Phillies All-Star Infielders since 1983

June 30, 2009 by Jared Sherman  
Filed under Fan News

Since 1983 the Fightin' Phillies have participated in three World Series (1983, 1993, and 2008), culminating in last season's glorious World Championship win over the Tampa Bay Rays. In between those appearances the Phils have generally been God awful. Some of those teams I rooted for in high school and college were some of the worst collections of losers ever assembled. But they still managed to put a good amount of players into the baseball's mid-summer classic - the All-Star game. As bad as the Phillies teams were over the past 25 years the infield has been a particular sore spot. Players like Randy Ready, Juan Bell, Dickie Thon, Joe Millette, Dale Sveum, Kim Batiste, Tom Quinlan, Tomas Perez, Kevin Jordan, Gregg Jeffries, and Kevin Sefcik have haunted the infield for the better part of two decades. But despite all the garbage the Phils have shoveled at fans the occasional light has shone in the infield. In fact, since 1983 a Phillie has started at every infield position in an All-Star Game, and 10 infielders total have graced the stage in July (not including catchers). Can you name them all? Give it a try before you start the slideshow! Good luck.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

The Right Rollins Could Get Phillies Rollin’ to October

June 30, 2009 by Teddy Mitrosilis  
Filed under Fan News

Who would have thought that at the beginning of July the baseball world would be applauding three teams from the National League West, while remaining vexed with four teams from the National League East?

But here we are, and the Los Angeles Dodgers look strong and deep; the Colorado Rockies have been the hottest team in baseball for the last month; and the San Francisco Giants have pitched their way to the top of the N.L. Wild Card race.

On a different coast, the Philadelphia Phillies lead the East merely by default; the Mets are spending more time in the doctor’s office than the clubhouse; the Marlins aren’t doing anything more than treading water by playing .500 ball in a sinking division; and the Braves are underachieving with one starter hitting over .300.

It’s a baseball paradox of Philly cheese steak proportions, and with so many questions involved, who knows how it will shake out?

We don’t really, but there is one guy in the division who could change all of that, and his name is Jimmy Rollins.

Who?

Yeah, Philly fans haven’t seen him this year, either.

But that’s exactly why Rollins holds the key to such an unstable division. The Phillies haven’t had "Jimmy Rollins" in their lineup once this season; they have had some Fathead portrait of the guy who once captivated the entire city at shortstop.

After hitting .211 with six home runs and a .254 OBP through 68 games this season, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel decided it was best to sit his relentless shortstop last week. Currently, Rollins is set to return to the Phillies’ lineup when they open a three-game series in Atlanta on Tuesday.

The strategy's aim was to give Rollins time to clear his head and get back to being the player he ought to be. During his four games off, Manuel didn't want Rollins taking batting practice or anything.  In fact, the less thinking about baseball, the better.

"I want him to sit down. I want him to kind of get away," Manuel told the Philadelphia Daily News last week. "I told him if he didn't want to, he doesn't have to take BP. I want him to just get away for a couple of days and sit and watch and hopefully just relax and try to get his thinking back and the way he feels and everything."

Which is smart, because Manuel knows that the division is there for the taking. Another deep October run could be theirs when they aren’t playing their best ball and are surviving with smoke and mirrors on the mound.

Remember, it was only two seasons ago that Rollins became one of four men since 1871 to join the 20-20-20-20 Club by accumulating 20 or more doubles, triples, home runs, and stolen bases in a single season.

Who are the other men?

Curtis Granderson did it the same year as Rollins with the Detroit Tigers. Then we have to go back to Willie Mays in 1957 with the New York Giants, and Frank Schulte in 1911 with the Chicago Cubs. That’s it.

So we know what type of dynamic player Rollins is and can be, and the Phillies are just waiting for that same guy to come back. This is already a club that ranks 1st in the N.L. in home runs and 2nd in the league in runs scored.

With a normal Rollins batting leadoff in Philadelphia and a healthy Raul Ibanez in the middle of the order, the Phillies lineup is one of the meanest gauntlets in baseball when you add Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley to the aforementioned two. Even Jayson Werth is better than most other outfielders the Phillies will see come August and September.

If Rollins doesn’t bounce back to his career levels at least, then it becomes a wide-open division again if only because Philadelphia’s pitching staff has a larger crack than the Liberty Bell.

The Phils rank 15th in the N.L. in earned runs, so we can fairly assume that it can’t get much worse. But where is the improvement going to come from?

