Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pitching Is Still The Name Of The Blame Game

Great trade, Ruben.

Those former Cleveland Indians continue to account for nearly all the Phillies wins since the trade deadline. Subtract Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco and the Phils might be tied with the Marlins for first place in the division by now.

* * * * * * * *

Brad Lidge should be in danger of losing his job. You can be sure Ruben Amaro is scouring the waiver wire for help but closers are especially difficult to sneak through unclaimed since nearly everyone else needs one, too. One possibility, depending on how he pitches tonight, could be Pedro Martinez, but that remains a remote likelihood given he has never worked out of the pen. Ryan Madson auditioned for the role earlier this season when Lidge was on the DL and performed miserably; nevertheless, he remains the most likely option currently on the roster. Chad Durbin "closed" last night's victory but only because the game was in the 12th inning and all the legitimate candidates had appeared earlier including Lidge, who blew another save.

While everyone in baseball decided the Phils had improved their rotation significantly at the trade deadline, others were wondering how far a team could go in the post-season with a completely unreliable closer. Not even Francisco's game-winning home run kept the skeptics from howling this night.

* * * * * * * *

Jamie Moyer mouthed the usual pablum about doing what is best for the team and that he is only one of 25 players but only after telling reporters he felt misled by the team after his demotion to the bullpen. His complaints hardly jibe with the class act label many in the blogosphere are so quick to hang on the veteran left-hander. Signing him to a two-year deal was hardly Amaro's finest decision. Now we have Moyer telling all he had an "understanding" with the GM and principal owner Dave Montgomery.

It's natural for a competitor like him to be disappointed, but he should have left it at that.

* * * * * * * *

Lost in all the Martinez-Moyer hoopla and Francisco's heroics was another fine start by J.A. Happ, who held the Cubs to two runs in six innings, both of them coming in the bottom of the third inning. Happ more than keeps his team in the game nearly every game out.

* * * * * * * *

Cliff Lee must be wondering about the Phillies vaunted comraderie. The Phillies clubhouse has been considered one of the best in the game for a number of years and nothing specific coming out of it lately suggests otherwise. Still, Moyer's less than heartfelt there's-no-I-in-team statement, the alleged over-indulgence and subsequent poor play by Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino's histrionics on Sunday, Charlie Manuel's meeting with the players, and a general frustration at their overall offensive ineptitude must be taking a toll.

No comments: