Monthly Archives: May 2009

Programming note

As I’m sure all of you have noticed, things have been pretty slow around here lately.  Things have been pretty crazy for me– first came Memorial Day, where I was without Internet for a few days, then came crunch time in that other job I’ve got.

Anyway, don’t want to bore you with my life story, just let you know that posts will be sporadic for the next week and then we’ll go strong through the rest of the summer.

Thanks, as always, for reading.  You make this blog as enjoyable for me as, hopefully, it is for you.

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Mets fan swallowed by Citi Field toilet

FLUSHING — I was listening to Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team on 610 WIP this morning, when Angelo humored us, once again, with one of his stories.  This time it was about a Mets fan.

Apparently an unidentified woman dropped her gold tooth in the bowl at Citi Field and as the toilet flushed she reached her hand in to try to retrieve it.  Unfortunately for the fan, her arm got stuck in the commode and was repeatedly flushed over.

She remained, screaming, in the toilet for some time until stadium security heard her screams and rushed to the scene alongside medical personnel.  But wait, it gets better– the security was unable to pull her arm out.

So, they called for back-up — dialing up the owner of Cardoza Plumbing, the company that installed all 646 ultra-low-flow toilets at Citi Field.  Mr. Cardoza rushed to the scene from the company’s Jamaica headquarters, 7.2 miles away.

The anxious victim, meanwhile, could only wait as the toilet continued to flush over her arm.

As the drama heated up, fans began to gather around the section 338 bathroom to try to catch a glimpse of the action.

The woman was eventually freed.  It is unclear whether or not the toilet had to be destroyed in the process.

The story makes you wonder.  How did the fan manage to get the tooth into the toilet.  Was she vomiting, as Al Morganti suggested, or did she swallow it a few days earlier, as Rhea Hughes pondered?

Either way, it confirms our suspicion about the inferiority of Mets fans.

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Park to ‘pen; Minor league transaction; Other notes

CINCINNATI– According to General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., Chan Ho Park has been moved to the bullpen effective immediately. After going just 1 1/3 innings on Sunday, Park has been demoted to the role he has held through much of his career– long relief.

Park didn’t say much, but did offer this to reporters: “I’m disappointed I lost the job, but I got a new job now.”

J.A. Happ will take Park’s spot in the baseball’s worst rotation (seriously, it’s statistically the worst in baseball) starting Saturday at new Yankee Stadium.

More coming…

————-

The Phillies made a minor league addition Monday, signing catcher Paul Bako. Bako, a veteran of ten different Major League teams over eleven seasons, is a career .231 hitter.  He was last with the Cubs during spring training, but was released March 30. And no, he’s not going to be the needed right-handed bat– he bats from the left side.

The signing seems a little puzzling, is it just a step toward having a plethora of young catching talent– maybe, but if you read into it a little further, you can’t help but wonder if he may see some time with the big club.

When Carlos Ruiz got hurt in April, catching prospect Lou Marson was called up to try to help backup Chris Coste fill the hole Ruiz left.  Marson looks promising, but wasn’t all that impressive.  Besides, he needs to be spending his time catching every day and hitting every day, not sitting on a big league bench.  Bako has proved over his career that he is capable of filling the big league backup catcher’s role. Sure, he’s a bad hitter, but is good for an occasional start and has decent skills behind the dish.

Managers tend to be hesitant to use the backup catcher as a pinch-hitter because the catcher position requires uncommon skills.  Could the Phillies be thinking of adding Bako, when ready, to the big league roster as the backup catcher, thus freeing up Chris Coste to come off the bench as the necessary right handed bat?

It could certainly be a possibility.

————-

Other Notes:

  • Charlie Manuel will use the same lineup that he used in Washington over the weekend, with Ibanez batting third, Utley second, and Werth fifth.  Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • Manuel also announced that Matt Stairs will not DH against Andy Petite or C.C. Sabathia in New York this weekend.  He said calling up a right-handed bat would be an option.
  • J.C. Romero surrendered a run on two hits in an inning of work in his first appearance with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  He also struck out two.
  • The Phillies made a few shufles in the rotation to set up for this weekend’s series in New York– They pushed Jamie Moyer’s start to Wednesday, which lines him up for a favorable match-up with Florida, who he has had success against, on Monday. Cole Hamels, who pitches tomorrow, is on schedule to meet C.C. Sabathia Sunday.

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Examining the Escalona move

WASHINGTON — After last night’s game, the Phillies made a roster move, sending last night’s starter Andrew Carpenter to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in exchange for Sergio Escalona.  The move, at first seemed puzzling– why call up a pitcher, and why Escalona?  So, let’s take a closer look at the move.

The Phillies weren’t going to keep Andrew Carpenter on their roster, after his rocky-route to a win on Saturday night, so they had to find someone to replace him.  There were a few options, like third baseman Mike Cervenak, who had a brief stint with the big-club last season.  Cervenak is currently batting .326 with three home runs and 23 RBI for Lehigh Valley but hurt his wrist Saturday, forcing him to make a trip to the DL, so his name was out of the mix.  But why not someone like second baseman Pablo Ozuna, who had a stellar spring training and is hitting .286 with a .320 OBP, or John Mayberry, who’s  hitting .270, but has shown power, which can be valuable off the bench, with his eight home runs and 25 RBI?

