Tuesday, August 25, 2020

For Whom the Bell Tolls - Looking Forward to 2021...Already


    This peculiar season has all but escaped the Phillies. Better luck next year has to be the mantra and I have devised the Phillies a plan they should take in 2021. You have to start at the top. This means Klentak and MacPhail simply have to go. They both said the bullpen that broke 1st and 2nd Spring Training would be good enough. We knew it wasn't and have been proven correct. No outcome of the 2020 season should save either man's job. Now that we have expunged the dead weight at the top, here is was should happen for each everyday position.


If you sign JT, it CANNOT exceed 4 years. Overpay the man for those 4 years. My belief is he will test free agency and will sign elsewhere. Dodger or Yankee blue is in his future. 

First Base

Phillies need to move Bohm to 1B. The team will not be a contender with Hoskins and they need not delay that. 

Second Base

They need a reliable defensive player here. Kingery is not the answer and, like Hoskins they need to move on. I also think you HAVE to give Goose a shot here.


They need to re-sign Didi, if he is willing to stay here. He is an unrestricted free agent and could very well look for greener pastures. I hope he stays and signs for 2-3 years and then perhaps Bryson Stott will be groomed and prepared to take over.

Third Base

Jean Segura is signed here for another two years with a full no-trade clause. He is incredibly more well suited for 3B over Bohm. The Phillies need to draft/groom/trade for an up and coming 3B to take over in 2023.

Left Field

I love Cutch and he signed through 2021, but this position needs a MAJOR upgrade. The Phils are likely stuck with him in 2021 and should buy out his contract for 2022 and look to have a POWER hitting guy in his place.

Center Field

Adam Haseley has shown enough to me that he can be a solid defensive player and very well could be a good lead-off hitter (minus base-stealing prowess).

Right Field

Harper is the guy the Phillies build around. He is here for the next 12 years.

Starting Pitching

Nola, Wheeler, Eflin and go get 2 pitchers in Free Agency or via a Hoskins/Kingery trade. I would love to see a LHP(s) brought into the mix. I realize I did not add Howard, he simply isn't ready and needs a time at AAA.


Not a single current bullpen guy is under contract for 2021. Gut the whole fucking thing. This is where the Phillies need to spend most of their money this offseason.


If NL goes with the DH, you bring Bruce back. He could also fill in at 1B for Bohm at times against LHP. Quinn in under team control for another year, so he will be back. He is always hurt and is expendable. Maybe Seattle will want him for Marco Gonzalez. Knapp has played well enough, that he is a serviceable backup that will be cheap. Throw a bunch of other guys in the mix and see who sticks out of spring training, however, there has to be a RH power hitter brought on for DH.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Tracking Harper: 84 Games Into 13 Years


That's what the Phillies made on February 28, when they inked Bryce Harper to an historic 13-year, $330 million contract. Phillies fans everywhere spent the winter clamoring for GM Matt Klentak to make a deal for either Harper or Manny Machado. It almost made unbearable the listening to of sports talk radio - everyday callers, hosts, and hot takes notwithstanding, naturally.

The signing of Harper offered hope.

Just two weeks prior, Klentak himself admitted the Phightin's had already enjoyed an "objectively great offseason."  Let's see:

  1. Ever-underperforming Carlos Santana and eh prospect J.P. Crawford netted the good guys Jean Segura, Professional Hitter
  2. The unexpected 3-year, $45 million deal for former-MVP Andrew McCutchen gave the Phillies a solid defensive outfielder and a legitimate lead-off hitter;
  3. Dave Robertson and his 137 career saves would sure up the back end of the bullpen;
  4. In a surprise move, the Phillies dealt #1 prospect Sixto Sanchez and Jorge Alfaro for All-Star J.T. Realmuto.
Splashy moves, all. Klentak may have patted himself on the back for his wheeling/dealing, but business remained unfinished. Fans shouted, "GET ONE OF THE STUD FREE AGENTS, OR ENJOY THE HOTTEST OF SEATS."

