Saturday, May 31, 2008

Enjoyable Saturday

Wake up party people, it's Saturday and the Phils are in 1st place in the NL East. Last night they triumphed over the previous holders of the top spot in the NL East, Florida Marlins, to the tune of 12-3...nice! Screw the Marlins, screw the Braves, screw the Mets, and screw the gNats; the Phils are in 1st and 1st is where they plan to stay (of course that means they must win tonight).

Brett Myers gets scored upon more in the 1st inning (7 straight games) than a female dog in heat, but after surrendering the 3 runs last night he settled in nicely to end up going 8 strong with 11 k's and earning his first victory since April 17th. Still has horrible numbers on the year, but just like Eaton, we can only hope this game made it all "click".

Chase Utley continues to be Mr. Awesome. I know that's a gay nickname, but it's very fitting because the man is simply awesome. Blasted MLB leading homerun 18 last night and is currently sporting these fantabulous stats: .312 avg, 44 r, 16 dbl, 18 hr, 48 rbi, and 1.041 OPS. Like I said, Mr. Awesome.

Ryan Howard has his average up to .209, and pretty soon we'll be able to replace the Mendoza Watch (in the upper right sidebar) with something like Amazing Feats of Chris Coste.

Shane Victorino is riding an 11 game hit streak, but apparently he's still not a "starter" because he never got the official vote of confidence from Manuel like Werth did.

There's something to be said about comfort in consistency. Although the Phils pitching staff hasn't be lights out by any standard, they have been reliable in the fact that no member of the staff has seen DL time this year or been demoted. Phils are the only team in MLB to use only 5 starting pitchers this season. The bullpen, best in MLB, has been great too, even mop-up boy Clay Condrey (considering his role and all).

Quick #'s: Phils are 2nd in MLB with 305 runs (Cubs 1st). Phils are 1st in MLB with 82 longballs. Phils 1st in stolen base success rate with 85%, thank you Davey Lopes! Staff era of 3.97, would have never predicted that entering the season.

Cole Hamels (5-3, 3.18) vs. Ricky Nolasco (4-3, 4.70) tonight at the Cit, 7:05. Go Phils!

~Carson

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Phlashback Phriday

Mike Benjamin - the muttonchopped Phucco.

Obviously, Score handed out the "Rising Star" designation like nitrous balloons at a Dave Matthews Band concert - every loser gets one. He was never any good. Benjamin never hit over .260 in the minors before getting a call-up and then spent parts of his first 5 big league seasons in the minors, only solidifying a permanent gig with the Giants in '94. Yet, Benjamin worked a career .229 average into 12 years and $5 million.

The Phils traded pitching phenom Jeff Juden to SF for Benjamin after the 1995 season. The previous year, Benjamin hit .220. Surprisingly, he hit only .223 with the Phillies and was not re-signed.

He then played two seasons in Boston, hitting .270 the last year. So, in typical Pirates fashion, they signed a guy who had hit like a Abe Nunez for the last 9 years to a four year contract. The results? Pitiful. He didn't even play one year because of injury, finally flaming out in 2002 after hitting .150.

Also, according to wikipedia, "Him and his wife Sherry also have been known to have an explicit video on the internet." So, he has that, and the 5 mil, going for him.
-------------------------
Swindle Update
19 games, 28 IP, 2 ER, 29 K, 2BB, 0.64 ERA. Still with the FeHams...
-------------------------
Burrell Sleeps With Dogs
Pat the Bat missed Tuesday's game with neck stiffness. The origin of said stiffness? “I blame the dog,” Burrell said, referring to his 115-pound English bulldog, Elvis. “He had the pillow.”
-------------------------
Benson Update
Benson gave up one run in four innings on Tuesday in an extended spring-training game. He threw over 70 pitches and by reports his fastball was between 86 and 90. He's scheduled to make a minor league start Sunday for Clearwater.

"He progressed well. It was encouraging for him, and it was encouraging for us," said Ruben Amaro Jr.

