So besides a valiant effort by Jayson Werth, can anyone tell me where the bats have gone? Hiding under a rock somewhere, perhaps? Trapped under a heavy object and they can’t get out? Can we hire a detective to go solve the mystery? I hear Scooby-Doo is not too busy these days…let’s put him on the case! He works pretty cheap…just toss him a Philly cheese steak and he’ll be happy to start sniffing around for us J Only 4 hits in last night’s game and then 10 hits tonight (in 12 innings), including the amazing 2 run homer by Jayson Werth, which temporarily tied up the game and gave the Phillies a shot at redemption.
However, tonight the Mets completed the total deconstruction of the Phillies bullpen. The only “virgins” left in the pen after last night’s horrid attack were Brad Lidge and Chad Durbin, who appeared untouchable. Not so, I am afraid. Both gave up runs today; Lidge gave up one and Durbin gave up two on a 2 run homer in the 12th inning to un-tie the game and give the Mets back the lead. But you really can’t complain about that. The pitch Durbin made was low and out of the zone and Fernando Tatis just reached down and golfed it out of the park. Besides that, both Durbin and Lidge have been outstanding all year and can’t be expected to perform miracles every night. Our offense should be expected to get hits in key situations, and this, they have not done.
So I say, Scooby Dooby-Doo, where are you? We need some help from you now! Won’t you please, please find the bats? I promise to throw in extra cheese with that Philly steak! And hey, just a suggestion for Charlie Manuel – STOP taking Pat Burrell out of the game! This continues to hurt the team late into games and almost never helps on the base path! Today, he replaced him with Geoff Jenkins in a bases loaded situation with 2 outs. First off, Jenkins runs almost as well as Burrell! DUH! Second, the bases are loaded! Aren’t we more concerned with the runners on 2nd and 3rd? Why waste Burrell’s bat? We REALLY could have used him later in the game, but instead, we were subjected to watching Jenkins do NOTHING at the plate, as usual. You cannot use his defense as an excuse as Burrell is the only Phillie who has NOT committed an error ALL year! SOOOOOOO…leave him in there!
Speaking of Pat, remember to keep voting! Here is the link for you….let’s get Pat to the All-Star game; we have until Thursday at 5pm! Get those fingers clicking people!
There they are! Those pesky little wooden sticks were hiding in the peachy state of Georgia! 14 hits, 2 home runs and 6 walks later and the Phillies wander off tonight with an 8-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves. Kyle Kendrick did a nice job, going 6 innings and giving up 3 earned runs, 2 walks and striking out 2. Shane Victorino had a huge night with 4 RBI, 2 of which came off a home run in the 3rd inning. He was so scary, in fact, that Bobby Cox, Braves manager, intentionally walked him in the 8th inning to load the bases for Chase Utley! It paid off actually, as Chase struck out, but wow, what a move. The Phillies, although coming away with the win, still left 13 men on base. They also left the bases loaded twice with 1 out, without scoring. Now, although I am always elated by a Phillies win, I do have a small rant to go off on…
I just can’t hold it in any longer! I was hoping by the half way point of the season to see some really defined leadership on this team, but it just has not happened. You see, the one area I think all major league clubs tend to ignore when making decisions is spiritual and emotional leadership. They don’t see it as an important factor and therefore, it never enters into business decisions. But team chemistry can make or break a team, and one or two people in a clubhouse need to serve as the glue that hold that bond tightly together. We saw it last year when the Phillies thrived, despite being riddled with injuries. It was the bond between teammates and the chemistry in the clubhouse that kept them motivated. We saw the Mets self-destruct, because they did not have that special ingredient. And it shows again with their team in 2008.
This year, the Phillies let Aaron Rowand go, which many saw as a good business decision. Personally, I saw it as a huge mistake for all of the reasons I outlined above. I agreed with the business end of it; however, he was the glue that held this team together and no one else has stepped forward to take over that role. You know a bright light when it enters the room; he is one of those people and the Giants are now the beneficiaries. Can’t dwell on what is done though, but who will be the next leader for the Phillies? I thought maybe Jimmy Rollins would have stepped up, but at this point in the season, it has become clear that his role will be limited. When a major slide happens as it did the last 6 series, someone needs to step up and hold these guys accountable for their own actions, like Aaron did last year. I don’t want to see interviews the next morning where multiple players are saying things like, “Well, we ran into some good pitching…” After 4, 5, 6 games, that gets old fast. Not to mention, it is not stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility, like they would have in the same situation last year. That is where I see a major difference between the 2007 and the 2008 team right now, and it is a little worrisome.
