Saturday, February 28, 2009

0-3, Let It Be

3 Grapefruit League games, 3 losses. 7 runs scored, 24 surrendered. Who cares?

Notice in the above it reads "Grapefruit League games" not "National League games". These losses mean nothing. Regulars Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, and Pedro Feliz haven't had 1 at bat yet. Trusted members of the staff Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Brad Lidge, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, and Clay Condrey haven't faced a single batter yet. Like I said, these games mean nothing. However, that doesn't mean I'm not interested or won't be following the games.

Yesterday's Game:
10-3 loss to the Reds. Andrew Carpenter couldn't retire a batter to start the game, giving up 4 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks. Notable outings: Madson went 1 scoreless inning, Romero went 2 scoreless innings picking off 2 runners, Victorino collected 2 hits, Ibanez had another rbi, and Pablo Ozuna hit the Phils first homerun of the spring.

Today's Game:
Tampa Bay rolls into Clearwater with Pat Burrell in tow. Charlie Manuel told his pitchers to "strike him out" by "going right at him". Werth is set to start today. Kyle Kendrick takes the mound against the Rays in what is hopefully a step in the right direction of KK regaining confidence.

Team USA:
Shane Victorino has been added to Team USA's roster for the WBC in place of the ailing Grady Sizemore. He joins buddy Jimmy Rollins on America's bench. Hopefully each will get playing time in preparation for the regular season. And hopefully USA teammate Chipper Jones doesn't strike up a conversation with trash-talking J-Roll or Civil War II may occur.

~Carson

Friday, February 27, 2009

Breaking News: Eaton Outta Here!

Adam Eaton has been released! I'm not sure what to say.

~Carson

Phillies Phlashback Phriday: Tyler Green

The year was 1991. The amateur from Wichita State University selected 10th overall was Tyler Green. The organization seeing future ace written all over the young hurler was the Philadelphia Phillies. 4 big league seasons, a 5.16 era, a 1.53 whip, and a losing record later (18-25) the Phils are thwarted in their efforts to build a championship caliber rotation headed by this trick pitch (the knuckle-curve) throwing youngster. I sincerely wish he had signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 1988 when they drafted him in the 3rd round, then in '91 we could have had the 13th overall pick instead (some schlub that goes by the name Manny Ramirez).


Green was a colossal disappointment, although he did manage to represent the Phillies in the 1995 all-star game (more of an indication how bad the Phils were that season, rather than the strength of Green's '95 campaign). Tyler spent parts of '93, '95, '97, and '98 with the Phils. He disappeared from professional baseball after being released from the Cleveland organization in 2000, ending with an equally crappy minor league career line (29-47, 5.19, 1.51).



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Grapefruit Action (sounds kinky):
*The prized possession of the Phillie farm system Carlos Carrasco K.O.'d 3 batters through 2 innings without giving up anything to the Blue Jays yesterday. JA Happ followed him up with 2 innings of work, giving up only a hit. The two of them are in competition for the 5th spot in the rotation with Chan Ho Park and Kyle Kendrick. This is probably the most intriguing storyline of the spring in Phils camp.

*The Phillies fell to 0-2 in the early going of the Grapefruit League, as they lost to Toronto 6-2. Blaine Neal and Justin Lehr were to blame for the runs, and the offense is still in winter hibernation. It's early, but the lack of hits is probably pissing Manuel off, he doesn't want a pathetically low .255 team batting average again this season.

*Phils head to Sarasota today to take on Bronson Arroyo and the Cincinnati Reds with Drew Carpenter starting for Philly.

*Every season a certain Hall of Famer 3rd baseman named Michael Jack Schmidt is brought into spring training as a special instructor. Well, this season the Phils really rolled out the red carpet in inviting a legendary 2-sacker to the Bright House Networks complex in Clearwater...Mickey Morandini. *Photo courtesy of Phillies.com

~Carson

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Phils Lose Opener, End of Times Ensues

Pirates 8 - Phillies 2, not the way you want to start the season. Luckily, it's only spring training, these games mean diddly-squat, so save your "end of times" comments for now (April 6th they may be necessary though). Seriously, pitchers are only going 1 to 2 innings a pop in the early going, hitters are sitting on dead-red so offspeed is going to fool them, and managers are more interested in the minor leagues guys trying to make an impression.