Cole Hamels must pitch better than his 4.44 ERA, Jamie Moyer isn’t fooling anybody with his ERA hovering above 6.00, and Joe Blanton hasn’t had the type of success in the N.L. that the Phillies thought he would have when they got him from Oakland last summer.

Sure, Citizens Bank Park is a hitter’s park, but a sinker ball pitcher shouldn’t be getting knocked around like Blanton is.

Brad Lidge spent some time on the DL with a sprained knee in early June and hasn’t been close to the same guy he was in ’08 when he converted every save opportunity for the entire season.

What’s been Lidge’s problem? You could make a number of cases, but I would look at the 5.6 walks per nine innings he is averaging. With stuff that good, Lidge just needs to let it fly in the zone and see what happens.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will be one of the most active men on the trading front for starting pitching as the deadline approaches, but with so many teams looking for arms and so few quality arms available, there just aren’t many upgrades to be had.

"We have interest in a lot of guys and we have talked to several teams about pitching across the board," Amaro Jr. told MLB.com. "But a lot of it just depends on which pitching becomes available. And if they do become available, if we have the right fits for them."

"When you have this many teams in the race it's very thin," Amaro said. "It's always thin. Again, there were three teams who got pitching last year. Three teams out of 30. That's 10 percent.”

And, in reality, that may be the tipping point for the Phillies. The lack of pitching available via trade combined with the thin pitching staffs within the division could make the N.L. East a summer slugfest. If that’s the case, Philadelphia already is the team to beat and will be even more so when Rollins joins the party.

None of the N.L. East teams look real pretty in comparison with the Dodgers, Cardinals, or Brewers. But in the end it doesn’t matter because none of those teams are in the division.

What matters is that the Philadelphia Phillies are the only team in the N.L. East with a positive run differential (i.e. have scored more runs than allowed), and that certainly isn’t because they are carving teams up on the mound.

Thus far, Rollins has merely been a caricature of himself sans the flesh, blood, and heart.

We won’t know for a few games which Rollins has emerged from his mini-vacation.

But if the old chatty and swaggering J-Roll rides into the batter's box to lead off the ballgame down South, we will know one thing:

The golden key to the East will be dangling from his neck.

You can reach Teddy Mitrosilis at tm4000@yahoo.com.

 

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Blue Jays v. Phillies: Caught in the middle

June 28, 2009 by Ian Hunter  
Filed under Fan News


It was a game that could have easily gone either way, but it was a game that should have gone the Blue Jays' way. Brian Tallet had the game in the palm of his hands, but he let it slip away as the Jays lost the rubber match of their series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

It looked like Brian Tallet had trouble with his location most of the game, as was evident by the six walks he gave up. Even though Tallet had great success with his change up in his last start against the Reds, he struggled to locate it and laid off his change up as the game progressed.

While Tallet had problems with the Phillies, Brandon League had no trouble shutting them down in order in the seventh inning. League was spot-on with his location and fanned two hitters in a successful inning of relief. For the time being, Brandon League is back to his dominant self once again.

One member of the Jays that has quietly put together a great season is Raul Chavez. I didn't notice this until today, but he has thrown out forty percent of base stealer's this season. Chavez has actually always been a great defensive catcher. Last year alone he gunned down twelve runners. Often underrated, Chavez has been a very important piece to the puzzle this season for the Blue Jays and should be commended for that.

All of the runs that were put on the board by the Blue Jays came by way of the longball. Aaron Hill knocked in his 18th and 19th home runs of the year and Jose Bautista added a two run shot for good measure in the second inning. Unfortunately, those runs would not be enough to hold off the Philadelphia Phillies.

The sequence of events in the bottom of the ninth really had Blue Jays' fans on the edge of their seats. Raul Chavez amazed everyone with a bunt to start things off and Scutaro walked to put runners on first and second with nobody out. After Aaron Hill flew out, John McDonald was caught in a very strange rundown between second and third.

Even before Brad Lidge had a chance to wind up, Johnny Mac jumped the gun and sped off for third base, but Lidge must have been tipped off as he turned around at the precise time McDonald got a jump. You can't really blame J-Mac for trying to be aggressive and tie up the game, but the lead runner needs to be aware of what's going on at all times. Maybe Johnny Mac was taking some base running tips from Alex Rios or something.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies Need To Make Hay Heading To All-Star Break

June 28, 2009 by scott eisenlohr  
Filed under Fan News

With a series win over the Toronto Blue Jays, Brad Lidge back and Raul Ibanez on his way back, it is time for the Phillies to take hold of the National League East.

