Manuel Hat

Alas, the 2011 baseball season has arrived with great expectations.  As we welcome Joe Blanton and the Four Aces to mound.  The Phillies have turned this city around to be a baseball town, gee did I really say that Jeffery…sorry.  With the Diamond Club tickets already sold for the season, just getting a standing room only ticket will be difficult.  Our number five starting pitcher can clearly be a number two somewhere else.  It’s looking like we can win games without even getting multiple runs, which for some reason we have a problem with.

We will welcome back with open arms our second ace in Cliff Lee.  Ruben Amaro wanted to have Roy Halladay so bad that we let go of good ole Cliff.  Well, we decided to get both.  Which should easily make a one two punch look very effective.  Adding Oswalt and Hamels to the list and it seems like we are going to have very low scoring games.  Out of the four names I listed, all four are Aces on others teams.  Philadelphia has them all.

Our batting lineup hasn’t really changed.  Jayson Werth left for a huge contract that I think he was over paid for. Being a player that had one good year, right?  Yes, he can hit and yes, he has a cannon, but over 100 million.  No, I’ll stay cheap and play…well I’m not sure of that yet.  Dominic Brown is this phenom of up and coming players.  This would be the best opportunity for him to advance his skills in the MLB and to its talent pool.   A smaller amount of pressure considering he is immature.  The pitching line-up favors him because he doesn’t have to produce night in and night out.  He actually has a chance to learn and make mistakes while not being detrimental to the team.  Sadly though, it looks like Utley might be doing what he is already doing in the field now, sitting.  We all know that Utley plays hush hush on himself.  Just seems like this one is standing out.  Let it be told, management is scared too.  The Phillies VIP’s are willing to do holistic healing before he is told to go under the knife.  They have every reason to be concerned, considering that they just gave 25 million dollars a year to a man that needs Utley in front of him in the batting order.

The man from the 300 movie, Brian Wilson pitched around Chase Utley last year in game 6 of the NLCS.  Chase did foul off many pitches, but that’s exactly what it was.  Chase was not going to let a borderline call make that season come to an end.  If it looked close, chip it away and get another one.  Pitchers actually wanted to pitch to Howard instead of Utley.  Ryan Howard has one thing and thats power.  If you want to be honest, he isn’t the greatest of hitters.  His eye for the strike zone has been proven to be off.  He is a strike-out king but a home-run hitter.

This is why I say that if you look past our bullpen.  Look past certain injuries and look past who might be playing right field.  If Ryan Howard can hit on a consistent level and to the left, this is team is completely unstoppable.  They would then have to pitch to Chase.  The field would actually look like a normal field instead of a ridiculous shift on.  Rollins or Utley could think of actually stealing second putting them in scoring position.  Something that you can’t do when the shift is on.  Dominic Brown now sees a better percentage of pitches with men on base.  The benefits are clear when you have a pitching line-up like Philadelphia does. The way I see it is that they aren’t going to give him a pitch to hit.  I would like to know what his on base percentage would be if Ryan went up there and never swung once.  I can hear the little man on my shoulder saying that he didn’t swing at Brian Wilson’s pitch and it was a strike.  Right, but you also have to remember that even though 300 wasn’t going to pitch him a strike, he sure wasn’t walking him either.  That pitch that he took was a strike, but Ryan should have cleared the plate of it.  Sadly, no one is going to forget how the umpire rung him up either.  I think he actually threw his back out.

I’m not going to jump the conclusion that Chase is out for the season.  What I am saying is that he is crucial part of the line-up as well as the field.  Willing to take his errors and mistakes for what he does bring.  The problem with Utley is that he doesn’t know when enough is enough.  We all want a hard worker.  Philadelphia wants to see their players giving everything they have and leave it all right there on the field.  Chase does exactly that.  He is a Philadelphian from Cali.  Don’t be surprised if the bronze is put outside of CBP with the rest of the greats.  Utley just goes overboard with the work ethic when his body is willing to part with it.  You do have to know your body and when to slow down to conserve to a very long season.  I have always said that Chase is going to the best second baseball ever.  I’m going to have a hard time proving this when he doesn’t play.

I’m excited about the upcoming season.  I had a hard time watching Philadelphia baseball since the 1993 season.  I don’t exactly have an answer why, but I haven’t enjoyed it.  Now, I do.  Maybe it’s the star players, or the possibility of a championship.  No it isn’t that.  I’ll tell you what it is.  In 1993, that team was about hard work.  It was about laughing with each other the morning after in Video Dan’s room.  It was about fun, but it was also about getting dirty to win.  This team is committed to winning.  It shows.  Ruben Amaro is pulling no punches.  Philadelphia baseball is touching close to the corporate America that is the Yankees but so what.  Philadelphia can never be that.  This town no matter what is blue collar.  We are still living the Santa Clause debacle.  This is a team, like in 1993, that wants to win it for themselves, but more for their blue collar fans.

2 thoughts on “Philling in the Pieces

  1. I think we will be seeing a lot of good and a lot of uh-ohs in the beginning of this Phillies season. Personally, I will really be looking forward to watching the empire of pitchers we have, considering that was never one of Philadelphia’s strong points. On the other hand, it will be extremely nerve-racking to watch Luis Castillo possibly try to fill Utley’s shoes. Stat:

    Extra-base hits by Castillo over the last three seasons combined: 33.
    Extra-base hits by Utley in 2009 AT THE ALL-STAR BREAK: 34.

    Figure something out for that knee Utley!

  2. I like the comment on the the whole corporate America-empire thing. While I really like that the Phils can stand toe-to-toe with the baseball Goliaths (Yankees, Red Sox), I have to say it makes me a little sad that they have turned into the team that can buy whoever they want. I hate that, but I love that. I agree that Philly will never let them be like the Yankees, who always seem to have this aura of entitlement.
    Secondly, Werth did not just have one good year. He was a top prospect who didn’t show all the stats until last year and the year before. He gets that money because of stats and because those numbers were expected of him, and it is reasonable to actually believe he will continue to produce. Good article.

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