Thursday, July 31, 2008

Manny the Marlin & 1st Place

Phils beat gNats 8-5, reclaim 1st place.

Now for the real story, the Florida Marlins are close to obtaining Manny Ramirez from the BoSox. Manny the Marlin? That scares me. The Marlins already have a formidable offense, and putting Manny (.299 avg, 20 hr, .926 OPS) in the middle of that lineup only makes it stronger while also giving the rest of the team a mental/confidence boost because management isn't sellers at the deadline for a change. The Fish are currently in 3rd place in the jumbled NL East, but that 3rd place is only 1.5 games back of the Phils and 1 game back of the 2nd place Mets (who they just won a series against without Manny). The Marlins would only have to part with outfielder Jeremy Hermida (.257 avg, 15 hr, .772 OPS) and two other nobodies. Florida probably wouldn't stop wheelin'-n-dealin' there either, as they're rumored to be looking for a lefty reliever and a catcher. They've recently just got starters Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez back, and have rookie pitcher Chris Volstad KO'ing batters too, so this team is rather frightening.

What about the rest of the NL East? First off, let's just write off the Nationals and Braves, because the Nationals are horrible and the Braves have openly become sellers. The Mets on the otherhand are looking for a starting pitcher and an outfielder, and if this Manny the Marlin scenario pans out count on Omar Minaya making some moves here this afternoon before the Trade Deadline. Phillies? Pat Gillick already made his "big splash" in acquiring the lackluster Joe Blanton, so it's doubtful anything fruitful comes out of today for the Phils, unless of course you consider the Tour de Philly Part Deux of Arthur Rhodes something worthwhile.


*Former lefty reliever of the Phils Matt Smith is rehabbing in Single A and has now made 11 appearances pitching 12.2 innings while walking 5 batters and striking out 14 for a 2.84 era. His control while with the Phils was erratic, so it's encouraging to see him not walking a batter an inning, albeit in the low minors.

*Former 1st round pick Kyle Drabek is also mending in the low minors and pitched for the first time in 2008 yesterday, going 3 innings while only allowing 1 hit.

*Jamie Moyer picked up career win 240 last night.

*Shane Victorino has 6 homeruns over the last 13 games.

*Carlos Ruiz is 8-24 (.333) over his last 7 starts.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

gNats Splat

A 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals is nothing to brag about. They're the worst team in Major League Baseball with 30 more losses than wins (38-68), their RBI leader (Jesus Flores with 42 rbi) is a catcher that wasn't even supposed to see significant playing time this season, and their team OPS is a No-Hit Nunez-like .670. With that said, a win is a win and made even sweeter by the fact that Brett Myers went 7 very strong innings getting some of his "swagger" back and having "fun" again. The win was almost nullified by Chase Utley's ugly fielding on a sure-fire double play, but remember he was also the reason the Phils had 2 runs to begin with thanks to homerun #26 and rbi 72 & 73.

Fast Facts:
*Brad Lidge is the only closer in the National League to be a perfect 100% in save opportunities this season (25 saves), joining the elite closer of all-time Mariano Rivera (26 saves) as the only closers in baseball to do so in 2008.

*Greg Dobbs is awesome as a pinch-hitter, going 20-47 (.426 average) with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homeruns, and 14 rbi. As a starter he kind of sucks, going 21-87 (.241 average) with 4 doubles, 1 homerun, and only 7 rbi.

*The Phils have scored 530 runs and have allowed 460, for a run differential of 70+. That usually means the team's record is better than only 8 games above .500, but as Phans we know of the offensive inconsistencies that lead to those inflated run totals and heart breaking low scoring losses.

*Adam Eaton demoted to minors, will try working his way back as a starter. JA Happ takes his place, with the plan for him to be the 2nd lefty out of the bullpen. Pedro Feliz placed on 15-day DL with back problems. Minor league journeyman Mike Cervenak takes his place for bench depth, while Bruntlett and Dobbs will be handling 3rd during Feliz's mending time.

*Grand Pappy Moyer goes for win #10 tonight, but has the difficult task of facing Phillie slayer Cy Redding. It's time to make Redding and the gNats go splat!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If you like (blank), then try (blank)

In the likes of the time-tested marketing scheme of, I bring to you- "If you like (blank), then try (blank)" Phillies style.

If you like 12-10 scores, then try watching the NFL.

If you like Ryan Howard's swing, also try a cool summer breeze.

If you like Chris Coste's life story, then I recommend Walt Disney Pictures.

If you like Pat Burrell, you might enjoy Rick James and Skoal.

If you like David Bell, then you might like Coldplay and gerbling.

If you like Joe Blanton, then try Adam Eaton, or Brett Myers, or losing.

If you like the Phillies, then try open heart surgery.

If you like Manny Ramirez to Philadelphia rumors as the truth, then you might like Greek mythology.

If you like Pat Gillick, also try Ed Wade.

If you like Charlie Manuel, you might enjoy Jeff Foxworthy jokes.

If you like Shane Victorino, then try a double-shot espresso, Jolt Cola, or Red Bull.

If you like the Mets, you'll most likely also enjoy poverty, war, health care crisis, recession...basically anything else that is plaguing this great country.

*Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

Wasted Money:
Adam Eaton to the minors should be a cause for a mini-celebration. However, stop and think about all the millions Pat Gillick has wasted on a bunch of no-talent ass-clowns. Eaton is only the posterboy for foolish investments on Patty G's behalf, there have been plenty others. Aside from Eaton (15.2 million over 07-08), Gillick has unwisely splurged on Tom Gordon (12.5 over 07-08), Ryan Franklin (2.6 in '06), Rod Barajas (2.5 in '07) , Geoff Jenkins (5 in '08), Brett Myers (8.6 in '08), Abraham Nunez (3.2 over 06-07), Wes Helms (4.7 over 07-08), Freddy Garcia (10 in '07), Arthur Rhodes (3.7 in '06), and the 22 million sent to the ChiSox with Jim Thome. This list doesn't include players that sucked that flew in under the 1 million dollar threshold- Alex Gonzalez, Sal Fasano, Julio Santana, Antonio Alfonseca, among others. Total wasted money: 90 million dollars. Think that's bad? Just wait until Gillick's lapdog Ruben Amaro Jr. takes over at season's end.


The Mets still lead the NL East, but the Phils are only half a game back and the Marlins 1 game back. The Mets and Marlins are busy beating each other up, so it's time for the Phils to make a move. The gNats are next on the schedule with headcase Brett Myers (3-9, 5.82 era, 1.57 whip) facing rookie Collin Balestar (1-2, 5.75, 1.48) at new Nationals Park tonight to open the series. Tomorrow- Grand Pappy Moyer (9-6, 3.76, 1.32) vs. the unhittable Tim Redding (7-5, 3.98, 1.33 overall/2-0, 0.00, .170 average against when facing the Phils this season). Series wraps up Thursday night with Mr. Win Kyle Kendrick (8-5, 4.70, 1.50) squaring off against hand-breaker John Lannan (6-10, 3.33, 1.29). The Phils need a series win, or better yet a sweep, and Washington sucks, so that shouldn't be out of the question.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Phils KO Braves

Anyone think Jimmy Rollins would have taken out Brian McCann like this?
What's Next?
From "J.A. Happ was lifted from the game by manager Dave Huppert after just 2 2/3 innings and 41 pitches against the Triple A Braves. He hadn't allowed a run, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out three. There were reports that he received high-fives from his teammates when he came back to the dugout."

Okay, so it's obvious Happ is coming back to the big club. But who leaves and what role will Happ have?

It seems that Eaton and Seanez are battling to stay with the club. So who should the Phils cut? I say both of them. Eaton is a total waste and now that the Phillies acquired Chubby Eaton from the A's, Original Eaton is even more expendable. Seanez had a nice start to the season, but he's cooled off considerably. I say drop Eaton and Seanez, trade for a lefty reliever, put Happ in the pen and have him waiting to take Myers' spot in a week or so...Or at the very least, please God, release Adam Eaton.
Jimmy Rollins Needs To Check Himself
Carson posted this in the comment section today (I have no clue what the source of this information is, but like all good bloggers, I'm going to assume all gossip is true unless proven otherwise):

"Since being benched for getting to Shea Stadium late on Thursday, Rollins has made a point of showing up just in time to beat the manager's arrival deadline, and he...indicates he doesn't much care what anyone thinks of it."

Rollins has followed up an MVP season with one full of inconsistent play that lacks hustle, energy, and leadership. He built up a lot of good will last year and he's doing his best to ruin it. After the first benching, he saved some grace by admitting his error and accepting his punishment. This time, he's taking the exact opposite approach, acting like he is above the rules and above the team. His ego is so big, I think his head is actually getting bigger...


Sunday, July 27, 2008

In a Pinch

Tip of the cap to Greg Dobbs for a pinch hit 3-run homerun yesterday. Dobbs now has 20 pinch hits on the season. Pinch hit totals: 20-46 (.435 avg), 5 r, 2 dbl, 1 trpl, 2 hr, 14 rbi, 1.112 OPS. That ties a record for pinch hits in a season by a Phillie dating back to 1913 by some elderly statesman known as Doc Miller. Dobbs was easily the hero of the day, capping off a 7-run 5th inning that bought the Phils a lead at 10-9, with that being the final score. Adam Eaton played the scavenger, picking up the win in his relief debut, while Chris Coste broke out a slump getting 3 base knocks. It's a win so I'm happy, but let's not get giddy, more baseball to be played today. "Big Splash" Blanton makes his second start in Phils pinstripes, this time at home with hopefully better results. Facing him going for the Braves is Jorge Campillo, a minor league Atlanta-style reclamation project that is succeeding as does seemingly every such case when it comes to the Braves. A series win would be nice, but don't count on it.

Even if the Phils lose (dammit, they better not!), I still will be entertained today, because I'm going to see The Dark Knight at an IMAX theatre.


Saturday, July 26, 2008


1. It's a marathon not a sprint.

2. Every team has peaks and valleys over the course of a 162 game season.

3. They're still in 2nd place, only 2 games back.

4. The Mets will choke again, count on it.

5. The Phillies are a September team.

6. The Phils play better when they're chasing, not front-running.

7. Relax, this is the best offense in the NL they'll get out of this funk against weaker competition.

8. The Phils have faced some really good pitching over that past month and a half, so naturally they'll score fewer runs.

9. It's not time to panic, don't worry, everything will be alright.


1a. Even marathon runners sprint some of the time!

