“$1.5 Million for one year? Really? We are talking about Jose Contreras right?” That’s what I thought when I saw we signed him this off season. Never mind the fact that we let Smoltz get away for less last year, or the fact that we, for reasons no thinking human seems to understand, stick with Brad Lidge as our closer. This is the one that boiled my blood. Then, I thought, “Maybe I should give him a chance. Maybe it’ll somehow work out.”
Then he pitched. I know it’s only preseason, but that also means he’s facing minor leaguers and hitters who are still battling timing issues. He has a few weeks head start on them as well. I know I’m no expert, but last I checked a 14.73 ERA, 8 hits, 6 earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched is not exactly “getting it done”.
Thank god for Roy Halladay. 24 pitches, 21 for strikes, 3 K’s, 0 hits, 0 balls hit out of the infield in his debut agains the yankees. Yeah, that will work.
So, the headline was obviously a play on the beer Shane involuntarily drank as he caught the ball at the wall. First of all, I hope they did eventually get the RIGHT fan, and I hope he gets banned from the park. Second of all, I want to commend Shane on great concentration and even better professionalism to let security handle it and get back to baseball.
As for Pedro….
WOW! I wasn’t expecting that, to be honest. He hit 93 on the gun, had the ability to punch out the best hitters in the lineup (5 k’s) and only walked one. He also threw 99 pitches without showing extreme wear. Pretty good for a first outing against a dangerous lineup. As a phan, I not only hope this keeps up for our W.S. chances, but as another opportunity to rub something in the face of the Mess…I mean…the Mets.
To breakdown what I thought, I was extremely happy with his velocity and confidence. He backed a few people off the plate, which shows his confidence in placement. However, he let a few fastballs tail back over the middle of the plate to right handed hitters, and got lucky at times. Overall, I was expecting a C+ outing and got an A. I’m really pleased, as I’m sure all phans are.
The offense finally came around like we all knew it would. The wind certainly did help, just ask Raul Ibanez. His popup resulted in a 3-run homer!
Pedro walking off after one of five k’s:
Once again we handed over a 1 run game to Brad Lidge. Once again, he blew it. Can he just get through one inning without putting runners on? To quote Phillies.com “He is 0-4 with an ERA of 7.29, which is the highest ERA of any reliever in baseball. His 75 percent saves completion percentage is the third-worst in the Majors.” Isn’t your closer supposed to be “shut-down”? I mean, 7.29 is almost averaging one earned run an inning. Most save situations are one run games. You do the math.
I supported Charlie as he decided to try to let him work through it and catch momentum. However, here we are in the last half of the season and its not getting any better. Time to look at Madson for the role. If not Madson, JP romero. Lidge, however, is mentally broken. The Astros saw how he can’t repair his mind once beaten, and that’s why they dealt him to us. We looked like geniuses when he was unhittable last year. Unfortunately, this is not last year. When he’s confident, he’s sick, but he’s anything but confident this year. What’s more, hitters have learned to layoff that breaking slider in the dirt, and he hasn’t figured out another way to get them out. It’s messy. Let’s pull the plug. I almost believe he’d welcome the opportunity off the hot seat. To not be a total negative nancy, I’m really glad to see the Phils grit it out and get the win. Ben Fransisco came through and I’m happy for him. Now if we can start swinging the bats like we all know is possible, we’ll be alright.
It’s not often I can say this, but “I WAS RIGHT!”. The Phils coaching staff decided that Jaime Moyer is the odd man out to make room for Pedro. I think its the right move. Now, I totally expect Pedro to get rocked. However, its not like Jaime doesn’t get rocked most nights. I just hope they give it a chance and don’t freak out when Pedro gives up like 10 runs in his first outing, which I’m sure he will. Anyway, I was right, I was right, I was right!
