Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oh Baseball, You Are Silly

The Phillies have climbed to two games above .500 and are 1.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, but they have the day off so I'm going to take this opportunity to check back in on a topic I wrote about a few weeks ago - the hypocrisy and stupidity of Major League Baseball and the complacent acceptance of the "legit" media.

To get up to speed, please read my rant concerning the Cole Hamels suspension. If you don't have time, I'll sum it up quickly: Hamels gets suspended for admitting to hitting a batter, Zimmerman does not get suspended despite obviously intentionally hitting Hamels, Rizzo gets all righteous about Hamels' atrocity while ignoring his own player's actions, Leyland talks a bunch of nonsense, and not a single pet monkey at a typewriter (ie sportswriter) calls anybody out on their stupidity or hypocrisy.

Okay, now on to last night's action in the Rays- White Sox game...

On Tuesday, AJ Pierzynski slid hard into second base. If you watch the replay, it looks pretty bad. His lead leg went over the bag and directly in the plant leg of infielder Ben Zobrist. Zobrist and AJ had some words and that was the end of it for that game.

Last night, Rays starter Alex Cobb hit AJ in the middle of the back in the top of the third inning with a man on second and one out. Everybody in the whole stadium knew Cobb drilled him on purpose. The home plate umpire had worked the game the night before, so he obviously knew what was going on. But apparently the ump didn't think he threw at him on purpose because he didn't eject him from the game.

An inning and a half later, Sox starter Jose Quintana threw a pitch behind the legs of Ben Zobrist. Quintana was immediately ejected.

Huh? One pitcher drills a guy in the middle of the back with obvious intent and he stays in the game, but the opposing pitcher throws one low and way inside (probably intentional, but do most pitchers try to hit guys in the calf muscle or ankle?) and he gets the heave. What a joke.

Of course, the post-game quotes are classic and predictable.

Cobb said, "I was just trying to get a fastball in, and yanked it a little bit."

Quintana said, "It just slipped."

But the best quote is from Rays manager Joe Maddon, who after watching his pitcher drill Pierzynski in the back said, "When a pitcher throws behind somebody like that, it's pretty obvious what their intent was regardless of the denials on the other side. I thought the home plate umpire did a great job."

I just hope that MLB and its constituents remain consistent, meaning Cobb and Quintana should get 5 game suspensions, Jim Leyland should go off his rocker and ask for 15 games, one general manager should call at least one pitcher "chicken sh*t," and no media member should bat an eye or ask a question. And I don't think the last part of that should be a problem. Here is the all that was written by St. Pete Times sports writer Joe Smith:

[Cobb] plunked Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the shoulder with a pitch in the third, though he said it wasn't on purpose. One inning later, White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana was ejected by plate umpire Mark Wegner for throwing behind Ben Zobrist, who apparently had an issue with Pierzynski over a slide into second base Tuesday night.

Ignorance is bliss...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Campaign Cheer 2 - Blogger Style !!!

Carson and I take a lot of heat because of the opinions espoused on this here blog. It comes with the territory, we get it. And frankly, we ask for it because we tell things the way they are. We aren’t Wheels and T-Mac blowing smoke up everyone’s rears from the booth. We aren’t Joe Schmoe Beat-writer, who can’t risk upsetting anyone and losing their access, without which he’d be nothing more than a glorified blogger. No, we are real fans who know a thing or two about baseball and aren’t afraid to lay it out there.

But occasionally the criticism gets to us. And recently, it’s gotten to me. Thanks to some terrifically terrific 'real' fans out there, I realize now that I am a ‘frontrunner.’ I’ve denied for too long. Sure, I’ve been a loyal Phillies fans since about 1985. You know, the ‘glory years.’ Sure I started a Phillies blog in 2006 when things were going GREAT for the Fightins. Sure I’ve spent hours watching and blogging about the Phillies for six years only taking a week or two off every year for vacation. I mean, it’s not like I had anything else to do with my time, like finish medical school and a residency, and get married and have a few kids, and run a small business and move houses twice and still have a social life. The facts are clear: I’m obviously a bandwagon-riding fraud who roots for the Phillies, Barcelona FC, Duke basketball, the Lakers, and Northwestern women’s lacrosse. (Look it up.) Why deny it any longer?

So, in light of my realization, I will be doing two things. One, as soon as the Phillies have two losing seasons in a row, I will resign from the blog and start blogging for whatever team is winning the NL East. And two, I will now be completely positive about everything because I have to fool all the readers into thinking I’m not a ‘frontrunner’ so we can maintain readership. (Got to keep the numbers up so the advertisers keep throwing mad cash our way…) Think of this as ‘Campaign Cheer .- Blogger Style.’ Anyways, here we go. Let’s Get Positive!

- Great effort by Blanton last night. ‘A’ for effort. He has given up eight home runs in his last three starts. But that’s okay because everybody loves home runs. Thanks for the entertainment Joe!

- Sure the Phils are in last place, but let’s look for the silver lining. If this continues for a few years, Citizens Bank Park will be far less crowded. Tickets will be very easy to obtain and the team may even reduce prices. People will be able to take their children to the ballpark more frequently and for less. You gotta love children being exposed to the National Past-time, right? Basically, the Phillies are losing for the benefit of our children. That is so nice of them!

- J-Roll is hitting like garbage but at least the Phillies only signed him to a three year contract worth about $30 million. They could have signed him to a seven year $100 million contract. That would have been horrible! Ruben Amaro is sooooooo smart for not giving J-Roll $100 million.

- Roy Halladay is out 6-8 weeks. That only means that he’ll be super fresh for the playoffs! Enjoy the two months off Roy, we’ll see you in the first round come September!

- Cole Hamels is the Phillies best pitcher but is set to become a free agent at the end of the year. Thankfully the Phillies haven’t signed him to an extension because I love free agent rumors and seeing where the best players sign. What else is there to read about in the Winter? And if he does go to another team, the Phils will get a draft pick. Gotta love rebuilding from the minors, right? That player will be another great reason to support the farm teams and someday could even be as good as somebody like Cole Hamels. How exciting!

That's a pretty good start, I think. I may wear out my exclamation point key though!!! Lol!!! See all you great fans later. Keep it real.... real positive!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Joe Blanton is Bad at Pitching

On May 3rd Joe Blanton crafted a 3-hit shutout against the Braves and his ERA was at a remarkable 2.83, allowing only 1 homerun all season. Less than a month later...boom! After tonight's 5 innings of failure, Heavy B's ERA sits at 5.05 for the year. Over the past 5 starts he's allowed 24 earned runs, 9 homeruns, 39 hits, and 7 walks in 27.1 innings for a 7.90 ERA and 1.68 WHIP.

It's a good think we have a healthy Cy Young candidate in Roy Halladay. Oh, wait...

Well, at least we have a healthy Vance Worley proving that he will not fall into a sophomore slump. Dammit...

 Don't worry about the pitching, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are fully mended and ready to lift the offense to new heights. What? They haven't even started their rehab assignments yet? This is bullshit!

Never mind, this season sucks!

Can They Do It?