2a. The Phils are in a valley so big I believe it's called the Grand Canyon. According to that dumbass philosophy a Mount Everest sized peak must be on the horizon.

3a. Tied for 2nd place with the Marlins and with the Braves on our heels.

4a. Relying on the Mets to commit an historical collapse again is about as retarded as relying on the lottery to cure your financial woes.

5a. It's still July with August yet to come before we reach the hallowed and mystic ground of September. It may not matter if they're world beaters in the final month of play because of the hole they've dug themselves into prior to that.

6a. Let me ask you a question- would you rather be in 1st place or 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th? If you hesitated to answer that question and/or didn't pick 1st place then Charlie Manuel has a seat open next to him on the short bus for you.

7a. It's not the best offense. The Cubs have the best offense. Hell, the Pirates have a better offense (I'm not making this up). They should score runs, but they haven't been for quite some time now. I've said this before in previous seasons on WSBGM's- they're a bunch of solo players that can put up decent stats at the end of the season but don't know how to play as a team and make the results count on the field.

8a. Not every damn pitcher that pitches is good, and even the good ones have bad days, but not against the Phils. If their offense is so prolific, it shouldn't be getting shut down by good pitching all the time. Some of the time yes, but not every stinking time. I'm tired of giving the opposing pitcher credit, F' that, time to balls up and score some runs.

9a. "Everything will be alright", who are you Bob Marley? Seriously, if not in panic mode now and worrying so much that you left brown streaks in your boxers, then when is the appropriate time to do so?

Stat of the Day:
Since signing his 3 year 37.5 million dollar contract extension, Brad Lidge has pitched 7 innings, giving up 6 walks, 9 hits, and 8 runs. Oh yeah, he lost the All-Star game too.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

What have you done for me lately?

New York Mets 1st place, Philadelphia Phillies 2nd place. Get used to that, with a note that the Phils may be displaced in 2nd by the Florida Marlins plopping them sourly in 3rd place.

What have you done for me lately?:
*Since June 10th, a span of 37 games, the Phils have scored 3 runs or less 16 times. That's unacceptable. Record during that time, 15-22, not what a 1st place team is made of, or a second place, or a third place, or a...

*Chase Utley was 0-12 in the biggest series of the season to date. MVP? Not even close, enough of that foolishness already. Utley's batting average and OPS over the months: March- .667 AVG/2.167 OPS, April- .352/1.168, May- .259/.891, June- .266/.857, July- .257/.725. That's a very bad trend.

*The other big bopper in the lineup, Ryan Howard, was 2-12 in the Mets series. That's 2-24 from perennial MVP candidates Howard & Utley during an extremely pivotal series.

*Feel-good-story-boy Chris Coste is making me feel nauseous going 5-37 (.135) in July.

*The other member of the catching tandem, Carlos Ruiz, is slightly better, but still sickening at 7-36 (.194). Sad thing, Ruiz's July is actually an improvement over his June of 8-45 (.178).

*The man known around baseball as The Out Making Machine, Pedro Feliz, is 1 for his last 21.

*Team leader and reigning NL MVP, Jimmy Rollins, benched for the second time this season, this occasion because he was late to the ball park. Charlie Manuel had this to say, "Jimmy was late getting to the yard today. We talked. It's an in-house thing between him and I. That's one of our rules, hustle and be on time. That's all I have to say about it." That diva Rollins responded with, "I agreed with him last time, but we're not going to agree on this one. I understood it. He's the manager and has to set a precedent. With certain players, you're respected and held up to higher rules, and that's fine. I was just a little too late. You can't change the lights." Shut up Jimmy, just shut the f#@k up!

*Pitchers that are sucking in the hot summer sun (month of July): JC Romero- 5.40 era, Rudy Seanez- 4.77, Joe Blanton- 5.68, Eaton- 12.71, Kendrick- 5.96, Myers- 5.40, RJ Swindle- 7.71.

Cue Janet Jackson-
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh, ooh, ooh yeah.
What have you done for me lately?
Ooh, ooh, ooh yeah.

You want a preview of the next series? Here ya go- Phils suck, they'll find a way to lose, end of story.


Holy Crap, It's Gavin Floyd

Watching Myers flounder through the early innings last night was painful, borderline excruciating. Pitch after pitch up and out of the strike zone. High precision, low accuracy and frustration through the roof.

He looked lost and completely out of control. It was obvious that whatever was wrong, he was not going to be able to fix. When Rich Dubee went to the mound in the first, and Comcast showed Myers' look on the mound, my only thought was, "Holy crap, it's Gavin Floyd."

Floyd was the original headcase who was never able to figure it out and crumbled under the pressure of consistent failure. (Until he moved on to Chicago...) Myers has been a headcase for a while, but had an external appearance of frustration and anger, not this "Oh shit what am I going to do now" look that he had last night.

Was the trip to the minors all a joke? Did he really figure anything out and change anything? I guess we won't be able to know anything for a few more starts, but last night's performance was not encouraging.

That being said, why the hell did Manuel pull Myers after the fifth inning. He faced four batters in the fourth and set the Mets down in order in the 5th. He had only thrown 95 pitches, was actually starting to thrown strikes, and was due up 3rd in the top of the 7th anyway, which would have been the perfect time to take him out. If Madson hadn't given up a three run bomb to Reyes I might no be questioning the move, but he did, so the question has to be asked.

