March 1, 2015

Why the Phillies will be just fine, and other 2012 predictions

OK – so obviously new jobs/responsibilities/life events have killed off Dannie (blog-speaking) and have severely limited me. But the reason for this blog was never to make money, it was as a creative outlet for reasonable sports discourse, and the start of baseball season still gets me very fired-up and in need of that outlet…

I only got to one part of my Phillies preview, the now-doomed infield. So I’ll summarize that here and shoot through the rest of the team, based on how I think they will perform compared to 2011.

In-fact, let’s just shoot through the 25-man roster…

C- Carlos Ruiz: No reason to expect much different output from last year. Even.
1B- Ty Wigginton:
Who knows how long Ryan Howard will be out and it’s not the Achillies will have him back at 100% when he gets there. But I do think he will be back this year. Minus 1 win (factors in that Howard will return). 
2B- Freddy Galvis:
Think Rey Ordonez. Wizard with the glove, should probably be hitting behind the pitcher with the bat. I don’t expect Utley back until June at the earliest. Minus 2.5 wins (factors in that Utley will return).
3B – Placido Polanco: Has actually looked good in spring training. If he can stay healthy, he could improve on his 1.8 WAR from last year, but I would never, ever, bet on him staying healthy. Even.
SS – Jimmy Rollins:
Played a little above his average last year at 3.7 WAR. I’m going to drop him down just a tad. Minus 0.7 wins.
RF – Hunter Pence:
Pence’s WAR last year between Houston and Philly was 5.2. His previous high was 3.3 (his rookie year) and the prior two seasons he averaged a measly 1.5. So where do we put him in 2012? I think that he does have the ability to be closer to the 5.2 than the 1.5, but I don’t think he’ll be quite as good again, primarily because of his very high BABIP last year. I’ll put him at 4 for now. He had a 2.5 of his WAR with the Phils last year, so by being here the whole year, he’ll be plus 1.5 wins.
CF – Shane Victorino:
Vic had a 5.0 WAR last year, his best of his career. His prior 3 years were 3.5, 2.4 and 3.7. I’ll put him ahead of those, but don’t think he’ll match last year. Minus 1 win.
LF – Juan Pierre: Wait, what? I could write a long diatribe about why I think Juan Pierre shouldn’t be anywhere near our starting line-up, especially over Scott Podsednik, Domonic Brown and John Mayberry, but I’ll save time for now. Pierre was exactly a replacement player last year (0.0 WAR) and averaged 0.7 WAR per season over the prior 4.  I highly, highly doubt he’ll be the starting LF for the entire season, and I also highly doubt he’ll be any good (would be thrilled to be wrong). However, the bright side is our starting LF last year, Raul Ibanez, was worse than a replacement player (-0.4 WAR) so anything from LF is a positive. Plus 0.5 wins. 

Overall line-up vs. 2011: Minus 3.2 wins

SP1 – Roy Halladay: Had a little velocity “scare” in the spring, but it’s unlikely he’s about to fall apart. His 7.4 WAR last year was the 2nd best of his career, and I don’t expect him to be quite that good this year. Minus 0.5 wins
SP2 – Cliff Lee:
Also notched the 2nd best WAR of his career and I also expect a slightly “worse” year this season. Minus 0.5 wins.
SP3 – Cole Hamels: 
 Pitching for a massive contract, 28 years old, and coming off his career year. I expect him to be very, very good. Plus 0.6 wins.
SP4- Vance Worley:
Sorry, I’m selling on Vance. His  stuff and minor league numbers tell me he’s not nearly as good as showed last year. He’ll be serviceable, but not near his 2.8 WAR. Minus 1.8 wins.
SP5 – Joe Blanton:
Has looked good in spring, and is pitching for another contract. However, for the purposes of this, he’s being compared to Roy Oswalt and his 1.7 WAR. I expect Blanton to be in that range. Even. 

Overall rotation vs. 2011: Minus 2.2 wins

CL – Jonathan Papelbon: Madson had a 2.2 WAR last year and Papelbon 2.0. I do think Paps will pitch well, but Madson was really, really good last year. Even.
SU – Antonio Bastardo:
I think his stuff is nasty enough to repeat his 2011 campaign. And it seems like his spring troubles have been resolved. Even.
The Rest –
This is a little difficult because so many guys filter through the bullpen each year. Last year, aside from Bastardo and Madson, the Phillies bullpen (Contreras, Stutes, Lidge, Herndon, Romero, Mathieson, Perez, De Fratus, Zagurski, Schwimer, Baez and Carpenter) had a 1.2 WAR, brought down considerably by Danys Baez and his -0.9 mark. This year, you are looking at Qualls (0.5), Herndon (0.3), Stutes (0.0), Contreras (0.0), Kendrick (0.5) and then a mix of Joe Savery and the minor league brigade. When the dust settles, it’s likely the bullpen will be very similar in terms of production to last season. Even. 

Overall bullpen vs. 2011: Even

C – Brian Schneider: -0.9 WAR last year, and not getting better. Even.
1B – Jim Thome:
A potential big upgrade (as bench players go) over Ross Gload (-0.3 WAR last year). Plus 0.5 wins.
Inf – Hector Luna:
The darling of the spring – I’m hopeful he gets the spot over Pete Orr. Would be an upgrade over Mini-Mart, but playing time limits the impact. Plus 0.2 wins.
OF – John Mayberry:
Even though he had a lot of starts last year, I still need to compare him to himself. His 2.5 WAR was an aberration, in my opinion (based on his stats from 3,000+ minor league ABs), and I don’t expect him to be the next Jayson Werth. Still a very solid 4th OF. Minus 1.5 wins.
OF – Laynce Nix:
All he has to do is beat Ben Francisco’s horrible -0.9 WAR to be considered an upgrade here. Sadly, I think Nix is horrible as well (2 years, really?), but will still be a modest upgrade. Plus 0.5 wins. 

Overall bench vs. 2011: Minus 0.3 wins. 

So, all of these put together gives us a total of the Phillies being just about 5.7 wins worse than 2011 based solely on our own personnel. Our expected W/L record in 2011 based on runs scored and allowed was 103-59 so that puts us at 97-65.

However, we obviously have to bring into play how our division changed. Our 38 games against the Marlins and Nats should be tougher than last year, while our 19 against the Mets should actually be easier (with the Braves staying the same). I’ll drop us 3 more wins for the increased difficulty in schedule, and put us at 94-68 on the season. That should be enough to win the division by a couple games, and would DEFINITELY be enough to make the stupid new playoff format. Vegas seems to be in line with this prediction, as they have the O/U for Phillies wins at 93.5. Utley and Howard not coming back at all might drop us into the 90-91 range, but that should still be good enough.

We’ll see how the season plays out. There are (obviously) always a lot of surprises, good and bad.

The Rest of the League

So how would the Phils 94 wins stack up against the rest of baseball? I did a similar (but quicker) process as I did above for the other 29 teams and this is how I see the year unfolding…

NL East

1. Phillies 94-68
2. Marlins 88-74 (wild card)
3. Braves 85-77
4. Nats 82-80
5. Mets 71-91

NL Central

1. Reds 88-74
2. Brewers 86-76 (stupid wild card)
3. Cardinals 83-79
4. Pirates 75-87
5. Cubs 69-93
6. Astros 67-95

NL West

1. Diamondbacks 89-73
2. Giants 83-79
3. Rockies  80-82
4. Dodgers 78-84
5. Padres 74-88

AL East

1. Yankees 95-67
2. Red Sox 91-71 (wild card)
3. Rays 89-73
4. Blue Jays 77-85
5. Orioles 73-89

AL Central

1. Tigers 89-73
2. Indians 80-82
3. Royals 74-88
4. Twins 72-90
5. White Sox 70-92

AL West

1. Angels 94-68
2. Rangers 90-72 (stupid wild card)
3. Mariners 74-88
4. A’s 70-92


Stupid wild card games: TEX over BOS, MIL over MIA

Division Series: PHI over MIL, ARI over CIN, NYY over TEX, LAA over DET

Championship Series: ARI over PHI, LAA over NYY

World Series: LAA over ARI

There really isn’t an NL team I love, which is also good news for the Phillies. I picked the Diamondbacks because I liked their additions of Cahill and Kubel and think that Justin Upton could make the leap to MVP this year. But I could make arguments for plenty of teams. As for the Angels, I think the Pujols acquisition overshadowed the fact that they now have the 2nd best “big-3″ to us in the majors with Weaver, Haren and Wilson. I think they will get enough offense around Pujols and will have similar year to the Phillies last year, though with more luck in the playoffs.

So that’s how I see things playing out, both for the Phillies and the rest of the league.

What are your predictions for 2012?

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  1. Ken Bland says:

    Just glancing through your record projections, the one that stood out as off more than most compared to an off the cuff guess by me was the Cubs at 69 wins.  I believe they will win 74ish. Let’s say 73-76 to give some range.  I wish they’d make Jeff Baker available in a trade so the Phils could make a push, but that’s besides the point.  The starting pitching is good enough to get them into a 70s win total.

    I think your comparison of the Angels “Big 3″ as comparable to the Phillies is reasonable, but there’s no reason that the Giants won’t be around equal.  I assume Madison Bumgarner has a good plus year and sparks the usual best top of the staff debate.

    I don’t know about Angels over Rangers by 4 games.  Not that it’s a large margin, but with the better middle relief, and better offense, if that division is separated by 4 or more games, I think it’s the Rangers edge.  I’m not going to be surprised if this Josh Hamilton contract situation is a distraction, and they have to hope for smooth sailing with the Feliz transition, but that’s a darned good club.    



  2. Mike Donnelly says:

    Jason Werth, I mean John Mayberry can’t even crack the starting lineup of this pathetic offense? Are you kidding me ?  Same for Dom. Brown if neither of these two guys can get on the field vs. the fierce competition of Juan Pierre (off the scrap heap and .278 last 2 years) and Ty Wiggington (career .265 and .245 last 2 years)      .245 are you kidding me and he never takes a walk .315 OBP last 3 years and his 15 HR were completely normal for him, 6 years at 17 HR or less. best year ever 24 big deal….  Come on Pete, going from Ryan to Ty has got to be 10 wins minimum, 5 for half season.  But as I said the fact that neither John nor Dom. could beat out these guys, makes me want to puke.

  3. Ken Bland says:

    In today’s NY Post, Joel Sherman has some don’t be surprised if warnings for the season.

    John Mayberry Jr. becomes a 30-homer All-Star helping the Phillies compensate somewhat for the early-season absences of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

    Without a preface of Simon says, don’t be surprised, it’s hopefully okay to still be surprised if this happens.     


  4. Mike Donnelly says:

    Oh, from your lips to God’s ears may it be so.  But before he can do so he has to crack the starting lineup, but where?  1st ?  Ty and his mighty .245 seem to be blocking him.

    • Ken Bland says:

      I really don’t know the basis of Joel’s sense that Mayberry might perform to that level, but I’d bet it’s influenced by his dad’s 30 homer profile back in the day.  I just don’t see Mayberry jumping that far this year. 

  5. Ken Bland says:

    I’m a little disappointed Charlie went with Wigginton at 1st for the Opening Day lineup.  I’d have liked to have seen Thome get the assignment.  Last year, in the opener against Doc, Pence had Carlos Lee behind him in the Houston lineup.  Wigginton “protecting” him doesn’t seem like there will be much need to throw too much close to hittable since Hunter can be such a wild swinger.  Wigginton has struck out 9 times in 27 at bats against Bedard, but that translates to an effective BABIP, so maybe he’ll surprise and have an impact.

    Last year’s opener, Charlie had to pinch hit for Doc early (B6) because the offense couldn’t get going.  Late inning singling them to death was 1 of 102, and lifted depressed Opening Day spirits after a non exsistant offense made Brett Myers look insurmountable.  If last year’s Phils were hardly Comeback Kids, odds seem even less likely of that this year, at least pre-RyHo..  Moral of the story is playing ahead might be the smart thing to do.

    It is Opening Day, and a true pleasure to witness another one.  It’s a little dampened by concern over how this club will do, but didn’t nobody never advise to live life more than a day at a time.  That said, with recognition that this is a marathon, and not a sprint, you still don’t wanna fall too far behind after 6 games, which includes 3 with the Fish after this 3 game set at a historic house of horrors.  Pitching matchups suggest 2 of 3 Phillie wins, but they will more ofetn than not, and you gotta score as well as hold em.  4 of 6 would be sweet, and the goal remains 14-9 for the month, a barrier that seemed reasonable in it’s creation before Utley’s spring absence.  Things being as they are, I’d be ecstatic with 2 of 3 against the Bucs in their house.  Despite the history in Pittsburgh, no other result makes as much sense.

    Happy Opening Day!!!!!! 


  6. Chris McC. says:

    Did Sarge just guarantee HOF admission for Utley and Howard? Of course he did.

    Happy Opening Day!

    • Pete says:


      They will be inducted right after Chris Wheeler inducts Emilio Bonifacio and David Eckstein

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      Utley peaked in 2007 SLG .566 and OPS .976   David Wright of the Mets has same numbers in his best year .546 and .962, and they both have same number of HR 33 in their best year.  Career batting average, OBP, SLG and OPS are all nearly identical    Is Wright headed to the HOF ?  Don’t be silly.   Chase’s only chance for HOF would have been if something tragic happened to him when he was in his prime. (Thurman Munson) I don’t even think a Kirby Puckett vote drive (eyes vs. Chase’s knees) would do it for him.
      But ultimately who cares, he will be a fan favorite for decades to come. Which now that I think about it, he could make it to HOF like Yogi Berra, good career plus fan love plus managing/coaching/announcer

      • Ken Bland says:

        Chase is gonna get more support than you think.  It may take a long time, whatever they will call the Golden Age Committe at that time, but he’ll be remembered as a dominant player at his position, playing for a winning team, and hitting 5 homers in a World Series.  Not to mention it’s a complete farce to even think you can judge Utley by numbers.  Thinking he has what I take to mean so little chance at the Hall is overkill even if you’re on the right track that he’ll have a difficult time making it.

        Yogi Berra retired in 1965.  He was elected in 1972.  Two years past first time eligibility.  As a 3 time MVP, it’s more a wonder he didn’t get in earlier, but a 2 year wait still strongly suggests he got in on baseball merit, and not sideshow extras.  If anything, his managerial career pre HOF might have hurt him because he cam across as a bit comical while managing the Yanks, which should have had zero to do with voters, but may have had a psycological effect on a portion of them.  Yogi is a legitimate baseball Hall of Famer. 


        • Mike Donnelly says:

          My bad I was thinking of Phil Rizzuto who retired in ’56 and was voted in ’94 and was largely voted in from being an announcer for 40 years.

        • Mike Donnelly says:

          It’s not going to be easy for Chase, no MVP and 2 of his teammates got 1, so the numbers and voters would say he benefited from playing with 2 players better than he was. Tough to get into HOF as 3rd best, and he’d have to wait until after Howard and Rollins get in.   Oh wait and Cole Hamels was the World Series MVP so that puts Utley at 4th best? And Roy H. won the Cy Young in 2010, so 5th best?   In his favor 5 straight starter (and 5 total) all star games,   BTW  David Wright again very close to Utley’s career has 4 starting all star games and 1 reserve.  Utley and Wright hardly could be more closely paralleled. 

  7. Chris McC. says:

    Here’s a prop bet for you: How many big league double-plays will Galvis turn before hitting his first big league double?

    20 Phillies position players hit 253 doubles last year. That 12.6 a piece. Figure Galvis will likely be a good bit under that number – he hit 28 last year between AA (22) & AAA (6).

    I say 5 double plays before his first double. 

    • Chris McC. says:

      Ok, to be clear, I meant double plays with the glove. Not with the bat, which he just did to end the inning. But I guess that’s probably a more interesting thing to track. Anyway…

      I question T-Mac’s perspective. He credited Galvis with leading the Phills in RBI and at-bats in spring training. It’s pretty easy to deduce that he led in RBI because he led in at-bats and he led in at-bats because everyone knew he was starting in the field on Opening Day and they had to try to teach him to hit big league pitching. He led the team in Runs Batted In because he was the team’s worst hitter.

      • Pete says:

        I honest to God have to watch the Phillies on mute b/c I CANNOT listen to him anymore. Anyone know if 94.1 is linked to TV this year?

        • Chris McC. says:

          Just tried to get 94.1 and 1210 on the internet and both were talking about the Masters. I think the only way to get the radio call online is through

      • Stacy says:

        He didn’t credit Galvis with anything.  The stats are on the Phillies home page

        • Chris McC. says:

          I wasn’t questioning his sources. I wasn’t claiming he was citing incorrect statistics – I believe that Freddy Galvis really did lead the Phillies in RBI and ABs in spring training. I was criticizing the context in which McCarthy brought up the stats. He made it sound like Galvis lead the team in RBI and ABs because he’s a good hitter when the opposite would be more accurate. I was criticizing his understanding and analysis of baseball.

          • Dude says:

            He was a good hitter in the spring… He wasn’t killing the ball, but he shouldn’t be trying to either. He was just putting the ball in the right places based on where the runners were. He deserves credit for that. Whether he can do it consistently against in-season major league pitching is what remains to be seen.

  8. Ken Bland says:

    My favorite way of dwelling in the glory of Doc’s now being 3-0 in Phillie Opening Day assignments is real simple.

    In the club’s last 2 meaningful baseball games, the Phillies are now 1-1 in 1-0 games.

    And you are only as good as your last game. Period.

    More of the same Saturday night when Cliff draws Opening Day 2, and it’s split screen city when Jamie Moyer goes against Houston with a similarly scheduled start time.      

  9. Mike Donnelly says:

    Did I say the Phillies would get 650 runs this year?  My bad I meant 162 runs.  This regular season is going to be one nail biter after another.

  10. Chris McC. says:

    I know its the Pirates and he faced one or two dudes nobody’s ever heard of but Papelbon looked good. That fastball looked really good. Willing to move it around, go high with it, nice control.

    It is still totally bizarre to see him in a Phillies uniform. Sure, it’s not the first time a superstar made a point to come to Philly in the last few years (Halladay, Lee) but those guys fit the “Phillies Personality” in Toronto and Cleveland before they got here. Hard working, understated, no flash, no bullshit. Just seemed like super nice guys with remarkable talent a la Utley and Victorino and Howard and Ibanez.

    Now there’s Papelbon who’s got a fucking alter-ego that references (and I like to think mocks) the single most exhausting and embarrassing personality in professional sports. A friend’s mother described Papelbon as: “He looks like the jerk in high school who bullied the nerds but in the end the nerds pantsed him while he had tidy whities on.”

    He’s cocky and arrogant and not at all the kind of guy I’m used to seeing in red pinstripes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally on board with having him here. But it will be interesting to see how the fans and media here react to his personality, especially when he blows a couple of saves and the window-lickers that are our sports journalists start going thermonuclear.

    • Ken Bland says:

      That’s interesting that you called him a superstar.  That’s such a vague term anymore, probably always has been.

      Clearly, at his position, Mo Rivera carries that label.  I suppose it’s fair to say because of long term success, Papelbon is closest to it.  And for all the cockiness and arrogance that comes across from his alter ego, he’s actually come across as down to earth and humble as well.  They seem to like him in the locker room.  I don’t forsee any sort of overwhelming negative reaction if he goes in a slump.  I wouldn’t define his end of last season as a slump, either…more of being overused, and you can only do so much.  He should fit in pretty nicely, I believe. 

      • Chris McC. says:

        I’d certainly say Papelbon qualifies as a superstar given the city he played in, the position and the fact that he’s got 3 saves in a World Series sweep. I agree “superstar” is a tough word to define. To me it’s always had just as much (if not more) to do with media attention and marketability. Maybe he’s an erstwhile superstar at this point (relegated simply to “star” status) but he’s about as well known as a relief pitcher can be and just about as successful.

  11. phillyfan says:

    Welcome all to a wonderful new year of baseball.

    Some of my thought on the thread so far:

    1. Utley needs three more standout years near his prime numbers to be considered a legit HOF contender.  Not sure knees will let him do that.  With only 4 years where he ruled his position it simply isn’t long enough.  We aren’t talking Sandy Koufax here.  Knee injuries isn’t like going off to war so no simpathy votes there.  Think Ryan Sandberg, who dominated his position for 8-9 years.

    2. Still also getting used to Paps in closer role.  Phils incredibly lucky with the Madsen situation.  Just think if we would have re-signed him to big dough how we would all feel right now with all the other closers signed.  I guess we would try Bastardo for awhile.  You also have to wonder if RAJ saw something in a MRI that caused him to balk at finalizing that “tentative” deal they had with Mads.  Just the way that all fell out and the seeming sudden overpaying for Paps, AND then Madsen only getting a 1-year deal, just makes one wonder if there was a medical report floating out there about some possible structural weaknesses in that elbow.  Hope he recovers well.  I really liked Mads.

    3. Minus 1 WAR for Howard?  We shall see.  Very intrigued about how this offense performs early on.

    4. 92 wins sounds about right to me…one behind the Nationals for the diviision title.  PHils do win the whole shabang though!

    5. 28 homes for Mayberry, 18 for Rollins, 22 for Pence, 19 for Shane, and 21 for Howard in half season.  No big bangers but we will have alot of guys with respectable power.

    Great time of Year!!

  12. Ken Bland says:

    Any all opponent team recognized against the Phils would include Rod Barajas.  But not with Cliff Lee on the mound.  Barajas is 0-17 lifetime against the lefty.  Neil Walker is 3-4.  Wonder if his grandkids will believe that someday.  Sounds pretty fictional.  The Groundhog’s most favorable 2012 projection came from RotoChamp, which guessed Cliff at 20-8, 2.63, 196 hits in 220 some innings.  That’s the stuff of which CY contenders offer up for consideration.  Not too shabby for a number 2 guy in a rotation.  Between Lee’s ability and rep, it’s small wonder the Phils are a massive favorite at -175 to set up a sweep for Sunday.  Jeff Karstens had a great start last year, but slumped off, and Hunter and Jimmy run good career numbers against him.  The Phils will not miss RyHo in this matchup.  Despite Karstens being a righty, Big is Pieceless against the former Yank, striking out 5 times in 9 at bat ohfer.  Maybe the Phils can score 5 runs tonight.

    The first full day of games has other attractive matchups conflicting with the Phils scheduled start, but the human interest appeal of Jamie Moyer at Houston conquers all.  Here are some career marks of Moyer versus Houston hitters.

    Alan Ashby     7-11

    Jose Cruz Jr.   8-34

    Richard Hidalgo 0-9

    Davey Lopes  2-4 

    It feels like Opening Day excitement all over again with Lee and Moyer going.  and we’re still 2 night’s of sleep away from Cole getting the home opener.   





  13. Ken Bland says:

    Washington won again today.  Davey used Henry Rodriguez to record a 1 walk 3 K 9th inning save.  That’s a really good bullpen, and you could fantasize about if the Nats had inked Prince, with his 2 dingers today, but Adam LaRoche had 4 hits to pace the Nats attack.

    Laynce Nix’ll probably have a good game tonight since I’m not too thrilled with his being in the lineup.  It’s gonna happen, so might as well accept it, but I don’t know about this guy.  He’s probably better than I think, good defensively, some ability to hit righties, but he doesn’t excite me.

    Ubaldo pitched pretty well today.  Not 15-1 well, but that’s an out of body type result unless you’re in a select group.  I used to like him a lot, but I was hoping he’d lose.  Not that I know him, but he just doesn’t come across as well as the guy that threw a Saturday night no hitter against the Braves and ran 6 miles the next morning.  Besides, this wiggling out of a suspension is a joke, and that in and of itself diminishes reason to root for a guy.

    So who gives up a run first tonight?  Moyer or Lee?  I’m guessing Jamie, in the top of the 2nd at Houston.  Amazingly, 10 minutes before game time, he must be a little nervous.  Probably a good nervous.     


  14. Ken Bland says:

    I cannot find one ounce of enjoyment out of this game tonight despite it’s closeness, which might often make it interesting.  The manager is gonna get crushed by post game questions.  Here a bunt, there a bunt, everyehere a bunt.  Laynce Nix sucks.  Actually he sucks minus.  If he homers in the 11th to win the game in the 11th, I’ll upgrade him to sucks.

  15. phillyfan says:

    get ready for alot of these type games this year….


  16. Ken Bland says:

    What a waste bunting Vic with Jimmy, pence, and Thome up next.  Pierre lays a perfect bunt out, gets to 2nd on errant throw, and you have 4 good hitters up.  That’s a disppointing way to squelch most any chance for a 3 plus run inning.

  17. Chris McC. says:

    Well, I’ve never seen that happen before. Schneider muffed the pick up, rushed the throw and Wiggington just blew the catch.

  18. Ken Bland says:

    If this lead is lost, among many things, you can look back to Jimmy K’ing with 2nd and 3rd last half inning.  You just can’t pass up chances like that.

    4-3 now, T8. 

  19. Ken Bland says:

    Say what you want about whether Paps should have been signed to replace Madson, but here’s what the bullpen change is all about.  Madson didn’t want to set up, so it’s not like it would be an option, but there’s not anywhere near the degree of confidence going into the 8th here without a Madson level pitcher to get it to Paps.  But, we’ll see if it works out.

  20. Ken Bland says:

    Note to stations along the network…top of the hour station ids will be in unison effective immediately and remain in effect through the 2012 season…please have announcers read as follows…you’re watching Phillies baseball on the Horror Channel.

  21. Chris McC. says:

    Something interesting I was randomly thinking about:

    Remember a few years back when the Phillies were looking to replace Pedro Feliz and many folks (myself included) thought Chone Figgins would be a perfect fit and likely make the Phillies the best baseball team in the history of the universe?

    He’s now Seattle’s starting left fielder. He’s only played 81 games at 3B since signing there before the 2010 season. He’s hit .239 with a .602 OPS and has scored only 88 runs with the Mariners. He got into only 81 games last year because the Mariners just couldn’t resist putting Adam Kennedy and his Wonder Bat in the lineup 114 times.

    So, as bad as you may feel right now just think, it could be a lot worse. We could have singed a crappy converted left fielder to a four-year, $34M contract.

    • Ken Bland says:

      Figgins performance the last 2 years is as you say.  And it’s not like he was beat out by Adam Kennedy.  He experienced one of these massive performance dropoffs that happen from time to time that seem flat out inexplicable.  As inglorious as Adam Dunn at the same time, allowing for share of the glare rather than the whole game attacking them.

      This past off season, there were pretty casual rumors of 2-3 clubs being interested in taking a chance on Figgins, thinking the Mariners would (have to pick up) just about all his 11 mil (or so) salary.  The Reds were a club mentioned. That this didn’t happen and that Figgins is back with the M’s was never attached to if it was the Mariners or others that passed on the potential deal.

      There finally is a little variation to the Mariners making a free agent deal that went ridiculously south.  Figgins has had 3 hits apiece in the M’s last 2 games.  If you think, big deal, it’s only 2 games, consider how long ago it must be since Figgins did that.  I don’t know what he has left.  But I find it cool that for the last 2 games, he has made some fans think their clubs should have pursued him this past off season.   It was a lot different than the time you alluded to when you had to pay the whole freight.  In theory, at least.    

  22. Mike Donnelly says:

    So how do we all feel after Phillies can only score 2 runs against the mighty #1 and #2 pitchers for the W.S. favorites The Pirates? Oh let’s not forget that’s 2 runs in 19 innings.  Against their #3 we got 2 runs but come on McDonald was a losing pitcher last year with a 4.2 ERA and we get another 2 runs from the bullpen as we are now deep into AAA or maybe AA pitching at this point.   6 runs total vs the Pirates, that’s on pace for 324 runs for the year.  Phillies will somehow wind up with double that amount, but how and when I can’t imagine.  Let’s face it, the post-season is in serious jeopardy.

  23. phillyfan says:

    A few observations:

    1. After Howard’s stay on DL, the WAR statistic will carry a huge astericks.  How can you measure how one player would lift the confidence of a team?  How can you measure how one player’s presence can move 3 others into their lineup position where they are more compforatble hitting and, thereby, more productive?

    2. Why do these players continue to state, “We know we are a great team,” when they are not.  Without a productive howard and Utley, they aren’t even very good.  They have a very good starting pitching staff, un unproved bullpen, and a good closer.  As constructed, there are 3 other teams in the weak NL alone that every GM would take first.  IF howard and Utley come back and produce, they have a chance to be very good.  But currently, they have no true leadoff hitter, no true 3-hole hitter, no true cleanup hitter, no true 5-hole hitter.  Even Polanco in the 2-hole is only a true 2-hole hitter if he regains his stroke from 2 years ago.  In their entire lineup, only Ruiz is proven and in a spot he belongs (7 hole).

    3. .500 is a worthy goal to achieve for this team as constructed fo rthe first half.  That would not be underachieving.  Then they need a solid second half to grab a wild card.

  24. Chris McC. says:

    Phillyfan, while I feel that you’re estimation of this team’s capabilities is a little pessimistic, it’s hard to argue with much of what you said. This team as it is constructed currently, from an offensive perspective, is to the 2008 Phillies as a Dodge Caliber is to a Porsche 911. And you’re right, getting a healthy Howard and Utley back will improve this team in more ways than simply adding a couple +.880 career OPS bats to the lineup. It puts Rollins, Victorino and Pence back where they belong in the lineup and completely changes the pitching approach opponents will need to get through this lineup.

    However, I do take issue for what you decided not to mention. In 2011 the Phillies had the best team WHIP and best team Fielding Percentage in all of baseball. In those two respects the only major changes are:

    Galvis in at 2nd for Utley (defensive upgrade)
    Howard out at first and Wiggington/Thome/Mayberry in (slight downgrade)
    Blanton into the starting rotation for Oswalt (at this point in Oswalt’s career and with Blanton in a contract year – I say a slight downgrade).
    Madson out as closer and Papelbon in. (upgrade)

    The Phillies are still going to be one of the toughest team in baseball to score runs against. Sure, in the past, this used to be a big advantage and now it’s simply an equalizer but I still don’t think any team in the NL East has what it takes to put together the full season it’ll take to prevent the Fightins from claiming their sixth division crown. 

    • phillyfan says:

      All good points Chris.  I don’t think I am being pessimistic.  I still think they get a wild card, with just moderate contributions from Howard and Utley.  If good contributions, the division is possible.  I see this team anywhere from 86-92 wins.  While the division is better, none of the teams are great. 

      • Chris McC. says:

        I’m no good at predicating win totals – especially in baseball – but I see the Phillies winning at least 90 games. I think the over/under is maybe 93.5. I still think they’ll win the division, but if they do fall behind ATL or MIA I’m not comfortable assuming anything with the Wild Card. I hate the Wild Card and I want no part of some stupid one-game playoff. I still think we should only be advancing two playoff teams from each league. Screw the division. Two best records play for the pennant.

        Rest of the division (+/-):
        Phillies – 93.5
        Braves – 91
        Marlins – 90.5
        Nats – 85
        Mets – 75 (yeah, 75. It’s been three games. They’re terrible)

  25. Chris McC. says:

    That blown play on Bonafacio’s bunt is on Mayberry. Looks a lot like galvis blew the read and didn’t cover the bag but Mayberry had no business trying to field that ball. It was hit practically right at Hamels. Cole is upset. Really upset.

  26. phillyfan says:

    I have seen three plays at first base so far this season that the Howard would have fielded better than his replacement player.

  27. Chris McC. says:

    Cishek sells seashells down by the seashore.

  28. Chris McC. says:

    Well, that was no fun at all to watch.

  29. Mike Donnelly says:

    Reasons to panic
    1) Another game another 2 runs, on pace for lowest runs ever score by any franchise in the history of baseball
    2) Bad defense. Cole has to be calling the Dodgers on his cell phone right now
    3) Questionable bullpen usage.  Charlie doesn’t use Pap during 1 run squeakers but does use him down 3 runs?
    4) Pap promptly gives up HR to Kearns .417 SLG and .167 batting average this year.  i.e. a terrible hitter
    5) We have faced maybe the worst 4 starting pitchers and worst bullpens we will see all year during this stretch.  Wait till we face MLB pitchers.
    6) 1-3 and we used our four best pitchers
    7) Mets and Nationals not the complete disasters we thought, instead of cream puffs they will give Phils tough games.  Well hell if the Pirates beat us 1-2 anyone gives us a tough series.
    8) Mets in particular actually look decent. 80-85 wins now looks possible
    9) Next game vs. Johnson, does he pitch a perfect game or merely a shutout ?  Doc already realizes he has to be perfect…again.  Maybe Doc hits a HR himself just to win the dam game.

    • phillyfan says:

      I think you are underestimating the SP we faced a bit.  Sanchez can dominate, just lacks consistency.  He has a no-hitter and 3 one hitters on his resume.  Struck out more batters than Hamels last year.  Opening day starter for Pitt is pretty good.

      While don’t think they will break any team records for least runs in a season, I am going to have to go to the archives and check for least homers in a season.  right now the pace is 40ish.  If Howard doesn’t return they could threaten the team record.

    • Chris McC. says:

      Reasons not to panic:
      1.) it’s the 4th game of the season
      2.) Two of the teams four best positon players are currently on DL but expected to return around June(ish, hopefully…)
      3.) It’s the 4th game of the season.
      4.) Starters have surrendered the 3rd fewest ER in all of baseball but that’s really that important because like I said…
      5.) It’s the 4th game of the season.
      6.) Bad Defense? Phillies have the third best Fld% and 4th best DefEff but again, that’s a wash because…
      7.) It’s the fourth game of the season. 

      Granted, our lineup is pretty toothless but a team with five consecutive division titles, a World Title and two trips to the World Series since ’08 has no business panicing when we’ve only played 2.5% of the season.

  30. Chris McC. says:

    I want to give Ryan Howard a ton of credit today (and I’m sure he’s reading this and is touched by my praise). He ran (well jogged, but still!) out there today for introductions and was up on that rail all afternoon. I hear he was the first over to congratulate Galvis on his 2-run double (his first MLB hit). Utley’s out in Area 51 or someplace in AZ rehabbing (and I’m sure he’s there because it’s what’s best for his recovery) but Howard was here for not just his team but for all the fans that have shelled out more and more money to pack that park 205 consecutive times.

    Good on you, Ryan.

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      Ryan’s stock rising, Chase’s falling.  Keep this up for the next 4-5 years and Ryan could join a very elite group of “best-ever” and “most-loved” Philadelphia players of all time and never have to pay for a drink or meal in this town. Ever.

      • Chris McC. says:

        I don’t think anyone on that ’08 title team ever pays for a meal or drink anywhere within 20 miles of Philadelphia. If I owned a restaurant and Geoff Jenkins walked in, he’d get a free steak – even if my imaginary restaurant didn’t serve steak. I’d send someone out for Geoff Jenkins’s steak.

  31. Mike Donnelly says:

    Pete tweeted an interesting idea.  If the lack of offense completely wastes all Lee, Cole and Doc starts.  Why have the big three? Outside the box but maybe we let Cole (or Lee) go and use the $25 mill per year on bats and get a team more similar to the 2007 Phils.    Who could we get?        David Wright and Chone Figgins at 3rd interest me.  Ackley (SEA) at 2nd maybe?  Jason Bay in LF and cross your fingers for the guy who played in Boston?  Is Tulowitzki a free agent soon?

    • Pete says:

      Tulo is a FA in 2022. So, I’m thinking he’s not an option.

      Bay and Figgins? Are you insane? Those are literally two of the worst offensive players in baseball.

      I was thinking more like Josh Hamilton.

      • Chris McC. says:

        I don’t think Texas lets Hamilton get away unless he screws up off the field so much to ruin the enormous good will he’s got going with the fans. At that point nobody will want any part of him.

        And I agree, Figgins hits big league pitching only slightly better than my six-year-old niece.

        • Mike Donnelly says:

          Agree, they never let Hamilton go, which is I guess why the theory of letting a $25 million player walk and then turning around and getting a $25 million player is so difficult.  Would the Yanks trade A-Rod for Cole right now?  I don’t know that they would

      • Mike Donnelly says:

        My bad on Figgins, just a popular name.  But on Bay and Figgins once you eliminate all the good players would the team would never let go, you are down to Jason Bay types who you would have to hope and pray they turn it around.  Only a small chance you could get David Wright and he’s on the downside of his career.

    • Chris McC. says:

      The idea of moving one of the three is valid and creative and ballsy. Here’s a somewhat half-cooked thought on why this hasn’t happened yet and probably won’t this year.

      Take into account how much RAJ is criticized for his signings and trades. He’s acquired three of the finest pitchers of this generation (Hallady, Lee, Oswalt) but is not-so-quietly lambasted for the extra year he gave Ibanez, Polanco and Blanton; the bizarre and ultimately underwhelming Cliff Lee trade/resigning; the Howard extension and the fact that he took over from the beloved Pat Gillick right on the heels of a World Series only to follow it up with two very disappointing playoff exits (I’m counting the WS loss to NYY as a success that he at least partly inherited and partly is responsible for).

      I don’t think he’ll flip either Halladay or Lee for offense until he can win a World Title with them. It would be an admission that the two guys he spent so much time and effort pursuing weren’t enough to carry an aging lineup that was maybe a little neglected (how many of those guys he traded could we use right about now?).

      And what if Hamels pitches really well again – say 18 wins and a Cy Young award (or a top 3 finish in the voting) BUT the Phillies again come up short. A successful season for Hamels despite an offensive collapse will only further endear the “homegrown product” to the home fans – especially if he outperforms Lee or Halladay.

      I have my beefs with RAJ but I feel the need to give him a little respect (or maybe a break) for stepping into huge shoes in an impossible market and going totally for broke to try to validate himself. He very well may be in way over head at this point and he may have to (1) start shrewdly reconstructing this roster by trading some fan favorites and letting others go or (2) let this thing he created devour him whole.

      • Dino says:

        He’s certainly not following that old rule…”Trade them a year early before it’s too late.”

  32. Chris McC. says:

    I don’t see how a merry-go-round of Thome/Pierre/Wigginton/Nix at 1B/LF is any better than starting Dom Brown and Mayberry everyday there respectively and cutting/demoting at least Pierre and probably Nix. It confounds me.

    Day-off combinations:
    (Brown) Mayberry in LF/Wigginton at 1B
    (Mayberry) Brown in LF/Thome at 1B

    Also, Wiggington should learn to play in the outfield. He’s not good enough of a big league player to not know how to play LF. That’s what bench/utility players ought to do when your club is wracked with injuries.

    I’d much rather promote Dom Brown (our guy) and work on his game in the Majors/boost his confidence then keep guys who aren’t worthy of a big league roster spot in the league.

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      I think you are right, either Dom Brown and Mayberry work out or we are finished anyway.  I don’t see another Hunter Pence out there, but who knows maybe RAJ comes up with yet another miracle at the trade deadline

  33. Ken Bland says:

    Mayberry’s at 1B 2nite.  Not a bad idea, I suppose.  Another episode of giving the non stars a chance to show what they can do in places other than using them in spots where they can be successful.  And John will probably get more of that chance than most.

    That said, I was rock solid positive it was appropriate to play Thome at first tonight.  He’s got a homer and 2 ribs in 3 at bats against JJ.  That’s enough at bats to tell me he’s spotting the ball well out of Josh’s hand.  True, could be a while ago, didn’t check that.  But it’d be a very pleasant surprise if Mayberry makes good contact off Johnson.  Contributions like that will be critical to getting on with winning baseball. 

  34. jkay says:

    new uniforms, new ballpark, same old Marlins.
    Need to stress to the Minor League Manager the importance of teaching defensive fundamentals as opposed to rushing ‘em up to the majors to replenish trade offs.
    Thanks JJ.

    • Ken Bland says:

      speaking of same old, same old bottom line, check out Jonathan Broxton’s 12th inning close attempt for the Royals tonight…

      Oakland Bottom 12th
      - Jonathan Broxton starts the inning for the Royals.
      - Daric Barton struck out looking. None on with one out and Collin Cowgill due up.
      - Seth Smith is a pinch-hitter for Collin Cowgill.
      - Pinch-hitter Seth Smith reached first on Alcides Escobar`s fielding error. Runner on first with one out and Jemile Weeks due up.
      - Jemile Weeks walked. Runners on first and second with one out and Eric Sogard due up.
      - Eric Sogard walked. Bases loaded with one out and Coco Crisp due up.
      - Coco Crisp`s groundout from second to first scored Seth Smith. On the play, Eric Sogard advances to second and Jemile Weeks advances to third. Runners on second and third and with two outs and Yoenis Cespedes due up.
      - Yoenis Cespedes was hit-by-pitch.. Bases loaded with two outs and Jonny Gomes due up.
      - Jonny Gomes hit-by-pitch scored Jemile Weeks with two outs to end the game.


    • Dino says:

      Lots of free swingers on that team. They were swing at everything and that helped Blanton a lot today

  35. Ken Bland says:

    Freddy Galvis comes across as being a very mature young man.  This may be a difference in his ability to deal with adjusting as he gains experience.  I can’t help but incorporate a comparison to Dom Brown as I write this, which sounds a little critical, but it is what it is.  And it’s from a distance, anway.  But watching a young player adjust, gain some confidence, and battle JJ like that is really good stuff.  If that sounds like an overreaction, the overreaction is from those that spoke so convinced about him being overmatched against big league pitching in his 1st 10 at bats.  All I know is we’re seeing some progress.  From Freddy, and the ballclub.  Keep it going.

    • jkay says:

      I’d recommend he shadow Juan Pierre, and read the diary of David Eckstein. There’s more than one way to be a major league hitter. Like his patience so far.

  36. Ken Bland says:

    The last time Joe Blanton pitched as many as 7 innings, and gave up 3 hits or less was in September of 2010 in a game at Washington.  Prior to that, he hadn’t had such a successful ratio since September the year before that.

    Out of the gate at 3-3, and showing definite signs of life after a mediocore weekend in Pittsburgh, which almost always happens, it’s extremely encouraging that both Vance Worley and Joe Blanton pitched the way they did, especially the latter.

    Oh, Cliff Lee, rhythm guy that he is might be a little out of key by the 6th day of rest when he faces RA Dickey Friday night, but the decision to use Joe tonight stood up tremendously for the night, and it’s on Cliff to use the day off to his advantage, because any pitcher would have been hard pressed to get seriously superior results to what Big Joe did tonight.

    3-3, and home to the Mets for a 3 game set.  

  37. Chris McC. says:

    OK, this really isn’t a great idea but I had it and it intrigued me enough:

    So, the Phillies are bringing Pat Burrell back on a one day contract so he can retire and be honored at a May home game against the Red Sox. My question is this. How bad would it really be if the Phillies cut/demoted Wiggington and Nix, brought up Dom Brown and signed Burrell to a real MLB contract and gave him a chance at 300 HR (needs 8) and 1000 RBI (needs 14)?

    I was has happy as anyone to see him replaced y Raul Ibanez in 2009 but how great would it be to finish his career as a Phillies AND reach those two very attainable milestones? It’d be pretty cool if he is healthy enough to take a crack at it.

    • Chris McC. says:

      OK, I don’t know why there’s a smiley face where there should be an 8 (in parentheses) but whatever. I guess that’s cool.

    • jkay says:

      I think the reason Pat Burell is retiring is bcos he cannot play Baseball at all. Bone spurs or whatever he’s got have slowed his usual lumber to a standstill.
       Hope they demote Nix and Wigginton though. Not sure I want to see Dom Brown yet.

      • Ken Bland says:

        I think Wigginton is a useful enough bench player, capable of helping out at multiple positions.  I’d encourage patience through any rough start that might continue.

        Dom will be up here soon enough.  One facet of his game that would be helpful right now is he started to show some really good plate patience as he played more up here.  When he does get back, I expect him to be a welcome addition.     

  38. Ken Bland says:

    Now and then…

    On April 15, 2008, the Phillies played the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.  The batting order went like this…

    Werth    CF
    Ruiz        C
    Utley     2B
    Howard  1B
    Burrell    LF
    Jenkins   RF
    Feliz       3B
    Bruntlett SS
    Eaton      P       

    The Phillies won, 4-3, evening their record at 7-7.  34,000 plus was the CBP attendance for the Tuesday night game.   The Phils got 4 runs on 3 hits in the bottom of the 9th to win.  After the game, 3 Phillies had OPS’s above 1.   

    Comparably, today, the Phillies will send out this lineup to try to stave off a Mets sweep.

    Pierre, LF
    Victorino, CF
    Rollins, SS
    Pence, RF
    Wigginton, 3B
    Nix, 1B
    Ruiz, C
    Orr, 2B
    Hamels, P

    Carlos Ruiz’s .946 OPS is .130 points better than the next highest in the lineup. 

  39. Ken Bland says:

    Career goals of a baseball prospect….

    1/ make an MLB roster

    2/ hang in the bigs long enough to get a pension

    3/ win a starting job

    4/ make a post season roster

    5/ make an all-star team

    6/ win a post season award

    7/ reach free agency

    8/ win a ring

    9/ make the Hall

    10/ And the most important goal….have a career last long enough that includes a road trip to the City by the Bay….San Fransisco.                

  40. Ken Bland says:

     I will gladly wager Doc wins more games than any pitcher on that list over the next five years.>>

    Dateline: Cyberville, June 4, 2011.  Comment as part of defending Doc Halladay, then 34 years old as his top selection in a draft of any and all professional baseball players to formulate a team for the next 5 years.  So how’s that comment turned out to date?

    Doc    14

    Kershaw 15 (Doc has cut deficit by 3 in 2012)

    Verlander 20

    Sabathia  13 

    Cliff Lee  13 

    Kennedy 17  

    This isn’t exactly apples to apples since I originally thought Joe’s brass balls comment was Doc’d win more than any pitcher in baseball over the next 5 years, and having closed out the link, I’m not going to the trouble to find it again.  Obviously, a guy like Strassburg is on the list somewhere, David Price, probably Lester, but no doubt Verlander, Kershaw, and probably Sabathia was low end of the top 30 as well.

    I rather doubt Ian Kennedy was on the list, Lincecum was, matter of fact, on his own hypotheitical first round, Pete had Lincecum 7th, and he wasn’t consistently lights out the rest of last year, or this.  Micheal Pineda got some mention, too.   

    This whole thing has gotten off on a tangent like pitcher’s wins are the be all and end all anyway.  Peripherals wise, it’d be completely shocking if Doc isn’t holding his own to more than justify positioning on this list.  But can he uphold this level for this year and another 2 that would give you justification of 4 terrific years out of 5 at the expense of a first round pick?  Perhaps.  But it’s not a high percentage shot.   3-0 and rolling is good stuff, though.  



  41. phillyfan says:

    Tough position the Phils are in.  I would like to throw out what everyone here figured their record would be on July 1 of this year?  I had them hanging around .500 until Howard and Utley get back and then making a second half push.  I still see that as attainable.  They are only two games under and of their 7 losses, they were only non-competitive in 1.  So they were in 11 of the 12 games they played.

    Nothing I have seen so far this year changes my opinion they will make the playoffs as a wild card (certinaly also nothing has changed my opinion that Nats win the division either).  The real question arises is whether we trade one of the three aces for a solid bat and perhaps a good middle reliever.  Not a single World Series champion in the past 10 years or more had/needed three aces to win a title.  So why should the Phils?  Let’s get more balance.  I say trade Lee.  I want Hamels here long term and Lee has disappointed in the playoffs recently.  I just love the leadership Haladay brings too much to let him go.  If Lee continues with quality pitching into June, I would like to see RAJ pull the trigger and get more balance on this team.  Get a good outfield bat and a middle reliever.  If we can trade out top pitching prospect and D. Brown for a ver good vet bat then I say go for that instead.  But I doubt that would be enough.

    As an aside, as a Philly native but 14-year resident of Northing VA, I am very excited about what the Nats are putting together.  Stras, Gonzalez and Zimmerman are filthy good.  Offensively they are challenged but slightly better than Phils in current form.  Harper addition on the horizon.  It is just more fun to go see the Phils now when they come to town and know it will be a competitive game and see great pitching matchups.  Also, now have reason to go see other teams when they come into town.

    • jkay says:

      I like Espnosa and Desmond as an infield combo with Zimmerman. Someone mentioned it earlier but I also think Ryan Zimmerman is overrated; he was the only star on a bottom tier team for a while plus his new underarm throwing he cranked out 2 yrs ago looks like a gift wrapper for fans in the stands. J. Zimmerman and Strasburg scare me but I think as with any young team, they will make enough mistakes to lose enough crucial games. I think the Braves win if they have good results from the starters.
      As concerns the Phillies, I would not trade any of the 3. I think it is a good short term move, it may win you a WS. But with the flukish way baseball is in postseason, i think the best call is to be competitive every year. In that light, I am keeping 3 aces so even if Howard and Utley are gone, I am still relevant and competitive. I can still win 90 games on the backs of those 3 with situational hitting and a decent bullpen.

  42. joof says:

    I also really liked Dom Browns patience. Im confused about why he struggled so bad. He seemed to have really good at bats.
    I think its cool how some ppl have been referencing old posts and predictions. I wish they played back old nfl drafts so ppl could be called out on what they said. Does anyone even pay attention to draft information that is older than a few days or weeks? The draft is just a bunch of ppl making all kinds of random observations and predictions with no follow up

    • Ken Bland says:

      I’m following Brown on a really difficult basis in his 1st full year of Triple A.  Everything but actually seeing him play, so my perception might really be lacking, but Ruben’s idea of him getting Triple A experience (maybe not a full year) seems to be helping him get his feet under him as a whole player, and will make him better long term.  Whether he could actually be doing that at the big club level, I actually lean toward yes, but there’s a reson I’m a fan, and not in player development.  He knows he’s playing everyday, knows he’s batting 3rd, and playing left.  I assume this is very settling, and he seems to be playing pretty well.  Not tremendously well, but well.  His time will come, and he’ll be a productive Phillie. 

