Friday, August 29, 2008

Phils Acquire Matt Stairs

The Phils acquired left-handed OF Matt Stairs from the Blue Jays, presumably for a bucket of clean batting practice balls. I guess he takes Geoff Jenkins' slot in the lineup for now and eventually plays the role this year that Russell Branyan played last year: occasional pinch hitter who does nothing but uppercuts for the fences or strikes out.

Labor Day Weekend

The Phils dropped a 6 - 4 decision to the Chicago Cubs last night and the Eagles dropped their preseason finale to the Jets by a score of 27 - 20.

I'm going to be going away for the next couple of days down the Jersey Shore to the lovely town of Brigantine. That's right; 3 days of sunning at the "Cove" and drinking at the Rod'N Reel. I'll be back Tuesday AM, September 2nd with an Eagles season preview.

If anything significant does happen over the weekend, I'll post, but otherwise, have a safe Labor Day weekend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Phils Stun Mets; Back in First

There was a feeling that the Phils HAD to have this game, given that Santana is pitching tomorrow night and has generally pitched well against the Phillies. Who knew the lengths they had to go to in order to accomplish that feat.

The Phils beat the Mets by a score of 8 - 7 in 13 innings, but had to do it by coming from behind and overcoming a 7 - 0 deficit in order to do so. The win catapaults the team a half game into first place in NL East.

The Mets jumped out to a 6 - 0 lead off of Phils starter Jamie Moyer, who had his shortest outing as a Phil. Moyer gave up 2 homeruns; one to 2B Damion Easley, and a more controversial one to Fernando Tatis. Tatis, a few pitches before he hit the homer, hit a fair ball off of his own man, Carlos Beltran, who was leading off of 3B and was in fair territory. By rule, he should have been out and Tatis awarded first. Instead, Moyer continued to work to Tatis, who eventually took him deep to make the score 6 - 0.

From that point, the Phils bullpen put a stopper on things, giving up just 1 run in 10 innings of work.

Offensively, the Phils finally woke up a bit in the 4th, scratching out a run on a Pedro Feliz sacrifice fly. The 5th inning saw the Phils get a lead off double from pitcher Clay Condrey, followed by a 2-run homerun by Jimmy Rollins. After a Chase Utley walk and a Pat Burrell strikeout, Ryan Howard took Pedro Martinez to the opposite field to pull the Phils within 2 runs and Citizen's Bank Ballpark seemed to coming alive.

After threatening in the 6th inning, the Phils scraped together another run via a Jimmy Rollins single that scored Carlos Ruiz to draw them within a run.

The 9th inning called for desperate measures with 2 outs. Jayson Werth kept the game going with a single up the middle that was off of the end of his bat. The next batter, Eric Bruntlett, was the last position player off of the bench and he responded with a double, scoring Werth and tying the game. Werth appeared to almost run over the plate without actually touching it the first time (fortunately, he had time to double back and touch the plate).

In extra innings, the Phils threatened in both the 10th and 11th inning, but to no avail. The Phils bullpen, led in extra innings by Ryan Madson, JC Romero, and Rudy Seanez held down the fort allowing scant opportunities for the Mets outside of a stray walk or basehit, which was left stranded.

In the 13th inning, the game was over for all practical purposes when Shane Victorino led off, shearing a triple to right field. From that point, the Mets loaded the bases by walking Bruntlett and Werth intentionally in order to trigger a double play. After an "interesting" strikeout by PH Brett Myers, Chris Coste sent a 1-0 Scott Schoeneweis offering over CF Carlos Beltran's head to score Victorino and send the Phils into first place.

The 2-game series ends tonite with Johan Santana possibly facing Kyle Kendrick. I say "possibly", because, in this bizarre game, Kendrick was warming up in the bullpen to possibly enter the game. You wonder if the Phils still intend to pitch Kendrick today.


- Jimmy Rollins' offensive numbers: 5 for 7, a double, a homer, 3 RBI, and 3 SBs. This is the type of performance that earned the MVP and it's what's been missing from the Phils offense for most of this season.

- Bruntlett and Coste, entering the game late, ended up going a combined 6 for 6 with 2 RBI, in hitting the game tying and game winning hits respectively.

- Unforgivable slip by Tom McCarthy in the bottom of the 12th, continually referring to CBP as "Shea". Tom, please just head back up the turnpike and tell Scott Graham to please come back.

- Not sure it was possible for Pat Burrell to have a more feeble night at the plate in striking out 4 times in 7 ABs and leaving 10 men on base.

- The home plate umpire, Mike Everitt, had a tough night. By the 12th inning, I had no idea what a strike was and the way he blew that call in the 3rd inning, where Tatis hit a fair ball off of Carlos Beltran, leading off of 3rd base in fair territory, was unconscionable.

- Carlos Ruiz played 3B last night; the first time he has done so in the Majors.

- Can you imagine trying to keep score of this game?

- Big outfield assist from Jayson Werth in the 11th inning on a hit by David Wright. The ball kicked off the stands just right, Werth was in the right spot to pick up the ball, and gunned out Wright, who appeared to injure his hand on the play. It'll be interesting to see if Wright, who earlier fouled a ball off of his foot, will play tonite.

- Myers' AB in the 13th inning was comical. He did a bunch of posturing, as if he was going to take his hacks, when in reality, it seems he was just sent to stand there and maybe draw a walk with no outs and the bases loaded. The strategy almost worked. Myers went to 3 - 2, before he struck out looking.

Pic from ((AP Photo/Tom Mihalek))

Phils Complete Sweep of Dodgers

Brett Myers' star crossed rollar coaster ride of a season continued last night and Jimmy Rollins awoke from a long offensive slumber to lead the Phillies to a 5 - 0 shutout win over the Dodgers last night. The victory completed a 4-game sweep of the Dodgers and allowed the Phillies to remain within a half-game of the Mets, who also won last night.

The offense last night was paced by Jimmy Rollins, who went 3 for 3, including a 2-run single that opened the scoring for the Phillies. Also providing a crucial offensive spark was Jayson Werth, who not only drove in Ryan Howard (lead-off double) in the 7th inning, but scored from 2nd base on a Chris Coste ground-out. Werth was actually running on the play, which was a high bounding ball to the 2nd baseman who had to wait for the ball to come down. Werth was able to get a good read on the ball and went hard around 3rd to score the 5th and final run of the ballgame.

