Phillies: What If…Everything Went Right?

Thanks to my constant suckage at fantasy baseball, I’m used to rebuilding — and recognizing the signs that it’s time to rebuild.

But I’ll do that blog post later. This one is about how the Phillies could potentially win the National League East.

It’ll take some minor miracles, but here we go (in order of likelihood):

1) The healthy return of Roy Halladay. If Doc comes back fine, the Big Three starting pitchers can keep the team in games and allow the bats to do their work. (This one is pretty obvious.)

2) Improvements in the bullpen. Whether we’re talking about these guys buckling down and getting the job done…or Ruben Amaro, Jr.  buckling down and doing his job to find some solid middle relief arms via the trade market or free agency.   

3) The healthy return of Ryan Howard. If the Big Man comes back healthy and does his thing, that is a huge boost to the lineup (clearly). He and Hunter Pence make a solid lefty-righty RBI combo and take the pressure off Ty Wigginton and John Mayberry, who most likely will perform better with slightly less playing time.

4) The healthy return of Freddy Galvis. If the offense is good enough, they can bury him in the 8 spot in the lineup and enjoy his defensive wizardry.

5) The healthy return of Chase Utley. Good Heavens, we’re stretching now. The mysterious knees of Mr. Utley are a conundrum, an enigma shrouded in a mystery of riddles. But if he came back and gave the team a couple solid months of offense? Wow.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Take a look at the 2008 lineup, rotation and numbers here. While there is no way the 2012 team can pile up the offensive numbers of the 2008 version. But good health and solid performances from the returning DLers could go a long way.

Rotation-wise, 2012 should destroy the 2008 version. And if you’re telling me that the Madson/Durbin/Condrey/Romero/Seanez bullpen combination can’t somehow be duplicated, then I’m not sure I want to watch any more baseball this year. (Papelbon should be very good, if not Lidge-esque.)

So it’s all about health and RAJ making a good move or two. (Or the coaches getting the current bullpen guys to pitch better.) 

And if it all goes according to plan and the Phillies climb back into contention, the medical staff will be the real MVP.

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The Phillies in 2014?

In my “keeper” fantasy baseball league (I KNOW, nobody cares about your fantasy team — trust me, I’m going somewhere with this one), my fellow owners and I have to think not only about this year, but the years ahead.

For example, we have two annual prospect drafts of two rounds (although unlike the real world, we can trade draft picks) and unlimited “prospect” spots. So you can hop on someone like superubermegaprospect Bryce Harper (whom I traded for this offseason) and when he hits the bigs, keep him at a very low salary.

Anywho, all this preparation I’m doing for the upcoming season (yes, I’m the returning champ for the first time in 17 seasons) got me thinkin’ about my Phillies and their future.

Baseball America posts (for free) their analysis of each team’s minor league organization and top 10 prospects. But one of the fun things they do is try to project the 2014 lineup:

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2011/2611043.html

Let’s discuss those 2014 Phillies, shall we? (Except for Manager, all other names are the BA predicted starters.)

 

MANAGER = Ryne Sandberg. This is MY prediction, based on nothing but unbelievably brilliant insight. And the fact that he’s the Phillies’ AAA manager this year, and Charlie Manuel probably will be hanging up his lineup-fillin’ pencil right about then.

CATCHER = Sebastian Valle is the guy that BA lists as the starter. And I defer to the guys like @phuturephillies on Twitter who are way into the Phils’ minors, as well as my top-secret fantasy resource (the founder’s name rhymes with Blon Blandler for those of you “in the know”) who has him as an 8D — meaning he’s an 8 out of 10 talent-wise, but right now a D (A being most likely to fulfill his potential) when it comes to hopefully developing.

1B = Ryan  Howard will be 35 in 2014. So he should still be solid and hitting bombs, although power hitters generally start to fade in their mid-30s. If he keeps himself in shape, he’ll be serviceable defensively and probably still hitting 30-40 HR. I’m wondering if he gets dealt somehow to the AL to become a DH by this point though.

2B = Chase Utley will be 36 in 2014. Another guy who will need to stay in shape, especially if he wants to stay in the physically demanding middle infield. He’d be the easy choice to slide to 1B if Howard was sent to DH-land.