(I highly doubt anyone, like at all, shouted that. Still...)

When news of the Harper deal broke, Philly pulsated with what might be: How many World Series are we going to win? How many home runs will Bryce belt in the Bank? How many hot dogs will Kruk eat this season? Nothing was off the table. In fact, everything was on the table. And it was EVERYTHING.

As I write this, the Bryce Harper-era Phillies have played 84 games. They sit in 2nd place in the NL East, 5.5 games behind the annoying-ass Atlanta Braves. The season doesn't end today, but if it did, the good guys would miss the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year.

Harper thus far has delivered on the hype. On a team oft-criticized for its lack of hustle, Harper himself boogies. He's shown aggression on the basepath and a willingness to make some of the more difficult plays in right field. Shit, we've seen him dive for balls on several occasions, and it's only July 1. Needless to say, he brings energy sorely needed to the club.

Only when glancing at the numbers could one begin to find fault with Bryce Harper's value to the franchise moving forward. "13 years of this shit?" WAR is 0.8. That's wins above replacement. Considering his replacement in Nick fucking Williams, an additional less-than-one overall win is underwhelming. I'm not the least bit whelmed. I'm not a big fan of WAR, mostly because it's a stat nerd's wet dream. I have little interest in stats that weren't on the back of the late-80s/early-90s Topps and Donruss. 

So, yeah, his HRs are down, K's are up, he needs to hit for a better average... but there's still reason to rejoice.

Harper is on pace to drive in more runs than he has in any of his previous seven seasons. He should finish among the league leaders in doubles, eclipsing his previous high of 38 two-baggers from his MVP season of 2008. He'll flirt with 30 HRs. That's just if he keeps pace. If he catches fire, we'll likely be adding a few other stats to this list.

His line to-date from Baseball Reference:


 As Drunk Phils Fans - and both as drunks and as fans - we want an immediate return on "our" investment. But Harper's is a long-term deal, no matter how insistent we may be. It's the journey, friends, and we've covered less than 4% of the trip.

Happy traveling - and tracking - you bunch o' malcontents! At least we ain't Mets fans...

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Doc Hallafame?

2019 - Roy Halladay's first year of eligibility for the National Baseball Hall of Fame 

Very few get in on their first ballot, even fewer so since the steroid era made shoo-ins like Bonds, Clemens, and Palmeiro personae non-gratae. Guys like McGwire and Sosa, whose numbers alone say they're 1st Ballot guys, remain standing on the outside, looking in. Still, of the 228 former Major League players in the Hall of Fame, 54 were voted in on their first attempt, roughly 24%. The odds don’t favor Halladay this year. 

What bodes well for Doc this year is the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, or BBWAA, has elected at least one new HOFer who was new to the ballot. Prior to Maddux, Glavine, and the Big Hurt in 2014, it had been five years since anyone had garnered the required 75% nod. (I won’t go into the BBWAA rules for HOF membership. If interested, read more here.) Moreover, only 20 players were elected on their first go-round since 2000, and that list is impressive. As good as he was – and as great as he could have been – Roy Halladay might not be one of those transcendent talents.

Joining Halladay as first-timers on the 2019 BBWAA Hall Of Fame Ballot are Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Todd Helton, Lance Berkman, and Miguel Tejada. Rivera is a shoo-in, as is Pettitte. Though, one may argue that Pettitte’s admission of HGH use precludes him from the honor of 1st Ballot status. None of the rest quite make a case. Halladay may benefit if BBWAA elects a large class of ’19.

His Credentials

The subject would be moot if Roy Halladay didn't perform at a consistently high level. His .659 winning percentage is 20th-best all time. Six of those ahead of him are in the Hall already, while active pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer may well be on their way. Doc compiled 203 wins over 16 seasons, including 148 over 12 years with a Toronto Blue Jays club that never finished a season better than in third place of the AL East. In fact, he won more games in his first year as a full-time starter, 19, than he had in the previous four years, 18. His .661 win percentage as a Blue Jay is second only to Clemens' gaudy .759, though the Rocket only spent two seasons in Toronto.

