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.