Wednesday, May 31, 2006

But Where Did His Foot Land?

Bobby Abreu may have hit a 3 run BOMB in the bottom of the 4th inning. This may have ensured a 3-0 lead for Brett Myers, who then cruised to a 4-2 victory. It may have traveled 434 feet to the 2nd deck in right field. But where did his foot land?? What matters is how Bobby looked while hitting it, not that he hit it.

I kid, but some are serious with that crap. Maybe he's opening his hips up to pull a ball or to poke it into left field but that does not matter to the haters. Haters simply hate for no rational reason.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hooray for Chris Coste, Now Can We Get a Real Bench?

The Phillies won 6-2 today against the Brewers and were able to prevent the season sweep. The only time the two teams will meet again would be in the playoffs, which we're sure everyone would take. However, the series brought up a key problem on the team, the bench. Pinch-hitters were 1 for 14 with a walk in the six games against the Brewers, and little better when bench players started games. Surely a bench is not expected to hit 300 or perform at the level of the starters, because by definition the bench will be formed of lesser players. However, the bench as has been constituted has not produced nearly enough.

Pat Gillick had a great little plan for this year's bench. Bring in some veterans(David Dellucci, Abraham Nunez, Alex Gonzalez, Sal Fasano) who knew the majors and knew how to hit. Dellucci, Nunez and Fasano all had career years for themselves in 2005, and Alex Gonzalez had always been a starter, if nothing really special. Shane Victorino was the lone holdover from the 2005, and he had only been with the big club during the stretch run in September, and performed admirably.

But that plan went awry early on, when Dellucci came out of the gate struggling (3 for 20 with a double in April), Alex Gonzalez went 1 for April, Sal Fasano proved to not be able to make contact with the ball (13 Ks in 29 at-bats in April and only 6 hits and 1 walk), and Abraham Nunez, who has become the #1 bat off the bench in pinch-hit situations, just kind of blows. And he's tied to a two-year deal! Chris Roberson and Carlos Ruiz came up from AAA and have both struggled, but Roberson is back in Scranton and young players can do poorly their first time in the majors for a variety of reasons, so they cannot be held to task for the bench's shortcomings.

To be fair, David Dellucci has righted the ship in May and is starting to show his power and patience at the plate. Shane Victorino was a TREMENOUS fill-in in CF for the formerly disabled Aaron Rowand, hitting around .345 with 5 doubles, 2 triples and 2 homers, and his re-insertion to the bench will surely provide a spark to it.

But they are only two of the players on this bench, so what happened to the other flame-outs? To start with, Abraham Nunez was never any good. His current 367 OPS is terrible and probably lower than what he actually will end up with, but his career 633 OPS over 1964 at bats is a huge precedent. The man just wasn't very good, and his somewhat decent output last year as a utility man on the St. Louis Cardinals was a huge abberation. Make sure to follow his suckiness at Unfortunately, he is bound to continue to crap out for this team because of his multi-year deal.

Next up is Alex Gonzalez. He was so bad that he retired to pursue other options. His stay with the Phillies ended with him getting 4 hits in 36 AB, 2 walks and no extra base hits. He also started at first base several times and didn't exactly play stellar defense. The inevitable occured on Sunday May 21st, and he was dropped from the team, but his negative influence on the team showed up in several games and probably cost them several runs and even games.

Then there is Sal Fasano, Philadelphia legend. Because of a last name, a fu manchu, and a cheering section (Sal's Pals), he's become a local media darling and been called a 'throwback' to the 1993 Phillies team. He even has a MySpace. Yeah, except they could hit. He is hitting .235, has 25 Ks and 3 walks in 68 AB, and has 4 doubles and 1 homer, which was hit on April 7th. And it's not like he could ever really hit, sporting a career average of .223, and a slugging percentage of .400. He does have 42 home runs, so he sports a little power...when he actually makes contact with the ball. He does this so little that his actual power output is actually lower than Jimmy Rollins' career slugging percentage (.413). But hey, he's gritty and dives for 0-2 foul bunts so a lot of people love him and were initially fooled by him. Some still are fooled. This man simply is a weak weak major league player, despite the likability.

