Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kick, Punch, Bite, and Claw our Way to the Top

Who cares about the moral character of a player when it's the playoffs that are on the line. We already have one supposed wife abuser on the pitching staff in the form of closer Brett Myers and Patty G went out and got us a dude that takes wife beating to a new level...hello Julio Mateo. Mateo hasn't pitched much in the bigs this season for Seattle due to his alleged wife beating/biting incident. Gillick dealt recently promoted to Ottawa middle infielder Jesus Merchan to the Mariners in return for the much maligned relief pitcher. The 29 year old righty has done well in the majors, accumulating a 18-12 record with a 3.68 era and 1.20 whip in 318.1 ip. He was toiling away in Triple A Tacoma before the trade with a sparkling 0.83 era in 32.1 ip. I just hope he doesn't turn out to be an a-hole and can actually help this tired and beaten bullpen. By no means imaginable do I find female abuse funny, I'm just reporting the facts here people.

A poster on BeerLeaguer had this to say in regards to the Mateo acquisition, "I don't care if he beats his wife. I just want him to be able to throw low fastballs for strikes." Gotta love Phils Phans...we want to win and nothing else, ethics be damned!

~Carson

Ouch!

In a span of a week, here's what the Phillies have lost from their roster due to injuries: 2nd baseman Chase Utley with a broken hand (.336 avg, 79 r, 82 rbi, .995 ops), Ryan Madson with a shoulder strain (3.05 era and 58 bullpen innings), Michael Bourn with a ankle sprain (.284 avg, 18 sb, .755 ops from the bench), and Shane Victorino with a calf strain (.284 avg., 72 r, 32 sb, and .781 ops). Utley and Madson are out for at least a month. Bourn and Victorino's injuries happened last night and the Phils are unsure how serious each case is. My guess is one and probably both end up on the DL, although they're listed as day-to-day right now. That leaves Greg Dobbs as our RF for the time being...scary!

Gillick did a good job of wasting no time in filling the 2nd base void with Tadahito Iguchi, who is doing a fine job with the Phils so far. For the time being, Madson has been replaced with Gas Can Geary, but I would not be surprised if Gillick didn't reel himself in a reliever today. I'm hoping he works the phones and lands an outfielder for the same bounty as it took to get Gooch. Outfielder names we could make a play for include Jacque Jones, Juan Encarnacion, Ryan Church, and Reggie Sanders. Even though Jayson Werth is set to come off the DL, I'd rather have another reinforcement for the outfield if both Vic and Bourn are gone for 15 or more days. Patty G has the golden opportunity to play hero to the city of Philly today, as we're very much alive in the playoff hunt, but obviously in need of some stabilizing players.

Yesterday Gillick ruffled some feathers by trading away left-handed 23 year old pitching prospect Matt Maloney to the Reds for Kyle Lohse. Lohse's win/loss record is and unimpressive 6-12, but that is due largely in part to poor run support. His 4.58 era, 1.34 whip, and excellent control seem like an improvement over "The Real Deal" JD Durbin. I see this as an okay trade, not a huge difference, but enough of one that may make the difference. Durbin can now fill the role of long reliever and continue working on his composure in the bullpen. I foresee Lohse putting up similar numbers to the ones he did for Cincy, but with more wins than losses due to our superior offense. As far as Maloney goes, he was a 4th/5th starter at best and was far from a "can't miss" prospect, so dealing him didn't sting too much.

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Game Summary:
Phils won, picking up a 1/2 game on the Mets and in the Wild Card standings. Cole Hamels pitched brilliantly. Brett Myers looked filthy. Fence-Face Rowand continues to be a lineup savior. Tadahito Iguchi has transitioned well into the Phils lineup, stealing his 1st bag and hitting his 1st homerun yesterday. All of the positives are humbled though as we wait in limbo for the verdict on Vic and Bourn's injuries.

~Carson

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Madson to DL, Geary To Philly

From Yahoo! sports: "Phillies reliever Ryan Madson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder after Philadelphia's 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday. Reliever Geoff Geary was recalled from Triple-A Ottawa and will join the team for Monday's game in Chicago against the Cubs..."It's been bothering me for a few days but I thought I could throw through it," said Madson, who will have a MRI on Monday. "Brett has already given me advice on the injury."

