Friday, September 30, 2011

Tale of the Tape - St. Louis [2011 NLDS Edition]

It's back, baby! When it's playoff time, you have to go with what works. For the Phils, it's pitching. For me, it's TotT. So, without further adieu...

Famous Voices:
St. Louis - Joe Buck
Philly - Bill Scott
Advantage - Philly. Joe Buck is a pompous, self-absorbed windbag who makes playoff baseball almost unwatchable. If Jack Buck was still with us, he would mute the game. The late Bill Scott was the voice of Bullwinkle J. Moose, who I believe graduated with a degree in communications from Wossamotta U., which makes him possibly more qualified than Buck to do baseball play-by-play.

Professional Basketball:
St. Louis - None
Philly - The Sixers
Advantage - Push. The Hawks left St. Louis for Atlanta in 1968. The Sixers have built their team around Andre Iguodala. Both are equally painful for their respective fans.

Light Beer:
St. Louis - The home of Anheiser-Busch, the producer of Bud Light.
Philly - Philadelphia brewing company doesn't make light beer. Neither does Yards or Dock Street. In the 'burbs, Victory and Sly Fox don't make light beer.
Advantage - Push. I like light beer so I would like somebody in Philly to start brewing one. Also, Philadelphians aren't historically a skinny group, so a light beer might be beneficial for the city. St. Louis would win this category, but Bud Light gives me a headache and makes me nauseous. Fail all the way around.

TV Dad:
St. Louis - John Goodman played "Dan" on Rosanne
Philly - Billy Cosby played "Heathcliff" on The Cosby Show
Advantage - Philly. This one was closer than you might think. Rosanne was funny and Goodman was in some pretty awesome movies - Revenge of the Nerds, Arachnophobia, O Brother Where Art Thou, Raising Arizona, Big Lebowski and my favorite, King Ralph. Cosby takes this category for two main reasons - I loved Lisa Bonet and I really love Jell-o pudding pops.

Team Drunk:
St. Louis - The DUI homeboys, Tony LaRussa and Rafael Furcal [mugshots below]
Philly - Nobody on the team has had a DUI
Advantage - Philly. I forgot about Furcal and his drinky-drinky -drivey-drivey until I was researching this. You can read the whole thing HERE, but I'll give you the highlights. Dude had two DUIs, his second while he was still on probation from the first after getting pulled over going 90 with a .127 BAC. He told the cop, "I play for the Braves. Can you give me a chance? I play for the Braves, please. I've got one [DUI] already." The cop still arrested him but the judge must have been tomahawk chopping from the bench because Furcal got a deal that allowed him to delay his jail sentence until after the playoffs. Sweet, sweet justice.


Charitable Pros:
St. Louis - This May, St. Louis native and former terrible draft pick Larry Hughes stood at a local gas station and pumped free gas into 150 cars.
Philly - Shane Victorino won the Phillies Community Service Award in 2010 for such events as the "Flyin' Hwaaiian All-Stars," "All-star Celebrity Fashion Show," "Celebrity Dinner and Gold Classic" and the "Shane Victorino Foundation."
Advantage: St. Louis. Victorino obviously does some great things for the community, but Larry Hughes bought people gasoline. That stuff is like $7 a gallon.

Ugliest SOB on the Team:
St. Louis - Tony Larussa
Philly - Tyrone Hill
Advantage - St. Louis. Yeah, so Tyrone Hill is not, and never was, a Phillie. But damn, remember how ugly he was? LaRussa and his face condition wins by forfeit.  [Funny note - LaRussa had this to say about heckling fans in Milwaukee, "When they start cursing your family ... The funniest one was a guy said, 'I hope you get shingles again.' That's just stupid."]


Despite a furious comeback by St. Louis, Philadelphia is not Atlanta and was able to hold on to the victory, 3-2-2. The numbers never lie, which means the Phillies take this series.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Phillies September Report Card

The regular season is over. How did our beloved Phils fair in the season's final month? Check below...

Offense:
#/# = AVG/OPS

Carlos Ruiz/C .301/.750, 10 R, 10 RBI. Chooch is ready for the playoffs. Grade: A.

Ryan Howard/1B .290/.938, 10 R, 4 HR, 13 RBI. If not for an ankle injury, The Big Piece would have likely put up even bigger numbers. Grade: A.

Chase Utley/2B .205/.632, 9 R, 4 RBI. Utley did his typical late season swoon and looked tired. Grade: D.

Placido Polanco/3B .280/.693, 8 R, 9 RBI. Polly is weak, really weak. He only had 19 extra base hits the entire season. Grade: C.

Jimmy Rollins/SS .270/.686, 8 R, 5 RBI, 2 SB. This man is seeking a 5 year contract. C'mon. Grade: C.

Raul Ibanez/LF .258/.712, 10 R, 6 DBL, 3 HR, 17 RBI. The old man managed to bang in 84 RBI this season, so he's not completely done. Grade: B.

Shane Victorino/CF .186/.577, 14 R, 9 XBH, 8 RBI, 2 SB. Quite possibly the worst month of his career. Started the month batting .305, ended with .279. Grade: F.

Hunter Pence/RF .314/.871, 16 R, 8 DBL, 2 TRPL, 4 HR, 18 RBI. Imagining the offense without him is a scary thing. Grade: A+.

John Mayberry/OF/1B .305/.891, 10 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 2 SB. Mayberry starting RF in 2012? Grade: A.

Wilson Valdez/UTL .289/.720, 7 R, 4 RBI. Why is Michael Martinez allowed to get as many at bats as Valdez? Grade: B.

Michael Martinez/UTL .136/.510, 5 R, 3 RBI. He sucks! Grade: F.

Ross Gload/PH .321/.773. Good month, bad season. Grade: B+.

Brian Schneider/C .192/.442. Pretty much worthless. Grade: F.

