June 30, 2011

All the Young Dudes

Young bucks Vance Worley, 23, Michael Stutes, 24, and Antonio Bastardo, 25, gave up one run and five hits total last night to the Boston Red Sox, currently the best hitting team in baseball. After Worley went seven innings against the Beantown sluggers, Stutes went 1-2-3 in the eighth. Bastardo then saved the day for the third time this year as he got the scariest dudes in the lineup to pop-up to end the game, Soda Popinski, Big Papi, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia who has the longest last name in baseball history and is nicknamed "Salty". Wicked pissah!

Who would have thought that these young guns formerly of the AAA Iron Pigs would have brought the Phillies to a halfway point record of 51-30 with a 2-1 win against the Sox? Me, maybe, and the bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer who has now deemed himself "Head Hog." I've been rooting for Worley and Stutes from the beginning. I've also had my eye on Antonio Bastardo since my boyfriend's not-always-politically-correct and very Italian step-dad turned to me on Easter Sunday and said, "Hey! That Bastard guy's pretty all right." Oh, and don't worry. I'm going to respect my elders here too. Big ups to old man Raul Ibanez who went 3-3 with 2 RBIs last night. Wicked pissah!

While I love good baseball, I hate to admit that I'm just not that into Vance Worley's new nickname, the Vanimal, which is—I kid you not—stitched into his glove. My buddy and I have been calling him "King of the Bog" since I first posted about Worley, which is about as good as the nickname "Salty." Can't we come up with something better for Vance Worley the Great?

And while my New England roots hate to admit it, saying "Wicked pissah!" is damn fun. What would be the Philly equivalent? I've heard Nadine scream "Zenga!" before, but I'm not sure that's actually a thing.

June 29, 2011

Clifton Phifer Lee

I don't really know what to say, so I hope this says it all: CLIFTON!

Clifton "My Dream Dude" Phifer Lee. Three consecutive shut-outs. 33 straight scoreless innings. In the month of June, he's held opponents to a .152 average while batting .250 himself—allowing just one earned run and picking up 2 RBIs.

It's clear that Cliff prefers the National League game (who can forget that game back in May when Charlie had to actually pull Cliff out of the batter's box, because he'd chosen to ignore the fact that he was being taken out for a pinch-hitter?). Watching him pitch to Beckett last night, I could've sworn I caught a glimpse of disdain in Cliff's eyes. Like, dude, how pathetic is it that you let David Ortiz bat for you? I wonder if his multiple displays of badassery against the Yankees in the 2009 World Series (see above) were also due, at least in part, to this sense of superiority over the American League? All I can say is, I'm glad Clifton Phifer Lee would prefer to play in our league. And I'm sure all of Philadelphia would say the same.

Dear Cliff,

Uh, gee. Gosh. Golly. Goddamn. I don't even know. Just, like, THANK YOU for coming back to Philadelphia. Thank you so much.


June 21, 2011

Everything I Need To Know, I Learned From Mike Stutes' Twitter

Since his call-up to the show on April 25th, relief pitcher Michael Stutes has been causing quite a stir in Philadelphia. The former Oregon Beaver and newly-added member of the Sunnydale Razorbacks is 1-0, recording 22 strikeouts in 21.2 innings pitched and picking up his first major league win against Felix Hernandez. He’s also half of a dynamic duo—along with Glourious Antonio Bastardo—of young relievers bringing life to an injury-plagued and aging Phillies bullpen, which started the season with Jose “I’m 39” Contreras as its closer.

Standing 6’1 and sporting Lincecum-esque shaggy brown hair, this obvious native of the Pacific Northwest has been charming the citizens of Philadelphia and seems to have won a regular spot in the bullpen, at least for now. He won me over when, asked if he adopted a particular strategy against the Cubs’ lineup, Stutes responded, “no, I just trust Chooch.” Wise words, young Stutes. Wise words indeed.

As of this weekend, Michael Stutes will be sharing his wise words with all of us, through his brand new Twitter account (@mikestutes). Luckily for you, I already read all 78 of the tweets (mostly direct responses to questions from fans) that Stutes posted during his flight from Philly to St. Louis on Sunday night, so you don’t have to. Here is some of what I’ve learned so far:

6/19, 7:29 pm: He is considering cutting his hair.
6/19, 9:06 pm: Maybe he'll cut it during the World Series parade and donate it to Locks of Love. Way to jinx us, Stutes.
6/19, 9:22 pm: He doesn’t know what “hipster music” is.
6/19, 9:40 pm: Stutes takes his glove off after every pitch as part of his routine, and has somehow never noticed he did it until now.
6/19, 10:02 pm: His favorite band is Sublime.
6/19, 10:37 pm: His dog is named Rugby. (Cute!)

Tonight Roy Halladay and the Phillies face the Pujols-less Cardinals at Busch Stadium. I wonder if Stutes will be updating his Twitter from the bullpen?