But there is hope guys and gals! That blockhead Chris Coste, he of the 1.305 OPS in Spring Training, has been called up. His .177 average, .236 on-base percentage, and 8 doubles and 2 home runs don't count, of course, because he's 33 years old and is a good story for the club. His 0-3 with a HBP start is probably an indicator of what is to come for his surely short big-league stay (starting catcher Mike Lieberthal is due back very soon), but sometimes a nice story is a nice story.

So what happened? Gillick either overrated these guys or knew they stunk and simply didn't care. He already said they 'weren't good enough' before the season began, but bringing in guys like Nunez, Gonzalez and Fasano weren't a good plan at all. The choice seems fairly clear, because Mike Lieberthal is going to force the hand of the Phillies soon enough. Sal Fasano and Abraham Nunez have to be dumped, regardless of Nunez's two-year deal. Neither is likely to happen, but Carlos Ruiz at least has some upside at catching, while Fasano has topped out, and Nunez is simply WRETCHED. A possible solution is to bring up several well-performing players in AAA Scranton, which has been brought up before. Joe Thurston(2B/3B/LF) has swung the stick very well, as has Brennan King(3B). They could both take the spots of Nunez and/or Fasano and even if they flame out themselves they could not do any worse than the current bunch. A more likely scenario involves some type of deal that Gillick would be able to try.

In any event, watch out Mikey Liebs, Chris 'Charlie Brown' Coste may pull a Tonya Harding on you in order to stay up in the majors.

TV Update: People Watch It

So the official Neilson ratings for this year have come out, 2005-06, came out and the #1 and #2 show is American Idol. CSI, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Without a Trace, Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, CSI: Miami, and House round out the top 10. CBS simply dominated by having 9 of the top 20 rated shows in primetime. NBC didn't show up until 13 with Deal or No Deal, The WB until 111 (7th Heaven), and UPN lagged behind at 115 with America's Next Top Model. It will be interesting to see how the UPN and WB fare when they merge into the CW, as they were going for somewhat similar audiences and fairly distinct target markets.

And below is a list of the favorite TV shows of this blog's protagonist. Besides Lost, none hit the top 50, and five of them fall into the triple digits. Four will not return, including the namesake of Huge Tiny Mistake, Arrested Development. The funny show simply could not ring viewers in, despite its hilarity and amazing brilliance.

Anyway, here are HTM's viewing habits, not including HBO:

14. Lost ABC 15.5
51. How I Met Your Mother CBS 9.5
56. Invasion ABC 9.1 (cancelled)
56. The Simpsons FOX 9.1
65. The West Wing NBC 8.1 (done)
67. The Office NBC 8.0
69. Family Guy FOX 7.9
96. Scrubs NBC 6.4
115. Sons & Daughters ABC 4.9 (cancelled)
117. Smallville WB 4.7
120. Everybody Hates Chris UPN 4.3
123. Arrested Development FOX 4.2 (cancelled)
145. Veronica Mars UPN 2.3

Friday, May 26, 2006

Artie Lange Presents The Best REAL Late Night Interview Ever

Yeah, that's right...there was a real, non-rehearsed interview on late night television, specifically involving Jimmy Kimmel and Artie Lange:

Debunking the Myth: Abreu Will Leadoff If Asked

#53 has never stated he won't lead off. But the myth has circulated for three years now that selfish Bobby Abreu would rather sit his lazy ass in the three hole than do 'what is best for the team'. But, of course, he never said anything to that effect. Rather, he stated he 'preferred' the three hole, and judging by his production hitting with RISP(leading the team) he deserves it. Moving him up to leadoff would simply give him less chances to knock guys in, because he would follow the pitcher and catcher constantly, thus hurting one's team.

But back to the point at hand, Bobby recently stated he'd leadoff if asked:

"Anything that's better for the team. Anything to win games," Abreu said.

Why the change?

In Abreu's eyes, until this season the Phillies lacked enough RBI production to take his bat out of the middle of the lineup. He has averaged just over 100 RBI the last five seasons. His bat made him an All-Star the past two seasons.