Pete Orr/UTL .200/.450. He's Canadians, that's about the only cool thing about this guy. Grade: F.

John Bowker/PH 0-13 with 7 K. Shittiest of the shitty. Grade: GTFO.

Pitching:
#/# = ERA/WHIP & #:# = BB:K

Roy Halladay 3-1, 37 IP, 10:29, 1.70/1.05. Still the man. Grade: A+.

Cliff Lee 2-1, 38 IP, 2:40, 1.42/0.89. Worth the contract. Which means he's worth a lot. Grade: A+.

Cole Hamels 1-2, 38 IP, 9:32, 3.79/1.08, with 9 homeruns allowed. Not an encouraging month from the young lefty. Homers kill in the postseason. Grade: C-.

Roy Oswalt 3-2, 41 IP, 10:31, 3.51/1.17. If he gives the Phils 6-7 innings of 2-3 run ball in the playoffs, then we should all be ecstatic. Grade: B.

Vance Worley 2-2, 33.1 IP, 14:36, 4.05/1.56. There should be no debate the Oswalt belongs in the playoff rotation over The Vanimal. He was a good story all year long, but came back down to Earth this last month. Grade: C.

Kyle Kendrick 1-0, 13.1 IP, 0:12, 2.70/0.83. Definitely the team's most undervalued member. Grade: A.

Ryan Madson 13 G, 13 IP, 7 SV, 2:13, 0.00/1.08. Has not allowed a run since that 6 run blown save debacle on August 19th. Grade: A+.

Brad Lidge 12 G, 9.1 IP, 5 HLD, 4:11, 0.96/1.39. Still scares the shit outta us, but we can't deny his ability to make someone whiff. Grade: A.

Antonio Bastardo 10 G, 7.1 IP, 3 HLD, 7:8, 11.05/2.18. I miss the good Tony Bastard. Grade: F.

Michael Stutes 10 G, 12 IP, 5 HLD, 6:11, 3.00/1.25. Solid bounce back month from the rookie that will likely pitch some big innings in October. Grade: B.

David Herndon 9 G, 12.1 IP, 14:8, 2.92/1.95. If the Phils would have lost last night, that would have marked 11 straights appearances by Herndon that ended with an L. His ERA is good, but that walk/strikeout ratio is horrible. Grade:D+.

Michael Schwimer 9 G, 9.1 IP, 5:11, 5.79/1.71. Hoping he shows more next year. Grade: D.

Joe Blanton 5 G, 7 IP, 0:11, 2.57/1.00. Originally I thought it was a crazy idea to have Blanton in the postseason bullpen, but now I'm not so sure. No walks with more than a K per inning. Sounds like a good relief pitcher to me. Grade: A.

Not Receiving Grades: Erik Kratz, Brandon Moss, Joe Savery, Domonic Brown, and Justin De Fratus.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Phillies Team Awards

With the last day of the regular season upon us, WSBGMs is ready to handout our Phillies team awards.

Carson = Red
Corey = Green

MVP:
Carlos Ruiz - the rotation is awesome, but who is the commander of that fleet of ships? Chooch. He's the captain on the field, the play caller, the man at the center of it all and he's decent at the plate as well as behind it. For the 2nd year in a row, he leads the club in OBP (.400 in '10, and .373 this year).

Shane Victorino – The most productive offensive player is by far Hunter Pence but he hasn’t been here long enough to qualify for MVP. Ryan Howard would seem the obvious choice because of his home run and RBI numbers. But I’m going with the Phils most consistent player, Shane Victorino. His OPS is only bested by Mayberry and Pence. And despite missing a good number of games due to injury, he is first in runs, second in hits, second in doubles, third in homers, third in RBI, second in total bases and second in steals. And he plays a legitimate Gold Glove caliber centerfield.

Cy Young:
Roy Halladay - Cliff Lee might have 2 extremely flashy months of near perfection, but Doc was consistent all year long. ERA by month: April- 2.14, May- 3.00, June- 2.00, July- 2.57, August- 2.62, September- 1.70. Best pitcher in baseball.

Cliff Lee – I think valid arguments could be made for Lee, Halladay or even Cole Hamels. Statistically, very little separates each of the big three. Lee gets my nod because the scoreless inning streaks and the six shutouts. His season had a little more flare than the others and during awards season, style matters.

Most Overrated:
Ryan Howard - homerun and RBI machine, he is. Everything else...not so much. His .829 OPS is 8th best in baseball out of qualified first basemen, and 39th overall in MLB. His defense has improved to being adequate/mediocre, but he continues to trend downward offensively and get slower on the base paths. His contract does not reflect his production, and will eventually hamper the Phillies from improving other areas of need. I am glad he's a Phillie, but the man is overrated.

Ryan Howard. See Carson’s answer.

Most Undervalued:

Kyle Kendrick - I was shocked to see this was Corey's answer too, because of his obvious distaste for KK. His reasons listed for why Kendrick is undervalued are the same as mine, so read below.

Kyle Kendrick – Every time Kendrick was listed as the starter, I huffed and frowned. He was the sixth best starter on the team. But when Oswalt was hurt or they had to play like 40 games in thirty days, Kendrick came through for this team more often than expected. Kendrick was 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 114.2 innings (15 starts.) By comparison, the Mets BEST starting pitcher was RA Dickey, who posted a 3.28 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Think about this – Kyle Kendrick would probably be the Mets Opening Day starter next season. Sure, the Mets suck but c’mon, most Phils fans can’t stand the guy.

Brightest Future:
Joe Savery - 1st round pick failed as a pitcher in his first 4 minor league seasons, so he decided to turn to hitting. He hit well at various stops this season in the minors (.294/.758 in 271 PA), but got the taste for pitching again when his team needed him in a very long extra inning game. He returned to pitching to end the 2011 season with a 1.50 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 36 IP, before being promoted to the Phillies here in September where he's made 4 scoreless appearances. He very well might be the coveted 2nd lefty reliever in the Phils bullpen next year.

