N.L. East Daily Recap From 8-30-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrnorthjersey on 31-08-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols, Angel Pagan, Atlanta Braves, Brad Lidge, Braves Baseball Blog, Brian Stokes, Busch Stadium, Carlos Ruiz, Carlos Zambrano, Centerfield Gate blog, Chipper Jones, Chris Coghlan, Citizens Bank Park, Cleon Jones. Chicago Cubs, Fish Guts blog, Florida Marlins, Frankie Rodriguez, Fredi Gonzalez, Garrett Mock, Jair Jurrjens, Joe Blanton, Lou Gehrig, Nelson Figueroa, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Sean West, St. Louis Cardinals, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tom Seaver, Washington Nationals

Forty years ago – in August of 1969 – the New York “Miracle” Mets were on their way to one of the greatest runs in modern Major League Baseball history (and a world championship), and all because of the great play of pitchers like Tom Seaver and hitters like Cleon Jones. The Chicago Cubs helped: engineering one of the all-time memorable collapses of the twentieth century. That’s a fading memory now, but at least some of that era was on display at Wrigley Field on Sunday, as Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa hurled like the Seaver of old against the Mets’ traditional N.L. rivals – the North Siders of Chicago – striking out ten Cubbies and leading New York’s entry in the senior circuit to a decisive 4-1 victory.

Figueroa pitched seven complete innings and struck out ten, one of his best outings of the year, and one of the best outings by a Mets starting pitcher in the last month. Relievers Brian Stokes and Frankie Rodriguez pitched the game’s last two innings nearly effortlessly, adding a nearly flawless coda to the victory. To add to the win, the team hit well: every Mets starter had a hit, led by Angel Pagan, who had three, victimizing Chicago ace Carlos Zambrano, who suffered through his second shaky outing. The victory salvaged an otherwise depressing Mets visit to Chicago, where the New Yorkers had been defeated in two of three previous outings. The Mets are in the air to face the Rockies, before returning home to once again face the Cubs. You can read all about it, and you oughta, at The Real Dirty Mets Blog, where there’s a wrap up of the game – and all the news about the New York Mets.

* * *

There’s nothing boring about pitcher’s duels – as the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals proved today, in a knock-down-drag-out of curve ball finessers at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. This was supposed to be no contest: with a kid with no experience, Garrett Mock, going up against a wizened ace, Adam Wainwright. But Mock and Wainwright dueled for six nail biting innings, matching nearly pitch-for-pitch in a equalizer that left both teams with nearly the same number of hits and runs. But when the game was ended, Mock ended up on the short end of the scoreboard, a 2-1 loser.

The difference in the game was a high fastball to Albert Pujols on a 3-2 count that the closest player to Lou Gehrig in the modern era put up the middle for a single in the sixth inning that broke a one-to-one tie – the difference, as it turned out, in the game. It was clear from the way that the pitch was thrown that Mock hoped that Pujols would either lay off the pitch (and walk) or swing and miss (and take his place on the bench). But you don’t throw a 3-2 fastball to Albert Pujols on a hope: another lesson for Washington’s young pitching staff. The St. Louis and Washington hitters
attempted to change the outcome in the last innings (both Mock and Wainwright left after six) but in vain – and the game ended as Mock and Wainwright had left it. And so Washington was swept in three games in St. Louis, but with this slight caveat: in this last game at least, the Nats showed that one of their young pitchers can go toe-to-toe with the best and play the game the way it ought to be played. To read about the game and get all the latest news on the Nationals, be sure to check in on Centerfield Gate blog.

* * *

The long difficult slide that the Florida Marlins have had against the otherwise hapless San Diego Padres is finally over – and not a moment too soon. The Marlins broke their losing streak on Saturday with an impressive outing from one of their big, young pitchers. Sean West, one of the big arms of their future, showed that he can step into the big leagues, with an impressive six inning seven hit showing against the Padres in Miami, giving the Marlins a victory and putting them back in the win column. The Marlins bats showed up, after being nearly silent the last two games, putting six
well-earned runs on the board with well-timed fourth inning hit from rookie Chris Coghlan – his 46th of August (a Marlins’ record). But the story today was West. “It’s huge just to know I can contribute like I am right now,” said West, who’s only 23 said. “I’m just trying to get six-plus innings in every time I go out.” This was West’s fifteenth start.

