Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Do As We Say

The Phillies sent a muddled message to Kyle Kendrick before last night's game: throw a lot of home run balls and you're going to be an Iron Pig. That's what you get for leaving the ball over the middle of the plate, kiddo! And just to underscore their displeasure, the Phils brought up 25-year old Andrew Carpenter, who was rushed into service after Jamie Moyer strained an elbow after one inning of work. So, Carpenter comes in and serves up a two run homer in his second inning of work. Do as we say, Kyle, not as we do.

These Phillies are a mess. Danys Baez, one of the Phils' worst signings in a while, also got into the act, serving up a three run homer after walking the first two batters he faced. Baez has a two year contract, not one more day of which should hold the Phillies alleged brain trust back from releasing him. He is a fireman who likes to start conflagrations. He'll stick, of course, because everyone else out there is equally unreliable these days.

After last night's 7-1 loss to St. Louis, the Phils fifth defeat in six games following the All Star break, it's safe to say one thing at the very least: as goes Jimmy so go the Phillies. Rollins is now batting .225 overall and since his return from the DL much worse than that. He's led off. He's batted third. He's hit left-handed. He's hit right-handed. Nothing is working.

Just to show how messed up the Phillies are, pitching coach Rich Dubee had the temerity to say Kendrick needs to work on his location back in the minors. Rich, you'll pardon me if I suggest Kyle can work on his location in Philadelphia, St. Louis, Allentown or Cooperstown. Nothing is going to help. He's a mediocre pitcher at best, generally over his head when matched against major league hitters.

And while we're on the subject of alleged brain trusts, a commenter over at Beerleaguer had a keen insight to how these guys "think" when he pointed out the machinations the Phils have gone through to retain David Herndon's services. The Rule 5 player would have to returned to the Angels if he doesn't stick with the 25 man roster of the Phillies the entire season. So, as the commenter pointed out, the alleged brain trust has jumped through all sorts of hoops, sent people down, released others, put others or waivers, and generally done a lot of juggling to retain this guy's services. Has it been worth it? Hardly.

As long as we are focused on the negatives, Jayson Werth got picked off first base again Monday night. Werth is one of those athletes who occasionally succeeds despite not having two brain cells working at the same time. Frankly, if the alleged brain trust decides to make a move before the trade deadline, I'd like to see them move Werth. As mixed a "talent" as he is, he'll draw a lot of interest from clubs looking for another bat. Let's hope the fact that his overrated glove, arm, feet and head come with the package will not be a detriment.

Moyer's injury presents the Phils with a lot of problems. Who's gonna' take his spot in the rotation if the injury requires a trip to the DL? Frankly, if the Phils thought they needed pitching help before Moyer went down, they're even more desperate now. The bigger question remains, however: namely, should the Phils make a desperate move to acquire a middling starter or should they recognize they're hopelessly flawed and have little chance of making the post-season? Bigger deficits (they are in third and trial first place Atlanta by seven games) have been made up in baseball history, but not when a team is as dysfunctional as this one.

Rumors abound the Phils are looking at Roy Oswalt to save the day, but he isn't going to get any more run support than the rest of the starters have received. That's the bigger issue on this club right now, not the erratic pitching. The pre-season take on the Phillies was that they would outscore the opposition and compensate for mediocre pitching after Halladay and Hamels. Even when they do get decent pitching, they don't hit. Neither Walter Johnson nor Sandy Koufax could win when their teammates aren't scoring runs.

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