As we watch World Series Game 4…

…I’m reminded of how smart I am.

Just remember, fans, what I said about the Phillies’ starting pitching a few days back in my “Subjective Analysis”:

“STARTING PITCHER

PHI: Cole Hamels/Brett Myers/Jamie Moyer/Joe Blanton

TB: Scott Kazmir/Jamie Shields/Matt Garza/Andy Sonnanstine

ANALYSIS: The “experts” say Hamels is the best pitcher in the Series, and I agree. But I don’t agree with their assessments of the rest of these guys. They’re all over the Phils, saying they really have no depth beyond Hamels and that the Rays kids are flat-out awesome. Not taking anything away from them, they’re good and they faced tough competition all year in the AL East. I just think this matchup is closer than many might think – that there’s something to be said for Moyer’s experience and smarts, and Blanton’s ability to keep the ball down.

All that being said, I do have to give the Slight Edge to the RAYS.”

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LiveBlog: World Series Game 3

12:48: I’m going to bed. It’s been a long night. But a good night!

12:47: Little chopper, going to be tough, Longoria can’t get it, Phils win!!! PHILS WIN!!!

12:47: Good eye, Ruiz takes outside. Count is 2-2.

12:45: Wow, that 96 MPH heater just blew by Ruiz.

12:44: Here we go, mi amigo Carlos. Bases loaded, no outs, bottom of the ninth. A run wins it.

12:42: So they’re going to walk Dobbs and have bases loaded with five infielders. If this works, Maddon is a genius. If it doesn’t, he’s a wackjob. Life is risk.

12:40: They intentionally walk Victorino. Maybe Maddon’ll do something weird here. Ah, maybe another intentional walk and a five-man infield. Sounds fun.

12:38: Holy Crap! Victorino tries to bunt, the pitch is wild, Bruntlett goes to second, bad throw to second gets away, Bruntlett gets to third with nobody out. He’s the winning run! LET’S GO!!!

12:37: I was kind of hoping that Maddon would make some really odd managerial move.

12:35: This Sprint “You want everything” romantic-movie-spoof is just horrible. It’s everything that’s wrong with television advertising. A bad, corny, cheesy premise and a big budget.

12:34: Bruntlett takes one for the team. Good job, son.

12:33: You know it’s a.m., so I’m not typing it any more.

12:32 a.m.: By the Beard of Bruntlett! C’mon, Eric!

12:31 a.m.: J.P. Howell still in there for Tampa? Not sure I like this move either.

12:29 a.m.: We need a hero. We could also use Bonnie Tyler singing “I Need A Hero.” Bottom of the 9th coming up.

12:28 a.m.: Buck messing with McCarver about his previous mistake (country of origin for Carlos Ruiz).

12:27 a.m.: Fans active now, waving those white towels (reminding me of surrender).

12:26 a.m.: Two down as Gross grounds out weakly to second.

12:24 a.m.: Heh heh. He just said “lefty on lefty.”

12:24 a.m.: OK, one out. Good job so far by Romero.

12:23 a.m.: I don’t like the way I feel about this game right now. And why are the fans not screaming? Is it too cold?

12:19 a.m.: Ryan Howard GOES DOWN LOOKING! Don’t these guys remember the FUNDAMENTALS??? Two strikes on you, and you SWING AT ANYTHING CLOSE! I can’t believe I’ve been reduced to using all caps. I’m tired and frustrated.

12:17 a.m.: Ryan Howard down in the count 0-2. Doesn’t look good.

12:16 a.m.: Some kind of crazy move, and Werth is picked off. Craptastic.

12:15 a.m.: Utley whiffs. Darnit! That pitch dropped off the table.

12:13 a.m.: Werth can fly for a tall dude. Steals second base, gets in scoring position with 0 outs.

12:09 a.m.: Utley Time. C’mon, Chase. Need a knock here.

12:08 a.m.: I have never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. Guess I’m a dummy.

12:05 a.m.: Werth walks! Werth walks! Werth walks!