However, with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand lined up behind him, Abreu considers the Phillies potent enough now.

"It's different," he said. "Now, we've got guys who can drive in runs."

Putting aside the 'changed his stance' idea, the guy said he WANTED TO WIN GAMES. Imagine that, selfish, lazy Bobby Abreu doing anything it takes to win games. Sure, he is bad defensively, but NO ONE can deny his production at the plate or his drive to win. Fortunately, Manuel thinks that moving the player with the best RISP numbers is a bad move, so he has yet to make the move.

But he would do it, if asked.

And all of the above could be null and void if different lineups actually mean anything. Studies have been done that show that lineup differences are fairly insignificant, as is protection in actual end result. It makes us feel good, and may have short-term gains, but eventually everything goes back to normal. So maybe all of this controversy is simply pointless.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hey Phillies, No More of This

I don't want to see this happen again(Thanks Ryan Franklin):

A Chink In the Crown of King Cole

Apparently King Cole Hamels has injured his left shoulder:

Rookie pitcher Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies experienced soreness in the back of his left shoulder while throwing in the outfield Tuesday and was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday night against the New York Mets.

Hamels will return to Philadelphia on Wednesday for an evaluation. To replace him, the Phillies will start Jon Lieber against the Mets on Wednesday, with Brett Myers going Thursday afternoon.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Boy Meets World Monday

Remember when the kids went on a show called Knowledge Fever and it turned into a 'circus'?!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chris Wheeler Fans Screams Are Heard

From the same minds that brought the Delaware Valley, and indeed the world, the Chris Wheeler Glossary now comes Back She Goes! The Official C-W-G merchandise. These 100% pre-shrunk cotton T-Shirts run anywhere form 10 dollars to 17.99. There are shirts for kids, for men, for women, and then there is the huggable tee for everyone's favorite toddler (but Wheels especially made them for Latino toddlers):

And, of course, no collection would be complete without a pair of women's undergarments. These instant classics make a perfect belated Mother'sDay gift or gesture to one's girlfriend or wife:

Friday, May 19, 2006

Don't Jump Off That Wagon Just Yet Folks

Yes, the Phillies lost their third game in a row yesterday in Milwaukee. Yes, they got swept by a young team who ran out Dave Bush and Dana Eveland as starting pitchers. But let's not jump off the bandwagon just yet. Let me list the ways:

-- Dave Bush is better than people think, as is Dana Eveland. Both are young pitchers with a good track record in the minors, with Eveland(aged 22) getting to the majors in 2.5 years. He's better than his numbers have indicated this year, and he's good against lefties. There's a reason why the Brewers pitched him, and we must realize that Phillies baseball doesn't occur in a vacuum. Other teams have good young players and pitchers too.

-- Another reason is that the Phillies are STILL 12-4 in May. Yes, that's right, they're still winning at a 75% clip. We must realize that if we kept this pace up, we'd be the best team of all-time. The Phillies simply won't win at such a dramatic rate, but we're still in a very good month.

-- We were on the road. Going 3-3 on the road is not horrible, and we swept a good team in the Cincinnati Reds. The Milwaukee Brewers in general are a pretty good team with a good shot at the NL Central when Ben Sheets comes back. Their offense has several good bats, and their pitching has held up thus far. Chris Capuano is an ace now, and while the Phillies didn't hit him well, they hung in there against the tough lefty.

-- Bobby Abreu's bat is back. He had a good series at Milwaukee after struggling mightily for about three weeks. He still hasn't hit a home run in a solid month (April 19th), but he drove the ball with some power into the gaps. Bobby went 5-12 with 2 doubles, 2 walks, 2 SB, and 3 RBI. The guy just gets on base whether he's hitting or not, but it looks like he's starting to hit again. This could be key in winning games, as he was not hitting well during the Phils hot streak.