Halladay won his first of two Cy Young Awards in 2003, at age 26, when he went 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA and 9 complete games. He struck out 204, walked only 32 - a ratio of 6.38, second-best of his career as a full-time starter. Still, his seasons in Toronto ended earlier than he would have liked, and he started to express as much as early as 2008.

Halladay joined the Phillies at the age of 32 via a December 2009 trade. His tenure with the Phillies only lasted four years, during which he amassed the second-best win-loss percentage in club history. His .655 trails only that of Pete Alexander, who won 67.6% of the games he threw in Phillies gear. Not one of us reading this post remembers Pete.

Halladay's presence on the Phils' staff created a buzz sorely-needed in and around Philly at the time. After the World Fuckin' Champs season of 2008, the club rode the hot deadline acquisition - Cliff Lee - to the Fall Classic in '09, only to see the rest of the staff get shelled by the Yankees (4-2 series winners). Management knew what had to happen. They traded Lee for prospects and made it so that Phils fans had a standing appointment with the Doc every five days.

In 2010, Halladay won 21 games, earned a Cy Young Award (his 2nd), and led the Phillies to another NL East title. On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Roy Halladay made his first-ever post-season start of his 13-year career against the Cincinnati Reds. Da Butcha, yours truly, was in attendance as the Doc operated his way to a complete game no-hitter. Halladay dominated the Reds that night. A thing of beauty, that performance was!

Still, the Phillies fell short of the World Series in 2010, losing the NLCS to the eventual world champion San Francisco Giants. (I still can't believe they let the kid from Dazed And Confused beat them.)

The Phils again reloaded in 2011, this time surrounding Doc with three more "aces." They won a franchise-best 102 games and took their fifth consecutive NL East title. Despite having the best record in baseball, the Phillies lost the NLDS to the St. Louis Cardinals, again the eventual World Champs.

Injuries limited Halladay to 25 starts in 2012, and he battled his way to an 11-8 record. Roy Halladay had brought so much promise to the Phillies in 2010, but his dominance, as well as the club's run of divisional dominance, came to crashing halt. He was no longer untouchable, and  made only 13 starts for a 4-5 record in 2013, his final season.

Though his stellar career ended with a fizzle, and no World Series title, Roy Halladay epitomized hard work and accountability. You know the story: first one in, last one out, running stadium stairs, etc. That was Roy Halladay. We only had him for a short while - at his best even more briefly. But in that time, Doc became a beloved Philadelphia sports figure. His work ethic made him a hero in our City.

The Verdict

Roy Halladay is one of those borderline great players who have been debated for many years. Fred McGriff, Yaz, Mike Mussina... the list goes on and on. Hard to figure will be the perception the writers have of Halladay's untimely death in November 2017. Originally, it was reported as just a plane crash. But TMZ had to TMZ, and word came out that Doc had been using amphetamines - speed pills. That'll tarnish a legacy, for sure.

In my opinion, Halladay had a hall-of-fame-worthy career. Much like 300 home runs isn't the magic number anymore, neither is 200 wins. Unlikely as it is that anyone will win 300 again, anything over 250 gets consideration.
203? OK, what else ya got? Two Cy Youngs?
OK, keep going. 2117 Ks? Only 81 fewer than our ol' friend Pete Alexander, himself a member of the Hall.
Anything else? Averaged 240+ innings over eight healthy years as a full-time starter; workhorse. Fair enough...

Halladay gets in, but not in 2019. The debate continues...

Roy Halladay Baseball Reference
National Baseball Hall Of Fame website
Philadelphia Phillies, Baseball Reference
Toronto Blue Jays, Baseball Reference
Roy Halladay frustrated with Blue Jays

Saturday, April 7, 2018

How Much is Kap’s Fault?