      Between my perception that Brown is making progress again, and that Juan Pierre is exerting himself as a short term answer in LF, that part of the lineup is pretty decent organizationally.  But this first base problem is ridiculous.  Wigginton is close enough to “okay,” though probably south of it.  Charlie’s picked a couple spots for Nix that worked out based on history versus the pitcher, but he’s a limited player.  Mayberry probably needs to play a week straight and be given a chance to sink or swim.  Then there’s a radical just wondering in what would be so bad about giving Cody Overbeck a shot.  Maybe bring him up, and see if there’s lighting in the bottle.  The guy can hit for power at least.  They traded Rizotti to give him a shot, why keep Overbeck if he can’t play.  What do you have to lose by trying?    

      • Dino says:

        Brown has 0 HR, an OPS of .693 and is batting .264.  He has also been out of the lineup 2x in the past week though I don’t know why.
        Overbeck has 1 HR and an OPS of .782.

    • Ken Bland says:

      I think its cool how some ppl have been referencing old posts and predictions>>

      I enjoy reading predictions from credible sources because you never know what thinking you might be missing.  People who see things differently might bring something to your attention.  Credible, of course is a subjective thing.

      Scouts, of course, are in essence paid to make predictions, or at least submit direct information/opinion that formulates value and predictability.  And I remember about 2 days after Chase officially was shelved this time, a scout, as usual, protected by anonymity was awfully close to quoted as saying Freddy Galvis looked very uncomfortable at 2nd base.  I didn’t insert very for conviction.  It was a really negative opinion.  I know a month or so has taken place since, but he doesn’t look too much different now than then, and uncomfortable doesn’t seem to fit, but let’s not think for a minute that the scout might not have seen things that would blow away the opinion of an average fan, but from here, that didn’t look like too rocket scientific a cal.

      Then I got a kick out of a Joel Sherman tweet just 2 days ago.  Joel’s had a great career as a writer, beat reporter covering Yanks, promoted to national baseball columnist, all at New York Post.  Seems to quote people’s views a lot more often than giving his own, and this tweet struck me as hilarious….       

      <<In spring scout after scout told me #Braves were in trouble because couldn’t score, but now have won 9 of 10 and lead MLB with 84 Rs>>

      I may be 100% off on this, but it sounded like Joel was blaming his 4th place Braves prediction on the scout.  Coulda been worse….Mike Puma (Mets beat) and Ken Davidoff (MLB columnist over from newsday) both picked the Braves last in the division.  It’s not late (it’s still early’s a little dated), but if the Braves are better than what you thought, and you want to acknowledge it already, does the scout have to be blamed?  If this comes across as a cheapshot at Joel, it’s not meant to, I truly enjoy having availability to him as a source of a lot of baseball education and info.


  43. Ken Bland says:

    Please don’t tell me that wins as a pitcher’s decision don’t matter.  Not this week.  Not when Jamie Moyer, one of the seemingly most average pitchers to ever toe the rubber is now 2 wins away from Mike Musiina on the career ledger card.  Musiina, particularly early with the Orioles, was clearly a quality major league pitcher, and going against the Buccos in the Burgh Monday night gives for a representative shot at getting within 1 of Moose.  With 16 years left in his career, Moyer could easily pass him.

    Then, on the other hand, there’s the case of Clifton Phifer Lee.  Even before Wednesday night’s extraordinary performance, Cliff was kicking peripheral’s ass, and here’s what he looks like now, to the tune of 0 wins, and 1 loss.

    14 hits in 23 innings 

    2 BB in 23 innings

    Redundant, after that but 0.70 WHIP in 23 innings     

    BAA .179

    Doc, in the same amount of innings, has given up 9 more hits, walked 1 more (still outstanding), but one possible huge, huge difference is Doc’s 29 K’s (about par, maybe a little above) to Cliff’s 18 (below recent Cliff work).  3-0 as opposed to 0-1.  There’s a word for that…sick.   


  44. Chris McC. says:

    Phillip Humber threw a perfecto for the ChiSox in Seattle today. It’s pretty cool when a guy nobody has ever heard of does something that only people everybody has heard of have done.

    • Ken Bland says:

      I thought is was maybe even cooler that Vicente Padilla threw 19 pitches for the Red Sox today, and gave up 5 earned runs.  I wonder if 21 pitchers in history have matched that performance.

      • Chris McC. says:

        Well, the Flotilla was always one of a kind.

        Who knows, that ER count may still rise. There may be one or two of those goofy slow curves still making their way to home plate. Watching him throw 50mph against the Phils in the playoffs in ’09 was wild.

  45. phillyfan says:

    love the new playoff format.  Phils at 7-8 only 1 1/2 game out of second wild card at 7-8.  Trying to look at the bright side when the same day Lee goes on the DL and Halladay looks mediocre against the worst team in the league.

    • Dino says:

      I don’t know…Houston probably gets that dis-honor, and Pittsburgh is in that mix also/

  46. Ken Bland says:

    From the Jack Webb Just the Facts, Maam Department…

    Mark Text Message Texieria and Nick Swishalicious Swisher EACH had 6 ribs today in the ridiculous 15-9 Yankee comeback against the Red Sox from 9-0.

    Between last year’s April venture into the 3rd spot in the order, and his month to date work, Jimmy has 4, count ‘em 4 rbi.  But it’s 3 this year, and only 1 last year, which was for around 15-20 games, so it’s progress.

    Not that much of anything offensively is working this year anyway, but Jimmy in the 3 hole just doesn’t seem to work for whatever reason.  

    Jimmy did settle back into the leadoff spot last year with an excellent June, including about 8 multi hit games.  I don’t know that getting him back on top is the answer, but this 3 hole gig just doesn’t seem to be cutting it.       

  47. Ken Bland says:

    In any course of relationship, be it business or personal, logical, thought out decisionmaking is always encouraged by the teacher, or one who cares.  Still, it’s always a challenge to get through the first instinct and embark on that process.  Both Cole Hamels and the Phillies no doubt have first instinct feelings of what will happen beyond this year.  Whether those play out to a post script of “I/We always knew this would happen” is still to be determined. 

    The only thing I can say with confidence about the ordeal, and it do feel like that’s the appropraite word, because this thing has already exceeded pain in the ass proportions, is that the Red Sox either have, or will at least contact the Phils to explore a deal.  The Red Sox need pitching like Uncle Ben’s needs a white font for its steamed rice, and the Phillies need hitting like Twitter needs to expand its 140 character policy.  And both clubs need healthy bodies to trade, or support what’s left of the strength from which they are dealing.  

    Both clubs, publicly, have essentially said luxury tax be damned.  Between them, a combined streak of close to 1000 straight home sellouts speaks to the past more than the future.  Both clubs are closer to the ends of runs
    unless close to major replenishment is more visible than seems the case.  I won’t even bore you with the details on the Red Sox pitching or Phillies offense since they are sicker than sick. 

    Both clubs are aggressive, and the talks would/will be interesting to be a fly on the wall during the talk(s).  I kinda doubt either would walk away with such glaring strength that more than a wait and see attitude would be taken, but a lot of people said that when Lou Brock was exited to eventual pennant winner St. Louis in his 1 man wrecking crew year of 1964.


  48. Ken Bland says:

    It’d be nice to see this crap with Thome stop this half inning.  8 Ks in 15 at bats including his first time up today.  Whatever the reason, based on Jim’s pre season swings, he’s got way more left in the tank than that.  Somebody has to get this o9ffense going, and he’s as good a candidate as any.

  49. jjg says:

    Attended Red Sox Opening Day vs. Rays; 12-2 RS win.  To get the name-dropping out of the way, saw young Sen. Scott Brown (who coincidentally crashed his SUV later that evening; no injuries) and shy owner/yachtsman John Henry striding and tiptoeing, respectively, about behind Sox dugout.  No, Popeye’s Chicken bones were not thrown at starter Josh Beckett during introductions thanks to the high-tech poultry de-boners that were recently installed at all gates. 

    There’s no place that compares to the “lyric bandbox” for watchin’ a game, still.  The Green Monster cannot be duplicated.  The seats, still narrow and slatted, are fitted perfectly for everyman.  The Fenway Frank extends out at both ends of a fresh roll, and it’s both juicy (not soggy) and tastingly salty, and is tossed to you from the aisle through the Back Bay air by a fairly accurate agent of spiced and encased scrapmeat – an all-star of a doggie at a $5 price tag.  (Caution:  When you bite into it, it screams “Carl Crawford and John Lackey!!” — initially disconcerting.)

    Food matters aside, the Sox line-up can still hit, though their team speed resembles Clay Dalrymple’s.  (Papi went on a Cholly ’09 diet, looks like an athlete again.)  After yesterday’s 9-0, 15-0 doubleheader split with the Yankees, the line-up no doubt wanted to hit their pitching staff.

    Valentine is not a Boston kind of guy in my opinion.  Players are bucking the transition from player/fan/press-friendly Tito to the more removed, feisty, sharp-tongued (looking uncomfortable) Bobby V.  I think he’ll be gone before the AS break.  So does the pitching staff which is setting a land speed record for fastest time to ‘besmackedaround, bedraggled and bewildered’.  Loss of Ellsbury – on break-up slide at 2nd and full SS landing on shoulder – hurts and complicates in the Utley vein of misfortune.

    • Ken Bland says:

      Bobby V. I think he’ll be gone before the AS break.>>

      The problem with that thought is it’s one of the rare instances not fitting the theory it’s easier to replace 1 guy than 25 type thinking.  Don’t ask me how, but they need to add about 3 pitchers, between the starters and pen.  The rest of the club is essentially decent enough.  They’re not great, even then, but legit contender worthy.  How much more damage can Bobby do with what sure seems stupid things like what he said about Youk, or doing a weekly radio show in NY (actually, a lot, I guess).  Maybe most importantly, you can a guy like that, you’re almost conceding the season unless you have a hot prospect to bring in.  It’s more likely they shore up pitching enough to look competitive for at least the second wild card.  It’s not shocking if the prediction plays out, of course, but I think he’ll last the length of it, or pretty close to it.  Just doesn’t seem like Lucchino’s style to admit to a mistake so fast, and I doubt Bobby walks.

      • phillyfan says:

        I don’t get all the early consternation.  BS came out of the gate 1-8  or 1-9 last year and there was much hand-wringing.  Pitching looked bad, injuries, etc.  And by July 15 they were pretty much in either first place or in the wild card.  I just don’t get early season overreactions, especially to the extent of firing a new manager, especially when they went through the same thing just last year.

        Same thing with the Phillies.  No reason to get excited as long as they hang in the vicinity of 500. After the division leaders there just isn’t going to be two other team that run away and hide.  If we somehow fall 8-10 games out of the second WC by June 18 then call me concerned.  OTherwise, this is a veteran team that won’t overreact and it build (literally with all the injuries) and figuratively for the second half. 

      • jjg says:

        3 hurlers, a good estimate.  But where and how to get ‘em?

        Agree, Bobby is Larry & Ben’s choice.  Will be given extra rope.  MIGHT make it to season’s end.

        Viewpoint of one who attended yesterday’s RS-Yanks game:  “Lots and lots of booing of Valentine each time he came out.  Burly guys standing on seats shouting and shaking fists at him.”

        Inauspicioius return to MLB to date by Valentine to say the least.  When Pedroia publicly turns on you in week 3 (“that’s not how we do things around here”), ya got problems imo.     

        • Ken Bland says:

          You really could separate the Boston pitching by the Big 3, and the back of the rotation.  Lester, Josh and Buchholz would hold their own in any reputation arguement, but they have been atrocious since last Seprember.  April might as well have been October.  Neither Aaron Cook, ex of Rockies, or Dice K are going to blow anyone away with anticipation of trying to get back to fill out the back of the rotation, but noth are making rehab starts tonight.  Cook’s thrown 45 pitches, 31 for strikes (good), and 9 groundball outs through 4, with 1 strikeout.   Dice… Matsuzaka retired last 5 batters he faced. Final line: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.

          Those numbers, of course tell you little at best, and if that.  But it’d be a start toward depth, and Bard might not want to get pushed back to the pen, but that sure seems a better fit at this time if those 2 can contribute, and the Big 3 start pitching.

          Winning building chemistry would be a start to stablizing Bobby’s job.  Maybe he needs whqat Billy used to do…keep the 5 that hated him away from the 5 that like him.  Even if the pitching stays crummy, avoiding losing the clubhouse enables management not to bite the bullet.  But representative pitching would help.   

          • Dino says:

            They have been rumored to be going after Oswalt who has said that he’d be available at the end of June. 

    • Dino says:

      unless Bobby quits, I doubt if he will be fired.

  50. Ken Bland says:

    Funny how year over year comparisons work.  Phils played at Zona early last year, probably within April, and it was expected the Phils would win 2 of 3 any time any place back then, specially against a club coming off a 94 loss soft season.  Backsw won 2 of 3 then, Kennedy pitched a real good game after his daughter was born, and the Backs rolled to a good year.

    Now, defending QWest champs that got out fast, but have gotten their Diamondfronts and Diamondbacks kicked by the rejuvinated Braves, and looking for a softee to play to right their ship.  Softee, hmmm.  Now who might be a softee.  Sure as hell doesn’t add up to the Phils being competitive in the next 3 and doing a 2 of 3, but you never know.  You never know seems the only reasonable qualifier.  We’ll see bhow it goes.

  51. phillyfan says:

    Why does this franchise refuse to allow younger playres such as MAyberry to hit through a slump?  Makes sense when they are in win now mode and there are better options.  But there aren’t any right now and Mayberry has proven he can hit ML pitching over a half season.  We let guys like Ibanez, Rollins, and Polanco play through lousy hitting slumps, why not Mayberry?

  52. Mike Donnelly says:

    Jayson Stark worthy trivia.  2 of the Phillies starting pitchers Cole and Cliff stand on top of the Phillies overall batting average chart over the course of the first 16 games.  Have 2 pitchers EVER been the best 2 hitters on a team over a 15 game period ? Or to start the year.  I would doubt it.   Maybe they could replace Mayberry ?  With 40 at bats Mayberry has had 7 hits, Cliff & Cole have 4 hits over 12 at bats.  And you don’t lose any power, both combos have 1 Double.  5 Total bases vs. 8, and neither have any walks.    So if they had replaced Mayberry with Cole & Cliff, instead of the 10 hits, we’d have 13-14, with a few extra doubles.   If the entire team could hit as well as our left handers (which may be part of the success) we’d have another 51 hits.

    • jjg says:

      Big Don Newcombe had a helluva year at the plate for the Brooklyn Dodgers in ’55:

      42-117  18 R  9 2B  1 3B  7 HR  23 RBI  .359 BA  .395 OBP  .632 SLG  1.028 OPS  163 OPS+

      And, oh yeah, he went 20-5 on the mound for the Walt Alston’s World Champs.  

      • Dino says:

        and still got bombed and kept his perfect losing streak alive in  his only WS start that year.

    • Ken Bland says:

      And the 100th post of a thread. pr thread of a post (I guess) with a title that fades from reality with each loss goes to…..

      I read recently when batting in games in which he pitched, and I assume that means while he pitched, since he probably split several games, Bambino Ruth had an OPS of .905.  That’s high enough to qualify for 2 pitchers leading the ballclub (Boston). 

      Neither Hamels or Lee are as good with the stick as Dontrelle Willis.  D Train has a .277 career OPS (100 points higher than Cliff at season’s start), which is .001 lower than Laynce Nix.  Laynce Nix’s OPS doesn’t even qualify as a good batting average.  There’s a difference between not bad, and good.


  53. Ken Bland says:

    Gonna be long forgotten by the end of this night, but the 1st play of the game, they gave Pierre a break by scoring the Parra hit a double.  Not an easy play, but he should have had it, and it was in and out of his glove. 

    Other than that, not much to comment on.  Not without a lot of cheapshots. 

  54. Ken Bland says:

    Jon Moronocy of Fox Sports, April 23, 2012

    Jon Morosi
    <<Utley, Howard, Lee and now Pence out with injuries? There’s a real chance the #Phillies miss the playoffs.>>


    <<I don’t think it’s too early for #Phillies fans to worry.>>

    • Dino says:

      I was pissed also when I saw that, along with his other tweet where he stated that the Nats had the best pitching staff in the NL, but …

      • Ken Bland says:

        To me, the Nats do have excellent pitching.  Best?  What a ridiculous who cares water cooler arguement.  25 man rosters win titles, not singular components (there are exceptions, and Detweiler does even strengthn their starting position) Not too well versed on their middle relief, but the starters and pen are good enough to carry them quite a bit.  But they have played a soft schedule to date, haven’t even played the Phils or Braves, and strongly suggesting a top 2 place in the division this early is ridiculous.  Suffice to say they are definitely worthy of attention.  That, to me, is a very nice head start on a long season.  And if they do win the division, it will be more for things far more important than year to date.  Moronic thinking by Jon. 

  55. Mike Donnelly says:

    You can all join me in the panic room whenever you want.

    • phillyfan says:

      its April.  Tune back in August 1.
      Not only injuries but you have to factor in this teams is coming off two stellar regular season’s followed by crushing disappointment.  You have to give them some room to not be too motivated for Arpil baseball.  just no point them trying to win 95+ games.
      Remember it was just a week ago that the Red Sox were going to lose 152 games.  MY goodness what a 5 game winning streak can do.

  56. Ken Bland says:

    Let’s see just how important that Pence shot is longer term.  That’s a nice, well timed rip. T4, 7-10.

  57. Ken Bland says:

    Nice recent trend reversal for Doc T1. 10 pitches, at least 8 strikes, 1-2-3.  Looking for a good omen out of that.

  58. Ken Bland says:

    strictly coincidence on the timing, of course worst 3 hole hitters since 1957.

  59. Ken Bland says:

    The Phils have run at least 3 3 ball counts that have gone on for outs.  Yeah, the Cub pen can be beat, but somewhere in there, you gotta get a couple extra baserunners.  And it ain’t happenin’ by hitting.

    • Dino says:

      Chase and Jayson are sorely missed.  I sometimes think that if the the FO went after Werth the year b4 he became a FA that they could have signed him for much less than he got with the Nats.  Maybe a deja vu coming with Cole ?

  60. Chris McC. says:

    Curmudgeon Alert: ESPN reports Nats calling up “phenom” Bryce Harper. They called a guy who’s never seen a major league pitch a phenom. ESPN has a unique ability to make me root against all manner of folks I would otherwise be totally indifferent about.

    • Ken Bland says:


      Point well taken, but if you wouldn’t call Bryce a phenom, what would you call him?  I expect mere flashes of greatness at best this stint, but chances are good he’s a terrific player long term.  The story is, and will continue out of kilter to a roster playing winning baseball, and worthy of attention in their own right, but there is room for some extent of hype in this callup.  

      • Chris McC. says:

        To be honest, I don’t know what I’d call him. I’d call him Bryce Harper, minor league outfielder. Ok, so maybe I’d give him more credit than that.

        I think the dude is about as good as a prospect can be. As close to a sure thing as we’re likely to see in this decade (if not much longer). But from a baseball standpoint he’s yet to actually do anything to capture my admiration or awe. In Triple A this year he’s hitting .250 with an OPS barely over .700. That’s a slightly lower average and slightly higher average OPS than Dom Brown’s ’12 AAA season to date.

        I have no idea what to expect from him this year. His professional strikeout rate is around 19% (101 in 534 PA) which really isn’t terrific and I don’t see why that would decline in the majors. (Slightly related, this move to call him up seems to have more to do with the current MLB roster than it does with Bryce Harper and I think that’s ill-advised.)

        Phenom is a word I’d use to describe a guy like Willie Mays or Ted Williams. Not a guy who, despite once in a generation potential, has yet to set foot in a major league batter’s box. I’m just not fan of throwing around words like phenom or amazing and so on, especially 2-3 years before those words would even approach appropriate. I think it cheapens the meaning of those words.

    • phillyfan says:

      MAybe put it this way.  I am a phillies fan but consider the Nats game must see TV tonight.   Other than Strasburg, I have never made time to watch a non-philly rookie play his first game in the majors, and I am 47 years old.  I don’t consider this equivalent to Stras because Stras essentially spent 4 years in the minors – they just called it college.  The Trout dude in Anahiem just doesn’t hold the same cache.
      The most recent player at this age to have this type of hype you have to go back to A-rod.  That is what, now 17 years ago?  In your post you are even going back to Mays.  You have to admit, starting him his first game with Stras pitching, out in Hollywood with Vin Scully announcing is not too shabby as far as theatre.
      How will he do?  Who knows. Just remember Mays started 0-9 and 1-26.  The same year Mantle entered the league at 19 and several months later found himself back in triple A.  It is not unreasonable to think Harper could eventually be a star of that caliber.  HE could also be JD Drew.  Fascinating game.

  61. Ken Bland says:

    Could there be hope for tonight?  Posting a starting lineup has been more work for Charles Manuel this year than at anytime since his very early days as Phillie skipper, but the one constant has been at shortstop and hitting third, Jimmy Rollins.  Guy takes a date to the ballgame, dinner first, and they settle into teir seats in the 6th of a scoreless game, and the chicklett quips, “See?  We haven’t missed anything!”  You never know in the Great Game.

    Subtleties early on lay groundwork for 9 inning eventualities, and as part of his post game frustration, Charlie revealed last night that the Phils threatened in the first, failed, and it was down hill from there.  Jimmy Rollins creates a feeling like he’s more glued to the 3 hole than Lou Gehrig ever was, but he was the first hitter to fail to advance or heaven forbid score Pierre or Polly from the 2 on none out start.  No, Pence and Vic don’t get passes, but ain’t neither of them owners of 2 4 game stretches in a row separated by 1 single 2 hit game.  So who should hit 3rd?  This is not a roster embellished with third hitter depth, but altogether now….ANYBODY ELSE!


    Doing their best to imitate the Phillies, the Angels lost again last night.  2 runs, 4 hits, in I think 10 innings.  Dropped their record to 6-14.  The Angels picked up their parting gifts for participaion in the AL West race after the game.  Overreactive observors presided over the ceremonies.  History will tell you that’s the same franchise, 20 some names later, and same manager no less that 10 years ago started 6-14, and won 99 games, and a World Series.  How ’bout them apples.  But the truth is, they are out of the division race because ahead of them is a terrific ballclub.  Yeah, the Rangers might succumb to human level play, and injuries and the like, but they are a machine.  Now the Phillies plight, at 9-11, but characterized by a lot of average components is drastically different.  Terrific player Ryan Z has already gone down once, Brad Lidge has an upset abdomen, and for the next 10-15 days, the Nats will have a near automatic out in their lineup although you won’t remember that 20 years from now.  Lidge’s absence in and of itself isn’t so meaningful as it will put more pressure on Henry Rodriguez to perform. Yeah, the Braves look pretty darned good, but what the hey, we’ve been down that road before.  And it may not be relavant, but when it cratered before, did it crater. The Phils, who haven’t even played either club are not chasing greatness.  Doesn’t mean they will catch them.  Doesn’t mean the Phils’ll make a wild card berth.  But a race is a race is a race.   


    To get back to Jimmy, there is zero productivity to be gained from it, but I was caught up for a few minutes in a what if about him this past week.  Back in the cold of winter, it was assumed Chase would be back, and within reasonable proximity, be Chase.  Freddy Galvis was related to 2nd base like Sean O’Hara would be seen as an Orthodox Rabbinical candidate.  Few if any of us fans wee more than scantly familiar with Galvis beyond rep, and the 1 comment I recall above all was Ruben saying that there were those within the organization that thought he was ready to play SS at the Show level.  Yeah, it sounded like negotiation rap, but what if Ut were playing representative baseball, and Jimmy was shown the door.  Freddy’s played pretty fair baseball to date, those that were in his corner for a shortstop takeover wouldn’t be embarrassed to date.  Seems pretty safe to think Mike Martinez’s days as a Phil are over, at least. 

  62. Ken Bland says:
    • jjg says:

      Wrigley – if it was good enough for Dick Ellsworth and Ken Holtzman it oughta be good enough for him. At least Cole says what’s on his mind.  Time for Theo to dial up the interior decorator. 

    • phillyfan says:

      With the Phils lack of home-grown hitters in the minors, seems obvious they have to deal Lee or let Hamels walk to get some offense.  It would be great if they have the money to keep hamles and get some offense but I am not holding my breath.

      • Dino says:

        If we lose Cole, it would be another disaster in that long list that plagues Phillies history. They have invested over 65 million in Kendrick, Blanton and Papelbon, but won’t fork out for their only proven youngest quality starter ? 

        • phillyfan says:

          you have to have a complete roster.  Would be great to keep cole but makes no sense to have three great starters and weak in every other area.  Every title winner lately has had mediocre starting pitching when you look at their 1-4 starters career-wise.  Usually just one real ace.  Just a matter of a team getting hot at the right time.

  63. jjg says:

    Early 2012 mound-space oddity:  5 pitchers with ERAs 1.96 and below, and team is 2 games below .500 (at 9-11); bet that’s never occurred before. 

  64. phillyfan says:

    How tight are the Angel’s management’s you-know whats right about now? Only 9 years ad 142 games left on that contract.

  65. Ken Bland says:

    Jimmy is leading off tonight.  Attaboy, Charlie.  Good move.  I won’t begin to tell you it resolves a damned thing, but it can’t get any worse.  I just hope he never hits 3rd again.  For whatever reason, it just doesn’t work.  And let’s see if somehow we can get Thome going tonight, too.  So he’s not the JT of old.  Nor is he a 9 K in 16 AB player, either (or whatever the exact ratio is, that’s pretty close).

  66. Ken Bland says:

    Get a life level trivia….

    the psychology flips on Vin Scully tonight.  He’s getting a lot of pub for calling tonight’s Bryce debut.  At 85 years young, Vinnie won’t need to check notes to decide what stories to tell, he can draw on a depth of experience.

    Back in the day, the tables were flipped on him.  Circa 1950, age 22, 1950 was his 1st year behind the Dodger microphone.  That year, he broadcast the pitching efforts of Cub hurler Dutch Leonard, who was then either 41, or 42, and the oldest guy in the game.  Fresh young whippersnapper that he no doubt was, and no doubt even a story teller back then, Vinnie no doubt had to research at least his memory to come up with some Dutch tales.  So Vinnie has broadcast players who played from the early 1930s to the early 2010s.  Do I need to add remarkable to that?    

  67. Ken Bland says:

    So let’s go through this.

    The 3 hole hitter got a base hit.  Pence.

    The 4 guy walked.  WALKED!

    So the 5 guy puts the ball in play, and forces the defense to make a play.

    The 6 guy, Nix, who isn’t too adept at drawing walks draws one.

    So Wells is throwinjg a high pitch count in the inning, maybe losing an edge, and Ruiz confidently rips one to score 2 and get the lead.

    And the beat goes on.

    Story morals?  Well, the 3 hole just kinda showed up by coincidence, I guess, and unless your Josh Hamilton, walks can be an offense’s best friend. 

    Now the 3rd walk of the inning.               

  68. Dino says:

    Well, pretty impressive so far in Doyer Stadium.  Harper, who put on a show at BP, smoked a shot over Kemp’s head in CF for a double, and Strasberg just missed a HR to right-he had doubled earlier…bottom 7th 1-0

  69. phillyfan says:

    Wow did you see that tomahawk line drive by harper to dead center and then his bullet to the plate from left field?  HE ain’t no Raul in left…This guy may be the best all-around player in the league by age 21.

  70. phillyfan says:

    you can tell harper’s bat speed is off the charts.

  71. Dino says:

    Luck of the Doyers takes over…Strasburg hits Hairston on an 0-2 pitch; then an error by Espinosa pn a nubber puts 2 on and 0 outs. Uribe k’s, but Ellis singles sharply to left. Harper throws a strike and seems to have nailed Hairston, but Ramos drops the ball and the game is tied.  Rivera ends the inning with a DP.
    Strasburg has looked great-fanned Kemp with a 99 mph fastball, and has been ahead in the count all night. Sometimes, as Scully pointed out, he overthrows, and his mechanics (he seems to strain his body)  bother me a bit. But his stuff is great.
    1-1 in 8th

  72. Ken Bland says:

    Pence seems to have a knack for that Valdez quality.  One adventurous defensive effort per game.

    Kendrick throws like 35 pitches off the extra out, and then some. 

  73. Ken Bland says:

    It comes under the category of fanspeak, especially since it’s seldom shown with glaring visibility, but should the Phils take advantage of the Hamels/Halladay tandem, and demoinstarte an edge as this series rolls on, you wonder to what extent the Phils are in the Braves heads.  Don’t count any breathing member of the Braves organization amongst those stupid enough to think this race is between the Nats and Braves.  It is a season back that the Phils won 12 of 18, including a 3 game sweep to wrap the Braves death sentence, but the multiple year East dominance has always turned Atlanta’s confidence back a step shy of where it might have helped to do so.

    As the Phils embark on a minimum of 6 important games in a row (Nats, next), April’s underachievers pose an interesting list of who’s going to turn their production north.  It might only take 1 of Jimmy, Pence and Shane to  make a decent difference in the May record.   I’m guessing Vic has a good May, but I expected him to get out of the gate well, and that didn’t happen.

    Smart move by the Phils to call up Brian Sanches.  I thought it’d be Jake Diekman who throws strikes.  But Sanches does fill the bill of stretched out.

    Either club could win 2 of 3 here.  Somewhere along the line, the Phils have to stop piddling and play well.  Tyhe first month had mostly just another series.  Not this time.        

  74. Ken Bland says:

    in their bleeping heads.  :-) .  2-0, Fightins.

  75. Ken Bland says:

    Boy, there went the pitcher’s duel.  Still 2-1, and that may have been an example of where Cole kept picking up the pace rather than slowing the game down.  Not one trip to the mound to slow things down.  Still have a lead though, so it could be worse.  We go T5, 2-1, Phils bottom of the order against beachy, who you’d expect to regroup.

  76. Ken Bland says:

    So back in October, or November, if you walked into a Veags sports book and told the bookie, or whatever they call the bookie in that environment that you wanted action on who would hit a homer first next year, Pujols, or Harper, I wonder what kind of odds you could have gotten if you took Harper.  Albert, well publicized slump he’s in, hasn’t gone ding yet, and Kendrick, I assume, faces the Nats (and Strasburg, no less) Friday night.  I think back to the drive Joey Bats crushed off KK last July in Canada, and you get one of these guys with swesome bat speed, and lord have mercy, Percy.  Kendrick couold throw one in the wrong time and place, and the ball could travel to Landover.  Maybe Landover is foul territory.  Rockville, maybe.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Harper demolishes a KK pitch Friday, wherever it lands. 

  77. Ken Bland says:

    Subtleties of the game…Jimmy leads off the 6th with a base hit.  If the Phils lose this game, it could be lost this half inning by failing to score.  You gotta take advantage of the “opportunities,” even if it’s just a leadoff single.

  78. Ken Bland says:

    Pretty aure Jimmy getting nailed there is the first Phil caught besides Pierre, ending a 13-13 non Pierre streak.  Juan, I think is 3 up and 2 down in the stolen base department, but that may be wrong.

  79. Ken Bland says:

    Doubront’s unique line: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 8K, 2 WP, 3 steals of 3B, 94 pitches, 58 strikes.>>

    pretty typical red Sox starter’s effort.  No as much lately, I should add in fairness.  Lester threw a gem the other night, and Josh pitched real well after a Dunn 3 run 1st inning rip.  Game before that, Josh threw 100 pitches, 65 for strikes.  What’s up with that?  Not too good. 

  80. Ken Bland says:

    Credit Juan Fransisco off the 2-0 count driving a sac fly to left to tie it at 2 off tbhe lefty.  Tough inning, and we have a brand new ball game.  Not easy to get a K when you need one a lot of times.

  81. Ken Bland says:

    As the game shortens, because of pen and bench strength, Braves have a growing advantage.  Very curious to see how Bastardo fares here.  Call it less confidence.

  82. Ken Bland says:

    Pretty sure Mayberry’s last at bat before tonight was another cheap hit.  2-2 in that sequence, but hardly the stuff to inspire Charlie to let him swing more.

    Venters is quite adept at keeping the ball down.  And paying for it handsomely.  

  83. Ken Bland says:

    Deep inside the very iq bone of the Atlanta Braves psyche.  4-2. Phils

  84. Ken Bland says:

    Don’t look now, sports fans, but the Nats are losing, as are thne Mets.  The Braves are losing, the Phils are winning.  The Fishless face Matt Cain.  Welcome to the month of May, and an opponent that will catch your attention.  Bounceback time for Chad Qualls.  I hope.  Freeman leads off with a base hit.  You can’t panic, but not a bad idea to think about a 4 out save for Paps. although it is still early in the year. 

  85. Ken Bland says:

    2nd iffy outing by Qualls in a rwo.  He’s been a pleasant surprise so far, coming from the fly ball background of Petco Park.  Done pretty well so far, and could be a real asset as the 8th inning man.  Glad to see him get it donw.  Veteran, but you hate to see nerves frayed by a 2nd straight failed outing, no matter how experienced a vet is.

  86. Ken Bland says:

    A solid contact by Mayberry’d be huge here.

  87. Ken Bland says:

    Pap’s winning ribbon time.

    Barring extra innings, Phils will shut it down with 11 base hits, and 0 walks for the night.  Some things never change. 

  88. Ken Bland says:

    They came.

    They saw.

    And they conquered.

    Facing attention grabbing competition for one of the few times in the still young 2012 MLB season, the Phils kicked off a large 6 game road trip against clubs above them in the standings with a pretty solid win.  Every other pretender in the division lost, with the exception of Miami, which will later pretend they have a chance against matt Cain in west coast action.

    The Phils are 2 and a half games out of first place.  Tomorrow, once again, the Philsoffer a quality starting pitcher against same in their quest to beat the Braves for a minimum of the 5th straight time.  Whether the Phils have a psychological edge over the Braves is questionable, but the signature line of the night was voiced by Braves longtime TV analyst in response to the Fightins breaking a 2-2 tie.

    “They’re still the Philadelphia Phillies,” quipped the former major leaguer.

    God damned right, Joe.

    Good night from seal level, and Happy Halladay for your hump day entertainment.          


  89. Ken Bland says:

    It’s another could go either way tonight for the Phils.  You throw good pitching against the opponent, and there’s little reason to think you can’t win, but on the road, facing a good pitcher in Tommy Hanson, playing good baseball is the best way to get it done.  Vegas, showing it’s usual respect for ace pitchers has the Phils as a concensus 115-105 favorite to move a game over .500, and into a 3rd place tie with the swept by the Aastros New York Mets.

    Chipper’s back in the lineup.  He’s an incredible 7-13 lifetime off Doc, 3 doubles, 2 dingers included.  The Braves are 10-2 when Larrr-reee starts, 4-8 when he doesn’t.  And no doubt more than coincidence. 

    There’s little reason to think Tommy Hanson won’t pitch well.  He can be prone to wildness on occasion (not a glaring weakness, but there aren’t a lot of ways to beat him.  But when a team is swinging early in the count, it kinda kills that.  Hanson’s the guy the Braves let Tom Glavine go to make room for.  The jury’s been back on that move for a long time.

    No reason the Phils can’t get it done.  Whether they will or not is not in my jurisdiction, which is pretty typical so far this year.        

  90. Ken Bland says:

    Good fundamental inning as Phils bat around in  3rd to go up 4 zip.  Bottom to top

    – Freddy Galvis flied out to center to end the inning.
    - Carlos Ruiz was hit-by-pitch. Runners on first and second with two outs and Freddy Galvis due up.
    - Laynce Nix double to right scored Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence with two out. Runner on second and Carlos Ruiz due up.
    - Ty Wigginton fouled out to third. Bases loaded with two outs and Laynce Nix due up.
    - Hunter Pence walked. Bases loaded with one out and Ty Wigginton due up.
    - Shane Victorino stole second. Runners on second and third with one out and Hunter Pence at the plate.
    - Shane Victorino single to right scored Jimmy Rollins with one out. On the play, Placido Polanco advances to third. Runners on first and third and Hunter Pence due up.
    - Placido Polanco singled to left. On the play, Jimmy Rollins advances to third. Runners on first and third with one out and Shane Victorino due up.
    - Jimmy Rollins singled to right. Runner on first with one out and Placido Polanco due up.
    - Roy Halladay grounded out third to first. None on with one out and Jimmy Rollins due up.

  91. Mike Donnelly says:

    Wilson’s hit just lifted his average by 20 points.  From .117 to .137.   Phils have to get the pitcher out.

  92. phillyfan says:

    HAve to say that was an incredibly entertaining game to watch.  Have to feel good for Chipper.  HE has been such a good pro.  If it was August or Sept I might be more pissed.  But overall nice to see the bats come alive and get beat by Chipper rather than Uggla.

    Harper 3-4 with two doubles, which were very nearly two homers.  6 for 13 now on his young season 

  93. Mike Donnelly says:

    Little ticked off at Danny right now.  I mean come on, the Sixers now have a legit chance to go deep in to the playoffs, and he has to go and get a social life?  Where’s my Evan Turner posts?

  94. Mike Donnelly says:

    Just who are the Big 3 on the Phillies?  Oh you mean Cole, Joe, & Vance of course.
    Blanton/Worley combo beating Haladay/Lee combo.  Quality starts even at 7 each. Wins 5 to 3, more IP 67 to 65, fewer earned runs 18 to 21, more K’s 53 to 47.  ERA 2.4 to 2.9 !

    • jkay says:

      @JoeBlanton  – can you say contract year?

      • Mike Donnelly says:

        Which leads me to think Brady Anderson, sorry Joe Blanton takes a little extra help during his contract year and doesn’t punish his body (long term) with that stuff in other years.

  95. jkay says:

    Phils are hitting well of late; …. just in time for a showdown, with the Division topping Nats. We just drew their three aces; Strasburg, Zimmerman, Gonzalez (mehh, will give this one a pass). True test for the Phightins. Let’s see if this aint your Grandpappy’s Nats no more.
    Whatchu call phillyfan?

  96. Joe says:

    Is this site still alive?  Haven’t been a Phillies post by Pete in over a month?  Has everyone already thrown in the towel on the Phils?  I live in SC now, but was just up in PA listening to WIP, and boy, does everyone hate Wheeler or what.  One of the main talking points was how to sync the radio broadcadsts to your TV so you can listen to Scott F and LA instead of Wheel.  The other one, which I really agree with is the Phils hitters cant get comfortable with the always changing line ups.  Baseball players are creatures of habit.  It has been better lately, but I think I would use Pierre leadoff (always) and Victorino 3rd.  Even though Jimmy is playing better of late, even Jimmy at his best isnt the leadoff hitter Pierre is.  Look at the 9th on the heartbreaking loss on Wed, down a run, Pierre singles, steals second, goes to third on a ground out, scores on a infield hit- classic Juan Pierre.  He is a classic leadoff hitter, where Rollins is an OK leadoff hitter (if no one else is better, but now we have one.  Pierre has led off his whole career, and been successful, but now he must slide to a 2 hitter so Jimmy can be mediocore (I personally think Jimmy semi dogs it when not hitting leadoff, until he is moved back there, then tries again, leaving Charlie no choice, but that is just my opinon)

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      If you need more ReclinerGM in your life, and who doesn’t.  Follow @reclinerGM

    • phillyfan says:

      Nobody has thrown in the towel.  I just think all the vets of this board understand how meaningless the regular season is.  Last two regular season’s translate to burnout.  just be around 40-40 at the break and get healthy and hope to get on a streak come playoffs.  That is how we won it before, same for Giants and Cards.

    • Chris McC. says:

      Yeah, something like that.

      • Chris McC. says:

        OK, I copied the line from your post about everyone hating Wheeler. Didn’t show up.

        It kind of looks like I’m agreeing with Phillyfan which, coincidentally, I do. So it all works out. 

  97. Ken Bland says:

    Today is the post humous birthday of one of the best pitchers in Philadelphia professional baseball history, Chief Bender, who more famously pitched for the A’s, and also the Phillies.  I won’t quibble with his place in the Hall, but it’s interesting to look at the back of his baseball card and associate his name with the Hall in a couple regards.

    One, despite debuting at age 19 with a 17 win season, and playing professionally as late as age 41, the Chief won “only” 212 games.

    He played during an era, let alone subject to career review many years longer when poitcher’s wins were more of a premium stat than they have been considered for the past couple decades or so.  When Mike Mussina’s name is brought up, the first sentence to most any conversation about him as a Hall candidate is his borderline 270 wins.  That borderline was a big topic with Bert Blyleven for years, and has been with Jim Kaat.  Didn’t stop the Chief, though it took forever, being defined as finally voted in by the then called Veteran’s Committee.

    But the really7 weird thing about Bender getting in wasn’t so much an awakening to great periphersals that enabled voters to see the light.He certainly had some relatively terrific numbers, and multiple post season appearances, and success, but the peripheral of note was his strikeouts.

    Nowadays, critics are quick to evaluate a pitcher on h9is ability to record strikeouts.  Guys like Kyle Kendrick are bashed because of typical 4Ks/9 inning performances.  Pitch to contact is okay, long as it’s secondary.  A guy has to have the ability to get a strikeout when needed, and what better way to have confidence in that ability than flashing some degree of K consistency.

    The Chief left these strikeout to innings pitched ratios in his memoirs for his peak years.

    127 to 270
    149 to 203
    142 to 209
    159 to 238   
    112 to 219 
    85 to 138 
    161 to 250
    155 to 250   
    114 to 216
    90 to 171
    135 to 208 
    107 to 179 

    There isn’t one year in there with a ratio that would rated as good by today’s thinking. Yet, every one of those years K/9 total was top 10 in the league, including 2 2nds, a 3rd and a 4th.

    There’s nothing wrong with using your defense (though there are times when you need to pull a K out of your bag of tricks to fit the separate the men from the boys standing).  But I’d have expected more pronounced K numbers from The Chief.   





  98. Ken Bland says:

    This using the closer on the road thinking reared it’s ugly head again last night.  Every single time it happens, it gets painfully ugly.  The problem with placing Paps in the game last night was the lack of pitching depth behind him so as not to overwork him.  There usually is a factor that negates the simplicity of using the closer early and on the road. Brian Sanches was about all that was left, and although he’s up here because he can throw multiple innings, he threw 41 pitches as recently as Wednesday’s debacle.

    Another half day of rest now still doesn’t make him particularly fresh, obviously Schwimer might as well stay at the hotel, Contreras, brief as last night was, would be 3 times in 4 days, same for Bastardo.  Obviously, this would a good time for a deep game by Vanimal, the problem is wild dreams were answered with that need by Blanton, and here we are in similar request mode a day and a half later.  Manning up isn’t the answer, 3 straight gems by Vance, Cole and Doc, or straight to Paps is about all that will give this beleaguered ghroup a chance to start fresh, and unfortunately, even then, it’s an iffy staff.  As are most, of course. 

    Sidebar stuff in comparison to the umpiring, but still relavant. 

  99. Dino says:

    It’s about time Charlie put Chooch in the #5 hole

    • phillyfan says:

      Don’t like it.  You don’t mess with success.  The 5 hole hitter has totally different responsibilites and expectations and see different pitches.  Chooch has been hitting 7 or 8 his whole career.  Keep him there.

  100. Ken Bland says:

    Utterly amazing that the A’s deal Cahill and Gio, and while early, are hovering around .500.

    Wonder what Vance has left, on a day when you want to use the pen as little as possible, except for Papelbon, who could use some work. 

  101. Dino says:

    Papelbon should have pitched yesterday, but Charlie is saying ‘ they won’t let me use him much in the early part of the season.’

  102. Ken Bland says:

    I guess this has gone on long enough.  Tiem to apply the old contrarian indicator jinx to the upstart Baltimore Orioles, formerly known as the St. Louis Browns, and more recently as the Birds of Baltimore when Howard Cosell had a microphone.

    The O’s still have a seemingly killer schedule of 15 in a row against the Yanks, BoSox, Rays Rangers and Yanks that is now all of one third complete, but they are 4-1 early on in that chronology. 

    Pundits are quick to recognize the O’s as the surprise team of the year in inarguable context.  True, tough division makes it seem especially valid, but this is about the 4th year in a row where there was a level of expectation that their young pitching would come through, even if it wasn’t going to match Palmer-McNally-Cuellar-Dobson levels.

    But this Oriole arguement, despite all it’s positivity isn’t quite as inarguable as you might think.

    Yeah, you gotaa be very surprising to out surprise the Orioles, and they are riding the crest of a 4 game win streak that has put them at 12-14, a mere 2 games under .500, but raise your hand if you predicted the Houston Astros would lose less than a century’s worth of games.

    Early as it is, the baseball landscape is annually littered with pretenders who are too stupid to know they are supposed to suck, and upset the apple cart.  Not that Houston appears to really be much better than a 60 win ballclub, but streaky Wandy has started well, Brett Myers has been excellent, and Jose Altuve can flat out hit.  I’d say this start is awfully close to as surprising as the Orioles, though there’s a huge difference between places in the standings, which accents the O’s achievement.  Sadly, the Phillies, sorely in need of as many pushover games as they can schedule might not find the Stros as pushover as would help, particularly since Houston has sucked the last few years, but often played the Phils harder than hell.           

  103. joof says:

    I havent watched a phillies game yet this year (partially bc I dont have comcast so Im blocked out). I dont miss Wheeler. Why cant they find a new guy for him…..I wish WIP would do a new announcer challenge with the callers. Im sure they could find someone.  ‘)

    • Chris McC. says:

      Here’s an idea that’s probably impossible due to some stupid reason having to do with money: simulcast Larry and Scott on both the radio and TV. I’ve listened to Scott and thought how great his style would be on TV. No stupid anecdotes, no dumb jokes which allows him to call everything that happens during the course of a game. He’s the man.

  104. Ken Bland says:

    When Wilson Valdez pitched in the memeorable win over the Reds last year, it was a home game, so wherever Charlie used whoever was closing at the time, the game being at home killed any intruige of usage of the closer in a tie game.  That usage happens all the time.

    But tonight, finally void of pitchers, Buck Showwalter opted to use closer Jim Johnson, on the road, for 2 innings, in a tie game.  And while the geanerality of Johnson coming off the disabled list recently doesn’t tell you much, it’s a footnote worth mention.

    The interesting thing about using Johnson is that Buck used 8 guys (maybe 7, still a lot) before Johnson, and has to manage his club against the Rangers at home tomorrow.  For all I know, that length of game, maybe Charlie, and maybe a lot of other skippers would finally have used their closer.  But the fact is, Buck did, and it will be interesting to see if any longer term effects are felt by the O’s out of max use of their staff when you’d like to have a rested staff ready to face Texas.      

  105. Ken Bland says:

    I’m not quite sure I even get hitting Harper on purpose….maybe it serves a purpose, but openly admitting it….maybe braindead is a good word for it?  If it serves a result of waking the club up, maybe it’s not so bad, but when you so obviously plunk a guy, what’s the point of admitting it and completely negating the chance of avoiding suspension.  I just don’t get that, but we’ll see if it gets some fire going.  It’s a farce that a pitcher gets suspended for the equal of 1 start in situations like these, but I’m the same redneck who thought Ron Artest should have been punished way more than he was.


    Jimmy came up with a couple men on and Tito got all warm and fuzzy.  “This is why they like him leading off, because he can be a run producer.”  The ridiculousness of that isn’t the oxymoron of the leadoff hitter being up in a run producing situation, it’s the man, and the degree of confidence he carries in coming through in that situation.  He’s done some legendary stuff in those big at bats, for sure, but Jimmy’s the poster child to those smart enough not to completely buy into RBI not being this completely team dependent crap that some people love to overstate.    


    I have a major announcement to make.  Jonathan Papelbon is well rested, and usable tonight.   

    • Chris McC. says:

      KB, first of all, you’re right, Artest should have absolutely been suspended more than he was. His season should have ended.

      Secondly, I’m all for Cole hitting Harper and admitting it. In fact, I’m especially happy with him admitting it. I hate watching pitchers say after games that they were just trying to pitch inside or some nonsense that an infant would see right through. Sort of the way Zimmerman claimed he wasn’t retaliating when he threw at Hamels afterward. There’s a debate for doing it or not doing it but if you’re going to do it then cop to it. Man up and say, “yeah, I threw at the guy and I hit the guy. That’s how I roll.” OK, maybe the “that’s how I roll” part is childish but still.

      • Ken Bland says:

        I used the word braindead in suggesting it was tanamount to asking for a suspension.  Braindead doesn’t belong in that part of the equation.  Braindead is the policy of suspending a pitcher for throwing at a hitter for 5 games.  The last pitcher suspended for throwing at a hitter was Ubaldo earlier this year.  He appealed, pitched, dropped the appeal and maybe missed a turn.  Cole might not even miss one. just have his next start delayed by a day.  When MLB suspends a pitcher for 5 games, or 1 start at most, for throwing at a hitter, which I believe it’s safe to say carries some degree of danger, it’s still kind of ridiculous to ask to be suspended, which is in essence what Hamels did, but when you know there is no punishment of meaning, it’s not as braindead.  If MLB implemented a policy of umpire discretion of throwing at a hitter meant a 15 game suspension, pitchers would think twice about hitting batters.  This might sound inconsistent with what I’m saying because you still might not have the control you want, but brushbacks are okay.

        Anyway, system as it is, my only real concern is if it helps the Phils psychologically.  Probably a stretch, but who knows.  Hate to admit this, but it has tyurned into some decent entertainment. 

        • Mike Donnelly says:

          Maybe I’m old, but I liked Hamels admitting he plunked the kid. Worst case he sort of misses a turn and Charlie plugs him back into the lineup in 7 days (not 10).  Instead of 33 starts he gets 32, not a big deal.  Gains some intimidation, a fair trade.  It’s a long season…

          • Mike Donnelly says:

            (via Todd Z.) Charlie said Hamels wil pitch on Sunday and thus the 5 day suspension merely becomes his normal 5 days off (extra day due to Thursday no game).  I love this decision.   Roger Clemens (et al) pretend not to hit batters, no punishment.  Hamels admits to hitting a batter and gets a pretend punishment.  Perfect symmetry.

  106. Chris McC. says:

    From a Washington Post piece today:

    “After walking off the field feeling nauseous knowing my wrist was broke and hearing Philly fans yelling ‘You deserve it,’ and, ‘That’s what u get,’ I am motivated to get back quickly and see to it personally those people never walk down Broad Street in celebration again.” -Jayson Werth

    I totally understand his feeling and I love seeing this in players. I’ll always be a fan of Werth’s even though I was pretty upset/disappointed/angry when he took the money in DC.