-- Our two best pitchers are going against Boston. There has been tremendous talk about Cole Hamels, even from this blog, but Brett Myers and Jon Lieber remain the two best pitchers on this staff. Myers has gone into the 7th inning in 5 of his 8 starts, with two of the early exits being his first two starts. He has a great ERA (2.73), a decent WHIP(1.23) and is holding opponents to a decent batting average (241). His K per 9 is 7.17, walks per 9 at 2.91, and K:BB ratio is a good 2.48. AND he's improving with each start. This is a great sign for Myers and the Phillies, as he is blossoming into the ace many thought he could be.

Also, as this blog thought, Jon Lieber is not as bad as he was pitching in April. Lieber has started to improve, most recently giving up only 2 hits in 8.2 IP against the Reds. His ERA is down to 5.50, WHIP is down to 1.22, and his peripheral stats are improving too: opponents are hitting .286(down from .365 in mid-April), 5.85 K per 9, 0.86 walks per 9! and his K:BB ratio is 6.8! Those are tremendous numbers which are starting to go back to what he approached last season. He's a viable pitcher who can be on or off depending on if he can control his slider, but he should be a positive for the Phillies going forward. Keep in mind that he leads the majors in K/BB ratio. He's also doing well in DIPS(which tries to take away the defense's impact on pitchers) stats, as is Cory Lidle.

-- Tom Gordon is our best reliever, and did not get any time against the Brewers. He is simply dominating thus far this year, to the tune of a 1.53 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and converting 13 of 14 saves. He's also struck out 13.25 per 9 innings while only giving up 3.06 walks per 9! This gives him a 4.33 K:BB ratio, which is stellar. He's simply in control when he's on the mound, and has shown little signs of letting up, sans a Carlos Delgado two-run homer. It's not his fault Manuel did not pitch him against the Brewers and trusts Ryan Franklin and Arthur Rhodes for no real reason at all. Over the course of the season, the bullpen will likely shake out, as Brian Sanches(2-2 1.50 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 18 K, 3 BB in 18 IP) and Eude Brito(4-1 2.56 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 25 K, 17 BB in 45.2 IP) are nipping at the heels of guys like Rhodes, Madson, and Franklin. They are ready to step in, though Brito's walks could be a concern. But so are Rhodes' walks.

Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride, but let's not jump out of the window every time the Phillies lose.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cole Hamels: Perfection Part II

After a great stretch of 13 wins in 14 games the Phils have struggled against the Brewers in their two losses, losing in the 9th inning of both games. Ryan Franklin gave up the game on Tuesday by throwing the ball away, and Arthur Rhodes' appearance proved rocky on Wednesday when he walked the 8 hole hitter to lead off the inning, who then eventually scored. The walks for Arthur Rhodes are starting to pile up, and are starting to affect this team. Maybe it is time to stop bringing him in for key appearances.

Tonight, the Phillies attempt to halt their small two-game losing streak against the Brewers by sending King Cole Hamels to the mound. Hamels brings some major league experience into this start, after having a decent entry into the bigs(5 IP 1 hit, 5 walks, 7 Ks). Hopefully the jitters have been shaken off and he can be the stopper for this team.

Hamels will face a good Brewer offense, just as he faced a good Reds offense. The anticipation for his first home start is building, which will not be until Sunday May 28th against the Brewers (again). But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves...the Phils need to win tonight.

Prediction for tonight: 7 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 2BB, 7K

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Resounding Yes for Bob Casey Jr.

This blog's choice for Democratic nominee(and Senator) romped in yesterday's primary vote. Chuck Pennachio and Alan Sandals couldn't show enough reasons for voters to look their way, as they instead went the more pragmatic approach at taking on Rick Santorum. Even some nose-holding was done in the Philadelphia area, as more liberal Democatic voters in the Southeast STILL voted for Casey at a 75% clip. It looks like the Rick-slayer will march on and will have to face a tremendous campaigner. Let's hope Casey doesn't crumble like he did when he ran for governor against another tremendous campaigner in Ed Rendell.