What was the advice, "Pitch through the pain?"

Madson was actually throwing pretty well, his ERA was down to 3.05. Another knock on an already depleted bullpen. They can't play the Pirates every game...

On a positive note, Gas Can and his disturbing face are back from Canada.
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Wild Card Chase
Despite the pitching, despite the injuries, despite Pat Burrell's first 5 months, here are the Wild Card standings:
             W - L GB
Arizona 58-49 --
San Diego 56-48 .5
Chicago 55-48 1.0
Philadelphia 55-49 1.5
Four HUGE games against the Cubs starting today. Let's hope Hamels starts them out on the right foot.
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Abreu Watch - Back to Philly?
Even though the Phils got basically nothing in return for Bobby Abreu, I was one of the few who thought the "addition by subtraction" theory of the trade was valid. The day of the trade, I said, "He is owed $15 million next year, and his skills are in an obvious decline. For a team like the Phillies, it is difficult to defend paying a player who hit below .300 and below 20 homeruns that much money, regardless of his OBP...They are trading a player with a good, not great, history, with a huge contract, and declining skills." The idea of his "declining skills" was not a popular one on the blogs and I took a lot of grief. Therefore, I feel the need to shove his crappy numbers up the noses of the people who didn't believe me. Today's installment: a comparison to Pat Burrell. We are all aware of Burrell's troubles this year, getting benched for about a month and hitting 6th for most of the year. He has had a good 4 weeks, but overall, he's had a terribly disappointing season. Here are Burrell's, then Abreu's numbers:
.255-13-53-.872
.270-8-61-.750
That's pretty ugly. How can the Yankees continue to bat this guy high in the order? Could you imagine the Phillies paying these two almost 30 million dollars to put up these numbers? The Phils saved almost 23 million dollars by trading this mediocre player.

Abreu is having such a down year, the Yankees have the option of paying him $16 million next year or buying him out for $2 million. The latter seems more likely, making Abreu a free agent. Where should Abreu go? How about Philadelphia? If Abreu would accept far less money than he has received recently (which he might have too, because the list of teams willing to pay over $10 million for him will be small to non-existent), and Rowand leaves, an outfield of Burrell, Victorino, Abreu could be interesting...especially if you believe that Abreu is having trouble with the "bright lights" and pressure of NYC. A trip back to warm and cuddly South Philadelphia might do him good...
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San Cristobal
Patron saint of sticking it to Pat Gillick...that curtain call two days ago was great, he might as well have pointed a middle finger back at the GM's box for making him sit in Reading for the last few months.

I know I'm beating a dead horse, but Chris Coste is now hitting .349, after hitting .328 last year. When Jayson Werth come back from the DL, Rod Barajas should be released. However, if that happens, when Ruiz catches, Manuel can't use Coste to PH. What I would do, since I Should Be GM, is release Werth or Nunez or Helms, since Dobbs is the teams 5th outfielder and backup 3rd baseman. Whatever those numb-nuts in the front office do, they have to keep Coste. If they don't, I may lead a storming of the Bastille, err, Citizens Park.

Corey

All in the Family

As readers of this blog, you know we seldom mention our state buddies the Pirates, even though we pay homage to them at the top of our page. Corey and I are predominantly Phillies Phans first and foremost, but rooting for the Buccos is second nature. We grew up getting Fox Sports Pittsburgh on our television sets, so naturally we root for them too. However, when it's time for the Phils to play the Pirates all niceties are pushed aside and we're out for blood. I still do want to spread some swashbuckling love because the Pirates are the perfect team for the Phils to play in their current state of affairs. Chase goes on DL, team is a bit demoralized, but who's coming to town? The lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, so Phillies still have the golden opportunity to start establishing their offense without Mr. Utley (as Iguchi has taken to calling him...wise decision) and win some ball games before facing stiffer competition. By the way, why is it "stiffer", did they pop an Enzyte or something? Anyway, we're all one big happy family here in PA and I'm glad the Buccos can aid us in our quest for the playoffs or at least a gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, tear-filled oh-so-close ending to the season.