Jamie Moyer started the game for the Phils tossing 2 scoreless innings, but it was all downhill after that, as Joe Blanton, Joe Bisensius, and Scott Nestor all got touched up. Dave Borkowski, Jake Woods, and Mike Koplove went 1 clean inning a piece thereafter. Offensively the Phils sputtered, with the only rbi's coming from singles for Raul Ibanez and John Mayberry. Rollins, Slayden (2), Dobbs, and Jenkins had hits as well.

Phillies are at home at Bright House Network today against the Toronto Blue Jays with Carlos Carrasco and JA Happ ready to begin the competition for the 5th spot in the rotation.
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Spring Flings:
*Being the kind generous souls that the Phillies front office are, they decided to advance a portion of Scott Eyre's salary to him because his funds are frozen temporarily due to an investigation with his financial institute. The man had only $13 liquid to his name the other day, and he's got to pay the bills. His teammates are willing to help out too, which is nice. Hey Lidge, I'll take $3M...I'm good for it.

*Grand Pappy Jamie Moyer, the 46 year old pitcher, is in his 25th spring training as a player...wow!

*Rollins is back at "it". "It" being arriving late. He missed team stretching and the beginning of batting practice, due to what is being called "bad directions". The World Series championship must have softened Manuel, as he still penciled the shortstop into the leadoff position to kick on the Grapefruit League competition yesterday. I'd have benched his ass for a month (no, not really).

*Amaro handicapped the possibility of getting Nomar Garciaparra at 50/50, and said that they're still willing to bring aboard one of the lefties (Beimel, Reyes, or Ohman), but only at a discounted price well south of $1M.

~Carson

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NL East Outfields

Over the next few weeks WSBGM's will be breaking down each of the NL East teams' rosters. Last week we previewed the infield, with the Phils winning the poll by a large margin. Today we take a step backwards, to the outfield. Future installments include rotation and bullpen.

Atlanta Braves:
LF/Garrett Anderson- .293/.325/.433, 15 hr, 84 rbi. Garrett is on the downside of his career, but the man still collects his hits. Atlanta originally tried to sign Ken Griffey Jr., but he stiff-armed them and headed back to Seattle to be a kid again. Anderson has been relatively healthy over the past 14 seasons and could actually end up having a better season than Griffey anyway.

CF/Gregor Blanco- .251/.366/.309, 13 sb. Blanco was a rookie last season and showed the ability to get on base, plus he has a nice set of wheels, so the possibility of him being a future leadoff batter is high.

RF/Jeff Francoeur- .239/.294/.359, 11 hr, 14 assists. Jeff and Vlad Guerrero have something in common, they swing at everything and have rifles for arms. Problem is Vlad bats .300 with 20+ homeruns and 100+ rbi every season, and Jeff wasn't even close to that in '08.

Reserves- Blanco isn't guaranteed a starting gig, as Josh Anderson or Brandon Jones could easily take over for him. Matt Diaz will serve as the righthanded portion of the LF platoon with the recently added Garrett Anderson. Super sub Omar Infante can also play some outfield.

Florida Marlins:
LF/Cody Ross- .260/.316/.488, 22 hr. As a fantasy baseball player I know the value of Ross. However, most everyone else probably just thinks of him as a marginal player. He has decent oomph in his bat, and that keeps him in the lineup and a secret weapon in fantasy leagues.

CF/Cameron Maybin- .500/.543/.563 in 32 at bats. Maybin will be 22 when the season begins, and he has tremendous potential. He can hit for average, has speed, and has developing power. My pick for 2009 NL Rookie of the Year.

RF/Jeremy Hermida- .249/.323/.406, 17 hr. Hermy has been hyped for the past few seasons, but the luster has worn off now that he continually falls short of expectations. He's not bad, he's not good, he's just average. He's also a trade candidate for the "Honey I Shrunk the Payroll" Marlins.

Reserves- Brett Carroll and Alfredo Amezaga are the 4th and 5th outfielders, and neither have much value offensively.

New York Mets:
LF/Daniel Murphy- .313/.397/.473 in 49 games. This rookie came out of nowhere (at least to those not in the NY area codes) to produce quite nicely in limited exposure. He'll get the majority of playing time, but will sit in favor of Tatis against lefties.

CF/Carlos Beltran- .284/.376/.500, 116 r, 112 rbi, 27 hr, 25 sb. Beltran does it all- switch hitter, power, speed, Gold Glove toting fielder, and a terrible talker of trash. Like other Mets Wright and Reyes, I hate him, but damn he's good.

RF/Ryan Church- .276/.346/.439, 12 hr. A concussion derailed his season last year, but he hopes to show his early season success wasn't a fluke and stay in the lineup and produce in '09. I still think he's suffering from post-concussion like symptoms as he moronically mouthed madness about the Phils a few weeks ago.

