Philly Love

Dear Phillies Fans,

To all of those placing blame on one player whether it is Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, etc. Stop. The fact is this is a game made for teams. It's made for people to get on base, and others to bat them in. I'm well aware of Ryan Howard's K-rate, and I'm well aware that he had 0 RBI's. However this is a team game where nobody showed up for their opportunities. I'm not going to spew numbers in this post, or analyze anything. Instead I'm here to remind the complete idiots why they should be proud of this season.

For starters, well, look at the starters. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels. It's a phenomenal lineup that can pretty much guarantee another dominant run for the Phillies next year and after. It was a special day in Philly when this team proved themselves as one of the best by making the best want to come here and play. These past 4 years are a huge bounce-back from where they were 5 years ago, let alone 10 years ago. Do not forget that.

It's one thing to have great players, but it's even more to make history. There are plenty achievements this year that represent more than a ring. I would have never thought I'd see a perfect game thrown in the midst of another postseason run, let alone another no-hitter by the same pitcher in his first postseason appearance in the same year. All in his first season on this team nonetheless. We may not see that in our lifetime ever again.

Another thing often overlooked now is the fact this is the first time the Phillies have ever, yes ever, finished with the best record in baseball. It should be even more commendable given the list of injuries that plagued the team this year. Honestly, that's a downright terrifying thought. Every team in baseball needs to be scared next year if they go a whole potent season.

So instead of replaying a called strike three to remember your season, remember the struggles this team overcame and where they still ended up. There was a time in this 2010 season that they were counted out, but prime examples of leadership and teamwork pushed the team to win for each other. Cole Hamels' second coming. Roy Oswalt's domination on the mound, and in left-field, at Citizens Bank Park. Numerous platooned positions filled by the talents of castaways Mike Sweeney, Juan Castro, and Wilson Valdez. Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras representing ridiculous outings out of the pen. Brad Lidge's perseverance to keep his closer role. And Charlie Manuel putting all the pieces together for a masterpiece of a season.

Just remember one thing, and one thing only:

"We did it together." - Roy Halladay

Cheers to a great run, and better hopes for next year.


Schilling Tendon Procedure, Meet the Halladay Groin Procedure.

Roy Halladay is a machine. Anybody who has ever had a groin injury knows that shit hurts like hell. And for him to go through 5 innings of that pain might be the true catalyst for this team right now. Each ball that was fielded in Game 5's win held a certain intensity, especially by Jimmy Rollins.

I hate talking intangibles, but like I said a few days ago, those are what this team thrives on. The 'swagger' that is almost disgustingly talked about all year might have come back for this team at their most important time. Anybody reading this knows every game is a must-win.

Jimmy Rollins' intensity and stolen bases I think are a byproduct of Roy's display on Thursday. Here's Jimmy Rollins, with his nagging calf injury admitting to not playing 100%. Then there's Roy Halladay, pitching through pain to give the Phillies a chance for another World Series appearance. Coincidence Jimmy Rollins picked up 2 stolen bases as Roy's display truly showed leadership and comradery? I'm choosing not to think so.

Tonight's lineup is back to normal, and rightfully so. Perform your rituals and set up your Base Ba'al shrines, we have a game to win.


The Ultimatum

Elimination is now a possibility tonight during the Phillies' 3rd consecutive NLCS appearance. The brighter side of things is that Roy Halladay starts tonight, so maybe he can go 9 innings and not allow Charlie to make any decisions. Usually I'm fine with Uncle Cholly, don't get me wrong, but as of late he does not seem to be doing anything in a productive matter. Last night was a terribly managed game by all and every means.

First let me acknowledge that starting Ben Francisco was the right thing to do, and arguably still a good thing to do tonight. Pulling Joe early was good, but even better if it was a batter earlier. But that's all that I can really remember that went well for Charlie.

So now! Chad Durbin. Absolutely he should not have faced Pablo Sandoval. Especially given the reasoning: "We did not want to throw Sandoval a strike and we can walk him." So use JC Romero, or Bastardo (whom was already warmed up.) You have a lefty-v-lefty matchup with a pitcher who can barely hit a strikezone anyway if you use Romero.

