Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NL East- Baseball's Worst Division

Heading into the 2009 season, many experts agreed the NL East was one of the most competitive divisions in baseball ranking only behind the AL East. Something happened between March and now, because only 1 team in the NL East currently has a winning record (Phillies). In fact, in terms of winning percentage the NL East is the least competitive division in the majors, and it's not all the Nationals fault.

1st- Philadelphia Phillies (39-34):

This division is theirs for the taking, and could be easily had if they only were able to play winning baseball at home (13-22). They're the only team in the East with a positive run differential (+23), and are are holding on to 1st place because of their astonishing road record (26-12). Pitching has been this team's Achilles heel. The staff sports a 4.80 ERA, the starters continually have short performances, the bullpen blows leads, and they all give up tons of homeruns (107). The offense and defense have kept the Phils afloat with a NL best 5.3 runs scored per game and .990 fielding %. Injuries to Brett Myers, Raul Ibanez, Scott Eyre, Clay Condrey, and Brad Lidge have taken the wind out of the defending champs sails, but better times are ahead.

2nd- Florida Marlins (39-39):
Many figured this team would make some noise with their excellent core of young talent, especially in the pitching department. A lot has gone wrong for the Fish though, with only starting pitcher Josh Johnson holding up to the hype. Even when their pitching does seem to create outs, the defense is liable to cough it up (59 errors). Florida's offense has its moments, but they lead the majors in strikeouts and have instability at a couple positions (3rd & CF). There's no doubting the legitimacy of SS Hanley Ramirez as one of the best all-around talents in the game today.

3rd- New York Mets (37-38):
What the hell is wrong with this team? Their offense has a terrific batting average (.273), yet they lack the ability to drive in runs. There has been a power outage in Queens, as the Mets have hit a MLB worst 47 homeruns so far this season. Their defense and pitching have been good at times and bad at others. K-Rod has been great at the back end of the bullpen, but Putz was a disaster. Johan is still doing his thing and Livan Hernandez has been the durable innings-eater they needed. There have been plenty of injuries though- JJ Putz, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Oliver Perez, John Maine, and Carlos Delgado. Time for the Phils to kick 'em while they're down.

4th- Atlanta Braves (35-40):
With a tremendous pitching staff (3.89 ERA) the Braves should have a far better record than they do. The problem has been their sputtering offense, even with the addition of Nate McLouth. Brian McCann is truly the only position player doing what he is capable of. The left side of the infield has been particularly feeble on defense (Chipper Jones/3B 13 errors, Yunel Escobar/SS 11 errors). This is how bad the Braves offense has been- Javier Vazquez has a 3.04 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 125 k's in 106.2 ip, and has a losing record of 5-7.

5th- Washington Nationals (22-52):

The worst team in baseball, I need not say more.

Joe Blanton against Derek Lowe in Atlanta.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Chasing Eaton - Part II

Fifteen starts into the season and Jamie Moyer is still a train wreck. We're keeping track of how this season compares to Adam Eaton's season of 2008. Here are the numbers so far.

Losses 8
ERA 5.80
WHIP 1.64
BAA .310

Losses 6
ERA 6.05
WHIP 1.51
BAA .309

Monday Poll
I have simple question today. Which Phillie would you most like to see get cut/released/sent down/shot/etc.? Your nominees are:
- Paul Bako - A third catcher so Coste can be our main RH PH? No thank you.
- Eric Bruntlett - Useless.
- Jack Taschner - Useless.
- Other - Write in votes accepted in the comment section.

Who Has To Go?

WSBGM's Fantasy Standings


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Altercation, Shutout, Uselessness, and Chen

Based on the title of this post you may be lead to believe that it is about an altercation involving Bruce Chen in which he was useless while the team was shutout, but you'd be wrong.

The Altercation:
Eaton still haunts the Phillies. Just so happens it's not Adam this time but some buttholesaurus named Robert Eaton. Eaton told The St. Petersburg Times that JC Romero grabbed him by the back of the neck and shoved him after the two exchanged words about Romero's vitamin supplements performance enhancing drug supplements. Eaton asked, "How about you get me some juice?". JC retorted with the obligatory "shut the f*ck up!". That wasn't it from the ill-tempered reliever as he "He reared back and kinda grazed my chin and grabbed me by the neck and threw me back," Eaton told the newspaper. Eaton sounds like an a-hole, but Romero is clearly in the wrong here and suspension is likely forthcoming.

