Categories for MLB

Chooch Doesn’t Want to be Traded

July 31, 2013 Randy Neil

Today is the trade deadline. Discussions have been relatively quiet, but it always seems that way up until the last frantic minute.

Michael Young has openly come out and said he will waive his trade clause for the Rangers or Red Sox. I’m sure they are dying to have a guy who has half as many GIDP as he does RBI.

With Yadier Molina going down last night, there’s been a lot of rumors about our beloved Carlos Ruiz getting traded. I, for one, do not want that to happen.

The pitchers absolutely love him, he’s one of the best defensive catchers in the league, and what is he going to do when Molina comes off of the DL? Split duties?

Yea, I don’t think so.

Don’t trade Chooch.


The Slumpiest Sports Week of the Year

July 16, 2013 Randy Neil

Oooo, fans, do read on!  That compelling title probably has you foaming at the mouth for more!  Well, let me clarify about the reason this week is the sccchhlompiest sports week of the year.

During the All-Star Break, the Phillies aren’t playing.   The actual All-Star Break is a fun time, but it’s over on Wednesday and that means we really are in a break.  There’s not going to be any baseball on for a while.  Even worse, there isn’t any filler sports to ease that pain except for the occasional Union game or Summer League basketball game.  Bleh.

Buuuuuuuuuuut, there’s still a couple gems that need discussing (see how I salvaged everything, there?)

Congrats to Tim Lincecum for throwing a no-hitter right before the All-Star Break.  With all of the struggles he’s had this season, being able to pitch a gem the way he did shows that there’s still a lot of talent in the Freak.

A lot of commotion was made about the fact that he threw 148 pitches to accomplish it.  People are criticizing Bruce Brochy for not pulling Timmy earlier in that game because of the pitch count and lead they had.

The way I see it, Lincecum is not the same pitcher from 2 years ago.  He may never be again.  The lack of velocity on his fastball is something you can’t just reclaim (unless your Bartolo Colon and you take a crap ton of PEDs.)  Even if Tim’s season goes in the toilet from here on out because of his high pitch count, he’ll still sit in the history books as a pitcher with a no-hitter and 2 Cy Young Awards.  He could have a career 8.00 ERA and people will still marvel at those accomplishments.  Bochy made the right call.

Jason Kidd was getting a lot of crap for taking phone calls during games that he was coaching this summer.  On one hand, it was the D-league, and the coaches don’t really coach those.  On the other hand, he’s been a coach for like a month, he could probably learn a thing or too.

Well, Mr. Kidd pleaded guilty to his DUI from 2012 today, so he was probably talking to his lawyers.  He’s gotta take those calls, lol.

On a closing note, Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail is… actually… pretty good.  With all the corporate sponsorship, phone release, and poor audio quality, I was just dying to find reasons to hate this album.  But, I don’t.  It’s put together really well.

Turns out Rick Rubin didn’t do a single thing for that album, in spite of him being featured in the commercials.  Apparently, he just sat on the couch.  That’s what you can aspire to, boys and girls.  Become so cool that people will pay you to sit on a couch and enjoy music.  Then, they’ll film it.

Alright, I’m out.  Get to a pool folks!  It’s SUMMAH TIME!


Who Saw that Coming?

July 11, 2013 Adam Thomas

The Phillies are what we thought they were. Mediocre. It has been this way the entire first half of the season. They will go on a run, get close to or at .500 and then fall to the back of the pack only to crawl their way back to a game within .500 and then go on a losing streak.

Of course, I think Randy had a big part to play in last night’s loss (can you say….JINX!) but I don’t put the loss entirely on his shoulders. Actually, scratch that, I do. Shame on you, Randall.

With all that being said, the season ain’t over. Heck, we haven’t even reached the halfway mark, and I for one am still on this Phillies bandwagon. Unfortunately, that wagon is being driven by Ruben Amaro Jr. who drives the wagon like Dr. Gonzo running from bats.

I can’t wait until the trade deadline when he trades away Cliff Lee for middling prospects that never amount to any more than a bag of magic beans (shout out, NT). So hang on tight, Phillies fan, this bumpy ride is about to get bumpier.


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So Are We Buying Or Selling?

July 10, 2013 Randy Neil

It’s been an interesting week for the Phillies and the looming questions of whether we are buying or selling keeps getting postponed with each victory.  Ruben Amaro, Jr. has been very vocal about his trade-deadline decisions and the weight he puts on these current series to affect them.

Essentially, if we continue to have success, then he isn’t going to “sell” off some of our assets, and if we come up short in making up some ground in the division, then he’ll most likely tank the team for the rest of the season and begin trading players.  Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ruben.

Amaro, Jr. was very critical of Ryan Howard before his injury came to light, stating that he was playing below his potential and not living up to his contract.  A contract, mind you, that Amaro Jr. was very pivotal in creating.  There’s a lot of criticism I have for RAJ, but putting these intense expectations on a team right before the trade deadline may be one of the worst yet.

Sure, this past week has been pretty delightful.  There’s a lot more passion than usual and these divisional series have been great.  One question, though:

What happens if the Phillies lose tonight?  It’s a very realistic scenario that could bring this high soaring fantasy back to a reality.