The Marlins had only six hits in the game, but they made them count in the 6-4 victory. Marlins manager, Fredi Gonzalez, thinking of the schedule ahead and the games remaining before the end of the season, was relieved: “I don’t
know if it’s desperation, but we’ve got to win ballgames,” he said. “When we pitch well, we’re a good club. When that doesn’t happen, we don’t look very good. But that’s not only us, that’s the other 29 Major League teams. When
you don’t pitch, it doesn’t look so good.” On Monday, the Marlins face the real test: three games versus division rival Atlanta at home. They then face-off against the Washington Nationals in Washington before heading back home to face the Mets. Then it’s back home to once again face the Nats. That’s twelve games in a row against the N.L. East. It won’t be long now and the Marlins will know whether they’ll be playing in the post season or practicing their putting in Broward County. For all the news about the Marlins, and Sunday’s game, be sure to go to our friends over at Fish Guts blog.

* * *

The Atlanta Braves went into Philadelphia with high hopes, and they battled and battled and battled – but when it was all over, the Phillies increased their lead in the N.L. East, and the Braves faded. Nor did the Braves creep any closer to the top of the wild card standings. The Braves are now 8.5 games back in the N.L. East with just over one month left in the season. Time is short and getting shorter. For the Phillies, the news couldn’t be better: they took the last game of their match-up against the Braves at sold-out Citizens Bank Park on Sunday night 3-2. But it was oh-so-close. Up until the seventh inning, Jair Jurrjens was in command of the game, throwing his fastball by a tough Phillies line-up. But a throwing error by third baseman Chipper Jones proved costly, leading to two Phillies runs – and the game. The error put runners at second and third and one batter later, Phillies’ hitter Carlos Ruiz put a ball into the left field corner, scoring two: “One thing about playing against the Phillies is that you can’t make mistakes,” Jones said. “If you make mistakes against them, they’re going to take advantage of it, which is what good teams do. We ended up making a couple of mistakes tonight and it ended up burning us.”

If Atlanta rued the error, Philadelphia credited themselves with clutch hitting – and staying in the game. Joe Blanton, often overlooked as one of the Phillies most dependable arms, pitched seven innings of three hit ball and the Phillies bullpen shit down the Braves lumber when it counted. Brad Lidge looked particularly effective – coming up with his 27th save. Atlanta now heads to Florida where they must win, while Philadelphia has a day off on Monday, before welcoming the San Francisco Giants. Oddly, the Phillies can help the Braves a lot by winning against Frisco, but the Braves can only help themselves in Miami. All of this will be the subject of great interest to our N.L. East Chatter blogs. You can read about the Phillies road trip at Phillies Phandom and be sure to keep up with the Braves at Braves Baseball Blog.

NL East Daily Recap From 8-29-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by markperrydc on 30-08-2009

Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, Bobby Parnell, Centerfieldgate, Chicago Cubs, Chipper Jones, Cliff Lee, Craig Stammen, Derek Lowe, Florida Marlins, Garret Anderson, Gregerson, Heath Bell, Jake Fox, matt diaz, Matt Holiday, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Ricky Nolasco, Russell, San Diego Padres, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Wade LeBlanc, Yunel Escobar


Mets starter Bobby Parnell started strong, but a tough Cubs line-up was too much for the young right hander, who gave up a grand slam home run to Jake Fox in the fifth inning as an otherwise light-hitting Cubs line-up took down the New Yorkers 11-4 at Wrigley on Saturday. To make matters worse, the loss was televised to a national audience as a part of the Major League Game of the Week. It’s been a tough month for the New Yorkers, hit by injuries, demoralized by the surge of the division-leading Phillies — and now by rumors that the owners of the ballclub may have to sell. And was a tough game for Parnell, just 24, and one of the Mets new young hurlers and bright hopes for the future.


The Cubs, who are themselves struggling, may have suddenly found new life in the NL Central, though the St. Louis Cardinals had as decisive win over the Nats as the Cubs had over the Mets. After the game, Parnell admitted that his confidence “is up and down.” Even so, there is great hope for Parnell, who Mets fans hope can fill a badly needed hole in the rotation for next year. If there was good news in the game, it is that newly acquired Jeff Francoeur continues to swing a fiery bat — going 2 for 4 against the Cubbies. The Mets take on the Cubs again tomorrow before heading to Colorado for a three game series against the Rockies. They will return to New York on September 4. For more news on the Mets, be sure to check out The Real Dirty Mets Blog — which covers everything you’d ever want to know about The New York Mets.


* * *


What Jake Fox did to the New York Mets, Matt Holiday did to the Washington Nationals – but this time, Holliday had the courtesy not to make his home run a grand slam. Holliday hit a three run third inning home run against Washington starter Craig Stammen to power the Cardinals to a 9-4 Cardinals win at Busch Stadium on Saturday night. After taking two of three from the stammering Cubs, the Nationals have lost their first two to the Cardinals, helping to dampen the team’s hopes that they might overtake the Royals and Padres for worst team honors in major league baseball. In addition to Stammen’s problems, the Nats’ bats went silent: for although the Nationals threatened to catch the Cardinals in any one of three frames, the team left runners stranded when they needed them most: Elijah Dukes struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh – just one instance of a lack of clutch hitting in an otherwise powerful line-up.


Other clubs problems were on display in St. Louis: the Nats last place defense was emphasized (Cristian Guzman booted an easy ground at short, which opened the floodgates for Holliday’s heroism), the bullpen looked unusually shaky (Jorge Sosa gave up two runs in only one inning of work), and the team now officially misses an out-for-the-season Nyjer Morgan: the team left 15 on base and stole no bases. The Nats will face the Cards one more time (a blessing, when you think about it) before heading to San Diego to take on the Padres. To read all about the Nats and their problems in St. Louis, be sure to log onto Centerfield Gate. It will give all the news about the team and the glorious future of the Washington Nationals.


* * *


The teams of the N.L. East have not been doing so well lately: the Mets have been struggling against the Cubs in Chicago, the Nationals have looked terrible in St. Louis. Certainly, the Florida Marlins – seeing the Phillies just ahead of them in the standings, and knowing the playoffs are looming, can do something to salvage a successful season. But not so. On Saturday night at home in Miami (and in front of a crowd anticipating a run-for-the pennant win), with success on the horizon, the Marlins failed to gain ground in the NL East, dropping its third straight game to the Friars. But this time the culprit was not pitching, it was hitting. The final score, 7-4, told the story: pitcher Ricky Nolasco (5.1 innings, 3 earned runs) was respectable and held the Marlins in the game. Then too, the four runs scored by the Marlins hitters should have been enough, but it just wasn’t. The Marlins could only muster six hits against a Padres staff that was mediocre at best: Wade LeBlanc, with a less than stellar 9.58 ERA on the season held Florida’s best lumbermen to total of four hits in six innings – the best outing of his entire career, while San Diego’s relievers (Russell, Gregerson and Bell) were lights-out.


The Marlins have now dropped three straight to the Padres, one of the worst teams in baseball. In the clubhouse after the game, the frustration with the evening – and with the series – was palpable.’ Every team we play is dangerous,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I don’t look at the records, I don’t. We’ve got to win ballgames. If you get caught up looking at records and thinking you can look beyond teams, you will get disappointed. You’re going to get humbled real quickly.” Ricky Nolasco refused to be pessimistic: “Those are things that are going to happen. Now, tomorrow is a must-win. We’ve got to get it rolling to be able to give ourselves a chance. We can’t sit here and just hang our heads and be frustrated about it. We’ve got to do something about it, get the game tomorrow. The season is not over yet.” Don’t forget to check up on the Marlins, and their tussle today and tomorrow against the Padres at FishGuts.


* * *


It seems that the only time an N.L. East team plays well enough to win, these days, is when it plays another N.L. East team. At least in this case, the much anticipated Atlanta Braves-Philadelphia Phillies rivalry didn’t disappoint. In what was billed as a major duel of top notch pitchers and tough sluggers, the two major competitors in the N.L. East came out swinging on Saturday, with Atlanta ending up on top in another rain-sodden contest in Philadelphia by a score of 9-1. By the time this one was done, Atlanta had taught the otherwise soon to be immortal Cliff Lee (5-0 since he joined the Phillies from the Cleveland something-or-others) that he was now in the National League: and that Matt Diaz (3-5, one home run), Garret Anderson (3-4, one home run), Yunel Escobar (2-4, one home run) and Chipper Jones (1-5, one home run) were not going to allow him (or those who relieved him) to go 6-0. Or allow the people of Philadelphia to believe that their path to the division crown would be without any bumps.


Lee was not about to issue excuses for his outing – which was hardly a disaster. Even so: “I went and watched basically every hit I gave up and they were all right down the middle,” Lee said. “It’s hard to get good results when you’re throwing pitches belt high and down the middle of the plate. That’s basically what happened. I feel good about throwing strikes, working ahead and not walking people, but I put myself in positions to put them away and I missed up and down the middle. If you consistently do that, that’s what’s going to happen.” The Braves’ win was not without its blemishes, a talisman perhaps of the troubles it must surmount if it is to catch the Phillies: Derek Lowe pitched well, but he gave up eight hits. And Atlanta must still somehow crawl over a seven game Phillie lead in the east, a not impossible task, but one that is becoming more and more difficult with each passing game. To read more about the Phillies, be sure to check out Phillies Phandom Blog – and for more on the challenges facing the Braves, be sure to click on to Braves Baseball Blog.


NL East Daily Recap from 8-28-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrose on 29-08-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Atlanta Braves, Bobby Parnell, Brian Stokes, Busch Stadium, Centerfieldgate, Chicago Cubs, Chris Coghlan, Chris Volstad, Cody Ross, Elijah Dukes, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Freddi Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Jamie Moyer, Jason Bergman, John Lannan, John Smoltz, Josh Johnson, Josh Willingham, Key West, Khalil Greene, New Orleans, New York Mets, Pat Misch, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Ted Lilly, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tommy Hanson, Washington Nationals, Wes Helms, Wrigley Field

Moyer with a rare appearance

Moyer with a rare appearance

The big bat of Ryan Howard provided the firepower for Philadelphia in their soggy 4-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in Philadelphia on Friday, extending the Phillies lead in the N.L. East to eight games. The Braves were hoping to sneak up on the Phillies, sending ace rookie Tommy Hanson to the mound, but Hanson could not keep the Phillies bats off the board, giving up a home run to Howard in the second before being relieved (he was pulled from the game because of a rain delay) by a bevy of Braves relievers who kept the game close, but could not keep it close enough: Howard homered again in the fourth. The Phillies, meanwhile, started Pedro Martinez – but like Hanson he was also pulled from the game as a result of the deluge. This is becoming a habit with Martinez, whose last start was also shortened by showers. In both cases, Martinez was relieved by Jamie Moyer, relegated to a bullpen role as a result of Martinez’s signing and promotion.

The soggy field did not dampen the spirits of Phillie fans, however, who stayed throughout the contest – knowing that the Braves-Phillies tilt would help put the final touches on a successful Phillies season. The frosting on the Phillies cake was a 9th inning appearance by a sometimes-shaky Brad Lidge, who set down the Braves for his 26th save. Full coverage of the Braves can be found at The Braves Baseball Blog. And check out Phillies Phandom for more on the Phillies.

Blanks crosses home...man hes big!

Blanks crosses home...man hes big!

The Florida Marlins pitching staff, which has been up and down all year was down on Friday night, as Chris Volstad suffered through one of his worst starts in the majors – and the Marlins went on to drop a key game against the San Diego Padres 9-5. Volstad, who had pitched brilliantly in some of his starts earlier in the year, lasted only 1.2 innings against the Pads, despite help from some lively Marlins’ bats: Chris Coghlan was 3-5, Wes Helms was 2-5, Hanley Ramirez was 2-4 and Cody Ross was 2-4. But as any conch collector in Key West can tell you, without pitching you just can’t win. So it was with the Marlins tonight – as the team fell into a tie with the Braves for second place in the N.L East, a full eight games back of the surging Phillies. It now seems unlikely that either of them, both of whom were retooled and ready for the summer campaign in the spring, can catch Philadelphia.

While the Marlins have not raised the white flag on the season – they still have Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco throwing hard and well (and are well-stocked with a formidable wall of power hitters) – they have decided that Chris Volstad needs more work. In the wake of their loss to the lowly Friars, the team sent Volstad (9-11) packing to the minors. The decision shows just how far the fastballer has fallen. “People are going to struggle, but when you see frustration and lack of confidence, that’s when we have to make a decision as coaches and an organization on what’s best for the kid, and we’ve done that,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’re going to option Volstad down to New Orleans to give him a little breather and come back.” You can read all about the game, and the decision on Volstad, on FishGuts. 