Any coincidence that encouraging news about Kris Benson comes out just prior to Eaton pitching his best game of the year on Wednesday? Yeah, probably totally coincidental, the Rockies just suck right now and it is a great time to pitch against Colorado. But a little competition can't hurt. It will be interesting to follow Benson's progress in a few minor league starts and how the talk of replacing Eaton escalates.

No reports on whether Anna Benson will be at his start on Sunday...

Corey

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thirsty Thursday

Rudy Seanez - Beck's Dark

A few weeks ago I popped into Westy's Beverage in Mechanicsburg (great store, if you are so inclined) and while perusing the aisles I came across a case of Beck's Dark for $9.99. I scooped it into my arms and ran like a little girl through a field of daisies to the front counter. The salesman informed me that the beer had been on the shelf too long and it needed to be sold. "Fine with me," I said, knowing that unless that beer had been on the shelf since the Carter administration, it would taste fine.

I was even more assured of my buy when I read the bottle - "Best if used by Nov 08." Sweet. Needless to say, they taste just fine. And they taste just a little better since I got them on the cheap from the unwanted bin. I bet Pat Gillick has a similar feeling when he watches Rudy Seanez pitch.

Seanez has pitched for 8 organizations in the last eights years (BOS and SD twice...) and while he hasn't been great, he hasn't been Brian Sanches either. His 3.79 ERA with LA last year doesn't look great, but when you consider that he did pitch in over 70 games, only 2 pitchers in last year's Phillies bullpen had lower ERAs, and he's only making $400K, he looks like a significant upgrade at a bargain price.

So here's to Rudy Seanez, the too-old, real-cheap, quality reliever.

Corey

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rock Out With Your Pitching Coach Out

I feel like Bob Apodaca must be part of my family, because I've seen more of him in the last few days than I have my wife. Every time I turn around I see Apodaca jogging to and from the mound. Comcast is so good at sponsorship (Jeep Keys to the Game, etc.), just for tonight they should have the Amtrack Apodaca Trip to the Mound...

Taking two easy ones from the team that swept the Phils from the '07 playoffs has been sweet, but it is sort of sad to see the state of the Rockies right now. Without Holliday, Hawpe or Tulowitzki, the Rockies lineup is straight out of the Pacific Coast League. Combine that with a young staff and an overworked bullpen and the Rockies are as tough to watch as those horrid Sheetz poetry jam coffee commercials.
-------------------------
I Will Wait No Longer
For whatever reason, I'm picking today to be impatient. R.J. Swindle needs to be in the Phillies bullpen. Tonight. I'm sure Clay Condrey is a nice guy, but if he needs to go to make room for the Great Rock-n-Roll Swindle, then c'est la vie Condrey. The Phils, like many other teams in the league, are perpetually looking for bullpen help. Yet, they have a guy carrying a sub-1 ERA and a 27 to 2 K:BB ratio sitting in the FeHams bullpen. They don't have to worry about burning options or accumulating service time or any of that. The biggest risk is losing Condrey and I think that is a risk worth taking since the potential reward is adding a useful lefty reliever to the 'pen.
------------------------
Sweep Vitals
The Phils hand the ball to Gavin Eaton. He sucks. The Rockies counter with Greg Reynolds, the second overall pick in the 2006 draft. [Some pitchers taken after Reynolds that year: Andrew Miller, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Max Scherzer.] This will be the fourth career major league start for Reynolds, racking up a loss, two no decisions and a 4.06 ERA in his first three starts. First pitch is 7:05, hot dogs are full price.

Corey

Guide to being happy about 20 runs.

Remember yesterday? Ah, that seems so long ago. I wrote a piece about being angry over 15 runs scored, well chalk that up to lunacy. Today I bring to you a happy atmosphere on the blog, sponsored by 20 runs. Yes, the Phils have now scored 35 runs in the past 2 games an have leap-frogged their way up the MLB run total leaderboard to 2nd right behind the Cubbies. Why the turn around? Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino are back and healthy atop the lineup as sparkplugs. Chase Utley is Mr. Awesome. Ryan Howard is steadily creeping out of his season long slump. Pat Burrell is a pimp. Geoff Jenkins is finally coming to terms with the retirement of Brett Favre and hitting again. Pedro Feliz isn't quite as horrible as people thought. Carlos Ruiz & Chris Coste make a solid catching duo. Greg Dobbs is the best pinch-hitter ever! In all honesty, this offense is made to score runs, that's their gig. For the first part of the season something just wasn't clicking as if their mojo was stolen, but they must have chugged some of Lil' Jon's Juice because their back with vengeance.

