Tuesday, September 01, 2009


There is still plenty of baseball left in the regular season and plenty to play for besides personal glory.

A piece in today's Inquirer outlines the tight race for home field advantage between the Phils, Dodgers and Cardinals. Finishing with the best record carries much more than bragging rights; the top team gets home field advantage. In point of fact the Phils, among the three teams, have by far the best road record, so playing at home isn't necessarily an advantage for them. Still, if you were to ask anyone in the organization, he'd rather have 45,000 fans screaming for rather than against him.

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Untouchable Kyle Drabek has been shut down completely for the season after everyone in the organization determined he'd pitched enough innings, especially for a guy recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Phillies brain trust insisted they'd shut him down strictly for precautionary reasons and that he was in fine health, but some observers noted he'd not pitched well of late and seemed to have lost a lot on his fastball.

Given their track record on health issues and the truth therein, it's difficult to take the Phillies at their word.

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Old friend Jim Thome is on the move again. The White Sox traded him to the Dodgers yesterday, one of several moves the Chisox made in capitulating for this season. It's hard to figure out where Thome fits on a National League roster, but the Dodgers obviously feel he can come off the bench for an occasional Matt Stairs imitation, 2008 edition that is!

For their part, the Phils did absolutely nothing at the deadline, no doubt because they saw no one available who would improve them. Hard to argue with that strategy. Of course for every five Brad Pennys available there is one John Smoltz. Go figure. The same organization gave up on both of them despite needing starting pitching and who could blame them given how each performed. So Smoltz goes to St. Louis and is dominant in winning his first two starts while Penny lands in San Francisco and will start against the Phils tomorrow night. He'll probably shut them down.

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