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Sunday, April 09, 2006

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Credit to Bob Abreu for taking a curtain call with a big smile on his face after facing boos on opening day and trade rumours all winter.

I have little doubt the same fans who booed him on Opening Day were high-fiving each other after his home run and congratulating themselves on their good judgement.

Kudos to Bobby, as someone who gets frustrated by his play I would LOVE for him to become MLB's Big Game Bob....

Uncle Charlie with a very curious lineup in the second game, besides the normal gusy expected to get a break (Bell & Lieberthal) he has Burrell, Black Bull and Rowand sitting.

"Curious" is an interesting way to put it. It's the beginning of the season, it's not like there's been much wear and tear, and sweeping the doubleheader would've been a big boost. Instead, he puts in 5 subs (who collectively go a "lusty" (to borrow Jason's excellent phrase) 3 for 17, with 2 of those hits by Nunez, who should be our starter to begin with.

Glad to see Lieber work through some jams and give a nice outing, though.

Curious? Crazy is more like it...

Burrell who has been hitting better than anyone on the team...Rowland who today finally shows signs of life....AAAHHHH

sigh...oh well, many more games to go...

Great first paragraph, I hope these fans start to lay off Bobby.

Let's hope Manuel doesn't bench 5 starters again.

Continued stupid managing by Elmer, but the bottom line is we just aren't hitting enough to cover his mistakes. How he could leave Fultz in so long when he was obviously done is a mystery to me.

And benching Burrell for Delucci?!?!?

A check of the Wild Card race standings show the Phillies only a half game over the last place Pirates. If the Phils were in the AL, they'd be tied for last place. 1 and 5. and now onto Atlanta the perennial first place team in our division. Another potential disappointment. Can Uncle Charlie outmanage Atlanta? .....Naaawww!

Since I thought perhaps I was going insane...maybe this will save someone else some second thoughts: The Dodgers announcers were complaining about the balk call before Bobby's walk off and claimed that it may have flustered Hamulack in that he gave up the homerun on the next pitch. Then an article on Philly.com this morning mentioned something similar about the homerun being hit on the next pitch. So, I went back to the archived game on MLB.com and proved to myself that Bobby had nubbed that weak grounder down the third base line (thankfully) foul right after the balk call. The walkoff blast was 2 pitches after the balk call, thank you. So, people need to give credit where it is due...it wasn't a pitcher frustrated because of a delay due to a phantom balk call...it was a hot hitter working the at bat until he got something he could drive.

I'll be the first top admit I ride Bobby pretty hard. For instance, I was yelling at my television in the first inning when he came up short on JD Drew's fly ball to right that turned into a triple. That being said, I will give credit where it's due -- good job, Bobby. Thanks for giving us something to cheer about this year.

Charlie Manuel is stupid. Bell and Lieby made sense to bench for Nunez and Fasano. But, Burrell, Rowand, and Howard? Maybe Burrell because of his foot. Why Howard though? If they're worried about him wearing down, then they should have rested him a bit more in the spring. Stupid managerial move! The Phillies handed the 2nd game to the Dodgers.

Burrell is battling the sore foot, so I can see sitting him. Sitting Howard against a righty, esp. when you are sitting Burrell, is indefensible. I guess Charlies was satisfied with the 1 win and was content to take a split.

The real Charlie head-scratcher of the day was his double switch in game 1: Bottom 7, Phils losing 3-2. Lieberthal (batting in 8 spot) leads off with a double. Charlie pinch runs with Nunez. Fine. Victorino pinch hits for the pitcher (9 spot). Fine. Nunez to third on a wild pitch. Victorino walks. Rollins pops up. Nunez out at home on wild pitch, Victorino to 2nd. Rowand scores him with a single. Abreu makes final out.

Now the kicker. Franklin comes in as new pitcher. Victorino stays in game as CF (Rowand out). Fasano comes in to catch (Lieberthal was pinch run for). With the #4 hitter due up, and given the above lineup moves, doesn't Franklin come in for Rowand's spot (#2) and Fasano for Lieberthal/Nunez (#8)? Evidently, this is not how things work in Charlie's world. Franklin came in at the 8 spot, Fasano at the 2! If you were going to do that, why wouldn't you just leave Rowand in the game and replace Victorino at the 9 spot? The way Charlie did it, you end up the pitcher batting 3 spots earlier AND downgrading your CF defense. Good grief.

I was "watching" that game on yahoo gametracker (stuck in boston), and i was also wondering why Victorino was suddenly listed as the centerfielder. I thought it was a typo by Yahoo until I remembered who our manager was.

It's was maddening to hear Manuel's lineup for the second game. There were no decent bats after Utley in the cleanup spot. Basically gave away about 2-3 innings to Penny.

Of course, Wheeler makes a stupid comment at the top of the 1st about how it's good the entire bench get some playing time to stay sharp. This isn't little league and only 1 week has gone by so far. Players can't be that fatigued.

Yesterday was a travel day for me. I caught the first two and a half innings before heading to the Phila. airport, including all the flubbed first-inning fly balls...Abreu's (uncredited) muff annoyed me the most, because it was a like a repeat of so many balls he's misplayed at the wall over the years.

I briefly resumed watching at some 'sports bar' near my gate in the seventh inning, watching Brazhoban throwing the ball all over the place, determined to give the game away...and with runners on first and third, nobody out, Jimmy Rollins, who'd led off the third with such a relaxed, smooth line drive just to the left of the second-base bag, got himself out by overanxiously swinging at a bad ball. The boarding for my plane had begun by now. When Brazhoban uncorked his second wild pitch, I thought, well, that's the only way they can get it done, the other team has to do it for them.

And then Nunez comes into the screen about five minutes later, out by fifteen feet at home plate. The guy standing next to me shouted "Whattaya DOIN'? God almighty!!" just like he was at the game, and I was so disgusted I walked right off.

Even in their lone victory, Phillies fans had to put up with brutal defensive play, inept pressure hitting and baserunning, and then there was the whole eighth inning David Bell debacle which I fortunately missed. The only thing left to go wrong is for someone (that is, someone not named Bell) to get hurt.

Great to see Bobby hit the game winner. The game 2 lineup was bizarre - especially considering they had a scheduled off day last Tuesday and rain out on Saturday and its only the first week of the season. You would think they would go all out to sweep the double header and create some momentum/good feeling for the plane ride to Atlanta and start of their first road trip. With off days now on Tuesday and next Monday, everyone except Lieby and Bell should play all 6 games on the current road trip. We avoid Smoltz this trip and no Chipper. Phils should win 2 of 3 from Braves.

I know he is an excellent hitter, but we shouldn't use "gold-glove" to describe him. His defense is not good.

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