils' and Pirates for current Red Bird Kip Wells (who starts game three of this series.)

Rumors and stories about trades, especially at deadline time, are so rampant and random, they are often forgotten shortly after conception. Today I look back at one such rumor: Ryan Howard to the Pirates for pitcher Kip Wells in July of 2005.

At the time, the Phils were in a Wild Card chase, or at least they thought they may be in one, as they were sitting right around .500. Jim Thome had been hurt but the offense motored on; Lofton and Abreu were getting on base and Pat Burrell, Chase Utley and young Ryan Howard were knocking them in. David Bell still sucked. Lieber, Myers, Lidle, Padilla were racking up innings, but Wolf got hurt and the Phils needed a more reliable 5th starter than Tejada, Brito or Floyd to make a playoff run. Hmmmm, where to get pitching???

Pittsburh is always trading pitching, right? And sure enough, along comes Kip Wells, the available Kip Wells, to throw a 12 strikeout complete game shutout against the Phils on July 4th. When the available pitcher thows a shutout against the team that is interested in him, he immediately has the value of Nolan Ryan. So soon after, the Howard for Wells rumors start.

Needless to say, the deal never happens. Thome doesn't come back and Howard is deemed too valuable. As is Kip Wells, who the Buccos don't end up trading him at all...until the next year, when he is shipped to the Rangers for a minor-leaguer. Way to sell high, Buccos!

Howard goes on to win NL MVP in 2006.

Wells goes on to have a record of 5-16 after 2005 with ERA's in the 6's. Ouch.

So, as the Phils prepare to face Wells, remember this almost-Phucco and the greatest none-trade of the last decade...

Corey

Thursday, June 21, 2007

10 Spot

This is something I'm becoming accustomed to- watching the Mets and Braves lose while picking up no ground in the NL East because our pitching staff sucks. I like to blame Charlie Manuel a lot of the time, but even Harry Houdini couldn't work magic with this crapheap of arms. Last night Donut-Eater served up his typical big inning and then the bullpen unmercifully blew the game wide open, and such is the story of the 2007 Philadelphia Phillies pitching woes. In fact our staff's ERA is 4.93, which is good for (or should I say "bad for"?) 27th out of 30 MLB teams, 2nd worst in the NL. Opponents OPS against us in an NL worst .803, and the Phils pitchers have served up 90 homeruns. To date, the Phillies have allowed the opposition to score 10 or more runs an outrageous 9 times.

10 Spot:
*April 9 vs. Mets loss 11-5
*April 28 vs. Marlins loss 11-5
*May 19 vs. Blue Jays loss 13-2
*May 29 vs. Diamondbacks loss 11-5
*June 1 vs. Giants loss 13-0
*June 10 vs. Royals loss 17-5
*June 15 vs. Tigers loss 12-8
*June 18 vs. Indians loss 10-1
*June 20 vs. Indians loss 10-6

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Quotes:
*"We're going to find out because I'm going to put him in some tight spots," Manuel said. "I like his experience and I've known him a long time. His arm is sound, and his velocity is getting better." (In regards to using Mesa...oh sh*t!)

*"It's way too early to scoreboard watch," Aaron Rowand said, stating the obvious. "If we don't win games, it's not going to matter." (Spoken like a true gamer)

*"We gave one game away in each series," Manuel said. "We definitely can play with them if we fill our holes. We definitely... whatever." (Ladies and gentlemen, the brilliant Charles Fuqua Manuel)

*"I felt a pop, but had it checked out," Lieber said. "But it's fine. It's more muscular than anything. I have to make sure to ice it the next couple of days. I was backing up home plate and it gave right there. Right now, it feels like a cramp." (Said with donut in cheek and powder on lips...disgraceful)

~Carson

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

To hell with Ohka we got Kendrick

Last week Corey and I both agreed that the Phils should look into acquiring the waived Tomo Ohka from the Blue Jays to fill the 5th starter role. He ended up clearing waivers and was released the other day, meaning he's free game to all. The Phillies and the Cardinals were in on the bidding, with St. Louis getting him in the end because they promised a shorter minor league assignment. Losing out on Ohka isn't a big deal because we have Kyle Kendrick.

