Results tagged ‘ Tom Gordon ’

Where Is The Love?

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Ruben Amaro Jr. is off to a great start; well, a great start in totally confusing and possibly pissing off Phillies fans everywhere!  Amaro & company declined to offer arbitration to ANY of the four eligible players, including Jamie Moyer and Pat Burrell.  I expected as much for Tom Gordon and Rudy Seanez, but the other two are surprising.  By not offering arbitration to Moyer or Burrell, they have just given every other team in Major League Baseball a super incentive to sign them:  If you sign a player who has NOT been offered arbitration, then you do not have to give up any draft picks when signing that player away from his current team.  And in the same respect, the Phillies will get nothing if another team picks up one of our players.  So I ask then, where is the love for Moyer & Burrell?

The other side of this is that if Moyer or Burrell were actually to go to arbitration, they may have gotten salaries beyond what the Phillies want to pay for them.  I guess after getting burned on Ryan Howard’s arbitration last year where he was awarded 10 million dollars, they did not want to take this risk.  But I also think that not offering the arbitration may be sending a signal to these players that management does not mind so much if they do not return to the Phillies; and that may turn out to be a real issue.  It also makes signing new players more difficult.  For example, both A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe (pitchers) were offered arbitration by their teams.  So, the Phillies will lose draft picks if they decided to sign one of these guys.  And since they now gain nothing for losing Moyer to another team, they will be unlikely to sign a guy to replace him, like Burnett or Lowe, who has been offered arbitration.  If they did that, they lose draft picks and Moyer…it’s a double blow.

Last week, the Phillies did sign veteran reliever Mike Koplove; a 32-year old with a career ERA of 3.82 in the majors.  However, they expect him to spend a lot of time in AAA, as he did for most of his career.  So, why do the Phillies sign a 32-year old minor leaguer?  For the same reason they skipped arbitration for Moyer and Burrell this year – the Phillies management are CHEAP.  I guess they figured we won our World Series and that will be enough for the next 28 years.

Now say it with me everyone…take a deep breath and let it out….UUGGHHHHHH!!!!!!

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Phillies Pen Strikes Again

The Phillies did everything wrong in this game: bad defense, no offense to speak of, the starter ruined an otherwise good performance by walking the bases loaded with no outs before they pulled him and the bullpen blew the lead again.  End result:  Phillies lose to the Cubs again, 3-2.  Home plate umpire, BWelke_glassesill Welke had a bad game as well.  His strike zone was consistently inconsistent.  The rest of the crew blew several calls in the field too, including calling Ryan Howard out in the 7th when he was safe and it cost the Phillies a run.  I am not sure what kind of benefits these umpires get, but I hope the League will invest in a comprehensive vision plan…these guys all need glasses!

Umpiring aside, it is going to be very difficult to win games when you are only managing to get 6 hits in a game, and 2 of those were from Pat Burrell, who has been struggling.  Every Phillies player who stepped to the plate today looked like they were swinging at a single grain of rice.  They just couldn’t find the ball.  The offense as a whole struck out 9 times and left 10 men on base.  Maybe the team should join Bill Welke and his umpiring crew on their way to the Eye Doctor; they can all get matching glasses.

Add to this, the bullpen blew ANOTHER lead!  Right about now, I am really missing Tom Gordon.  He had his issues, but last year in late August and September, he stepped it up and took care of business.  Clay Condrey should never be put into close games like this; he just hasn’t been able to avoid the long ball and today, Alfonso Soriano took him deep to give the Cubs the lead.  Scott Eyre came in earlier in the 6th to take over after Joe Blanton walked the bases loaded with no outs and I was expecting better out of him.  He walked the first batter he faced, walking a run in and tying up the game.  Eyre had a great chance to show up his former team and he failed miserably.  Blanton was solid through the previous 5 innings, giving up only 1 run, but the 3 walks in the 6th really put the Phillies in an awful jam, and Eyre could not get out of it.

Charlie Manuel spoke on the radio before today’s game and said essentially that he does not feel like he has anyone who can pitch the 8th inning.  He talked about how the 8th is so much different than the 6th or 7th innings.  I’m sorry, what exactly is the BIG difference?  If your job is to get 3 outs, it should not matter what inning it is; just get the outs.  What this tells me is that we have a bullpen full of guys who cannot handle pressure.  Because that is the only real difference with the 8th inning: pressure.  And that goes back to a point I made several days ago – these coaches have to stop babying these pitchers!  Let them develop a backbone because if they can’t deal with pressure, they can’t pitch in the major leagues.  And as for Charlie’s 8th inning dilemma, just hand it over to JC Romero and be done with it.  If he knows ahead of time that he is the 8th inning guy, he will perform.  He is the one guy in that pen that can definitely handle the stress.  The only time you see Romero get really frustrated is when he gets put in for one batter and knows he won’t be allowed to finish the inning.  This guy wants to prove himself and he wants to pitch – let him have the 8th!