Phils fans held their collective breath when closer Brad Lidge entered Sunday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays holding a slim 5-4 lead.

Raul Chavez dropped a bunt and Lidge's field and throw were late. John McDonald pinch ran for Chavez, and after Brad Lidge ran a 3-2 count on Marco Scutaro, he walked him to put runners on first and second with no outs.

Oh-oh.

Aaron Hill fouled out, then McDonald, leading off second, was picked off in a bad blunder.

Vernon Wells grounded out to end the game and it was game, set, match, Phillies. The Phillies won the series 2-1 and will hold either a one and a half or two-game lead over the Mets in National League East after Sunday's evening game.

The Phillies stand at 39-34.

They head to Atlanta for three games starting Tuesday, then come home for an important weekend series with the Mets and end the home stand with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh heading into the All-Star break.

After Friday's 6-1 loss to Toronto, the Phils were reeling, losing 11 of 13 games.

A few things happened and give credit to Manager Charlie Manuel and Phillies pitchers and thirdly, timely hitting.

Manuel sat down struggling shortstop Jimmy Rollins for the whole Toronto series. His play on the field has been more disturbing than his struggles at the plate.

The double play has not been as crisp and his play, going for the force at second rather than throwing out the slow Pat Burrell in a recent loss to Tampa Bay, have been troublesome.

J.A. Happ gave a complete game, five-hit shutout of the Blue Jays in a 10-0 win on Saturday, as Jayson Werth continued to dominate the Blue Jays, going 4-for-4 with two home runs.

Chase Utley's two-run triple capped the Phillies offensive attack Sunday.

Utley continues to lead the All-Star second basemen voters, but it is Rollins who sets the table for the Phillies in 2009. The former MVP is the heartbeat of this team. He needs to hit and raise his average to around .280 and make the plays on the field he is known for.

My opinion about Rollins?

He is tired.

After saying his team was the team to beat in 2007 and winning the MVP and following up with a great 2008, Rollins has no where to go but down.

What needs to happen?

Realistically, I think Rollins can get his average up to .250. Ibanez will return and another pitcher will come along, whether it be Carlos Carrasco, who might pitch Thursday, or in a trade.

The Mets have had a tough time against cross-town rival New York Yankees and were unable to take advantage of the Phillies recent slide.

Manuel was right to bench Rollins and continues to prove that managers—after winning the World Series—are less afraid to do what they want, rather than following public opinion or managing scared.

Take two-of-three from the Braves, win the Mets series and lose one or two against both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Is it possible? Yes.

Probable? No.

But it is something championship teams do.

Let's make some hay.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Consistently Inconsistent; Reason for Concern?

June 28, 2009 by gabriel trevino  
Filed under Fan News

Consistency. That is one word that falls under the category of 'antonym' when describing the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies. 

Well, sort of. They are playing unbelievable baseball outside of the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park (25-12, 67 percent). However, while at home, they are miserable (13-22, 37 percent).

What is causing this anomoly of baseball? Is it a World Series hangover?

Some would say so, including skipper Charlie Manuel, who urged Philadelphia Phans to 'boo' and get on the team when they don't perform. Is Uncle Cholly trying to recreate the atmosphere of the 2008 season?

The Phillies' problem is nothing new for long-time followers of the ballclub. After all, these are the same players we've watched progress over the last three-to-six years. 

The problem is consistency. This group of guys is, and has always been, a very streaky bunch. They win in bunches, they lose in bunches. 

So far in 2009, the Fightin' Phils have won three or more games in a row on five seperate occasions. That stat includes two streaks of five wins and one streak of seven.

On the other side of that coin, the Phrustrated Phils have lost three or more games on three seperate occasions. The worst losing streak suffered by the Phils so far is at six games. 

Listen, the red and white pinstripes are still in first place in the ailing NL East. That being said, the 'cause for concern' aspect of this article is brought on by the Phils sub-par recent record of 3-11 in their last 14 games. 

Unacceptable.

Manager Charlie Manuel is doing his best with the patchwork starting rotation and the struggling bats of his position players. In fact, he bumped former MVP Jimmy rollins from leadoff to the six-hole.

Similarly, last season the skipper benched J-Roll for lack of hustle one time, and another for being late to a game. I guess some players just need that 'fire lit under them' to get going. 

Some bright spots would have to be yesterday's win with JA Happ's complete game shutout joined by Werth's offensive night. Add in Pedro Feliz and Ryan Howard's output, and you have yourself a 10-0 victory! Let's save some of those excess runs for a game when we need them, shall we?

