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Phillies Blog Articles - June 2010

Trashy ESPN dumps on Philly yet again
by Scott Butler 6/3/10

I'd like to take a moment to dump on the fraud of a station called ESPN the same way they dump on Philadelphia.

If you haven't seen it already, there is a clip on YouTube of a 4 year old kid caught downing a beer bottle at last night's Phillies game. The kid happened to pick up the beer and put it to his mouth while nobody was looking. It sound kinda bad at first, but it's not like the kid was getting wasted and the parents were allowing him to drink it or anything. Besides, it looks like it was empty.

It's definitely worth watching on YouTube, but did ESPN seriously have to make it one of their TOP TEN stories on their website? I guess they figured, "Why not take yet another chance to dump on the city of Philadelphia? It's so bad in that city that even their kids are drunks."

And ESPN did take that opportunity to bring up all the other stuff that went on. But I didn't hear much about the Montreal fans that rioted during the playoffs and barely anything about the people that get MURDERED in LA, or the guy that dumped beer on Victorino. Whatever...

It just shows you just how disgusting ESPN is. I have to say, ESPN is just terrible. They have guys on there like Buster Olney, who wrote a ridiculous article about possible trade of Howard and Pujols. They love to spend two or three commercials before they actually talk about a story they mentioned. They barely even show highlights anymore because they spend too much time on superstars like Brett Favre. And when they aren't talking about the Yankees or Red Sox, they play their games every day of the week. That's all I can stand to mention about that channel.

It's time to blame Chase Utley
by Scott Butler 6/3/10

There’s been a buzz recently about the possibility that Chase Utley is hurt. My question is, why?

Let me begin by saying how much I love the way Utley plays the game. Utley plays hard, he hustles, and is focused, smart, and gives max effort. In short, he plays baseball the way it was meant to be played. No wonder he is #1 in all-star voting.

HOWEVER, why is it that when Chase is struggling, everyone automatically assumes it’s because he’s hurt? Obviously we know from the hip injury that Utley will play hurt and won't say a word about it. But Howard doesn’t get a pass. Werth doesn’t get a pass. Victorino doesn’t get a pass. So why Utley?

There is a good chance that Utley is hurt and playing through pain we couldn’t imagine. But what if he isn’t? What if he’s just playing badly or has his mind elsewhere (like his hot wife)?

The thing is, I think it is about time that we put the blame on Chase Utley. Obviously this is not our good lineup with Rollins and Polanco out, but that means your superstars need to shoulder the burden. And the guy we should look to is the one with the short, quick, stroke. With a swing like Utley’s, he should be the guy you look to in order to get something started. We didn’t need a homerun last week as much as we just needed SOMETHING, ANYTHING to spark some offense.

The way he plays, you would think Utley has too much pride to allow all of the shutouts and such a historic team slump. But he has been nonexistent. How can a guy like that be lifeless?

What it shows is that Utley is clearly not a leader on this team. A true leader would do something to show that he is upset and shows that this streak is unacceptable. But he just swings the bat and takes a right turn back to the dugout. No helmets flying, no aggressive baserunning, no nothing.

Frankly, it is embarrassing that everyone talks so much about Jimmy Rollins and how much of a sparkplug he is. Everyone talked about how Utley would be the next to win MVP. How can an MVP just sit back and wait for Jimmy to come back?

Victorino blames...the media
by Scott Butler 6/4/10

You know what really ticks me off? It’s when players start blaming the media for things that have nothing to do with them.

That’s exactly what Shane Victorino did yesterday. They played Victorino’s quotes yesterday on the radio and he was saying that the media talks too much about the lack of offense and is media blowing up the issue bigger than it has to be. Wait a minute, so you just finished a 2-7 road trip where you are shut out every other day, an you’re blaming...the media?

Normally a comment like that wouldn’t bother me. The media generally is to blame and they will say or do anything for a story. But this team has scored 14 RUNS IN THE LAST 11 GAMES.

What the heck else are they supposed to talk about, Shane? This Phillies team has led the league in runs the last three season and they are barely scoring a run a game now. This is a boring team right now with absolutely no personality. The Phillies have dropped to 2 ½ games back and it is by no means the fault of the pitching. They are LOSING because of the hitting.

Trust me, this is not an issue the media wants to talk about or something the fans want to hear. You want to stop the media from talking about the hitting? Maybe you can start by scoring 4 runs in a game once. Just once. And how about not getting shut out every other game?

Stop blaming other for your own problem. Either take responsibility for yourselves, or shut up.

Has anyone seen Jayson Werth?
by Scott Butler 6/8/10

If there is any guy on the Phillies who deserves to benched right now, it is Jayson Werth. Not only are his numbers bad, but his approach at the plate is even worse.

Jayson Werth has always been known to take huge swings during his at-bats. Hitting coaches would tell just about every player to avoid those enormous swings because you rarely make good contact. A hitter is likely to be late, and even if they do hit it, they probably won't make good contact.