Best we can hope for now is a split with the Cubs, but even that seems like a very tall mountain to climb with the way this team is going.  Here’s hoping…

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Phils Add Joe Blanton to Pitching Staff

Calling him a “workhorse” in their trade headline, the Phillies added right hander Joe Blanton from the A’s to the line-up in exchange for minor league prospects Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman and Matthew Spencer Blanton.jpgyesterday.  I suppose “workhorse” is fitting for a guy who comes in at 6’3″ and 255 lbs.  I hope they have stocked the fridge in the clubhouse.

Kidding aside, let’s get to the numbers.  Blanton arrives in Philly with a 4.96 ERA and a 5-12 record…so far, I am not doing cartwheels over here.  Also, he has only had 4 quality starts in his last 10.  Even Adam Eaton has had 6 in his last 10.  Is this supposed to be an upgrade?  Ok, well the good news is that last year he posted a record of 14-10 with an ERA of 3.95…let’s hope his second half is closer to the 2007 results.  Maybe the change of scenery will do him good.  Perhaps they were just not feeding him enough in Oakland and he was grouchy?  He did beat the pants off the Phillies on 6/24…let’s see if that guy can show up for every start.

Many unanswered questions left here though…will Eaton be released or sent to the pen?  Will JA Happ be back?  What happens when Tom Gordon comes back?  Is Myers still coming back to start on the 23rd?  Ok, my brain hurts…we shall see!  Big game tonight as the Mets won yesterday…Phillies need this one to stay in first place.  Go Phillies!

Error’s Hand The Series Over To The Cards

A very ugly loss today which I am sure has resulted in a very quiet ride back to Philly for this team, left stunned by the events of the 10th inning in their 7-6 loss to the Cardinals.  With 2 outs and a tie game, Chase Utley had the chance to put the inning away, but botched the throw to Tom Gordon who was covering first base.  The inning continued.  Tom Gordon gives up a hit to the next batter and we have 2 men on.  The next batter hits nearly the same shot again between Utley and Howard; Utley fields it, leaving Gordon to cover first again.  This time, Utley makes the throw, but Gordon just misses the ball!  The runner at second scores, and the game is over.  This team has got to be absolutely stunned.

 

Not that there weren’t plenty of other chances to blow this game wide open earlier.  The Phillies left 15 men on base and left the bases loaded multiple times.  The offense is just not producing in key situations.  Add to that, Myers did not have a good outing again, giving up 6 earned runs in 6 innings including 2 home runs.  Yesterday, we did get a good performance from Adam Eaton, but it was essentially wasted as he was the only one who showed up to play.  Eaton had two hits in the game, which totaled exactly half of the offense for the day.  And Kyle Loshe gave a great performance, although it was for the Cardinals J

 

With teams like the Red Sox and Angels coming up,P2230298 cr.jpg I think it may be time for Charlie Manuel to get the big stick out and start whacking some of these guys over the head!  This is no time to become complacent!  Let’s see Charlie get mad!  That is always entertaining J  (Note the evil smile on his face in the photo as he imagines smacking some players around with his bat)  Speaking of inter-league play, how exactly do the Phillies get totally screwed with the Red Soxs and the Angels and the Mets get to play the lowly Royals?  What is up with that?  I hate inter-league play.  Well, it would be ok if everyone in your division played THE SAME teams.  Then it would at least be fair.  The way it is now, it just isn’t right.  Oh well, what can you do?  So, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there…have a good one!

Jorge Cant-U Leave Us Alone!

For the second straight night, Jorge Cantu of the Florida Marlins took advantage of Phillies pitching.  Last night, in an otherwise superb outing by Cole Hamels, Cantu got the only 2 runs of the game for the Fish with 2 solo homers until the 9th inning, when Dan Uggla won it with a walk-off grand slam off Tom Gordon.  Cole went 8 full innings with 13 strikeouts, walking only 1 batter, but had no offense in the game to back up his great performance.

