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October 13 2006

All of the events that influence the vote for NL MVP have happened already, but all good Phillies fans should still be looking for ways to give Ryan Howard the needed edge in a tight race.  I'm here to do my part:  post-game interviews. 

You have to think at this point it's Pujols or Howard.  Voters would need to give Beltran significant credit for his outstanding defensive contributions for him to have a legitimate shot, and defense often doesn't get its due in votes for the award.  The numbers between Pujols and Howard are extremely close, but many would argue you would have to give the edge to Pujols, who hit for a higher average (.331 to Howard's .313), got on-base more (.431 to .425) and had a better slugging percentage (.671 to .659).  Howard hit more home runs (58 to 49) and tallied more RBI (149 to 137), but Pujols is clearly the better defender.

Fortunately for us, Howard is perfect in every way.  Pujols, on the other hand, just most. 

Pujols was 0-for-3 with a walk last night and was doubled off of first on a fourth-inning fly ball to center.  According to an article you can read here, his wasn't really in good spirits or a credit-giving mood after the performance.  His assessment of Tom Glavine, who held the Cardinals to four hits in seven innings?  "He wasn't good."

Hmm.  He looked good to me.  If he wasn't, the Cards, who have scored nine runs in their last four games, better hope the Mets don't have anyone good waiting in the wings.  Maybe it was a one-time thing? 

Not so much.

Before last night, the last time the Cardinals had lost was Saturday against the Padres.  And what did Pujols have to say about Chris Young after Young struck out nine Cardinals in 6 2/3 scoreless innings to lead the Padres to a 3-1 win? According to this article:  "I don't think he's difficult to hit."  Pujols was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and grounded into a double-play that game.  He left four men on base.

Alas, while it would be nice if Pujols were a jerk he proves to have some nice things to say after all.  Even about Young, who Pujols seemed to be a lot more impressed with before he shut Albert and his mates down. "That guy is amazing," Pujols said in an article you can read here. "He's tough. Now I can see why people around the league have problems beating this guy. He's real tough. He mixes his pitches really good. He doesn't throw a hard fastball, but it looks like 95 mph when he has his good stuff like his changeup and curveball."

It kind of sounds like the tale of two really different guys.  One of them, apparently, really doesn't like to lose.

In the Arizona Fall League, the Big Cacti continue to struggle with their pitching, which is less than ideal considering how many of their pitchers are Phillies minor-leaguers.  They fell last night to the Javelinas, 17-15, to drop to 1-2 on the season.  Joseph Bisenius struggled, allowing eight runs in 1/3 of an inning.  Only six of the runs were earned, but that's not really the kind of thing that's going to make many people feel much more chipper.  The righty Bisenius will be 24 in September.  He had an awful 2005 at Clearwater, throwing to 5.88 ERA in 40 games, but was much better this season.  He spent most of '06 at Clearwater, where he went 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 35 games, all in relief.  He allowed 48 hits and 22 walks in 60 2/3 innings while striking out 62.  He also appeared in 16 games at Double-A Reading, throwing to a 3.09 ERA.  At Reading he allowed just 14 hits and 8 walks in 23 1/3 innings, and struck out an impressive 33.

Jason Jaramillo was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI.  He's 3-for-7 with a walk and two doubles in the early going. 

In playoff action last night, the Mets took game one of the NLCS with a 2-0 win over the Cardinals.  New York got a brilliant outing from Tom Glavine, who threw seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and two walks.  In his two playoff starts this season, Glavine is now 2-0 and has thrown 13 scoreless innings.  Jeff Weaver was also very good, allowing two runs on a two-run blast from Carlos Beltran in the sixth that accounted for all of the game's scoring.

Jose Valentin was 0-for-3 in the game and is now 0-for-12 with five strikeouts and two walks in the post-season.  Cliff Floyd appeared to aggravate his calf injury and was replaced in left field by former Philly Endy Chavez.  Carlos Delgado was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk after going 6-for-14 against the Dodgers in the NLDS. 

Game two will be tonight and features Chris Carpenter, moved up a game due to Wednesday's rain out, against John Maine. 

Game three of the ALCS will be played this afternoon.  The game was originally scheduled to be played this evening, but the time was changed due to  the weather, which is expected to be bleak.  Speaking of bleak, the A's seem to be in a bind as the series heads to Detroit with the Tigers in control with a 2-0 lead.  Rich Harden faces Kenny Rogers.

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