Nobody. This team is old. The players that will be good already are. The players that suck will be gone soon. The players with the brightest future are in the minor leagues and God knows which prospects will actually pan out.

Worthless:

Brian Schneider - I know he's only a backup catcher, but the man just can't hit (.177/.501 in 40 G) or throw runners out attempting to steal (13% CS). Michael Martinez is versatile and fast, Gload can at least give you a pinch hit single, but what does Schneider do...nothing.

The obvious answer is Michael Martinez but I’m going with Ross Gload. At least Martinez can eat some defensive innings and spell the middle infielders for game or two. Not as good as Wilson Valdez can, mind you, but that’s another argument. Ross Gload, however, is worthless. Gload was hurt most of the year but even when he was healthy he was a complete liability on defense. As for his “strength,” hitting, he posted a .565 OPS without a single homer and only seven RBI in over 100 at-bats.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Damn You Fred Tauby

I thought I was witnessing history. I thought something special was happening. I thought John Bowker was the worst hitter, statistically, to ever play for the Phillies. But no, that would be Fred Tauby.

Bowker is 0-12. That's an average of .000. But he's not the first player to go hitless as a Phillie.

In 1906 Ches Crist went 0-11 in his only season of professional baseball.

In 1938 Ray Stoviak went 0-10 in his only season of professional baseball.

But the benchmark was set one year before Stoviak stunk up the park, when Fred Tauby went 0-20.

*Technically the worst Phillies hitter ever is Jim Hearn, who was a career 0-33 over three season. But he was a pitcher so he doesn't count.

*Check out this boxscore. Tauby never got a hit as a Phillie but once went 0-1 with 2 runs and 3 RBI. Obiously the guy had Ryan Howard-like ability to rack up RBI without actually hitting very much. I keed, I keed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Final Series Preview

Matchups:
Monday 7:10 - Cliff Lee v. Randall Delgado
Tuesday 7:10 - Roy Oswalt v. Derek Lowe
Wednesday 7:10 - Cole Hamels v. Tim Hudson 

Their Michael Martinez:
Jason Hayward - The next A-Rod has looked like the next... Hensley Muelens? I know the kid is young and he has an extremely bright future and comparing him to Michael Martinez is quite unfair, but the Braves were counting heavily on this young man and his .228 average .712 OPS are a huge disappointment.
 
Their Danys Baez:
Derek Lowe - Sixteen losses and a 4.92 ERA. His September ERA is 8.24. That's enough to drive a man to drink... and maybe drive.

What 2 Watch 4:
- John Bowker is now 0-12. Can he go hitless with the Phils?

- Michael Martinez is hitting .199. He needs one hit in his next 4 at-bats to equal Mendoza. Otherwise we might mock him. Maybe.

- The Braves' lead on the Wild Card is down to one game over the Cardinals. The Brewers lead the Diamondbacks by one game for the #2 seed. The Phillies would play the Cardinals if they win the Wild Card. If the Braves hold on, the Phils will open with the #3 seed.

I rank the Phillies possible opponents this way:

1. Brewers
2. D-backs
3. Cardinals
4. Braves

Since the Phils cannot play the Braves, I'm going to root for the Phils to sweep the Braves and have the Cardinals win the Wild Card. Chris Carpenter is scheduled to pitch the final game of the season. The NLDS would start three days later with game two following the next day. So, if the Phils play the Cardinals, they wouldn't see Chris Carpenter until game three. In the first two games, the Cardinals would have to throw some combination of Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse or Edwin Jackson. I like the Phils chances of Halladay/Lee versus those chumps.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Answer To The Problem

Here's what the Phllies need to do to win a game:

They need to calm down and collectively take a deep breath. Skip any planned meetings today. Show up to the ballpark only an hour or two before the game. Get in some light stretching and loosen up the arms. Then take the bats, and shove it up your butt.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Double Header- Siamese Dream


Double header, double the pleasure? Likely not with the way the Phils are playing. Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton go for the good guys, while the enemy strikes back with RA Dickey and Dillon Gee. Maybe the bats will come alive today. Maybe they won't.

Other Stuff:
*Remember when Jason Grilli was pitching lights out for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs? Well, he's now twirling his magic in Pittsburgh (26 G, 30.2 IP, 2-1, 8 HLD, 2.43 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 35 K). Yeah, I'd rather have him in the Phils bullpen during the playoffs than Michael Stutes or David Herndon. Just saying.

*Matt Kemp is on the brink of the NL triple crown. He's 3rd in batting average, tied for the lead in homeruns, and 1st in RBI. Wow!

*This could be a very interesting awards season, because Kemp might get the MVP, while his teammate Clayton Kershaw is likely to receive the Cy Young. MVP and CY from the same team is amazing alone, but from a team that wasn't even close to sniffing the playoffs would be just shocking.

*It appears the Cole Hamels has a medical maladay below. What should he do? Visit a Canadian pharmacy of course.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Red Flags- Not the Kind You Want to Fly


The top 5 batters of the Phillies lineup are either hurt or having one of the worst months of their career.

Ryan Howard was producing, but can't shake the pain in his ankle. Hunter Pence was hitting, but he felt his knee pop and is out with patella tendinitis. That's the Phils 4 and 5 spot in the lineup that are currently questionable.

Then there's 1-3. 1- Jimmy Rollins .196/.468, 2- Shane Victorino .170/.539, and 3- Chase Utley .175/.543 in September. The Giants laugh at that.

John Mayberry Jr., Placido Polanco, and Carlos Ruiz are hitting over .300 for the month, but that's not enough.

Offense isn't the only red flag being flown. The bullpen is missing a key component, a reliable lefty. Antonio Bastardo was that man for the first 5/6 of the season, but has fallen apart over the last month. He's not attacking hitters anymore, rather nibbling around the edges and putting himself in counts where he's walking them or grooving hittable pitches so that he won't walk them. He looks tired and confidence appears to be shot.

