Monday, May 31, 2010

Piano Man - Milt Thompson Remix

It's nine o'clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd leaves the stands
There's an old man standing next to me
Makin' love to his pants with his hands

He says, "Son, can you teach them to hit a curve
Take and hack and ‘Back she goes’
You know I could really swing a mean stick
When I wore a younger man's clothes."

La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Teach them to hit, you’re the hitting coach
Teach them to hit tonight
Well, we're all in the mood for some hits and runs
But this team ain’t feelin' alright

Now Mick in the ‘pen he’s a friend of mine
Knows every pitch thrown by Marquis
He likes when they whine cuz he’s stealin’ their sign
But there's someplace that he'd rather be

He says, "Milt, I believe this is killing me."
He’s been grumpy the entire home stand
"Well I'm sure that I could get a hit or two
If I had a bat in my hand"

Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
'Cause he knows it’s not me why they swing like amputee
Says the hits will come in awhile

And the swings, it sounds like a ceiling fan
Whiff after whiff after whiff
I should be concerned, I found out that they learned
Hitting from a video with Fred McGriff

Oh, la la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Teach them to hit, you’re the hitting coach
Teach them to hit tonight
Well, we're all in the mood for some hits and runs
But this team ain’t feelin' alright

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Effort

The Phillies have played 49 games this season and have been held to 2 or less runs in 17 of them, including 6 shutouts. That's 35% of the games they're scoring less runs than in the Dead Ball Era and 12% of the time they're getting Roy Halladayed by the other team. I don't even know why I put that much effort into this post, because the Phils certainly haven't even given one iota of effort, so EFF it!

Mr. Perfect


Roy Halladay joined an elite group of pitchers to hurl a perfect game in Major League history, becoming only the 20th to do so. It was the 10th no-hitter in franchise history (Charlie Ferguson, Red Donahue, Chick Fraser, Johnny Lush, Jim Bunning, Rick Wise, Terry Mulholland, Tommy Greene, and Kevin Millwood being the others). It was the 3rd MLB no-hitter this season (Ubaldo Jimenez and Dallas Braden) and 2nd perfect game (Braden).

Notes:

*Grand Pappy Moyer fits right in with the retired old heads of Florida and it shows in his performance when there- 8 wins in 9 starts with a 1.66 ERA. Like the Karate Kid Danielson, go for the sweep!

*Brad Lidge tossed a perfect inning for Single-A Clearwater and hopes to return from the DL as early as Monday.

*Possible cut? I've been advocating the release of Greg Dobbs recently, and will not stop until- A) he starts to hit, or B) he's sent packing. With Jimmy Rollins set to come off the DL on June 6th Wilson Valdez's time may be up. However, I suggest keeping him and letting Dobbs go.

*Placido Polanco will have a MRI done today on his sore left elbow. This injury has been lingering for over a month now thanks to a Tim Hudson fastball. The next time the Phils face Hudson, they should make like Ludacris and "throw them 'bows."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Oh No He Didn't!

Thank you Roy Halladay. Thank you for winning your 7th game of the season. Thank you for being a true ace. Thank you for knocking Kevin Millwood off the title of "last Phillie to pitch a no hitter". Halladay's perfect performance over the Marlins tonight was pure awesomeness. The Phils didn't give him much wiggle room, as a Cameron Maybin error led to the lone run, but Doc scoffed it off and put 27 Florida batters down in a row. 9 innings, 11 strike outs, no hits, no walks, no errors, no hit batsman. That my friends is perfect. I am in awe.

Win, Rule 5, Aces

A Win:
Offense still sucked, but at this juncture we'll take what we can get. The lineup was void of Polanco and Werth, with Dobbs and Gload being their replacements. Gload is doing alright, but as mentioned previously this week it's time for Dobbs to go. In the end it's a win for the good guys, so lets look on the bright side- it's a 1 game winning streak!