These guys need to shake things up a bit, maybe keep John Mayberry Jr. around, trade some of the extra farmhands for a big league innings eater (Cliff Lee anyone?), maybe even give some of the Double-A or Triple-A guys shot in the bigs (Kyle Drabek, Joe Savery, Carlos Carrasco).

I am not the decision maker, I'm a fan, a fan that wants to see my favorite team win.  And to do that, I think it's getting to be that time where you have make some changes.  Start with pitching, as Raul Ibanez's imminent return will certainly boost the offense. 

See you at the ballpark!

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

A Philly Phan Reflects: His Team’s Quest to Defend a World Championship

June 27, 2009 by cody swartz  
Filed under Fan News

It's very tough to defend a World Championship.

 

Or so I've been told.

 

How would I know?

 

I've never seen a Philly team win anything significant in my life. The closest the Phillies had ever come during my life was a divisional title and an early playoff exit in 2007. And the closest the Eagles have ever come was within three points of a Super Bowl title.

 

So last year was a surprise. And a delight.

 

A World Championship brings high expectations for the team in its next season. The fans know just what the team can do, the players know what they themselves are capable of, and the rest of the league knows who is the team to beat.

 

The 2009 season for the Phillies—at least, so far—has been rocky at times.

 

Like recently.

 

The team's inconsistent starting pitching and inability to win both at home and in interleague play led to 11 losses out of the previous 13 games, dropping the Phillies into just a tie for the lead in the National League East.

 

Before a 10-0 win today behind a stunning pitching performance by J.A. Happ and an offensive outburst from outfielder Jayson Werth, the Phillies had looked nothing like the team that easily knocked off the American League Champions Tampa Bay Rays in last year's Fall Classic.

 

Perhaps the biggest difference between this year's team and last year's team has been the starting pitching.

 

Notably the decline in starting pitching.

 

Cole Hamels hasn't been the Cole Hamels of the 2008 playoffs, who captured both the NLCS and World Series MVP awards last season with four consecutive stellar pitching performances against the top teams in the major leagues.

 

He started off poorly, yielding seven runs in his first start of the season. He has had trouble with his pitch location and currently sports just a 4.44 ERA, well over a full run higher than the 3.09 mark he put up in the 2008 regular season.

 

There have been glimpses of the dominating Hamels in 2008—notably the five-hit, no-walk shutout he tossed against the NL-best Dodgers on June 4—and hopefully once he starts to find his groove, he will return to his form of last year.

 

The team has gotten inconsistent play from its other starters as well. Myers and Blanton both currently rank in the top five in the NL in home runs allowed (17 each) this season, and Moyer ranks seventh (16) in the league.

 

Chan Ho Park lost his role as the fifth starter after compiling a horrific 7.29 ERA and .311 opponents' batting average in his seven starts this season, handing the duties over to Triple-A call-up Antonio Bastardo.

 

Bastardo pitched admirably in his first two starts, winning both decisions, while compiling a 2.45 ERA in 13 innings pitched. From there, he was hit hard, losing his next three starts, while seeing his ERA rise to a whopping 6.75.

 

Perhaps the one bright spot for the rotation has been the emergence of J.A. Happ, a young left hander who is 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA for the Phillies this season. Happ was a relief pitcher for the team early in the year, but has pitched a quality start in four of his seven starts this season.

 

Another notable difference between this year's team and last year's team has been Brad Lidge.

 

It's difficult to match perfection.

 

And last year, Lidge was perfect.

 

In his first season in a Philly uniform, he was 41-for-41 in saves throughout the regular season, plus 7-for-7 in saves in the postseason. In all, he completed a historic season for not just Lidge, but the Phillies, who captured their first World Championship in 28 seasons.

 

No one expected Lidge to duplicate his stats from last year, but we hoped for numbers better than a 7.86 ERA, a major league-high six blown saves, and nearly two base-runners per inning.

 

It was probably for the best that he took some time off during his 15 days on the Disabled List, and expectations were high that he would return to top form.

 

However, he gave up two runs in one-third of an inning in the team's 6-1 loss, allowing four of the five hitters he faced to successfully reach base.

 

Thus far, the Phillies have a 4.88 team ERA and .276 opponents' batting average—both dead-last in the National League, other than the Triple-A Nationals.

 

It's the offense that has carried the team to a first place spot in the division. The Phillies are first in the National League in home runs (101) and stolen base percentage (80.6), second in team OPS (.780), and third in runs scored (372).

 

MVP candidate Raul Ibanez was a threat to win the Triple Crown before an injury sidelined him. He currently rests at .312-22-59, numbers that rank 16th, third, and third in the league.

