The Wake Up Bomb
While it may be bad form to blame Charlie Manuel for the bad plays his team makes in the field, one still has to ask: would a quality manager allow this stuff to happen time and again? How can a major league team have a starter essentially throw the game down the first base line on two consecutive nights? This team has never played consistent ball in any aspect of the game under this manager and there is no reason to think it's going to change. He simply can't figure out how to plus the multiple holes in the wall as the water rushes through to the other side. Get timely hitting and pitching buckles. Good pitching outings are ruined by poor play in the field. Bad decisions at the plate beget mistakes on the basepaths. And so on. It never ends with this team.
Following yesterday's rock-bottom prices giveaway, rookie Scott Mathieson couldn't get out of the 4th inning tonight after cruising through the first 3, yet he left having surrendered only two earned runs. His first audition in the Big Apple against his nemesis-to-be, the first-place Mets, started attractively, but ended with a bag over the head. The kid has good stuff and for a 17th round pick who, again, was pitching in A ball at this time last year, he's come a long way. Giving up a bunch of runs to the NL's best offense is nothing to be ashamed of. Walking Endy Chavez does you no favors, however.
Fabio Castro was sited at the end of the game and all fingers pointed to the mound. The diminuative lefthander has a live fastball and a pretty nice curve to go with it. He's got control issues, and leaves alot of pitches high, but he is in no way someone who should be hiding on the roster. With Daniel Haigwood getting rocked in the Rangers' minor league sytem, this looks like a nice little pickup. The team appears to be on cusp of putting together a decent, cheap bullpen for 2007.
While Mathieson and Castro may be ready for primetime next season, if not later this season, Pat Burrell should officially be cancelled and shelved for retooling. The Met killer did nothing in this series to warrant anything more than platoon status the rest of 2006, regardless of how big an albatross his contract is. He is officially overpaid, and has become unwatchable at the plate. Likewise, there is no way that Abraham Nunez will do anything the rest of this season to dispel the notion that he is absolute trash. Imagine this great combination: zero hitting stroke along with nonexistent strikezone knowledge. Nunez isn't good enough to bat 9th for most teams, let alone 8th. Third and finally, whatever the Phils can get for Aaron Roward would constitute the steal of the season on the trade market. Unable to pull anything, Rowand is worthless at the plate and his defense is comparable to Shane Victorino's, which means he adds nothing above what the team has in its unproven 4th outfielder. His folk hero status nonwithstanding, he isn't doing anything on the field to help this team play .500 ball. Not excel, mind you, but play .500 ball.
A humbling experience tonight that shows the team isn't ready to overachieve its way into the postseason just yet.