3B = Placido Polanco will be 39 in 2014. I can’t imagine that he’ll be the everyday 3B. Gotta believe that there’s somebody in the low minors who will develop by then. If not, yikes. Or we go get David Wright as a free agent, as some bloggers/Twitterers have predicted. He’d better re-establish his value in 2011 for me to get on board with that.

SS = Jimmy Rollins will be 36 in 2014. But if 2011 is anything like 2010, Jimmy will be a backup or something else. Doubtful he’ll have the wheels/athleticism to stick there. BA mentions infield prospect Freddy Galvis as being the “best defensive infielder” and having the “best infield arm,” so I’m hopeful he develops with the bat and can take over by then.

LF = Jonathan Singleton is BA”s choice here. Which means that Jonny Boy, a 1B by trade, will have to make the transition to the outfield if Howard or Utley is at 1B. And with a developing bat like J-Sing (made that up myself, like it?) has, he’s a keeper.

CF = Shane Victorino will be 34 in 2014. Probably slower, probably still playing super-hard. But maybe more of a 4th OF at that point. Especially since the Phils have young speedster Jiwan James working his way up the ladder. BA has JJ listed as “best defensive outfielder,” “fastest baserunner” and “best athlete.”

RF = Dominic Brown will be peaking at that magical “age 27” year in 2014. Hopefully, the Phils don’t mess up with the kid in 2011 after a 2010 season in which he came up and mostly sat — which doesn’t exactly help you become a better player. (I should know — look up my college stats.)

FUN DOM BROWN FACT = His middle name is Larun.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/browndo01.shtml

Anyway, love me some Dom Brown. Especially in 2014.

 

STARTING PITCHING: This was pre-Cliff Lee signing, so BA had Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt/Brody Colvin/Jarred Cosart as the 2014 starting five. Quick hits:

Halladay = All hail King Leroy. He will only stop dominating when he WANTS to stop dominating. Yeah, he’ll be 37. But he’ll be pitching on pure genius, and will take whatever’s left physically and make it sing.

Hamels = He’ll be 34. No biggie. Most lefties age well, and hanging around Halladay/Oswalt/Cliffie should smarten him up and make him effective for many years.

Oswalt = Like the “other” Roy, he’ll be 37. Again, genius. No worries here.

Clifton Phifer Lee = Will clearly be in this spot at age 36. And likely dominating. (Jeez, this exercise is REALLY making me crazyexcited about 2010!)

Colvin/Cosart = BA has Cosart has having the “best fastball.” Always a good sign. Gotta believe that either of these kids (or both), would benefit from being around R2C2, the Fab Four, the Phab Phour, or whatever they end up being called.

BULLPEN: Probably one of the hardest things to predict, since most bullpens are very volatile. BA thinks Ryan Madson will be the closer, and many agree that’s where he’s headed. The cool thing is that with the starting spots locked up for at least a few years, the Phils could turn some of the good young arms they have into power relievers and really have a strong corps.

Anyway, all things considered, it will be interesting to see how things develop as the core of this team gets older. Most experts agree that the current prospects in the low minors will be ready to start taking over around 2013 or 2014, so this roster could be WAY different than it appears above.

This was Phun! (Sorry.)

Catcher Sebastian Valle
First Base Ryan Howard
Second Base Chase Utley
Third Base Placido Polanco
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins
Left Field Jonathan Singleton
Center Field Shane Victorino
Right Field Domonic Brown
No. 1 Starter Roy Halladay
No. 2 Starter Cole Hamels
No. 3 Starter Roy Oswalt
No. 4 Starter Brody Colvin
No. 5 Starter Jarred Cosart
Closer Ryan Madson

An open letter to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.

OK, Rube. First off, congrats on the gig. You deserve it – you’ve paid your dues and you’re eminently qualified. (And heck, you worked at the Orleans 8 movie theater in northeast Philly, you REALLY deserve it.)

Let’s get down to business. I’m sure you’re going to make a lot of solid moves, re-signing key guys and such. But I have one major suggestion/request/plea (in two parts):

1–Let Pat Burrell go. It’s not that I don’t like him, or that his on-base percentage and relatively consistent homer totals aren’t good – they are. But he’s 32, he doesn’t run well or play the field well, and he’s probably going to demand $14 million or so for several years – and he probably won’t be “worth” that after the first two.

