Posts Tagged ‘Phillies’

And the Best Actor Award Goes to…Jerry Manuel

August 22, 2009

Prior to this week’s high temperatures and humidity, the summer months in the city have actually been quite bearable. Unfortunately for New Yorkers, when they’re made to endure more than a day or two of extreme heat, tempers have a tendency to flare up. The same could be said for the Mets manager. Jerry Manuel was given the heave-ho last night for arguing a play at second base in the bottom of the fifth inning. Come to think of it, can you really blame him? For the last three months, he has had to lead a ball club that at best is a shadow of its original self. From hamstring tears to concussions, hip impingements to injured quads, not to mention the latest release of one of his starting pitchers and the firing of Tony Bernazard from the Mets front office, the world that surrounds the Mets skipper would make for a very interesting reality show. Perhaps it could be called “Project Someday.”

With all of the negativity that has infiltrated the Mets clubhouse of late courtesy of Gary Sheffield, the Amazins were able to pull themselves together and take the first game of a four-game series Friday night, 4-2, from the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies.

“We are in a place where we are fighting for our lives,” Manuel said after the Mets victory. “Everything we do, we are just battling.”

With the return of their four best offensive players mired in uncertainty, Manuel’s post-game comments have never sounded so desperate.

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Philadelphia’s Ace Is Faced with Some Bad Karma

March 18, 2009

Long before the start of this year’s spring training, the city of Philadelphia was in a state of ecstasy over their beloved Fightin’ Phils. They had just successfully captured their first World Series in more than a quarter-century by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays. After a long extravagant parade down Broad Street, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins decided the best way to enjoy the festivities was to blurt out the first thing that came to his mind. Seizing the moment, he gave the baseball world a subtle reminder that even though the Mets have an ace on their staff, it still takes a whole team to win a championship.

Coincidentally, Philadelphia has an ace of their own: Cole Hamels. And like Rollins, the left-hander also has a tendency to be a tad loose-lipped. As a guest on a NY mid-day radio show, Hamels defiantly called his biggest rival, the Mets, “choke artists” for failing to make the post-season the last two seasons. Mets fans and players alike were not the least bit impressed.

With all the negativity that has been pointed towards the Mets by the Phillies these last few seasons, it was inevitable that Philadelphia was going to get a little taste of their own medicine. The reports coming out of Phillies’ camp most recently do not sound very promising. Hamels anticipated opening day start is currently labeled as a “long shot.” The left-hander has recently been complaining of tightness in his pitching elbow. Leaving nothing to chance, GM Ruban Amaro, Jr. had the 2008 Playoff MVP flown up north to the City of Brotherly Love to undergo an MRI. The results showed there was no structural damage. However, he was given an anti-inflammatory injection for the swelling in his elbow.

“I’ve always had just soreness in the back or elbow but it’s always gone away in a week to two weeks,” said Hamels. “Truly, I think it might have been more so, throwing too hard too soon.”

The 26-year-old left-hander’s words sounded eerily familiar to what Mets Johan Santana said caused his elbow to stiffen up. Santana accelerated his pre-season conditioning with the goal to participate in the World Baseball Classic for his native Venezuela. He was also advised to get a MRI on his elbow but in his case, it wasn’t necessary; the pain eventually went away.

The strange similarities between both pitchers’ uncertainties may have some experts scratching their heads. Could it be possible that the Phillies are that dark and disturbed that they would conjure up this scoop just to slight their self-proclaimed nemesis, the Mets? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Burrell’s Last Stand

January 7, 2009

When the news hit that perennial slugger Pat Burrell had just inked a two year deal worth $16 million with the Tampa Bay Rays, I couldn’t help myself into thinking, “What a relief.”

Burrell, who played nine seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, was known to give New York Mets fans the creeps. Considered by many as the quintessential “Met killer”, Burrell presently sits behind only four major leaguers, all Hall of Famers, at number five with 42 of his career 251 home runs against the Mets. If you proceed to do the math, that’s about 17 percent of his dingers. Ask any Mets fan, they won’t tell you otherwise. It’s probably more like eighty percent.

If you look at Burrell’s numbers against the Mets this past season, they are not as startling as in seasons past. For 2008, in 61 at-bats, he produced a .197 BA striking out 20 times while managing only one home run and knocking in two RBI. Despite those statistics, fans continued to feel uneasy when Burrell strode to the plate with runners on the corners and the game seemingly in the grasp.

“Coming into free agency, the thing that was most important to me was to go somewhere where I thought I had as good a chance or better to repeat and go back to the World Series,” the Rays newly-signed free agent said.

After capturing a World Series ring with his alma mater, the Phillies, he will now be able to continue terrorizing major league teams that are inside the other Eastern Division, the AL East.

“At the end of last year, obviously, I got to know the [Rays] pretty well,” he added.

As the Rays number one acquisition, Pat “the Bat” will be showcasing his own brand of late-inning heroics in 2009 when competing against the boys up in the Bronx. So if Mets fans thought they were off the hook, think again. On certain days of the week, the gelled-up, Mets marauder will be just a train ride away. Better yet, he will be appearing at Citi Field when Tampa comes to Flushing Bay for three inter-league games on June 19-21. But until then, we’ll still have to hold our breath.