Tagged: Clay Condrey

What Happens In Vegas…

bellagio.jpg

…will be written here for all to see!  So much for things “staying” in Vegas.  Ruben Amaro Jr. in his new GM role has all eyes on him at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, waiting for him to make his mark on the 2009 Phillies team.  Rumors abound, as they usually do this during the Winter Meetings, but so far, nothing has transpired.  Talks with pitcher Jamie Moyer are slowing down to a near halt…it looks like he is asking for 2 years at about 10 million a year.  The Phillies simply aren’t going to pay that for a guy in his mid-forties.  It is too big a risk.  And as much as we all love Jamie and would like to believe that age is never a factor, it can be.  He showed signs of slowing down towards the end of 2008, but still remained on the active roster all year without an injury.  But if you placing bets on whether this will remain the case for one or maybe two more years, those are odds even the nuttiest Vegas gambler wouldn’t bet on.

The Phillies have been looking at options, in case Moyer decides to go elsewhere.  Randy Wolf, ex-Phillie and Geoff Jenkins look-a-like, has been mentioned.  It is also rumored that an offer has been made to Derek Lowe.  Amaro also mentioned he’d like to add one more arm to an already outstanding bullpen.  Scott Eyre has already been signed to a one-year, $2 million contract extension, so we know he’ll be back, giving us one more lefty to play with in addition to JC Romero.  Ryan Madson may be signed, rather than allow him to go to arbitration, but nothing specific has been mentioned on that one.   Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey are also eligible for arbitration.

Arbitration is going to play a huge part in moves this offseason.  With TEN Phillies eligible, including those mentioned plus Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs, Cole Hamels, Eric Bruntlett and Joe Blanton, salaries for any new additions are going to be at a premium.  Amaro knows he has big money due to some of these guys and has to plan accordingly.  I am hoping none of them will end up being trade bait, so as to keep the core of this team intact.  But you know what sometimes happens with a new GM; they try to make changes, even if they don’t have to, just to put their own personal stamp on the team and separate themselves from the previous GM.  I am really hoping Amaro does not fall into this trap.  It is a mind game and one that is likely to produce bad results.  He needs to do what is best for the team, not for his ego or reputation.

As for a utility infielder, there have been rumors of bringing 31 year-old Nick Punto back to Philly.  With the Twins since 2004, he has played every infield position, except first base, and even some outfield.  Punto has a lifetime average of .252, with a .284 average in 2008, having played in 99 games.  His career fielding percentage is .976 with 49 total errors in 8 seasons.  Honestly, for a guy that does not play every day, that is not so great.  So, I am hoping this rumor goes away…

As for Pat Burrell, that train has come to a stop, at least for now.  It appears Burrell is fielding offers from other teams and so this becomes another case of wait and see.  Even manager Charlie Manuel is asking for a contract extension so he can retire as a Phillie.  Nothing solid on this, other than most expect this deal to be done this week sometime.  So we will wait and see.  And I will keep you posted as things progress this week.

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Bad Behavior – Phillies Lose Game 3

Jamie Moyer lasted only 1 1/3 innings and surrendered 6 earned runs on 6 hits, one of which was a solo home run.  Moyer clearly did not have it tonight and the Dodgers looked confident against him, which did not help.  Clay Condrey was brought in to finish the 2nd inning and did so without allowing another run.  After that, JA Happ was called on to give the Phillies some innings.  Happ went 3 innings and allowed one run.  The bullpen handled the rest and did not surrender a run, but the offense could not catch up and the Phils went down 7-2.

Things got really interesting in the 3rd inning when the Dodgers pitcher, Hiroki Kuroda, threw a pitch right at Shane Victorino’s 
PA024924 Victorino.jpg head.  Luckily, he missed and warnings were issued, but Shane was really upset.  He began yelling at the pitcher, the catcher and everyone on the Dodgers bench to throw at his ribs and not at his head.  And who can blame him.  The benches cleared and Manny Ramirez tried to go after JC Romero, but was held back by his teammates.  All this seems to be a carry-over from Friday when Brett Myers threw a ball behind Ramirez.  He said the ball slipped and because of how far off target he was and how wild Myers is to begin with, it’s believable.  And earlier tonight, Moyer hit Russell Martin on the knee and in his next at bat, Condrey got too close for his taste as a pitch sailed under his chin.  First of all, Moyer does NOT hit people on purpose.  He was just trying to go inside, same as Condrey was.  Perhaps the Phillies feel Martin can’t hit the inside pitch?  And what made it all even more amusing was that Chad Durbin also wound up hitting Martin in the 7th trying to go in on him.  The umpire saw that it was a breaking ball and therefore, not intentional, so he did not eject Durbin. But the Dodgers, it seems, prefer to take it all personally and act like children, instead of like adults.  You get pitched inside – that’s baseball.  Get over it.