The Shutout:
JA Happ has sadly become the staff ace. I type that in a mocking tone, if there is such a thing, because the fact that he's pitching well is terrific, but it's sad that he's been our best hope at winning a ball game. After yesterday's shutout of the Blue Jays, Happ went to 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA on the year. That's far better than goldenboy Cole Hamels' mediocre numbers.

The Uselessness:
I understand the use of benching Jimmy Rollins, but I do not understand the use of Eric Bruntlett. The man is on pace to collect nearly 200 at bats, but he wields a putrid bat, and by putrid I mean complete crap. I would rather do something crazy like start Pedro Feliz at SS for a few games and have Greg Dobbs play 3rd. He has the worst OPS in the majors with players of 60+ at bats (.402).

The Chen:
There has been a Bruce Chen sighting and it was against the Pirates with Chen donning a KC Royals jersey. Well, it actually was a Kansas City Monarchs jersey, but who's watching anyway? I somehow fondly remember Chen from his days with the Phils. Oh, how time can play tricks with one's mind.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oh Great, Lidge Is Back...

Brad Lidge and his mole came back last night. He gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and two walks and only got a single out. It's not looking good. Brad Lidge is so bad...

...How bad is he?

Well, he's so bad, that:

- Jose Mesa just bought a new red glove.
- Lee Thomas now thinks Wayne Gomes was a pretty good draft pick.
- The Phils have invited Heathcliff Slocum, Roger McDowell and Jeff Brantley to a workout.
- His performance is more nauseating than the Blue Jays throwback uniforms.
- Ruben Amaro has inquired about the availability of Joel Hanrahan.
- A fan was overheard saying, "Whatever happened to Mark Leiter?"
- Billy Wagner seems like less of an asshole.
Lucky for us, we don't have to wait until 8:00 before the fate of the game is decided. Today we'll know the Phils are going to lose by 2:00.

JA Happ goes for the Phis while Brad Mills makes his second career start. You may remember him from his first career start, when the Phils jumped on him for 4 runs in 3.2 innings. Of course, the Jays won the game 8-7. I see similar events happening today.

On a positive note, Jimmy Rollins should be back in the lineup today and the Blue Jays likely won't wear those horrific blue unis. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Phlashback Phriday - Little League Rollins

I'm changing things up a little today for the Phlashback. Usually we focus on a former player of relative obscuratiy but today I want to look at current player and "phlashback" to when he was a kid. Today's subject: Jimmy Rollins.

Here's a video I found on the 'net that shows young Jimmy fine tuning his swing during a little league game in Oakland.

In little Jimmy's defense, that was only strike one. And if he would get that pitch today, he would likely fly out to short left field...


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Phils Lose, USA Wins

The NL East is beginning to become a logjam, with the Mets, Marlins, and Braves all withing 4 games of the Phils. The Phillies craptacular play of late has been the reason for this, not because the other teams have played particularly well themselves. Ex-Phillie and forever stud, Pat Burrell, was the man for Tampa Bay last night sealing the deal early with a 2-run shot. In the rubber match tonight the Phightins send Antonio Bastardo to the mound with Andy Sonnanstine going for the Rays. Go Phils!

4 My Homie:
Corey is a huge football fan (round black/white checkered, not brown oblong), so this is for him. In case any of you missed it the USA soccer team beat the world's #1 ranked team Spain in the FIFA Confederations Cup match yesterday 2-0 and are advancing to the finals in Johannesburg on Sunday against the winner of the Brazil/South Africa semifinals match. USA! USA! USA!

Bouncing Souls- Ole


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If It's Broke, Fix It

I can't take it anymore. Jimmy Rollins as a leadoff hitter is simply asinine. Charlie Manuel's refusal to semi-permanently remove J-Stroll from the top of the lineup is blatantly retarded. After his fifth straight hitless game, his batting average has fallen to .211 and his on base % to .254. Two-Fifty-Four would be a shitty enough batting average, but instead that's his frequency of reaching base. The man is on pace to set the all-time record for outs in a season, yet our incompetent leader sticks by him. He's 9-22 (.409) when batting anywhere in the lineup besides leadoff this season, which is a far cry from what he's done from that spot 54-277 (.195). If it's broke, fix it!