Pennsylvania 8550 of 9360 Precincts Reporting - 91.35% (courtesy Reading Eagle)

Name Party Votes Pct
Casey , Bob Dem 587,622 84.59

Pennacchio , Chuck Dem 61,983 8.92

Sandals , Alan Dem 45,088 6.49

Steroid Usage and Your Friendly Neighborhood Ballplayer

1. Body type does not have anything to do with steroids. Someone can be fat and have taken enhancers. Someone can be skinny(Alex Sanchez) or small(Lenny Dykstra) and taken them. Having muscles does not automatically mean one has taken steroids, but NOT having muscles does not mean someone is clean. Let's stop saying 'look at how much that guy gained/lost, it HAD to be the roids! Or 'man, he's too ripped for it to be natural'. Sure, it brings questions to the forefront, but it's probably not right to assume because assumptions can, and usually are, wrong.

2. Production means very little. We have our very own Ryan Franklin to point to as a steroid user, which suggests that production does not follow after one takes steroids. Sure, someone can hit a ball farther or a pitcher could build up their legs and thus speed, but they still have to execute. It could also even get in the way of their style of play, such as when Ruben Sierra bulked up(no, I am not accusing him of steroids, simply an example) to add power to his game but this ended up messing with his swing. They can vary from all-stars like Jason Giambi to the vaunted Brian Mazone(in Scranton).

3. Just because it is leaked grand jury testimony, it doesn't negate the truth behind it. To assume otherwise would be to assume that the ballplayers perjured themselves. Bonds, Sheffield, and the rest escape me, took steroids, knowingly or not. I have yet to read Game of Shadows, so I'm sure someone knows much more than me on this topic.

4. Hitters weren't the only ones juicing. Sure, home run totals skyrocketed, but factors such as better training(and year-round training) in general,smaller parks, expansion and the bat and ball themselves have no doubt left their impact on these totals. Remember that home run totals jumped in the early 1960s as well as expansion thinned out the pitchers more dramatically than hitters. Anyway, almost as many pitchers have been caught as hitters, in both the minors and majors. Our very own Franklin, as well as former PHillie Derrick Turnbow are two higher-profile examples. Don't forget the good reliever Juan Rincon.

5. Injuries don't mean everything. Sometimes an injury is just an injury. People are certainly more prone from taking steroids, but assuming everyone ever hurt has taken roids is simply too big of a leap to take seriously.

Anything I have wrong or should add? I only do this because steroids are a big topic in baseball, with a big influence on the game and the policing of it, but a lot of generalizations and accusations are thrown around without proof. Let's at least get the proof before we brand people with a big S.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Aftermath Of The Game Saver

Boy Meets World Mondays

Here's a Feeney and Eric Matthews montage!!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

NL East At A Glance

Courtesy of phillychuck, here's a Hardball Times graph showing the streaking Phillies:

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Game Saver Creates A Legend

Here's the setup. It's the top of the first inning with the Phillies facing the 1st place Mets in the rubber-game of the three game series. Rain looms in the background, forcing the two teams to get out to an early lead to avoid losing the game in five or six innings if it is indeed called. After getting two easy outs to start the game, Gavin Floyd then walks Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and David Wright on consecutive at-bats to load the bases. Xavier came up to the plate and smacked a meatball of a pitch to deep centerfield. Aaron Rowand, the centerfielder with a reputation for 'running into walls' somewhat oddly tracked down the screamer to right-center and caught it with only two inches to spare...and then he ran into the wall. Nose met fence, bone relented, and what resulted was a bloody, broken, massacred Rowand laying on the ground being surrounded by his teammates.

But he caught the ball, saving the young Floyd and possibly propelling him to settle down for the rest of the night, as Floyd then went 5 shutout innings giving up 2 hits and 4 walks(3 of those in the first inning). Floyd gained his fourth win on the rain-soaked night, and Rowand created a legend in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia fans are fickle ones but one thing will always sway them: sacrificing one's body for the win. Rightly or wrongly, guys like Aaron Rowand and Sal Fasano will be more beloved than Bobby Abreu.