12:05 a.m.: I like Jayson Werth. He has the potential to go 25HR/25SB next year.

12:02 a.m.: Another re-make. The Day The Earth Stood Still. Keanu plays another alien or quietly weird character. More importantly, are there no new ideas in Hollywood?

12:01 a.m.: Ah, good work, J.C. Romero. Crawford Danger averted.

11:59 p.m.: Coming up on 1:00 a.m. for my Eastern time zone family/friends. Wonder how many are hanging in there.

11:56 p.m.: WHY OH WHY did Ruiz bother throwing? Upton was going to beat that. Oy freakin’ vay. Error, tie game.

11:56 p.m.: Not sure if “Eva” is a super-insulting chant, Phils fans.

11:55 p.m.: Upton steals, Longoria needs a single to tie. Ugh.

11:55 p.m.: You went, Pena! Strikeout!

11:51 p.m.: And Upton’s younger brother Justin is supposed to be as talented or more talented. Yikes.

11:50 p.m.: Wow, Upton can fly. C’mon, Mad Dog, roll two (that’s “induce a double play” for you non-infielders).

11:48 p.m.: Madson has a tough job here. Let’s go, Mad Dog!

11:46 p.m.: “There’s one thing…we’re nudists.” And the guy lets them in the car. Did he put down a blanket or something? And why the heck doesn’t he just say “Oh, never mind” and leave the dumbass naked balloonists to find their own way home?

11:45 p.m.: Jimmy Rollins. Why don’t you bunt, Jimmy? Lay one down, get on base again.

11:44 p.m.: Geoff can’t get ‘er done. Oh well.

11:41 p.m.: Geoff Jenkins! I like this move.

11:40 p.m.: Will you be leaving work for a break to get your free Taco Bell taco?

11:39 p.m.: I guess I should be grateful they haven’t shown the Rocky statue or Art Museum steps. However, I’ll retract that statement if I could see McCarver tripping and falling all the way down the steps.

11:38 p.m.: One more shot of the Liberty Bell, and I will vomit. Y’know, there are other things in Philly besides the Liberty Bell and the corner where Geno’s and Pat’s Steaks are.

11:36 p.m.: Not that there’s anything wrong with all these armed forces folks singing “God Bless America,” but didn’t this job used to belong to professionals?

11:35 p.m.: YES! K’d him! Great job, Scott.

11:34 p.m.: OK, Scott, put him away here. More outs, faster game, less McCarver.

11:33 p.m.: I appreciate Scott’s “underbeard,” as I like to call it.

11:32 p.m.: C’mon, Scott. Good pitch to start. Excellent.

11:30 p.m.: The difference is Drinkability? No, there really isn’t much of a difference, and some made-up word isn’t helping.

11:29 p.m.: Oy, a walk. I hate walks. Go get ‘im, Cholly.

11:28 p.m.: OK, groundout RBI makes it 4-3. Darnit, another one-run lead. It’s not enough. (It’s never enough.)

11:26 p.m.:This Christie Brinkley DirecTV spot has run approximately 475 times tonight. Luckily, I will always love the “This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy” line.

11:24 p.m.: Take a bow, Jamie…great job. Bullpen time.

11:24 p.m.: Fantastic play by Howard there.

11:23 p.m.: If Gabe Gross hits a 3-run bomb off Moyer, I’m driving to DFW, flying to Philly, and taking over as Phillies manager for the rest of the Series.

11:22 p.m.: And now the Rays are proving me right, as they’re knocking Moyer around a bit.

11:21 p.m.: Getting back to Moyer being allowed to pitch the 7th…I think that’s one of those Charlie Manuel moves. He sticks with his guy, and I get it. But the Phils’ bullpen is awesome.

11:19 p.m.: It’s so weird, how hittable Moyer’s pitches look. I mean, I’ve hit in a batting cage with 80 MPH pitches coming at me. And I got as high as D-III ball.

