Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ryan Madson is acting questionable

I've seen similar types of "poking fun" entries on other Phillies blogs. When this picture came across my desk today, I figured, "Why not...?"

Ryan Madson was out on the town (Manayunk) over the weekend and was photographed acting pretty with a purse slung over his shoulder and being chummy with a friend of mine. Can I really call him a friend, if he's actually my friends' friend, and I only prank called him once? Sure, why the heck not?!

The Market is Still Hot


Did you know...that, even with the $423.5 million that the Yankees just promised to CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and AJ Burnett, that their 2009 payroll is slated to be lower than it was in 2008? With several big contracts (Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and Carl Pavano) coming off their books, the Yankees had loads of money to spend.

Speaking of phormer Phillie Bobby Abreu, the latest rumors state that Abreu is being targeted by two California teams...the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Manny Ramirez remains the Dodgers' first choice to play left field, but they can't wait around while other options that appeal to the Dodgers, like Abreu and Adam Dunn, are available. According to the LA Times, Manny's agent Scott Boras has been out of touch with the Dodgers since Mark Teixeira, another Boras client, signed with the Yankees before Christmas. Those hefty commission checks take some time to deposit, I suppose.

Among some mild chatter about the Athletics' interest in Bob Abreu, the LA Daily News also mentions Oakland's interest in Pat Burrell. Apparently the Tampa Bay Rays might be the A's chief competition in signing free agent outfielders Burrell, Garrett Anderson and/or Abreu.

For those wondering, in 2009, the Phillies do play the Rays...in the "On-deck Series" at home right before the regular season starts April 3rd and 4th, and on the road during the regular season, June 23-25. The Phillies face the Dodgers at home May 12-14, then visit LA in early June. The Phillies are not scheduled to play the A's.

In a roster note, our Phils signed reliever Gary Majewski to a minor league contract on Monday. Majewski was with the Nationals franchise before being traded to the Reds organization in the Felipe Lopez/Austin Kearns deal, in 2006. Majewski is a righty who will turn 29 during spring training, and has a considerably high WHIP of 1.94 over the past two seasons. Majewski has little chance of making the opening day roster.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

As Hanukkah wraps up, so does the Top 8 Videos list

It's phinally here- The night we've all been waiting for. It is the 8th night of Hanukkah and that means The Phoul Ballz is bringing you The Best Phillies Video of 2008 (that I could find on Youtube).

This video is brought to you straight from the hometown radio broadcast booth. There is a combination of some things that make this one of the greatest clips I have ever seen. The main thing is, of course, the Phillies winning the World Series. Next, is Harry Kalas' classic call of the happenings on the field. And the other is "The Wheeler". Yes, The Wheeler is the party dance performed by Phils color analyst Chris Wheeler as he quietly celebrates, so that Harry can make the call. Fist pumping, near-humping gestures, high fives, arm thrusts and more all add up to the hottest moves this side of Danny Jackson's Hulk Hogan impressions.




*BONUS* These will be your honorable mentions for this list. Consideration could be made for having these videos rank in a tie at #1, since they represent the greatness of a World Championship and two of the videos include Harry Kalas as well.

1st honorable mention...Raising the 2008 World Championship Banner-


2nd honorable mention...Harry Kalas taunts the Phillies' rivals and sings "High Hopes"-


3rd honorable mention...Chase Utley sums up the 2008 season-

Hanukkah weekend!

We're up to #2! This video is classic and would surely we worthy of top status, if the Phillies didn't do what they did this year. If that spoils the number spot for you, keep in mind that here at the Phoul Ballz, you should expect the unexpected.

Anyway, our #2 video is the all time classic prank played by Brett Myers and dozens of cooperatives on rookie Kyle Kendrick. Myers worked with Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro Jr, the media and teammates, during spring training, to convince Kendrick that he had been traded to Japan. Hilarity ensued, and the internet and national TV caught fire with prank-mania!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

THREE!

Hi, again. The countdown is now at #3. This place on the list belongs to Cole Hamels on the Late Show. Colbert became a national celebrity this autumn with his good looks, stellar post season pitching and, of course, his cool name. Here is night #6's entry for "The 8 Best Phillies Videos of 2008 (that I can find on Youtube)".

Friday, December 26, 2008

As we continue on...

Welcome back to "The 8 Best Phillies Videos of 2008 (that I can find on Youtube)". We're up to the final four. Starting off the top half of this list is one of the best plays of the season. It's the play that saved Brad Lidge's perfect season, and clinched the NL East division title for the Phillies. It's that hugely clutch 6-4-3 double play!! It's Jimmy Rollins' diving stop, followed by a flip to Chase Utley, who relays it to Ryan Howard!

The #4 videos on our list are the same play from 3 different angles. The top one here has the most complete view of the play, while the next two may have more intense displays from the crowd. Again, MLB's strict rules limit availability of regular game broadcast footage on Youtube, but that is what makes this list fun...because I've got to post phans' phootage from the stands. These phans-eye-view recordings show wild and amazing scenes as the crowd erupts and the ballpark practically shakes.





Thursday, December 25, 2008

Night 4 entry...& Ho, Ho, Ho!

Happy 4th night of Hannukah...a few hours late. It was a long night of Nintendo Wii playing at the House of Ballz.

It's time for our 4th entry on the list of "The 8 Best Phillies Videos of 2008 (that I can find on Youtube)". Video #5 comes direct from the city of Los Angeles. You may recall Matt Stairs smashing a game winning homerun in the NLCS against LA's best reliever, Jonathan Broxton. Well, since MLB is stingy with their footage being posted and shown on Youtube, the homer itself is not available. However, we do have glorious footage of the Major League Baseball quote of the year. It's Stairs discribing the great feelings that follow such a momentous homerun. Enjoy. Merry Christmas and Happy Ass Hammering!




*BONUS* And since it's Christmas, let's see what the Reading Phillies' endless roster of mascots are placing on their gift wish lists.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Will is big enough to be #6

Happy 3rd night of Hannukah. It's time for the #6 video on "The 8 Best Phillies Videos of 2008 (that I can find on Youtube)" list.

"How big is Will?" was the question that led little toddler Will to rile up an entire block of championship parade goers. In a video shot by his mother Heather, Will turned into a hype man for the excited crowd waiting to see their Phillies. Hundreds of thousands of internet views later, little Will has appeared on national television and will go down in Phillies history as the most famous phan from this season.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Round 2...



Happy second night of Hanukkah. Coming in at #7 on the list of "The 8 Best Phillies Videos of 2008 (that I can find on Youtube)"...is the Phillie Phanatic getting his groove on with Shawn Hill, the dancing flyers phan. Flyers phaithful know Hill as the guy in the top row of the Wachovia Center that is featured on the video board throughout home games "whylen out" and boogying down to all types of music.



*BONUS* Both Shawn Hill videos with the Phanatic are equally as entertaining, so #7 is a two-parter. Let's go, Flyers!

8 Crazy Nights...8 Crazy Videos


Tonight began the fun of our multi-cultural celebrating of holidays in the Fam of Ballz. To go along with the time of year and the 8 night holiday based on a war...or lengthy burning oil, depending on which story you prefer...The Phoul Ballz will be posting a video each night of Hanukkah. This feature will be known as The 8 Best Phillies Videos of 2008 (that I can find on Youtube).

Shouts out to my young cousins Eric and Aaron. Happy Hanukkah to you both.



The first entry in the 8 video countdown is from local voice impersonating legend Joe Conklin. It's his Phillies World Series theme song.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All I Want For "the Holidays" is the MLB Network


Ladies and gentlemen, there are 5 days left till Hannukah, 9 days left till Christmas and 16 days left till the premiere of the MLB Network. It's about time. Those of you that enjoy MLB.com's original programming, it may be a while till your favorite hosts appear on The MLB Network. The announced TV schedule is not similar to MLB.com's online schedule. MLB.com's studios are in NYC, and the MLB Network's studios will be in Secaucus NJ...so that's another bump in the road. Cross overs, while possible, might be less likely.

The great internet programming on MLB.com includes morning and afternoon talk shows, a midday fantasy advice call-in show, a lunch time talk show and variety half hour formatted show, and of course the nightly wrap up, as well as other original programming that focuses more on the history of the game. MLB.com's programming started as streaming radio shows, then upgraded to a visual medium when video feeds were provided for the same shows. Podcasts have steadily been available for most programming in recent years also. It remains to be seen if MLB Network will launch any of their internet shows onto television.

The aforementioned Network studios will include a replica baseball field that analysts will use for demonstration purposes. The infield will be half-scale, and the outfield wall will feature an out-of-town scoreboard modeled after the one at Citizens Bank Park.

