Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Essence Of Mediocrity

Half and half. One out of two. Six of one, a half dozen of another. So-so. Mezza-mezza. Patchy. Uneven.

Say it anyway you want, the Phillies are a mediocre team. The record stands at 24 wins against 24 losses. Worse, they are truly a schizophrenic bunch – a streaky group that can put up 12 wins in 13 games, yet follow that up by losing nine of the next 11 games, which is what they have to show for May.

Tonight’s loss against the Brewers was typical Team Psycho, as they dug another hole early from which they could not climb out. The Brew Crew has a strong lineup and is winning despite injuries to its two best pitchers, scoring eight of its nine runs with two outs. They displayed a tenacity lost on the Fightless, who are missing none of their starters - a group that stands some closer scrutiny.

In all fairness to the team’s hitters, the Phils are a .500 team mostly because their starting pitching has sucked except on Brett Myers’ turn. Whether Our Savior Cole Hamels can redeem this staff is still to be seen, but as it is, every four of five games has been helter-skelter, a disordered mess of misplaced pitches, loss of concentration, rookie mistakes and, sad to say, a staff “ace” named Jon Lieber who should be happy his mutual fund portfolio will provide a secure retirement soon.

Tonight’s category was the rookie mistake, as Scared Shitless Gavin Floyd took to the mound and proceeded to surrender a two-run homer to Carlos Lee with two outs in the first inning, so the hole began to be dug immediately. To its credit, Team Vomit countered with a run in its half.

Not to be outdone, the Brewers tallied another two the next inning on a homer by the immortal Bill Hall – again with two outs. Team Vomit countered with a run of its own in the third, after Jelly Roll, back to batting leadoff, got his swerve on with his second double and got knocked in on a double by Corky Abreu.

Terrified as usual, losing his concentration and acting like a teenager who got caught masturbating, Floyd didn’t last the fifth inning, allowing five of six runs with two outs. It was 6-2, and the Fightless needed to mount the usual comeback when he’s out there. Jelly Roll, uppercutting at the ball all night, got the homerun he was looking for and all of a sudden it was 6-4. When Ryan Howard stroked his 16th homer to tie it in the seventh, it was a brand new ballgame.

Tacony Lou at that point was contemplating how nice it would have been to have a quality major league pitcher hurling this game. The team can score runs. But the starting pitching is essentially untalented – mediocre, like the team record. True hope lied with the relief corps, which also has been scattershot, but not as consistently bad as the starters. As these thoughts were dancing about, Ryan Franklin, the fan’s favorite gopher ball pitcher, unfortunately took to the mound in the eighth and it quickly became a lost cause.

The Gopher allowed three runs to score on two homers with two outs, hardly an unusual effort lately by our reformed steroid abuser. It’s becoming his pattern, and despite his lack of success in close games recently, Chollie keeps on sending him out there to fuck up leads. His fat 5.32 ERA might cause some managers pause, but not Old Backwoods.

“There’s an ol’ sayin’ at the pig farm,” Chollie snorted after the game. “You gotta keep trying to grab a greased pig if y’all ever wanna eat. But even if ya can’t eat it, ya can still pork that hunky mother.”

Chollie grabbed a tube of Ben-Gay and cracked a smile.

Scary thoughts are already beginning to intrude the temperate Philadelphia night: Ryan Madson, back in the rotation until Our Savior resurrects, brings his 5.98 ERA to the mound tomorrow. Let’s see if he has any gas left after pitching those seven innings of relief last week against the Mets.


Anonymous ChuckM said...


After this groaner it struck me that Franklin has been singlehandedly responsible for 3 losses on this skid.(okay, Uncle Cholly gets blame also for misuse of resources). Take away the thrown-away ball, the dropped ball and the meatballs and the Phillies would have followed up their 13-1 run with an acceptable 5-6 run and would be currently in 2nd place, two games behind the Mutts. I cannot remember anybody whatsover whose initial gut reaction was anything less than appalled when Gillick signed Franklin. This came after him swinging the Thome deal so folks kinda stepped back, gave Gillick the benefit of the doubt, that maybe he knew something we didnt and that maybe Franklin just needed a change of scenery. But, sad to say, our intial gut reactions wre right on target as Franklin has been killing the team. After the Phillies gamely got themselves back into the game after Floyds weak outing, once the 8th inning came around, I presumed that the pitcher designated for the 8th inning slot, Arthur Rhodes was going to come on to pitch. When I saw Franklin on the hill, myself and thousands of others, be they in the stands or watching on the telly though "Oh shit.. here we go" (I can picture folks in Milwaukee perking up and licking their chops as soon as Franklin came on)...Y'know, its like I wish that Floyd got touched up for 2-3 more runs and it was a blowout rather than another galling loss of a game that could have been won. Earlier this season I was pining for a nice routine "boring" victory, at this point I would settle for at least a nice routine boring it-happens loss rather than these snatching defeat from the jaws of victory losses.

28/5/06 1:34 AM  

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