Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Series Preview - The Cleveland Indians

Philadelphia Phillies (12-14) @ Cleveland Indians (10-13)

Pitching Match-Ups:
Tuesday - Doc Halladay vs. Zach "Not Kevin" McAllister
Wednesday - Cliff Lee vs. Trevor "Not Jack" Bauer
*Each are a 7:05 game time.

Offensive Native American Named Team Offense:
R - 106 (14th)
AVG - .257 (9th)
OPS - .764 (3rd)

Carlos Santana/C, Mark Reynolds/DH/1B, Nick Swisher/OF, and Michael Brantley/OF are doing the heavy hitting for the Tribe.  Michael Bourn has only played 10 games and Asdrubal Cabrera/SS and Drew Stubbs/OF have been  disappointments thus far.

Offensive Native American Named Team Pitching:
ERA - 4.37 (26th)
WHIP - 1.31 (21st)

Tonight's starting pitcher, McAllister, is decent, but nothing special.  With that said, he very well could twirl a 3-hit shutout against the Phils.  Tomorrow's starting pitcher, Bauer, has been nothing but hype so far in his career with little production.

The Tribe's bullpen is their strength, with Chris Perez at closer, Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano at setup, and Bryan Shaw, Corey Kluber, Cody Allen and Nick Hagadone working the other innings.  All of them have an ERA south of 2.84.

*It's a shame that ex-Phillies Brett Myers (8.02 ERA) and Carlos Carrasco (17.18 ERA) aren't starting this series.

Roster Moves:
1) Carlos Ruiz was activated from the suspended list on Sunday, while Humberto Quintero was designated for assignment (no word yet on whether he cleared waivers or not).  

2) Delmon "P.O.S." Young was activated from the disabled list today and Ezequiel Carrera was designated for assignment (he also needs to pass through waivers before reporting the minors).

Prediction:
I'm sipping the happy juice and saying the Phils complete the 2 game sweep.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thank Goodness This Never Happened...



KK CG SHO.  OMG!

2013 staff ace- Kyle Kendrick.

Career: 56-43, 169 G, 128 GS, 791.1 IP, 4.22 ERA, 1.35 WHIP.

Respect.

Thank goodness he really wasn't traded to Japan.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Series Preview- The New York Metropolitans

Philadelphia Phillies (9-14) @ New York Mets (10-10)

Pitching Match-Ups:
Friday, 7:10 - KK vs. Dillon "The Original" Gee
Saturday, 1:05 - Jonathan Pettibone vs. Shaun Marcum
Sunday, 1:10 - Cole Hamels vs. Jon Niese

Mets Offense:
R - 110 (5th)
AVG - .250 (15th)
OPS - .750 (8th)

John Buck/C, Lucas Duda/LF, David Wright/3B, and Daniel Murphy/2B all carry an OPS of .893 or better. The only regulars that are disappointing are Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada.  With that said, I now fully expect Ike to launch at minimum 3 homeruns into orbit this series.

Mets Pitching:
ERA - 4.26 (22nd)
WHIP - 1.31 (19th)

The Phillies luck out and don't have to face phenom Matt Harvey.  Not that it matters, because most MLB starting pitchers seem to be able to handcuff the Phils offense these days.  Niese is a solid pitcher, Marcum is making his Mets/season debut, and Gee is hittable.

Prediction:
Mets take 2 outta 3, with the Phils lone win being tonight with the underappreciated Kyle Kendrick on the mound.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Phillies Make Complaing Easy

*Yuniesky Betancourt, Spring Training 2013 casualty, is now with the Milwaukee Brewers and is batting .279/.795 with 3 HR and 15 RBI.  Instead of releasing him, Amaro should have signed him to a 5 YR/$125M contract.  Don't ya think?!

*Ben Revere might be a defensive whiz, but his offense negates any good he does with the glove.  His OPS is .472, which ranks 186th out of 192 qualified batters.  The only way it will improve is through singles, because he doesn't walk or get extra base hits. 

*The Phillies are 6.5 games back of the Braves in the NL East and 4 games back of the Giants and Reds for a Wild Card.  You can't secure a playoff berth in April, but you sure as hell can lose one.  But don't worry, I've been told that Chooch and Delmon Young will save this team.

*Mike Adams had only 15 losses in 358 appearances, spanning 8 seasons before this year.  He now has 2 losses in 11 appearances for the Phils.  Yeah!

*On a positive note, Halladays' last 3 starts- 21 IP, 5 BB, 16 K, 1.71 ERA, 0.62 WHIP.  Apparently the success has been due to his frequent use of his sinker, rather than the storied cutter.

*Once again, I want to state that I'm predicting a 75-87 record for the Phils this year and a 4th place finish in the NL East (Mets are actually a better team).

