Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Short Hops

The Phillies need a healthy, productive Ryan Howard when he is due to come off the Disabled List this Friday. Without some semblance of the Howard of late 2005 and all of 2006, the lineup remains in flux with a number of batters hitting in unaccustomed and inappropriate slots. Jimmy Rollins can then return to the leadoff spot and Chase Utley to the three hole. Aaron Rowand may be having a terrific season at the plate, but he is no leadoff hitter. He should be batting sixth or seventh.

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Pat Burrell was the biggest difference between a successful 7-3 home stand just concluded and more mediocrity. In this morning's Inquirer Jim Salisbury notes his resurgence coincided with the public chiding by Pat Gillick of the numbers 3-5 hitters. I prefer to think Burrell rediscovered his power stroke when I publicly chided him on Beerleaguer. You make the call.

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It's remarkable the Phillies "only" trail the first place Mets by 6.5 games and second place Atlanta by 4 given the deep April hole they dug themselves. If they win two of three in Florida beginning tonight, it will set the stage for the holiday weekend series in Atlanta and a chance to move up in the standings. Cole Hamels, coming off a terrific outing against Milwaukee, gets the ball against the Fish. He will be opposed by Scott Olsen, who beat the Phils in early April

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Barry Bonds hasn't hit a home run in two weeks and there are reports his knee is the problem. After a torrid start he seemed certain to break Hank Aaron's record by some time in June or July at the latest. He still would appear to be a lock to break the record but in this little corner of the baseball world there is some joy in seeing him delayed.

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There is also some joy in seeing the Yankees struggle. Going into the season it appeared the best team money can buy lacked the starting pitching to top the Red Sox and thus far that has clearly been the case. When the Red Sox get Josh Beckett back the gap will widen even further. The re-signing of Roger Clemens is widely expected to close that gap somewhat, but it says here Clemens will fail to win more than three or four games in his latest incarnation as a Yankee and will finally retire for the good at the end of this season.

1 Comments:

Anonymous David said...

"Clemens will fail to win more than three or four games in his latest incarnation as a Yankee and will finally retire for the good at the end of this season."

Oh, do I hope you're right. This high-stakes, maybe-I'm-retired-wink-wink stuff is beyond old. Justice will ring out across the land if the Yankees maintain their plodding and especially if Clemens contributes to it.

6:42 PM  

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