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.