Ron Costello

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Members of the Faithful still genuflect when they hear the late
Harry the K's name.
On this blog, I call them 'the Faithful.' The men, women, and children who are diehard Phillies' fans. Some grew up listening to By Saam and Bill Campbell; or Harry Kalas and Chris Wheeler. Members of the Faithful still genuflect when they hear Harry the K's name.

Personally speaking, I can still imitate the batting stances and swings of Dick Allen, Johnny Callison, Wes Covington, Schmidt and Bowa, and Chase Utley. Many other card carriers of the Faithful can do the same and more.

Some are season ticket and game plan holders. Some just only hold Xfinity seats in their living room. It doesn't matter, they all love the Phillies and aren't afraid to speak out.

My last three posts — on changes in the game, manager Gabe Kapler, GM Matt Klentak, and third base coach Dusty Wathan — drew nearly 15,000 viewers and hundreds of comments on Facebook. Plus about 40 shares.

The Faithful are not happy. Below are some of the comments I received on my last three posts. Some were positive, but most were not. And they pull no punches.

Don Fergeson: This team got worse in every category this year on offense besides walks and had 9 more wins than last season, they were also worse defensively this year than last. I've been to 32 games this year, I think this is one of the worst teams I've ever seen and I'm and 45 years old

John Wilson: This Phil's team will not win with Kapler as manager. Players clearly quit on him, and for good reason.

"I've been a Phillies fan for plus-35 years and the duo of Matt Klentak and
Gabe Kapler is the worst of the worst."
Phl Rhoades: I’ve been a Phillies fan for 35-plus years and the duo of Matt Klentak/Gabe Kapler are the worst of the worst! If it wasn’t for Aaron Nola the Phillies would've been battling the Marlins for the best seat in the basement. Gabe Kapler has ruined watching Phillies baseball for me as well as a huge chunk of the Phillies fan base. 

Randy DeCampli: Ron, enjoyed your article. Management was not very good it started with the hiring of Kapler. When he was announced how many folks (fans) scratched their heads and said, "who is this guy?" From the start, he was over his head and lacked experience.

Terry Algier: Dusty is a fabulous coach and if the Phillies don’t realize that, I wish him well as other organizations appreciate his talents. This current ownership favors analytics over baseball know-how. That doesn’t always work and doesn’t always fill the stands. A cohesive spirited team is what fills the stands. Winning is important, but how fans view the team's spirit is vital.

Norman Basilone: Absolutely correct — on the money — the Rangers should hire the man on the spot. As for Gabe, he is the National League equivalent to the Yankees' Aaron Boone.

Jerry Arnken: Neither Harper or Machado will sign with the Phillies, why would they want to play for this manager? He would probably bat them at the bottom of the lineup, then take them out for defense with a one-run lead, then lose that lead. I can’t even watch them anymore. Tired of 10 run losses.


"I didn't like the veteran pick-ups at all."
John Hamer: I didn't like the veteran pick-ups at all. Messed up the team, but Go Phillies! 2019 Playoff bound!

Kevin Shire: Enjoyed the blog post, Ron. Very insightful. One problem, though. You said John Hamer is the man. I thought I was?

Bob Suskin: It would be more enjoyable to watch if they started hitting again.

Duane MeyersYoung team young manager. Be patient. They shouldn’t have brought in those late-career players. Things went downhill when they arrived


Fred Gaskins: Ron, you seem to be one of the few who understand what has happened this season; and hold out hope for a promising future with the core that we have. You know I write on occasion. I've been a fan since the late 50s but ... Still cheer, root and hope every year. I have never booed at a game. Never!!! I am looking forward to 2019. Thanks for keeping all of this sane!

Bradley Ferrell: Machado will resign with the Dodgers because he is enjoying the west coast and will stay in Washington, especially since the Nationals are going to finish in front of the Phillies. Kapler did a decent job and deserves another year.

