Blog Entry

Another Spring Training Prediction

Posted on: March 20, 2011 3:07 pm
LIfe should have been good. Last year's blog on 2010 was close to prophetic. I hope I am wrong with what i am about to write, but here it goes:
PItching:The pitching staff is flush. All this nonsense about Hamels and Lee getting roughed up is nothing. They will be fine and the bullpen looks good as well. Madesen is focused because he is playing for his big payday and as a free agent he will impress as the set up man. The only real question is "Lights On/Lights Out Lidge--That's where the pitching staff has to keep the pressure off the bullpen. The only concern I have is where the starters are eking out a one  run victory and Lidge has to pull out the one inning or even two out save (if Danys can be somewhat effective). This scenario assumes that the line-up, given its injuries and sudden trending down due to aging of the core will be the norm not the exception.
Hitting:jason Werth cashed in and left town leaving a huge void that may be covered by a platoon of Mayberry/Francisco. Ibanez will be covered by these two or even in platoon with Brown (when/if he returns). Bottom line--none of these guys hits for the same power as Werth, though they may not strike out as much either. Chase Utley reminds me of Don Mattingly, a great player whose career was stifled by unfortunate injuries and had to retire early. I realize its only March, but I'm not counting on Utley this year--that knee sounds arthritic and the Phillies brass (i.e., Amaro) are downplaying the injury or not responding. They are already at their max salary up against the salary tax and they have little or room to bring in other players. Rollins is an enigma and is 32 playing out the string, Ryan Howard is still struggling against off-speed pitching and he is 31. Chooch Ruiz had a career year and can not be expected to repeat a .300 season. I think Victorino will do better than last year's .250, and Polanco at 36 years young has a lame elbow again. Wow, we are in trouble.
Prediction: the Fightins' have enough to stave off Atlanta for the Eastern Division, But I don't think they make the World Series this year, even with the stud Pitching. The line-up is just too suspect and lame knees (Utley), previously operated on inflamed elbows (Polanco), 40 year old starting left fielders (Ibanez), 31 year old sluggers (Howard), just doesn't sound like the nucleus you should hang your hopes on. I love the Phillies and I truly hope I am wrong, but the line-up and the salary requirements mean we will probably go into battle with what we have. Anything beyond the East is a gift in 2011

Since: Nov 23, 2009
Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:17 pm

Another Spring Training Prediction

Well, it looks like I am again the great Philly sports prognosticator. In March, 2011, I predicted anything more than the NL East is a gift and guess what? I was right. I  am not tooting my horn in any way, and I thought for sure that Hunter Pence would be the answer in mid-season when they acquired him (in truth he was for awhile). My gripes are elsewhere--they lie principally with Charlie Manuel. When Charlie refused to tinker with his line-up and/or show some faith in Valdez and Mayberry, he lost his rudder. Polanco was beaten up, Ibanez has trouble with left handed pitching and Charlie sat complacent. ANyone who watched this team during the last 6 weeks of the season saw MAyberry emerge as a clutch hitting alternative to a 40 year old outfielder who is not on th eteam next year. Look at LARussa did with the Cards: he moved his line up and his players around. When Holliday came back he ddin't bat him 5th, he batted him 6th and also experimented with Fercal and Frees. It was an historic season and I thinkw e have one more run in us, but I wouldlove to have Halladay and Lee win world series rings. They deserve it and the Phillies need some small ball hitters. Ryan Howard should be wired to get a small electronic jolt everytime he swings at a low junk ball in the dirt. End of report. Talk to you in 4 months when we review Spring training again.

Since: Nov 23, 2009
Posted on: April 20, 2011 10:05 am

Another Spring Training Prediction

Well, since I wrote the above a month ago, I hate to say it, but so far it looks accurate. The power numbers are really low. I read that during our World Series run in 2008, The Fightins' were averaging one home run per 26 at bats. This year, we are down to one dinger every 45 bats. That's a huge power drain. Just a few days ago, they lost 6 to 3, but they could only muster 3 runs on 11 hits...Why? because they were all singles--no extra base hits. I fear Jimmy Rollins is old offensively (though his defense is excellent) at 31 and Ryan Howard has lost a bit of pop. Who else is capable of hitting 25 to 30 homers in this line-up? Ibanez? Valdez? Victorino?  I don't think so. Man, what a bummer. Maybe if Dom Brown comes back, he can add some pop. I hope so. I would love another parade's early too, so we never know what can happen.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or