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Archive for September, 2006

Down but not Out

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, September 29, 2006 09:03 AM Comments: 1

After another marathon game last night – this one thanks to a four and a half hour rain delay – the Fightin Phils find themselves standing on the brink of elimnation.  They are down two games to the Dodgers, who crushed the Rockies yesterday, and have just three games remaining in Miami.  I was selfishly hoping last night’s game would be rained out so that there would be a makeup game on Monday when the weather’s supposed to be nice here in DC, but you know MLB and the Phillies wanted to play.  As the minutes approached midnight, I recalled the 1993 doubleheader against the Padres in which the second game began at 1:05 am.  If my memory (aided by regular viewings of Whatever It Takes, Dude) serves me correct, MLB instituted a rule after that doubleheder that no game could begin after midnight.  For this reason, I figured the game would be postponed.  But I was wrong.  The game was squeezed in, and the Phillies lost 3-1.  Immediately after our boys hopped a plane to South Florida, where they are now mostly likely fast asleep and dreaming about a Dodgers collapse.

The club is not out of it, that must be kept in mind.  Los Angeles has a tough series against their neighbors to the north and there’s nothing more the Giants would like to do than to knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs.  That is a real rivalry, built upon years of tradition spanning two coasts.  It is nothing like the naive Marlins-Phillies rivalry no matter how much the immature Scott Olsen wishes it to be.  As I’m sure you’ve read, Olsen told the Palm Beach Post on Wednesday, "I want to ruin the Phillies’ season."  Olsen was tossed from Sunday’s game in Philly for hitting Abraham Nunez with a pitch after getting rocked for seven runs off three homers in the third inning.  I’m not sure what his grudge is against the Phillies, per se, it was the umpire that threw him out of the game and it was his lousy pitching that coughed up homers to Rollins, Utley and Coste.  Still, I can understand a little self-motivation in professional sports, but making them public only puts a giant bulls-eye on your back.  Plus the Phillies are a wounded animal right now, it would be unwise to tease them.

For what it’s worth, the Phillies are keeping us intrigued through at least 160 out of 162 games – a lot can be said for that.  Of course, a lot more can be said for not winning a World Series with a payroll around $90 million.  The Phillies have shown a lot of heart the past few weeks.  I can see it in Burrell’s grimaces everytime he strikesout with the bases loaded.  (Have you noticed he’s been striking out swinging a bit more in recent weeks?  I guess we can call that an improvement.)  But seriously, they are still in it, and crazier things have happened.  Going into the weekend here’s what the prospects look like:

Phillies        v.     Marlins                                                      Dodgers      v.      Giants
Jamie Moyer v. Brian Moehler                                            Hong-Chih Kuo v. Noah Lowery
Randy Wolf v. Scott Olsen                                                   Greg Maddux v. Matt Cain
Brett Myers v. Dontrelle Willis                                             Derek Lowe v. Jason Schmidt

I have no desire to attempt to predict these games, they will all be hard fought, all I can do it hope for the best and say, Go Phils!

REMINDER:  Tonight McFadden’s will host a Phillies Nation Phillies-watching party complete with drink specials and a bunch of fun Phillies fans.  Be there!

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Funeral Procession or Resurrection Party At The Ballpark Tonight

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, September 29, 2006 08:03 AM Comments: 0

After last night’s loss the Phils fall 2 games behind the Dodgers after they won their game againsn’t Colorado by a touchdown and a 2-point converstion. With only 3 games to play the Phillies need to sweep the Marlins in Miami and pray for a miraculous Padres or Dodgers collapse. Yes, you may be sad about the Phillies coming up small in a series they needed to take. But, I have the solution for you!

Drown your sorrows with us at McFadden’s At The Ballpark tonight from 7 to 10 PM.

Tonight, September 29th at McFadden’s at The Ballpark we are asking all fans, young and old, to come out and help cheer on your team while they are battling it out in Miami against the Marlins.

There are two things you can count on at this event:

  1. There will be more patrons in McFadden’s during the game than in actual attendance live at Dolphin Stadium.
  2. 2 Dollars, yes $2.00, You Call Its  from 7PM to 10PM with ½ price appetizer to boot.