____________________________________________________

Drink This: Dundee Beer

Beer is good anytime- Phillies winning, Phillies losing, after a hard day at work, funeral, bar mitzvah, etc.

Dundee's brews are a good gateway beer into the world of craft beers.  They don't do any crazy concoctions and keep the flavors simple, yet good.  I've had the pleasure of drinking 4 of their offerings from a variety pack recently.

Porter- a dark and distinctive porter. Roasted barley, chocolate, coffee, and caramel malts are used in the mash, producing a truly memorable caramel taste.  ABV- 6.5%

English Style Ale- London's calling. This gorgeous English-Style Ale is brewed to perfection, bringing together Columbus and Cascade hops with pale and caramel malts for a malty, slightly sweet finish.  ABV- 5.1%

India Pale Ale- Discover a boldy hopped India Pale Ale. Pale and Caramel malts give this beer a delicious flavor profile while a perfect mixture of four hops create a distinctive, spicy aroma and long hoppy finish. This beer finishes as smoothly as it begins. ABV- 6.3%

Pale Ale- a wonderfully balanced true pale ale. Cascade hops create a citrusy aroma with a smooth crisp finish. A subdued malt character nicely complements the hop complexity and produces an orangey amber hue.  ABV- 5.3%

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Biddle K's 16

Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle struck out 16 last night in a start against Harrisburg. But more importantly, he got two hits. Can this guy play first base?


Howard Watch

No, I'm not charting "The Howard." This is merely a list of players that play first base at least semi-regularly and have more homers and more RBI than Ryan Howard. Also included is their salary.

Davis, Chris - BAL - $3.3 mil
Reynolds, Mark - CLE- $6 mil
Rizzo, Anthony - CHC- $500k
Fielder, Prince - DET- $23 mil
Adams, Matt - STL- $500k
Davis, Ike  - NYM- $3.125 mil
Goldschmidt, Paul - ARI - $500k
Konerko, Paul - CWS - $13.5 mil
LaRoche, Adam - WSH - $10 mil
Votto, Joey - CIN - $17 mil
Alonso, Yonder - SD- $1.1 mil
Dunn, Adam - CWS- $15 mil
Encarnacion, Edwin - TOR- $8 mil
Gonzalez, Adrian - LAD - $21 mil
Moss, Brandon - OAK- $1.6 mil
Moreland, Mitch - TEX -  $500k
Napoli, Mike - BOS- $5 mil
Overbay, Lyle - NYY- $1.25 mil
Pena, Carlos - HOU - $2.9 mil
Pujols, Albert - LAA - $16mil
Swisher, Nick - CLE- $11 mil

There are a few more that I did not include because they DH 90% of the time. There are another 6 first baseman that have as many homers and more RBI.

Howard is currently on an 8 homer and 49 RBI pace.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Series Preview - Pirates

Phillies (8-11) v. Pittsburgh Pirates (10-8)

Matchups:
Monday- 7:05 - Jon Pettibone v. AJ Burnett
Tuesday - 7:05 - OGP v. Jeff Locke
Wednesday - 7:05 - Oh No, It's Roy v. Wandy Rodriguez
Thursday - 1:05 - Cliff Lee v. James McDonald

Breakdown:
So, I'm driving in to work this morning, thinking about this series, and for the first time in many years I believe the Pirates may be the best team in the state. So, I figured instead of a typical preview of the Buccos, I'd compare them with the Phillies at each position and see who gets the edge.

Starting Pitching - This is where the Phillies have the biggest advantage. Hamels and Lee are better than anything the Pirates have. But right now we don't know what's going on with Roy Halladay. Given his performance over the last year and a half, he's basically a 3rd starter. The Pirates, have a legit #2 in AJ Burnett and two #2/#3 starters in Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald. Unfortunately for the Buccos, Jeff Karstens and Charlie Morton are both out and Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are still in the minor leagues so they have to go with Jeff Locke and Jon Sanchez. So, in summary, the Phillies currently hold a solid edge in starting pitching.

Bullpen - The Phillies have proven studs in Mike Adams and Jon Papelbon. But Bastardo and Aumont have been good so far, giving up zero earned in 11 innings. The problem is Horst, Valdez and Durbin, who have all been atrocious.. As for the closer, Pirates closer Jason Grilli hasn't given up a run yet in 9 appearances. Bullpen mates Mark Melancon, Justin Wilson, Jeanmar Gomez, and Tony Watson have combined for only 7 earned runs in 41+ innings. I give the Pirates the slight edge because they don't have the garbage arms that the Phillies keep sticking out there.

First Base - Advantage Pirates. Garrett Jones is currently a better hit than Ryan Howard. Deal with it. Maybe Howard will get back to pre-Achilles injury form, but that time has yet to come.

Second Base - Advantage Phillies. Chase Utley is the Phillies best player. Neil Walker is good. Utley is an All Star.

