Another week has passed and the Florida Marlins are still in first place. We’ve talked again and again about how surprised we are here at NL Beast that the Marlins have continued to overachieve as much as they have so far this season. We’ve said that the Marlins have the pieces to achieve and that they should be a real contender as soon as next year. We’ve said it can’t last this season, and that it’s a nice story until the Phillies, Braves, or Mets step up and regain the top spot in the division.
But every week proves us wrong as the Marlins keep winning. They’ve been criticized for beating up on the bottom of the barrel. Then they sweep the Diamondbacks. Their pitching has been criticized as young and inexperienced. Then Andrew Miller outpitches Brandon Webb. Their offense has been described as resting on Hanley Ramirez. But it is Dan Uggla who is setting the pace not just for Marlins hitters but for Major League Baseball. Make no mistake about it, the Marlins are a dangerous team.
Posted in Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, NL East, Phillies
Tagged Andrew Miller, Brandon Webb, Braves, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, NL East, Phillies
More to come on this in the morning, but the Mets lost their fourth straight tonight in Atlanta as Johan Santana couldn’t prevent the surging Braves lineup from overtaking the struggling New York club. The Mets have now lost seven of their last ten, have a losing record, and are 4.5 back of the Marlins (who beat Dan Haren tonight after beating Brandon Webb yesterday). It may not yet be time to panic, but it’s getting close. The fans are frustrated, the players are frustrated, the manager is frustrated, and one has to believe that the owners are frustrated, as well.
The Mets head to Colorado now to take on the struggling Rockies. The fate of Willie Randolph could very well rest on how the team performs in the next three games. Let’s not forget that the only reason why the Mets are still competative in the division is because of similarly mediocre play by the Braves and Phillies. Both of those teams seem to be turning a corner. The Mets are not following suit. A change has to be made, and the manager is the first one to go. Ultimately, the blame might rest on Willie, it might rest on Rick Peterson, it might rest on Howard Johnson, it might rest on Omar Minaya. But the manager is the one who is held accountable at the end of the day for the performance of his team on the field. Right now, that performance is unacceptable. As much as I like Willie, he’s a lame duck in my eyes. The blame might rest elsewhere, but it’s time for a change, and the first step has to be replacing Willie Randolph as manager.
Posted in Mets
Tagged Brandon Webb, Braves, Dan Haren, Howard Johnson, Johan Santana, Marlins, Mets, NL East, Omar Minaya, Phillies, Rick Peterson, Rockies, Willie Randolph
Nobody expected to do much against Brandon Webb, who picked up his 8th win in 8 tries tonight. But the bigger story of the night has to be Brett Myers. Coming off a 7 inning, 10 strikeout performance, it would’ve been nice to string two strong starts together. Myers lasted only 5 innings. He let up 9 hits and 7 runs, 6 earned, all in only 5 innings.
If the Phillies want to compete for the division, they’re going to have to get better stuff out of their “ace”.
The Game: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies
The Matchup: Brandon Webb (7-0, 2.49, 37/16 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP) vs. Brett Myers (2-2, 4.70, 37/12 K/BB, 1.36 WHIP)
The Story: Cy Young hopeful Brandon Webb goes for his 8th win in 8 starts. ‘Nuff said about him.
Brett Myers goes for his 3rd win, after posting a no decision in a strong 7 inning, 10 strikeout outing last week against the Giants. Myers seemed to find his strength again last week after shying away from his fastball in earlier starts this season. We’ll see if the long toss continues to pay off this afternoon.
Last night’s 5-4 win displayed nothing but grit from the Phils, but with Ryan Howard slumping, Pat Burrell cooling off, and Chase Utley coming back down to the stratosphere, the rest of the team has to continue to pick up the slack. Take Eric Bruntlett: He’s probably due only a couple more starts until Jimmy Rollins takes back his leadoff spot, but Bruntlett has filled in great, both in the field and at the plate.
With any luck, the Phillies make this one competitive. If they are able to pull off a win – taking 3 out of 4 from the Dbacks – it would be a very big statement to the rest of the league.
Stat of the Day: Ryan Howard is on pace for 231 strikeouts. His 199 strikeouts last year was a Major League record.
The Game: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Matchup: Kyle Kendrick (6 GS, 2-2, 5.01, 16 SO, 11 BB, 4 HR, 1.55 WHIP) vs. Micah Owings (6 GS, 4-1, 4.42, 30 SO, 12 BB, 6 HR, 1.20 WHIP)
The Story: Kyle Kendrick on the mound as the Phillies look to rebound from last night’s frustrating loss against the Diamondbacks and Randy Johnson. With any luck, Kendrick will be better than Adam Eaton was last night, walking the Big Unit on FOUR PITCHES! Of the walk, Eaton said after the game, “It’s pretty pathetic.” Pathetic indeed. Eaton started well, but he may be regressing to 2007 form…
The Phils bats weren’t silent last night, but they didn’t get the job done. They left seven men on base, including men on first and third in the 9th. The Phils could use this game, as they are going up against surefire Brandon Webb tomorrow. He’s 7-0 with a 2.49 ERA, and yes, you read that correctly.