Bastardo isn't the only faltering reliever, he's joined by rookie Mike Stutes. Since the beginning of August, Stutes has appeared in 17 games logging 20.2 innings with a 5.23 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, and has walked 15 batters. Luckily Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, and even David Herndon are doing well. And with the Phils rotation, maybe that's all the relief they'll need. Don't forget Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick, who both go to the bullpen for the playoffs. Worley might be able to handle setup, and at this point should be given a chance over the likes of Stutes and Bastardo.

In the rotation, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee continue to dominate, but once again red flags run up the pole. Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt aren't doing what is expected of them. Hamels has given up 7 homeruns in 4 September starts with an ERA of 4.18. Oswalt has given up 5 runs in 2 out of his last 3 starts to bad offenses (Astros and Nationals).

Hopefully these red flags don't ruin the chances of the Phillies flying a championship flag.

Are you worried?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cheer Up






Yeah, it's like that. Word.

Does All This Losing Matter?

I don't know. But consider the following. These are the records in the last ten game of the season for the previous World Series winners.

2010 - Giants - 7-3
2009 - Yankees - 7-3
2008 - Phils - 7-3
2007 - Red Sox - 6-4
2006 - Cards - 3-7
2005 - White Sox - 8-2
2004 - Red Sox - 7-3
2003 - Marlins - 7-3
2002 - Angels - 4-6
2001 - Dbacks - 7-3
2000 - Yankees - 2-8

The Phillies have entered their last ten games. They are currently 0-3.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

J-Roll's 100th Triple

Congrats to Jimmy Rollins for collecting his 100th career triple in the 9th inning of Monday's game.


The 32 year old is set to hit free agency this offseason and is reportedly looking to secure a 4-5 year deal worth 8 figures annually ($10M+). Hahahaha, apparently Young James is a part-time comedian too. The oft injured shortstop will likely receive something in the neighborhood of JJ Hardy's 3 yr/$22M deal, and if that's the case I hope he remains with the Phillies. If a bidding war breaks out and the contract gets lengthy and ends up around 4 yr/$40M or more, I hope the Phils thank him for his service and let him walk.

In Other News:
The Phillies have decided to tank the rest of the regular season. Hope all that rest and ambivalence pays off come playoff time. Guess we'll see if they can flip that nonexistent magic switch.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sort of a Series Preview - Nationals

Philadelphia Phillies (98-54) v. Washington Nationals (72-79)

Matchups:
Tuesday 1:05 - KK v. Ross Detwiler
Tuesday 7:05 - Cliff Lee v. Tommy Milone
Wednesday 7:05 - The Vanimal v. Brad Peacock
Thursday 7:05 - Roy Oswalt v. John Lannan

Reasons to Watch:
Carson and I have been lamenting the agony of watching the Phils labor through the last two weeks of the season. And while we're being a little facetious, it can be to muster the interest to sit through three hours of seemingly pointless baseball. Hell, I'm not even watching Baseball Tonight anymore. If you're feeling a little like me, here are a few points of interest to keep things interesting.

1) Nationals young pitching. The first three games of this series will feature three promising young pitchers that the Phils will surely see a bunch in the next few years.

Ross Detwiler - First round pick in the 2007 draft. He made fourteen starts in 2009 without much success and his overall major league record is 4-14. But he's only 25 years old and has a 3.86 ERA this season. The potential is there to stick on the back end of their rotation going forward.

Tommy Milone - In four minor league season, Milone has a 3.05 ERA, including a 2011 line of 12-4, 3.22 for AAA. A 10th round pick in 2008, Milone has below average strikeout numbers to start his pro career but over the last two seasons he's struck out over a batter per inning.

Brad Peacock - Peacock was a 41st round pick out of high school back in 2006. He's a guy central Pennsylvania baseball fans are well aware of because he pitched the last two seasons for AA Harrisburg, including a stellar 2011 campaign where he went 10-2 with a 2.01. He was promoted to AAA mid-season and continued to have success. After going 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA in Syracuse, Peacock got the nod to join Washington. In his first major league start against the Mets he went five scoreless innings and picked up the win.

2) Who will the Phillies play? Only a week ago I was convinced the Phillies would play Arizona in the first round of the playoffs. Well, while the Phils limped across the NL East finish line, the playoff landscape was rapidly changing. The Diamondbacks are only a game behind the Brewers for the #2 seed. If the D-backs pass the Brew Crew and Atlanta holds on  to the Wild Card, Milwaukee would travel to Philadelphia for the playoff opener. That's a big "if" in Atlanta, though. Their lead in the WC has shrunk to 2.5 over the Cardinals, thanks in part to the Phillies indifference the last two days. It could get real interesting at the end of the season when the Phils close with three games against the Braves. Their performance could dictate who they play in the opening round.

3) The battle of futility. Can John Bowker get one hit? Can Michael Martinez get his average over .200? No, probably not.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Legend of John Bowker


8 games, 8 at bats, 0 hits, 6 strikeouts. John Bowker is awesome!

Other Stuff:
*Cole Hamels hasn't looked good lately. 7 homeruns allowed in his last 4 starts. Reason to worry? Yes.

*Congrats to Justin De Fratus for working a scoreless inning in his MLB debut.

*Why the hell do people keep thinking Joe Blanton has a chance to make the postseason roster as a longman? Silliness I tell ya, just silly.

*Congrats to my WSBGMs Phatansy League team, Suck My Bocock, for wrapping up my third championship in 5 years.

