Fire Eric Bruntlett

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The Phillies Closer Roundtable

And now for another post that I should have put up weeks ago…

It has probably been the most debatable question regarding the Phillies this season. “Who should be the closer?” Everyone has a different opinion, it seems, and each opinion has its own fair share of valid points. But who is right? (BTW, most of these e-mails were written around September 12, so take that into account, too. We might do another before the playoffs start next week.) Click to read a wide array of thoughts on the hot topic going to the playoffs, at least here in Philly. Continue reading

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October 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

FJM: THIS MEANS BLOG WAR!

Note: I realize that I haven’t posted in about a month. I was taking a bit of a blog hiatus. I was sick for a couple weeks. I’ve been super-swamped in other parts of life. Other things that you don’t really care about. Et cetera. In any case, I am back now. Especially now that THE PHILLIES CLINCHED THE NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST LAST NIGHT!!! But, we’ll get to that later. Now, it’s time for a rant that I’ve been trying to post for almost a month.

It’s not hard to get respect from me, whether in sports or in life. The short list of sports personalities who I just cannot stand is pretty standard – internationally-hated figure like Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd, Joe Morgan, and Tim McCarver. That said, I don’t just pass out respect to random people on the street. You still have to earn it. Continue reading

October 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Devil’s Advocate II: The Sequel

I want it written on my gravestone. “Here lies Max Gallner. He believed in Brad Lidge in 2009.”

Sure, he has 9 blown saves this season. That’s awful. It’s unacceptable. But the rest of the team always seems to find great, new ways to help him blow it. Last time, it was awful batting with RISP, as well as Utley not getting to a ball that he very well should have. This time it was more carelessness by Werth. Did he go to another UFC fight or something? Whenever he gets the day off, it’s as if he uses all that free time to take a nap and is still daydreaming when he comes back into the game. He’s gotta stop worrying about UFC and start worrying about WFC.

Plus Old Uncle Cholly did a horrible job of managing his closer, throwing him out there four days in a row, knowing all too well how awful he can be. Honestly, was there really any reason for Lidge to pitch in the 4-run game on Monday? Non-save situation. He had pitched in the past two days, both save situations. Using him on Monday essentially should have made him ineffective on Tuesday. But he wasn’t. And Cholly used him. Again. And he paid the full price.

One thing I’ve noticed very interesting about us Philly fans – and all Philly fans in general – is that we’re the first to get on your back when you’re great (see: Hamels, Cole, circa: 2008; Lidge, Brad, circa: 2008; Utley, Chase, circa: every single day) and the first to get on your ass when you’re awful. (see: Bruntlett, Eric, circa: until Sunday; Bako, Paul, circa: basically every time he plays; Eaton, Adam, circa: his entire life.) In some cases, that could be a good thing. But some of us severely over-react in situations like these. Take, for example, the people suggesting that the Phillies demote him, put him on waivers, or even release him. Allow me to reiterate my comments from my previous Lidge rant. What has changed since then that makes anyone else in the bullpen anymore of a reliable closer? Has Myers returned? Did Madson’s closer stint in June mysteriously disappear from both all records and our memories? No. In fact, he pitched Wednesday night, with a 1-run lead in the 9th and promptly blew a save opportunity of his own. HE IS NOT A CLOSER. HE IS A SET-UP MAN! We still don’t have any better options.

Let me go back to the over-reaction of Philly fans and give a couple more examples. In fact, let me go back to Cole Hamels. He was great last season, especially in the playoffs, winning himself both post-season MVP awards, in the NLCS and World Series. He threw a combined 262.1 innings in 2008, after throwing over 70 fewer the year before. My belief about Hamels this year has always been that he simply just threw too many innings last year. And I have been called crazy for thinking that. Even though it is a proven fact that pitchers who throw significantly more than 200 innings for the first time one year – and pitch well – one year after less than 200 IP experience a sever drop-off in that 3rd season. People always seem to want to blame “Hollywood Hamels” for letting the Hollywood get to his head. For example, that PuppyPack thing. But the over-reaction reached an interesting point for me on Tuesday night when I read a tweet (@uublog, @firebruntlett) from Tortured Fanatic: “What really sucks is that Hamels is on the mound tomorrow. That’s almost a guaranteed loss. We needed this win tonight.” Obviously that was proven to be factually incorrect. Not only did we win, but Hamels pitched 8 innings of dominant, scoreless ball. But, in any case, is that really where we’ve gotten with Hamels? Whenever he pitches, we just expect a loss? Even against the Pirates? Has he really reached Adam Eaton territory?

(By the way, Eaton was optioned by Colorado on Tuesday after winning their extra-inning game on Monday by giving up 3 runs in 2 innings, and getting really lucky when his offense hit a walk-off grand slam. Weird, I know. We never had to do anything like that for him.)

Anyway, back to Hamels, HE WAS OUR FREAKIN’ ACE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON! He suffered lot of freak injuries in early April! He was way over-pitched last year! Now, people are threatening to leave him off the playoff rotation! I’m not even complaining about how stupid it would be for the Phillies to use a 3-man staff with all of their pitchers. I mention to “J.A.(ace) Happ” on Twitter how people were comparing him to 2007 Kyle Kendrick during Roy Halla-mania, trying to justify trading him to Toronto. I also said how Kendrick was never a Rookie of the Year front-runner like Happ is now. I kid you not, someone asked me if anyone is comparing Hamels to Kendrick. I don’t know if this person or someone else – or anyone – was even thinking that, but I can not find a single comparison between the two, except that they’re both pitchers in the Phillies organization.