11:17 p.m.: CRAWFORD WAS OUT AT FIRST! ANOTHER UMPIRING MISTAKE! BRING ON THE ROBOT UMPIRES!!!

11:16 p.m.: Whoa – Moyer comes back out for the 7th? Not sure I’d do that.

11:15 p.m.: He IS the most interesting man in the world. (I love the Dos Equis spots.)

11:12 p.m.: Me gusto Carlos Ruiz.

11:10 p.m.: They just showed submarine-style pitcher Chad Bradford warming up for Tampa Bay. I get that that particular motion is much easier on the arm – then why don’t starting pitchers ever use it? It’s always relievers – Kent Tekulve, Dan Quisenberry, etc.

11:09 p.m.: A shout-out to Jamie Moyer for some awesome pitching tonight. He did his job beautifully, holding the Rays to just one run in six innings. Not bad for an almost-46-year-old.

11:08 p.m.: Ryan Howard…BOMB! (Guess he WILL hit again.)

11:07 p.m.: On the replay, Utley’s bomb looked like it went to the seats that my friend Marty and I used to have.

11:06 p.m.: Oy, Ryan Howard. Will you ever hit again?

11:05 p.m.: Chase Utley…BOMB! 3-1.

Pheelin’ Kinda Down: Game 2 Thoughts

–The Phillies REALLY need to get a hit with men in scoring position. This is ridiculous.

–The umpires have shown (and that Fox Trax or Trak or whatever has shown) that they are frequently wrong and totally replaceable. Weirdly enough, I think the Rays could have won Game 1 if the calls had been correct, while the Phillies had a shot at Game 2.

–I still hate Tim McCarver as an announcer. He may be a good guy or a decent family man or a soup kitchen volunteer, but he brings me no information or entertainment as a broadcaster.

–Didn’t Jimmy Rollins learn to bunt a couple years ago or so? How about being a sparkplug and getting on base?

–Pat Burrell’s next/last big contract is getting smaller with every at-bat.

–Maybe a sports psychologist needs to talk to the hitters.

–Brett Myers wasn’t good, but he wasn’t horrible.

–I really hope the home-field advantage works for us. If you’re reading this and going to one of the games, scream your head off. It’s your duty.

–I’d love to see Charlie Manuel do something crazy like Rays manager Joe Maddon does. Like bat Ryan Howard leadoff to get him more at-bats.

–I have a hard time believing that NL players who have “played” DH in the past few World Series have batted less than .100. What is up with that?

–I really like Joe Maddon’s postgame press conferences. He always has something interesting to say. I couldn’t believe he admitted he really didn’t know what the Phillies team was all about. Did he not watch any SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight ever? No game films after winning the ALCS? No scouting reports? And yet, he’s perfectly calm and cool about it.

–I think that if the Phils are to win this Series, they have to sweep all three at home. And I’m not sure they can do that.

–Jamie Moyer needs to step it up in what could be the biggest game of his career.

–People are still sleepin’ on Joe Blanton. I have faith in Big Joe.

–Philadelphia is getting a nor’easter this Saturday. (Here in Texas, we’re getting 80 and sunny. Just so you know.)

Subjective Analysis: Phils/Rays in the WORLD SERIES.

Here it is. Could be another of the biggest moments in Philadelphia sports history, or just another colossal failure. (You’ll have to excuse me, Phillies fans have had their fill of futility. And yes, the alliteration is amazing.)

Once more into the Phray:

CATCHER

PHI: Carlos Ruiz

TB: Dioner Navarro

ANALYSIS: I’m especially biased on this, because I “owned” Navarro a few years back – BEFORE he began living up to his potential. (The guy’s only 24, I should have been easier on him.) Offensively, he is far superior to Ruiz. Defensively, they’re both pretty solid. Navarro and the RAYS get the edge here.