Paul Roberts: I do not like all of the shifting. They are out of position when a DP is in order. I hate that he doesn’t care a bit about defense. I bet every pitcher on the staff hates that, too. I do agree wholeheartedly that all the moves hurt the team.

Linda Kegel: No way he should get another year. I’ve said this before, the team ended last season on a high note and the future looked bright! A year later, look how the season is ending. No sign of life. Kapler ruined the rebuild and he managed to ruin the confidence of the young players. Thank you Mr. Klentak.

Kenneth Keller: Wathan should be the manager, but hey, if he goes somewhere else he is probably better off.

Ben Doto: Not at all he’s doesn’t relate to the Philly fan, need somebody with more balls and less moving players every game; that can make ballplayers not get comfy with the position and his batting order is atrocious, not enough experience and as far as I’m concerned definitely not qualifies.
"I'll drive both Kapler and Klentak to the airport."

Rick Morello: Embarrassing! I'll drive both Kapler and Klentak to the airport. Horrendous.


Andy Kennard: He made some rookie mistakes in the beginning for sure and recovered, he doesn’t bat, pitch, or field so there’s only so much he can do. They were right in the mix until about three weeks ago, that’s not on the manager.

Lou Fumo: No, he’s not a manager. Stinks. Never holds the players accountable; lets them run the ship, never can win like that, he's got to go and take the GM with him

Jack Lutes: Why don’t we let Congress decide, they get involved in everything else and screw it up.

Bill Keith: Give him a plane ticket back to his hometown.

John Camp: Ron, great column and right on target.

Steve Cunningham: Keep Dusty!!

Todd Schafer:  (Dusty) is smart to leave.

Robert Petitti: I’m done with the Phillies. After the end of the season useless chatter by both Gabe and Matt it appears they’re running the show and it is what it is. But the big questions are? Will this hinder big name free agents? I think the Phillies won’t sign anybody. 

Paul Roberts: The young starters were worn out by season’s end. Hoskins and Herrera slumped at the wrong time. Franco and Williams were hurting. I agree the acquisitions didn’t get it done but it was far from all their fault that the team imploded.

Bruce Pergament: You cannot ruin chemistry and keep moving players to different positions on the field and in the batting order then expect them to perform. You perform as you train. If you do not know your job, how do you prepare for it?

George Pellegrino: Get Mike Trout. They will sell a ton of tickets.

Ernie Quatrani: If you don’t play defense you don’t win championships. Santana at 3rd and Kingery at short is a recipe for mediocrity.

"I am dying for the days of Dallas Green and Larry Bowa and any other
manager with the guts to stand by his players without playing musical chairs."
Susan Wood: I turn 60 in 16 days & I love the Phillies. That said, I am dying for the days of Dallas Green and Larry Bowa and any other manager with the guts to stand by his players without playing musical chairs. If you screwed up, you heard it and we knew it. But those position players were not put through the magic blender to see who plays first today and who’s a good boy? You can hit clean up! I’ll give it to Kap, it’s his first year ever managing but that’s it GO PHILLIES.

Gary Doyle: I agree. BORING. I wonder how many times this season the Phils got shut out for 3, 4, 5 innings playing this type of ball? How f-ing boring can it get? No wonder attendance is down.

Howard Royer: Analytics is ruining the game of baseball. Whatever happened to strategy? Whatever happened to both teams playing their best players and may the best team win? They've lost me as a fan.

Ben Doto: Let’s get a petition up to get rid of Kapler, have no idea what this organization thought when they brought him in. Inexperienced man and awful decisions moving players all over every game, nobody can get comfy in one position, let’s get a real manager in there.

Joe Merlie: Kapler is a classic over thinker. I see value in analytics but not to the extent he does. This micromanaging disorder is in opposition to the soul of baseball. This taking pitches approach for example... you see a pitch you can hit then you go at it. 

Dan Higgins: I love the Phillies and never missed a game but I can’t watch this team with this guy totally ruining the game I love.