Monday, May 28, 2012

To New York They Go- Mets Series Preview

Philadelphia Phillies (25-24, Last Place) @ New York Mets (27-21, 2nd Place)

Pitching Matchups:
Monday, 1:10 Cole Hamels vs. Jonathon Niese
Tuesday, 7:10 Joe Blanton vs. Jeremy Hefner
Wednesday, 7:10 Cliff Lee vs. Dillon Gee

Mutts Offense:
R -  204 (15th)
AVG - .258 (11th)
OPS - .711 (19th)

The don't have much.  David Wright is awesome (.382/1.077).  Daniel Murphy and Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit for average.  Other than that, they scrape together runs any which way they can. 

Mutts Pitching:
ERA - 4.33 (25th)
WHIP - 1.37 (24th)
BAA - .263 (25th)

Phils luckily miss Darth Santana and Knuckle-ballin' Dickey this series.  Niese is okay, but nothing special.  Gee gets hit around, and Hefner has a 6.17 ERA so he's likely to pitch 7 innings of 1 run ball against the Phils.

Head-Scratcher:
The Phillies have scored only 4 less runs than the Mets this season (204 to 200), and have allowed 28 fewer runs (223 to 195), so how the hell is it that they have such a better record?  Hmm...

Prediction:
Phils take 2 of 3, with the loss coming from another Blanton blowup.  Very much looking forward to the Lee-Gee matchup, because of its rhyme-ability.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Oh Great, it's KK, the Starter

KK the starting pitcher is a completely different animal than KK the reliever.  My partner in crime blogging, Corey, dreads every 5th day when Kyle Kendrick takes the mound, but maybe he should reconsider.  In 6 starts this season, KK has a 3.25 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.  Since rejoining the rotation following Vance Worley's bone-chipped elbow, he has made 3 starts with a 1.22 ERA and 0.77 WHIP.  Um, that's better than Halladay (not that I think he actually is better than Doc for real).  However, my guess is Kendrick continues to be referred to as "Oh great, it's KK" in the series previews because that's how we roll up in here.  Seriously though, big ups to Kyle for crafting his first career complete game shutout.

Other Stuff:
*Will the Phillies be able to finish off the 4 game sweep of the Red Birds today, finally tip-toeing their way to 3 games over .500?

*J-Roll is batting .225 with a putrid .561 OPS.  When Utley returns (Hahaha, get it?  That was a joke!), maybe Freddy Galvis, the MLB RBI leader for rookies, can scoot over to SS and relieve Rollins of his duties.  

*Count me in as a member of the Raul Valdes fan club.  Reasons- 1) He fills the team's Raul quota.  2) He confuses people with the spelling of his last name, "s" instead of "z".  3) He hasn't allowed a run this season.  4) He's a journeyman left-handed reliever.  5) I dislike Chad Qualls.

*The once upon a time highly hyped Domonic Brown is now shagging fly balls in center field.  Why?  He sucked in RF and LF, so might as well try him straight up the middle.

*Over/Under for how long before Roy Halladay looks completely gassed (red-faced) in the St. Louis 100 degree heat is 4 innings. I take the under.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Respect the Valdes & Other Little Guys

In a season that has been bleak, there is a nice little storyline going on with the Philadelphia Phillies- the unknowns, little guys, castoffs, and has-beens.  Let's take a moment to give some respect to these players that have helped carry the Phils to a .500 record (23-23) and not fall completely out of contention.

Raul Valdes - came in and put out the fire Blanton ignited last night and picked up the win.  In 4 appearances he's tossed 5.1 innings, striking out 7, allowing only 1 base runner, and no runs.  Small sample size, but nice and tidy nonetheless.

Jake Diekman - aside from one awful appearance (cut the kid a break), he's been outstanding, striking out 10 batters in 5 innings of work.  He has the look of a lefty that can be an effective piece of the bullpen puzzle for years to come.

Mike Fontenot - I wanted him back in spring training, then wanted him called up sooner once the Phils actually got him.  He's batting .500 (7-14) and might be a nice utility infielder to have for the rest of the season.

Hector Luna - Our overpaid first baseman remains on the DL, Thome is AWOL, Mayberry stinks, Wigginton is entirely mediocre, and Nix is hurt...so Manuel has turned to Luna lately.  6 RBI in 7 games is  good enough for me.

Pete Orr - the Canadian is quietly having a nice season as a backup infielder (.300/.767).

Juan Pierre - had to settle for a minor league contract this past offseason, and has proven thus far that he was worth the low-risk signing.  He's helped the team atop the order (.299 AVG/.343 OBP) while J-Roll continues to struggle.

While players like Hunter Pence, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry Jr., Chad Qualls, and Jose Contreras have underperformed their expectations, the guys above have helped keep the team afloat.

Oh, and don't forget the Herculean effort Chooch has been putting forth.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Series Preview - Cardinals

Phillies (22-23) v. St. Louis Cardinals (25-19)


Pitching Matchups:
Thursday, 8:15 - Joe Blanton v. Jake Westbrook
Friday, 8:15 - Cliff Lee v. Kyle Lohse
Saturday, 7:15 - Oh great, it's KK v. Jaime Garcia
Sunday, 2:15 - Roy Halladay v. Adam Wainwright

What the heck happened to Kyle Lohse? For 10 years he was a sub-.500 pitcher with a career 4.79 ERA. Then last year he dropped his ERA to a career low 3.39 over 30 starts and he's continued the success into 2012, posting a stellar 2.91 ERA and a 5-1 record.

Adam Wainwright went through Tommy John surgery last seen and struggled early in 2012. He has the worst ERA of any Cardinals starter (4.78), however, he's coming off of a 4-hitter against the Padres on Tuesday. And if you're thinking, "Yeah, but it's the Padres," just remember that he'll be facing a team that could start Hector Luna, Freddy Galvis and Mike Fontenot in the same game...

Pope Hopefuls Batting:
Runs - 231 (3rd)
Avg - .278 (2nd)
Slug - .457 (3rd)

Lance Berkman (.333-1-4) tore his ACL and is done for the year (career?) and Allen Craig (.373-5-19) and Jon Jay (.343 avg) are on the DL and won't play this series. However, this team is full of guys that can hit. Carlos Beltran (14 homers), Yadier Molina (.297), Rafael Furcal (.339), Matt Holliday (9 HR, 30 RBI), and David Freese (9 HR, 31 RBI) will lead the way with support from rookie Matt Adams (.286) and Skip Schumaker (.310).

Pope Hofefuls Pitching:
ERA - 3.54 (11th)
WHIP - 1.27 (12th)
BAA - .255 (20th)

Jason Motte has a 0.88 WHIP and eight saves while setup man Michell Boggs has a 10.3:1 K/BB ratio. After these two, the rest of the bullpen is entirely hittable.

Their Danny Sandoval:
Backup catcher Tony Cruz is only 4-30 with a .300 OPS.

Their Danys Baez:
Before being release a week ago, JC Romero had given up 9 runs and 14 hits over 8 innings. The currently weakest link in the Cardinals bullpen is Fernando Salas and his 5.52 ERA.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number is trying to figure out what to do with its Facebook stock...

