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Archive for June, 2008

My National League All-Star Team

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, June 30, 2008 11:03 PM Comments: 31

I’d like to know what you all think about a potential National League All-Star team. I’ll provide mine, taking at least one player on each team and counting on the current fan voting leaders to take the starting spots:

Starters

  • C – Geovany Soto, CHC
  • 1B – Lance Berkman, HOU
  • 2B – Chase Utley, PHI
  • 3B – Chipper Jones, ATL
  • SS – Hanley Ramirez, FLA
  • OF – Alfonso Soriano, CHC
  • OF – Ken Griffey Jr, CIN
  • OF – Kosuke Fukudome, CHC

The only arguments, really, are in the outfield, where all three shouldn’t be starting.

Reserves

  • C – Brian McCann, ATL
  • C – Russell Martin, LAD

Really hard to go against having three catchers; they’re all having great years. Apologies to Bengie Molina, but San Francisco is only getting one all-star.

  • 1B – Albert Pujols, STL
  • 1B – Adrian Gonzalez, SD

Despite an injury, Pujols is having another standout year. Gonzalez has been the guy for San Diego — its only rep.

  • 2B – Dan Uggla, FLA

Uggla is having a huge year for Florida and is the only other second sacker worthy of the game.

  • 3B – David Wright, NYM

It’s hard not to take Wright, who is having another good year statistically. Apologies to Aramis Ramirez, Garrett Atkins and Jorge Cantu.

  • SS – Jose Reyes, NYM

Reyes is playing well yet again for the Mets. And though Miguel Tejada is neck-and-neck with Ramirez, he shouldn’t get in the game with his numbers (10 HR, 43 RBI, .772 OPS).

  • OF – Xavier Nady, PIT
  • OF – Ryan Ludwick, STL
  • OF – Ryan Braun, MIL
  • OF – Carlos Lee, HOU
  • OF – Matt Holliday, COL

Nady, Braun and Holliday are your real starters to this point. Ludwick has cooled lately but has earned his spot. Lee was the last guy on the team for me (sorry Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, Nate McLouth, a few others).

Pitchers

  • SP – Edinson Volquez, CIN
  • SP – Brandon Webb, ARI
  • SP – Ben Sheets, MIL
  • SP – Jair Jurrjens, ATL
  • SP – Tim Lincecum, SF
  • SP – Dan Haren, ARI
  • SP – Ryan Dempster, CHC
  • SP – Cole Hamels, PHI
  • SP – Johan Santana, NYM

Most of these are no-brainers, but the final three were the tough ones. I skipped Adam Wainwright and Tim Hudson for Hamels and Santana, just flat better pitchers (duh). Dempster gets in because teammate Carlos Zambrano is hurt (and really, Dempster has pitched a little better). Lincecum or Volquez starts the game; either way it’s awesome.

  • RP – Brad Lidge, PHI
  • RP – Jon Rauch, WAS
  • RP – Kerry Wood, CHC

Lidge is the best closer in the National League so far. Rauch is your lone National. Wood has been sparkling in his new role and deserves the accolades. Sorry Matt Capps and Brandon Lyon.

By team, the Cubs have the most (deservedly) with five. The Phils, Mets and Braves have three each (East Coast bias?). One-man teams are the Nationals, Pirates, Rockies, Giants, Padres and Dodgers. For shoots and giggles, I’ll say Lee won the final-man fan vote, with runners-up being Burrell, McLouth, Tejada and Hudson. My designated hitter to start the game is Braun, though I can see Gonzalez taking that spot.

As for Phillies — Burrell was among my last cuts and Hamels was among my last in. I didn’t consider Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino or anyone from the bullpen. Or Carlos Ruiz. Ha.

Who do you got?

  • 31 Comments
 

Rumors: Scouting Bedard; Donald For Cabrera?

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, June 30, 2008 11:07 AM Comments: 74

A few rumors on this Case of the Mondays:

  • Through Ken Mandel and other places, it seems the Phillies scouted Erik Bedard last week when he faced Atlanta. A deal would probably include Shane Victorino and Carlos Carrasco (or James Happ) for the lefty.