Phormer Phillie Dan Plesac will be a studio analyst for MLB Network. Plesac, a 3 time all star was the last Phillies pitcher to appear in a game at Veterans Stadium.

For those of you with cable, the MLB Network is slated to be part of the NBA TV and NFL Network package. Satellite customers will have the MLB Network available also.


To touch on some other news from recent posts here....
-Raul Ibanez's deal is actually for 3 years, $31.5 million.
-In last week's Rule 5 draft, the Phillies selected RHP Robert Mosebach from the Angels, OF Javis Diaz from the Padres, and IF Kyle Haines from the Giants. Diaz and Haines were selected in the minor league portion of the draft, which means they are not required to stay on the Phillies' ML roster, or be offered back. Brett Harker, Ronald Hill and John Suomi, all Reading Phillies, were taken by other teams during the Rule 5 draft.
-Jamie Moyer's 2 year deal is worth $13 million total, with incentives. $6.5 million each year, with bonuses that could add $1.25 million each year for innings pitched totals and starts made.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Coming to CBP in 2009- Chan Ho's Banjos!


Chan Ho Park has signed with the Phillies. Park was quoted in a press conference from his native Korea today saying, "I selected Philadelphia because they are the World Series champions and have high expectations for a playoff berth next season." Park also mentioned that part of the Phillies' pitch to him, was that they viewed him as a starter, which he liked.

Park will make a base salary of $2.5 million with incentives that could double his salary.


Charlie Manuel was interviewed by Comcast Sportsnet at an autograph signing yesterday. Charlie stated that he feels strongly that the Phillies should re-sign Jamie Moyer. There's still no real news on that front. Moyer could still sign with the Phils and be the 4th starter. That would leave Park, JA Happ, Kyle Kendrick, Carlos Carrasco and possibly Adam Eaton and Joe Bisenius battling for that 5th starter spot. However, if the Phillies really look at Park as a starter, 6 guys trying to earn two spots, might be more ideal for the payroll than those same six duking it out over 1 spot in the rotation, especially when they won't have to pay a 4th starter, like Moyer, $10 million or more.

*BONUS*...
This afternoon, the Phillies and Jamie Moyer have come to terms on a 2-year contract. More details, later, when they are made available.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cole Calling the Kettle Crap AND Bye Bye, Burrell



I guess this is news because of who said it. The statement itself is certainly not news to any of us. National League Championship Series MVP and World Series MVP Cole Hamels appeared on a New York radio show on Thursday, and when asked if the Mets are choke artists, he confirmed it. Colbert told one of the WFAN radio hosts, "That’s kind of what we believe and I think we’re going to always believe it until they prove us wrong." He went on to add, "Yeah, for the past two years they’ve been choke artists."

The statement is undeniable. I am sure Mets players wouldn't object, if they were asked the same thing. But leave it to the sports media to try and bleed a story out of the Phillies/Mets rivalry.


**Breaking news this morning**
Raul Ibanez and the Phillies have agreed on a three year contract. This all but gives Pat Burrell a nice pat on the bottom on his way out of town.

Ibanez, will get a 3 yr, $30 million contract. Ibanez's numbers are similar to, or better than Burrell's, and he will come to Philly at a cheaper price.

Ibanez averages for the past 3 seasons- 25.6 HR, 112.6 RBI, 89.3 runs.
Ibanez career totals- .818 OPS, .286 batting average.

Burrell averages for the past 3 seasons- 30.6 HR, 92.6 RBI, 77 runs.
Burrell career totals- .852 OPS, .257 batting average.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Keystone Catch

The Phillies made the first roster alteration at the winter meetings on Wednesday, by trading minor league catcher Jason Jaramillo to the Pirates for Ronny Paulino. This trade deepens the Phillies at the catching position and could have other effects on the 2009 team. The move could unofficially end Chris Coste's run as a Phillie. It could also make Carlos Ruiz or even Lou Marson trade bait.

Another move that happened on Wednesday that could effect the Phillies down the road is the Yankees signing CC Sabathia. $161 million?! Wow. Now let's look forward to the day when Cole Hamels wants that top free agent pitcher money. Enjoy young Colbert while you can, Phillies phans.

New reports about the Phillies' interest in Minnesota's Delmon Young and Chan Ho Park are the buzz today. Park, who was with the Dodgers in 2008, is not the LA pitcher most Phillies phans were hoping for (eh-hem, Derek Lowe!). Park, however, was fairly solid this year posting a 3.40 ERA in over 95 innings of work, mostly in relief. He faired much better in the 1st half than he did after the all star break (4-2, 2.63 ERA before...0-2, 5.04 ERA after). Young was the 1st overall draft pick in 2003 and had his best ML season in 2007 when he hit .288 with 13 homers, 93 RBI and 10 steals.

The Rule 5 draft happens today, on the last day of the winter meetings. I always forget the exact criteria for the draft, as there's a year in between that permits the memory to fade. But the basic outline is to prevent teams from hording too many young players in their minor league systems, if there are other teams willing to give the players a shot in the majors. Once selected, a team must add the player to their 40-man roster immediately and the player must stay on the team's 25-man major league roster for the entire follow season, or else be offered back to the original team. Shane Victorino is the Phillies' most notable rule 5 draft selection. Jeremy Slayden may be a Phillie that other teams will target this time around. Okay, maybe not...I just had a good picture of him messing with Greg Golson's mit that I wanted to post.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Charlie smells what the Ballz is cookin'!


Two days into the winter meetings in Las Vegas NV, and the Phillies' have made no additions.

On day #2, the Phils retained the services of their manager, Charlie Manuel, for an extra season. Charlie's club option for 2010 will be picked up, and Manuel was extended through 2011.

Manuel's 2009 salary will be $1.5 million, and just about double that by 2011.

Day 1 of the winter meetings was fairly uneventful in Vegas, at least as far as the team roster and staff goes. There was some fun had here at home though. 2007 NL MVP Jimmy Rollins attended the live World Wrestling Entertainment program Monday Night Raw at the Wachovia Center, where he was seated in the front row. A WWE star nicknamed "MVP", Montel Vontavious Porter, targeted Rollins with a Philadelphia diss-filled rant that saw Porter claim he was a real MVP, unlike the fluke J-Roll. Porter also claimed to be better than Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. It was a classic heel tirade. Insult the home crowd's sports teams to get some extra heat. It makes the fans that much more interested in "the good guy". "MVP" was jokingly pictured here on The Phoul Ballz last month in an post about the end of the Phillies' streak of most valuable player winners.

To view the segment featuring Rollins, check out the following link. Skip to the 0:58 mark. J-Roll is shown at 5:17, and is also seen celebrating the result of the match around the 6:17 mark. WWE star Charlie Haas, a former Seton Hall wrestling stand out, has an on-air gimmick where he mocks other wrestlers. His persona in this edition of Raw is "Most Valuable Charlie". I'm sorry, but Phillies phans know who the real MVC is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydNIour_ffk



From the Hot Stove rumor mill...There's a 3 or 4 team deal being talked about that might see the Phils giving up lefty "Jay" Happ or righty Kyle Kendrick for infielder/outfielder Mark DeRosa. The Phillies and Yankees are reportedly the two main teams targeting free agent starting pitcher Derek Lowe. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed that if the Phillies sign Lowe, then Jamie Moyer would no longer be persued by the Phillies. Amaro continues to state that the 5th starter role will be filled from within with guys like Happ, Kendrick, Joe Bisenius, Adam Eaton, and so on, competing for the job.

In rival news...the New York Mess signed some guy named Francisco. He's supposed to be the best closer from that other league. The Mess sure love signing guys who are supposed to be the best free agent(/player) at their respective positions to huge dollar contracts. Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana and now "K-Rod". I'm sure spending $37 million on a guy who plays in roughly 4.8% of your innings will prove to be money well spent.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Season's Meetings




MLB's winter meetings begin this coming Monday. According to new Phillies general manager Rueben Amaro Jr., the Phils' priorities are to add a starting pitcher and to improve the bullpen. Many expected Jamie Moyer to be re-signed by now, but it is likely that the Phillies are only willing to offer a 1-year contract, while Moyer and his agent, Jim Bronner, are wishing for a 2-year dealio. Derek Lowe's name has been in the media this week as a pitcher the Phillies have had talks with.

The gift giving season is also upon us. Phillies Phans young and old alike will have the World Series DVD on the wish lists this month. Allow me to give you a tip on where to find the glorious 8-disc set the cheapest. http://www.deepdiscount.com/viewproduct.htm?productId=54055428
DeepDiscount.com offers the full collector's set for the low price of $48.61, no tax, and shipping included. Amazon.com's item description of the bonus features includes this blurb...Alternate audio tracks featuring World Series announcers: Harry Kalas, Larry Andersen, Scott Fianzke, and Chris Wheeler (Phillies Radio); Joe Buck and Tim McCarver (Fox); Angel Torres, Miguel Morales, and Cos Villa (Fox Sports); Dave Willis and Andy Freed (Rays Radio) Of course, we realize they meant Scott Franzke and we're all very excited to have the option of listening to our local guys call the games. That is probably the best thing about the set.