Prediction:
The KK game is a loss and I don't have much confidence in Halladay on Sunday. So, Phils take one and become further entrenched in the cellar.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ex-Phillies Farmhands Getting a Chance

The Phillies stink.  It's like watching the mid to late 90's teams, except with a bloated payroll. 

So, in other news...

Ex-Phillies "prospects" Mike Costanzo, Qunitin Berry, and Rich Thompson are getting their shot in the show.

Mike Costanzo was a 2nd round pick for Philadelphia in 2005.  He was going to be the future at 3rd base.  Yeah, not quite.  He's currently with the Reds batting .111/.202 in 8 games.  He did flash some power in the minors, but also showed the inability to make contact (886 K in 820 games).  Costanzo is also an error machine at 3rd base- 108 E in 637 G, .929%.  I'm happy that he finally got to make his MLB debut and hope Cincy keeps him around so he can take Roy Halladay deep to win a game later this season.

Quintin Berry was drafted in the 5th round by the Phillies back in 2006.  He was one of those "toolsy" outfielders that were supposed to develop into a superstar in the mold of a Ken Griffey Jr. or Larry Walker.  He didn't.  Midway through the 2010 season, Berry was sent to San Diego.  Then he was with Cincinnati's organization, then Detroit's.  Detroit is finally where he'll get his first MLB experience.  The Tigers normal center fielder, Austin Jackson, is ailing, so Berry has been summoned from Toledo.  He's now 27 years old.  Don't go adding him to your fantasy roster though, he's a .267/.697 batter in the minors, with his only plus tool being speed (261 stolen bases in  692 games).

Rich Thompson was traded to Tampa Bay a week ago and made an instant impact, swiping 2 bags in his first game.  That was it though, nothing since then.  Mr. Iron Pig is lucky to have gotten another chance.  He's nothing special...sorta unspecial like the 21 of the 25 players on the Phillies active roster. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fill in the Blank: 2012 Phillies

The 2012 Philadelphia Phillies are _______________.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Series Preview - Nationals.. again

Phillies (21-21) v. Washington Nationals (24-17)

The Gnats are 6-8 in their last 14. The Phils are 8-6 during the same stretch.

Pitching Matchups:
Monday, 7:05 - Oh great, it's KK v. Gnat Gio
Tuesday, 7:05 - Roy Halladay v. Jordan Zimmerman
Wednesday, 7:00 - Cole Hamels v. Ed Jackson

US Citizens Batting:
Runs - 146 (27th)
Avg - .243 (22nd)
Slug - .382 (20th)

US Citizens Pitching:
ERA - 2.98 (1st)
WHIP - 1.11 (1st)
BAA - .218 (1st)

Their Danny Sandoval:
Xavier Nady's .145 average and .482 OPS even make Jimmy Rollins' numbers look acceptable.

What I'm Listening To:
'Stayin Alive' by the Bee Gees - RIP Robin Gibb and sorry about the tasteless pun.

What I'm [Not] Drinking:
The 'Kool-Aid' - Anybody read the articles this weekend about how Chase Utley took some ground balls? Exciting news, eh? And only 2 weeks after he was going to "ramp up" his activity. What progress he's making! I can't wait until he comes back and hits 20 home runs! Yeah, Chase!

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number didn't see his shadow, so he won't be around for at least another two weeks...

Prediction:
Don't even bother watching tonight. They'll split the last two meaning the Phils lose another series.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Phillies Quarterly Report Card

If this were a school year, the Phillies just finished their 1st marking period, having played their 41st game which is a quarter of the season.  Therefore, it only seems proper to dole out a report card.

Grades are based on expectations and overall performance.  Defense is taken into account.

Bats:
AVG/OPS

Carlos Ruiz - .358/1.007, 21 R, 8 DBL, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 2 SB.  Grade: A+

Ty Wigginton - .260/.693, 17 R, 5 XBH, 13 RBI.  Grade: C

Freddy Galvis - .242/.690, 8 R, 15 XBH, 19 RBI. Grade: B-

Placido Polanco - .279/.668, 14 R, 8 XBH, 8 RBI.  Grade: C-

Jimmy Rollins - .227/.573, 22 R, 7 XBH, 7 RBI, 9 SB.  Grade: F

Juan Pierre - .327/.735, 13 R, 3 XBH, 6 RBI, 6 SB.  Grade: B

John Mayberry Jr. - .257/.636, 9 R, 7 XBH, 7 RBI.  Grade: D

Shane Victorino - .251/.714, 19 R, 13 XBH, 17 RBI, 12 SB.  Grade: C+

Hunter Pence - .261/.817, 26 R, 7 DBL, 10 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB.  Grade: B

Laynce Nix - .326/.979.  Grade: A+

Brian Schneider - .303/.748.  Grade: A

Pete Orr - .278/.714.  Grade: B

Jim Thome - .111/.378.  Grade: F

Incomplete:  Hector Luna, Mike Fontenot, and Erik Kratz.

Arms:
ERA/WHIP, BB:K

Roy Halladay - 9 GS, 4-3, 64.1 IP, 12:50, 3.22/1.06.  Grade: B

Cliff Lee - 5 GS, 0-1, 37 IP, 4:34, 1.95/0.76. Grade: A+

Cole Hamels - 8 GS, 6-1, 54.1 IP, 10:58, 2.48/1.03.  Grade: A+

Vance Worley - 7 GS, 3-2, 44 IP,  15:45, 3.07/134.  Grade: A

Joe Blanton - 8 GS, 4-4, 53 IP, 7:39, 3.74/1.15.  Grade: B

Kyle Kendrick - 9 G, 4 GS, 0-3, 25.2 IP, 9:16, 5.96/1.68, 1 HLD.  Grade: F

Jonathan Papelbon - 17 G, 0-1, 16.1 IP, 4:19, 2.20/0.92, 12 SV.  Grade: A+

Antonio Bastardo - 17 G, 1-1, 12.1 IP, 7:14, 1.46/0.97, 9 HLD.  Grade: A+

Chad Qualls - 17 G, 1-1, 14 IP, 6:10, 4.50/1.79, 8 HLD.  Grade: C

Jose Contreras - 12 G, 1-0, 10 IP, 3:11, 7.20/1.50, 3 HLD. Grade: D

Joe Savery - 9 G, 10 IP, 2:3, 3.60/0.90, 1 HLD.  Grade: B

Incomplete: Raul Valdes, Jacob Diekman, David Herndon, Michael Stutes, Brian Sanches, and Michael Schwimer.

Overall Team Grade: C

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Alfonseca is Back!

*Gotta love a 6-game winning streak.  Brings back fond memories of Antonio Alfonseca.  Polydactyly for the win!

*Over the Phillies last 10 games, Carlos Ruiz is batting .517 (15-29) with 7 R, 2 DBL, 2 HR, 10 RBI, and 2 SB.  MVP! MVP! MVP!