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FIRST BASE

PHI: Ryan Howard

TB: Carlos Pena

ANALYSIS: I have a feeling Howard will hit some BOMBS. Of course, at the two ballparks in question, many bombs are hit. Overall, these guys had kinda similar numbers…except for the Bombs, where Howard beats him handily. Howard gets the nod here for the PHILS.

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SECOND BASE

PHI: Chase Utley

TB: Akinori Iwamura

ANALYSIS: Although I love saying his name (or any other Japanese player’s name) out loud in a deep, booming voice, Iwamura just is not even close to the offensive force that Utley can be. Utley wins hands-down. Go PHILS.

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THIRD BASE

PHI: Pedro Feliz/Greg Dobbs

TB: Evan Longoria

ANALYSIS: I’d love to try to make the argument that the Feliz/Dobbs combo can almost equal Longoria, or that Longoria is due for a letdown. But I can’t. Advantage RAYS.

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SHORTSTOP

PHI: Jimmy Rollins

TB: Jason Bartlett

ANALYSIS: It was in this space of my Phils/Dodgers analysis that I picked Rollins over Furcal. Of course, I really didn’t foresee Furcal’s three errors in one inning that basically cost them the NLCS. Although Jimmy Rollins is a far better player, all the “experts” believe that Bartlett is the kind of guy who can/will make a crucial play or get a clutch hit to carry his team. Still, the PHILS have the edge here.

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LEFT FIELD

PHI: Pat Burrell

TB: Carl Crawford

ANALYSIS: CC wears my number (13), and he is one of the ultimate seven-tool players. (Not just the typical “five tools” that scouts love – Carl does it all and then some.) He was banged up near the end of the season, but he’s still better on many levels than Pat the Bat. RAYS win this one.

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CENTER FIELD

PHI: Shane Victorino

TB: B.J. Upton

ANALYSIS: Upton is also a seven-tool guy, whose power numbers this year were hurt by a lingering injury. But Victorino has had a magical ride the past month or so, and it’s hard to just say “Upton is superior.” He is, talent-wise, but when it comes to getting the j-o-b done, Shane-O-Vic is right there with him. Argh, this one hurts me physically, but Upton and the RAYS get the call here.

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RIGHT FIELD

PHI: Jayson Werth

TB: Rocco Baldelli/Gabe Gross

ANALYSIS: I’m a Werth-believer. I’m not Werth-y. I enjoy Werth-er’s Butterscotch Candies. (Enough!) I’ve got to take the 20/20 guy over a platoon including a guy battling a strange and awful disease (mitochondrial disorder?) and a guy whose offense doesn’t exactly scare people (.242 batting average with TB). Give this one to the PHILS.

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DESIGNATED HITTER

PHI: ??? (Dobbs, Jenkins, Stairs?)

TB: Willy Aybar/Cliff Floyd/Eric Hinske

ANALYSIS: Phils manager Charlie Manuel is not announcing his DH until the actual game, but it’ll likely be one of those guys above (or maybe Burrell, with Eric Bruntlett or Dobbs in left field). Aybar has been playing out of his mind for the past few weeks, and Floyd and Hinske are nice veteran role players who have some pop. This category has too many question marks, though, so I call it a TIE.

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STARTING PITCHER

PHI: Cole Hamels/Brett Myers/Jamie Moyer/Joe Blanton

TB: Scott Kazmir/Jamie Shields/Matt Garza/Andy Sonnanstine

ANALYSIS: The “experts” say Hamels is the best pitcher in the Series, and I agree. But I don’t agree with their assessments of the rest of these guys. They’re all over the Phils, saying they really have no depth beyond Hamels and that the Rays kids are flat-out awesome. Not taking anything away from them, they’re good and they faced tough competition all year in the AL East. I just think this matchup is closer than many might think – that there’s something to be said for Moyer’s experience and smarts, and Blanton’s ability to keep the ball down.

All that being said, I do have to give the Slight Edge to the RAYS.