Wrong Rule 5:
No offense to David Herndon and his 4.41 ERA and 1.78 WHIP, but the Phils have the wrong Rule 5 pitcher. In fact, the one they should have was in their system, but was let go. Say hello to Carlos Monasterios, the 24 year old now with the Dodgers and a sparkling 2-0 record with a 2.20 ERA and 1.15 WHIP through 13 games and 28.2 innings pitched. You may recall Monasterios was one of the "prized" prospects in the bundle the Phils got from the Yankees in the Bobby Abreu/Cory Lidle trade. Go figure, the one useful guy in that package was cast aside. Idiots!

Aces:
Roy Halladay against Josh Johnson. Each roll into the contest with sub-2.50 ERAs and are clearly their staff's ace. With the way the Phils have struggled to score runs, I wouldn't be surprised to see a return to the shutout today. Hopefully Halladay can return the favor though. Prediction- 11 inning, 1-0 win for the Phightins.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Because I Got High - Phillies Remix

I was gonna get an RBI until I struck out
I gonna hit me a sacrifice fly but then I struck out
so the runner is still at third and I know why
Because I struck out
Because I struck out
Because I struck out

I was gonna move that runner over until I struck out
I coulda manufactured a run but I struck out
Now Valdez grounded 4-6-3 and I know why
Because I struck out
Because I struck out
Because I struck out

I was gonna work myself walk but then I struck out
I got to raise my OBP but I struck out
now my VORP is low and I know why
Because I struck out
Because I struck out
Because I struck out

I hit a long home run before I struck out
Made a throwing error to second and then I struck out
Now I got a “Howard” and I know why
Because I struck out
Because I struck out
Because I struck out

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Folsom Prison Blues - Phillies Remix

I see the pitch a comin'
It's got a slurvy bend,
And I ain't hit a curveball,
Since, I don't know when,
I'm stuck just above Mendoza,
And outs are more and more,
But pitches keep a-comin’,
Our offense is a bore.

When I was in Clearwater,
My Skipper told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy,
Score lots and lots of runs,"
But I struck out in New York,
On a pitch that was high,
When I see that awful boxscore,
I hang my head and cry.

What's the #?

A. Difference between Jamie Moyer's age and the youngest current Phillie.
B. Plus # of games the Phillies missed due to the '94 strike.
C. Minus homeruns Tankhead Pratt had in his 2nd stint with the Phils.
D. Times All-Stars appearances by Sarge & Sarge Jr.
E. Divided by Greg Gross' innings pitched in 1986.
What's the #?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Phils Get Dickey'd...By Haley's Comet

"You are used to guys who have everyday stuff, but it’s very rare that you see a knuckleballer. Two in a row is even rarer — like Halley’s Comet," said Ryan Howard. "Tomorrow we get a regular pitcher and try to right the ship."

Oh, yeah, a "regular pitcher." That's the cure. At this point, I don't think this team could hit Adam Eaton. They've been scoreless in 28 or their last 29 innings. That's hours and hours of hitless, scoreless, pathetic baseball.

Last night was especially frustrating - bases loaded with no outs, bases loaded again the next inning, second and third with now outs - yet no runs. Thirteen men left on base. Ugh.

Does Charlie Manuel think a "regular pitcher" is all this team needs? Maybe not.

"We got outplayed, we got outhustled. We can go through stretches, but tonight especially we could play with more enthusiasm. We’re playing bad right now"

I agree. This has more to do with psyche than it does the speed of the pitches. This is a typical midseason funk that we are all accustomed to and they just need to break out of it. I'm just not convinced it is going to be tonight.

Manuel All Wet And Soapy
Just a little something to take your mind off of the Phillies hitting woes. From Yahoo.com - Jimmy Rollins' response to being told Charlie Manuel thinks about where to hit his longtime shortstop in the lineup while he showers.
I don't want to think about Charlie in the shower.
Speak for yourself Jimmy. I think Charlie in the shower would look a little like this:



Just don't peep on Uncle Fuqua when he's showering with the ladies...