Kyle Kendrick made his MLB debut last week against the hapless ChiSox offense and pitched 6 innings while giving up 3 runs, not bad for a rookie. Last night against Cleveland with the team in need of a win, he once again pitched 6 innings while surrendering 3 runs. After Kendrick's first start, Corey had this to say, "I hate to sound like a pessimist, but the praise laid upon young Kyle Kendrick may be a little shortsighted." Well Corey, it still may be shortsighted, but that's two quality starts in a row by the rookie, and this time it was against a powerful Indians lineup. I was particularly impressed with this outing because the homeplate umpire (C.B. Bucknor) was squeezing him all night not giving the corners, and the defense behind him was sub par. After 2 starts, his era is a mediocre 4.50, but his win total is already as high as Freddy Garcia's (1 win) and he has a nice WHIP of 1.17. I look forward to seeing more of Kendrick's starts, and indeed he may just be a reason the Phils continue to win.

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Verbal Beatdown:
In an uncanny turn of events this blog may have a direct effect on the outcome of individuals' performances for the Philadelphia Phillies. It seems as though when Corey or I give a verbal beatdown of a player that within the next few games they make us eat our words. It happened just yesterday with Pat Burrell and the "end of an era" post on here then he quickly shuts us up with a 2-out 2 rbi double in the 1st inning. In yesterday's comment section I bashed on Ryan Howard for his high strikeout rate and low batting average, he promptly went 3 for 5 with a double, homerun, 3 runs, and 4 rbi while not whiffing the entire game. In the past I've called out No-Hit Nunez or the weakling known as Wes Helms and they've gotten a crucial pinch-hit rbi single (Nuni) or knocked their first homerun of the year (Helms) the following day. Our criticism of these players is not unwarranted, and it seems to be an exception to the rule when they "prove" us wrong, but if that's all it takes to get players going then...Screw the entire Philadelphia Phillies 2007 team, they all suck and can't hit, field, or pitch worth a dingleberry hanging off Manuel's butt cheek.

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As promised on Sunday, here is the picture of me and Jayson Stark. Since getting the Internet and following baseball on ESPN.com I've taken a liking to Stark because of his Philadelphia roots and his amusing anecdotal writing style. His baseball knowledge of the "useless information" is also right up my alley. Jayson Stark is my homeboy!

~Carson

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

End Of An Era

Tonight was the end of the Pat Burrell Era of Phillies baseball.

Burrell has been struggling lately, as his average has dropped from .344 in late April to .211. Burrell has 2 hits in June, equal to that of Adam Eaton. And while he is walking a lot (.382 OBP) he has only 8 homeruns and his slugging .387 (just barely edging out noted slugger and offensive jugernaut Rod Barajas.)

Tonight Burrell was not in the lineup for the second game in a row, and has been benched frequently in the last 2 weeks. A similar situation took place at the end of 2006, but it was the way it happened in the last two games that separates this year from last, and makes 2007 the end of the Pat Burrell Era.

First, on Sunday, down 3 runs with 2 men on in the 7th innning against the Tigers, Manuel pinch hit Wes Helms (.248-1-17) to face lefty Bobby Seay, instead of Pat the Bat. Then yesterday, in an American League ballpark against a lefthanded pitcher, Manuel put the same light-hitting Helms at first and used Howard as the DH instead of Burrell.

Not only is Burrell seeing less playing time, he has become the next-to-last hitting option on the team (would still hit before Bourn.) If he isn't used in these situations, when will be ever hit again? He won't break out of a slump on the bench but I get the feeling that the Phils may be thinking that April was the exception and this is the rule. Less likely a slump, more likely a routine. Unfortunately, they may be right too. This very well could be the end of an era...

