Yes, it is May. And yes, it is a new day. But although Wednesday’s May-day marked the start of a new month for the Phillies, it did not appear to be any different than the month of April; or any different than the year 2012, for that matter. Now, cries of “Mayday!” can be heard throughout Philadelphia. This team has serious problems.
Over 2 games against the Indians, the Phillies were outscored 20 runs to 2. And last night’s 0-6 shut-out was even worse than the 2-14 pounding they look on Tuesday. The Phillies had only 3 hits in last night’s game against a rookie pitcher, who was so wild, he walked 6 batters. With 7 walks total handed to the Phils, they still could not manage to score a single run. That is nearly impossible, but this team found a way to do it.
And here is a thought; perhaps someone should come up with a fun drinking game for every time Michael Young or Ben Revere hits into a double play? Including one last night, Young has 7 already on the season and Revere has 5. Then again, that may not be frequent enough to really put me out of my misery. So let’s add in runners left on base! There were 9 of those last night, plus the Phillies went 0-10 with runners in scoring position. Now we can do some serious alcoholic damage!
Yes, this team is driving me to drink. As I predicted about a week ago, the Phillies have kept us all on this sickening roller coaster ride. They suck, then bounce back for a few games (like the 3-game sweep of the Mets this past weekend) and then they go right back to sucking, once again proving that they just cannot get the job done on a consistent basis.
Both Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young are now in the line-up and nothing has changed. Sure, it has not been very long for either, but it is not like they both arrived cold, having not played in a while. Both guys were baseball-ready after playing in rehab games. Still, after one day of excitement for seeing Chooch again, the thrill is already gone and the offense is still stagnant.
Even Cliff Lee could not get the job done against the Indians, his former team. Roy Halladay was awful the day before that. The only highlight last night was watching Layne Nix rob an Indian of a home run with a leaping catch just before the ball cleared the wall. And this is not the first time this season that Nix has been the only bright spot in a game. That is a very, very bad sign.
And this has all been going on far too long for it to just be a slump. I am seriously beginning to think this team will not be able to recover. Could all of this be the beginning of the end for this era in Phillies baseball? Only time will tell; and the Phillies are quickly running out of that time…
After 3 straight solid starts, things seemed to be looking up for Roy Halladay. That all changed last night when he got scalped by the Indians. The Tribe took Doc deep 3 times; all 3 times there was a man on base. Those 6 runs, plus 2 more, chased Halladay from the game after only 3 2/3 innings. His ERA is now 6.75. Ouch.
But the pain did not end there. Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes each gave up 2 home runs each in relief. More accurately, it was the exact opposite of “relief”…agony.
That was 7 home runs total for the Indians, 5 of which were 2-run bombs. Those guys that hit the 2 solo shots should be ashamed. Clearly, they are underachievers.
Seriously, this game was painful to watch. It was so painful that I actually began paying more attention to the commercials than to the game. And when my mind begins to wander, strange things can happen.
For example, I began to wonder who would win a fight between Jan, the Toyota spokesperson and Flo, the Progressive Insurance chick. Both are equally annoying, but Flo has a clear advantage as the game was being played last night in Progressive stadium. Hmmmm…
Bad Phillies games are simply not good for my brain.
There was one small tidbit of good news last night. Delmon Young was activated off the DL and finally joined the team as the DH last night. Looking as if he were determined for fans to like him, he began his Phillies career with a home run in his first at-bat. Young went 2-for-3 on the night and was also hit by a pitch.
But the good news ended there. Chase Utley hit a solo homer and that was the end of the scoring for the Phils. The 2-14 final score looked more like 2 touchdowns and a safety than a baseball score. And the way the Phils were beat up also resembled a football game, minus all the concussions.
Although, after sitting through those 9 innings of torture, I feel like I have a concussion; or some minor brain damage, at least. Ugh.
Today is another day though. And tonight, Cliff Lee will face his old team for the first time in his career. Hopefully, some of that old Cy Young magic still resides in Progressive stadium for Mr. Lee. Game time is 7:05pm.