 

The Phillies had their only chance to pull out the win in the 9th inning when Marlins closer Kevin Gregg began to lose his cool.  After Eric Bruntlett was able to steal third and subsequently, he scored the tying run when Utley grounded into a force out, Gregg started to become unglued with the thought of blowing the save opportunity.  The very next pitch, he nails Pat Burrell in the arm to load the bases with two outs.  Now, I have said this many, many times over.  These are the situations when good hitters know it is time to take advantage of a pitcher.  Why?  Because he is a time bomb ready to blow.  He could uncork a wild pitch at any moment or groove one right down the middle for you.  And Gregg’s body language on the mound spoke EXACTLY to that point.  His head was whipping back and forth, he was sweating like crazy, arms flailing about…he was a man on the edge.  So, the fact that Jayson Werth chose to bunt here really disappoints me.  I totally understand the element of surprise; I understand he saw Wes Helms playing way back at third.  You can argue both sides.  But Jayson is a damn good hitter and just the day before, got a hit off of this very SAME pitcher!  He must have known that and I am sure Gregg knew that!  One more reason for Gregg to be extra nervous pitching to him in this situation.  But instead, he bunts it right to Gregg, who throws him right out and is let off the hook. 

 

Had the Phillies gotten one more run out of that inning, either with a hit, a walk or run scored on a wild pitch, I believe they win the game.  Because then Brad Lidge comes in and shuts it down.  Instead, we have Tom Gordon who winds up having an awful night.  But you can’t blame him.  DSCF5145 uggla cr.jpgThe bullpen can’t bail out this team every time.  And the offense can’t expect not to play and then throw it on the shoulders of the pitchers.  So, Dan Uggla comes out looking like a hero, when really all he did on that last pitch was take batting practice.  At that point, Gordon had two choices…risk walking the run home, or give him something to hit and pray he missed it.  Well, I do not discount Uggla …he is a great hitter and he did not miss it.  So, Mr. Uggla has earned my Photo of the Day…this one is from April of last year at CBP and, surprise, surprise…J-Roll Smurf and his handy voodoo bat have decided to join us for the last game of the series J  No more grand slams for Mr. Uggla!  Let’s see if some Smurfy magic can salvage one game of this yucky series…Go Phillies!

Hugs, Homers and First Place Happiness

The Phillies take 2 of 3 from the Marlins with today’s win, putting them into first place in the NL East.  It was an emotional game all around, beginning right from the very first inning with Chase Utley stealing second base and Ryan Howard smacking a line drive up the middle to send Chase home, scoring the first run of the game.  So emotional, in fact, that Brett Myers and Eric Bruntlett simply could not contain themselves.  As the cameras panned into the dugout to capture the high fives and celebrations, you could see the sweet and adorable, full-out hug session between Myers & Bruntlett. 
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And TJ Bohn, who has not spent much time up with the team, looks a tad perplexed, but give him time; he will catch on to the love fest with this group of guys!  And didn’t I call this?  Yes I did…let’s go back to my 5/15/08 blog, Brett Myers Need A Hug.  Quite obviously, I called that one right.  He’s now a happy, huggin’ guy who’s back to pitching like he should be…you go Brett!  Real men give hugs
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But back to today’s game…Moyer had the one bad inning, but after that, he really got the job done and gave these guys a chance to win.  And that chance was jump-started by Geoff Jenkins, P4137391 cr.jpgput in to pinch hit for Taguchi in the 6th inning.  Down by 2 runs, Jenkins comes in and nails a 2 run homer out to right field.  I give it a HUGE thumbs up!  Pat Burrell gives it the finishing touch later in the 8th with the 2 run double.  Then, we all give thanks to Jimmy Rollins for coaching Tom Gordon through the bottom of the 8th.  It was starting to look like Gordon may self-destruct until J-Roll went out to the mound and had a heart to heart with him.  Next thing you know, Gordon is on fire!  I guess Jimmy may have a career after playing in either coaching or psychiatry J

As for the loss yesterday, all I can say is, what is up with Cole Hamels?  This was his second bad start in a row and, with his injury history, I am getting concerned.  Is he hurt?  Well, I’m not sure what is up, but I am pretty sure he may have just blown any shot at the All-Star game at this point.  Looks like Brad Lidge may be our only pitching hope, and the way he is going, he is a shoe in!  He racked up another save tonight and once again, made it look easy.

So, on to the Reds and let’s see if we can avoid #600 for Ken Griffey Jr.  I do hope he hits it…just not at Citizen’s Bank Park J  Go Phillies!