And with Harry Kalas in mind, I'd like to assert my opinion that Harry Kalas is more of a Phillie than any of the players or coaches that wear that uniform on game days. Harry has been around longer than all of them, and he deserves to go down in history as one of the greatest Phillies of all time.

Have a great holiday season, everyone.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hip Ph'ing Surgery and Gregory Golson is gone!


A few big news stories in World Championsville today. The first is that Chase Utley will undergo surgery next week on his injured hip. This surgery could take as long as 6 months to recover from. The right hip had troubled "ChUtley" for a good portion of the 2008 season. If Utley misses the start of the 2009 season, this could be a window of opportunity for Jason Donald, or this could fully seal the deal on a return to Philadelphia for Tadahito Iguchi.

The second story is phormer phirst round drapht pick Greg Golson was traded to Texas for another first round pick John Mayberry. Mayberry, a 24 year old righty slugger, has already been assigned to triple-A Lehigh Valley, and was added to the Phillies' 40 man roster. The loss of Golson should not be a subject to worry about. Last offseason I was stunned to learn that another top draft pick named Mike Costanzo was sent away, and look how that turned out (Eh-hem, BRAD LIDGE). The Phillies were simply at a point where acquiring a young outfielder with power was neccesary and an outfielder with speed and power was expendable.


A third, less significant story that had World Championsville talking today was Pedro Feliz's back surgery. The procedure, a lumbar discectomy, has an estimated 8-12 week rehabilitation period.

The last bit of news to speak of is the rumor that the Phillies have interest in Mariners free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez. Both Pat Gillick, the new advisor to the general manager, and Benny Looper, the new assistant general manager, have history in Seattle and would be rather familiar with Ibanez. The Phillies are in contact with Pat Burrell, but if the sides can not agree on a contract, the Phillies must stay willing to explore other options.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No MVP in Philly this season



Albert Pujols won his second National League Most Valuable Player award on Monday. Pujols was the only NL player to appear on every submitted ballot. That's right, pholks. There were writers who did not even place as low as a 10th place vote toward the guy who led the majors in homeruns and RBI. Psst, that's Ryan Howard with 48 homers and 146 RBI, if you don't know who I was speaking of. This breaks the Phillies' streak of two consecutive MVP's. Howard won in 2006 and Jimmy Rollins won in 2007.

Brad Lidge was the only NL player to receive a first place MVP vote, besides Pujols and Howard. Lidge finished 8th overall in the voting for the MVP honor. He also finished 4th in the Cy Young Award voting.

Luckily, the World Champs are only coming up short when it comes to individual awards. Charlie Manuel finished second in NL manager of the year voting as well. Lou Pinella of the Cubs won that award.


Side note...With Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley blocking the way in the middle infield spots, our Phillies are seeing what else Jason Donald can do on defense. Donald is getting some time at 3rd base in the Arizona Fall League. Donald is also playing some second base, but has regularly been a shortstop. Through 24 games for the AFL's Mesa Solar Sox, J-Don is hitting .414 with 5 homers and 17 RBI. Donald's OPS (on-base % + Slg %) is a very tremendous 1.238!

The 3rd round pick from 2006 is a righty batter, so my question to ponder is....when does Donald see time in left field?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Phever Spread World Wide!


While this week most Phils phans have begun to cool down from their late October/early November PHEVER, local sports phans currently residing on the other side of the globe are keeping things hot. The 304th Civil Affairs Bridage sent home pictures like this, as they continued to celebrate and offer support to the Phillies from phar away.

Mrs. Ballz's cousin Danny, pictured second from left, and his group were treated to 4am start times in Iraq for the World Series telecasts. Replays on the Armed Forces Network enabled viewing at better times also.

Here's to the troops who battle for and defend freedom. We are phans of your's too and as Phillies Phever cools down, perhaps the Troop-berculosis (wow, that's bad) will steadily infect us all. ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Eagles courting Burrell and Hamels?



Are the Eagles trying to lure Pat Burrell and Cole Hamels to "the Linc" in order to bring a championship across the street? Maybe not. But softening them up with cheerleaders couldn't hurt.

When reached for comment about the meeting, my girl Alex (pictured center) said that Colbert's and Patrick's only game is on the baseball diamond. ;)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Still high....thank you, Phillies.


Yes, I am still the happiest boy in B-town. My team won the WORLD SERIES!

A few news notes from Phillies-land...
NL Gold Glove Awards were announced today. Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins won at their respective positions.
Third base coach Steve Smith will not return to the team next season.
So Taguchi will also not be back next year, as he was officially released today.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Still Phlyin' High!


What a great year. Ups and downs...highs and lows...plenty of bumps along the road to glory. It was just a perphect season.

The last week of the season has easily been one of the greatest of my life. From a national stage for a World Championship voctory, to Cole Hamels appearing on The Late Show, to the huge parade & parties, to Shane Victorino hocking World Series goodies on QVC, to Chase Utley stunning us all once again by using "the ph-word" on live television, to phans becoming internet sensations by doing rowdy things and celebrating, to Charlie Manuel Halloween costumes...this has just been a wild week of immense exposure for all of us. Congratulations again to the Phillies, their phans and the entire region!


I am not quite sure what this phan was thinking, but he's offering a unique souvenir from the Phillies' World Series clinching game. Check out this eBay auction.



Keep living it up, Phillies phans.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

PHEEL IT!


The Philadelphia Phillies won 24 of their last 30 games and became WORLD CHAMPIONS by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 in the 2008 World Series.

I have heard Phillies Phans, at the ball park and on TV, say that they don't know what to do. This is what happens when a full generation of Philadelphia sports phans win their very first major sports championship.

Cole Hamels was named Most Valuable Player of the World Series. That honor is added to his NLCS MVP hardware. Hamels narrowly missed becoming the first pitcher ever to win 5 starts in a single post season.

Game phive was another instance where different players contributed to nail down a victory for the team. Pat Burrell, Pedro Feliz, Geoff Jenkins, Shane Victorino, Brad Lidge....it was classic 2008 Phillies baseball.

Speaking of "Lights Out" Lidge, he ended the season perfect in save opportunities. 48 successful saves converted for the phirst year Phillie. Tremendous.

Live it up, Phillies phans. This is what our Philadelphia phandom is all about. It is a brotherhood. It is what bonds us. It is what makes us who we are. Cheers and congratulations to all of you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

To be continued...on Wheneversday


Game 5 is suspended till further notice, with a tied score. The commissioner of MLB is not good. The game should have been stopped sooner.

The game is tied at 2 after 5 1/2 innings. When the game resumes, the Phillies will have 4 turns at bat against the Rays, who only have 3 turns at bat. That still does not make up for the Phillies and Cole Hamels having to pitch an extra turn on a wet, muddy mound in an extreme down pour. When game 5 is restarted, the Rays will get to pitch off of a dry, nicely groomed mound. That's an advantage for the Rays pitchers that Cole Hamels did not have in the same inning.

There were multiple instances where gameplay was proven to not be under normal circumstances. The umpiring crew suspended the infield fly rule early in the game, when the Phillies had multiple runners on, due to the weather, pop flies were no longer routine. When an infield pop up is not routine, due to weather conditions, the game should be halted. Later, Jimmy Rollins, a Gold Glove short stop, had trouble with a pop up in the infield. Swirling winds and terrible rain gave Rollins trouble, and the game became a joke when played beyond that point.

The umpiring crew continues to be the story of this World Series. Big mistakes on plays in the games are now added to huge errors in judgement. For some reason the safety of the players and integrity of the game became more important after Fox reached a 3 hour broadcast.

Game 5 resumes at a time to be determined, when weather permits.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cool red socks, big lumber down the Rays



One win away from a world championship. I am so silly-insane-outrageously-excited that I can't stand it.

The bats were on fire in game 4 at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies pounded 12 hits, 4 of which were homeruns. Ryan Howard slugged 2 homers and had 5 RBI in the 10-2 victory. Even Phillies winning pitcher Joe "I Wear Cool Socks" Blanton mashed a homerun to left field off of Edwin Jackson. It was Blanton's very first major league homer. Blanton pitched 6 solid innings, striking out 7 and allowing only 2 earned runs.

