Monday, May 26, 2014

No Kidding

Inevitably the morning papers around the nation trotted out all sorts of variations on the words "no", "nothing" and "nada".

What did you expect?

The Phillies celebrated their descent into the nether lands of the NL East by going hitless in a 6-0 loss to Josh Beckett, one of the genuine jerks in baseball.

The shutout was the fifth the Phils suffered in the last few weeks.

They landed in the basement on merit.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Predictable & Boring

Managers like to talk about certain pitchers giving the team a chance to win every fifth day when they take the ball.

Kyle Kendrick is never mentioned in that conversation.

Kendrick always has a bad inning or two somewhere along the way.  Some times he implodes right out of the chute; other times he is sailing along and then it happens.  The proverbial bottom line remains negative. Kyle, it seems, never gives his team a chance to win.

* * * * * * * *

In the interest of full disclosure, I've watched very little baseball this season.  I've read a fair amount and watched replays and wrap-ups, but it isn't much fun to sit there inning after inning listening to the most boring three-man commentary in baseball today describing a team that isn't much fun to watch...and hasn't been for a few seasons now.

The Phillies manage to take three out of four in Los Angeles, never an easy place to play for any East Coast team and then find all sorts of ways to lose more than they win ever since.  One night (or three) they just don't hit.  Then they kick the ball around.  Then the bullpen implodes or a starter gets rocked.

They already look like the tired, veteran team they are.

Of course they do have some youth on the squad, but there isn't much infusion from that group including Domonic Brown, who has all but disappeared this season, and Ben Revere, who should.

Cody Asche has shown some life (but not leather) with the bat lately, no doubt a nominee for Reverse Curse of the Month award from yours truly.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Alive & Well Division

The venerable Reverse Curse is alive and well.  (See Burnett in post below).

Meanwhile, in the Not So Alive Nor Well Division, I give you Domonic Brown.  From Phenom-in-waiting to Mediocrity-instead, Dom Brown has been a bust. Apart from the first half of last year, Brown has been invisible.  His outfield mate Ben Revere came to Philadelphia with a reputation as a slap hitting base stealer who could play some defense (minus throwing).  Revere will cost the Phillies as many runs with his glove as he might produce with his bat and feet.  He's been a complete bust, too.

I am all for giving Cody Asche a chance to prove he can hit in the big leagues.  I'm just not going to hold my breath.

Add high fastballs to the stuff with which to get Ryan Howard out.

Chase Utley has come back to earth.

Jimmy Rollins is again hurting.  The injuries aren't major but they keep on coming.  Age will do that.

The Phils probably aren't close to giving up on Antonio Bastardo, but that's only because they don't have someone to take his place.  Bastardo has been given plenty of chances to nail down a variety of roles.  In the end, he's flubbed them all.

The pitchers didn't like Rich Dubey but they pitched well despite him.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Lights Out

When A.J.Burnett is your only reliable pitcher you know the Phaithful are in for a long season.

Cliff Lee pitched last night in Toronto and it was a vintage performance, 2014 edition.  He was brilliant; he was awful.  Breezing along, he suddenly imploded in the seventh inning and the Phils were shellacked by Toronto, 10-0.

Another shutout of an offense that does as good an impersonation of Jekyll and Hyde as the pitching staff.

Cole Hamels was awful Tuesday night.  It's time to admit Hamels will never be the dominating pitcher we expected.  Indeed, despite possessing a change-up commentators love to love, Hamels has never been the kind of pitcher teams fear to face.  No one in, say, Milwaukee, looks at the schedule a few days hence and starts to worry about facing Hamels.  They don't start thinking about him until they are in the on-deck circle.

Kyle Kendricks will always be a mediocre back-of-the-rotation guy.

The bullpen is awful.

The aging stars are showing their age.

Take away Cody Asche's grandslam home run the other night and the offense has been worse than anemic.

Those three wins in L.A. might as well have happened years ago.  The future is dim and the bulb is flickering.