We do have a lot of guys who can lead in smaller ways….Chase Utley leads by example; Shane Victorino leads with attitude; Pat Burrell seems to lead behind the scenes quietly; but we need someone who will not be afraid to grab hold of a guy and shake him when he does something stupid! Who is going to throttle Geoff Jenkins for swinging at a pitch today with a 3-0 count, bases loaded, 1 out that was NOT right down the middle of the plate? Incidentally, he popped out and that was one of the 2 times the Phillies left the bases loaded with 1 out today. Someone needs to say something to him and hold him accountable.
Ok, ok, so many will not agree with me on this, I know. Such is life. I just see such potential for this team this year, you hate to see it go to waste. Especially if a guy like Brett Myers can get his act together and take one for the team like he did today! Kudos to Brett for accepting the assignment to AAA J That took a lot of guts and we should all be proud of him! It was the best move for the team and very selfless on his part. Now, let’s get this clubhouse in order so when he comes back, all will be well! Another sweep of the Braves would certainly be a nice start to that…
Working on their 5th straight series lost and only one win out of their last 9 games, the Phillies look like they are lying bleeding on the ER table, having severed a major artery. The blood spatter is enough to make the toughest CSI want to vomit. Brett Myers arrived on the mound last night DOA. No amount of resuscitation was going to help his cause as he began the game, giving up a home run on pitch #2. Pedro Feliz, thinking he may have caught a course or two in brain surgery during his college years, popped an awesome grand slam in the 3rd inning and I am sure assumed that he had, in fact, sutured the damage done by Myers and had the Phillies on their way to a win. But no…like a slasher in a bad movie, Myers took out his scalpel, stabbed it straight through the hearts of his teammates and gave all those runs right back again! Two plus innings of work, 5 walks, 5 earned runs on 5 hits and a homer…a blood bath, indeed.
After the 3rd inning slaying, the Phillies offense could do nothing, yet again, to repair their broken bats, which were also left lying on the operating table in shambles. Ryan Howard continues to hurt this team with his blind swings, incessant arguing with umpires over balls and strikes and basic attitude (see my rant in previous blog). I am so sick of it right now I may suffer a brain aneurism… Geoff Jenkins and Carlos Ruiz have not had hits since the Dark Ages… I do believe they have given new meaning to the term “flat-lined.” Love Eric Bruntlett in the field, but we know he still can’t hit, so why isn’t Charlie pinch hitting for him in key situations? Thank God for Pat Burrell…he seems to be the only player right now getting anything done, even if that means just drawing the walks. I hereby appoint Pat Top Surgeon! He needs to get out there and FIX all these broken bats! And sadly, he needs to do it before tonight’s game…eek!
So, can Cole Hamels put a stop to all this? Gee, I hope so because I seriously think another loss is going to land ME in the hospital! UGH! Anyway, as far as our pitching staff goes, I do believe last night was the last straw for Brett Myers. He is killing this team and it cannot continue. I have said it before multiple times and now I am going to say it again…I think it is time to try Chad Durbin as a starter. Yes, I love him as a long reliever too. Yes, I hate to disrupt that vibe too. But, do we have any other options for the next start? If we have someone in the minors who is honestly ready to come up right NOW, then ok, I say go with that. Or, if a trade happens between now and then, SUPER! But if not, I think our only option is switch Myers with Durbin. Brett just can’t be allowed to dig a deeper hole for this team. These guys need to see a light at the end of the tunnel…hopefully today, that light will be Cole Hamels.