*Maybe the Phillies should have saved themselves millions of dollars this offseason and let Jimmy Rollins walk (.228/.578) and played Freddy Galvis at shortstop instead (.234/.656).  I'm not serious, but damn J-Roll, get it going already would ya?!

*I really wish the Phillies starting pitchers went at least 7 innings every night and that Antonio Bastardo would pitch the 8th with Papelbon holding down the 9th.  Chad Qualls is scary.  His 1.79 WHIP and .322 BAA are not meant for the setup role. 

*Old buddy Raul Ibanez who appeared to be running on fumes last season has got some high octane left in the tank.  He clubbed his 8th homerun for the Yankees last night and is now batting .254/.864 with 24 RBI.  Do you hear that John Mayberry Jr.?!

*The NL East is clearly the best division in baseball, with every team boasting a winning record.  Overall record of the NL East 111-86 (.563 winning percentage).

*Don't forget that Pat "The Bat" Burrell will be honored before the game today.  I heard instead of getting a key to the city or his number retired, he gets cart blanche to all strip clubs within cities limits.

*And last, but not least, video of why umpire "Balking" Bob Davidson was suspended.  Turn the volume up so you can hear every lovely word whispered from his sweet beautiful mouth.

 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Series Preview - Red Sox

Phillies (20-19) v. Boston Red Sox (18-20)

It's a battle of last place teams, although of the six teams currently in last place, the Phils have the best record and the Sox have the second best record. 



Pitching Matchups:
Friday, 7:05 - Cole Hamels v. Josh Bard (MLB Network)
Saturday, 7:15 - Joe Blanton v. Jon Lester
Sunday, 1:35 - Cliff Lee v. Josh Beckett (TBS)

No need to breakdown the pitching matchups. If you watch ESPN or MLB Network (aka The Sox-Yanks Television Networks) you know more than you need to about the these pitchers.

Hosiery Batting:
Runs - 134 (22nd)
Avg - .247 (18th)
Slug - .377 (24th)

Big Poppy is straight raking. He leads the team in hits, average, homers, RBI, weight, OBP, and slugging. However, he's done that from the designated hitter sport for all but two games. And he was recently listed as day-to-day with a bruised heel. So it's likely he'll get two games maximum against the Phillies this weekend.

Hosiery Pitching:
ERA - 3.94 (18th)
WHIP - 1.30 (16th)
BAA - .234 (4th)

Their Danny Sandoval:
Nick Punto has a .467 OPS. Darnell McDonald can't pitch (27.00 ERA) and obviously can't hit either (.179 average). Honorable mention goes to the Greek God of Walks and his .219 average and his 4:1 K to walk ratio.

Their Danys Baez:
Mark Melancon only lasted four appearance before being shipped out but giving up 11 earned in two innings gets him the honor. Honorable mention to our old friend Vicente Padilla and his 5.63 ERA. Which was his 'power' side again?

Their Gavin Floyd:
What in the hell happened to Clay Buchholz? he threw a no-no as a rookie. Then two years ago he had a 2.23 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 28 starts. Last year he missed the second half with a stress fracture in his back and so far in 2012 he's been atrocious - 7.77 ERA and 1.91 WHIP.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number is too busy driving his loser friends 800 miles to a Taco Bell because that's easier than just buying regular tacos AND a bag of Doritos and mixing them together himself...

[Phils are only a game and a half out of a Wild Card spot so the magic number could actually return soon...]

Prediction:
You'd think the Phils would have a good shot at taking two from Boston. The Phils are hitting. They have three solid starters going (aka no KK). There's got to be confidence in the clubhouse after two 'sweeps.' the Red Sox are a hot mess. But I don't have a good feeling about this series. It's probably because I'm generally negative about interleague play. It sucks. If you like it, you're a communist. And next year they'll be doing this garbage all year. Great, more games with Minnesota and Tampa but Pittsburgh can only come to town once a year. Way to ruin tradition, Bud. Jeez, interleague play makes me angry. Red Sox take two of three.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Record Setting Howard Pace

The 2012 MLB season is nearing the quarter mark with teams about to play their 40th game within the next few days.  There have been 39 Howards committed so far this year.  That's an average of 1 per game, which computes to a pace for 162 Howards.  This would shatter the previous season record of 112 Howards back in 2010.  Keep on hacking, whacking, whiffing, and biffing!

Other Stuff:
*Freddy Galvis may not get many hits, but when he does they seem to knock in runs.

*Hector Luna, with 1 at bat, has managed to outproduce Jim Thome this season.

*Polanco left yesterday's game because of a bruised knee.  He's been fouling pitches off his left knee and it needs some time off.  Look for Luna at 3rd tonight in Chicago.

*Rich Thompson, who the Phils traded to the Rays yesterday, has been promoted to Tampa Bay's 25-man roster.  Good for him.

*Citi Field hosts the 2013 All Star Game.  Yuck!

*No structural damage was found in The Vanimal's elbow (ultrasound and MRI were conducted).   It is merely inflammation, which is still worrisome, but not TJS worrisome.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

South Paw Bullpen & Triple-A Outfielder Swap

South Paw Bullpen:
The Phillies might not lead the Major Leagues in any meaningful stat like wins, runs scored, or even stolen bases, but they do currently employ the most lefties in the bullpen.  Earlier today Vance Worley was euthanized DL'd and Joe Savery was recalled.  He joins Antonio Bastardo, Raul Valdes, and Jake Diekman, making for 4 south paws in the bullpen.  I'm not sure if Amaro is playing a practical joke on Manuel, seeing if he'll go all LaRussa and switch pitchers between each batter about 5-6 times a game, but look for this not to be an effective plan.

Triple-A Outfielder Swap:
The Phillies sent longtime Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs outfielder Rich Thompson to the Tampa Bay Rays for a Triple-A outfielder from their system named Kyle Hudson.  Thompson is 33 years old and is nothing more than organizational filler at this point in his career.  He's been with the LVP since 2008, and is the leader in most of the offensive categories for the franchise.  In 13 minor league seasons he's hit .280/.727 with 836 R, and 442 SB.  He did appear in 6 games with the Royals back in 2004, his only MLB experience. 

Hudson is 25 years old and appeared in 14 games last season with the Orioles batting only .143/.286.  In 5 minor league seasons he's hit .277/.678 with ZERO homeruns in 1744 plate appearances.  So, it's safe to say he won't be called upon to help solve the Phillies power shortage.  His only asset is his speed.  Essentially the Phils and Rays swapped the same player, one the older version the other the younger.

Series Preview - Cubs... again

Phillies (18-19) at Chicago Cubs (15-21)

Pitching Matchups:
Wednesday, 8:05 - Vance Worley K.K. v. Matt Garza
Thursday, 8:05 - Roy Halladay v. Chris Volstad

As Carson mentioned this morning, Vance Worley has a sore elbow. The way things are going, that probably means TJ surgery. Unfortunately, Kyle Kendrick will get the start. I don't know why they don't throw Mick Billmeyer. If you're going to put a batting practice pitcher out there, put the best one you've got. I'd rather have Dontrelle Willis back. I'd rather watch Joe Roa fondle his hair for 5 miserable innings. I'd rather watch Kyle Abbott lose another game. [Can you believe Kyle Abbot was 1-14 for the Phils in 1992? That's some impressive futility.]