On the Road Again

With Willie Nelson playing in the background the Phils have taken to the road again, where they are the major's best team (24-9). Last night they beat up on David Price like he was a pinata, but instead of candy, tons of runs spewed forth. The 10-1 drubbing with good pitching from Grand Pappy Moyer, Tyler Walker, and Sergio Escalona was just what this team needed. The struggles of home and the 5-game losing streak are now behind them, with building a larger cushion in the NL East the goal once again.

*DH'ing Howard was the right move, and is the right move while they're in American League parks and until he is 100% healthy.

*Pedro Feliz and Jimmy Rollins have gone hitless over the last 4 games, a combined 0-30.

*Joe Blanton vs. Matt Garza tonight. If you're looking for a drinking game, I suggest chugging a beer for 5 seconds every time Garza spits...dude is a chronic spitter.

Brad Lidge is Pretty:
Following Brad Lidge's second scoreless rehab outing, Ruben Amaro had this to say- "He threw pretty well. We're pretty pleased, and I think he was pretty pleased with his outing. He was pretty effective." Damn, sign dude up for America's Next Top Model.

Wheels Loves the Cock Clock:
My BFF has been hiding a disturbing secret from me all these years. C'mon Wheels, you can confide in me.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Phillie Phloppage

ESPN contributor Jayson Stark is a Philly boy and a fine writer. I read all of his articles because he focuses on the "useless information" that makes baseball fun. Yesterday he did a piece on the Phillies losing ways (namely at home). I have taken the liberty of breaking it down for your pleasure...

*Here's how hard it is to lose 22 home games by Father's Day: There have been six teams in the expansion era that didn't lose 22 home games all season (not counting strike seasons): the '61 Yankees (16), '75 Reds (17), '98 Yankees (19), '62 Giants (21), '69 Orioles (21) and (whaddayaknow) the '77 Phillies (21).
-The Phillies, currently 13-22 at home, will have to go 28-18 the rest of the way just to finish above .500 (41-40). They have a 10-game homestand in July before the All-Star break, so that's a good place to start.

*No team in history has had a season in which it had a losing record at home but won 70 percent of its road games. But the Phillies are working on it. They're 13-22 at home but 23-9, .719, on the road.
-The Phillies like making history: first team to 10,000 losses, only team to win a resumed game in a World Series (Game 5a/5b), and the only franchise to sign a 46 year old pitcher to a 2 year contract extension.

*No offense should be asked to come from behind as often as the Phillies' lineup has been forced to do that this year. This team has trailed at some point in 52 of its 67 games this season. That means, even though the Phillies are in first place, they've trailed in more games this season than the Pirates or Royals (51 apiece). And even the Nationals, who are already 27 games under .500, have only trailed in 58 games.
-The Phils have had to come from behind more than Peter North for crying out loud. Being associated with the likes of the Buccos, Royals, and Gnats is never a good thing.

*If it weren't for the Phillies' closer issues, they might be leading the NL East by eight games. In their last 27 games, their closer (Brad Lidge or Ryan Madson) has either contributed a blown save, a loss or both in seven of them. Of their 11 losses in June, seven have been hung on the bullpen. And our friends at Inside Edge report that Madson hasn't gotten a single swing-and-miss on his fastball since Lidge was placed on the disabled list.
-In other words, Lidge and Madson have been the Antichrist. Overall, the bullpen is taxed, as evident by the DL stints of Lidge, Eyre, and now Condrey. And seriously, how the hell has Jamie Moyer had more swing and misses at his "fastball" than Madson?!

*To repeat a recent Elias Says note, the Phillies have lost more games this year that they led in the ninth inning or later (six) than any team in baseball. Last year, of course, they lost the fewest games like that of any team in baseball (zero).
-The Phils were perfect when heading into the 9th with a lead last year, this season not so much. I get a Jose Mesa-esque feeling in the pit of my stomach that usually erupts as vomit come the end of the game anymore.