Lip Dip Ferzetti: Hate Kapler since Day ONE! I've never watched him in an interview! He's an embarrassment to Philly, send him with CHIP! We'll never get a big contract player here who would want to play for him KRUK AND RICKY BO tell it like it is!

Mike Guzman: Kapler is a bad manager and he isn't going to get better either.

Tom Hans: They (Phillies) were a lot better than anyone expected.

Matthew Ingeni: No matter who or how you manage, you need good players to win

John Wilson: I was A season ticket holder for 25 years. This guy is the worst manager I have seen in A Phillies uniform. The lineup juggling never works in MLB. Using 6 and 7 pitchers in a game will wear your bullpen out Midway through the season. Starters don't even get a chance. Most are pulled in 5 or less even when not pitching badly. Franco has been his highest average batter as well as best Fielding third baseman and he hardly ever plays. Nothing he does makes any baseball sense and certainly doesn't lead to wins.

"I  hope Klentak and Kapler find a computer that lets them buy one-
way tickets out of town."
John Isaac: I hope Klentak and Kapler find a computer that lets them buy one-way tickets out of town. The 162 different lineups, the bad shifts, the 8 pitchers used per game are all bad ideas. They won because the young guys started to gel and immediately they added Bautista and Cabrera and while they played okay it killed the momentum. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

One word sums up the Phillies from now until the start of Spring Training: CHANGE.

Player position moves, trades, free agent signings, and coaching changes will be surfacing like smallmouths on the Susquehanna.

Except, one. The manager.

Nonetheless, if Gabe Kapler's name is among the Republicans and Democrats on the November 6th midterms, it's a safe bet he'd never win — no matter his opponent.

Well, okay, sure, there may be a few he could beat, like J.D. Drew,  Danny Tartabull, or Scott Rolen. Or, the most hated vermin since William Penn stole the Leni Lenape's land in the "Great Treaty:" The rally squirrel.

Maybe.

All in all, however, the Phillies may be letting a good baseball man leave right beneath the noses of the Faithful: Dusty Wathan. And there are few smallmouths amongst the Faithful. Mr. Kapler can vouch for that.

Mr. Wathan has managed in the Phillies minor league system since he took over the Williamsport Crosscutters in 2008. Before the start of the past season, he lost out to current Phillies manager Gabe Kaper, and then served faithfully and expertly as Mr. Kapler's third base coach.

Mr. Wathan played a considerable role in helping to develop some of the Phillies' current young stars on the 44 man roster and in the minor leagues.

His minor league teams reached the postseason five times in his ten years as a manager in the Phillies' system. He was Eastern League manager of the year at Double-A Reading — twice — in 2015 and 2016.

Young Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford called Mr. Wathan, "the best manager I've ever had."

We're talking pedigree, here, Philadelphia Phillies pedigree. We're talking about a potential Buck Showalter, Mike Matheny, or Bruce Bochy. Maybe a Joe Maddon.

While the Faithful's attention has shifted to the Eagles, Flyers, Union, Soul, Wings, and Sixers — or for those hibernating until spring — Mr. Wathan is interviewing in Arlington for the Rangers' managing job.

What can be done about it? Absolutely nothing. Gabe Kapler and the young and inexperienced Matt Klentak are stuck together like a sheet of sticky buns.

They will succeed or fail together, and as always, all the Faithful can do is watch.

It's not like it's the first time. We've seen this dog and pony show before. But there is one thing that sticks in the craw of the Phillies organization: Empty seats.

Even with the team in first place in August, there was game after game, sections of empty seats and a half-filled ballpark. Though there'll be no mid-term elections for the Faithful in November — not for baseball, anyway — yet one thing is for sure.

For the Faithful, voting starts on March 28, 2019: The home opener.



Saturday, October 6, 2018

It started in the PhillyVoice, the online news source not influenced by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and Comcast. 

Angelo Cataldi, WIP-FM talk show host, and columnist for the PhillyVoice wrote a column on Phillies GM Matt Klentak entitled, 'Phillies GM Matt Klentak is Incompetent.'