Shortstop - Advantage Phillies. Clint Barmes had two big hits yesterday to help beat the Braves, but he's still only hitting .130. Brutal to watch at the plate on most days.

Third Base - Advantage Phillies. Pedro Alvarez goes through hot streaks. Very, very hot streaks. He'll hit 5-7 homers a week 2-3 times a year. During the other times, he's horrible. He's currently hitting .125. Michael Young could hit .125 left handed.

Corner Outfield - Advantage Pirates. Starling Marte and Travis Snider get the edge over John Mayberry and Domonic Brown/ Brown and Snider are similar in that they never lived up to the hype. Mayberry is a solid 4th outfielder. The edge goes to the Pirates because of Marte, who still has potential and in a short time in the majors, has played very well.

[speaking of comparing the Phillies and Pirates, is Domonic Brown the Phillies version of Chad Hermansen?]

Centerfield - Advantage Pirates. The only 'no doubt about it' category for the Pirates. Cutch is a stud...

Cather - Advantage Pirates. The Pirates take this one only because Chooch is a doper.

Manager - Advantage Pirates. Hurdle seems to get the most out of his team. Manuel seems to meander about and mumble 'words of wisdom' about things like 'hittin weather.' The Pirates also seem to play with more energy, urgency and enthusiasm. That's very subjective so take that with a grain of salt.

Conclusion - Despite my 'gut feeling,' and mainly because of the starting pitching, the Phillies still seem to be the bettter team. On paper, that is...

Prediction:
Split series.

Gif of the Game - Kratz Homer


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Shuffle

*Would the real Roy Halladay please stand up?  First 2 starts: 0-2, 7.1 IP, 6 BB, 9 K, 14.73 ERA, 2.45 WHIP.  Last 2 starts: 2-0, 15 IP, 3 BB, 8 K, 1.80 ERA, 0.67 WHIP.

*There has been a lot of bitching and moaning up on this blog to start the season, and rightfully so.  However, we need to give props when they are due- Chase Utley (.300/.898), John Mayberry (.323/.997), and Michael Young (.339/.848) have been hitting.  If they can continue to produce, Chooch returns, and Howard, Revere, Rollins start to go back to career norms, then this offense will be much better.

*Carlos Ruiz suspension lasts for 8 more games (25 total).  Meaning he should be in the starting lineup come Sunday, April 28th against the Mets.

*The Phillies attendance has taken a big hit due to poor play since the beginning of 2012.  Take away the Opening Series and they're drawing less than 80% of capacity.  The young hipster faux-fans aren't gobbling up the seats any more, because The Brick Cit House is no longer the "cool place to be".  Is this what J-Roll meant by "frontrunners"?  I'd go more often if the prices weren't outrageous (tickets, parking, and concessions), traffic wasn't maddening, and the turnpike tolls weren't increased more often than the price of a postage stamp.

*Lefty reliever, Joe Savery, was summoned from the Iron Pigs to take John Lannan's roster spot.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Series Preview - The Next Team to Beat the Phils

Phillies (6-9) at St. Louis Cardinals (8-6)

Matchups:
Thursday - 7:10 - Cole Hamels v. Adam Wainwright
Friday - 7:10 - Oh No, It's Roy v. Jaime Garcia
Saturday - 7:10 - Cliff Lee v. Lance Lynn
Sunday - 8:10 - Oh No, It's KK v. Jake Westbrook

(For our "out of market" friends, note that tonight's game is on the MLB network and the finale Sunday will be on ESPN.)  

Pitching:
Does it matter? Do you want me to run down the failures of the Phillies offense?

Batting:
The Cardinals have enough offense to score at least 6 runs this series, which should be enough to take three or four...

What I'm Listening To:
The sound of moving air that bats make when they are swung at, but miss, thrown baseballs.

What I'm Drinking:
Certainly not 'Phillies Kool Aid.'

Prediction:
Cardinals take three.

_____________________________________________________________

Addendum GM-Carson

I'm filing complaints in no logical order...


*The Phillies don't score enough runs to win games because they don't get on base. Only two regulars in the lineup (Utley and Young) reach base safely more than 30% of the time. Revere, Howard, Rollins, Kratz, Brown, and of course the pitcher are essentially outs. The team OBP is .287, 26th MLB rank.

*They also don't hit for average (.238) or power (.375 SLG), so they're only averaging 3.5 runs scored per game (52 R in 15 G). In the last 6 games, they've only scored 10 runs. Pathetic.

*We've established they don't score runs, but they also do not prevent them- 4.90 ERA (26th MLB rank).

*Horst, Valdes, and Durbin have been horrible. When a starting pitcher leaves early, you can expect the run differential to only worsen with that tragic trio.

*The Phillies are already in a 6.5 game hole to the Braves.