So what, it’s actually three things. It’s even more of a reason to get yourself in a barstool or chair in South Philly Friday night on the 29th.

If you have any questions, inquiries, comments or concerns about this event you can either contact:

Phillies Nation via our Contact Us Page or at MySpace

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Phillies and Fans Fight Through Fourteen

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, September 28, 2006 08:02 AM Comments: 0

I would like to say that the Phillies game on Wednesday was a microcosom of entire season, but that would assume that the Phils make the playoffs.  Although they have a decent shot, nothing’s guaranteed, that’s for sure.  What I can say about the game, though, is that it was a true showcase of heart of Phillies fans. Going into the night, the game was already slated as nationally televised because of the playoff implications; yet, the country received much more than a great and long game. They finally saw past all the trite ‘booing Santa Claus’ and ‘cheering spinal cord injuries’ references and experienced Philly fans at their finest.

I don’t know what was said on TV about the crowd that slowly but surely formed down the third baseline because I was too busy losing my voice among them. What I do recall is several phone calls to myself and fellow fans saying that we were on ESPN and CSN, and I know NBC10 was there filming there as well.  I just hope television did justice to the passion exuded.  I would like to say that I started the frenzy – but I didn’t.  After attending Tuesday’s game and seeing the numerous but disperse Phillies fans in the audience, I thought about the visiting fans in European soccer matches.  When visiting opposing stadiums, they are all huddled by police escort into a fenced off area as to prevent riots.  This also helps to merge and amplify the cheers of the fans.  This is precisely what happened last night when 200 Phillies fans came together and overpowered not only the Nationals fans but the public address announcer as well.  Still though, the volume was not what was most impressive.

Philly fans, known for their booing, showed the nation that we’d much rather cheer. After dozens of “Let’s Go Phillies” chants between innings and after surrendering hits demonstrated that when push comes to shove, the fans are behind the team. The most notable example came in the 14th inning after Jeff Conine was unable to come up with a diving catch in right field. Normally, one would expect a rain of boos for extending an already late game, not to mention the fact that he was 0-8 at the plate; but not tonight. We cheered him as aloud as we did JRoll when he hit the game-winning triple. There was a sense of confidence in the air tonight – the same kind that I mentioned when the Phils were down 4-0 in Moyer’s last start.

The best part about this feeling is that you can be sure the players feed off it.  After Chris Coste’s double to lead off the 14th, the section erupted, he looked over and pointed to us.  Then after we got a little too rambunctious with a “Thank You, Jimmy” chant during the middle of the 14th, JRoll himself turned our way and kindly asked us to pump it down. When we retorted with a “3 More Outs” cheer, we brought out the classic JRoll grin.  You were dead if you couldn’t feel the connection of mutual appreciation after that.

Sure the game was a typical roller coaster ride that only the Phillies can provide.  There were four errors, two blown saves, and plenty of missed opportunities.  I’ll be honest, on more than one occasion, I thought the Phils were going blow the game and hence the season.  Of course though, I and my fellow Phillies fans didn’t give up.  We stayed ‘til the end and only got louder as the game went longer.  And as I write this, with Baseball Tonight on in the background, I just heard Karl Ravich sum up the night perfectly: “That is Philly pride, that is Philly pride.”

There’s only one thing that I can add to that statement, Go Phils!

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Phils Flounder, Look To Rebound in D.C.

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, September 26, 2006 02:58 PM Comments: 0

I’ve been fighting migraines for over the last four days.  My study session into early monday morning didn’t help things either. Monday night I hoped to take relief in the form of a Phillies win since Tylonel wasn’t getting the job done. Unfortunately , the Phillies didn’t either.

The fallout after the game featured the often heard gripes about this team : men left on base, the lack of both the bullpen and non-clutch performances from the usual suspects. Throughout the entire season these three themes seem to be reoccurring complaints from fans and for good reason.

Last night, the Astros gave the Phillies every chance to take control of the game. All of the Phillies runs came  with two outs in the inning. Their lack of starting the bats early when lead off guys numbers where called made the two out rally their only real chance to capitalize in the game.