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Shout, Shout, Let It All Out:
*Wes Helms sucks! He sucks at hitting, he sucks at fielding, he sucks at running; he's a perfectly all-around suck-filled talentless butt-dart! He should only be used for pinch-hitting purposes from now on with Greg Dobbs and Abe Nunez platooning at 3rd (Dobbs against righties, Nuni against lefties).

*"The Real Deal" JD Durbin pitched like a real dud last night, but was awarded the win nevertheless. I take this as a positive, because it's obvious this dude has talent but needs to take a chill pill and calm the hell down. Now that he sees his offense is there to back him up, maybe he can stop walking pitchers and giving up homeruns to players with the power of a 5th grader and focus on simply pitching.

*Tadahito Iguchi is already fitting in, and that's a great thing. I'm not expecting much from him, just a decent glove and a better bat than No-Hit would have offered. I'm also looking forward to the Gooch & Chooch Show at the bottom of the lineup.

*Chris Coste very well may be a soft spoken man, but his bat does an awful lot of trash talking. Last night he once again proved why Rod Barajas is a waste of money and roster space, while knocking in 4 runs with a double and a homerun. F.U. very much Patty G!

~Carson

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dubee Finally Does Something Right...

Phils pitching coach, Rich Dubee, has finally done something right...his wife. Yep, some 22 years ago he impregnated her with his pitching-rich sperm and produced his son Michael Dubee whom the Phils just traded away for 2nd baseman Tadahito Iguchi. This was the perfect deal to make because Iguchi didn't cost the Phils a prospect and is only a rent-a-player for the remainder of the season. "Gooch" (great now we have a Gooch and Chooch...where's the Cooch?) is a reliable fielder and can handle the bat well and will probably slot into the 2 hole in the Phils lineup.

I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so! It's about time the Phils dive into the Asian baseball market, as Iguchi will be the 1st Asian born Phillie. Sorry, Bruce Chen doesn't count (Panamanian-Asian). Gooch will have some familiar faces in the clubhouse to turn to as Fence-Face was his teammate in ChiTown in '05 and Howard toured with him in Japan this offseason. The language barrier won't be too much of a problem either, because even though Iguchi speaks through an interpreter, apparently Manuel can speak fluent Japanese...too bad the redneck can't speak fluent English.

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Roster Mayhem:
The Phillies made a flurry of moves yesterday, starting with the disabling of Chase Utley and the call-up of Joe Thurston. Thurston needed to be added to the 40-man roster, so our favorite no-talent ass-clown Danny Sandoval was sent adrift. Later, Brett Myers was activated from the disabled list with Fat Mike Zagurski being sent down to Ottawa. Then last night Tadahito Iguchi was acquired from the ChiSox, thus making it a brief stay in Philly for Thurston.

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Can You Hear Me Now?:
*Thank God for the rain! Pennsylvania is experiencing a shortage of rain this summer, as my crunchy brown grass can attest, so needless to say we need a few sprinkles. The rain also helped save the Phils bullpen last night who was savagely burned through by Fuqua in the Washington series, and earned Grand Pappy Moyer a complete game.

*Pat Burrell is awesome in July. Corey and I gave up hope on him, but the man is on fire right now and helping to carry the offense. He got hot at the right time because we need him to continue his torrid hitting in the absence of Utley. Dare I say, "You're my boy Burrell, you're my boy!"?

*Rumors surrounding Michael Bourn are starting to annoy me. I probably think higher of him and value him more than most Phans, because I see him as our leadoff hitter next season batting .290-.300, with a .350+ on base %, scoring tons of runs, and stealing bases like Jose Reyes. I would not even consider trading him for an ass-pop like Woody Williams or Josh Towers. He's cheap, he's young, and he has huge upside with that blazing speed of his. I know he's one of the only trading chips we hold, but I'd rather hold on to him.

~Carson

Friday, July 27, 2007

Yesterday Sucked!

Yesterday sucked! In fact yesterday was the worst game of the season. Corey used the PG rated euphemism of "crap" yesterday to describe Chase Utley's broken hand (broken fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand to be exact). Today I'm am going to use a R rated acronym- GDMFSOB...figure that out on your own.

