Category: Dailies

Hey Joe

Yes, I’m talking to you, Joe Blanton.

I was kind of hoping that in your second start of the season, against the Nationals, you might bounce back a bit from that less than stellar game against the Mets last week.

Silly me.

Instead, you gave up 5 earned runs in 6 innings, and after two starts, your ERA is an unattractive 10.45. Yes, I know it’s still early in the season, so there’s plenty of time to turn it around. I suggest you start rectifying this situation during your next start, on Sunday afternoon.

I’ll be watching.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In what is becoming a curious trend, the Phillies dropped the first game of their series against Washington, and then came back to win the next two.

This time, it was Joe Blanton who was not sharp in game one (see above). Additionally, he gave up a home run to ex-Phillie Jayson Werth, resulting in my breakfast the next morning being disturbed by the sight of Werth on the front page of the newspaper. Echh.

Roy Halladay took the mound for game two, and had the Nationals shut out through eight innings (yay!). He flirted with disaster in the ninth, giving up two runs, but managed to escape intact for the complete game victory, as the Phils prevailed 3-2.

Also in this game, Washington starter John Lannan faced Ryan Howard with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, and proceeded to hit Howard on the wrist, driving in a run. Lannan, if you recall, was the pitcher who hit Chase Utley a few years ago, giving him a broken hand.

Yo, John Lannan, stop hitting my Phillies!

For his career, Lannan has faced the Phillies 12 times, going 0-9 with a 5.80 ERA. The Nationals have lost 11 of those 12 games. So bring him on some more! Just let me wrap the players in bubble wrap first. πŸ™‚

Not to be outdone, Cliff Lee finished off a complete game of his own the next night, as the Phils won 4-0.

I think I could get used to this whole “Four Aces” thing. πŸ™‚

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I often find myself wondering about some of the photos MLB chooses to use in the slideshows for each game. For example, why use this one?

my wallet is this big.jpgThe caption states that “The Nationals’ Jayson Werth gestures to teammates on the field during the ninth inning.”

Gesturing about what? Trying to cue the musical accompaniment for a dramatic ninth inning rally? The size of the proverbial “one that got away”? Or maybe the size of his wallet now that the Nationals have grossly overpaid for his services?

I’m sure you readers can come up with something good! Leave a comment if you have an inspired caption to share.

Two Out of Three (x 2) Ain’t Bad

No, taking two out of three from both the Mets and the Braves ain’t bad at all; in fact, I’d say it’s very good.

(and darn it, now there’s another song stuck in my head! Last week, it was AC/DC, now it’s Meat Loaf)

In both series, the Phillies dropped the first game when one of the four aces wasn’t very ace-like. Cole Hamels stunk it up against the Mets last Tuesday (Note to Cole: Giving up two hits to the opposing pitcher in the same inning is never a good idea) as the Phillies lost 7-1. Cliff Lee obviously did not have his best stuff in a 6-3 loss to the Braves.

Cole was able to redeem himself yesterday, going seven strong innings against the Braves as the Phillies won, 3-0.

In the second game against the Mets, Joe Blanton very nearly managed to lose the game after blowing a seven-run lead (Note to Joe: Please don’t do that again. Ever.). Joe was saved from a loss by four scoreless innings from the bullpen, and some timely hitting from the offense for a 10-7 win.

Both series also featured the stress-relieving blowout, courtesy of the Roys. Well, stress-relieving for me, not fans of the opposition. Roy Halladay pitched the Phils to a 11-0 rout of the Mets, and Roy Oswalt got his first-ever regular season win over Atlanta in a 10-2 butt-whuppin’.

Let’s hope the Phils can maintain that momentum, as they head to Washington following today’s off-day.

Funny Photo of the Week

Brad Emaus looks like he’s trying to do a little dance last Thursday (Note to Brad: don’t try out for Riverdance anytime soon).

do a little dance copy.jpg

(photo credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Don’t know if he made a little love and got down that night.

Aack! More 70’s music is getting stuck in my head! Must…make it…stop!

He’s Got Big Balls

Well, a big ball.

big ball.jpgSaw this photo about a week or so ago, and for the rest of the day had that old 70’s-era AC/DC song stuck in my head. Did you know that none of their songs are available for purchase on iTunes? Annoying but true. They apparently believe that their albums are works of art meant to be heard in their entirety, and that if they allowed them to be sold on iTunes, people would pick and choose just the songs they wanted. Well, duh! Of course we would! There are some artists I could understand that argument from, but AC/DC is not one of them.

But back to the ball.

I didn’t even know Rawlings made them this big. I suppose the larger size does confer certain benefits – more room for autographs, easier to sign a really long name like Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

But how do you display it? It won’t fit in those little plastic cubes. And it’s not exactly the handiest thing to carry around with you – it would be a bit difficult to stow that baby in your pocket.

After yesterday’s off day, the Phils host the Mets tonight, so tomorrow I should (hopefully) have something more substantive to ramble about. πŸ™‚

Opening Weekend – Home Sweep Home

OK, so I borrowed that little cliche from the Philadelphia Inquirer, who informed us this morning that the Phils’ sweep of the Astros marked the first time since 1970 that the team has begun a season with three home wins.

What a great way to start off a highly anticipated season of Phillies baseball!