But I normally don't have a problem with Werth swinging like that because he hits so well with two strikes. And because he is so comfortable with two strikes, he can afford to take chances early in the count.

But you gotta cut down on your swing when you're in a slump, Jayson! Any you are in a slump for sure, J-dub. Since May 7, Werth is hitting .179 with 4 homers, 13 RBIs, and a measly .276 OBP. That's 27 games, which is nearly a fifth of the season that he's been in a slump.

Sorry, it is just unacceptable for a guy in a slump to continue to take mammoth hacks when he can't even hit the ball to begin with. And when he swings through one fastball after another against Heath Bell and is late on every single one of them, that's when you get benched.

Thank you for sitting him, Charlie, because Jayson needs to get the hint somehow.

Hey, everybody gets into a slump, and nobody wants to get out of it more than Jayson Werth. But swinging harder is not the answer. He's in a slump because something is wrong with his mechanics. And when you have bad mechanics, it gets exaggerated on big swings. It's sickening watching him continue to do the same exact things with the same exact results.

Philly fans will accept a physical slump, but we will NOT accept a mental slump.

Top 5 Reasons Phillies Will Win Division
by David Rocksteady 6/10/10

The Phillies are hovering around the top of the NL East and certainly are not running away with the division. Scott and I thought it would be fun to have a little argument about why the Phils will and won't win the division. I get to go first and argue why the Phillies WILL win the division.

1. Ryan Howard

Howard has a .290 batting average with 10 homers and 43 RBIs and 61 K’s. If he kept up this pace, he would hit 28.42 homers with 122 RBI’s, and 173 strikeouts. Those aren’t “Ryan Howard” power numbers. But they aren’t terrible either. AND HOWARD HAS NOT GOTTEN HOT YET. This guy WILL go on a tear at some point and when he does…look out. We are a couple games out in the NL East without a hot Ryan Howard. I like our chances when he does heat up.

2. Jimmy Rollins

Even the biggest Rollins doubters would have to admit that Rollins’ impact on the team goes way beyond his abilities as a leadoff hitter. He is unquestionably the leader on this team, and when Rollins returns it will be a big boost in the clubhouse. But his return impacts so much more. First of all, with Jimmy at the top of the lineup, all of the other hitters fall back to the spots where they belong. It also means that not only will J-Roll be in the lineup, but Castro and Valdez will now be not in the lineup. They filled in pretty darn well for Jimmy, but who would you rather have in your lineup? And then there’s the speed factor. The Phillies have not been running, and they need Jimmy to lead the way and bring a running game back to this squad.

3. Jayson Werth

Nobody has looked worse than Jayson Werth lately. Like Howard, Jayson Werth will also get hot and add some more muscle to this lineup This slump has to end sometime. Once he does, I think Werth will make teams pay for it. Expect Werth to get mean and start hitting the heck out of the baseball. Maybe the Phillies can time it right and re-sign him just before he catches fire.

4. Brad Lidge

I’m sure I will eat my words on this, but I think the old Brad Lidge is back. Just from watching Lidge’s last three outings, it is clear that this is not the 2009 Lidge. When a guy gets two cortisone shots within a couple months you have to worry, and there’s a good chance he will completely fall apart. But if he stays healthy, Lidge may just surprise people and become the dominant closer he once was. If Brad Lidge was even a little healthy last year, the Phils would have walked away with the division last year. Lidge could be the x-factor on the team this year.

5. Roy Halladay

Just imagine where this team would be without Halladay (Yeah I know that would mean we have Cliff Lee, but work with me here). It doesn’t take a genius to say that Halladay will play a big part in winning the division, but the reason I will use for this discussion is not his numbers so much as his role as stopper. That is what separates an ace from a good pitcher. When the team is down and loses a couple in a row, it make such a big difference knowing that you will win with your ace on the mound. We saw how big Cliff Lee was last year, and hopefully Halladay will do the same thing this year.

Top 5 Reason Phillies Won't Win Division
by Scott Butler 6/14/10

David argued that the Phillies will win the division. Now it's my turn to give you reason whey the Phils WON'T win the NL East. This actually shouldn't be too hard considering how much the team stinks right now. I really hate to do this, because it is just not in my character to look for reasons my teams can't win. But I agreed to write this article and it’s too late to change my mind now. Please forgive me...

1. The Bench

It seemed during the offseason that the Phillies might have slightly upgraded the bench by adding Juan Castro, Ross Gload, and bringing back a healthy Greg Dobbs. I must say that Castro has come up huge for this team during Jimmy’s absence. Just imagine if we still had Eric Bruntlett for this long...BRGH. But Gload, Schneider, and Dobbs are just terrible. The numbers should make you cringe. Those three jokers combine for these numbers:

.170 (23/128) – 3HR – 12RBI’s

And here they are individually:

Dobbs –.140 (8/57) – 1HR – 5 RBI’s
Gload – .190 (8/42) – 2 HR – 7 RBI’s
Schneider – .241 (7/29) – 0 HR – 0 RBI’s

And here’s the biggest indictment of them all. When Charlie Manuel rested Jayson Werth last week, he decided to play Ben Francisco against a right hander. And why didn’t he play Dobbs or Gload? Because not only are they not hitting, but they are even worse in the field.