    • Ken Bland says:

      I find those fans disgraceful.  Such venom is only appropriate when Michael Irvin lies on the Vet Stadium turf thought to have a broken neck, and receives a rousing ovation.  I guess it’s all about objectivity, and knowing the difference between scum, and someone who’s image you like.

      • Chris McC. says:

        I was embarrassed for my team, my city and my fellow fans. Made me nauseous too, Jayson.

    • Dino says:

      Let’s not blame Jayson for taking the $$$.  The Phillies never made him an offer until midway through his final season.  I agree with his decision to get an agent during his last year which changed the entire process.  I think that the Phillies could have signed him for much less than he received if they had pursued him earlier.

      • Chris McC. says:

        Oh yeah, I don’t blame him one bit. I don’t think Werth is just in it for the money (or something equally as cliched and narrow-minded), if someone offered me $126M I’d take it in a heartbeat, loyalties be damned. You don’t turn down $126M.

        • Mike Donnelly says:

          Totally agree, you take the $126 million.  You’d be criminally insane not to take it.  Nat’s were nuts to offer that much, but Jayson and Phillies really aren’t to blame here.  Hated the fans response to Jayson getting hurt.

  107. Ken Bland says:

    And for the 3rd time tonight, the Phillies leave multiple runners on, and remain scoreless since the 2nd inning.  This team just makes you wanna scream.  Just makes you wanna scream.

  108. Ken Bland says:

    And then, after another fucked up inning, Wheeler and McCarthy come back and are doing Baseball 101 on how you can’t use your fucking closer on the road in a tie game.  But there’s an option.  Rick Sutcliffe. 

  109. Ken Bland says:

    On top of everything else, Papelbon is at 29 pitches, so he’s out of tomorrow night, and its PRESUMPTUOUS to think Blanton goes 9 again, let alone has a lead. 

  110. Ken Bland says:

    #Tigers Leyland says on pre-game show that Hamels should have been suspended 15 games at least – “way, way too light”

  111. Mike Donnelly says:

    I’m actually feeling a bit optimistic about the Phillies.  Yes 14-16, but runs scored are what matters, those first 15 games were god-awful, scoring something like 2 runs per game, and since then we are scoring 4-5 runs per game.  A huge difference and amazing considering our 7 and 8 hitters are basically pitchers. 
    Love moving Chooch up in the lineup to where he can help drive in runs.  And for god’s sake I wish Charlie would just play Mayberry every day, the kid needs the work and long term we desperately need him.
    So I feel good, if we hover around .500 we bide our time till Howard gets back (I’ve given up on Chase) and with Ryan back in the lineup everyone moves to their natural spots, and just praying at that point Nix or Ty replace Polanco at third.  Now that’s a lineup we can live with.

  112. Ken Bland says:

    and just praying at that point Nix or Ty replace Polanco at third. Now that’s a lineup we can live with.>>

    I cannot wait to see how that prayer is answered by the baseball gods.  Laynce Nix would make for an outstanding 3rd baseman.  It’d be a joy to see how he’d handle a bunt.  That’d make for one helluva pivot, turning around in 2 and a halrf minutes, and making a left handed throw to first base.  


    • Mike Donnelly says:

      With Ryan back in the lineup, somebody and I mean anybody has to replace Polanco.  Be it Ty, Lance, Juan Pierre or even Mayberry.  Somebody has to be able to play third.  Heck maybe Galvis does it when Chase comes back.

  113. Ken Bland says:

    The Phils are 9-10 on the road.  Jimmy’s road batting average is .139.  His road OBP is .192. 

  114. Ken Bland says:

    Remember that walk to lead off B7.  Flips the order, and why this game is still 4-1 is the microcosm of the year.

  115. Ken Bland says:

    The thing is, as much as Charlie vgets bashed, and there’s no question, there’s a lot of truth in it, but how do you separate some of the managing when the players are playing so poorly.  It’s just an all around mess.  Boy, I wish I had an answer. 

    • phillyfan says:

      Who is bashing Charlie?  I haven’t seen any articles bashing him.  He really hasn’t done anything to bash him about from what I can tell.  As you say, they just aren’t putting it together.  Bats are there now but pitching letting them down.

  116. phillyfan says:

    I have waited to comment on the Hamels/Harper incident because it was just an odd incident.  I think this is where I come down:

    IT is true that young guns have been unceremoneously welcomed to the big leagues for as long as baseball has been played.  It that fashion I do not think Hamels did anything wrong.  The problem is Hamels is not “old school” but decidedly “new school.”  He is a soft pampered athlete who when he was about Harper’s age was breaking his hand in bar fights.  He proved he is not old school by going public with his intentions.  Old school pitchers like Gibson, Koufax, even Schilling and Johnson would not have gone public with their intentions.  Part of being old school (a.k.a part of the age-old game) is it is an action that is “understood” with a wink-wink between players and even fans.  What would have been “old school” and pretty cool would have been a horse who bleeds baseball like Halladay drilling Harper, and after the game Halladay would have simply said, “I will let you guys hash that out.”  See, Hamels has never really achieved the status to be in a position to dish it out.  I think that is what is behind Rizzo’s “fake tough” comment.  In some ways, Harper’ star is bigger than Hamels.  Harper needs to be “welcomed” by a pitcher whose status is equivalent or exceeds Harper’s – like a Halladay or even Lee – grizzled vets who have been around and bleed baseball.  Hamels is a very good pitcher, but isn’t the type of pitcher that to me “speaks” for the old school.  

  117. Ken Bland says:


  118. phillyfan says:

    Pence quietly doing some serious dealing with the bat….suddenly on pace for 35 / 110 

  119. Ken Bland says:

    Savery’s finally warming up.  After ANOTHYER leadoff walk leads to a run. 

    • Ken Bland says:

      B8, Royals host red Sox, who lead 4-3 going in.  Bobby sticks with Bard.  Walks the leadoff guy.  What does Bobby do?  Leaves him in.  What does Bard do?  Walks Gordon.  What does Bobby do?  Finally pulls him in favor of Albers.  What does Albers do?  Butler bangs a 3 run shot.  I juust love leadoff walks.  Especially when they are followed by another walk. 

      Good night from deeper in last place. 

  120. Ken Bland says:

    I’m hopeful the Phils have bottomed out going into tonight.  I know better, but knowledge doesn’t often equal predictive skills.  The bullpen modestly changes with an at best (if that) addition by subtraction of Michael Schwimer, who still looks to have Show stuff (not command).  And addition from so low doesn’t help much.

    Whoever wins tonight, one thing stands out in the Mets favor.  Dillon Gee will have a piece of cake time deciding who he won’t let beat him.  Even more injuries in place for tonight earn Chooch a rest, and the makeshift lineup has Plac hitting in the 5 hole.  My memory of Plac in the 5 hole a year ago was dreadful, and a check of the numbers hold that true with 6 hits in 38 at bats. By no means is that a tell all stat, but it’s a fact, and one reason not to think of much support batting behind Pence.   Strugglingberry, against a righty…well..  although Big John does have a 3 run homer on the resume off Gee.  Scneider and Galvis round out the pre Lee order.  No doubt a positive stat lies buried deep down somewhere for either of those 2 against Gee, but I don’t have 3 days to invest researching it.  The bottom line is maybe the top of the lineup (Jimmy, JP, Vic) can get on to force Gee to pitch to Pence in 1 or 2 at bats, but Hunter probably won’t see much to hit tonight, and that doesn’t help.  Advant, Flushing.

    The other advatage the Mets have is part of their attitude, in combo with the Phils inability to hold leads.  David Wright stood up to pre season critics with the usual rhetoric about how a young club with energy can make things happen, and it ain’t quite early no more.  Terry Collins has a good handle on his ballclub, and it isn’t just that Doc and Joe couldn’t hold leads, let alone the pen (Joe technically did), but don’t for a minute think the Mets didn’t earn the last 2 W’s.  They had great ABs against Paps, and forced the action last night.  The 2 game pattern reminds of the 6er LA final in ’83 when LA led each game, but anyone in the spectator base knew the 6ers were coming back.  Suhweeeeep. There is 0 reason for this NY club not to remain confident and aggressive, and test Cliff’s stamina, or more likely, Charlie and Dubee’s parental pitch count policy.  Mets get into the pen, pray, baby, pray.

    So I can see some reasons the Mets win tonight.  But climbs from last place don’t always start from detectable points, and I’d like to think there’s a 4-5 game win streak somewhere in this club’s destiny before they get their rhythm going.        

    • Ken Bland says:

      I’m hopeful the Phils have bottomed out going into tonight.>>

      Son, you wouldn’t know a good bottom, if she showed up with eddible panties covering them, and they were milk choclate flavored. 

  121. Ken Bland says:

    High blood pressure time as KK comes on, and sho nuff walks the first hitter, putting tying run on deck.

    But those aren’t ALWAYS converted, right? 

  122. Ken Bland says:

    Think KK would get to throw the 3-0 if TLR managed?


  123. Ken Bland says:

    lol, NOW there’s pen action.


    It could go from terrible to worse. 

  124. Dino says:

    7.5 mil for this guy

  125. Ken Bland says:

    The Phils last close win was a week ago yesterday, 4-2 over Bravos.  I don’t know if they will win this game, but I do believe they will at least tie it.  The Phils have shown how bad they are, but the Mets aren’t so good that they can hold all these leads every night.

    Pierre leads off with a single to put the thought in motion.  Course a runner on first with this team is like walking from 1 state to another.

    And a double play.  But that’s my thinking.   

  126. Dino says:

    Finally…he’s gone.  Thanx Charlie

  127. Ken Bland says:

    Jake threw another scoress frame tonight in a Pigs 5-0 loss (Dom didn’t play…ham must still be strung…but with Cliff back, and outstaning long man KK back in his long guy role….and who needs Herndon, because he only pitches long in losses, and the Phils have lost enough games for 2 years, why is Sanes still here…don’t need another strecthed out guy…give Jake a shot.  Tomorrow.  get him up here for the weekend series.  Some more youthful energy can’t hurt, and dude throws strikes.

    • Dino says:

      I would have sent Sanches down before Savery, but I would have sent both down to bring up Jake.

  128. Ken Bland says:

    I don’t get how Jose’s contract is up at year end.  Why have they not worked out an extension?  Nice young man.

    • Dino says:

      Probably because of his uncertain health, but we also have to consider the fact that that they seem to want to wait as long as possible before working out a K for some key guys  ie..Werth, Jimmy, Cole

      • Ken Bland says:

        I was being more than completely sarcastic.  It’d be a nice surprise if he’s not completely shot.  They seem to have been fortunate to have gotten production out of him last year, but unfortunately, he’s got this year guaranteed.

  129. Ken Bland says:

    14-18 projects to 71 victories (about) in a 162 game season.  With Uncle Selig adding 8 wild cards per League, it’s time to talk magic number for clinching.  Soooon.

  130. Dino says:

    No one is mentioning the wretched defense. 

  131. Dino says:

    Looking at Cliff, I wonder if he regrets not signing with the Rangers

    • Ken Bland says:

      You wonder?  Are you kidding?  He might still enjoy a lot of things about here, but on the whole, he’d be totally out of his mind not to have regrets about it.  And pretty major ones.  By the way, Cliff was quoted during spring training as saying “our talent is off the charts.”  But he’s always been a real optimist, so you can’t really kill the guy for it, but that chart size he was talking about is in a different time zone than the rest of any and all office supplies.

  132. Ken Bland says:

    I really hate to write this because I don’t expect this to continue.  I mean, since Opening Day, not that it really has a lot to do with it, but this 173 mil, or whatever payroll it is now has a 13-18 record.  That sucks!

    But as it stands at this point, this has all the makings of a classic you can’t change the 25 players, though obviously, there will be changes on the roster between now and then, so you change the manager.  No way Charlie would walk away from 6 mil (1.5 years left on his deal), but not only do you have the change 1 since you cain’t change 25, but Charlie just seems overwhelmed by all this.  And Lord knows, so many players have to look in the mirror.  Pence is a complete adventure in right, I don’t know what Mysteryberry’s deal is, Jimmy absolutely and unequivocally has mental problems at the plate, don’t even get me started on the pen, and for my money, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some psychological issue clouding Doc because of frustration over losing.  Charlie says no team meeting becuase he wouldn’t know what to say.  All the bunts.  What is this, 1920s baseball?  The guy goes from being 3 run homer happy to whatever the hell kind of small ball it is he’s trying to produce.  Classic lost control of the club is brewing in all this.  And the bullpen is a farce, but Charlie’s management of it doesn’t help.

    It’s too early to lose sight oif the playoffs, hell, they might still only be 5 out of first after a 3rd straight ridiculous loss.  But just like it was inappropriately wrong to panic early, it’s appropriate to be frustrated and at least let this pass through your mind now.  30 games is a measurable quantity to at least have some inklings about your club. Pat Coralles, who had a lot of strengths as a baseball guy got axed in 1983 near or at the AS break when the Phils were 42-40.  In first place.  The record didn’t matter.  The underachieving did.  You wouldn’t think this near or at maxed out franchise would be too anxious to eat 6 mil, but factors are mounting that make you wonder if something once unforseen like that might actually happen. 

    We’ll see.  But it’s not out of the picture.          

    • Ken Bland says:

      Charlie had a meeting after the game.  I bet the language wasn’t pretty. 

      Savery got optioned.  Jake coming?  Maybe another “gimme what I’ve got already.”

      I say KK should have been optioned along with the sheep that brought into his H2 peripherals of 2011.  Give me a break.  I bet Charlie ripped em good in the meeting.  Hey, if you are gonna go out (kind of a longshot, relax), go out in style.

      Good time to mention Mini Mart should be back soon.  That oughta fire the troops up.

      Boy, I wish Whitey was working the games this year.  This team would have killed Harry.  Just killed him.         


      • Ken Bland says:

        Yeah, Pat did well to last as a player long enough (plus) to qualify for a pension.  I think he spent quite a bit of time in the Braves organization following his managerial years.  To paraphrase Parcells, he’s definitely a baseball guy, which is a simplified version of a high compliment.  I’m only familiar with the headline, not the substance of the story, but as I recall, before he even retired, his wife passed away, leaving him as a single dad with 5 kids.  How the kids turned out, and how he actually coped with the loss emotionally, I don’t know, but what seemed like an ability to cope with that situation led me to holding him in a positive light.  Phils were actually 43-42, not 42-40 when he got canned.

    • jjg says:

      Ken,  Apart from the manager angle, Pat Corrales was a helluva backup catcher as long as he remained in the dugout.  Was handy in brawls.  Tough as rawhide but did his best work in the ‘pen.

      “a runner on first with this team is like walking from 1 state to another” – accuracy, modified with humor. 

  133. Ken Bland says:

    Well, as they say, good night from even deeper in last place.  Or in foreign language terms, bleep this bullbleep.

  134. Mike Donnelly says:

    As bad as the bats have been, I have to worry about defense and pitching.  Pitching really ? wasn’t that supposed to be our one asset on this team?

  135. phillyfan says:

    Everybody really needs to take a chill pill.  It is still incredibly early.  Think of it as starting out the season as 0-4. Like the Braves did.  That is how quick this team can turn it around.  THEY ARE PLAYING LIKE CRAP AND THEY ARE ONLY 5 GAMES BACK.  They will get reinforcements.  Heck – go 20-12 spurt and they probably will be tied for first before 80 games played.

    Meanwhile there is no team that will run away in this division.  Nats are as injured as the PHillies and they are serious about shutting down Strasbrug in mid-August.  Zimmerman has never pitcher more than 160 innings. Thir offense pales in comparison to the Phils without Utley and Howard.  Mets are not running away with the division. Braves starting pitching and offense will come up short again AGAIN. Chipper will be hobbling by August AGAIN.  Miami pitching will be a mess per usual.  Watch all these wannabe teams fall by the wayside as July melds into August.

    It is just the height of ridiculous to even think about the idea of firing Charlie.  There is a big difference between Charlie and Corrales – namely two world series appearances and a world title.  He is working with a short stack.  He looks like he is grasping at straws because he only has straws to grasp. A team with WS aspirations should not be grooming a second baseman in the major leagues and desperately searching for a left fielder.  

    As for Lee and signing with Texas….well Boohooohoohoo.  If I recall correctly he laid two smelly eggs with them when he had a chance to win a title there and then laid another smelly messy one for us last year.  IT is correct that if you have any sad feelings it is for Halladay – a true pro’s pro who has done everything he was asked to do and more for this team.  It is that rare trade/signing of a superstar that lives up to the money/hype.  But it looks very possible he will not reach his goal in Philly.

    finally, I guarentee you this team will make the playoffs.  Not sure about much more than that.  But at worst we have probably Halladay doing a one gamer to get us into the divisional round.  Not a bad position to be in.  Just sit back and relax and let May, June and July take care of itself.  All we need is them to be mediocre by the all-star break and then start peaking in mid to late August.  5 games back is nothing.  10 is nothing if it is June.  Just be within 5 by mid-August.

  136. Ken Bland says:

    Worth noting from around the Bigs is the night as part of a terrific start that Raffy Furcal had last night.  4 more hits against Arizona pulled his average up to .361 as part of giving the Cardinals a rarity in St. Louis in recent years, a good leadoff guy, at least year to date.  He’s pretty aggressive at the plate, too, so his 13 walks to date isn’t too bad either.

    I doubt there was single soul among Phillie observors that favored signing him over Jimmy.  He got a good deal of low level enthusiastic support as a candidate if Jimmy left, but not as a chosen replacement.  Not to the level of David Freese, but Furcal has done a helluva job since mid last year when he came over from the Dodgers, where career seemed all but over.

    When Jimmy experiences his resurrection remains a mystery, with bits and pieces scattered over the last couple years, but Furcal has been terrific, and with a horrible spring mixed in, which led some to think the party was over.  Again.  Of course he’ll drop off, but like Carlos Beltran, and dozens of others before them (dating back to at least Cepeda and Maris, a career resurrection’s in progress in St. Louis.    

    • Dino says:

      he missed a lot of time when he was in LA; rumors here in LA said he was done :) )
      note also that he makes 6.5/yr with Cards

  137. jjg says:

    History says the ‘Dallas Green team meeting effect’ is a rare occurrence.  Locutionary struggles
    say the ‘Charlie Manuel team meeting’ is a barrel of muffled laughs, or at least a mite confusing.  Jimmy Rollins’ follow-up “you don’t have to whisper; it’s not the end of the world” reminder to somber teammates is typical of the former all-star with the .230 AVG, .279 OBP, .270 SLG and 34 TB in 137 PA.

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      I did not want Jimmy resigned.  At his age he’s on the downside of his career and as his best year is now 7 years in the rear view mirror, it just didn’t make any sense.   Getting rid of Jimmy would have meant we would keep Wilson Valdez. Who would have been an ok replacement until Galvis or other younger players could be called up.  And right now.  Having Valdez would be a big upgrade, I am of course talking about using Galvis at SS, and Wilson in the bullpen.  Funny but true !

  138. Dino says:

    Being reported that Luna, Valdes and Jake will be recalled

  139. Ken Bland says:

    The thing that really burned me up above all else last night was the Kendrick appearance.  The way he pitched was secondary.  He comes in, and right away walks a batter.  Through an inning plus, I can’t remember for sure, but I think Dubee might have made an appearance on the mound later in that first inning of KK’s night.  If he didn’t, the aggrivating cause is even worse.  You walk the first hitter of an inning, that’s as red a flag as there is.  You can’t waste managerial trips to the mound, with the second one requring change, but why isn’t one of the infielders going to the mound to slow things down, give the pitcher a chance to regroup after a poor start to the inning?  It might not even have been a bad idea to visit Cliff after that triple that Vic misplayed.  But the point is, there just seems to be a great deal of going through motions, or lacking focus in regards like that.  And the way Kendrick pitched, more than 1 visit to the mound, if it didn’t happen might have made a lot of sense.  Leaving him out there that long was hard to understand.

    How that reaction jives with the way things have been done around here the last few years is the real interesting thing.  I don’t remember ever paying that much attention to something like that to see if it was different than last night, or if I did, didn’t store it in the memory bank.  But I absolutely hate leadoff walks, especially when they are issued by a pitcher that you have a lack of confidence in dealing with the situation.  That confidence is pretty much reserved for a small portion of pitchers, and Blanton, coming back out for the 7th the other night should have gotten a visit, too.  Joe’s walk was a warning of fatigue, and you slow the game down to allow for a 2nd wind.


  140. Mike Donnelly says:

    Fun fact from NYC metro area sports talk radio ( I moved to CT )  Bobby Bonilla who last played in 2001 is still on the payroll and making 1.1 million this year (and every year till 2035 !) and he makes more money than 11 current Mets players.  Which is why taking a finance class and learning the present and future value of money is a good idea.  Which would help you figure out why giving Madoff $6 million now and paying Bobby B. $38 million over 35 years is not a good idea.

    • joof says:

      why do they pay him 1 milllions dollars still?

      • Dino says:

        Because it’s in the contract that both parties signed

      • Ken Bland says:

        The move was accepted by Bonilla to defer a lot of money to help the Mets with lowering then current payroll obligations.  The tradeoff (in part) was the deferred monies would be paid at a higher interest rate.  As it turns out, most anything is higher than current interest rates.  Back in the day, pretty sure one of the Phils sponsors was Delaware Cash reserve, or whatever larger company of which that was a subsidiary.  Pretty sure they were a sponsor, but I was a customer, so perhaps familiarity of both the Phils and them blended them together.  Anyway, this is circa 1980, and around that time, DCR had daily interest rates that peaked in the 19-20% range.  You could make beaucoup bucks sitting on your cash.  Now, interest rates are lower than certain players batting averages who shall remain nameless so I don’t get my weekend off to a bitchy start.  I believe I got just a tad sidetracked there.

        • joof says:

          I cant believe that was an actual contract. How crazy…35 years??

          • Ken Bland says:

            He didn’t sign a 35 year deal.  He signed about a 5 year deal.  The payments were spread out over that much longer term…25, 30 years, whatever it is.  Bonilla, to my knowledge is not contract bound to the Mets since the 5 years from start expired.  He just gets paid by them.

            But there are post career tags to contratcs that approach 35 years in length.  Pujols has one.   

          • Mike Donnelly says:

            It was a financial deal, not a baseball deal.  Instead of paying Bobby B. the last remaining $6 million Madoff tricked the Mets into giving him the $6 million instead to “invest”.  Madoff said he could give the Mets a 20% return every year forever (and his ponzi scheme had done that on paper for decades) so paying Bobby 1.1 million a year for 35 years works out to giving him the $6 million at an 8% return with the Mets and Madoff pocketing the remaining 12% return.  Bobby B’s financial advisor probably lost his stuff because being contractually promised an 8% return is freaking gold.  And took the deal from the METS laughing all the way.   The Mets by contrast were not promised 20%, they just got super greedy and figured Madoff could keep getting that return.

  141. Ken Bland says:

    With the 2-0 lead on the table in Game 1 of the weekend set, I’d surmise a hitgh percentage of Phillie fans are holding their collective breath, clear pattern of recent games in place.

    It’s not that I’m a homer, or blind faith type. I just feel comfortable with this lead.  Is it game, set, match country?  Noooooo.  Only starter I’d even think about that optimistically right now is Cole (not light years ahead of Doc or Cliff, but ahead.

    And it’s not that I think Vance will or won’t go 9.  I just think the day off helped, and perhaps blind faithfully think Charlie laying into the guys will help.  And frankly, not necessarily short term.  We’ll see.     

  142. Ken Bland says:

    Make an error, make up for it with a nice play.

    Give up a lead, no big deal.  Game’s tied.  Just get it back.

    Tedious was the pre season word.  Tedious is what it is.  Just have to keep plugging away. 

  143. Ken Bland says:

    Merry Cliffmas on the leadoff walk GOING THE OTHER WAY as Wigginton earns a walk, and Chooch goes 4 ply swat.

    Somewhere along the line, ya gotta hold a lead.  Somewhere.  Not necessarily yet, but it’d be nice. 

  144. Ken Bland says:

    Yeah, Mayberry cranked one deep after his homer, but my takeawy from this game might be that throw he made from left field last inning.  Way, way off line.

  145. Dino says:

    Black had some fluke success in the past, but that’s more than evened out now.

  146. Ken Bland says:

    2 left in B5.  Phils are 11th in the sport with fewest left on base YTD.  O’s first, Cleveland has left the most. 

  147. Ken Bland says:

    Guess what sports fans?  Anotherc leadoff walk = run scored.  In the Phils favor, no less.

  148. Ken Bland says:

    Get a life level Friday night trivia question of the oddball variety….

    I wonder wonder who wrote the book of winning streaks….

    here we go…

    Of all the 5 or more winning streaks in baseball over a period of whatever time frame…I wonder how many were started against clubs with winning records.  I’d be hard pressed to even guess.  If there’s a point to that, it’s either you gotta start somewhere (and are we being presumptuous, or what?), or Rome wasn’t built in a day.        

  149. Ken Bland says:

    Raul takes King Felix deep for his 6th, a 3 run shot.  Nice pick up, and nice choice to get one of his annual slumps overwith by having a south of anemic Grapefruit League spring. 

  150. Ken Bland says:

    And 90 miles south, the Phillies take a night off from 5the get a lead and roll over by adding extra insurance on a Chooch safety.  What a novel idea.

  151. Ken Bland says:

    Why is it getting worse instead of better?  I started looking up how inept Jimmy is leading off compared to the misadventure of batting third earlier this year, and got sidetracked by a trend that’s getting worse than ever.  Percentage of fast balls he sees, down steadily from rookie year of 68% to still over 60% through 2009, upper 50s in ’10, and ’11, and only 51% so far this year.  Doesn’t matter where you hit him, if he can’t hit breaking pitches, he can’t hit.  And if you aren’t seeing fastballs in the 3 hole, it doesn’t get much better than that. 

    Doc has now given up leads in his last 3 starts. 6-0 was sick, 2-0 happens, 1-0 is picky.  But that chances of that happening in his last 6-7 years is slim.   

    • jjg says:

      Why worse instead of better?  Uh, could be because Roy Sievers, Don Hoak, Gus Triandos & Cal McLish would fit right in on this roster – - aging players, declining production.  And current day Allen & Callison - Ryan Howard & Chase Utley – are getting more practice at a microphone than Joey Bishop; hits and runs, another matter.  

      ‘Charlie’s charge’ effect didn’t last long.  “Follow me up the hill, men. If ya see me on my knees, I’m prayin’.” 

      • Ken Bland says:

        Well, I was referring to Jimmy’s hitting with that worse instead of better.  Pretty rhetorical stuff regarding him at this point. 

        As for the club as a whole, the season is young, but you haven’t asked your annual “is anyone else finding this boring question” that has come up the last 2 years.

        VERY boring, and VERY frustrating making for a vicious combo.  One of the more exciting components of the whole thing is hoping that enough other clubs match and surpass that level of boring and frustration.


        • jjg says:

          Sorry, my blunder… a paragraph unit is a paragraph unit after all, unless the sentences get spooked and head in all directions for the hills.  Your initial question, with the indefinite pronoun ‘it’, teased me into replying quickly and in general, like Shane Victorino at the plate.  Time, I guess, to review my trusty “Reading Comprehension Strategies” manual.

          Thank you for tracking my expressions of early season ennui.  Truth is, haven’t tuned in enough yet to get bored.  I like my baseball most under the hot summer sun and, when lucky, under the Fall moon.  On the bright side of Phils’ downslide, am looking forward to game day walk-up lower level ticket purchases again.  Ahh, the stretching of arms and legs. 

  152. joof says:

    I just read about it……crazy ha     I thought bobby bonilla retired in the mid 90s…I remember having his baseball card in the late 80s…
    He didn’t sign a 35 year deal.  He signed about a 5 year deal.  The payments were spread out over that much longer term…25, 30 years, whatever it is.  Bonilla, to my knowledge is not contract bound to the Mets since the 5 years from start expired.  He just gets paid by them.
    But there are post career tags to contratcs that approach 35 years in length.  Pujols has one.   

    Mike Donnelly says:
    May 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    It was a financial deal, not a baseball deal.  Instead of paying Bobby B. the last remaining $6 million Madoff tricked the Mets into giving him the $6 million instead to “invest”.  Madoff said he could give the Mets a 20% return every year forever (and his ponzi scheme had done that on paper for decades) so paying Bobby 1.1 million a year for 35 years works out to giving him the $6 million at an 8% return with the Mets and Madoff pocketing the remaining 12% return.  Bobby B’s financial advisor probably lost his stuff because being contractually promised an 8% return is freaking gold.  And took the deal from the METS laughing all the way.   The Mets by contrast were not promised 20%, they just got super greedy and figured Madoff could keep getting that return.

  153. Ken Bland says:

    from Ryan Lawrence, beat writer from (I think) the Delco Times…

    Juan Pierre on the Phillies (16-19) up-and-down start: “I know you’re accustomed to winning a lot here, but if you stay around .500, in August you’ll have a chance to win. I’ve been on teams like that and we ended up winning the World Series. I know 102-win season good and dandy, but this is real-life baseball, and that doesn’t come around too often. You’ve got to battle and bust your butt. That’s the teams I’m normally on. I hear all the commotion here, and I’m like, we ain’t that bad, guys.”  >>

    Nobody’s saying this team should be 23-12, or Dodger distance ahead of the rest if the division, but imagine if every average to mediocore team in the game fell complacently back to the comfort of historic precedence, in this case, largely made possible because Steve Bartman had a ticket to a game.  JP’s words carry validity, but it’s a good idea to be feeling a sense of urgency after 25 games, let alone 35.  Maybe sense of urgency is secondary.  Maybe sense of successful execution is more accurate.

    Just keep plugging away, and get a damned win streak going.  This last place icon is getting boring.   


  154. Ken Bland says:

    Couple news items came out today.  Josh Hamilton won Player of the Week.  Next subject.

    One of the ESPN guys, writing a piece for the Insider, and therefore remaining as nameless as a player to be named later reported that Cole Hamels, self appointed Director of Indoctrinating rookies, in a style best described as modern day old school is in search of a 7 year contract to end his free agency.  I’d say that’s a pretty good negotiating point.  It’s more sane than Jimmy’s one for the thumb approach of a season ago.  Can he get 7 on the open market?  I wouldn’t exactly rule it out.  The old all it takes is one arguement certainly makes not ruling it out practical.  That’d put Hamels at 36 years old, which is still pretty safe for a pitcher pitching to form, if not quite as peak as 28-32.  Course a ton of factors go into that making for risk.  The Phils are less than 3 years removed from a hard core policy of no more than 3 years for pitchers, and that was when salaries and risk were jointly already off the charts, but that’s life in the market lane.  It might explain the reports that Buster Olney seems to be the one reporting every now and then that the 2 sides are at an impasse in negotiations.  What’s to talk about?  Team Hamels has set the bar at 7 years, and sometimes Ruben jumps, sometimes he doesn’t.  I’d say Hamels is pretty unlikely to come down to a more pallatable 5 until he exhausts the free agency game, if he chooses to give a hometown discount.  I’d say just about no way do the Phils go 7 years. 

    Swamped by 1 and 2 game streaks year to date, not to mention the inconsistent play, there’s been less tendency of late to look at the Phils upcoming schedule and either predict or set goals.  That’d be a doozy of an achievement in what turns out to be a 20 games in 20 days schedule that started 2-1 with the Padres.  Home for 2 with the Stros, and 2 at Wrigley are next.  4 in a row is pretty doubtful.  Then 3 with the Red Sox, and 3 with the Nats.  Winning 4 would be nice.  Then, 4 at St. Louis, and 3 at the Mets.  Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but it’d be nice if the club is less scuffling by then, and can win 4 of 7.  That’d be a total of 13-7, including the Padres.  11-9 seems more realistic, but you sure don’t want to lose much more ground in the division race, which 11-9 would probably do, depending on who the 11 are against.       

  155. Mike Donnelly says:

    Prediction question:  If the Phillies are still in last place by the all star break…
    1) Pete closes the site down
    2) Ruben jettisons Shane, Blanton and Cole
    3) can’t happen
    FYI Jayson Stark thinks Blanton will absolutely be playing in October, either for us or another team and things Phils hang on to Cole but lose him in free agency.   That being said if you really think we lose him in F.A. and I do.  Do you trade him now ?   I would.   I’d rather sign him now, but otherwise I’d trade him.  Am I missing anything?  Do we get anything if we lose him in F.A. ?

    • Ken Bland says:

      Cole is not getting traded.  Period.  The Phils won’t get fair market value.  The Phillies would have a better chance of getting a better return if they traded either Doc or Cliff as neither is a rental.  Trading either is still a ridiculous proposition for now as there is a lot of baseball to be played between now and the beginning of July, which is 4 weeks away from the trade deadline.  Exploratory discussions now make a degree of sense, but are for the most part ridiculously premature.  I’d guess there’s an equal or better chance that a late, or last minute bidder would have a better shot at getting any deal.

      Another reason Hamels is hard to trade is because if a team acquires him and he walks at year end, they do not get any compensation.  If the Phils keep Hamels through the current contract, they get a draft pick.  Cutting off the allowance of playing the plot out for a draft pick is a better return than what another team would give up for a rental.

      Regarding Jayson Stark, I mean the man no disrespect whatsoever, but he’s hardly well qualified to offer a prediction on what happens.  This situation, contrary to public opinion, is unpredictable, even though most people have an opinion on it.  Obviously, I don’t know this for fact, but I feel safe in saying that in the Albert Pujols situation, in the last 3 days before he signed with the Angels, even he, the decisionmaker, probably spent many minutes thinking he was going back to the Cardinals.  As it does look like Cole will go to free agency, and that’s an appearance, not a fact, we’re just getting started in this ordeal.  It’s possible that the Phils and Cole already know whether they really want each other but aren’t showing their hand, but I doubt it.



      • Mike Donnelly says:

        Cole wants 7 years, Phillies might do 5. Therefore for a second assume F.A. is absolutely going to happen, further assume this season doesn’t look good and Phillies aren’t going to add to the roster.  Doesn’t trading Cole make sense ?  When the season is over you then can attempt to sign him, or you lose out to a greater bid. Which would have happened anyway if you kept him.  The longer the Phils stay in last place the more trading him makes a ton of sense.

        • joof says:

          I guess theres 2 streams of thought. One idea is that the compensation draft pick would give the most value, while another idea assumes a July trade would give more.
          From my vantage point, I think a rental for  a player like hamels would bring back more than a draft pick.
          The idea about trading Lee or Halladay makes a lot of sense……the phils may be able to use the money for Lee to resign Hamels….and receive MLB talent or prospects..
          Im surprised this is a topic, but I guess this is what happens when a team loses half of the offense it had just a few yrs prior.

          • Mike Donnelly says:

            the loss of the offense isn’t the issue.  At issue is 2 things.  The Phils unwillingness to go 6 let alone 7 years.  I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t go 7 either.  However you can’t blame Cole either.  He has earned the right to see if someone is desperate enough to go 7 and I’d bet there is one team that will.  
            the other point is the standings, if Cole can’t help us this year (we are so bad it doesn’t matter…)  then there is no value in keeping him.  
            It is both of these in combination.  If we were in the thick of a pennant race, and we were 100% certain to lose him, I’d still keep Cole, cause getting another shot at the WS would be worth it.
            If we were out of the race but pretty sure to win him in F.A. (or resign) then again I’d keep him.
            Sure it’s an unusual combo that brings us to this discussion, but here we are.

          • Ken Bland says:

            It’s not a topic.  Mike said he thinks the Phillies should trade him NOW.  I did say he’s not being dealt period, but I have to admit, and did somewhat address this by saying, or certainly implying that it’s based on being in contention, which the Phils have adequate time and above borderline capability talent wise, not to mention a competitively balanced division, let alone an extra wild card to establish.  Mike’s thinking is should, mine’s won’t.  The difference between shoulds and woulds, or wills and won’ts is the difference between the Swiss Alps and Nile River.  Lots.  In I dunno, maybe 4-6 weeks, I may look at the Phils as a seller.  

            One thing that needs to be understood about the process is that it’s changed.  Effective this year, if you lose a free agent that you acquired at the deadline (or some effectively similar time frame), you don’t get a draft pick.  So to think a club will give up representative talent and likely risk losing Hamels, and not at least gaining a pick is pretty optimistic.  Cole serves more purpose to a contender that has a chance to win it all, but needs starting depth.  Like the Yanks, maybe the Dodgers.  The Tigers would be a fit. The Red Sox, if they can at least get back in it.  But a team fighting to get in, like Toronto, which isn’t signing him anyway (for 1 thing, they don’t give more than 5 year deals and what on earth would induce Cole to compromise and sign there for 5 years) isn’t trading quality for him.  Doc, Cliff come with certainty beyond the year, at least contractually.  So you’d figure to get more for them.  If you’re even a seller.

            So I don’t even see it as a topic, just a comment I thought was best addressed with some reality.  At least how I visulaize it. 




        • Dino says:

          The longer a team procrastinates on giving a star a contract, the more they pay. I saw that coming with Jayson, and now with Cole who would have probably been a lot cheaper if they had signed him in 2010/11 instead of giving him a 1 yr 15 mil extension.
          When you also consider the lavish, absurd k’s they have  foolishly given these past few years, it’s clear that the front office just doesn’t have it right, and now we are seeing just the beginning of the newest fallout in Phillies history.  I saw it in the mid 60′s, and after the WS  in 1980-nothing new. 

  156. Ken Bland says:

    There’s no point in overreacting to this news about Worley having an MRI for elbow discomfort, but even trying to stay objective, it is deflating to see Kendrick lined up to pitch against Garza in the first game of the Cub series.  Kendrick, at a minimum, will have drawn starts against Strasburg, and Garza twice in his 2012 season.  Nice work if you can get it.  Kendrick seems to do okay when staked to a lead the last couple years, but any length of time on the shelf for Vance, and you would hope the Phils don’t try to stretch Kendrick out. 

    Frankly, I don’t know maturity wise if Trevor May is a candidate the Phils should discuss giving a shot.  I do know that his numbers continue to impress as high as Reading, and he’s clearly the best starter in the organization below the parent club.  This idea might be way off base, but if there are enough signs in Trevor’s growth that he’s far enough along that he’d exceed the “don’t gimme what I’ve got already” standard, I’d hate to see the club rule it out just on the basis of limited Double A experience.  Allowing more for skill than experience isn’t always a bad idea.

    Course it’s not impossible that Vance misses a short period of time.  But the thought of Kendrick does stir the imagination. 

  157. Joe says:

    I am really disliking the J-stroll signing as time goes on.  We have one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball, with a 300+avg and 400+ obp, but he cant hit leadoff becouse of J-stroll.  I am wondering if Management knew about Utley (and needing Galvis at 2b this offseson) when resigning him.  I really hoped they let him walk (he belongs in the mix of guys like Pierre, posednick, etc -the scrap heap of players NO ONE wanted).  I swear it seems he gives maybe 50% of his normal half assed effort if not leading off, but he is not a good leadoff hitter, so he is a problem.  He is a botton of the lineup hitter at this point (6 or 7th on this team, probably 7-9 on a team with a good offense).  Pierre is about as ideal leadoff hitter there is, when healthy (appears he is at the moment) Polanco is an ideal 2 hitter.  Ruiz has earned the right to be hitting 5th or 6th right now, but I can’t see how you can justify hitter Rollins anywhere near the top of the order, you want him to have fewer poor at bats a game, not more.  He dont like, sit him.  I am hoping if Utley comes back to see more Galvis at SS and Rollins getting splinters- but with that contract I know it will never happen.  The resigning of Rollins was a so sad, becouse this team needs new blood injectd into the lineup (and youth), but where can it fit in?  3rd, and left- everywhere else has people earning top dollar at the positions

  158. joof says:

    I have debated whether or not teasm in philly should sign free agents and almost always come to the conclusion later that it was a bad decision. Teams seem to overpay way much more than they get value, and they almost never underpay. Utleys contract (before the recent problems) seems to be a good way to go. The Lee signing, Halladay signing, Rollins signing, Howard signing, etc etc all seem like to much.
    The 76ers do this too. I wonder what brand would have gotten if the 76ers told him to shop around, and if he wanted to sign for 20% less than what they offered, then he had it. Same for Iguadola.
    I like Lee and Halladay, but wonder at this point if it would be better to try to place them on a centender, use the money for Hamels, and add a few top prospects in left, 3b, or 2b etc
    I wonder why teams just cant build up from scratch as a default….it worked great for the phils and they correctly gambled to add Lee and Halladay. It seems like they went to the well one to many times w rollins and Howard (homegrown but still FA). They couldve been allowed to shop around and come back for 10%-20% less.
    The 76ers did a good job building their team up w a good coach now..despite the 2 below average FA signings. I love how they have a team full of recent and semi recent 1st and 2nd round picks. They may be one draft pick away from being a championship level team…

    • Ken Bland says:

      Think you’re trying to break it down a little wrong, Joof.  Can’t speak to the 6ers deal much at all, but there’s not a lotta difference between signing a free agent and paying big bucks to keep your own.  In the NBA, you can sign 1-2 free agents and go from 25 wins to 55.  In MLB, you absolutely have to build from within, and the Phils will transition to that, as they have, but you gotta sign or keep some percentage of stars.  Don’t be killing the genius level thinking of that logic by pointing to the Tampa Bay Rays.  That’s a rare breed.  Gotta be careful on where you spend the big bucks for sure, but it’s almost some degree of mandatory. 

  159. Phillyfan says:

    Joof, building from the ground up sound easy bit is very hard. Even a team like the nats with two slam dunk overall #1 picks and other top 10 picks like jz and rz now have to wonder about the injury bug. Was the rz signing appropriate for a 3rd baseman with a bulky shoulder? Many think strasburg will break down again. So many things have to break right to implement a 5-7 year plan and make it all work.
    Please don’t get enamored with the fools gold that is the sixers. They are a perennial 5-8 seed as constructed and would have got bounced in5 by a healthy bulls. They need to scrap and start again to be a true contender.
    The only signing that made no sense to me was the lee signing cause our needs were so clearly elsewhere. I just think raj allowed himself to get enameled with the idea of lee “picking” the Phils over the yanks. But 20 mill for another pitcher was no bargain for this team.
    I still think the Phils can win the title this year. They also can sign hamels if they are willing to bite the bullet for one year with Halliday. Let him walk after next year and then use the money saved on his option the get some offense.

  160. Ken Bland says:

    Well, at least they forced 17 pitches T1.  Not bad.  That’s about the only shot the Phils have to win this game.  Well, 1 of 2 shots.  They’re still the Cubs.

    Jimmy, going in, was .139 BA and .192 OBP on the road.  That’s the bullpen’s fault. 

  161. Ken Bland says:

    I bet this is a better Coca Cola trivia question, or whatever they call it these days than Mutt and Jeff are running tonight.  What percentage of players in history who started their last name with La, and then capped the next letter played for the Cubbies. 

    Strange twist to a helluva question. 

    • Ken Bland says:

      Center square for 4,000 (inflation adjusted.  Cubs have had 50% of the LaRestofthename types in Show history.  Bryan LaHair, and Pete LaCock have toiled for the Cursed, and 2 dudes back in the 40s played for other clubs.
      2=2=4=50%.  Source = calculator. 

  162. Ken Bland says:

    33 pitches for Matt through 2.  Nice job.  Freddy Galvis with another big hit.  Funny how his standard allows for a lot of tolerance so far for a low average guy.  But he’s definitely doing a credible job on offense.  And of course is carrying an 0-10, or 0-12 or something like it start.  Let’s see what KK can do with a small lead.

  163. Ken Bland says:

    Jimmy Shortstop.  Can still play that D.  Not a real tough play, but a nice one.

  164. Ken Bland says:

    You gotta be really stupid, uneducated, or blind to reality to think the Phillies are out of the division race.  The Nats are the only other team in the division I’d even think about having relaibale starting pitching.  6 weeks, 35 games warrants respect.  Not stupid overreaction.

  165. Ken Bland says:

    Really could have bunted Vic both times after JP’s bunts, but that’s hindsight off his 0-2.  Be a killer not to score after 1st and 2nd, 0 out.

  166. Ken Bland says:

    Geez, of all people to hit into a GIDP in a game where scoring ops figure to be scarce, with KK usually needing good support.  Let’s see if Chooch takes advantage of a 2nd chance later.  There are nights where you don’t have it, but it was solid contact.  Wrong place, wrong time.

  167. Ken Bland says:

    Too easy a pitch to bunt to Garza.  Letter high and in.  Evenj simple things like that are important in the overall scheme.

  168. Ken Bland says:

    42 pitches, 27 strikes thru 3 for KK.  Hell, every inning’s an adventure, but present opponent skill set excluded, pretty good stuff so far with certainly better command than his last starts.  5 full would be nice, maybe as many as 70 pitches.  Good work so far.

  169. Ken Bland says:

    Starlin Castro has 4 walks this year.  Wonder how Theo likes that, even with the .333 batting average.  OBP is about .343.   

  170. Ken Bland says:

    Doesn’t look like the official scorer will be changing the call on the Pierre dropped fly ball.  That was after a 14 pitch at bat by LaHair.  That’s some good hitting.  It beat the hell out of the fielding. 

  171. Ken Bland says:

    Pence and Chooch have both GIDP now.  Hunter’s deprives Chooch of a redemption chance after his last at bat was a double play. At least they tied it.  Little surprised KK hit last inning, but he did get a hit.  As did Pierre.  What a lightning rod!

  172. Ken Bland says:

    Way off on how far KK would go.  91 pitches, 64 strikes, and an out away from 6 full.  He’s done his part.

  173. Ken Bland says:

    Not that Fontenot necessarily singles had Freddy laid down the leadoff position bunt, but Freddy’s inability to bunt for a hit looms larger now.  Maybe Jimmy can pick it up here.  I know better, but Maybe was a great song.  A Holliday favorite.

  174. Ken Bland says:

    Well deserved hand for Matt Garza who pitched a gutty, not especially dominant game.  Be interesting to see where the free agent waters take him.  Tough one for Theo to let get away, but he’s in a very strong position.

    • Dino says:

      We’ll see if Theo repeats the same blunders with high priced FA’s like he did in Boston.

  175. Ken Bland says:

    Yo, Vic…would it help if I said please here? 2 on, 2 out.

  176. Ken Bland says:

    Scoreboard and standings attention are still not in season, but it’s fascinating to see the Nats and braves showing all the respect for first place that messers Kekich and Peterson did toward their original wives for fisrst place.  What a see saw.  I think this is the 3rd or 4th straight day the teams have given it up.  All that matters regarding the standings at this point is the Phils keep winning.

  177. Ken Bland says:

    Son of a bitch.  Chooch, indeed gets another crack in a big spot, and takes care of business all by his lonesome.  What a job.

  178. Ken Bland says:

    Well, a little swagger now, albeit against the Cubs.  Frankly, I’m not even worried about insurance.  Not necessarily right, but the way it feels.  Sea level feels so close.

    Moyer gave up a run T7.  There went the shutout, but he’s looking good for a W.  6-1, Rox. 

  179. Ken Bland says:

    Hector Bleeping Luna goes deep.  SEA LEVEL. 

    “They’re still the Philadelphia Phillies”

                                        Joe Smpson
                                        May 1, 2012

    Still work to be done.  But ya can feel it within grasp.  With Doc against Volstad. 


  180. Ken Bland says:

    One thing I’ve learned in this life is that when somebody is an idiot, or lacking in character, you don’t need to criticize them, or bad mouth them to others.  Others likely will see the same color you do, and if not, that person will bury themselves.  Highly likely stuff.  As an example, you don’t need to jump all over everything Tom McCarthy says because others will surely see it, and he sho nuff will say something else stupid 1/3 of an inning later.

    That said, sometimes you just cain’t take it no mas.

    There’s a rule, not to mention a sense of decency and freedom of speech that disavows name calling on this, or most any decent message board.  Watch me wiggle around that sucker and get it off my chest.

    Tonight, Jimmy Rollins, who has had an inarguable lousy year at the plate, and has taken shots and criticism from a ton of people, myself included, made a nice play.  Nothing ridiculously outstanding, but a challenging one.  I acknowledged it by calling him Jimmy Shortstop, and recognizing the play.  You call a spade a spade whether it be because of playing like a King, or Jack(shit).  That’s the way I’m schooled, and practice.  Not enough to leave well enough alone.  The comment is followed with one of the most absurd things I’ve ever read on this baord, and I have read MANY an absurdity.  “He’s overrated, citing his fielding percentage.”  Jeremy H. Christ.  What the fuck do fielding percentage have to do with a guy that still has pretty fair range?  What does fielding percentage have to do with close to 100% of baseball reality? That’s as hoirseshit as Cliff Lee with 0 wins meaning there’s something wrong with him, or paying attention to batting average like it means a god damned thing.  A guy who came on here pre season, and said he had no doubt the Phillies would make the playoffs, but now, less than a quarter of the season gone, and no medical degree although he still wants to bury Chase Utley wants to trade Cole Hamels NOW.  Because the Phillies are terrible. I mean what the hell kind of negartivity is that.  It don’t even get into how lacking it is in baseball observance or patience, let alone understanding of the calendar. A nice enough play gets acknowledged, and he contributes that the guy is overrated defensively with somehorseshit stat.  But let’s put Laynce Nix on 3rd, he recently suggested. I could outcurse LaSorda right now.

    Then, I acknowledge Matt Garza for a gutty performance, and simply wonder how Theo will handle his upcoming free agency, like we’re not experienced with the stress of something like that around here from Werth to Hamels.  Positive enough comment.  And what is that comment followed up by?  LOL.  This negative fucking bullshit about Theo and all the money he wasted on free agents while he was in Boston.  What the fuck do that have to do with the price of Milanos at the Pepperidge Farm Wholesale House?  Ever heard of Curt Fucking Schilling?  Do the Red Sox have a ring under his direct leadership and another from his partical leadership after taking over for Dan Duquette?  What GM hasn’t gotten killed by a free agent times a multiple, and especially among clubs with cash.  Kevin Brown, Kei Igawa, Hidecki Irabu.  What a completely ridiculous direction he took the comment to with his negativity.