When, oh when, will the losing end? I don’t know about all of you, but my poor brain hurts. Ouch! It does seem that Jamie Moyer had a well laid out plan for this game and was rolling along quite well, in fact. And really, you can’t blame him at all. 3 runs for Jamie in 6.2 innings having thrown over 100 pitches is quite a feat. He is amazing. This offense simply let him down, yet again. On Sunday afternoon, he even tried helping out Kyle Kendrick to prepare for his next start (which will be tonight) by either, proposing marriage (see photo)
, or what I should better assume is teaching him how to throw a change-up. This is the one pitch Kyle still seems to have some trouble with. The two worked on it before the game for over ½ an hour out on the field. Moyer is such a team player and it really saddens me to see the rest of the team let him down like this.
Obviously, they are not happy about it either. Having totaled only 6 hits against a very average pitcher last night, the Phillies offense were all left scratching their heads and wondering what has happened to the bats. Perhaps it is time to pull out a copy of the movie Major League and summon the Spirit of Jobu? I don’t think the actor Dennis Haysbert is getting much work these days besides All-State commercials…maybe he can shave his head again and come play for the Phils? And here’s a thought…can we try Greg Dobbs, who is batting .347, as the DH instead of Geoff Jenkins who is batting .244? Hmmm? And can anyone tell me the last time Carlos Ruiz got a hit? Or the last time he did NOT hit into a double play when given the chance? Just a few things that have been BUGGING me…
Sorry, had to vent for a few seconds there J Ah, back to my happy place… So, thanks for comments and feedback! In response to the latest comment on the Shane Victorino trade rumors, here is my take on the situation. First of all, I love Shane too and would be devastated to see him go, but keep in mind that rumors are rumors and this very same rumor went around last year as well and he is still here. The trade deadline is not until 7/31/08, so until we are past the All-Star break and closer to that day, I would not panic just yet. A lot of the talk is because the Phillies are looking to add a pitcher if they want to contend for a World Series title THIS year. They believe they have they offense, present slump aside, to make it happen and are willing to sacrifice a few “future” possibilities to make it happen. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the right move. Where Shane falls into that is they are looking to get a pitcher like a CC Sabathia from the Indians, but someone of that caliber will not come cheap. It would have to be a package deal with say Shane plus a minor league prospect or two. However, the Phillies have a LOT of really great minor leaguers that may be ready to go THIS year that a team may go for without someone like Shane in the mix. Carlos Carrasco’s name has been tossed around a lot, as an example. He would be a big loss to the Phillies system, but not necessarily so if it brings us a World Series Title. Ya know?
Another thought on this is also that these rumors may be being tossed around to light a fire under both Shane Victorino AND Brett Myers. Cruel as this may sound, I have heard several media type mention it now. They are saying that the thought of Myers being “replaced” may force him into getting his act together. And as for Shane, the idea that he is dispensable and maybe has not performed up to their expectations could get him back on track as well. We also have the possibility of Kris Benson coming out of rehab in Clearwater soon to think about. If he can get past all these injuries and prove to be a viable starter, all this trade stuff may go away… Well, then again, you never can tell J Whew! If my brain didn’t hurt before, it sure does now! How is that for a LOT to absorb at once? I do hope that helps though. We will know more as the deadline approaches. As always, thanks for reading and for your feedback. Have a great day!
Cole Hamels is back in All-Star shape after today’s complete game shut-out of the Reds, giving up only 3 hits and 3 walks with 4 strike outs. He looked more than comfortable, even giving a wry smile when Ken Griffey Jr. missed home run #600 by inches off him late in the game, flying out to Shane Victorino in center who caught the long ball right up against the padded wall. Cole wasn’t rattled. He just grinned and kept right on pitching. So, now he can sit back and celebrate a job well done and give his tired arm a well deserved rest J
Bit of a slowdown offensively again, with just 5 hits and 2 earned runs; the other runs came off of errors. One thing to point out though is that Geoff Jenkins has been quietly bringing his average up. He is at a .285 right now and the home run today puts him at 6 for the year, which is an area I think when he was brought in, he was really expected to put up some numbers similar to what Rowand did when he was here. So, this is a good sign that he may have found his comfort zone in this park and with the team. Victorino had another hit today too, which continues his streak of consistent hitting and getting on base. He is batting a .283 right now and has 12 stolen bases. It’s good to see some of these guys that had been struggling look like they have found their groove.
