Thursday, June 15, 2006

Time To End The Charlie Manuel Experiment

Don't let the door hit you on the way out of Philly, Charlie

After the Phillies embarrassing three game sweep at the hands of the division-leading Mets, the Phillies are 33-33, a .500 team, some 9 1/2 games out of first. After 66 games in the 2004 season the Phillies, at 35-31, weren't much better.

I distinctly remember thinking that was the precise time to fire Larry Bowa and bring in a new direction/philosophy to help revitalize the team and salvage the season. Of course, the Phillies, guided by former GM Ed Wade missed that opportunity and ended up firing Bowa two days before the season ended while the Phillies won 11 of their last 14 games for close but no post-season 2nd place finish. The 2006 Phillies are at a very similar fork in the road and fans can only hope that today's GM can recognize what yesterday's GM could not. It's time for Pat Gillick to fire Charlie Manuel and end this mindless experiment with "Manuel-ball"--futile, painfully mediocre baseball.

Burrel; Inexplicably missing from the lineup in game 2

Here are the most compelling and recent reasons Manuel should be terminated: Prior to the sweep Manuel said that a bad series against the Mets "wouldn't kill" the team. How can a guy with as much baseball experience be so ignorant. That series was effectively the season and Manuel not only didn't have the vision to recognize the gravity of the series, but didn't have the Phillies prepared for the series on any level. Game two of the series saw Manuel bench Pat Burrel--after they'd already lost on Tuesday! Why is a player that has 33 career homeruns against the Mets (who hit two more in Thursday's 5-4 loss, to make it 35) and is one of the team's top all-around power threats NOT in the lineup in a crucial game of the most crucial series so far this year?

The Phillies' defense and pitching is despicable and that is a direct result of poor managing/preparation. And, of course, Manuel's continued use of David Bell, who committed two errors in the two games that he played in this series.

If Charlie Manuel isn't fired, then clearly Pat Gillick is asleep at the wheel while this runaway train of a season careens out of control toward disaster. Anything less than Manuel getting the axe is UNACCEPTABLE. The time is NOW if the Phillies have any desire to play post-season baseball.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Pitching Problems

Demote him!

The Phillies have serious pitching concerns that need to be addressed sooner rather than later if they have any instinct to make the post-season. First, they need to demote Gavin Floyd to the minor leagues. Amazingly, Floyd is somehow 4-3, but every other stat is laughable. His ERA is a bloated 7.29( and it's JUNE!), he's only got two more strikeouts (34) than walks (32), and he's given up 14 homeruns in 54.1 innings pitched. Newsflash for Charlie Manuel and Pat Gillick: these aren't major league numbers! Do something about it, now.

If the Phillies are bent on having a minor leaguer fill that spot in the rotation, then I say bring up another minor leaguer and give him a shot. Floyd has had more than ample opportunity this year. At the very least, it's time to give someone else a fair shot.

The only reason that the Phillies are hovering just above .500 is because of Brett Myers. He hasn't surrendered more than three earned runs in any of his 11 starts so far this year and at times he's looked downright dominant. Lately, it seems like the Phils lose two or three in a row and then Myers' turn comes up and he stops the bleeding. Myers is becoming reminiscent of what Curt Schilling did for the miserable Phillies teams of the mid/late 90s. Entering Sunday's start against L.A., Myers has a 2.80 ERA and only a 4-2 record to show for it.

I wrote it in my 2006 season preview: pitching would utlimately decide the 2006 Phillies' fate. The pitching staff HAS to step up for the Phillies--or they need to be replaced. Clearly the hitting isn't the problem, although their hitting with runners in scoring position could improve somewhat. The time is now for the Phillies to shake things up with this uninspired pitching staff. Get some hungry minor leaguers up here and see if they can do something. As long as the Phils are going to give up these large quantities of runs--Lieber, 5.79 ERA; Lidle, 4.86 ERA; Madson, 6.04 ERA--they might as well let a few younger guys get some ML experience.