*I don't know about you, but forgoing viewing the Phils for the final week of the regular season is my plan, because watching a team not give a shit, with nothing to play for is boring and infuriating.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Post-Clinch Hangover

I hope everyone is feeling fine after the fifth NL East win celebration in the last five years. Not much going on in Phillies land today, especially since they play at the same time as the Eagles so I'll leave you with two of my favorite images from last night's celebration: Ryan Howard wearing ski goggles and Chris Wheeler getting champagne poured on his ass.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cookies, September Call Ups, Crappy Offense & Rap

Phillies Cookies:
Do you like the Phillies? Duh. Do you like cookies? Goes without saying. Well, Sophisticakes in Drexel Hill has designed some sugary sweets with the likes of some of your favorite Phightins on them. Hat Tip to Hugging Harry Reyonlds for this. Click on link for full cast of characters.

September Call Ups:
Domonic Brown is coming back. Along with him will be catcher Erik Kratz, outfielder Brandon Moss, and relievers Justin De Fratus and Joe Savery. Moss should have been recalled instead of the Phils trading for John Bowker, who is proving to be worthless. Moss has power and is left-handed. Savery had a renaissance season in the bullpen, and could develop into a 2nd lefty in relief for next season, as well as a pinch hitting option. Kratz may become Chooch's backup next year, with Schneider gone after contract expires. De Fratus could join youngsters Herndon, Stutes, Bastardo, and Schwimer in next year's bullpen.

To make room on the 40 man roster, Juan Perez, Mike Zagurski, and Drew Naylor were designated for assignment. No big loss.

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs manager, Ryne Sandberg, will also be in the Phils dugout for the remainder of the season. Gotta think he's the heir apparent to Manuel.

Crappy Offense:
Corey, being the smart ass that he is, predicted only 7 runs for the Phils in this 4 game series. He was joking...sorta. They haven't scored more than 3 runs in a game since last Friday, and only 17 total in that span (8 games). Take a look at these ugly September batting averages: Victorino- .169, Utley- .167, Martinez- .132, Rollins- .150, Orr- .217, Scheinder- .214. Shane and Chase are the main culprits, deadening any threat from the top of the lineup, but because of Rollins injury and no off days, the bench guys have gotten lots of at bats, and they're struggling.

Phillies Rap:


I think it's time the GMs drop some knowledge on a fat beat. Weez got soul son! What ya think?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Series Preview - St. Louis Cardinals

Philadelphia Phillies (97-51) v. St. Louis Cardinals (81-68)

Matchups:
Friday 7:05 - The Vanimal v. Jaime Garcia
Saturday 7:05 - Roy Oswalt v.Jake Westbrook
Sunday 8:00 - Cole Hamels v. Kyle Lohse
Monday 7:05 - Roy Halladay v.Chris Carpenter


Almost Popes Pitching:
ERA - 3.84 (12th)
WHIP - 1.31 (15th)
BAA -  .263 (22nd)

Almost Popes Batting:
Runs  - 693 (7th)
Avg - .271 (4th)
OPB - .339 (3rd)
SLG - .421 (5th)

Magic Number Watch:
To win NL East: 2
To clinch home field: 3
To clinch playoffs: Done!

What We're Drinking:
Corey -Sugar Free Red Bull. Have to work this weekend and make a few long drives, so I'll need something to keep me from falling asleep at the wheel.

Carson  - heading to Appalachian Brewing Company on Saturday for a brewfest. There will be 25 Pennsylvania craft brewers on hand, so I'm sure to drink a plethora of beers.

Their Michael Martinez:
Since Patterson arrived in St. Louis (via Toronto as part of the Colby Rasmus trade) he's hitting a cool .163. But he's really, really fast. Which, I guess, gets him back to the dugout quicker after he makes an out.

Their Danys Baez:
Brian Tallet had an 8.31 ERA before being shown the door. But more interestingly, take a look at his profile picture on espn.com.



Wow, if that doesn't just scream late 70s / early 80s Topps baseball card. No wonder he couldn't get anyone out. He hit his prime 25 years ago. Jamie Moyer never looked this out-dated and he was like 60 when he retired.
 
What We're Listening Too:
Corey - J Roddy Walston and The Business. I heard about these guys in an article in the Baltimore Sun about a year and a half ago. Probably the last thing I ever learned from an actual newspaper. You can read a short description and watch a video interview of the band HERE. Or just go to youtube and listen to the whole album.

Carson - White Stripes. They put me in a good mood when I'm feeling down, with their stripped down basic guitar and thumping drums. Twangy, funky, folksy, and rock. Good combo.

Prediction:
The way things are going, I'll say a series split and the Phils will score a total of 7 runs.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Preview (Kind of) of the Marlins Series (Sort of)

Marlins at the Phillies, for one day only!

2:35 Kyle Kendrick v. Anibal Sanchez
7:35 Cliff Lee v. Alex Sanabia

Enjoy your last look at the Florida Marlins, as they are "moving" to Miami next year.

-----------------------------------------
Those Loveable Brewers
The Brewers are probably the second best team in the National League right now. They have good starting pitching, a deep bullpen and a lineup full of mashers. They are the biggest threat to the Phillies making the World Series, which is why I love to see them in turmoil.

Yesterday, Prince Fielder had this to say to TBS, "I'm signed for this year, but being real about it, it is probably the last year."

Nice timing, Prince. Everyone knows you're not staying in Milwaukee, but is it really necessary to talk about it now? Can this possibly be good for team chemistry?

Not to be outdone by Prince's big mouth, that gentle soul Francisco Rodriguez felt it was necessary to question his role on the team.

"There's been plenty of save opportunities and I've onlypitched once in the ninth inning, and it was not even a saveopportunity. I'm not happy. It's simple. That's the bottom line.They told me one thing, they haven't done it. I'm not lying. I'm not creating something out of nowhere. I'mjust stating the facts. That's something I should not be discussingwith any of you guys. That's something I should be discussing withthe manager in his office."

His team is just about to clinch a division title yet the very selfish K-Rod is "not happy." I'm sure K-Rod's teammates are thrilled that he prioritizes closing and stats over winning. Never mind that current closer John Axelrod, is 19 for 19 in save opportunities since K-Rod joined the team.

