Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Plenty of folks want to make light of Brett Myers' latest public dust-up, this time with his boss, because they want him to remain in the starting rotation at all costs. Well, fear not, folks, he'll be there as long as he keeps getting people out. When it comes to morals and scruples, the people who run baseball are just as interested in the bottom [pitching] line as Myers' apologists.

In a logic known only to them those apologists actually argued the profanity-laced argument between Myers and his manager will only benefit the pitcher by firing him up. It seems even the target of all that invective and public humiliation likes that notion.

Don't believe what Charlie said in the immediate aftermath of the confrontation. He may not worry much about the public's perception of him, but Manuel believes strongly in keeping private matters private. Myers showed up his manager right out there in the middle of the diamond for all the world to see and then continued their little tete-a-tete in the dugout with inquiring cameras taking it all in. Whatever his faults, Manuel doesn't show up his players in public...ever. The ugliest part of Myers' latest petulance is that Manuel has always been one of his biggest supporters. Come to think of it, Myers is always beating up on those closest to him.

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A safety net is now required to watch Kyle Kendrick's high-wire act. The young sinker-baller got pounded last night by the Dodgers as the Phils lost the opener of a tough West Coast swing. When his ball is sinking Kendrick can give up a lot of hits but still keep the damage to a minimum, but when he's up in zone there isn't much else he can bring to the plate and the results are clear early in the game. Last night's line was 3.1 innings, 9 hits, 3 BB, i HR, and 7 ER.

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I was away last weekend and didn't see any of the games versus the Pirates. (Thanks to ESPN I did get to see Myers' little act...many times.) What's clear from the box score is that Joe Blanton threw his second straight terrific game and received no support. Pitching, especially of the starting variety, is officially not the Phillies' biggest problem any longer, especially if Cole Hamels continues to straighten himself out. Hitting is the problem...or more precisely...a lack of it. With 3/4 of the season gone it's time to admit the Phillies vaunted offense isn't so impressive. Had it lived up to expectations, the Phils would have a commanding lead in the division. As it stands, they'll struggle all the way to the finish line with the Marlins most likely nipping at their heels. The Mets pitching is in too much disarray to think they can stay with the Phils or Marlins, but despite their woes they remain very much in the hunt.

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