Welcome to PhilsWeek! – a fun* look back at the week that was and all the exciting happenings surrounding everyone’s favorite major league baseball team: The Philadelphia Phillies!
*Note: Amount of fun experienced may vary.
Super big Phillies issue of the week: Papelbon loses velocity, hilarity does not ensue
After a week of baseball, the Phillies played six games of baseball. By my calculation, they should have won four of them, and could have won five of them. However, they only ended up winning three of them.
So what have we learned? Not all that much. I mean, how much can you really learn in a week? It’s too small of a sample size.
But if you really want to draw some conclusions, it appears that the Phillies may have a good rotation, a better than expected offense, and an extremely worrying situation at closer.
Jonathan Papelbon blew his first save opportunity in Wednesday’s loss to the Rangers, which isn’t necessarily worrying in itself. What is causing the angst is how his velocity appears to be reduced, much like it was in the second half of 2013. With lessened velocity, he’ll likely get fewer strikeouts. Fewer strikeouts means he’s more dependent on batted ball luck, and that will probably result in more outings like what we saw on Wednesday.
Considering what they’re paying him to finish out games, the Phillies really need Papelbon to find a way to strike guys out again. This team can’t afford to give away winnable games in the ninth inning.
Pennant year song of the week
Winning the National League pennant isn’t something the Phillies do all that often; it’s only happened seven times in team history. Each week, I’ll take a song from one of those years that somehow ties into the events of the past week.
Misunderstanding – Genesis, 1980
After Papelbon got into a little jam on Wednesday, he was visited by pitching coach Bob McClure. After the visit, Papelbon seemed to think that his infield would be playing at double play depth. So when he induced a ground ball out of the next hitter, he assumed that the game was over.
However, the infield was actually playing in so they could stop the tying run from scoring on a ground ball. Unfortunately, this resulted in a clean base hit, which eventually helped cause a Phillies loss.
Afterwards, Papelbon said he was confused as to why this had happened. Not that I think the result would have been any different had Papelbon known where his fielders were playing, but this kind of confusion is not a good thing.
Right player, wrong uniform
There are some players who played their entire careers with a single team, and it’s impossible to imagine them in a different uniform: Mike Schmidt with the Phillies,Cal Ripken with the Orioles, and Derek Jeter with the Yankees are prime examples. On the other hand, there are some players who you might associate with a certain team…but they also had a forgettable stint (or two) with another team. You might not remember their time with those other teams, but the internet never forgets!
The name Jose Canseco conjures visions of the Oakland A’s “Bash Brothers” in the late 80′s. You might also remember him playing for the Texas Rangers and having a ball bounce off his head and over the fence for a home run. Less memorable was the time he spent in a Tampa Bay Devil Rays uniform.
The Devil Rays were desperate to draw fans in their early years (and honestly, not much has changed in that regard), so they would often bring in big name players whose best years might have been behind them. Surprisingly, Canseco actually performed pretty well for the Rays in 1999, hitting 34 home runs and being named to the All-Star team. (Keep in mind that being the Rays’ All-Star representative wasn’t that special of an honor back then. The franchise was a perennial cellar dweller, so it was usually a case of the team’s token representative being the best of a bad lot.)
After a successful season and a half, the team traded him to the Yankees the following season. Many people probably forget that Canseco also played for the Yankees, mostly because he didn’t make much of an impact. In the Yankees World Series run, Canseco only received one postseason at bat.
The week ahead
After playing their first six games on the road, the Phillies will get to play a game at home. (Or at least, they will as along as it stops raining. The team already postponed Opening Day from Monday to Tuesday due to rain.)
The delay means that the team will likely need a fifth starter sooner than expected. It appears that the team will need to decide between David Buchanan and Jonathan Pettibone. Based on Spring results, Buchanan appears to be the better option, BUT he is not currently on the 40 man major league roster, so it isn’t a cut and dried situation.
Inane rap lyric of the week
“The square root of 69 is 8 something, right? ‘Cause I’ve been tryna work it out” - Drake, What’s My Name
Remind me not to have Drake do my taxes. Apparently, he’s not that good at math.
See you next week for another installment of PhilsWeek! Be sure to follow me (@MikeLacy_215) and That Ball’s Outta Here (@FS_TBOH) on the Twitter!