Baby Bruins Batting:
Runs - 134 (22nd)
Avg - .247 (18th)
Slug - .377 (24th)

Baby Bruins Pitching:
ERA - 3.94 (18th)
WHIP - 1.30 (16th)
BAA - .234 (4th)

Their Danny Sandoval:
Geovany Soto - After 90 at-bats, Soto is hitting .167.

Their Kyle Kendrick:
Chris Volstad - No wonder Miami gave up on Volstad. After seven starts his ERA is 6.92.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number is too busy asking its phone if it's raining instead of just looking out the damn window...

Prediction:
The Phils split 4 games with the Cubbies two weeks ago, so I guess they'll split this one too since there is no chance Kendrick will win tonight. Halladay will finally pick up a win in the finale.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Win Streak, Worley Hurt, Diekman Debut, Lee Can't Win, Pence Goes Deep, Last Place & Catching Duo


*Today's win marked the Phillies first 3-game winning streak of the 2012 season and first extra inning win.  Yeah, it's been that bad.

*Vance Worley will miss tomorrow's start in Chicago with elbow soreness.  Yeah, more Kyle Kendrick!

*Jacob Diekman got the W in his MLB debut. 3 K's in 1.1 IP with no hits or walks.  Hell, he should be the new 8th inning setup man.  Congrats kid, and make sure to thank Charlie Manuel for shitty bullpen management that lead to giving you the opportunity to pick up the win.

*Cliff Lee continues to be Mr. No-Luck.  In 5 starts this year, he has a 1.95 ERA and 0.76 WHIP, but nary a win.  Stupid offense.  Stupid Manuel.

*Hunter Pence went deep twice today to bump his season total to 9 homeruns.  His second 4-bagger was of the walk-off variety.

*The Phillies are now 18-19 and still in last place in the NL East.

*The Phillies quite possibly have the best offensive catching duo in the Majors between Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider- .328/.907, 21 R, 8 DBL, 7 HR, 27 RBI

Bryce Harper's Howard & Other Stuff

*The teenage sensation, the Wunderkind, the Natural, the adolescent phenom, the one and only uber-hyped Bryce Harper hit the first homerun of his career last night.  He also committed an error.  He also struck out.  Oh yeah, he committed his first career Howard.  Welcome to the list kid.

*Placido Polanco helped put the game away in the bottom of the 8th inning last night with a 2 run blast.  It was his first homerun of the season and his 2000th career hit.  Congratulations to Polly.

*Jordan Lyles scales the mound today for the Astros.  He's made only one start this season, and gave up 3 runs over 6 innings.  The 21 year old righy made his MLB debut in 2011, going 2-8 with a 5.36 ERA.

*Both Juan Pierre and Pete Orr made my Minor League Free Agent squad for 2012.

*Freddy Galvis has 15 RBI.  Albert Pujols- 12.  That doesn't mean Freddy is good, but it does mean that Pujols has been the biggest disappoint so far this season.

*Joe Blanton now has more wins (4) and a better ERA (2.96) and WHIP (1.07) than Roy Halladay. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Astros Series Preview

Phillies (16-19) v. Houston Astros (15-19)

Pitching Matchups:
Monday, 7:00 - Joe Blanton v. Lucas Harrell
Tuesday, 1:05 - Cliff Lee v. TBD

Space Cadets Batting:
Runs - 143 (13th)
Avg - .249 (14th)
Slug - .365 (26th)

Space Cadets Pitching:
ERA - 3.65 (13th)
WHIP - 1.26 (12th)
BAA - .244 (14th)

Lucas Harrell will be making his first appearance against the Phils. So far this season he's 2-2 with a 4.68 ERA. The Astros are 2-5 in games he's started in 2012. The game 2 starter is still unknown.

Their Danny Sandoval:
JD Martinez - Martinez started the season like a house on fire. Now, he's flamed out. He's 1-26 in May and batting .221 overall.

Their Danys Baez:
No Astros reliever that pitches consistently has put up terrible numbers, so I'll give this award to former Phillie JA Happ who has a 5.72 ERA in seven starts.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number had to get ten stitches after breaking a bat against the clubhouse wall. No word on its return...

Prediction:
Why not be optimistic? I'm saying Blanton continues his recent run of form, Lee out-duels the unknown pitcher and the Phils sweep the short series.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The First 34

Don't fool yourself into thinking this is a good team, because they're not.  Go ahead and try to make excuses, it doesn't matter.  Through the first 34 games of the season the Phillies have been terrible.  Below you will find the record of each Phils club Charlie Manuel has managed at this same point in the season.  Keep in mind, the only reason they made the playoffs in '07 was because of a colossal fail by the Mets. Contrary to fans and some player's beliefs, wins in April and May matter just as much as those in August and September...they all add up the same.

2012: 15-19, 6.5 back

2011: 23-11, 3 up

2010: 21-13, 1.5 up

2009: 18-16, 1.5 back

2008: 19-15, tied for 1st

2007: 15-19, 6.5 back

2006: 19-15, 3 back

2005: 15-19, 6.5 back

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Phils Avoid Sweep, Trade Pods, Polly Not Dead & Roster Moves

No Sweep for Padres:
Ladies and gentlemen, stand up and applaud your Philadelphia Phillies for winning the first game of a series, thus avoiding a sweep.  Congratulations, you're not as bad as the Padres for one day!

Good Bye Podfather:
Scott Podsednik has been "traded" to the Boston Red Sox.  I use the term trade lightly, considering the return for Pods is money, not even the all-too-famous PTBNL (Player To Be Named Later).   Podsednik had spent parts of the 2011 and 2012 season with the Iron Pigs, never really doing anything worthy of a call-up.

Polly Deserves a Cracker:
A few weeks ago I suggested Placido Polanco might want to contemplate retiring.  Honestly, I said that in jest, but I did wholeheartedly believe he should be removed from the regular gig at 3rd base.  Well, he's back to his hitting ways.  Guess he's not dead yet.  He's now batting .283, albeit with a weak .659 OPS, but we'll take what we can get.

Maybe I should start in on J-Roll's appalling .229/.544 showcasing of diminished talent.

Flurry of Roster Moves:
Off Active Roster- Laynce Nix to DL, Michael Martinez transferred to the 60-day DL, Michael Schwimer, Brian Sanches, Erik Kratz, and Joe Savery optioned to minors.

On Active Roster- Cliff activated from DL, Jacob Diekman, Raul Valdes, Mike Fontenot, and Hector Luna called up from minors.