In the 4th, the team overcame two quick outs to load the bags up for Lieby. The result? A pop fly 10 feet behind the home plate. The following inning with the Phils now trailing 1-0,  again with two outs and the bases full, Ryan Howard connected on a hard hit  2-run single to give the Phillies their first lead in the game. With Howard now standing on first and Chase Utley at third , Jeff Conine walked on 5 pitches to load ‘em up again this time for Pat Burrell.

The fans erupted and got behind Burrell as he walked up to the dish. To date, I think it was the loudest ovation he has received since the charity applauses by fans during his Mario Mendoza season when he batted .209 in ’03. Once again it was another classic Burrell moment. He popped up to shallow center where boos rained down on to the field before the ball was even caught by Willie Taverez to retire the inning.

Another downfall in the game came in the 7th when the Astros throw up a 3 spot that proved to be the game winner. Credit must be given to the Astros hitters for their poise and patience at the plate. Home plate umpire Marvin Hudson wasn’t calling the corners at all for either teams and Houston let anything and everything they thought was outside just sail on by. Matt Smith , who painted the corners with sliders during most of his 3 batter appearance, was simply not getting the calls he may normally get with another person calling balls and strikes.

This isn’t an excuse by any means. The umpire didn’t lose the game for the Phillies. Men left on base and the Phillies only registering one base runner (a Burrell walk) after JRoll’s home run in the 6th inning proved to be fatal.

Tonight, the Phils are in Washington to start the most important six game road stretch in recent Phillies history. The Ace , Brett Myers, takes the hill for the Phillies who is 4-0  in his last six stars (4-2 team record). They are opposed by Ramon Ortiz who was jacked up by the Phillies in his last two starts against him on August 19th and 30th. Combined he is 0-2 in those starts, surrendering 11 earned runs on 10 hits.

Conventional wisdom and trend would suggest that the Phillies are victorious tonight. But, I am a true believer that history is the beacon of the past which guides our future. I hope after last night the Phils recieved a gut check with that loss. They better come out tonight , take care of buisness and rewrite history to show that the 2006 Phillies aren’t the same choke artists in September as the teams in the past were.

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Then I Saw Her Face

Posted by Brian Michael, Sun, September 24, 2006 09:18 PM Comments: 0

I am a believer – and I’m not the only one.  Today’s game helped to convince me and my 44,772 friends that the Phillies can and will make the playoffs.  Usually when the Phils go down four runs after the top of the first inning, you might find people heading for the exits, but not today.  Today, everyone, including the Phillies themselves, knew a determined comeback would be mounted.  The confidence was expressed through deafening cheers from the moment Jimmy Rollins led off the Phillies half of the first inning.  Even thought the home team was turned away it seemed like everyone knew the Phils would eventually get the runs back.  And did they ever!  The team picked themselves up received contributions from all the players and exploded for seven runs in the third inning.  First JRoll hit a two-run homer (his 24th of the season), then Chase Utley followed with one of his own, and Chris Coste capped off the inning with a three-run shot.  "I could have done cartwheels around the bases I was so happy," Coste said.  "That’s definitely the biggest home run I’ve had here, no question."  The inning so riled the Marlins young starter, Scott Olsen, that he hit Abraham Nunez with the next pitch which promptly earned him a trip to the showers by home plate umpire Mark Wegner.  Chase Utley hit another one and Pat Burrell smashed his 27th homer each on opposite sides of a 1:45 rain delay.

This Marlins series has been real good to Chase Utley.  Chase batted just .246 with one home run and 11 RBIs (among other season lows) in August, and it seemed his slump would threaten his September numbers as well.  His season average dipped below .300 before going 10-for-14 this weekend with three homers which helped to raise him back up to .309.  Utley has seven multihomer games this season with three of them coming this month.  I had serious concerns last week that Chase’s underproduction coupled with a slowing of Howard’s homerun pace (2 homeruns in the past 15 days, though 17 walks) would significantly reduce the Phillies chances to win the wild card.  Yet, now while the going is getting tough, Chase is getting clutch.  But Chase isn’t the only one.  Over this weekend I have noticed a great deal of confidence being exuded by Jimmy Rollins, Jeff Conine and even Abraham Nunez.  Last season the Phils swept the final series of the year against the Nationals to give themselves a chance to catch Houston, but by then it was too late.  Now the Phils are playing with resolve and a sense of urgency that has catapulted them into the Wild Card lead, albeit by just a half of a game.  I think it’s very possible the Phils win their remaining seven games and with that send our beloved franchise to their first playoff berth in (a lucky) 13 years.