Reserves- Jeremy Reed, Nick Evans, Fernando Tatis, Angel Pagan, Marlon Anderson, and Cory Sullivan are all in the mix for PT in the Mets outfield this season.

Philadelphia Phillies:
LF/Raul Ibanez- .293/.358/.479, 23 hr, 85 r, 110 rbi. I wasn't too thrilled about the Ibanez signing, and I'm still not because of the years, money, and loss of a draft pick. However, look at his stats and there's no denying he's at least an equal to the dearly departed Pat Burrell, and might even be a slight upgrade (don't worry I just punched myself for saying that).

CF/Shane Victorino- .293/.352/.447, 14 hr, 36 sb, 102 r, and a Gold Glove. This switch hitting spark plug is just fun to watch. He plays with tons of energy and his love of the game comes blaring through with every runner gunned down, triple smacked in the gap, or grand slam hit in the playoffs. Corey knew he had all-star value back in 2005, and I'm sorry I ever doubted him.

RF/Jayson Werth- .273/.363/.498, 24 hr, 20 sb. Werth is a solid player, possessing speed, power, and strong defense. He needs to prove himself against righties to remain in the lineup regularly, if not Geoff Jenkins is waiting to steal some starts. If he plays 145+ games and collects 450+ at bats, I predict a 30-30 season from J-Dub.

Reserves- the vastly overpaid Geoff Jenkins looks to rebound from a horrid '08. Mr. Chubby Canada Matt Stairs will be there for pinch hit homeruns and man ass hammering. Eric Bruntlett and Greg Dobbs each play a little outfield as well.

Washington Nationals:

LF/Josh Willingham- .254/.364/.470, 15 hr. Willingham does well at getting on base and socking about 20 homeruns. He's in a crowded Nationals outfield, so he better keep doing those two things or he could easily lose playing time.

CF/Lastings Milledge- .268/.330/.402, 14 hr, 24 sb. If he can keep his attitude in-check and remain focused this kid is capable of putting big numbers (20+ hr/30+ sb). He's young yet (soon to be 24) and has a lot to prove to everyone, so I'm guessing he'll figure it out and display his God given gift instead of piss it away like he does at times.

RF/Elijah Dukes- .264/.386/.478 13 hr, 13 sb. Like his brother in crime Lastings, Elijah has the ability to take off like a rocket and become an all-star caliber player. The question is- will he? He has all the tools to do big things, but his gangster habits blur his vision sometimes.

Reserves- Wily Mo Pena, Willie Harris, Austin Kearns, Roger Bernadina, and Justin Maxwell are all vying for spots on the 25 man roster and for PT in the Gnats outfield.

Who has the best outfield?
Braves
Marlins
Mets
Phillies
Nationals
  
pollcode.com free polls

~Carson

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

WSBGM's Phantasy League 3

Spring training is here and aside from the saga of A-Rod and his roids, the massive burden Manny carries as being a member of the unemployment line, and watching 87 players suit up for your favorites team, it also means WSBGM's Phantasy League makes its triumphant return for season #3. We're switching things up a bit this year, as it will not be 20 teams again (that was ri-freakin-diculous) or be classic rotisserie scoring. Instead, we're going to a 16 team league that will be head-to-head competition that rotates on a weekly basis, with a 4 team playoff near season's end. There are 14 open slots, so start emailing us now to reserve a spot on the roster (click on "Contact Us" in the upper lefthand sidebar). The league is through Yahoo and the draft will take place on a weekend sometime in late March.
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Tid-Bits:
*You'd think a man that recently just signed a 1 year $2M contract wouldn't have difficulties making ends meet, but that is the case for Scott Eyre. His funds are frozen due the the governments investigation of the Stanford Financial Group's supposed financial fraud scheme. Other MLB players effected by this include Johnny Damon, Carlos Pena, and Xavier Nady.

*Harry Kalas is on the preseason DL, but he should be back in plenty of time for the regular season set to start on April 5th in Philly. The soon to be 73 year old recently had an undisclosed medical procedure, but seems to be recovering well. Thank God, because I'm not sure if I could have taken a game called only by Sarge, Wheels, and T-Mac.

*I do not have the MLB Network yet, but dammit this latest news may just force my hand...the Phils bullpen is getting their own reality tv show set to debut on the network June 1st appropriately called "The Pen". Can't wait to see Ryan Madson doing magic tricks, Clay Condrey spitting tobacco, and Brad Lidge stinking people out with lethal doses of gas.

