I wish I felt like commenting about today’s game, but I can’t, I really can’t.

They are so erratic. One day you think they might be working out the problems, the next, it seems worse than before.

There’s so many things going wrong at the moment and while I have never been a big “Cholly” fan, I think the fact that he keeps juggling the line up like a jester at a renaissance faire isn’t helping either.

I look at the team and most of the guys are over 30 and like all high-caliber athletes of this age, injuries become an issue, a part of their daily life. It’s expected. HOWEVER, the answer to this is NOT to go out and get MORE older players.

They have some really good players in the Pharm system. While yes, there would be a learning curve by bringing any of these younger guys up…but would you rather lose some games due to a guy getting used to the Show or because he forgot his BenGay that morning?

Freddy Galvis is a prime example. No one talked about him, or even gave him a second thought until Chase Utley got hurt. Then it was a mad scramble to find someone to fill his place. Guess what? You took a guy you’d been developing and plugged him in and guess what…IT WORKED! Sure there’s been a few oops! moments…but Freddy has stepped up and grown into the position. He’s doing the job.

Look at the hole in the outfield, this is the one position that really gets me steamed….Raul Ibanez is gone, so do they get a young guy? No they get Juan Pierre. Pierre is a nice guy, don’t get me wrong, but he’s shown that his wheels just aren’t as fast as they used to be or frankly, as fast as they need to be to be successful. They’ve given hardly given John Mayberry Jr a shot, but what about all the other outfielders in the system? Domonic Brown, Derrick Mitchell, Tyson Gillies, Jiwan James and may be Steve Susdorf as well. Granted, none of these guys has yet to see regular season action in the Bigs, but instead of just “shuffling the line-up” or just suffering with what is already there, why not give one of these guys a shot? It can’t hurt. Give some of these young guys a chance, there may be some “learning curve” but look at Freddy, he’s doing better than most.

Additionally, with Ryan Howard out, Nix, Wiggington, Thome and Mayberry have been platooning first base. How is anyone going to get into a rhythm throwing to first when any one of FOUR different guys could be standing there? Frankly, Nix and Wiggington aren’t doing so hot there and they’re not hitting. I love Thome, but he slid into 2nd yesterday and pulled his back. He spent the spring sitting on a step stool to take ground balls because his back wouldn’t let him bend over repeatedly to field them. Mayberry might grow into it but how can he when he is never left to play there long enough to really get the feel?

I look at it this way, we are having problems, there’s no offense, may be if you give a younger guy who’s hungry, who wants to show what he can do, a chance, he may surprise you. At least give them a game or two to try. May be they can at least hold their own in the field and may be give a little pop to the bats or in Mayberry’s case, let him play every day for a while and see if he develops.

If what Cholly’s doing now isn’t working so well, what could it hurt to give some of the other, younger guys a shot? They might find someone like Galvis, who can come in and shake things up.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Isn’t that what Cholly’s doing? Every day he shakes up the line up with the same set of old players and nothing really changes. STOP THE INSANITY! Try something else!

I feel for the pitching rotation. They’ve put up a solid fight, but no matter how good the pitching is, you can’t win without runs and with the line up we have right now…we just don’t have the runs.

May be it’s the fatigue talking, may be it’s my repeated disappointment in the losses, but I look at the Phillies and the Pharm system and keep thinking they have got to be able to do better…don’t they?


Drew Naylor pitches in extended spring training

We are a few weeks into the extended spring training and we still haven’t manage to get our hands on a schedule. It’s hit or miss as to whether we will come by the Carpenter Complex and get to catch a game.

Today, we were lucky, VERY lucky.

We got to see Aussie Drew Naylor pitch today in a rehab appearance. Drew is a good guy and sadly, after looking good at the beginning of spring training last year, he injured his elbow and had to have the dreaded “Tommy John” surgery. We saw him at the Complex right after the surgery and felt bad for the guy. It had to have been miserable. It’s nothing you ever want to undergo and it is always a long road back.

Drew Naylor

From what Ross and I could guess, it seemed that Drew was not only working on a pitch count of approximately 20-25 pitches, it also seemed that he was loosening up his arm by pitching fast balls.

Drew Naylor Pitching

Frankly, we were surprised to see him so we may have missed a few pitches at first….but boy was it good to see him back on the bump.

I hope he continues to progress and returns to regular play soon.

Threshers might be turning a corner

I want to begin by apologizing for not blogging more this week, but it was just “one of those weeks” where life got in the way of writing.

Monday, Baseball Ross and I got to see Perci Garner really step up. The whole team seems to have begun to “gel”.

The game on Monday was a see-saw ride, with the Brevard County Manatees beginning with 2 runs in the first, then Clearwater answered with 3 runs on a fielding error in the bottom of the second. The score kept ping-ponging back and forth until it was tied 7-7 in the sixth.

It stayed that way until the bottom of the TWELFTH when Pete Levin and Albert Cartwright starting the inning with singles. Brandon Trip was patient and earned a walk to load the bases. Then “Big” Jim Murphy stepped to the dish and whacked one that Ross and I thought was going to go over the wall. It fell short of being a grand slam by only a few inches, but it did score the winning run.

I do want to mention Jordan Whatcott pitched the last three innings of the game in relief. He was amazing, growing stronger as he went, even striking out the last two batters he faced. After this stunning performance, Jordan was sent up to Reading where he got his first AA win last night. Congratulations Jordan!

I guess I can also mention that I was a winner too, I won the “Tweet Your Seat” contest and won a $20 gift certificate to Pete and Shorty’s!

Tweet Your Seat Winner Gift Certificate

Ross and I each managed to catch a Threshers’ softer ball.

Threshers' Softee Ball

What a night!

Jesse Biddle prepares to pitch

Thursday night, it was Jesse Biddle’s turn on the bump. He looked strong going six innings (his longest outing of the season so far) and he only allowed one earned run. He also worked himself out of a bases loaded jam.

For me, I saw something change in Jesse. It was this “click” where you could see him buckle down, dig deeper for that little “something” that helped to push him a little further, pitch a little harder or focus his placement. It was as if you could just see the change. It was amazing to watch.

This is what you get at the minor league level. Its what makes minor league ball, to me anyway, better than major league ball. That little something, that magic where you can see a guy get to that next level, that personal growth. It’s where they learn that they have that next gear or that place to draw the strength to overcome whatever adversity they are facing. I saw that growth in Jesse that night. Where he may have been shaky or not as focused earlier, that night, he took the next step and battled through.

The Threshers were ahead 3-2 at the top of the ninth when the Daytona Cubs rallied to tie. Garrett Claypool came in and pitched a scoreless tenth. Jim Murphy drew a walk and set the scene for Anthony Hewett who shot one over the fence to bring them a 5-3 win in 10.


Austin Wright

Friday night again, was a nail-biter. With Austin Wright pitching another solid outing,  they were tied with Daytona 3-3 at the top of the eighth. Anthony Hewitt managed a single and Chris Duffy, freshly promoted from Lakewood smacked a double to send Hewitt home.  Hector Neris came in at the top of the ninth and sent the Cubs down in order.

In these three games, I think we’ve seen them start to gel, to become a cohesive team. They may have a game where the lead will see-saw back and forth and where a few weeks ago, they would seem to sag and be beaten, this week, the seem to instead pull together and draw strength to battle back. It’s something they can be proud of and now that they beat up on the Brevard Manatees tonight, winning 10-3, they’ve made it back to .500. They just might have turned the corner.