    Yep.  The Philadelphia fan.  Funny how somehow, some way, the sons may be the ones listening to WIP a generation later, but the tone is the same.  EXACT SAME.  And the 2 peeps of which I speak might not be part of this newer generation, but the reak of negativity from pops to junior is more genetic than cloning on its best day. An absolutely deserved reputation.  Yeah, freedom of speech.  They got theirs, and I got me mines.

    And that is the way it is, Wednesday, May 16, two thousand twelve.  Good night from sea level.  With more good stuff to follow as the Phils fight on.   And whether you like it or not, you can’t ask more than that.              

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      Not sure if that is me you are talking about, I never said trade Cole now.   I said if
      a) the front office is certain they can not resign him this season.  This is knowable. If front office is stuck at 5yrs & 125 million, and Cole wants to be a F.A. to see if someone will go 7, then you can not resign him. Period.  If true your only chance to have him on your team means you submit the winning bid in F.A. over the winter.  Having him play for you in September does not matter in regards to the future contract.
      b) by the trade deadline you have many teams in front of you for the last wild card.  Can you reasonable expect to pass 3 or more teams? At 19-19 there are 3 teams ahead of Philly for the 2nd wildcard.  If yes keep Cole, if this is an open question the decision tree continues
      c) At this point management decides it can’t resign Cole and believes post season success is a long shot. Now we ask the question would trading Cole be better than a few additional regular season wins?  I say yes,..
      But only if you get to this point. At 19-19 Phils are 2 games back from leading the race for the final wild card, so the logic tree stops at point B

  181. joof says:

    Im much more knowledgeable about sports from the late 80s to 90s. I hear what both you guys had to say. It makes sense, I couldnt tell you the difference between building a team in baseball compared to basketball, but Im thinking major tenets (and common sense) apply in various stages of life, including this convo.

    For the 76ers comment, youre right, 1 -2 free agents can change a team from non playoff to division winner. Ths issue was, the 6ers choose Brand and Iguadola as those free agents….end of stpry. They were paid like potential mvp candidates….and it seems like the team didnt offer a reasonable offer and let them try to find a higher bid  Now, they have no choice but to sit back and hold years past, before the new labor deal, they could have dealt brand and actually got back value bc at least hes starting and making 16 million in his last year. They made a reach for a free agent (actually 2), which was my point.
    For the phillies, I just dont understand the signings for the last year or 2. Thome was a good signing (the first time). He helped them make the playoffs and then moved on in a trade. Utleys contract was good at the time. They messed up 2 pitchers…I forget there names…but the ones that barely pitched here (Lieber and Garcia?). That was bad luck…..then halladay was good…the lee trade was good (the 1st time)..worth let go was ok (not resigning him for huge dollars). Now, they resigned lee for hugerdollars……I wish the wouldve let him test the waters and if they signed him for even 5% less bc thats what the market was, so be it….it seems like they rushed…..and the same for Howard. he didnt even need to be resigned…..he couldve had the one year contract….and eventually let him test the water…I know its hindsight, but what would howard sign for now???….I didnt really get the rollins deal either….hes average at best….his fielding still carries him, along with his personality but still…the blanton deal looks good now but a few yrs back that was puzzling too.
    It seems like they thought they had a healthier Utley and D brown ready to be a quality 6 or 2 hole hitter…along with howard as properly valued cleanup. Those 3 areas fell off, and its messing their whole offense up. I really liked the 4 aces concept (now 3)….but it seems to have hinged on the offense being somewhere in the  range from slightly below average to slightly above average.
    I never meant to impy that teams shouldnt keep their own stars. I hope they keep hamels…and ruiz…and I loved the utley deal etc. I dont think its wise, when you are signing high priced free agents, to be so quick to overpay. Maybe I just notice negotiations more than others may do so. It drives me crazy to see it happen so often. I look at even the flyers….why did they pay so mich for an aging chris pronger. The flyers always seem to overpay for former league mvps who may only have 1 or 2 years left, and they give long deals
    I dont watch sports like others do naymore…so some of my details are fuzzy or even slightly misplaced…..but my point is that common sense and patience are more important than paying luxury dollars when deals could be left on the table for slightly less than luxury

    Ken Bland says:
    May 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Think you’re trying to break it down a little wrong, Joof.  Can’t speak to the 6ers deal much at all, but there’s not a lotta difference between signing a free agent and paying big bucks to keep your own.  In the NBA, you can sign 1-2 free agents and go from 25 wins to 55.  In MLB, you absolutely have to build from within, and the Phils will transition to that, as they have, but you gotta sign or keep some percentage of stars.  Don’t be killing the genius level thinking of that logic by pointing to the Tampa Bay Rays.  That’s a rare breed.  Gotta be careful on where you spend the big bucks for sure, but it’s almost some degree of mandatory. 

    Phillyfan says:
    May 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    Joof, building from the ground up sound easy bit is very hard. Even a team like the nats with two slam dunk overall #1 picks and other top 10 picks like jz and rz now have to wonder about the injury bug. Was the rz signing appropriate for a 3rd baseman with a bulky shoulder? Many think strasburg will break down again. So many things have to break right to implement a 5-7 year plan and make it all work.
    Please don’t get enamored with the fools gold that is the sixers. They are a perennial 5-8 seed as constructed and would have got bounced in5 by a healthy bulls. They need to scrap and start again to be a true contender.
    The only signing that made no sense to me was the lee signing cause our needs were so clearly elsewhere. I just think raj allowed himself to get enameled with the idea of lee “picking” the Phils over the yanks. But 20 mill for another pitcher was no bargain for this team.
    I still think the Phils can win the title this year. They also can sign hamels if they are willing to bite the bullet for one year with Halliday. Let him walk after next year and then use the money saved on his option the get some offense.

  182. Dino says:

    Hey, let’s cut this venom or whatever know it all nonsense that you’re trying to peddle on this board.
    Theo’s legacy is all centered around waking up the sleeping giant in 04 and 07, but not about his FA signings. I offer the following exhibits as evidence ; please note the year of the signing also.  
    1) Dice K 100+ million 6yrs 2006;
    2) E. Renteria  4 yrs/40 mil in 2004; 
    3) Julio Lugo  2006 4 yrs/36 mil;
    4) Mike Cameron 2009 16 mil/2 yrs;
    5) John Lackey 2009 5 yrs 83 mil;
    6)Bobby Jenks 2011 12 mil/2 yrs; 
    7) JD Drew  2007, 70 mi/5 yrs;
    8) Matt Clement 2004  3 yrs/ 25 mil;
    9) Coco Crisp 2005, 15 mil/3yrs

    • Ken Bland says:

      you just don’t get it.  What a surprise. What the hell does that have to do with a simple comment about wondering how they’ll handle Garza.  Notice the way he’s been S-L-O-W to free agency so far with the Cubs (early as it is).  Notice how they could have extended him already?  Apples and oranges.  And emblematic of a half empty mentality. 

  183. Ken Bland says:


    You left out Adam Eaton, and didn’t mention the Papelbon deal.  That’s got a lot of questions written all over it, but so far, pretty good.  Very early that it is.

    Qucik point on Cliff.  They did let him test free agency.  The rush appearance comes from last minute entry into it, initiated by Cliff.  What they paid him was very in line with what the 2 principal bidders, Yanks and Rangers were offering.  They may have even offered more.   

    Point I was attempting to make was there ISN”T much difference between signing your own, and a free agent from outside.  Depends how you break it down, and how much you want to emphasize familiarity, but what’s the difference between when the Cardinals first extended Pujols about 8 years ago and if they let him walk, and had brought in another .300/30/100 guy?  What you don’t have in the system that you need sooner than you figure to develop is what you plug in with free agents.  Galvis, with the pressure of replacing Rollins maybe isn’t as effective as he’s been, and lack of cost effective solutions in the market probably had a lot to do with Jimmy resigning.  Reyes would have cost a bundle, Furcal has had a great year, but it’s a small group that might have anticipated it.

    On Howard, they did that for cost certainty.  And for years that included some powerful achievements faded some by memory.  Not many ever thought that was close to a good deal, but even if that’s true, one club’s individual judgement on value of a player as expressed by their offer doesn’t mean the whole system should be avoided.  But you gotta be careful.  Paying for the past on more than 1 contract can really hurt you.  In that regard, your point about signing guys with better days behind them, like the Pronger example (I assume that’s good definition of his skill set…don’t know anything about him).  That’s why they need to be careful about Chooch.  He’s 33, tough position, and might be anxious to make up for years of being paid less than his teammates, and not exactly out of line for his position, which changed when the Cardinals upped the market with the Yadier Molina extension.  Trooper that he is, he still isn’t an open the vault guy, especially at 33.  

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      In general the Phillies and I would guess most teams do a far better job on the open market than resigning their own.  It’s very easy to overpay for past performance when it is personal.

  184. Mike Donnelly says:

    As a stats guy I will defend myself.  Jimmy’s fielding percentage among all SS is #16 of 30. Average.  His range factor #29 of 30
    His Uzr rating middle of the pack,d
    Range below average.
    Now if you are stuck in 2008, well yes then Jimmy was #1 SS of all MLB in terms of Defense, stats just help you realize what is happening right now.  And at this point in his career and the projection of the next 3 years, Jimmy is at best average in the field.  And as he gets older he will continue to get worse.

    • Ken Bland says:

      I think I read in the paper yesterday that the US Census Bureau announced that for the first time in American history, minority births outnumbered majority.  I guess majority encompasses the whole spectrum of white folk, be they tall, short, Protestant or Braves fans.  This is a noticable American trend.  The conversations you could drop an ear on back in the day are a fading memory.  Leastwise the ones where you understand the vernacular. Hospitals won’t even allow yo mamas to give birth unless they sign a document swearing to teach Junior and Juniorette to be bilingual.  Funny how some assumed adults check in as bilingual, and who knows what foreign language they studied in ecole (bilingual confession).  The Shortstop makes a nice play, draws a compliment from a recent frequent critic, and the Magna Cum Laude of Stats seizes the opportunity to show off his negativity by reverting the discourse to what a lesser defensive performer he has become.  Gets rightfully chastised for the negativity, and decides to defend hisself with a dissertation on why Jimmy Fucking Shortstop is indeed a lesser shortstop.  Pardon my discussing multiple topics on a Philadelphia “5 in a row” Phillies message board, but that’s like the Flyers voluntarily pulling their goalie in the middle of the second period in a scoreless tie.  I think the word in English is ridiculous.

      As Donna, not to mention Babs would say….”Enough is Enough.”   

  185. joof says:

    This should be a very interesting next year or so for the phils, 76ers and eagles.
    I really hope the phils keep hamels. I also hope the 76ers let brands contract walk and just keep plugging in lottery picks, and the eagles cut ties with reid. The eagles may have a good year, compared to last. At least we know they are a bad year away from no more reid. Most would say hes a good coach…I just wonder if he’d be better moving on.
    Sorry for mentioning non phillies topics on the board….theres no where else to put it, and it matches up with some of the conversation.
    After all of this tlak, I still cant figure out whether a team is better signing there own players, or new ones. Ill stick to the idea of building from within, until a team is one move away. But once a team goes all in once, it seems to snowball. I mean, once you sign one or 2 free agents, youve essentially went all in and just one bad signing can mess it all up.

    • Ken Bland says:

      Sorry for mentioning non phillies topics on the board>>

      That’s a shame, when i read that, I was figuring you were using that as your lead sentence to go into a Donna Summer comment.

      Oh well.   

  186. Ken Bland says:

    It’s seemed apparent recently that the Phils are doing a better job of looking at pitches.  A look at the numbers lends creedence to that.  For the season, the club is dead last in The League with 6.1% bases on balls in their plate appearances.  A check of the split for the last 14 days shows them running a 6.9% rate, and in that time, drawing more walks percentage wise than the Giants, Houston and Pittsburgh.  That’s progress.  Hunter, in particular seems to be making at least a more concious effort to concentrate on that, at least the way body language comes across. 

    Patience isn’t a turned off, turned on thing.  It’s more habit.  But against a Matt Garza, it seems like an outstanding approach.  But when you face a Chris Volstad, it seems on the surface a different story.  You can probably be more aggressive and pound the guy.  Lord knows the Phils have done that in prior matchups, accented heavily by RyHo’s out and out owndership of him.  Last time he faced the Phils, at the Bank, they had one of their worst efforts against him as he shut them down after a 4 run first.  Beating the ball into the ground was the theme of the night…17 ground balls, against 5 fly balls.  Within selectivity, they can probably be pretty aggressive.  Just don’t pound the damned ball into the ground.  Actually, if Jimmy did that….well…never mind.

    I don’t expect a stopper, best pitcher in the game result from Doc tonight.  He’s pitched well for the most part, very well in spots, but it’s a leap to expect a jump to that game we’ve been waiting for to repeat since Opening Day against the Pirates.  When it does happen, it’ll glare like his previous efforts where he gets stronger as the game goes.  It’d be inspiring to see him pitch pretty well, but it’s fun thinking about his next dominating performance, be it tonight, or when it happens.  Maybe Doc is more relaxed by the club’s righting himself, and that will halp. 


    • Ken Bland says:

      the club is dead last in The League with 6.1% bases on balls in their plate appearances. A check of the split for the last 14 days shows them running a 6.9% rate, and in that time, drawing more walks percentage wise than the Giants, Houston and Pittsburgh.  >>

      The Phils 5 walks so far tonight in progress in the top of the 7th are at 12.5% of the total plate appearances.  Double the YTD number is telling.  

  187. Ken Bland says:

    Luna with em jammed again.  Holy Cow.  he couldn’t.  Ooh-la-la

  188. Mike Donnelly says:

    Luna has only played 8 games (2 starting) at 1b. Crazy but I like Charlie mixing it up.

  189. Ken Bland says:

    Quite surprising to go through Doic the last 3 years and find that as the games progressed, batting average wise, at least, hitters score better as the games go on.  In 2011, he did better the second time they faced him in games, but was back up the third time.  The way he’s gotten stronger as games go on, that was very surprising.
    That includes this year, so it’s really 2011 and ’10 that were surprising.

  190. Ken Bland says:

    In going through Chooch’s numbers for the year with his 3 hot game tonight, it’s pure mind boggling.  His last 2 years, he’s been around 150 total bases each year.  He’s on pace to do around 260.  What that means is even slowing his pace, he’ll blow prior numbers away.  Talk about a guy who is exactly what you want on the build from within, no matter how extensively you do it.

    Error free baseball YTD, too.  Usually commits 5 or so a year. 

  191. Ken Bland says:

    82 pitches, 58 strikes, 0 walks

    How do you spell V-I-N-T-A-G-E?

    Next start is against the Nats. 

    2nd homer of the Cubs night by Castillo as I write.       

  192. Ken Bland says:

    Well, Antonbio should be fresh for tomorrow, but it’s a sahame Jake has taken himself out of tomorrow night v the Nation with wildness tonight.  But it’s a good thing.  He’s gotta have some failings to learn from, and remember where he came from.  The good control he showed with the Pigs was a drastic improvement over last year.  The young man can flat out pitch.  Maybe the command’s a little further than we’d like, but learning from failing is excellent education.

    • Ken Bland says:

      Doc’s reaction to Jake last night…

      “He’s got unbelievable stuff, and he’s going to be fine,” Roy Halladay said. “It’s just a matter of getting ahead and putting guys away. He’s going to do it a lot. He had a good one and had a little rough one; you got both ends of it out of the way. He’s going to be fine. He’s not a guy that I don’t think anybody’s going to worry about. He’s got the stuff. He’s going to do real well.”

  193. joof says:

    Im surprised the phils have started scoring runs….maybe Ruiz is kickstarting a lot of it.
    Sorry KB, I didnt know enough about Donna Summers to grieve over her ha

  194. Ken Bland says:

    Red Sox 

    Nicely executed pitch around Cody after a leadoff double by Cole.     


  195. Ken Bland says:

    That’s unreal 2 walks sandwiched by a JP FC, and Bard still throws 4 ballas in a row to Hunter as the next hitter.  18 pitches, 6 strikes.  Volstad 2.

  196. Ken Bland says:

    Truthfully?  Game, set , match as Chooch short stroke singles his way toward .370.

  197. Ken Bland says:

    This is the difference between beating soft clubs early, which they did sometimes, but still weren’t playing too well.  Now, they beat soft comp 5 in a row, but most importantly, are playing well.  Patience by the offense, and 3 across.  Yeah, it’s Bard, but I don’t know that it’s gonna make a world of difference.  Club looks like they can compete against the best, too.

  198. Ken Bland says:

    Bard = 29 pitches so far, 12 strikes, and I swear, every one of them has been hit.  And solidly.

  199. Ken Bland says:

    It actually is intruiging on the idea of signing Roy O and moving Blanton to the pen.  Or Worley.  Gives you a better pen guy than you could probably acquire at the deadline in all probablity.  I’d guess Roy showed well in the workout.  How well?  Hmmm.  Tough call.  BoSox would need to really come up with bucks (not that Phils wouldn’t), but a multi year deal might sway him to Boston, if he really thinks they can get him a ring.

  200. Ken Bland says:

    Last night’s 5 (or at least they had at least 5 at one point walks raised the club’s YTD BB% from 6.1% to 6.3%.  Pretty good for 1 night.  Better still, the club moved over .300 in BAPIP to .303.  Prolly wrong, but I think i remember it being .296 going in, but .007 seems a lot to gain in 1 night.

    Ah, you cain’t beat fun at the old ballpark. 

  201. Ken Bland says:

    What a freaking inning by the BoSox.  Plenty of foul balls forcing Cole up around the 30 pitch mark.  Had a shot at leaving 1st and 3rd w/ 0 out, but Sox kept working.

    Guess who might do well to score another run or two?

    73 pitches for Cole headed to B4.    

  202. Ken Bland says:

    C’mon Jimmy.  Surprise me. 

  203. Ken Bland says:

    Actually, Jimmy had a hitter’s count, and got the 3-1 fastball, but it was low and in.  Fewer fastballs that he sees, would have been a nice chance for a rip.  At least he got on.

  204. Ken Bland says:

    Rays had em loaded, and tied the ATL, but couldn’t take the lead.  Not necessarily by meaningful scores, but everyone else in the divvy is losing.  Nice.

  205. Ken Bland says:

    5 in the books, and the Phils have 3 hits.


    As Joe Castglione would say, “can you believe it?” 

  206. Ken Bland says:

    Since the bakll played Pop Go the Weasel with Juan pierre’s glove the other night in Chitown, the dude has used 2 hands to catch everything.

    Now…if Juan would focus accordingly on his other shortcomings, he’d be one helluva player.  Not too bad already, but his flaws glare at ya. 

  207. Ken Bland says:

    Papi’s actually hitting lefties maybe even a little better than righties this year, in the midst of a terrific season.  BAPIP was about .490 a couple weeks ago.  Tough matchup for anyone from the pen.

  208. Ken Bland says:

    Have to laugh here.  Phils up by 1, going B8.  Think Paps is rooting for a big inning to ice it?  LOL.  Not likely.  Should be a fun 9th. 

  209. Ken Bland says:

    one more time.  Jimmy Shortstop.   Now that was some real good defense that time.

  210. Ken Bland says:

    Really starting to get fired up about the club.  Words like separation actually crossed my mind the last couple days, with a far less emotional focus on 1 day at a time, and just look at the Kool Aid, don’t drink it.

    The club must be having a lot of fun now.  I wish Cole Hamels the best of luck if he signs elsewhere and calls Chooch to say good bye, thanks, and all that.  Yeah, it’s a business but Chooch would absolutely unequivocally kill Cole.

    The old WFIL power play remains in progress.  The 6th of at least 6 in a row, to paraphrase King George, or maybe I should pay tribute to Diamond Jim, who in particular, was a HUGE Phillies fan. 

    Rock on. 

    Good night from well above sea level.      

  211. Ken Bland says:

    Check this out.

    If the Phils win tomorrow, and both the Mets and Marlins lose, it’s true that the Phils would pass both in the standings, and escape last place.

    But what’s really funny is not only would they pass both in the standings, but the Phils would be in the lead for the 2nd wildcard.

    Kind of amazing in a way.      

  212. Ken Bland says:

    Regarding Cliff’s 10 inning shutout baseball about 3 weeks ago…here’s a comparison of that effort versus some vintage Doc from a 10 inning game he threw back in ’03.

    Doc     99 pitches 
                3 hits
                5 K’s
                8 swinging strikes
               21 ground balls
                2 line drives
               70 strikes

    Cliff    102 pitches
                7 hits
                7 K’s
              19 groundballs
                3 line drives
              81 strikes

    Doc won.  The Phils lost Cliff’s effort. 


  213. Ken Bland says:

    Here’s somethig to think about if you wanna branch into hypotheticals, and therefore not coming up with anything.

    People talk about the Phils when Chase and RyHo get back and what they might be.

    Say Chase and RyHo were playing, and let’s say at their 2011 standard, which is pretty good, but off peak.

    Maybe 7-9 games over .500 seems reasonable.

    Say Carlos Ruiz was the one wallowing in pain on the last out of last year, and he was the one that was out all year to date.  It leads to a ridiculous amount of what ifs that don’t matter and we’ll never know, but I’d expect McCarver to go absolutely nuts over him on tonight’s broadcast.             

  214. Ken Bland says:

    It’s a final now.

    The Tribe beat the Marlins, meaning a Phillie win tonight leaps them into 3rd place, and as the Braves trail the Rays, 5-2 in the 7th, it’s not silly to add that the Phils could be 3 out of home with a win if the Brave deficit finalizes.  Plus, Atlanta faces David Price tomorrow. 

    Does it matter?

    Put it this way.  When the Phils were struggling, every loss mattered to those rushing to the seller position.  And as the last night of the season last year showed, a lot of games along the road set up that critical night.  So the more you take care of business, the more the opponent fails, why not enjoy it.

    Even if the Phils lose, or whenever they do, the important thing is to keep playing good baseball, and strive to strengthn the they can do better parts of the club.  They do that, and this thing stays fun.          

  215. Ken Bland says:

    One thing that will be interesting as clubs gear up for the second half is the renewed positioning of the Dodgers as a buyer.  Seemingly restriced financially, and not always a contender recently, they have a large enough division lead that they can at least dabble in the feeling of building for October.

    Wondering about the rotation below Kershaw and Billingslea, John Kruk tonight spoke with conviction of the Dodgers trying to acquire Cole Hamels, if the Phils do decide they wanna deal him.  His idea of a deal for Andre Ethier didn’t seem so good though.

    Not that Ethier’s as likely to be a lifer a la Matt Kemp with the LA club, but he’s a good player in the image of a Hunter Pence, pretty good complementary player, not a club carrier.  If Ethier, a free agent to be played an infield position, and hadn’t reached high pay status about to get expensive and long term, there might be some sense to it.  From the LA view, acquiring Hamels creates a superb 1-2 at the top, but this Dodger club’s offensive capabilities are camoflauged real well by Kemp’s 1 man wrecking crew ability.  Ethier’s bat is important to them.

    The Dodgers do have a couple young outfielders in Jerry Sands or Scott Van Slyke that depending on if the Phils like them, might be part of a more attractive package.  And they have a reputation for good young pitching.  And not justeyond Zach Lee, who the Phils couldn’t pry away even if they offered Utley and Howard, and a fully warrantied time machine.  It’s not trade time yet, and the Phils thinking on dealing Hamels is merely subject to speculation, but nee Brooklyn could take some serious steps up the respect ladder if they did think of talking about any of the Big 3 for unventory of the future.  For Ethier?  Too obvious a thought that just doesn’t seem to make sense for either ballclub. Lilly, Capuanno and Harrang in a fall rotation just doesn’t seem too exciting, and while Stan Kasten is a build within guy, it’d be surprising if the Dodgers don’t take on some extent of big salaries as early as this year.  LA’s a nice story that could become a fascinating one with the right move(s).       


  216. Ken Bland says:

    Some records are meant to be broken, some never will. set a record last week for most ridiculous poll ever.  Choices on the Phils MVP YTD included Hunter pence, Cole Hamels, and Carlos Ruiz.  Well, yeah, pence and Hamels have done some really nice things so far, Hamels fewer bad things than Pence.  But geez, a poll on in which lane paint would dry faster at MAB Stadium would have driven more sirring thought, and I figured I’d never see a more ridiculous poll.

    Hark!  A mere few days later, welcome to anudder election day.  No, it’s not as ridiculous a poll.  But it has all the effort of trying to outstupid stupidity.  Today, the fine pollsetters at wanna know if Cliff Lee is DONE.  Are ya kidding me?  More sensible would have been a poll on if the Phillie faithful miss Mike Martinez with choices ranging from hell no to not much.       

    • jjg says:

      On your proposed Martinez poll, I wish to suggest three additions to your range of response options.  They are as follows:   (1)  Yes, surprisingly I miss his utility ability of futility some – I guess because he didn’t talk – but not nearly to the extent that I miss his “Uncle” Carmelo, who could be counted on to disappoint in a large way.  (2)  No, I miss Mike like a bad cold because he was a nominal link to Pedro, reknown international independent contractor who helped build the Yankees 27th Championship in ’09, with cooperation from hammerers Matsui and Teixeira.  (3)  Absolutely, miss him like you wouldn’t believe; just didn’t get the same opportunity of the Phillies’ last third baseman named Mike. 

      • Ken Bland says:

        I used to be under the impression that you had to play 6 years, or at least a long time if not that to qualify for some degree of pension.  It’s a nice amount, too, including med bennies maybe even for life after only spending 43 days on an MLB roster.  Nice union, if you can join it.  Not that I wanted Mini Mart at his present skill level to make it as a Phillie, but it’;s pretty cool when the less talented players scrape the pension out of the game.  But on the 43 day requirement, not much point rooting for the guy.

        Wouldn’;t be shocked if my info is lacking in truth.  Kinda scimmed through looking for something specific that I can’;t evebn remember what it was.  Might be, but wouldn’t swear to it.

  217. Ken Bland says:

    Shhh…don’t tell anybody but….

    With the distant presence of a team meeting in the middle of games against the Cubs, Stros, and Padres, and the intrusion of good pitching killing the Phillies brief trek against sea level, things have returned to whoa is me among Phillie observors.

    But alas, there’s plenty more to find either shocking, depressing, or both with a view around The Game….

     - The Red Sox have caught sea level, and at the same time, the New York Yankees.  It’s not quite at the level as old time Iggle fans, who wore attitudes of who cares if they make the playoffs, just beat Dallas twice, but both clubs are 21-21.  And the Red Sox are without Carl Crawford, the Yanks without Mo Rivera.  So does it even matter?

     - The Brew Crew has played 42 games.  Ryan Braun came oh, so close to missing the foist 50.  Braun, statistically, is ably defending his MVP of a season ago.  Same style, too.  He’s within multiple country miles of Matt Kemp.  But what if Braun had gone down for 50?  Da Crew is out inepting the Phils at more than fo corners.  Can you imagine what they’d be without Braun for the 50 games?  Maybe 17-25?  Guess what their record is.  Randy Wolf has had a year like no lefthander since Warren Spahn pitched for the Mets.  He’s outWHIPping David Herndon.  The Brewers hit righty pitching about as well as the Phillies hit any pitching. A Prince of a stat, I tell ya.

    -  The papers and blog commentators would have you believe the Phillies suck.  Reality is they have a record equal to the Detroit Tigers.  Motown has Fielder and Cabrera, and Verlander to pitch.  So what’s the big deal?

     - Once again, for like the 35th year in the last 40, the Oakland A’s are in relative ass kicking mode.  There was a lengthy, long, stretched out line of prognosticators that thought Oakland would lose 150 games, and finish 8th in the AL West.  How do you spell .500, YTD.  And in this topsy turvy sport of surprise, who is to say that returning soon Man Ram might not surprise and have a few well timed extra base hits left in his stick providing the A’s with more treading water capability? 

    I swear, 2/3 of the teams in The Game must be having seasons way off the radar of expectation.  The Braves got absolutely hammered for no off season deals, and had a spring without hope.  26-12.  The Mets have won more games already than Septemberc was to total.  Arizona won their division last year, and can’t win an inning this year.  Orioles, Astros, did anyone think Cleveland would see first place. The Dodgers add wins faster than their city adds foreigners to it’s population base. 

    Just don’t be tellin’; nobody about all this.  It’ll make ‘em think the Phillies are supposed to do what they’re supposed to do.  And at this point, the only fair question out of that is what exactly is that?                

  218. Ken Bland says:

    Hale…Slow starter? Since 2004, Rollins has finished just 1 season with OPS < .710. But after 42 games, he’s been below .710 six times.

    • Ken Bland says:

      I assume these numbers I lifted from a post at Fangraphs are accurate.  Who knows if any of this stuff matters for the future, although Hale’s numbers are long term consistent, but…

      Jimmy pre ASG ’09 (349 ABs)

      BA .229
      OBP  .287
      SLG  .355

      Who knows, maybe the brief break will help.  Desperation theories offer hope, at least.

  219. Ken Bland says:

    <<Former Montreal Expos star Vlad Guerrero, following his signing with the Toronto Blue Jays says he would like to hit 51 more home runs and reach 500 for his career.>>

    say what

  220. Phillyfan says:

    “The kid” is going to be something else.

  221. Ken Bland says:

    “I think it gets back to going out and trying to play a little bit more loose and focus on your job. I think we’ve got, including myself, a lot of guys who are going out and trying to carry the weight of the team, and you can’t play that way.”

    That was Doc’s response to last night’s loss in which he was essentially very average.  And unfortunately, once again. 

    Pretty simple take, and a simple enough prescription on the surface.

    The problem is it’s complexity underneath, not to mention the team is recently removed from a 5 game win streak that could easily have built a foundation to get away from the no fun, wear the weight of the world on thy shoulders approach.  Sure, it was against weaker competition, but maybe the U-turn down speaks more to the talent on the club than the pressing aspect.  The first 40 games of the year were frustrating, and the same old same old has returned.  What’s trying too hard got to do with Polly ineptly running the bases?  What’s trying too hard got to do with the Phils succeeding on rare occasion with RISP, but usually falling into the trap of doom that is 2012.

    Back in the day, the Phillies keyed this However Golden It Still Is era of baseball by staging a 7 game, 17 day comeback against the Mets.  At that time, Jimmy Rollins was both child, and wife free.  Free agency was still a long term goal to Cole Hamels.  Ryan Howard hadn’t taken on an Eagle cheerleader as a sidekick.  Youth and the need to succeed was the root of the “Team to beat” playout.             

    On top of that. when Doc Halladay came to the Phils, it was a lovefest exraordinaire.  The best pitcher in baseball went out of his way to come to Philly, a dominant, devestating team (2 straight World Series) and even without the departed Cliff Lee, instrumental part of the 2nd World Series club, optimism ran massive.  Following a totally devestating 2010 loss in the playoffs, the Doc, as hard a worker as reputation allows, talked the next spring of rekindling for 2011, and the overwhelming frustration of the loss to the Giants, a series away from a seldom 3rd straight WS, and what would have been the Doc’s first in an otherwise storied career.  How it was more difficult to refireup when the 5 AM alarm went off, and how it would be tougher even still the next time.  Unfortunately, 2011 forced his hand to play out that exact script.  A 1-0 loss to his bud, Chris Carpenter, who went on to grab his 2nd Series ring compounded the failure.

    Having fun, and choking off the weight of the world on your shoulders is no small task.  It may be the prescription in theory, but reality makes it more complex, and difficult.  And it doesn’t even get to the degree of talent that constitutes this roster that may or may not supplement it.  Time isn’t up to see truth and remedy in the Doc’s prescription.  But the chances of a veteran looking for something that just isn’t there anymore, something very common in a young man’s game looks painfully possible.  Not for the individual, mind you. Ain’t no thing, though.  The Phils have a history of rostering young and hungry success stories once every 30 years, dating back to 1950.  And 2040 isn’t that far away.  Doesn’t have to work that way, but that’s the fact of history.


    • Ken Bland says:

      Case in point…

      Dateline, Da Bank

      First inning.  Pierre loses track of what planet he’s on, and is easily doubled off first.  That’s not trying too hard.  That’s Juan Pierre, and with some terrific skills to boot, the dude has INEPTITUDES.  First graders have lost a month’s allowance for base running errors.  Actually, I shouldn’t have said that because that’s child abuse. 

      Strictly coincidene, and I don’t think he would have been a drastically better choice than Pierre, but Podsednik was 2-3 with a dinger for the Red Sox today.  After hitting .200 for the Pigs.       

  222. jjg says:

    Assuming health for the young Rollins family, Jimmy’s 3-game paternity leave is astounding.

    America’s progression:  From The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit to the dude with the toothpick and grin.       


    • Ken Bland says:

      That’s a different paternity leave than Ryan Madson was on last year, of course.  Course we could do a blood test, I guess, but paternity leaves and fatherhood are different animals.

      • jjg says:

        Don’t recall.  If Ryan took 3 games off, shame on him.  And may he be eternally sentenced to Cincinnati.  Or his next stop.  

        I don’t care who’s involved.  Extended paternity leaves for male multi-millionaire horsehide chuckers carry a big whiff of exploitation and selfishness; see Jimmy Rollins. 

        • Ken Bland says:

          I can’t be too critical of MLB for the policy until I know the WNBA’s policy for paternity leave.  They don’t make as much money in that Association, so they can’t afford as adept a housekeeping team.  Might be a factor.

          • jjg says:

            Diana Taurasi kicks ass in every room in the house.  Conjecture:  Neither Ryan nor Jimmy would stand a chance in competition with her; she’d scoff at their leave of absences, would say they both “meow.”

  223. Ken Bland says:

    Okay, I’ll bite on the sidebar tonight.  Hamels V Harper.  They aren’t just any at bats, no matter who says what.  Harper’s already made a good impression by answering with winding up stealing home, and in his expected long and storied career, will probably never try harder to have good at bats than tonight against the tough lefty.  If Cole strikes him out a couple times, and induces meaningless contact, it may speak more than beaning him. Either way it turns out, it’ll be fun to watch.  I like Cole’s ability, and expect him to be focussed, but even at this age, I suspect Harper has a pretty decent chance to speak effectively with his bat at least once.  Should be fun.

  224. Ken Bland says:

    Looks like the Roy Oswalt Saga is about to end in short order.  There’s danger in reading between the lines, but a Ron Washington interview on the subject of Neftali Feliz’s disabled list status heard today takes on similar message between the lines to what Jon Daniels voiced.  Normally, you  would expect discussion of a player on the DL to be drenched in “he’s a starter, same as he was when he got hurt.”

    Wash instead, spoke in terms of the club attempting to evaluate whether Feliz’s elbow inflammation was the result of conversion to starter.  Sounds like being extremely receptive to signing Oswalt, who the Rangers should be ridiculously appealing to.  Yu Darvish is very good, but it’s still pretty questionable if he’s ace material.  The Rangers lack of a real ace might make them beatable in the playoffs, and mid year aces are tough to come by.  Hell, all aces are.  Roy O would figure to provide another pretty good pitcher, which wouldn’t hurt.  I don’t know if Roy has enough left to make it happen like the Rangers would hope he can rekindle, but Joe Nathan closing can be pretty shaky stuff.  

    • jjg says:

      Roy hasn’t been his old self since the tornado.  Probably has a few 6 to 8 inning gems left but they’re liable to be occluded by games of picnic pitchin’.  No numbers whatsoever by which to stake these rather loose claims ‘cept “more baserunners, more runs.”  Loved the guy with the aspirin in his better days.  Was 2nd half of ’10 his final sprint?  Appeared half-hearted last year.  Wish him well in Texas or elsewhere.

  225. Ken Bland says:

    Well, I see we enter another series sans the preview that used to get attached to this board at the commencement of every series.  No big deal.  Save for the usual Cole Hamels dandy, and Carlos Ruiz initiating steps of what might be, could be, may be what part of the non cleanup batting order Ryan Howard should reside in if and when he comes back, there aren’t a lot of great numbers to be mentioned.

    Course there always was the tradition of 3 questions for this series, but hey…who be needin that when a suitable replacement can come up with 3 pensive questions to prompt the usual absolutely terrific discussions that spew forth from The Recliner GM website.

    Par exemple…

    1/ Can the Phillies win the series opener?

    2/ Can the Phillies win the Friday night contest?

    3/ Can the Phillies win both games of the Memorial Day Saturday Sunday combo.

    My guess is that the post containing these questions winds up followed up by over 350 comments.  So chances are, they qre quite fine questions if I do say so myself.                

  226. Ken Bland says:

    Juan’s game tying double looks like his 4th extra base hit in 143 plate appearances.  Well timed rarity.

  227. Ken Bland says:

    Whew. Charlie probably gets talked into letting Cliff face another hitter, and Holiday bangs one that’s out at the Bank.  Not in the Loo, though.  Hard to believe he could talk his way into another inning, but the guy loves to play.  Bats 5th this inning.

  228. Ken Bland says:

    Boy, there’s a break of the year.  Valdes gets up to almost 30 pitches, and still has enough left to K Holliday, who only had 2 strikes because Joe West is blind.

    Phils would do incredibly well to score here.  This bullpen is so shot after last night.  T10, and away we go. 

  229. Ken Bland says:

    If you take a look at the wins the last 2 nights, earlier in the season, the Phillies lost similar games.  Only one with a massive lead, equalled in the ATL game, but the bullpen got the job done on short staffing, no less.  Sign of the changing times, hopefully.

    I don’t know that it will eve happen, but it’d be a trip to see Hunter Pence break out in the next few years, and have the kind of season a guy of his skill could have.  He works so damned hard, and it’s not like it’s his 1st game winner, but he’s been struggling again, and the win, ahead of KK-Garcia and then Adam Wainright, much improved in his last start is huge stuff.  Especially since the Nats line up Strasburg and Gio the next 2 against the slumping Braves.

    Great win.  Keep it going.       

  230. Ken Bland says:

    It’s now 2 catchers who have secured 5 year extensions in the last cuple months.  Miguel Montero joined the Cards Yaddie Molina by signing for 5 years this week.  Timing is so much.  Both showed superlative defensive skills as younger players with their futures in front of them.

    Carlos Ruiz, on the other hand hardly created zealous belief he’d even be around the Bank for 5 years when he finally started playing regularly.  That was around age 27, a year younger than Montero is now, compared to Molina’s current just past 30.  Chooch is signed through next year (club option for 5 mil for next year.  Think they’ll exercise it?).  And would hit free agency at age 35.  What an age to hit free agency at one of the game’s most demanding positions. 

    Ryan Howard started his career at an older age than most.  So when the Phils got tired of getting killed in arbitration by him, they opened as many vaults as they could at once before they needed to do so.. 

    I don’t know what the Phils should do about Chooch.  He was way underpaid relative to his teammates, and was modestly underpaid relative to his position before catcher salaries skied aside from Joe Mauer’s Twins deal.

    The Phils are pie high on salaries as is, let alone Hamels, even guys coming off the books will need to be replaced (unless you wanna watch the Reading Phils compete in the NL East) , and Chooch at 5 mil next year, albeit about double this year’s pay still doesn’t seem right.

    The Phils jumped into cost certainty by paying Kyle Kendrick for an extra year with this year’s 2 years at about 3.7 mil per.  The most tangible thing KK gives is depth, not talent.  Maybe the thing to do is go to Carlos, and extend beyond next year now with a new 3 year deal, taking him to age 37.  The 5 mil next year becomes 10, and tack on 2 more at 10 each.  At this latter stage of his career, that’s not as high as he could have gotten as a good young preospect, but it’s good.  And it’s not a terribly long committment, though it does present risk of adding another deal that seems a year too long, which would be age 36.  But it’s still reasonable money as a way of acknowledging what Chooch has done so far, and a pittance compared to what Ryan Howard was given that was attached to an explanation of it’s for what he’s already done.  RyHo had done a rtremendous amount, but Chooch’s contributions have been invaluble in their own right.   

    If you think figuring out what to pay Hamels is hard, this one’s much more so because of the player’s age, and possibly a sense of guilt for making up for lost time.   Hopefully, Sebastian Valle learns from the Chooch experience to not blossom so late, and he’s not necessarily Travis d’Arnud anyway.          

    • jjg says:

      Different era, different player, but Bo Diaz’s last strong season was at age 34 w/Reds; surprisingly an AS selection that late.  After that, 2 seasons of part-time work.   And then the satellite dish tragedy.

      Ruiz is as good a competitor as you’d want.  (He, as much as Valdes, should be credited with the 9th inning Ks last night on Greene and Holliday - impressive leadership.)  That next contract IS a problem though as he’s 33 and 5 mos and returns will begin to diminish naturally, though in this very hot start of his, it’s a little difficult to conceive of a washed-up Carlos.

      An area in which Ruiz is not gleaming is in throwing out baserunners.  (Of course, battery mates effect numbers.)  Career, baserunners caught stealing: Carlos Ruiz 27%,  Bo Diaz 34%, Yadier Molina 44%, Jose Molina 39%, Bengie Molina 31%, Clay Dalrymple 49% [!], Tim McCarver 34% [a surprise], Jim Essian 41% [another surprise], Ozzie Virgil 26%, Darren Daulton 29%.  One factor in a contract consideration of a catcher.    

  231. Ken Bland says:

    That next contract IS a problem though as he’s 33 and 5 mos>>

    That’s why I was thinking of maybe they extend him and include the option year at 5 mil in the upped ante.  Paying him 5 mil next year is a joke (well, okay, it’s early).  Going up to 10 mil and extending him out to his age 38 year is pretty risky stuff.  Course Carlos could walk after next year and take his chances on a 2 year deal at 12-13, but I suspect he’d be fortunate to get it off the top of my head.  

    Other names and their results from some additional snooping around on thievery include these highlights…

    Campy, also a real good hitter, had 5 years where he threw out 61%-68%.  

    As a Phil, Mike Ryan, in ’68 threw out 57%. 

    Boonie, the same % with the Halos under Mauch in ’82. 

    In ’83, 41 runners stole second against Luis Pujols.  He threw 2 out (4%). 

    The Mets went to the WS in 2K, largely in part because of Mike Piazza.  But not for throwing runners out.  He threw 12% of attempted thievery out.   

    Dalrymple’s record is the 3rd best in history up to 2000, which is what this article I am reading includes for a time span.  What I take from this piece is that the position hasn’t so much declined as focusses are just placed elsewhere on catchers and the stolen base game.  No reason a guy like Campy, from 60 years ago should be as dominant as his numbers are without reasons underneath helping explain it.  Taking absolutely zero away from his greatness.

    source: Analysis of Catchers Catching Thieves David Smith Retrosheet     

  232. Ken Bland says:

    It’s taken since Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, until now, May 26.2012, but I have now seen everything there is to see in baseball.

    I don’t believe what I just saw!

    I don’t believe what I just saw!

    Great job, incredible job by Kyle Kendrick, and catcher Brian Schneider.

    And tomorrow will be funner!




  233. Ken Bland says:

    I don’t wanna sound paranoid, but I firmly believe that the divine intervention that rolled out Kyle Kendrick’s 94 pitch, 70 strike complete game shutout purposely was scheduled for a Saturday night.

    This gives the masses that should attend confession tomorrow to admit to bellyaching about KK over the years little time to suffer from confessionary remorse, and make sure their car is parked in The Catholic Church of Their Choice.

    My business card doesn’t say I’m Catholic, but I myself should go to confession tomorrow. Maybe even be early in line.  Early Mass they call it, right?

    I mean what a freaking outstanding effort!

    Go Phils!         

  234. Phillyfan says:

    You can’t extend a 33 year catcher for more than 2 years at 4 mill per.

    Trade Kendrick now. We would never get mor.

  235. Ken Bland says:

    The Week Ahead a Day Early

    A survey of global citens  as recently as Thursday afternoon might have shown a total of 2 persons that thought the Phils could go Broom City under the arch this weekend.  History, including a probable scarcity of such opportunity was on the other side as the Keep On Keepin On Phils now have a chance to do that to the Cards for the 1st time since Ducky Medwick days of 1937, and in the Loo for the 1st time since the Cubs were good, 1913.

    It’s still too early, and will be for a while, to play scoreboard and standings watch with great meaning, but again, for the second time in a couple weeks, the Phils have positioned themselves to escape their longest term hold on last place in quite a while.  Some meaningful intra divison matches this week could shake things up in a division that has supported those speaking to it’s strength, and certainly competitiveness to this point.  The Nats and Fish hook up, the Phils and Fish, and the Nats and Marlins.  The Braves play the Nats also, but the Braves are the only club in the division right now that are really struggling, so there’s less luster there.  The Marlins face Matt Cain today, and the Mets Endison Volquez, so there’s hope that the division rivals succumb to difficult pitchers to beat.  That shouldn’t be taken as a comparison of Cain and Volquez, but like many good pitchers, if he has command, Volquez is tough.  Better stuff than most.

    As always, it’s a 1 game at a time proposition, and while Phillie spirits should be running high today, today’s game is a challenge.  Two years ago, the pitching matchup was 4 star stuff.  But Adam Wainright is at a point where he’s simplified to proving his last start was a step forward, and the start of closer to the old AW.  K’ing 9, and striking out 9 Padres in a shutout, he matches with the Doc.  There’s zero need for the Doc to feel the weight of the world on his shoulders in today’s start, the most pressure is playing the usual Phillie rotation game of playing anything you can do I can do better with the other starters, only this time, taking his turn behind an unusual name. 

    If we did look at it longer term, the Phils go to Citi off 3 straight blown leads to the Mets.  This monkey business of looking up at the Mets in the standings has been interesting, but it’s time for it to stop.  Even Hamels-Niese is a tough matchup, and who knows if Blanton’s slump has a couple more games to it, but it’s time to put an end to the Mets camoflauge, and sweep through them.  That’d be 7 in a row, and taking 2 of 3 over the Marlins should make for a longer term foundation of optimism and positivity that’s been so absent.

    It’s probably more of a matter of time than anything else, but there’s no time like the present to start showing who’s the boss around NL East territory.   

    That’s it on paper.  Now, just execute it.           


  236. Ken Bland says:

    At least that’s a start.  Gotta keep chipping away and get into their pen with enough chances left to tie or get ahead.  Not to mention Doc holding them.

  237. Ken Bland says:

    This is overreaction until Doc presumably has an MRI on his shoulder, but one real weight of today’s shoulder trouble, both effecting him, and the ballclub could be felt from this news relative to his contract, presumed to be accurate, though I don’t know the extent that this is public information, and therefore maybe a little bit iffy.

    2014 option guaranteed with all of the following:
    225 IP in 2013,
    415 IP in 2012-13, and
    Halladay is not on disabled list at end of 2013 season

    That 415 IP in 2012-2013 might be pretty hard to achieve.  It’s not impossible that could turn out a blessing for the club, but for what he’s come across as, and that he could have made a ton more money by going free agent, and not holding out for a deal to the Phils, you would hope things go well for Doc.  Not that he hasn’t made a ton of money already, but still.

    We’ll see how it shakes out, but that’s the first day reaction to an incredible weekend of a Saturday night massive high, to a bitch of a Sunday. 

    No offense to Cot’s if the info is 100 per cent accurate. 

  238. Ken Bland says:

    Not to put too much pressure on Hamels, and assumedly Papelbon for the 9th, but with the 5-4 lead starting the bottom of the 8th, the Phils have now played 5 straight games against the Mess where they have given up leads.  twice, today, no less, via wrong time, wrong place homers off Cole.  Enough is enough.

  239. Ken Bland says:

    Cole pitches to David Wright after a leadoff double sets up a man on 3rd with 2 outs.  Old school pitching, working inside, gets Wright to 3-2, and hamels first change up of the count leads to a nice play (Not to be confused with great) by Polly, and the Phils lead 5-4 heading to0 the 9th.  At bat of the game to this point as Wright drops to 0 for his last 14.


  240. Ken Bland says:

    If Ty Wigginton pays for his dinner tonight, his teammates are el cheapo.

    Great job by Ty, perfect at the plate (2 walks), and a 3 run shot to give the Phils a 4 run lead.  Maybe that brings Qualls in to provide an interesting finish. Cough cough.


  241. Ken Bland says:

    I always make it a point to remember a DN roundtable in the off season in which scribes speculated on then free agent Cole Hamels (is he still a free agent? What an old story) and how much he’d sign for when he did.  Scribes, and public included, the guesses were pretty common.  Guesses had started months before when Justin Verlander inked up for 85/5, and since that time, Jered Weaver (maybe it was before Verlander actually…I forget) had x’d the sig line for similar money.  Left in a shorter line, Hamels guessers started going north, save for one estimator.  Marcus Hayes.  I haven’t read much of Marcus’s work, despite a very long tenure at the DN.  Maybe got turned off by something, or never found anything compelling enough at a glance to read further.  But his guess was 3 years at 20 mil per because he didn’t feel Hamels was as highly held nationally as Del Val observors.  People probably scoff at Marcus even more now, even though no deal’s been signed, and truth be told, anything and everything since is strictly rumor, and chatter, and subject to future factors like injury.  So he may still have injected a truism, or close to it.  But as one who has felt the price gets higher every time Cole throws, I recall penning thoughts like what if he does one of these Ubaldo type starts that happens every 3-4 years, and is 9-0 by May’s end.  8-1 and 2.43 is close enough.  Not that he pitched great today, giving up 2 dingers, and 2 leads.  But I think Cole oughta buy Ty dinner tonight.  While pitcher’s wins might be blown out of proportion, the lefty stays on pace for a career year, and with unheralded run support that’s been missing the last couple years, seeing him post up at about 22 wins by year end will give his agent nice icing with which to work.  Hopefully, Cole has some degree of compromise in mind and stays with the Phils, but he’s playing this thing more perfectly than sunny and 72.  And it all starts with excellent pitching.

  242. Phillyfan says:

    Cole will sign for 6 yrs 135 mill with either dodgers, Texas or yanks.