Tip of the cap to Jamie Moyer who notched career victory 235 and Chase Utley for collecting a career high 6 rbi.

The question now is- how many runs tonight? Kyle Kendrick vs. Ubaldo Jimenez.


______________________________________________

In the mood for theatre?
Theatre Exile presents a return engagement of its hit show The Philly Fan by Bruce Graham, starring Tom McCarthy, and directed by Joe Canuso. A one-man tour-de-force in which two-time Barrymore Award winner Tom McCarthy takes audiences on a hilarious journey through the frustrations of the past fifty years of Philadelphia sports. This production is an in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is romp through the memories of a hard core fan used to seeing sure-thing victories turn into “oh-my-God-they-blew-it” defeats. June 10-15 at The Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street. Tickets are $25 - $30 ($50 for the Opening Night Gala); call (215)922-4462 or visit www.ThePhillyFan.net.

~Carson

Monday, May 26, 2008

Guide to being angry about 15 runs.

Hip-hip-hooray the Phillies scored 15 runs. Let's roll out a keg, hire some go-go dancers, and invite over your loose Aunt Lucy. 15 runs are nice, but this offense is so inconsistent that it's infuriating. I'm thankful for the offensive onslaught yesterday and all, but I'm not all that excited. For the 13th time this season the Phils scored 7+ runs and have won all 13 of those contests. In fact, in those 13 games of 7 or more runs scored they have racked up 120 runs, for an average of 9.2 runs a game. However, they've played 52 games on the season and in the other 39 games have only managed 140 runs for an average of 3.6 runs per game. This should be filed as proof to the Phillies erratic scoring tendencies. Why am I making such a big stink out of this? People look at the Phils offense and see that they've scored 260 runs this season, good enough for 5th in MLB, but that's misleading as I've shown you above. If you go solely off of those numbers it shows the Phils averaging 5 runs a game and that's mostly coming from the 13 games in which they went crazy like a horny teenager at a 2 Live Crew concert. The unreliable source of runs game in and game out can be pointed at many different people. Ryan Howard, the slugging cleanup hitter batting near .200 with strikeouts stacking higher than the heavens. Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins for being injured, how dare you claim workman's comp? Geoff Jenkins, the masher of righties who's become a slower, whiter, less effective version of singles-hitter Ichiro since joining the Phils. The IZ Bros.(Chooch & Pedro), haven't seen a black hole that big since Tina Turner spread her legs. I know I shouldn't be going off like this, but one win doesn't cure all, and I'm just pretty unimpressed with this squad so far this season. Still season left to make me sway my opinion; time will tell.

Phils are going to need their offense to start stepping up more and routinely score 5+ runs a game because the batting averages against the starting rotation are frightening: .325 vs. Moyer, .306 vs. Kendrick, .288 vs. Eaton, and .311 vs. Myers. Hamels is the only one that seems to be able to retire hitters with any regularity (.214 average against).

3 game set at home against the Rox starting tonight. Matt Holliday, Clint Barmes, Troy Tulowitzki, and Brad Hawpe are all DL'd...time for the first sweep of the season.

~Carson

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Plays of the Week

Some interesting plays from the past week:

Rollins turns the double-play.


Shane Victorino gets caught stealing. This is one of the rare times you will see a caught stealing, catcher unassisted.


--------------------------------------------
Last Night's Game
I'm not going to harp on all the negative aspects of the game last night (Howard's fielding, Victorino's un-clutchness, Bruntlett's baserunning, etc.) Check out the comment section from yesterday's post to get a few fans' takes. I do want to make a few comments, though.

- Adam Eaton pitched a fine game. Just because the Phils couldn't hit Cy Young candidate Brandon Backe doesn't mean that Eaton's 7 inning, 3 run performance wasn't any good. [Speaking of Backe, was that the first time the Phils ever saw a curveball?]

- Jose Valverde has giant nuts. He got hit in the face with a liner, stayed in the game, and finished off the Phillies. That was probably the most impressive thing I've seen on a baseball field in a long time. I know none of us were rooting for him, but after the fact, you have to give major props to Valverde.

- We've joked about Howard's ineptitude a lot lately, with things like the "Mendoza Watch" and such. But seriously, if Howard doesn't turn it around, the Phils are in major trouble. You can't have a black hole in the 4-hole and consistently score runs. And as Jacobin mentioned in the comment section, it's hurting Utley by allowing pitchers to pitch around him. Until Howard improves, Burrell needs to be moved up to fourth and Howard needs dropped.
--------------------------------
The Rat
Anybody see the end of the Mets game against the Rockies? At least one good thing happened last night.

Corey

Friday, May 23, 2008

Willie Randolph Thinks You're Stupid...

And Other News From The NL East

New York
In an column that appeared Monday in the Record of Hackensack, Willie Randolph gave his theory on some of the criticism that has flown his way recently.

"Is it racial?" Randolph asked. "It smells a little bit." He then used the treatment of NY coaches Herm Edwards and Isiah Thomas as examples. "They beat up Isiah pretty good. There's something weird about it."

Yeah, so apparently blaming race for justified criticism doesn't go over to well these days. So Randolph clarified his statement.

"...I was just expressing how I felt at the time, but it wasn't anything to do with race. I wasn't trying to bring race into it."

Glad that was cleared up. I foolishly interpreted "racial" as having to do with race. I'm dumb.

And message to Willie: Isiah Thomas is quite possibly the worst GM/coach in the history of professional basketball. Not only do all of his teams suck, he lost his parent company almost $12 million in a sexual harrassment lawsuit. There is nothing "weird" about criticizing that. He should have been tarred and feathered fired a long time ago. The weird thing is he held on for this long.

I'm glad there is an open competition between Wagner and Randolph to see who's the biggest loudmouth jackass in Queens...

Marlins
On Ebay you can bid on a 1997 World Series Championship Ring. As of now, no one has placed a bid for the ring, with the starting price a little over 6K. The auction says the ring belonged to a scout, but the item location is Brooklyn, NY, home of Marlins reserve outfielder John Cangelosi. I'm suspicious...

Atlanta
The Eh-Tee-El has followed New York's lead and has begun offing their fans.

Last month, a Mets fan tried to slide down an escalator handrail and fell to his death. Now, a Braves fan, attempting to slide down a handrail, fell 4 stories and was killed. [ESPN, the super-sleuth reporters that they are, have said that alcohol played a factor in the man's death. What a shocker.]

Memo to Phillies and Nationals fans, and the one guy who goes to Marlins games: do not slide down railings of any kind for the remainder of the year.
--------------------------
Hero Of The Day


Corey

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Breakout

Saturday through Tuesday = 4 games/9 runs. Wednesday = 1 game/12 runs. This constitutes as a breakout. Ryan Howard goes yard twice mixing in a double and climbs closer to the Mendoza Line (.195). Shane Victorino started his 3rd game in a row despite being told Jayson Werth was a "starter" and had 3 hits as well, including a homerun. Out Machine Pedro Feliz also went deep and chipped in 3 hits like Howard and Vic. Coste, Utley, and Rollins were invited to the hit-fest too, dumping 2 hits a piece. Overall, it was a well played game in all facets (defense, pitching, offense, base running) and therefore was entertaining. Jamie Moyer handled the bulk of the pitching weaving his way in and out of trouble most of the night to notch his 4th victory over 6 shutout innings; Jars of Clay Condrey finished out the contest. Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth were the only 2 regulars to not breakout, in fact they had a breakdown. Burrell's average continues to plummet (.271) and Werth hasn't had a hit since his fabled 3 homerun game (0-13 with 7 k's).