I wrote earlier that I would try to steer from trading Victorino, but for Bedard, who would be a Phillie through 2010? That’s a little more debatable. An absolute win-now move, of course.

Barry Federovitch of the Trenton Times writes what I basically wrote before — that trading Vic would be damaging to the offense.

  • Mike Finney of the News Journal (Wilmington, Del.) writes about how the O’s need to continue rebuilding, and suggests trading for a young shortstop — the Reading Phils’ Jason Donald.

He recommends Donald for Daniel Cabrera. Then writes, for some weird reason:

“Nah, the Phillies probably are still a little upset about that I-95 World Series in 1983 or something.”

Yeah, Mike, we’re all bitter about that ’83 series. Boy, I really hate that Mike Flanagan. Anyway, it’s not a bad deal straight up, although I said it’s best not to touch Cabrera.

  • 74 Comments
 

Rangers Flush Phils; Sickness Starting To Settle

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, June 30, 2008 09:10 AM Comments: 16

Panic button?

We all would like to hit it after this latest loss, a 5-1 drop against the Rangers. Lifeless is the right word for this — the Phillies look dead. They couldn’t hit Eric Hurley, only getting five total. Meanwhile Jamie Moyer pitched OK, going 5.2 innings and giving up three runs on seven hits. He walked four but struck out six; still, he got the loss and is now 7-6.

This one just never looked good. The usual things happened. No hitting with runners on; no getting on base in a first at bat. Everytime the Phils go 1-2-3 in the first inning (they’ve done that a lot during this slide), I groan. It starts with Jimmy Rollins, whose average is now at .264. He brings nothing to the table anymore. He hit a double in the game, but we knew he wouldn’t score.

Ryan Howard collected the only RBI, a single that scored Chase Utley. A couple guys went hitless: Shane Victorino (Who was caught stealing; the first Phillie caught in weeks.); Greg Dobbs (Where was Geoff Jenkins today?); Pedro Feliz; Carlos Ruiz. You know, usual things.

Ryan Madson was not very effective in 2.1 innings of mop-up work, surrendering two runs on three hits.

This team needs a shakeup. A big one. And now. They’re trudging into the final 10 games of the first-half like zombies. Atlanta, the Mets and Saint Louis await the feast. There’s an absolute possibility the half could end with the Phils two or three games out of first place, leaving all of us to go ballistic. Something needs to be done and pronto.

Associated Press photo

  • 16 Comments
 

Gamenight: Phillies (44-38) At Rangers (41-41)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, June 29, 2008 04:17 PM Comments: 49

The first really well-constructed Phils win in some time put the Phils two games up on the East. Now the Phils will try to win a series for the first time since they were in Atlanta. Jamie Moyer — who seems to find ways to win big games — will be on the mound in a favorable matchup, as the Rangers counter with the barely tested Eric Hurley.

I originally wrote that Geoff Jenkins should have a big game, but he couldn’t unless it’s off the bench. He’s sitting for Jayson Werth tonight while Greg Dobbs is DH. Last night Chase Utley had a big game, netting three hits (all extra-basers) while knocking his 23rd homer of the season.

After this one the Interleague schedule will close (thankfully). This season the Phillies are 4-10 against the American League. Yowza. Then it’s onto Atlanta to start a giganormous 10-game stretch to close the first half unofficial.

Phillies: Jamie Moyer (7-5) 4.09 ERA
Rangers: Eric Hurley (0-1) 4.24 ERA

Gametime: 6:05 p.m. EST
Weather: 87, partly cloudy
Lineup: Rollins/Victorino/Utley/Burrell/Howard/Dobbs/Feliz/Werth/Ruiz

MLB TV
MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: Yesterday I gave you my favorite beer, now I’ll give you my fallback option, my tried and true go-to when there’s nothing new or great to be had. It’s Blue Moon. Really, it’s the perfect fallback beer: A good but not great style beer made by a microbrew. It’s popular, but not too popular to be everywhere. Yet a lot of bars carry it. Eat a nice salad with it. That’s how you do it.