Brett Myers' return to form continued last night, as Myers did pitch with men on base (12 baserunners on 9 hits and 3 walks), but he managed to keep the Dodgers from scoring. He also struck out 8 and lowered his season ERA to 4.49, which is impressive, considering his ERA was approaching 6 when the Texas Rangers knocked him around back on June 27th.

The Phils open up a crucial 2 game series against their archrival New York Mets this evening at Citizen's Bank Ballpark. The pitching matchups:

Tonite: Jamie Moyer vs. Pedro Martinez
Tomorrow: Kyle Kendrick vs. Johan Santana


- Pat Burrell left 6 runners on base last night. As for the Dodgers, between Jeff Kent and Manny Ramirez, they left 13 men on base.

- You won't see a smoother doubleplay started by a 3rd baseman than the one Pedro Feliz started in the 6th inning, when he went to his left, calmly scooped up the Casey Blake grounder and fired to Utley, who turned the doubleplay. Feliz made it look easy. His aggressive bat wasn't the only thing the Phils missed during his stint on the DL.

Photo from (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Craptacular Writer Series: Greg Doyel

I am about as sick of the whole Jimmy Rollins business as the next guy. I would like to concentrate on just seeing this team make a run in September, as it is definitely in the realm of possibility.

Furthermore, I am aware that Philadelphia fans are not exactly innocent. We've done some pretty stupid things that we deserve blame for (behavior at the Vet necessitating a on-site courtroom for one), but I know we're not as bad as portrayed in the national media. I grew up here and know these people and they're good people. Sometimes, a bit overserved and a bit too passionate, but at heart, no one here means anyone harm, fan-wise. That's one of the weirdest things about the Rollins attack on the fans; we really like Jimmy here.

The media reaction to Rollins' outburst has ranged from reasoned, with historical context (Bill Conlin) to the subject of this particular post. Sportsline's Greg Doyel wrote about the hackiest opinion of the Philadelphia fanbase that I have ever read and that's saying something. It reads like a Philadelphia fan defiled this guy wife and forced him to watch. Basically, it's just an uninformed rip-job on a fanbase that has sold out Citizen's Bank Ballpark all summer long.

I thought I would provide a little running commentary to my favorite parts of the "column".
All front-runners are, by definition, soft. A front-runner is gutless. A front-runner gets behind a winner, sure, but only gets on a loser. A front-runner takes the easy road. That's what a front-runner does.

Really? Who wrote this definition? Webster? According to wikipedia, the term "frontrunner" can also be used to describe a type of sports fan who likes only the team that is winning. The Phillies are losingest franchise in professional sports. Shouldn't we actually have a winner to jump on first, so then we can front run it?

Look, Philly fans, you can't have it both ways. If you're going to dish it, you have to be able to take it.

No, Greg, I or any other fan doesn't have to "take it" from an overpriveleged, overpaid professional athlete. Now or ever. When is it EVER acceptable for a consumer to take shit from a paid entertainer? This isn't the Little League World Series! These are highly compensated individuals. At least that's what I figured after seeing Jimmy Rollins on MTV Cribs. This is a billion dollar business and fans are consumers. Maybe CBS Sportsline applauds when you hand in your shitty columns, but we don't applaud here for dogshit play and piss poor effort.

Flick a player in the nose all you want, but when one of them flicks you back, you have to smirk and let him know it didn't hurt. Otherwise, you're nothing but a schoolyard bully -- strong because you have all that size, but weak as soon as someone fights back.

Flick a player in the nose? You must fight like a girl! one has "flicked" Rollins' nose this year. He's generally been a pretty popular player here (you may heard the MVP chants last season before he won the award). Look, Greg. Don't know where you come from, but when someone "flicks me back" as you suggest, NOT retaliating only invites more disrespect. That's not a bully acting; that's just intelligence. Rollins is a handsomely paid professional who said something incredibly stupid to the local consumers. Rollins (and the front office) need to understand what is and what is not acceptable.

Charlie Manuel knows what Philly fans are like. Everyone knows what Philly fans are like. They're brutal. They're relentless. They're happy when things are going well, sure, but they're miserable at all other times. It's a stadium full of your mother-in-law.

What? No Santa reference? Yeah, maybe you heard. Been a LONNG time between championships around here. 100 seasons to be exact and the way this Phillies team is playing, it's going to be 101.

Whatever the case, Rollins spoke the truth -- and he continued to speak the truth after he returned to town Tuesday. Rollins said the behavior of Philly fans hurts the team's efforts to pursue the best free agents on the market.

Of course Rollins is going to say that. Naturally, Doyel couldn't or wouldn't get corroboration from an athlete who turned down the best offer in their free agent year to come to Philly. That would actually take work, which this column clearly didn't demand. With professional athletes, money talks and bullshit walks. If the Phillies show a free agent the money, it's amazing how much they take to the town. Just ask Brad Lidge.

Right, Philly fans? You idiots. There are lots of reasons your town hasn't won a championship in football, baseball or basketball since 1983 (ArenaBowl doesn't count), and why the Phillies specifically have won a single World Series (1980) in 124 years in the big leagues -- and you, the Philly fan, are one of them.

Wow, this sentence is yesterday's flecks of corn in this pile of shit of a column. I don't recall a fan dropping a single pass, throwing a single interception, making a single error, blowing a sacrifice attempt, or any other act on a professional field of play. I didn't even know I was under contract. Perhaps I need to talk to my agent and get my deal renegotiated, because after witnessing all 25 years of Philly sports since the last championship, I can say with certainty that if I can't have a championship, at least I can get a nice set of rims on my escalade.

This stuff isn't rocket science.

Clearly not, but coming up with a cogent opinion might seem like it to you, Greg.

At the highest level, sports are as much mental as physical.

Now he's resorting to plagiarizing Yogi Berra badly.

When everyone on the field is a professional athlete, and the skill level is roughly even, the mental side will decide things. Any idea how hard it must be -- mentally -- to compete on a daily basis, over a grinding 162-game schedule, knowing the home crowd is ready to pounce? It's not easy. It's why Yankees fans were stupid to boo A-Rod into oblivion two years ago, turning his physical battle into a mental one that had him throwing baseballs away and batting eighth in the lineup.

Of course it's hard. If it wasn't fucking hard, everyone would be doing it. The MINIMUM a major league player can make is almost $400,000. Geez, I didn't realize we were hurting their feelings, what with, patronizing their sport the way we do and expecting them to actually perform consistently on the field. I mean, Geez, should I pay more money? Would that help? Cry me a fucking river for today's professional athletes.

