Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm Just Saying….2010 NLCS Edition

Random rants, thoughts, and observations.

  • Has Pat Burrell officially worn out his welcome in Philadelphia with his expletive-laced rant directed towards new hometown hero Roy Halladay in Game 5? It was especially odd to see Burrell complaining about a strike call since it has appeared all series that he had incriminating photographs of the home plate umpires. How many times has he taken what appeared to be strikes and then confidently trotted down to first instead of back to the dugout? And, his big double in Game 1 never should have happened since he was already out on strikes— at least once in that at bat. 
  • What happened to last year's NLCS batting hero Ryan Howard? He is too good to have zero home runs or RBI in the 2010 postseason. It makes you think of what the late Richie Ashburn used to say, "Somebody's going to pay."
  • Along the same lines, it stands to reason that Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, and Jimmy Rollins are ready to bust out along with Howard. It has to happen sooner or later, doesn't it? J Roll has surely been flirting with it. 
  • Was Tim Lincecum the artist with lady hair on all those commercials UPS used to run? If not, maybe it was his dad.
  • Speaking of Lincecum and Burrell, did their classless trash talking tirades in Game 5 ignite a spark within the Phillies clubhouse?
  • The Texas Rangers ALCS clinching win last night sets up the potential storybook script that would have World Series TV ratings skyrocketing should the Phillies advance. It doesn't get any better than a Cliff Lee versus Roy Halladay opener. Now, the Phillies just need to win a couple games and Halladay needs to make a quick recovery.  
  • Can umpires fall into a team slump? It appears that way considering the work of the NLCS crew
    thus far. Jeff Nelson blew a clear balk call and Ross Gload being safe to start the ninth in Game
    4. Last night, the Phillies averted disaster when Sandoval missed third base after Nelson
    erroneously called Halladay's bunt fair. Derryl Cousins offered up a coffee can-sized strike zone
    in Game 1 and Wally Bell had the treacherous "Whack-A-Mole" zone in Game 4. 
  • Phillies fans need to be prepared to unleash their best Burt Hooton/CC Sabathia greeting when Jonathan Sanchez takes the mound tonight. The young lefty has enjoyed a breakout season, but has had considerable difficulty settling in during the opening frame. A deafening, anxiety inducing environment might prime the pump.  
  • Regardless of his stats and success, I wonder if Giants closer Brian "Fear the Beard" Wilson's act makes Phillies fans appreciate Brad Lidge that much more? Wilson seems to work extra hard at being bizarre. 
  • The Phillies deserve credit for not over-reacting and staying focused with the plethora of balls thrown at hitters by the Giants pitching staff. A number have connected with various body parts while many more have been aimed squarely at batter's heads. Matt Cain displayed pin point control when he wasn't aiming fastballs at the head or other body parts of Phillies batters. Lincecum seemed to take a page out of Cain's playbook with some similar headhunting tactics in Game 5. Winning is the only priority for the Phillies, but it might be nice to see some Giants similarly eat some dirt along the way. 
  • Considering Cain's tactics in Game 3 and his previous lack of success against them, the Phillies would surely welcome the opportunity for some sweet revenge against him in a Game 7. 
  • Although he has gotten better, Fox broadcaster and former Steve Carlton caddy Tim McCarver still seems intent on making every telecast into a Little League instructional clinic. 
  • It would be interesting to be at the Yankees spring training next year when Cliff Lee sees Steve Swisher for the first time.
  • Jose Contreras has been a great bargain basement pickup for the Phillies this season. Besides "The Big Three," Contreras and Madson evoke the most confidence when I see them take the mound. Any takers for Danys Baez so the Phils could afford to resign the hulking Cuban right-hander?
  • To his credit, Baez has put aside any personal disappointment of not being included on the postseason roster and remained a positive influence in the clubhouse. If he remains on the club next season, perhaps this year's experience will further motivate him to harness his greater potential. 
  • Will Bruce Bochy elect to return Pablo Sandoval to the bench after his shaky performance in the field? That would be fine with me as, despite a down year, he is still one of the Giants scariest hitters. 
  • Who would have known that an aspiring rodeo clown could create so much anxiety for an entire city? 
  • Thursday night, Jayson Werth clubbed his 13th home run in 43 postseason games, including 7 last season. He also gunned down Codeo Ross at third base to deflate a potential rally. Letting him walk via free agency would leave a very large hole in right field  and from the right-side in the lineup. The Phillies need to find a way to keep him…I'm just saying. 

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