The Phillies threatened to rally in the 7th with three hits in a row from Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell, which scored one run with no outs.  But, with 2 men still on base, Jayson Werth struck out, Pedro Feliz flew out to center and Greg Dobbs hit a ball right up the middle, which is usually a hit, but the short stop was playing near the bag and threw Dobbs out to end the inning.  After that, the Phils offense just fizzled.  Maybe they were a bit star-struck, playing in LA.  Tiger Woods, Henry Winkler, Matt Dillon, Pat Sajak, Jon Lovitz, Danny DeVito and Ryan Seacrest were all amongst the attendees at tonight’s game.  I know Ryan Seacrest makes me nervous; I believe that, in secret, he is an evil overlord who can suck the life force out of any human being.  Just look at how he has hypnotized thousands of TV-addicted teens!  And tonight, he sucked the life right out of the Phillies.  It’s a tragedy of grand proportions.

Luckily, the Phillies are still ahead in the series, 2-1.  If Joe Blanton can pitch again like he did in his last outing, and if we can keep Seacrest out of the stadium, I think the Phils stand a good chance at taking Game 4.  Game time is 8:22pm tomorrow.  Seacrest, OUT. (literally) J 

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The Nightmare Continues…

Another good pitching performance was wasted by the Phillies today as they lost to the Marlins 7-3.  They quit scoring runs after the 4th inning and the bullpen allowed a tied game to go to a 4 run deficit.  Combine all those issues and you’ve got your basic Philly Fan nightmare L  I am afraid to go to Freddie_edsleep tonight as visions of Fish with bats hitting doubles up the middle are sure to haunt my dreams.  Add to that my usual Freddie Krueger nightmare, and you’ve got one hell of an evening…

Perhaps the Phillies have been having the same horror movie dream…because they all look like they are starved for sleep.  Except for Brett Myers today, who pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up 4 earned runs on 8 hits with 9 strike outs.  Not his best outing, but certainly workable.  How is it that this team scores 8 runs for Kendrick, who completely stunk last night, and for Myers, who has been excellent, only 3 runs?  They lost both games too, giving the series to the Fish, 1-2.

The bullpen was awful again with Chad Durbin, JC Romero and Clay Condrey combining efforts to allow 4 runs in the 8th and 9th innings.  And as for our previously hot line-up, it does not even look like the same team.  Chase Utley, who started the year as an All-Star, is about to finish it in Freddie Krueger land.  He is batting a .257 in his last 10 games without a single home run.  Not a very Utley-like performance.  Pat Burrell, who was the most consistent player in the first half, has batted a .176 in his last 10 games, also without a home run and 2 RBI total.  And Shane Victorino in his last 10 is at a .205, no homers and only 2 RBI.  The lack of power numbers, with the exception of Ryan Howard, has really hurt them.  More proof that this team still has not learned situational hitting.

What does all this mean?  Well, for starters, if the Mets win tonight, it is my belief that the Division title will be out of reach.  Also, if they are to contend then for the Wild Card spot, they will need to sweep the Brewers.  Oh, my head hurts!  So, what do the rest of you think their chances are?  Feel free to comment below.  And do try to get some sleep…if you can J

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Phils Bullpen Sucks Again

Anyone know a good joke?  I could use one about now.  After watching this Phillies bullpen blow ANOTHER lead, I could also use a stiff drink.  The Phils lost the series against the last place Nationals after today’s sickening 9-7 loss.  This was the 7th time the Phillies bullpen has blown a lead in their last 22 games.  That is a 32% rate of totally sucking.

So let’s see who sucked the most…I’ll start with the starter, Joe Blah!-nton.  Certainly a prime candidate for major suckage:  4 innings, 3 walks, and 4 runs on 6 hits.  Wow.  Welcome to the “I Totally Suck” Hall of Fame!  And how about that bull pen?  P8248770_durbin_cr 4 earned runs on 5 hits in 2/3 of an inning by Chad Durbin who, apparently, has forgotten how to pitch.  He allowed the Nats to tie the game and then take the lead.  Oh, but wait!  The nightmare does not end there…JC Romero gave up a run of his own without recording an out.  No, I am not done yet…oh wait, actually Clay Condrey of all people, did ok and got the Phillies out of this horrid 8th inning.  But still, I vote he also sucks big time.  Guilt by association.