Sergio Escalona

But maybe the Phillies just needed a pitcher, as J.C. Romero waits out the remaining fourteen games of his suspension.  So, why not Mike Koplove, who has allowed just one earned runs and 12 hits while striking out 21 and walking nine in 17 1/3 innings; or Gary Majewski has allowed eight earned runs in 19 1/3 innings (3.72 ERA)?  Or what about Kyle Kendrick, who is improving his off-speed pitch, and has a respectable 3.75 ERA in 36 innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

But despite what the team could’ve done, they decided to add Escalona.  Pitching coach Rich Dubee explained the decision as two-fold. Heading into their fourth game in three days, the Phils felt they needed an extra arm to shore up a bullpen, which has been severely overused in recent days.  Chan Ho Park, who, to his credit, has good as of late, has not exactly been the Phils most consistent performer was to take the hill in game four.  In the short term Dubee felt an extra arm would be more valuable than an extra bat.  Dubee said Escalona offers the team “flexibility,” since he has minor league options. If the Phils were to call up a veteran, like Majewski, in order to put them back down they would need to designate them for assignment.  When you are designated for assignment, you have options to jump ship and head over to another club, where a big-league job may be open.

For now, all indications point to the fact that Escalona will stay with the big-club through the series in Cincinatti.  At that point the situation will be re-assessed and the team will take the long term future into account.

And hey, so far the move has worked out– Park pitched only 1 1/3 innings Sunday and Escalona came in in a key spot to pick up his first big-league win.

Thanks to Dave Murphy, of The Philadelphia Daily News, for most of the information above.

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Phils sweep in double dip

WASHINGTON —  The Phillies took both games of today’s Day/ Night double header at Nationals Park in Washington.  Raul Ibanez led the charge in both games, finishing with three home-runs on the day.  Here’s a closer look at today’s action:

Game one– After a twelve-inning game Friday night, that forced the Phillies to dive deep into their bullpen, the team needed some decent innings and a quality start from Brett Myers in game one Saturday.

And they got just what they needed.  Myers even further improved his unblemished road record (3-0) with his win Saturday.

Myers struck out eight, including four in his last two innings, giving the bullpen plenty of breathing room, as he left with a 6-2 lead, coming out for a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth.

“I was thinking about sending him back out there, but once we had runners in scoring position and all those left-handed hitters on the bench, I figured we might as well use them,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.

Manuel’s tactics worked, and the Phils were able to tack on a couple more runs.

Myers, who’s been hurt often by the long ball, allowed no exceptions Saturday.  The ball flew out of Nationals Park, for both sides in the early portion of the game.  Myers surrendered two home-runs.

“After the third inning I felt like he really settled in and started going more at the hitters,” Manuel observed. “He looked like he was really making sure he was spotting his fastball.”

Offensively, the Phils weren’t so shabby either.  Their 14 hit assault was led by outfielder Raul Ibanez. Ibanez put the Phils ahead quickly, hitting homeruns in each of his first two at bats.  In his first multihomer game of the season and the 10th of his career, Ibanez followed up a four-hit game on Friday with three more hits and four RBIs.

After a Jayson Werth home-run in the second to tie things up, the Phils started to pile things on in the third.  They never looked back from there.

The Phils bullpen hit a minor speed bump in the bottom of the eighth, when Ryan Madson came on in relief and gave up three runs on four hits to pull the Nationals to within three at 8-5, making it a save situation for struggling Phillies’ closer.

But “Lights Out’ Lidge lived up to his name,

pitching a scoreless ninth and getting dangerous pinch-hitter Elijah Dukes to strike out swinging for the final out and his sixth save.

Manuel like what he saw, and continued to instill his confidence in Lidge.

“His stuff is there, it’s good, and he’s our closer,” Manuel said. “We’re going to keep running him out there to get him right.”

———–

Game Two– The rains came in full force Saturday night, giving the Phillies and Nationals bullpens a much needed rest.

With Philadelphia leading, 7-5, in the top of the sixth inning, and the bases loaded for Ryan Howard, the skies opened up forcing crew-chief Laz Diaz to call for the tarps– sending both clubs scurrying off the field and into a rain delay which became a “call” after an hour and a half.

Before the rain delay, the Phillies called on Andrew Carpenter, who had just one big league inning under his belt, to start for the Phillies, in lieu of J.A. Happ, who was scheduled to pitch, but was forced to pitch two innings in last night’s 12-inning win.

Carpenter was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley just after midnight on Friday.  He didn’t arrive in Washington until the sixth inning of game

Phillies rookie Andrew Carpenter made his major-league debut, going 41/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits.  (Photo: EVAN VUCCI / Associated Press)

Phillies rookie Andrew Carpenter made his major-league debut, going 41/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. (Photo: EVAN VUCCI / Associated Press)

one.