  The first week sucked.  Period.  Gabe Kapler sucked.  Also fact.  But how much was ACTUALLY his fault?  The bullpen?  Yep.  The ridiculous  defensive alignments?  Yep.  The positional logjam?  Not exactly.  In fact,  Klentak's inability… or refusal… to trade Cesar Hernandez created a conundrum of problems.  It isn't a stretch to say that most fans expected him to be gone come Spring Training.  It was pretty much a given, wasn’t it?   
  Cesar’s value will never be higher, Kingery had a monster season in Reading and Lehigh, they needed starting pitching.  Easy peasy!   Not so fast…. Since our buddy Cesar is such an analytical wet dream, they balked.  He is a nice player.  But analytics will tell you he's EXCEPTIONAL.  He gets on base, hits for a nice average… he's basically a defensively flawed Placido Polanco… with zero baseball IQ.  His “exceptional” OBP should take into consideration how many times he was picked off on the bases. 
They over valued him and got nothing… thinking they were clever.  The Mets were rumored to have interest in a Steven Matz for Cesar …straight up.  They declined.  How about Cesar to Anaheim for one year of Garret Richards? Apparently not.  I find it hard to believe that they couldn't package Cesar, Randolph and Moniak to Tampa for Archer. A top 10 pick, a first overall and a proven Major Leaguer with 6 year of control???  He shouldn't be here, yet he's started every game at 2B. 
  A couple of other roster thoughts:   I can ALMOST understand the Santana signing.  With monster 1B Jhaylin Ortiz about 2 years away (approximately the length of Santana’s contract) moving the more athletic Hoskins to LF while he's still young kinda makes sense… I guess.
Also, I honestly thought the Odubel (another analytical darling with zero baseball IQ) contract was to make him more attractive in trade talks… not to actually have him play it out!  Trading Franco is pointless because he has no value at the moment. 
 So here we are.  11 guys for 8 positions. This would be a pain in the ass for a even veteran manager.  A competent front office can cover up some managerial screw ups (ie. Charlie).  Let's face it… Charlie was an awful in game manager.  But that team was constructed perfectly, almost fool proof (almost….ie.- the ‘09 WS). Apparently, ownership doesn't always learn from its mistakes.  They should have traded Polanco to make playing time for a young Chase Utley earlier… traded a Jim Thome for a young Ryan Howard… and they're making the same mistake again.  There will be injuries that might help sort this out.  But hopefully this nonsense won't hurt them in the upcoming free agent market.  Hopefully it works itself out, because this first week didn't help their cause.  Kapler has sucked thus far… but  this roster is setting up your first time manager for failure.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The State of the Drunk Phils Fans

** Please put on “Guess Who’s Back” by Eminem while reading this**

I feel like I have some explaining to do. This was not a brief respite away from Drunk Phils Fans.  Despite what some may think, I did not jump on some other bandwagon, forget about the Phillies, or doing 20-24 months in the clink. I watched as many Phillies games as I used to, I followed the downs of the team. The real explanation is, I was just so pre-occupied with life and was so disgusted with the state of the Phillies that I spared you my vitriolic writings.  Why do any of us watch sports or write about them? My answer is simple, because it is fun. When it stopped being fun, I stopped.

The next question I would want to know is what brought DPF back? Well, one word would be hope. That is something that has been missing for the Phillies. When you take hope away, things can downright suck. I am excited about the younger talent in the Majors and the Minors. Not Mickey Moniak, but many other players have a huge upside that have the possibility of becoming good/great players.

The major issue I see is Klentak and Kapler. You cannot let Klentak off the hook here, he hired Kapler. Both of these guys share the same analytical outlook on baseball and this smug know-it-all attitude that Philadelphians loathe. I see Kapler as that person you work with that got the job you know someone else deserved and wondered how in the hell it happened. It happened because Kapler is a smooth talker. I am certain he practices his routine in front of a mirror by saying, “I am Gabe Frickin’ Kapler. I eat chicken bones. I like analytics. I am handsome. And gosh dangit, I am a great baseball mind”.