*It's time Charlie Manuel no longer be the manager of this team.  He's not entirely at fault, that blame goes all around to the players and Amaro too.  However, it's just not working any longer.  See what Ryne Sandberg can bring to the club.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Howard, Clearwater Hitters & Strange Double Header

The Howard- anytime a player hits a homerun, strikes out, and commits an error in the same game.

Dan Uggla and his Braves are off to a hot start. Uggla leads the Majors in Howards, while the Braves seem to win every game. Atlanta is 12-1, leaving the Phillies 6 games out of 1st place already.  They've launched a MLB leading 25 homeruns, are scoring 5.2 runs per game, and have 1.83 ERA.  This team could get stronger too, once Freeman and McCann return from the DL and Heyward and BJ Upton start hitting.  Yikes!

Clearwater Hitters:
The Clearwater Threshers, Phils Single-A team, scored 15 runs and collected 27 hits yesterday.  That's craziness.  It was good to see some of the Phillies minor leaguers hit, because up and down through the organization, offense has been paltry.

Strange Double Header:
Through 8 and a half innings last night, the Phillies and Reds put zeroes on the scoreboard. Then the sky opened up and let loose, relieving the fans in attendance from an otherwise boring game (4 hits total, each team with 2 apiece). Phillippe Aumont will begin the bottom of the 9th today in Cincinnati at 5:30, which will be the conclusion of the suspended game. Then, at 7, the teams will start the final game of the series.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ben Revere Catch .gif

Series Preview - Reds

Phillies (6-6) at Cincinnati Reds (5-7)

Matchups:
Monday - 7:00 - Cliff Lee v. Bronson Arroyo
Tuesday - 7:10 - Oh No, It's KK v. Homer Bailey
Wednesday - 7:00 - John Lannan v. Mike Leake

Pitching:
The Phils will miss the Reds' two top starters, Mat Latos (3.26 ERA) and Johnny Cueto (2.60 ERA). Instead, they'll see the three mediocre arms listed above. All three have ERA's above 5.25.

If the Phils are going to score runs, they need to do it early, as the back-end of the Reds bullpen is fierce, especially considering the lefty-heavy middle of the Phillies lineup. Sean Marshall, Manny Parra, and closer Aroldis Chapman all come from the left side. Add in setup man Sam LeCure and the four relievers have struck out 17 and have given up only 2 runs in 20 innings.

Batting:
The Phils should be able to score some runs this series, and they'll need them because the Reds lineup is full of hitters. Jay Bruce and Joey Votto have struggled early on and only have a single homer between the two of them. Yet, the Reds have 16 on the season. Shin-soo Choo, Todd Frazer, Brandon Phillips and Zach Cozart have provided the extra power.

Homer Baily:
Anytime Homer Bailey pitches, I feel the need to re-publish this little cartoon I created a few years ago.


Prediction:
The way he's been throwing, I can't go against Cliff Lee in the first game. And I think the Phils can sneak away with one of the last two, so I'll say the Phils win another series and return home above .500.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Series Preview - Marlins

Phillies (4-5) at South Beach Marlins (1-8)

Matchups:
Friday - 7:10 - John Lannan v. Ricky Nolasco
Saturday - 7:10 - Cole Hamels v. Jose Fernandez
Sunday - 1:10 - Oh No, It' Roy v. Kevin Slowey

Florida Pitching:
We all know Ricky Nolasco as the Phils see him four times a year. Kevin Slowey spent his first five seasons with the Twins and is the definition of a 'fourth starter.'

The real interest is in game two when Hamels faces 20 year old uber-prospect Jose Fernandez. Fernandez boasts a mid-90s fastball and a career minor league line of 14-1, 1.75 ERA. MLB.com ranks him as the 7th best prospect in baseball.

Florida Batting:
The Marlins are ranked 28th or worse in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS and runs...

Mike Stanton is good. The rest of the team is horrible. In the season opener, Placido Polanco hit fourth. That's really all you need to know.

State of Baseball in Miami:
Please look at THIS.

Violence in Baseball:
'Chauvinist' reader Preserve Jon pointed out a dubious article by Tom Verducci advocating the elimination of home plate collisions. You can read the article HERE. I was going to do a full rebuttle but due to time, I'm just going to bullet point by thoughts:

- Verducci is not a great writer.
- Eliminating home plate collisions as Verducci describes is not a good idea because 1) it would favor the defense as the catcher would be able to still block the plate but make the runner avoid the contact thereby increasing his distance/time to home 2) a complete elimination of collisions is unnessesary because catcher's can already protect themselves for the majority of collisions by staying out of the baseline.
- I spent some time watching youtube collections of home plate collisions and if I was commissioner, I would make it illegal for a runner to initiate contact with a catcher who is not in the baseline. I saw a few instances where a runner went out of his way to drill a catcher who was standing in front of the plate, many times even towards the first base line. The catcher cannot protect himself in these circumstances. But if he plants himself anywhere along the third base line, he's fair game...

