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.