Corey

Monday, June 18, 2007

Every 5th Day

Every 5th day I have confidence. Every 5th day I brace myself to witness greatness. Every 5th day the Phillies are expected to win. Why? Cole-fricken-Hamels!!! Besides the occasional longball given up (16 so far), King Cole has been a merry young soul. When he was drafted in the 1st round in '02 (17th overall pick), I was skeptical because of his injury history. My suspicions were not laid to rest as he battled through both growing and physical pains his first 3 minor league seasons. Remember his anger management incident? He's since matured, gotten married, and had a relatively clean bill of health.

Cole Hamels is labeled a staff savior. He is the man we turn to when we need a win, and we need a win today (currently has 9, hopefully 10 after tonight). For a sophomore, he has pitched brilliantly, and is now our staff ace. I look forward to watching Hamels continue to progress in the art of pitching and become even more dominant than he already is. His fastball isn't amazing, but coupled with that change-up he's sometimes unhittable, and his curveball is getting better. His stuff isn't the only reason that he succeeds, as he has a cocky tenacity about him when he pitches and isn't scared of any hitter. Also, he handles the stick pretty well, knocking out 7 hits this season so far. In spring training he said he expects 20 wins of himself this season, and he's well on the way to that. This is why I look forward to every 5th day.

~Carson

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Morning News: Fathers Day Edition

Happy Fathers Day!

For your Sunday afternoon enjoyment will be Gavin Eaton pitching for the Phils facing the no-hit wonderboy Justin Verlander. I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm confident in saying Verlander will not duplicate his no-hit performance today like he did against the Brew Crew. In fact, I'm even hoping for a series win over Detroit, and that would be a huge accomplishment and continuance of positives for our beloved Phightins.

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Drugs Are Bad:
Another no-talent ass-clown has juiced himself up in hopes of making an impression in the minors for the almighty call-up to the majors. Earlier in the season Hector Made, a 2nd baseman who we acquired from the Yanks for Sal Fu Manchu Fasano, tested positive for steroid use and was suspended 50 games. Yesterday Ottawa starting pitcher Matt Childers, who has seen action with the Brewers and Braves in past seasons, was the lastest casualty of the 50 game drug ban. Seriously, either use the untraceable HGH or stay clean you idiots!

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Roster Moves:
Francisco Rosario was disabled yesterday and Brian Sanches (what's with the "s" instead of a "z" at the end of his name) was summoned from Ottawa. Rosario was pretty much a worthless reliever that we claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays and losing him to the DL is no loss at all. The man has a nice fastball, but drunk drivers are less erratic. This gives me the perfect opportunity to complain about Chris Coste not being on the roster. I was hoping the Disney inspired Coste would get the call to the Phils, but no, instead it's a guy not worthy of a MLB uniform in the form of Sanches. Sanches didn't impress me last year when he pitched with the Phils (5.91 ERA), and he's been sucking in Triple A (1-2, 24 games, 30 IP, 41 hits surrendered, 5.40 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) not exactly a compelling case for promotion. Only positives I can see from Sanches is that his control has been good issuing 4 walks, and he's also k'd 39 batters in 30 innings and has 10 saves. But back to Coste, he's done nothing but hit in the majors, so wouldn't it make sense to have him in case you needed a hit?! Maybe they'll recognize the error of their ways and cut bait with Jose Mesa. Then again, Mesa will probably be our predominant setup man by season's end blowing leads...yeah!

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At the Brick Cit House:
Besides the awful traffic on the way down to the stadium, it was a very pleasurable day. Moyer pitched a Moyer like outing, baffling guys with his offspeed stuff, and only surrendering 2 runs on solo jacks. The Phils offense was steady throughout the game, posting 1 run on the scoreboard in 6 of their 8 innings. Homeruns by Vic and Fence-Face got standing ovations. Phils win 6-3.