Then last night, Carlos Quentin charged anxiety-ridden Zach Greinke after getting hit by a 3-2 pitch in a 1 run game. Greinke ended up with a broken left collar-bone and will be out for multiple weeks.

This is garbage. Greinke will be gone for quite a while and Quentin will be back in the lineup in a week. If I was commissioner, if a player gets injured in a brawl started by a batter charging the mound, that player would be suspended until the most injured player returns.

I would love advocate eliminating mound charges, but in the AL the pitcher never bats and it's hard to administer 'eye for an eye' justice if he never steps foot in the batter's box to take his medicine...

Prediction:
The Phils will somehow lose one of these but still take the other two.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Roy and Ryan Continue To Disappoint

On Roy Halladay:
Roy Halladay - "I would say 95 percent is mental. It's simplifying. It's getting to the basics. It's letting things happen and not trying to force things."

Charlie Manuel - "I think what you're watching is you're watching a pitcher who is trying to find his strike zone and how he used to carve hitters up with his command and control. He could locate and put the ball where he wanted it to go. I think that's his biggest problem."




Sure, his pitch velocity is notably down. Batters are hitting .474 on balls in play. Fastballs and cutters are getting smashed all over the park and only being swung at and missed less than 10% of the time. And because his fastball is so ineffective, he's relying more and more on changeups and curveballs, many of them thrown out of the strike zone leading to numerous walk. He's a complete mess. But sure, let's just say it's 'mental' or about 'finding the zone.'

Ryan Howard:
Roy Halladay isn't the only  money-eating, under-performing 'superstar' on this team. Don't forget about Ryan Howard and his expensive ineptitude.

So far in 2013, Howard is 4-27. He's knocked in 4 runs but has yet to get an extra base hit and already has 10 strike outs. His WAR so far is -0.3.

Now consider that he's made $1 million dollars so far this season. Yes, you're reading that correctly. A negative war and the man has already made a million bucks.

The entire Houston Astros roster has made $1,305,280. They are getting it right. If you are going to be terrible, at least don't pay a lot for it...

Rangers:
This isn't Phillies related, but if you haven't seen the called third strike that ended the Rangers-Rays game last night, it's worth checking out HERE.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Series Preview - Mets

Phillies (2-4) v. NY Mets (4-2)

Matchups:
Monday - 7:05 - Roy Halladay v. Matt Harvey
Tuesday - 7:05 - Cliff Lee v. Dillon Gee
Wednesday - 1:35 - Oh No, It's KK v. Jeremy Hefner

Mets Pitching:
The first game of this series is a complete mismatch. Matt Harvey brings a 94 MPH heater, a nasty slider, and a 0.00 ERA while Roy Halladay counters with a high-80's meatball, a plethora of off-speed slop, an ERA over 13, and the demeanor of a man who just finished running a double marathon through the Mojave desert the same day his dog died...

Last season, Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner had a combined ERA of about 4.60. This season, the two have combined to give up only 2 earned runs in 12 innings. And those 12 innings were against Miami and San Diego, two of the worst offenses in baseball. The Phillies should put up some runs in the last two games of the series.

Mets Batting:
This team is David Wright and a bunch of other guys. So far, the 'other guys' have been led by John Buck (.400-2-9), Daniel Murphy (.273-2-6) and Marlon Byrd (.278-0-4). The remaining 4 starters (Tejada, Cowgill, Davis, Duda) are all hitting .211 or under.

What I'm Listening Too:
Josh Ritter - The Golden Age of Radio. I listen to a lot of folk/Americana these days and this album from Josh Ritter, even though it was released 12 years ago, is one of my favorites.

What We're Drinking:
Corey - Uprising Whiskey. This is a fairly new beverage made by Sons of Liberty Distillery in Rhode Island. Unlike most whiskeys, Uprising is aged for a very short time in oak barrels. It's also unique in that it's made from distilling stout beer. The result is an extremely delicious whiskey. I'm not a whiskey expert so I can't get into the flavors in much detail, but I can say this whiskey has some similar flavors to a fine tequila. So, if you happen to like both fine tequilas and American whiskey, this will be your new favorite.

Prediction:
Last series I said they would split the first two and win the finale. I was wrong. So I'm doing what any good gambler would do... I'm doubling down! The Phils lose the first but take the last two.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Kevin Frandsen- Outfielder?

Kevin Frandsen's bat needs to be in the Phillies lineup on a semi-regular basis.  Since joining the Phils he's done nothing but hit- .345/.851 in 57 games, including that bases clearing game winning double in the 9th last night.  Yes, that is a small sample size, but until he proves otherwise he's a hot commodity.  For the record, he's always hit in the minors too- .310/.802 over 8 seasons.

(Full-on man-love!!!)

