Sorry for the extended absence… A very busy work schedule, some play time with my son, and a lack of an internet connection at home (until resolved by Comcast yesterday) has kept me from blogging. I’ll be better going forward…
PHILLIES SMOKE DODGERS…
Having watched it, I feel goofy for having picked the Phillies to finish second in the NL East (Mets injury implosion notwithstanding). The potent lineup smoked a makeshift Dodger rotation that had trouble throwing strikes – and if you put people on base, the Phillies have too much power to get away with it. And, they have just enough pitching. Going forward, the question will be do the Phillies have enough pitching to keep up with the bats of the Yankees who face John Lackey and the Angels in game five tonight… At least you’ll likely see a lot of offense if the Yankees and Phillies face off in the Series.
IN OTHER NEWS
When the Series makes it to television next Wednesday (ugh), you will see Ozzie Guillen on your television. Guillen will do pregame and postgame sessions with Chris Rose, Mark Grace, and Eric Karros. Can’t we get a pitcher in the broadcast booth? Where is Jim Kaat when we need him??? [SI]
Someone you won’t see is Steve Phillips – but we’ll get to that later.
Aroldis Chapman is interviewing with various teams trying to sign a free agent deal. The Cuban refugee with the 100 MPH fastball is likely to sign with… New York or Boston? NO WAY!!!
Managers and Coaches…
The Chicago Cubs hired former Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo to be the hitting coach for 2010. Jaramillo replaces Von Joshua, who will accept the same role for the Cubs’ AAA Iowa team. [SI]
The Tampa Rays hired Derek Shelton to replace Steve Henderson as the hitting coach for 2010. Shelton had been the hitting coach for Cleveland since 2005. I don’t understand how Henderson got fired – the Rays had more homers, walks, and runs than in 2008… [SI]
Bobby Valentine, Manny Acta, Travis Fryman, Torey Lovullo, and Don Mattingly are on the interview list for the Cleveland Indians manager position. I’d rather have Mattingly, if it were me. [ESPN, MLB]
Former Arizona and Seattle pitching coach Bryan Price was tabbed for the Cincinnati Reds pitching coach position. [MLB]
Boston Red Sox Assistant GM Jed Hoyer may sign to be the GM of the San Diego Padres. Hoyer will have his work cut out for him, and not nearly the same amount of resources as his boss, Theo Epstein, enjoys in Boston… [ESPN]
Joe Torre wants to manage in 2010, and his GM Nick Colletti already has his long-term deal with the Dodgers. I’d be surprised if Torre isn’t back for one more go. [MLB]
GM Dan O’Dowd and Manager Jim Tracy are close to deals to remain with Colorado… [MLB]
Rick Peterson, former Mets and A’s pitching coach and now pitching guru, will get a chance to prove his genius as pitching coach of the Milwaukee Brewers. Peterson is a new breed – has a psychology degree, which helps, and is a proponent of bio-metrics – using physiology to help with mechanics and strength. [MLB]
Phil Garner wants his old job back as manager of the Houston Astros. [MLB]
Infield coach Perry Hill wants out of Pittsburgh, even though Pittsburgh picked up his option. Is it that bad? [ESPN]
Check Out the Red Carpet Photos…
The Sporting News is handing out some awards – leading off with the Rookies of the Year. J.A. Happ got the nod in the NL, while Gordon Beckham gets the hardware in the AL. I haven’t given this much thought, but is Happ really better than Marlins outfielder Chris Coughlin? Not in my book. [MLB/TSN]
Want a Good Argument?
Joe Posnanski, one of my favorite writers, lists the top ten “pure hitters” since 1947. No – Bill Madlock didn’t make the top ten, but for a couple of years there, I loved watching him hit. [SI]
Jayhawk Alum and ESPN blogger Rob Neyer wonders if Bobby Abreu or Johnny Damon has a better shot at the Hall of Fame… [ESPN]
Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols had successful surgery to remove bone chips from his ailing elbow. I pity pitchers next year. [SI]
Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge is headed for surgery to repair a sore left knee that hampered the second half of his all-star season. [MLB]
The Transaction Wire…
The Cubs claimed former Marlins outfielder Alejandro De Aza off of waivers. I liked that kid – saw him play in spring training a few times. Once, I sat next to some little fella’ who had De Aza’s signature on his scorecard the year De Aza stole the centerfield job. Ankle injuries spoiled the fun, so I hope he gets another shot. This follows the Cubs releasing outfielder So Taguchi.
Will Ohman filed for free agency. Good luck with that.
Is it Over?
The Mets released 40-year-old reliever Ken Takahashi. The Japanese vet wasn’t horrible, but his release opens a slot on the 40 man roster. I thought he could pitch, but he’s not a long-term solution to any problems. [MLB]
Meanwhile, another Japanese import, catcher Kenji Johjima is going back to Japan and forfeiting more than $15 million dollars of his three year deal with Seattle. Johjima had been relegated to second string behind Rob Johnson and wants to finish his career near his home. [MLB]
A couple of Hall of Famers – Jimmy Foxx (1907) and Ichiro Suzuki (1973) head today’s birthday list. Others being remembered with cards and cake include: Jumbo Elliott (1900), Harry “the Hat” Walker (1916), Ron Jackson (1933), Wilbur Wood (1941 – my dad’s age), Jamie Quirk (1954), Frank DiPino (1956), Gerald Young (1964 – remember the promise he showed in 1987?), Michael Barrett (1976), and Yankees second sacker Robinson Cano (1982).
Afterthoughts… Steve Phillips was granted a leave of absence from ESPN when the 22-year-old ESPN office assistant with whom he was having an affair went all psycho and threatened Phillips’ wife and family. Marni Phillips, who had to deal with Phillips getting in too deep while working for the Mets following another similar scandal (which led to an out-of-court settlement of a sexual harrassment charge), has filed for divorce. Phillips may have had a good track record as a GM, but many in the blogosphere are less enamored of his taste in women. [ESPN, The Hollywood Gossip]
If we do get a Yankees/Phillies World Series, and that looks more and more likely, it does seem like we could be in for a whole lot of offense, I agree.
Last night was hit-crazy. I wonder if the Phillies could get away with that sort of pitching against the Yankees, though, or be given the chances they were given by the Dodgers’ pitching staff last night…
Cliff Lee can pitch and he’ll be rested. Cole Hamels needs to be better than he was – and he’s been undependable. However – and as much fun Pedro has been – if they need Pedro to make a key start this could be a problem… I know J.A. Happ will get a start, too. The Phillies need him to throw strikes.
Ultimately, they can’t give in to the Yankees’ patience at the plate. If you walk somebody, a solo homer becomes a two or three run shot and that’s when the Yankees get rolling.