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Phillies Fodder for the Day

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, September 22, 2006 11:00 AM Comments: 0

Even though the Phillies had off last night, there’s a lot of news coming out of the organization.  Rather than summarize it all in a superficial narrative, I have presented it below in an easy-to-read bullet point style.  Feel free to comment on any or all topics.

  • Both the Dodgers and Padres won last night, which means the Phillies now trail LA by a half a game in the Wild Card standings.  The Phillies will get back to whole numbers after their makeup game against the Astros on Monday.  Roger Clemens’ start has been moved to Sunday so that his final appearance can come in Houston.  Too bad, as the Phils are 2-0 when he starts against them.
  • The Phillies have also shuffled their starting rotation to provide better matchups in the DC and Florida road trip.  Keep an eye on the probables box to the left for updates.
  • In a minor league affiliate carousel, the New York Yankees will be acquiring the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons, the New York Mets have the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Washington Nationals will link up with the Columbus Clippers and the Phillies, of course, will move the Ottawa Lynx franchise to Allentown in 2008.
  • Harry Kalas intends to re-sign with the Phillies.  A two-year deal with a mutual option for a third in 2009 will keep the Hall of Fame broadcaster in the booth in Philadelphia.  Scott Franzke is also expected to return to Phillies radio.
  • Joe Girardi has zero chance of returning to the helm of the Marlins next season.  Keep a close eye on him this week; the Phils might be in the market for a new manager if they fail to make the playoffs.
  • A tentative 2007 Phillies schedule has been released.  Unlike the past two years, they’ll finish the season with a home stand.  In interleague play, the White Sox, Tigers, and Blue Jays come to town, while the Red Sox and Orioles are not on the schedule.
  • Check out the new Phillies Nation trivia question on the Games page, it’s below the crossword puzzle.
  • After giving your best guess, roll on over the Events page for a new Phillies Nation party next Friday.
  • Earlier in the year, we had a poll which asked how many home runs will Ryan Howard hit in 2006?  16% responded that the total would be in the twenties, 49% in the thirties, 23% in the forties, and only 6% thought he would hit more than 50 homers.  Never has being so wrong been so much fun to watch.
  • Tonight Cole Hamels, the Phillies’ potential playoff ace, takes to the hill tonight opposite the Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco who is 0-2 in his last five starts.  Rob and I will be in attendance - Section 120, Row 25, Seats 14-15 – so stop by and say hello if you’re going as well.
  • Go Phils!
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11 Games . 10 Days . 3 Teams . 1 Dream

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, September 21, 2006 11:17 AM Comments: 0

With a Dodgers loss tonight the Phillies can take over sole possession of the Nation League Wildcard lead by a whole game in the National League standings. Last night, the Phillies were victorious against the Cubs to win their home series 2-1. The team piggy backed Brett Myers six hit, twelve strikeout complete game outing  to the tune of a 6-2 finish. Offensively, the Phils were led by Pat Burrell…

… yes, Pat Burrell. Pat The "Sometimes" Bat went 1-2 with a single, two walks, a bomb to the Phillies bullpen while collecting two RBIs total on the night. We have been waiting for Pat to finally come up big in any spot of the ball game when his number is called. Last night, Burrell must have left his dancing shoes at home because there were no sightings of "The Burrell Shuffle" at all at home plate or even the "Grimace Face."

As I said earlier in the month , the Phillies would love to receive any charity if an NL West and/or Central team would man up and take a commanding lead in their respective divisions. Thank you Cincinnati Reds for falling out of the race for not only the wildcard but also the division. With 10 games to play they are seven games back in their division while being only five back in the wildcard. Though they have a mathematical chance at winning it’s safe to say that realistically they can start putting their tee times in at Scottsdale, Arizona.

Although my wisdom proved relevant in the Central the Wild West just reminds me of the 2000 Presidential Election, too close to call. As of September 7th, three teams in the West all had realistic shots at winning the West. Two weeks later here on September 21st, the case hasn’t changes for the Giants,  Padres or Dodgers. Each have had mediocre September’s going 9-8,  9-7 and 8-11 respectively.  Over that span the San Fran hasn’t gained any ground on either the Pads or Dodgers, though there is good news for the Giants. If they play a good 7 days of baseball going 5-2 or even 6-1 they’ll end the season at home against the Dodgers for their final series of the season. That series may have Division or even Wildcard implications going into those games to see if NorCal will be represented in the playoffs.