Our favorite Phillie has hit the disabled list and is out 4-6 weeks. Believe it or not the Phils are still in the playoff hunt and losing MVP candidate, All-Star second baseman Chase Utley is a huge blow to this team's chances. At the time of his injury Chase was 2nd in the NL in batting average (.336), 2nd in runs scored (79), 1st in hits (134), 1st in doubles (41), 3rd in rbi (82), and 5th in OPS (.996)...suffice to say, we'll be missing his bat. Charlie Manuel's plan is to use No-Hit Nunez as a quick fix...more like fast disaster! Trade options include- Royals Mark Grudzielanek, D-Rays Ty Wigginton, D-Backs Orlando Hudson, and Buccos Jose Castillo. No offense to any of those players, but they can't even fill Utley's jockstrap.

From Phillies.com- Utley's spot on the 25-man roster could be taken by Myers, who Amaro said will be activated before Friday's game. The team will likely make two moves, replacing Utley with a hitter (likely Joe Thurston) and sending a pitcher out to make room for Myers (Clay Condrey or Michael Zagurski). *Please send down our mascot Fat Mike Zagurski, as he's been horrible lately.

Yesterday didn't only suck because of the injury sustained to clubhouse leader Chase Utley, no it sucked because the Phils failed to beat a crappy team and gain ground on the Mets and Braves. Why'd they lose? A retarded puppet that goes by the name of Charles Fuqua Manuel. He once again yanked a starting pitcher too soon (91 pitches by Gavin Eaton), burned through his bullpen and bench, and looked like a fat inbred hick while doing so. In case you can't tell...I hate him! *Here's a picture of boyhood pals Charlie and Dubee.

~Carson

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Utley To DL

Broken hand for Utley after HBP this afternoon.

More on this later.

Crap.

Corey

Aiming for Season Highs

A big 24 oz. mug of coffee ain't doing the trick for me this morning...I'm exhausted! Why am I so tired? A 4 hour and 52 minute marathon of a baseball game that started at 7:05 pm kept me awake way past my bedtime. It first appeared around 10 o'clock that I was going to be able to hit one of my favorite destinations (bed) at the regular time because the Phils were leading 4-2 going into the 9th. Then something ugly happened, 6-Finger-Ant came in and decided to suck. Blah, blah, blah...2 new pitchers later, score 5-4 Nats heading to the bottom of the 9th. By this time I'm pissed, and a deep fly ball by Jimmy Rollins to the LF gap looks to end the game, but no...the Nats drop the ball and J-Roll races around the bases to tie the game on an amazing play created by his hustle thus sending the game into extra innings. Blah, blah, blah...Manuel burns through his bullpen as if he believes they're like clowns spilling out of a car at the circus. Blah, blah, blah...Manuel forces one of the NL's hottest hitters to bunt unsuccessfully. Blah, blah, blah...Ryan Howard rocks Chris Booker's world for a walk-off 2-run homerun in the 14th inning. Phils win! Phils win! Phils win! Phils win! Phils!

That's 5 "Phils win" in a row now, tying the season high. Phils record stands at 52-48, 4 games above .500, also tying the season high. That means a win this afternoon would set a new season high for winning streak and games above .500...lets go Phils!

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Word Up:
*Pat Burrell continues his hot July collecting yet another hit, rbi, and his favorite- 2 walks. "The Bat" is now batting .241, a far cry from .200-land he was flirting with a few weeks ago.

*I bust on Jose Mesa a lot (bad memories ya know?), but he's actually been okay for the Phils. Really, his era is a respectable 3.44 and his whip is astonishingly low with him allowing roughly on 1 base runner per inning.

*Speaking of relievers who I claim suck, Jars of Clay Condrey mysteriously stumbled into his 4th win of the season...and nary a loss, but with a 6.29 era.

*Charlie Manuel is an idiot when it comes to bullpen and bench management. He used Mike Zagurski for only 1 batter, JC Romero for 2 batters, and took Tom Gordon out of the game after only 1 inning of 8 pitches. He also managed to use 3 3rd basemen in the swing of an inning and a half, with one of them never getting an at bat (Nunez).