Go Phillies!

  • 49 Comments
 

The Phillies Nation Midterm Grades

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, June 29, 2008 12:04 PM Comments: 20

We’re halfway finished the 2008 season. At the half mark the Phils were 43-38 (they’ve since won one), definitely not a great record. The good news is the Phils are in first place, and have spent 33 days in that position, with a largest lead of four games. So we have to be happy with the result but not at all satisfied, considering recent play.

Here’s the bottom line, at the top: The Phillies are good enough to make the playoffs, but there are visible holes, and those holes will not let the Phils win a pennant, let alone the World Series.

Still, looking at the first half as a whole it’s been better than worse. Not much better, but there’s reason to be optimistic. Here’s a report card so far, and my thoughts on what the Phils need to do in the second half to succeed:

Pitching

Cole Hamels: A-
The ace of the Phils staff is having another strong season, matching up with other aces and going deep into games. He has had a couple shaky outings, but nothing to scream about.

Brett Myers: F
An absolute turnaround. His velocity is down, he has lost faith in his fastball placement and his composure is seemingly out the window. Whether the Phils put him back in the bullpen, trade him, DL him or demote him, there’s no good solution.

Jamie Moyer: B
With Moyer everything is face value. He’s always good for five innings, maybe six, sometimes seven and very rarely more than that. He’s dominated young teams and has had trouble with experienced teams. He gets fantastic run support, but a 4.09 ERA is nothing to sneeze at.

Kyle Kendrick: C+
It’s been an up and down season for Kendrick, but it looks as if he’s pushing forward. Some teams have figured him out, but he’s starting to use that changeup successfully. Basically some downsides, then some buts …

Adam Eaton: C-
Definitely better than last season, Eaton still hasn’t lived up to the $24M hype. While he hasn’t received run support, his 4.86 ERA means he can go six innings, but give up 3-4 runs each time out. Not great, but for a fifth starter it ain’t terrible.

STARTING ROTATION: We’re charmed to have five guys who haven’t missed a start, but they’re not the best collective five out there: one ace, a couple No. 4s and an incredible failure who was supposed to be a No. 2. They usually do enough to lead to wins, but it’s painfully obvious they need another shutdown starter if they want to contend for the brass ring.

Clay Condrey: C
As a long man he’s not bad, but that’s really all he is. There have been moments where I’ve been impressed by his fastball and breaking pitch; still, you can’t think of plugging Clay into the late innings.

Rudy Seanez: B
It’s been nice to have middle relief that can get outs, so Seanez has been a nice chip to have in the cabinet. He’s not much more than middle relief, however, as he can have some poor outings. But when you compare Seanez to Jose Mesa and Matt Smith, there’s no question who you’d rather have.

Ryan Madson: B
Madson had an auspicious start to the season, giving up a bunch of runs. But in time he’s proved to be an integral piece of the bullpen, as his ERA has dropped to 2.90 and his role has increased into the swing man role. He could be much more by the end of this season.

Chad Durbin: A-
The one major key to the bullpen’s success, Durbin has been a saving grace. He’s worked long innings and middle relief. Now he’s been moved to a setup role, though that may not last for too long. Still, middle relief had always been an Achilles heel for this team — not anymore.

JC Romero: B+
The Savior continued his strong play from last season with a scoreless streak that ran until May. Early on he let a few inherited runners score, but lately he’s been huge. Yes he may walk his share (21 in 31 innings), but when he needs that big strikeout he usually gets it. And that’s the point.

Tom Gordon: C+
Flash started the season horribly and we immediately jumped on the “get him outta’ here” wagon. He settled in from there, pitching terrific as the prime setup man. Lately, though, his shoulder has become an issue, affecting his play, and it’s evident he’ll be hitting the DL soon. The Phils will need to fix this problem quickly.

