In Defense of Uncle Chuck

As players and managers prepare sleeplessly for the Grape Fruit League, the Phillies find themselves facing legitimate expectations. In order to meet these lofty goals, bean-counting management has again provided Charlie Manuel with a patchwork lineup.

Expecting more than five innings out of either Jamie Moyer or Kyle Kendrick is wishful thinking. And as for the 5th starter, well let’s just say I don’t think Johan Santana will get a lot of Cy Young competition from Adam Eat-Me.

Charlie Manuel will have to make a lot of moves this season, especially when you throw in a starting left fielder that becomes a defensive debacle waiting to happen- a risk that cannot be taken far after the sixth inning- and then have a defensive replacement’s weak bat in the heart of the Phillies’ order, so you either let a chump like So Taguchi try to protect Howard, or make another move, emptying the bench.

Especially considering that our new closer just re-injured his surgically repaired leg, and the fact that either the seventh or eight inning still belongs to Tom Gordon, who will give up a couple of key bombs before he gets injured, Charlie Manuel will again be forced to turn his line up card into a laundry list of scratch-outs, and ‘he’s-still-in-the-league?’ names.

Lucky, Uncle Charlie is pretty good at this. Continue reading

Brad Lidge: I’m Gonna Straight Up Murder Your Ass

And I quote myself exactly ten days ago:

“The only person with a real health issue is Brad Lidge who had off season surgery…but who needs a closer?”

Ha…ha…ha. Of COURSE the Phillies couldn’t have an injury or drama free camp. With the first pitch, THE FIRST GOD DAMN PITCH HE THROWS OFF A MOUND, Brad Lidge winds up getting his cleat stuck and tweaking his knee. Now, he’s getting his knee scoped today.

Is all hope lost? Of course not. In the past two seasons Tom Gordon has collectively thrown one great season of baseball. In ’06 his first half was fantastic (All-star worthy) and in ’07 his second half was just as good (maybe better). It’s just those parts of the other two seasons I’m worried about (you know, where his ERA was somewhere around 37). Like ozziecanseco said earlier: Brad Lidge, this is a good way to have yourself murdered in the city of Philadelphia. And not by the fans, but by your second basemen and center fielder.

i asked, chase answered

phillies beatwriter todd zolecki recently invited his blog-readers to submit questions for his sitdown Q&A with chase utley. yours truly submitted a question. not only did zolecki choose my question, it was his favorite

Question: There are two cages over a pit of lava and both are descending. In one cage there are blueprints for revolutionary emissions-free technology. In the other is Shane Victorino. You can only save one. Which one do you save? – Greg G., Washington, DC.
Answer: OK … I’m going to have to save my centerfielder. I’m saving my centerfielder, yes. I have his back. Hopefully he’d do the same for me.

The look on Utley’s face when I asked that question was priceless. If he thought I was crazy before, he certainly thinks so today. But give the guy credit, he rolled with the punches and answered the questions well.

the full transcript of the Q&A is here. audio is here.

seems that zolecki and utley both got a kick out of the question. makes me wonder if i should have sent them my follow-ups:

in all seriousness, i have victorino tied up in my basement. what are you prepared to do to get him back?

also, why won’t your sister accept my facebook friend requests?

i think i made the right decision.


note: this post also appears on my personal blog, beisbol, etc. check it out.

Howard satisfied with arbitration ruling; allowance stays the same

Chalk up a victory for Manchild in the courtroom today, as he took the Phillies to the cleaners in arbitration for ten MEEEEELLLLIIIIOOOONNNNN DOLLLARRRSSSS. I for one am happy for him; the Phillies substantially low-balled him last year in doling out a paltry 900k for his services, all the while he stood firm in believing he was worth more. The popular defense from the Phillies for that 900k was, “well that was the same thing they gave Pujols!” Yeah you tight-fisted bastards, in 2004. With baseball inflation (Barry Zito’s contract…hahahahahah), a good faith move by the Phillies to give him even an even million would’ve been the just thing to do (especially after the guy wins ROY and MVP in back to back years!). Continue reading

Statistical Fielding Heaven: Jeter worst SS, Utley amazing 2B, Mets below average…WAIT, WHAT!