Antonio Bastardo. I thought he was a lefty specialist? Don't leave a yet-to-be-seasoned relief pitcher in against the rookie who just found his bat and is on the right side of the plate. That's when you bring Madson in, especially since Posey has yet to get a hit off of him, even if it's only 4 PA's.

Now let's end it where you ended it Charlie. Roy Oswalt. He's great and I get that. It's awesome that he wanted to help the team out, show his appreciation for the team and the club, it wasn't a save situation, etc. But god damn, man. Just... god damn. No comments can really be made for that decision as admirable as it was.

I propose this: The little changes that Charlie has made are only effective if he follows through and adjusts to his situations. Some real life macromanaging. If he's going to change a little thing and not follow through to adjust along the way then what's the point? Start the lineup how it was Day 1. Effectively it is what he might as well be doing anyway.

Ultimately I would have mixed feelings for such an action, but part of me feels it's the truth. Start tomorrow how you saw this postseason in your dreams, Charlie. I know the clubhouse claims it isn't big on the numbers game anyway, plus it really wouldn't be out of your modus operandi.

Imagine the lineup: Jimmy Rollins SS, Placido Polanco 3B, Chase Utley 2B, Ryan Howard 1B, Jayson Werth RF, Shane Victorino CF, Raul Ibanez LF, Carlos Ruiz C, Roy Halladay P.

It's how we, the fans, wanted to see it all year. Perhaps the season has a hit a point where only intangibles are affecting the way the Phillies are playing the game. Perhaps the lineup we asked about all year is what needs to show up for this offense to show up.

In a few hours we'll find out what possible insanity you'll torture us through, but no matter what I'll yell and drink and curse and smoke and drink some more and smoke some more and find time to tweet and yell while I cheer for this team until the end.


Your Closer: Roy Oswalt 1-3

The Phillies went in this game knowing it wasn't gonna be easy, but it was an even harder loss. Reality of it is, Joe Blanton only did a little less than what you can expect out of him, and you can't blame him for the loss. He gave us his 3 runs and ate a few innings for us, and for both teams it became a weird twisted battle of the pens.

As it was promoted we went into this game with the debate of using Halladay on short rest. My previous post however was proven right to a tee. Blanton kept us in the game with 3 runs, and we scored 5. However they tied the game off of a clearly rusty Chad Durbin who came in to relieve Jose Contreras who recorded one out in the 5th. It was the kicker to another frustrating night by the umpires and the Phillies offense.

The bats keep showing signs of life, but it's just not consistent enough to keep a commanding lead. Every batter not in the 9-hole got a hit. That's literally. Well Polly got 2, but still. Nowhere near what we would expect out of this team. You add that to the spectacular calls by Derryl Cousins' Crew and that's the equation for a disappointing loss.

More strikezones were debated, and more calls were botched. In particular the Madison Bumgarner balk call that didn't occur. Jimmy Rollins attempted to steal 2nd-- I know, you haven't heard that in a while, right? Believe it. The moment Jimmy Rollins feels confident enough to go for a steal, and it gets ruined by a blatant balk. There were also some screwy foul-fair and fair-foul balls... If there's any reason to start reviewing umpires and their interaction in the game, use this NLCS as a prime example.

And yeah, before I forget. Roy Oswalt offered himself to pitch the 9th for Lidge. He figured he would give him a break since it's not a save situation. For real? Roy Oswalt gathers another loss for the postseason after throwing his bullpen session during a neck-and-neck game.

He's Just an Average Joe (w/ Super Special Psychic Update)

So why should the fans count on him and not start our ace trifecta on short rest? The fact is each team is going against the opposing 4th starter, not Cy Young or Satchel Paige. Theoretically this puts us in a position to score more than we normally would, only needing an average performance from Joe to secure a lead.

With that said, if Charlie platooned left field tonight with Ben Francisco it would greatly improve the chances at a win. Joe Blanton can strike people out, but when he doesn't the ball usually gets hit hard.

This will be Joe Blanton's 3rd NLCS appearance. He has never gone longer than 6 innings in his past 2 appearances, and hasn't earned more than 3 runs in each of those starts. The great thing about that is we average a little more than 5 runs of support for Joe over the season. I can live with those numbers.