In 2012, the Phillies faced Reds pitcher Mike Leake twice and destroyed him to the tune of 13 runs. He had an overall ERA against the Phils of 17.55. Ouch. But last night, this team sprung Leake from his Phillies prison, allowing him to mow them down one hitter after another.
Ah, sweet freedom for Mr. Leake. He must be quite relieved this morning.
On the exact opposite side, the Phillies probably got little sleep due to nightmares. Some people have nightmares about standing naked in a crowd. The Phillies are probably having nightmares about standing at home plate without a bat. They may as well have been standing there without one if they were never going to use it.
And that pretty much describes this entire 6-game road trip which went down in flames after getting swept in 3-games by the Reds. They scored only 10 runs in all 6 games and came away with just 2 wins, both against the Marlins.
Granted, it is very, very early in the season. The Phillies have time to make up ground, however, these are very serious issues. At some point, one has to question whether or not this team is capable of more. But we will not really know until we see the whole team together as it was meant to be; that means when Carlos Ruiz returns and we also finally see what Delmon Young has to offer. Ruiz cannot return due to suspension until April 28th. And Young is still on the DL, although he has been participating in extended Spring Training games.
To make matters worse, Domonic Brown left the game early with a sore back; he will have an MRI today. And John Lannan, who got pounded for 6 runs in 1.2 innings last night, complained of a sore knee after the game. His status is unknown.
Do not be surprised if manager Charlie Manual decides to shake up the line-up tonight against the Cardinals. And say a prayer that Cole Hamels can get his first win of the season; although, he may need a little offense to get that done. *Sigh.*
Game time is 7:05pm.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
A recent Sports Illustrated article graded the Phillies offseason moves a “D.” They summarized it by saying, “Though the trade for Revere gives the Phillies a cost-controlled centerfielder to grow on, they’ve taken steps backward with most of their other moves, and are more likely to repeat last year’s middling showing than contend in a division where the Nationals and Braves have upgraded in impressive fashion.”
This assessment, however, may or may not be totally off-base. I decided to rank some of these moves for myself using not grades, but my emotions about each event. Roger Ebert once said, “Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.” Let’s see if he is correct:
Happy: The trade for centerfielder Ben Revere. He is cheap, young and has room for improvement. My instinct says he will be a pleasant surprise.
Nostalgic Joy: Re-signing RHP Chad Durbin. Durbin is a solid human being and he had a great 2012 with the Braves. Plus he helped the Phillies collect their 2008 World Series championship.
Cautiously Optimistic: Signing Michael Young to play third base. Young seems like another solid human being with a true passion for the game. The question is whether or not he can still play defense. I feel that a guy with this much experience and motivation should be able to work it out.
Conflicted: Adding Chase Utley-hater and lefty John Lannan to the starting rotation. Obviously with the departure of Vance Worley, the Phillies needed a starter. Lannan is cheap, but how well he will perform and his attitude are, at least for me, big question marks.
Confused: Signing outfielder Delmon Young. This guy is a problem child who is also still recovering from offseason ankle surgery. His defense is awful and he has been, not without cause, labeled an anti-Semite with a bad temper. I get the low-risk, high reward school of thought here. What I do not get is why the Phillies would rather mess around with this guy than finally give Domonic Brown a full-time shot at one of the corner outfield spots.
Nervously Nauseous: I am just a wee bit sick to my tummy about the 2-year, $12 million deal the Phillies gave to RHP Mike Adams to be the 8th inning guy. I like Adams if he is healthy. However, he is recovering from thoracic outlet surgery. This is the same surgery that Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals had and his career looks like it may be over. That is a little scary.
Utter Disappointment: Carlos Ruiz’s 25-game suspension for using a banned substance. He did not use steroids, which is a relief. But still, getting caught with ADHD meds when he was forewarned about it after a previously positive test is very disappointing. He knew he’d probably get caught again and did it anyway. *Sigh.*
Sad: Losing Vance Worley in the Ben Revere trade. I wish him luck in Minnesota!