Many players contributed in the game 4 victory. In addition to Howard and Blanton...Ryan Madson, Pedro Feliz, Jimmy Rollins, JC Romero and even Jayson Werth all chipped in with key efforts. This has become key for this 2008 Phillies squad to have different heroes and varied contributors each night. When some guys fail to get the job done there's usually someone else coming through with a big performance. And in certain games, like this one, everybody hits (or pitches well)...woo hoo!


The combo of the Rays' 3rd and 4th hitters, Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena, have combined for a dismal 0-for-29 performance in the World Series. The two Rays sluggers have 15 strike outs and just 2 RBI total.


Tim Welke was the terrible umpire of the night in game 4. This time the call went in the Phillies' phavor. In the first inning, Welke blew a call on a run down between 3rd base and home plate when Evan Longoria clearly tagged a diving Jimmy Rollins, but J-Roll was called safe. MLB should seriously consider fixing the replay system during the offseason. A challenge option, like the NFL uses, for safe/out calls really seems most ideal.



Cole Hamels has the chance to become the first pitcher in MLB history to win 5 starts in a single post season. Colbert, should he win game 5, could record the greatest post season a pitcher has ever had. Cole has a 1.55 ERA through 4 starts this post season.

Don't count those proverbial chickens, but Ricky Bottalico said it best on the CSN post game program following game 4...simply put: "It's going to be nuts." I will be at game 5, and there's no other place I would rather be on this Earth. It's been 25 years since Philadelphia has won a major sports championship. All these years of craving and yearning for a winner will result in the hugest eruption of sheer joy and unrivaled bliss that any sports victory has ever spawned.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

2-to-1, Good guys lead


Jamie Moyer was one of the Phillies' stars of game 3. He proved many critics wrong, including me. He put forth a very solid effort and gave the Phillies a chance to win the game. Moyer pitched 6 1/3 innings and was charged with 3 runs (only one of which was ligitimate, but I'll get to that later). JC Romero got the win in relief by tossing 1 1/3 innings of perfect baseball.

The second star of the game was Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz got the game winning infield single in the 9th inning. Carlos in the last two games is 4-for-5 with 3 walks, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB, and 2 runs scored. His OBP in this series is .667. Major shout out to my pal Sarah, who predicted Ruiz would be the key to the Phillies' success in game 3.


Ruiz's walk-off dribbler was just the Phillies' second hit with runners in scoring position in this series. The Fightin's are now 2-for-33 (.061 avg) in that situation.


Hey, guess what...Jayson Werth still needs to be benched! Werth, stole 2nd base in the bottom of the 8th with no outs in a tie game. After Chase Utley struck out, Werth made another huge base running mistake and was picked off second base, by the pitcher JP Howell. This squashed a great opportunity for the Phillies to take the lead.

The Rays' game 4 starter Andy Sonnanstine is a righty and, as I previously wrote, lefty hitters Geoff Jenkins or Matt Stairs need to be in the starting lineup.


This victory is the Phillies' first game 3 win in World Series history. The Phillies were previously 0-5 in game 3's, including four 1-run losses.


If there was any proof that MLB needs to expand the newly implemented "instant replay", the 2008 World Series is just that proof. In game 3, Tom Hallion gave the Rays another gift by making the wrong call on a play where Jamie Moyer dove and scooped the batted ball to Ryan Howard. The ball clearly beat the batter to the bag. This lead to 2 runs for the Rays and chased Phillies starter Jamie Moyer from the game. Now add Hallion's miscue to the awfullness that was Kerwin the Awful Umpire in game 2, and MLB should have enough to validate instating a "Challenge" system, like the NFL uses. Right now baseball has replay that umpires can use for potential homerun calls to determine if the ball has surely left the field of play, or whether a ball is fair/foul. Homeruns are not always the most crucial hit in a baseball game. Plays at first base, or determining if a pitch has hit a batter can be just as game-changing, and often times more important to the outcome of a ballgame.


Country music singer Tim McGraw threw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to game 3 of the World Series. Tim McGraw's father was, of course, Tug McGraw...phormer Phillies closer and the man who threw the final pitch of the 1980 World Series to strike out Willie Wilson, of the Royals, to clinch the only championship that the Phillies have won. Tug passed away in 2004, but will always be a legend to Phillies phans. Tim brought along a bit of Tug's ashes to the ballpark on Saturday night, and spread them on the pitching mound.

Did anyone see that shot that Evan Longoria hit in the 6th inning? How did that look, off the bat? Did the announce crew react like it was going quite far? Did you think it was outta there? I think we all did. But it seemed to simply die in flight,came down quickly and was recorded as just a long fly out to left field. Could there have been an angel in the outfield...hovering...looking over the team...knocking down Rays homerun balls? Yes.
Thank you, Tug.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

1-to-1


Our right fielder sucked. The home plate umpire sucked. Hitting with RISP sucked again. The leadoff hitter's performance at the plate sucked. And game 2 simply sucked.


Phillies RF Jayson Werth got the Rays off to a hot start with an error that put two runners in scoring position for the opponents. That led to two RBI ground outs from Rays hitters (Hey, Ryan Howard...take a lesson) and they left the first inning with a 2-0 lead.


Then, in the 5th inning, Werth made his second error of the game...this time it was on the bases. He was doubled off first on a fly ball to lucky Rays RF Rocco Baldelli. Later, Baldelli was given a gift by home plate umpire Kerwin "I have the most Caucasian first name on Earth" Danley. In the 2nd inning, Baldelli failed to hold a check swing and, even though Danley gestured to ring Rocco up on a swinging strike, Danley second guessed himself and deferred to the first base umpire on the call. Baldelli clearly did not hold his swing, but was given a free pass when the umpires blew this call. Kerwin D. then proceeded to call strikes on Ryan Howard that were a foot outside, and of course there's the hit by pitch he didn't call for Jimmy Rollins in the 9th inning. Terrible officiating by this umpire in the most crucial series of the year.

Aside from wanting to violate Kerwin the ump's rear end area with my size 12 New Balances, my main frustration following game two is Jayson Werth. Werth against righties this season had 6 homers and 31 RBI in 263 at bats. Werth got the start while two lefty right fielders sat the bench. Those two RF's are Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs. Jenkins against righties had 9 homers and 28 RBI in 270 at bats. Stairs had 12 homers and 44 RBI in 303 AB's. All three men have extremely similar batting averages against right handed pitchers this season (Werth- .255, Jenkins- .256, Stairs- .254), but when Werth stays hitless with runners in scoring position in the post season, it is probably time for Charlie Manuel to set aside his man-crush on "Jay-Dubya" and let a lefty batter brotha get a chance.


If the Phillies are going to win this series, they will really need some clutch hitting. 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position in game 1, and 1-for-15 with runners is scoring position in game 2. That is a .036 batting average with RISP in the World Series. The Phillies have also left 22 runners on base over 2 games. Additionally, the Phils' leadoff batter, Jimmy Rollins, still has not been on base in The Series, after putting up his second straight 0-for-5 game.


Okay, just as I give you all a fresh dose of bad stuff after a win, I shall dish out the hot goodness after this loss. Cole Hamels is the 10th pitcher in Major League history to win 4 starts in a post season. Historically, seven of the previous nine pitchers to accomplish this feat have pitched for the team that won the World Series. That is good odds.

1981- LA Dodger Burt Hooten was 4-1 in 5 starts, and the Dodgers won it all.
1989- Oakland A Dave Stewart was 4-0 in 4 starts, and the Athletics won it all.
1991- Minnesota Twin Jack Morris was 4-0 in 5 starts, and the Twins won it all.
1998- NY Yankee David Wells was 4-0 in 4 starts, and the Yanks won it all.
2001- Arizona Diamondbacks Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson each won 4 starts, and the D-Backs won it all.
2007- Josh Beckett was 4-0 in 4 starts, and the Red Sox won it all.

The two pitchers who won 4 starts for a World Series loser were Orel Hershiser for Cleveland in 1995 and John Smoltz for Atlanta in 1996.

Until the weekend...be well and GO, FIGHTIN'S!

Hamels is my Cole Pilot...


Game WON of the 2008 World Series is in the books. On this night, the Phillies won their 100th game of the year and lead the series, 1-0. There's nothing much better than Cole Hamels putting all the silly cowbell chimers on the HUSH setting, down in Tropicana Field. Hamels now has 5 earned runs allowed in 29 post season innings this year. That is a 1.55 ERA. I really can't think of anything more phun to watch than Cole Hamels these days.


Our Phillies got off to a hot start in the 1st inning when, following a Jayson Werth walk, Chase Utley (AKA- Chutley) hit a blast to deep right field for a homerun. This gave Philadelphia a lead which they would not let up. Utley went on to add another base hit and two steals in his World Series debut.


It just wouldn't be the Phoul Ballz if I didn't toss some negativity at you all. I need to take the time to critique the non-move in the top of the 9th inning where, against a right handed pitcher and with 2 runners on, Charlie Manuel chose to let Eric Bruntlett bat instead of using Matt "the MF'n man" Stairs or Geoff "Don't call me Brett Favre or Randy Wolf" Jenkins, who are both lefties. Bruntlett got out and the Phillies did not get any insurance runs. Brad Lidge came on to work a scoreless 9th inning to stay perfect in save opportunities this year, but I can't help myself to point out that Charlie Manuel did not do everything he could to score runs in this game.


All the Ryan Howard critics out there that point out how the MVP contender strikes out too often, you have a point. I normally argue that statement and say, "an out is an out...who cares how he makes it when he leads the league in homeruns and RBI?!" I can't do that after game 1. Keep in mind that Howard struck out in this game twice with a runner on third base and just one out. We all know that a deep fly ball in that situation results in a run scored. Ground balls score runs on occasion also. An out is not just an out.


With the series lead, why not devote another paragraph to less than positive information? Here is a list of the American League east division teams in order of when they established affiliation with their current cities-
Boston Red Sox (1901)
NY Yankees (1903)
Baltimore Orioles (1954)
Toronto Blue Jays (1977)
Tampa Bay Rays (1997)

And (the Phillies have lost 4 of the 5 World Series they've been to prior to this season) here is a list of the teams that have defeated the Phillies in the World Series, in order. You may notice the similarities...
Boston Red Sox (1915)
NY Yankees (1950)
Baltimore Orioles (1983)
Toronto Blue Jays (1993)
And...the Phillies are currently playing that remaining team from the AL east in the World Series.


Game 2 is Thursday night. Brett Myers takes on James Shields.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ready for The Series


Cowbells, mohawks, bad math equations...these things all await the Phillies in St. Petersburg. The Rays' fan base is mostly Johnny Come-Lately's. Their stadium is a mess. But the team has made history. The Rays have 37 more wins this year than they had last year. That is the biggest increase, from one year to the next, in modern baseball history.


World Series note of the day #1- Phillies 25th man So Taguchi is the only player on either team to record a base hit in the World Series.

Both teams are not required to set their rosters till Wednesday morning. There has been some speculation that catcher Lou Marson would make the World Series roster for the Phils, so that back up catcher Chris Coste could be used as a designated hitter against lefties, and that would cut the risk of leaving the Phillies in a stuck position if starting catcher Carlos Ruiz were to become injured during a game. MLB rules state if your DH plays the field, the team loses their DH, and the pitcher must bat, or be pinch hit for. That same speculation has So Taguchi as the potential player to be trimmed off the roster.


World Series note of the day #2- Phils pitcher Jamie Moyer attended the championship parade that followed the 1980 World Series, when the Phillies won the only title in team history.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has announced that his starting pitching rotation will not be altered for the World Series. Expect Cole Hamels to start game 1, Brett Myers to start game 2, Jamie Moyer will start game 3, and Joe Blanton would get game 4. That follows in order for the remaining games...Hamels for 5, Myers for 6, Moyer for 7. Personally, I don't like that at all. Moyer has been awful this post season, and if I could make the call, Moyer would not get another start, let alone TWO more starts, the second being in the 7th and final game. A fine way to expell Moyer from the rotation this series would be to have the three other starters going on short rest. Sure, Cole Hamels has expressed some reservations about going on three days rest, rather than four. But couldn't he do it just once, with the greatest prize baseball on the line?! Using Brett Myers, a guy who thrives under pressure and has proven successful making starts on short rest, in game 1 could allow him to pitch games 4 and 7 also. Hamels starting game 2 and coming back on three days rest, would have him slated for game 5. Joe Blanton could then start games 3 and 6. I simply trust three starts from Myers more than I trust two starts from Moyer. And if needed, for the sake of babying Hamels and giving Cole his usual rest between starts, maybe Moyer starts game 4 or 5 only. Again, I believe the less starts Moyer makes, the better off the Phillies will be.

If Moyer was skipped as a starter, having the lefty, Moyer, out of the bullpen, then allows the Phils to trim "Jay" Happ from the roster to make room for Lou Marson. This would leave World Series veteran So Taguchi available for pinch hitting ineptitude.

Don't get it twisted...I am very happy for Jamie Moyer to be reaching the World Series for the first time in his 22-year career. I just think it's crucial for the manager to recognize when his players are spent, exhausted and not valuable to the team. This is the World Series. There is NO ROOM for kind gestures toward the loveable, gentle veteran. There is NO ROOM for "owing the guy who got you there a start". That is garbage at this stage. Moyer could certainly still help the team win, but I just don't see him as having the best chances to do so.


Many people have declared Cole Hamels the best Phillies pitcher in a generation. He's also likely the best home grown pitcher in two or three generations. In comparison to that last great Phillies lefty from a generation ago, Steve Carlton, in the 1980 championship season, Colbert looks just as good or better.

Carlton in the 1980 post season- 4 games started, 3-0 record, 27 1/3 innings pitched, 7 earned runs, 23 strike outs, 2.32 ERA.
Hamels so far in the 2008 post season- 3 games started, 3-0 record, 22 innings pitched, 3 earned runs, 22 strike outs, 1.23 ERA.


I leave you with this Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia note. While the best two teams in baseball are from these two locations, the worst two hockey teams are from the same places. The Flyers and the Lightning are the last two winless teams in the NHL this season.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Phillies win the pennant!


So many possible headlines after this win. "Cole-ywood." "Phall Classic." A "Cole Train" reference. "I'll name my first born Charlie...even if it's a girl." I took the easy route.

Who remembers Jimmy Rollins predicting that the Phillies would win 100 games this year? Well, with this NLCS victory, the Phillies are now 1 win short of 100 wins this year. Jimmy leads the Phillies in all time lead off homeruns in the regular season. In addition to that, all 3 of Jimmy's career post season homeruns are of the leadoff persuasion.

Dodger shortstop, Rafael Furcal, who is usually tight on defense, made three errors in the 5th inning of game 5. This really took any wind out of the Dodgers' sails and put the Phillies up 5-0 at that point. There was no coming back for LA, as they lost 5-1.

Cole Hamels is your NLCS most valuable player. Through 3 post season starts, Cole has surrendered just 3 earned runs in 22 innings pitched. That is a 1.23 ERA. Cole will start game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday the 22nd.

Ryan Madson also deserves a lot of credit for having an outstanding post season. Through 7 post season appearances, "Mad Dog" has pitched 9 innings and has only allowed 1 earned run while striking out 6. Madson has really proven to be a solid bridge from the starters to the closer.

Geoff Jenkins's wife Jennifer gave birth to the couple's first son on Wednesday also. Justyce Tyler Jenkins arrived over 3 weeks early, at the same hospital that Chase Utley was born.

As for the World Series, have no phears. In a post game interview, Charlie Manuel congratulated Phillies phans and assured them that, "We gon' do it!"

Do it, Charlie. Do it, Charlie. And do it well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Advantage- Phillies


In the fourth game of the NLCS, the Phillies came from behind in the 8th inning with two 2-run homeruns to take the lead and hold on for a huge victory. Tonight's heroes were Matt Stairs and Shane Victorino again. Shane set a new Phillies record for RBI in one post season with 11. Matt Stairs said in a post game interview that he's made a career of coming off the bench with the approach of swinging for the fences. Stairs has 13 career regular season pinch hit homers and a .938 OPS as a pinch hitter. Shane-o's 2-run homer tied the game, and Stairs' 2-run monster shot put the Phils ahead for good.

Matt Stairs had the at bat of his life in this game. Phillies phans will love this guy phorever, based on this one moment. This go ahead homerun was Matt Stairs' Aaron-Rowand-busting-his-face-on-the-outfield-wall moment.

A third hero in game 4 was Chase Utley. Chase continues to contribute at the plate and made a very key defensive play in the 7th inning to hold the Phillies deficit to 2 runs. Utley made a hot grab on a Russell Martin liner, with the bases loaded, and turned it into a double play by diving, mit first, into the second base bag ahead of the runner. Through four games of this National League Championship Series, Utley's on-base percentage is .611.

Credit should go to Charlie Manuel for flipping Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino in the lineup. Manuel looks at match ups and uses his (large) gut to make these decisions. Werth and Shane both proved helpful in game 4's offensive performance. Manuel did a lineup switch with the same two guys for game 2 of the NLDS. Victorino hit a huge homer in that game also. You might recall...it was a grand slam off CC Sabathia.

The Phillies are now one win away from the World Series. With their ace, Cole Hamels, on the mound on Wednesday night, the Phillies can clinch that World Series berth. Hamels will face off against Dodgers hurler Chad Billingsley.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

LA wins one

Yeah, well I guess a sweep isn't the way Philadelphia sports phans are used to operating, so most of us should still feel okay. The Phillies are still in control of this series against the Dodgers.

For anyone who might be REALLY bummed after that loss...allow me to toss out something positive for you to hold onto tightly as you wait for game 4. The Phillies bullpen has pitched 12 2/3 innings in this series and has given up only 1 earned run. That is a 0.73 ERA. In the postseason, the Phils bullpen's ERA is 2.03.

And in case that actually gave you a boost, let me bring you back down by stating my feelings that Charlie Manuel is making a mistake by not using Cole Hamels in game 4 of this series, on 3 days rest. Using Hamels on Monday would allow Cole to pitch a potential game 7 of the NLCS, on Saturday. Phormer Beast, Jamie Moyer, is no longer an option to start again, versus the Dodgers. Moyer's spot would be up in the rotation for game 7. Joe Blanton is slated to start game 4 on Monday...and he'd have his usual 4 days rest if Charlie Manuel made the smart move to skip Moyer for a potential game 7.

Statement to ponder...2/3 of the lineup is weak and needs to get rolling. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz are 7 for 57 in this series combined. That would be a .123 batting avg. Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and Pat Burrell are a combined 10 for 28 (.357 avg.). Utley alone has been on base 8 out of 13 plate appearances.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

2 wins away from The Series...Destiny?


Brett Myers is having a remarkable post season. 3 hits at the plate in game 2 of the NLCS is historic. He's the very first pitcher ever to collect 3 hits in an LCS game. Brett has as many hits in two post season games as he did the entire 2008 season. He's also 2-0 on the mound this post season, and that's pretty nice also. That one TV sports network referring to Brett as "the Hit Man" might not be the greatest idea, based on his past, but we'll let it slide since he's the freaking man today and that one TV sports network usually spews garbage anyway, so we expect no less.

The Phillies learned prior to the game that manager Charlie Manuel's mother had passed away. Brad Lidge and the rest of the team wanted so much to win for Charlie. The team then learned, after the game, that outfielder Shane Victorino's grandmother had died. Shane's father kept the news from Shane until after the game. Victorino updated his blog, on mlblogs.com, and confirmed that he is not expected to miss a game in this series. He says his grandmother would want it that way, and Shane thinks Charlie's mom would feel the same. Victorino believes the deceased family members are watching over the Phillies now, and will help them win.

With this news, the similarities between this team and those 1996 Yankees are building up. In '96, Yankee Paul O'neil's mother passed away down the stretch, and manager Joe Torre's brother was in the hospital with a very serious ailment. That was a team that was destined for great things with intense determination. The 1996 Yankees went on to rally behind their families and win the World Series.

I'd like to toss the word destiny out there for you all to sip and swish. Let's hope it can be that.


Briefly back to Lidge...he continues to be PERFECT in save opportunities this year. He also continues to mix in some threats to that perfect streak, at times. Here's to Brad Lidge everybody!

The Phillies' likability phactor is increasing by the day. The national stage, the dynamic performances, the history, the family aspects...this could be Phillies Nation before we know it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to THE BAT


It's Pat the Bat's birthday. In the past two post season games, the birthday boy has hit 3 homers in important situations. In those past 2 games, Burrell is 5-for-7 with 5 RBI. Let's hope he can give all the phans a nice birthday gift today in game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

Also ready to heat things up is our boy, Chase Utley. Chase had 2 hits, with a 2 run homer in game 1 of the NLCS. These boys should keep it up.

Not a lot of time to give a thorough post here today...was out late last night at the game, and I'll be headed out shortly to game 2.

Your stat to ponder...In four of the five post season games this year, the Phillies have scored in only ONE inning. They've scored in just 7 of 42 possible innings on offense.

Phillies phans, holler if you hear me! Go, good guys

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Phinal Phour!


Congratulations to the Fightin' Phillies and all you Phans on advancing to the National League Championship Series. A best of seven series begins at 8pm on Thursday, in Philadelphia, against the Dodgers. Game 2, is scheduled for 4pm on Friday, also at home. All NLCS games will be broadcast on FOX.

The Dodgers have 3 coaches that are phormer Phillies. Dodgers 3rd base coach, Larry Bowa played as a Phillie and managed the team, of course. Bullpen coach Ken Howell was a Phillies pitcher in 1989 and 1990. And Dodgers first base coach, Mariano Duncan played with the Phils in the early 90's.

And on that note, here are some Phillies who used to be Dodgers...Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes is a former Dodger. Jayson Werth was with LA, before he signed with Philadelphia. And Shane Victorino is a product of the Dodgers' minor league system.

The Phillies are expecting Chase Utley to improve his performance at the plate in order to stand a chance at making it to the World Series. Combined for the 2007 and 2008 division series, Utley is 4-for-26 (.154 batting avg.) with 4 RBI, 4 walks, and only 1 extra base hit (a double in game 1 of 2008, that Mike Cameron should have caught).

The previous meetings of the Dodgers and Phillies this season have been duely noted. The Dodgers won all 4 games in Los Angeles, and the Phillies won all 4 games in Philadelphia. In the 4 games in Los Angeles, the Phillies lost two games by 2 runs, and lost two games by 1 run. In the games in Philadelphia, the Phillies outscored the Dodgers 27-5.

If Pat Burrell displays some more hotness in the post season, phans will surely be all over the Phillies' powers that be to get Burrell signed to a new contract. Burrell is a free agent after this season. The payroll is expected to really jump next year, with guys like Howard and Blanton eligible for arbitration. Burrell wants to stay, but will there be enough money left to pay him? One great day at the plate doesn't prove his worth though, so if Pat wants to be shown the money, he's got another series ahead to show his value.

Stats to ponder...Phillies' hitters are rather cold over their careers against the Dodgers.
Ryan Howard- .214 batting avg in 27 games. Jimmy Rollins- .239 avg in 53 games. Pedro Feliz- .217 avg in 99 games. Shane Victorino- .246 avg in 24 games. So Taguchi- .163 avg in 29 games. Chris Coste- .179 avg in 11 games. Greg Dobbs- .200 avg in 10 games. Eric Bruntlett- .160 avg in 18 games.

There's one Phillies offensive player who would absolutely qualify as HOT against the Dodgers. He's the man who needs to get on a roll, Chase Utley. Utley's got a .339 avg in 29 games against the Dodgers. Another Phil with solid success against LA is former Dodger, Jayson Werth- .323 avg in 11 games.

Other than Werth and Utley, the next highest career Phillie batting average against the Dodgers is Geoff Jenkins' .270 clip.

Friday, October 3, 2008

We've got a 2-0 series lead, and little bit of "Cooch"


We're having the opposite experience of what we lived through in the post season of 2007. My collection of rally towels will soon exceed the amount of strike outs that Ryan Howard gets in a season. TBS gave Carlos Ruiz a new nickname (formerly Chooch). I gave that Brewers guy one of my own..."Chokey Choke" Sabathia had gone 31 straight starts without giving up as many as 5 earned runs (he allowed 5 ER in 3 2/3 innings pitched in game 2). Shane Victorino hit the very first post season grand slam in Phillies history. The ESPNews ticker stat of the night that I couldn't ignore was....Utley & Howard combined- 0-for-7 with 6 strikeouts, in game 2.

Game 3 of the NLDS in Milwaukee will feature Jamie Moyer vs. Dave Bush.

Bush was 9-10 this season with a 4.18 ERA in 31 games. In 6 career starts vs. the Phillies, Bush has no decisions and a 5.88 ERA. Combined against Dave Bush, Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are 14-for-36 in their careers (.388 avg), with 6 homers, and 10 RBI. Those same three batters also have a combined career on-base percentage of .463 against Bush.

Meanwhile, Jamie Moyer's career stats against Milwaukee look like this...22 games, 9-5 record, 3.63 ERA. In addition to that, Moyer's road ERA this season is 2.92, with a 10-3 record in away games. Jamie, The Beast, has only 1 loss since the all star break, in 14 starts.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

En El Dee Ess


Happy October to all of you. Baseball playoffs are back in Philadelphia. Hip hip, hooray!!

Kole Hamels (yes, it is okay to spell it with a 'K') pitched one hell of a game 1 on Wednesday. 8 innings pitched, 9 strike outs, no runs allowed, 1 walk. As we've grown accustomed, Brad Lidge made the 9th inning quite exciting, but he is still perfect in converting save opportunities this year. Our Phillies have gone up 1-0 in the first round of the playoffs.

How 'bout an Ice Cold Brew to celebrate? The Brewers have now lost 5 straight games at Citizens Bank Park over the past 3 weeks. In those 5 games, the Brewers are 25-for-155...that's a .161 batting average. Surely, we all realize the Phils have missed the Brewers' best starting pitcher, C.C. Sabathia, in those 5 games. This evening's match up with Brett Myers facing Sabathia will be interesting. Myers threw a complete game 2 hitter against the Brewers back on September 14th. Sabathia was 2-2 with a 2.11 ERA in 6 September starts for the Brewers.

Here is an interesting tid bit that not too many people heard about this Brewers-Phillies series, so perhaps it is worth mentioning. Yovani Gallardo is the very first pitcher to ever start a post season game without a regular season record. Gallardo missed much of this season with a knee injury, and finished the regular season without a win or a loss.

For those of you who missed it, Mitch Williams threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to game 1 of the NLDS, and in classic "Wild Thing" style...he threw the pitch away, over the catcher's head. Great humor there by the Phillies' phormer closer.
Philadelphia police were on hand in full force for pre-game ceremonies, and an officer who was recently injured on the job also threw out a ceremonial first pitch. Mitch Williams removed his own jersey and gave it to the officer as a sign of respect.

It's quite possible that the best moment of game 1 came between innings. The Phillies promotions department staged a fake "Milwaukee Sausage Race". Those of you who are familiar with baseball, should be aware that the Brewers are famous for a game promotion where they have a Bratwurst, Sausage and Kielbasa race around the field, between innings. The most famous moment in wiener racing history, was phormer Phillie Randall Simon (who played for the Pirates at the time) whacking one of the particants with a bat as he passed the visitors' dugout. Yesterday's fake race, featured a fake Simon whacking one of the racers. The highlight of the race came when the leading frankfurter passed the Phils' dugout...the Phillie Phanatic emerged and executed a flying leap to tackle the lead racer to the turf. The Phanatic then completed the race and was crowned the winner. The eruption from the crowd was nearly as loud as when the Phillies' scored runs that day. Way to go, Phanatic. You will always be my phavorite Phillie!

One more note on my boy, Colbert, for ya. The last time the Phillies won a post season game, Cole Hamels was 9 years old.

Okay, gang...until next time, make sure you root-root-root for the Phill-ies! Because if they don't win, it will be a shame.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday notes




The Phillies are 2008 NL East Division Champions! Maybe you've heard that already, though.

Phormer Phillie Wes Helms hit a homerun on Sunday, for the Marlins, that ended the Metropolitans' season. I like it when that happens.

Brett Myers promised that the Phillies will not go "3 and out" this post season. I would like it if that happened.

TBS and/or MLB have switched the Phillies game 2 of the division series to a 6pm start time on Thursday. Wednesday's game one is slated for 3pm.

No huge pep rally in center city for the Phillies this year. Out of respect for Philadelphia police officer, Patrick McDonald, who was killed last week while on duty, the Phillies have elected to not burden the police dept. with additional duties this week. McDonald's wake and funeral will take place Monday and Tuesday. A smaller event will take place beginning 3 hours prior to game 1, on Citizens Bank Way. Details are forthcoming.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

High Hopes...post season schedule and roster


It's a week later and the Phillies have a 1.5 games lead in the NL eastern division. The Fightin' Phillies control their own fate. It's not 2007, where the good guys were trailing. It's 2008 and the bad guys have fallen behind.

According to the TBS web site, the first two days of the playoffs will include both National League games. Wednesday October 1st and Thursday October 2nd would be the first two games of the Phillies' post season. The NL wild card winner and the NL east division champ will determine who plays when and where. Should the Phillies win the east, and the Mets win the wild card, the Phillies would play the 2nd of three scheduled TV times for TBS's national broadcasts, against the west division winner. The game times would be 5pm or 6:30pm both days. If the Brewers win the wild card, the Cubs would not be able to play them in the first round, due to the rule of "wild card winners do not face the champ of their own division in the first round", so the eastern division champ would get the Brewers in the first round, and they'd play the first scheduled game time both days. Those games times would be either 1:30pm or 3pm. That second scenario would similarly apply if the Phillies win the wild card. The Phils would then play the Cubs in the early games on both days.

Alternating AL series will have the prime time game time of 8:30 or 10pm both nights. Both AL series will play on Friday, when both NL series will have an off day. Both NL series will resume Saturday, when both AL series are off.


And speaking of the post season, your question to ponder- which 25 Phillies would make the post season roster? Burrell, Myers, Hamels, Moyer, Lidge, Romero, Utley, Howard, Dobbs, Feliz, Coste, Durbin, Ruiz, Rollins, Shane, Werth, Jenkins and Madson are all locks. That is 18 guys. Fill in a few more with the likes of Eric Bruntlett, Matt Stairs, Joe Blanton, Scott Eyre and Rudy Seanez. The total goes to 23. Those last two spots...Clay Condrey? I say no. He is not needed, as Blanton could fill his righty role out of the bullpen. Adam Eaton? Definitely not. He is not needed anywhere in professional baseball, unless he'd like to act as an usher or grounds keeper. Greg Golson is not eligible, since he was a September call up. Kyle Kendrick, at this point, is not someone a playoff team should rely on.
1 extra hitter/runner and 1 additional reliever are needed on this roster. The additional pitcher should be "Jay" Happ. A third lefty reliever is smart to have going up against tightly managed teams in the playoffs. The additional offensive player will likely be So Taguchi. He can still run. I would have to think that if Golson was eligible, he might be the preferable choice over the weak bat and weak mit of So Taguchi.

In closing....what time is it? It, of course, is PHILLIES TIME!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Brewers and Mets are great.....for me to SUPPAN!

The Phillies completed a four game SWEEP of the the Brew Crew (by pounding Milwaukee pitcher, Jeff Suppan) on Sunday, the day rally towels returned to Philadelphia. Add to that some help from divisional rivals beating the Mets down, the Phillies have taken a lead in the playoff race. First, it was a tie for the Wild card lead, and after a win to start this week's series in Atlanta, the division lead.

A glance at the key competition: The Brewers are now 3-12 in September, and have fired their manager, Ned Yost. The Metropolitans have lost 4 of their past 5 games. And after starting the month on fire, the Astros have scored just 2 runs in their past 3 games, including a no-hitter thrown on Sunday, by Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs.

Statement to ponder: Big time NL awards will be in the future for two Phillies this year.
The league most valuable player award could reside in Philadelphia for a third straight year, as Ryan Howard makes a huge late season push for this honor. Howard, is scorching hot right now, and is having his 2nd best statistical month of his career. So far, in 14 games this month, Ry-Ho has 8 homers, 22 RBI, 21 hits, a .396 avg, and a 1.448 OPS. Howard has raised his batting average 15 points this month. In the last 4 seasons, Howard leads the majors in homers hit in September, with 38. Clutch.

Could the Cy Young Award return to Philadelphia for the first time since a bearded man nicknamed "Bedrock" rocked the 9th inning for the Fightin's? Brad Lidge is worthy of consideration here. Lidge is a perfect 37-for-37 in save opportunities, with a 2-0 record and a 1.96 ERA. He also has 82 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings pitched. In Lidge's 37 save opportunities, his ERA is 0.97. Clutch also.

Enough credit can not be given to Brett Myers right now. This year's opening day starter is really pitching like he is worthy of such an assignment. Since he returned from a stint in the minors in July, Myers is 7-2 with a 1.80 ERA in 80 innings pitched with 2 complete games. Myers has a 2.77 ERA at home this season...1.35 ERA at home since he returned from his demotion.

Tune in next time for more Phoul Ballz in your area. Until then- go, Phillies!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You gotta FLIP IT, so we can kick it!

Phans, your Phillies had some good luck yesterday. Sure, the game was rained out, but the Phillies still won FOUR important match ups yesterday. Tie breaker coin flips were announced and the Phillies won all four of their coin flips that decide the home team for tie breaker scenarios.

An NL East tie breaker would have the Phillies hosting the Mets in one game to decide the division winner. A wild card tie with St. Louis, Milwaukee or Houston would all be held in Philadelphia also.

Any other potential ties will be decided with flips on an as-needed basis.


Flipping topics on ya...I've always meant to devote some blog space to a matter that concerns a lot of baseball purists. The annual Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, NY has been discontinued. I've been to the Hall of Fame game, and it's a great weekend for fans. In addition, local businesses have depended on the Hall of Fame Game weekend's spike in business to succeed. Please check out the link that follows and follow up with the powers that be in order to save this baseball institution.

http://www.savethefamegame.com/


Brett Myers will make his next start on short rest, like Jamie "The Beast" Moyer did earlier this week. Myers is slated to start the night cap on Sunday's double header, against the Brewers' Jeff Suppan. In 10 starts since the all star break, Brett is 6-2 with a 1.90 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP ratio. Suppan has a 7.31 ERA in 3 career starts at CBP.