*The Phillies just got swept at home in back-to-back series by the Blue Jays and Orioles. Here's why that shouldn't happen to a team with win-the-World-Series aspirations: The Orioles hadn't swept a road series of three games or more since May 30, 2007 (at Kansas City), which was 53 road series ago. And the Blue Jays hadn't swept a road series of three games or more since May 15, 2008, which was 29 road series ago.
-The Phillies are defending World Series champs. Why the hell are they playing like the Bad News Bears at home? I can understand losing to the BoSox or Dodgers, but the O's and Jays aren't exactly cream of the crop.

*Today is Phils history- Brett Myers arrested for punching wife.

*As mentioned above, Clay Condrey is likely heading to the DL with an oblique strain with Sergio Escalona taking his place.

*Ryan Howard is still questionable for tonight's game with flu like symptoms.

*Here's last year's Tale of the Tape for Tampa Bay.

*Tonight- the Rays' starter David Price was only 1 year old when Phils' starter Jamie Moyer made his MLB debut back in 1986.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Dead Headline

When Ryan Howard jacked his majestic 3-run pinch hit homerun to put the Phils ahead on Saturday night, I had the next day's headline ready to go- "From Hospital to Hero". Much to my dismay Ryan Madson came in and became the goat.

Things haven't been going too well in PhillieLand lately. With the way they're playing, it's hard to stay positive, but I offer these nuggets of joy: 1) Every team goes through bad stretches like this in a season, even championship seasons. 2) It sucks that Raul is out, but at least Mayberry, Stairs, and Dobbs are getting some much needed at bats. 3) Ryan Madson has sucked as closer, but this fits in perfectly with the return of Brad Lidge because fans actually want him back in that role now. 4) Jimmy Rollins is not a career altering slump, he's merely having a horrible 1st half like Pat Burrell (2007) and Ryan Howard (2008) had before going Yahtzee in the 2nd half. 5) Despite sucking at home and playing their worst baseball in recent history, the Phils still hold a 2 game lead in the NL East. Hope that offered some solace.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Losing Sucks

What else can I say?


Fathers Day Baseball

Happy Fathers Day! Grab a brew or five and a plate full of your favorite grilled meat, nestle up in front television, and kick back and watch some baseball. Phillies/Orioles @ 1:35 on WPHL and CW, Braves/Red Sox @ 1:35 on TBS, and Dodgers/Angels @ 8:05 on ESPN.

Sobering Side-Notes:
*Phillies pitching staff has given up 101 homeruns through 66 games (1.53 hr/gm). They're on pace to surrender 248 longballs. They allowed only 160 homeruns all of last season.

*The great caterpillar-eyebrowed wrist-tattooed Brett Myers is still 2nd in the majors with 17 homeruns allowed despite missing all of June.

*Phillies bullpen has blown 12 saves this season after only blowing 15 total in 2008.

*Today's starting pitcher Cole Hamels looks to go 7+ innings for only the 3rd time this season.

*The Orioles were 8-20 on the road entering the series.

*The Phillies are now 13-21 at home.

*Some happiness- Ryan Howard is a tremendous pinch hitter. Last night he sent his 5th career pinch hit into the Phils bullpen. Career pinch hitting #'s- 11 for 28 (.393 avg), 3 dbl, 5 hr, 8 r, 12 rbi, 1.400 OPS.

*2006 1st round pick Kyle Drabek is adjusting well to Double-A, pitching 8 shutout innings the other night and is now 7-1 with a 2.36 ERA between Reading and Clearwater.

*Reading outfielder Michael Taylor hit his 11th homerun of the season last night, and is batting .323/.939 with 43 runs and 46 rbi.

*2007 1st round pick Joe Savery is on quite a roll in Reading, winning last night's game to boost his record to 9-1 with a 3.24 ERA.

*Carlos Carrasco had a dismal start to the 2009 season, but has begun to turn things around lately by notching his 3rd win in June.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baseball According to Chris Wheeler

According to Chris Wheeler preserving a lead in the 9th inning is difficult. In his words, "closing is tough." He continually blurts out this mindless garbage over and over again as Phils fans endure numerous blown saves by Brad Lidge and now Ryan Madson. If closing is so damn tricky, then please tell me how Jose Mesa has 321 career saves. Shut the f*ck up Wheels!

