Mar 1, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (75) throws a pitch during the third inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to the first installment of 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: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez – The Next Roy Halladay
After a long wait, Phillies fans got their first look at the mystery Cuban pitcher on Saturday. And the results were…less than impressive. I thought that Gonzalez resembled Roy Halladay. The only problem is that Halladay retired this past offseason because he could no longer pitch effectively.
There are some pitchers who are said to have an effortless delivery. When they throw a pitch, it looks like the most natural act in the world. Gonzalez appeared to be the complete opposite. It looked like it required every ounce of strength in his body just to throw a single pitch. I can’t imagine this guy is physically capable of throwing a complete game. Those scouts who predicted that Gonzalez would be best served as a reliever might have been onto something.
It’s still early, and MAG is supposedly still working away the rust from a couple of years of inactivity. But this was not exactly encouraging for anyone who counted on him to play a large part in the team’s success this season.
At least pitching coach Bob McClure didn’t sound too bummed when asked about Gonzalez’s performance:
"“I saw a very competitive [guy], and that is what I was really hoping for,” McClure said. “I knew it was going to be rusty. I knew that. But it didn’t seem like he was in awe, by any means, and he looked competitive and under control. It wasn’t the results you look for, but I was pleased with how he handled himself and how competitive he was and how he pitched. There were a lot of plusses for me there.”"
So McClure is saying that Gonzalez didn’t pitch well, but at least he didn’t mentally collapse. I suppose that’s a very “glass half full” way of looking at things. Then again, I wouldn’t expect the team’s new pitching coach to just come out and say, “He sucked.”
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.
This week’s song: (I Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You – UB40, 1993
Many Phillies fans are not especially optimistic about the team’s chances this season, but Spring Training can bring a sense of optimism to even the most negative of fans. It’s hard to watch the Phillies in action – even exhibition action – and not remember, at least a little, about how much we love baseball and the Phillies.
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!
You might remember Danny Tartabull as one of the best power hitters of the late 80’s and early 90’s. You might also remember him from a couple amusing appearances on Seinfeld. Less memorable was his three-game stint for the Phillies in 1997.
The team was in desperate need of a power hitter, so they signed Tartabull shortly before the season began. He rewarded their faith with zero hits in eleven plate appearances before succumbing to an injury that ended his career.
The Week Ahead
The Phillies have a full slate of Spring Training this games, including matchups against the Braves, Tigers, Yankees, and Orioles.
Thursday should be an important day as Gonzalez will make his second appearance of the Spring. Cole Hamels is also expected to face hitters in a live batting practice session that day. By Friday morning, we might have a much better idea of how optimistic we should be regarding the Phillies’ rotation.
Inane Rap Lyric of the Week
“I love you like a fat kid love cake.” – 50 Cent, “21 Questions”
He’s right, you know. Fat kids really do love cake.
See you next week for another installment of PhilsWeek!