Advanced Scouting on Hasinori Takahashi
No, not really advanced, just a few numbers.

HERE are his stats from his ten years with the Yomiuri Giants.

As for this year, here are some of his peripheral stats:
K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP xFIP HR/FB%
10.7 4.23 .28 .332 3.55 3.0%
So what does this tells us? Well, his high BABIP implies some bad luck but his HR/FB% implies some good luck. His WSBGMs Luck Factor sits at about +4 right now. Combine that with the Phillies struggles and that huge ballpark and I predict Takahashi will go 6 innings only giving up a single run.

Know Your Enemy - New York Mets

John Maine Is A Liar

Or maybe he just really sucks.

Maine was pulled from his start last Thursday after only five pitches. Jerry Manuel said Maine was yanked early because of lack of velocity. Reports had Maine not topping 80 and bouncing pitches in the bullpen. When he went out to start the game, the Mets already had a reliever ready. After he walked the first batter on a handful of pitches, Manuel made the change.

Maine's take on the matter? "Whatever they say, I'm just so frustrated by the whole situation. Even if I was throwing 82 miles per hour, I would have got my brains beat in and that's a legitimate reason to take me out. But it didn't happen that way. I really wasn't given the opportunity. It was five pitches and I was in and out."

Pitching coach Dan Warthen agrees with his manager. "If he's throwing that way, then there's got to be something incorrect in that arm," Warthen said. "Something's not feeling correct. John's a habitual liar in a lot of ways."

So he's a liar. He's also now been placed on the DL and an MRI exam revealed right rotator cuff tendinitis. We won't be seeing John Maine for a while.

There's Our Old Friend
Jeff Francoeur started the season like a house on fire. He had 16 hits in his first 10 games, including three homers. After those ten games he was hitting .457. People, not just Mets fans, seemed to forget he was Jeff Francoeur. Since then, he's hit like the old Jeff Francoeur. This month he's batting only .177 with a single homer. He was 0-11 last series against the Yankees. Let's hope the early April Francoeur doesn't show up today.

These Pictures Speak For Themselves



Hey New York, Fix Your F#@%!$& Bridges
Unfortunately, I travel to New York quite often. And it's no cheap trip either, between gas and tolls I could find a lot better ways to spend my money. But the biggest kick in the groin is the bridge tolls. It's $11 dollars to go over the Verrazano Bridge and $8 to go over the Goethals. And they are both shit bridges, especially the Goethals. The lanes are only 10-fee wide and there is zero shoulder, both of which do not meet minimum requirements of current highways standards. Studies designed come up with the best solution to fix/update/replace the bridge have been going on since the mid-nineties. The solution so far? Nothing. In 2002, 15 million cars went across the bridge. At $8 per car going one direction, that is about $60 million per year. So the state (specifically, the Port Authority) has taken in $600 million from this one bridge this decade but cannot come up with a plan to fix this piece of crap. No wonder New York state and city is in such bad shape, they obviously have complete idiots in charge. Similar to the Mets, I suppose...

The No-Ace Luck Continues
St. Louis without Carpenter. Atlanta without Hudson or Hanson. Colorado with Jimenez. Milwaukee without Gallardo. Pittsburgh and Chicago without a real ace on either staff. Boston without Lester. Now New York without Santana. Will the Phils be able to face Florida without seeing Josh Johnson?

Probables
RA Dickey - Besides his hilarious name, Dickey is known for tossing the knuckler. Since the Phillies just saw a knuckleball pitcher, they might be set for an offensive outburst. Or they will be psyched out by getting blanked by a knuckleballer and their hitting woes will continue...
Hisanori Takahashi - The elderly hurler made his first start of the season last week, going six scoreless against the Yankees. He's been pretty effective for the Mets and rather versatile. In addition to starting, he's pitched in late and long relief. He's like their lefty, Japanese version of Chad Durbin.
Mike Pelfrey - That whole tongue thing still really freaks me out. And despite his macroglossia he's managed a 6-1 record and a 2.86 ERA. He had a BABIP of .321 last year, but this year it's down to .297. Also, his HR/p percentage is half of what it was last season with a similar FB%. I guess that means he was just really unlucky the last season and now this Mike Pelfrey is finally getting the results his talent deserves. Right?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Halladay Got Served