In the first the Nationals gave Carpenter a typical, ‘welcome to the big leagues, kid,’ greeting him with a double to the wall by Cristian Guzman and an RBI single by Nick Johnson to put Carpenter in an immediate 1-0 hole.  Carpenter managed to limit the damage to just that in the first inning by working out of a bases-loaded jam.

“I was actually more nervous [in last year’s start] than I was today,” said Carpenter, who was 1-0 with a 4.72 ERA in six starts for the Iron Pigs. “I didn’t have too much time to think about it, which was probably a good thing.”

He settled down from there too, cruising, until he hit a little trouble in the fifth–a two-run single by Willie Harris, causing Charlie Manuel, who saw the storms coming, to go get his rookie and replace him with Clay Condrey, to sure things up, just in case the game wouldn’t last much longer.

“I wanted to make sure we got in those five innings,” Manuel said. “I wanted Carpenter to go five, but that was the most bullets he’s thrown this year and he was getting worn down. Their hitters did a good job of stretching the count on him. But I felt he was aggressive, he stayed in there and battled and made the pitches when he had to.”

Offensively, the Phils bats got things done as well, scoring seven runs in just five innings, and having the bases loaded in the sixth, when the tarps were, at first unsuccessfully drug onto the field.  Ryan Howard, who embedded a two-run third-inning shot in the centerfield batters eye.  The ball had to pulled out of the lawn, beyond the 402′ sign in centerfield.

And then there was Raul Ibanez, who led the charge all day, hit a pivotal fifth inning homerun, his third of the day.

The Nationals never stood a shot from there.

———–

The Phils and Nationals are back at it on Sunday, where the Phils will try to complete the four-game sweep of the last-place Nationals.  The Phils will hand the ball to Chan Ho Park, who will go up against Jordan Zimmerman.  Game time is set for 1:35 from Nationals Park.

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GAME CHAT: Phils in DC for Day/ Night Double header

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  The Phillies are back in Washington today, on the heels of their busy day yesterday, which included a trip to the White House to meet President Obama and a 12-inning win over the Nationals.

Here’s a brief recap of what happened last night: The Phils beat the Nats 10-6 in 12 innings at Nationals Park.  Raul Ibanez’ 2-run single in the 12th off Kip Wells opened a four-run inning for the Phils.  Ibanez, Pedro Feliz (4-5, 2 RBI) and Carlos Ruiz (3-6, 2 RBI), the Phillies six, seven and eight hole hitters, combined to go 11-for-17 with 6 RBI in the game.  Ryan Howard hit his 7th HR of the season, a 3-run shot to put the Phillies ahead.  Brad Lidge then blew a save in the ninth, allowing the Nationals to tie the game.  Eventually, this forced today’s scheduled game two starter,J.A. Happ (2-0), to enter the game.  Happ earned the win pitching 2.0 scoreless innings in relief, as the Phillies offense exploded for a four run 12th inning.  Chad Durbin (1.0), Scott Eyre (0.2), Ryan Madson (1.1) , Clay Condrey (1.0) also made scoreless appearances in relief.

Today, the Phils will play a double header to makeup a rain-out from April.  We’ll be having our weekly game chat during game one of the day night double header.  In game one, the Philies will send Brett Myers to the hill, to take on everyone’s favorite Phillies hater, Scott Olsen.  Olsen said “hate” is the only word to describe his relationship with the Phillies.  Phils fans will never forget.

The Phils haven’t forgotten his comments either, and have played notoriously well against Olsen through his career.  Four Phillies starters are hitting above .300 against him– Jayson Werth (.481, 7-16), Raul Ibanez (.600, 3-5), Ryan Howard (.481, 13-27), and Pedro Feliz (308, 4-13).  They’ll look to keep that up today and jump on Olsen early, with Chase Utley out of the lineup, getting a rest.

The Phils also have the best road record in the Bigs this year (9-4).  Myers has been a major contributor to that record, going 2-0 with a 5.89 ERA (12 ER, 18.1 IP) in 3 starts this year. The Phils have won all three of his road starts this season.

Click Here to launch the game chat.  We’ll begin right around 1:00 PM.

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Rollins to star in Playboy

Rollins and his Fiance Johari Smith.  (Photo for Phillie Phanatics courtesy of Playboy)

Rollins and his Fiance Johari Smith. (Photo for Phillie Phanatics courtesy of Playboy)

Phillies All-Star shortstop Jimmy Rollins and his fiance were Photographed by Playboy for the June issue.  I got an advanced look at the feature, which brings out J-Roll’s sense of style and humor quite well.  The currently slumping Phils lead-off man and his wife shot the feature over the winter in Florida.  They model fashions from designers such as Perry Ellis, French Connection and Nautica.

Rollins, of course, had to un-retire from the predicting business.  He went back to old form, making yet another bold prediction. “The Fall Classic? I see our boys vs. the Yankees,” J-Roll says.  “They spent all that money. They’ve got to be there. We’ve got a title to defend, so we’re going to be there.”

The magazine will hit newsstands tomorrow.

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