Furthermore, to compare Yankee fans and Phillie fans is beyond stupidity. The Yankees are the Rolls Royce of baseball sports franchises, with 26 World Series titles, including 1 at the expense of the Phillies in 1950. The Phillies, on the other hand, are more like the Edsel. They have won 1 title in their mostly futile history; a history which goes back to the late 1800s. The Phillies eclipsed 10,000 losses last year; by contrast, the Yankees have about that many wins (@9500) in their franchise history.

And Yankee fans may or may not be stupid, but they are dead-on about ARod. ARod is about as clutch as an automatic transmission.

You were just booing what you don't understand.

No, I understand pretty clearly. A guy hitting .255 blaming his problems and the problems of the team on the fans. That TOTALLY makes sense to me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Phils Fall to Nats

Ryan Madson was tagged for 2 runs in the top of the 8th as the Nationals came from behind to beat the Phillies by a score of 4 -3. With the Phils loss and a Mets win (over the Braves), the Phils now fall 2.5 games behind the Mets in NL East.

The game began as a pretty good pitchers duel between Jamie Moyer and Tim Redding, who has pitched pretty well in 4 starts this year against the Phils. Washington drew first blood against the Phils in the 6th on a Chase Utley throwing error. Utley did manage to get the run back, with an RBI single to center to tie the game at 1. The Nats tacked on another run in the top of the 7th, chasing Moyer, who gave up only 5 hits.

The bottom of the 7th featured Shane Victorino getting on base with an infield hit and advancing to 3rd on a two base error. Dobbs chased Victorino home on a groundout, setting the stage for Carlos Ruiz. Carlos Ruiz, the author of more key ground outs than any man in major league baseball, managed to hit his 3rd homerun of the year to put the Phils ahead 3 - 2 in the bottom of the 7th. The lead evaporated however, in the 8th, when Ryan Madson gave up a couple of fluky hits and leading to 2 runs and the difference in the ballgame.

The Phils now welcome the Dodgers to Philly for a 4 game set.


- Great play by Anderson Hernandez to save a run in the 7th on Greg Dobbs' chopper that drove in Shane Victorino. It saved a run, because it occurred just before Ruiz's homer.

- Jimmy Rollins (another collar last night) needs to sit down for a day or two. Rollins' problems offensively are so beyond hope right now, and with the crowd still letting him have it, I can't believe Charlie Manual is still running him out at the leadoff spot.

- Ryan Madson.....thought he pitched OK but had a bit of bad luck.

Myers, Phils Shutout Nats

Brett Myers threw a complete game shutout as the Phils blanked the Washington Nationals by a score of 4 - 0.

The story of the game was the mercurial Myers, as he threw his first complete game since 2006, which was also the last year he spent as a full-time starter. Myers struck out 9 batters and walked only one. He did have some early inning trouble, allowing multiple baserunners in each of the first two innings, only to get bailed out of trouble either through an outfield assist (courtesy of Pat Burrell) or via the strikeout (Emilio Bonifacio in the 2nd).

Offensively, Greg Dobbs, starting at 3b, hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to give the Phils a 3 - 0 lead. Jayson Werth also knocked in a run in a fifth inning that could have been even bigger, had Jimmy Rollins not gotten caught stealing on a play where he overslid second base.

The series continues tonite with Jamie Moyer facing Tim Redding at 7:05pm.


- Yes, Rollins was still getting booed, but the booing lacked a certain vitriol. I'm getting to the conclusion that gauging the booing of a crowd is like judging a fine wine or a good cigar.

- Chase Utley had 2 base knocks hitting the ball to the opposite field. Why is this a big deal? Teams had begun shifting infielders to the second base side of the diamond on Utley as they do with Ryan Howard. Utley seems to evolved into a dead pull hitter (like Howard) because of his early season power binge. Utley is too good of a hitter to be that one-dimensional, which is a conclusion I would hope Ryan Howard would come to as well. Both players adjusting their stroke to defeat the shift can only make defenses play both players a little more honestly.

- Brett Myers' curve ball was his big pitch last night and it was the rare at-bat where he pitched behind in the count. From Myers' perspective, I wish this game could be bottled and enjoyed at a later date.

- Anyone know what the Phillies were trying to do in the 8th inning with Chris Coste trying to steal second with Brett Myers trying to lay down a bunt? Obviously, Coste got nailed. Why did Coste run? I think the Phils got a little too cute there, in an attempt to get a man on 3rd with 1 out.
Photo: (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kevin Curtis Out Indefinitely

An already suspect receiving corps lost their best player today to what is being termed a sports hernia.

The Eagles' receiving corps, already a bit of running joke to most Eagles fans since Terrell Owens left, is now officially scraping the bottom of the barrel. They now must go get help at this position and as far as most fans are concerned, anything less than someone of the calibre of Anquan Boldin (who has told Arizona that he wants out) will not be acceptable. I cannot accept that either Hank Baskett or Greg Lewis are adequate replacements for Curtis, who had over 1000 receiving yards last year.

The skeptic in me will not hold my breath to see Anquan Boldin in Eagle green.

Phils Win; Rollins Jeered

The Phils pulled out a 5 - 4 win over the Washington Nationals last night on the strength of a Jayson Werth home run in the bottom of the 8th inning. The homer capped a comeback for the Phils, who were down in the game 4 - 1 after the 4th inning.

But the big story of the game was the return to Philadelphia of one James Calvin Rollins, who recently made some comments you may have heard about.

In a purely unscientific guess as to the ratio of cheers and boos when Rollins first came to bat in the first inning, I'd have to guess it was about 60 or 70 percent booing, with the rest of the folks cheering.

Let there be no doubt, however, that in the 5th inning, when Rollins hit into a rally killing 4-6-3 double play, the natives were pissed and reacted accordingly and loudly. There was no mixture for that particular slice of fan reaction; the Phils had just scored on a sacrifice fly from the bat of Geoff Jenkins and had just turned the lineup over, when Rollins (batting left) rolled over on an 0-1 pitch.

The crowd did give Jimmy a nice hand when he smoked a 3-2 pitch from Steve Shell for an apparent home run, only to have the wind knock the ball down for a long, loud out.

In non-JRoll news from the game, Joe Blanton pitched 5 innings and seemed to labor. He seemed to be high in the zone and fortunately, the wind kept balls in the park last night, or else the score might have been higher for both sides. Blanton gave up all 4 runs and struck out 3. He gave way to Chad Durbin and Ryan Madson, who kept the Nats at bay and Brad Lidge came in to nail down save number 31.