Rowand's game-saving catch propelled the Phillies to victory, edging out the Mets 2-0. Chase Utley hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first andDavid Bell drove in Rowand's replacement, Shane Victorino, in the fourth inning for the Phillies only two runs. Aaron Rowand may miss a few games with the broken nose, he may miss several games. Whenever he comes back to play down in South Philadelphia he will hear the loudest cheers anyone has heard in that ballpark. And he will have deserved it, for his efforts in the field AND at the plate. What separates him from the typical 'gritty' Philadelphia fan favorite is that he can actually play. He doesn't just look good doing it, he contributes nicely to the offense. He should be, and will be, beloved by the 610 WIP-type fan and by the player.

Can't Win 'em All

Well, the Phils got blown out by the Mets last night, 13-4. It wasn't that close either, as the Mets jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the 3rd inning. It was a bad game to end the 9 game winning streak, but now it's time for ANOTHER 9 gamer.

Three good points: Burrell hit a home run, Howard hit one, and Geoff Geary pitched 3 quality innings in relief.

Oh, and David Bell did some handstands for the crowd:


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Perfection due in Philadelphia Friday

King Cole Hamels has been officially brought up to the major leagues! After a stellar three start performance in AAA Scranton(23 IP, 36Ks, 1 walk, 1 ER), he proved all he could in the minors. He will debut against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, which has a darn good offense consisting of Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, and Edwin Encarnacion. Hopefully his debut goes as well as the almost equally hyped Brett Myers' first start went. Myers dueled Mark Prior in Chicago and went 8 innings, giving up only 2 hits, 1 walk and a run while striking out 5. Hopefully Hamels can show off his tremendous stuff and give enough more hope to the fans, many of whom are quickly jumping on this bandwagon.

The only bittersweet part of this is that Ryan Madson is going to lose his spot in the rotation. Madson deserves more of a chance to prove himself, as he has had 6 starts, 3 of which have been good and 3 of which were bad. Hopefully Madson will flourish in the bullpen and get another chance to start, because it's doubtful that 6 starts in April and early May really showed that he couldn't start. Rather, Madson got run over by the Cole Hamels train.

Victorino Punks LoDuca

Paul LoDuca, long thought of as a 'winner' and a 'gritty' type of player who puts his body on the line for the win, got PUNKED by Shane Victorino last night. The dude is starting to get it done with the bat(308 average, 379 OBP, 2 doubles in 26 AB), is playing a great defense in LF and CF when asked, and bowled over LoDuca at the plate last night for a key 8th inning run to put the Phils ahead by two. Sure, Tom Gordon then gave up a 2 run bomb to Carlos Delgado, but the excitement in the park, the broadcasting booth and in the homes of fans everywhere was almost at its peak when Shane bull-rushed LoDuca.

And don't forget that he has a cool Hawaiin accent.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Be Friends With Sal Fasano

After Sal Fasano's horrible Italian-stereotype tour of South Philadelphia with John 'Guido Sarducci' Marzano, it needs mentioning that Sal Fasano is on Fu manchu and his weighty 200 batting average and 606 OPS has nearly 150 friends! The fans just love backup catchers, regardless of whether they actually help the Phillies win games.

So become friends with Marz's buddy, put him in your top 8, and spread the legend that is Sal Fasano. You might even gets some pizza pies out of the deal. LINKAGE

Monday, May 08, 2006

Back with Boy Meets World Mondays!

Remember when there was old, strange Topanga?!?!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Philadelphia not big enough for both Bonds and Huge Tiny Mistake

Barry Bonds, and some team he's on, come into Philadelphia tonight for a three game series, with him sitting at 712 home runs, 2 away from Babe Ruth for second all-time. Sure, some may turn around in some pointless protest, some may boo right before Bonds hits one of his home runs, but no one is doing what this writer is doing....leaving the freaking city AND state. Yes, Delaware beckons, and a vacation is surely in order. The Phillies will win 2 of 3, and be well on their way to nipping at the Mets' heels.

Gavin Floyd goes up against Matt Cain tonight in a young pitcher's duel. It's almost a sure thing to have some offensive fireworks tonight.

Be sure to check for some cool new photo tour, of which I slightly contributed to a college one.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Game 28: Atlanta at Phillies...Five in a row???