It would be nice of the training staff to invent an injury for Jose Contreras while they're at it...elbow tendonitis perhaps.  That way the bullpen wouldn't be subjected to his complete ineffectiveness.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Padres Come To Town

Pitching Matchups:
Friday 7:05- Clayton Richard (4.89/1.37) vs. Vance Worley (2.84/1.34)
Saturday 7:05- Joe Wieland (4.55/1.27) vs. Roy Halladay (3.28/1.07)
Sunday 1:35- Edinson Volquez (2.98/1.23) vs. Cole Hamels (2.45/1.02)

Friars Offense:
Runs - 102 (29th)
AVG - .220 (29th)
OPS - .635 (28th)

Their bats are lifeless, but I'm sure they're enough to overcome the Phils craptastic bullpen.  Throw the stats out the window this weekend, all the Padres hitters become Josh Hamilton for 3 games.

Friars Pitching:
ERA - 3.33 (7th)
WHIP - 1.27 (15th)

The Padres already possess a solid pitching staff, mix that in with the fact the Phillies hitters are under performing and it's a recipe for Cy Richard, Cy Wieland, and Cy Volquez in this series.

Prediction:
My blind fandom says Phils sweep.  My heart says 2 out of 3.  My gut says 1 out of 3. My brain says this team sucks and this is just the begining on a long losing streak.  Either way, I'm right somehow.

Spotlight on the Minors:
Tyler Cloyd: 6-0, 7 GS, 45 IP, 37 K, 1.40 ERA, 0.84 WHIP. The 24 year old right-hander has split the season between Reading and Lehigh Valley.

Darin Ruf: .393/1.068, 21 R, 9 DBL, 6 HR, 26 RBI. The 25 year old 1st baseman continues to get better at every stop along his minor league journey (currently in Double-A). In 4 minor league seasons, he boasts a .309 average and .874 OPS in 351 games.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Need To Complain

The Phillies are killing me right now. I want to rant and rave about the bullpen, Charlie Manuel's incompetence, the bullpen, the lack of situational hitting, the bullpen, etc. But there's only so much of that you can write about or read, so today I'm going to take out my frustration on something else that's bugging me: the response to Cole Hamels hitting Bryce Harper. 

I wrote the day after it happened about how I was against hitting a guy for no reason. Others, like Cal Ripken, echoed my thoughts. But then people started saying stupid things, which is fine because we need people to say stupid things. It's entertaining. We also need people to call out the stupid things that people say as being stupid. That's where I come in because the "mainstream" "legitimate" media won't do it. Seriously, what's with these guys? Do you have to promise to be a brain-dead 'yes man' without the cajones to ask provocative questions in order to qualify for a press pass? I’m sick of guys spouting off obviously hypocritical statements and having them published all over the electronic print media without any question challenging the absurdity of their words.

For instance, in Mike Rizzo’s “fake tough” rant, he had the audacity to say the Nationals were not out to hurt anybody, inferring that his pitcher wouldn’t hit someone on purpose because of the associated injury risks. He, and apparently everybody in the “legitimate media,” was happy to ignore the blatantly obvious bean ball aimed at Hamels a few innings later. No one thought about asking Rizzo about this flaming pile of hypocrisy? No, easier just to let the dog bark than risk getting bitten.

Then, Jim Leyland was able to escape his cloud of cigarette smoke and force a few breaths of ignorance out to the media. He thinks Hamels should be suspended at least 15 games in a way to “clean up” the game. 15 games, eh? Clean up the game, eh? Okay, but then the media asked him why he thinks that a player should get suspended for 10% of the season for doing what’s been done (and accepted…) thousands of times before but his player (Delmon Young) only got a seven day suspension for being charged with “aggravated harassment hate crime.” Oh, wait, no they didn’t! Perhaps they were afraid of second hand chronic bronchitis from the sputum that would be thrust their way in response. They also refrained from asking Leyland if he ever promoted longer suspensions for any of his pitchers that were suspended for hitting batters. The obvious answer would be “no” with a likely explanation about Hamels being “braggadocios” and “doing it on purpose.” This would allow a media member to point out that most, if not all, pitcher suspension are for hitting a batter “on purpose” and why admitting to one’s actions rather than denying the obvious is worthy of an increased suspension. Of course, nobody thought of doing this because again, why make waves when you’re riding the boat?

And where is the article pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of the league suspending and fining Hamels for hitting Harper but letting Zimmerman escaped both after hitting Hamels? MLB suspends pitchers all the time for intentionally hitting batters without them admitting they did it. So does the league honestly think Zimmerman's plunking of Hamels was accidental? No, of course not. They know he did it on purpose. The truth is, Hamels was not suspended for hitting Harper. He wasn't suspended for admitting hitting Harper on purpose. No, he was suspended because his actions resulted in negative publicity for the league. Zimmerman's plunking of Hamels is almost universally accepted. Why? Because is was retaliatory and within the "unwritten rules" of baseball. An objective observer would come the conclusion that both acts were essentially the same but the league is far from objective. They are self serving. Therefore, the message sent from the league on this issue is obvious: Major League Baseball does not care about purposely hitting batters with pitchers. In fact, they are happy to ignore and passively condone bean balls as long as it does not result in any negative publicity. So pitchers, go free and bean, just don't start a brawl or be honest about your intentions.

Now, why couldn't somebody getting paid to write about baseball mention any of this? And where can I get my press pass?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Charlie Manuel Doesn't Know What To Say

“I’ve wanted to talk to them. I wanted to talk to them in San Diego. But right now at this point I don’t really know what to say to them. That’s kind of how I feel. I mean, I’m going to talk to them. I might go over and talk to them right now. I don’t know. But sooner or later I will talk to them. But right now I don’t know what I want to say.”
~Phillies Manager, Charlie Manuel
It seems clearer than ever before that Charles Fuqua Manuel should no longer be the man at the helm of this team. His strength is supposed to be his even keel demeanor and calming clubhouse influence. He's never been known for solid in-game strategy, and that is rearing its ugly head this season. And now, he doesn't even know what to say to his team. This is a shit team about to be flushed down the toilet.

I don't hate Charlie, nor do I blame him for all this team's faults.  Amaro and the players share in that blame as well.  However,  Manuel's job is to rally the troops, put them in the best position to succeed, and ultimately rule the roost.  That doesn't appear to be the case, so now is the time to move on.  Thanks for the memories...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Hot Corner Howard & Other Stuff

Hot Corner Howard:
Earlier this season the catchers littered The Howard 2012 standings, but now the hot corner has caught fire.  The 4 players currently atop the Howard leaderboard are all 3rd basemen.  Don't look for Longoria to boost that total any higher, as he's on the DL.  Do keep an eye on rookie Will Middlebrooks who has committed 2 Howards in his first 4 games of his career.  Also, Pedro Alvarez's power seems to be returning and his fielding is as horrific as ever, so more Howards are likely to come for him too.

Hamels Out:
Looks like Cole Hamels will be the only one facing a consequence for the exchange of fastballs to the body and war of words between him and the Nationals.  Cole gets a 5 games suspension, while Gnats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann gets nada for his retaliation.  Nor does GM Frank Rizzo for calling Hamels "gutless", "fake tough", "chicken shit", and other pleasantries.

Last Place:
The Phillies are in last place in the NL East, 5 back of Washington.  Oh, that's encouraging.