Brad Lidge: A+
The Phils took a gamble trading for Lidge, but boy has it paid off. Lights Out has been exactly that, converting all 18 of his save opportunities while holding a ridiculous 0.84 ERA. Possibly the Phils first-half MVP.

BULLPEN: A great season so far for the ‘pen, thanks to new additions Lidge, Durbin and Seanez. There’s trouble ahead, however, with Gordon likely to sit and nobody primed to be the setup man. They’ll likely need to make a move for a setup man and keep reinforcements close.

Hitters

Carlos Ruiz: D+
Horrible hitter, good catcher. With a .219 AVG and .601 OPS Ruiz hasn’t done anything offensively. Seeing him in the lineup normally elicits groans. But he does catch his pitchers pretty well. While you can’t discern anything from his performance with Hamels (who’s just good), he does a much better job than Chris Coste with Jamie Moyer and Adam Eaton. A tough catch-22.

Chris Coste: B+
Very good hitter, mediocre catcher. To be fair Coste isn’t a bad catcher, but his pitchers fare considerably worse than Ruiz’s. Still, Coste is a solid, professional bat, hitting .314 with 7 HR and 20 RBI. He might be the best backup catcher in the game.

CATCHERS: We’ve been so down on Ruiz’s hitting that we’ve been calling for Lou Marson or Jason Jaramillo to head south immediately. Yes, Ruiz probably isn’t a Major League starting catcher, so at some point soon they’ll need to address it. For now it’s good to have the balance of slick-hitting Coste and pitcher’s-catcher Ruiz.

Ryan Howard: C+
Hop on the roller coaster. Okay, he’s the league leader in RBI (67), is fifth in home runs (20) and gets it done with runners on base (1.040 OPS). Yet he carries that ugly .215 AVG and has 113 strikeouts. When he hits the ball he makes things happen, and that is the bottom line with Howard. As much as we can rail on his average and fielding abilities (still not good), he gets the job done. For now it’s a C+, but I do expect that to go up.

Chase Utley: A+
Aside from an ugly 0-for-28 slide, Utley has been the league’s top player. He’s on pace for a record season and has literally carried the team offensively for most of the season. What I like most — his 3 triples and 7 steals. He’s the world’s top All-Star game votegetter, a wildly popular guy and so far, the best thing to happen to this team offensively in 2008.

Pedro Feliz: C
Critics point to his .743 OPS and say he’s not a consistent hitter. No, he’s not. And he makes a lot of bad outs. But he is productive enough to be your No. 7 hitter, and that’s what he’s been this season. He’ll nail his career averages, and we knew he would. The difference is his defense: He makes tough plays look easy and nothing impresses me more than his rifle arm. I love watching him unleash one from deep third to first.

Jimmy Rollins: C-
Badly injured for the first time ever, Rollins has been an enigma in 2008. The MVP has struggled to get into a groove, and it doesn’t help swinging at first and second pitches. He has to improve, and should (unless there’s more to that injury), but right now he’s not been the player he needs to be to help lead this team back to the playoffs.

Greg Dobbs: A-
Best pinch hitter in baseball? Likely. Hitting .330 with 2 HR and 18 RBI, Dobbs has made a killing out of being a name call. He’s one of the keys to this team’s success so far, and there’s no reason to think he can keep it going.

Eric Bruntlett: C+
He had one poor game (the first as a starter after the Rollins injury), but for the most part has been a solid defensive player and nice light-hitter. But I won’t let you think he’s been all good (.239 AVG, .636 OPS). For the amount of time he’s used he’s not a bad option.

INFIELDERS: To me the key is Rollins. No matter how poorly Howard hits he’ll get ribbies. And Utley should be all-world all season. Feliz is Feliz. But Rollins has had a poor 2008 (actually it’s quite close to his career averages), and if he can play a little better this team should be fine.

Pat Burrell: B+
Luckily for the Phils, The Bat has stepped it up in the first half (pretty much being a substitute for Rollins). The .270 average isn’t bad for Burrell, but the best stuff is his production (19 HR, 49 RBI). He’s close to having another 30 HR, 100 RBI season. Steady as she goes, really.

