I know, I haven’t posted much lately. It’s just that there’s not a whole lot going on right now, baseball-wise, and there’s been plenty of non-baseball holiday preparations to keep me busy. Oh sure, the off-season signings are starting up, but the addition of Brian Schneider and Placido Polanco to the Phillies’ roster is not exactly ground-shaking news.
Schneider will serve as backup to Carlos Ruiz. He’s practically a hometown boy, having grown up in the Allentown area. Schneider spent the past two seasons with the Mets, so hopefully he will quickly cleanse himself of all Mets-cooties before Spring Training begins.
Welcome Brian, and good luck to you this year!
Polanco is no stranger to Philly, having played second for the Phils from mid-2002 until mid-2005. He will be replacing Pedro Feliz at third. Though he does not possess the power normally associated with third basemen, he rarely strikes out – over the past five seasons, just once in every 17.5 plate appearances! Second best in the majors over that time span! What a refreshing change that will be from certain other Phillies who will remain nameless.
Welcome back, Placido! I wish you and your amazingly round head good luck this year also!
In more disturbing news, former Phillie fan favorite (or should I say “phan phavorite”?) Chris Coste has crossed over to the dark side, oops, I mean signed with the Mets. Bleh!
Yesterday, I started thinking about the old Michael Keaton film, “Multiplicity”. Keaton’s character doesn’t have enough time to get everything done, so he finds someone who will clone him. Hilarity ensues, of course, but eventually he realizes that cloning is not the perfect answer he thought it would be.
But what if it could be done? What if, for instance, we could have cloned Cliff Lee during the postseason?
Instead of this four-man rotation:
the Yankees could have faced a rotation of Cliff Lees (let’s call them Number 1, Number 2, Number 3, and Number 4).
We could even make a Number 5, to fill out the rotation during the regular season.
But how to do this? I came across this product online:
Cloning Gel. Hmm. Just rub it all over Cliff, and a new Cliff magically grows?
Unfortunately, the tiny print indicates that it is “rooting & propagation gel” and “stimulates root development for all cuttings”. The thought of Cliff growing roots seems detrimental, and removal of a “cutting” might not be a good idea either. I guess the cloning idea is just wishful thinking, though I’m sure Jenn wouldn’t mind trying to clone Chase Utley by rubbing gel on him. 😉
The Phillies are getting on my nerves. After Tuesday’s exciting win over the Dodgers, which included Jayson Werth’s steal of home, they dropped the next two games by scores of 9-2 and 5-3. The offense has looked particularly uninspired in the losses.
Jamie Moyer, who started Wednesday’s game, is starting to look like a 46-year-old out there. Moyer gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. The offense was only able to muster one run off of L.A. starter Randy Wolf, who is not exactly a flame-thrower.
On Thursday, Cole Hamels pitched well, giving up two runs over seven innings (one earned, one not), but got little run support. The Phillies rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, but lost the game in the tenth.
Just for fun, I decided to take a look at the starting pitchers’ ERAs. Egads! The lowest of the bunch is Brett Myers, with an ERA of 4.81. Not exactly stellar. After Brett, in order of crapitude, are Cole Hamels (5.04), Chan Ho Park (6.00), Joe Blanton (6.82), and Jamie Moyer (8.15).
I will let those numbers speak for themselves.
To be fair, Hamels’ and Park’s last two starts have been vastly better than their earlier efforts. If only I could say the same about the remainder of the rotation.
Moving on, the Phillies are in Washington for a weekend series against the Nationals, which includes a day-night double-header on Saturday to make up the rainout from the beginning of the season.
The Phillies are also making their rescheduled visit to the White House today, which is probably occurring at this very moment, as I am typing.
I’ll close today with one of my better photographic efforts from last season, just because I think it’s a good picture, and I haven’t had a reason to use it in any other posts. And I didn’t have a blog last summer, either.
Taken during a game on July 27, Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar slides home just ahead of the tag by Chris Coste. The Phillies ended up winning that day, 12-10. If only I knew a way to digitally remove Joe Blanton from the picture!
(photo by me)
Friday at the Phillies training camp in Clearwater had quite the photo shoot, featuring the team, manager, and coaches decked out in tuxedos, posing with the World Series trophy. Here’s a picture of them that ran in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer, as they get ready for the shoot:
The final shot will grace the cover of Phillies Magazine. To maintain exclusivity, only the official photographer was allowed to participate in the actual shoot. There is a video, parts of which are pretty funny, showing the players getting ready for the photo. Since I don’t know how to link video into my posts, here’s a link to the story on phillies.com.
What’s actually pretty amazing is that 23 out of 25 of the guys on the World Series roster are still Phillies this year. Only Pat Burrell and So Taguchi are no longer with the Phils – Pat of course having signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent, and Taguchi is a non-roster invitee of the Cubs this spring.
Many of the players and coaches had not worn a tux since their wedding day, and for Chris Coste it had been even longer. He last wore a tux to his high school prom, having gotten married while wearing a baseball uniform! Here is a picture of that special moment, from his book The 33-Year-Old Rookie:
Other Spring Training tidbits
Marcus Giles, a non-roster invitee, has been working out at third base. He could get some time there while Pedro Feliz continues to recover from off-season back surgery. Right now, Feliz’s status for opening day is uncertain.
According to pitching coach Rich Dubee, Adam Eaton “will get his time on the mound” even though he is not in the running for the fifth starter’s position. One can only hope that he will pitch well enough this spring to draw some trade interest.
Will Eaton go down as one of the worst Phillies signings ever? Let’s see, a three-year, $24.5 million contract, and what do we have to show for it? A record of 14 wins and 18 losses, an ERA hovering around 6.10. You decide.
On My Reading List
My Amazon shipment finally came on Thursday (yay!), with Jane Heller’s Confessions of a She-Fan and Joe Torre’s The Yankee Years. I have to say that when I was placing my order, it just felt kind of, oh, wrong to be ordering two books about the Yankees, being that I’m not a Yankee fan. But I do have other non-Phillie books, so I got over it.
Hmm, which to read first? I decided on Jane, and cracked open the book as soon as I took it out of the box, while standing in my kitchen. I was laughing (well, snorting – I tend to do that when I laugh) out loud by page 2! I’m trying not to read it too fast – I want to savor it.
If any of you other she-fans out there haven’t gotten it yet – what are you waiting for!? In fact, I think it’s easier to appreciate when you aren’t a Yankee fan – you don’t have to relive all the heartbreak of the 2007 season along with Jane. I’ll give a more in-depth review once I’ve finished it.
(tux photo by Eric Mencher, Philadelphia Inquirer; Coste photo by Julie’s Photography, from The 33-Year-Old Rookie; Eaton photo mine)