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RELIEF PITCHER

PHI: Brad Lidge/Ryan Madson/J.C. Romero/Chad Durbin/Clay Condrey/J.A. Happ/Scott Eyre

TB: Troy Percival/Dan Wheeler/Trever Miller/J.P. Howell/Grant Balfour/Jason Hammel/David Price

ANALYSIS: Again, the “experts” are loving the fact that the Rays have three lefties, who will allegedly shut down the big lefty bats of Philly (Utley and Howard). And Price is this amazing wild card who will likely have an amazing career. But the Phillies’ bullpen has been and will be a great strength here, and deserves respect. PHILS get this one.

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BENCH

PHI: Greg Dobbs/Matt Stairs/Geoff Jenkins/Eric Bruntlett/So Taguchi/Chris Coste

TB: Floyd/Hinske/Aybar/Ben Zobrist/Jonny Gomes/Shawn Riggans/Fernando Perez

ANALYSIS: Dobbs is playing so well, there are people who want the Phils to let Burrell go away via free agency and play him every day in left. Stairs could be a great DH against righties (and so could Jenkins). But there is plenty of pop on the Rays bench, and some amazing speed in Perez. This one goes to the RAYS in a very close race.

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MANAGER

PHI: Charlie Manuel

TB: Joe Maddon

ANALYSIS: Uncle Cholly’s recently-passed mom is watching over this team, and he’s somehow managed to keep it all together and get to the Series. Maddon’s mom is watching from upstate Pennsylvania, and her boy is regarded as this kind of mad genius or rare intellectual who somehow completely inspires his young team. (Oh my, he drinks wine instead of beer! He reads books instead of magazines! Heavens to Murgatroyd!)

But seriously, this one is a TIE because each guy has done an amazing job this year, and Manuel’s occasional mistakes cancel out Maddon’s occasional crazy-looking moves (like a bases-loaded intentional walk).

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FINAL SCORE: Rays 6, Phillies 5, one tie.

FINAL ANALYSIS: I think it goes 6 or 7, and I think the RAYS win.

(P.S.: Reverse-jinx accomplished!)

“Subjective” Analysis: Phillies vs. Dodgers

Well, I was pretty dead-on with my Phils/Brewers blog. (Whodathunkit?)

So on we go to the National League Championship Series, facing the Los Angeles Dodgers – who incidentally are another of those teams that moved but kept the name, even though the name was used for a geographically-specific reason. (“Dodgers” had something to do with dodging trolleys in Brooklyn, the New Orleans Jazz made sense but not necessarily the Utah Jazz, etc.)

Anyway, here we go:

CATCHER

PHI: Carlos Ruiz/Chris Coste

LA: Russell Martin

ANALYSIS: Martin wins in a runaway landslide crush. He hits, he’s got power, he steals bases, he plays solid defense, and one of his middle names is Coltrane. Our boys lose this one to the DODGERS.

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FIRST BASE

PHI: Ryan Howard

LA: James Loney

ANALYSIS: Loney is a really good young player, but isn’t in the same league as Howard right now. PHILLIES get this one.

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SECOND BASE

PHI: Chase Utley

LA: Blake DeWitt (Jeff Kent?)

ANALYSIS: Even if you could somehow fuse Blake DeWitt and Jeff Kent together, you wouldn’t have half of Chase Utley. PHILLIES. (Of course, you’d have Bleff DeKent.)

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THIRD BASE

PHI: Pedro Feliz

LA: Casey Blake

ANALYSIS: Blake is a slightly better hitter, and I mean SLIGHTLY. Feliz is a much better defender. I’m feeling objective, so I’ll call this one a TIE. (Even though the Feliz/Greg Dobbs package is probably superior.)

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SHORTSTOP

PHI: Jimmy Rollins

LA: Rafael Furcal/Angel Berroa

ANALYSIS: If Furcal is at the top of his game, this is close. But he’s coming off a major injury, and I’m feeling subjective. I predict a PHILLIES win in this category for Jimmy, The Great Prognosticator.