Today's rubber match: Moyer v. Perez. First place is on the line in Queens...


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So Shocking!

8 innings of struggles against Darth Santana coupled by the fact Joe Blanton did his best Adam Eaton impersonation and on the verge of conceding 1st place to the Mets...disheartening.

Jose "I freakin' hate him" Reyes making a mental fielding gaffe, So Taguchi collecting his 1st pinch hit of the season to knock in 2 runs, and the Phils posting 6 runs in the 9th against the Mets horrendous bullpen sustaining 1st place for the time being...shocking.

Although I am prone to typos, the line above about that being Taguchi's first pinch hit of the season is actually correct. He was 0-16 entering last night's game. Guess he just bought himself some more time on the Phils roster with that heroic effort last night.

Tonight is the return of self-proclaimed "Rock Star" Brett Myers from his minor league deportation. Yeah, okay.


Go ahead New York fans, continue to boo Chase Utley. Like the man said, "Boo? F- you".


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shea Hello To My New Friend

The Joe Blanton Philadelphia Phillies era begins tonight against Johan Santana and the Mets. What a lucky guy to draw Darth Santana and our biggest rival at Shea Stadium for his first Phils start. We're all hoping for the best but expecting the worst...let the force be with you Young Fattione.

The series shakes down like this: Joe Blanton (5-12, 4.96 era, 1.42 whip) vs. Johan Santana (8-7, 3.10, 1.22) tonight at 7:10. Then tomorrow night on ESPN, which means a loss because it's nationally televised, Brett Myers (3-9, 5.84, 1.56), which also means a loss because he sucks, takes on John Maine (8-7, 4.22, 1.35). The third game is set for noon time Thursday with Jamie Moyer (9-6, 3.90, 1.36) facing Oliver Perez (6-6, 4.36, 1.43). Of note: the 3 Mets starters have shut down the Phils offense in previous outings this season, Ollie- ZERO era and .169 batting average against over 18.1 innings with 15 k's, Johan- 3.00 era with .179 avg. against and 16 k's in 15 ip, and Maine- 3.09 era and a .158 avg. against in 11.2 ip. The Mets and Phils are currently tied for 1st place in the NL East, and obviously that will not be the case come series end. I have a bad feeling based on the pitching match-ups, Mets renewed offense threat, and the Phils offensive woes that this might be the end of the "1st Place Philadelphia Phillies".


Benson Update:
Until last night Kris Benson hadn't really done anything warranting an update, but he did go 6 inning for the Iron Pigs allowing 6 hits and 1 run while striking out 4 batters. His overall numbers still are ghastly (8.42 era), but it was an encouraging start nonetheless.


Monday, July 21, 2008

From the Mouth of Charlie Manuel & Others

Philadelphia Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel dropped some nice quotes following yesterday's sickening extra inning 1-run low scoring loss to the Marlins. Here's how Chuck summed it up...

"We're not hitting the baseball. Our situational hitting is absolutely terrible. Off the chart, really. The guys might be trying too hard, and it seems like when you remind them to make sure you get [the runner] over, all of a sudden, they don't do it."

*Situational hitting, what a novel idea.

"Also, we strike out a lot. People don't realize, we have a different lineup than we had last year. We have different people. And just one guy makes a difference. It's called execution, and hitting the ball in the right place. When we don't do that, it's going to be hard for us to win."

*Missing Aaron Rowand, added Geoff Jenkins and Pedro Feliz.

"That was big. When your pitcher pitches like that, you have to win the game."

*Cole Hamels continues to get screwed by the offense.

From Jimmy Rollins' dumb mouth- "You don't get concerned until you don't have a chance, then it's too late. There really is no room for concern. Coaches do that. That's their job. We got out and play. As long as we have a ball or a bat in our hand, we got a chance to rewrite the story."

*Oh, it's way past time to get concerned J-Roll. You at the top of this piddling offense that sucks better be concerned!

From Cole Hamels enlightening mouth- "It's just one of those things where the time off hurt me. My whole body was tighter, and because of that, I couldn't really push it. If I would've pushed it, I would've probably been on the disabled list."

*Glad we gave him those extra two days rest, that must have made him all the tighter (where the hell's his chiropractor?!). Hamels should have started on Friday.


Ways to Lose:
The Phils are awesome at night time, churning out 41 wins to only 27 losses. The rest of the time they pretty much suck: 12-19 in day games, 15-18 in 1-run games, 4-6 in extra innings, and 4-11 in InterLeague games.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Week in Retrospect

Back from my vacation to discuss the Phillies news of the past week a bit browner, heavier, and tired. First on the agenda...

1. All-Star Game: I am about to employ the WSBGM's brigade to start a public smear campaign against that retard Clint Hurdle. First he snubs our boy Burrell, who happens to be having a killer season, then he snubs Hamels by picking imploding reliever Carlos Marmol to replace the injured Kerry Wood. What's that, another Cub (8 total) you ask?! Then he goes out of his way to give Philly the one-finger salute by warming up our starting pitcher, oops, I meant closer, Brad Lidge from the 8th inning on until he's finally used in the 15th inning throwing well over 100 pitcher. Also, not to be lost in the festivities was Utley's poor showing in the Homerun Derby, in which he looked he wanted no part of, and then dropping the "F Bomb" during the game; and by "F Bomb" I do not mean farfegnugen.