*Cole Hamels needs to invest in some voodoo dolls for the bullpen staff, that way he can torture them for blowing his wins without traceable evidence.

~Carson

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

High-Five

Phils win! Phils win! Phils win! Phils win! That makes 4 games in a row with ace Cole Hamels going tonight trying to make it 5 straight victories for the Phightins.



Props to Fence-Face Rowand for gunning a man out at the plate saving a run, and collecting 3 hits with the most important one being a game winning homerun in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs. As Sarge would say "clutchin' up"!

~Carson

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rumors & Teamwork

It's that time of year again...rumor season. With only 8 days to go until the non-waiver trading deadline (July 31), the Phillies are finding themselves linked to almost every pitcher on the market. Here are some of the names being tossed around- (starting pitchers) Josh Towers, Kyle Lohse, Jose Contreras, Joe Kennedy, and Steve Trachsel; and (relievers) Frank Francisco, Joaquin Benoit, Ron Mahay, Mike Myers, and Luis Vizcaino.

Make no bones about it, our pitching staff has been horrible this season, but things could actually improve over the remainder of the year without making a trade. Tom Gordon is off the DL and is a better option at 80% than almost any other one of our relievers are at 100%. Brett Myers just made his second rehab appearance in Clearwater last night with no ill effects and could be activated later this week. We now have two lefties in the form of Fat Mike Zagurski and the son of God J.C. Romero. A bullpen of Zagurski, Romero, 6-Finger-Ant, Madson, Gordon, and Myers is an improvement over what we've had out there for the majority of the season. When Myers returns he will be displacing Jars of Clay Condrey or Joe Table...both suck. That leaves 1 sucky reliever in the mix, meaning we should try and upgrade with 1 bullpen addition as long as it's not at the expense of the club's future (meaning don't deal Michael Bourn for a reliever unless that reliever is named Eric Gagne). The guy I would add to the staff would be the Rangers Joaquin Benoit which could probably be had for a marginal starting prospect like a Zach Segovia. The names listed as possible trading fodder as starters do not excite me and I would rather stick with Hamels, Moyer, Eaton, Kendrick, and Durbin than waste a prospect or two on a piece of feces like Contreras. Realistically Kendrick and Durbin won't continue their success, but it could happen, and I'd rather hold on to young players like Victorino, Bourn, and some minor league guys than mortgaging them off for a rent-a-pitcher-piece-of-crap. The only way I'd take in a starting pitcher is if we could get one on the cheap, but that doesn't happen too often. Don't get me wrong, Kennedy, Lohse, or Towers could probably help this team, but at was expense? Lets just go with what we have...teamwork!







~Carson

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Moving Week

In golf, Saturday is called "Moving Day" because after the Friday cut, Saturday is the time to move up (or down) the leaderboard to put yourself in position for a run at the trophy on Sunday. This week should have a "Moving Day" feel for the Phillies.

After taking the final three in San Diego, the last game being an improbable victory by JD Durbin against Jake Peavy, the Phils return to the east coast for a six game homestand. Even better, they face the last place Nationals and the struggling Pirates.

The Nationals are 14 games under .500 and have wone 4 of their last 5. Those two don't go together, they are due for a tumble.

The Pirates have only won one game since the All-Star break and they have to play the Mets for three before coming to Philadelphia. Snell and Gorzelanny go in the first two games in the Big Apple. If they lose those two, the Buccos could be coming to town without Jim Tracy.

Anything less than 4 wins will be a disappointment.
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Kyle Drabek
So Kyle Drabek is getting Tommy John surgery. Is anybody surprised. I said this about Drabek when he was drafted: "He's very upright in his delivery with a medium stride to home. Delivery does not seem to be consistent with variation in his upper body position and release point. Very little lower body in delivery." Rarely can a pitcher with poor mechanics get away with chucking it like he does and snapping off 12-6 curveballs without getting injured. Even guys with solid contributions from their lower half (Kerry Wood, Mark Prior) put tons of strain on their elbows. Watch the video and you'll wonder how he made it this long without ligament damage.