Keep talking, Brewers, you're only helping the Phillies.
------------------------------------------
WSBGMs Ticket Exchange
Preserve Jon said...
 
I have two tickets to tonights game that I can't use and just cannot seem to get rid of. Section 420, Row 13, Seats 19-20. Upstairs, but right behind home plate.

The catch is the tickets are in Dover, DE. If anyone in the area reads this blog and wants to go to the game, post an email or phone number and I'll try to do the right thing.

This is legit...no scams or d'bags need apply.

Thx.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just Checking In...

Sort of an anti-climactic end to the Phillies season, don't ya think?

The Phils are one win or one St. Louis defeat from clinching a playoff spot (I'm not going to show my math, you'll just have to trust me). They have an eleven game lead in the NL East and a nine game lead on the team with the second best record in the NL, the Milwaukee Brewers. The Braves are 4.5 up in the Wild Card and the D-backs have locked up the NL West. So unless the Braves severely go in the tank, this is what we know: The Phils will open the post-season at home against the Diamondbacks and will have home field advantage in each round they reach.

Therefore, the remaining two weeks are essentially meaningless. Sure, people will try to make the games seem important, especially those people who make their living spinning every insignificant event of a 162 game season into something consequential. These people would love for you to worry about:

1) A three game losing streak. This is no big deal. Really. Get back to me in a week and we'll see if they team has won another game.

2) The fourth starter playoff debate. This is a classic made-for-internet argument. Sure, there's enough data to support an argument for Vance Worley as the fourth starter, but under the current circumstances, it would never happen. Do you really think the Phils are going to send a rookie out there in October? Have you forgotten Charlie Manuel's managerial track record? We all love the Vanimal, but save your breath, it's a moot argument that serves it's purpose as newspaper/blog filler. Hey, I just got 75 words out of it...

3) Chase Utley's concussion. Sydney Crosby, this is not. He'll be back in a day or two, well rested and ready to go. Also, it's baseball.

4) Joe Blanton and his comeback. No one should mention Joe Blanton, outside of possible trade rumors, until December.

5) The role of John Bowker. No lie, I read this somewhere. I'll never go back to that internet site again.

We'll see you tomorrow everybody when we get to watch the Phils play the Marlins again. Ugh. At least we can all enjoy Roy1 stopping the losing streak today at 2:05. Is it October yet?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ed Wade Doppelganger

The only team with a winning record against the Phillies since 2004 in the National League is the Astros. The Houston feckin' Astros. Why? Ed Wade. He picks up ex-Phillies faster than a hooker does an STD. And those ex-Phils want nothing more than stick it to their former team because they're pissed. Why are the pissed? They're on the Houston feckin' Astros...I thought we already established this. Anyway, here's Ed Wade's lookalike.




__________________________________________________

Training for Baseball Season

If you play baseball regularly every year, either in a local league or in school, you’ll probably want to make sure you’re in shape and ready for the start of the season. Unfortunately, there can be some long gaps in between the end of one season and the start of the next, and during that time many players fall off their training routines and get stuck in a sedentary lifestyle. For those who need some extra help getting back into shape specifically for playing baseball, consider these tips and use those applicable to your baseball training needs.

Get Swinging

Nailing swing time can be difficult, so if you want to master your timing and swing accuracy at the plate, you should start by practicing with a pitching machine. Going to the local batting cages or ordering your own personal baseball pitching machine will allow you to get that timing down pat as you also get your swinging technique aligned to fast pitch balls. Though it may be preferable to have a high speed pitcher train with you every day, for most people, that’s simply an impossibility. It may not have a face, but a pitching machine’s as close as you’ll get to facing a real pitcher again until the season starts.

Don’t Forget the Team

Practicing technique and timing by yourself is completely fine and allows you to focus on essential needs you personally have to address. But spending all of your time training alone undercuts the need to play with others. Baseball is a team sport with incredibly intricate player-to-player dynamics, so no matter how well you hit the ball, you’re still not going to be up to par unless you can throw to second base on time and communicate properly with other teammates during important plays.

Drop the Couch Potato

OK, so you can’t actually drop the couch potato, because the couch potato is you. But really, if you have been sitting on the couch every day for months prior to baseball season, there’s no way to get back in shape unless you start to move. Hit the gym, go for runs, even buy and use a jump rope daily if you have to. Whatever it takes to get back to your physical peak in the time remaining between now and the start of the season, the better. After all, it’ll be hard to run to first base if you’ve barely walked 90 feet in the past few months.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Series Preview - Pence's Old Team

Philadelphia Phillies (94-49) @ Houston Astros (49-97)

Schedule:
Monday 8:05 - Roy Oswalt v. Brett Myers
Tuesday 8:05 - Cole Hamels v. JA Happ
Wednesday 2:05 - Roy Halladay v. Bud Norris

Fighting Ed Wades' Batting:
Runs - 555 (26th)
Avg. - .259 (9th)
OBP - .312 (23rd)
SLG - .377 (23rd)

Fighting Ed Wades' Pitching: 
ERA - 4.51 (28th)
WHIP - 1.41 (26th)
BAA - 2.67 (26th)

What We're Drinking: 
Corey - Glacial Trail IPA by Central Waters Brewing Co. in Amherst, WI. Picked up a case of this bad boy at Westy's Beer Distributor in Mechanicsburg for $25. Gotta love the clearance rack. If you're a beer fan in the greater Harrisburg area and you don't go to Westy's to pick through the clearance aisle, you're an Ed Wade caliber moron. True dat. 

Carson - Lakefront Brewing variety pack from Milwaukee. Already had the ESB and Irish Stout and loved them. Now ready to guzzle their IPA, coffee stout, pale ale, amber lager, and wheat beers.

Their Michael Martinez:
The backup catchers. In 145 at-bats, Carlos Corporan has hit .193. In 131 at-bats J.R. Towles has hit .176.

