Monday, July 19, 2004

Battle with the Braves

Yesterday, the Phillies settled for a series split with the Mets, dropping a 6-1 loss, and ruining a good-but-not-good-enough outing for Brett Myers. Todd Zolecki, Marcus Hayes and Paul Flannery have the game stories. Looking at the upcoming 2-game set against the Braves, Jimmy Rollins confidently said that the worst-case scenario, a Braves sweep "won't happen." Despite Myers' improved performance, Jim Salisbury says "pardon us if we don't share in the giddiness," since a loss is still a loss. Hayes has Jim Thome saying that "starting pitching is what gets it done in the second half." Flannery has Larry Bowa reiterating those sentiments: "Whoever gets the best starting pitching, or makes the most significant move and comes up with a starting pitcher" will have the advantage when it comes to making the playoffs. Bowa is talking, but is Ed Wade listening? Speaking of the GM, Al Morganti says that "if he truly believes that the team that could not put a choke hold on the Mets is good enough to win the division and beyond, there really is no reason to think it will be the Phils in the postseason instead of the Braves or Marlins."

Sam Donnellon offers a mea culpa for being a no-show at the post-game press conference the day he wrote the "Bowa must go" article. He says, in retrospect, he should have been there, but he already had made vacation plans that he wasn't going to cancel. He adds, "that's the fun part of this job, the give-and-take, even if it occasionally requires an insult-filled conversation with Howard Eskin. (Is there any other kind?)" Speaking of Eskin, last week on WIP he continued to whine about the "innaccuracy" of the measurements at CBP. Last night, on Sports Final, he demonstrated that it's "all about him" when he made a big deal about how he had used a laser measurement and checked the posted distances on the outfield walls. Two of the four posted numbers were spot on, center field was actually 2 feet farther than the posted distance, and left-center was allegedly 7 feet shorter than the posted distance. Of course, Eskin did not detail the specific procedures he used, nor did he mention whether he bothered to have someone else verify his measurements. Apparently, if you're Howard Eskin, you can't make mistakes.

Yesterday, Sam Carchidi talks about Bobby Abreu joining the "20-20 club" for the 6th straight year (20 homers, 20 steals), adding him to the unique company of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, and Willie Mays. His improvement has not gone unnoticed by other teams' fans, as he received a smattering of boos when introduced at Shea Stadium over the weekend. As Dennis Deitch notes, "when your performances cause enough heartache in opposing fans that they take time to boo you, you know that you've made it." Jim Salisbury looks at potential moves with the upcoming trading deadline, with Randy Johnson being this year's deadline sweepstakes prize. In Saturday's notes, Carchidi had more on the possible Derek Lowe-Kevin Millwood swap with the Red Sox. Sarah Rothschild had Larry Bowa saying "this race is going to be all the way down the wire."

Over the weekend, Jack McCaffery says Andy Reid listens to the fans, but only takes their advice reluctantly. Or something like that.
In all sincerity, give Reid this: He will admit when he is wrong and then give in, kind of like the Phillies did when they finally started spending money. And if that willingness to bend is what allows the Eagles’ Prime Minister to grand-marshal a world championship parade, well, he will deserve every aggressive salute.
CSN has Phillies-Braves at 7:35.

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