Couldn't have said it better. He also called Mr. Klentak a "double talker," which made me laugh. 

Double talking is right. And Mr. Klentak speaks the obvious, like this beauty: "Some of the areas a few weeks ago that were obvious areas for an upgrade may not be obvious anymore. That doesn't mean we won't address them." What?

Or, "If I'd bet, I'd think we're going to make a move between now and July 31. But, it's not as clear as it was a month ago." Huh?

Mr. Cataldi is a Philadelphia folk hero. Why? Because he's at the end of a long list of sportswriters who weren't afraid to speak out and criticize the Phillies; criticize hell, Cataldi kicks them in the ass.

Bill Conlin, Sandy Grady, Bill Lyon, Frank Dolson, Stan Hockman, Bill Campbell, and Paul Hagen — any of them or all of them would have taken Andy MacPhail, Matt Klentak, and the analytical manager to the woodshed for the nonsense that went on this season.

What I would give to have lunch with Larry Bowa! Please God, I won't swear ever again.

Mr. Cataldi has more balls than a brass monkey. He's what this city needs in the era of a paper tiger newspapers, the two that nearly everybody doesn't read. I bet I get more reads and comments on this independent online post than the Inquirer receives on its sports page. 

In the Philadelphia subway trains and city buses — which I ride frequently — people read the free Philadelphia Metro. It has a broader distribution than the Inquirer and Daily News combined. Now that's sad.

Mr. Cataldi also had the manager Gabe Kapler on his show, and they exchanged blows there, too.

I happen to agree with Mr. Cataldi on this one, but there are many times I don't. I didn't agree with him on Charlie Manuel and Chris Wheeler. It doesn't matter, what matters is he is not afraid to speak out. 

On August 7 the Phillies held a slim lead over Atlanta and were 15 games over .500. Klentak destroyed the team chemistry by bringing in veterans Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Bour, Wilson Ramos, and 37-year-old Jose Bautista.

The team crashed and burned. Wholly overlooked were the left-handers Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ. Acquiring either one might have meant a postseason appearance. Besides, the two veteran pitchers might've helped the young, struggling pitchers Vince Velasquez, Zach Eflin, and Nick Pivetta.

How was that overlooked? 

Mr. Cataldi was right about something else, too. The Faithful did not support the first place Phillies. 

The reasons? Mr. Cataldi said it: Incompetency  I'll add another, shoving analytics down the Faithful's throats with a manager who is getting on the job training. 

The Phillies are losing its fan base, and for that, they should be ashamed.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

It's not as bad as it looks; it only seems that way.

Here's the thing. When the 2018 season started the Phillies were a mix of unproven kids, and a few veterans — veterans at the end of their careers. 


Suddenly, playing enough good baseball to rise within the weakest division — surprising everyone —  they abruptly collapsed.

Defensive shifts are here to stay — at least for a while.
The sudden rise credit goes to the manager, Gabe Kapler. By using the modern tactics of baseball — which we'll get to shortly — he molded this group of goulash into a tasty stew. But at the end management — Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak — lost their vision and screwed up the stew.

Thus, the collapse belongs to management for losing track of the season's purpose and destroying the chemistry of the ballclub. They fell for the oldest mistake in the game: Veterans are a  quick fix. They blew up the team and ruined the stew.

But it's all not bad. Much of it is still good.


So with that said, the Phillies need the stones to do what's needed for 2019. Such as:


1. Get Rhys Hoskins out of left field and put him at first, permanently.


2. Do something with Odubel. Trade him, pay him off or use him off the bench. He's owed $23.5 million.


The Faithful have seen enough stupid mistakes from this character — mistakes a little leaguer at Williamsport wouldn't make — and deserve better.  His teammates deserve better. The entire history of the organization deserves better.

Keep Mr. Franco at third base.

3. Keep Maikel Franco at third — and please, don't embarrass yourselves by moving Carlos Santana there. Franco had a decent year and was stellar defensively.