-- The Phillies go for five wins in a row tonight, after a good win last night where Aaron Rowand hit an opposite-field 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to put the Phillies in the lead for good. The 5-4 victory came against Atlanta, who has been struggling offensively, wasting a lot of good starting pitching.

-- John Thomson goes for the Braves tonight, and he's simply been stellar, with a 1.32 ERA and 1.117 WHIP, but has been a bit wild of late(9 walks in the last 12.2 innings) and has yet to finish the 7th inning. The Phils are certainly in position to run him early.

-- Cory Lidle starts for the Phils tonight and, after his negative comments about Bonds, it would be nice to see him come out and go 7 or 8 innings with giving up only 2 runs.

John Thomson(0-1 1.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP 25Ks, 12 walks) v Cory Lidle(2-3 4.40 ERA, 1.24 WHIP 33Ks, 3 walks)

2B Marcus Giles
SS Edgar Renteria
3B Chipper Jones
CF Andruw Jones
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jeff Francoeur
C Brian McCann
LF Ryan Langerhans
SP John Thomson

SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Chase Utley
RF Bobby Abreu
LF Pat Burrell
1B Ryan Howard
CF Aaron Rowand
3B David Bell
C Mike Lieberthal
SP Cory Lidle

Michael Berg Running for Congress

Apparently Michael Berg is running for Congress as a Green Party candidate. And a friend wrote about it. Read it! Its an interesting one.

Paul Phillips breaks down the life of an reviewer. She's bipolar, has cats, knits, buys moisturizer and eats lots of food. Make your own conclusions.

The legendary 'Shore' of The Good Phight crunches the numbers and concludes that the Phillies see a slight dip in 'clutch situations', as no doubt every team in the league would. He also concludes that Bobby Abreu doesn't really alter his approach in the 'clutch', and thus is a pretty even-handed guy and performs well enough. Food for thought, haters. David Bell does very well in the 'clutch', but then one wonders why he sucks the rest of the time? Do those innings and situations not count?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here

Alex Gonzalez and Sal Fasano have to GO. Both are 'veterans' that simply haven't produced either in the field on at the plate.

Gonzalez is sporting a 258 OPS!!!! That breaks down to a .091 average, .167 OBP and .091 slugging. That's a 2-22 stretch with 2 walks. HORRIBLE. His supposed pedigree isn't anything to write home about either, producing a career 695 OPS. He's also messed up in the field at both first and third, which was supposedly his strength.

Sal Fasano has a cool fu manchu, shows emotion, gives out pizzas, and has a fan group in the right-field stands. And he sucks. He had a career year last year that simply wasn't too great anyway (785 OPS, 11 home runs in 160 AB), and Gillick saw him as a way to placate Lieber's want for a personal catcher and possibly improve the backup position from the dreck that Todd Pratt was throwing out there. However, Fasano looks lost at the plate, swinging at everything he can get his hands on, and a lot of pitches he can't. Thus, he's struck out 15 times in 33 AB, and has only walked once. His OPS is an anemic 592.

So, what can be done? Well, cut them both and bring up two guys from Scranton. Replacing Fasano is easy, as there is only one viable option right now: Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz is 26 or 27 depending on what source one cites, but started baseball late and thus is 'younger' in that sense. He's also tearing Scranton up this year after a good year in Reading in 2004 and a good year last year in Scranton in 2005. He should not have to repeat AAA, the guy is simply producing too much. He has a 386 average, 448 OBP and 663 slugging percentage for a 1.111 OPS!! He has 5 doubles, 6 homers and 2 steals in 23 games thus far, and is a good defensive catcher as well. The choice is simple and obvious.

As for backup infielder, there are several options, as the entire infield has shown flashes at times:

1B/3B/C Chris Coste - 170 avg/257 OBP/239 slugging. He is not a viable option anymore, despite his good spring training. This career minor leaguer (33 yrs old) simply is a AAA player. Keep him at Scranton and hope he gets out of his bad slump and contributes to their team.

2B/3B Angel Chavez - 265 avg/308 OBP/388 slugging and 5 steals in 12 games. He has some speed, and is a younger guy(24), but is not ready for the majors just yet. Give him some more games in Scranton.