2. Joe Blanton: I want to be happy about this, but I'm not. I want to be mad about this, but I'm not; I guess I'm indifferent. The prospects surrendered in the deal were a nice package, but they come with no guarantee. Cardenas has a bright future, but by "bright" I only mean a .280ish middle infielder with doubles power. Outman has a kick-ass last name, and has definite upside, but he wasn't helping the Phils in the '08 playoff push. Spencer, hell I even forgot he was still in the Phil minor league system...sayonara. Back to Blanton, not very good this season or in '06. Blanton in '05 and '07 good. He's better than Eaton, that's for damn sure. How much of a help he'll be this or next season is to be determined. I just hope this isn't Gillick's "big splash", because the only "big splash" coming from Blanton is in the pool when he jumps in due to his rather rotund figure.

3. Ryan Howard: Glad to see Corey removed the Mendoza Watch for him. For the better part of the season Howard deserved every bit of spite we threw at him, but he now deserves our respect as well. The K Watch is befitting of our mammoth slugger, as he plunges onward to the double crown (homerun and rbi title) he'll continue racking up k's along the way.

4. Jamie Moyer: Grand Pappy has an era below 4 and a record of 9-6. I thought this season would be the end of the road for Moyer being that I believed the National League would finally figure him out...I was wrong. At a charity function Moyer announced that he did not want this to be in last hurrah, and based on his numbers at age 45 I don't blame him. I'd like the Phils to work out a standing extension with him in that if he meets certain innings pitched he automatically has a 1 year 5 million dollar contract waiting for him the following season if he chooses to exercise it.

5. Happ/Myers/Eaton: Happ pitched well in 2 starts, but is stuck back in the minors. Myers pitcher horribly all season long, got exiled to Guam (not really, only Lehigh Valley), but is now getting another chance in the Phils rotation. Eaton has pitched shit-o-rific for nearly 2 seasons and is banished to long relief. Yeah, all that makes sense.

6. Nationally Televised Games: I don't know the record of games played by the Phils on a nationally televised stage (Fox, ESPN, or TBS), but my goodness it seems they really crap the bed every time they get the spotlight shown upon them, with yesterday's ugly loss and last Saturday's "bloodletting" being the most recent examples.

7. While on the beach I read Jayson Stark's The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History. #1 overrated Phillie of all-time Bobby Abreu. I'll leave you with that.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is Freddy Garcia Available?

Here is's injury report for the game last night against the Marlins:

It's good news that Garcia has been upgraded to "day-to-day," but what about some of the other injured Phillies pitchers? Where are the reports on Steve Ontiveros, Bobby Munoz, and Chad Ogea? The Phils need pitching depth and it would be nice if one or all of those guys could make it back.
Series Notes
- The old guy does it again. He made Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez and the bunch look sick again with his slowball, slower curve and really slow changeup. Those guys are practically jumping at the ball. Do they even have a hitting coach? I don't think so, because they see Moyer enough but their approach to the plate never changes.

- Umpire Jim Joyce needs smacked. He ejected Manuel in the 5th inning after a very mild protest. To paraphrase Sarge "The Genius" Matthews, "He said something to get ejected." Yeah, no shit Sarge. But this is a big game and it should take more than a mild protest to get thrown out. The major league umpires are getting a little out of hand...

- Big start for Kendrick today, because if the Phils can beat Scott Olson, they have a good chance at a sweep with the Hamels-Johnson matchup coming on Sunday. And a sweep might be useful considering they will roll into a series with the Mets having "rehabbed" Myers and Joe Blanton starting the first two games...


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Joe Blanton - Already A Phan Phavorite ???

So from the looks of things, the majority Phillies fans are not too thrilled about this trade. (Seems to be a lot of nausea and vomiting involved when learning of this trade.) The consensus: they gave up to much to get a guy that is only a marginal upgrade for the staff.

Because the general opinion is so negative, I feel that it is my obligation to defend the minority view. It's not because I really think this is a good trade, it's more because I really like being contrary. Therefore, I like this trade, and here is why.

1) This trade helps the team now. Cardenas, Outman, the other guy...none of them were going to help beat the Marlins or the Mets. Blanton can.

2) Joe Blanton isn't garbage. Specifically, he isn't Ipecac Eaton. Blanton had really good years in 2005 and 2007, where his ERA was under 4 and his WHIP was 1.21. Granted, his 2006 and current seasons are not great (ERA's near 5 and WHIP's in the 1.4 to 1.5 range), but so far he's been an above average pitcher for the majority of his career. You can't say that about Eaton and he got $24 million.

3) Blanton provides much needed rotation depth. Myers is going to come back to the big club and make a start, but what is he going to be like? Is everyone banking that he's going to roll into town and be a reliable starter again? At this point, I don't think you can. JA Happ is not enough to fill in for two underperforming starters. The Phils needed a another starter, and Blanton is a solid second tier starter.

4) Blanton can fill in the middle/back of the rotation for the next two years. He's not free agent eligible until after the 2010 season. He makes $3.7 million this year and given the price of starting pitching (Vicente Padilla is making $11 million this year), he'll be a bargain.