  243. Ken Bland says:

    I can remember being in The Apple over the Fohth of Jew’lie as they call it in the ghetto many years ago, and long departed WPIX-FM was spinning tunes to the pace of Christmas in July.  Today, MLB ran its version of Christmas on Memorial Day as Heath Bell came in, and earned a SAVE!  2 K’s in the 9th, ruining Washington’s win streak, and helping the Phils to trail the leaders by 4 games now.  Tied with Atlanta for last place, no less.

    If you are too Scroogish to believe in Xmas on Memorial Day, then you are not aware that the Cubs have a lead (8-7over the Pads) for the first time since 1969, and that Bryce Harper now has an 8 game hitting streak including 5 multi-hit games.  So many 19 year olds running around with hitting streaks at the Show level, I guess it’s no big deal.

    Game and a half behind the Mets, and Fish, the latter of whom is next on the schedule.  Just have to keep plugging away and see where it leads.    

  244. KenBland says:

    Jeremy Hefner for the Mess tonight.  Looks beatable enough.  16 hits in 11 innings, but he has only walked one.  Fastball tops out just over 90.  Throws a slow curve, slider, not beating a path to stardom in 5 years as a pro.  Still another shortstop plays for the Mets.  Ike has hit Blanton, but is hitting terribly, but Joe hasn’totten many out in hia last 2 starts.  Wright’s 0 for his last 14.  Top of their lineup looks formidable enough with Wright closer to the end of his slump than the start.  Mike Baxter leads off and is getting more playing time.  Doing well early, but strikes out a good amount for a leadoff guy. 

    I suspect we’re in for something like the last series at the Bank…fair amount of runs, bullpen type game.  Looks like you gotta have nerve to go the under on this one, I’d guess its maybe 8.5ish.

    The pick: What do I look, stupid?  Should be a competitive ballgame.  Have been about 6 of the 7 times between the 2 YTD.

  245. Ken Bland says:

    I really never expected to watch a ball game with 2 pitchers worse than Chris Volstad, but it’s happening. 

  246. Ken Bland says:

    One good thing about the good old days as in most of the last few years.  You knew if the Phils were going to be buyers or sellers.  As recently as 2010, there was question almost up to the end, but for the most part, it was a moot question, and the only question was what magic RAJ would pull off with his quick trigger, and multiple resources.

    This year, the possibility of being a seller has exerted itself ever since Game 2 of the now third of the way season.  Cole Hamels, free agent to be heads the discussion list.  Yays and nays have spewed forth, but there remains time on the clock.  Convictional yayists have screamed loudly, but have you noticed they never have suggested deals?  And would you notice when they would be lined up to criticize RAJ for not getting enough if he does deal the lefty?

    Who knows what the next 4 weeks bring before there’s more clarity on the role assumed as would be buyer or seller.  Even then, there’s still 2 weeks before the trade season warms up, let alone heats up, and roles might change.  Even then, the current landscape of last place but 3, count em 3 out of first place, let alone close in the wild card race muddles things.

    But as an early guess, and it’s a very uneducated one, don’t be surprised if the Chicago White Sox make a strong play for Cole.  I haven’t a clue what their minor league system has, but I know they could use an additional top quality starter, and at 7.5 mil for the remainder of Hamels exsisting deal, that’s probably not over the top outrageous money when Kenny Williams finds his club in contention, and has a chance to make Robin Ventura a star in his first managerial season.  Some clubs will garner trade rumor discussion as no surprise whatsoever.  But I’d say the White Sox are a sleeper in the game that really counts…actual trade talk.        

    • phillyfan says:

      Wow – totally different read.  I think if you could have had a beer with Charlie and RAJ the last day of spring training and told them the team would be 27-25 and 3 games out of first place after 52 games with no wins from Lee they would have been ecstatic.  And I think they currently are ecstatic with where they stand.  I think their focus is squarely on winning the title this year.  The only reason there is talk of “selling” is because there is too much time to fill on cable shows.  they talk about selling Hamels because he is a FA.
      Does that mean they won’t trade Hamels before the deadline?  No.  But if they trade him it will be because they get two players that they think will help them win a title this year.  It is possible, that with Halladay and Lee that the team would have a better chance to win a title this year with a 8 mill bat and another 8 mill pitcher.  With Halladay and Lee they still would have the best 1/2 starters in the playoffs.
      The issue isn’t buyer or seller, it is Hamels or no hamels.  One can trade him and still see oneself as a contender.  Very few teams have 3 aces to play with.  But I can gaurantee that RAJ is not thinking anything about being a seller.

  247. Ken Bland says:

    So the Phillies close out the stretch of 20 games with an actually ridiculous W-L of 13-7.  Spot on the goal for the 20 games, cautioned by an attachment that 11-9 would be more realistic.  Coinciding with that stretch is the overlap of opponents with records over .500.  Started with the Cards, followed by the Mets.  Looks like the Phils have gained about 3 games in the standings since that 20 game stretch started.

    Does any of that matter?  Not especially.  What really matters above all else is that the club is playing half decent, maybe a little less (very average?) baseball even with Doc having had a what’s the word…Docminus (?) season to the point of going on the shelf.  It’s an absolute bummer that he’s out for a couple months (if we’re lucky?), but one needs to remember the Phils mediocore record in games he started.  It’s Doc.  And when he comes back, if he’s finallly right, it’s a heckuva lot more bonus than 2012 has been a blessing for him so far.  Whether a rotation of Joe “Slumping” Blanton”, Kyle “You’re Only as Good as Your Last Game” Kendrick, and Vance “Can I Pitch Without My Elbow” can hold up it’s part is based on hope.  But hope beats dead.

    It’s really nothing personal against Worley, and not that I don’t like Blanton or Kendrick at least sometimes, but if the 3 clowns manage to (a bad elbow can easily reduce a pitcher’s status to clownish) hold up their end of the bargain, at least it could stay interesting.  4 with the Dodgers is challenging, but I could see being pretty competitive in that series.  It’s this one with the Fish that’s a concern.  If the Phils manage to win 2 of 3, I’d probably be ecstatic.  Or have more hope.  But Miami’s pretty solid play, and favorable pitching matchups on the whole create at least a concern about getting swept.  Root, root, root for the home team, and hope for the best.  Find a way to win 2 of 3.  That’d be so sweet.

  248. Ken Bland says:

    Between the 50 minute rain delay, and now a relatively long inning in the bottom of the 5th, it’ll be interesting to see what K3endrick has for the top of the 6th.  Hell, it’s always interesting to see what Kendrick has.

  249. Ken Bland says:

    Chooch is now 12-20 batting in the quatre hole.  I would guess the next time he hits 8th, it’ll get more pub than when Alex hit 8th against Detroit in the playoffs.

  250. Ken Bland says:

    Johan Santana completes a 140 pitch complete game shutout and the first no hitter in Mets history.  What a great chapter in his comeback year.  A terrific story.

    • Chris McC. says:

      I can’t believe his arm didn’t fall off. I hate the Mets like any civilized human being but legitimately happy for Santana for getting the no no. Big deal for a career that didn’t really go as expected.

      • Ken Bland says:

        It’s definitely a fine line, especially with the Mets ahead in the standings, although that’s not all that big a deal, being June.  So applause for Skipper Terry Collins for letting him go (actually 134 pitches) which isn’t done too much, and for the decision, and for the man, you hope that doesn’t come back to haunt.  That’s about far enough, but it’s great stuff, even with limitations.

  251. Ken Bland says:

    I figure if Jake doesn’t have it, he’ll be out fast.  But I don’t know who they’d bring in next.  6 outs would be a lot to use Paps. 

  252. Ken Bland says:

    In many ways, I’m happy to see Paps in early.  But he’s gonna throw about 40 pitches, and in this park, against the meat of their order, and his fly ball tendencies, we got a ball game.  Still, gald to see Charlie open to the idea in this circumstance.  Very touchy stuff, though. Loaded, 1 out T8, 6-4, Phils.

  253. Ken Bland says:

    John Catchberry


    What a win.

    So long, last place, as the team with no identity moves to 2-1 since the Doc turned patient.

    Praise be to Allah, or whoever upstairs predestines this, as Chuck Barris would say, stuffffffff.

    Good night from 2 and a half from home.           

  254. Ken Bland says:

    For all the discussion about Cole Hamels next deal, the Phils have another free agent to be that ever so slightly perks curiousity about what riches he’ll be tempted by come the off season.  That’d be “Stellar Joe” Blanton, who today celebrates the 1 month anniversary of one of the finer games pitched in Phillies history.  That’d be your basic 3 hit complete game shutout on 88 pitches against the Atlanta Braves a day after the Phils gave up a 6-0 lead to the same club and lost in extra innings.  Since then, Stellar Joe has won 2 games, more than double the sum of Cliff Lee, and pitched about 5% as well.

    The Innings Eater has pitched 4.1, 4.1, and 5 innings in his last 3 starts.  Thar went the old stretched out part of Joe’s game.  8 Homers in 13.2 innings, as Joe auditioned for a berth as a pitcher in the Home Run Derby Fest coming soon to a Kansas City near you.  28 base knocks, reducing his WHIP to HIP, and a digit of Lots Plus.  Today, Joe will be pitching as past of a 24 million/3 year contract that was a compromise, struck when Joe showed up at the arbitration table asking for 10 million smacheroos for the 2010 season.  Most importantly, he will have the incentive of the extra 100K he could earn by winning the CY award.  Would be demolition of NL pitching rosters across the land, and improvement over the last 3 outings have him right where he wants to be in that race.

    About 450 times in the last 2 years, the Phils have reportedly tried to trade Old Kentucky.  Maybe they asked for Matt Kemp, or Justin Verlander and that’s why Joe still wears red pinstripes.  The assumed 200% lack of interest in acquiring Joe perhaps serve as an indicator of Joe’s next deal.

    Thanks to Ruben”Aha hey hey, let’s all spend” Amaro, Joe set a family record last time that will never be broken.  No Blanton will ever again secure a 3 year deal.  If Joe gets a 2 year deal, they oughta uncork some bubbly.  More likely, he’ll find a soft market, and land a 1 year deal in the area of 4-5 million.  Edwin Jackson travelled free agent waters, and settled for 1/10, Kyle Kendrick, a greater value than Joe, or maybe a lesser of 2 evil values is the way to put it conned the Phils into almost 4 mil per for 2 years, so Joe oughta find a taker at 4-5 for 1 year.  Well, at least if he returns to being a real pitcher, and not the comedic act that has shown up his last 3 starts.  Tough matchup, against the good hitting Miami squad, but didn’t nobody expect Joe to toss the results he did against the Braves a month ago.  Notice the word if in that phrase of if he returns to being a real pitcher.  There’s a reason for that.  And fortunately for Joe, the other guy on the mound today can be pretty bad, too.  Unfortunately, he can be quite a bit better than Joe, but a crapshoot is a crapshoot, is a crapshoot.  But at least we’re closer to Joe’s next good start than we were yesterday.  




  255. Ken Bland says:

    What a fine job by Vic.  Takes an outside pitch to lumber and tries to pull it, rolling to Infante, and much to the surprise of all, the Phillies leave a runner in scoring position.  Wonders don’t never cease.

  256. Ken Bland says:

    Stellar Joe rocks on. 21 tosses, 14 K’s thru 2 innings.  Climbing right back in that CY race at a speeding ticket pace.  OUTSTANDING changeup to close the inning out.


  257. Ken Bland says:

    That would be Luis Aparicio if you don’t want to wait for the answer to the trivia question , forthcoming in the 7th inning.  That’s a public service to benefit the 1000s that canj’t stay tuned to 5 more innings of Mutt and Jeff.

  258. Ken Bland says:

    Stellar Joe yields his 9th homer in the last 16 innings.  That’s great if you don’t give up triples, doubles, singles and partridges in pear trees.  Nice pitch, Stellar One.

  259. Ken Bland says:

    Well, at least we can pretty safely say Stellar Joe is back on track after those last 3 debacles.  Five decent innings so far, 2 homers, the rest pretty good, and one of the homers was to Hanley, which is no crime…he’s a good hitter when he’s right.

    This other guy, Big Z poses an interesting free agent question in his own right after this year.  He’s got vesting options that won’t materialize, his 91 million dollar deal finally evaporates after about 3 years of rumors of clubs chancing him with the Cubs paying the heavy freight of a contract that proved terribel.

    Z isn’t close to what he was in younger days, pitching skill wise.  Needs to rely on guile and smarts, instead of a 95 heater, but if he finishes the year well, he’s an interesting candidate for a job.  It took a ton for someone to finally trade for him, and he’s a likely lifelong potential headcase, and it’d still take a lot for a club to chance a dance with him.  If he finishes the year well with the Fish, he’d probably want to stay there, and maybe/probably vice versa.  But I wonder what you pay him.  10 mil for a year might be about right.  Tough to imagine him earning a multi year off just one recovering year, albeit half a year at this point.  But at least he can still be an effective pitcher, which contains some marketability. retiring the last 12 Phils in a row so far to this point shows that, small landscape that it is.  


  260. Ken Bland says:

    I thought back to an opinion I heard somewhere around a year or so ago at this time this morning.  Only heard it once, and with what’s shaken out since then, it’s certainly understandable that it was never heard or read again.  It waasn’t even an opinion, just a wonder out loud whether the Yankees might be interested in signing Jimmy Rollins, and freeing up Derek Jeter to DH, or move to a less taxing position.  Jeter turns 38 this month

    Jeter continues to roll, and I’ve known since pretty early in the season he was killing lefty pitching.  A current check still finds his batting average around .470 against southpaws.  Conversely, Jimmy, whose career totals, albeit against a lot more righty pitching are pretty even against either righties or lefties, are ridiculously one sided this year.  His offense at home, and his offense against righty pitching at least approaches adequate.  Against lefties, he’s off to a pathetic start.

    Although Charlie publicly shields himself from unabounded pressure to move Jimmy out of the leadoff spot, it’s pretty clear that the office pool on when Jimmy drops in the order will be won by the person saddled with whenever Charlie feels like it.  That could still take a while, but the next few hours wouldn’t be a bad time to make the move.  Jimmy’s poor 2012 results against lefties might not even be the reason to make the move, saving Jimmy some potential embarrassment, since he comes across by reputation at least as pretty stubborn about batting at the top.  Juan Pierre just keeps clicking.  He had a mini slump that dropped his average to .299, but that was brief, abnd he’s rolling again.  Jimmy is 4-17 against Kershaw, so there’s no excuse that glares at you like he has special success against tonight’s particular pitcher.

    The real problem is if you take Jimmy out of the top spot, where do you put him?  Yesterday, Gary Matthews suggested just flip Pierre and Rollins.  That seems ridiculous.  Fact is, a large body of work now shows less and zero chance of Jimmy ever being the kick ass player he was a few years back.  It’s true that he’s a streak hitter.  It’s true he’s historically shown an ability to come back from mediocore starts several times.  But he’s never adjusted real well to the drop in fastballs he sees, and as Keith Hernandez noted on the Mets broadcast the other night, he’s trying to pull the ball. Truth is, Jimmy has been reduced to not being an asset anywhere in the lineup.  Maybe he’s got the fragile ego, maybe not.  Public opinion on a public figure isn’t conviction leading.  Wherever you hit him, despite 4 million chances to change his ways, you almost have to just take the hit, and hope he finall becomes adaptable.  Despite all that, it’s not like it’s a 1 night opportunity, and in many ways long overdue, this seems like it’d be a really good night to at least try to move Jimmy to where he hurts you least in the overall scheme of things.  If you have the gonads to face the world after putting hector Luna in the 4 hole, you probably have the gonads to face Jimmy and tell him he’s being moved much lower in the lineup.  It’d be up to Jimmy to take it from there.  Most nights, you’d say the chances of Charlie moving Jimmy down are 0%.  Tonight, I’d move it up to 2%.        

  261. Mike Donnelly says:

    Jimmy’s best year was 7, friggin 7 years ago.  He ain’t all that anymore.    Schedule weirdness.  The Phillies have played 55 games nearly the most in MLB  (Seattle 56, Dodgers 55)  The Nats & Royals only 52.   Which shows our offense has gotten much better.  We are scoring 4.2 runs per game, the Nats only 3.8, and Miami 4.0.  As of right now both wild cards come from the NL East.  And we trial the 2nd wildcard by 3.5 games.  That is doable esp. if everyone comes back on the roster in August.

    • Ken Bland says:

      That is doable esp. if everyone comes back on the roster in August.>>

      Guess I’m gonna take up space stating the obvious on 2 fronts, one of which is obviously you need more than just prople coming back on the roster.  You need performance.  Doc’s about the only one I’d expect to do that.  The others you hope.  I’m not overly concerned about RyHo, I guess, but I’m concerned about developing ulcers if I have to watch too much chasing of low and away sliders.

      But maybe even as importantly, though they are what’s the word….moderately fits, I guess…underskilled with the roster as is now, the other 22, or whatever have to produce.  Sterling Joe Blanton, Jimmy, Vic.  On the whole, Pence has done a decent job, Pierre’s decent, but the weak points of his game can kill ya.  I don’t know what to expect out of Worley, especially with the bone chips deal.  Qualls.  Pretty long list and that’s just part of it.  Howard, tangibly, gives you a force in the lineup, and his presence may also provide a psychological lift.  But a lot of everyone has to do a good job.  I think there’s a decent chance that happens based on skills and history, but it hasn’t to this point of the year.

  262. Ken Bland says:

    I would think that after tonight’s reminder of what it’s like to pitch at the Bank, CK is that much more amazed that he beat out Doc and Cliff for the CY last year.  He’ll appreciate Dodger Stadium that much more on his return home.

  263. Ken Bland says:

    Heck if I get the logic behind being able to vote for the AS team up to 25 times from the same e mail address.  They prolly explained it when they implemented the policy, but I must have missed it.  Really weird.

    • joof says:

      ha ha. I wondered this question when I was about 11 years old and I picked the bubble for just about every Phillie available. At the time is seemed like  acool way to get your team more all stars 

      • Ken Bland says:

        I went hog wild voting for Schmidt I think his first good year, but those were punch out ballots, and they seemingly couldn’t control it.  But if you can control it by e mail addy, why let it roll 25 times?  Just weird.


  264. Ken Bland says:

    Juan Pierre said he should have caught the ball that shot Cliff’s night.  Scored 2 runs, and put the Dodgers in no worse than split for the 4 game set.


    I sensed I was in a minority group that liked the Phils acquiring Pierre.  I recall people talking about him as a 5th outfielder, and thinking, no , he can get more time than that.  Always healthy, speedy, good contact.  I knew his assets.  Bad lack of gold glove neck and neck contender with Raul, sloppy baserunner.  But basically, he could still play, and since it was all but a given if you based it on off season quotes that Dom Brown was AAA bound, I figured Pierre could earn some time.  Whether he should have even made the club over Scott Podsednick is a different story, opinion was, similar in many ways, one of the vets would figure to get some decent time.

    But with that, I maintained, and still feel a pretty decent chance exsists that Dom Brown will be with the big club around mid July.  Juan just isn’t a good all around player, and since numbers don’t interest me as much as observation, I think the Phils will see more current all around ability in Dom, and make the move after the half season of AAA.  Tonight’s just another example of how Juan can piss you off.  He can excite you, but he’ll be one of several players playing different roles in H2.  And it’s easy to criticize Dom on a lot of fronts for his year, but he’s not there to star, he’s there to gain experience, and build a foundation. 

    Tonight, the Phils sent I think it was Fontenot, Galvis and Orr up in the 9th.  Charlie couldn’t really use Brian Schneider since the club’s down to 2 catchers.  Brian Schneider wouldn’t have excited too many people, personally, I’ve gained some respect for him with some timely hits, let alone always making a defensive contribution.  That trio came up against a backdrop of the club being 0-23 when trailing after 8 innings.  Considering that recent years have offered tandems like Utley-Howard and Werth as 9th inning combos, that’s a tough lineup for the fans to be excited about, and play an invaluble 10th man role.

    Another bitch of a loss.  Screw it.  Try it again tomorrow.   .


  265. Ken Bland says:

    I might keep the Jaybird pic up a while.  Depressing as this calub can be, even though tomorrow’s always a new day, the Jaybird was one upbeat dude.  So upbeat that he was 7-9 against the Reds the first time the Phils won the division and got slammed by the BR Machine.  Jaybird could hit, and played the circuit well.  Stops with the Yanks, Dodgers, and Cubs, and you cain’t complain about a career with franchises of such tradition.

  266. Mike Donnelly says:

    This absolute mess of a lineup and injuries and we are still within striking distance.  We are 4 games back of the Wcard, and Pitts. is bound to blow up and I don’t know how the Mets with their -10 runs differential can’t keep winning games with 2 outs.  Speaking of run differential Pitt and Marlins are bound to fall.  Cardinals the big threat to take that #2 wild card away from us.

  267. Mike Donnelly says:

    Ugg…  And the Dodgers complete the sweep.  I hate playing teams that are better than us.   Can we ask the league to only let us play the Padres, Astros and Cubs ?  We were 6-1 vs. them.  We have so far won 8 series and lost 9 series.  We’ve been swept 2 series and have swept 2 series.  We are the very definition of a .500 team and solidly on track for 81-81.  Just as I thought to start the year.  Oh that 95.5 under prop bet I made is looking so sweet right now.

  268. Ken Bland says:

    Subject switches sans ******* separators.  Pay close attention…

    Phils OBP YTD for 2012 through Wed 6/6, prior years are full measures

    2012 .316  
    2011 .323
    2010 .332
    2009 .334
    2008 .332
    2007 .354
    2006 .347
    2005 .348

    At the start of the year, I thought the Phils would, or spoke optimistically at least on the chance of getting it back to levels closer to 2009/2010.  Hasn’t happened, and it is part of the problem, multi faceted as it is, but how much does it matter, especially as a lead factor?  Here are some other team’s OBP’s YTD through Wednesday, compared to that Phillie mark of .316…

    Miami  .314
    Reds   .309
    Nats    .313
    Pirates  .276

    The Phils are middle of the pack in this area.  OBP is probably more important if you’re executing in the area of hitting with men on, and the Phils are faring poorly there, especially with RISP, although I didn’t check actual numbers to verify that glaringly obvious development.

    Cole Hamels has now been on the mound twice in a row when 3-0 leads were squandered.  What does that tell you?  Can’t say, but I can tell you what it tells me.  It accents the quality of team behind him at the present time.  Oh, you’d like to see a soon to be 20 mil a year pitcher apply the screws to such situations, even though it happens to most everyone on occasion, but the results speak to more than 1 player.

    One thing Bill Parcells always did when leaving organizations was point to the state of the organization upon departure.  Maybe the evaluation was more Parcells observors than Parcells himself, but his general routine was plus plus in that regard.  He certainly did it with the Jets and Dallas, and maybe the Pats, although the length of that run exceeds my memory.  Ruben is signed through 2015, and for all we know, might last another 15 years, so evaluation is premature at this point.  At this point though, it’s real easy to pick on him, considering some poor signings that seemed so at the time.  Chad Qualls, protected by Petco, with a high fly ball rate (ditto Papelbon, by the way, and it will be curious to see how much extra lift his flies have when his MPH drop as he gets older in a 5 year deal) pleasantly surprised a few outings early on before succumbing to his actual large sample production.  After a couple bad outings, he said he’d spotted a nechanical flaw.  No more than 2 outings later, he got shredded again, and today, got beat again.  Surprisingly, Ruben gave him a 1 year deal, and with the industry wide seacrh for mid year help, someone else should be sucker enough to snap him up.  That’s called addition by subtraction, in and of itself.  The pen is so thin right now, he’s the “best” option, but the Phils could at least move Kendrick back to the pen, and try Cloyd or Elaton as a starter. There are no great answers, but whatever mechanical flaw Qualls untapped, he said nothing about the other 24 flaws.      

    The pain continues, and Sterling Joe is there to step up to it.  Self created O/U on Oriole dingers for Friday night is 2.5.  Normal setting, that’s high.  Sterling Joe has not been a normal pitcher of late.

    Quote of the Week after the Phils upped their total to 16 runs in Cliff Lee’s 9 times on the mo8und this year…

    “I’m not frustrated.”       

    His nose didn’t grow, but he lied through his teeth.  Inarguably.   


  269. Ken Bland says:

    Sterling Joe goes to the 5th 2 homers away from making the over the winner.  Top of the Oriole lineup,  If he gives one up this inning, it’s a race to the finish line.  Sterling might have a larger lead now than Cliff has led by all year long.  Sterling knows which side his toast is jellied on.

  270. Ken Bland says:

    Sterling ties a major league record set previously by retiring 3 consecutive hitters.  It drops his season’s ERA to 5.40.  That might be a record, too.  Highest ERA in history after a 1-2-3 inning. 

  271. Ken Bland says:

    I don’t know exactly what the Phillies problem is.  On so many fronts, loud ineptness has reared it’s ugly head from the bullpen, to the offense, and underlying it has been a less than great defensive season.  Exactly how significant this is, I don’t know, but the club is now 4-8 since the game after Doc was removed in St. Louis.  You could debate the weight of that based on his year being less than stellar.

    This week, desperate for answers, things like a lack of swagger, and not scaring anyone came out.  With a replacement roster not seen in sports since the NFL offered a league wide replacement collection, that’s not only probably true, but maybe a step away from something even worse.

    Current club as is, how can you watch this team and feel the ultimate curse of how will they lose this one.  A year or two back, you’d sit there toward the latter innings, and know they were coming back.  That’s swagger, but you wonder if the feeling of how are we gonna lose this one also permeates this club.

    Timewise, there’s still time for the Phils to save the year.  All you have to do is look 3000 miles away to Anaheim where the Angelic ones have followed a 6-14 start with a 25-15 followup to actually make a division race of the AL West.  It’s true that the talent is there, especially since Albert now has 4 straight multi hit games, and recalled Mike Trout is contending for Rookie of All Time with his all-star caliber play.  Scott Downs has shaken closing issues with near perfect work.  You never know about intangible stuff, but the Angels got through the horrific start, and are now at a point where they know they are in any game.  The exact opposite of the Phils.

    Can that change?  If you’ve got the talent, most definitely.  And you’d like to think that as the Phils get healthier, they will improve.  Last year, it took the Red Sox about 6 weeks to straighten out a miserable start before having the best record in the sport by about this time.  The Angels aren’t as accomplished as Boston was, but 25-15′s a great move up.  The Phils might be better later in the year, but with so many clubs to pass, all this losing sets up more challenges to overcome.  You can’t blow 3 leads to the Mets, then come out of a team meeting and beat up on lousy clubs, and eventually settle in to losing 4 straight to the Dodgers.  This pain on top of pain is just brutal.  And with this roster likely in place for another 25 games, it’s hard not to expect it to continue.  Maybe it is just part of a lack of swagger, but it seems more compounding.  And it feels like only a miracle can alter it.           

  272. Ken Bland says:

    Zach Collier, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
    Current Level: A+
    2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: NR
    Current Value: Volatile
    A 2008 supplemental first round pick – the 34th overall selection in the draft – Collier has found pro ball to be quite challenging for a number of reasons. The outfielder, who was considered quite raw at the time of his entry into pro ball, missed the entire 2010 season due to surgery on his wrist and he then received a 50-game suspension at the end of 2011 after testing positive for a banned substance. It was bad timing as Collier was finally starting to make strides in his game. Still just 21 years old, the California native got a late start to the 2012 season – due to the carry over from his suspension – but he’s come out of the chute on fire and has 12 hits in his first eight games while playing at high-A. The athletic prospect still has impressive tools and the second half of the 2012 minor league season will go a long way in helping Collier establish himself as a legitimate up-and-comer.


  273. Ken Bland says:

    Chooch is now 0-2 w/ the bases loaded through just 2 innings.  But Pence came up big with ‘em loaded, and then Thome went nicely the other way.  All told, had ‘em loaded 3 times through the first 2 innings.  3 runs is okay off that.  All I can say is I sure hope it helps Cliff hit his stride.

  274. Ken Bland says:

    This is where as a fan, you look at the rest of the ballgame with trepedation.  For whatever reason, Cliff’s pitching decently, but not consistently well, and will close out the first 5 innings just over 90 pitches.  He got a little support for a change (4-1), but as we hit the late innings, it’ll be an undermanned pen (Jake, Qualls, BJ all threw enough yesterday that they are likely shot today) pretty soon trying to get the win.  It’s not like it’s a lost cause…guys like Savery, Bastardo and Papelbon are all coming off days of rest, but there’s not a lot there to inspire confidence in a win.  Now whether that really matters, as opposed to just going out and having fun, and see what happens, that’s in the players hearts and minds.  So we’ll see.  Minnesota’s playing winning baseball of late, and a road trip to Toronto is troubling, so a win would be nice.

    But at least Mike Trout led off the Angels game with a double, so some of the world is right. 

    • Ken Bland says:

      Scratch bastardo…would be 3 days in a row.  21 pitches Friday night, and they back and got another 8 last night.  So they don’t want to throw him.

  275. Mike Donnelly says:

    Brewers and Phillies are tied.  .468 vs. .467   Only 4 teams in the NL have a worse record than the Phillies.  Ouch.

  276. Ken Bland says:

    Sorting through many of the reads on how and when the Phils should sell that are starting to pop up, you realize just what a mess this is.  You have an aged, expensive club with a depleted farm system, and division rivals showing strength with underlying talent, you start realizing what a mountainous task is at hand.

    But just to keep it simple for now, I’m inclined to think that Vic will be dealt for relief help in the next 2 weeks or so.  Ruben won’t think this way (well, at least publicly), but over the next 2 weeks, the Phils are going to continue to struggle.  They have 9 with the Twins, Jays, and Rays, and I don’t believe they can win 5 of those 9.  With David Herndon the most likely source within to help in the pen, you just can’t afford to wait. 

    • phillyfan says:

      Sorting through many of the reads on how and when the Phils should sell that are starting to pop up, you realize just what a mess this is. You have an aged, expensive club with a depleted farm system, and division rivals showing strength with underlying talent, you start realizing what a mountainous task is at hand.>>>

      Sounds like what they were saying in St, Louis in August last year when they were 10 1/2 games out of a wild card.  No Wainwright for the year.  Berkman injured. no closer, etc etc. Everybody just  needs to relax. 

  277. Ken Bland says:

    Twinkie notes…

    Nice history to this club.  Like last year, perfect example of why they are called The Twins.  Because they are consistent…for example…A 17-37 start lands them a standing of 16 and a half behind in the division race on Wednesday, June 1.  I remember looking at their record somewhere toward or at the ned of that last year and seeing they had played an inordinate number of road games.  They won 15 of their next 17, and cut 10 games off the divvy lead.  They got to within 5 in July, but finished the year 32 games out of first place.

    Morale of the story?  Good clubs at least tend to play consistently decent.  Imposters are up and down and all around.

    Can’t say I have a single ounce of excitement about this series.  Not even a spark of fire about Cole’s start after he’s given up 2 (or 2 of 3) 3-0 leads.   


  278. Mike Donnelly says:

    Only 3 teams have a record worse than the Twins.  And we lose to the Twins.  Unreal.  Currently 20 teams have a better or equal record to the Phillies, only 9 teams worse than us.

    • Cheerful Ken Bland says:

      If that’s frustration talking, who am I to be critical.  But if you think the records of either club have much to do with the fact that Minnie is taking a minimum of 2 of 3 this set (pray for contrarian indicator results, but that’s my view), that’s a/absurd b/ridiculous c/ less than genius d/ not something I agree with.

      The Twinkies, if I remember correctly, have now won 15 of 23.  The Phillies have lost 1000 of their last 20 games.  Or so it feeleth.

      Losing Contreras hasn’t helped, but the loss of kendrick from the pen hasn’t helped, obviously coinciding wit5h the loss of Doc, about 15 games back (guess), of which the4 club has won 4 games.

      With this pen, and iffy defense, how many Triple A clubs could they win a series against right now?

      I can’t wait  (believe me, I actuqally can) to see how they do against Colorado next week.  If I’m not mistaken, they are paying people to attend the games.

      The point is, season records reflect a lot of different talent than currently manning the rosters, in the case of both clubs.              

  279. joe says:

    Man, its a good thing we got some cash for Posednik.  He has been tearing it up for Boston, and it justs eats at me.  Definately would be better than rollins (so would Pierre or Vic) at the top of the line up and has more pop than Pierre.  He has really helped Boston (alot more than Mayberry- I thought he should have been given a shot to see shat he had left before dumping him, he clearly seems to be trying to show he is not done). Also,  I moved out of the area a couple years ago, but caught a Phillies broadcast the other day, and wow, Sarge has improved alot since his early days.   Now he has opinions (thoight he was very wishy washy, trying not to offend anyone when he first started)

  280. Ken Bland says:

    Kudos to Scott for making a good contribution to the Red Sox so far.  In about 45 at bats.  If he continues to play wekk (which I’ll leave very open to generic definition), and above all stays healthy, it’ll be a nice surprise.  Personally, I can’t be overly critical of the club for that cut.  I figure the best he’d have done here is modestly outcontribute Pierre.  Overall, I’d give Pierre about a 6 on a scale of 1-10.  Maybe a 7m at least as opposed to a 5.  I can’t see where keeping Mayberry was a mistake.  It’s not working out real well, but what evidence was there in foresight that told us so clearly that he’d be this mediocore.  It was reasonable to expect slippage to a degree, but I don’t think you could have cut the guy so fast off last year.

    Might as well slip in an opinion on Sarge, since the subject came up. I’ve never seen anyone so lucky as to be partnered and compared with Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler.  It sets up a standard that’s ridiculously low.  What bugs me about him is his delivery.  It just grates.

    My, we are bleeping crusty about this topic today.  Well, I are.     

  281. Mike Donnelly says:

    We are still a long way from the trade deadline, but with so many teams between the Phils and the 2nd wild card, you’ve got to start preparing to be a seller this year.  Upside is sooo many teams think they are in it, the market will be a seller’s market and a Shane V. or a Cole H.,  will bring back some very valuable items.    I would not let Hunter go, I don’t understand that, and I would be a bidder for Cole in F.A.

  282. Ken Bland says:

    Okay, here’s the deal.  The Phils have had 5 straight years of winning more games than the previous season up to this year.  Pretty good stuff, eh?  To continue that tradition, they need to go 72-24 the rest of the way.  That’s .750 baseball, which sounds like a lot of pressure.  But with Chooch going down for at least a few games, and one would think playing in discomfort and risking bad habits developing by rushing back, chances of doing it are lessened.

    So someboday has to step up.  Somehere in the cavalcade of lineups Charlie has used, and will continue to, there will be games where the lineup will feature 6-8 lineups of Fonenot/Schneider or Kravitz/Martinez.  Which of the Phillies New Big 3 will answer the challenge?     

  283. Ken Bland says:

    Well, maybe this is ever so slight glimmer of hope I can see a crack in the dark clouds Saturday.  Typical Doc, out running the stadium steps this morning, off his first throwing effort, said to have gone well.  Chase played 5 innings in the field, RyHo hit a homer.  Typical Phillies, Chooch appears to have a cramp, and not an oblique issue. This month has been so depressing, but hope is starting to turn it’s charm.  It’d be a great deal of fun to watch the club compete if they reached a point where they got some swagger going, with the anticipated lineup on the field.

  284. Ken Bland says:

    Well, hang on for dear life.  Cliff, 4 innings to go, and on a pitch count has given up his share of hits, but is on pitch count numbers where he could get the ball to Paps directly.  he goes to B6 at 55 pitches.  Let’s call it a precarious 2 run lead.  Or maybe Cliff gets stronger as he goes.  Wouldn’t be the first time.

  285. Ken Bland says:

    Mike Martinez, who can botch plays defensively with the Fontenot of them, makes his 2nd nice defensive play at 2nd base of the day. It’s followed by the Jays 10th base hit of the game, which is where the Jays finish the 7th.  Conjures up memories of Ray Herbert’s complete game 11 hitter by this very 4-2 score one Sunday afternoon in los Angeles right around 4 decades ago.  But Cliff won’t challenge that.  He’s at 85 pitches through 7, and throwing well, but Paps will definitely get the 9th.

  286. Ken Bland says:

    Here we go again.  Tie game, road, 2-3-4, and Papelbon sits in favor of Schwimer.  And no getting around it, Cliff didn’t get the job done.

  287. Ken Bland says:

    On the one hand, it’s good that a young reliever steps up, and gets the job done.  But the percentages, with Joey and Encarnacion, both of whom can get lift and go deep are scary.  Then Schwim stays in to face Kelly Johnson, and in a short pen, maybe you can’t risk 1 batter with jake coming in, but even that move’s scary.

    Now the question is can the Phils perform a miracle, and get a run to regain the lead.  if not, you might as well go with Savery since you might need some length, and your past the heart of the order.  But you gotta be open to getting Paps in if there’s trouble and take your chances on afterwards, assuming he squelches the would be rally. 

  288. Ken Bland says:

    The oddest oddity in the history of I’ll have to tell the grandkids that someday is if Mike Fontenot ever pinch hits for you.  Voila.  And now, what we used to call free baseball, but in this year have reclassified it to more pain rolls on.  Pray that Savery can hold the Jays for at least 2, or that you can somehow get a lead and give it to Paps then.

    What an excruciating month! 

  289. Ken Bland says:

    Danny Knobler stat says it all about the 2012 Phillies…

    Before this year, Lee had started 50 career games with the Phillies (including postseason). They were 35-15. This year, 3-8.

  290. Ken Bland says:

    Yo, Mike Donnelly.

    I have a clown question for yous, bro.

    Kyle Kendrick started his 10th game of the year today.  5 more starts, and he earns a bonus of 100 grand.

    If he starts 10 more games by season’s end, and I don’t know if it includes the playoffs, but if he’s near the top of the playoff rotation, he’s even more likely to score still another 100 g’s.

    How do you feel Ruben handled that contract negotiation?   


    The Canadian press              

  291. jjg says:

    I’m not a big fan of Kendrick’s but his 3 mil for 2 wins trumps Clifton Cipher Lee’s 21.5 mil for 0 wins.  OK, Cliff has the 41st best ERA in MLB (3.48) but that’s a booby prize and a good distance from expectations.  Hamel’s June swoon (now 32nd in ERA), Cliff’s arid season and Halliday’s uncustomary ordinariness (61st in ERA) - the 3 combined, a 56.5 million 2012 investment - have cost Phils, along with some other issues, such as holey leather (Ty, get a new one), gasoline bullpen, rare timely hitting and managerial blindness and/or stubbornness.  It’s a mess, folks.  But only 9 gms back from full tilt glory, and only 5 back from the 2nd WC!!  And that’s fairly amazing. 

    • Ken Bland says:

      I’m not a big fan of Kendrick’s but his 3 mil for 2 wins trumps Clifton Cipher Lee’s 21.5 mil for 0 wins. >>

      Well, you know, I am morally and emotionally obligated to defend my boy Cliff against comparisons of pitcher’s of such ineptitude.  So when I think of some way, shape, or form that points to the felonious charge of Cliff providing less value than the effervescent KK, I shall let you know.  Might take me forever and then some, the way this year’s gone, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something. 

      • Mike Donnelly says:

        Cliff is 10x the pitcher KK is, but it does seem like he is spitting up the bit and wasting the leads he does occasionally get.

  292. Mike Donnelly says:

    Kendrick earning chump change, it doesn’t have a material impact on the payroll.  How’d you like to be the Yankees who can carry a spare closer in the bullpen and thus survive Joba, Robertson and Rivera gone for half or more of the season.  Ruben has been ok, he needs to hire Joe Banner, who can be a bit more ruthless and trade guys who are on the downside of their careers.  Utley in 2009 and not resign Rollins.  Loved the Hunter Pence move, getting Cliff Lee, and Doc, so I have no complaints.  He needs to fish or cut bait with Hamels, time to do something there…

  293. Ken Bland says:

    There’s something cheap about knuckleball pitchers.  Like they aren’t real pitchers.  Course the likes of a Phil Niekro could turn around and say I’m not a real fan, and his vantage point’d have a lot more credibility.

    But with that attitude in place, for better or worse, about 3 weeks ago or so, plus or minus a few 24 hour cycles, in giving casual consideration to the still a ways off All-Star Game, and the NL starting pitcher, I cringed at the thought of RA Dickey.  By decision time, he’d falter.  Hamels would resurrect, or Cueto would assert himself.  No way the League would put up a pitcher like Dickey in a game of magnitude, if not importance.

    Dickey keeps crushing this plan.  He’s now thrown as many CG 1 hitters as Sandy Koufax ever threw in any back to back assignments.  The Mets are who the world thought they were if not for his fantastic season.

    Maybe it is cheap, watching knuckleballs spin out of a pitcher’s hand in a game of the best of the best.  But like it or not, at least for now, with about 3 weeks left before the game, the tide has turned.  If RA Dickey doesn’t start the AS Game, there’s something rotten in Denmark.  I guess I’ll get over it.  

  294. Mike Donnelly says:

    Unless there is a trade, Sunday was likely Thome’s last game of his career.  Sad.  We really ought to let him go and get some prospects or bullpen help.

  295. Ken Bland says:

    As we work our way toward post numero cinqo 0 squared, a landmark we should see soooon in this season of heightened interest in Phillies baseball, it’s time now for another in the ongoing series, “Clown Questions for Yo Bro, Mike Donnelly.

    When he was last with us, Mike informed us that monies alotted to the growing wealth tree of Kyle “10% of Cliff Lee is Better than 10% of Nothing at All” are part of the chump change charade going on at Phillies Park.  A generous financial revelation if I ever saw one, but I’m just asking the questions, not passing judgement.

    Today’s query for the stat guy pertains to Senor Freddie Galvis, he of the .254 OBP.  Freddie has left us all wondering why they call them performance enhancing drugs, but being the latest member to Club Drug Culture Central, it’s unfair that in the past 24 hours, every would be drug addict has been discussed as a Cooperstown candidate.  So why not Fred?  For 10 points, and a chance to prolong Clown Questions for Yo Bro, Mike Donnelly…how will Senor Galvis’s stupidity…er, run in, sorry, with the drug game effect his long term baseball future?   Any mention of Cooperstown in the answer warrants the right to slap the respondent with a bat.

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      I don’t understand the question.  But I guess we could ask Andy Petite how using drugs while he was hurt completely derailed his career and didn’t allow him to play until age 40.

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      KK career lifetime ERA 4.5     Strike Outs  to BB 1.63   2012 Salary 3 million
      Cliff Lee career lifetime ERA 3.6  Strikes to BB 3.44   2012 Salary 21 million

      While part of my statement was hyperbole, it likely wasn’t much.  I would bet for every pitcher of Lee’s stature there are 10 pitchers like KK.  The money difference is pretty likely near about an approximation as we can easily get.  Lee is roughly 7x as valuable as KK.  I don’t understand your issue.

      • Ken Bland says:

        The question was do you think Freddie Galvis is an idiot, or a moron?  Pardon me for refusing to subscribe to this typical message board crap of taking this stuff so seriously like numbers are a be all and end all, and injecting a little color and personality into it.  Mark Goodson and Bill Todman might need to fire your ass before this game show spreads to it’s first cable outlet.

        My issue is that Ruben gave the guy more money than needed, and then offers a minimum of 200 grand as incnetive on top of overpay not for quality, but for mere starts.  But according to you, his end of the payroll is chump change.  I don’t do chump change in 6 figure amounts.

        I can’t believe you spent valuble seconds of your life trying to justify saying Cliff is 10 times the pitcher Kendrick is.  Who the hell don’t know dat?  I mean is that even worth discussing? 


        • Mike Donnelly says:

          Freddy ?  Who knows, but Andy Petite shows the penalty for attempting to use radical and illegal measures to recover don’t seem to be punished.  Ditto for Clemens very little punishment as it apparently turns out.  So on balance it seems a justified risk on Freddy’s part.
          Yeah, Rubin tends to overpay and over extend his players.  KK is just another guy but on the upper pay end of guys like that.  5 pitchers on the team making oodles more than KK and Oswalt earning 1/2 of what KK is making.   In a world where Joe Blanton can earn 8.5 million, half of that for KK is a lot but not crazy.

          I had no idea which part of my thesis you were against, so had to justify Lee.

  296. Mike Donnelly says:

    2012 ONLY

    Wildly overpaid: Ryan Howard 20m, Chase 15m,

    Over paid: Cliff Lee 21m, Roy 20m, Papelbon 11m, Polanco 6m, Kyle K 4m

    Underpaid: Nearly anyone on roster earning less than 1m, Cole H 15m, Thome 1.5m (as a DH)

    Crazy Underpaid: Carlos Ruiz

    PS. Ryan, Chase, Doc, Polanco all on list due to injury, but that still counts it’s dead money.  Cliff and Pap good but not justifying monster money. Heath Bell nearly same saves as Pap for example.

  297. Ken Bland says:

    Wonder how Sterling Joe would do if he pitched in the All-Star game.

  298. Ken Bland says:

    I was just thinking before Martinez hit that homer about how he’d do in a matchup against Walter Johnson.  So after the at bat, it would stand to reason he would do better than I thought.  Well, it’d have to be better.

  299. Ken Bland says:

    All Martinez Ballclub…

    SP – Dennis Martinez, and of course, Petey Martin

    Reliever – Tippy Martinez

    C- Buck Martinez
    1B – Tino Martinez
    2B – Mini Mart Martinez

    SS- Marty Mariontinez

    3B – Edgar Martinez 

    OF – Victor Martinez 

    OF – Reginald Martinez Jackson

    OF – Dave Martinez   


  300. Ken Bland says:

    Sterling Joe update…unofficially, but if Sterling sets forth from here and breaks Orel’s record of 59 straight scoreless innings, it would drop his ERA to about 3.08.  This would work well for Joe in his push for free agency.

  301. Mike Donnelly says:

    Answer: Utley’s replacements Freddy, M. Martinez, & M. Fontenot
    Question what is 5-10, 5-9 and 5-8

    I heard someone on the radio say we had the shortest team in the MLB and just had to look it up.

    Hector Luna 6-1 (small for 1B)
    Ty Wiggington 6-0
    Juan Pierre 5-11
    Carlos Ruiz and P. Polanco   5-10
    Shane V.    5-9
    Jimmy Rollins 5-8

    Only current position player of MLB size is Hunter Pence (but shorter than Werth), and Jim Thome and Mayberry if either were full time players. (same for Dom. Brown)

  302. Dollar Bill says:

    Climbingly controversial Cliff “10XKK” Lee climbs the hill tonight looking for that elusive 1st win.  In his favor:  these Rays aren’t the ’79 Pirates.  In his disfavor:  they scrap like their manager Joe Maddon and each line-up name lugs a well-lathed wooden bat to the batter’s box, presenting challenge.  Now that Spring is gone, summer may be the ticket for the latent great, well-traveled lefty to stand up and sing for his $21.5 million dollar supper.  A few in Philadelphia, the Poconos (at the very least Joe’s friends and relatives) and the Jersey shore will be watching with interest.  Will culinary master Cliff crack the goose egg on the green “kitchen” table of CBP, a popular restaurant in town?  It’s tempting to venture a guess.  But I’ll conserve and declare I simply don’t know, a pitch that’s the Cy Young truth, while reserving a Gaylord Perry inkling.          


  303. Ken Bland says:

    With the All-Star Game quickly approaching, I’m out of nowhere aware that Cole Hamels place on the squad is not as certain as I’d comfortably felt most of the year.  I hadn’t really looked at it closely, just assumed his pretty good year would earn him a place. 

    Last year, just to use some basis, the NL carried 14 pitchers, 9 of whom were starters. Hamels was one, but couldn’t pitch because of pitching the Sunday before the game.  So particularly in his showcase year, you’d have to believe it’d be very important.

    He’s got a pretty decent shot, but it’s no lock. Hamels numbers, for comparison with others include a 10-3 record, a 3.25 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, in 97 innings.

    Having better years than Cole…

    RA Dickey  11-1  2.00 ERA    0.89 WHIP  99 IP                 mortal lock, especially with the Cinderella factor

    Johnny Cueto  9-3 2.21 ERA  1.11 WHIP  101 IP               2nd excellent year in a row 

    Matt Cain  9-2  2.34 ERA   0.91 WHIP  100 IP                   excellent year, even without perfecto

    The defending Heavyweight Champion

    Clayton Kershaw   5-3 2.73 ERA 1.01 WHIP 102 IP           rep and last year offset wins w/ solid peripherals

    Innings Pitched are low, BUT….

    Steven Strasburg  9-1 2.46 ERA 1.04 WHIP 84 IP            high K’s to boot

    Gio Gonzalez   9-3 2.55 ERA 1.05 WHIP 84 IP                 only given up 1 homer all year   

    Lance Lynn 10-3  2.80 ERA  1.15 WHIP  86 IP                 has passed Kyle Lohshe’s great start 

    Wade Miley  8-3 2.30 ERA  1.06 WHIP  82 IP                   not on a club swimming with AS possibles  

    Solid contenders

    James McDonald  6-3 2.19 ERA  0.95 WHIP  90 IP          low wins might hurt only half decent career

    Chris Capuano 9-2 2.60 ERA  1.13 WHIP  93 IP              1st good year since ’05 might not help

    Zack Greinke 8-2  2.81 ERA 1.18 ERA  96 IP                  also in free agent year

    Madison Baumgarner  9-4 3.10 ERA  1.12 WHIP 101 IP  still only 22 years old     

    There really isn’t one guy listed above that you can clearly say Cole is having a better year than, all things considered.  Add to that poitential publicity rewards like Johan and AJ Burnett, and it’s a little more competitive.

    Ryan Dempster, and Ryan Vogelsong are lesser candidates, but add to the competition.  

    As of now, I’d describe Cole as likely.  But he needs to finish out the first half in good form, not the form that derailed him (for now) as a CY candidate for 3 starts right after Doc went down that saw him give up 2 3-0 leads.  A good outing against Tampa Bay today would obvioulsy help the Phils, having just escaped last place again, and within striking distance of the Braves and Mets, both of whom they play before the break, but help his individual case in this somewhat surprisingly competitibve battle to make the all-star club.