2–Trade for Matt Holliday. Whatever you need to give up from the minors, do it. He’ll step right into that really good outfield with Jayson Werth and Gold Glove-winner Shane Victorino – he’s 28, his on-base was actually much better than Burrell’s this year, and he even stole 28 bases. Sign him to a multi-year deal, and watch the homers fly between Utley/Holliday/Howard.

Thanks for your time, and good luck.

Your pal

Harley

LiveBlog: World Series Game 5 (part two)

9:07 p.m.: Done for the night. Gone celebratin’.

9:05 p.m.: Oh yeah, I forgot…first sports championship (excluding the always awesome Philadelphia Wings in indoor lacrosse and surprising Philadelphia Soul in arena football) since 1983.

9:00 p.m.: Where were you when it happened? Blogging, sitting next to my beautiful wife. And loving every minute of it.

8:59 p.m.: THE PHILLIES ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!

8:58 p.m.: THAT’S IT! WHIFFS HIM ON A SLIDER! SCREW NETIQUETTE, I’M GOING ALL CAPS!!!!!!!

8:58 p.m.: Hinske tries to hold, can’t. Strike two.

8:57 p.m.: Hinske fouls off the first pitch. If it was me, I would have been taking.

8:56 p.m.: LINE OUT TO WERTH IN RIGHT – TWO OUTS!!! Zobrist did everything he could, hit a laserbeam to right.

8:55 p.m.: Hinske on deck, he hit a massive homer a few days ago against us.

8:54 p.m.: Stolen base, Perez. Tying run at 2nd. Argh. Is it normal to taste gastric juices?

8:53 p.m.: Ben Zobrist is up. Solid player, had surprisingly good offensive year.

8:53 p.m.: Pinch runner Fernando Perez is lightning fast. Very hard to get a double play now.

8:51 p.m.: Dioner Navarro is a very good-hitting catcher. Strike one. Next pitch, swing and a miss. Base hit. Dang.

8:49 p.m.: Ball two. Here comes the next pitch, fouled off again. Got him lunging! Popped up! One out!

8:48 p.m.: Longoria. Strike one. Love that slider. Fouls one off, strike two. Misses low and away, that’s fine – waste pitch.

8:44 p.m.: Full count pitch to Howard…whiffs. Oy. Here we go. Lidge Time.

8:43 p.m.: That was cool camera work – you could see Price’s eyes glance over to first base as Utley took off for a stolen base.

8:41 p.m.: Utley walks. Time for Ryan Howard to step up and be a hero.

8:41 p.m.: I don’t think Utley has had a good swing tonight. C’mon, Chase.

8:39 p.m.: Ah, the Curse of Billy Penn, as explained by Chris Myers. (Not nearly as cool as the curse of Babe Ruth or the Billy Goat that the Cubs have.)

8:39 p.m.: Werth whiffs looking. NEVER on my team! Five laps!

8:38 p.m.: Werth looks a bit overmatched, although he led the majors in HR against lefties.

8:37 p.m.: Ah, here comes the old-timey footage of “the last time a Philly team won a championship.”

8:37 p.m.: Not sure J-Roll should have been swinging on 2-0, leading off against Price. He flies out to left.

8:36 p.m.: Ah, David Price pitching for TB. He will either be awesome or horrible.

8:35 p.m.: You know what? I am most decidedly NOT a PC. After years of working professionally on Apple products, but personally (at home) on PCs, I can safely say that Apples give you less problems, don’t have stupid drivers, and are generally more fun to use. Maybe I’ll do an Unpaid Endorsement one day soon.

8:32 p.m.: Pena flies out to Bruntlett. We are three outs away. Holy crap.

8:30 p.m.: Carlos Pena is dangerous AND due for a hit. C’mon, J.C. Get ‘er done. Just one more out.

8:29 p.m.: DOUBLE PLAY – 6-4-3, Rollins-Utley-Howard. YES! Thanks, B.J. Upton.

8:28 p.m.: Dammit, I didn’t want to be right. Crawford singles. And he can fly, so a stolen base isn’t out of the question. However, stealing on a lefty is, as I recall from many years ago, not easy.

8:27 p.m.: Carl Crawford is always a very dangerous hitter. I fear him, although Romero appears to be “on” tonight.

8:26 p.m.: Bruntlett and the Best Beard of 2008 stay in the game to play left for Burrell.

8:23 p.m.: Romero grounds out. Top 8th coming up.