To make matters worse, the Phillies still have no speed. How can you have a team with no burners to use late in the game? Ruben Amaro really dropped the ball in that department. Maybe one of the reasons the Phillies are in such a slump is that they don't have anyone to turn to in order to rest the big guys.

2. Danys Baez

Baez was simply not a good signing. At first glance you would think a former closer who pitches in the upper 90's would be an easy choice. But Baez has no command of his pitches and has a really flat fastball. We saw what happened to Lidge when he had no fastball command, but he had a nasty slider. What does Baez have? If it's a close race down the stretch, Baez is the guy that will give up that "one" big hit to kill the team. Baez is frightening.

3. Raul Ibanez

Raul Ibanez is playing like an old man. I hate to say, but Ibanez is done. How Ibanez put up MVP numbers to start last season is beyond me. If you watch Ibanez closely, you will quickly realize that he can't even hit the fastball. Occasionally he gets a hold of one, but most of the time he is way late on fastballs. That tells me he is simply too old. His averaged has slowly improved, but where is the power?

It is a real shame how bad he is now, because he is a fan favorite and a guy you want to love. But it's over. You better believe there are more articles coming on this.

4. Base Stealing

One of the most baffling things with this Phillies team is how the base stealing has disappeared. The speed of this team is one of the most overlooked aspects. With as much power as they have, the Phillies lineup features Victorino, Utley, and Werth who can all steal bags. But they don't. Not at all. It is so disappointing that these guys completely ignore a significant aspect of their game. We really need Jimmy Rollins to jump start the running game.

5. Joe Blanton

Everyone says about Joe Blanton that you know what you are gonna get: 6 innings and 3 runs every game. He certainly has a track record that agrees with that thought. But what if Blanton has an off year. All of a sudden it's 5 innings and 4 runs.

Blanton never wowed me from the beginning. But he looks extremely average this year and he has been hit around quite a few times already this season. The Phils count on Blanton to be a solid middle rotation guy, but if he isn't, that means we need to count on Moyer, Happ, and maybe Kendrick. I don't like the sound of that.

New York Yankees...Just buying another Championship
by Scott Butler 6/15/10

THE YANKEES BUY CHAMPIONSHIPS. It is JUST THAT SIMPLE.

The New York Yankees’ payroll is $206 million. That number may not mean much to you, but chew on this: the Yankees' payroll is $44 million than the next highest team (Red Sox).

That DIFFERENCE between the Yankees and the second highest payroll is higher than the ENTIRE TEAM SALARIES of two teams (Padres and Pirates). Their payroll is $33 million dollars more than the bottom 4 teams COMBINED. The numbers are staggering.

It is simply disgraceful that one team can dwarf the entire league by that much. What kind of skill does it take to buy the best and most expensive player and plop him on your team?

Do you remember those good Braves teams during the 90’s? The Braves earned their NL East crowns and World Series because they needed to constantly revive their farm system and trade talented players like Dave Justice to keep an affordable team salary.

The Yankees never have to worry about that.

A perfect example is what they did last year. Yankees fans were enraged that their team had not won a World Series in 9 years. So what was GM Brian Cashman to do? Would he bring up a shining star from the minors? Would he make a trade for a big time player? Would he look for a “diamond in the rough” like JC Romero? Would he make a strategic pickup of a guy like Jamie Moyer or take a chance on a Rule 5 player?

Of course not! Brian Cashman asked himself, “who is the best free agent player available?” Then bought CC Sabathia. Then found the second best, AJ Burnett, then BOUGHT HIM. Now he needed a hitter. Time to buy Mark Tiexiera.

That is such a joke. What skill does it take to just buy the best free agent available? There’s no risk in that. But that’s what they do in the Bronx.

Then the Yankees won the world series (yes, thanks to us) and their fans take full credit, citing the history of the organization and how much they deserve it.

Admittedly, the Phillies have a high payroll themselves at $141 million, but there is a big difference: the Phillies grew their talent themselves and those players became the core. Every single infielder on the Phillies except for Polanco came from the Phillies farm system. Shane Victorino was a rule 5 guy and the Phillies took Jayson Werth from baseball oblivion.

When the Phillies wanted to grab a pitcher at the deadline last year, they needed to trade a bunch of prospects to get Cliff Lee. When they wanted Roy Halladay, they needed to trade Cliff Lee and some more prospects.

But the Yankees don't need prospects because they just pluck the big name free agent. Don't mention that to Yankees fans, however. They consider it their God given right to win championships. That doesn't sound like too much fun to me.

 

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