In my daily read of FireJoeMorgan I came across this bit o’ gold
New York FencePost

CBS Sportsline

SAFE: Spatial Aggregate Fielding Evaluation

The last link is the official one of the study and contains all its math and numbers and don’t read it for too long or your head will explode oh my god OW. The numbers used are for the 2002-2005 seasons only and therefore a few notable players will be missing.

The study explains a few tidbits that help out in describing their standpoint:
“The central difficulty with fielding is that we are trying to evaluate players on a continuous playing surface where we must take into account not just whether a successful play was made, but whether a successful play was possible”
Wonderful, the notion of a successful difficult play, unsuccessful difficult play, successful play, unsuccessful play, or a Buckner are all taken into consideration. No more messing with silly little Fielding Percentage (based only on errors). Continue reading

National League MONSTER SQUAD

If I were to make an uber team of NL talent this year (and I’m not saying All-Star team, I’m talking well rounded team with role players not just huge contracts, *cough* Yankees) this is what it would look like. Mind you, I believe this is based on what they will do THIS season, not based on years past.

SS, Leading off-Jose Reyes Continue reading

Just Kidding Kyle, Your Life Isn’t Ruined

So yesterday, Kyle Kendrink found out that he was traded to a Japanese baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants.

The video shows him sitting stunned in his chair in Charlie Manuel’s office. His cheeks are flushed and he has a look of, why would they do this to me? in his eyes as he signs the contract. Poor kid. Just a rookie. And thus more susceptible to pranks. Continue reading

Carlos Beltran: ‘I have balls’ – Rest of Mets: ‘Nope, not here’

Seriously, guys, grow a pair.

As one of four teams (Tigers, Diamondbacks, Mariners are the others) that has made a change by acquiring one of the top players in the MLB, the Mets have a right to expect a definitive change for the better over last year. In fact they have a responsibility to back up fans’ expectations with nothing less than the NL East and hopefully more (especially since the jobs of Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph hinge on the results of 2008). A positive mindset certainly helps.

Mild Mannered Carlos Beltran, the oft-ignored all-star Mets center fielder, with the voice of a pubescent Mike Tyson, made a wonderful move when he became CARLOS BELTRAN, METMASTER AND MAN EXTRAORDINAIRE, and declared (expressly to J-Roll) that the Mets were the team to beat (unlike the end of last year when thats what other teams did do to them). In Spring Training 2007, JimRo made such a statement to the media and then backed it up by leading his team to the head of the NL and nabbing himself a much deserved MVP award. The Mets helped by collapsing like a bad soufflé in a horrible food analogy. Continue reading

Quick Phils Snippet

With the Flyer’s doing a fantastic job of ripping my heart out the past week, thankfully the Phillies pitchers and catchers reported to camp yesterday to temporarily distract me. Quick thoughts:

1) Ryan Howard surprised everybody and showed up early to camp, amidst a contract mini-feud with Phils GM Pat Gillick. This sends a good message to me that no matter what he’s ready to start hitting baseballs mindlessly. What sends an even better message to me is the noticeable vacancy of a gut he’s been sporting in years past. Looks like Manchild ate his Wheaties this winter.

2) A very loose squad. So loose that somebody printed up some of the best tee-shirts I’ve ever seen.

3) Most players are actually coming into camp…healthy. Hamels is operating at full capacity, thank-god-it’s-his-last-year Tom Gordon is 100%, Myers looks like he kept up his off-season workouts, Utley’s inability to stop working out is apparent, and Jamie Moyer is social security eligible in ten years. The only person with a real health issue is Brad Lidge who had off season surgery…but who needs a closer?

Special Valentine’s Day Article: Misremembering the Women in Our Lies

Can you imagine the conversation between Roger Clemens’ and his wife before the testimony on Capitol Hill? It was certainly a surprise, to me at least, that Clemens’ would find it plausible that the public would believe his account of the steroid use in his family. Maybe if he denied it one thing, but I know I am having a hard time trusting a man like Clemens, who find it’s permissable to indict his wife in his stead. “Oh Andy Petitte must have mixed us up,” I can hear him reasoning. “She also has a few Cy Youngs awards and a couple of World Series Rings.” Continue reading