With these two wins against the Nationals, I’ve seen an onslaught of Phillies fans claiming we need to stay the course and that our comeback is right around the corner.  There’s arguments to support it, and there’s plenty of arguments against it.

A startling fact that CSN made me aware of is our starting rotation’s quality start output.  Through the first half of our season, even with the injuries to Lannan and Halladay, the Phillies have led the majors with 58 quality starts.  In spite of Hamels’ poor record, almost everyone is aware that it doesn’t reflect his skill level and potential.  Perhaps that is indicative of our entire season and entire team.  Maybe, we are finally righting this ship and our talent is starting to catch up to our record.

There’s still huge inconsistencies with our offense.  Ryan Howard being out 6-8 weeks, regardless of what anyone says, is still a huge hurdle in this rally to become relevant again.  In spite of Domonic Brown’s stellar All-Star caliber first half, our offense has been outscored by leaps and bounds drawing huge question marks around this trade deadline.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to keep this entire team together and make a push towards the playoffs.  The NL Central essentially has dibs on the two wildcard spots, so I see our best hope being the division title.  If the past week has been any indication of our drive and talent, then things seem hopeful.

The question remains, though: If we lose tonight, or tomorrow, or both… what does that mean for us then?

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Papelbon Has Crazy Eyes… And Ideas

July 7, 2013 Randy Neil

Not for nothing, but Papelbon has been having a pretty stellar season so far.  Jonathan currently has 18 saves and boasts a 1.87 ERA.  Not too shabby, especially with our bullpen in awry the way it is right now.

My only complaint is that Papelbon tends to say some terribly stupid things, and have terrible opinions, and probably is a terrible person inside.

Much like Spencer Hawes, Papelbon is a “red-blooded” American that thinks our government is out to take our guns and infringe on our freedom, etc, etc, and has no problem saying so.  He has every right to say these things, but I reserve the right to judge him for that.

The latest newsworthy opinion came when JP was questioned about Yasiel Puig’s All-Star chances.  Not only did he pronounce the kid’s name wrong (which confuses me because baseball coverage talks about him on a daily basis), but he referred to the notion of him being on the ballot as an “absolute joke” because of Puig’s short tenure in the majors.

Normally, something like this would be a reasonable statement (albeit bold and somewhat inconsiderate), except for the fact that Papelbon made the All-Star team in his rookie season, as well.  Granted, JP had played all 86 games leading up to the All-Star game that year, but is it really that ridiculous considering Puig’s stats?  He’s having the greatest start as a rookie since Joe Dimaggio.

Narrow-minded opinions like this just make it hard to enjoy your talent, Pap.


Are They Who We Thought They Were?

June 5, 2013 Randy Neil

Fresh off the longest win-streak of the 2013 season, the Philadelphia Phillies are back at .500 (30-30) which leaves a very important question to be asked: Who are these guys?

I don’t know. Charlie Manuel doesn’t know. Ruben Amaro Jr. definitely doesn’t know. In the not so distant future, the front office of this ball club is going to have to make a definite move that shapes the remainder of the season.

Certainly, Domonic Brown is having the best season of his career. Leading the national league in home runs, being named the NL Player of the Month, and earning the NL Player of the Week award back-to-back are all incredibly positive feats that can offer hope for this ball club.

Roy Halladay gave more hopeful news in his press conference this week, alluding to the fact that he will return this season and his surgery went successfully as expected. Doc even noted that his range of motion, even a mere week after the surgery, is better than it has been in years. All signs point to him returning to the lineup this summer, possibly healthier than he’s ever been in a Phillies uniform.

Howard, Utley, and Ruiz were all playing at the start of this season, but have had their own obstacles to overcome. Howard has been consistent, but below average, in his offensive output and would even tell you himself that he’s not living up to his potential. Utley and Ruiz have both been riddled with injuries that leave question marks around their contributions come “make-a-run” time, if that ever happens.

Which leads to the less-desired question that the Phillies front-office will have to answer: Is it time to abandon ship?

Up until 4 days ago, the Phillies looked all but doomed. Michael and Delmon Young have just not lived up to the expectations we had going into this season. Michael Young is second in the league for GIDP and boasts a meager 10 RBIs. Their defense has definitely been the major reason for their playing time.

No one expected Cole Hamel’s record to be 2-9 at this point, but our offense (and his pitching in some cases) has been less than consistent. Cliff Lee trade rumors have been coming out of the wood-works. Lee, when questioned on whether he thinks he will get traded or not, even admitted that he thought it was likely. He certainly stands as the most valuable commodity the organization has, and if they decide to pump the brakes for this season, consider him gone.

That’s what it really all boils down to for this club. The consistency just simply hasn’t been there. Winning spurts like the one we are currently in (knocks on wood) are few and far between. The losses have been just too discouraging at times. The next month is going to be pivotal. The hump of .500 has finally been conquered, but all too often do I hear the phrase “gain some momentum” being used without any follow through.

I’ve seen stranger things happen… but just don’t get your hopes too high Phillies fans.

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