Baseball Books (Ads)
-Ted Williams at War (7/06)

-Mickey Mantle : Stories and Memorabilia from a Lifetime with The Mick (10/06)

-Babe Ruth : A Biography (Baseball's All-Time Greatest Hitters) (7/06)

-The Echoing Green : The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World (9/06)

-Baseball : A History of America's Favorite Game (8/06)


-Game of Shadows




August 1 2006


STL 58-46 512 4.92 274 343 425 42 24
PHI 49-55 526 5.06 260 337 441 61 19
STL 933.0 494 4.75 951 330 608 4.50 1.37
PHI 931.0 550 5.29 1034 352 688 4.91 1.49

Cory Lidle seems to be lacking some much-needed perspective and I'm here to help.  Here goes:  The Phillies offense has scored the fourth most runs in the National League this season.  The starting pitching, on the other hand, has been the absolute worst in the NL.  Phillies starters have thrown to a 5.59 ERA, making winning this season an impossibility.  Cory Lidle has the most starts for the worst starting rotation in the league. 

The Phillies pen has been much better than the starters, but only one team in the league, the Mets, have thrown more innings.  Lidle went seven or more innings in three of his 21 starts for the Phillies.  Going back to 2005, he has one complete game in his last 52 starts. 

Cory sure isn't afraid to speak his mind, but he somehow neglects to tell us who he's talking about.  Maybe it was an oversight or maybe he's afraid.  Until he tells us I guess we'll have to guess who he's talking about.  Chase Utley?  Chris Coste?  Does Aaron Rowand get the Cory Lidle seal of approval on the night he crushed his face running into the wall?

I believe Cory Lidle gave it his all with the Phillies.  I liked watching him pitch and hoped for him to succeed.  He's a legitimate bottom of the rotation guy who can help a team not lose if you don't pitch him when it matters.  But if he was the guy he presented himself to be yesterday, why now?  Why not raise his issues when he was part of this team? 

I don't believe that the Phillies problems are caused by a lack of effort.  They're caused by a lack of pitching.  And buck up, all, cause we got like forty new guys in the low minors that should be able to help within a decade or so.

Whatever the Phillies problems are caused by, they're packed up in an old kit-bag and headed to St Louis.  The Phillies start the first of three tonight in the gateway to the Midwest.

The Phils come in at 49-55, in second place in the NL East and 14 games behind the Mets.  They've won four of their last six, including two straight series, to end July.  The Phils have little hope of winning the Wild Card, they are 5 1/2 games out and trail six teams, a lot of which didn't just trade Bobby Abreu for CJ Henry.  The Cardinals are 58-46, leading the NL Central by 3 1/2 games.  They have lost four straight, swept in a four-game set by the lowly Cubs. 

The Phils opened the 2006 season in Philly against St Louis, and the Cardinals swept the three-game series.   Lieber got pounded opening day and the Phils lost 13-5.  In the second game of the series Rollins extended his hitting streak to 38 games but a Yadier Molina single off of Gordon in the top of the ninth gave the Cards a 4-3 win.  The Phillies just didn't give it their all behind Cory Lidle in the third game, forcing him to give up four runs in five innings after the Phillies staked him to a 2-0 lead.  The Phils dropped to 0-3 as Rollins' hit streak was snapped.

The Phillies are fourth in the NL in runs scored, the Cardinals eleventh.  The Phillies are also fourth in slugging percentage and only the Pirates have been caught stealing fewer times than the Phillies.  The Pirates have just 30 stolen bases on the year, the Phillies 61. 

Only two NL teams have allowed more runs than Phillies pitchers.  St Louis has allowed the fourth fewest runs in the league.  Between the two teams, of the six pitchers likely to start, only one has an ERA under 4.98. 

The Cardinals have made two trades over the past few days, getting second baseman Ronnie Belliard from Cleveland for Hector Luna and Jorge Sosa from the Braves for pitcher Rich Scalamandre. 

Albert Pujols (322/436/697) is still the best player on the Cardinals if not all of baseball.  He hurt his elbow swinging on Friday, but an MRI showed no damage and he will probably play tonight.  He leads all players in both leagues in slugging and is second in OBP.

Scott Rolen (317/390/531) is also having a tremendous year.  Rolen and Pujols are joining in the infield by Belliard (291/337/420 with Cleveland) and David Eckstein (297/354/341).  Eckstein has 15 extra-base hits in 417 at-bats.

Jim Edmonds (259/355/474) and Juan Encarnacion (289/319/479) are regulars in the outfield, with So Taguchi (276/346/357) and John Rodriguez (301/374/442 in 156 at-bats) getting most of the work in left.

Righty Jason Isringhausen remains the Cardinals closer.  His 28 saves tie him with Trevor Hoffman for the lead in the National League.  He's allowed just 31 hits in 45 2/3 innings while striking out 44.  He has already given up seven home runs on the year, however, which is the most he has allowed since 1999.  Righties are hitting .170 against him, lefties .231.  He's backed up by righties Braden Looper, Adam Wainwright, Josh Kinney, Jorge Sosa, Josh Hancock and lefties Randy Flores and Tyler Johnson.  The 24-year-old Wainwright has been great, throwing to a 2.67 ERA in 54 innings.  Looper and Hancock have been solid, righties are hitting just .200 against Hancock.  Sosa struggled terribly while with the Braves coming off of a good year in '05, he pitched to a 5.46 ERA with Atlanta.  Kinney was called up earlier this month and has thrown just 12 2/3 innings.  Both of the Cardinals' lefties, Flores and Tyler Johnson, have been hit hard.  Righties are hitting .327 against Flores, lefties .222, and he's allowed 31 hits in 29 2/3 innings.  Johnson is just 25 and has a 5.06 ERA.  Righties are hitting .308 against him.

Scott Mathieson (0-2, 5.48) faces righty Jeff Suppan (8-5, 4.98) tonight.  Over his last three starts, Suppan has given up two earned runs in 20 innings, allowing just 15 hits.   He last pitched on Wednesday in Colorado, allowing a run on five hits over six innings.  Mathieson was just called up by the Phillies from Triple-A, where he was pitching very well.  His last start came on July 5 against the Padres and he pitched well, going eight innings and holding San Diego to three runs. 

Brett Myers (6-5, 3.57) faces righty Jeff Weaver (4-11, 6.32) tomorrow night.  The Cardinals got Weaver from the Angels just before the All-Star break and has made three starts with St Louis, allowing 11 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings.  He last pitched on Thursday against the Cubs and gave up four runs on ten hits over 5 2/3 innings.  Lefties are hitting .346 against him and he's allowed 22 home runs in 104 innings.  Myers has been very good of late, over his last five starts he's gone 34 2/3 innings and allowed just 11 earned runs.  He last pitched on Friday against the Marlins and took the loss despite holding the Fish to just one run on five hits over eight innings.

Cole Hamels (3-5, 5.71) faces Jason Marquis (12-8, 5.67) on Wednesday night.  Marquis has been hit hard in two of his last three starts, but sandwiched in eight shutout innings against the Dodgers on July 23.  He last pitched on Friday, giving up eight hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Cubs.  He's allowed 25 home runs in 141 1/3 innings and lefties are hitting .308 against him.  Hamels has held his opponent to less than four earned runs in four of his last five starts.  He last pitched on Saturday against the Marlins and was good, going 7 1/3 innings and holding Florida to three runs over 7 1/3 innings.  He threw 115 pitches in that outing, which is too many.  Manuel is usually good at keeping his pitch count low, so let's hope it isn't a trend.

Click here to continue viewing posts in chronological order