Shane Victorino: B
Also injured for a bit, Vic has started to come alive. His .347 OBP isn’t terrible and when he gets on, he makes things happen, stealing 20 bases and scoring 50 runs despite playing 68 of the 81 games. And yeah, he plays great defense. More production would be nice, but so far there’s not much to complain about.

Geoff Jenkins: D-
One of two absolute busts of Phillies acquisitions, Jenkins hasn’t been consistent at all. A .239 hitter so far, we’d like to think he’ll get better (as he works on his swing). But I’m not holding out too much hope.

Jayson Werth: B
Take out the three-homer game and Werth has been just a little above average. Truth is he’s a good hitter who has had a small slump or two. While I don’t expect him to be the No. 4 production option, he’s done well enough to be considered as such for a stretch this season.

So Taguchi: F
The other bust so far has been Taguchi, who is nowhere near the league-best pinch hitter he was in 2007. A .206 average? Come on, So. Even his defense has been incredibly poor. He doesn’t have it anymore, and the Phils should consider a replacement for him (a contact-hitting utility guy would be fantastic). The Phils have been looking into Ryan Freel (everything but contact-hitting).

OUTFIELDERS: If the Phils want to grab CC Sabathia or something close they may need to part with an outfielder (Victorino or Werth). I wouldn’t want to. They’re the glues of this unit. We know Burrell will probably hit his averages, and we’re not expecting much more from Jenkins. It’s essential Vic and Werth remain with the Phils and keep hitting.

The Others: Chris Snelling, TJ Bohn and Brad Harman I won’t grade, as they really didn’t get enough time to justify a grade.

SO FAR: We know the holes (one starting pitcher, one healthy setup man, one slick hitting utility man) and we know who has to improve (Brett Myers, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Geoff Jenkins). I have faith the Phils will remain in first or close to it as the season progresses, and I do feel this team will win the NL East as it stands today. The Marlins are inexperienced and have too many obvious holes. The Mets are tired, dramatic and paper thin. The Braves have health issues and can’t get consistent anything. The division is the Phils for the taking.

But once you get past the division the holes become problems. If the Phils want to compete with the Cubs, and ultimately Red Sox and Angels, they’ll need that shutdown pitcher. And they’ll need some reinforcements. Can they do it? Absolutely. Should they bet the farm? Go deep (without ridding Vic or Werth) to get a Sabathia, Rich Harden or Erik Bedard. Let Pat Gillick work his magic to find that diamond-in-the-rough reliever and hitter. Then re-sign Lidge, try to re-sign Burrell, extend Hamels and go year-by-year with Howard (or trade him for a king’s ransom).

Really, despite the slightly above average record, this is the Phils year to win it all. There will be no better year. They need to push, make the moves that require that push, then push some more. We know what they can do, and we know how they need to do it. Now they need to put it together.

  • 20 Comments
 

Offense Batters Padilla, Pitching Holds On For Win

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, June 29, 2008 02:07 AM Comments: 13

In a very entertaining, rain-soaked game, the Phillies pulled one out with a little offense, a little pitching a lot of heavy breathing. The 8-6 victory gives the Phils a full two-game lead over the rest of the NL East, as the Marlins, Mets and Braves all lost.

Where to start? Let’s go with The Man, who had three hits — a big double, a bigger 23rd home run and a biggest triple. Utley has eight hits in his last four games. Besides him, the other regulars all chipped in. Best was a two-out, bases-loaded single by Jayson Werth, scoring two and getting the Phils right back in the game after Cole Hamels gave up a two-run home run to Michael Young.

Hamels wasn’t at his best — thank a very good Rangers lineup for that — but he fought through seven innings, giving up four runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking two. He probably pressed a bit in the sixth inning, wanting to get the Rangers out so the game could be called official with rain pouring down, but when he had to, he made his pitches.