Their Danys Baez:
Fernando Abad was given 29 relief appearances to put up a 7.32 ERA. He's now pitching for Oklahoma City.

What We're Listening Too: 
Corey -Nick Drake. I've had a pretty hectic few days and there is no music more calming or relaxing to me than Nick Drake. He died 5 years before I was even born and I didn't even hear my first Nick Drake song until I went to college. But Drake has been a mainstay of my personal playlist for the last dozen years or so. In 1999 he had a little surge in popularity due to a Volkswagon commercial. His personal story, like much of his music, is very depressing. But if you find a little depressing music comforting, like I do, give Drake a long listen.

Carson - Quicksand. This 90's alternative band only put out 2 albums, but both are utterly amazing from start to finish. Listening to them gets me ready to take on the world.

Magic Numbers:
To win the NL East - 6.
To make the playoffs - 2.

This means that the if the Phils go 2-17 to finish the season, they'll make the playoffs. I say Howard, Utley, Pence, Rollins, Victorino, etc. should take an entire week off to rest. Screw this series. These guys should spend their week playing Xbox and getting massages.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Still Winning

The Phils are making the Brewers look like chumps in their own house. Milwaukee boasts the best home record, but to the Phillies that doesn't mean squat. Last night the Phightins won their 94th game of the season and now have a run differential of +190. I remember back in the day when that was a negative number. Anyway, The Vanimal attempts to finish off the unthinkable 4-game sweep of the Brew Crew and have the Phils win his 15th straight start.

FeHams Prevail:
The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs never experienced a winning campaign before this season, and now they're heading to the Governor's Cup Final (AAA equivalent to World Series) after sweeping the Pawtucket Red Sox in a best of 5 series. The team is compiled of mostly Quad-A players that have MLB experience, but just can't stick in the Majors, but they're doing quite well for themselves collectively as a unit.

Reading Just Holding On:
The Lil' Phillies are now down in their best of 5 playoff series 2-1. They got shutout for the second time last night, so hopefully the bats return today for the good guys in Baseball Town, USA.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pete and The Sausages

Winning with the Phillies is Fun


Guess what the Phillies did last night. They won...again. Winning with the Phillies is fun.

Friday, September 09, 2011

No Howard, No Utley, No Rollins, No Problem

John Mayberry/1B, Michael Martinez/2B, Wilson Valdez/SS is exactly how you envisioned the infield at the beginning of the season right? Yeah, not quite. No matter though, because last night Cole Hamels dazzled the Brewers with his fastball/change-up combo and the bats came through in a big 6th inning for the Phils to rack up win #92. TLC would have hated that lineup producing the way they did, seeing as they "want no scrubs". Whatever, the Phillies are awesome, other teams are not. It's that simple.

Bad Choice:
It's becoming more apparent by the day that Zach Collier was a bad first round choice for the Phils back in 2008. He made a bad choice himself too, opting to use a banned substance and getting suspended 50 games. The 21 year old only hit .255/.676 while on something in Single-A, so imagine how much he'd suck au naturale. In 3 minor league seasons, the outfielder has hit .242/.647, showing no power (only 2 HR), and playing subpar defense (15 errors, .970 fielding %). I'm guessing this guy ends up a bust and never makes it to the big leagues.

Minor League Playoffs:
Phillies Triple-A affiliate, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, won the opening game of their playoff series last night, with Dave Bush picking up the win. Meanwhile, Double-A affiliate, Reading Phillies, were shutout in their first game.

It's nice to see the system winning throughout. Regular Season Records: Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs 80-64, Reading Phillies 74-68, Clearwater Threshers 75-63, Lakewood BlueClaws 68-69, Williamsport Crosscutters 43-33. Train 'em while they're young.

Ranks:

*MLB/NL

Offense:
R - 643 (10th/5th)
AVG - .254 (15th/9th)
OBP - .325 (10th/5th)
SLG - .402 (14th/7th)
OPS - .727 (13th/7th)
DBL - 230 (23rd/12th)
TRPL - 34 (4th/4th)
HR - 136 (16th/8th)
SB - 87 (18th/10th)
BB - 472 (8th/6th)
K - 882 (27th/15th)

Pitching:
ERA - 3.04 (1st/1st)
WHIP - 1.17 (1st/1st)
BAA - .240 (4th/3rd)
OPS - .654 (2nd/2nd)
SV - 42 (5th/4th)
SV% - 84% (1st/1st)
CG - 17 (1st/1st)
SHO - 20 (1st/1st)
BB - 350 (30th/30th)
K - 1106 (3rd/3rd)
QS - 95 (1st/1st)

Fielding:
E - 61 (1st/1st)
FPCT - .988 (1st/1st)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Series Preview - Brewers

Philadelphia Phillies (91-48) at Milwaukee Brewers (85-59)

Matchups:
Thursday 8:10 - Cole Hamels v. Chris Narveson
Friday 8:10 - Roy Halladay v.Shaun Marcum
Saturday 7:10 - Cliff Lee v. Randy Wolf
Sunday 2:10 - The Vanimal v.Yovani Gallardo

Beermakers Pitching:
ERA - 3.64 (8th)
WHIP - 1.23 (4th)
BAA -  .245 (7th)

Beermakers Batting:
Runs  - 635 (12th)
Avg - .262 (8th)
OPB - .323 (11th)
SLG - .421 (6th)

Magic Number Watch:
To win NL East: 12
To clinch playoff spot: 5

Nyjer Being Nyjer:
Specifically, acting like an idiot.



He got into it with Chris Carpenter last night after striking out. Apparently Carpenter was sick of Morgan's incessant chirping and "acting the fool" and had something to say after punching out the diminutive ass-clown in the ninth inning. For his part, Morgan yelled some not-so-niceties before chucking a hunk of chewing tobacco toward the mound. Classy. Afterward, Morgan took umbrage to Pujols coming to the defense of his pitcher, saying this on Twitter, "Alberta couldn't see Plush if she had her gloves on!!! Wat was she thinking running afta Plush!!! She never been n tha ring!!!"