Indifferent: Everything else. A lot of minor moves were made, mostly involving minor league deals and guys past their prime. Unless someone makes a real impact in camp, I cannot imagine there will be much to say about these miscellaneous people.
And my final emotion of the day…
Elation! Spring Training starts tomorrow!
The signing of Delmon Young on a $750,000, one-year contract just got weirder, if that is possible. An initial look at Young’s problems included a 2012 arrest for a brawl involving Anti-Semitic remarks, the pummeling of a minor league umpire with his bat, terrible defense and an inconsistent bat. Let us now add to that list two items: Young’s weight and dog poop.
Yes, dog poop. Apparently, part of his community service for the 2012 arrest includes cleaning up doo-doo at a community park. Also of note, Young does not like soupy poop:
“I didn’t like cleaning up dog poop,” Young said inside the Phillies clubhouse. “It was a dog park and people don’t clean up after their dogs sometimes and we’re left to. A lot of times, I just stared at it, because it was too soupy. But that put some perspective on things, too.”
This is a man who has actually spent time staring at dog poop. Now let that sink in for a moment and see the picture develop in your brain…
While that thought marinates and comes to a slow, sad simmer, let us examine the next oddity in this signing. Young’s contract has been set up so that he can earn an additional $2.75 million in bonuses. $600,000 of that involves him getting on a scale and meeting a goal weight.
Young will receive $100,000 each time he makes weight. If someone offered me that deal, I would be anorexic by now.
That aside, I am actually beginning to feel sorry for this guy. Think about the endless jokes we can all make about this. Then picture Young walking sadly past a box of donuts in the clubhouse, carrying a poop scoop on his way to the dog park, while singing a melancholy version of Hava Nagila and wearing an “I Love Umpires” pin on his lapel. I don’t know about you, but I am really depressed now.
In fact, this entire off-season has seemed like a long, tortuous, binge-induced hangover. Seriously, my head hurts. All these strange and questionable roster moves, the thought of poor Domonic Brown sulking over the Phillies apparent disinterest towards him, the looming injury questions, Chooch cheating…all this and more is making slightly insane.
Is it Spring Training yet? If I am going to be tortured by all these uncertainties, at least once the season begins, I will get a bigger glimpse of what is to come. In the meantime, pass the donuts.
Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
Phillies Sign Mel Gibson Delmon Young
In what may amount to one of the most interesting/weird signings for the Phillies this offseason, a 1-year, $750,000 deal for outfielder Delmon Young is now on the books. He is cheap, but this kid has issues. This past April, Young was arrested for a Mel Gibson-esque, alcohol-infused episode in which he hurled anti-Semetic slurs at a group of people in New York City before a game against the Yankees.
Back in 2006, Young was suspended for 50 games from the International League after throwing his bat which hit an umpire in the chest. In 2005, Young received a three-game suspension for bumping a minor-league umpire.
Young has also been ridiculed for his horrific defense and as a result, he was used mostly as a DH in 2012. He posted a .947 fielding percentage with the Tigers over 31 games. That ranks him 267th among all outfielders in the majors.
To recap, Young hates Jews, umpires, and fielding balls. The only family-friendly thing I can think of to say is, “Oh my…”
In Young’s defense (not the baseball fielding kind), he was the 2012 ALCS MVP for the Tigers, batting .353 with two home runs and six RBI in a 4-game sweep of the Yankees. He does have some power and nailed 18 homers in the 2012 regular season, although he only batted .267 with a .296 (yikes!) on-base percentage.
Young is young at 27 years old. If he overcomes prior injuries, including off-season surgery for bone spurs in his ankle, he could bounce back to his top form of 2010 when he hit .298 with 21 homers.
And hey, who wouldn’t love having TWO Young’s on their team to keep us all on our toes? I am sure Michael Young is happy to have the company. On the flip side, Domonic Brown is probably contemplating having many, many stiff drinks as he wonders if this team will ever consider him an everyday, major-league outfielder. Poor kid.
So if you are not a Jewish person, an umpire or a baseball, please join me in welcoming Delmon Young. Hip, hip, hooray??