Kapler is the type of guy we all know, but may not want to. He has these talking points and motto’s that he will refer to whenever convenient. Pulling a pitcher who is performing well with low pitch count does not make you bold. It makes you an asshole. You cover up these mistakes under the guise of Analytics and #BeBold. Baseball sure is a game of numbers, but there are also intangibles that need to be accounted for. There are years of proof of these things that cannot be put into numbers, no matter how hard you try. There is a certain feel for the game that, as a manager, Kapler has yet to display. Somehow I envision Kapler buried in his tablet during the game looking at numbers and all the while forgetting to have a pitcher warm up.

What you can expect from DPF is humor, insight, and honesty. The people who work on the social media and blog have high baseball acumen. We will talk about now, the past, and the future. Being interactive is important to us. We write because we love it, but we love to hear from you. We love seeing you Like, Retweet, or Comment. In that regard, how long do you think Kapler will be around? Will the Phils do an about face quickly and have Klentak have to eat crow? Is this guy Chip Kelly and will be around selling his snake oil for a few sub-par seasons? Will Harper or Machado even consider playing here with this guy? I believe Kapler will pull a Sandberg and leave on his own. He is way too egotistical to be fired. I promise to do my best to have him leave sooner than later.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Strange memories on that nervous night in Clearwater circa 2009

So it's Saturday after a Friday loss to the Orioles and the crew and I are hung over. Yes my friends we took it deep Friday night. There was no way in hell we were going to drive to the Detroit game so we decided to go to Dunedin to see the Jays play the Braves. We're in Clearwater and we need to watch some ball. I'm not here for the beaches, as my pale Irish ass only gets fried, so we all hop in the minivan to start out what has become a banner day!  We park in the lot and out of the corner of my eye I see that it’s a legion post.

Being that I am a son of the legion member, we walk in there and make nice with the locals. Just so happens that a group in the corner was from Villanova and had been living down there for some time. We send over a round of beers, they send over shots for me and the boys. After about an hour and several shots later we decide it’s time to go to the game. Fast forward to the end of the game. After the 8th inning we decide to go watch the Nova game in the clubhouse. Of course they lose and we're a little upset. We head back to the Legion Post where we order the whole bar a shot and a beer for the Nova loss. The whole time leading up to our departure there was another group of older gentlemen out of the club that were doing the same trip. They walk into the Legion Post and it's go time. Shots are flying. Scratch off tickets are flying and low and behold we take the Legion for $500 big ones. We were celebrating like school kids. After the Legion post President finds out non-locals won the money he asked us politely to stop playing the machine. Since we were strangers to the bar and they were treating us with much respect, we spray the bar with two rounds for everyone and decide it’s time to go. (PLEASE NOTE that if this was not a Legion Post, so said President would've been told to go fuck himself.) We spill out of the legion post and its right back to the pounders we bought along for the ride. Two of the clowns we went with ended up going to the beach so we high tail it over there because they are holding court at Sheppards (great spot.)

Now one of the guys I went with is an older gentleman who was on the trip for the first time and he's hammered. He's new to the club so he had no idea the amount of alcohol we were going to consume. I see him swaying a bit so I pulled him aside and asked him if he wanted to go grab a bite to eat. My man was juiced up.

Now we have a splinter rule that states we can separate from the crew and nobody can ask any questions. So him and I murph it. On the way back to the hotel he tells me it’s his treat and we're going to go for a nice steak. My man pots and pans! We shower up and I put on a collared shirt. Now for those of you who don't me, a collared shirt on a vacation is like a tux for you fools. I don't do ‘em, but since he was treating and it was a fancy place I oblige. As we are getting a cab one of my buddies who had also splintered from the group asks if he can come along. We say yea man go get changed and we'll wait here. He said he was good with what he was wearing.

If there was a four star restaurant in Clearwater, this would've been the place. Dude has Crocs, a Grateful Dead tie died t-shirt, and sweat shorts. Yup sweat shorts! So in I walk with the older gentlemen and ask the concierge (is that spelled right? Like I care…. back to the story) for a three top. He tells me its going to be 5 minutes... until he sees the nightmare walk in behind us. Ooops! It just so happened they gave that table away. It’s going to be an hour wait. My blood is boiling now. Discrimination at its finest. Shit I wouldn't have served the slob either if he weren't my boy. The concierge asks if we would like to wait that long and I say yea. Now the hippy and older dude are asking to leave but I guarantee them a table in ten minutes. We proceed to the bar when I happened to stumble upon her. Blond hair beauty that caught my eye. Told the boys to step aside because I'm going to do what I do best. Mackin’ hoes!

T$(Me) - Excuse me Luv
Luv - Yes Honey
T$ - I'm going to eat big, spend big, and tip big. Can you get me a table?
Luv - Sure thing I'll be back in five minutes.
T$ - You’re the best doll

As she walks away the two guys I'm with are breaking my balls how it didn't work out. They two have no idea of my sexual prowess. I walk to the bar and ask for a gin and tonic. Yes boys its game time to settle my nerves. 
Before I even get my drink, there's Luv telling us to follow her. Send the drinks to my table will ya Spider! As we walk across the crowded room, the Hippie has to go to the bathroom. The Older gent and myself sit at the table. As I case the joint, I see and oh so familiar face. I examine the table and low and behold.. Jayson Werth, J Happ, and Kyle Kendrick. Now my boy the hippie is a huge fan of the Phils. To a fault sometimes so I know he's going to be stoked at our seating. He sits and starts to jibber jabber. I point my eyes in their direction and I see his face light up. Kid in a candy store.

Hippy - I'm getting autographs
T$ - Settle down. let them eat and then we'll get autographs
Werth - We'd be happy to after we eat.
T$ - Thanks Jay (Like I know the guy)
Hippy - Love u guys man
Older dude - Who are these guys (transplant from down south)
T$ - Couple guys from the Phils
Older dude – Cool… is that Werth?
T$ - Yea but let's not bother them.

This is where it goes south and mind you we are completely hammered at this time.....

Older dude - Hey Jason what’s up with being 1 hit last night?
Werth - Hey man give us a break its pre-season
T$ - Pre season doesn’t count????
Werth - Exactly
T$ - Bush league!
Hippy - Yo man these guys are my heroes, we can't talk to them like this
T$ - You know who my hero is, my dad. Fuck these guys.
Kendrick - Hey man that ain’t right
T$ - Did you make the team yet Rookie?

Hippy storms away from the table ranting about how much of an asshole I am.

Concierge - What seems to be the problem?
T$ - No problem, go check on my food. (still pissed at him from before and the gin is in full effect at this point)

At this point Werth stands up. Oh shit, he's built like a house and he's going to fuck my world up.

Werth - Man you guys are juiced up
Older Guy - Yea man sorry about that. I didn't know it was a touchy subject. (he lacks the knowledge of the game and didn't know he offended them)
Werth - No problem we get it a lot from you Philly fans.
T$ - Best fans in the world!

…at this time in walks Utley.

T$ - Whats up Chase?
Chase - How you doing?
T$ - Pretty good. Big fans of the Phils. Thanks for the Championship! Let's do it again.

Now Hippy comes back to the table. Sees Chase and has a shit fit. Starts apologizing to the guys. Happ starts to explain to Chase of our recent history when I hear him say it’s only Spring Training. Now for me every game counts so this (and the gin) starts to piss me off!

T$ - What is this shit talk about spring training. Every game counts. Look at Kendrick… He's fighting for his life over there.
Chase - Hey man that’s not a cool topic.
T$ - What? Why not?
Happ - ..cause he's at the table?

Mind you I'm pointing at the table

T$ to Happ - I'd rip your tits if you threw me your shit!
T$ to Chase - You got a bat and ball in the car?  We're going to go out to the parking lot and I'm going to rip his tits.
T$ to Werth - Shave that crap off your face!

Now I've officially offended everyone at the table. Job well done T-Money! An ass beating has to becoming soon right? Werth settles them down and stands up again. At this point check comes and hippy and older guy get into it with the concierge because we never got our food. I proceed to tell the concierge, "Go get your fucking shine box." I'm on fire.

Chase - Hey man we're just here to eat
T$ - Ya know what Chase, so were we, when this asshole didn't like how my boy was dressed. I apologize to you and the guys for our actions. This dickface set me off.
Older guy - Yea guys we're really sorry. Can we get you a round of drinks.
Chase - Thanks but no thanks we got a game tomorrow.
T$ - Our money is no good?
T$ - How about you slapnuts buy us drinks then?

Chase shoots me an evil eye. Werth is still laughing from the shine box comment and Happ and Kendrick are shell shocked.

T$ - You know what. This place is a dump. We're out of here. Fella's have a good night and we'll be rooting for you all year.

At this point the table is silent and out of the corner of my eye guess who I see - yup - Johnny Law. We walk by the officer and in our best efforts try not to stumble.

T$ - Hello officer. (I may have said Ahs- si- fur)
Officer - Guys are pretty banged up. Not driving are you?
T$ - No sir. Our cab awaits us.

Officer - Stay out of trouble. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Passing The I Test

Punch-Drunk Glove
I really should be studying.  My brain is burned out on parsecs and spectroscopy.  My mind is on a different cluster of stars: Baseball Stars--in particular, our beloved Phils. 

Doc.  Doc...  Are you there, Doc?  Ladies and gentleman, I regret to inform you that Roy Halladay is human.  Roy Halladay is, in fact, a human being.  It's clear this condition is catching up to the once-Ace of Spades in that stacked-deck rotation of Four Aces.  Remember that?  It was only two years ago.  Last night, Halladay failed to pitch through more than four innings.  I'm going to try to avoid throwing statistics at you.  When numbers fail, you give him the eye test.  So far in 2013, Roy Halladay has failed both eye exams.  He looks flustered, forced.  He looks flat-out uncomfortable on the mound.

The staff is getting knocked around, except for a few bright spots.  The one-two combo is practically hitting themselves right in the kisser.  Home Goods is having a White Sale this weekend.  Think they'll have any nice towels? 

In reality, it's too early to worry, but a you might start looking into arrangements by mid-May...

Ryan Howard.  You mean the Big Peace Out?  The guy is an enigma and there is just no explaining how he goes into these funks.  But he does.  He also comes out of them.  Usually in a big way.  Healthy, Howard will knock in 110 before you can say "Five.  Five Dollar.  Five Dollar Footlo--" ...and so on.  #6 fails the eye test as well.  Like he has years-past, Ryan Howard is swinging at bad pitches.  Really bad pitches.  And watching good ones go by.  MLB scouts and pitchers are a wise bunch.  They see a guy unable to connect on a breaking ball, they throw him breaking balls.  He's so surprised to get a fastball down the middle, it's snapping Rawlings before he knows it.

The kid, who ain't such a kid no more, will get straightened out.  But .270 (damn numbers!) is a long way off.

The table setters have been setting the table: Revere is getting on and has swiped a few bags; Jimmy is faring rather well in the two-hole.  Utley?  Well, Whitey, he is the man.  Again, healthy. Bad knees are bad knees are bad knees.  Same for the hips, but so far, so good...  And these all bode well for the Phillies' season.  They can compete.

What about Dom Brown?  You mean Smoke Screen?  He is who we thought he was...

2-5 ain't pretty.  But rather than focusing on the numbers, let's see if they pass the eye test.  While individual players pass, this team as a unit is about a C+.  From what I understand, a pretty good tutor has been seen hanging out around third base.  Maybe he can help pull those grades up.

OK, back to studying about parallax... 

...from a distance of the 700-Level to home plate, Ryan Howard appears lost in space.