 

Ryan Howard is fourth in the NL in home runs (20) and fifth in RBI (58). But, a .332 on-base percentage from a no-run, no-field power-hitting first basemen in a hitters' ballpark doesn't quite cut it for me.

 

Chase Utley is arguably the game's best all-around player—a legit five-tool superstar who has a chance in any given season to win an MVP award. He hits for power and average, works the count (his .430 on-base percentage is third-best in the NL), plays the field well, hustles, and knows what it takes to help his team win.

 

The team's biggest disappointment has been three-time All-Star Jimmy Rollins, the National League MVP just two seasons ago, who is enduring by far the worst season of his nine-year major league career.

 

Rollins has been in a season-long slump and his .211 batting average ranks dead-last among qualifying NL shortstops, and the fourth worst mark among the 166 players in the major leagues who qualify for the batting title thus far in the season.

 

His current 0-for-19 skid earned him a rare seat on the bench for three straight games.

 

Rollins is a second-half player, with a career batting average 23 points higher after the All-Star break than before (.287 to .264), and hopefully this year proves to be no exception.

 

For the Phillies to hold off the Mets, Braves, or Marlins in a tight NL East race, the team is going to need J-Roll at the top of his game and quality performances from both the starting pitchers and All-Star closer Brad Lidge.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

And You Thought Steroids Were No Laughing Matter

June 27, 2009 by Flattish Poe  
Filed under Fan News

Testosterone, steroids, PEDs, or performance enhancers.

Anyway you say it, it means one thing: We can’t stop talking about them—or rather we can’t stop talking about the people who abuse themselves with them.

 

Honestly, I think the whole “steroids in baseball” thing is a welcome reprieve from reality TV, and a lot more interesting than Who’s Got Kate’s Eight or whatever that show is called, but one thing doesn’t make sense.

 

I thought baseball players volunteered for the 2003 test that put them on that “list.”

 

Don’t get me wrong—taking steroids is unacceptable—but a secret list of men on ‘roids is as dangerous as parading the Chippendale dancers past a crowd of desperate housewives.

 

That “list” is like a who’s who of "men I’d love to…” Well, let’s just say we shall heretofore refer to it as the “MILF list.”

 

But who’s leaking the names?

 

It’s not me. I only leak when I sneeze.

 

My money’s on Dr. Evil. I’ll bet he’s in bed with one of the lawyers who feeds victims from the list to the New York Times in return for derivative tips on how the announcement will affect Wall Street.

 

And I think Dr. Evil has developed an undetectable method of performance enhancement and has a team of slaves he’s collected and injected for league domination.

 

On that note, Dr. Evil could only be a girl. And I’ll bet she’s mad that Alex Rodriguez wouldn’t sleep with her.

 

That’s the answer – a woman scorned. Nothing’s more vindictive. Just ask Lorena Bobbitt. Except Lorena could actually find what she wanted to cut off her husband.

 

Whoa! Did I just say that?

 

That’s the ironic thing—when you use steroids to enhance your performance, your package gets smaller.

 

Hey, if someone needed advice on enhancing something, they should have asked me. I can make my 32As look like decent points with a few tissues and some duct tape. My only regret in life is that Fox cancelled The Swan before they chose me as a contestant.

 

Trust me, I’m qualified.

 

Speaking of TV…We all watch PHL17, CSN, and occasionally, Fox and ESPN, to see all our favorite Phillies games, but not one has passed where Cialis or Viagra wasn’t promoted during the game to enhance your performance after the game.

 

And the new AndroGel “T level” Enhancer wasn’t designed to increase your IQ. Ironically, when it does its job, it will decrease your level of intelligence, so the “T” definitely doesn’t stand for “thought,” yet their ads are placed strategically within the Daily News reports on major league baseball.

 

Is that hypocrisy?

 

I hope so. I love hypocrisy. Actually it’s quite good on toast.

 

I’m sorry. That last line was taken straight from Shrek. But it’s such a choice line I couldn’t help myself.

 

I better be careful. People will accuse me of using comedy-enhancing methods. God knows I have to do something—I gave up comedy-enhancing drugs a few years ago. But that’s not to say they’re not rampant.

 

Matter of fact, I wonder how many bloggers are using writing-enhancing drugs as we speak.

 

Huh! And all this time I thought I was blogging on a level playing field.

 

That’s why I propose we start drug-testing bloggers. Sure posting blogs is something people do for free, but how many of them are spelling while under the influence or worse yet, using grammar to get high.