5) Prospects are overrated. Cardenas may be an All Star. He my be Chad Hermansen. Productive major league players are always more valuable commodities than minor leaguers, especially to teams in a playoff battle.

6) Joe Blanton is fat. I like having fat guys on the team, because they eat innings.

A few years from now, Cardenas may be hitting over .300 and Outman could be winning 14 games a season and we'll look back on this trade and lament on how bad it was. But until then, I'm looking at this trade as a positive because the Phils added a player that can contribute now to the Philadelphia Phillies' playoff chase.

Now, if you want to talk about how the Cubs got a far superior pitcher in Rich Hardin from the same A's team for what seems like similar quality prospects or the fact that the Phils have seemingly failed to get Sabathia or Burnett or anybody else in the upper echelon of starting pitchers available, I've got some less than positive things to say about that...


Phils Acquire Joe Blanton

The Phils acquired Joe Blanton from the Oakland A's for minor league players Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman, and Matthew Spencer.

More to follow...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Hate All Star Games

I know I'm a bit of a curmudgeon (I hate Christmas, etc.) but I really do dislike the All Star game. It was fun when I was a kid and got to see all the great players that you normally didn't see much during the year. But now, with ESPN baseball and Baseball Tonight and Fox baseball and the MLB package, you see these guys everyday. That novelty is over. The game doesn't count for anything...except that it does. Why give home field advantage to the league winner when the game isn't played like any other real baseball game (pitcher throw two innings, every starter gets substituted, etc.)???? Now I have another reason to hate this thing: Clint Hurdle tried to ruin our closer's arm.

I didn't stay up and watch the game after the Hall of Famers were introduced (okay, that was pretty cool) so I didn't see it with my own eyes, but ESPN is reporting this morning that Brad Lidge warmed up multiple times in multiple innings and threw close 100 pitches before he entered the game. 110 pitches!!!

This garbage wouldn't happen if the managers wouldn't treat this "important" game like Little League baseball. Starters go 2-3 innings when they are working on normal rest, relief starters are going a single inning, the majority of the staff is used by the 8th inning so everybody gets in the game, relievers are getting overworked in the bullpen or going 2.1 innings (George Sherrill), and others are pitching on one day rest (Kazmir). Absolute garbage. This could affect the regular season and that is unacceptable because it is for reasons that could be controlled.

This game is an exhibition. It shouldn't count. It should be limited to 12 innings. Brad Lidge shouldn't throw 100 pitches in the bullpen. Clint Hurdle should be smacked in the face. That would solve some of these issues...and/or make me happier.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No Mo' So

Because there isn't much baseball to write about this week, a lot of sites have gone with the "first half review" article. But is there really a need to review the first 90 games? We all know that Burrell and Utley are hitting well, Howard is striking out a lot, Eaton sucks, and Myers is a freaking headcase. So instead of stretching that sentence out over 2000 words, I figured I would look forward to the second half of the season and come up with a few ways to make this Phillies team better.

There are few areas that need to be changed in terms of offense and defense. The infield and outfield are pretty much set, and although Carlos Ruiz isn't hitting worth a damn, Charlie Manuel likes what he does defensively and they aren't going to make a switch this year. We're just going to have to tolerate his Mendoza-ness. The bench is excellent too, with Greg Dobbs leading the league in pinch hits and Eric Bruntlett provided solid, unspectacular utility support. The only weak link: So Taguchi.

The guy has to go. He's hitting .212 and hasn't shown much defensive ability either. And at age 39, I'm not willing to wait and see if he turns it around.

The Phils don't have much in AAA in terms of a replacement now that Chris Snelling is injured. Bohn, Cervanek...I don't think so. Here are some guys that the Phils may be able to get on the cheap from clubs that aren't going to make a move for the playoffs.

Jason Michaels - He had a big walk-off jack for the Pirates last Saturday, but he's still the fourth outfielder in Pittsburgh behind Mclouth/Bay/Nady. He's only making $2 million this year and even though he struggled with Cleveland, he's never hit below .267 in any year season, so he has a track record of moderate success. And unlike Taguchi, he doesn't get a senior citizen's discount at local restaurants. Not to mention he's already punched a cop in Old City and posed for sweet mug shot, so he's a natural Philadelphian.

Nyjer Morgan - He's faster than Taguchi. He's a better outfielder than Taguchi. He's cheaper than Taguchi. And he's chillin' in AAA with no real shot at contributing much to the Pirates. Sure, he's not going to add much offensively, but neither does So.

Jay Payton - At $5 million, Payton is probably too expensive to be considered for a 5th outfield spot. But if Victorino or Werth would get injured and be out for an extended period of time, he could be a guy that fills in for a month or so. And since he a free agent making a decent amount of cash this year, the Orioles would probably give him away.

Brad Wilkerson - He's not hitting very much (.230) but he would be very cheap. The Mariners are paying him the majority of his $3 million salary and Toronto is only paying a prorated portion of the league minimum.

Corey Patterson & Ryan Freel - I think the Reds would be glad to get rid of one of these guys, especially Patterson, who has already spent time this season in the minors. Both players are making at least $3 million this year, and Freel is owed another $4 million in 2009. You would think the Reds would take a little of nothing to get one of these guys off of their books. Of course, that kind of salary is a little much for the Phils to take on just to have a fourth or fifth outfielder.