Enjoy the off-day.

Corey

Unleash the Beast

You can't contain him, you can only hope to not piss him off enough to the point where he pops you...Ryan Howard is officially on that 2nd half tear we were all hoping and praying for. Since the All-Star break the mammoth slugger has hit .412, with 6 bombs, 12 rbi, 13 runs, and a robust 1.545 OPS. During this season I've dogged him for a low batting average, poor defense, and enough swings and misses to put Holland's windmills out of business, but the truth is the MVP Ryan Howard is back, and back with vengeance. His season's line is starting to look eerily similar to '06- .274, 27 hr, 79 rbi, and a 1.006 OPS. Despite a horrid start and a 15 day stint on the DL he's ranked near the top of the NL in homeruns, rbi, and slugging. With Rollins, Victorino, Utley, and Howard this offense will always be terrifying to opposing pitchers.

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Two Turntables and a Microphone:
*Grand Pappy Moyer didn't pitch brilliantly, but he pitched well enough. He and the Phils offense helped push the season's record to a game over .500 yet again (49-48). Moyer went 6 2/3 innings while surrendering 4 runs, which is never bad for a 44 year old. What concerns me is that Charlie left him in for 122 pitches just after earlier in the week talking about how Jamie has been logging too many pitches on his ancient arm. It was 7-2 Phils after 6 innings, to help preserve some "bullets" in this veterans arm I think he should have been yanked then.

*Although the 2 innings pitched by Tom Gordon since his return from the DL haven't been in pressure situations, it's still encouraging and nice to have him back.

*Keeping pace with Chase Utley- the man is on a pace to rack up 220 hits and 69 doubles. 69 is an awesome number, but when put into the context of doubles...that's a whole lotta extra pleasure.

*Pittsburgh pulled out a win yesterday pulling themselves out of the NL Central cellar. The Pirates spanked the Ass-tros 7-3. The offense was sparked by new member of the Phucco family Matt Kata.

~Carson

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Canes, Prune Juice, and Levitra


Lets get right to the point...Jamie Moyer and David Wells are OLD! Both lefties are 44 years old and bring a combined age of 88 years with 42 seasons of experience under their belts to the mound tonight in San Deigo. In their careers they've combined for 6,853 ip, 4,238 k, 458 wins, 1,239 games, and 16 teams. Grand Pappy Moyer has been getting rocked of late (3 losses and 10.06 era in July), but should be able to pitch well against a pitiful Padres lineup in a spacious park. As Moyer has been getting worse as the season goes on, Hefty-Lefty Wells has been getting better steadily dropping his era every month; and we know southpaws give the Phils fits.

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Game Notes:
*Pat Burrell's 10 game hitting streak ended last night, but he did walk twice and contribute and rbi. Pat catches a lot of flak on this site, and deservedly so, but I think we can all agree it is nice to have him hitting well again, if only for a short time. I'm hoping he can stay hot for the rest of the 2nd half, but then again I've been hoping for world peace since I was 5 years old and that hasn't happened either.

*Eaton Beaver notched his 9th win of the season. I'm not quite sure how he's managed to collect 9 wins with a 5.84 era and 1.55 whip, but nonetheless Gavin Eaton is on pace to win 15 games this season believe it or not.

*Update- Ryan Howard is back, Shane Victorino is fast, and Chase Utley is awesome!!!

~Carson

Thursday, July 19, 2007

End Of A Slack-Jawed Era?

Put down your crack-pipe, gather the kids around the blog, because we got Pirates news to talk about!!!!!

Yesterday, the Pirates received shortstop Cesar Izturis and $1.4 million from the Cubs for Player To Be Named Later (who was having a hell of a year in State College for the Spikes, and will be missed.)

Izturis is pretty much a garbage can full of trash with decent range. And don't let anyone pull the old, "He's a former All-Star" crap on you. In his AS year of 2005, he batted .257-2-31, with a .302 OBP, a .322 SLG and 8 steals. Basically, he can't hit for average, can't hit for power, can't get on base, and doesn't steal when he does get on. He won a Gold Glove in 2004 (and with those hitting stats, it might have been for real too...) but has 7 errors already this season. He's no Hanley Ramirez, who apparently plays without a glove at short, but to hit like that and make the money he's making, he should be fielding a touch better than .964.