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LEFT FIELD

PHI: Pat Burrell

LA: Manny Ramirez

ANALYSIS: Pat, I truly thank you for the two-homer day you had that helped defeat the Brewers. But I owned Manny Ramirez (fantasy-wise), and you, sir, are no Manny Ramirez. DODGERS get this one because Manny, in L.A., only batted .396 with 17 HR and 53 RBI in 53 games. Oh, and his OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) was over 1200, which is just plain sick.

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CENTER FIELD

PHI: Shane Victorino

LA: Matt Kemp

ANALYSIS: I root for Victorino. In fantasy, I own Kemp. And in reality, Kemp has more power and is probably a better hitter in general. Slight edge here to the DODGERS.

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RIGHT FIELD

PHI: Jayson Werth

LA: Andre Ethier

ANALYSIS: Werth showed off some big power with a couple homers in the NLDS, but Ethier is another great young Dodger outfielder who took his game up like 57 notches this year. He doesn’t run like Werth, but his on-base is an excellent .375. Another slight edge to the DODGERS.

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STARTING PITCHER

PHI: Cole Hamels/Brett Myers/Jamie Moyer/Joe Blanton

LA: Derek Lowe/Chad Billingsley/Hiroki Kuroda/Greg Maddux?

ANALYSIS: The Phillies’ starters did an unbelievable job (Hamels), a very good job (Myers), a solid job (Moyer), and an excellent job (Blanton) against the Brewers. The Dodgers’ starting pitching is a mixed bag: Lowe is the wily veteran who’s been there and back; Billingsley is the young power pitcher who was prone to walks as recently as last season (and kind of this season, with 80 BB); and Kuroda is the Japanese import (makes him sound like a car) who put up very solid numbers and is the kind of guy who kills the Phillies. I don’t know if Maddux is available, on the roster, or already back home in San Diego. If he’s there and somehow pitches, I’m sure he’ll shut down the Phillies with his mind-bending wizardry. Or they’ll pound him for seven runs.

All in all, I give a slight edge to the PHILLIES here.

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RELIEF PITCHER

PHI: Brad Lidge/Ryan Madson/J.C. Romero/Chad Durbin/Clay Condrey/J.A. Happ/Scott Eyre

LA: Takashi Saito/Jonathan Broxton/Joe Beimel/Cory Wade/Scott Proctor/Hong-Chih Kuo/Clayton Kershaw

ANALYSIS: Each team has some really good talent in the bullpen. And although Lidge is just plain dominant, he’s almost matched by the Saito/Broxton combination (Broxton should be an elite closer in a year or two). The Dodgers have some very good ERAs in Saito, (2.49), Beimel (2.02), Wade (2.27), Kuo (2.14) and some great strikeout arms in Saito (60K/47IP), Broxton (88K/69IP), Kuo (96K/80IP), and Kershaw (100K/107IP). Strikeout arms against a Phillies squad that likes to strike out = edge to the DODGERS. I just trust those last few names more than I trust Durbin/Condrey/Happ.

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BENCH

PHI: Greg Dobbs/Matt Stairs/Geoff Jenkins/Eric Bruntlett/So Taguchi/Coste (see Catchers above)

LA: Angel Berroa/Andruw Jones/Nomar Garciaparra/Delwyn Young/Chin-Lung Hu/Mark Sweeney

ANALYSIS: Seriously, this LA bench might be the worst bench in the history of benches – despite having (or because of?) huge names like Andruw and Nomar. PHILLIES in a runaway victory. If I’m Joe Torre, I pray every night that my lineup stays healthy.

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MANAGER

PHI: Charlie Manuel

LA: Joe Torre

ANALYSIS: Torre, hands-down. Both of these guys are loved by their teams, but Torre knows how to run a game and probably of more importance, has been to 674 World Series with the Yankees. DODGERS get the nod here.

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FINAL SCORE: Dodgers 5, Phillies 4, one tie.

Yikes, this will be a close one.

