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Archive for September, 2005

Jimmy Rollins Keeps Rollin’

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, September 29, 2005 10:37 AM Comments: 0

So JRoll extended his hitting streak to 33 games last night…big freakin’ deal.  It’s really hard to get excited about it anymore as the Phils playoff hope are hanging by the thinnest of threads.  Nonetheless, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has chimed in on the story.  It’s odd how the theme, supported by Ed Wade, is how Jimmy has stepped up his game when the Phils need him the most – during the stretch run.  But is that point even valid if the Phillies don’t make the playoffs?  I think what’s more telling, and what has been reiterated by people all season, is his uncomfortableness as a leadoff hitter.  Here’s a little nugget in the article which should be a story in and of itself:

But Rollins has always had a reputation as stubborn and hesitant to embrace the little things typically expected of a top-of-the-order man. He has never been able to incorporate the bunt into his repertoire, and he’s averaging a paltry 3.37 pitches per plate appearance. Even Houston’s Willy Taveras and the Mets’ Reyes, classic free swingers in the No. 1 hole, take more pitches than that.

A pure leadoff hitter would have helped the team all year.  Taking pitches, especially during the first at bat of the game, helps to not only wear down a pitcher, but it gives the rest of the hitters in the lineup a sense of what they’re dealing with.  Check out the Phillies DVD “High Hopes” about the ’93 team and David Hollins’ comments on the Dude’s leadoff ability.  That’s the kind of effort that helps the team throughout all 162 games, not just the final 33.

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Simply Devastating

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, September 28, 2005 08:10 AM Comments: 0

Words cannot describe the utter despair we all must feel today.  Only that queasiness felt in the pit of our stomachs can adequately describe the current situation the Phillies have put us in.  But then, maybe, we find comfort in the familiarity of that feeling.  Like a beleaguring mother-in-law who visits just once a year, we remember that this is not new.  The folly that is the Philadelphia Phillies breeds it.  Even Ed Wade feels it to an extent: “I’ve been around long enough to understand the frustration level. I’ve obviously been here longer than some of our guys. [The fans] want it as much as the guys in the clubhouse want it.”  Well, not quite Ed.  The fans have been around much longer than you or any of the guys in the clubhouse.  We want it more.  For some of us, we’ve lived with this frustration all our lives.  Other have witnessed blips of success, but they are the exception, not the rule.


So after a roller coaster season we all knew that in the end, the ride must decend before we can off.  So here we are, back on the platform of reality.  Some people, amazingly some players, are able to see the past two games in context.  Billy Wagner said the team has ”overachieved” this season and that “the character of this team is just phenomenal.”  Well for the second day in a row, I hate Billy Wagner and his stupid comments.  The character of this team may be phenomenal, but it is a phenomenal failure.  They are paid to be successful ballplayers, not guys you’d want to date your sister.  I’d rather have a team of Ty Cobbs than a team of David Bells any day.


And besides what magnitude of character allows you fail precisely when individual success is most needed.  “We had our chances,” recited Charlie Manuel, for about the 74th time this season. “We just didn’t come through.”  For that, everyone deserves the Jeltzie again today and never before have I wanted so much to stick my head in that bag.  But if you disagree and still hold out hope for the Wild Card, then talk to Billy Wagner who was keen to point out, “Stranger things have happened than the Astros going on a losing streak.”  Go Phils! 

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Someone Please Tell Me What Happened Last Night

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, September 27, 2005 09:32 AM Comments: 0

So I’m reading the recaps from last night’s game and nothing makes sense.  I feel like my whole world is shattering before my eyes and hoping that there’s some sort of grave misprint by all the sports media outlets of the world.  So far, this is what I can surmise:


JRoll and Burrell hit homers early, Myers pitches seven strong
~THEN~
Utley commits 2 errors in the same inning, Uggie gives up 4 runs, and Burrell shits the bed with the game on the line???  Am i reading this right?!?  And then I read this about Wagner:

Manuel said he didn’t second-guess himself for pulling Myers and didn’t use Wagner because he had tightness in his left shoulder. At least that’s what the manager says.

“Everybody’s got soreness. Don’t make no [stuff] up,” said an angry Wagner, who said he was able to pitch and stormed off.

What’s with this guy?  Why is he always being such a baby? Has he no tact; he’s always mouthing off or whining about something.  Maybe if you didn’t blow two games to Houston your jock wouldn’t be in such a bundle.  Oh yea, and nice work on setting down that ultimatum for a new contract.  Now that September has come and gone and still no contract, your shallow threat looks kinda lame.  I suggest you stop getting advice from T.O. and start closing both your mouth and your games.


I know this was only one game, but one game with a week to play means the world.  Like Uncle Charlie said after last night’s devastating loss, “We’re not out of it, but we need to win. We definitely can’t lose any more games.”  The good news is the Mets have shut down Pedro for the year and the Phils will face 7-11 Victor Zambrano tonight.