4. Put J.P Crawford at short and leave him there, don't keep benching him or moving him around. 


5. Put Scott Kingery at second and leave him there, don't keep benching him or pinch-hitting for him early. Do Kingery a favor — you owe it to him for how you played him this season — and give him a chance to settle in.


Either trade Cesar Hernandez or use him off the bench. BUT — and this is a big but — if you do use Hernandez off the bench, I don't mean splitting time at short or second. Use him like the Phillies utilized Thomas Perez — pinch-hitting and spot starting. I think he'd be right in that role.


6. With Hoskins at first, what to do with Carlos Santana? He's still owed $35 million over the next two years. Trade him, use him off the bench as a switch-hitting, 33-year-old pinch hitter, or buy him out.


7. Catching. A tough one. Jorge Alfaro hasn't been successful behind the plate. Too many mistakes. Too many pass-balls. But he has speed, a strong arm and has shown signs of power. Would the outfield be a better place for him?

Is Jorge Alfaro still the Phillies number one?

Wilson Ramos could be a solid backup. But let's face it, he'll be 32 next August — 80 in catcher's years — and is as familiar to the DL as obesity is to Pat's and Gino's. 

There are some excellent catchers on the free agent market. And, is there still life with Andrew Knapp? Perhaps if he played consistently he'd do better. Now, where have we heard that before?

8. The rotation is still developing. Aaron Nola is the ace, no doubt. Jake Arrietta deserves another season as number two. It's too early to discount Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez, and Jerald Eickoff; they need and deserve another full season. All four still have enormous potential. 


Could the Phillies use a free agent for the rotation, especially a left-hander? There are two very good lefties on the free agent market: Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Miller. 


For a team, so bent on analytics, it's head scratting to have an entire right-handed rotation.


9. The bullpen is a work in progress, too. It does not need a do-over. Its had it's ups and downs, granted, but questionable managerial moves caused some of the downs.


Hector Neris, Louis Garcia, Adam Morgan, Edubray Romos, Victor Arano, Hoby Milner, Edubray Ramos, Seranthony Dominguez, plus the two veterans Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter — and the left-hander Aaron Loup — is a strong core to build around.

10. Finally, the to-do about the new modern techniques of baseball. My last post, the one about changes, drew over 12,000 viewers and many comments. Most of the commenters want manager Kapler fired. Most said the new techniques are ridiculous, stupid, and should be immediately eliminated — see previous post above.
Manager Kapler needs to make adjustments.

Change is one of the most challenging parts of life. For all of us, but especially with the Phillies Faithful: loyal fans that have played the game, watched it, and are the most knowledgable fans in baseball. 

And change is here. It isn't only with Mr. Kapler and the Phillies management. It's in baseball across the board. Analytics, defensive shifts, hitting against defensive shifts, player moves, bullpen usage, and other changes are here. Will they be here to stay? Only time will tell. 


Hopefully, Mr. Kapler — who seems like a good man — will look at the 2018  season and make adjustments. Maybe, he'll better understand the old and proven ways, like hit and run, sacrificing and giving one's self up moving runners, and letting players like Mr. Kingery "settle in" at one position.


Because this old rule never dies: They don't fire the team.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

If you're reading this you must follow baseball and the Phillies. You might even be a member of the Faithful.

Carlos Santana, low average but a ton of base-on-balls.
So here's the skinny on what's going on with the Phillies and major league baseball: some things you ought to know about.

In today's game, hit-and-runs, bunts, stolen bases, singles, rallies, pinch-hitters, and complete games, are dropping like petals from a rose. They have nearly disappeared from the game.

Blame strikeouts. And throw in base-on-balls while you're at it — they're guilty, too. Strikeouts and base-on-balls are up. With walks and strikeouts up, batting averages are down. 

Batting averages are down because defensive shifts are up, way up. Each time a batter comes to the plate, infielders move around like wine glasses on a cruise ship. Outfielders pull cards from their back pockets, peruse them, and move accordingly.