The series continues tonite with Brett Myers facing Collin Balester. However, I suspect that the focus will continue to be on how the crowd reacts to Jimmy Rollins. I suspect that the vitriol will subside as the days go by, but this self-inflicted wound will heal much quicker if Rollins creates the kind of offensive wave we all know he's capable of.


- Greg Dobbs and Chris Coste accounted for the other Phils RBIs.

- Mike Missannelli had two interesting guests in the past few days weigh in on the Rollins situation. Both have had unique relationships with the Philadelphia sports fans over the years. Former Phil player and manager Larry Bowa weighed in, and I'm paraphrasing here, saying that playing in the Northeast can come with a bit of fan negativity. Charles Barkley weighed in with a very similar sentiments (audio link not up on 950's website....I'll post it if it goes up).

Photo: (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Eagles Preseason...What Have We Learned So Far?

The Eagles have played two preseason games to date and have another preseason game this Friday up in Jeffrey Lurie's beloved New England area against the Patriots. This is a good time to sort through the rubble of the first two games and find a couple of nuggets of information that an Eagles fan can take into the season. Today, I'll stick to the offensive side of the ball.

DeSean Jackson: Better than originally expected as a wide-out. Two games into the preseason and rookie DeSean Jackson has made 12 catches in limited action over the course of the first two preseason games. Clearly, this is a departure from the conventional wisdom that had Jackson contributing mostly as a special teamer and possibly as a wide receiver during his rookie year. You don't want to put too much into preseason performances, but Jackson doesn't look the least bit intimidated or overmatched against NFL defenses so far and will only see more action in the preseason with injuries to Reggie Brown and Jason Avant. It would be ideal for Jackson to enter the season as the 3rd or 4th wideout and return punts, even if it's in "slash" role, where they lineup him up in all sort of alignments to get his speed on the field. If he rises higher than 3rd on the depth chart, the only downside to that scenario is that you probably don't want him returning kicks at that point and you have to find another kick returner not named Reno Mahe.

Kevin Kolb is better, but still not there. Kolb's numbers, through 2 preseason games where he took a good number of snaps, aren't bad, but they aren't great either. Kolb has a 54.2% completion percentage, which you would like to see a bit higher if you expect Kolb to take this team over next year. I realize that the last game was played in an electrical storm, but in the last two preseason games, I'd like Kolb to throw for a much higher completion percentage and engender a little confidence that he could be "the guy" in the event McNabb goes down again.

Winston Justice. Any Good? Last year's game against the Giants seems to be defining Winston Justice as a player. Justice came out of USC a highly touted offensive lineman, but seems to be going backwards as a player. Now, they are trying him at right tackle instead of his more familiar left tackle position. It would be a shame to see a pick that high go to waste.

Lorenzo Booker: Need More Information Booker is the second guy the Eagles have brought in and has been compared, either in the press or among the fanbase, to Brian Westbrook (Ryan Moats also comes to mind). Westbrook should start taking offense to these comparisons. Booker should see all of the snaps in the final preseason game and we will see if his performance rises to Booker's own professed enthusiasm to playing in Andy Reid's offense.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Phils, Rollins Come Home To Take Medicine

Maybe Jimmy Rollins should give Mike Schmidt a call to see if he still has that wig Schmitty wore when he ripped the fans way back when.

After a lousy 2 - 5 road trip, the Phils are coming home from California a bedraggled group of underacheivers. That is no exaggeration; they scored only 6 runs over the weekend over the course of 3 games and they are hitting .202 for the month of August so far. And don't forget; all of the pre-season pundits predicted that hitting would be the part of the game that would not leave the Phils this season.

Further compounding issues is their wayward MVP shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, whose ill-timed and inaccurate pronouncements that Philadelphia fans are "front runners" will only exacerbate the emotions of a fanbase who know passionless athletic displays when they see it. This Phillies team has been the model of inconsistency this year and their MVP and leadoff man has been the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to coming up short this season. That Rollins called out the fans is a classic case of denial. If there is one player who needs a healthy dose of introspection, it's Rollins. Relative to last year, he is having a disappointing season replete with high profile benchings for being late and for not hustling. If there is one player who should be keeping his mind on his business on the field instead of what goes on in the stands, it's JRoll.

The fascinating thing to me is that I can think of no other entertainment medium where the performer actually calls out the fans that paid to be in attendence. No where else would this be acceptable; the closest I can think of is the heckler in the comedy club, who gets publicly put down by the comic. Can you imagine movie goers disliking a movie and the star of the movie coming out in the press and ripping the movie going public? That's career suicide, right?

Apparently, it's OK to criticize Philadelphia fans. We've all seen the hack, "they threw snowballs at Santa" articles. Rich Hoffman, a veteran sportswriter who should damned well know better, wrote an article that somehow, Rollins a "victim" who should be allowed to have "his say" when it comes to the fans. A "victim"? Really? Let's review Rollins salary:

2001 Philadelphia Phillies $200,000
2002 Philadelphia Phillies $355,000
2003 Philadelphia Phillies $450,000
2004 Philadelphia Phillies $2,425,000
2005 Philadelphia Phillies $3,850,000
2006 Philadelphia Phillies $5,000,000
2007 Philadelphia Phillies $8,000,000
2008 Philadelphia Phillies $8,000,000

Anytime anyone wants to "victimize" me in this fashion, please give me a call. I'm available, trust me.

Also, Hoffman asserts, Rollins should have his "say". Good. No problem. He has every opportunity in the world to mouth off to the press, like he did on "Best Damned Sports Show". He has the opportunity to speak to the press everynight. But guess what? Because he's having a miserable year, he hasn't been talking much, so says Mike Radano of the Courier-Post.

Rollins has been different this year -- from the third game of the season, when he bailed on a postgame interview session to the countless times when his only postgame comment was "peace and out."

Ok, so he doesn't feel like talking and he's having a bad year, but this is somehow the fault of the fans? Not one fan has struck out this year and not one fan has hit into a rally killing doubleplay or failed to hustle out a ball. But Rollins has. The second you accept money to play a child's game, being criticized and booed is part of the deal. If you don't want to be booed, feel free to give up the paycheck and play slow pitch softball.

But until that day, feel free to shut up and play.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Phils Swept; Out of First Place

The Phillies were ignominiously swept out of Chavez Ravine by the Dodgers last night by a score of 3 - 1. The loss, coupled with another Mets win, puts the Phils 1 game behind the Mets for 1st place in NL East.