Phils are gonna need some luck in the next couple days. All hands on deck!
Stat of the Day: Kyle Kendrick’s opponents’ batting average is .293. Oy…
David Murphy‘s got the scoop on JRoll’s return:
Like 50 Cent, Jimmy Rollins don’t walk with a limp.
As such, Rollins is scheduled to leave Citizens Bank Park today at 2 p.m. to head to Clearwater, where he will begin a rehab stint in extended spring training games to test his ever-better sprained left ankle. He hopes to return in time for the Phillies’ game Thursday in Arizona.
“It feels real good,” said Rollins, louging in the clubhouse, pointing at his left foot, comfy in a sweet pair of denim Louis Vuitton boat shoes.
Rollins initially injured the ankle April 8. He has been in the 15-day disabled list since April 20.
Rollins has looked at the pitching mathcup and realizes that, if he starts upon his return, he will be facing Brandon Webb, perhaps the best pitcher in baseball over the past several seasons.
“Maybe I’ll wait ’til Friday to come back,” he said, then smiled. “No, really. I like facing guys like him.”
Believe that hype: Rollins is 10-for-24 against Webb, one of the highest success rates in the league.
Now, I really do hope that Rollins doesn’t rush his return, but my frustration over the Phils’ butchering of the situation has not waned. A sense of urgency would be nice…
Diamondbacks 10-Mets 4
Mike Pelfrey did not pitch well for the Mets, throwing more than 100 pitches in 5 innings, allowing 5 earned runs, walking 4 and striking out 1. He was charged with the loss, and is 2-2 on the year Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb pitched well enough, but was not dominant, giving up 5 runs, 4 earned, on 7 full innings of work with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Augie Ojeda, replacing the injured Orlando Hudson, terrorized the Mets, driving in 6 runs. For the Mets, Carlos Delgado hit a 3-run shot, but was one of the only Mets whose bat showed up. Combined, Jose Reyes and David Wright were 0-7 with a walk on the day. Duaner Sanchez‘s line on the day: (0.1 innings, 4 H, 5 ER) Ouch.
Nationals 9-Pirates 8
The Nats barely squeaked one out against the Bucs, as mediocre pitching gave way to clutch offense from the Nats. Cristian Guzman was a triple away from hitting for the cycle, and totaled 6 RBIs on the day. Guzman and Felipe Lopez jumpstarted the Nats offense, combining to go 6-9 on the day in the 1 and 2 spots. Matt Chico might have bought himself some more time to try and fix his pitching woes, but was not all that good, going 4.1 and letting up 5 runs, 4 earned, with 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. Jesus Colome picked up the win and Jon Rauch notched his 7th save of the year.
Giants 3-Phillies 2
The Phillies lost a heartbreaker as Bengie Molina hit a go-ahead RBI double off of Rudy Seanez in the 10th. Brett Myers pitched very well, going 7 innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 earned runs, walking 3 and striking out 10. But he received almost no run support other than home runs by Chase Utley (again) and Geoff Jenkins and an RBI from Pat Burrell. Giants starter Matt Cain was very effective, shutting the Phils down on 7 innings of 3-hit ball, striking out 8 and walking 1.
Braves 9-Reds 1
Yunel Escobar led the Braves to a hit parade Saturday as he went 3-4 with 2 runs and an RBI. The Braves had 15 hits on the day compared to 4 for the Reds. Jo-Jo Reyes pitched well for Atlanta, allowing just 1 earned run on 5.1 innings, striking out 5 and walking 3. Brian McCann had 2 RBIs for the Braves, who now sit just a game below .500.
Padres 7-Marlins 2
Young Ricky Nolasco continues to struggle for the Marlins, giving up 10 hits over 4.2 innings of work yesterday as Padres ace Jake Peavy cruised. Peavy went 5.2 and struck out 8, allowing just 2 earned runs. Mike Jacobs‘ 2 run blast in the bottom of the first was all the offense the Marlins could muster. After a hot start, the Marlins are just 4-6 in their last 10.
Posted in Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies
Tagged Augie Ojeda, Bengie Molina, Brandon Webb, Braves, Brett Myers, Brian McCann, Carlos Delgado, Chase Utley, Cristian Guzman, David Wright, Diamondbacks, Duaner Sanchez, Felipe Lopez, Geoff Jenkins, Giants, Jake Peavy, Jesus Colome, Jo-Jo Reyes, Jon Rauch, Jose Reyes, Marlins, Matt Cain, Matt Chico, Mets, Mike Jacobs, Mike Pelfrey, Nationals, Orlando Hudson, Padres, Pat Burrell, Phillies, Pirates, Reds, Ricky Nolasco, Rudy Seanez, Yunel Escobar