I’ll admit I know precious little about the Arizona Diamondbacks once I get past headliners Shawn Green, Luis Gonzalez, Johnny Estrada and Brandon Webb.
But I do know this: they won the World Series in 2001 with a pitching staff led by Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling and then gradually slipped into mediocrity as fiscal irresponsibility forced ownership to unload those two plus salary. Now, five years later they are leading the NL West. Someone out there in the desert is using his noodle.
Webb is scheduled to face the Phillies tonight and if you think that 8-0 record came out of nowhere, look again. The 27-year old has a career 3.18 ERA and his won-loss record over the last four seasons mirrors his team’s overall fortunes.
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Everyone including Swing and A Miss has anointed Brett Myers the staff ace. Yesterday’s performance was fairly typical of Myers in 2006, another quality start as baseball now understands and computes that statistic in which he had just enough to keep his mates in the game. Myers never really impresses me as a dominant sort of pitcher, but that’s not what matters for this club any longer. What does matter is that his teammates believe he can keep them in the game, something they no longer believe when Charlie Manuel trots any other starter out there.
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Rumors persist that a few clubs are still looking at the Phillies’ corner outfielders and that the Phils are trying to find some starting pitching help. Any such moves would be predicated on the notion that the Phillies have a chance to make the playoffs and, frankly, they do not. First, the quality of pitching they need is not available. Second, they need too much of it for one mediocre guy to make a difference. Third, Burrell’s stock is significantly diminished by his lingering foot problem. And finally, if they trade Abreu they give up what little consistent offense, on base percentage division, they have after Chase Utley.
As for the rumor the Phillies were considering trading Aaron Rowand for pitching, that notion offers a textbook definition of fantasy baseball. What do you take the Phillies’ front office for? Wait, let me rephrase that. Forget the rebellion such a move would produce in the local population that has justifiably embraced Rowand as a Philly-kind-of-guy. Is the Phillies fan base so stable that the front office can afford to trade such a popular player? Furthermore, apart from Utley, who among the Phillies regulars beside Rowand never takes off a single at bat or play in the field? You want more? Who would play centerfield? Shane Victorino? His two week stint as Rowand’s fill-in went very well, but it’s a little premature to hand him the starting job. The bet here is he will either be starting at a corner position in a year or so or will himself be part of a trade package.
C’mon, rumor-mongers, get real.