It's nice to win a series, feels like it's been awhile. Now off to Houston for a 4 game set where Lidge and Bruntlett are excited to visit old friends and show that their new team is better than their old one, and Michael Bourn waits to burn the bases (20 sb) when he actually gets on base (.208 avg/.272 OB%).


You make me dizzy,
Running circles in my head.
One of these days,
I'll chase you down.
Well look who's going crazy now?
We're face to face my friend.
Better get out.
Better get out!
You know you make me breakout!
Make me breakout!
I don't wanna look like that,
I don't wanna look like that.
Know you make me breakout.
(Foo Fighters- Breakout)

~Carson

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Any time the Phils win I should be happy. However, last night had loss written all over it until Greg Dobbs made some magic happen in the top of the 9th. Dobbs has been an amazing asset as a bench player and occasional starter during his time with the Phils, collecting his league leading 10th pinch-hit and 9th rbi. The pitching was great for both sides last night with Cole Hamels having another dominate performance notching 11 k's over 7 shutout innings. Tom Gordon came in and pitched the 8th to win his 4th game of the season with Brad Lidge taking the 9th inning for his 11th save. I should be happy, I keep telling myself- "Don't worry, be happy.", but I just can't wrap my head around the fact that the Phils offense is scoring less than an amputee playing basketball. Over the past 4 games the Phils have only scored 9 runs, losing 3 of those games and lucky to not have lost all 4. Pat Burrell has gone cold, Pedro Feliz continues to hack at the first pitch, Ryan Howard's average is going downward once again with the k's increasing, Chase Utley isn't the force he was a couple weeks ago, Rollins has been inconsistent, the list goes on. They wait for the homerun, but the homerun doesn't always come, and when it doesn't come the Phils fail to score runs. Situational hitting has always been an Achilles heel for this club, and make that tenfold this season. Entering last night's game they were 4 for their last 32 with runners in scoring position and I know that number probably got even uglier last night with the Greg Dobbs hit being the only hit in that situation. Bottom line, this offense is wasting some damn good pitching performances that they'll wish they hadn't because it's highly doubtful that it'll continue all season long. So, yes I'm happy they won, but I'm also worried about this offense.

The time is now for a series win, as the winless Matt Chico toes the rubber for the rubber game of the series tonight against Grand Pappy Moyer. C'mon Phils, show some phight, and knock that baseball so hard it cries.

~Carson

Monday, May 19, 2008

Who Starts? Who Cares? Phils Lose

Charlie Manuel's statement to beat writer Randy Miller that "Right now, [Werth is] definitely one of our starters," left a few people scratching their heads. One of them was Shane Victorino, who said, "I was the starting everyday center fielder before I got hurt. What am I now?"

The simple answer to Vic's question is "not a starter." The questions I'm asking are, "Is Jayson Werth really a starting outfielder?" and "Why is Manuel doing this?"

The first question has been talked about and debated already. The consensus - probably not. I'm not going to waste time with that. The why question, however, is more interesting.

He said to Randy Miller, "We're trying to win. I'm playing the guy who is doing more than he is. Hit .320 or .330 and you'll be sure to be in there. If you're hitting .235..."

Fine, Manuel is going to start players that are hitting better because it gives the team a better chance to win. That makes sense. Of course, Chris Coste is hitting .324 and hasn't been named the starting catcher in place of Carlos Ruiz. Greg Dobbs is hitting .345 and isn't starting at the hot corner in place of Pedro Feliz. So Taguchi is pathetic, hitting in the .170's, yet there is no replacement in sight for him. The first baseman is hitting .187. Yet Victorino is the player singled out to officially lose his starting job. It makes me think there is more to this change than just simple stats.

Also, Manuel needs to check his stats. He says "hit .320 or .330 and you'll be sure to be in there," but Werth's May batting average is .255. Victorino is hitting .257...
---------------------------
Game Thoughts
- I'm not going to get into how awful Brett Myers has been this year. I don't want to know why he's lost gas on his fastball. I do want to know what sort of bet he lost so he had to get that horrible tattoo on his left wrist though. Do you think he has a tramp stamp too?

- Did anyone cringe when, after falling behind Howard 3-0, Tim Redding struck him out on three straight fastballs. The last one he just blew right past him. Not exactly what I want to see from our best slugger. I know he's been swinging better lately, but that was ugly.

- I love the grey brick behind home plate at Nationals Park. Very sharp.

- I wanted to throw my remote control through the television screen when Pedro Feliz popped out to first in the fourth inning. Twice Jenkins led off an inning with a double and twice Feliz failed miserably to advance him to third. It didn't even appear that Feliz was trying to take the ball to the right side.

- Great episode of House last night. It saved me from the final three innings...

Corey

Various Views


Good:
*Ryan Howard, after snapping his 8 game hit streak Saturday night wasted no time going deep in his first at bat Sunday afternoon. On the day, he collected 2 hits and upped his average to .191.

*Pat Burrell provided some 9th inning fireworks with a 2-out homerun to bring the Phils within 1 run of tying the game, then Chris Coste doubled but was stranded on 2nd when Eric Bruntlett struckout to end the game.

*Jimmy Rollins is back, and back with authority. Went 2-3 with 2 walks yesterday and his average is on the rise (.342) and he's hitting the ball all over the diamond, stealing bases, and making fantastic defensive plays.

*Chad Durbin was awesome for 3.2 innings in relief of Kyle Kendrick's rain shortened outing.

Despair:
*Chad Durbin pitched like poop for 1/3 of an inning. As Lyle Overbay was standing in the on-deck circle Sarge talked about how he wasn't a homerun hitter despite his huge frame and was more of just a linedrive gap power kind of guy. Well, that gap power turned into a pinch-hit 3-run upperdeck homerun yesterday...good call Sarge, surprised ESPN isn't burning up your phone line trying to coax you into a contract.

*Jayson Werth was a man amoung boys Friday night belting 3 homeruns and 8 rbi. Naturally that means Charlie Manuel will have to make sure he's in the lineup for the rest of the month of May even though he may get cold, and cold he has gotten. Since those 3 consecutive homeruns, Werth has gone 0-8 with 5 k's. Werth succeeded Friday night because he was in the right situation, but starting him everyday against righties is not the right situation, and Charlie needs to go back to his original gameplan of platooning Werth/Jenkins and leaving Victorino in CF for the most part.

*Next time Manuel intentionally walks someone I'm going to intentionally boot him in the testicles. I wish there were a stat to tell me exactly how many times the Phils have intentionally walked a batter to have that same batter come around and score, because to me it seems to happen 90% of the time (ex: Matt Stairs yesterday during Rudy Seanez's awful 6th inning).

*The Phillies loaded the bases 3 times yesterday and nary a run...that's why you deserve to lose! Phils had 13 hits and 4 walks and only managed 5 runs, while the Jays had 6 hits and 4 walks scoring 6 times.

Tonight:
7:10 in DC with douchebag Brett Myers set to take on 1-hit wonder Tim Redding. Everyone remembers the gNats series win over the Phils to begin the '08 season, guess it's time for some revenge.

~Carson

Sunday, May 18, 2008

All You Need To Know...




-------------------------
Slump Watch
Pat Burrell is 1 for his last 12 and only has 1 homer in his last 21 games. His average has slid from .350 to .286 in 3 weeks. This is worth watching. At what point do Howard and Burrell cross paths? And what date? I say .255 in about a month...
-------------------------
Rubber Game
Shawn Marcum brings an ERA (2.22) half that of his opposite number, Kyle Kendrick. His WHIP and K to walk ratio are great and he's on a hot streak, allowing only 2 runs in his last 24.1 innings. This should go well...