The story of the game was the inability of the Phillies to solve Dodger starter Hiroki Kuroda, who pitched 7 innings of 2 hit ball. The Phils' lone run came from the bat of Ryan Howard, whose sacrifice fly scored Jayson Werth, who had doubled to lead off the 7th inning. This game was just another in a long string of games where the Phils played lifeless offensive baseball. They continue to occupy the basement in the NL in in team BA (.206) and hits (86) in the month of August.

The lone bright spot came from perhaps the Phillies' biggest pain in the ass. Brett Myers pitched 7 effective innings, giving up 3 earned runs on 5 hits and striking out 8. Myers has now gone 7 innings in 3 of his last 4 starts and appears to be gaining confidence down the stretch, in direct contrast to some of the Phillies' offensive "stars".

The Phillies' battan death march out west continues tonite in San Diego, where they have a ballpark that fly balls go to die. A Geritol matchup is on tap with Jamie Moyer going up against Greg Maddux.
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dodgers Walk Off on Phils. Again.

For the second night in a row, the Phils jumped out to a lead on the Dodgers. And for the second night in a row, they couldn't hold the lead and lost on a hit in the bottom of the 9th. The Phils dropped their 3rd straight to the Dodgers by a score of 7 - 6 on a Nomar Garciaparra walk-off homer. The loss dropped the Phils back into a tie with the Mets in NL East.

Like with Tuesday night, the lineup featured some new twists, with Jayson Werth batting second and Greg Dobbs starting at 3rd. Both of these moves paid off as both players hit a 2-run home run to help the Phils get out to a 6 - 1 lead after 2 innings. Ryan Howard supplied the other 2-run dinger.

From that point, the Dodgers chipped away at the Phils with homers from Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier. Neither pitch was a pitch where you figured the opposing player would crush the ball, but on the other hand, it seems the Phils can't generate offense unless the opposing pitcher gives up a cookie, so perhaps we're not used to seeing that type of hitting.

From there, Jeff Kent hit a 2-run double off of the oft-used Chad Durbin to tie the score at 6, setting the stage for Garciaparra's heroics.

The series concludes tonite with Brett Myers going against Hiroki Kuroda at 10:10pm.


- Phils could have salted this game away for good in the 6th. Burrell struck out with the bases loaded against Chan Ho Park, a pitcher I could have hit a couple of years ago.

- Greg Dobbs' error in the 7th....guh! The ball went 5 hole on him. When will Pedro Feliz be back again?

- Nomar Garciaparra? Are you kidding me? I thought he died or something.

- Chase Utley was hit twice. Looking forward to a key Dodger eating one tomorrow night against Brett Myers.

- The homeplate umpire was terribly inconsistent last night for both sides, I thought.

- Good catch by Werth in the 8th with 2 on and no one out. Even though Kent came on to eventually tie the game, that catch was big at the time.

- Can we agree that Chad Durbin has been overused? I can see the duct tape on his arm from my couch.

- Once again, no Brad Lidge last night. Thanks Clint Hurdle!

Phils Bow to Dodgers

The LA Dodgers scored 3 unanswered runs to come from behind and beat the Phillies last night by a score of 4 - 3. This loss, coupled with wins by the Mets and the Marlins, cuts the Phils' lead in NL East to a game and a 1.5 games, respectively.

The Phils jumped out to a 1 - 0 lead in the first inning, thanks to a home run from Chase Utley. Cole Hamels gave that run back in the bottom of the 1st, but the Phils battled back to go up 3 - 1 after 3 innings on the strength of a Cole Hamels RBI single and a Pat Burrell sacrifice fly.

The Dodgers, however, chipped away at the lead, scoring in the 6th off of Hamels, in the 8th off of Chad Durbin, and finally, in the 9th off of JC Romero. It is unclear to me why Romero was in the game, as Lidge is supposedly OK to pitch after taking last weekend off. Regardless, Romero gave up the game winning hit to Andre Ethier, scoring Russell Martin.

The Phils will try to bounce back tonite, with Joe Blanton going up against Brad Penny at 10:10 pm.


- Yet another tough luck outing for Hamels: 7 IP, 2 ER, 7 K's and a ND.

- Shane Victorino was pulled from the game because of back issues.

- Anyone notice Manny Ramirez glaring at Chad Durbin after Durbin hit him with a pitch? What has Ramirez done that everyone thinks he's so tough? I'd love to see him actually charge the mound once and have some pitcher give him the Robin Ventura treatment.

- The lineup was a bit different last night, with Shane Victorino leading off and Jimmy Rollins batting 3rd. I'd even consider batting Utley at leadoff and Rollins second until they can, somehow, get Rollins (1 for 4 last night) going.

- Speaking of Utley, he made a tremendous diving grab of a Russell Martin line drive to save further damage in an inning where the Dodgers had already scored and were threatening for more.

- Because of elbow and arm problems, Tom Gordon is likely done for the year and probably, his Phillies career.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sixers Sign Iggy

ESPN is reporting that the Sixers have signed SG/SF Andre Iguodala to a 6 year, $80 million dollar contract extension. This move, along with the resigning of Lou Williams back in last Monday, brings back two of the younger, more exciting components of last year's emerging Sixers team.

Couple these moves with the signing of Elton Brand and Sixers fans have plenty of reason for optimism this fall.

For all of Iguodala's problems in the playoffs, I have always like Iguodala as a player, but did not want to see him get a contract that would cripple the Sixers in the immediate future.

This contract, while probably slightly more than I would place his worth, is probably the right thing for the organization to do. If the Sixers hadn't resigned him, it is uncertain as to how the Sixers would have replaced a player who has generally gotten better in his first 4 years in the league and plays hard defensively every night. Best case scenario is that Iguodala becomes a full-time shooting guard (with Thad Young moving to SF) and improves his jump shot to the point where he is outperforming this deal 3 years from now. Worst case scenario, he's the same player he is today and at his number, he still wouldn't be as grossly overpaid as Samuel Dalembert.

With the core components of both the Pistons and the Celtics getting another year older and the Cavs refusing to get LeBron James any meaningful help, the relative youth and athleticism of the Sixers makes them an intriguing team to watch in a relatively weak Eastern Conference.

Dodgers Bash Phils

The Dodgers used a 6-run 3rd inning off of starter Kyle Kendrick to propel them to an 8 - 6 victory over the Phils. The Phils lost no ground in NL East, however, as both the Mets and Marlins lost.

