Posts Tagged ‘NL East’
With a divisional rival in town, its only natural for the internet to turn into a festering Petri dish of insults. Braves suck! Phillies suck! Bobby Cox hates women! Charlie Manuel once killed and devoured a bull moose in front of a kindergarten class!
In response to such remarks, we often see our enemies and ourselves breach the topic of “class.” Often times, the “classiness” of the other team’s fans is brought into question, just prior to an insult that questions the “classiness” of ourselves. It is a neverending cycle with no end, and like a snake eating its own tale, we are doomed to choke to death if this keeps up. But not on snake flesh. On unpleasantness.
So we have compiled a short list of ways to install classiness in every baseball game, so that these intense rivalries become the vacant, lifeless sporting events they were intended to be.
And before you even say, “Hey, asshole. What do you know about class?!” maybe you should read my guide to Meeting a Lady at Citizens Bank Park.
Let’s see what’s going on in the NL East.
Oh, wow, it looks like the Phillies are in sole possession of first again.
(Ryan Howard is a MONSTER.)
One thing about last night is for certain: If we’re depending on a team that is 30 games under .500 to bail us out of trouble, we are in some serious trouble.
At this point Kyle Kendrick is a bona fide liability, with a capital “L.” (A more appropriate letter doesn’t exist.) There goes my theory that Kendrick performs better at home! The next time he’s called into Charlie Manuel’s office and told he’s going to Japan — well, Kendrick better start packing, because it won’t be a joke.
Happ, Kendrick’s possible replacement in the order, didn’t look much better last night, but it was pretty damned hard to look worse. A valiant effort by the offense and four innings of shutout baseball from the bullpen wasn’t enough to rally back in Florida’s 10-8 victory last night.
Meanwhile, up in New York, it looked for a brief time as if the Mets might fall to the Nationals, but three runs in the sixth inning secured them the victory. The Mets bullpen, now permanently missing Wagner but somehow incredibly better, held down their 10-8 lead. Delgado was once again a monster, with two home runs and three RBI; it was his second consecutive multi-home run game.
So, here’s the situation: The Phillies are 2.5 games behind the Mets with 17 games to play (New York has 18 games left). However… the Mets have Santana and the Phillies have — Hamels? Myers? Moyer? Will any or all of them be enough? Is Blanton going to do what he was brought here to do and eat some damned innings already?
And just what do the Phillies do about the Kendrick situation? If he stays in the rotation, they have no shot at winning the division, or even a wild card for that matter. It’s either Happ, or Eaton, and given what I know about Eaton I’ll take my chances with Happ.
The offense, the starters and the bullpen all have to show up together, in every game, for the rest of the season. Two out of three won’t cut it: Last night the starter failed miserably, and the other two elements couldn’t overcome the damage. This is not how you earn a trip to the postseason.
It ain’t over ’till it’s over, a wise man once said, but man, is it getting close.
The Phillies have this nasty habit of painting themselves into a corner, don’t they? It happened again last night when the bullpen coughed up four runs in the eighth inning to lose their second of three games to the Washington Nationals. Coupled with a surprising sweep of the Brewers — in Milwaukee — by the Mets, the Phightins now find themselves looking up three games at New York with 22 left to play.
It’s been a weird four weeks, to say the least. First, we witnessed a grand debacle of a West Coast road trip, during which the reigning MVP trashed his fans and the struggling Dodgers swept the visiting team. Then, a resurgence of a home stand, with the Phillies exacting revenge on L.A. and rallying in dramatic fashion to overcome a 7-0 deficit to Pedro Martinez and the Mets.
After that, they traveled to one of the toughest home fields in baseball this season, and took two wins out of four from the Cubs. (As mentioned before, an Aramis Ramirez grand slam was all that prevented the Phillies from winning that series outright.) But then, as if to provide some sort of karmic balance to their recent success, the Phils were outscored, 16-15, by one of the worst offensive lineups in the major leagues.
What do you make of all this, if you’re a Phillies fan? I happen to be one, as you might have guessed, as the answer is: I have no damned idea. What I do know is this: The Phillies go to Shea Stadium this weekend, and they’d better win two of three. At least.