Corey

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Couldn't Finish the Job

Wow, what a letdown! Jayson Werth hypes up the entire ballpark with 3 homerun in his first 3 at bats of the game knocking in 8 runs in the process and then pops up foul for an out on his 4th and final at bat. Anyone can go out and pop 3 taters in a row and chase 8 ducks from the pond, but only the immortal go deep 4 times and knock in 9+ runs, Werth is werthless. The Phils were only winning by a score of 10-3, they needed that insurance run in the 7th inning that would have been provided by Jayson had he not weakly popped up...ugh! He simply wasn't man enough to finish the job and seal himself into the history books, what a shame. This lack of desire and focus is just another in the long history of failures of Phillies players...I say bench him!

Other Things for the Crapper:
*Ryan Howard collected a hit in his 8th straight game; average on the rise.

*Grand Pappy Moyer won his 233 game of his career, going 6.2 quality innings.

*Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino seem to be getting their grove back at the top of the lineup; 2 hits apiece last night.

*The bullpen is still defying odds and KO'ing the competition.

*The Phils are tied for 1st place in the NL East with the Florida Marlins.

~Carson (in an obviously extremely sarcastic mood)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Phils Chucked James

On Wednesday night the Braves hit 3 longballs off struggling righty Brett Myers; last night was an entirely different story. Cole Hamels, the true staff ace, shutdown the Braves for his first career shutout, spreading 4 hits and 2 walks over 9 frames with 6 k's lowering his era to 2.89. On the offensive side, the Phils came firing back with 3 homeruns of their own (Vic, Howard, Feliz) as they chucked starter Chuck James from the game after 4 innings. Every single batter had a hit, with the exception being Chase Utley; Cole Hamels even chipped in 2 base-knocks. Phils record now sits at 23-19 good for 2nd place in the NL East behind the annoying Florida Marlins.

Tonight the 1993 World Series will be relived in Philly, of course there's no John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, Darren Daulton, Joe Carter, or Paul Molitor though. That's right, the retarded return of Interleague play with the Phils playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays. Interleague play was a novel idea at first, now it's boring and causes uneven competitive balance. We've got Jamie Moyer kicking off the action tonight against David Purcey (don't worry I've never really heard of him either), then Adam Eaton versus AJ Burnett on Saturday, with Kyle Kendrick set for a showdown with surprisingly successful Shaun Marcum on Sunday. Let's just hope the Phils win the series and crybaby Scott Rolen gets beaned and booed.

___________________________________

Shiver Me Timbers:
Don't look now but the Pirates are almost at sea level (20-21). Yesterday they came back wielding their swords down 5-1 entering the 5th inning, and ended up winning the game against the Cardinals 11-5 by dropping a 7-run cannonball on them in the 8/9th innings. Overall the team is playing much better, guided by the hots bats of Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady, and newest Phucco Jason Michaels. Not all is sunny and calm in Pirates' Bay though, as slugging catcher Ryan Doumit has been sidelined for at least a month with a broken thumb. Time for Ronny Paulino to step up in his absence and keep this ship afloat. It would be nice to see this club put together a decent season to get the fans back at beautiful PNC Park.

~Carson

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Douchebags On Parade

Nationally televised Wednesday night game on ESPN and we've got our douchebags on parade. Brett Myers and Ryan Howard stole the show last night. Yes, Chipper Jones may have more hits than at bats (is that possible?) and Tom Glavine won his 900th game, but Myers and Howard captivated the audience with their ability to single-handedy (well, actually I guess it would be double-handedly in this case) blow the game. Undeserving title holder of #1 starter Brett Myers has been a complete and utter train wreck this season. Through 9 starts the immature, whiny, hothead has a 5.91 era with 15 homeruns allowed; that's a pace for 59 homers and the weather hasn't even warmed up yet. Last night he allowed 3 solo shots with 9 hits and 3 walks for 8 runs overall through 4.1 agonizing innings. 2 of those 8 runs were unearned and that's where douchebag #2 steps up. We all know of Ryan Howard's struggles at the plate (just look to the top right of this blog for his Mendoza Line counter), but he has and always will be a DH playing firstbase. Howard dropped a throw that would have completed a double play that hit him square in the middle of his mitt. Is it really that difficult to catch a ball? Seriously, I've seen people wrangle up greased pigs better than Howard scoops up balls.