Coming off an enormous amount of pitches (490) over his 4 last starts, Roy Halladay got served on Sunday. 5.2 innings, 7 runs, 6 earned. That's not Halladay-esque, that's Eaton-esque! In 10 starts this season he's gone 77 innings and is averaging 110.5 pitchers per start. I know he's old school and wants to finish what he's starts, but lets take it easy on our huge investment and not blow his arm out in the first season.

Don't Do Dobbs:
Greg Dobbs was the NL's best pinch hitter during his first 2 seasons in Philly (07-08). Last year he battled through injuries and his production dropped. The offensive swoon continues this season as he's now batting a worthless .154 and playing shoddy defense. If I were GM (and lets face it, I should be), I'd release Dobbs and pickup Burrell.

Late Inning Rumors:
Lidge's elbow is busted and Madson's toe and ego are crushed so Rube is on the prowl for some late inning relief help. Introducing Bobby Jenks and JJ Putz of the Chicago White Sox. The ChiSox are likely to have a fire sale in the coming weeks and Putz and Jenks both have plenty of experience at the backend of games. Not sure what it would take to get either of them, but I'm pretty sure a sign-and-swap with Jose Lima is out of the question.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"The Phillies don't play well in Interleague play."

If I hear Wheels utter that phrase one more time as an excuse for the disaster witnessed at Citizens Bank Park this weekend I'm going to poison one Oreo cookie then mix it in with the entire carton and eat them one-by-one until I keel over and die.

"He's looking for a ball middle-in."
"The Phillies just don't hit Pirates pitchers."
"The job of a closer is the toughest in baseball."
"He was sitting dead-red."
"He's a real dirtball."
"He's a typical lefty."
"He's a good looking young pitcher."
"I do not molest collies."
"I am not wearing a toupee."
and now..."The Phillies don't play well in Interleague play."

Feel free to add you own Chris Wheeler stamped with stupidity phrase in the comments section.

Sunday Short Stops

Short Stop 1:
A big BOO! to Juan Castro for breaking up Dick K's no-hit bid in the 8th inning. If the Phils are going to lose a game while being shutout with only 1 hit at the end, I don't want that stinkin' hit, I want the no-hitter! Now it's just another L, but it could have been a historical loss if not for that bloop single.


Short Stop 2:
Jimmy Rollins back to the DL. He restrained his right calf while running out a grounder. Well, it was fun having him back for all of four games. Phils medical staff reports that this is a Grade 1 strain and that he should be healed in time to come of the DL at the end of the 15 days. Until then, more Juan Castro...yippie!



Short Stop 3:
Juan Wilson Valdez, who earlier this week cleared waivers, was summoned from Triple-A to again take J-Roll's roster spot. Castro will get the bulk of the starts, but we can cross our fingers (and in case you have sausage links for phalanges you can cross your eyes instead) for plate appearances for Valdez in which he is given the opportunity to ground into a double play, because in that situation he's money.

Short Stop 4:
For no good reason other than we're on the subject of shortstops...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tough Ticket


Remember when you could walk up to the ticket window just minutes before that game and get great seats? Or you could do what I did and purchase 700 Level tickets and slowly migrate toward the lower, more expensive sections as the game was played. Those days in Philadelphia no longer exist, unless you're attempting to take in a Sixers game. Now that the Phils are the toast of the National League and playing in beautiful Citizens Bank Park every night is nearly a sellout, even standing room only. With the BoSox in town you have baseball's two longest streaks of consecutive home sellouts (Sox 500+, Phils 50+). It's a tough ticket.