8:22 p.m.: Iwamura makes a crazygood defensive play to rob Ruiz of a single, getting a force at second. The second basemen today (him and Utley) have both made some amazing plays – Utley on a hard grounder up the middle, faked to first, and gunned down the runner trying to score.

8:20 p.m.: Pedro Feliz singles in a run! To all the naysayers who said he couldn’t hit when the Phillies signed him before the season – those of you who I argued with – nyah nyah nyah! Phils up, 4-3!

8:18 p.m.: Victorino grounds out to the right side, runner gets to 3rd. Solid job, fundamental baseball by Shane.

8:15 p.m.: OK, here’s what you missed (me blogging about) so far…

–Geoff Jenkins is a maniac. I love him. He doubled and scored to send the Phils up 3-2.

–Ryan Madson struggled and gave up a bomb to Rocco Baldelli, 3-3.

–Burrell led off the 7th with a double and they pinch-ran for him.

And that’s where we are so far.

LiveBlog: World Series Game 5

10:20 p.m.: Game suspended until tomorrow. That’s our luck, Phils fans. See you tomorrow.

10:09 p.m.: This is why I don’t watch the TV news. Murder, corruption, lying politicians. I prefer to get my news in blog form. (Kidding. Well, kinda.)

10:01 p.m.: Well, Dallas weatherguy says he thinks game will be cancelled, since rain should continue for several hours.

9:50 p.m.: I’ll take a break, too. Be back when the game’s back…

9:47 p.m.: Oh, they’ll go to local news. Guess that’s OK.

9:45 p.m.: Instead of more Buck and McCarver, can’t they throw on another episode of ‘Til Death starring Brad Garrett and J.B. Smoove?

9:42 p.m.: Oy vay, Rain delay. Now what?

9:40 p.m.: It would be so nice to see a different commercial than the same 12 we’ve seen between every inning of every World Series game.

9:39 p.m.: Get there, Shane! YES! Line drive caught. Three outs.

9:37 p.m.: Pena does exactly that – RBI single to left. Argh. Ulcer begins to form.

9:36 p.m.: I think in this rain, you’d have to hit a ball just perfectly to get it out of the infield.

9:35 p.m.: Upton steals second to render McCarver and Buck’s point useless. Thanks, B.J.

9:32 p.m.: Oh, McCarver, and now Buck too, you’re so dumb. “It robs a team of its talent.” So the Phillies don’t have speed? Rollins? Victorino? Werth? Utley? You’re nimrods.

9:30 p.m.: B.J. Upton would like to have that sweeping curveball back. Never mind, as he legs out a tough ground ball for a single.

9:29 p.m.: Just so you know, I loaded up my gas tank this morning for $2.23/gallon. And it actually went down to $2.21/gallon this afternoon.

9:28 p.m.: Iwamura goes down looking. I think the strike zone gets bigger as the umpire gets wetter in this heavy rain.

9:25 p.m.: OK, what can I say about this Ryan Howard/Subway commercial?

1–If I had written this, I would never admit it publicly.

2–I would never have him rhyming. SO LAME.

3–I always love how they can’t wear team logos in spots like this.

9:23 p.m.: My beautiful wife is completely asleep next to me. She’s been working long hours at her job, so I’m trying to type quietly.

9:21 p.m.: Joan Jett rocks. But you knew that. And so does HP, which is why they use her tune in their commercial.

9:20 p.m.: Just so you know, if you and I were sitting at the game together, you could be getting this scintillating commentary for free and live in person. (OK, it’s free here anyway.)

9:19 p.m.: Ruiz pops out. Triple D’oh!

9:18 p.m.: Apparently, Grant Balfour touches 124 MPH on the radar gun.

9:17 p.m.: Feliz is swinging at everything. That’s not going to get it done. And he pops out to first. Double D’oh!

9:16 p.m.: I wouldn’t mind a double down the line by Pedro Feliz. Just saying.

9:15 p.m.: Shane Victorino pops out to left. One out. D’oh!

9:11 p.m.: They’re fixing the dirt on the mound. And they wonder why TV ratings for this Series have been some of the worst ever.

9:07 p.m.: That’s what’s weird about Burrell. He’ll hit for a decent average, pop 30 homers, knock in 100 runs, strike out 120 times and walk like 90 times, so his on-base percentage is usually quite good. But is he worth the $15 million/year or so that he’ll want in a new long-term contract? I guess somebody will pay it – I just wonder if it’ll be Philly.