Finally, speaking of starting pitching and not to look ahead to next year already, but the Marlins just stated that A.J. Burnett will not be in teal pinstripes next season.  It appears he was frustrated with Jack McKeon’s managerial style.  You know what that means: he’s looking for the rocking chair atmosphere that only Charlie Manuel can provide.

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Maybe Hurricane Rita Can Blow Houston Off Course

Posted by Brian Michael, Sun, September 25, 2005 02:44 PM Comments: 0

I was going to wait until after Sunday’s game to write this post, but Chase Utley just hit an inside-the-park home run and I felt compelled to start early.  I’m sitting here in an internet cafe in the heart of London, people all around me are giving menacing glares wondering what I’m watching on my screen and why I just jumped out of my chair.  Sorry mates, no football of either kind on this Sunday, it’s the Phils of course. 


I see the Phils are back to two games back in the Wild Card.  That sucks, especially with Andy Pettitte on the mound for the ‘stros.  We have field reporter Laura at Wrigley today who will file a scouting report on the Astros and recap that game upon its completion.  As for me, more additions to this post will continue as the Phils game progresses, so my apologies if the flow is inconsistent.


Looking at the schedules, Houston has 2 games in St. Louis and 4 at home against Chicago, while the Phils face the Mets at home and Nationals on the road to close out the season.  That should bode well for the Phils, but we’ll see, they have dropped 9 of 15 to the Mets this season.  Just make sure you all make the trip down to DC this weekend to end the season in style.


Question:  What’s wrong with Bobby Abreu?  Has the season just grinded on him and he’s sore as October approaches or is something really wrong?  His numbers are certainly down in the second half of the season, especially those of power, including home runs.  He just hobbled to first after 3 consecutive groundouts.  I’m a tad worried.


HUGE double play for the Phils in the 7th.  Lidle looked to be in trouble with men on the corners but was bailed out by a double play ball, despite a run scoring.  It’s big because Madson probably isn’t available as he’s bouncing around a padded room somewhere in the bullpen.  Harry just mentioned that due to the importance of the game, Uncle Charlie said he would consider using Uggie in the 7th and have Wagner pitch the 8th and 9th if needed.  I think that’s a bad idea, Wagner is really only guaranteed for one inning and with the power in Cincinnati’s lineup and only a 3 run lead, the consequences could be devastating….Fortunately, Lidle just recorded his fourth strikeout to end the inning.


So the Phils won and are now 1.5 back as the Astros finish up their rain delayed game.  Man, I hope Houston starts losing, but if they don’t, well, what do you expect?  That’s what you get for letting them sweep you at home. 


If you’re around on Tuesday, go to the game and watch JRoll try to tie the Phillies consecutive game hit streak.  Currently the record stands at 31 and is held by Phillies legend of last century Ed Delahanty.  If you haven’t yet read our profile of him, check the archives.  Jimmy Rollins just said in the post game interview that he’s never heard of Delahanty, after the season, we’ll have to give him a lesson.


Finally, check out this decent article about Charlie Manuel from his hometown Roanoke Times.  Much of it is in trite ”Manuel is more relaxed than Bowa” vein, but the more personal stuff is towards the bottom.  I’ll leave you with a snippet:


Manuel was born in a car en route to the hospital while his mother was in West Virginia to visit her mother.

As they say here in the Mother Country: Brilliant!

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Smooth

Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, September 24, 2005 07:10 PM Comments: 0

I am off to dinner and a night out in center city right now so I will miss the game.  Just wanted to update all that Pat Burrell has decided to shave his head to rally himself and his team!  I wonder how the ladies in Olde City and especially at the Irish Pub will like the new look?  Go Phils! 

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trivia 6

Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, September 24, 2005 12:26 PM Comments: 0

What Phillie shares the record for consecutive pinch-hit home runs?

Bonus: How many?

Answer Posted

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WOW

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, September 23, 2005 11:54 PM Comments: 0

Wow!  What else can I say but wow?  I mean that may have been the most excited I have gotten while watching a baseball game since 1993.  What a roller coaster ride.  I mean from Padilla crumbling to Madson continuing to struggle to (and who would have ever thought I would type this) Geary not being available because of a death in his family.  It looked like the Phillies were up to their old tricks when they gave up a 6-1 lead and went down 10-6.  Keep in mind if they won they were assured of pulling to within 1 game of the wild card lead with Roger Clemens already scratched for his start tomorrow for the Astros.


Just when all looked lost, what do you know, but the ninth inning rolled around.  On this current road trip the Phillies have now scored (including tonights game) 26 runs in their last at bat.  This has yielded them a 5-2 record so far on the 9 game road trip. 


Well as we all know Jimmy Rollins and Kenny Lofton set the table in the ninth tonight and Chase Utley drove them in with a monstrous home run.  Then after a questionable K of Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell striking out on a 3-2 count on a ball way out of the strike zone, The Reds decided to pitch around Ryan Howard (pretty big respect for a rookie).  Then stepped up David Bell.  A day after he saved the game against the Braves with a great play in the field.