Soriano with the big fly

Soriano with the big fly

Mets lefty Pat Misch baffled the Cubs for seven solid innings on Friday, but it wasn’t enough, as the New York bullpen melted down – and ended up giving the game away to the Chicago North Siders 5-2. The loss was particularly frustrating because the Mets had seemed to master Cubs’ starter Ted Lilly, touching the always tough veteran for two hard earned runs – one in the second and one in the eighth. The Cubs, skidding after losing two of three to the lowly Nats, were ripe for the picking, but the Mets bullpen could not take advantage: the usually dependable Brian Stokes gave up a three run shot to Alfonso Soriano (who victimized his team with two outfield gaffes) that effectively sealed the contest.

Misch, who grew up in Illinois watching the Cubs, said that he was nervous playing in Chicago. “I couldn’t eat a thing,” he said after the game, “and I usually eat a lot before I pitch.” The Mets, who have only won nine of their last 21, are desperate to finish the season on an up-beat note, but things have not been going well for them lately – Friday was only the most recent example of their recent troubles. When the starting pitching is going well (as it was on Friday in Wrigley) their bullpen lets them down, and when their bullpen is going well, it seems their starting pitching lets them down. Worse yet, on Friday the team got word that shortstop Jose Reyes, who has not played in three months, may well have to undergo surgery on his right hamstring tendon. The Mets will attempt to bounce back from Friday loss on Saturday, when Bobby Parnell faces off against Ryan Dempster at Wrigley. The Real Dirty Mets Blog covers everything you’d ever want to know about this game . . . and the Mets.

Pujols with the walk-off winner!

Pujols with the walk-off winner!

Who would pitch to Albert Pujols in a 2-2 tie before a screaming throng at Busch Stadium in St. Louis? Why the Washington Nationals, that’s who. Washington Nationals reliever Jason Bergman served up a fastball in Pujols wheelhouse in the ninth inning of a beautifully pitched duel between Nats’ pitcher John Lannan and newly acquired Redbirds’ ace John Smoltz – and the Cardinals beat the Nats 3-2 in St. Louis. Lannan pitched eight innings of four hit ball before giving up a home run to Khalil Greene that tied the game and was subsequently relieved by Jason Bergman, who came on to pitch the ninth. Washington’s long-suffering fans didn’t have to wait long to determine the results: Pujols put a fastball into the upper deck in left field at Busch to pull out the victory.

St. Louis fans gave a warm welcome to Smoltz, who was sharp in his second start for the Redbirds. The former Atlanta star pitched four innings of four hit ball, but left with little damage – two doubles by Elijah Dukes. Washington’s big boppers: Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Willingham flailed away in vain against Smoltz all night in vain. For all things good and bad about the Nats, be sure to check out CenterfieldGate which also has a lot more on this game.

NL East Series Preview 8-28-09 through 8-30-09

Filed Under (Series Preview) by mrose on 28-08-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Wainwright, Atlanta Braves, Bobby Parnell, Carlos Zambrano, Centerfieldgate, Chicago Cubs, Chris Volstad, Cliff Lee, Craig Stammen, Derek Lowe, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Garrett Mock, J.A. Happ, Jair Jurrjens, JJ Putz, Joe Blanton, Johan Santana, John Lannan, John Smoltz, Kevin Correia, matt holliday, Matt Latos, Mitchell Boggs, Nelson Figueroa, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Pat Misch, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Dempster, San Diego Padres, Sean West, St Louis Caridinals, Ted Lilly, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tommy Hanson, Washington Natioanls

Phillies Logo VS Phillies Logo
The Philadelphia Phillies(73-52, 1st in NL East) had a bit of a surprise and a possible worry when in Pittsburgh this week.  They had opportunities to win all three games, and three times late comebacks caused at the least, extra innings if not a loss.  Monday and Tuesday the leads were blown by the bullpen, luckily Ryan Howard saved them on Wednesday, but on Thursday they allowed the starter J.A. Happ to try to finish and he couldn’t do it either.  They hope to get the wheels rollin again at home against division rival Atlanta.   Phillies Phandom will have all the information on this series you need.