Chad Durbin played setup man yet again and had some trouble (though one can point to a Howard fielding blunder as the catalyst); JC Romero came into the game with the bases jammed and, while he walked a runner home, he made the important pitches and struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a primetime at bat. Brad Lidge gave up two hits in the ninth but was his grimy self, bidding adieu to Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley with that slider. Is there any question that Lidge shouldn’t get an offer to pitch in Philly past this year?

It was great to see the offense get a few big hits in this one. Vicente Padilla seemed to be a nice elixir. And they got their hits in bunches, not wasting all their opportunities like in the past. Thirteen men left on base is pretty good when you score eight.

And hopefully the engine starts running for Jimmy Rollins. He murdered one to right-center, scoring Werth. But he wasn’t satisfied with a triple, gunning for home. His slide was just a moment too late and he was out, but boy was it a good, gutsy play. Hey, maybe this whole game was the fire the Phils offense needed. And not a moment too soon.

Associated Press photo

  • 13 Comments
 

Gamenight: Phillies (43-38) At Rangers (41-40)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, June 28, 2008 07:28 PM Comments: 54

Break out the flotilla.

Vicente Padilla starts for the first time against his former team. In David Murphy’s Phillies notebook today, Padilla tells us it was the weather that made him so bad — when he was bad — for the Phils. A quick look at his splits with the Phils showed his ERA was a little better in July and August, somewhere around 3.40. Oddly enough, he had an amazing 2.97 ERA in 32 starts at Veterans Stadium. So is the heat? Maybe. This year he’s been pretty good for the Rangers — better than 4/5 of the Phils rotation.

Luckily the best fifth is up there tonight. Hamels is coming off a strong start against Los Angeles, a start where he couldn’t get a win. He could use one, and so could this team.

The lineup tonight is somewhere between normal and crazy. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino are back at the top, but Pat Burrell is still in the cleanup spot with Greg Dobbs getting the six-hole. Chris Coste gets the start at catcher and Dobbs is your DH.

Phillies: Cole Hamels (7-5) 3.27 ERA
Rangers: Vicente Padilla (10-3) 3.74 ERA

Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EST
Weather: 95, partly cloudy
Lineup: Rollins/Victorino/Utley/Burrell/Howard/Dobbs/Feliz/Werth/Coste

MLB TV
MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: We’re starting the second half with my all-time, No. 1, top-of-the-shelf favorite beer. That’s right, this is my favorite — better than all the 100+ I’ve drank in my young drinking life. Ladies and gents: UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen. Yes, a fruit beer. The raspberry taste doesn’t overwhelm at all, and it doesn’t quite taste like a beer, but you know it’s a beer. It’s refreshing, can make you a bit tipsy after a couple and is perfect for a summer evening. Like this one. What to eat? It goes with a lot, but I recommend pouring some in baked chicken and going with that. Enjoy. And come on Phils!

Go Phillies!

  • 54 Comments
 

Should Myers Start Again?

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, June 28, 2008 11:17 AM Comments: 26

After last night’s fiasco, the Phillies have seemingly hit a crossroads with Brett Myers. Charlie Manuel had a few choice things to say about his opening day starter:

“Can I say his job is secure? I don’t know what to say, if you want to know the truth. We’d have to find somebody to do his job first, I guess.”

Options:

  • James Happ (3-5, 3.86 ERA, 81 K in AAA)
  • Carlos Carrasco (4-4, 3.91 ERA, 72 K in AA)
  • Kris Benson (scheduled to start Sunday in AAA)
  • Chad Durbin (2-1, 1.47 ERA)
  • Ryan Madson (1-0, 2.90 ERA)

Of the five I’d go with Happ. He starts today for Lehigh Valley and could slide in Thursday, when Myers is set to go again. He deserves a shot.

Charlie …

“We’re trying to get him right. Myers’ best year is 14-9 as a starter. You stop and think about it, that’s not lighting it up. I mean, look, that’s not what you call a huge season. He’s had some bumps. He’s had moments on the mound where he’s had some struggles.”

