Friday, April 28, 2006

So Much For Home Cooking

In conversation over time with some of the better informed bloggers I cannot help notice many of them have much more information about the players on other teams around both leagues than I possess. Indeed, the best informed among them have more familiarity with other teams’ prospects than I do about their 25-man big league rosters.

I was forcibly reminded of my shortcomings during the largely miserable course of the just concluded home stand when I realized I had never heard of the majority of the starting lineups for either Florida or Colorado. “Who are these guys?”, I kept asking myself.

No matter. The Phils dropped five of nine games to these two no-name clubs and a Washington lineup filled with known quantities and limped out of town for a short road trip that begins tonight in Pittsburgh. I can name some of the Pirates’ starting lineup…without having to look it up.

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If nothing else, the Phillies poor start underscores the vital importance of Jimmy Rollins, at least the late 2005 version. J-Roll struggled through a miserable home stand, going 3 for 34. Though he has cut down on his strikeouts dramatically, Jimmy looks uncomfortable at the plate. He isn’t getting good swings from either side at the moment and the results both for him and the club have been disastrous, but I am confident he will find his stroke again.

When Jimmy is on and gets on, the Phillies win. When he isn’t or doesn’t, they don’t. Plain and simple. Rollins remains the key figure on this club as far as I am concerned. Say what you will about his patience or lack of it, he is the igniter.

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I have frequently speculated that Pat Burrell must be one of the premier guess hitters on this club and yesterday’s game reinforced that notion. His two-run producing single in the opening frame came on a first pitch fastball. Later in the game, Burrell took a number of pitches right down Broadway. Nothing wrong with guessing, I suppose, as long as you are right more often than not, but I cannot recall ever watching a player who takes more strikes than Burrell.

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The local blogosphere, posters and commenters alike, have been speculating about what to do with the awful pitching. One favorite subject is Ryan Franklin, who until yesterday had been pitching reasonably well. Indeed, the entire middle of the Phillies’ bullpen has pitched reasonably well overall and led the NL in ERA through Wednesday.

The discussion concerning Franklin focuses on whether he should be inserted into the starting rotation if Gavin Floyd and Ryan Madson continue to flounder. Yesterday’s appearance should put an end to that speculation, at least for now. Franklin arrived in Philadelphia with a reputation for being a fly ball, home run yielding pitcher. The home run he served up to Garrett Atkins, a booming shot to straight away centerfield, produced a sudden and stinging loss.

Five or six innings of Franklin would be hard to take.

1 comment:

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

Ryan Franklin should not start. Keep him in the bullpen where he is nice and comfy. Starting him would be like disturbing a sleeping child. He's a different pitcher as a starter from what I can gather, and that is not good.

Pat Burrell also seems to take more called third strikes than most hitters. Boy, do I hate that, especially with runners in scoring position.