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3rd Basemen Interview

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, September 19, 2006 01:22 PM Comments: 0

The Phils lost a tough one last night 11-6.  Jon Lieber, who was 11-1 in September coming into the night, was rocked for five runs in two and a third innings.  To their credit, the Phils mounted a valiant comeback in the fourth inning, complete with a grand slam by pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez; but that was the only inning they could muster any productive offensive and the Cubs lead was too great.  Much of the damage came at the hands of Aramis Ramirez who went 4-5 with seven RBIs and two home runs.  Whether he realized it or not, he likely made quite an impression on a team in need of a third baseman with hitting capabilities.

Ramirez has three years remaining on his current contract, but has a clause which would allow him to void the remainder this year and test the free agent market.  This should be very intriguing to Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro, Jr and I suggest they not let Ramirez leave town with a quick conversation with him or his agent Paul Kinzer.  The Phils are in desperate need of both a right-handed hitter with pop and an everyday third baseman – Ramirez is both.  On the season he is batting .293/.354/.558 with 35 HR and 110 RBI and just 59 strikeouts.  These numbers sound a bit like what we all hoped Pat Burrell would produce this season.  Defensively, his .943 career fielding percentage is lower than Nunez’s mark of .965 but Ramirez’s numbers at the plate would more than make up for adequate fielding.

With the money saved on the departures of Bell and Abreu, and the either the release or significant reduction of salaries of Lieberthal, and Wolf, picking up Ramirez would certainly be viable next season.  Ramirez is scheduled to make $11 million in 2007, $11.5 million in 2008, and has a $11 million mutual option for 2009 (which could be guaranteed with 270 games played in 2007-2008).  The Phillies would obviously at least have to match this deal to lure Aramis away from Chicago; however, with the Cubs in last place and their best pitchers perennially injured, there may be an incentive there for him to play for a playoff contender (yes, the Phillies have officially been designated such status).  Of course, this is all just speculation on my part.  Ramirez simply represents a piece the Phillies need.  There would be no doubt much competition for the slugging third baseman, but the Phils front office would irresponsible if they didn’t at least consider such a possibility.

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Phillies Look West

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, September 18, 2006 02:25 PM Comments: 0

The Phillies atoned for two seasons without a win in Houston by sweeping the Astros yesterday.  The offensive was provided by long ball smashes from Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and two from Mike Lieberthal.  Randy Wolf rebounded from last week’s two inning affair and improved his record to 4-0.  The Phillies, as you may have heard, are now trailing the Dodgers in the wild card race by a single game after LA lost to San Diego.  Padres GM Kevin Towers said, "We just wanted to pass the Dodgers and let them watch the Phillies."  The Padres and Dodgers meet again tonight while the Phils are hosting the lowly but not-to-be-taken-lightly Chicago Cubs, who are now without Derrek Lee.  With the Giants and Marlins slowly fading in the Wild Card standings, it appears to be a three team race for the final two playoff spots in the NL.  Jerry Crasnick sums up the race for one of those spots, the NL West crown, with a funny old joke: "I don’t have to be fast enough to outrun the bear in the woods. I just have to be fast enough to outrun my friend."

A few days ago, we tried to evaluate which NL West team it would be better to chase.  My initial conclusion found that since the Dodgers had better pitchers it would be better to fight the Padres.  However, it seems that while the Dodgers have better pitchers, San Diego has better pitching overall.  The Padres lead the National League with a 3.90 ERA, and they’re second to the Florida Marlins among NL clubs with 81 quality starts.  The Dodgers are fourth in the ERA standings, while the Phils are 13th at 4.66.  Looking ahead, below are the three interested parties along with their, Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds, remaining schedule and their record against the opponent in parentheses.