Right now it looks as if Hamels and Santana will square off on Sunday. Martinez, according to some reports, is not going to take the mound on Saturday. That may or may not be a good thing for the Phillies. Hamels was not originally scheduled to pitch Sunday, but everyone involved in the decision to move his start forward knows that he’s the best chance this team has to close the gap with New York. Maybe Hamels himself is not crazy about the idea, but desperate times, etc.
Tomorrow night’s game will feature the resurgent Brett Myers (2-0, 1.28 ERA in his last two starts) against Mike Pelfrey. On Saturday it’s Moyer versus Martinez somebody (Hurricane Hannah permitting, of course), and then Hamels facing Santana on Sunday night. As you may have heard, the Eagles are playing sometime during this schedule as well.
The numbers tell us that the Phillies have their work cut out for them: If the Mets finish 11-11 (which doesn’t seem likely), the Phillies would have to go 14-8 to catch them, 15-7 to pass them. Difficult, but not impossible, especially in light of what happened last year. Then again, this isn’t last year.
In conclusion, to cheer up commenter Gonzo, I leave you with this:
Q: “Why did the penis move away?”
A: “It was tired of living next to a couple of nuts and an asshole.”
(THERE’S your damned dick joke, Gonzo!)
As expected, no Phillies season can go by without some sort of horrific summer slump. I’m convinced that it’s written into each new manager’s contract: Agita by September, or else.
Sure enough, our boys are flopping like fresh-caught tuna, going 9-16 in their last 25 games. When the pitching’s great, the hitting fails. When the hitting’s great — well, you get the idea. This is a team that’s woefully out of sync right now, and our enemies smell blood in the water.
As of today, the Mets and Marlins are both 1.5 games behind Philly for the division lead. The All-Star Break looms mercifully ahead, but there’s still the little matter of the St. Louis Cardinals to deal with. Last night’s 2-0 loss was the latest in a disturbingly increasing number of “EPIC FAIL”s by the much-vaunted offense this season. The 3-4-5 hitters are getting shut down on a regular basis way too often for my comfort.
Consider that this year’s team, which still remains second in the National League in runs scored, has been shut out more times already than the 2006 and 2007 teams combined. Yikes. The two best pitching prospects to help our rotation — Sabathia and Harden — are off the market. Our annointed ace is busy getting his groove back in double triple-A, while Tom Gordon’s expected return from the DL is now a big old question mark.
That’s a lot of bad joojoo going down at one time. As the song goes, Put them all together, they spell M-O-T-H-E-R… (fucker). Deep breaths, people. I still think the Phillies are going to take this division, providing they do what they usually do under Charlie Manuel’s leadership, which is kick ass after the All-Star Break. If Myers pulls his head from out of his ass and the hitters regain their composure, this is still a playoff team.
In the meantime, LET’S WIN SOME GODDAMNED GAMES ALREADY!
Tonight the Phillies set up camp in the underwater city of Atlanta to begin a three-day defense of their division lead. Despite losing six of their last ten games, the Braves are still 3 games over .500 and just 3.5 behind Philly.
If you do some quick math, you’ll realize that even if Atlanta sweeps the series they will still trail the Fightin’s by half a game. However, Florida is just 2.5 games back and hosting the ever-unpredictable Cincinnati Reds. The good news is that the Phillies need only to win one of the next three games to get out of Georgia still ahead of the pack.
Considering the sheer brutality of their upcoming schedule, however, Philly better steal as many victories as they can. Fifteen of the next 21 games are on the road, and not one of their upcoming opponents currently sports a losing record (Texas comes close at 31-31). This brutal stretch of their schedule is bookended by three-game visits to Atlanta, who currently boast the stingiest pitching staff in the National League.
That isn’t to say that things get much easier once this gauntlet is run; the 10-game homestand which follows will host the Mets, St. Louis and the suddenly-stumbling Arizona Diamondbacks. Then, mercifully, comes the All-Star Break.
Buckle your seatbelt. This is where the ride gets bumpy.