~Carson

Monday, February 23, 2009

Garbage Pail Phillies: Pitching Edition

If you were alive in the 80's you remember the Cabbage Patch Kids craze (I had one wearing maroon Phillies pinstripes, and yes I know it was a doll). Topps trading cards attempted to capitalize off of CPK's money making by releasing a parody set of grotesque cards called Garbage Pail Kids (I had a huge collection that I later traded for Micro Machines). Today I bring to you WSBGM's first installment of Garbage Pail Phillies, the pitching edition, where I match a pitcher up with their namesake of Garbage Pail Kid. Future editions include offense, coaches, radio personalities, and your two favorite bloggers (Carson & Corey).



















*Original concept brought to you by the fine minds of More Hardball.

~Carson

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spring Sights

Some Sexy S.O.B.'s:

*Courtesy of Long Drive: Phillies Blog

Mix-n-Match Manuel:

*Courtesy of The Fightins

Bandying Brilliant Brains:

*Courtesy of The Phillies Zone

Hamels Humbling Honor:

~Carson

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pirates Preview

I have a buddy who is a die-hard Pittsburgh fan, and by default pledges allegiance to the Pirates. The other day he told me that they're going to win 87 games this season and be in contention for the NL Wild Card. I laughed at him. He is dyslexic, so he may have really meant 78 wins, but even that is preposterous. Let's take a look at what the Buccos have to offer this season and see if coming anywhere within heat-seeking missile distance to .500 is plausible.

(*2008 stats listed)
Offense:
Freshly minted with a posh contract is the Pirates lone star in Nate McLouth (.276/.853, 26 hr, 23 sb). He's a Gold Glove center fielder with speed and power and truly is an all-around threat. Backing him up are switch hitting catcher Ryan Doumit (.318/.858, 15 hr) and 1st baseman Adam LaRoche (.270/.841, 25 hr). Doumit can hit (hey that rhymed), but needs to stay in the lineup (only 86 games in '07 and 116 in '08). Adam is a notoriously slow starter, who needs to produce in the early going should the Pirates want to be in the "ball park" of a winning record.

The rest of the lineup is unproven, mediocre, or just not that good. Unproven: Left fielder Nyjer Morgan (.294/.720, 9 sb, in 58 games) has the "prospect" tag, but it's time for him to prove himself in the big leagues. Accompanying him in the outfield over in right is another prospect with a lot to prove in Brandon Moss (.246/.741, 8 hr in 79 games). Mediocre: Xavier Nady and Jason Bay gone, yet shortstop Jack Wilson (.272/.659) remains. Wilson is incredibly overpaid for being a barely league average SS...stupid Pirates. 2nd baseman Freddy Sanchez (.271/.669) runs slower than an 18-wheeler in gridlock and has no power or on base skills. Not Good: the other brother 3rd baseman Andy LaRoche (.166/.508) may still be considered a prospect by some, but after 111 games in the majors and only a .184 batting average you get labeled "suck" in my book.

The bench consists of zero experience backup catcher/Phillies castoff Jason Jaramillo or Robinzon Diaz (.300/.600), Brad Lidge strikeout victim Eric Hinske (.247/.798) at corner infield/outfield, Tigers/Cubs/Twins flunky outfielder Craig Monroe (.202/.679), youngins Brian Bixler (.157/.423), Steven Pearce (.248/.716), Neil Walker (no MLB time), and Luis Cruz (.224/.546), infielder Ramon Vazquez (.290/.795) coming off a career year with Texas, and outfielder Jeff Salazar (.211/.675).

There's a chance this offense could be middle-of-the-road, but Wilson and Sanchez don't help the cause. If LaRoche, Doumit, and McLouth can remain healthy and produce like they did last season that's a good start, but at least 2 others need to step up as reinforcements.

Rotation:
Paul Maholm (9-9, 3.71 era, 1.28 whip) is the staff ace, but only has one season of success under his belt. Filing in after him is some combination of the ugly cast of Zach Duke (5-14, 4.82, 1.50), Tom Gorzelanny (6-9, 6.66, 1.80, that's either a sign that he's evil or on the brink of an about-face), Ian Snell (7-12, 5.42, 1.76), Jeff Karstens (2-6, 4.03, 1.34), and Ross Ohlendorf (1-4, 6.46, 1.87).

