The rest of the country saw what those of us in Philadelphia have known for a long time: the Phillies cannot hit in the clutch. Last night’s nationally televised installment found them going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Needless to say, they lost to the Braves, 5-1.
Of course, the focus last night was on Brett Myers, making his first start at home since his arrest and release in Boston several weeks ago. Would the infamous Philly fans boo him? Inquiring minds wanted to know and had cameras and microphones pointed at nearly every seat in the house. Ah, but as it turned out the fans had their curve ball working, too. A smattering of boos were heard but for the most part the faithful in attendance seemed more than willing to give Myers a chance at redemption. You can be sure that story won’t make national headlines. Indeed, a quick check of ESPN’s web site this AM found no mention in the headlines of Myers’ appearance or treatment.
Television doesn’t do stories about cats who aren’t stuck in trees.
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With little else to cheer or think about, the focus of most Phillies’ observers (a decidedly and understandably dwindling fraternity) is squarely on the July 31 trade deadline. The name of the game is Buyer or Seller and in today’s Inquirer GM Pat Gillick more than hints he will be both.
The roster moves are already underway with the release over the weekend of folk hero Sal Fasano and retention of Cinderella Man Chris Coste as the backup catcher. Fasano’s tenure here was brief but celebrated. Unfortunately for the Fu-Manchued one, his celebrity had more do to with personal appearance, ethnic pride and pizzas than with on-field heroics. Sal was, by most accounts, a good guy and a gamer, but he was severely handicapped in the skills department. Some have argued that Mike Lieberthal is hardly an improvement at this stage and they may be right. Right now, Chris Coste should be playing regularly, but in Charlie Manuel’s world, veterans don’t lose their jobs due to injury.
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Here’s is my surprise prediction regarding roster moves: the Phillies are going to attempt to re-sign David Bell to a one year deal. Settle down, Black Hole Conspiracy Theorists, I don’t like the move any more than you do, but the guess here is the Phils have too many other holes to fill, there clearly isn’t any help in the minors at his position, and there don’t appear to be many free agents available at that position. So, with his recent resurgence at the plate, Bell is looking better to the alleged brain trust.