Them's fightin' words. And you know, when there's a fight, we go to the Tale of the Tape!!!

Nickname:
Pujols: The Machine
Morgan: Plush
Advantage: And I feel, when the dogs begin to smell her, will she smell alone? That's "Plush" you idiot. Advantage Pujols.

Size:
Pujols: 6'3", 230.
Morgan: 6'0", 175.
Advantage: I would love to see Albert squash this bug.

Baseball skill:
Pujols: All-Star, MVP,. Gold Glove, Silver Slugger. HoF is waiting.
Morgan: Traded by the Pirates and the Nationals.
Advantage: Pujols.

The numbers never lie. Pujols in a walk over.

What We're Drinking:
Corey - Not beer! That's the drink of the enemy. Oh, who am I kidding. It's football tonight and my beloved Pack are playing. And I don't work tomorrow. I'll have sore elbows from all the 12 oz curls. Let the glory of football begin.

Carson  - water, I'm trying prevent excessive flooding.

What We're Listening Too:
Corey - Lucero. Possibly my favorite band of the past ten years.

Carson - sirens and raindrops.

Prediction:
Who cares? Look at those magic numbers. Maybe the Phils will drop a few so when they meet in the playoffs, the naive Brewers will have a false sense of security and confidence. Charlie is a managerial genius. Don't put it past him.

Phillies are Braves Bullseye

Not only have the Atlanta Braves been taking aim at the Phillies in the NL East standings over the past 2 years, their pitchers are also placing bullseyes on some of our batters. Last year Tim Hudson plunked Placido Polanco on his left elbow, which required surgery after the season and multiple cortisone injections. Polly hasn't been the same since. Last night Eric O'Flaherty came in and smoked Chase Utley in the head with a fastball. Utley was later removed from the game, and has a "minor concussion" according Ruben Amaro. He will miss a few games and will undergo some tests to determine the severity of his "fuzziness".

Wonder if it's time for Chipper Jones to get a Brad Lidge slider to the testicles. After all, breaking balls are unpredictable.

Other Stuff:
*With the sweep over the Braves, the Phils are now the only team that hasn't been swept this season (in a 3 or 4 game set).

*Jimmy Rollins will be activated from the DL, but will only be used in case of emergency, because he's still not 100%.

*MLB denied the Phillies protest of Saturday's game because they're a bunch of pussies that don't like to admit when mistakes are made.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Joe West - the Singing Umpire

The Phillies won yesterday. That makes 90 on the season. Yeah.

Chase Utley went deep. Yeah.

Vance Worley won again. Yeah.

A win today, sweeps the Braves outta town. Yeah.

Now onto more pressing things, like that asshat umpire Joe West (you know the one that makes sucky calls, breaks the rules, and ejects everyone) signing country music. Enjoy...or not...

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Rainy Day Stuff

Think there will be a game tonight? Yeah, me neither. Here's some stuff to chew on today.

Idiots of the Week:
The award goes to the two tools who interfered with Hunter Pence's double Sunday in Miami. Not because they interfered. Not even because the one tool said, "“The Phillies are 45 games over .500. Get over it.” No, they win the award because they had a "Man's Weekend in Miami." Check out the video of these losers HERE. At the one minute mark, the fat loser describes their plan to go to Miami for a "Man's Weekend." Not being of the ilk, I don't know what a "Man's Weekend" is, but from what I hear, Miami seems like a good place to do it. I read the plot of "The Birdcage" on Wikipedia. I know Miami.

Magic Number:
To make the playoffs - 7
To win the NL East - 16

Cliff Lee Stats:
You can read the article from ESPN.com, but here are the hilights:

He’s just the third Phillies pitcher in the past 50 years to throw at least six shutouts in a season (Steve Carlton and Jim Bunning).

He's the fifth National League lefty with six shutouts and 200 strikeouts in a season in the Expansion Era (Carlton, Sadecki, Veale, Koufax).

The last pitcher with six shutouts in a season was Randy Johnson in 1998.

Lee has 11 scoreless starts of at least seven innings pitched, the most since John Tudor and Dwight Gooden both had 11 such starts in 1985. The last pitcher to have MORE than 11 in one season was Bob Gibson (13 in 1968).

The last major league pitcher with two scoreless innings streaks of at least 29 ⅔ innings in the same season was Don Sutton in 1972 (29 ⅔ and 35).

Monday, September 05, 2011

Joe West is Bullsh*t

Umpire "Cowboy" Joe West is bullshit. He gave the Marlins the win yesterday. While it's true the Phillies bats didn't do much and David Herndon sucked for a second consecutive day, the fact remains the umpire blew the game. He shrunk the strike zone in the 14th inning. He used instant replay against its intended use. He awarded an out on a play that is never ruled fan interference (because jumping against and above the wall can not be considered an automatic out). Screw the Marlins dump of a stadium. Screw the Marlins' manager Jack Mackeon. And screw umpire Joe West.

Stuff:
*Herndon threw 69 pitches yesterday, but only 27 for strikes. Yep, his unexpected string of successful outings has been brought to a screeching halt.

*I hope Chase Utley decides to start hitting again. With yesterday's 0-7, his average is now down to .263. Bleh.

*Losing 2 of 3 to the Fish is bad. It was an ugly weekend for the Phightins.

*Braves are in Philly for a 3 game set starting today. Phils better pull their heads out of their collectives asses and take care of business, because things could very get interesting otherwise.

*Question- why are the Phillies shorthanded in the bullpen? It's September, call-up some warm bodies that are on the 40-man roster (Mathieson, De Fratus, Perez, Zagurski) and use them in case of emergency or blowout (ex- yesterday's 14 inning game).