June 18, 2011

I Got 99 Problems But a Pitch Ain't One

It looks like I have the Kyle Kendrick ticket package again this season, what would have been the Joe Blanton ticket package if Big Joe wasn't sent to the DL. :(= Now I know what you're thinking, and I once thought it too. If you were me, you'd want to see anyone other than the guy that Joe Blanton beat out to become fifth wheel to the Four Aces. You know, one of those four dudes that appear on those sweet "99 PROBLEMS BUT A PITCH AIN'T ONE" tees sold outside of the stadium. Well, guess what? I've seen some of those guys. I was freezing my butt off when Cole Hamels gave up a quick six runs in his season debut, a 7-1 loss to the Mets. Oh, and that terrible 9-0 loss to the Brewers with Halladay on the mound? That "two-hit atrocity"? I was there. In fact, up until I was recently cursed with tickets to Kendrick games, I was convinced that I was a curse to the Phillies altogether, the jinx whose mere presence could turn an ace into a joker, making pitching problem #100 for Phillies fans everywhere.

So being 0-2 with the Phillies at home with now 9-3 Halladay and 9-2 Hamels, I wasn't thrilled when I found out that my first game at the ballpark with fellow lady of Scoring Position, Nadine, would be one hot date with Kyle Kendrick. Yes, we're talking the same Kyle Kendrick that gave up five quick runs to Old Man Giambi and the Brewers shortly after his World Series ring was found in a Mentos container at the bottom of a swamp, the same Kyle Kendrick that currently has a Facebook page with 260 fans that only seem to comment on how much he blows or spam his wall with quick ways to make $4000/month working from home. Sad, yes. What was sadder was that the night before last Thursday's game with Nadine, I wishfully dreamt that Kyle Kendrick was sent to the DL and Vance Worley would be taking his place on the mound. This was no prophetic dream. (Side note: dream psychology tells me that I dreamt this because I needed to work through a problem. Even Freud proposed that dreams exist to fulfill our wishes to see Vance Worley over Kyle Kendrick. Too bad thinking in reality doesn't work this way. Am I right?)

Kyle Kendrick was to take the mound at 7:05. What were two gals to do? Drink some beer and bank on a stroke of genius, I guess. After throwing back a couple at some 420-themed beer event at the South Philly Tap Room before the game, it finally came to us! We decided that we could either go about our fate like every other Philadelphian and complain about not getting Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, or we could, for just one day, be Kyle Kendrick's biggest and loudest fans. Maybe the trippy black light posters covering the bar's walls were giving us strange vibes or maybe we had been slipped something, but what was to follow was truly magical.

Kyle Kendrick pitched an awesome three innings, leaving a big fat 0 on the board for the Cubs. Nadine and I even convinced the middle-aged ladies from the Northeast sitting next to us to jump on the Kyle Kendrick bandwagon. Clad in Phillies pink, they became even more obnoxious than us every time Kendrick through a strike. Kyle Kendrick had it together, and I thought my losing streak with the Phillies was finally coming to a close. Cue a montage of Kendrick putting people away to his warm up music, "Been Caught Stealing" by Jane's Addiction:

Is this a reference to catching people on base or the discovery of Kyle's stolen World Series ring?

Then tornado-like winds ripped through the stadium, and after a one hour rain delay, Kyle Kendrick was inexplicably taken out. The Phillies were up 3-0, and Baez was on the mound. Even Nadine and I could not get behind that. What was to follow can only be explained by the workings of a curse. The game dragged on, and the Phillies remained hitless since J-Roll's three-run homer in the second inning. Ryan Madson blew his first save in 15 opportunities. In my mind, this all happened while Nadine and I were dancing and singing to "Don't Stop Believing" with our new gal pals from the Northeast. Charlie even argued his way into getting one of the home runs Madson gave up reversed to turn everything back into a tie game, yet the Phillies still managed to blow it. Herndon was not pinch-hit for with the bases loaded in the 10th. He struck out scared and swinging. Polanco made a rare throwing error at third in the 11th to allow the winning run for the Cubs to score. Was this just bad baseball or the result of a higher power?

I honestly believe that had Kyle Kendrick stayed in that night, the curse would have been lifted. Instead, I had to wait until Kendrick's next start against the Marlins. Watching from the 400 level with six friends, I saw Kendrick throw an amazing seven-inning one-run performance. Someone even started shouting, "You just got 'dricked!" every time Kyle put up a K. The Phillies cruised past the Marlins 8-1. Since that game, the Phillies have won in extra innings on a Chooch walk off, Cliff Lee pitched a two-hit shutout while racking up two hits and an RBI, and Vance Worley has magically returned from the AAA Iron Pigs. Sure, we lost last night, but you can't win them all.

Vance Worley's starting in tonight's game against the Mariners which might make me one of the few that ever had the Kyle Kendrick ticket package at all. Who knows what'll happen to Kendrick now? Maybe he'll split starts with Worley or maybe he'll return to the 'pen as the Phillies' much needed longman. Say what you will about the man, but first let me say this. It's probably the first time these words have ever been put together in the English language.

I am thankful for Kyle Kendrick.