Ouch.

“Our expectation of Myers was always an 18-, 20-game winner. I said before the season started that in order for us to win, we needed 16 to 20 wins out of [Cole Hamels and Myers]. That’s kind of how we always evaluated him. His talent has always been there. Right now, things aren’t going too well for him. He’s having trouble.”

Read: Mental problems. And control issues, but they stem to his mental problems. Myers seems to be freaked by a potential home run (see Ian Kinsler, first inning) that he’s not trying to even come close. When there’s a headcase, there’s a change of scenery necessary.

Bring up Happ; Manuel knows something must be done, and he’s right.

  • 26 Comments
 

Rangers Shut Down Phils; Lead Down To 1 Game

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, June 28, 2008 02:30 AM Comments: 8

Brett Myers performed miserably, giving up five runs on five hits and four walks in two innings. And his performance kept the Rangers in the game, leading to their 8-7 win. The Phillies broke out to a 5-1 lead thanks to a Pedro Feliz grand slam, but Myers couldn’t hold onto it. With the game tied, Milton Bradley knocked a solo home run to give Texas the lead, and they never looked back.

Yet again the offense couldn’t deliver when necessary. A mini-rally in the second inning yielded no runs; altogether the Phils left 20 men on base. Start with Jimmy Rollins — swinging at the first pitch and giving no room for error, Rollins went 0-for-5. He looks like a zombie out there. Ryan Howard went 1-for-4 and struck out three times. And each strike out looked horrendous.

In the eighth inning Rudy Seanez gave up a run, which turned out to be the winning run. A Jayson Werth homer in the ninth wasn’t enough.

Still, the blame is on Myers, who is all but finished. Carrying a 5.84 ERA, Myers needs to sit his next start. No longer is he an option to help this team win — either bring up a Minor Leaguer or give Kris Benson the OK to start. Myers needs to sit out, figure out what is wrong with him, then come back at some point and deliver. There’s not much faith in him to be even a league-average starter. His downfall is the sad story of the year, and it kept the Phils from winning what looked to be an easy one against Texas. Instead the Phils are back in a hole, needing a huge start from Cole Hamels to rectify the damage.

Associated Press photo

  • 8 Comments
 

Gamenight: Phillies (43-37) At Rangers (40-40)

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, June 27, 2008 06:10 PM Comments: 56

Another series, another hope that maybe, just maybe, this team wins it.

The Phillies are coming off a brutal 5-0 loss to the Athletics, where Rich Harden basically demoralized them. Now the Phils play the Rangers, and are visiting Rangers Ballpark for the first time. With tonight’s game the Phils will have played in every Major League ballpark, and have hosted every team in Philadelphia. I believe that makes the Phils the first team to do such.

It’s also game No. 81. Folks, after tonight we’re at the halfway mark of the season. Wow.

The Phils go up against Kason Gabbard. Kason is an incredibly rare name, something like the 880th most popular boy’s name in America. I think Gabbard and maybe a couple kids in West Virginia and Texas have this name.

The Phils bring Brett Myers out, who needs to be shut down. And the offense has to be better. They’re hitting .181 in their last eight games.

Rangers stud hitter Josh Hamilton is a gametime decision after being hit in the hand by a pitch.

Phillies: Brett Myers (3-9) 5.51 ERA
Rangers: Kason Gabbard (2-3) 4.96 ERA

Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EST
Weather: 96, sunny
Lineup: Werth/Utley/Rollins/Burrell/Howard/Feliz/Victorino/Coste/Bruntlett

MLB TV
MLB Gameday Audio
MLB Gameday

Your gamenight beer: The hoppy Berkshire Maibock comes from Massachusetts, but is a very German beer. It’s light and a good beer for this time of year. As we try to focus in on this team getting a few hits, let’s take some easy sips, chow on some fried shrimp and just enjoy the fine-looking Rangers Ballpark and the hot, hot weather in Arlington tonight.

Go Phillies!

  • 56 Comments
 
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