Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Give-Away

There was an unscheduled give-away last night at Citizens Bank Park.  All Cubs players 40 and under in attendance received a game courtesy of their hosts.

The home team’s generosity began right out of the gate as Jon Lieber, applauded for his late season cool and experience, bobbled a ball hit right into his glove by the always-dangerous Juan Pierre.  One pitch into the contest and the rout was on.  Chris Coste then bobbled another pitch and was unable to even make a throw down to second as Pierre glided in.  Ryan Theriot followed with a bunt single (Coste’s throw was a little wide and late) and Aramis Ramirez boomed a home run to left field.  Three batters, three runs.  Lieber wasn’t quite finished for the night as he served up another home run, this one to Pierre leading off the third inning.  It was the slugging centerfielder’s third round tripper of the season.  The Cubs weren’t done either, especially Ramirez, who hit another three run homer in the top of the fourth, this one of Eude Brito.  So much for the latter’s long relief prowess.  By then, the Phils trailed 8-0.

No one in a Phillies uniform not named Jose Hernandez acquitted himself particularly well last night.  Hernandez came in as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fourth inning with the bases loaded and hit a grand slam, bringing the Phils to within two runs at 8-6.  Unfortunately, the rest of his mates failed to deliver in the clutch, including Ryan Howard who struck out twice with runners on.  In all fairness to Howard, most of the Phillies failed to deliver against a string of Cubs’ relievers.  What can you expect when facing a team whose record coming into the contest was 61-89?

Despite the general ineptitude, the Phils were still in the game when Brian Sanches yielded a home run to Scott Moore to give the Cubs a 9-6 lead.  Even so, one had the hope if not suspicion the Phils could mount another comeback, that is until Ryan Madson came in to start the ninth inning and poured more gasoline on the fire, surrendering two more runs to the Cubbies.  For the month of September Madson sports an era of 9.64.  For the year, it sits at 5.84.  Unreliable as a starter and unreliable as a reliever.

So much for momentum.  So much for home cooking.  So much for capitalizing on Eagles’ fans hoping to find solace across the street.  When do the Phils leave for their next road trip?

13 Comments:

Anonymous J. Weitzel said...

Talk about your classic example of momentum going only as far as the next day's starting pitcher.

Phillies got burned in two areas yesterday they've been able to avoid over the last months. First, they were burned by bad starting pitching (they overcame Wolf's bad start last week). Second, costly errors. Before last night, they had made only 19 errors since Aug. 1, which is fewest in the league. Overall, they took a little too long to catch up with Marshall, who was very hittable. But to me, the game was decided in the first two innings.

I'm coming around to your point of view on Madson. I didn't like him as a starter, but there isn't much use for him in the bullpen these days.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

Among many things I believe we are seeing the limitations of Chris Coste as a catcher. It should give the Phillies some pause going into next season. What they really need is take-charge kind of guy behind the plate.

On another front, if I am not mistaken, Aramis Ramirez is either a free agent after this season or has an option he can exercise. Wouldn't he look good in a Phillies uniform!! That would be some kind of infield not to mention a right-handed bat behind Ryan Howard. I'd trade Myers to the Cubs in a heartbeat if they'd listen, which they probably would not. Oh well, I can dream.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous J. Weitzel said...

I don't think Coste is all that bad back there. He's certainly passable as a backup. There aren't many options in free agency. There will be the usual pool of Sal Fasano/Kelly Stinnett types. I think it will be Coste and Ruiz back there next season, with Ruiz eventually emerging as the starter between the two.

Ramirez could be had in a trade. The Cubs need a total rebuild. How much longer can they wait on Wood and Prior?

9:28 AM  
Blogger Oisín/Wizlah said...

Jason, I was wondering the same thing about Zambrano this morning. At which point do they trade him, or do they try to hold on and build a new team quickly around him?

11:14 AM  
Blogger Corey & Carson said...

I love the way you did this post. I went the way of self-hatred, but I like the way you put a funny spin on it with the whole "give-away" notion...good stuff!

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Tom G said...

I had a great vantage point last night on the steal you are referring to [the video I posted on my site shows where my seat was] and believe me, there was no point in Coste throwing down to second. The runner was halfway to second before the ball even left the pitcher's hand. As for Coste's throwing error, well, that was pretty bad.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

I couldn't see the jump Pierre got quite like you could, Tom, but Larry Andersen commented and the replays showed Coste had trouble getting the ball out of his glove. Still, with Lieber on the mound and Pierre on first base not even Johnny Bench would have had a chance (or Bill Dickey, since you love it when I cite anything old!!)

11:55 AM  
Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

You don't think the Cubs would listen to Myers-for-Ramirez? Oh, yes they would.

I'm not totally sure if Ramirez would go over all that great in Philly, but then again, who cares with the numbers he puts up.

Agreed that Coste may be finally starting to get a mite over-exposed. His bat looks more sluggish and I feel like Lieberthal should be in there 3 out of 4 games now, not 2 out of 4. They should be looking at Ruiz to be the starter next year.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

RSB: Does Ramirez have issues? Doesn't everyone? Work ethic? Running into walls/teammates issues?

1:56 PM  
Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

Wheels was talking about it last night, about how Ramirez is said not to work very hard, has a lax attitude...or at least that's his 'rep' - which as he said, may or not be true or fair, or accurate at this stage of his career, but it was apparently true when Ramirez was a younger player and he still has that stigma attached to him.

I do sense that the Cubs fans appreciate him well enough. 110 RBI on the lowest-scoring team in the league will help cancel out plenty of negative perception.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

"110 RBI on the lowest-scoring team in the league will help cancel out plenty of negative perception."

Ah, yes, and as we have learned so well here in Philadelphia, 88 rbi's on one of the highest scoring teams will not!!

2:21 PM  
Blogger Corey & Carson said...

Good point- as Phillies fans we attacked Abreu and still Burrell...I being guilty myself. I liked Abreu and I still like Burrell, I have a feeling I would love Ramirez...but this is Philly we're talking about.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

Naw, it won't. Did you hear those howls of derision after Burrell's good morning-good afternoon-good night first AB? It was *so* justified.

And to think, Burrell probably didn't get a single boo on Opening Day unlike others who have either fallen back into favor or moved on entirely.

2:53 PM  

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