 

This calls for an intervention!

 

I think our industry needs its own twelve-step program.

 

And I have just the one. Fortunately for all those with busy lifestyles, it’s a time-saver. There are three simple steps:

 

1.      Get

2.      A

3.      Life

 

There. I’ve said it.

 

Admit it. Steroids are like a Victoria’s Secret catalog – they’re everywhere.

 

Matter-of-fact when my babysitter came with her bags of tricks and pulled forth her favorite DVD, my 10-year-old took a gander at the cover and said, “It looks like Shrek is on performance-enhancing drugs.”

 

Hey, it wasn’t as bad as when he donned a dish towel as a cape and ran past her, proclaiming, “I’m Cialis man!”

 

No industry is immune. Some type of performance-enhancement method has been used in virtually every professional sport: the NFL, the MLB, horseracing, NASCAR, and biking are just a few that come directly to mind. I’m sure the only reason I haven’t heard of them everywhere is simply because I don’t know everything.  

 

And that’s hard for me to admit.

 

Just ask my husband.

 

I think our obsession with the witch hunt is it fulfills our need to be disappointed in people.

 

We’re obsessed with making others live up to the standards we place on them simply because we’ve spent a buck to fulfill some egotistical need.

 

I’m guilty of it. Personally my beef with players doing steroids is they were blessed with a talent possessed by few, and they’ve exploited it.

 

But you could apply that to Michael Vick and Donte Stallworth, among others.

 

They were born with a gift. Straight from the factory, a lightning bolt was installed in their arm or jet packs affixed to their heels. They were born a head above the crowd while the rest of us were dropped with a chip on our shoulders.

 

All they had to do was use their God-given talent to obtain world domination, but they chose to waste it. They ruined it for themselves while ruining our hopes for them.

 

We wanted them to show us what real gods were. We wanted someone physical we could believe in.

 

Because we have no reason to believe in ourselves.

 

Let’s face it. They’re not gods—they’re just people. They’re just sports figures. They’re just doing the best they can with what they have and they look good on a cereal box.

 

And when that’s not enough, they enhance themselves.

 

We all do. That’s what Creatine, Red Bull, Viagra, Lasik, Botox, Spandex, and Certs are all about.

 

And how many natural blondes do you know?

 

We’re all just increasing our odds of making it.

 

What’s my point?

 

I don’t have two nice ones so I better come up with something.

 

Here it is: that list was a confidential collection of MILFs who participated in a test under the terms of an agreement with the MLB.

 

Anyone who disseminates information from that list should be prosecuted just like they’re trying to do to the guys whose names were leaked.

 

And I think Lorena Bobbitt should man the guillotine.

 

That list should have been destroyed. Much like my Christmas list last year, it was something controversial and private.

 

I never meant for Shane Victorino to know I asked Santa to abduct him, roll him in gift-wrap, and set him under my tree. I’m sure the union has rules against that. And I’m sure those regulations require a potty break.

 

But this list is being distributed and I would simply like to know who’s leaking the names.

 

I say it was Alex Rodriguez in the bedroom with the nanny.

 

Whoops...wrong game. I meant Professor Plum in the library with the candlestick.

 

Speaking of that, how lethal is a candlestick anyway? I’ve never heard of someone being accosted by a criminal with a candlestick. Don’t let Al Qaeda hear about the versatile candlestick. That would start a whole other concern at airport security.

 

Allow me to ramble on.

 

Where was I?

 

Oh, yeah. I’m tired of people alleging, accusing, and peeing in the pool. From the moment steroids were discovered, everyone knew how they’d be used, so any league that didn’t jump on the opportunity to ban them is as responsible for their use as the guys who used them.

 

And I could care less if users are inducted into the Hall of Fame. I think it’s true that major league baseball has taken a wrap worse than any other professional sport, but once I leave this world that’ll be the farthest thing from my mind.

 

And a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

 

I saw that on TV, so it must be true.

 

I just like watching the game. I like squeeze plays at home, double steals, and grand slam home runs. I like Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth, and after I die, I’m going to peek at them in the shower.

 

Then I’ll go sit in that booth in the sky with Harry Kalas and continue enjoying my Philadelphia Phillies from cloud nine.

 

There might be more to life than baseball, but there’s nothing more than baseball in the afterlife.

 

Just ask Harry.

 

On that note, as far as this topic is concerned, “I’m outta here.”

 

See you at the ballpark.