Until next time, go Fightin's!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Boo the Brew?


Well, folks...the Phillies are not helping themselves. 3.5 games behind the division leader. Tied with Houston (this year's "COLORADO ROCKIES!") 4 games behind the wild card leader. And the Phils have a 4-5 record so far in September. By comparison, the Mets are 6-2 this month...the Astros are 8-1 this month...the Brewers however are 3-7 this month, as they head to Philadelphia for a huge 4 game series starting Thursday the 11th.

The 5th starter role in the pitching rotation is high up in the air right now. If I had to guess who it will be pitching Sunday's series finale, I'd say Adam Eaton. I don't think that "Jay" Happ has shown enough to get the start. Consider also that the Brewers thrive against lefty starters, and the Phillies already have 2 lefties starting games in this series. The only positive spin I can put on this forecast is that Eaton has never lost to the Brewers. Eaton's career record vs. Milwaukee is 2-0 with a 5.24 ERA in 6 starts.

There is one more positive point to consider in all this 5th starter turmoil...this spot in the rotation needs only be used twice more, while, once Jamie "The Beast" Moyer resets the rotation order by starting on short rest to open the Brewers series, all the other starters will get 3 more starts each (except Myers, who pitched his first of three on the night I am writing this). The 5th spot can be skipped once, with the way the days off fall.

Stats to ponder for Brewers series...Mike Cameron, Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Bill Hall are a combined 8-for-48 (.167 avg.) against Cole Hamels. JJ Hardy and Ryan Braun are a combined 6-for-15 (.400 avg.) and each has homered against Hamels. Hamels is scheduled to start game 2 of this series on Friday, facing lefty rookie Manny Parra.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Giving myself the Barry Horowitz treatment


From time to time, this guy right here known as Jay Ballz is happy to give himself a little pat on the back.

Since my last post, where I suggested that Jimmy Rollins was just about to turn it on for the big playoff push, the reigning league MVP has performed like his old self. In the last 14 games, Rollins is 24 for 60 (.400 batting avg.) with 2 homers, 12 RBI, 8 runs scored and 10 steals.

Oh, pat on the back #2...my Brett Myers prediction seems to be holding true also. Tom Gordon not returning from the disabled list, did surprise me, however.

A big welcome back shout out goes out to every Phillies phan's phavorite Asian born player..."The Gooch" Tadihito Iguchi. Iguchi batted .304 in 42 games for the NL East Champion Phillies last season. Iguchi was released last week by the Padres, and won't be eligible for the Phillies' post season roster, should they clinch a post season berth. Konichiwa, Gooch.

Kyle Kendrick has been making a good case for his own removal from the Phillies' starting rotation. He is scheduled to start the 2nd game of the Phillies series against the Marlins tonight. Over his last 5 starts, Kendrick's ERA is 9.14. In 2 starts against the Marlins this season, Kendrick is 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA, 6 K's and 6 walks in 10 1/3 innings pitched.

My personal request of the day (to ponder)....can Lou Marson get some game action, please? The 2008 Paul Owens Award winner, as the Phillies' best minor league position player, has been with the team since the roster expanded on September 1st, but has not played in a game yet. I suppose Chris Coste's .265 batting average, and Carlos Ruiz's .228 batting average over the past month are so impressive that they can't be rested to make way for the rookie catcher, Marson.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dim Shady/Aftermath

Can I get a show of hands....who is tired of Jimmy Rollins right now? In a room full of me, I see everyone's hands raised. The MVP, who last year won all of our hearts by being outspoken with his desire to win the National League east title, has turned many people off with his same big mouth.

On Wednesday, August 13th, prior to the Phillies' game in Los Angeles, Rollins appeared on The Best Damn Sports Show Period and came down on the phans, when a host asked if the phans were as bad as they seem. Rollins called us "front runners". Well if we are phront runners, I suppose Rollins is not surprised that the crowds at CBP are not currently running with him.

In 11 games since that statement, Rollins is 4-for-46 (that's a .087 batting avg) with 0 RBI and just 3 runs scored. This month, Rollins is batting .191. Is that poor? Of course, it is. But let's not forget the month of August that Jim-Roll had in 2005. Remember 2005, when Rollins finished the season on a 37 game hitting streak? Yeah, well Rollins batted just .188 in August 2005. So, maybe this poor month he is having is a sign of outstanding things to come.

Then again, Jimmy's season homerun total near the end of August 2008, doesn't even match his season HR at the end of APRIL 2007 (8 so far in 2008, 9 in April '07). Won't the real National League Most Valuable Player please show up?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Righty loosey, Lefty tighty

Your statement of the week is not really to ponder. It's an assertion that should just be printed out and shoved in the face of Charlie Manual. The Phillies' right handed bats off the bench are lacking, and the team needs help.

Eric Bruntlett, who somehow gets starts at 3rd base, for the injured Pedro Feliz, against right handed pitchers instead of Greg Dobbs, is hitting a juicy .218 (41 for 188) this year. Bruntlett has 7 doubles, 2 homers and 13 RBI this season with a .601 OPS. Bruntlett has only 1 RBI since May 8th. Yes, ONE run batted in, in more than 3 months. Bruntlett has a .205 batting average vs. righties.

By comparison, Dobbs, a lefty, has already set the Phillies' single season record for pinch hits in a season, with 21. Dobbs against righties is hitting .311.

Another righty off the bench is So Taguchi. In 73 games, this year, So is batting .221 (17 for 77) with 5 doubles, no homers, 6 RBI and a .571 OPS. Taguchi has 1 extra base hit since May 26th.

Left-handed starting pitcher Cole Hamels unfortunately also BATS lefty. He has a .281 batting average this season. He is 16 for 57. Yes, phans...Cole Hamels has just one less hit than So Taguchi this season. Cole's OPS is even 26 points higher than So's.

Your combo of reserve righties, So T. and Eric B., have a combined .237 avg. since June 1st. Isn't there any righty bat the Phillies could aquire to get some help?

September call-ups (Lou Marson hitting .319, Jason Donald hitting .308, both right-handed batters) aren't very far away. But in the meantime, the Phils need to pull off a waiver deadline move to fill this hole.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Beasts From the East


Folks, your Phillies team is loaded with beasts. That is not a difficult statement to make, based on the all star level talent that is on this Phillies baseball club, but let's exclude those all stars. No Chase, no Ryan, no Jimmy, no Brad, and no Colbert. Think you've still got a team loaded with beasts? You may doubt it, but Jay Ballz is here to assure you that you do.

Beast #1...Jamie Moyer. The last time this 45 year old stallwart gave up more than 3 runs in a start was June 1st. Jamie has pitched more than 5 innings in all but 2 of his starts this year. And Moyer has a 2.84 ERA over his last 10 starts, since that June 1st game where he gave up 5 runs in 7 innings.

Beast #2...Jayson Werth (vs. left handed pitchers). Tonight, Jay-Dubya tied Chase Utley for the major league lead in homeruns hit against lefties, at 11. He also raised his OPS against lefties over 1.000. Werth has hit exactly half his career homers against left handers, in far less than half the at bats.

Beast #3a...Greg Dobbs as a pinch hitter. Already, with two months left in the season, Dobbs has tied the team record for pinch hits in a season, with 20 total. In 47 pinch hit at bats, Greg is batting .426 (20 hits) with a 1.089 OPS. Beast #3b...Greg Dobbs with runners in scoring position. With RISP, Greg is batting .355 with a 1.045 OPS. Beast #3c...Greg Dobbs at home. Roy Hobbs Dobbs at "the Cit" is a .365 hitter this year.

Beast #4...Shane Victorino in July. Shane hit 7 of his 9 total homeruns, and has 20 of his 38 total RBI, during July. The heat in recent weeks has helped Shane-o get hot, as he is hitting .340 with a 1.027 OPS, since the all star break. Shane's career July avg. is 69 points higher than his career June average.


All beasts aside, here's your statement to ponder. The Phillies' best additions for the stretch run won't come from a deadline, or waiver trade...they were on the Phils' opening day roster. Could the Phillies have added a "#1" starter via a trade, once CC Sabathia had be dealt? Nope. Was there really a hot veteran bullpen arm with solid postseason experience under his belt? Nah. But guess what, phans...Brett Myers and Tom Gordon will be/are back. Okay, okay...Myers is no Sabathia, but there are teams that would have liked to add Brett Myers to their team this time of year. And if Myers can get it together, and pitch like he did after the all star break in 2006 (the last time he started regularly for a full season) and get 7 wins, with an ERA under 4.00...most phans would approve. And of course there's "Flash" Gordon. Simply put...a veteran reliever, whose combined ERA over the last three Septembers is 2.70 is one that should be sought after. Be glad he's still on our side.