Bad Bullpen:
With Papelbon's 9th inning meltdown last night, the Phils bullpen continues to blow games.  That's something like the 6th game this season lost in the 9th inning or later.  Oh, that's encouraging.

Manuel Still an Idiot:
Runners on 2nd & 3rd, bottom of the 8th inning, 1 out, score tied at 2 with Freddy Galvis at the plate.  Manuel lets him bat.  Dumb!  Those stupid "Freddy! Freddy! Freddy!" chants didn't help the helpless hack succeed. Should have pinch-hit Orr, Pierre, or Nix in that situation instead of keeping them for later.  Between the crappy offense, crappy bullpen, and crappy managing of the crappy offense and crappy bullpen it's going to be difficult to make the playoffs this season.  Oh, that's encouraging.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Series Preview - Mets #2

Phillies (14-15) v. New York Metropolitans (15-13)

Pitching Matchups:
Monday, 7:00 - Roy Halladay v. Jon Niese
Tuesday, 7:05 - Joe Blanton v. Miguel Batista
Wednesday, 7:05 - Cliff Lee v. Dillon Gee

Muts Batting:
Runs - 106 (20th)
Avg - .263 (6th)
Slug - .375 (22th)

Muts Pitching:
ERA - 4.35 (24th)
WHIP - 1.40 (24th)
BAA - .264 (22nd)

Their Freddy Galvis:
Ike Davis -Ike becomes the first person to make "TFG" twice this season. He started the season 1-20 before the first series with the Phillies. He's now raised that average to .168.

Their Danys Baez:
Manny Acosta -Manny is sporting a 9.69 ERA. He has given up 11 runs over his last 3 2/3 innings. Last year, he gave up 18 runs, the same number he's given up already in 2012. Manager Terry Collins said, "He's really trying too hard." Well, as long as he's trying, right Mets fans?

Their JD Drew:
All of them. It's the Mets.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number is hiding in shame because the Mets have a better record than our Fightins...

Prediction:
Sweep. Lock it up. Doc bounces back. Joe goes nine again. And Cliff Lee makes a return from the DL with a gem.

--------------------------------------------

Hamels Hits Harper
Cole Hamels admitted what we all already knew - he hit Bryce Harper on purpose.

Hamels talked about "the way baseball is"and that he was "trying to continue the old baseball." I know I'm a Phillies fans so I should back Hamels. And I'm something of a baseball traditionalist (ie the DH can go to hell) so this is something I should respect. But I don't I think this is a bunch of stupid bull dung.

Not every tradition in baseball is good. You know, "old baseball" has a long and storied tradition of racism and segregation. "Old baseball" has connections to gambling, crime, and drugs (some even performance enhancing). Want to continue those traditions? Now, before some of you blow a gasket due to me comparing plunking some punk with a fastball to these terrible things, understand that I'm merely pointing out some "traditions" do and should die a rightful death because they may be unnecessary or wrong.

You want to hit a guy because he's crowding the plate. Fine. You want to plunk a guy because he stared down a homer or committed another "grandstanding" act. Fine. Did somebody go into second spikes up or did a pitcher hit one of your young players for no reason at all? Great, bean the fool. But to hit a guy as an initiation to the "good ol' boys club." That's just silly.

And why is it silly? Because now Kyle Kendrick may have to make another start because Hamels could get a five game suspension.

And whats even sillier is admitting that he hit him on purpose! What's the point of that? Would it have been too difficult to stick to the "tradition" of saying "One just got away from me"?

So thanks Cole, your bravado and stalwart traditionalist views may expose me to another 5 innings of KK. Yeah, thanks a lot.

Werth
Broken wrist. That sucks.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes

2012 through 28 games: 13-15, 5.5 games back

2011 through 28 games: 19-9, 1 game up

I miss the good old days!!!

Bad Bullpen

Jonathan Papelbon - 11 G, 11 IP, 11 K, 9 SV, 0.82 ERA and WHIP.  Awesome.

The Rest - 2 W, 5 L, 54.1 IP, 39K, 4 BLSV, 4.97 ERA, 1.55 WHIP.  Bad bullpen.

A bad bullpen and Charlie Manuel's bullpen management are a recipe for a season without playoffs.  I am not saying that will be the outcome for the Phillies in 2012, just a bit of foreshadowing...

Friday, May 04, 2012

Series Preview - Gnats

Phillies (13-13) at Washington Nationals (16-9)

Pitching Matchups:
Friday, 7:05 - Kyle Kendrick v. Steve Strasburg
Saturday, 1:05 - Vanimal v. Gnat Gio
Sunday, 8:00 - Cole Hamels v. Jordan Zimmermann

Non-Canadians Batting:
Runs -  82 (26th)
Avg - .225 (28th)
Slug - .329 (30th)

This should be a pretty low scoring series. Washington's offense has been brutal. Adam LaRoche has turned back time and is leading the team in average, homers, RBIs and OPS. Jayson Werth has been 'okay,' hitting .276 with a pair of homers. [See what a hundred million gets you these days?!] Ditto for Wilson Ramos, except the $100 million part. Everybody else has been pretty bad. Ryan Zimmerman is hitting .224. Danny Espinosa wins the 'TFG' award for this series (see below). Ankiel, Bernadina, Nady, Flores, Tracy, etc. You name 'em, they ain't hitting.

Non-Canadians Pitching:
ERA - 2.41 (1st)
WHIP - 1.00 (2nd)
BAA - .212 (1st)

Strasburg and his stellar 1.13 ERA are on a strict pitch/innings limit. So, the only chance for the Phils in this game is take a bunch of pitches, get Stasburg out after 5 inning sand then hope to get over on their bullpen.

As for Gio Gonzalez, I feel it necessary to remind everyone that Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd were sent to Chicago for Freddy Garcia. Absolutely brutal. Garcia went 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA for the Phillies while Gnat Gio is a straight up stud. Makes me sick in the stomach just thinking about it...

Jordan Zimmermann is the fourth Nationals starter (Starsburg, Gonzalez and Detwiler) with an ERA under 2. 

Their Freddy Galvis:
Danny Espinosa -.182 average after 88 at-bats. Remember when Jayson Werth said he was "looking forward" to playing with Espinosa. Lol.

Honorable Mentions - Mark Derosa is currently on the DL with a bum shoulder, which may partially explain how he's started the season 3-37 (.081). Xavier Nady is not injured (as far as we know) but his hitting is almost as putrid (7-57, .123).

Their Danys Baez:
Tom Gorzelanny -11 innings, 15 hits and 8 ER.

Honorable Mention - Brad Lidge. C'mon, did they really think Lidge could close games? He's currently on the DL with a hernia and an ERA over 5.

Their Adam Eaton:
Look at those pitching stats. They don't have an "Adam Eaton."

What I'm Drinking:
Dos Equis Amber - I often drink beer, and when I do on Cinco de Mayo, I prefer Dos Equis. Because I'm the most interesting blogger in the world. Keep reading, my friends.

What I'm Listening To:
Ramones - Everything recorded before "End of the Century." I just read a review of Johnny Ramone's autobiography "Commando" and now I'm on a Ramones kick. I haven't read the book yet but if it's half as good as this one quote from the review, it should be a classic.