Rumor has it if you go through certain ticket services as the one featured atop this post you get a bonus pair of these lovely Phillies accented panties. I wonder if they carry my size?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Know Your Enemy - Boston

Day In The Life - Theo Epstein


Retired Numbers
I've made fun of retired numbers (see: Wade Boggs in Tampa) or numbers under consideration for retirement (see: Luis Gonzalez) in previous posts. There is no mocking the Red Sox when it come to their standards, though. To have a number retired, a player must have played at least ten years in Boston and be elected to the Hall of Fame. The only exception is Johnny Pesky and his pole. Those are standards and a tradition that can be respected. FYI - next number to be retired should be Wade Boggs.

The Wine People Must Like Boston



Run Prevention - That's The Goal
“We needed to improve our run prevention."

That is what "Boy Wonder" Epstein said after the Sox signed Mike Cameron. Apparently, the "run production" model wasn't working for them. And it makes sense to me, at least in terms of pitching. Pitching, by definition, is based on run prevention. And they did sign front line starter John Lackey to join an already potent staff. But Epstein took it one step further when acquiring position players by putting an emphasis on defense, seemingly at the expense of offense. Cameron, Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro, Bill Hall and Jeremy Hermida were brought in this offseason. Not a hitter in the bunch but they have defensive versatility and UZR by the truckload.

So how's that working out for them so far? Well, not very good. They currently sit in fourth place in the AL East with a commanding lead over the Orioles. But surprisingly, it's not because of the offense, which is second in the AL in runs scored. No, the problem is "run prevention."

The pitching staff has an AL-worst 4.78 ERA. Standard defensive stats (errors, fielding percentage) are middle of the pack but defense's uber-UZR hasn't helped the pitching staff, with Lackey, Wakefield, Becket (D.L.) and Dice-K all sporting ERAs higher than 4.80, with the latter having numbers above 7.

Of course, the defensive contributions to the plan have not all been positive. Newly acquired Beltre (7) and Scutaro (4) lead the team in errors. And they can't throw out any baserunners. Tampa stole 10 in one series and Texas stole 9 in one game.

So far, the "run prevention" model and signing players based on some fielding metric has not been successful in Boston and if things don't turn around, maybe they'll go back to doing what has been successful in baseball for 100+ years - pitching, defense, and being strong up the middle.

Best Team Song?


Pitching Probables
John Lackey - Allowed 11 earned runs in last two starts.
Dice-K - He'll face KK and has been very KK-like this season, mixing terrific starts with disastrous ones. Which Dice-K will we get? Which KK will we get? Don't bet on this game...
Tim Wakefield - Wakefield only has four hits in the last 16 years. However, before becoming a knuckleballer, he was setting batting records at Florida Tech and was drafted as a corner infielder. With the Pirates he was a competent hitter. He only hit .127 with the Buccos, which isn't all that great, so you'll have to trust me...until he takes Roy Halladay deep in his first at-bat!

Prediction
The Phils get lucky again, missing Boston's two best starters (Lester & Bucholz). They'll take two of three from the Beaneaters.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bucco Problems?

Do the Phillies struggle against certain current or former Pirate pitchers? Chris Wheeler alluded to this Tuesday night while Zach Duke was controlling the Fightins. He pointed out that Tom Gorzelanny (who dominated the Phils last night) also gave the Phils fits. And you know what, I agreed with him. It does seem that they struggle with the Pirates and some of their pitchers. But the stats, they may tell a different story. Here are some Pirate pitchers' career numbers against the Phils.

Zach Duke - 5 games, 2-3 record, 4.18 ERA
Tom Gorzelanny - 2 games, 1-1 record, 3.86 ERA
Paul Maholm - 6 games, 3-1 record, 3.29 ERA
Ian Snell - 6 games, 3-3 record, 4.50 ERA
Kip Wells - 12 games, 5-2 record, 2.98 ERA
Josh Fogg - 6 games, 1-2 record, 6.21 ERA

So it turns out Duke and Gorzelanny didn't really do that well against the Pirates before this week's games, and for the Pirates main starters over the last few years, only Kip Wells and Paul Maholm have consistently put up above average starts against the good guys.