Another Philly athlete who Lidge can be compared to is Michael Vick. I know, I know… “But Lidge plays baseball. Vick plays football. Lidge is a closer. Vick is a quarterback. Vick killed dogs. Lidge has just been really bad this season.” Just stay with me here. Once I start ranting, it will all make sense.

Lidge has blown 9 saves so far this season. He’s 0-6. He has an ERA of 7.33. Phillies fans want to run him out of town. They don’t care how he leaves, that just want him gone. (Like our feelings on Beardo.) In one way or another, they’re totally over-reacting. Such is the case with Vick, too. Eagles fans are way over-reacting when they threaten to not be fans anymore. And they’re lying. I wouldn’t be surprised if any other team signed him and those fans said that, but not Eagles fans. That’s not us. Whether the team is actually good or not, we’re always still fans. Whether or not we actually like the players, we still stand by the team. Why else would we cheer when Michael Irvin was injured? Why did we throw batteries at J.D. Drew? Because we stick up for the team against those who screw us over. (Only Philly fans can bring up those events, no one else.) People say that Philadelphia fans are the most rude and obnoxious and whatever. I just say that we’re the most loyal. But the ones threatening to quit the fan base because of one acquisition they didn’t agree with are the exact opposite of that.

Fine. Don’t be Eagles fans anymore. But we’re like a gang. There’s only one way out. You can only become a Giants or Cowboys fan.

So, you still want to leave? Prove it. Don’t buy any Jackson or McCoy or Maclin jerseys. Don’t even go near the TV for fear of accidentally cheering for them. Burn all of the Eagles gear and merchandise you currently own. Hate us. Despise us. Cheer against us in any situation. But the most important rule is that you can’t come crawling back, begging us to let you back in again. Ever. If we’re in the Super Bowl. If we win the Super Bowl. Never. Because once you’re out. You’re out. And it doesn’t matter if Vick is a good person or not. You know damn well that the Eagles wouldn’t have signed him if he wasn’t still a good player.

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Let’s play a game…

It’s called “The Devil’s Advocate.” It’s a very simple game to play. I’ll even be The Devil’s Advocate. You don’t have to do much at all to play. All you have to do is read my opinions and give your own in the comments after you are done reading. In this edition of the game, we discuss Brad Lidge and the Phillies’ closer situation.

Basically, you can go to any Phillies or Philly-centric blog and read hate spewed all over Lidge. Read the posts, read the comments, read the hate. Of course, everyone else’s comments are [sic]’d for highest stupidity.

By the way, the entire idea for this post came after I read the game recap on The Fightins. Of course, I decided to call myself “The Devil’s Advocate,” linking here, because the point of my comment was to question everyone else’s beliefs that we need to find a different closer. (I’ll explain my thoughts shortly.)

Over at The 700 Level, read all comments after 6:58 PM for ridiculous knee-jerk reactions and this piece of commenting gold from a guy calling himself Johnny Nas: “trade him for Smoltz.”

On Phinally Philly, Foley also suggested that he either demote (to the minors or a different bullpen role) or DL. He specifically pointed out, “Not Madson,” and said that Myers could potentially be interesting, but didn’t mention any possible replacements.

The Good Phight echoed Foley’s ideas about what to do with Lidge, but again, didn’t mention who would and would not work in the role.

At Phillies Nation, the commenters are once again sick of The Brad Lidge experiment. The following comment takes the cake for Comment of the Post, and honestly, I only needed to read 5 to decide that: “Admittedly, I haven’t been following the Phil closely this season. So can someone explain to me how a major league closer gets an era over 7 with 43 ip by August? Is he the owner’s son? Is he dating the gm’s daughter? How in the world do you fans put up with this?” Fittingly, the comment was from “dodger fan.” I would call him “not-a-baseball fan,” for apparently not being able to understand how Lidge is still on the roster. It’s called 2008, sir. It wants to know why you don’t remember it.

Carson from We Should Be GM’s wrote a post that wasn’t about Brad Lidge sucking. (Sarcasm very much intended.) But he also expressed a lot of disgust in Rollins’ lack of patience and the Phillies’ sudden and unexpected lack of a bench. I don’t know, maybe he’s just angry.

Crashburn Alley still stands by Madson as our #1 closer option, as of now, with Chan Ho Park as his #2.

In what easily wins the award for “The Most Knee-Jerking By Commenters in a Brad Lidge Post,” Beerleaguer‘s are either the stupidest, the craziest, or the best at hiding their sarcasm.

Finally, to wrap up the “first half,” the linkage of this post, if you will, of this post, Mike on the Phils also said that Lidge can no longer be the closer, but provided a very surprising suggestion: “The Phillies can get by with Jamie Moyer as the 5th starter this season, but they can’t get by with Brad Lidge as the closer.  Give Pedro a shot.”

Now for the part of this post where I actually give my opinions on this topic, after the jump, of course… Continue reading

August 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments