Thursday, May 25, 2006

Maui Wowie Is Top Shelf


Pigs flew, snowballs froze in hell and Pat Robertson submitted to Islam as Backwoods Chollie dropped Jelly Roll out of the leadoff spot today.

How long this lasts only his moonshiner knows for sure, but if Chollie is confident his troubled shortstop has lost the extortion pictures depicting him performing unnatural acts down on the farm, this move should stick. If results are what you’re looking for, it worked.

Maui Wowie Shane Victorino was inserted in the top spot and, while getting just an infield single, made an acrobatic flying catch at the warning track and worked a crucial walk to lead off the top of the seventh inning. That set the table for Chase Utley, who stroked his fourth hit of the day to deep right for a double and the Phils quickly plated the go-ahead run.

Add another quality start from Brett Myers and an insurance run courtesy of a Ryan The Howitzer RBI single, and the Phils had an efficient 5-3 win.

Meanwhile Jelly Roll, who was put on suicide watch, did his same ole same ole, uppercutting the ball with his nagging, seemingly unrepairable looping swing. It’s been a problem since he was a rookie, a mechanical malfunction madman manager Larry Bowa harped on him to change. But like a crackhead who can’t put the glass dick down, Rollins is beyond hope to reform unless he acknowledges his problem.

Even if he did I wouldn’t give him his old job back.

The emergence of Victorino has not been missed by the Miserable Legions devoted to Team Masochism. The dude can hit. He hit all last season in AAA and earned the league MVP. He hit last year after being called up for the September Wild Card race, delivering timely hits and baserunning speed repeatedly off the bench. Now he has hit over .400 while subbing for Aaron “Crash” Rowand, who will always have a job and free beer for life in Philly. So what do we do about this pleasant problem?

Some fans won’t like my proposal – but it’s an idea floated by more and more esteemed analysts after careful contemplation: Gillick should try again to trade Bobby Abreu for a front-line, high-salaried pitcher. It would free up right field for The Flyin’ Hawaiian, who not only would bat first everyday, but catch the shots Corky flubs regularly. Keep Rollins’ glove at short, but relegate him to the bottom of the batting order where he belongs. I have seen enough. Stop the torment!

Now Tacony Lou knows that is easier said than done. But imagine for a moment this lineup:

Victorino
Utley
Burrell
Howard
Rowand
Bell
Rollins
Lieberthal
Barry Zito


Burrell bats third for now because it breaks up the left-handed batters. The only break in the alternating sequence would be at the catcher and pitcher at the bottom. But considering that Howard is showing he hits both righties and lefties for average, he’d be the long term three-hole hitter. Just like Babe Ruth.

Utley would be a good Number Three as well, but he’s a better one-two punch with Victorino. He has turned himself into an offensive force. And with The Maui Wowie getting on base more often, he’ll still be driving in 100 runs or more. Just watch.

I have been duly impressed by the big numbers Abreu has put up – and that high on-base percentage, gosh golly gee, how do you argue against that? But his adamant refusal to field his position and complete unwillingess to bat anywhere else but third destroys a lineup’s flexibility. His speed is diminishing. And we have enough power hitters. What we lack is a leadoff hitter and a stopper on the mound

An ace can win 20 games. A maladjusted leadoff hitter and a brick glove in rightfield can lose more than that.

The sticky part of the equation is the contract status of the pitcher acquired. He can’t be a rent-a-player if Abreu is bid adios. We’d be trading a secured player and we need one back. Could we sign Zito? Could Oakland sign and trade him? Who else is out there? This is a true quandary, but that’s for Gillick to figure out.

All I know is this: Holding on to Abreu is like having a wife who doesn’t stiffen your piston anymore, but you stick with her because she’s inheriting a fortune. How many years of suffering is it worth?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

YES!!! Trade Abreu! Should've done that after last year's all star break. Hopefully Gillick can make the deal Wade couldn't/wouldn't.

25/5/06 7:40 PM  
Anonymous ChuckM said...

Lou, I took a day off from even as much as checking my cellie for the score from time to time while doing day labor today. Looks somebody slipped some Red Bull into Uncle Chollys corn squeezings as he wasted no time in bringing in Flash for the 4 out save op. Only thing I dont get is how come Jose frigging Reyes, of all Mutts, has taken over Piazzas spot as Phils-killer?... As far as Bail-out Bobby, To the best of my knowledge, he has never refused to bat leadoff and has said he would do so if asked but is more comfortable in the 3-hole. I suspect his antagonists on WIP blew the issue out of proportion to characterize him as a selfish player. He may be chickenshit when it comes to walls, but I dont believe all the hooey about him being only concerned for his own stats and not about the overall team. The issue of where Bobby bats lies squarely on Manuel and Cholly says he bats third. I doubt thrifty Billy Beane takes on Abreus salary, even if he is a top-notch offensive component. Zito would be a rental, perhaps unhappy in Philly, and once he is a free agent, he will either take the lure of NY money or the Angels free-spending Arte Moreno will keep the Cali boy in his homestate. Abreu also has refusal rights, but now that he is basically mud unless he goes ape at the plate *and* touch a wall very now and again, he may be amenable to getting out of Philly.

25/5/06 7:53 PM  

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