“Subjective” Analysis: Phillies vs. Brewers

OK, tomorrow at some ridiculous time in the afternoon (hello? working people here?), my Phillies (92-70) will take on the Milwaukee Brewers (90-72) in Game 1 of their National League Divisional Series matchup.

Let’s go through the lineups and see who’s better:

CATCHER

PHI: Carlos Ruiz/Chris Coste

MIL: Jason Kendall

ANALYSIS: Ruiz’s bat was awful this year, but not much worse than the veteran Kendall. I don’t know if Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel would even think of putting the superior-hitting Coste in there…I doubt it. Call this one a TIE because neither side inspires confidence offensively or defensively.

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FIRST BASE

PHI: Ryan Howard

MIL: Prince Fielder

ANALYSIS: Both incredibly powerful young men capable of hitting the ball a country mile. (Still not sure if that’s longer than a regular mile.) Fielder had the higher batting average and less strikeouts, but Howard crushed him in HR and RBI. Gotta say the PHILLIES have the advantage here

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SECOND BASE

PHI: Chase Utley

MIL: Rickie Weeks

ANALYSIS: From a cursory glance, the only thing Weeks is better at statistically than Utley is stolen bases (by 5), and triples (by 3). Oh, and he had two more walks. Utley kills him in everything else, including defense. Advantage: PHILLIES.

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THIRD BASE

PHI: Pedro Feliz

MIL: Bill Hall

ANALYSIS: Offensively, yeesh. Feliz gets the nod because Hall just imploded as a hitter, and Feliz has a bit more pop. Defensively, Feliz is WAY better. One more for the PHILLIES.

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SHORTSTOP

PHI: Jimmy Rollins

MIL: J.J. Hardy

ANALYSIS: Always tough to be objective when you “own” someone on your fantasy team. I have Hardy, who was stellar this year. But Rollins steals more, is more of a sparkplug for the offense, and is probably the better defender. Yet again, PHILLIES.

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LEFT FIELD

PHI: Pat Burrell

MIL: Ryan Braun

ANALYSIS: I still don’t know what to think of Pat the Bat. At times, he’s looked like an awesomely talented hitter; the rest of the time, he flails at pitches like he’s hammered on Jager-bombs. Braun is also awesomely talented, but hasn’t had the craptacular slumps that ol’ Patty has. Finally, the first true BREWERS advantage.

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CENTER FIELD

PHI: Shane Victorino

MIL: Mike Cameron

ANALYSIS: The Flyin’ Hawaiian does a little bit of everything – he’s got some pop, great speed, good arm, and his last name sounds like a nice dish at a quaint Italian restaurant. (I’ll have the Pollo Victorino with the red sauce, please.) Mike Cameron does three things well – hits for power, steals bases and plays great defense. However, his batting average has never been over .273 (career average = .250), he strikes out way too much and his on-base percentage is kind of meager (.331). This is a close one, but I’ve got to go with the PHILLIES here.

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RIGHT FIELD
PHI: Jayson Werth

MIL: Corey Hart

ANALYSIS: Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Werth gets bonus points for having an extra “Y” in his name, and Hart gets bonus points for having the same name as the genius who brought us “I Wear My Sunglasses At Night.” Now that that’s taken care of, let’s get down to business. Each guy had a 20HR/20SB season, but Werth had a better batting average, MUCH better on-base percentage, and did it in 20 less games. I’m really intrigued to see what Werth will do with a full season next year. In the meantime, this one goes to the PHILLIES.

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STARTING PITCHER

PHI: Cole Hamels/Brett Myers/Jamie Moyer/Joe Blanton

MIL: Yovani Gallardo/CC Sabathia/Jeff Suppan/Dave Bush (Ben Sheets is out – hurt)

ANALYSIS: Cole Hamels is just plain awesome, and I’ve blogged about him previously. Come to think of it, I just blogged about Moyer too. Myers is an enigma, putting aside his tumultuous and contemptible personal life. He totally sucked for the first chunk of the season, went to the minors, and came back to pitch great. He faltered near the end of the season, though. Blanton is a big roly-poly dude who keeps the ball down – which is helpful at Citizens Bank Park.