Rox Get Another Beating & Utley Discloses Hair Secrets

Pounding the Rockies into the ground for the second straight game, the Phillies come out with a 7 to 4 win, standing in second place in the NL East.  The Mets beat the Marlins for us, and both Atlanta and the Nats lost their games, giving the Phillies a boost in the standings.  One more against the suffering Rockies and then we get our shot at taking down the first place Fish!

Kendrick pitched well last night and improved over his last start, going 7.1 innings with 2 earned runs given up and 5 strikeouts.  Having a 7 run lead helped his confidence, I’m sure, but whatever works, we’ll take it.  He needs more performances like this one.  Tom Gordon made everyone a bit queasy as he took over in the 8th inning and barely made it out in one piece.  J-Roll saved his hide with a diving grab to get out of the inning and send it over to Lidge after a rain delay.

As for Brad Lidge…oh my!   Turns out, he is not a robot after all.  He actually surrendered a run!  Gasp!  Be still my beating heart….how dare he!  I am shocked.  Well, I suppose if he absolutely HAD to do it, he may as well have chosen this game while cushioned with a giant lead.  Damn that Todd Helton and his ridiculous “I am pretending to be a grown man” facial hair!  Don’t be messing with my boy’s ERA like that!  Your team sucks this year; now just put your head down like a good puppy and pout.  None of this 9th inning heroic crap…geez!

Speaking of hair, did anyone see the “4 Questions” segment with Chase Utley on Daily News Live on Comcast SportsNet before the game last night?  One of the questions Michael Barkann asks him is why he never has hat head.  Michael goes so far as to refer to Chase’s hair as “…a perfect, big, flowing, bushy head of hair…” at all times.  Now, I have made MANY comments on Chase’s hair at games and I can tell you, it is neither “flowing”, nor “bushy.”  In fact, it is always wet and slimy looking!  He constantly has it slicked back with, what I always assumed to be, some kind of super powered gel.  And for what reason I also assumed, would be to keep it out of his face.  Well folks, we now have the answer!  It is in fact, and I quote Chase directly, “gel, super gel…LA Looks.”  And here is a nice photo that I took to demonstrate the wet and slimy “super gel” effect:

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Now, after games, he looks great.  Perhaps less gel or less sweat blended with the gel?  Not real sure what is going on there.  Well, I have more interesting information to report on the “4 Questions” segment, but I am saving that for later :o)  That’s all for now!  Hoping for a sweep of the Rockies…Go Phillies!

UPDATE:  This just in!  Chase Utley is in the lead in the early vote count for All-Star Voting with 537,788 votes!  Yeah!  So, fun story for you…during the LONG, horrible like 3-hour rain delay of the 5/18 game, and, sad, sad loss to the Blue Jays, I spent the entire length of both rain delays sitting in the Diamond Club punching All-Star ballots.  Yes, people starred at me like I was nuts as the hanging chards began to pile up, but I was not deterred!  I was determined!  Determined to get my Phillies to the All-Star game and determined to find SOMETHING to do to kill the boredom!  Ah, rain delays are fun J  Why did no one else think of this?  Well, I filled out at least 100 of those suckers…I even devised a way to pile several of them together, line them up and punch them up with a pencil all together to get  more done at one time.  I was so proud, I photographed my messy table (see photo to left).

The child next to me stared strangely as he painted his “Paint A Phanatic” doll and I believe his mother tried to explain to him that I was some sort of “special-ed” case… *sigh!*  Have they no sense of humor?!  Well, Mr. Utley can thank me later.  J  Keep voting everyone!  Let’s see if we can get a few more guys in there too!

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Phillies Out of Excuses, With Or Without Rollins

Last night’s game against the Mets was totally winnable.  But in the end, they just didn’t execute to pull it out.  Now if pitcher Cole Hamels can lay down a perfect bunt, why can’t Eric Bruntlett?  There is no excuse for a position player to strike out on a bunt attempt.  That one play in the 11th inning really did them in.  Had Bruntlett gotten the bunt down and moved the runners up, the double play is taken out and you have men on second and third with one out.  All Chase Utley has to do is make contact, which is exactly what he did, and in most cases, the run scores.  Instead, Chase’s contact turns into the inning ending double play we saw.  And after a horrific performance the day before, this was Bruntlett’s shining moment to redeem himself and still, he comes up empty.  Wow.  Unbelievable.  Incidentally, he went 0-6 for the game.