Kyle Kendrick got pounded in the 3rd inning of this game like the AV kid during study hall. When he wasn't walking people or hitting batters (like he did with Jeff Kent), he was giving up gappers to Manny Ramirez and long home runs to Casey Blake. Charlie Manual let Kendrick start the 4th, but Kendrick allowed 3 of the first 4 batters he faced to reach base, upon which time, Manual had no choice but to go get Kendrick. The bullpen, led by Les Walrond and Clay Condrey, did do a nice job of keeping the Dodgers in check the rest of the game.

The Phils did manage to make some noise offensively in the late innings. Jimmy Rollins (2 for 5) hit an RBI triple in the 7th inning and Chase Utley (3 for 5) hit a 2-run single in the 9th inning to close out the scoring for the Phils.

First baseman Ryan Howard reached the 100 RBI plateau on the strength of two groundout RBIs. It marked the 3rd consecutive season he eclipsed the 100 RBI plateau and he is now tied with Houston's Carlos Lee for the NL lead.

The Phils will try to bounce back tonite at 10:10pm with Cole Hamels facing Clayton Kershaw.


- Hey, what do you know? A "Manny being Manny" moment. When the Dodgers came out for the 9th inning, Manny Ramirez was not in his customary LF spot. Whether he was taking a dump or enjoying a post-game adult beverage is unknown, but apparently Manny thought that Dodger manager Joe Torre pulled Ramirez from the game after he ran the bases in the 8th inning. So, when the inning started, the Dodgers had only 8 guys on the field. Fortunately for the Dodgers, they found Ramirez (was that toilet paper on his spikes?) and he did eventually assume his position in the field, smiling sheepishly.

- I hate these West Coast games. Hate them.
(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Monday, August 11, 2008

From the Weekend

The Phils

- The Phillies managed to remain in 1st place after the weekend, taking 2 of 3 from the Pittsburgh Pirates. This series was, of course, on the heels of dropping 2 of 3 at home to the Florida Marlins. Sandwiched in with all of this was the embarassment of getting shut out at home for 2 straight games (Thursday 8/7 vs. Florida and Friday 8/8 vs. Pittsburgh).

Since May, I believe watching the Phillies offense has been added in the latest editions of the KUBARK manuals. Since the Phils, as a team, hit .273 in May, they've hit .232 in June, .270 in July, and so far in August, they are hitting an NL low of .211. They are as consistent as a ferret addicted to meth. That they are in first place speaks as much of how lousy the NL East is as much as it does about the Phillies.

The Eagles

- Tough to pull out any one thing you can take from the Eagles' 16 - 10 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers from last Friday. Donovan McNabb looked confident in the pocket and DeSean Jackson caught 5 passes. The first team defense, however, got pushed around a little bit. That said, these teams are slated to play each other in the regular season during Week 3, so it wasn't as if either team was going to show much in the way of scheme.

- Shawn Andrews has finally reported to camp. Also, Asante Samuel is reportedly back to practice after tweaking his hamstring 2 weeks ago.

The Shore

- Nice weekend down the shore until the drive home yesterday. Coming home down the Atlantic City Expressway, I encountered marble-sized hail as I was driving through Hammonton. I cut through Hammonton, because the Expressway began backing up due to the inclement weather and the large volume of cars slowing down. The rain and sleet had been coming down so forcefully, there were downed branches from some of the trees lining Route 54.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Juan Samuel Night

No recap of last night's game, although mention of last night's game will be part of a longer, angrier post sometime today.

Down at Citizens Bank Ballpark tonite, the Phils will be honoring one of the most dynamic Phillies of all time, former 2nd baseman Juan Samuel.

"Sammy" came up to the major leagues during the Phils' stretch drive in 1983. Their second baseman at the time was future HOFer Joe Morgan, but you just knew watching the dynamic Samuel run the bases and swing the bat, that Morgan's services would not be required in 1984.

Juan Samuel was the 2nd baseman and leadoff batter starting the 1984 season and he did not disappoint. He hit .272 with 15 homers and 69 RBI, which were pretty good numbers for a middle infielder in 1984. While not a huge OBP guy, Samuel did manage 191 hits in his rookie year, but it was what he did when he did get on base is what made Samuel a special player. He stole 72 bases that year, a Phillies team record that still stands today. Additionally, he hit 19 triples, which was a Phillies team record until Jimmy Rollins hit 20 last year in his MVP season.

Samuel's rookie year was good enough to earn second in the Rookie of the Year voting behind some guy named Dwight "Doc" Gooden.

In addition to Samuel's acumen on the diamond, he was one of the few players to actually look like he was having a good time out on the field. This was in direct contrast to some of the Phillies players from that era such as Mike Schmidt and Von Hayes, whose icy personas gave the impression that they were going in for root canal rather than playing a game for money.

Perhaps Samuel's best statistical season was 1987, where Samuel hit .272 with 28 homers and 100 RBI. His OBP that year was his highest as a Phil at .335 as he hit out of the 2 and 3 hole for some of that season in addition to a healthy number of starts where he led off. He didn't run as much as he did his rookie year, with only 35 steals, but it wasn't because of a lack of speed. Sammy still managed 15 triples that year. Like his rookie year, he represented the Phils at the All-Star game and even managed to finish 13th in the MVP voting.

Samuel's tenure in Philadelphia would end just 2 years later, when he was involved in one of the most infamous trades in Philadelphia sports history only for the reason that the Phillies actually came out on the right side of the trade. Samuel, by this point an outfielder because his fielding was never all that great, was traded to the Mets for Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell. McDowell was a pretty good reliever for parts of 2 seasons with the Phils and Dykstra was the backbone of the 1993 Phils.

As for Samuel, he was never the same player with the Mets that he was with the Phils. He did not stay in New York long and bounced around the league until finally retiring in 1998 in Toronto.

But the Samuel that should be commemorated on the Phils' "Wall of Fame" is the young second baseman who ran his way into the Phils' record books and looked like he had a good time doing it.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kendrick, Howard Hooks Fish

Ryan Howard went 2 for 5 with a solo home run and Kyle Kendrick pitched 6 shutout innings as the Phillies beat the Marlins last night by a score of 5 - 0. The win put the Phils 2 1/2 games ahead of the 2nd place Marlins in NL East.

Kendrick, despite not giving up a run, really didn't have great control last night in uncharacteristically walking 5 batters. Usually when Kendrick gives up baserunners, it's on basehits, as Kendrick is a groundball pitcher who pitches to contact. Some might say he was "effectively wild" last night. Others might say he pulled this game directly from his ass, as he allowed baserunners in 5 of the 6 innings he pitched. He was also aided by fantastic plays in the field by Eric Bruntlett in the fifth inning (playing a pretty good third base in Pedro Feliz's absence) and Jimmy Rollins in the 4th.