On the other side, Gallardo is one of those “who’s he?” young guys who always kill the Phillies. Sabathia is crazygood. The other guys are journeymen veterans who are serviceable at best (another kind of guy who kills the Phils).

Put it all together, and if Hamels and Sabathia cancel each other out, it’s actually pretty even. There may be a slight edge to the Phils in reality, but I’m going to have to go with a TIE.

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RELIEF PITCHER

PHI: Brad Lidge/Ryan Madson/J.C. Romero/Chad Durbin/Clay Condrey/J.A. Happ/Scott Eyre

MIL: Salomon Torres/Eric Gagne/David Riske/Carlos Villanueva/Brian Shouse/Seth McClung

ANALYSIS: NL Comeback Player of the Year Brad Lidge leads a very strong bullpen – one that is given a lot of credit for the Phils’ success in 2008. (In fact, it’s the Phils’ good bullpen and the Mets’ lousy one that probably made the difference in each team’s fate this year.) Torres had a torrid second half as closer, until the final month when he probably tired. The rest of the Milwaukee ‘pen is a mixed bag – not a lot of big strikeout arms, but they’ve been mostly solid. Still, if a Phillies starter goes seven, it’s Madson, Lidge and lights out. I’m not sure the Brew Crew can look at their bullpen with such confidence. The vote goes to the PHILLIES.

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BENCH

PHI: Greg Dobbs/Matt Stairs/Geoff Jenkins/Eric Bruntlett/So Taguchi/Coste (see Catchers above)

MIL: Craig Counsell/Gabe Kapler/Russell Branyan/Ray Durham/Joe Dillon

ANALYSIS: This one is too close to call, seriously. Dobbs and Kapler had great seasons off the bench, there are some other valuable pieces on each side (Jenkins’ and Stairs’ pop, Taguchi’s speed, Branyan’s pop, Durham’s and Counsell’s experience, etc.). Phils might have an advantage, but it’s slight, so I’ll call it a TIE in case I’m biased. (Ha!)

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MANAGER

PHI: Charlie Manuel

MIL: Dale Sveum

ANALYSIS: Say what you (or I) will about Manuel being an inconsistent in-game manager or a could-be-better press conference-giver, he gets his boys to play hard, play well, and win ballgames. Hard to critique Sveum since he’s only been the manager for like a month – but all reports from trusted sources (ESPN) say that the players dig him. And he did guide them to the postseason, which is more that can be said for Jerry Manuel and his Mets. Still, experience and long-term results give the advantage here to the PHILLIES.

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FINAL SCORE: Phillies 8, Brewers 1, three ties.

Bring on the Cubs?

He is most decidedly NOT a belly-itcher.

On August 19, 2006 (thank you very much, Baseball-Reference.com), the Philadelphia Phillies sent two young minor-league players to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer.

Since that day, Mr. Moyer has compiled a stellar record of 34 wins and 21 losses for the Phillies; the two young men have yet to appear in the major leagues. Whither art thou, Andrew Barb and Andy Baldwin?

I say all that to say this: Jamie Moyer is The Freaking Man.

He turns 46 on November 18. I repeat, 46. And he competes with the best baseball players on the planet. And he schools them.

He’s the oldest player in the game, and while he may or may not be a Hall of Famer, he’s an accomplished pitcher who’s been doing it for a really really long time (and doing it well).

Twenty-two years in the majors. Chicago, Texas, St. Louis, Baltimore, Boston, Seattle and now Philly.

Why this tribute? Not because he’s a fellow Pennsylvanian, or because he paid me to write this. (Not that I’d turn down a small donation.)

Because I think he’s a crucial component to the Phillies’ success – both recent past and present – and I admire the heck out of this man.

He’s never been to the World Series, but I hope he gets there with the Phillies this year.

If not, hey, there’s always next year – even for a 47-year-old lefty.