9:06 p.m.: Burrell walks. Still 0 for 13, but we’ll let it slide.

9:05 p.m.: Pat’s 0 for 13 in the Series. Even the announcers are trying to reverse jinx him into getting a hit.

9:04 p.m.: The 3-2 to Burrell…fouled off. I’d like to take this moment to announce my deep and abiding love for Dos Equis beer.

9:01 p.m.: This is it. This is Pat Burrell’s moment. If he wants a big free-agent contract, he needs to do something special right here, right now.

9:00 p.m.: Does Kazmir dare throw a fastball to Howard? Well, if that was a heater, it was nowhere near the plate.

8:59 p.m.: The music that FOX uses during the “bumpers” sounds like it was composed for an awards show. I half-expect them to say “Welcome back to the 54th Annual People’s Globe Awards.”

8:57 p.m.: I would also REALLY appreciate another run or five, so I could breathe.

8:55 p.m.: As a former second baseman, I REALLY appreciate the amazing play Chase Utley just made.

8:54 p.m.: Top of the 5th. NICE pitch by Hamels to go ahead 0-2 on Bartlett.

8:53 p.m.: Oh Jimmy…couldn’t get that popup? At least you tried it with two hands…fundamentals!

8:51 p.m.: It’s 2-1, and it’s not nearly a big enough lead. Just hope Cole Hamels can keep it going.

8:49 p.m.: Chase Utley with the bases loaded, full count…grounded out. Darn!

LiveBlog: World Series Game 4

10:40 p.m.: I guess I really don’t remember much about the 1980 win. I don’t even know if I was watching, for Pete Rose’s sake. But thanks to the magic of the InterWebs, my views on this World Series will last for generations…until Keanu Reeves and the robot aliens destroy our planet.

10:39 p.m.: 2-2 again, Romero chews his gum…Baldelli whiffs! A 3-1 lead in the freaking World Series!

10:38 p.m.: 2-2 pitch…kids waving towels…Romero’s pitch…fouled off.

10:37 p.m.: Rocco Baldelli, huh. Not “Rocky” Baldelli. Some kind of weird irony that Rocco Baldelli could be the last out in the town where Rocky Balboa rules (fictionally).

10:36 p.m.: Bartlett goes down looking. Run a lap, son. Two outs, one to go.

10:35 p.m.: Bartlett – he’s a scrappy young infielder. Kind of like a young me. (Hold your laughter.)

10:34 p.m.: Ah, fielder’s choice. One out.

10:33 p.m.: Jeez, crappy error by Romero. Oh well, Philadelphians know nothing comes easy.

10:30 p.m.: 10-2 Phillies. What? No Lidge? Saving him, I guess. J.C. Romero is out there for the 9th. Guess it makes sense.

10:27 p.m.: We’re three outs from a 3-1 World Series lead. This is unbelievable.

10:25 p.m.: Ryan Howard. HUGE homer. Holy crap. Guess there won’t be too many more “choke”-related comments about him.

10:24 p.m.: It’s a magical night. And yet, I’m over at ESPN.com, reading their live blog, and I see Joe Maddon’s comments about Phillies fans:

Maddon’s only concern was with the treatment of his family members by the locals at Citizens Bank Park.

“If we could do something about that, throwing mustard packs at my granddaughter is not very cool. The other part about it I’m good with.”

And you wonder why I don’t always feel great when I claim to be a Philadelphia fan.

10:19 p.m.: Werth. Smack. Gone. There’s your insurance runs. 8-2, son.

10:17 p.m.: Rollins smokes a double. An insurance run or two would be nice…

10:02 p.m.: Not much has happened. Nice defensive play by Tampa Bay.

9:32 p.m.: Pat Burrell is slow, and he stinks. I will be glad to see him out of a Phillies uniform next year.

9:26 p.m.: Wow, McCarver just said something that was immediately proven true. Someone alert the Guinness people.

9:24 p.m.: 6-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th. Jayson Werth SMOKES a liner off the left-field wall for a double. YES!

9:21 p.m.: Joe Blanton f&*king rules. Great pitching and even the first homer by a pitcher since Jewish ace lefthander Ken Holtzman in 1974.

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.