The infield is set with Howard, Utley, Rollins, and Young.  Revere and Brown are regulars in the outfield.  Currently Mayberry and Nix are splitting right field duties, and doing poorly.  Suggestion- move Dom back to RF and let Frandsen get some playing time in LF.  He's played there 11 games in the Majors, so instead of trying Pete Orr out in the outfield during Spring Training, they should have been trotting Fransden out there.  Poor foresight by Amaro/Manuel.

Of course, they also could have just let Frandsen be the starting 3rd baseman this season (his defense is actually better than M. Young's there).  The money saved could have been used to sign or trade for an outfielder instead.  But what do I know, I only want to be a GM.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Sky Is Falling- No Seriously, It Is

No more queefing  rainbows or grundling unicorns, it's time to get real.  The 2013 version of the Philadelphia Phillies is laden with flaws.  Many of you Phools out there will tell me to "back down from the edge" or that "it's a marathon, not a sprint".  To you, I offer a nice warm glass of shut the hell up.  We Should Be GMs has gotten soft over the past few seasons, and rightfully so (the Phils were in the playoffs 5 straight seasons).  However, the streak has ended and the kiddie gloves are coming off.  This year, you the reader, need to prepare for verbal venom being spit up in here.  We're dropping knowledge, yo!

In No Particular Order of Worthlessness:
*The All-Star, formerly know as Michael Young, is deceased.  Four games is a small sample size, but it's enough for me to judge him, and my judgement is cruel.  Bat is lifeless and fielding is statuesque.

*Chris Davis vs. The Phillies.  Homeruns: Davis- 4, Phillies 3.  RBI: Davis- 16, Phillies- 13.

*Remember when I continually complained about the Phillies horrible Spring Training ERA?  Well, it's currently 7.68, worst in the Majors.

*I've been farting smoke rings from all that smoke the Phillies and the media blew up my ass this offseason about the improved bullpen.  Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Adams are high quality.  The rest...not so much.  Some douche-nozzles keep beating the drum of "Fielder Independent ERA" as evidence of the bullpen's "true ability".  That shit doesn't matter.  What matters are the actual runs allowed.  I wish the omnipotent statistical masturbating imbeciles would shut their collective faces.   

*Maybe it's time Roy Halladay finally takes that trip to the zoo...and toss him in the lion's den.

*My prediction for the Phillies record: 75-87.

*For those searching for a beacon of hope- Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee, and Dom Brown came to play this season. 

Friday, April 05, 2013

Series Preview - Royals

Phillies (1-2) v. Kansas City Royals (1-2)

Matchups:
Friday - 4:05 - Oh no, it's KK v. Wade Davis
Saturday - 7:05 - John Lannan v. Luis Mendoza
Sunday - 1:35 - OGP v. Big Game James

Royals Pitching:
The Royals turned heads this offseason when they sent highly touted hitter Wil Myers to the Rays for James Shields. While Shields is good, IF Wil Myers is as good as advertised, this will end up looking like a Ruben Amaro-like deal. (That means it will turn out badly, phools.) Shields went 6 strong in his first outing, giving up a single run, but taking the loss. Get used to it, James.

Luis Mendoza is not related to the 'Mendoza Line.' He was the MVP of the 2013 Carribean World Series. Of course, one of the 'All Star' outfielders was a guy named Doug Clark, so take that award with a Tic Tac sized grain of salt.

Wade Davis is starting the series opener. He came along with Shields in the Myers trade. He was an average at best starter in Tampa so they turned him into a reliever last season. He posted a 2.43 ERA so naturally the Royals are going to convert him back to a starter.That usually goes well...

Royals Batting:
The Royals have essentially two first baseman on the roster, with Eric Hosmer and designated hitter Billy Butler. Hosmer did get two starts in the outfield last year and with the Royals off to a slow start offensively, I could see them trying to get both in the lineup at least twice.

Like I said, the Royals struggled to hit in their first series against the White Sox. After three games, the hitting leaders are Alex Gordon and Jeff Franceur at .273. Multiple players are tied for the RBI lead... with 1. Nobody has hit a homer yet. As a team, they've struck out 23 times versus only 6 walks.

Nothing a little KK and Lannan can't fix, right?

What I'm Listening Too:
Saves The Day - Through Being Cool. One of my favorite punk/pop-punk albums of all-time, Through Being Cool was released waaaaay back in 1999 when Saves The Day was still a punk band, not the drug-laden, alt-indie crapfest they turned into. Many people don't like Saves the Day because of the whiny, high-pitched, emo-like lyrics. Usually, that sort of thing would keep me from listening, but their first three albums are absolutely terrific. And Through Being Cool in particular has some of the best guitar tone and mixing of any punk album. Give it a listen here and here.