 

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies Struggle and What’s To Come

June 26, 2009 by Tim Miller  
Filed under Fan News

Recently, the reigning World Series champions the Philadelphia Phillies have certainly struggled. Pitching, hitting, fielding, and pretty much every single aspect of their game has dwindled since beginning inter league play.

To find out more about their struggles and what could happen by the trade deadline for the Phils, I called upon Phillies blogger Josh Semless.

1) Obviously the Phils have had their share of problems with their pitching. Are there any rumored moves the Phils may be making by the trade deadline?

Semless: Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies' front office would love to acquire a proven starting pitcher, but that is becoming increasingly more improbable with the state of the trade market. A combination of injuries and having few teams out of contention makes this a bad time to desire a starting pitcher.

Some of the top names that have been tossed out there, like Jake Peavy and Erik Bedard, are out. Even lower tier arms that have been rumored to be available, such as Chris Young, have been struck by the injury bug.

The Phils were rumored to be close to a deal with the Rockies that included landing Jason Marquis (9-5, 4.22 ERA), but the Rockies recent surge has proved to be a deal killer. The Red Sox’s Brad Penny was involved in probably the second strongest rumor for quite some time. A combination of Dice-K’s injury, John Smoltz’s struggles in his debut, and an injury to Jason Donald make this very unlikely. Jason Donald is one of the Phillies’ higher rated prospects and is currently a shortstop for the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs (AAA). The Red Sox had coveted him after losing Jed Lowrie to an injury.

Things could certainly change as we get closer to the trade deadline, but as of now the real hope is that the Phils can fill their needs from within. We’ll see how that works out as Antonio Bastardo has struggled as of late and also left Thursday’s game with a left shoulder strain. Two names I think we might be able to hold out hope for is Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn and possibly a guy like Doug Davis of the Diamondbacks. Regardless, it won’t be an A-list starter like Charlie Manuel and the rest of Philadelphia would want.

2) Jimmy Rollins has been benched for his poor play. Just batting over .200, and six home runs. Will J- Roll be able to bounce back or will his benching negatively effect his play?

Semless: Charlie Manuel has benched Jimmy before. This has probably been the biggest and most frustrating slump of his career, but Jimmy Rollins will once again become Jimmy Rollins. He is simply too good to not get back on track. Statistically speaking, J-Roll has batted over 20 points higher for his career in the second half. September has also always been his best month by far. In order for the Phils to be successful they need Jimmy to be the table setter that he has been in the past. He knows that and he will definitely get his act together very soon. J-Roll’s struggles are a concern, but not even close to the starting pitching.

3) Is their cause for concern after the trouble the Phils have had against the American League during interleague play this season?

Semless: The Phils are more concerned with their struggles as a whole than they are facing interleague opponents. Believe it or not, their biggest rough patch last year came at almost exactly the same time. Between June 16th and June 29th, the Phillies went 3-9 and that stretch also included a 6 game losing streak. Much like this year, that was all during interleague play as their 2008 interleague record ended up at 4-11. That being said, we all know how the rest of the season and postseason played out. Hopefully the Phils follow the same pattern and bust out of this downward spiral, as they are about to start their last interleague series of the season.

4) Even the closing spot has been cause for concern after the perfect 2008 season. Can Brad Lidge regain his dominance, and will Ryan Madson ease back into the set up role?

Semless: Ryad Madson’s recent struggles prove that the need to possess that “closer’s mentality” is no joke. Ryan started the season with 28.1 IP, 2.22 ERA, .202 BAA, and 0 HR. After moving into the closer role, Ryan went 0-2, 7.0 IP, 6.43 ERA, .310 BAA, and 3 HR. He also only got 2 saves out of 4 opportunities. He will definitely regain his confidence in the set up role, as he knows there will always be Brad Lidge to bail him out. As for Lidge, his knee is definitely no guarantee, but I think it is safe to say that his 15 days off helped. He started the season on the disabled list last year and we all know how he faired once he came back. There is still a reason to be concerned, but Lidge will start to close in on his 2008 form if he is 100%.

5) What has the problem been for the Phils at Citizen's Bank Ballpark this season?

Semless: In my opinion, this is one of the most unexplainable questions in the MLB at this point in time. The home and road splits for the Phils are completely mind-boggling. The players, the manager, and the experts have no answers. Some people are suggesting that the players have too many things going on when they are at home, especially since demand has increased after their championship season. While that may be true, can it really explain a 13-22 home record compared to a 24-11 record on the road? That cannot be the only reason. A lot of it is probably just coincidental. The Phillies rank second in attendance to only the New York Yankees and the fans are behind this team more than ever. The law of averages will come into effect and they will manage to turn this abysmal home record around.