As for today, the Phils face off against Ryan Dempster. He's faced the Phils 21 times (14 starts) without great success. He's 4-4 but with a 4.99 ERA. Last season he started once against Philadelphia and gave up 6 runs over 7 innings. Let's hope history repeats itself today.

Game time 1:05. Joe Blanton takes the hill for the Phils. Enjoy your MLB Gamecenter while attempting to work.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In Depth Philly/Chicago Series Preview

Spot: Raucous joint housing 45,000 fans in South Philly.
Root For: Philadelphia Phillies 24-14, 1st Place
Root Against: Chicago Cubs 18-22, 3rd Place



Game 1: Tom Gorzelanny vs. Jamie Moyer
(1-4, 3.60/1.38) (5-2, 4.57/1.10)
Reason the Cubs Win: Apparently beating the Phillies is a rite of passage for boys, and for this baby-faced pubescent (Gorze) it's about time for him to become a man.
Reason the Phillies Win:Grand Pappy (by the way that is officially his recognized nickname on Wikipedia) loves proving this WSBGMs blogger wrong.



Game 2: Ryan Dempster vs. Joe Blanton
(2-4, 3.49/1.09) (1-2, 5.49/1.27)
Reason the Cubs Win: Dempster's hidden talent is magic, so expect him to have a few tricks up his sleeve; including the horribly goofy glove-twitchy thing he does during his delivery. And if that doesn't make him cool enough, check out this picture of him and Jessica Simpson (is he the reason for her and Nick Lachey's, Tony Romo's, and John Mayer's split?).
Reason the Phillies Win: Joe Blanton and I are almost exactly the same size (6'3" 245 lb) so I know that means we like to eat. Being that it's a 1:05 game, my bet is on Blanton making short work of the Cubbies lineup so he can grab an early dinner and then 4th meal at Taco Bell later that evening.

*I hope by now you all realize the "in depth" part of these series previews is extremely tongue-in-cheek.

You Can't Win Them All, But Damn!

Another complete game for Roy Halladay, this one on a 132 pitch effort. Too bad it was all for naught, as Doc picked up his second loss of the season as well. Thing is, Halladay's MLB leading 4th complete game of the season should have never happened, and not just because of pitch count. In the bottom of the 7th inning, with a runner on 1st and only 1 out with the Phils down 2-1 Manuel elected to stay with Halladay and send him to the plate to sacrifice bunt (something he's yet to do successfully this season) rather than lift him from the game for a pinch hitter. Halladay k'd, runner stranded, Phils go on to lose 2-1. Overall, this was a frustrating game due to sloppy fielding (3 errors), lack of offense, Utley missing from the lineup, and losing to the lowly Pirates with our ace on the mound. You can't win them all, but DAMN!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lidge Gets Shot

DL'd closer Brad Lidge got shot yesterday. Wondering why this wasn't a breaking story on ESPN, Fox Sports, and other media outlets? Well, it's because he just got a cortisone shot in his surgically repaired right elbow. However, if he doesn't get healthy and productive soon, it may be time to give him the Old Yeller treatment.

Double Take:
Jayson Werth is playing himself into a massive contract this upcoming offseason. The soon-to-be 31 year old is off to a blazing 2010 racking up tons of extra base hits (28). His league leading 20 doubles in only 6 off his career high, and he is on pace for 88 (how incredible of a feat would that be?!). His slash line is down right scary- .336/.414/.664. Mix in his speed and defense and you're looking at the complete player and a premiere free agent. His payday is easily going to be in the Jason Bay (4 yr/$66M)/Matt Holliday(7 yr/$120M) range.

#1 & #2:
A look at the MLB team batting leaderboard and you'll find the Yankees and Phillies at #1 and #2 in runs, average, and OPS. Now, we all know that offense is only a third of the equation for success, as pitching and fielding are also very important (both teams are very solid in each of those categories too). One has to wonder if we're looking at a World Series matchup repeat.