What We're Drinking:
Corey - Nothing. My fat-ass is going on a diet so I've given up all calorie containing beverages, which includes beer and liquor...pray for me...

Carson - TBD

Prediction:
They can't lose a home series to the Royals can they? No, they aren't that bad.They'll split the first two and Hamels will bounce back and win the rubber match.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

I'm Back...As If You Knew I Was Gone...

Most of you probably hadn't noticed, but I last generated an original post on this blog Nov. 6th. And I thought it was going to be my last. This blog thing is a young man's (or old man's) game. And despite the popular characterization of the lame-stream media, I'm not a middle aged loser living in my mother's basement. I a middle-aged loser with my own damn house and many necessary, time-consuming things in my life. Long story short, I'm back to throw down some more hatred toward my beloved Phils. (I'm sure that confused a lot of the Kool-Aid drinking fly-by-night Phillies fans that have mass-replicated over the last few years. But don't worry Phools, you still look cool in your [player] + [funny catch phrase] t-shirt.]  Special thanks to Carson for holding down the fort while I was on sabbatical. Now, on to the 'good' stuff...

Roy Halladay is Done
On the bright side, the Phils only owe the guy $40 million dollars...

In the last few years, there have been multiple stories about how Kyle Kendrick was trying to emulate Doc's training, style and general approach to pitching. Well, somebody get KK the eff way from Doc, because things have gone horribly wrong. It seems the script has been flipped and Doc is becoming the $20 million dollar per year version of Kendrick.

I'm sure some will try to go Milli Vanilli and 'blame it on the rain' in Atlanta last night, just like they blamed the heat in Atlanta last season. Or maybe they'll just completely ignore the atrocious 2012, the equally bad 2013 spring, or the continually declining velocity and blame location or 'bad luck.' Our fearless leader is one that will. After last night's game, Charlie said, "His velocity is starting to come up. Location is how you win games. That's what hurt him early. I thought after the first inning he was OK."

Here are some pitch data from last night that supports my case. Notice the majority of 'fastballs' sitting in the 88-90 MPH rang (average 89.6). Halladay must know he has nothing on his heater because he threw 50% fastballs (2-seam + cutter) last night. In 2012, he threw those pitches 60% of the time. In the 8 years prior to 2012, the lowest yearly fastball percentage was 68%, with most years between 70-75%.



Sure, I acknowledge that I may be jumping the gun here a little. Hell, I may be the only runner on the track. He did strike out 9 in only 3 innings and the sabermetricians can use that to make an argument about what the pitcher can and cannot control, yada, yada...

But here is what I know for sure - it's been a year and a half since Roy Halladay has been anything more than a below average pitcher. He'll be 36 years old next month. His velocity is declining. He's relying on off-speed pitches more and more. He's done being a $20 million a year pitcher.

If Rube is worth is salt as a GM, he'll convince some team that Doc isn't done and get him off the books in the next few months.

Hey Rookie, Watch Your Head
In only his second Major League at-bat, Evan Gattis took 'BP Roy' deep and did a little showboating.



Cliff Lee, I'm looking in your direction...

Andy Martino - A True Inspiration
If there's one thing that can bring me back to blogging, it's reading an Andy Martino column. Here is the title of the recent Martino alphabetical seizure that he calls a column - "Shane Victorino, distracted by free agency last year, took less money to taste Boston Red Sox-Yankees rivalry; Mets, Blue Jays."

First off, holy crap Andy, are they paying you by the number of characters in the title? That's longer than a James Joyce tweet. [I know Phools, James Joyce is dead and can't tweet. Good job using Wikipedia to understand a reference...]

Secondly, the reported offer by the Indians was 4 years and $44 million. That's $11 mil per year. The Red Sox offer was 3 years and $39 million, which is $13 mil per year. So over the course of the next three year, Vic will take in an extra $6 million compared to the alleged deal with the Indians. It also doesn't take into account whether the fourth year in Cleveland was guaranteed or not, which is kind of important. It also doesn't mention whether Victorino even sees himself playing four years from now. Less money in Boston? Maybe. It just seems like a flimsy proposition to base an article and only constructed as such in order to talk about the Sox-Yankees, which is all New York writers seem to be able to do.

And about that rivalry, Victorino had this to say: "When [the Phillies] played the Mets, they talked about that rivalry, and I’m like, ‘dude, that’s nothing,’ It was created by the media, created by the fans. And don’t get me wrong, it had a year or two of that adrenaline. But (Yankees/Red Sox) is the biggest rivalry in sports. Not just baseball. Sports. So to be a part of that, yeah, I am very excited. You grow up as a little kid playing in the back yard, that’s the kind of stuff you strive for.”