This staff was what was supposed to lead the Buccos back to the postseason. During their rebuilding phase (which has lasted 16 seasons so far) the Pirates brass kept hyping their young pitching. Well, their pitching may still be youngish, but are certainly without the hype now.

Bullpen:
Closer Matt Capps (3.02 era, 0.97 whip, 21 saves) is good, but needs to stay healthy to help. Lefty John Grabow (6-3, 4 s, 2.84, 1.23) is also a stabilizing force. Tyler Yates (6-3, 4.66, 1.54) is good at times and really bad at others, but he has the ability to become a setup man because of his strikeout pitch. The rest of the bullpen will be a hodgepodge of Craig Hansen (6.22, 1.79), Sean Burnett (4.76, 1.61), Jesse Chavez (6.60, 1.93), Phil Dumatrait (5.26, 1.58), Romulo Sanchez (4.05, 1.50), Donnie Veal (no MLB time), Daniel Meek (6.92, 1.77), or Denny Bautista (5.22, 1.71).

That's the f'ugliest bunch of misfits I've seen assembled since the days of the Devil Rays horrendous relief corps. Some of them aren't even good enough to be considered "ifs", because they're surefire "won'ts".

Final Analysis:
The offense won't score enough runs and the pitching will give up too many runs. The offense has a chance to at least become league average should a couple players breakout (namely Morgan and Moss). However, the rotation is littered with high eras and is entirely too hittable, as is the bullpen. I honestly feel they may have the worst pitching staff in the National League. Therefore, 87 wins are a wet dream, 78 wins are a mirage, and 100 losses is a distinct possibility.

~Carson

Friday, February 20, 2009

Phillies Phlashback Phriday: Knicely & Savage

Remember Brad Harman, Andy Tracy, Mike Cervenak, TJ Bohn, Andrew Carpenter, and Les Walrond's contributions last season? I barely do, and for good reason...they were pretty insignificant. That's not a slight against any of those players, some of which remain in the Phils system, it's just the brutal truth. Alan Knicely is one of those type players. Knicely was a backup catcher, and a seldom used 1st baseman and outfielder during his 8 unspectacular seasons in the majors with the Astros, Reds, Phillies, and Cardinals. His lone season in Philly was 1985 when he made only 7 appearances as a pinch hitter, going hitless and striking out 4 of those times. Sounds like "bad" Alex Gonzalez from the '06 season. Career line: .213/.303/.315 in 228 games and 521 at bats. Who might be this season's Knicely- Marcus Giles, Pablo Ozuna, Miguel Cairo, Blaine Neal, Gary Majewski, Mike Koplove?

Here at WSBGM's we love us some Phuccos, and we're hoping Ronny Paulino can make the team out of spring training and plays well for the Phils this season after spending the early part of his career with the Buccos. Kris Benson was last season's Phucco hopeful, but he struggled in the minors and didn't toss a single pitch for the Phightins. Ted Savage, an old school Phucco, was a rookie outfielder in 1962 with the Phils and was traded to Pittsburgh the very next season. From Philly and Pitt, he went on to bounce around both leagues over his 9 MLB seasons with the Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, Dodgers, Reds, and Royals. For those of you keeping count, that's 8 teams in 9 seasons. His rookie year was one of his better years, batting .262/.345/.373 in 127 games. Career line: .233/.334/.361 in 642 games.
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Spring Hits:
*The warrior, the beast, the man known as Chase Utley remains ahead of schedule with his hip rehab and is deadset on being in the lineup Opening Night. On the other hand, prodigious out-making machine Pedro Feliz came into camp still hobbled from his back surgery and didn't do any baseball drills in the offseason and just took some grounders the other day. With the possibility of Feliz not being ready, Marcus Giles has been seen taking fielding practice at 3rd base in the early going.

*Apparently Charlie Manuel is a great speech giver, as he was mentioned in the same breath as President Barack Obama by Jayson Werth, "I got Charlie No. 1, as far as speeches I've heard. I think Obama might be a better public speaker, but I'll take Charlie's World Series speech." He "thinks" Obama may be the better public speaker...gosh I hope so!

*This "War of Words" between the Mets and Phillies was entertaining for a while (like back in '07), but it's getting played out and the Mets are seriously coming off like the cry baby punk bitches they are (STFU Reyes, Beltran, K-Rod, etc.).

*Bobby Abreu cried when the Phils won the World Series, "I was crying in a happy way because I know how hard they worked for that and how important it is to win the World Series." Ah, shucks Bobby, that's sweet.

Video courtesy of The 700 Level:

~Carson