Phillies are now 1-7 during the homestand, and have lost 5 straight. There's no positive spin to put on things right now because this team is pathetic.


Bruntlett vs. No-Hit Nunez

Longtime readers of this blog know the level of hatred WSBGM's holds in regard to Abraham "No-Hit" Nunez. Nunez played multiple positions, but couldn't hit, and was let go by the organization in the 2007 offseason. No-Hit has since been replaced by another multi-faceted fielding hitless wonder in the form of the Bearded Bastard Eric Bruntlett. Which one is worse? Over 2 seasons with the Phils Nunez had a line of- .221/.310/.277 in 259 games and 574 at bats. Bruntlett is in his 2nd season with the Phils and is sporting a line of- .206/.288/.286 in 156 games and 261 at bats. This is like comparing Meister Brau to Natty Ice, both suck, but at least the beers can get you drunk the more you use them, Bruntlett and Nunez only make you lose.

*Why exactly is Paul Bako on this team?

*What purpose does Jack Taschner serve?

*How many strikeouts will Ryan Howard end up with this season?

*Can the Phillies beat an American League team other than in the World Series?

*When will Charlie Manuel get pissed off enough after watching this team play unfocused ball to give them a proper tongue lashing?


Friday, June 19, 2009

The Losing Continues

Allow me to tell it like it is- The Phillies absolutely suck right now! The can't hit, they can't field, they can't pitch, and they sure as hell can't win. The standings read that the Phils are in first place, but they're certainly not playing like that and won't remain there too much longer unless something changes. They are currently the punchline of an unfunny joke against the American League; they can't even beat the AL's worst road team. Everyone is talking about this being the Phils typical "June Swoon", but I'm tired of that played out bullshit.


Tale of the Tape - Baltimore

Best Place for Crabs
Baltimore - I don't know, I try to stay away from Baltimore. But I'm sure there are tons of restaurants in the Harbor that serve some good crabs.
Philly - Show N Tell on Columbus Blvd.
Advantage - Baltimore. Soft shell crabs are delicious. Pube crabs are less delicious.

Babe Ruth Connection
Baltimore - Ruth was born in Baltimore and played professionally for the first time with the then minor league Baltimore Orioles before being sold to the Red Sox.
Philly - Ruth played his last game in Philadelphia with the Boston Braves.
Advantage - Philadelphia. Trading Ryne Sandberg is bad. Selling Babe Ruth is catastrophic.

Source of City Pride
Baltimore - The rate of forcible rapes has fallen below the national average in recent years.
Philly - The nation's first capital and the home of American independence.
Advantage - Philadelphia, although it's commendable that Baltimore is lowering its crime rate.

Food TV Connection
Baltimore - "Ace of Cakes" star Duff Goldman has his Charm City Cakes store in Baltimore.
Philly - Jack McDavid, former host of my favorite FoodTV show "Grillin and Chillin" has a restaurant in Philadelphia called Jack's Firehouse. Also, Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has a restaurant, Morimoto, on Chestnut Street.
Advantage - Philadelphia. I hate fondant.

Famous Juicer
Baltimore - Rafael Palmeiro
Philadelphia - Lenny Dykstra
Advantage - Baltimore. Their juicer not only hit 500 homers, but he hit all of them with a sweet 'stache.

The numbers never lie and Philly takes another one. Look for a 2-1 series win for the Phils.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things Gone Wrong

The Phillies are absolutely pathetic at home. Currently in the midst of a disgusting 1-5 homestand their home record has fallen to a dismal 13-19. Plenty of things have gone wrong during this 6 game homestand...

*Raul Ibanez and Scott Eyre have hit the DL.

*Clay Condrey has completely fallen apart (7 runs, 6 earned in his last .1 innings pitched).

*The Phillies have committed 7 errors.

*The Phillies have struckout 68 times.

*The Phillies have walked 41 batters.

*Scott Rolen, Rod Barajas, and JD Drew have combined to go 11-29 (.379) with 5 walks, 6 runs, 9 rbi, and 4 homeruns.