Despite the handy work of the Howard and Myers, there were some positives to take away from last night: Chris Coste was 4-4, Utley nailed his 14th roundtipper, the bullpen worked 4.2 scoreless innings, and the Phils almost came back from an 8 run deficit.

Rubber game tonight with King Cole (4-3, 3.36) vs. Chuck James (2-2, 7.58), they better damn well win!

~Carson

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

For What It's Werth...

Jayson Werth was easily the player of the game last night, knocking in 4 of the Phillies 5 runs in the series opening victory over the Braves. However, he was nearly the goat of the game, botching a rbi double by Brian McCann in the top of the 9th, as he misread the ball that ended up gliding over his head that should have been caught for a game ending out. I shouldn't wag my finger at Werth though, after all, it was Manuel's decision to start Werth in CF and Victorino in RF. I understood playing Werth in CF while Vic was on the DL, but now that he's back the faster Victorino who has better fielding instincts needs to be roaming the big part of the ballpark. It's all good in the hood though, because the Phils won and hopefully Charlie realized his mistake and fixes it. Also, I've recently read that Manuel believes Werth is just a wee-bit shy of becoming a full-time player. Personally, I think Werth is probably one of the best 4th outfielders around baseball with his speed, pop, on-base skills, and ability to play all 3 outfield positions, but I do not think he is 145+ game a season material. When Jayson starts for prolonged periods of time his intensity level moderates and his extremely long looping swing becomes exposed. For now we should be happy with the production we're getting from him in his platoon with Geoff Jenkins in RF and occasional start for Werth in CF.

Today's game pins 300 game winner Tom Glavine against underachieving hothead Brett Myers. It's time for Myers to pitch up to his capability and become a solid 1-2 punch with Cole Hamels at the top of the rotation.

~Carson

Monday, May 12, 2008

More Odds Than Ends...

Steve Henson of Yahoo! sports seems to think Ryan Howard is destined to break out of his slump. Well, if Steve Henson thinks so, it must be so...
--------------------------
Phantasy Phootball
Big shout out to...me. I won my English Premier League Fantasy Football League. Numero uno in a league of 136 hosted by my favorite soccer blog, That's On Point. Here is the table, for proof. Maybe I'm writing about the wrong sport.
--------------------------
Miss My Gookie?
The Phils traded Reading infielder Travis "Gookie" Dawkins to the White Sox for a player to be named. Will he be missed? No. He contributed only a warm body and a funny name to the Phils organization. I can't believe he only had 16 career major league hits, though. It seems like he's been around forever. Goes to show you what a memorable name will do for you. Maybe I should pick a funny name to post with...
--------------------------
Ol' Dirty Bastardo
After posting a 1.17 ERA in Clearwater, lefty Antonio Bastardo shimmy-shimmy-ya'd his way up to the R-Phils last week and made his first start, with mixed results. He didn't walk a batter and struck out 7, but he also gave up 7 hits, including 3 long balls, and 5 runs in 5 innings. We'll keep an eye out for Bastardo, who should be making his next start against Harrisburg this week.
--------------------------
Series Preview - Atlanta Braves
Ouch, the Braves just got tomahawk chopped by Pittsburgh, losing 3 of 4 along the rivers. But the way the season is going for the Braves, this really isn't a surprise. Sure, the Pirates suck, but the Braves have now only won 5 games away from Turner Field, compared to 14 losses. Luckily, this series is in Philadelphia. Here is how the pitching matchups look.

Game 1 - Kendrick v. Reyes - Who is Jo-Jo Reyes? Here is what Wikipedia has to say about him. All I know is that he's a chubby lefty with limited experience. He'll probably carry a no-no into the seventh...
Game 2 - Myers v. Glavine - Glavine has given up 2 runs or less in 5 of his 6 starts (of course, one was a 0 inning, injury shortened game). Myers, on the other hand, has given up 2 or less runs only twice this year.
Game 3 - Hamels v. James - Our ace needs to come through again...

Corey