The Atlanta Braves(67-60, tied for 2nd in NL East 7GB) also had a tough week, one that they thought should be an easy one.  They managed to take the finale of a three game set against the pesky Padres with a blowout victory Thursday afternoon.  The Braves started the week alone in second, but now find themselves back in a tie for second with the Marlins.  Neither team looks to have the horses to get a playoff birth right now, but a good weekend could change that. Check out The Braves Baseball Blog for more.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Friday @ 7:05PM EST – Hanson,ATL(9-2,3.12 ERA) vs. Martinez,PHI(2-0,5.14 ERA)
Saturday @ 7:05PM EST – Lowe,ATL(12-8,4.48 ERA) vs. Lee,PHI(12-9,2.63 ERA)
Sunday @ 8:05PM EST – Jurrjens,ATL(10-8,2.91 ERA) vs. Blanton,PHI(8-6,3.88 ERA)
Marlins Logo VS Braves Logo
The Florida Marlins(67-60, tied for 2nd in NL East 7GB) welcomed in the AAA Mets this week to South Florida and they couldn’t even up the attendance with Mets fans!  The Fish did manage to take the first two games of the series before the pitching failed them in the finale on Thursday.  The series win moved them back into a second place tie, and they look to gain ground in an unlikely playoff race now.  FishGuts will have more on the Marlins and this defining series.

The San Diego Padres(54-75, 6th in NL West 22.5GB) are into the role of playing spoiler now.  They went into Atlanta as mentioned previously and took two of three from the playoff hopeful Padres, dashing many of their hopes.  They can put a real damper in the hearts of the Marlins fans this weekend in South Florida.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Friday @ 7:10PM EST – Correia,SD(8-10,4.46 ERA) vs. Volstad,FLA(9-10,4.73 ERA)
Saturday @ 6:10PM EST – TBA,SD(—,-.– ERA) vs. Nolasco,FLA(9-8,5.31 ERA)
Sunday @ 1:10PM EST – Latos,SD(4-3,4.06 ERA) vs. West,FLA(5-5,4.44 ERA)
Mets Logo VS Cubs Logo
The New York Mets(58-70, 4th in NL East 16.5GB) got more injury news this week, as Johan Santana, JJ Putz and Oliver Perez are all now done for the season.  Oddly enough, David Wright looks to be coming back in a few days, but they just want to get through the season with no more injuries, or at least none that will linger to next year.  This weekend they go to Chicago where the Cubs don’t have the injury excuse for their play, they just aren’t playing to the level they should be.  It should be interesting, do the underachivers win, or the injury depleted team?  The Real Dirty Mets Blog has more.

The Chicago Cubs (63-62, 2nd in NL Central 9GB) are just a lost team since the all-star break and one could make the argument, all season.  They are now 9 full games out of first and just lost a series to the Washington Nationals, so things are just not going well for them.  This should be an interesting series to watch..for all the wrong reasons.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Friday @ 2:20PM EST – Misch,NYM(0-1,4.09 ERA) vs. Lilly,CHI(9-8,3.40 ERA)
Saturday @ 4:10PM EST – Parnell,NYM(3-6,5.08 ERA) vs. Dempster,CHI(7-7,4.07 ERA)
Sunday @ 2:20PM EST – Figueroa,NYM(1-3,5.40 ERA) vs. Zambrano,CHI(7-5,3.80 ERA)
Nats Logo VS Cardinals Logo
The Washington Nationals(46-82, 5th in NL East 28.5GB) are enjoying playing spoiler, or this week, maybe more appropriately, embarasser.  The Cubs don’t have that many injuries as stated above, but they are still floundering and lost two of three to the Nationals this week.  The Nats can put a dent into the Cardinals this weekend, but they likely will not effect their playoff standing much with the nine game lead.   Check out CenterfieldGate for more.

The St. Louis Cardinals(74-55, 1st in NL Central) are running away with the division right now.  The combination of having Matt Holliday in their now vaunted lineupe and good pitching, including the newcomer John Smoltz has put them out to a nine game lead over the Cubs.  They should be able to cruise into the playoffs now, but look for them to still try to stay sharp.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Friday @ 8:15PM EST – Lannan,WAS(8-9,4.03 ERA) vs. Smoltz,STL(3-5,7.40 ERA)
Saturday @ 7:15PM EST – Stammen,WAS(4-6,5.08 ERA) vs. Boggs,STL(1-2,4.58 ERA)
Sunday @ 2:15PM EST – Mock,WAS(3-5,5.23 ERA) vs. Wainwright,STL(15-7,2.50 ERA)