(By the way I apologize for not posting yesterday after a great Braves game, but if I may, let me comment for a second on that game.  What was Bobby Cox thinking letting Tim Hudson hit in the bottom of the 8th with one out and a man on third base.  I contend that after that move, and Cox “resting” John Smoltz on Wed. night, I think he WANTS the Philles to win the wild card.  You see if the Phils win the WC the Braves get to play a Padres team that will win the West with a record of barely .500 at best.  If the Astros win the WC thats who the Braves get in round one with the Clemens and Oswalts and Pettites of the world.  Not that I am complaining, but just something to think about.)


Tonight instead of the glove, David Bell used his bat to win the game.  After working a 3-2 count he hit a two run home run to give the Phillies an 11-10 lead that Billy Wagner would not give up in the bottom of the ninth. 


Harry went nuts on TV and Scott Graham and Larry Anderson were like kids on the radio (especially LA).  So my question is this, if the Phils win tomorrow against their old teammate (and disappointment in Red land) Eric Milton do you watch the Phils on Sunday at 1, the Eagles, or switch back and forth.  What a great scene in the dugout tonight and what fun this is….go P-H-I-L-L-I-E-S! 

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Dizzy Dean

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, September 21, 2005 03:15 PM Comments: 0

Did anyone else notice last night that home plate umpire Joe Brinkman had to be checked by the Braves training staff around the third inning because he was feeling light headed? 


Well, Joe decided he was fine and stayed in the game, but after that point his calls were questionable at best.  I am not blaming him for the Phils loss, but there were more than a few balls that he called strikes that killed Phillie rallies. 


We need our players to step up and be clutch, but the umps need to cooperate as well if we are to earn this wild card berth. 

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Good Luck

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, September 20, 2005 11:26 AM Comments: 0

I just wanted to take a moment to send my well wishes to the founder of Phillies Nation, Brian, for his year abroad to obtain his Masters degree.  Brian has so accurately articulted our feelings as Phillies fans over the past two seasons with statistical research and and heart (along with some knee jerk reaction, which is bred into all Philadelphia sports fans, isn’t it?).  I wish him luck in his endevors over the next year and pledge to keep up the high standard he has set for this website in his absence. 


Oh yeah and let’s not forget…good luck to the Phils as well!  One game out in the Wild Card race with 12 games remaining.  Win two out of three in the remaining four series and the Phils will finish with a record of 88-74, and according to Uncle Charlie 87-88 wins ought to win this wild card race.  Let’s all enjoy this ride and hope for a trip to the post season!  The bandwagon still has room left, lets all jump on and see where it takes us!      

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Jim, back away from the ball, you have to hear this.

Posted by Brian Michael, Sun, September 18, 2005 11:36 AM Comments: 0

That’s what I said to Jim yesterday on the golf course when I found out what was going on in the ninth inning of yesterday’s Phillies game.  Throughout the day we were checking updates on my phone, it was 1-0 for a while, then I checked in the 8th, 2-0, damn! Two holes later I checked again to the tune of “There’s no way the Phillies can come back in the ninth.”  And sure enough, I had to interrupt Jim in his approach to pass on the good news.  I guess that’s what happens when you leave Dontrelle in too long, maybe down the stretch those complete games don’t come as easily as they do in April.  But the best part of the game was how the Phils secured the victory against that scumbag, Todd Jones.


Several people on 610 immediately annointed this as the collapse game for the Marlins and the propulsion to the Wild Card game for the Phillies.  They noted though, that the Phillies apparently lost one of these back-breaker games two weeks ago versus Houston.  Yesterday’s game was different for the obvious reason that it is two weeks later in the season with only two left to play.  Of course the Marlins are still in it, a win by them today and they are only 1.5 games out.  But even better would be to erase the ghosts of the 2003 season by sweeping the Marlins, winning the Wild Card, then winning the World Series.  Yea, I said it – World Series!


So then the Inquirer gets on the Phillies-Marlins role reversal bandwagon in Jim Salsibury’s article today.  Sure the Phillies are on a little roll right now, but I don’t think just because Jack McKeon makes a minor comparison between the teams that they are doppelgängers.  These are two completely different teams, the Phils are built on offense and the Marlins on pitching.  But it’s not a big deal at the moment, since any analysis of this year’s team is premature until the final day of the season.  This could be a great Phillies team or just another one tossed in the garbage at the end of the year.  Many things can still happen and just cause the Phillies are hot and beating the Marlins, doesn’t mean Houston is relinquishing its half game lead on the Wild Card.  All the Phils can do right now is worry about themselves and win every game they play.  Yea, I said it, I’m talking about a 16 game winning streak to close out the season.  I want this year’s squad to finally put the 1964 team to rest.  Go Phils!

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