Saturday, July 01, 2006


The Inquirer is rotating the writers who cover the Phillies as often as Pat Gillick is summoning pitchers from the minors and waiver wires, presumably because the burnout rate threatens to be nearly as high.  I can only hope Mssrs. Zolecki, Salisbury, Sheridan et al are receiving hazard pay.

Jim Salisbury drew the short straw last night and his piece is the best one to date on what he calls the Sordid Season.  Salisbury no longer makes any attempt to hide his disdain for this franchise, calling them “clutchless wonders” and noting that the loss dropped the Phils into third place, behind the Florida Marlins.  “That's right,” Salisbury writes, “ the team with the $93 million payroll has been passed by the rookie-laden team with the $15 million payroll”.  Jim, watch yourself, you are in danger of being dropped from the Phillies’ Christmas card list if you don’t lighten up!!  

The Phils’ own latest sacrificial lamb was Adam Bernero, who had recently been released by the AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, a move sure to make this year’s top ten list for baseball ignominy.  Not to worry, Adam, as long as the Phillies are still fielding a team you will always have a temporary home, albeit maybe for one start.

The 29-year old Bernero had major league experience and it didn’t show.  He was rocked for four runs in each of the first two innings before being relieved by another newcomer, 21-year old Fabio Castro.  More on Fabio in a moment.

Charlie Manuel deserves special mention for leaving Bernero twisting slowly in the wind.  It was clear from the first inning Bernero didn’t have what it took to get out major league hitters, but Manuel seems to have developed a penchant for lingering to watch just how overmatched hurlers handle adversity.  The trouble is, Charlie, you have eight other guys on the field who want a chance in a game that is only one inning old.  Compounding the insult, Manuel didn’t get someone up in the pen by the end of that first inning, meaning Bernero had to struggle through another round of scoring before his manager had someone ready to relieve him.  Shame on you, Charlie.

For his part, Castro was impressive in his Phillies debut, throwing three scoreless innings.  The diminutive Castro had been the subject of much discussion in the blogosphere, most of it negative, since being acquired for prospect Daniel Haigwood the day before.  It seems bloggers and commenters alike didn’t like his size, his history or the loss of Haigwood.  For my part, I cannot recall another young pitcher who has auditioned with the Phillies lately and managed to set down the other side three innings in a row without surrendering a run.

The rest of the Phillies bullpen also pitched well, holding the heavy-hitting Blue Jays scoreless over the remaining innings.  The Jays may simply have been exhausted from running the bases in the first two frames.

The only other highlight of the evening was another home run from the recently rediscovered David Dellucci, his third in three days.  Since becoming a starter against American League East teams, Dellucci has raised his average to .319.  You know what that means?  He’s outta’ here.  Word has it the Texas Rangers are looking to reacquire Dellucci.  My advice to Gillick would be to delete the Rangers from his speed dial.  For his part, Dellucci has made no secret of his displeasure with his role here, and who can blame him?!  He will be a free agent after this season and though only yesterday I suggested the Phillies should tell him he would have a permanent starting job if he were to re-sign with them, I have to backtrack.  Why in the world would he want to sign with this team?  My bet is he will be traded to Detroit by the July deadline.  


J. Weitzel said...

Fabio looked good. My negative take on the trade has everything to do with a complete, 100 percent justified mistrust of Phillies talent evaluation and scouting. You can be a short left-hander in baseball, but you can't be Ryan Franklin.

RickSchuBlues said...

No offense to Fabio - and to be truthful, I missed the game - but clearly the Jays knew they had that one won after the second inning, and took the rest of the nioght off. We'll get a better idea about him when he pitches in a little tighter spot. Same with White.

I think if Gillick makes one more trade with Texas, the commissioner's office is going to start an investigation.

Tom Goodman said...

Castro looked good and the Jays were still hacking. Of course, when you are up 8 zip after two innings you probably have a tendency to swing at pitches out of the strike zone.

As for the Phillies ability to evaluate talent, that is certainly a very open question. One thing is fairly clear, however. They give up on people more quickly than any team I have ever followed. How did Haigwood suddenly go from good propsect to goodbye in such short order?

Nat said...

Sorry, I don't agree with the criticism of Manuel in this instance. Bernero is a veteran pitcher that nobody wanted, not some kid who needs to have his ego protected, but Manuel got saddled with him, presumably to eat innings. The Phillies were in the first game of a series in which the third game is already slated as a "bullpen game." And the bullpen, as has been noted elsewhere, is already over worked. So he can't go to the pen in the first inning, he has to leave this sad-sack excuse for a pitcher out there to do the job he was brought here to do -- eat innings -- and to try to spare his pen.

The fact that Bernero couldn't even do that job isn't Manuel's fault. Blame lies with the nameless person in the Phillies "brain trust" who thought Adam Bernero was worth acquiring. I don't know who is responsible for pitching in the Phillies' organization, but that's the person who should be outta here. Charlie's got nothing to work with, and if he rubs the front office's nose in that fact a bit before they fire him, I won't blame him for that, either.

CM will be fired and should be, but if that's the only change at the management level of this team, it's not going to help. There are a bunch of old horses that need to be put out to pasture.

Tom Goodman said...

Nat: I think you are correct about the so-called upper management and its greater responsibility for bringing in these bums of the month, but Charlie has gone on record in the past as having said he wanted to see how so-and-so would handle adversity and he did it again last night. It was clear from the first inning, Bernero could not handle it well. What did it matter whether Charlie brought in Castro in the second inning instead of the third, other than the fact that he didn't have him warm up in time? I wasn't concerned about Bernero's ego; I was concerned about the eight guys standing around behind him watching fly balls leave the yard.

pfesfan said...

Tom: I agree about Bernero... he was left in there way too long, especially by a manger who loves to take pitchers out a little too soon. About Castro... yeah he did well and was impressive, but pitching in a 8-0 game really can't put much pressure on a reliever, so we'll see how he does when the situation is different.

As for Salisbury. He's been laying it on extra thick for the past few weeks now, beginning with the Myers thing, I think he's already off the christmas card list...