People have asked me, “What makes a punk?” About five years after we’d retired, I was driving in Los Angeles, and somebody called out to me, “Hey, you’re driving a Cadillac. How’s that? How are you a punk if you’re driving a Cadillac?” I said, “What the f**k are you talking about? I wrote the book on punk. I decide what’s punk. If I’m driving a Cadillac, it’s punk.”

 Awesome.

Magic Number Watch:
The Phillies magic number was last seen playing softball on the mall in DC...

Prediction:
I hate to be a downer, but I really don't see the Phils doing much offensively against Strasburg or Gnat Gio. And with Kendrick pitching the first game, it really doesn't matter how much the Phils hit. Hopefully, Hamels can salvage a win in this series on Sunday night.

Oh, and by the way, BRYCE HARPER !!!!!!!!

Chooch .gif

Series preview of the Nationals series will be up around lunchtime. Before then, enjoy Chooch's awesome bat-drop-and-pose from the other night...

Thursday, May 03, 2012

That Was Scary...

I think I'll sum up my feelings on last night's game with a photo. A picture does tell 1000 words, or something like that...

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

F#@k The Whales, Save The Homers

I have the solution to the Phillies woeful offense, thanks to Tim McCarver.

McCarver, professor emeritus at East Anglia University, theorized this past week that the reason home runs are increased in baseball is due to “climactic changes over the last fifty years” causing the “air to be thinner.”

I’m buying what he’s selling. Why do you think Matt Kemp hits so many homers in the smog-land that is LA? Sure, I may have been skeptical of man-made ‘global warming’ before, but now that Professor McCarver put it into terms I can understand (man bad, make air thin, ball go far…) I’m all aboard this crazy train. Which brings me to my key point: if we want the Phillies to hit home runs, we have to do our part. Specifically, we need to totally f#@k up the air above The Cit. We need to make south Philly’s air so ungodly polluted, and therefore ‘thin’ according to McCarver, that the ball will fly out of the park like Adam Eaton is pitching. Sure, it will help both offenses, but since we have Roy, Cliff, Cole and Vanimal, the benefit to our offense should be higher.

I have already developed a plan to make the Broad and Pattison area a complete environmental disaster before the Phillies return for their next homestand. It’s called “F#@k the Whales, Save the Homers.” Here’s how you can help. Review the map below. Every place there is a star/number an “FtW,StH” activity will be taking place. Just pick the one you are most interested in and join. Descriptions of the activities are as follow:

1) Book burning – This activity is my favorite because it accomplishes multiple goals. Not only will we fill the sky with smoke (that’s a lot of carbon monoxide…) but we get to burn books! Please bring any book you can to burn, but anything educational or Mets related is preferred.

2) Coal mining – This is probably only for the real adventurous and the non-claustrophobic, because we are going underground. President Obama once said that he would bankrupt anybody that tried to open a coal mine (yeah business!) so coal must be very bad for the environment. So, let’s dig a coal mine under the Jetro lot (I'm sure there's coal there, why wouldn't there be?) and burn the stuff as soon as it hits the surface.

3) Car Exhaust-a-thon – This one is easy, just bring your car, park it in one of the lots north of Phillies Drive or in Lot ‘P’ and leave the thing running until it’s out of gas. Then set the car itself on fire. Sure, you’ll have to go buy a new car but you do want the Phils to hit homers, don’t you?

4) Tree Killing – By the looks of the map there are some trees just north of Packer Ave. They have to go. Also, FDR Park will have to be burned down. We can’t have those pesky trees converting any of our precious CO2 into oxygen.

5) Turf installation – Grass field? No freaking way. Plants are bad. And the new turf will be bright blue so there’s no confusion about our disdain for anything green.

These activities should significantly thin the air above the stadium. We might be talking Freddy Galvis for the triple crown...

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Series Preview - Oppressed Natives from Atlanta

Phillies (11-12) at Atlanta [Insensitive Names] (14-9)

Pitching Matchups:
Tuesday, 7:05 - Cole Hamels v. Brandon Beachy
Wednesday, 7:05 - Roy Halladay v. Tom Hanson
Thursday, 1:35 - Joe Blanton v. Randall Delgado

Native Americans Batting:
Runs -  116 (4th)
Avg - .259 (10th)
Slug - .409 (11th)

Nobody on the team is having a great season, but nobody is struggling either. Over half of their regulars are hitting over .270. Five guys have at least 3 homers. Brian McCann's .229 average is the lowest average for the regular starters.

Native Americans Pitching:
ERA - 3.94 (15th)
WHIP - 1.40 (24th)
BAA - .273 (26th)

Brandon Beachy has been great (1.05 ERA), Tommy Hanson and Mike Minor have been very good and Jair Jurrjens and Randall Delgado have been very bad. But now Jurrjens is in AAA, replaced by Tim Hudson. If form holds, the series will be split after the first two and all us gamblers should take the 'over' on runs in the rubber match.

Their Freddy Galvis:
Jack Wilson - Most people think of Jack Wilson as a slick-fielding no-hit shortstop but Wilson actually hit .270 during his career with the Pirates with a .687 OPS. If Freddy Galvis ever reaches those numbers for 8 years, he'll have a plaque on Ashburn Alley. Wilson these days is the epitome of a no-hit shortstop. He's hitting .115 with an OBP of .111. That's right, he gets on base less frequently than he gets base hits. I wonder if anyone has ever finished a season with a stat line like that? Where's my research department?

Their Danys Baez:
Chad Durbin - There's our old friend! Durbin sports a sparkling 9.00 ERA.  After giving up 6 runs in his first three appearances, he went 6 straight without giving up a run until have gave up 2 in less than an inning last night against the Buccos

Their Adam Eaton:
Jair Jurrjens - Jurrjens was sent to AAA last week after posting a 9.37 ERA in his first four starts. He had knee surgery prior to the 2011 season in which he led the Braves with 13 and made the All-Star team. He also had two stints on the DL and had an ERA over 6 during the final month of the season. Obviously, the off-season didn't cure what ailed him. (Obviously he rehabbed with Chase Utley...)

What I'm Drinking:
Corey - Sam Adams Whitewater IPA - I almost didn't buy this after reading the label and seeing they put apricots in the mix. I haven't had much luck drinking beer made with apricots (I'm looking at you, Magic Hat #9...). I also don't like Sam Adams beer too much. But this combination of white ale and India pale ale is delicious. Thankfully, the apricots didn't ruin it...

What I'm Listening To:
Corey - Andy McKee - Dreamcatcher - If you play guitar or like instrumental music, you need to check out Andy McKee. The guy is amazing. Go watch some of his videos on youtube and you'll be hooked.

Magic Number Watch:
Ha! This category is as laughable as the first 5 minutes of E60 on ESPN. Just because you put Rachel Nichols in black and white and scrape off half of her eye makeup, it does not make her a journalist.

Prediction:
Chris Wheeler will do a horrible job announcing games and the Phils will win one. I know at least half of this prediction will come true.