Bumgarner on the other hand is 20 years old and has only one postseason start under his belt. His strikes get contact a lot of the time, so maybe we can unnerve him a bit by running deep AB's. He will get pulled as soon as he nears 100 pitches or if he lets the game blow up.

It's now 4:30 and Ben Francisco is announced as batting 7th in Game 4 (via @JSalisburyCSN). Go Phils!

I'm psychic.


What the Phuck-tley? 1-2

With all the makings of another great NLCS story the Phillies stunk it up tonight, plain and simple. It felt like they were back. Jimmy found his stroke. Howard kept good AB's. They have their postseason MVP on the mound. The tides were supposed to be turned and the Fightin's would run away with the NLCS series.

Instead Chase Utley really epitomized our lackluster performance and became the highlight for Cole Hamels' story of the year. It was another solid outing by Cole with nothing to show for it. He had 3 runs on 4-and-one-officially-scored hits. Chase Utley botched a couple of plays we would all expect out of him. I have no idea what his problem is out there. It's like watching Andres Escobar or something. This his is his third error in the postseason, get it together.

Ryan Howard has been making a little noise with his bat, and Ricky Bo will be the first to show that he wants The Big Piece to blast something into McCovey Cove. Howard's last 2 games have had him lasting longer in AB's, while also making decent contact with the ball. He's locked in and I might expect big things from him tomorrow.

Ibanez, on the other hand, is the biggest nuisance to The Phillies offense. His infield line drive might be the only thing keeping him in the game tomorrow. Hopefully Charlie Manuel will release we had no reason ending the game with a GIDP and start Ben Francisco. A meeting between the Franciscos tomorrow is probably the smartest thing we can do. Joe Blanton gets a lot of balls hit, and plenty hit hard. AT&T is a park that defense struggles in thanks to its "weird" walls and dimensions, so having Ben Francisco in leaves a lot less error in the outfield. Plus he hits lefties. Let's cross our fingers.

Some points for the silver lining though: The Phillies still outscore the Giants for the series 10-8. That means Cody PHUCKING Ross accounts for literally half of the Giants runs scored. He can not take his whole team through this thing on his back, he's not David Ortiz. Utley also tends to rebound after bad performances, so maybe the top of the batting order will wake up a bit. Hope for a good game tomorrow.

If I have time tomorrow I'll compare some numbers before the game, give you guys a boost to help support Big Joe.

On another note: #sharktits.


Oswalt Evens NLCS 1-1

Oh Roy was that good or what? It only took us 2 runs scored without any hits with RISP to win this game! The wonders of dominant pitching. Again there were some inconsistent calls that I'm sure all San Francisco fans will look at in detail as all of Philly did last night. Here's some advice: just suck it up and take it as it is. Human Element!

Cody Ross still loves hitting against us and remains the sole source of power for the Giants. Lots of inconsistent strike zones called by this umpiring crew. And a complete change of game by the Phillies.

As stressful as it seems this team only reacts some great things happened last night. It was almost like the Phillies went through different stages after each inning. It began with letting Sanchez's mistakes give us a run. Then we played a little small ball to score our second run. Double, Sac, Sac. Nothing wrong with that.

The bats were kind of dead for a good stretch, but the 7th blew it open for the Phillies. Roy Oswalt practically said "Fuck this shit lets get in gear" by upstaging his pitching performance with a single, only to get bunted over by Victorino.

Yeah, that's right. Victorino batted Oswalt over. Register that while Utley gets IBB'd, Polanco rips a single, and Oswalt ignores Perlozzo's sign to score sliding.

Howard struck out in a decent AB while Utley and Polanco performed a doublesteal. This allowed Bruce Bochy to walk Werth and put Casilla against our lackluster MVP SS. Thank you! J-Roll put on his best NLCS '09 impersonation and ripped a double to the right wall, practically inches short of a grand slam. Ryan Madson pitched a shaky, but scoreless, 9th inning after Roy Oswalt convinced Charlie Manuel to let him finish the 8th.

We have a day off before Cole Hamels returns to the NLCS. Can he finally contain Cody Ross?