  304. Ken Bland says:

    The one thing that stands out about Cliff Lee at this point is that he appears to be the same pitcher he most always has been the last few years.  His velocity is there (93 mph last start), and his outstanding strike-ball ratio is still consistent, and no less than has made him one of the game’s best pitchers.

    That strikes as more important than results.  Cliff always has had stretches where he got banged around for 2-4 starts, but then came back with a vengance.  This year, it seems his own contribututions to demise have been a little more present and painful, but there’s not much that supports its continuation.  Cream just doesn’t settle at the bottom.  Then again, with some excellent innings mixed in, this has been a long down period.

    Despite the sources of non concern, you can’t help but wonder about the psychological puzzle that’s part of the equation.  Not just within Lee’s mind, but the 10th man that has often propelled him to the next level.

    At one time, you’d have needed prophetic vision to see a day where the honeymoon ended between Cliff and the Phillie fans.  Shunning the Apple (and Texas) for reportedly less money, Cliff came home where he belonged to a fan base that couldn’t count it’s 2nd world title in short time fast enough.

    On Friday night, Cliff was rained out but went through warm ups.  The next day, the team website ran a story in which Cliff came across as quite dismayed about having wasted warming up for what apparently was a game the weather gods were simply not allowing.  It didn’t sound anymore off the cuff, whateverish in spirit than anything the detached Lee had ever said before, but now that he’s finally making huge bucks, and giving back leads faster than Nordstrom’s does refunds, the fans reaction is more rushed.  Lee drew some vicious and critical comments in the response section.  That seemed pretty unthinkable at one point.  It almost put him in the case of Cole Hamels, who has quickly drawn criticism at times.

    Cliff will unquestionably, and undoubtedly get his ship righted.  But the when is more of a factor than its been all of a sudden.  He’s closer to getting booed at home than he’s been, and despite some room for optimism in the Phillies struggle of a season, this thing still could head south and find Cliff a possible trade candidate.  Tonight would be a fine time for one of those vintage Cliff Lee 3 hit 10K strikeouts that goes with his walking off the mound after his last pitch, but before the last out toward the plate to bang fists with his catcher.  We’re closer to a non supportive crowd watching Lee pitch than we’ve ever been, and while Cliff was drawn here because the fans don’t need to be told when to cheer by a scoreboard, he is fast approaching a point where he needs to tell the crowd to keep cheering him because he’s still Cliff Lee.  Winning, non event that it’s been, isn’t even an issue any more.  Not giving an inch back is the prime time story.  That’s a dangerous responsibility to carry.  Tonight, maybe 2-0 becomes 4-0, instead of 2-3.  It’d be a welcomed change.  And maybe even a necessary one to curve this at one time unthinkable trend.

  305. Ken Bland says:

    Bastardo’s in off a 29 pitch performance yesterday.  This should be interesting, to say the least.  Particularly off the dreaded leadoff walk now.

    • Ken Bland says:

      It wasn’t so interesting.  Bastardo threw 16 pitches, 6 in the strike zone, generally a sign of fatigue.  Why use bastardo ahead of Diekman in that instance?  Not that you might not have used bastardo as backup to Diekman, but you’ve essentially scratched bastardo from tomorrow night against the Bucs by 2 days use in a row, at 29 and 16 pitches, whereas if Jake didn’t cut it, maybe you bring in Antonio then, and get away with using him lightly enough that he’s at least possible for tomorrow night.

  306. Ken Bland says:

    At least the offense has shown signs of late of being able to offset a a combination of an inept (Qualls) and mismanaged bullpen.  That bodes well for the future, especially with 2 extra hitters close to coming back.  But this bullpen situation…lord have mercy, percy. Within a run going to the 9th isn’t that terrible, if they can’t tie it here.

  307. Ken Bland says:

    If I were left with the chore of summing up today’s doubleheader, it would go like this.

    Ciphor Lee now has an ERA of 5.10 in his last 7 starts.

    Mike Martinez, who points his bat when hitting left handed like he’s Ryan Howard is now hitting .133.  And I suppose in territiry like that, you wanna know his splits.

    Chase Utley’s rehab, about to end, finds him batting .156 through 9 games.

    BJ Rosenberg walked 4 hitters in 1 inning tonight.   This morning, I predicted he’d be the guy called up as the 26th man for the doubleheader.  A spectacular call.

    Small wonder its a Phillies farm club, as opposed to any other organization that sits underwater in Clearwater, Florida tonight.

    As for the future, including Slumpbuster Sterling Joe Blanton, against the Mccutcheon led (.340 average) Pirates tomorrow night…

    Our Father, which art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy Name.
    Thy Kingdom come.
    Thy will be done in earth,
    As it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    As we forgive them that trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    But deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom,
    The power, and the glory,
    For ever and ever.


  308. Mike Donnelly says:

    Phillies losing 2 of 3 to Pitts., not looking like the anomaly it did to begin the year.  Can Phillies tie up the 6 game series ?

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      Never mind didn’t realize this was a 4 game set

      • Ken Bland says:

        That’s an interesting series preview format.  Pick a 3 game series, then realize it’s a foursome, and rather than adjusting, just scratch the whole thing.  Ah, the f-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-i-o-n of Phillies baseball, 2012 edition.

        As adept as the club is at finding ways to lose tbis month, I think they have a good shot tonight.  Mike Fontenot is playing second, so its 9 on 9.  I assume that the Pirates, weak hitters that they collectively are, will not take Sterling out of the park more than once.  

        Sterling actually could go deep into the game.  He still reverts to his innings eater rep on occasion.  It’d be a good night for it, because if they use Bastardo tonight, I’m screaming bloody murder.  That leaves Qualls as the bridge guy, and both CNN and CBS News are reporting that Qualls sucks, so it must be true.  That’s a source of concern.

        Two of the games will be especially tough to win.  Worley-Bedard, but especially the McDonald-Whoever game.  Phills’ll do well to split, but if they can somehow stop beating themselves, they should do at least that well.  probably not much better, but you never know.

  309. Ken Bland says:

    Let’s see if we can get a lockdown inning out of Joe now, even after the long rest.  Be nice to see a game where they jump out, and keep sustaining instead of givingh it back.  Might do wonders for the ballclub’s psyche, whether they’d admit it, or not.

    15 pitches, 10 strikes, no more than 1 baserunner.  That’s the goal. 

  310. Ken Bland says:

    Being as baseball ashows itself to be highly predictable night after night, as in how many peeps have predicted Carlos Ruiz will hit .400 this year, it’s interesting to recall baseball’s last .400 threat, and how much of a longshot he was at one time to hit .400.

    That’d be George brett, who graced the Vet Stadium turf as part of the 1980 World Series lineup.  What’s recalled by even less intense, but still not casual fans, is that brett hit .390 that year.

    On June 10, he was hitting .337.  Oh, by the way, Chooch just upped his average to a robust .360. He had climbed as high as .370, then dropped back to maybe even as low as the high .330s (memory, could be off), but now has gotten back to that .360 mark.

    Brett went on the DL for a month following that June 10 date, but from the time he came back, until the end of the year, hit .421.  That’s four freaking twenty one.  In the post Rogers Hornsby era.  1980.  Very modern day baseball.

    No matter how things work out for Chooch, be it the rest of the year, or on next year’s year over year basis, it’s fascinating that he has rebuilt his number back to .360.  I seriously doubt too many viewed that as possible, likely thinking .370 was the peak, and he wouldn’t get close to that again.  The morale of the story is don’t be predicting against that short, sweet stroke.  Just enjoy the ride.  And what a ride it is, no matter how insignificant batting average is as a statistic.          

  311. Ken Bland says:

    Slumpbuster trivia….

    Who sees .280 first

    a/ Jimmy Shortstop (currtently .266
    b/ Albert (up to .263 w/ 2 for 3 tonight     

    Bonus question

    Who sees <.250 again first

    a/ Jimmy Shortstop
    b/ Albert Pujols       

    • Ken Bland says:

      And one of the most noncompetitive slumpbuster competitions trends to date with decided results.

      Through the next 6 weeks, after play of 8/5/12, The Declining One checks in at .289, and Jimmy Shortstop drops to .245. 

      Not that there’s a point to this, nor a surprise, but the decisiveness since is interesting. 

  312. Ken Bland says:

    That is fireuppedness baseball.  Vance goes as far as he can, after Dubee comes out, tries to give him a chance to regroup, and thenMike Schwimer comes in and squelches the Bucs, with his 2nd effective outing in a row (Saturday, extras).  Tip of the hat to Armberry with a good throw for the double play.

    That’s one of only a small list of things keeping the Phils from a 2nd half run.  1-2 young pen arms, or a trade would be large.  Schwim, getting it done. 

  313. Ken Bland says:

    Just to show the difference between last night and tonight, Erik Bedard had a 1.42 WHIP going in.  James McDonald enters tonight with 62 hits, in 90 innings, offering a WHIP of 0.95.  Night and day in that sense.  I thought Bedard would fare better than he did last night, lefty matchupthat he presented.  Should be a fun game tonight, we’ll see what impact a juiced crowd has, let alone the extra bat in the lineup.  Getting whole is fun.

  314. Ken Bland says:

    Done, was the word Mike Donnelly used.


  315. Ken Bland says:

    This really could be an adventure tonight with Raul closing in on 40 pitches through 2 innings already.  Well, yeah, as its suddenly 3-2.  Can’t let McDonald get settled in, either.

  316. Ken Bland says:
  317. Mike Donnelly says:

    So we split with Pitt, next 9 games are HUGE.  Marlins, Braves and Mets all ahead of us for the wild card spot (yes we are back in last place) If we have any illusions of getting into the post season, we have to win these next 3 series.  If we don’t we are fooling ourselves and should be sellers at the deadline.

  318. Ken Bland says:

    Number of starts left before the break…..

    Cliff (2) tonight and Wednesday…could pitch the last Sunday on 3 days rest, but he’s never done that, and I doubt they’d do it now.  Maybe go 6 innings, or 80 pitches, then have an extra day for the break.

    Cole (2) Saturday and Thursday, so he’d be primed to pitch in the AS game.  Nothing personal, Cole, but whoop-dee-doo.  But, if the pennant race isn’t going to wind up meant to be, it’d be pretty cool.  I assume he’ll make the club.

    Sterling Josephsky (2) – Sunday, and Friday. 

    Vanimal (2) — Tuesday and Sunday

    KK (1)  It may be the lonliest number that you ever saw, but it looks pretty good here.  They could put him off until a week from this tomorrow if they wanted to, but there’s no need for him to get 2 more starts any way you look at it. 

    On Kendrick and Blanton.  Okay, the obligatory preface about not reading into things too much, taken out of context, ad infanitum, but worth a mention…. Joe, start before last, maybe 2 ago, gave up his usual 5-6 earned runs, 2-3 dingers, and said he wasn’t too concerned about the homers.  Say bleeping what?  His homer count is outrageous, and it do matter when not much is working.  Doc, 2 years back gave up a good amount of homers, Cliff can have high homer stretches, but when most everything else is worki ng is tolerable.

    Then Kendrick, yesterday.  yeah, he did regroup, and that counts for something.  But his post game quotes came across like the 5 run inning wasn’t that big a deal.  he focussed on going deep in the game, which was okay, and giving the team a chance to win, which they had, save for the usual lousy at bats with RISP, but the 5 run inning was a serious handicap, and I wouldn’t have minded a little more intensity from either player in those recent quotes.  Burnout? Frustration? Perhaps. I rather dount Dubee and Chuck have any more patience than the vocal fans, and maybe it is time for both to head on down the road.  A little speculative based on attempted mind reading, but that’s life in the poetic license lane of the internet.     


  319. Ken Bland says:

    Early test for Cliff here, a K against Stanton’d be huge.

  320. Ken Bland says:

    The at bats where the matchup is so ridiculous shouldn’t count in the Phils poor RISP performance.  JMJ totally overmatched against Josh, so you hope he hits it anywhere but to a tailor made 6-4-3.  No DP was ever more tailor made.

    Cliff was up with his fastball in 1st.  Maybe by design, trying to get Fish to chase.  See if it continues.

    Looks like a good amount of empty seats tonight.  Tough baseball market.  very tough.   

  321. Ken Bland says:

    I’d bet in up to 3 games ago, the number 3 hitter worked a walk in a situation like that about 4 times.

    Little things differencemaker, setting up Chooch. 

  322. Ken Bland says:

    Cliff leaves with an ERA in excess of 4.  Not a good time to mention it, but would have been nice if Pence ran a better route on the fly ball earlier in the inning.

    I don’t know what else to say about Cliff’s year.  If it’s not him, it’s the offense.  if it’s not the offense, it’s the defense.  Something always goes wrong on his starts.

    Just have to hang in.    

  323. Ken Bland says:

    In a negative mindset about this club already, with today’s 81st game at hand representing the .5 point of a nightmarish year, let’s play grade ‘em out.  This should be fun.  This time’s theme, considering the msiery that is comes up simple.  How many Phillies earn passing grades, as in D or above.

    D, not exactly a stellar grade, is defined as minimally acceptable toward contribution to a contending team, not to be confused with one you have confidence in separating from the select bunch.  Before embarking on the project, it figures to be a short list.  Even several good early season games from a still has it, but seems totally lost Cliff Lee doesn’t earn him a passing mark, so the grading may seem tougher than your average 5th grade teacher, but the goal here isn’t education, it’s winning.

    Carlos Ruiz – if there’s a way he could be better, it’s based on imagination.  How many plusses can go behind an A.

    Cole Hamels – A- – not much to complain about.  Giving up 3-0 leads twice is part of the record, but in the overall scheme of a long half, you can write that off as stuff happens.

    Hunter Pence – C+ – the flaws have become obvious to a fan base that gets on a roll with negativity, but even with less than good timing on some of his better offensive results, on the whole, he’s been a little better than acceptable.  I wish Ted Williams was alive to be this guy’s hitting coach.

    Jonathan Papelbon – C+ – His stats can look gaudy if you place value on the save statistic, but there really has been nothing special about his first half.  They’ve been careful not to overwork him, so you can’t even give him brownie points for overwork.

    Jimmy Shortstop – C – June alone would score him as high as B+, having come alive with the bat, and his usual good baserunning.  April and May drag him down to a very average year on the whole.  But that’s better than many want to give him credit for, myself included at times.

    Doc Halladay – C – forget the reasons, like maybe he actually was hurt, but with a natural tendency to apply a touch of higher standard, Doc was less medical than you’d like to see in H1. 

    Shane Victorino – D – While you won’t win more than a fate driven title with his first half work. he’s played healthy, and isn’t ridiculously far from at least an acceptable year.  But a minus after the D, as in defense wouldn’t warrant a quibble.  Great arm, routes remain a mystery.    

    Mike Schwimer – B- -We’re not talking terrific results, but a graph would show an uptrend, and his recent work could have a positive effect on a bullpen of a contending team.

    Antonio Bastardo – C- – His good nights have been good, his bad nights NOT.  I wonder about the patterns in which he’s used.  Sometimes, he’s underrested, and people expect miracles, some nights when he doesn’t have it, it seems he’s left in to fail.   

    Ty Wigginton – C– – I double minussed his C because he seems to work hard, and is not a terrible bench player.  I don’t know that he’s championship level bench material, but he’s at least performed at close to potential in the first half.  It’s a limited potential if you include defense and hitting righties, but he’s not been unacceptable. Not been unacceptable…what a compliment!

    Juan Pierre – B – He is what he is.  A limited player that has perhaps been overused, but what he does well, he’s done well during H1.     
    Brian Schneider – C – I’ve come to appreciate Brian, so maybe I’m going out of the way to include him.  He coaxed a 7 hit shutout out of Kyle Kendrick, has had a few timely hits, does about as good a job for a backup catcher for an affordable price.

    Sterling Joe Blanton – D – I gotta give Joe his props.  He’s borderline acceptable for a 5 starter on a contending club.  But, as the Manager would say, at the same time, he sucks.  But at the same time is what the Manager says…not sucks. 

    I wish I could include John Mayberry and Placido Polanco on this list.  Polly’s just unacceptable as a regular for a club with high aspirations, despite his still present defensive ability.  Mayberry’s the type you can root for, but the difference between ’11 and ’12 is enormous.  I can’t give either one a grade of acceptable.          

    Well, more passing grades than I thought.  But it’s still as bad as it looks.  Though today’s a new day, and you never know.                     

  324. Ken Bland says:

    23 games in July.  The goal, tangibly is to win 17 games, and chop 4 games off Washington’s lead.  Probably just as important to try to pass a club or two in the division, and finally get out of this last place syndrome. 

    But let’s get more basic.  The underlying goal is to somehow get some confidence going in that locker room, and get solid fundamental play out of a team wide roster that has been inconsistent at thast both offensively, and defensively.

    I figure Doc could start 4 more games than he did in June.  I assume, liberal thinking that it is that in those 4 starts, Doc can be Doc.  That puts an extra arm in the pen in Kendrick, who hopefully can find success in shorter stints.  Cliff could get a couple west coast starts, and hopefully can get his groove back with the spacious starts, and maybe even pitch better before that in a couple division matchups.  Chase gets some timing down, and after the break, starts playing more of an everyday schedule.  And as close to Chase as possible, no less.

    I feel like I’m trying to drag something out of what might not be there, but there’s still time to salvage something from this season that can be used as a foundation.  There’s still a good 3 weeks before you really need to think about retooling, so why not take advantage of the present tense that is.  A win today, and playing well in The Apple would make this seem more realistic than it does coming off a just miserable month, but if Doc’s coming back early, there’s room for a thread of optimism.

    • Ken Bland says:

      comment on Cliff should read spacious parks, not spacious starts.

      Talk about bad fundamentals.  Sheesh.  

      • Ken Bland says:

        Well, I’m just grasping at straws with this.  It seems clear headed enough, but more of the same today.  Vic couldn’t deliver with 2 on in the 8th, and then bastardo comes in, and here come the insurance runs as Hanley goes deep.  It’s just 1 frustration after another that grates on you toward game end, but by next game, you reach for reasons.  And they haven’t shown themsleves inWEEKS!

        Should Papelbon have pitched the 8th to keep it at a run?  I reckon some would say yes.  I dunno.  You have to hold bastardo accountable, Pepelbon possibly keeps it within a run and gives you a chance to win.  But they’ve protected Papelbon all year, and not that he doesn’t have a good amount of innings under his belt, but the underexposure didn’t hurt the result of him making the all star team.  I’m pretty indifferent to that, but happy for Cole and Chooch.

        Heyman said today the Phils are guaging interest in Cole.  Nothing wrong with doing the homework.  Someone surprises with an especially good now or never offer, maybe you think about a deal now, but it’s gotta be extra sweet.  Robbie Ross and Mike Olt for starters seem a good place to start, and in fact, just as an off the cuff thought, even if you could resign Cole, that strikes as a pretty nice starting package.  Olt seems like a good prospect, power at 3rd, and I haven’t kept up with Ross like early, but his propensity for groundballs shown in the spring and early is attractive.

        Freakckin Phiizzies are pissing me off.  So tired of losing.  I miss that winning feeling.    

  325. Ken Bland says:

    Sterling Joe Blanton is doing what he can to make this feel like June 31st.

    How you throw a ball near the strike zone to Stanton is a wonder.  

  326. Ken Bland says:

    A way back in the day, Chuck Wepner one night took a bloodier bloodpath at the hands of Muhammad Ali than paerhaps any other surviving human in a competition.

    Until recent times.

    It is an experience reading the many comments directed at Ruben Amaroin in the blogs and newspaper comment sections.

    Complete destruction.

    No, this is hardly a defense of Senor Amaro.

    But it’s amazing how game after game, or should I accurately say worse game after worse game, it’s the same thing over and over.  Intensity squared if you will.  And as part of the non defense of RAJ that this, it’s not necessarily unjust.


    We have the usual scenario that reminds of the time on this blog when what’s that guy’s name…the coach before Collins…Eddie Jordan was haphazardly running the 76ers.  Any and all commentators would bitch and moan about Jordan, but not a 1 of em ran a consecutive sentence saying who would be better.  So many GMs in the history of sport, Jerry West maybe being an exception had plenty of wins and losses, but the losses grind you more.  But if you wanna complain, it’d be nice if at least 1 person would say I hate Ruben, so and so would be better.

    The other thing is Ruben is half a year into a new 4 year deal.  That’s 3.5 times however many mils he collects per annum.  Fans are so generous with ballclub’s money.  The pro sign Hamels camp, for example, save for a scant few with advanced intelligence don’t seem too concerned with where the cash will come from, especially off almost certain dwindling attendance that might head back up again at some point, but another 200 plus sellout streak long term doesn’t ever again seem real likely.  That doesn’t mean let Hamels go, by the way, it just means it’s kinda cute, yet kinda aggrivating how the primitive quality of fans always leaps to a simple conclusion.  Such is life in sports, I suppose.


    • joof says:

      I see where you’re going with that idea (Money doesnt grow on trees). Many people seem to wonder how the team could sign so many players to huge and sometimes overpriced deals, yet leave a homegrown and young player off that list. Out of all the players they have recently signed, not one is both as promising (young) and homegrown. In 2011, Many would say the phils couldve waited on Howard and got Hamels for less (this is before the injury), or  in 2012 passed on Rollins. Even now, many would say in 2013 they can use Blanton’s, KK’s , Victorino’s (2012), or Utleys space  to keep Cole aboard. Many would also say what about the offense, though. They really need to beef up the minors, yesterday. If they become sellers, maybe they could get a decent AA prospect for Victorino.
      I know they could wait for Lee to come around and deal him next year, and have that option for Halladay.
      I wish we could keep everyone, but it would be a shame if such a good and promising pitcher has to leave when the team has such deep pockets

      • Ken Bland says:

        While you raise a good point along the lines of all the money that’s been spent on others setting up fan expectations, it still has a sense of recklessness in isolation the way some people act like the money’s no object. I just kinda cringe when I see pro blank check type positions 

        Course I’m viewing things as if money doesn’t grow on trees, which the union would have you believe isn’t the case. 

        Seems they should sign him, but after a year and 3 months of this,  I’m pretty tired of thinking about it, but did have that brief reaction pass through my mind in reading some stuff.   

        Here’s something I wrote yesterday, which I thought was pretty interesting in sidestepping the subject, and bringing up a longshot related topic.

        The Hamels stories have become exhausting and excruciating. They are at a point of challenging a healthy mentality. But the intensity won’t die. I’m at a stage where I don’t even care. That’s not the final stage, but the way it is for now.
        I find myself more intruiged by a very low possibility that I feel bears at least a minimal degree of watch.
        There’s a very small chance that Roy Halladay coming back as soon as possible carries a curse, if you will, to it. That’s if you like seeing him in Phillie red.
        Jim Salisbury, as recently as after the 11-1 Met pounding wrote “Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino could all be trade candidates if the Phils keep freefalling.”
        Lee has been defined as difficult to trade. He’s still considered a valuble commodity, but carries a lot of financial obligation, and a possibly tricky no trade when you consider how few clubs match up with him making sense. Yet, a reliable Jim Salisbury repeated Cliff’s name in that context that recently.
        Doc, on the other hand, carries less obligation in length, and money. And while Cliff, despite his 2012 results is worthy of many accolades for past results, he was very seldom ever considered Doc’s equal.
        Halladay has said all the right things. Even when the story about his 2014 option becoming shaky due to his injury became a topic of public awareness, Doc said he wanted to finish his career in Philly. But did you notice the amazing silence that emminated from the Phils front office, and fan base off that?
        Did you see a couple days ago, the losing streak at 5, where Doc said words to the effect of it’s up to us (the players) to keep pushing. The only push I’ve seen recently before, or since is the Phils getting pushed around.
        So I’m not here to tell you that Roy Halladay will be traded. The we don’t know what we’re talking about but let’s do it anyway rumor mill has spun that out of control with Cole Hamels, and will continue doing so every year of future naseball history.
        But I am here to tell you that if Doc pitches like Doc in 3-4 starts prior to the deadline, and if this club continues plunging faster than a deep sea diver, Doc might look at all the 20 something talent around the division, might realize how short time is, and might be very attractive to a club that like the Phillies, doesn’t discuss their trade strategies publicly. If we, as fans, find this crap frustrating, how do you think a guy like Doc finds it? There’s a year more committment to Doc than there is Cole with his out and out rent a player tag, and as Doc has shown, he’s a rare breed where it’s not about the money. He didn’t hold up the bank to come here, and gave his blessing for the club to pay Cliff Lee more than him. Pitching well in July might spur a Halladay trade market while everyone’s talking about Hamels. To me, the smart GMs will be watching this ready to kick the tires even if the story never reaches rumor monger publicity levels. It’s not a likely devlopment, but it’s not a desperate diversion to get away from the exhausted Hamels story.



        • joof says:

          wow, I never thought about halladay being traded. He makes more sense than Lee. I dont see how a team would take on his salary (I forget how many years he has left). Halladay even gives a team the chance to make his deal either 1.5 or 2.5 years.
          I must be really out of the loop. I didnt even know Pence was a possible trade canidate. For some reason, I’ve automatically wrote off players with larger contracts as being untradeable. Like who would ever trade for Howard, Utley, Rollins etc. But Pence is doing alright, and a team may need a player who can bat in the 5 or 3 hole.
          I know this is such an overdone topic, but at what point in July are the phillies officially sellers (not maybe). 13 games out of 1st and 10 out of the last wildcard 1 game playoff.
          On a completely random note, I really like the extra wildcard. It gives the NL leader an actual advantage in the playoffs.

          • Ken Bland says:

            Halladay isn’t getting traded too fast.  But there’s a decent chance, or a small chance some creative GM comes up with a list of candidates and calls Ruben and kicks the tires with a speciific proposal.  It might even reach a point where they discuss the possibility with Doc. 
            I don’t see it playing through, but it’s not impossible.  

            They have control of Pence for 1 more year.  Arbitration “assures” him of getting in the 13 mil area.  He could bring back a half decent package, but in all liklihhod, not what Ruben gave up for him, or at least based on how guys like Singleton have shown in the minors.  Pence has fairly acceptable numbers on the whole, but he’s become subject to the criticism Werth did his last year.  The timing of his hits can grate on your nerves.  I actually like him better than I thought I would (wasn’t too excited about acquiring him over Beltran), but he’s getting on a lot of nerves.  Chances are he never develops the discipline that enables him to show off his good offensive skill he has on a more consistent level, but he’s a very mediocore OF. You can’t help but get the impression that a lack of smooth coordination will not allow for much change in his defensive ability.  Patience at the plate, or at least some of it doesn’t seem as hopeless.  But bad habits several years into Show level play don’t necessarily change easily.

            At what point do you officially become a seller?  Here’s a day or 2 old quote from Amaro…
            “We plan on being contenders in ’13, ’14, ’15 and ’16,” said Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to reporters (including Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer) when asked about selling at the deadline (Sulia link). “So we’re not blowing this team up. That’s not going to happen, regardless of what happens over the next couple of weeks.”

            So there’s no magic, or necessarily right answer.  But this extra wild card complicates it because the Phils, as of a count last night are 8.5 out of the 2nd wild card, and have to pass 7 teams.  Or real close to those exact numbers.  That’s not as bleak as 13 out with 4 teams to pass for the East title, so you hope and fantasize about Howard and Halladay making a difference, and fall into a trap of thinking maybe it’s not so bad.  Aside from I dunno, maybe 10 players, maybe 12 (top of the head guesstimate) on the roster, it’s close to that bad.  And getting older by the day.  Amaro’s quote shows the fine line between optimism ad delusion.

            Kendrick V Tim Hudson Friday night.  But at least you get to watch Ryan Howard bat as many as 4 times.   



  327. Ken Bland says:

    One way of defining vintage Cliff Lee is starting strong, and getting even stronger as the game goes.  Could be said for a lot of good/great pitchers, but at least Cliff started strong with 2 nice 1st inning K’s.  Looked pretty confident, and pleased with the results, which is a pretty liberal observation, but at least it’s a good start.

    Course he’s also had games whyere he started strong, and then it was a bloop and bleeder followed by a line drive, so the fingers remain crossed. 

  328. Ken Bland says:

    WP – Cliff Lee

    You’re only as good as your last start.


  329. joof says:

    That’s interesting about the trades and Amaro’s quotes. I really wonder where the team will find offense next year. I guess they are banking on Howard solidifying the clean up spot, and Utley playing a final 1/2 year at 2b. It seems like they need a 2 hitter and a 6 hitter in 3b and LF. I have a feeling they also banked on D Brown stepping into the 2,6, or 7 spot in the lineup. I believe Victorino is a FA. Hopefully they dont overpay but they may be in a tough spot like they were at SS coming into 2012.
    Does Blanton really make 10 million? I just looked up the roster on espn.

    • Ken Bland says:

      I didn’t cyheck on Joe, I know his average for the 2 years is 8…might well be a 10 mil balloon this year.

      A quote about 2 weeks ago that made sense was they might not move an outfielder because they have no depth.  Good trivia question…name one OF prospect the Phils have near ready besdies Domonic.  I could say the answer is who says Domonic is ready, but that’d be cold, and I’m still holding out hope that his athletic talent translates to baseball success at some point.  But they really have no outfield depth.  Nix and Pierre are stopgaps, certainly Pierre.   

      Not impossible to see Polly at 3rd again next year.  he’s got a 5.5 mil mutual option, and his defense is still pretty good.  You’d like to think he’ll move on, or sign for less as a utility guy, but you need to give up a lot to get one of the blue chip 3B prospects.  

      Vic is indded a free agent.  He picked a great year to really and truly suck.   

      • Ken Bland says:

        Joe’s deal is 3 years.  Not 2.

        The typo king has spoketh. 

      • Mike Donnelly says:

        If Polly is back next year I will become a Yankees fan.  I want Polly, Vic, Blanton, Jose C.,  all gone next year.   Impossible, but I’d love to see Utley cut loose ASAP as well.  And go back in time and not resign Jimmy R.

    • Mike Donnelly says:    Pete’s awesome chart Says Blanton at 8.5 million what a waste.  That might be an average and not actual

      • Ken Bland says:

        The 8.5 mil is what baseball refernce has also.  First year of the 3 year deal (same source) he got 3 mil, then 10.5 mil, now the 8.5.  So he got 22 mil, not the 24 I thought earlier.

        I’d describe Plac as a likely longshot to be back as a regular, but thought there was enough chance to mention it.   

  330. Ken Bland says:

    Nothing original to say about tonight’s game.  Ridiculously similar pattern to the last 5 weeks, Howard or no Howard, and Utley, or no Utley, too.  The club keeps losing, and you feel drained by game’s end, come back the next day, block out the reality of the standings, look forward to at least watching a good game, even though you know it won’t happen because of the pitching matchup, or the bullpen availability, and get deflated by game’s end once again.

    There’s something that’s still fun about it, but I’d be hard pressed to define what it is.  I know this, though.  Watching the results of the last few weeks, and the less failed struggle of the rest of the year, you can easily forget what good baseball is.  Digging into the archives, if you watched a Phils game from any of the last few years, you might be amazed at just how poorly the 2012 club has played.  You kinda get used to it, in a sense.

    I’ll look forward to seeing the club play well in whatever spots they do after the break.  I assume those stretches will occur, but that is an assumption.  Even in those stretches, they won’t be a championship club, and that’s the real drag of this year.  Come october, game after game will be good, competitive, top notch baseball.  I miss that.  Dearly.  But a night after night dose of that for 3 weeks will be a welcome change from this pain.  Watching this, following it is part of the story, and within this franchise, I’m a story guy to an extent.  I’m a winning guy first.  And I miss that.    

    Ah well.  There is life besides baseball.  Time to get after it. 


  331. joof says:

    do you watch every game no matter what Ken??  Im wondering if you have watched every game for consecutive yrs

    • Ken Bland says:

      No, but the Phillies are part of my priority list, so I watch most innings of most games.  I’m in I guess a rennaissance with baseball, following it more closely than I have at other times over the years.  So I’ve paid a level of attention to it that compares to part of my childhood.  Sort of a self indulgence reward for some of the doing what I had to do, rather than what I wanted to do that life takes you through. 

      • Ken Bland says:

        Too bad I answered that unknowingly of the fact that it was the 500th post of the thread.  Not that 500 posts is like 500 homers, but it seems like there’s something noteworthy about it.  This one would be more fitting, as a reminder of good times, short lived as the 1964 calendar allowed them to be.

        Today is the 48th anniversary of Johnny Callison taking Dick Radatz deep to give the NL a 7-4 All-Star game win.  A combination of the All-Star game seeming far more meaningful, and the formerly woebegone Phils being represented by a dramatic winning hit was a truly memorable experience. 

  332. joe says:

    So according to the Braves broadcast (claiming they got the info from the Philly writers), Shane was a late scratch becouse he complained and din’t want to hit 7th.  Good job Charlie taking a stand, now if he would only do it with Rollins, the guy who set the precedent of here is where I want to hit or else type attitude.  The line-up doesnt look half bad if you put Rollins in his place (as in 7th or more likely 8th).  Pierre shouls hit no lower than 2nd, and BTW from the other night, Mayberry should never be pinch hitting for Pierre, but especially when all you need is a single.  I guess that was Thurs. in the 8th, Pierre is almost literally twice as likely to get a hit then Mayberry, and no left/right didnt apply since Mayberry ended up facing a righty.  The Braves annoucers joked Charlie must start getting to the park early to find out where the guys want themselves to hit.   Good job taking a stand though today, now if he would only let Pierre hit leadoff (or even Vic).  Now that Rollins is a shell of his former self, does it even matter if he slacks off and only hits .200 down in the line-up.  How much better is he at the top?

    • Ken Bland says:

      I think it was Ryan Lawrence, beat writer for the Delco Daily Times (or something like that) who roughly 2 months ago tried to clear up this misnomer about Jimmy.  He said it was true that as a younger player, Jimmy fulfilled this reputation of wanting to hit leadoff.  But he’s gone to Charlie this year, and maybe last, and said hit me wherever you want.  Not in an obnoxious tone, but with a willing attitude. 

      Fact is, Jimmy only shows having so much left to hit anywhere in the lineup.  See the way Raul got hot last year?  That’s Jimmy.  If he plays another 3 years, or 4, he’s got hot streaks left in him (he’s always been streaky anyway), but as players wind down, the streaks become more pronounced.  Jimmy’s not a real asset to any lineup in any place in the lineup.

      But that seems pretty low on the list of things wrong with this floundering team.  It’s a long, and emphatic list.     

  333. Mike D says:

    How is it we are 2 games in the loss column from dead last in the conference, yes the entire National League and Rubin can’t decide if we are sellers or buyers ?  We clearly showed we can’t beat the miserable 3 teams ahead of us for the wild card, and neither the magic of Utley or Howard being back is helping.  Time to restock and get ready for next year.

    • Ken Bland says:

      I don’t know how much of a big deal I’d make of his public positioning, but even if selling is so clearly the way to go, it’s not so easy to decide who to sell, and what you can get for them with being paralyzed by some of these contracts.  It’ll take some real wizardry to get out of this mess within a year or two.

      Like it seems obvious that you need a 3rd baseman, but with zero candidates within the system, how much and where do you overpay for a legitimate candidate.  How many actual trade chips does the club have? Trading Pence seems one answer, but the outfield is already weak.  Deal Cole, and you lose your one good young pitcher, and how much you can get for him as a rent a player is plenty debatable. It’s a major mess.  If you can separate disdain for Amaro from the task at hand, no matter how much he contributed to this mess, you still have to empathize with what is, and how hard it’s gonna be to get out of it.

      Hopefully, it’s at least a little simpler than I’m making it out to be, but I don’t see anything simple about this.

      • jjg says:

        With benefit of hindsight, Adrian Beltre was THE 3rd baseman market play 3 yrs ago, not Polly; nice production w/BOS, TEX since.  One of many personnel botchings by Ruben Jr.

        Uh oh.  The ’69 Phils, whom I mentioned tongue-in-cheek awhile back in speaking of this year’s titans, were 38-49 at this same juncture.  Finished season at 63-99, 37 games back of the Miracle Mets.  Manager Bob Skinner, a former Marine, gave up the fight at 44-66, ceding finishing duties to third base coach George Myatt (19-35). 

        Will Charlie finish the season?  A change is unlikely but yaneverknow.  Depends on resident fat cats’ 2nd half performances and general tenor of team come dog days.  





        • Ken Bland says:

          Still, to acquire Beltre, particularly after that year with Boston, which set him up for a rich, multi year deal, you need to factor in what deal wouldn’t have been made to affoird the extra 10 mil Beltre cost above Polanco to really hammer home the point.  But Beltre the last 3 years at the Bank would certainly have been quite interesting. And the residual effect of moving forward is interesting to think about also.  Beltre negates having to go out and spend the package that was dealt to Houston for Pence. Or if this fits the timeline of when beltre was acquired (not sure), if the Howard contract wasn’t created to make that money available, how much better off, or worse would the Phils be now at first base. 

          Ruben’s worst move will probably never be cut and dried.  He’s had a couple drafts now, a low position hasn’t set the club up well, but we’ll see how much talent comes out of them.  All we know for now is that Jesse Biddle is here, and 2 of the 3rd base prospects being bandied about in the Hamels discussions (Olt and Castellanos) were drafted after him.  Again, this year, they focussed on pitching early.  Pitching’s important, but there doesn’t seem a lot of depth at the everyday positions, so you wonder about the strategies.  Not that I’m anything close to a draft expert, but that stood out.

          I wonder what would have happened if the Phils had won the Cespedes bidding this winter and movede Victorino then.  That would have been a courageous move, but Cespedes presence might have provided some seemingly needed spark around this club.  Not that Cespedes is the perfect player, but in the hindsight game, we can take Victorino’s year for what it’s worth…a disappointment.   


          • jjg says:

            Good point on possible ramifications of a Beltre hitch. 

            Ya never know how someone will respond to playing in Philadelphia (Lance Parrish) but if Adrian could play in Boston cauldron, think he would’ve done well here too.

            Biddle seems to have talent, but I can’t help but think his being chosen didn’t spring from Montgomery-Amaro Inter-Ac/Friends schools links/leanings.

            Missing spark.  Is it ever! 

          • jjg says:

            Rewrite:  DID spring

  334. jjg says:

    I was all for Pence’s arrival.  Turns out he’s a naturally strong, hackin’, live wire.  Plays outfield like few before him, two of them being Domonic Brown and Pete Gray.  Talented and intense, like Jimmy Piersall.  Engenders mixed feelings.     

    Will Juan Samuel ever live up to his enormous left side coaching box potential following recent crash? 

    Speaking of 80s fizzles, wonder if whizzing-by kid Jeff Stone is still comparing moons of the U.S?  The late Ron Jones could flat-out hit, but not without 2 knees (was a sad night in Shea Stadium, despite the win).  And Wally Ritchie at 46 could help current bullpen.

    By the way, “Trailways” Dom has 57 HRs in 2201 minor league plate appearances in 7 pro seasons, or 1 every 38.6 box entrances.  “Darryl Raspberry.”  To be fair, Phils management seems to have  yo-yoed him more than is player beneficial. 

    • Ken Bland says:

      I’m not being critical of the Pence acquisition, if anything, it’s what they gave up for the guy.  Singleton and Cosart would not have to have been dealt to acquire a righty hitter if Beltre had been signed.  But it was a competition to get pence, and you had to deal quality to get him.  Pence really has been what was advertised on the whole, a nice complimentary player.  Then again, so was Von Hayes, and he was expensive also. 

      • jjg says:

        Didn’t think you were being critical of Hunter.  Hayes, Pence:  complementary players pushed to the forefront.  Amaro’s “cost” of acquiring obvious names is what’s emptied the minor league cupboard.  He’s been a GM in a candy store – - “I’ll have one of those, and two of those…”  Stanford isn’t erecting his statue.   

        • Ken Bland says:

          I have 2 questions for you.

          As you well know, attendance lags a teams success/failure by a year.  So at this rate, at least, the sellout streak will end next year.  What will be the smallest announced crowd next year be for a single game.  Like a Tuesday night against the Padres. 

          Second, what kind of money will Blanton sign for on his nexyt contract.

          These are in reply to jjg’s post, but I’d be curious in any other guesses.

          • Mike Donnelly says:

            Randy Wolf with a nearly 6 ERA makes 9+ million from the Brewers, so I guess Blanton could still make 5-7 million per year.  Although teams right in the middle like the Brewers hardly pay anything to their pitchers so around 3 million for Blanton. Personally I’d offer him a minimum contract.

          • jjg says:

            With Stub Hub savin’ their keisters this year, a chilly night vs Astros in late April ’13 might be up the road attendance nadir … pencil me in at 26,411 (including those watching game at McFadden’s Beer Garden). 

            Sonic Drive-In’s finest righthander should pull in a tray of green given that he’s good for 30 starts and a 4-5 ERA.  How much?  Very seldom do healthy vets bite a bad onion.  I’ll say somebody’ll give him 8.5 again for a trial, emphasis on give.  Stay tuned for unveiling of the JB Rocket Burger.  

          • Ken Bland says:

            I don’t know what’s more flabbergasting, Randy Wolf having garnered 59 million dollars in at exaggerated best, a slightly better than average career, or the thought of some lunatic paying Sterling Joe 8.5 mil next year.  I may be wayyyyy off base, and ultimately shocked, but a month ago, I had come up with an off the top of the head 4 mil, sequential long balls now have me thinking he’ll make closer to 3 than 5, but Randy Wolf at 59 mil on the career says it all.

            That is a fabulous guess on the single game attendance low for next year.  reason being I came up with the thought (well, I didn’t come up with it, Dave Montgomery probably did tossing and turning during one of the last 10 games), and decided on 26,000.  Course I gave it the old second thought, as guessers are proned to do, and thought that’s prolly low, so I’m glad I didn’t offer up any smart to ignore it anyway guesswork, and am in close company on the guessing front.

            Stat of the first half, which may or may not be sabermetrically conducive….

            fewest player only team meetings….2012 Philadelphia Phillies…..ZERO.

            Nice leadership, guyes.  Not to say it would have helped.           

          • jjg says:

            Randy Wolf.  Softball great.  Like the late George Ulmer of Flatiron AC – 1,000 wins, 150 no-hitters, 10,000 strikouts, 9 Central Atlantic titles. 

            I’m still laughing from your inclusion of “The Lord’s Prayer” in response to Phils play.

  335. joe says:

    just going by the mets announcers, but Wigginton maybe something others could want, Ron Darling was saying how it would be great to have his right handed bat on the mets bench.  They also sounded like they would love to get Vic, but I know we wont trade him in the division.  But they have to sell.  The problem with all the focus going to piching is Charlie, thats not the way he manages (wont let an ace go on short rest in playoff, in fact I thought that was a reason they wanted halliday over lee), can’t/won’t play much small ball.  For a Manuel team, you need to focus on bats, becouse thats the way he manages.  I know I mentioned I thought it was foolish to pinch hit Mayberry for Pierre the other night in the 8th when a single opens up a bigger lead- but the only rational I could thin of for using Mayberry is he may have a better chance of getting a double or 3 run homer than Pierre.  Pierre leading off can create runs, we have seen him do it this year a couple times and many times in his career, something like this Pierre gets an infield hit, steals second, moves to 3rd on an out, then finds a way to get home.  But when he is up with 1 out (if hitting 2nd) already that doesnt work, and I dont think you should be using your 1 guy who hits for a high average as your 7th hitter.  I know you say Rollins will hit anywhere, but to my eyes his effort isnt the same.  Jimmy is now your old fashioned 80′s shortstop, little scar from his bat but good glove (8 hole hitter).  I would like them at least try Pierre at leadoff, Vic (or when healthy polanco) 2nd, utley, howard, ruiz, pence, 3rd baseman if Ty W or Rollins if not, then Rollins or misc 3rd baseman.  These Phils now remind me of my beloved Cowboys under Wade Phillips (a players coach like Charlie, not a hard ass like a Parcells or Larussa), but the teams needs disipline, going from a tough guy coach to a players coach (bowa to manual or Parcells to Wade) works great for a while and the players love it at first, but when it goes south and discipline is needed the “players coach” cant just change and when/if they try it don’t work until an overhaul is done.  they need to be open to selling whatever they can right now.  Can probably get bites on all the outfielders (except Mayberry, BTW quit trying to find the next Jason Werth ie fransico and mayberry and acknowledge that that was more the rare exception than a normal rule), Wigginton, Hammels, and I would try to unload Rollins even if it means eating alot of money.  Only untouchables IMO are Ruiz and Halliday/Lee/ Papelbon- this year is over, the faster that is ackowledged the better.  if we sell there may still be a short window in the future, do nothing at it looks closed for a while

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      I would add Worley, Stutes and Bastardo as untouchable only because all three are valuable and under contract for so little money for very long time period.  And maybe Freddie as well

    • Ken Bland says:

      There are 2 problems with using Pierre as the leadoff hitter.  Well, “problems” might be the wrong word, depending on how much you subscribe to something like guys getting used to certain places in the order.

      One, is that he really can’t play everyday.  You put a guy with his defensive ability in an everyday role at this point, and it’s asking for trouble.  I don’t know about fooling around with multiple leadoff men. 

      And secondly, while in theory, he has a lot of good leadoff qualities, especially historically, he’s really adjusted well to hitting second.  He’s batted twice as much in the 2 hole (17 games leading off) , but has much gaudier numbers in terms of OBP, and OPS.  Besdides that, I don’t know who should hit second.  Neither Polly or Vic seem worth an extra at bat hitting up so high.    

  336. Mike Donnelly says:

    Phillies 11-22 vs. the division and have to play 13 series or nearly half of all remaining games vs. the division.  Yep.  toast.

  337. phillyfan says:

    Whoa!!! Lets hold the horses here. 

    First, lets remember the joy that this team provided us for 6 years, including a World Title.  Lets not turn into typical “philly fans” as soon as the end appaers in sight.  Let’s not be the reason Rollins and HAmels adopt the Mike Schmidt opinion of Philly fans.  Guys like Rollins, Utley and Howard gave up their prime years and they were great years and they delivered a title.  Lets not forget that!!!  They get a free pass in my book.

    Second, this team still should be planning for a World Title in 2013.  The talent is there.  If you want to let 2012 go, fine. I think the correct way to view this year, and I think it is correctly shared by RAJ, is that it is “one of those years” where everything just goes wrong.   But all moves for the rest of the year should be with an eye to compete next year, not 5 years from now. No firesales for this team.  At worst, for next year if not aces anymore we have two very good top of the rotation guys in Halladay and Lee, a healthy Howard, Pence, Ruiz, Rollins and Papelbon.  This team still has alot of talent. 

    If they can resign Hamels, they go into next year with the best starting rotation in the NL.  If they can’t sign him then trade him for either a 3rd baseman or outfielder that would be an impact on offense next year, and a future prospect.  TRade Victorino for  a bullpen arm that we could rely on next year.  Bring up D. Browm for a long look. I think the below lineup is still capable of winning a title with good balance between ave offense, ave defence, better than ave starting pitching and closer and a shored up bullpen over the winter and with Vict trade:

    1. Rollins
    2. Utley
    3. Pence
    4. Howard
    5. Ruiz
    6. Brown
    7. 3rb Base/Outfielder from HAmels Trade
    8. Outfielder/3rd baseman FA signing

    SP: Halladay, Lee, Worley, Blanton, (Other)


  338. Ken Bland says:

    I’m still laughing from your inclusion of “The Lord’s Prayer” in response to Phils play.>>

    Yeah, but it worked.  They won 1 of the last 10.

    If they try losing all 10 of a 10 game stretch after the break, maybe we’ll try whip out the old beanie cap, and try a baruch or something.

    I understamd the baseball gods and how to talk to them. 


  339. jjg says:

    The Lord understands all.


  340. Mike Donnelly says:

    I remember the good old days when Ken had “Sea Level” as his avatar.  Sigh…  At least with no games being played the Phillies can’t lose.

    • Ken Bland says:

      Beat the hell out of one I had for Last Place. 

      Here’s an off the wall prediction that counters history for ya.

      Counters history in the sense that he’s had about 27 straight years of employment, or hope of it that was pretty much realized, though perhaps with some patience at times.

      I have a weird feeling Jamie Moyer will announce his retirement in the next couple days.  He’s been released by 2 different clubs (O’s and Jays) in the last 3 weeks after signing monor league deals that in both cases, failed to result in a single major league start.  And I seriously doubt he’s had many suitors since the Colorado experience earlier this year.

      I suspect Jamie still feels very confident that he can pitch at the big league level.  I’m guessing the trigger behind his decision would be he’s given clubs enough chance to sign him, and give him a chance to pitch in the bigs.  The lack of opportunity is the convincing item that his time is up.  If it works out that way, he’s very likely made up his mind, and as a classy guy, doesn’t want to upstage the AS game.

      Course it’s possible he hangs on and waits a couple weeks to see if anyone gets hurt.  You get this close to pitching at age 50, waiting it out’s reasonable, and predicting the timing of his retirement’s like trying to win the lottery without a ticket, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it goes down that way.      


      • Mike Donnelly says:

        Jamie ought to learn how to throw the knuckle ball and extend his career for another 10 years.  Let’s recall another, now, gem of mine.

        Trade Cole.

        We don’t need him this year that much is obvious.  We will get some (1-3) prospects back, which makes the Phillies a better team and a more attractive team for free agents to sign here.  It is also painfully obvious Cole wants the hubbub of Free agency.  He has earned it.  And who wouldn’t want the attention and fanfare. 

        So then we sign him back in free agency, which is all we could do anyway even if he was still on team at the end of the year.  It totally makes sense, AND now we know Cole is fine with that.

        Possible reasons for rejecting my brilliance?
        1) Phillies win 50+ games in second half vs. NL East division and need him in playoffs. Actually very sad for any one who believes this.
        2) Cole gets traded and becomes comfortable elsewhere.  A real risk, but worth a good prospect.

        • Ken Bland says:

          I was going to write a little blurb tonight on part of this, so it’s well timed preceding stuff that you got into this trade Cole and then re-sign him thing.  You’ve been on that for a while, Mike, and I suppose the steam it’s picked up has softened my view of that from how unlikely it is, but I still think you need a lot of blind faith to think it could happen.