And what makes the pitching SO much worse, is the fact that the Phillies offense rallied in the 9th inning and tacked on 2 more runs, but with the MAJOR damage already done before then, it was too little too late.  Ryan Howard even hit TWO 2-run homers in the game, and still, they blow it.  This team has put themselves in a terrible position.  It is now almost a MUST that they sweep the Mets in order to make a run at the Playoffs, being 3 games back of 1st place, because the Mets do not look to be slowing down anytime soon.

Cast your votes here!  Leave me some comments below to tell me who YOU think sucks the most!  Then sit back, have a drink and try to find your HAPPY place J  I am not sure where mine is right now, but give me an hour or so…I swear it is in the bottom of one of those bottles!  J

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Phillies Pen Strikes Again

The Phillies did everything wrong in this game: bad defense, no offense to speak of, the starter ruined an otherwise good performance by walking the bases loaded with no outs before they pulled him and the bullpen blew the lead again.  End result:  Phillies lose to the Cubs again, 3-2.  Home plate umpire, BWelke_glassesill Welke had a bad game as well.  His strike zone was consistently inconsistent.  The rest of the crew blew several calls in the field too, including calling Ryan Howard out in the 7th when he was safe and it cost the Phillies a run.  I am not sure what kind of benefits these umpires get, but I hope the League will invest in a comprehensive vision plan…these guys all need glasses!

Umpiring aside, it is going to be very difficult to win games when you are only managing to get 6 hits in a game, and 2 of those were from Pat Burrell, who has been struggling.  Every Phillies player who stepped to the plate today looked like they were swinging at a single grain of rice.  They just couldn’t find the ball.  The offense as a whole struck out 9 times and left 10 men on base.  Maybe the team should join Bill Welke and his umpiring crew on their way to the Eye Doctor; they can all get matching glasses.

Add to this, the bullpen blew ANOTHER lead!  Right about now, I am really missing Tom Gordon.  He had his issues, but last year in late August and September, he stepped it up and took care of business.  Clay Condrey should never be put into close games like this; he just hasn’t been able to avoid the long ball and today, Alfonso Soriano took him deep to give the Cubs the lead.  Scott Eyre came in earlier in the 6th to take over after Joe Blanton walked the bases loaded with no outs and I was expecting better out of him.  He walked the first batter he faced, walking a run in and tying up the game.  Eyre had a great chance to show up his former team and he failed miserably.  Blanton was solid through the previous 5 innings, giving up only 1 run, but the 3 walks in the 6th really put the Phillies in an awful jam, and Eyre could not get out of it.

Charlie Manuel spoke on the radio before today’s game and said essentially that he does not feel like he has anyone who can pitch the 8th inning.  He talked about how the 8th is so much different than the 6th or 7th innings.  I’m sorry, what exactly is the BIG difference?  If your job is to get 3 outs, it should not matter what inning it is; just get the outs.  What this tells me is that we have a bullpen full of guys who cannot handle pressure.  Because that is the only real difference with the 8th inning: pressure.  And that goes back to a point I made several days ago – these coaches have to stop babying these pitchers!  Let them develop a backbone because if they can’t deal with pressure, they can’t pitch in the major leagues.  And as for Charlie’s 8th inning dilemma, just hand it over to JC Romero and be done with it.  If he knows ahead of time that he is the 8th inning guy, he will perform.  He is the one guy in that pen that can definitely handle the stress.  The only time you see Romero get really frustrated is when he gets put in for one batter and knows he won’t be allowed to finish the inning.  This guy wants to prove himself and he wants to pitch – let him have the 8th!

Best we can hope for now is a split with the Cubs, but even that seems like a very tall mountain to climb with the way this team is going.  Here’s hoping…

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Pen Blows It Again While Offense Sits Idly By

If it wasn’t blatantly obvious that this bullpen was overworked before, it sure is now.  Chad Durbin, who has been great all year, blew a 2-run lead in the eighth inning to tie up the game, eventually leading to a 7-6 loss to the Dodgers.  It was his second blown lead in two days.  Clay Condrey put the nail in the coffin, giving up the walk-off homer to fresh off the DL, Nomar Garcia-Parra.

But this game started to go downhill with the starter.  Joe Blanton, I believe, showed his true potential in this game and that is not good.  Yes, he had two good starts before this one, but one was against the Pirates, who are not so great, and the other was on basically 10 days rest, because the outing prior he only went 2 innings due to rain.  This was the real test against a real team on normal rest and he failed.  5 innings, 9 hits, 4 earned runs and 3 walks – not good.  When your team puts up a 5 run lead, you can’t just give the other team back those runs.