Last Friday, though, I was feeling more apprehension than anticipation. First, it was April Fool’s Day, which just doesn’t strike me as a good day to begin the baseball season. Second, upon awakening that morning, I was greeted not with warmth and sunshine, but with the sight of snowflakes falling outside. Not just any snowflakes – giant, mutant snowflakes that began sticking to things. Third, the Phillies were facing the Astros, who are – get this! – the only NL team with a winning record against the Phils since 2004, and owners of a gaudy 16-7 record at Citizens Bank Park during that span (!). OK, so now it’s 16-10, but still…

But we had Roy Halladay on the mound, while they countered with Brett Myers. This seemed like a good thing. Roy is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and Brett Myers is, well, Brett Myers.

Halladay breezed through the first eight Astros batters, but then Brett Myers – Brett Myers! – singled for the first Astros hit of the game. Myers would get another hit in the fifth, so of the five hits Halladay surrendered, two of them were to the opposing pitcher.

As if that weren’t painful enough for me to stomach, Myers was the one who looked more ace-like, needing only 85 pitches though 7 innings, while Halladay threw 101 in 6. Still, Halladay had given up only one run.

Then the bullpen got into the game, and promptly gave up three more runs. With the Astros up 4-0 in the seventh, some of those watching at home may have given in to the urge to turn off the TV, thus saving themselves from further distress.

upset_stomach.jpg
O ye of little faith.

Make that me. Yes, it pains me to admit that I turned it off. I couldn’t bear to watch anymore! I later found out that the Phillies cut the lead in half in the bottom of the seventh, and then staged a ninth inning comeback with a barrage of singles to end up winning 5-4.

Thankfully, the next two games of the series were much less stressful to watch. πŸ™‚  Cliff Lee struck out 11 as the Phils won, 9-4; Roy Oswalt was victorious over his old team in a 7-3 win for the Phils.

Today is an off day, and tomorrow the Mets come to town, facing fourth ace Cole Hamels to start off a three-game set. C’mon, Cole, let’s keep that momentum going!!

Be Gone, Damn Bug!

The Phillies closed out their Grapefruit League play today with a 7-6 win over the Astros, and will now head north to prepare for Friday’s season opener against those same Astros. In addition to leaving behind sun and warmth (both of which seem to be in short supply around these parts), let’s hope they also leave behind the proverbial injury bug.

The Phils’ spring clubhouse seems to have suffered a heavy infestation – Domonic Brown is out following surgery on a broken bone in his hand; Chase Utley was sidelined the entire spring with a creaky knee, with no timetable for his return to action; and Brad Lidge is likely to go on the DL with pain in his shoulder.

Additionally, Jose Contreras missed a couple days with a scratched cornea, Placido Polanco hyperextended his elbow, and Shane Victorino and Roy Oswalt luckily avoided serious injury after running into Raul Ibanez, and being hit in the back of the neck with a line drive, respectively.

Enough already! Be gone, damn bug!

But “bug” is a vague word. Is the injury bug an insect-bug?
cartoon_bug.jpg
Or a bacteria-bug?
nasty-germ-microbe-thumb9823188.jpg
Do we need to call in an exterminator?
exterminator1.jpg
Or a vaccinator?
oz-5-cartoon-doctor-0809-lg-60642129.jpg
At the moment, I don’t care which it is, I just want this team healthy! Right now!

Everybody Wants One

I want one too.

chooching owl.jpgI’ll ignore the blatant typo (“choocing”? doesn’t anyone proofread before they send this stuff out en masse to untold numbers of email subscribers?). I’ll also ignore the fact that the artist’s rendering doesn’t really look like an owl – maybe more like a feathered werewolf-Ruiz.

Speaking of feathers, here is how it is described in the email I received earlier today:

Ruiz, who has become a staple in the Phillies lineup, and one of the most popular players over the years, will look like an owl and will “Chooch” at the push of a button. The “Chooching Owl” will feature the face of Carlos Ruiz on an owl, complete with feathers, and the number 51 on its back. Normally, owls “Hoot”, but perhaps the best part of the giveaway is the fact that the “Chooching Owl” will say the word “Chooch” – Ruiz’s familiar nickname.

It’s goofy. It’s quirky. It’s kind of strange-looking. I must have it!

Note that this giveaway is not until August 2, and here they are, over 4 months in advance, already enticing us to buy tickets.

The Reading Phillies (or as they like to refer to themselves, the R-Phils) tempted me like this last year, with the Ryan Howard Garden Gnome. You may recall that my gnome-quest turned into a bit of a fiasco (for me, not the R-Phils).

[If you don’t feel like clicking on the link to read about that particular experience, suffice it to say that my family left gnomeless that night.]

Will the Chooching Owl be this year’s version of the Ryan Howard Garden Gnome? Check back in August, and I’ll let you know how we fared.

The Pains of Being Kyle Kendrick

First came the elaborate prank in Spring Training of 2008, when Kyle was fooled into believing that he’d been traded to a team in Japan.

Then came trips to the minors, trips to the bullpen, and being left off the postseason roster.

Most recently, he was the odd man out when the Phils signed Cliff Lee, giving them six starters to fill five rotation spots.

Now comes this indignity:

faceless kendrick.jpg
Really, Inquirer, you couldn’t find a picture of Kendrick that didn’t have the ball over his face?