On to Atlanta now to face the Braves who have recently been rocked by the loss of veteran pitcher John Smoltz to surgery. I would pretend to be saddened by this news, but then you might scroll down my blog and see my Braves voodoo doll and realize that I am so not telling the truth J Well, in all honesty, I wish pain and surgery upon no one; but a really good opposing pitcher is welcome to take a vacation from his team any time he likes, especially when they are about to play the Phillies!
And since I forgot to mention it in the previous entry, if anyone has an odd fear of squirrels, stay out of sections 145 and 144 in Citizens Bank Park. That is where my friend the squirrel was wandering about yesterday J But seriously people, they are so cute! Just toss him a french fry and let him be… Have a good one!
The Phillies take 2 of 3 from the Marlins with today’s win, putting them into first place in the NL East. It was an emotional game all around, beginning right from the very first inning with Chase Utley stealing second base and Ryan Howard smacking a line drive up the middle to send Chase home, scoring the first run of the game. So emotional, in fact, that Brett Myers and Eric Bruntlett simply could not contain themselves. As the cameras panned into the dugout to capture the high fives and celebrations, you could see the sweet and adorable, full-out hug session between Myers & Bruntlett.
And TJ Bohn, who has not spent much time up with the team, looks a tad perplexed, but give him time; he will catch on to the love fest with this group of guys! And didn’t I call this? Yes I did…let’s go back to my 5/15/08 blog, Brett Myers Need A Hug. Quite obviously, I called that one right. He’s now a happy, huggin’ guy who’s back to pitching like he should be…you go Brett! Real men give hugs J
But back to today’s game…Moyer had the one bad inning, but after that, he really got the job done and gave these guys a chance to win. And that chance was jump-started by Geoff Jenkins, put in to pinch hit for Taguchi in the 6th inning. Down by 2 runs, Jenkins comes in and nails a 2 run homer out to right field. I give it a HUGE thumbs up! Pat Burrell gives it the finishing touch later in the 8th with the 2 run double. Then, we all give thanks to Jimmy Rollins for coaching Tom Gordon through the bottom of the 8th. It was starting to look like Gordon may self-destruct until J-Roll went out to the mound and had a heart to heart with him. Next thing you know, Gordon is on fire! I guess Jimmy may have a career after playing in either coaching or psychiatry J
As for the loss yesterday, all I can say is, what is up with Cole Hamels? This was his second bad start in a row and, with his injury history, I am getting concerned. Is he hurt? Well, I’m not sure what is up, but I am pretty sure he may have just blown any shot at the All-Star game at this point. Looks like Brad Lidge may be our only pitching hope, and the way he is going, he is a shoe in! He racked up another save tonight and once again, made it look easy.
So, on to the Reds and let’s see if we can avoid #600 for Ken Griffey Jr. I do hope he hits it…just not at Citizen’s Bank Park J Go Phillies!
Heading home with a winning road trip, the Phillies gave a spanking to the Astros today, taking the final game of the series 15 to 6. Cole Hamels did not have a great outing giving up 6 runs in only 4 innings, but if he was going to have an off day, I guess today was the day to do it. That awful knock on the head that home plate umpire Jerry Crawford took, which caused a lengthy delay, really seemed to shake Cole up and he never recovered. Jerry will be fine it seems, which is great news! He is a local Philly guy and has been umpiring for MLB since 1977, as did his father before him.
Nice to see our offense back, especially after the extended slumber of the last 2 games. Utley, Burrell and Jenkins all homered and Greg Dobbs, the pinch hit machine, got another one today with a triple! As a team, the Phillies also had 5 doubles and 6 players had a multi-hit game. Now they just need to carry that momentum into the home stand!
By request, the voodoo has been done to the Mets! Here is J-Roll Smurf having his way with Mr. Met voodoo doll, while Chase “Pooky” Bear, totally stylin’ in his Phanatic slippers, uses his glove to assist in holding Mr. Met down for the beating:
In the course of this entertaining experiment, I have discovered several things: #1 – Voodoo dolls are both fun and therapeutic. #2 – Phillies fans have the BEST sense of humor…seriously, you guys are AWESOME! #3 – I own far too many stuffed toys.
The Mets did lose today! Yeah!! But the Marlins have gone back to winning, so I guess I need to get back to work on beating up my Fish voodoo doll… So, I will excuse myself for now…apparently, I have work to do :o) Go Phillies!