Monday, August 17, 2009

Some Things We've Learned; Others We Knew

J.A. Happ is one cool least by all appearances. Happ flirted with danger a few times last night including the first inning, struggled with his command at others but put the clamps on the Braves when it counted. After the game he admitted to being worried a few times, but you'd never know it just looking at him. Neither would the opposition, fortunately.

Truth is, every time Happ goes out there he pitches a solid game and gives his team a chance to win. We could name a few veterans who cannot do the same.

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Ryan Howard is locked in right now. Sure, you say, it's August, it's hot and he's playing in Atlanta. Well, yes, all of those things are true. Throughout his career, the big guy has hit well under all three circumstances. You can throw in batting in his home town of St. Louis while you're at it. He loves to put on a show there.

Howard says he's seeing the ball well right now. His manger says he's staying back on the ball better. Opposing pitchers talk about his strength. Everyone is right. Howard is entering that zone during which he can carry his team on his broad shoulders. Can and has.

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Who knows what the truth is whenever Brett Myers is involved? Was he injured in a bar fight? Did he bang his head on a car just slightly smaller than the Forrestal? Was it an injury suffered playing catch with his child? You expected a straight answer from Myers? Shame on you. The only truth be told is this: whenever he is faced with a decision to speak honestly, Myers always chooses option number two first.

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Shane Victorino put on quite a display in centerfield Friday night in Atlanta. While everyone assumes the Phillies will only go as far as Jimmy, Chase and Ryan can carry them, Victorino is every bit as key an element in their success. He is one of the elite centerfielders in the league right now despite lacking the power normally associated and required of his position. Shane will occasionally get picked off first, too, but his game is finely honed. Moreover, he is a lot of fun to watch...even when he's getting tossed.

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