Rajai Davis - The 27 year old Davis is a former Pirates prospect who was traded to the Giants last year in the Matt Morris deal. He hit in the .270's for the Buccos last year, but struggled mightily this season with the Giants before he was released and subsequently picked up by the Oakland A's, where he is now hitting .230. He's a very fast funner and above average outfielder. Given his age, lack of "prospect" status, and his situation in a very crowded outfield that includes the newly acquired Matt Murton, he could be picked up cheap.

Reggie Abercrombie - This 28 year old former prospect is another player being stashed in AAA, this time by Houston. He hit .323 last year and is hitting .298 this year. He plays all three outfield positions and stole 41 bases last year, so you know he has speed. What he does lack is major league experience.

Jason Repko - Talk about a crowded outfield, there is no room in LA. Repko is wasting away in AAA. With the luck the Phils have with another Dodger outfield castoff (Werth), it might be worth talking a flyer on Repko.

That's it for now. Later this week, possible starting and bullpen help.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pat Burrell - Phillies All Star

With his 8th inning homer, Pat Burrell sent the Phils into the All Star break still clinging to their lead in the NL East. .275-23-57 may not be good enough for Clint Hurdle, but we'll sure take it.

Burrell's homer was the biggest play of the game yesterday, but coming in a close second was the D-backs baserunning blunder in the 7th. Up 2-1, O-Dog hit one over the head of Jenkins. JD Drew's brother was on second and had to pause to make sure Jenkins didn't catch, but even so, should have scored. Instead, he held up at third, causing the logjam of runners at second. Howard tug out O-dog and Hamels got Mark Reynolds to strike out to end the inning. Instead of a 3-1 lead with runners at first and second and only one out and a chance to put the game away, the D-backs went out without a run.
Here's how some Phillies prospects fared in the Futures Game yesterday:

Carlos Carrasco - He pitched the first inning, striking out two and walking one without giving up a hit. Control seemed to be an issue as he threw only eight strikes out of 19 pitchers. Luckily, the opposing batters chased some out of the zone and helped his cause. His fastball topped out at 93 with most ranging between 89-91.

Jason Donald - Started at short and made the first error of the game, throwing one away trying to turn a 4-6-3 double play. He went 1-2 with a single in the hole to left.

Lou Marson - Started the game behind the plate. When the pitches were thrown, he caught them, which is a nice skill for that position. He also grounded out to second in his only AB.

Greg Golson - Golson came in as a substitute and K'd twice. Balls, didn't matter, he swung through them all.
Celebrity Softball
Following the Futures Game was a softball match between celebrities and ex-players. The "National League" won the game but the big news was the collision between actress Marlee Matlin and comedian George Lopez that left Matlin hospitalized with a concussion.

"I kept yelling, 'I got it, I got it,'" Lopez said of the play. "All of the sudden we ran into each other. It's a shame too, because she wasn't even supposed to play. She was originally scheduled just to be the third base coach."

"That was the worst celebrity softball injury since Helen Keller broke her collarbone in the 1908," said reporter Peter Gammons, who also covered that game. "She ran through a stop sign at third and crashed hard into the third base dugout. Real nasty sight."
HR Derby
Tonight Chase tries to continue the trend of excellence in the Derby set in place by the recent performances of Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard. If you are planning on putting some money down on the event, cash in your retirement plan and drop some green on Utley, because I have inside info that Utley is bringing Brett Myers to NYC to throw to him. If it is true, Utley is a stone cold lock.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Eaton Needs A Beatin'

For me, yesterday was the most disgusting display of pitching I have seen in a game this season. It made me sick to my stomach to see Randy Johnson slam that 3-2 creampuff fastball offered up by Ipecac Eaton into the leftfield corner.

Ipecac got the first two outs of the fourth with ease, but then just completely lost it. A single, a four pitch walk to the 8-hole hitter, the aforementioned double to the Unit, another walk, another double, an intentional walk, an that was all she wrote for the most craptacular pitcher the Phils ever wasted $24 million on.
Experiment Failed
So how long is this RJ Swindle garbage going to continue? He looks nothing like the stuff we read about him. He has had very poor control of his pitches and just has not looked like he can get hitters out consistently. His pitching has looked far from major league caliber. I won't write the guy off forever because he has shown glimpses that he may be useful against lefties, but for now he needs to get the hell out of Philadelphia.
Comment of the Day
After Reynolds' blast off of Swindle, Fox announcer Thom Brennamen screamed, "And the bloodletting continues." Bloodletting? Nice reference of 19th century medicine, tool. Why don't we hook this guy up with Sarge and Wheels and make the most dynamically ridiculous announcing team ever.
Rubber Match
Two of the best pitchers in the NL square off today as Hamels and Webb toe the rubber for their respective clubs. With a win, the Phils can enter the All Star break in first in the NL East. With a loss, they could enter the break in third. That would not be good.
Futures Game
Don't' forget to check out the Futures Game, 12:30 on ESPN2, which features Phillies prospects catcher Lou Marson (U.S.), infielder Jason Donald (U.S.), outfielder Greg Golson (U.S.) and right-hander Carlos Carrasco (World).


Friday, July 11, 2008

Saturday Poll

So what should WSBGM's do with that Mendoza Watch? It's obvious now that Howard's flirt with extreme futility is over. But I love the darn thing. Here are the options:

1) Leave it there until the season is over. Sure, it makes no sense now to compare a guy hitting almost .240 to Mario Mendoza, but it's been there so long, I just hate to get rid of it.

2) Scrap it now and replace it with a Howard strikeout watch, a running tally of K's throughout the year as he attempts to break the all-time K mark.

3) Keep it and add the strikeout watch anyway.

I'll leave it up for you guys to decide.

Mendoza Watch?
Keep It
Replace with K Watch
Keep and Add K Watch
Comment Of The Night
After Kyle Kendrick lined one off of Doug Davis' leg and it ricocheted toward the third base dugout, the greatest color commentator in the world, Chris Wheeler, said, "That ball hit Davis somewhere." Really? It didn't hit an invisible forcefield in front of the mound? Are you sure, Wheels?

Are Wheels and Sarge in a competition for the highest number of ridiculous comments?
Poll Number 2
Carson brought it up yesterday in the comments, so I guess I should address it. The issue: Richie Sexson to the Phils.

Argument For - If (big time if...) the Phils could get Sexson for a very small amount of money, he would provide righthanded pop from the bench that could be useful in late inning pinch hitting spots and possibly to spell Howard against tough lefties. Also, the current last man on the bench is So Taguchi, and he couldn't possibly be less productive than him.

Argument Against - You won't be able to get Sexson for a very small amount of money. He's going to want at least a few million, and you can go anywhere and find a guy to fill the last spot on the bench and that can hit .210. He just wouldn't be worth what they would have to pay him.

So, should the Phils go after Sexson?

Are You Joking?


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Phillies Phlashback Phriday: 2000 Arizona Diamondbacks

With the Dbacks coming into town I started thinking about the link between the Phils and the snakes, which lead me to the Curt Schilling trade. Back in 2000 Schilling pretty much talked his way out of Philly, so Ed Wade shipped him to Arizona for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee, and Vicente Padilla. Schilling formed a terrific 1-2 punch with Randy Johnson in 'zona and went to the post season twice with them, winning the World Series in 2001; while the package that came to Philly for him sputtered. Schill really isn't the focus of this plashback, although I do want to point out that he's 1 of only 9 MLB players to be born in Alaska and he has the uppity middle name of Montague. The spotlight of the phlashback is the 2000 Arizona Diamondbacks' roster, which included 11 former Phils on it. The previously mentioned Daal (2000-01), recently resurfaced Figueroa (01, also a Phucco, with Bucs 03-04), Travesty Lee (00-02), and Switch-hittin' Padilla (00-05) all arrived in Philly via the Schilling deal. Others- another Phucco Turner Ward (01, with Bucs 97-99), Kelly Stinnett (brief stint in 03), Rod Barajas (07), David Dellucci (06), Russ Springer (95-96), and lefty specialist Dan Plesac, also a Phucco (02-03, with Bucs 95-96).

The series sets up with the Friday showdown of cancer survivor Doug Davis (3-4, 3.74 era, 1.48 whip) vs. Mr. Win, Kyle Kendrick (8-3, 4.39, 1.36). Saturday will see the ancient but still fierce Randy Johnson (5-7, 5.18, 1.43) take on the fighting for his rotation spot Adam Eaton (3-7, 5.20, 1.56). Sunday series finales will be a beauty with Dbacks' ace Bradon Webb (13-4, 3.27, 1.17) set to face Phils' ace Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.18, 0.99).


Happ Not Happy?
JA Happ helps the Phils to wins in both of his starts this season and gets demoted to Triple A Lehigh Valley. This move does not make Happ happy, but it does make sense. The Phils won't be needing his services until after the All-Star break, so they sent him down to the minors to make a start until he's needed. My guess is that he and Brett Myers will be recalled after the All-Star break, with Myers taking back his spot in the rotation and Happ taking Eaton's (unless Eaton pulls out a masterpiece Saturday afternoon). Minor league journey man and Independent League refugee Mike Cervenak gets the call-up from the Lil' Piggies. Here's to hoping he gets a few pinch-hits and displaces So Taguchi on the 25 man roster.


Game Notes:
*Has there ever been a league leader in both homeruns and rbi left off the All-Star team? It's about to happen this season, because Ryan Howard leads the NL in both categories (27 hr, 83 rbi). I'm not advocating Howard for '08 NL All-Star, but it's hard to ignore those numbers, and lord knows I have tried. In all fairness, Ryan does have a 13 game hitting streak and has upped his average to .234.

*We all know about the struggles of Carlos Ruiz collecting only 4 hits over his last 40 at bats for a .100 average. However, our other catcher is currently struggling too; Chris Coste has no hits in his last 17 at bats. That's a buttload of bad baseball right there.

*Grand Pappy Moyer went 7 innings to pick up his 8th win of the season, 238th of his career, and dropped his era below 4 (3.95). Not bad for someone old enough to be around when JFK was still President.

*JC Romero picked up the save, which was a departure from the norm. Since Tom Gordon has been placed on the DL, Charlie Manuel has tried various pitchers in various situations and I must say I like the change. I got tired of seeing the scheme of Romero in the 7th, Gordon in the 8th, and Lidge in the 9th played out every time the Phils had a lead late in the game. Now the ball may go to Clay Condrey, Ryan Madson, or Chad Durbin. This Gordon DL stint may just end up being a blessing in disguise.