Sometimes vast areas of the field are left open, like the left side with a lefthanded hitter up. Does the batter try to push the ball in the open area? Most times not. That's part of the reason that strikeouts and walks are up and batting averages are down.

Take the Phillies Carlos Santana, for example. He's hitting .233 and making $15 million. But his walks are up. He's second in the NL with 105 base-on-balls, behind the next Phillies centerfielder Bryce Harper, who has 123.

Mr. Harper's average is down, too, and his strikeouts are up. He's fifth in whiffs in the NL with 160. Think he cares? Bryce? He says 'what's a batting average?;' because he's third in home runs with 34, one behind the NL leader Matt Carpenter. Mr. Harper may be the leader, soon. He's also sixth in RBIs.

Averages down, walks up, strikeouts up, home runs up. 

Defensive shift against Bryce Harper.
Am I forgetting anything? Yes. When Harper comes to the plate the whole damn defense moves to the right side of the field. If the diamond were a ship it would capsize.

So does Mr. Harper adjust and try to hit the ball to the left side of the field? What, are you kidding? If he did his home runs would drop and his walks would tumble, and then the Phillies might not offer him that $500 million contract in December.

You think Gabe Kapler will want Mr. Harper to hit against the shift? Get real. Mr. Kapler is the poster boy for the changes in baseball. Before the season ends Kapler wants to start his closer for two innings, that is, if he had a closer. They're disappearing, too.

To Mr. Kapler, all pitchers are equal and the bullpen is simply an area where most of his pitchers sit.
Try to pull the ball through this Dodger infield.

Oh, and because of the ups and downs previously mentioned above, balls put in play are way down. Home runs, popups, strikeouts, and walks being up, means that balls actually hit around the field are down. 

Fewer hit-and-runs, bunts, stolen bases, singles, rallies, pinch-hitters, defensive gems, and fewer balls hit in play, making the games longer. Because hitters — the hitters that use to hit the balls in play? — are working the counts and adding to the length of the games.

Working the counts is why strikeouts and walks are up. Video challenges are up which gives viewers lots of time to check their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Analytics are up through the ceiling, as well. 

Twenty and thirty-something-year-olds sit in the dugouts with laptops and spreadsheets advising managers, pitching coaches, and players on the defensive shifts and other things, such as what type of pitch to throw to Mr. Harper with the count full.

Laptops and ipads have invaded baseball's dugouts.
Watch how often the catcher looks in at the dugout just before he gives his signs. The manager tells him what pitch to call, ordered up by a thirty-something with the laptop sitting between Jake the Snake and Nick Williams — on the bench because the computer picked the lineup.

And boring is up, too. Boring is significantly up.

Oh, wait, I nearly forgot. Major league attendance is down. 

Hey, do you think I discovered a correlation here? Maybe the Phillies will hire me for their booming analytics department.

Nah, I'm too old.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

In the late 15th century conventional wisdom said the best way to reach India, China, and Japan — called the West Indies at the time — was to sail south and then east, around Africa.

But an Italian explorer bucked the conventional wisdom and said he could do it by sailing west, across the Western Ocean, later called the Atlantic Ocean.
Did the Phillies follow the pigeons?

Three-quarters of the way there, Christopher Columbus — heading straight toward the Georgia/Florida coastline, choose to follow a flock of terns flying south. As you well know, if you paid attention in school, Columbus sailed into the Caribbean.

Did the Phillies see a  flock of birds and follow them? 

On July 25th the Phillies held a game and a half lead over Atlanta in the NL East. Their young prospects got them to that point.

Hitting, pitching, hustling — and sure, making lots of mistakes — and the guidance of veterans Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta got them there.

Over the last week of July, the club decided it didn't have enough to take the division and went outside the box. Before the trade deadline, the club acquired several players to help carry them through August and September.

This team needs veterans, it said.