The offense was fairly evenly distributed last night, which was a good sign. Ryan Howard's opposite field bomb game the Phils a 4-run lead in the third inning. Eric Bruntlett had 2 hits and his 9th stolen base, in addition to his fine glove work. In addition to Bruntlett and Howard, Utley, rookie Mike Cervenak, and pitcher Kyle Kendrick all knocked in runs.

The series concludes today at CBP in a Business Person's special with Cole Hamels facing Chris Volstad at 1:05pm. Today will mark the first game I will have attended all year.


- 31 year old Mike Cervenak got his first major league basehit last night, in driving in Eric Bruntlett in the 6th inning.

- Chad Durbin got an AB last night and almost smoked a double down the right field line. Mike Jacobs had to make a great defensive play to keep the bullpen stalwart off of the basepaths.

Picture: (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Phils Fall To Fish

On a night where Jamie Moyer struggled with his control and the humidity, the Phils sure could have used some of their offensive prowess to bail out their 45 year old starter.

Didn't happen.

The Phils lost to Florida last night by a score of 8 - 2. Moyer struggled to go 5 innings last night and gave up only 2 earned runs. Moyer battled himself and his control all evening, walking 3 and hitting 2 batters (side note: as slow as Moyers pitches, it couldn't have hurt much). The bullpen, especially JA Happ, did not fare much better. Happ gave up the final 4 runs over the final 2 innings of the game as the Marlins smelled blood and appropriately salted the game away.

The only Phils offense came on a 2-run Shane Victorino homerun that was actually a foul ball. Third base umpire Dale Scott flat out blew the call, but the break did get the Phils within 2 runs at the time. They were unable to capitalize on the gift however.

The indication that this game was just not going to go the Phils was not going to go the Phils' way was the 3 double play balls the Phils managed to ground into everytime they seemingly tried to get anything going with men on base. All 3 double plays were hard hit grounders or liners hit right to a fielder, who happened to be in the right position for a variety of reasons (luck or good positioning).

The series continues tonite with Kyle Kendrick facing Anibal Sanchez at 7:05 at CBP.


- Ryan Howard is the worst fielding first baseman in baseball. Period. In the fourth inning, he misplayed a Hanley Ramirez cueshot, allowing the dangerous Ramirez to reach base when he shouldn't have (who went on to score). Subsequently, had a Mike Jacobs ball go right through his legs for 13th error on the year. I'm going to go out on a limb, without looking it up, and guess he's leading all first basemen in errors this year.

- Another ridiculous bunt play last night. This time, it was Florida. With pitcher Josh Johnson on 2nd after stroking a double, the Fish had Hanley Ramirez, with no outs, attempt to bunt Johnson to third. If Hanley Ramirez is your MVP candidate, you should have him swinging away in that circumstance. Instead he laid down a bunt that was fielded and the Phillies got Johnson going to 3rd. Brutal play by Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Photo: (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Phils July 2008 By The Numbers

One of the nicest things you can say about the month of July for the Phillies is least wasn't June.

You might remember that in June of this year, the Phils got their guts stomped out by the American League and it cast a negative pall on the Phils season.

July saw the Phils climb out of that June funk somewhat, but they still do not look like that confident team that worked like a buzzsaw through the NL East. They did manage 11 wins in the month against NL East opponents, but 8 of those wins were against also-rans Atlanta and Washington. For the month of July, the Phils were 3 - 10 against Florida and the hated Mets. That is significant, because they are the two teams that are chasing the first place Phils as of this writing.

So, with that, onto the numbers for July.....


The number of wins for the Phils in the month of July 2008. As previously mentioned, the Phils racked up 11 wins against the NL East; most of those against the weaker sisters of the division. They dropped 5 of their 7 games against the Mets, but I wonder if that doesn't have more to do with how well the Mets are playing and not so much about how the Phils are playing.

The Mets probably played among the best baseball in the Majors in the month of June. The Mets managed to lead all of the Majors in team BA in the month of July, hitting .304 (a full 37 points higher than their season average) and amassed 18 wins during July.

So, while the 15 wins is definitely an improvement over June, there is definitely room for the Phils to pick up the pace. And once they do, you have to figure that the Mets won't be playing at the .692 clip they played to in the month of July.


The July 2008 batting average for Shane Victorino.

Victorino was arguably the Phils' best player in the month of July, hitting 7 homeruns and accounting for 20 RBI. He also had a hefty (for him) 1.000 OPS for the month.


The July 2008 batting average for Chris Coste.

Pick up the pace, old man. Between you and Carlos Ruiz (.224 in July), the catcher's spot in the lineup is quickly becoming a black hole.


Wins in the month of July for Jamie Moyer. The ageless wonder did it again in July, pitching at least 6 innings in every July start. He won starts against the Cardinals, Marlins, and Nationals and had an ERA of 2.76 for the month. You shudder to think where the Phils would be without their pitching Yoda.


The July 2008 ERA of Adam Eaton. This ERA was good enough to get Eaton sent down to the minors, where he will probably be relegated for the forseeable future. Eaton will go down as Pat Gillick's worst move during his tenure as Phillies GM and it would be a mercy move to release Eaton in the offseason.

Incidentally, when Eaton was sent to the minors, he went to Class A Lakewood, where he got raked in his only appearance to date, giving up 4 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. You have to believe he's thrown his last pitches at the major league level for the Phillies.


The number of players the Phillies sent to the All-Star game in July of 2008. It was not a memorable showing for the Phils' representatives Brad Lidge and Chase Utley. Lidge took the loss for the NL and Utley, upon being booed during intros before the HR derby, dropped an "F" bomb on national television.


While it did feel like the Phillies pulled themselves out of whatever doldrums they were wallowing in during the month of June, the offensive components of this ballclub still do not feel like they are firing on all cylinders. That the Phils considered trading for Manny Ramirez at the trade deadline should tell you that the front office has significant questions about the Phillies' ability produce consistent offense.

Maybe it's the heightened expectations from last year and maybe we're expecting too much out of a flawed ballclub. Regardless, the Phillies seem far too caught up in trying to set themselves up for the 3-run homerun, rather than getting themselves on base and putting pressure on the opposing pitchers by extending pitch counts, etc. Honestly, some of this begins with the NL MVP. Rollins' OBP is about where his career OBP sits, but his BA (.263 for the year) is 13 points below his career average and 33 points behind last year's totals. His power numbers are way down, with his slugging percentage down around his 2005 totals (.431 slugging percentage with 12 homers in 2005). Rollins has been the engine that has made the Phillies' offense go in the past two years, and he has just not played to expectations so far this year.

