The Bobby Abreu trade rumor mill is cranking up again and I am left asking myself, why are we even talking about trading a career .300 hitter who is only 32 years old?
The glib answer, of course, is: have you seen him play right field lately, but I know that cannot be the whole story; after all, Bobby has played a tentative right field for years now.
The renewed speculation is due almost entirely to Shane Victorino's imminent return to the bench after filling in admirably for the injured Aaron Rowand. Victorino’s “demotion” is an unfortunate and perplexing development given how well he played. Rowand is no Wally Pip, however, and his return to the starting lineup is eagerly anticipated.
A few things are clear. Abreu continues to be an on-base machine thanks in no small part to his propensity to draw bases on balls and his somewhat resurgent batting average. Frankly, I find those numbers somewhat deceiving. Bobby isn’t driving the ball well (yesterday’s home run notwithstanding) and still looks uncomfortable at the plate. Victorino, on the other hand, cannot languish on the bench and continue to develop. The Phillies need to know if he is the sparkplug we’ve seen over the last few weeks or the two-time Rule 5 player he has been. Currently, the Phillies are carrying six outfielders though Chris Roberson may return to the minors when Rowand is activated. Rather than recapitulate all the possibilities and suggestions in this space, follow this link to this thread at Beerleaguer where everyone with an opinion weighed in.
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Brett Myers came through yesterday just when he looked like he wouldn’t. Staked to an early 3 – 0 lead, Myers immediately gave them all back when he surrendered a three-run homer to the heretofore unknown slugger Jose Reyes. It was Myers’ ninth gopher ball of the season and had the potential to utterly deflate his mates, but the young right hander settled down after that and gave the Phils seven strong innings. Afterwards, he acknowledged he didn’t have his best stuff, especially his fastball, which according to Myers wasn’t moving at all.
That is the mark of a maturing pitcher: to pitch well without his best stuff. By going deep into the game (“deep” hardly seems sufficient to describe the efforts of any starting pitcher who goes seven innings these days) Myers allowed Charlie Manuel to “only” use two relievers, Arthur Rhodes and Tom Gordon. As it was, much was made of Gordon’s pitching for four outs rather than three. Come on, guys: Gordon had only pitched about two innings total over the last ten days or so.
Inquirer beat writer Todd Zolecki noted this morning that Manuel has a plan regarding his closer:
Charlie Manuel tries to take special care of his closer for the first couple of months of the season.
The Phillies manager hopes that no more than one-inning saves keeps him fresher later.
While this might not necessarily be a bad plan with a 38-year old closer who has had arm problems in the past, need we remind the manager that wins and losses count from April 5th on?
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I probably shouldn’t post the following in case any Mets’ fans are lurking nearby and the comment section below suddenly becomes a chat room, but here it goes:
Has anyone ever heard a noisier, more annoying stadium than Shea during a night game? I am not talking about airplanes overhead, none of which I heard during the telecasts Tuesday or Wednesday. Instead, I speak of the strange sound effects the PA system inflicts on everyone along the Eastern seaboard between every batter let alone every inning. I struggle to describe one sound in particular: it sounds like two synthesizers clapping.
At times it was impossible to hear Harry and LA, the only announcers for whom I do not normally turn off the sound in the first place.