What's the #?

A. Assists by Andy Ashby as a Phillie.
B. Minus homeruns by Jayson Werth's step father.
C. Divided by Mark Portugal's intential base on balls issued as a Phillie.
D. Plus extra base hits by Del Unser with the Phils.
E. Times Carmelo Martinez's league leading sacrifice fly total.
What's the #?

Monday, May 17, 2010

In Depth Philly/Pitt Series Preview

Venue: The Bank (green one opened 7 days a week)
Good Guys: Philadelphia Phillies 23-13, 1st place.
Bad Guys: Pittsburgh Pirates 16-21, 3rd place.

Game 1: Charlie Morton vs. Kyle Kendrick
(1-6, 9.19/1.79) (1-1, 5.89/1.55)
Reason the Pirates win: Kyle Kendrick sucks, and Phucco Jack Taschner is ready to exact revenge on the club the left him off of the playoff roster.
Reason the Phillies win: Charlie Morton sucks more and it's Dollar Dog Night meaning wrappers will be blowing in the wind on to the field and inevitably block centerfielder Andrew McCutchen's sight on a lazy flyball that turns into a Little League homerun off the bat of pinch hitter Ross Gload.

Game 2: Zach Duke vs. Roy Halladay
(2-4, 5.56/1.74) (6-1, 1.59/1.04)
Reason the Pirates win: never gonna happen, it's about as likely as Bea Arthur and Patrick Swayze being reincarnated as flamingos.
Reason the Phillies win: The stars have aligned and Halladay is pitching on Toyota Roy Halladay Bobble Figurine night. I'm thinking no-hitter.

Save Money & Missing In Action

How 2 Save $:
When you have a team full of superstars making big money (Howard, Halladay, Utley, Rollins, Werth, Hamels, Lidge, etc.) you need to conserve cash where you can. The Phillies have a self-imposed salary cap of $140M. To save money they could switch their car insurance to Geico or make better free agent signings. When it comes to backup catchers, laying down multi-year and multi-million dollar deals isn't a fiscally sound plan unless the backup is Carlton Fisk. This offseason Amaro dished out 2 years and $2.75M for the services of the aging and offensively challenged Brian Schneider. 2010 stats: .167/.452 with only 3 runs scored and no rbi in 7 games/18 at bats, but he has caught 40% of base stealers. Meanwhile minor league journeyman Paul Hoover was inked to a minor league deal and was brought up to fill Schneider's duties as backup catcher when he went on the DL and has done admirably thus far. Hoover 2010: .417/1.117 with 6 runs and 2 rbi in 4 games/12 at bats and nabbed the only attempted base theif. These are extremely small sample sizes, but over each of their career's they've had similar results: Schneider- .250/.695, 38% caught stealing, Hoover- .278/.627, 36% caught stealing. Where's the extra year and $2M+ difference coming from?

Missing in Action:
Jimmy Rollins will likely be activated for tonight's game which opens a 2-game set with the Pirates. Who goes when he returns, Valdez or Castro? Wilson Valdez would have to clear waivers and accept his minor league assignment (no big loss if he says "peace"), or Juan Castro could be DL'd because he hasn't played much of late and is still nursing his hamstring.

My question is- when do Carlos Ruiz and JA Happ return? Chooch is still listed as day-to-day after injuring his knee in the Colorado series. Happ is going to throw a bullpen session sometime this week, but June will be the earliest he returns.

Side Notes:
*The Phillies were winners all through the system (majors/minors) yesterday going 5 for 5.

*Despite numerous injuries to key players the Phillies own the NL's best record at 23-13 and have a run differential of +58.

*Phillies offense has a NL best 200 runs scored and .811 OPS.

*Phillies pitching staff is 4th in the NL in ERA (3.75)and 5th in WHIP (1.31) helped by NL low 100 walks allowed.

*Of course all of this should be negated because they cheat and steal signs.