Chasing Eaton

Thirteen starts into the season and Jamie Moyer has been a train wreck. He's been so bad he's chasing down Adam Eaton who was let go after 19 horrible starts in 2008. Here's how those seasons compare so far.

Losses 8
ERA 5.80
WHIP 1.64
BAA .310

Losses 6
ERA 6.35
WHIP 1.53
BAA .318

Sweep Avoidance
The Phils look to get one this afternoon. Joe Blanton and his stellar 5.17 ERA face off against rookie southpaw Brad Mills. Mills is the Blue Jays' 7th best prospect according to BaseballAmerica.com. However, he's struggled in AAA this season. He has eight losses already for Las Vegas with a 1.51 WHIP. He'll probably shut out the Phils for at least seven innings.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back to the Norm

Very quietly Ryan Howard is steadily regressing back to the norm, which is a poor fielding, low average, strikeout prone slugger. He committed his 4th error of the season last night, and his 3rd in as many games. He's currently batting .256 with 19 homeruns and 81 strikeouts (pace- 50 HR/212 K). He's received so much praise for an improved effort at the plate and field, but I'm beginning to think that may have been premature wishful thinking. That stats don't lie.

Love 2 Hate:
Phillies fans love to hate whiny bawl baby pissy pants Scott Rolen and JD "Battery" Drew. Thing is, they love to hate us back. Rolen career against Phils- 35 gm, .331 avg, .852 OPS, 19 r, 11 dbl, 2 hr, 22 rbi. Drew career against Phils- 52 gm, .302 avg, .979 OPS, 33 r, 11 dbl, 3 trpl, 9 hr, 32 rbi. Maybe we should stop booing?

The bullpen is tired, really fricken tired. They've logged 31.1 innings over the past 6 games, and with Grand Pappy Moyer taking the hill for the Phils tonight their workload will certainly increase.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Tale of the Tape - Toronto

Let's get it on!

Mascot Addiction
Toronto - The Blue Jay and his steroids. Look at that thing flexing and showing off the guns. It's no coincidence that the Blue Jay first displayed the jacked-up physique when Roger Clemens was on the team...
Philly - The Phanatic and his Hatfield Dogs. By the looks of the Phanatic, he eats about 10 dogs for every one he shoots out of the cannon.
Advantage - Philly. Hot dogs make you fat, but they don't shrink your nuts.

Ice Cream History
Toronto - Their first commercial batch of ice cream was sold in May 1893.
Philly - Lewis Dubois Bassett began selling his ice cream from a location at 5th & Market Streets in 1885.
Advantage - Philly. Got 'em by 8 years. And given that it is so much colder in Canada, that's a major upset. Also, no one makes "Toronto style" ice cream.

Biggest Tease
Toronto - Barenaked Ladies.
Philadelphia - The Eagles.
Advantage - Philly. It's not that they are a bad band, but when you go to the Electric Factory expecting naked chicks and you get a bunch of fat Canucks, it's mighty disappointing. It's even more disappointing than the Eagles performances in NFC Championship games.

T.O. Connection
Toronto - Owens signed with the Buffalo Bills this offseason and the Bills will play a home game in Toronto.
Philadelphia - He played 2004-2005 with the Eagles, which was enough time to have Ray Didinger list him as the 5th best receiver in Eagles history and have the rest of Philadelphia hate him.
Advantage - Toronto. They get to view Owens from afar and if he goes crazy and tries to OD on pills or work out in his driveway, he won't do it in their neighborhood. Also, the Bills suck anyway, so he can't really make them worse.

They Retired His Number?
Toronto - Tony Fernandez.
Philly - Jim Bunning.
Advantage - Philly. No disrespect to Bunning, who retired at number two on the all-time strikeout list, it's just that the Phils are stingy with the retired number thing. The Jays on the other hand... Tony Fernandez was a good player, but c'mon, he wasn't "retired number" good. Once you set the bar low, then everybody will get in. I bet they even retire Roberto Alomar Jr.'s number some day. Wait. They did what?

The numbers never lie, and the city of Philadelphia and the Fightin Phils come out on top again, 4-1. Look for a series sweep because of this...