So, why in the name of Cam Bonifay did the Pirates trade for this guy? Wasn't having one former-starter middle-infield backup in Jose Castillo not enough? Is Izturis Castillo's insurance? The only thing I can think of, and by "think" I mean copy from every other article written about this trade, is that Jack Wilson, our slack-jawed shortstop, is on his way out of town. They can't afford to keep two .250-hitting shortstops and pay them $8 million, especially when neither one of them is Mike Benjamin.

The question then is: Who needs a .250 hitting, $5 million earning shortstop who calls out is teammates in spring training and gets in shouting matches with his coaches in the dugout after missing a pop-up? Phillies? No, but don't tempt them. Yankees, Red Sox, or Blue Jays? Nope. Anyone in MLB? I doubt it. Here are the likely candidates:

Yakult Swallows - 32-44 and 9.5 back of the Chunichi Dragons....wow, they suck. The Swallows need help, Jack Wilson style, because .250 over here is like hitting .385 over in Japan. I figured that out using the Tuffy Rhodes Statistical Translation Device (TRSTD.) I don't know much about Yakult or their players, but I'm sure they have an overhyped, nothing prospect or fading veteran that the Buccos would love to have.

Lancaster Barnstormers - The Barnstormers shortstop is former Phillies 4th round draft pick Danny Gonzalez. He's batting .290-14-42, which is quite good. However, he is hitting off of Independent League pitching. If Wilson would have this opportunity for a whole season, I project his stats at .545-87-210. Again, I used the JD Drew/St. Paul Saints formula of the TRSTD to figure that one out. The only problem with this move is that the bus would have to drive past the homes of the Washington Wild Things and the York Revolution, who may just snatch him up before he makes it to Amish Country.

Mt. Holly Twilight Team - Mt. Holly (just outside of Carlisle, Pa and home to former Pirate and slow-footed runner still fast enough to beat a pre-steroid throw to the plate by Barroid Bonds, Sid Bream) is struggling in the West Shore Twilight Baseball League. They are only 2-25 and are 45 points (hockey scoring?) behind first-place Enola. Sure it's an amatuer league and once the budget is used up for hats, baseballs and some pine tar to put on the already rubber-coated handle of an aluminum bat (yes, people do this...) they might not have much to pay Jack. However, I could see the Pirates paying most of his salary if Mt. Holly gives them a prospect or two in return. And again, using the TRSTD, I think Jack could hit about .825-115-150 for "The Holly." [RBI totals will be low, because I doubt a team that goes 2-25 gets many men on base.]

In any event, good luck to Jack wherever he goes and I look forward to reading "Izturis 4-0-0-0" in the boxscore for at least the rest of the year.

Corey

Great vs. Great

There's an old adage in baseball that says, "good pitching beats good hitting". I don't necessarily agree with that. Great pitching usually will beat good hitting, while great hitting can usually beat good pitching. So, in the whole good vs. good secenario in the saying it's a push, but what about when it's great vs. great? As most of you know, the Phillies have a great offense spearheaded by Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Aaron Rowand, and Jimmy Rollins; and as some of you may know the Padres have a great pitching staff with vaunted aces Chris Young and Jake Peavy and trustworthy bullpen standbys Trevor Hoffman, Scott Linebrink, and Heath Bell...hell, they even have a guy with a 0.57 era (Kevin Cameron). A quick glance at the stats will show the Phils are ranked 2nd in MLB and 1st in the NL with 503 runs scored and they lead in many other offensive categories as well. The Padres are far and away the leaders in team era, posting a double-glance-worthy 3.13. With a 4 game set starting tonight in San Diego, which will prevail, the offensive-minded Phils or the run-stingy Padres?

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Anger Release:
Yesterday I was frustratingly thinking back on the Dodgers series when a certain song popped into my head and got stuck. Punk/Ska band Goldfinger did a little ditty called "The City With Two Faces" about Los Angeles. Needless to say, singing these song lyrics to myself helped soothe my temperament.

~Carson