3B- Brennan King - 333 avg/372 OBP/524 slugging in 17 games. He's 25 and is doing well in Scranton thus far, but does not have as much positional flexibility as some other guys who can come up.

3B/SS Danny Sandoval - 315 avg/327 OBP/370 slugging in 14 games. He did well last year and he has some positional flexibility, but he is simply not taking enough pitches to be given a spot on the major league roster right now.

2B/3B/LF Bobby Scales - 406 avg/474 OBP/735 slugging in 16 games. He was simply hitting the lights out to start the season but is currently on the DL.

LF/2B/3B Joe Thurston - 296 avg/376 OBP/519 slugging and 4 steals in 24 games. He was once considered the 'future 2B' of the Dodgers, and simply stalled for them between AAA and the majors. However, he is producing for Scranton and is still only 26 yrs old. He's also in the middle of a 12 game hitting streak. He deserves to be brought up and given a shot over a flame-out like Alex Gonzalez

The choices are clear, Carlos Ruiz and Joe Thurston over Sal Fasano and Alex Gonzalez.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cole Hamels Is Perfect

Since being promoted to AAA Scranton, he has had two starts, the first last Thursday and the latest occurring today. His AAA debut ended with him fanning 14 batters in 7 innings, allowing only 3 hits. It was a dominant start where he threw 99 pitches (66 strikes and 33 balls). Today he eclipsed this effort, netting a complete game 2-hit shutout. He walked one batter and struck out 12, including striking out the side to end the game. He ended up throwing 112 pitches (74 for strikes!). He has yet to give up a run.

Hamels has simply been unhittable thus far. His strikeout per 9 ratio is 20.25 Ks per 9 innings. He has 36 Ks and 1 walk for a simply INSANE K:BB ratio of 36 to 1. His opponent's batting average is .094. He has a 0.00 ERA and a 0.38 WHIP. This small-sample size is still VERY encouraging, and gives the phans a reason to hope.

Perhaps it is time to bring him up. Maybe not perhaps, maybe it IS time. The Phillies obviously had a reason for letting him go the distance today, which was probably to both build his confidence (could it get any higher, though?) and also push Madson and Floyd. Madson had a bad outing the past time out, but I tend to think that he's simply not been locating his fastball well, nor has he been mixing his pitches like he did in the previous years. Sure, one could say 'that's why he should be in the bullpen!', but giving up on someone one month into the season, and only letting them have five chances to prove themselvs, is simply not fair to someone with no other ways to go. A guy like Gavin Floyd can be sent back down to AAA, who is also struggling, and can regain his compsure down there, whereas a guy like Madson, who can't be sent down, would have to simply be traded or sent to the pen. I don't see that as a viable option, comment if you disagree.

I would bring Hamels up after one or two more starts, and have him replace Gavin Floyd if Floyd continues to struggle (and don't tell me his Pittsburgh start was good, he was lucky he faced a bad offense and induced a few ground balls at key moments).

And finally, from the same people who brought you the Chris Wheeler Glossary, here is Cole Hamels!!!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Game 25: Phillies Ballclub at Florida Marlins

-- Alex Gonzalez has GOT TO GO. This guy can't hit, period. Why is he starting two games in a row?!?! And why is Ryan Howard sitting in favor of Gonzalez (.056 average)? Howard hits lefties better than Gonzalez, because GONZALEZ CAN'T HIT!

-- And what's with this Rowand hitting 3rd thing? Manuel is definitely just throwing darts at the wall when he's making these lineups.

Ryan Madson(2-1 8.05 ERA) v. Dontrelle Willis(1-1 3.13)


SS Rollins
RF Victorino
CF Rowand
LF Burrell
2B Utley
3B Bell
1B Gonzalez
C Lieberthal
SP Madson

SS Ramirez
2B Uggla
3B Cabrera
LF Willingham
1B Jacobs
C Olivo
RF Aguila
CF Abercrombie
SP Willis

Put your Left Foot In

And you shake it all about!!!

Boy Meets World Mondays!!

Remember when the WWE wrestler Vader was on Boy Meets World for the first time?!?!