I would like to thank Josh for taking the time to give you guys some great insight into those Phightin Phils. To read more about the Phillies make sure you check out Josh's Phillies Blog.

"THEPHILSBLOG.com is a recently launched blog covering news, rumors, opinions, and everything Philadelphia Philles baseball. Visit the site and voice your opinions to spark some intense Phils talk."

*Image courtesy of Phillysportsline.com*

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Hurler Dilemma: Philly Pitching Problems Getting Worse

June 26, 2009 by Bob Jones  
Filed under Fan News

Bad luck spread through the Phillies pitching like the Swine Flu.

It started with Brad Lidge and worked it's way through the entire pitching staff. Lidge blew saves, Chan Ho Park failed, Brett Myers suffered a season ending injury, Clay Condrey went down, and now Antonio Bastardo is hurt.

Fortunately for the Phillies, the bats were alive and kicking. Led by Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia posted the best road record in baseball. Right now, the Phils' bats have been pretty quiet, but not terrible. 

On the other hand, the pitching has been terrible. There is no question about it: they need help.

Who could arrive to help this situation? It can't be a minor-leaguer. It has to be a player with experience.

 

The Candidates

Jason Marquis- Marquis is currently 9-5 with a 4.22 ERA. However, the Rockies are back in the race. This would be a difficult move to make.

Brad Penny- Penny is currently 6-2 with a 4.93 ERA. The Phillies have expressed interest in him

Cliff Lee- Last year's AL Cy Young winner only has a 4-6 record, but his 2.92 ERA would be great for Philadephia.

 

Because he is on a Indians team that is 12 games back in the AL Central, Cliff Lee seems the most likely option for the fightin' Phils.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Rays Out-Slug World Champion Phillies for Series Win

June 26, 2009 by JC De La Torre  
Filed under Fan News

rays62609.jpgI've never been one for moral victories. You either win or you lose.

A rematch of teams that met in a championship setting the previous season does not constitute a "revenge game" nor series.

The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 World Series—they have the rings. No series win in June the following season will avenge that.

Perhaps that's what Tampa Bay fans were telling their team when they decided to keep Tropicana Field half-full the majority of the series.

The Rays took two out of three games of the set to improve to four games over .500, pull within six of the first place Boston Red Sox and within two of the current wild card holder, the Evil Empire (the New York Yankees for those just now being introduced to my blog posts).

Game one was a disaster from the outset, with super youngin' David Price getting waxed for six runs in just the first inning.

Before he'd leave after four and a thrid innings pitched, he would be on the hook for 10 runs (five earned).

The Rays offense, meanwhile, offered little resistance to 90-year-old Jamie Moyer, who pitched six innings and gave up only one run.

By the end, Philadelphia blasted the Rays 10-1, sparking some grumpy complaining by Rays management about attendance.

Tampa Bay rebounded for game two, taking an early 2-0 lead on a rare (at least this season) Pat Burrell home run.

Tampa Bay got a superb outing from Matt Garza, who went eight innings and gave up only one run while striking out 11. A five-run eighth inning would put the game away for the Rays as they went on to win 7-1.

In the rubber match, Andy Sonnanstine was blitzed in the first inning, giving up four runs, but the Rays picked up the young pitcher, scoring three in their half of the first.

They followed it up with another three the next inning to build a 6-4 advantage off Philadelphia starter Antonio Bastardo. Bastardo would leave the game after straining his shoulder (possibly while watching the Rays blitz him for seven hits and six runs).

Willy Aybar led the charge on offense, hitting a three-run blast that helped Tampa Bay go on to a 10-4 win.

In the game, Jason Bartlett set a franchise record, extending his hit streak to 19 games.

The Rays now open up a three-game series at the Trop against their crossstate rivals, the Florida Marlins, to wrap up interleague play.

Evan Longoria missed the last two games as a precaution after aggravating his hamstring injury.

Scott Kazmir appears to be poise to return to the starting rotation as he pitched well during his rehab stint in Triple A Durham. 

Reliever Chad Bradford may also be close to returning to the bullpen for Tampa Bay.

The team received great news on Akinori Iwamura. It was believed Aki was lost for the season with a torn ACL, but when the surgeon entered the knee the damage was not as severe as originally believed.

Aki should be back in a couple months, forcing the Rays into a tough decision with current second baseman Ben Zobrist. Zo-Zilla, as he is called by his teammates, is having an All-Star caliber season at the plate this year.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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