The Phillies winning and moving to 2 games back on the NL East leading Mets wasn't even the high point of my day. I got to meet one of my baseball idols- ESPN's Jayson Stark. He was signing copies of his new book, The Stark Truth, about the most over and underrated players in MLB history. We had a short conversation about how "awesome" (my words) he is, his Useless Information column on ESPN.com, and how Petter Gammons loves the Dropkick Murphy's. He even posed for a picture with me, which will be posted on the blog sometime later this week. Jayson Stark, you're my homeboy!

~Carson

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tantalizing & Torturing Thoughts

Recipe for runs- put the top offenses of their perspectives leagues in the same series mixed in with pitching staffs that are ranked near the bottom of MLB. Outcome- 20 total runs scored in the 1st game alone. I head down to the Brick Cit House tonight to watch a pair of lefties duel it out (rookie Andrew Miller for the Tigers vs. Grand Pappy Moyer for our Phightins), so I hope I see some offensive fireworks again, this time solely by the Phils.

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Tantalizing:
*Yo-Yoel Hernandez was pretty much an unknown commodity when he came up to the Phils early this season, and his first impression was not a good one (homerun surrendered to first batter faced). However, he has calmed down nicely since then and has become a decent reliever posting a 2.70 era, 0.75 WHIP, and issuing no walks in his 13 1/3 innings pitched. In a bullpen that reeks of crap, he comes out smelling like a rose.

*As mentioned earlier, our offense is tops in the NL, due largely in part by the bats of Chase Utley (.960 OPS), Ryan Howard (.915 OPS), Fence-Face Rowand (.885 OPS), Greg Dobbs (.867 OPS), and Jimmy Rollins (.860). OPS is one of my favorite stats, and although it doesn't give you a complete snapshot of the player's abilities it does tell you his tendency of getting on base and slugging the crap out of the ball...two very important things in the game of baseball in my opinion.

*King Cole is the man. He currently leads the NL in wins (9) and strikeouts (104), and put his 3.47 era and 1.16 WHIP into the fold and you have a potential Cy Young on your staff (that is if Jake Peavy stops ruling the world for the next few months).

*The Flyin' Hawaiian now has 21 stolen bases on the season, and hasn't been caught in 18 straight attempts. Victorino's speed coupled with his outstanding defense make him an exciting player to watch and an easy guy to root for.

*Six-Finger-Ant has been a pleasant surprise, and I believe he deserves more respect for the job he has done. Yes, Alfonseca had a stretch of two terrible weeks, but other than that he's been a bullpen savior with 3 wins, 5 saves, 7 holds, and a 3.49 era.

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Torturing:
*Like I said above, OPS only gives you a snapshot into a player's skills, and that leads me to the reigning NL MVP Ryan Howard and his .915 OPS. That's a great OPS, and he now has 14 jacks, which isn't bad considering he's missed about 20 games due to injury, but there is concern with his batting average (.238) and his k's (63 in 49 games and 168 at bats).

*Pat Burrell may be WSBGM's boy, but he sucks. I've defended him for years, but it's now come to a point where there really isn't any defense for him. The man is making about 13 million dollars this season to play a shoddy leftfield and bat .216 with little power (8 homers). The only things he does well anymore is draw walks (52) and throw from the outfield (5 assists).

*Our pitching staff sucks, and here's why- Gavin Eaton and his erratic performances (5.42 era), the letdown known as Freddy Garcia, Jars of Clay Condrey, the crapfest of lefties Matt Smith and Fabio Castro, Jose Joe Table Mesa (I can barely believe I'm typing those words), Francisco Rosario, and...please hold applause...a MLB leading 85 homeruns surrendered. Once again, thank you Pat Gillick.

*For as outstanding as some of our players have been offensively, there have been some dismal performances as well- Rod Barajas (.207 avg), No-Hit Nunez (.637 OPS), Wes Helms (.631 OPS), and Jayson Werth for not being worth much at all.
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Look Alike:












I think I found a logical explanation for why Chase Utley is awesome...his mother was implanted with Michael Jack Schmidt's super-sperm. Seriously, look at Utley's father (middle) and compare it to this picture of Schmidt...hmm?

~Carson