          Matt Stairs voiced today what I think is a pretty common thought, that if it gets far enough to where Cole gets to free agency, he’ll have a different mindset than the willingness with which he answered Leslie G’s question a few days back.  Stairs, in simpler terms offered the view that if he’s traded, he’s long gone.

          While that’s still my thinking, I could see some uniqueness to the Phillies situation.  It just doesn’t work like that, but 2 names that did it, in longer processes were Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitt.  That Cliff did it with the Phils makes you think it’s at least possible.  But he’s got to be traded first.  That’s hardly inevitable.  



  341. Ken Bland says:

    Well, last night of the break.  I guess a little long for some fans, I’ve found it a healthy break, probably accented by the way the end of H1 went down.

    Any expectations, or optimism or pessimism worth anyone’s time to voice?

    14 games is a ridiculous amount to make up in 70 some games.  It’s been done, but you need a good club to do it.  I’d define odds against the Phils being thast kind of club at pretty good.  Plus, you need problems on behalf of the chasee.  That’s a pretty outside shot by the upstart Nats, too.  Not to mention other traffic to pass. 

    I suspect the Phils might make the wild card a little interesting, but I’m not real confident about it.

    All that’s longer term mirage stuff, and wisely pretty generic.  Point A is first.  Pretty simple.  Show some improved fundamentals, capitalize on Doc’s return easing a lot of pressure on a number of people.  Even before that is attitude when the players reconvene tomorrow.  If there’s focus, there’s half a chance to reach point A.  If the break offered such superficial healing that a loss or 2 over the weekend reignites the massive frustration that must be in the clubhouse, it ain’t good.

    Whatever the highest level of achievemkent is left to be had, I suspect the Phils need to win 5 of 6 between the Rox and Bums to set it in motion.  I think the Phils won 8 of 9 on a coast trip last year, including a comeback from 6-0 in a day game at LA that Vanimal struggled early in, but settled down.  When you don’t need to play well, it’s easier to do just that.  Now, they need to.  Let’s see how they do against that backdrop.






    • Ken Bland says:

      14 games is a ridiculous amount to make up in 70 some games.>>

      Here’s the good news and bad news on a 14 game lead, which is Washington’s plus over the Phils.  The 1976 Phillies, who were an extremely interesting and fun team to watch, particularly since the 1964 ghosts still had their albatross grip around the Phils fans collective necks had a 15 and a half game lead going into play on August 25th of that yearThe club’s record was 82-41.  After a Phils loss on Friday September 17, which dropped the record to 88-58, they held a 3 game lead over the early version of the We are Family Bucs. 

      The bad news, from a Pirate standpoint, would be they expended so much energy gatting to within 3 and 16 games left, that at least as memory recalls, they just ran out of wind.  And the Phils started playing better, or they wouldn’t have finished the 9 games ahead of Pittsburgh that they did.

      One way or another, there’s an absurd amount of baseball left to be played.     


  342. Mike Donnelly says:

    Interesting thought on WIP.  Offer Cole say 3yrs and 90 million.  Keeps the Howard/Utley/Rollins & Lee/Doc window alive and let’s Cole get another bite of the free agent apple when he turns 31 yrs old. 

    Remember Cliff got his monster deal at age 32.  This lets Cole get 2 monster deals instead of 1.  Because if he does a 6-7 deal, he won’t get another monster shot at age 34-35.

    Paying Cole 15 now, get rid of Shane 9, and Polly 6 and you have the 30 per year you need.  Interesting I think.  

    Oh, I heard on WIP talk about trading Cole to the Dodgers for prospects & then attempting to get him back in F.A.   NOOOOOOO  !    I am not in favor of this at all.  No way can you let him get comfortable & try out Dodger blue, ’cause they will certainly be #1 in the pack to take a run at him.  You have to be smart and take a trade (even if getting less) that you feel he is unlikely to sign long term.

    • Ken Bland says:

      Interesting thought on WIP.>>

      I’m of the view that the last time WIP carried an interesting thought, Ken Garland did mornings.  Why let what’s essentially true interfere with a fine line.

      Case in point.    

      You can forget this 3 year 30 mil nonsense.  Hamels, if he goes to free agency is virtually certain to have at least 1 offer that goes for 5-7 years, with an opt out clause after 3 years.  The security of the extra years would be ridiculous to pass up.  Hamels might insist on such a thing with the Phils for the reason suggested, in case the window’s closed, but he’s not just signing for 3 years.  At 30 mil per, he’d be making about 20 mil more toal, and exposing himself to a lot of ill fated possibilities.  Assuming the reports are true, why do you think Tim Lincecum wanted an 8 year deal with the Giants?  Think he’s helped his future with the year he’s had? 

      No offense to Glen Macnow or William Randolph “Sonny” Hill with the above editrial about WIP.  But the station should lose their FCC license if Hamels is dealt, and they take calls from Herman in Vineland (not to be confused with Vinnie in Brooklyn, mind you) on if the Phillies can resign him as a free agent.  What a bunch of ratings driven slop.



  343. Ken Bland says:

    So John Smallwood decided to write a DN piece today comping the ’82 Phils to this motley bunch.  I just saw the headline, choosing not to read it.  So I’m treading slippery water by comping the Phils to a different unit.  That’d be Germany, in late 1944.  They were still in the game, but you knew it was over.

    Saw a good line tonight.  With runners on 2nd and 3rd and Pence up, the guy on 2nd should steal 1st so Pence hits with fewer runners in scoring position.

    Haven’t checked the standings to verify this, but looks like the Phils need to win out to win the division.


  344. jjg says:

    Ken, You beat me to it.  Prior to reading this morning, I said to myself, this team is a dead frog.  July 15, 15 down, 17 in loss column, no pulse, no Dallas Green intern.
    Utley – Brookie after his broken leg, minus the personality of course
    Howard - extremely wealthy clown whose “dynamite” is gone 
    Lee - antonym of “bargain”; the ‘winding down Jim Kaat’
    Victorino – spent casing (in this town), contract-fretting overachiever
    Pence – spaz, big kid; a useful curio but a disappointment
    J-Roll – J-Stroll/Money Roll
    Polly – Mr. Rearview Mirror
    Holiday – gamer but always looks constipated; gimme Jim Palmer  
    Mayberry – Absolutelynotberry
    Papelbon – why?
    bench – plywood
    bullpen – call FEMA 
    Chooch – Purple Star
    Cole – a fine #2
    Cholly - gold watch or Double Bubble stock time
    Phillyphan, you holding out hope?

    • phillyfan says:

      Absolutely!  They are 10 games out of the playoffs.  On paper they are a better team than any of those above them after the divsiion leaders.  Keep it simple. By August 1 be 8 games out, Sept 1 – 4 games out.  IF they can achieve those 2 goals, which are not unreasonable at all, I think better than 50/50 they make the playoffs. 


      • jjg says:

        It’s the only approach to take, phillyfan.  Problem is, gotta win 2 of 3 just to reach 87.  ’07-’11 teams might o’ had a shot (but what would it ensure anyway?).  This year, I don’t believe.  Forget back of baseball card numbers of the prime 25, something relating to spirit is missing in the clubhouse and on the field.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Hamels and Victorino are outta here in 10 days. 

  345. joe says:

    the only questions I have right now with this team will be answer by the tradedeadline, and that is, Is the winning run over for good (No trade made) or do we sell and try again next year?  This mess is broken.  The we can make a run folks realize we are very close to the worst recond in the NL than we are the wild card.  Sad state things are in, new blood is needed and was needed after last seasons disappointment.  Which is why I was so down on bringing rollins back?  It was a chance to at least inject some new blood/life in the lineup- for better or worse changhe is needed.  Sticking to status quo with all the main peices didnt make it hard to figure out the direction things were heading.  older team getting older, goodnt score against good pitching./ in the clutch, etc

  346. Ken Bland says:

    “The Yankees can say all they want that they won’t trade,” Gammons said (LISTEN HERE). “I do think it’s not exactly in Brian Cashman’s DNA to trade young players, but it’s different when you’re Cliff Lee. I think there’s a possibility. I really do. I think (the Phillies) can get more for Cliff Lee than for Cole Hamels.”

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      sweet link, nice job on that.  But seriously if WE would rather have Cole long term, wouldn’t other teams rather have Cole long term?  So I dont’ really understand why Cliff would be more valuable

      • Ken Bland says:

        It’s actually simple.  He’s signed for another 3 years or so.  Cole is a likely rent a player.  So in that sense, Cliff is more attractive.  To a limited list of clubs, of course, with what that salary is.  But you have to ardently believe that a change of scenery would help Cliff, because he’s not pitching up to the level of salary any way you cut it.  You can build a case that he’s had a fairly good year if you dig deep enough in his peripherals, but it’s a real stretch to conclude that at even less money.  I’m making it sound worse than it is, the man can still pitch.

        But the fact that he’s signed is the reason I think they will get some interest in Doc.  He’s reasonably signed through next year, so if your a contender, your blessed with him for 2 shots, and his history includes coming here to win, rather than top dollar, so I sense future negotiation would be amicable.  He won’t actually be dealt, barring some near miracle development, but of the 3, to me, first one I’m pushing for if I’m a GM, is Doc.  

        • Mike Donnelly says:

          I don’t have much quarrel with that, but if I’m the Yankees or Rangers I see the decision as clearly in 2 parts.
          Part 1 – this year
          Part 2 – next year and future years

          Of the two part 2 is more important as it contains more years.  And for part 2, do I want to get Cliff or Doc for a few years at $25 per, for excellent pitchers in their mid to late 30′s (34-38 for the years and players discussed)  or
          Get Cole for similar money ages 28-34.  Cole is more attractive just based on that alone.  Now throw in the fact I have to give up prospects for either Doc or Cliff, and it’s a no brainer.

          so that’s the easy part, Cole is preferable.  Part 1 (this year)  Yes a rental situation, but Cole is pitching SO, SO much better than Cliff or Doc (this year) that even in this case, Cole becomes a slight favorite.  Add the fact that I wine and dine him this year, and increase my chance of signing him in F.A. and I prefer Cole.

          • Mike Donnelly says:

            Forgot to mention the dollars, you’d only have to pay half of $15m this year vs. half of $25 million, not a huge deal but yet another item in Cole’s favor.

        • Mike Donnelly says:

          One last item, I suppose if I was the Texas Rangers and just ever so close to winning the World Series & keep missing it. Then perhaps Doc is my first choice.  For every other team I think Cole would be first choice.

  347. Ken Bland says:

    This is audio of Crash Allen’s first game back at Connie Mack after he was traded.

    You need to understand as you listen to it that there were fewer than 12,000 people in the park that day.  Your ears will tell you that is totally unbelievable.

    By, Bill, and His Whiteness have the action, on the 2 years preceding Harry, Phillies radio network.

  348. Ken Bland says:

    I draw a thick line through the for today, and for long term on these mid year acquisitions.  It’s so rare that a mid year acquisition stays with the team that acquired him.  I’m not a staunch believer in the wine and dine chance blossoming to a long term deal.  That worked superbly for the Cardinals, with McGwire, who if he hadn’t played for them off a mid year deal by the A’s, probably to this day thinks St. Louis is just something to fill in the gap between Kansas City and Chicago.  But it’s rare.

    Cole, in dollars, is indeed cheaper for the balance of the year.  But less than you suggested.  he makes 15, I think Cliff makes 21.5, not 25.  And it’s not half anymore, it’s closer to 40 per cent.  Still a lot of cash, and advantage Cole.

    On Cole pitching SO much better than Doc or Cliff, let’s do Cliff first.  better, no doubt.  How much?  Debatable.  But even still, it’s about what the guy will do, not what he’s done.  Cliff is used to switching teams mid year, and that should be a pretty big edge.  As fans, we take that sort of stuff for granted, but that might be quite the adjustment for Cole.

    As for Doc, again, the numbers are on the board, and big edge to Cole.  But I wouldn’t compare the two.  I just don’t have any idea how much being hurt effected Doc until he went down.  It’s more than fair to compare Cole to anyone who’s had similar health this year, but I’d pass on classifying Doc in that group.       

  349. Ken Bland says:

    Fun week ahead.  Kershaw Wednesday, and face Lincecum at the Bank Friday.


    Be interesting to see if Timmy has follow through to an apparently excellent outing Saturday night v Houston.  K’d 11, walked 1.  His home results this year suck, his road results suck to the third power. 

    Cliff gets the afternoon match against CK on Wednesday.  This will sound like an excuse for Cliff, which it isn’t, it’s a point of interest, but he’s shown a real knack for drawing tough mound opposition this year.  Certainly hasn’t helped his year.

    The Sterling One goes tonight.  YEE-HAW!   

  350. Ken Bland says:

    Tonight’s been a long time coming.  How many more games wind up sith a sense of anticipation might be debatable for the 2012 Phils, whoever they wind up being after trade season, but there’s at least reason to believe we’ll see a healthy Doc for the first time in a while.
    I’ve run into some people across the web thinking he should be throwing 1 more rehab start.  I don’t see it that way at all.  A relatively weak hitting club, in a pitcher’s park seems a real nice setting off his 44 strike in 61 pitch 89 mph peak effort in a Class A rehab.  89 is reasonably within his range of last year’s 93.  And it’s a big game with reason to at least build some more confidence by trying for 4 in a row.
    Dubee was close to the vest on tonight’s pitch count.  The quality of pitches, and feeling between innings and tomorrow are probably more important.  But it’s the Doc, and it provides rare fireupedness in the year to date proceedings.  I cannot wait.  Halladay.  On Tueday.  Let’s get it on.

  351. Ken Bland says:

    I’m starting to get a little bit fired up again about the Hamels situation.  Gawd, I’d hate to waste time detailing how long this nonsense has been going on.  But, it is a substantial amount of money, with ramifications galore, and I have to at least to a degree respect the club’s turtle pace. 

    But with things seemingly about to reach a head, it’s interesting to think of the 2 party’s positions. 

    The Phils position, which I find less intruiging is borderline scary.  Trading a young even semi stud if you have some degree of doubt about Cole’s ability has an excellent chance to formulate a short term nightmare.  How can a locker room watch him get traded, and maintain a “that’s business” attitude.  Let’s get real on that aspect of it.  You think June was listless?  Holy apathy! The fan backlash will be brutal as well.  Hamels is probably costing them about 20 mil more now than he might have a year ago.  That might be conservative.  Longer term, be it 2, 3, 4 years, Cole wouldn’t be forgotten, but club success will fade the memory.  But that short term….oooeeee.

    Hamels, on the other hand, has pulled off a better fake name act than any Latin player this side of Leo Nunez.  People should check his birth cert to see if says Coolbert, and not Colbert.  The only thing he has said wrong this season is in response to Bryce Harper questions.  And he’s even played that to his advantage by turning the tide and admitting he was wrong, but not in so many words.  At every red microphone light, he has discussed his contract situation with perfection.  He lied when he said he doesn’t think about it, but his nose didn’t grow.  He acted like a 4 year old on Xmas morning when asked about re-signing with the Phils if he does get traded and becomes a free agent.  Poor Heidi has been reduced to 2nd best actor in the Hamels clan.

    Truth is, common sense prevails.  Hamels is playing this negotiating game with the Phils to a tee, but his thought process within almost has to be totally different.  If he likes Philly so much, and he’s given a lot of reasons why he does, there simply has to be a point of respect, a dollar figure, a length, in precise form that would end this nonsense in a heartbeat.  Take away the risk of playing an actual dangerous game that could cost him millions if things don’t go right.  Take away the drudgery of teammates, friends, and routine left behind.  Dive into the comfort of security in a matter of seconds.  He might well be as competitive as he comes across at times, wanting to be the best, and wanting to see his value, which it’s not anyway. It’s just a matter of fantasizers throwing money around to win a negotiating competition.  But the practical side of it, the finish line to what simply has to be a grueling process, whether he admits it now, or looking back on the experience has to win out.

    What makes it win out?  That’s for Ruben Amaro and David Montgomery to figure out.  They need to be prepared to go a step beyond their best offer.  And they can’t make their best offer.  They need to make a representative market offer. Because if their final offer, which actually might be their first is short of mind boggling, Hamels should utilize the anchor words of any business negotiation.  “Can you go.”  And when he does, if the Phillies do, then the real Cole Hamels needs to stand up and say yes.  You can talk out of both sides of your mouth in a public negotiation until your chartruse in the face.  At some point, you have to cut the risk, cut the game, cut the ego trip and end it.  And if the Phillies cooperate to a point described, where Hamels should say “can you go”, Cole will get an A+++ if he extends his hand and whips out a pen.

    Now whether the Phillies get to that point is on them.  If they do, and Cole says no, all his right things rhetoric will give way to the truth, which is he doesn’t want to be here as much as he wants something else  And that’s no crime.  But taking the game beyond having your opponent eating out of your hand would really leave a bad taste in a lot of Philadelphia’s mouth.  That, to call sad, would be a massive understatement.  It’s part of the game, but it still sucks.  The Phillies can do their part to avoid that.  If that happens, it’s on Cole to get real and end this nonsense.

  352. Ken Bland says:

    Decline alert.

    Dateline Detroit.

    Albert Pujols has 3 hits in 3 ABs tonight.  He is hitting .279 on the season.  That’s a 100 point uptcik on the batting average front since some point earlier in the year.  16th homer included. G-R-E-A-T-N-E-S-S.

    Samke game.  Mike Trout has upped his average to .354 with another in his never ending series of multi hit games.  Trout is in line to be the first 20 year old to hit .350 since Ty Cobb.  Digest that.  The first to hit .350 at age 20 since Ty Cobb.  That, hell, even at this stage of the year, is beyond outrageously inbleepingcredible.        

  353. Mike Donnelly says:

    Pete just tweeted 6/130 gets Cole done.  I disagree. Whatever the Phils offer now, Cole must realize they will still have that offer on the table in F.A.  Any Philly offer is just competing against itself.

    • Ken Bland says:

      This really is a tough subject.  They’re just numbers, we’re just fans, and it’s just a message board, but even under those circumstances, I feel uncomfortable devaluing millions of dollars, or tossing digits around without proper appreciation of the high total.


      6/130 to me is a flattering, respectable offer.

      I don’t know that there’s a tremendous difference between it, and Hamels ultimate deal.      

      You don’t walk out the door, nor does your pen so simply ink out a signed contract.

      It’s a pretty decent start point of negotiation.  It’s above the minimum point, and perhaps acceptable depending on your values, with some fine tuning, like a no trade, a few perks, but I believe Boggs could still do his client better, and keep him here.

      Market value is such a gray area.  I purposely avoided specific numbers in mentioning market value in a post here of a couple days back. 

      Matt Cain, Justin Verlander and Jared Weaver all signed well in advance of free agency eligibility.  Hamels is perhaps uniquely defined in his market, at least among pitchers, by being pretty darned close to an open market of about 6 teams that could be serious contenders for his services.  Doesn’t that make his market unique?  When is the last time that a player came this close to free agency that there were so many reasons to stay with his current club?  CC was very unlikely to stay with the Crew.  If you blinked, you missed Cliff Lee’s Rangers career. Pujols fits the description, but there was zero chance all along of him signing for comparable to recent signees.  In that regard, why should Cole be held to the monies that Sabathia and Cain are signed for?  Perhaps the market is better defined by what Cliff could have gotten had he taken the alleged better offers from Texas and the Yanks, which might be defined as 6/140.  And Cole is 5 years younger.

      6/130 is a great contract, and a real compromise by a team that as recently as 3 years ago had a policy of no more than 3 years for a pitcher.  And perhaps wisely, no less, but when the inmates run the asuylum, you have to be open to being flexible.  But this close to free agency, despite it’s ongoing risks, and hassles, you can still use the can you go approach, and not seem greedy so much as just applying good negotiating skills.  And if you can’t get much better, you at least give 6/130 respectful consideration by seriously considering it.  But I’d wild guess that because of their difficult position, the Phils give in and stretch.  At least more likely than Cole taking a straight 6/130, which he still could look in the mirror, and think “Ya done good, young man.” Which he would have.

      I hope this gets done.  Time will validate if that’s the right thing, but I’ve felt so all along.  Discussing his, and others trade candidacy is interesting, and real as a possibility, but it’ll be a sad day when any of Doc, Cliff, or Cole move on with game left in their skill set. But, that’s baseball. 


  354. Mike Donnelly says:

    if anyone has twitter make sure you are following ReclinerGM,  pete put out some amazing numbers yesterday.  Santana’s WAR was like 34.9 when he signed with the Mets and was young.  CC was like 30 with the Yankees.   Cole’s WAR 25.   which makes 6/130 very reasonable.  Problem remains, everyone guesses Dodgers will “overpay”.   Which as a Capitalist, I hate that word.  If Dodgers think Cole’s value is 7/175 and offer him that.  That isn’t overpaying, it is merely today’s market value.

  355. Ken Bland says:

    Thinking back to when Cole and the Phils agreed on a 1 year deal to avoid arbitration, there was a pretty fair amount of reaction at that time expressing concern that they didn’t get a long term deal done.  While that line of thought was hardly unreasonable, but it didn’t seem impossible that the sides could still get together.  But the overall reaction had a distinct uh oh flavor to it.

    I’m detecting a similarity of sorts to the situation in the last 24 hours.  People, both in the game from a sampling of several unnamed quotes, and a number of fans seem to feel like the 2 sides are gonna get this done.  That’s certainly possible, but this hardly strikes as an easy negotiation, and may be leading up to a real huge disppointment.  Maybe it’s just nerves needing to find a home, but predicting which way it goes seems pretty subjective.

    I still wouldn’t go further than to feel confident that there’s room for back and forth after a specific offer is produced.  Which may have been presented a while ago, but you sure don’t get that impression.    

    • jjg says:

      E, blogger.  Missed the ‘reply’ button, Ken.

      And with a few minutes to reconsider, in genuine Quinn fashion, I revise that offer to 76.  And it still hurts.  19 a year is plenty o’ scratch for a young fella. 

  356. jjg says:

    Empty the vault and pile on the years for Cole Hamels, a pitcher who’s thrown all of 4 shutouts and 10 complete games in 198 career starts (3.36 ERA)?  A capital-silly, maneuverability-strapping and risky idea, Ruben and Monty.  Hasn’t Howard, Utley, Lee and Rollins taught you anything?  Don’t go nuts – and raise union “wages” bar even higher - based on Hamel’s commercially-friendly image, popularity and fan sentimentality. Just say no, let him go; get your best package of young talent from a ’12-ambitious front office.  

    Hamels is an upper echelon but ultimately replaceable pitcher.  Slot 1-B.  We’re not talking Sandy Koufax, Whitey Ford or Rube Waddell :)   Johan Santana and Barry Zito are cautionary tailing-off, longterm, boffo contract lefties.  Don’t let today’s pregame ovation sway you from reason.  Bite the bullet, cut the cord, shop Hollywood, move to highest bidder, begin to restock.  All that glitters isn’t gold.  Today is not tomorrow.  My 2 cents. 

    • Ken Bland says:

      I suspected you felt that way, and I can’t say there isn’t a tremendous amount of merit to the logic.  It’s so easy for me to sit in the comfort and fandom, and not be the one taking a risk, and think how this guy still has great potential, afforded by reaching prime age.  But the bottom line, in attempt to escape that comfort zone is sign him, even though I could see where it’ll take more time to resurrect the club than seems desirable.

      But what I find interesting about your opinion is there’s not even a ceiling offer you have in mind to keep the guy.  I would assume your definition of a fair offer for the positives you mention is a waste of time considering the market being what it is.   


  357. jjg says:

    I like Gillick’s cautious approach regarding longterm contracts for pitchers.  The cases of Jim Maloney, Wayne Twitchell, Jim Wright, Dave Dravecky, Mario Soto and Mark Prior come to mind, naming a few who ‘were, then weren’t’ for various reasons; Wright the stud with great promise.

    Fluid motion Cole may yet achieve greatness but it wouldn’t be on the dime and clock that he and  agent are reaching for.  My relative ‘John Quinn offer’, absolute best pitch from a stretch:  4 yrs, 80 mil with a cherry on top.  And then I’d wish him well in his new city. :)

    • Phillyfan says:

      Give cole whatever it takes. We got as good a chance to win it all next year as any other team. I don’t need to wade through another 10 years of cant miss blue chippers like Kyle drabek, michael Taylor and Dom brown.

  358. Dollar Bill says:

    Rynomight!  And here I thought it was extinct.

    Congrats, Shane.  2,000 more and you’re in. 

  359. Dollar Bill says:

    Dollar Bill, jjg’s pseudonym.  

  360. phillyfan says:

    Howard at 70% is so much better than what we had.  As far as replacement – no doubt even if we had him at 70% shape as he is now we would be no worse than .500.  That is about 10 games difference for the course of a season.

  361. Ken Bland says:

    Not to diminish the Phils win today that takes the internet core out of trade Rollins and fire Amaro mode for a day, but here’s something to fantasize through.

    Start of the year, the Phils were at 1 time 6-1 faves to win the World Series, best in the sport.  Joke that that number was at any point since RyHo had gone down, and the strong on paper Rangers were around, there was another Vegas number that looks as comical in review, and dwarfs the Phils situation in shock content.

    You find me any book, any fan, any human that thought the A’s would lose less than 100, and we’re talking reward money comparable with the most of any missing persons.  For the first time since Mulder-Hudson-Zito, they broke up their starting rotation.  And while hot isn’t permanent (they leave home today to play at Toronto, then at Baltimore), at this writing, they have possession of wild card spot number 2.

    The beleaguered A’s play in what’s reputed to be the worst stadium in America.  In what’s essentially a 2 team market.  Those challenges make their incredible history that much more of an achievement.  They lose a few years, but when they do put it together, they are really, really good.  Cases in point, the Reggie years, the bash years, and the turn of this century, when they didn’t win it all, but were there, including consecutive 100 win years.

    If you took this years A’s story, off expectations, and they were still in Philly, it’s fascinating to think how the public attention would be trending.  Phillie fans grope for playoff possibilities these days.  If the A’s were in the Delaware Valley, the Phillies would be fortunate to get coverage outside of the obituaries.  They’ve had a few down years, but even dating back to Mr. Mack’s years, when they get in win mode, boy, do they do it.  In a way, it’s pretty exciting compared to the Red-Sox-Yanks-Phillies class that grab attention much easier.         

  362. Ken Bland says:

    I feel like a game show host, staring down contestant Ruben Amaro, Jr., offering choices of Standings for 400, or trades for 300.

    Gonna be that kind of week.

    Fresh off a hardly invigorating, but still standing around on a playoff death bed, a look at the wild card numbers offers the semi-Fightins a chance to catch the Crew with brooms, and the Marlins, and Mets are included in the first order of business.

    Don’t even talk to me about the Bucs, Braves, Dodgers and Cards for now, but ain’t a one of them running positives in comparison to the ’61 Yanks.

    First at hand, this comment on tonight from beat writer Mandy Housenick, which I believe to be sharp caution.

    Today’s start could be very telling for Roy Halladay.
    While he pitched well in his last start (2 ER, 5.0 IP), which was his first since coming off the disabled list where he spent more then seven weeks with a right lat strain, he threw only 80 pitches.
    Will his arm strength be there for somewhere in the 100-pitch range? Will fatigue start to set it? That’s not something you usually have to worry about with Halladay, but his last time out against the Dodgers, he did look like he was dragging, albeit just a bit, as he got deeper into the game.
    He’ll be expected to throw more today against the Brewers, a team that has mixed success against him.

    I don’t know where she got the 100 from, but it does kinda sorta seem like that might be messers Charlie and Dubee.  I’d bet large chunks of money on their expertise on the situation than my distant view, but off a 60, and an 80, someehere, you gotta build some base, not keep sprinting forward.  If we’re talking pitch count and defactoring stress, I’d like to see 80, max 90, and keep building.  Doc goes down, (I’m just sayin if), it is once again bye now camosaby to the post season.  It already is, but ya never know.

    A sweep here is what’s the word….criticalplus?  But if the Phils just win 2 of 3, I’m sure we’ll be rationalizing our way through how they still have some other ridiculous chance.  Such is life in the fandom lane.  Go Phillies, he offered, in dying hope.      

  363. Ken Bland says:

    Okay, these are not household anchor franchise names being wheeled and dealed today.  But lets not confuse any of Ryan Dempster, Ichiro, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, and pretty incredibly Jacob Turner (not that I’ve seen him pitch, mind you) with scrubs.  But if today, and it’s kinda early yet doesn’t teach you anything about the ridiculousness of pre season predictions, not much will.

    But, some people never learn.  Take Jay Paterno, for example.  In anything but red necked spirit, I would offer up that the one two combo of the Friel report, and today’s see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya sanctions by the NCAA are fine follerups to the disgraced Joe Paterno era of football.  Jay, being a loyal son is fine to protect the legacy of Scum, er, Coach Joe, sorry (I think it’s the first typo of the rant, but counting’s not my forte) within the family as a dad, hub, grandpa, and hopefully in truthful fashion, but first he denounces the Friel report, and now, he wanna square up with the NCAA.  Learn a lesson from your pop’s experience, Jay.  There’s a time to move on.  It’s not easy to see, but it’s past that point.  Like father, like son.  Staying too long, and making a fool of oneself. 

  364. Mike Donnelly says:

    Wow, no school like the old school.  That comeback was old school 2005.  Although the umps did seem to help according to the game cast I was watching. Anything below the waist was a ball even if across the heart of the plate. At least from inning 6 – 9 that I saw.  Still it was great to watch the Big Guy and of course Cooch deliver

    • jjg says:

      Managing by osmosis:  Whataya know, there’s a dope in the third base dugout too.  “Don’t just do something, stand there!” 

      Maybe Roenicke felt he owed the Phils one for his .229 batting avg. back in the mid-80s. 

      Frankie K. Rod has successfully blown 5 of 8 save opportunities this year.  In a jolting maneuver that’s reverberated throughout the baseball world, he’s been assigned to the Seattle Pilots today.
      Jimmy walks, teammates get excited.  Wait’ll he runs to first full-tilt!   

  365. jjg says:

    Eric Kratz – - YOU.  ARE.  THE.  MAN.  (Gus Triandos could put a charge into it once in a while too.)

    Umpires cost Brewers.  Rollins didn’t check his swing, shoulda been wrung up.  Howard intimidated home plate ump; last pitch was a strike - wimpy call.

  366. Mike Donnelly says:
    6yr 144m 24per ?  with possible 7yr!  Wow, totally shocked at this outcome.  thought Cole wanted to be wined & dined and then accept a contract about this size.

  367. phillyfan says:

    Looks like we are 9.5 games out of the final wild card.  I think 8 out by August 1 remains a reachable goal and then work for 4 or 5 out by Sept 1 to make a final push.  If the phils can put some heat on these teams like the braves, dodger and Pitt in the final few weeks a collapse is very possible as they are not tested in those waters.  Phils need to win 7 of 10 from here out to grab a wild card.  If Howard remains healthy and Halladay and Lee pitch up to their contracts I think it is very doable.  This team could put together 23-7 run at any time.

    Hamels deal is sweet.  No matter this year, we are set up for another run next year.  I can only assume there is enough money in the coffers left to find a bat and some bullpen help.  With Vic and blanton gone that will free up somemoney as well.  

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      Do you still think post-season play is possible ?   Phils are running at .441 which is 71 wins for the year, and since the break are playing .500 which if they can maintain gets us 75 wins.  We need 87 at least, which means going 42-18 the remainder.

      Worse we play a ton of games vs. our division who have been killing us all year 11-25 so far…  I guess you think we can seeing your 7 out of 10 and 23-7 comments above.  I am amazed there are some who still think this possible this year.  When we finish 10 games out of the wild card I’m gonna be telling you “I told you so”

  368. jjg says:

    “Scads” Hamels will be expected to be even more fastidious with the baseball.  And he can now buy the farm on which to breed oodles of poodles.  This generation’s Bo Belinsky has himself a Mamie Van Duren contract.  A big bet by Phillies.  Only time and performance returns will tell if it’s a wise arrangement.  I would have passed on the “opportunity” and gathered new talent. 

    Ruben is a negotiating bobblehead when it comes to big name pitchers. 

  369. phillyfan says:

    Wow – rumor is Utley to the Yankees.  Don’t know what yanks have to trade.  Are we really sure Galvis is the answer?

    • Mike Donnelly says:

      Utley has been nothing but a shadow of his former self. the quicker the Phils realize that and unload him the better.

  370. Ken Bland says:


    Off topic stuff for ya.

    I know you said you like country music, so this might not be up your alley, but as you are perhaps aware, legendary DAS personality Butterball (Joe Tambarro, sic for sure) passed away Friday.  Very sad loss to me, and figured I’d mention it in case you had any taste for his kind of work and were perhaps not aware of it.  It’s a special Sunday night on 105.3 in the time slot Butter controlled for years since Harvey Holiday took his Sunday night oldies over to WOGL. 

    When all is said and done, The Geator will outlive us all, which isn’t such a bad thing.

    Keep the faith,

    • jjg says:

      Discophonic Ken, Condolences on the death of Butterball.  Sounds like he carried the music and held meaning for you.  I never became a regular ‘DAS listener but am aware of the station’s reach into the area and its legacy, including Butter’s.  My consolation:  have a copy of ‘DAS’ “22 Original Soul Sounds” LP … pictured on back:  Jimmy Bishop, Lord Fauntelroy, Jocko Henderson, Louise Williams, Mitch Thomas and others.  A few of the songs:  Let The Little Girl Dance (Billy Bland), Candy (The Astors), Boo-Ga-Loo (Tom & Jerrio), Any Day Now (Chuck Jackson).  Read your post post-Sunday night show; would’ve enjoyed the tribute, I’m sure.  Thanks. Local music trivia:  The Show Stoppers, whose big ’67 hit was “Ain’t Nothin’ But A Houseparty,” included two sons of Solomon Burke and a couple other fellow Germantown HS guys, probably not Willie or Mike Sojourner, b-ball standouts. Recommend Geater’s book, “You Only Rock Once.”  A great read.  There’s nobody like him.  His 6-7 Saturday night ‘XPN show is the best thing on the radio for my money, after all these years.                       

      • Ken Bland says:

        Ain’t Nothin but a House Party was light years ahead of it’s time.  What a great record.

        Willie and Mike would have been awfully young to have been on that cut.  Couple of my favorite Philly prepsters that I’d add Jimmy Baker to in completing a nice frontcourt. 

        • jjg says:

          correction:  two of Solomon Burke’s BROTHERS

          The Show Stoppers were Willie’s classmates; Mike was young though, jrhs.  Both could play some ball. 

          Baker was an extremely talented scorer.  His son Isaiah, a 6’8″ Shipley grad, will be a freshman player at Holy Cross next year.

          Another great local recording of ’67 – Billy Harner’s “Sally Sayin’ Something’” … “the human perkulator!”

          And then there’s the Phillies who’ve morphed into a bad opening act this year.  Promoter Ruben Amaro Jr. is reportedly busy on the phone this evening.  The “For None Of The Marbles” tour restarts in Washington, D.C. tomorrow, 7:05.  Lee v. Strasburg will be interesting.      

          • Ken Bland says:

            Baker was an extremely talented scorer. His son Isaiah, a 6’8? Shipley grad, will be a freshman player at Holy Cross next year. >>

            Really glad to read that I lost track of Jimmie even before his days at UNLV were up, but for whatever reason, I really liked watching him play.  You never know what influence a dad has on his kid aside from genetics, but if his kid has grown to get into a good scholl like HC, hopefully Jimmie had a lot to do with it.  I managed to spell Jimmie’s name right this time.  

  371. jkay says:

    It’s amazing what a busy schedule and a temp move to jersey will do for your ability to follow and comprehend Phillies basesball. But i doubt that even with my ass rooted in the CBP stands or in front of a TV listening to the Sarge and Wheels cluck up a baseball game with un-necessary add-ons, I would be able to explain how quickly these same Phillies have gone from winning to not. Injuries notwithstanding, and the seasonal change of relievers from year to year, I believe that if they fail to make the postseason, the Phightins will only go downhill from here on out. Expense and Injuries are piling up. Despite the strength of the team, I feel a re-tooling is in order to be able to compete for the future. Rather than invest that fate in the ability of the front office to execute, I am much less reluctant to ask; does anyone really think these Phillies will play October baseball this year?   Really?  This team?
    PS: Hamels must buy gold teeth, a monocle and a top hat, otherwise someone might mistake him for a major league Baseball player.

    • jjg says:

      Loved your P.S. sketch of our Man Of The Town.

      ’12 Phils:  Lost cause.  They’re beyond salad days, buried by money malaise.  Change necessary, lots of changes.       

  372. I see a lot of similar frustrations up in Boston for their fans.  Currently, two great teams on paper that are underachieving beyond anything the Mets could put together.  The Phils haven’t underperformed like this, this long in several years .

    The only real similarity is team management that disregarded everything that the sports writers addressed in the offseason as insignificant (Phils: hitting, Boston: team cancer) and its biting both in the ass.  I don’t see Pap as a cancer on this team but as a bad omen: we needed hitting and they gave us a premier closer expecting the pitching to hold 2-1 leads and win like they did last year. Lack of hitting has eroded the pitching core, they are never in synch any more.  Great pitching wasted frequently, occassional late inning leads blown. so I call it the Curse of Papelbon (TM pending). 

    Both teams are in the basement.  Clearly both teams have players underperforming but Both teams have managements with heads in the sand or they’re looking at the stats of their 2011 teams and believing they still have the best team in their League waiting for the team manager to turn it around.  

     I’d like to see the Phils shake off the bad Boston karma and trade Pap to a contending team…we don’t need him right now.  I hope to see some action tomorrow.  Pap/Victorino/Blanton/Lee/Utley/Polanco/Manuel and more are possible pieces I will be sad to see moved but excited to see their replacements play in August/Sept irregardless of the record.  The Phils are done this year.  I curse the optimists that tell me “if they go 27-8 they have a shot in Sept (and Andy Reid will lead the Eagles to the Promised Land.)  Any move for young hungry talent would suit me.  Shake this team up!


  373. Chris McC. says:

    Stealing bases. Manufacturing runs. Good to see it. And inside the park homers. Fun game to watch so far. 

  374. Ken Bland says:

    The message coming out of Trade Deadline Day is the freeing up of money, and adding a little talent where possible.

    People are trying to solve the 2013 roster based on current need, which might expand a little, but is not’t likely to retract.  It could be asked if the Phils freed up enough money, or will they need to do more?  Luxtagologists might be able to give that a definitive answer now, but this post is about Contracts 101 and assumes the question is still open.

    Let’s say for conversation’s sake the Phils wake up in their post season wraps, and get back on track with the concept of trading Cliff Lee.

    Lee voiced first hand sentiment last night following his vintage Lee effort that “this is where I want to be.”

    Yo, Cliff, this is where I want you, too, but this just in…methinks there’s a way you could almost guarantee it, rather than toy with the Mrs. blood pressure with threats of relocation.

    It’s well documented in rumorland at least that Cliff has 8 clubs to whome he can be dealt.  It’s based on a list of clubs he submits, due by unfortunately, an unknown date.

    This year, Cliff, who showed nothing but enthusiasm for being here prior to the losing has a list of 8 that’s a better kept secret than Santa’s trickery for delivering the globe in 24 hours.  Common sense addicts would think the Yanks, Rangers and Dbacks were on the “Okay 8″ based on the quantity of rumors that he might head there, but yo, what’s up with that?

    Lee needs more money than I need more tpo skills.  If you’re scoring at home, he don’t, and I doesn’t.  What he needs is controlling his destiny, and leaving 8 clubs that CAN “afford” him on the list is comparable to some of the opinions available on message boards.  Ridiculous.

    This year, NOT in retrospect, if Cliff chose from the Padres, Astros, Tribe, A’s, Reds, Crew, Mariners, Cubs, Pirates…the chances of any of them being candidates to acquire him were practically non exsistant, either for financial, or competitiv reasons considering the 87 mil he’s still owed.

    So your head wouldn’t have spun for 48 hours on is he, or isn’t he.

    Next year, Cliff has an opportunity to do the same thing.  Allow deals to those that won’t get you.  The reverse of having a no trade clause to the Yanks (for example) because you know you can get extra cash out of them if a deal is consumated.

    The problem, if it is, is when is the list due.  If it’s November 1, Ruben has a small window on the option of dealing.  If it’s Feb 1, this post is about very little reality.

    And if the latter is the case, our old bud Jimmy Shortstop is hanging to a Phils uni in part because he’s a 10-5 kind of guy.  He, too should have a no trade because he’s lose his 10-5 protection if a trade went down.  Wherever he might go, if he does, it’d be wise to protect against a second trade.
    Maybe Jimmy already has that, but it’s a wise strategy.

  375. joe says:

    I thought it was funny the Chad Qualls and Posednik were both traded at the deadline for players, after we tossed them on the scrap heap for nothing- not that I wanted Qualls to stick around, just found it funny someone figured out they could trade him instead of just giing him away, same with posednik.  Also, Ruben was is the both for an inning of a game on MLB and seemed upset that word got out the Cliff Lee was put on waiers that day.  Most interesting was that they hae toyed with the idea of moving Ruiz to 3b next year since 3b is a problem for us and Ruiz used to be a 2b in the minors.  It could make a bit more sense on why they went and got a catcher prosepect, which I thought was wierd, the only position the do not need help for next couple season.  IMO Utley to 3b should also be considered, he was originally a 3b but moved to 2b since Rolen was blocking the path up.  not haing to deal with turning double plays and “take out slides” at second has to be a little better on the knees.  Could then use Galvis at 2b next year.  If they do try to move Ruiz to 3b, then I like getting the returns they got. 

  376. jjg says:

    “Monty & the Mute Mystics” beware:  the ’69 Phils played before a crowd of 1,169 adoring fans v. Pirates on Tues N Sept 16 at dear old Connie Mack Stadium.  (Bob Moose fanned 14 in 8.1 in 9-5 cross-staters win, future Phils Dave Cash, Al Oliver, Jose Pagan & Richie Hebner doing some damage; punch-the-clock pinstripers falling 30 games off the ‘Miracle Mets’ pace despite Johnny Callison’s 15th roundtripper.)

  377. Phillyfan says:

    I think 38-12 gets a wild card. Doable. Look for pirates and dodgers to fade.

  378. Ken Bland says:

    I dunno what brought this on, but I’m watching this Sunday game, 7-7 in the free baseball portion of today’s Bank presentation, and feeling deprived that Boots Day isn’t playing.

    I have no earthly idea why, but I’ve got this urge to watch Boots Day play.

    Maybe Mike Martinez’s presence in the lineup today brought the urge on.

    No offense, Boots.         

  379. Ken Bland says:

    True confessions of a passionate fan…

    “I miss first place”

                – Ken Bland
                  August 16,2012 

    • jjg says:

      … I believe you, but you don’t miss it as much as Jimmy “Frontrunner” Rollins.  That he wasn’t yanked last night and was written into the lineup tonight is Charlie Bubble’s disgrace.           

      • Ken Bland says:

        Here’s a unique view on the reaction to Jimmy.

        It probably would have made a point, but I don’t know the circumstances.  One thing I do feel strongly about was it didn’t seem too bright answering the fan sarcastically.

        Good turnaround on saying Jimmy missed first place and was a frontrunner.     

        • jjg says:

          Re link:  That is what stupidism looks like.  What an “enlightened” crafting of crap.  Spare me next time please.  Time is of the essence. :)      

  380. Ken Bland says:

    Time to hit the O portion of the alphabet, and write a belated Ode to Sterling Joe Blanton.

    Sterling Joe possesses in his image representation of one of my proudest off season thought processes.  Way, way, away back in 2011, roundabouts February, you might recall a collection of starting pitchers that coupled with a pre injured Chase Utley, were supposed to parlay a magnificent season ending with a parade down Broad Street. 

    In scientifically, logically, and uniquely evaluating the upcoming 2011 season, with truly far less hallucination than the average fan, to this day, I remember speculating that Sterling could win 18 games.

    Oh, brother.

    What’s the proudest level of pride one can feel for that gem of a sense.

    Not that Sterling didn’t have his moments.  “Swing and a long drive”, crowed Harry during the Fall Classic of Ott8.  What a drive out of the Bank it was.  And Joe threw a seemingly (well, at the time) valuble CG shutout the day after the Phils 15-13 loss in the ATL this year.  88 pitches, no less.

    Last year, when he offered signs of 18 game potential to the mentally incompetent, Joe went through a string of first inning troubles.  The string was so long, Joe’s streak was said to have more string than The Mummers.  Then he bravely pitched through elbow troubles.

    This year, patience exited stage left on Joe.  he threw some very good starts, but he gave up more homers than anyone who had the misfortune to face me back in wiffle ball days.  Marketing types bragged on Joe’s league leading K to BB ratio.  Wonderful.  His ERA was cinquo.  In any language, that el suckos.

    Today, still a relative newbie in Dodger blue, The Sterling One had a line that would no doubt equal Mike Martinez if they tried his hand at pitching.  4.1 innings, 7 hits, 3 of which were dingers TO THE FREAKING PIRATES!, 8 runs, every one of ‘em earned.  3 walks, and 3 K’s, if you are ratioing at home.  Thank the Lord above Vin Scully don’t do road games no mas, or he’d have died of a heart attack watching that there stellaracity.

    But it was all fun watching him.  Well, not all.  A fraction of it was, at least.  But the fun is what I’ll mostly remember.   SSSSoooo long, Joe.  And thanks for the fun you provided.      

    • jjg says:

      Though Blanton appears the strong, stolid type, the hurt of being tossed from Philadelphia and his cushy routine finally surfaced yesterday during a regularly scheduled contest with the Pirates and a surprise, more daring one with the home plate umpire.  (Yes, even Dodgers get the blues.)  The ump’s uncompromising focus on our former hero could have softened to a less provocative posture but I’m missing a transcription of the conversation that preceded the plot’s climactic event.  An out of character display for Joe… the emotion and the beginning of a bull rush, not, of course, the gopher balls.       

  381. jjg says:

    Bowa currently on 97.5 FM.

  382. jjg says:

    Stadium trivia for 600 please:  Commercial signs on leftfield upper deck roof of Connie Mack Stadium when Stan Musial made his last game appearance, September 1, 1963:  “Pause COCA-COLA Refresh,” “New For 63 PHILCO Noiseless Air Conditioners.” 

    • Ken Bland says:

      Century posts need to be special.  That’s excellent!

      I’m listening to the Bowa interview…its hilarious listening him handle himself on air when you know if it wasn’t on the air, the decibel level would be off the charts.

      Not a happy ex-shortstop seeing what’s happening now with his old position.

      Good week for the game.  Jimmy and Melky.  And the hits just keep on comin’.    


  383. Ken Bland says:

    Again.  I am left with the pure fantasy of collecting paychecks from for the assignment of creating their all important daily polls that readers meaninglessly vent on.  Tomorrows poll would look like this…

    Which quotation belongs in a future generation of Bartlett’s quotations…

    1 -  “You’ll end up breaking down, just the wear and tear on your body,” Rollins said. “Why do people do a lot of things? It’s just the way it is. It’s like, if you’re a pitcher, why don’t you throw every ball at 95 mph? Sometimes it’s not going to happen.”   

                                                                     – Jimmy Shortstop, offering insight on how to play baseball

    2 – “Well, u make sure u tell them what to do”

                                                                     – Jimmy Shortstop, Translator, offering a baseball version of I 
                                                                       am not a role model, in reply to a fan’s tweet suggesting he 
                                                                       pursue the challenge of playing hard since kids watch. 
    What a moron.


  384. Ken Bland says:

    Lowell Palmer is 65 years old today.

    Ah, the news you can use runs rampant.  

  385. Ken Bland says:

    Here’s some life and death stuff, so every one of the readership, from the Canadian Rockies to the Baja Peninsula
    and other long stretches covering all the land should pay closerhan close attention.

    Watching Dom Brown’s progress versus his touted rep easily brings to mind another Phillie prospect from way, way back when.  His signing, as an amateur free agent was just ahead of the amateur draft, and that’d be Ted Savage.  Ted had a pretty lackluster career, and pursuit of his whereabouts these days, even so simple as which side of the earth’s surface he’s on is a tough task, even on the info stacked internet.

    After pecking around, I found out there’s a Ted Savage working in the Cards front office in a position of Director of Target Marketing.  Sounds like a Director of First Impressions type glorified title, and twitted a tweet to a knowledgable Sant Louis reference inquiring if that was the same Ted Savage about whom I am so concerned.  To this point, the silence of a non tweeted reply is deafening.  But my Ted Savage is now 76 years old.  But that’s okay.  Mick was 76 when he trained Rocky in Rocky 1, so if he could do that, Ted could direct target marketing at a similar age.

    Savage, believe me, was hyped.

    Very hyped.

    And didn’t pan out.

    I still have much higher hopes for Dom Brown who is doing a pretty decent job on the whole of auditioning for a regular gig in South Philly in 2013.

    I told you this was important.  Life is all about truth.                


  386. Ken Bland says:

    Don’t send the corpse back to the operating room for double check purposes just yet, but when your luck is batting zero, get your chin up off the ground still holds a dim flicker of playoff hope.

    The Fabulous Fish lead nee Brooklyn 6-2 in the ninth, and the Dbacks lost.  Long story short, the Bums still could get their act in gear, but they have a 6 game road trip in September V the Nats and Reds off the heels of a 4 game set at home with the Cards, who don’t look too catchable with 9 games against the Cubs and Astros, but one never knows when their debt to the devil for favors granted a year ago are due for collection.

    Meanwhile, the Phils have climbed to within 6 of sea level, and have a 13 game stretch in September against the Stros, Rox, and Mets.  Win 10 of 13, and go 7-5 against the Braves, Nats and Reds in the 12 games there, and 85 wins is only a semi lofty goal.

    Sky’s the limit, and you just keep keep pressing, pressing on, as the D Train used to say.

    It’d be the biggest miracle since the days of the Flinstones, but the door is not double bolted.           

  387. Ken Bland says:

    I wish I’d thought to guess how many times a pitcher has stole home after reading about the last time it happened, and then running across the total.