So, Shane Victorino is by far my favorite player. I had his jersey special ordered when he was a substitute player for the Phils in 07. I love his heart, his effort, and most of all, his passion. That passion is what got him tossed, in what has to be the first time I’ve ever seen, from his post in center field. Apparently he wasn’t having fun getting walloped 12-3. Apparently, he too thought the home plate umpire was being a little unbalanced with his balls & strikes. He made a few frustrated arm movements, and BAM! His first ejection. I think there is nothing wrong with this. The umpire is right. He can’t show him up like that. Shane is right…someone needs to be the spark plug to ignite more passion. It played out like it should have. Most of all, it was entertainment in an otherwise painful game to watch. Hopefully the Phils will come out a little more energetic in their next game.
As for the recent sweep and slump…I’m not overly concerned. Would I rather we be winning? Of course. However, all teams have peaks and valleys, streaks and slumps. The way I see it we are using up one of those inevitable slumps. That means its less likely (by my terribly faulty logic) that we’ll hit one of those slumps in the playoffs. Besides, the Dodgers are slumping horribly too, so now is as good a time as any. We’ll rebound. I’m confident. Have you looked at our roster? We’ll be just fine. As Charlie always says, “no panic”.
So the Phillies are apparently discussing the possibility of a 6-man rotation. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to mention how terrible that idea is. Why would we go out and get Cliff Lee, while having Hamels, Happ, and Blanton and decide to not maximize the amount of starts these studs have? How strange is it that went from the team that has no pitching to the team that has too much pitching? What a great problem to have. However, let me help you “keep it real”. See how I sounded hip there? Anyway, we really don’t have 6 MLB-level starting pitchers. I know we all love the Jaime Moyer story, and I can understand that. He hung on for another year (God only knows why), he somehow currently has the most wins on the team (10), and this is likely his swan song (God, I hope). Honestly looking at things, though, sheds light on the fact that we’ve been good to Jaime and its time to say, “Thanks for your service, have a seat in the Pen”. I mean, he’s got the second worst starting pitching ERA in the league at 5.55 or something. I know there are a lot of stats and measurements to go by, but I don’t see any more valuable than ERA and I never will. As for Pedro, he’s not lighting it up either, but no walks and 11 punch outs in his latest, 6-inning class AA effort are encouraging. I think his arm would likely be more valuable to the starting rotation than Moyer’s. At least if you put Jaime in the bullpen his 80 mph fastball would seem like a crazy changeup after 7 innings of true fastballs by the likes of Pedro, Happ, Hamels, Blanton, and Lee. I mean, you see Jaime Moyer the first time, and you may swing and miss due to how strange of an at bat he is compared to other pitchers you face daily. You see him the second time in a game, it may go yard. Third time, it should go yard. He still may have value as likea 7th inning reliever. Don’t forget that Rodrigo Lopez was doing just a fine job while he was given the opportunity to start. We’ll be getting Brett Myers back soon. While Ryan Madson has gotten comfy in his setup role, he could always return to the rotation as well. Those two are the two biggest odd men out, but still could play into the equation. By the way, thank God that Ruben Amaro finally stood up and said J.A. Happ would stay in the rotation. He’s clearly better than Hamels this year. Lee has been phenomenal, as has Blanton, but Happ just goes out and deals every single night and always puts up low numbers. Now, once we get this situation solved, we may want to look at why Brad Lidge, our highest ERA guy (7+, not a typo), is still our closer. Ugh…it’s enough for any Phillies fan to pull his/her hair out (if my father had any left, he’d be yanking it right now…he seems obsessed with this frustration). To be positive though, we certainly do have much better arms than we have had in a while and we are certainly pretty dangerous. Down with the Dodgers!
The internet now has another blogger. That’s about as needed as another name getting leaked off of “The List” of the 2003 “anonymous” PED testing results. Anyway, here I am, and I plan to come hard. While my mind conjures “coming hard” as a fastball on the black, it will most likely resemble the fastball of Jaime Moyer, also known as the changeup of Cole Hamels. I mean really, its the same pitch, isn’t it? Anyway, I’ll post again soon.