Padres: 80% - 3 vs. AZ (5-7), 3 vs. PIT (2-1), 3 @ StL (2-1), 4 @ AZ
Dodgers: 72% – 3 vs. PIT (2-2), 3 vs. AZ (8-7), 3 @ COL (12-4), 3 @ SF (10-6)
Phillies: 39% – 3 vs. CHI (3-1), 3 vs. FLA(8-5), 1 vs. HOU (4-1), 3 @ WAS (8-8), 3 @ FLA

It appears the Padres have the toughest road to October.  Not only do they have to face St. Louis, who although maybe resting players are dominant at home, but they have seven games against division rival Arizona whom they have been less than stellar against.  Pittsburgh might try to play the role of spoiler as they did over the weekend against the Mets but it’s likely neither they nor Colorado will put up much resistance against two teams fighting for a playoff spot.  If the race is still close going into the final series, the Dodgers will surely have their hands full with the Giants who would love nothing more than to ruin the Dodgers hope.  Yet, I must say, the more I look at the above schedule, the more I like the Phillies chances.  Mike Lieberthal agrees, "We have a good chance to win, and I think we will win."

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Is Pat the Bat Pat the Back?

Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, September 16, 2006 09:20 AM Comments: 0

Going into last night’s series opener against the Houston, the Phillies had a Texas-sized monkey on their back after not winning there since May 2003.  Fortunately, it appears the Phils will be leaving that monkey in Houston as they took last night’s game 4-3.  All the offensive was provided by a Pat Burrell grand slam in the first.  All the dramatics, however, took place in the bottom of the ninth which shaped up to be an all too familiar scene for Philly when facing the ‘Stros.  After errors by Ryan Howard and a particularly bone-head one by Jeff Conine loaded the bases with the score 4-3, Tom Gordon thankfully induced a 4-6-3 double play to notch his 30th save of the season.  With Greg Maddux flirting with a no-hitter against the Padres, the Phils whittled their WIld Card deficit back down to one and a half games.  Yet, the real reason for this Saturday morning post is Pat Burrell.

Pat finally did the two things everyone has been asking him to do lately.  First, he made a team pay for walking Ryan Howard.  After Chase Utley walked, Roger Clemens intentionally walked Howard then issued David Dellucci a pass.  This brought Pat to bat with two outs and the bases loaded in the first. After taking the count full, Burrell unleashed a bomb to left-center to give the Phils a four run lead.  The second feat accomplished by Burrell is that the 3-2 pitch he saw was on the inside corner at the knees – a pitch he usual avoids like the plague.  Upon immediate contact, it appeared Burrell hit it off the skinny part of the bat and it would likely be a fly out; yet with the roof closed and the power Pat has neglected, the ball soared out for a grand salami.  If you recall, Pat recorded a backwards K in same exact situation last week in Philly – same pitch as well.

It was also notable that Burrell was still batting in the six hole last night.  He got the start against the righty Clemens over Jeff Conine.  Conine, who hit Clemens well last week, has recently taken over the fifth spot in the lineup, so there was a chance with him out, Pat would reclaim his spot.  Charlie Manuel instead chose to bat Dellucci after Howard.  Perhaps, Pat took notice; but I would hope the real reason for his heroics last night was that Manuel and Milt finally took him aside on helped him correct his timidness at the plate. 

Now before we herald the second (or is it third?) coming of Pat Burrell, it must be noted that the Rocket was not fully in command of his stuff.  Pat’s slam was the Phillies’ only hit of the inning and after Clemens loaded the bases on walks he put himself in a deep hole when the count to Burrell went full. He also walked Brett Myers twice.  At one point Scott Graham even went so far as comparing Clemens to Gavin Floyd and Scott Matheison.  Ouch!  The difference is that Clemens stayed in the game, got out of jams, gave his team a chance to come back and finished five innings.

There were a few other news stories to come out of last night’s game.  Mike Lieberthal started behind the plate for the first time in 11 games and batted seventh in the Philles new-old look lineup.  Brett Myers who pitched well overall had some issues with one of the nails on his pitching hand during the game.  He could be seen giving administering a self-manicure between innings.  Ryan Howard hit a single, but his two strikeouts are cause for further concern on whether his is officially slumping.  Not yet, I say – only if he leaves Houston without a home run or 3-4 game.  And finally, congratulations to the Lakewood Blue Claws who captured the South Atlantic Championship.  Go Phils!

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