    Oh, well.  Today is the 49th anniversary of the last time it occurred.  And guess what team it happened against.  Are you kidding me?  Think dreaded history.  Think wouldn’t it figger? Ex-Phillie penetrating every imaginable revenge as Curt Simmons holds the mark with an asterisk, a busted squeeze play.  Simmons also blasted a triple, and had 2 ribs.  Oh, I bet they just adored his status as an ex-Phil that day.  The stylish lefthander was the victim, a description that more than negates need for his actual name.

    Stealing home by a pitcher wasn’t exactly uncommon prior to that.  Curt’s pilerage was the 40th time it happened.  That included twice by Christy Mathewson, and one by Johnny Vandermeer, leaving him with the unlikely resume of twice as many no hitters in a row as career steals of the home base.

    I wonder what would be a good seque to close out with wishing one time terrific Phille Garry Maddox a very happy 62nd birthday today.  Keep rolling, Mr. Secretary.  Maybe elsewhere on the old time scoreboard would work. Only if 62 is old time.  I don’t think so.        

  388. Good post, keep up the good work… You efforts putting this blog together was worth the while. Thank you for the info Chelsea.

  389. phillyfan says:

    hope nobody doubts the importance of ryan howard anymore.  And yes, they are still in it.  No reason they cant win 4 or all of next 5 and be 3 out by the end of this week.  In fact, wouldn’t shock me if they get to the playoffs and win the whole thing.  Sports is funny that way.  Wouldn’t it be ironic if they pass the Cards the last week and then go to the WS.

  390. phillyfan says:

    21 left.  Go 16-5 and should get in.  Not surprising if you think about it.  Every team has a red hot run every year.  Phils have just waited late in the year for thiers.

  391. phillyfan says:

    Apparently, from what I hear and read, Howard is done and a total waste.

    Funny, his prorated 2012 numbers for the full year, while playing on one leg, will be 30 homers and 150 RBIs.  

    Folks, that is how good this guy is.  that is what you get from a “struggling” Howard.

    And we wonder whether he can be productive next year and find a place in this lineup.   

    • jjg says:

      “a ‘struggling’ Howard” … a redundancy on this year’s lined composition paper. 

      292 PA, 99 Ks, 28 R (which means aside from 14 balls banged out of parks, he rounded the bases 14 times in 278 other chances – that’s poor production for a spare part; for your marquee hitter, it’s pathetic).  Prorating doesn’t adjust his far-and-away career low averages:  BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+.  Achilles injury movement reduction accounts for some of the decline, but not all of it. 

      Next year will be show & tell for the puffy player from the “Show Me” State.  Portside delivering junkmen steal his heart.  Fielding is bearable to regretable, with occasional flashes of commendable.  Aside from his little August tear, he underperformed in 2012.  An offseason of dedicated fitness training might serve his and team’s cause.  Might.  Still gotta execute.        

      • jjg says:

        Update:  Howard’s season done. 

        Who done it?:  Professor Plum, Lead Pipe, On-Deck Circle.

      • Ken Bland says:

          I thought your review of his year was spot on, but in looking at his career totals, it’s not unusual for him to score runs pretty infrequently when he doesn’t homer.  When he hit 58 dingers, for example, he scored 104 runs, meaning in about 650 official at bats, he scored about 55 runs aside from the homers.  Nobody ever accused him of being fast even pre achillies, so some blame lies within his shortcoming, but it also speaks to hitters behind him coming up short also.  To some degree, runs scored is like a ribbie, it’s a team stat.  Not wholly, but to a degree.

        The Howard subject has become pretty boring to me over time.  But some energy was rekindled this morning when I saw a Charlie quote that his best years are ahead of him.  While he said that, it’s taken out of context from some things he needs to do (not go for homers, and tweaking some things), but how else are you supposed to think when he’s gone from difficult to trade to virtually impossible?  

        • jjg says:

          Agree, Howard has been a career stop sign, but this past season he slipped into Smoky Burgess territory.  A wobbly commuter, “30th St. to Curtis Park.”

          Charlie would do well to quit quipping about the future like Jeane Dixon on steroids re Howard, Halladay, Utley.  There’s no telling what even next year holds for each.  Shutting up for awhile:  The Power Of Positive Shrinking.  “At the same time”… shhhhhhh.

          About Howard:  One alternative to ‘pay ‘im & play ‘im’… maybe one of CLE, KC, MINN or SEA - teams in real need of HR clout - has deep pockets, true ambition and can be baited into transacting; Phils gather stock, refresh like Sixers have done this past summer.  Boost attendance at CBP :)   What am I thinking, at this point clubby Phils management, fronted by Wharton Monty & Palo Alto Rube, will never separate Winkin’ (Jimmy), Blinkin’  
          (Chase) & Nod (Ryan), cash register pet rocks and mighty fine ballplayers in their concurrent primes, until their time is unquestionably past.

          I miss quiet Terry Harmon’s choke-up chops at the horsehide.  A for citizenship.  

          • Ken Bland says:

            I don’t know about moving him now.  And he’s got some no trade protection anyway (pretty sure).  I think they are looking forward to him coming back pretty strong next year.

            Now a year ago, if you take away that last play of the year, I do believe they might have been interested, or open to dealing him.  He was as marketable then as he was ever gonna be after his early career settled in, and he got the 5 year deal.

            He’s okay.  I like the guy, he frustrates me sometimes, but I’m more or less okay rooting for him.  Sometimes I get tired of the conversation about him and his contract, but you know as well as I do that that comes with power hitter territory.

            I guess the best way to describe my assessment of him at this point is I’m cautiously not negative on him. 

            By the way, it’s offical with me now.  Hamels is the best lefty the franchise has ever  drafted, or best pitcher since Robbie, whatever the standard was when the subject came up start of last year.  I still felt it was the Stylish One back then, but with 2 more solid years in the books now, I have to go with Cole.  You have to admit he’s close to passing Short on this opinion issue if you aren’t quite there, no?        

          • jjg says:

            Not official with me yet:

            CH* 7 yrs/ERA+ 126.7/IP 195/ERA under 3.06 once (top 2.79)/90-60/CG 12/SO 6

            CS  7 yrs/ERA+ 121.4/IP 228/ERA 2.95 or lower 5X (top 2.20)/105-75/CG 73/SO 20 

            I’ll still take the unassuming horse from Delaware, Shorty, one of my all-time favorite Phillies.  Cole may surpass him someday but he’s got some work yet to do from where I sit.  I’d like to hear Dallas Green’s private opinion.

            * numbers from today’s strong effort not included 

          • Ken Bland says:

            <<I’d like to hear Dallas Green’s private opinion.>>

            Seems we ran out of reply space, so I hope this gets sensibly placed. 

            We actually didn’t discuss it here.  The topic came up on the Brotherly Glove site (now deceased), and I believe what was said by a pretty passionate, and pretty astute guy, I’ll guess mid 30s, but that is a guess was that Cole had become the best Phillie amateur free agent signee since Robbie.  At that trime, I thought Chris was still reasonable ahead (can’t remember exactly how far, it’s 2 years ago now, and it was opinion anyway).  So we had what I guessed was maybe a generational differing view, and I called Bowa on the Fanatic, and he was quick to agree on Short.  Bo10 may still say the same thing 2 years later, might not.  But Dallas would most definitely be an interesting one to ask.  To be honest, I did haphazardly side with Cole at this point.  I put some effort into at least a casual review the 2 years ago, this time, I just figured with his 2 good years, he’s past him.  Have to admit that looking at your numbers, I may have been hasty do a switch.  But Dallas would be a great one to ask.   

  392. Mike Donnelly says:

    Howard is fine, his contract is a bit much for what we get out of 1st base, but I love the big fella.

    Jimmy and Chase on the other hand… Bigger problems.  I would not have resigned Jimmy.  Which Jimmy is the real J-Roll?  The guy who dogged it in April and May, or the guy who is killing it now?  His contract is killing us.

    I would trade Chase as I think he is massively overvalued.  (which works to your advantage in a trade).  Bullpen is young and therefore hot and cold and not dependable.  BTW:  Charlie wants a stud 8th inning guy, ’cause 3 starters making $20 mill and the highest paid reliever in baseball just isn’t enough for him.

    Who knew this team was better without Pence and Shane ? bit of a surprise…  But we aren’t getting into the playoffs, no way all those teams in front of us implode.  So play the kids, play Chase at 3rd to see if that would work, and continue to see what the ‘pen has. ‘Cause I do think it needs an upgrade.

  393. jjg says:

    On this day 48 years ago the Phillies dropped out of 1st place for the first time, losing 14-8 to the Milwaukee Braves at Connie Mack Stadium, suffering their 7th straight defeat (in what would become a heartbreaking 10) despite 3 HRs by Johnny Callison, 3 hits by Richie Allen, 2 by Tony Gonzalez and having 18-6 staff ace Jim Bunning delivering starting pitches (had nothing - 3 innings, 10 hits, 7 runs; future Manager Dallas Green followed, poured gasoline on the fire – 1.2 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs).

    Ex-Phillie Frank Torre’s little brother Joe homered for the Braves and the Dominican Republic’s Chi-Chi Olivo finished for starter Tony Cloninger, who notched his 18th win. 

    I venture to say Gene Mauch, #4, the Little General, drove away from 21st Street & Lehigh Avenue in North Philadelphia that day in a state of shock and dismay.  The softest of soft pretzels would offer little consolation.  The next night’s opposing starting pitcher in St. Louis, Bob Gibson, wouldn’t either.     

  394. My best forecast of all time.   Hit 81-81 on the nose !  lol

  395. Ken Bland says:

    About 2 weeks ago, a thought popped into my mind that I started to think through.  After doing so, it made sense, largely because it was an exploratory idea.  Sort of like introing a man and a woman, not with the idea of they’d make the perfect couple, but there seemed to be enough of a match that it wasn’t a terrible idea.  I’ve seen some evidence of plusses and minuses since.

    Strange, and unpopular as it may be on ths surface, the possiility is open to such because the question of who’s on 3rd for the Phils next year is pretty wide open.  In case you haven’t noticed, they don’t make 3rd basemen like they used to.  For a handful of credible reasons, Kevin Fransden isn’t drawing laughter as a nominee, but rest assured, even next year, 5 months older that he’d be, Mike Schmidt would outslug Fransden over 162.  Schmidt hasn’t played in 25 years.  Schmidt is 63 years old. But the road to becoming available, or at least perceived as such, is crossing paths with Alex Rodriguez faster than Raul Ibanez’s hero quotient is scorching this morning.

    The main problem with Alex should be all our problems.  He’s owed about 114 mil max over the next 5 years discounting landmark home run incentives.  The decline on the back of his baseball card glares, and matches a player in this day and age worth about a third of what the Yanks are obligated to fork over.  And that’s before Father Time grabs him further into his injury prone years.  The Yanks, not exactly in an austerity program are looking to cut back, and if they could get out of about 40 mil over the next 5 years, maybe there’s an appeal.

    The real problem is that in watching ARod the last few days, he’s become so easy to pitch to.  But as a non professional scout, I have a hard time deciphering between a slump, and over the hill with an emphatic finished in the scouting report.  The irony of the difference is last night’s Bronx hero was 0-35 as a 39 year old a year ago, and everyone with Pennsylvania driver tags thought he was fini and kaput. 

    Is A Rod worth paying 8-10 mil per for 5 more years,  with the Yanks paying the rest?  If they’d een be open to it, of course, if you get 2 “good” years out of him, defined approximatley as an .850 OPS, 20-25 swats, good defense, 140 games, then 40-50 mil is still a heavy price, but  at least you have a righty presence in the lineup.  If you get those 2 years, and it costs you 50 mil, that’s still not good, but if it’s part of 1 more World Series title, it’s more absorbable.

    Am I saying the Phils should call the Yanks and pursue it?  Nope.  Am I saying the Phils should discuss it iternally and collectively opine whether he’s a good candidate for 2, maybe 3 decent seasons?  Yeppers.  If there’s enough group positivity, then pursue discussion with the Yanks, and see how much they’d absorb to get rid of a guy their fan base is sick of, and getting sicker of by the playoff at bat.  Such is life in the 3rd base marketplace.  Not to mention a righthanded “power” bat.  It’d be a tough squeeze in avoiding the luxury tax, and still having funds to address the need for athleticism in the OF, but the idea is only fractionally nuts.  So say the nut doctor.         


    • Alright so this is borderline crazy.  Scratch that, this is crazy. But worth discussing, yes that is how bad our options appear at 3B. 

      Personally I prefer someone from the farm at 3B, we have to get younger end of story. But with Cliff and Doc only seriously having another 2-3 years MAX of top end performance left. It does make sense to continue to make a push for the W.S.  (hell I should add Jimmy, Chase, & Ryan to that list as well)

      Consider the Yankees are desperate to get under the luxury tax, they might be willing to unload A-Rod if they could replace him cheaper.   So if the Phillies gave the Yanks $15 mill per year and the Yanks could replace 3B at $10 mill or less, they’d be interested.  But if the Yanks can do it, why don’t the Phillies just do that ??  So unlikely
      Consider the Tigers moved their 1B from first to 3B and all he did was have a MVP year and win the triple crown.  The Mets would love to move Ike Davis away from 1B, to make room for Lucas Duda at 1B, but they would demand a 30HR 90RBI type outfielder in return.

      These are all WAY outside the box ideas, because free agent market looks terrible this year.  Are there other more conventional moves to improve Philly that we are missing?

  396. Ken Bland says:

    Wonder how many gaming lines come out of reading this site these days.  Here’s a sure fire line to appear in Vegas once one of those casino types gets their hands on this copy.  And it’ll be so much better a world for it.

    Lest the masses haven’t noticed, Cardinal baseball on KMOX is alive and well, gaining public confidence by the day that they are for real about defending their 2011 World title.  You know, the one where the masses plus became believers that the hot team wins in the playoffs.  Same cult following that applied that theory to the San Fransisco Giants all of 12 months before.  Never mind that we remain a detractor on that theory representing the whole truth and nothin’ but the truth, but that’s digression.

    Odds, baby, stick to the odds subject.

    Remember this guy that lined up batting 3rd, and catching throws at first a year ago in Redbird Red, answering to the name of King Albert Pujols?  Went west, young man did, leaving the under the Arch club to defend their title sans the greatest player of his generation.  How good is Albert?  About 1.5 times as good as Larry Jones, he of first ballot unanimous HOF induction worthiness.  Pujols, in his prime, and not distantly removed from it still is such a likely Hall guy that they should allow voters to vote affirmative twice to offset the moronic imbicile (s) that’ll vote negatory on his ass just to maintain baseball tradition of no unanimous picks.

    But in young man moving west, Albert left behind a legacy of major proportions in the Loo.  His foundation remains, and some have gotten past the scorn that led to some uniform burning on the California sunshine news that prayers told Albert to sign with the Angels.  Did you know prayers are a Wall Street factor?

    In their quest for title two sans Albert, one has to wonder how it feels watching the Redbirds on a roll for number 5.  Adept at always saying the right thing, we likely won’t ever know, but despite the cash flow, it’s gotta be bittersweet watching his old mates join forces with newcomer Carlos “Shoulda Been a Phillie” Beltran to at a minimum, apparently head toward making the NLCS a deep playoff match.  Wonder if probed, how Albert would reveal true feelings on the Sant Louis masterpiece without him.

    So the line is, which ambitious scribe gets a quote or two from Albert on his feelings that even serves as lip service.  So far, the Cards have just approached a major barrier in repeating last year’s achievement.  We’ll set the over/under on post NLCS, pre World Series for when Albert speaketh.  Me?  I’m not the gambling sort, but I take part in occasional discussions on the subject for information purposes only, and in this instance, I’m taking the uinder.  As the Redbirds move closer to winning a 4th time in the LCS, some scribe will offer actual Pujols verbiage.  It’s already topical as the Cards have parlayed the 2 card with fate to move past the Washedup Chokeditudes. Even with lip service copy, it’s definitely interesting to ponder how Pujols feels about the jetted Redbird flight.  You’d think we’d be used to this out of this franchise by now, with 7 LCS appearances since the year 2K, but credit and the Cardinals never seem to be on the same side of the street.  But with all their glorious history on their side, that’s what counts most.  The rest is the perceiver’s problem.              

  397. Ken Bland says:

  398. Ken Bland says:

    Aw, who knows, maybe we’ll get this thread up to a thousand posts yet.  Too bad this blog doesn’t have a search function.  Wouldn’t have been a 10 minute investment of time finding a particular comment.

    But the time was well spent.  I daydreamed of 1 of my fantasies, and by McGinnis, I’m doing something about it.

    See there are are 2 things I wanna be when I grow up.  One, as I’ve scanned the cable system, I tend to stop on the channels where the TV preachers are addressing the constituents while collection plates make the rounds.  I’ve checked out their technique, and I swear, I could be a good TV preacher.  Damned good, in fact.  The other aspiration, is from time to time, I read the Inky/DN poll question of the day, and either criticize the hell out of it, or it leads to creativity in the poll I’d run for the day.  So we’ll see if this lasts, but I’ll set a goal of 10 poll questions over let’s say by the end of the month I’d run if my last name was Harrispoll.  Adds to the depth of the blog.  Satisfies my urges.  Gives the massive readership something to think about.  And now, without further adieu, today’s poll question if Uncle Annenberg and I shared genetics would be…

    Which of the following would you select for biggest disaster of 2012?

      a/ The Phillies bullpen  

      b/ The Lakers bench

     c/ the Iggles O Line

     d/ the Phils counter programmomg to ESPN AM drive with Fontenot and Martinez
        on the roster at the same time.                 

  399. Wow on one hand I have the historic collapse of the Phillies where the team went from 102 wins to 81 wins in one year, something that Never? has happened before in terms of the 20 win difference.

    On the other hand we have 3 O line starters hurt and lost for the season and a free agent acquisition (D. Bell from Buff) who flat out sucks, and a first round draft pick (Danny Watkins) who flat out sucks, which combined means we have an incompetent GM and an owner who doesn’t realize that and signed him for another 5 years.   Yet the overall record of the Eagles probably will be around 6-10 and therefore not that much worse than last year.

    That’s a hard call, I guess I’m more depressed about the Eagles and the failure of ownership the sad GM and worthless coach, a terrible scheme & plays, a bad QB plus hurt and many bad players and terrible free agents.  With the Phillies I think the owners are good, the GM is average, and the manager is average and the players are old/hurt.  So overall I’m more hopeful with the Phillies.

  400. Ken Bland says:

    More stuffff, as Chuck Barris would say,  from the would be poll of the day question….

    Recent slippage in place, Andy Reid’s legacy is currently threatening to leave a similar taste in the mouth to the coaching days of

    a/ Richard Kotite

    b/ Joseph Kuharich

    c/ the Dick Vermiel strike shortened burnout year

    d/ none of the above.  Too much good on the overall body of work. 


    Hmmm.  Disgraceful as recent weeks have been, particularly with obvious skill at certain positions at least making an ounce of validity to Vince Young’s infamous superteam label, it’s still kinda hard to overlook a lot of good results in the Reid regime.  Way ditant memories don’t allow for vivid recall of the depths of despair of Kotite and Kuharich days, and actually referencing them would lead to as much body shock as finding out the LA Lakers opted for Mike D’Antoni over Phillip Jackson.  Better to stay at normal blood pressure lines than aggrivate with the recall of the decimation.  But Reid’s last couple years are generating the same amount of frustration as Vermiel’s end.  Vermiel has been remembered fondly for decades.  Time heals wounds, but I think Andy Reid will be recalled fondly by a minority.  So the vote goes to Vermiel’s burnout year, and fewer apologist angles are in order.  What a mess!                    

  401. Ken Bland says:

    Poll for the day…Hump Day Edition….

    If the Phils don’t sign one of these outfielders, which one would you most dread signing with either Washington or Atlanta, presumably strengthening what’s left of the 2013 division conmpetition…

    a/ Josh Hamilton

    b/ BJ Upton

    c/ Nick Swisher

    d/ Jason Bay


    Seems like times have changed, and righty bats are sought these days.  That’s not an endorsement of Jason Bay.  If you follow current events, you know that.  Swisher offers a righty bat plus as a switch guy, but Upton’s more athletic, and a better defender.  I don’t know that the Phils have  to sign Upton, but doing so and keeping him away from a division rival would be effective.                   

  402. None of the above ?  

    a) Josh has 1-2 star years left in him I think, and would saddle any franchise for years to come with an unproductive salary

    b) BJ, entirely depends on his legs which are now old.   He is a disaster waiting to happen.

    c) Swisher, regular season giant, Playoff midget

    d) Bay, the worst contract in baseball

    • Ken Bland says:

      You need to check your invaluble references that tell you what time BJ was bourne before you call his legs old.  I’ll give you a pre research hint.  Both his legs are the same age.

  403. Ken Bland says:

    Working our way toward message number 700.  A reminder the world is scheduled to end on 12/21/12, and I don’t know what time of day, so we should perhaps hit the 700 mark a day early to be safe.

    The impatience of waiting for the next Inky/DN could be and should be the poll question of the day has the masses salivating, and this is where ya keep em salivatin’ for a few more seconds…

    Let’s go over the results of the last poll query, and check out the results.  That’s usually what happens when you go over the results, you check them out.  13,457 Recliner GM respondents did not vote for Upton.  This must be because I cheated and tried to sway the constituents in that direction.  Of the 13.457 that did not vote for Upton, 11,214 voluntarily revealed that they were of African/American descent, proving once again that voting by ethnic background is a fallacy.  Well, I think it proved it.

    Let’s now all put on our thinking caps, and vote responsibly on today’s submission.

    With Christmas and Kwanza coming up, and even Hannukah (I assume, since Hallmark makes it a different freaking date every year), Philly sports fans rolling in dough will bombard Mitchell and Ness acquiring Philly pro team merchandise for their loved ones. 

    Which pro team will reap the highest total of gross sales in shirsey and the like sales?

    a/  The woebegone Birds

    b/  The truly gone Flyers

    c/ The BYnum By 6ers

    d/ The Philadelphia Phillies

    e/ The Union

    f/ The Philly entry in the Lingerie Football League


    Being as this is my contest, its my rules.  This is an EXCELLENT, holiday spirited question.  That’s my first vote.  My second vote is my opinion in the vote.  The Eagles and Flyers will not have any new personnel coming in by the time the elves split from the North Pole.  Scratch them.  The Phils may sign a new player, or make a deal by then, which puts them in the running.  The Union.  Gimme a break.  The highest scoring socer game ever is 2-1, and that was only to test the stamina of the announcer that says, “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL”, and I abbreviated that.  The 6ers.  Hmmmmm.  If you haven’t bought your 6ers attire by now, based on the very routine start, you’re not buying.  By process of elimination, that leaves the Lingerie football entry.  Which it might have been even without process of elimination.  I mean how sexy would it be to look at your wife, or girl friend, or both in a pair of panties that said Passion?  Time for a 3rd opinion.  The vote shall not be close after cresendoing to that final point.                                 

  404. Ken Bland says:

    Rumor has it they don’t make much like they used tio.  Not true.  Take today’s would be should today’s poll question, much more colorful than what you’ll see in tomorrow’s real life editions.  It puts real time through a time machine.

    In scoping the Eagles Redskins “contest,” I felt like I watched which of the following quarterback Da Birdses.

    a/ Pete Liske

    b/ Mike Boryla

    c/ Chuck Fussina

    d/ King Hill

    The correct answer is many of the above.                

  405. Ken Bland says:

    Coulda been, shoulda been Poll question of the day…

    Bob Boone’s 65th birthday kicks off his Thanksgiving week.  The 1980 World Champion’s greatest accomplishment in his long career was

    a/    3 of his highest OBP years were during his age 40, 41 and final 42 year old seasons as an Angel.

    b/    7 Gold Glove Awards

    c/    Middle leg of a 3 generation MLB family    

    d/   setting up an infamous play in baseball history by dropping a foul fly that reinforced Pete Rose’s greatness by backing up the play, and catching the ball  

    A single play has to be REALLY special to mark a 19 year career.  Scratch the Rose play.  7 Gold Gloves is up there, but the Gold Glove is such a scam, you’d hate to use that as a point of capitulation to acknowledge a guy.  Middle leg of a 3 generation baseball family.  All careers of which were pretty darned good, by the way is so common.  Whole bunch of those running around, huh?  While that was seriously good, and maybe Boonie’sm greatest achievement, I’d vote for A on the strength of it defining his career.  He was talented, but limited.  Ain’t a doubt about it, Boone maxed his talent.  And taking his OBP in the .336-.350 range from age 40 on showed hoe educated a ballplayer he was when the years had rolled out.  To me, that’s a helluvan accomplishment. 

  406. Ken Bland says:

    Good move by the folks at untapped this morning.  Whoever approved the poll that was created by the pollster at large creating the latest vote if you will effort oughta be hanged.

    Cardinal rule of ethics at the likes of Harris and Gallup is don’t be criticizing no polls unless you can do better.

    Hark! I can!

    Check this out.  The poll wanna know who you think will win the Monday Night gsmer between the Iggles and Carolina Panthers.  Ara ya kidding me?

    Hell, the Panthers are so bad at 2-8 that they need to change the club nickname el rapido. 

     Momday’s after dark kickoff  brings to mind whether you’ve ever seen a real panther in an alleyway in the dark and not been scared.  This Panther outfit is scary?  Not likely, convict.

    The correct way to poll the masses is inarguable.

    The poll should read…

    Who will lose the Mionday night game?

    a/ Iggles

    b/ Panthers

    Kudos to the schedulemaker that came up with that gem for a Monday night showcase.  Might be the NFL’s best offering since back on Thanksgiving of 2012 when some fool decided the New York Jets were worthy of primne timeexposure.  Take your pick of Jets, Eagles or Panthers, the Houston Astros could whup ‘em all.   

    So who loses?  The correct answer is both.                   


  407. Ken Bland says:

    Let’s get off the poll beat as we masterfully work our way toward message number 700 in this spectacular thread.  I get that the masses are anxious to get there, but I was telling my great great, great grandson yesterday that he should finish grad school before the Recliner GM top 50 athletes in Philadelphia is recorded in sum.  Mike Schmidt should be in the Top 10, but I’mma thinking that Schmidt’s own grandson might be in that select Dime by the time we get there.

    But I’m not here to talk to you or at you, masses, anout that today.

    Let’s do some bot talk.

    Bots come and go around here.  God knows their purpose, other than providing sports intellect, which is all our purposes on Planet Recliner, but bots do it with a wonderful sense of literacy, color, and spelling.

    Recently, I attempted to engage some of the all-star bots in conversation about their contributions.  None of the bots chose to pursue dialogue.  None of the bots moved on to a different subject in attempt to make theor presence felt again.  I’m an emotional guy.  I was getting emotionally attached to some of the bots.  And all the botsies are now gone.  It just makes me wanna cry.  I guess bots don’t even vote in the polls.  Tsk, tsk.  

    WE WANT BOTS!            

    • Ken Bland says:


      I was told that the theme song Meet the Mets is actually a copyright infringement from the former number 1 hit, “Meet The Bots.”  What I saw on Nancy Grace one night was a report that the Mets claimed originality with the insertion of the line about the Mets are relly sokin the ball since no bot ever got a base hit.  The tune really could be in a lot of legal trouble.  The Met version of the song says the Mets are really sockin the ball, knockin the homeruns over the wall, which could fall subject to false advertising if a countersuit develops. 

      • Ken Bland says:

        I can’t see doing a poll question on The Bots and the legal entanglement, but I think you for not making that suggestion.  The size of the readership might be even larfger than I was aware.  I appreciate your sharing pulse with us.

        Back atcha,


  408. Ken Bland says:

    Poll action.  Much more poll action.  For registered voters only.  Meaning no felons, no bots.  Redundant as that is.

    Wherever they bottom out, the Eagles 7 week stratch can best be paralleled with which Phildadlphia nightmare

    1/  Phillies baseball, late 1990′s style

    2/ the 9-73 10-9-8-76ers

    3/ a wide selection of points in Eagles history

    Say this poll actually ran in public reality.  God only knows how the voters’d decide.  Such lowlight choices.  I think they’d stay away from the Roy Rubinettes, but personally, I think I’d be inclined to select that option.  The question wasn’t about the season as a whole, and the Eagles looked at least luckily mediocore early on.  The question was about the 7 week stretch, meaning the time frame of 7 straight losses.  At least that’s the implication, if not the inferred.  I just don’t know that I’ve seen anything as bad as this from anyone but the 6ers that went 9-73.  You knew the 6ers were gonna lose ev4ery freaking game the middle 30 games of the year.  Multiple points in Eagles history would be a solid vote, and frankly, the 90′s Phillies would be representable, too.  What a joyous subject!
    Maybe the poll question should have been first team to be honored by a parade…Eagles, or Cubs?
    Gawd, more choices!

  409. Ken Bland says:

    Long ago, and far away, there was the WFIL Instant Gold Request.  Now, it’s supplanted by the would be should be InstaPoll!!!!!

    Sans any adieu, here ya go, kiddies.  Think before voting now!

    The Phils deal for Wilton Lopez has hit Snag City because

    A/  It’s not just on the field where the Phils like to be snakebitten by the Disastros

    B/  Ruben did such a fine job mishandling the Madson negotiation a year ago that he wanted to prove it was no fluke

    C/ There’s no business like show business, like no bisoness I know

    Hints for the mentally impaired.  I’m talkin’ bout you, brother and sister bots.  Don’t vote choice c.  It’s a trick answer.  I was just trying to get the attention of the butcher and the baker in the widespread readership.           

    • jjg says:

      Laughed at B/ but gonna go with… 

      D/  Ruben Jr. knows through Dad’s Christmas fireside stories that there’s much wilting, but only one Wilt in this town, now and forevermore, amen

      “BOTS” - Bunts of Ted Sizemore?  Blasts of Ted Savage?  Bo (Diaz) - Ozzie (Virgil) - Timmy (McCarver) - Sammy (White) Syndicate?  A contraction of botches?  Please.  Dr. Don Rose wants to know… has a bet with J.J. Jeffery.

  410. Ken Bland says:

    Pollmaker, pollmaker, make me a poll.

    Ask, and ye shall receive.

    Which Vegas line is the weakest in handicapping the soon to come Hall of Fame voting

    A/  Jack Morris   1/5

    B/ Barry Bonds     40/1

    What an easy question.  I wish they made multiple guess questions like this back when I was at the height of academia.  Two answers, and you gotta shot.  I like those odds.

    Okay, here’s the deal.  This is actually a tough choice.  Well, to an extent.  Let’s take Bonds first.  40/1 is a tremendous underdog price.  Harp all you want about the voters statements to date in limiting somewhat questionable HOF guy Mark McGwire, and Raffy “Fingershakin’”Palmeroto make a point.  Even those carrying freaking suspicion haven’t fared well.  You wanna keep one thing in mind on Bonds.  How many times have you heard someone say he was an HOF player before he did roids.  Lots.  Some constituents will vote aye on that premise.  No, Bonds isn’t gettiung in.  But he will record a high enough percentage to slightly camoflauge the ongoing disdain for the roiders.  Some yahoo will write that maybe the vote shows a slight softening toward letting some of thm in.  Not so fast.  Barry is an exception to the rule, a collection of unique skills in one body.  A superstar ina League of same.  I figure he’ll get abount 40-45% yes votes, crushing McGwire to date.  So you’d lose the bet, but at 40-1, if you have a few mil in your pocket, my play of the week, on an outlay of several grand, available free to the 9th caller at 1-800-GOODBET is play the dog, er Bonds, I mean.  Why do I think the 8th caller just won something?

    Morris….This ain’t no best mustache award.  Jack’d be a lock.  For 14 years, he’s been left on the outside looking in.  Now last chance, and a guy like Be Home Blyleven setting a precedent of sorts by being considered borderline (not that he was) and walking through on his last regular vote chance, most think Jack is finally indeed getting in.  But you’re gonna lay 5-1 on that precedent?  Dat is a steep outlay.  I’d say Jack is about 70-30 to get in, which is 2.3333/1 if you’re scoring at home.  And 15th year dudes don’t always start enshrining.  Take your money that you’d bet on Jack, and waste it on Barry.  At least you can say you made a good business decision when you lose.        

  411. Ken Bland says:

    Wonder what post number 700 in this thred will be about.  Whatecver it is, we are now a step closer to it. 

  412. Ken Bland says:

    We are told by legendary song that Christmas has 12 days.  The old partridge in a pear tree.  Choochakah runs a light festival for 8.  Happy Halldays, Merry Cliffmas, or Happy Choochakah.  Nice choices.  But the big question on Action News is how many 24 hour cycles do Kwznza gots?  Because before endeavoring on our next project in the drive to 700 posts, I need to know what sort of comiitment I am making to the cause.  Am I doing 12 points for Christmas?  Or 8 for Channukah?  Is Kwanza 4 days, affording less laborsome task?

    So old, and so much to learn.

    Point number 1, on the road to 700, whatever holiday we are celebrating.

    There’s something aboiut Philadelphia acquiring Mike.  Vick?  Maybe the most controversial signing since the rear view mirror would tell us us Crash Allen 1 was controversial, even if the controversy was at least as much from all those around Crash.  Now, innocently enough comes along Mike Young, and holy debatable, the sparks are a flyin’.  Washed up? Worth a year?  Pay too much?  Personally, on the whole, I like the deal well enough, but it does add to a chapter of concern about the coming attraction of 2013 Phillies, coming soon to a theatre near yous.

    Dating back to somewhere in the acquisition lane, probably at the point the Phils landed Roy Oswalt, many a Phillie fan has been obsessed with belief that they are carrying the greatest pitching staff since the 1966 National League all-star squad, personnified by the likes of Koufax, Maruchal and Gibson.  To this day, many think the reputations of the remaining Halladay-Lee-Hamels tandem is of devestation threat.  This entire time, it’s at least been debatable as to how good the pitching is, and you don’t make a fool of yourself on the positive side, even if it’s overrated in both historic and current terms.  But we can all agree that it’s a good collection, for sure.

    But part of pitching is an effective defense.  When the Phils finally got the idea several years ago that competing for the post season was a good idea, they started the era with good defense.  Last year, the defense slipped a good amount.  The pitchers fell victim to that and other problems at times, and as time works, now everyone is a year older (which is good in Hamels case) and an even better defense behind them would be nice.

    What does Mike Young add to the defense that was?  Let’s go around the horn.  Ryan “Scoop” Howard covers all his defensive strengths.  The keystone combo is still pretty good defensively, not to be confused with very good anymore.  Or maybe they are very good, down from excellent.  It’s a slight downgrade, anyway you look at it.  Had Kevin Fransden been annointed as the next successor to Scott Rolen, he’s a 2nd baseman trying play 3rd, and didn’t do it too well last year.  Mike Young drove Ranger voice Eric Nadell into a vocal habit the last time he played 3rd.  Nadel used to wake up at 5 am from a dream that had him say the words he said on Rangers radio hours before, the crutch phrase of “ground ball, past a diving Young.”  Ben Revere in center is said to be able to run ‘em down with the best of ‘em, and that’s good, but we are told he has an arm worse than Raaaaauuuul.  Dom Brown is an excellent arm, but still somewhat of an adventure on routes.  Darin Ruf has Chris Berman impersonator’s warming up to Darin “Boy is he” roiugh over defensive video.  I don’t know Erik Kratz’s 25 game start to be something we can look at all fired up about defensively either. 

    The pitchers, leastwise the top 3, and on Kendrick’s good days, are good.  But defense sustains, and helps that.  This part of the club will warrant a watchful eye.  If it wins them games, frankly, it’ll be amazing.  The challenge ahead is can they avoid having it lose enough games to lend toward another early season exit.  Time will tell.            


    • jjg says:

      The prosecution of the execution of the defense rests.  Entertaining!

      Ben Revere.  Which brings us to Ben Francisco, Ben Rivera, Ben Coleman, Behn Wilson, Ben Hawkins, Ben Krass, Ben Chapman and HOF-er Ben Franklin.

      “If ya gotta go, go in a Krass Brothers suit!”

      • Ken Bland says:

        Breaking news…dateline Philadelphia….the Phils are looking for a starting pitcher…details after another in year ending hardly popular series “Points for the Holidays” continues with it’s second saga (HEY! We made it past the pilot stage!)

  413. Ken Bland says:

    I wonder if Bob Hope would have made “Points for thre Holidays” his signature song instead of “Thanks for the Memories had he thought of that title.  Geez, talk about making something more important than it is.

    The point at hand is Da Phillies need a pitcher.  Duh.  Duh is because this is a time honored tradition essentially interrupted in recent years with the presence of Messers Halladay and Lee.  You only need to go back to Ott 8 when the Phils were running the likes of Jamie Moyer and Sterling Joe Blanton to the hill enroute to a parade.  If you look back on it, and keep a straight face to the fact that Moyer and Blanton both won 16 games that year (Blanton was combined) then you are better at deadpan than I think I am, let alone is.

    So how do the Phils go about this task at hand since Vaniumal and May split the scene and left it clean.

    Ah, such an easy task.

    Even the first step is hard.

    A 4th starter is an essence of life.  Even the Dodgers, at a time when 3 days rest was the order of the day, found Don “Freaking” Sutton to complete the Koufax-Drysdale-Podres trifecta.  The number 4 will earn right around an identical number as the ace.  So the Phils first must determine if Kyle ”Actually Pretty Good WHEN He’s Good” is worth the same 35ish starts as this year’s top of the rotation dude, Cool Hamels.

    The 5 guy, a role that might better fit KK’s inconsistency, and what right mided soul thought they’d even say THAT after watchuing some Kendrick blowups ovcer the years figures to get 25 starts, and isn’t quite as necessary.

    Why do I have this feeling the Phils will insert Kendrick in the 4 slot.  By process of elimination, this means the Phils are looking for a 5.  Maybe it has something to do with 4 types not running around in great quantity.  Edwin Jackson is probably a 4, but it’s a little difficult to envision 7 figures, even the low end going into him.  The modern day Dodgers have 83 starters, but there’s a good chance they are in the same division as the Phils, The Wild Card Division, and it’s one thing to trade intradivision when you trade with a club much better or worse than you, but not one that you might find yourself separated by a game from come season’s end.

    Maybe guys like Shaun Marcum would fill the 4, but 200 plus innings off an injury year is a high expectation.  But he’d be a good 5.  If the competition for pitching doesn’t drive his number up.

    No matter what resolution the Phils pull out of their collective decision, it’s no sure fire answer.  But they better decide what they expecft from Kendrick before they move into plan execution.

    It all sounds so easy.                            

  414. Ken Bland says:

    Hark!  A solution to the starter that would be faster than King George Michael used to whip out Instant Requests!

      << Ben Revere. Which brings us to Ben Francisco, Ben Rivera, Ben Coleman, Behn Wilson, Ben Hawkins, Ben Krass, Ben Chapman and HOF-er Ben Franklin.>> gets credit for stimulating this brilliant suggestion.

    The Phils need to sign Ben Dunn as their number 5 starter.  Then we would have a rotation of Hamels-Halladay-Lee-Kendrick- Ben (There) Dunn (THat).

    Playoffs, here we come now!      


  415. Ken Bland says:

    Federal law requires that any message board that carries 700 responses to the original message must have mention of an old subject.  Mention John Bowker, and a site like Beer Leaguer runs into sprint toward the 700 message line mode.  Someday, I expect Todd Zoelecki to scribe a book called “Lost Souls of the History of the Phillies.”  Subtitled “The Productive Philly stops of John Bowker and Nate Robertson”.  We’ll see how Amazon’s stock price reacts to that best seller certainty.

    So what old topic shall we point toward?  Well, there’s the bullpen, lost in the discussion in search of a Young 3rd baseman.  Or, if you be like women, and like a choice, there’s the bullpen, lost in the quest of another starting pitcher.  Or, if you are more true woman than A-Hip is a hip and true Yankee, there’s the Phillie bullpen.

    And the winning topic is….

    Da Bullpen.

    I’m not here to debate who or if the Phils oughta line up as next year’s pre Papelbon man.  Even if the Phils fill all the well pubbed holes, they still won’t be lock, massive improvements (so far, anyway, leaving Josh Hamilton very outside poossibilities to blow that assessment away), and the holes were so glaring that it’s tough to prioritize, even at this point.  But an 8th inning guy is a possible position at which to seek improvement.

    Which brings us tio your TOS surgical patient of the year, Mike Adams.  Whatever TOS stands for, its made clubs wary of Adams in the Free Agent Reliever Derby.  Asked last night in a radio interview about the market’s response to his free agency thus far, Adams replied it’s been slow so far because of wariness about his recovery.  The doctor in me, fraction of a fraction that it is, although recent ventures into the jaw bone and eye bone portion of my precious body have developed my knowledge, tells me that some ballclub, chance that it might seem wouldn’t be terribly foolish to get ahead of the curve and try to get a step above the tortoise pace and try to sign Adams for reasonable cash.

    Adams, perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, said he’d be willing to play in the World Baseball Classic as a showcase if he’s still unsigned.  Citing a guy like Chris Carpenter, whio came back this year from TOS, Adams mentioned there were like 12 guys who have come back from it, and their history indicates he shiould make the full recovery anticipated.  The depth of data base of recovery from TJ surgery is encyclopedic in volume, 12 or so cases, even unanimous is a little different, but if you can stay away from over the top money, and still make an appealing offer, security might get Adams to bite.  It’s one thing to sound fired up about showcasing oneself 3 months out, it’s another to go through the loneliness of an unsigned winter sand not be compromising for security.

    Adams is a very competent reliever.  I don’t know that he was ever really as good as he pitched in San Diego, and was a hit trade topic a couple years back.  That might have been the best of Mike Adams, but he still should have a couple darned good years left, and spring training warnings coupled with then less supply might jack his price up if he pitches well in the WBC, which I believe to be a safe assumption.

    Hard to tell what might be an enticing just off surgery offer might be.  I’d guess he’d be thrilled with a 3 year deal under most any circumstance.  Happy, anyway.  Thrilled describes 4 years.  I’d think if you offer 4.5-5 over 2 years, some degree of incentive adding into that, he listens, and discussion evolves.  I’d expect him to get that on the presumption he pitches well in the WBC, maybe even a 3rd year.  At least let him know you’re seriously interested, as opposed to just exploratorily so.  I figure chances to be real good that he would justify some club taking the chance he comes back before he does.  And when it comes to location, location, location, the bullpen in South Philly is a prime spot.                           

    • Ken Bland says:


      The Phillies have agreed to sign Mike Adams to a two-year contract worth $12MM with a third-year vesting option, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

      and roll.

      Hope this works out as well as I expect.  Which isn’t perfection, but I like the chances of Mike doing a very good job.

      Rube, liked Willie, who hit em where they ain’t, is shopping where they ain’t.  Leaving all the critics married to his sign em too long, or always looking to make the major splash in the dust.  People love to think they know more than they do.  He continues to grow as a GM, and he’ll keep changing as time goes on.  We fans coukle do worse with others in his position.  People oughta remember that before they are so quick to jump down Ruben’s throat.       

  416. Ken Bland says:

    I don’t know how marketable this title would be, but for the next in this here series of points for the holidays, how’s this for a headlline…

    Live and Learn, Chapter 6,215

    I dunno, maybe that’s a high digit.  I’d like to think I knew better in the first place enough to not climb the number so high.

    Oh, well, on we go with the bedtime story.

    Like the World Series of Poker, or I guess maybe pokerette as well since I’ve seenthe female gender show some pretty good poker faces in my time, kareoke has captured the public’s attention as a popular recreation.  Folks like me, that think they should’ve beena Temptation when I shower, have an opportunity to strut their stuff in public, and check out the reaction.  I can’t help but wonder how many folks plan their tune in advance, or spur of the moment this important decision.  I tend to wing it, or did until now.  Next time, I ain’t even going to a kareoke festivity that don’t have Won’t Get Fooled Again by the Doobie Brothers on the option list.

    Fooled again this week, but what an education.

    I get a charge out of the camoflauge reality carries beneath the public reporting and many guesses on the likes of free agency and trades.  Kidding aside, in all walks of life, it is such a great feeling to learn, and understand later situations, and be able to read them.  As a sports fan, it’s fun to guess along with the rumors, and feel comfortable with what might happen, separating from the garbage. 

    This now past Josh Hamilton saga was fun.  I felt more than 100 per cent confident when reports came out several weeks ago that the Phils had decided they had no interest in Hamilton.  Total bullbleep.  You take a due dilligence driven guy like Senor Amaro, who has his name attached to more rumors than Heffner did women in his prime, and you don’t rule anything out.  Closing doors on possibities is usually bad business sense, and Rube is a businessman.

    The one thing I felt certain about was that at the end of the line, Josh, as he said, and I chose to think likely, said he’d give the Rangers final crack at him.  I pecked and pawed at some rumors along the way as to their probabilities, but the one constant was Hamilton would talk to the Rangers once he had a “final” offer.


    Yesterday, this Los Angeles Whirlwinds of Anaheim stepped in for the second winter in a row, and swept a major catch away from the field.  And as indisputably as can be, Jon Daniels made it clear as day from quotes that Josh did NOT get back to the Rangers.  See the way Annibel Sanchez got an offer from Theo and Jed, and went running back to the Tigers who bit?  Perhaps the Angels sat with Team Hamilton and said here’s 125 mil for 5 years, but if you don’t sign now, as in NOW, the offer is off the table.  Ya gotta love a negotiating style that leaves no room for the proverbial 24 hours to think it over.  Josh whipped out a pen, and rightly or wrongly, all I could think about was the charge Mike Young might get out of the way Jon Daniels got burned by seemingly dragging his feet.  Young and Daniels, with little doubt, had an adversarial relationshp, and while Young will publicly avoid that, and say the mature moving forward stuff, I’d imagine he got a kick out of it.  Somehow, I get the feeling the Angel management team could sell used cars.  They seem to know how to close.  Well, for now.  We’ll see how it goes with Mike Trout in the future.  That oughta be at least as interesting as Albert and Josh.  We’ll see if I learned anything by then, too.                             

  417. Josh is now the 3rd  best hitter on his team, that’s gotta be a first

    • Ken Bland says:

      Well, it’s not exactly like Trout and Albert shouldn’t think in those terms about themselves as well.

      Personally, I’m ready to annoint Trout, but reality is he’s only done “it” for a year, and the sophomore slump is a long standing baseball tradition.

      Both Josh and Albert had 1 month slumps you wouldn’t wish on your sorst enemy last year.  For most of the year, Albert was still on his usual career pace.  Josh, without that month, would have reduced Miggy Cabrera to far less celebrated.  But Josh has to go through what Albert did last year, adjusting to a new home.  In many ways, I, not being the one to go through that, and therefore its really just a hunch, think Josh will have an easier time with his adjustment, and is further motivated by what I perceive as a bigger chip on his shoulder than Albert had.  Hamilton will play Texas a lot for one factor.

      All 3 are great offensive threats.  Any of the 3 could be the big stick.  But the pitching staff at this time is shakier in the starters than a year ago, and the bullpen figures to be light years stronger.  Despite a Vegas book changing the Angels odds as 12-1 to win it all down to I believe it went to 7-2, they still have a challenging road ahead to win it asll.  But a lot less difficult than a week ago.        

  418. jjg says:

    “Thwack!”  Decided to go with the pitch, smack an astroturf double to the gap in right.  Hello Glenn Wilson.  How’s the ol’ howitzer?  Hello Philadelphia Phil & Phyllis.  Still married?.  Ding dong, Liberty Bell.  A case of Tastykakes or Ballentine Beer?  Your pleasure.  Thank you, Kiteman.  We never did like the orange seats.  Good hustle anyway.  Merry St. Patty’s Day, Tug, and Happy John Jameson’s.       

    • Ken Bland says:

      Geez, woiuld Glenn Wilson’s prototype fit in right field at this point.  Defenderthat he was.  Still probably prefer a stronger bat (I didn’t check numbers, just how I remember him…like a 15 homer not quite above average power guy).

      That’s the second mention of Philadelphia Phyllis this quarter.  Hitting a new decade recently prompted renewed acquaintances with a cuildhood bud that prompted back in the day recollections.  First ever game at the Vet, view blocked by Phyllis made the conversation.  Rather it have been the right field ball girl (Mary Something…outsanding blonde appearance), but being inside was good enough.  Cliose to Boots Day was good enough, too.  

      • jjg says:

        Glenn was a likable mild disappointment.  Had a 14 & 102 year – “The Accruer”.  Nearly 60 RF assists ’85 through ’87.  Gas jockey one offseason.  Down-home guy who wouldn’t have seemed out of place in The Last Picture Show. 

        So we both champagned the bow of the Vet.  Thought that was you.  Boots and Coco with the tri-color caps.  Roger from Oriole’s nest pleased with 2 hits.  Money with the first instant winner.  Jim with the solid hill job.  A splendid day.   

        I was also among the termites at Connie Mack’s finale; left purposely empty-handed following pastor’s counsel - – no swatch of sod, no pitching rubber, not even a urinal shard.  Timmy scored on an Oscar single in B10… “The Phillies win the pennant!!  The Phillies win the pennant!!”

  419. Ken Bland says:

    I find it hard to believe that when Earl Weaver gets/got to heaven, he didn’t won’t get in an arguement with the Director of Admissions on whether he should be allowed through the said to be pearly gates before, or after The Man.  Wonder if history would go back as far as The Day the Music Died to match the passing of people with as impressive resumes leaving this side of the earth’s surface in such close timing.

    You could get mesmerized watching Earl and Billy (no last names required) manage against each other.  Had they wound up matching up in the likes of modern day KC V Cleveland, it still woulda been a treat to watch.  This pretty impressive Phillie run of the last few yearsis a little north of half of what Earl’s peak Oriole run was.  I still don’t know how the Mets beat them, even though young spectacular pitching explaineth that.

    I bet if Stan played like 2 more years, I’d remember him a fair amount.  Truth be told, I just remember so little.  Watched his last game, and how ya gonna NOT know him when Carey and Buck were airing the games on the MOX, providing lotsa audio memories.  Stan’s passing doesn’t change the status of best living ballplayer that has a quiet publicity trail since Joe D passed