Hey, Shane, all rivalries are created by the media and fans. The fervor and excitement of a rivalry is generated and propagated by the media and the fans. Because the players don't give a shit! Otherwise, Kevin Youkilis wouldn't be playing for the Yankees right now. And because of the fact that the players in the rivalry don't care nearly as much as the fans, the Sox-Yankees is not the best rivalry in sports. It just happens to the be easiest and most bountiful storyline for ESPN and the MLB network. Try Army-Navy football, Duke-UNC basketball, Barcelona-Real Madrid soccer, or international rivalries (USA-Mexico soccer, India-Pakistan cricket) if you want real rivalries.

Today's Game
Cliff Lee v.  Kris Medlen - 7:10 - tv: TCN

Medlen was 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA last season for the Braves, starting the season in the bullpen before finishing up in the rotation. His last start against the Phillies was in 2010. Despite his terrific season a year ago, he had an ERA over 8 versus the Phillies and his career ERA against the Fightins is over 5. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.

As for the weather, it looks like the game will be played. Bummer...

[Gattis .gif aboved borrowed without permission from notgraphs.com]

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Welcome Aboard Ezequiel Carrera

The Phillies claimed outfielder Ezequiel Carrera off waivers from the Cleveland Indians.  He replaces Ender Inciarte as the team's 5th outfielder.  Inciarte was a Rule 5 pick out of the Diamondbacks organization, so it's doubtful he remains Phillies property.

Carrera is an upgrade as 25th man on the roster.  The 25 year old bats left-handed, has tremendous speed, and has played above Single-A (Inciarte hasn't).  Over the past 2 seasons donning Chief Wahoo, E-Z (that's his nickname now) has hit .255/.653 in 116 games with 47 R, 89 H, 14 DBL, 6 TRPL, 2 HR, 25 RBI, and 18 SB.  In 8 minor league seasons, he hit .291/.748 with 40 triples and 187 stolen bases.  He is capable of playing every outfield position.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Erik Kratz Goes Commercial for Turkey Bacon

What lies below is the trio of Godshall's Quality Meats commericals featuring Erik Kratz.

Opening Series- Phillies @ Braves Preview

Philadelphia Phillies (0-0) @ Atlanta Braves (0-0)

Pitching Match-Ups:
Monday, 7:00 Cole Hamels vs. Tim Hudson
Wednesday, 7:10 Roy Halladay vs. Paul Maholm
Thursday, 7:10 Cliff Lee vs. Kris Medlen


Surprise Roster Spots:
Phillies- Ender Inciarte, the Rule 5 pick, out of the Diamondbacks organization will begin the season as their 5th outfielders, despite never playing above Single-A.

Braves- Evan Gattis is a 26 year old catcher that has hit .308/.920 over 3 minor league seasons, though none above Double-A.  He'll serve as the backup catcher to Gerald Laird until Brian McCann returns.

Key Injuries:
Phillies- Delmon Young/OF isn't fully healed from offseason heel surgery.  He's expecting back in the beginning of May.

Braves- Brandon Beachy/SP won't be back until mid-season following last year's Tommy John Surgery.  Brian McCann/C is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery to his throwing arm, he'll be returning.  Johnny Venters/RP is on the DL with an elbow issue.

What We're Drinking:
Boulder Beer Company out of Colorado makes some fantastic brews and I've been enjoying a variety case from them recently.  They were the state's first microbrewery and have played a major part in America's craft beer boom.

Hazed & Infused Dry-Hopped Ale (5% ABV)- This unfiltered amber ale is “Hazed” in its natural state and “Infused” during dry-hopping with Crystal and Centennial hops, creating a flavorful, aromatic brew unlike any before it. Four different hop varieties are used to give it a unique aroma, with just enough yeast for a full mouth feel and a smooth, easy finish. So sit back, relax and get hazed.

Mojo India Pale Ale (7.2% ABV)- Inspired by the English who first shipped their ales to India and the Far East, but still brewed with an attitude of the great American West. Pale in color but packed with flavor, Mojo reflects the perfect balance of hop bitterness and malt character. The unique Amarillo hop creates a big citrus flavor with an ultra-crisp dry finish.

Sweaty Betty Blonde Wheat Beer (5.2% ABV)- A refreshing, unfiltered Bavarian-style Hefeweizen. The Weinstephan yeast gives this brew subtle hints of clove and banana with an attractive, hazy blonde color. For the best flavor, rouse any settled yeast by swirling the bottom of the bottle.

Never Summer Ale (6.5% ABV)- Released annually in October. Our brewers’ mission to create a satisfying cold weather brew resulted in Never Summer Ale, our version of a more aggressive winter seasonal. Deep ruby red in color, assertively hopped and brewed with dark caramel malt, Never Summer Ale makes even the coldest winter days seem warm.

Predictions:
Phils win tonight, but then drop the next two to Atlanta.  Ben Revere gets the Phils first hit of the season, while Ryan Howard hits the first homer.  Doc is terrible and only lasts 4 innings, surrendering 6 runs.