But that brings me to the next issue; where did the offense go after the second inning?  Guess they figured they had worked hard enough for the day and decided to take a nap.  Actually, this has been the issue for a long time now – NO situational hitting; they are not getting hits in key spots and everyone is swinging for the fences instead of trying to put the ball in play.  Think I am crazy?  Look at the scoreboard – all 6 runs came on 3 home run balls: Howard,
Toilet_2_301120615_std.jpgDobbs & Werth.  And the guys that were on base for them to rack up the RBI’s?  Two of the three were walks (one HBP-Utley) – not even hits.  Well, this team is good at two things – drawing walks and hitting homers; that is apparent.  But right now, the rest of their game is in the toilet. 

And how many times are we going to see Phillies at bat with 2 strikes on them not protecting the plate?  They either just stand there and watch it for strike 3 or they swing away without attempting to locate the pitch (guessing at the pitch).  You need to try to foul it off if you don’t like it or try your best to put it in play.  Isn’t anyone teaching them this?  Granted, these are things they should know, but perhaps they need a reminder?  When things are going bad, it is time for the coaches to step up and do some actual coaching.

And then to top off a lovely 3 game losing streak, Jimmy Rollins has to infuriate fans by speaking out on The Best Damn Sports Show Period last night.  Here is the video clip (UPDATE: 8/14 PM I added a new video feed which includes Jimmy’s post-show response to the fan uproar):

Jimmy Rollins Best Damn Sports Show Clip & Post-Show Response
http://mediaservices.myspace.com/services/media/embed.aspx/m=40804563,t=1,mt=video,searchID=,primarycolor=,secondarycolor=

So, what do you guys think?  I really love the last comment about Oakland and how those fans simply don’t show up.  Shouldn’t Phillies players be happy that we show up?  Hey, I am as big a fan as they come and, as far as attending or watching games, I don’t care if they suck or not…I just love baseball so I am still going to the games regardless.  But how would they feel if, collectively, we didn’t show up?  Maybe a little praise instead of the annoyance that Rollins shows here would have been in order to thank the fans for showing up?  I still love Jimmy; I know he always speaks his mind and I admire that, but I do think he should remember that the fans want to be on his side…a little “encouragement” as he pointed out, goes a long way.

So Bad It Could Be A Horror Film…

That’s 23 straight innings without scoring a run folks…now give me your best horror movie SCREAM!  Yikes!  Yesterday, when asked about the team’s offensive struggles, Charlie Manuel responded with, “We’re inconsistent…but at the same time, we’re still in first place.”  Well, I’ve got news for you Chuck, not for long…

What is happening to this pitching staff is a crime.  Joe Blanton
P7306516 Blanton cred.jpgpitched a one hit shut-out over 7 innings with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks.  And still, he does not get a win.  His opposition, Paul Maholm, also pitched a shut-out through 7 innings with 10 strikeouts but did allow 5 hits and walked 3.  But even with those base runners, the Phillies still could not manage to get a run in.  Eric Bruntlett hit into a double play to end the 2nd inning with 2 runners on and then AGAIN in the 9th to end that inning and send the game into extra innings.  Chase Utley struck out with 2 men on in the 5th inning to end that inning.  It was just one thing after another…like a bad horror film.  Pat Burrell popped out to end the 10th with the bases loaded after TWO intentional walks to Utley and Howard.  It is seriously like The Night of The Living Dead out there. 
living dead.jpg
Just slap a uniform on these zombies; maybe they can score some runs?  They appear to have more life in them than then Phillies do.  Or, perhaps the living dead have in fact eaten their brains and they all forgot how to swing the bats?

Well, the Pirates, unaffected by the zombies, did score 2 runs in the 12th inning with new Phillie, Wes Walrond giving up a couple of doubles and Clay Condrey helping out with a few singles given up.  The Phillies got one last chance in the bottom of the 12th and with 2 runners on and one out, Utley lined out to centerfield with Brandon Moss making an amazing, diving catch; just then, Shane Victorino wandered too far off of first base and got doubled off for the 3rd out to end the game.  A horrific base running error and a terrible way to end the game, losing to the lowly Pirates 2-0.  A bad B-Movie ending, indeed.  I am feeling a bit like a zombie now after witnessing these last 22 innings of mind-numbing baseball.  Time to get some Z’s ….Sleep, that is…I will be avoiding the brain-sucking, bat-bashing zombies for tonight J