And you can’t lay this one on poor Tom Gordon either.  He never should have had to go 2 innings.  He looked GREAT in the first inning he pitched and that is as far as he should have had to go.  He is just not built for 2 innings and Charlie knows this.  But unfortunately, he also knew that he was running out of pitchers and did not have a lot of choice at that point.  And sadly, we have gone and squandered another good outing by Adam Eaton.  *Sigh*

Well, this team needs to find a way to win with or without J-Roll!  They did it last year without Chase Utley, who was well on his way to being the lead MVP candidate so they damn sure had better be able to do it without Rollins!  Like I said, there are no excuses.  I am still of the mind that they should have been worked harder in Spring Training.  Maybe next year…  Speaking of Spring, I have finally finished my photo project from my trip to Clearwater.  I threw together some of the more “fun” shots from my trip and uploaded them to Photobucket.  Please feel free to take a look…and let’s all try to think happy thoughts about the upcoming home stand…  Here’s hoping they can pull it together in time for a productive April!  Enjoy the pictures :o)

http://s268.photobucket.com/albums/jj19/zambrij/?albumview=grid

Mets Have Target Practice with Utley While Phillies Pitching Aims High

Chase Utley must have a Bulls Eye attached to him.  Either that or he’s so damn handsome that even straight men are so distracted by his presence that they just can’t help but slip up and nail him with the ball everytime he takes the field. :o)  They are simply blinded by his good looks.  Ahhhhh…  Oh, sorry, you lost me for a second…  I develop temporary ADD when thinking about it.  So anyway, he got smacked with 3 pitches today AND even managed to get nailed in the back with a throw while running to second base, saving an out and possible double play in the 7th inning which is what really turned the game around for the Phillies.  And, not totally satisfied with what he had done even after all that, he still managed to hit a double when they finally did pitch to him.  Ok, I am done drooling over Utley…I’ll leave you with this last thought on him (target included for the Mets fans)…

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A few other notes on today’s game – it was the 1st time the Phillies have EVER won the Mets Opening Day game in Shea Stadium!  And just in time as this is the very last one with the new stadium set to open in 2009.  Also, this was the 9th win in a row over the Mets, going back to last season.

Jimmy Rollins sprained his ankle wandering back and forth to second base in the 8th inning.  Here’s hoping this is not serious.  Eric Bruntlett is the backup who is decent, but obviously no J-Roll.  Nice enough guy…talked to him in Spring Training.  I gave him my own personal nickname, “Grizz” (short for Grizzly Adams), because of all the facial hair and because he kinda gives off that big, tough, mountain man vibe.  Ok, I am showing my age here with this reference…  Incidentally, I nickname all the players.  You will eventually learn this if you continue to read my blog…  Anyway, adding Bruntlett would mean a serious shake up in the line-up, probably with Victorino leading off and he has not been consistent lately, so that is not good news.  Let’s hope for a speedy recovery!

But hey, lovin’ this bull pen!  Chad Durbin and JC Romero with great outings again.  And, wow, Tom Gordon, dare I say it, really does look like he is back on “target!”  And in honor of Tom’s accomplishment, he also gets a “target” today :o)  Let’s see how the rest of the series goes!  Go Phillies!
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The Great Escape – Phillies Manage a Series Split with the Reds

Even Houdini would have been proud.  After an ugly, ugly performance, the Phillies managed to escape Cincinnati with a series split with today’s win mostly thanks to Pat Burrell’s 2 home runs and 3 RBI’s.  I guess this means I can officially take my Burrell jersey out of the closet and wear it around town, no longer having to fear being heckled as I wander about.  Whew!  It’s about time…Pat deserves his due!

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So the team will earn no points for style in today’s win, adding 2 more errors to an already horrific defensive year and looking generally confused as they have since the start, but it’s a win none the less and we’ll take it!  Tom Gordon had a great shut down inning and I am sure felt he was able to redeem himself after that disaster in opening day.  That will go a long way for his mental state.  Also, his curve ball appears to be back and working…good news all around. 

As for Brad Lidge…I’ll grade him a “C” for now.  I was unhappy with the walk which ballooned into a near disaster in the 9th.  He started to look a bit nervous after that, and next thing you know, wild pitches and things start going haywire.  Your closer needs to be cool, calm and collected.  I am not yet convinced.  But, I am also not dissuaded either…giving him the benefit of the doubt here because he did look good in Sunday’s game….let’s see how the next series goes.

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