Going forward through the month of August, the Phillies should concentrate on finding some consistency in their offense and try to battle through two really tough 4-games series on the road against the newly rejuvenated LA Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. That consistency more than likely begins and ends with getting Rollins back on track.

Andrews Battling Depression

According to the Daily News' Les Bowen, it appears that Shawn Andrews is battling clinical depression and should be in camp shortly. That is good news, both that Andrews got the help he needed and for the Eagles to get their All-Pro guard in camp.

Some thoughts this story:

1.) If you haven't heard the rumors that Andrews is gay, you probably don't go on a lot of blogs. Les Bowen referenced the internet rumor mill, without getting into specifics, but it is obvious he was referring to rumors of Andrews' sexual preference being one of the reasons for the absence.
This sort of rumor mongering likely feeds into why mainstream media outlets constantly demonize blogs and blog commenters. It's a very different beast, speculating on someone's personal problems than it is, say, speculating on why Brett Myers threw a 2 - 0 fastball in a particular situation. Hopefully, that difference is clear.

2.) I mentioned this elsewhere yesterday, but I'll mention it again: does this mean that "clinical depression" will now show up in NFL injury reports?

The Eagles should do Andrews the favor of levying a nominal fine against Andrews and donating that money to charities related to mental illnesses. That will tie up the loose ends between Andrews and the team, but the big question going forward the league needs to ask itself is do they recognize clinical depression as being a very real, treatable illness that can affect how you perform on the field? There is research (too lazy to reference, but I will find it when I get a chance) to suggest that depression in some athletes is a result of frequent, untreated concussions.

I'm not suggesting Andrews is suffering from post-concussive syndrome (it could be), but it's not out of the norm for football to get concussed and come back far too soon, likely resulting in other problems (see the story of Teddy Johnson for details on that).

Later today: Phillies July 2008 "by the number"

Monday, August 04, 2008

Philadelphia Fandom According to Buzz

Say what you want about Buzz Bissinger, but the guy is just a tremendous writer.

Case in point: the op-ed piece he did on Saturday for the New York Times the futility that is being a Philadelphia fan is about as well-written of a piece on the subject you'll ever read. (link copped from

Not only was it an honest treatment of Philadelphia sports fans (we don't always behave well, let's be honest), but he managed to describe the mania we feel in such a way to elicit affirmative nodding throughout the whole piece from AND he got a tremendous shot in on New York fans (bold emphasis mine):

Contrary to the tired rap Philadelphia sports fans get as being seriously deranged maniacs, the vast majority of them are smart and discerning. They do have an inviolate demand of players that they go at after it hard, which fewer and fewer do, which is why their frequent booing is utterly appropriate.When it comes to knowledge, they make New York fans look like one big, collective Borat. Mets fans have cross-eyed looks of imminent criminality; Yankee fans are the most arrogant in the solar system; Giant fans are backstabbers; Jets fans are, well, Jets fans; and anybody who cares about the Knicks and Rangers needs immediate intervention.

Another plus? Not one tired "throwing snow balls at Santa" reference.

Thanks Buzz. Now, please go to work on figuring out how to write the expose' on the sham that is Phillies ownership such that they feel compelled to sell and have Pat Croce can come back and finally take over that franchise.

Nice Weekend for Phils; The Shawn Andrews Mystery

- Nice weekend for the Phils, taking 2 of 3 from St. Louis, including last night's come from behind 5 - 4 win. Shane Victorino is playing real good baseball right now and it looks like our boy Chase Utley is getting his timing back. Joe Blanton pitching 7 innings of 1 run ball was a good sign as well.

- Great article in the Inquirer yesterday from Bob Ford about Shawn Andrews. He's a big hearted, sensitive kid, but that can work against you at times if you're an NFL lineman.

This is one of the few times I'm happy with Andy Reid's strategy of stockpiling linemen through the draft, because it sounds like Max Jean-Gilles is more than holding his own in Andrews' spot while Andrews sorts out just whatever his problem happens to be.

Had a chance to listen to Mark Eckel of the Trenton Times on 610 WIP yesterday in the car, and Eckel, who is as hard boiled as they get when it comes to NFL beat reporters, has no idea what is going on and actually has indicated he believes Andrews' agent when he says this is not related to Andrews' contract. This is, indeed, one of the stranger chapters in Eagle history and surely would be a bigger story, if not, for the Brian Westbrook and Lito Sheppard contract situations.

- Speaking of Shawn Andrews, I wonder if Andrews had anything to do with the water main break that occurred at Lehigh over the weekend, cancelling practice for the Eagles?

- Programming note: Finishing up a book review and a "by the numbers" Phils review for July.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Phils Complete Sweep of Nats

The Phils went down to DC and did what a team that is allegedly a contender is supposed to do. They kicked the snot out of a weaker sister for 3 games.

Behind the pitching of Kyle Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins' 3 RBI, the Phillies beat the Nationals last night by a score of 8 - 4. The win put the Phillies a full game ahead of the idle Mets in the NL East.

Kendrick pitched a pretty ballgame to earn his 9th win, going 6 2/3 innings and giving up on 2 earned runs. The Phils' bullpen, with a couple of exciting moments from Rudy Seanez, got the Phils the final outs they needed to complete win.

Offensively, the Phils hung 3 runs on John Lannan in the 2nd inning on a Jayson Werth solo home run, a Jimmy Rollins ground out, and a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error. The offense further produced on the strength of a 2-run home run from Jimmy Rollins in the 4th inning and in the 6th inning where the Phils strung together 5 hits to score 3 more runs.

Now that this series is over, the Phils travel for 3 games in St. Louis. Probable starters:

Fri: Cole Hamels vs. Kyle Lohse; 8:15pm
Sat: Joe Blanton vs. Braden Looper; 7:15pm
Sun: Brett Myers vs. Todd Wellemeyer; 8:05pm


- Great hustle by Jimmy Rollins in the 6th inning, scoring from 2nd base on Shane Victorino's infield single and Rafael Belliard's throwing error.

- Rudy Seanez has given up 8 hits in his last 6 appearances. He has given up earned runs in 2 straight appearances. Weak.

- Victorino getting caught stealing 3rd base with 2 outs in the 4th inning with Pat Burrell at the plate defies all logic. He's got to sit down a game for that one. It erased the good will built up on the picture perfect bunt he laid down to get on base to begin with.