You know the rest. The starting pitching after Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta folded like a lawn chair, and several position players went into slumps. I mean, it happens.
The Phillies gave up on the young players like Rhys Hoskins.


Is there a connection? A connection between acquiring the outside players and a sudden nosedive to 7 and a half games back?

Look, here's the thing. The team that carried the Phillies to first place was torn apart and replaced with older, "more experienced" players.

I'd like to know who decided to bring in the older players over the kids that put them in first place — in the first place.

The organization gave up on the team, simple as that.

Suddenly, Asdrúbal Cabrara, 32, is playing short instead of Scott Kingery or J.P. Crawford. Wilson Ramos, 31, catching instead of Jorge Alfaro or Andrew Knapp, and Justin Bour pinch-hitting instead of Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr, Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp or Mitch Walding.

And, here's the head scratcher, José Bautista, 37, playing right, instead of Roman Quinn, Nick Williams, or Aaron Altherr.

They tore the team apart and followed the birds.

Somebody screwed up. Was it manager Gab Kapler, GM Matt Klentak, or VP Andy MacPhail? Or a stupidity- combination-decision? The Phillies are good at making those.

Why the hell did the Phillies change course on the high seas just two months short of the harbor and sail south instead of sticking to the direction they started out on, March 31?

THE TEAM THAT GOT THEM INTO FIRST PLACE!


Thirty-seven year old José Bautista in right? Your kidding, right?
Perhaps the tired and inexperienced young players relaxed after the veterans arrived on or after July 31. Maybe they left the heavy work up to the veterans.

Young players will do that. Anybody will do that. The pressure was off them and put on the older veterans.

If the Phillies don't reach the postseason it's not the player's fault; it's management's.

The least management could do now is go back to playing the team that got them to the top and keep Cabrera, Ramos, Bour, and Bautista on the bench — where they belong.

But that makes too much sense.




Thursday, September 6, 2018

There's not much difference between the following two expressions:

Your goose is cooked.
              or
You're a dead duck.

Both are old expressions mostly used today by people over 50. Both use fowl to make a point that — for whatever reason — things don't look good.

Like the Phillies.

Cooked goose or dead duck — both are no longer breathing. With three weeks left in the season, the team appears tired, disinterested, lifeless, and, frankly, dead ducks.

BUT, and it's a big but, there's another fowl expression: Ducks taste the same whether they're shot sitting or flying.  

In other words, in my twisted thinking as a lifetime card-carrying member of the Faithful, the Phillies — in a division so weak no team, even the Nationals with arguably the best rotation in the NL, can get to the top.

With the exception of the Atlanta Braves. But in this division, the exception proves the rule.

The Phillies could stumble into the postseason flying or sitting. I mean, stranger things have happened. Perhaps their manager, as different as chalk and grease, might just will them in.

If you listen to Gabe Kapler, the Phillies are on the verge of winning the World Series, even though they haven't won a season series — yes even against Miami, 30 games under .500 — since August 4.   One reason? The 'Big Fella' has been collecting hits like a democrat collecting votes in Alabama.

Perhaps today, in the rubber game against the Mets, Mr. Velasquez can even his record to 10-10 and get a series win on the road in New York.

For the Phillies, it's as necessary as for the butterfly to escape from the worm to become a butterfly.

Get it?

If there's one player in my mind that represents the twisting turning season of the Phillies, it's Zach Eflin. Remember not long ago when the Baltimore Orioles were auctioning off Manny Machado, and supposedly offered Mr. Machado even up for Mr. Eflin, and the Phillies said "drop dead," which means to die suddenly.

But last night Eflin seemed to be throwing batting practice against the Mets. As the number three man in the rotation behind Mr.  Nola and Señor Arietta, he now appears to be missing the boat, and I hope it's not the  Duck Boat. Especially the one on the Delaware.

All in all, this expression can sum up the Phillies futile quest to win a minor league division with three weeks left: 

He who doesn't have a dog hunts with a cat.