Chatter Up! Braves @ Phillies 8-28-09 through 8-30-09

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 28-08-2009

Braves Logo chatterup Phillies Logo
Welcome to Chatter Up! again here at NLEC. This edition matches up the Phillies Blog, Phillies Phandom being represented by Matt Smith against Connor Tapp of The Braves Baseball Blog. This time unlike a few weeks ago, the Braves have fallen back a bit and the Phillies will be playing at home.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): You guys paid alot for Derk Lowe and he has rewarded you with a season of ups and downs…do you still consider this investment a winner, especially with the success of Hanson?
Connor T(BBB): No. Lowe has been bad. If the 2009 Derek Lowe shows up in 2010, he will be the Braves’ fifth-best starter. But if the Lowe that was so good with the Dodgers shows up, the Braves could have one of the best rotations in baseball.
Matt S(PP): Was the most recent series against the Padres the nail in the coffin for the Braves? There’s no excuse losing to arguably the worst team in baseball. Is there any hope whatsoever the Braves can bounce back from such a terrible series?
Connor T(BBB): I think so. The most optimistic postseason odds system I’ve seen (Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA-adjusted odds) gave the Braves a 19% chance (before Thursday’s victory), but most other systems have them at 10% or lower.
Mark P(CFG): It used to be that the Braves owned the NL East. Eleven in a row, wasn’t it. And it was just two years ago that everyone said: this year they’re back for another run. So go back in history, two years. What happened? And do you agree: they’re curve is now down, and it seems they have further to go to catch up now than they did last April?
Connor T(BBB): It was 14 consecutive division titles, thank you very much. (But you’re technically right, as three were with the NL West). The past two seasons have been uniquely disappointing – last year because of the unprecedented awfulness of that team, this year because the pieces assembled in the off-season (and during the season, for that matter) had us hoping for something more. But I have to disagree with you on the idea that the Braves are trending down. 2009 was a massive improvement on 2008, and I don’t see any reason Atlanta won’t be improved in 2010. Vazquez, Jurrjens, Hanson, Hudson, & Lowe make a nasty rotation (see answer to Question 1). McLouth will be in center for an entire season. The albatross known as Jeff Francoeur won’t be patrolling right field. (Who knows, you might even see the Braves break in uber-prospect Jason Heyward on Frenchy’s old stomping ground). There’s a young core here, and I don’t see things going anywhere but up.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): I know if it was up to Bobby Cox, he would manage from his grave. Is there anyone that could be seen as the successor to cox if one day he is forced to step down or retire?
Connor T(BBB): Sheesh. I don’t see anyone on the current staff that stands out, but then again I can’t remember the last time the Braves went with an outside hire for a high-profile vacancy. The Jeff Francoeur debacle is a stain on hitting coach Terry Pendleton’s resume, but you have to like how a couple of guys (ahem, Martin Prado) have come out of nowhere and done some good things with the bat.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): What offensive moves do you see shaking out in the offseason now that you have more or less the best rotation in the NL east(imo)
Connor T(BBB): The infield and outfield corners have killed us this year. That’s partly the legacy of the now-departed Jeff Francoeur and the soon-to-be-departed Garret Anderson. Adam LaRoche will be a free agent at the end of the year. If I was Frank Wren, I would let him walk, sign Adrian Beltre, and move Chipper Jones to first. That would add one of the best defensive third basemen in the game to back up a staff that induces a lot of groundballs and move Chipper to a position where he can (hopefully) stay healthy. I think we stand pat everywhere else.
Thanks Connor, Matt Smith of Phillies Phandom is next.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): The Rockies are the hottest team in baseball…if they stay this way through September and make the playoffs, are you concerned the Phillies will run into a dejavu of 2007?
Matt S(PP): Not at all. The Phillies ran into an off-the-charts hot baseball team that year. The Phillies were just happy to be in the postseason for the first time since 1993. They lived and learned from that experience, obviously. Also, the Phils won both series against the Rox this year, so I’m not worried at all. The Cards and Giants would present tougher match ups, in my opinion.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): The Phillies seem to be a solid team in all positions for some time…who would you consider to be the prospect that we may see break in anytime soon?
Matt S(PP): Dominic Brown is the team’s best position-player prospect. Kyle Drabek is the organization’s BEST prospect, arguably. Brown has five-tool potential. He and Michael Taylor are a lot alike, but Brown probably has the higher ceiling and should be an impact player at some point in his career. I think the Phillies will hold off on rushing Brown to the big leagues. While he may get a cup of coffee in September, I think he won’t make the roster out of spring training until 2011. Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez are locked under contract through next season, so there’s really no playing time avaliable for Brown in the near future. However, Ibanez, in all liklihood, will not be re-signed in 2011, so I expect Brown will be with the Phils by that time. I’m excited to see what he can do.
Mark P(CFG): Jimmy Rollins is the most streaky player the Phillies have. One minute he’s the best player in baseball, the next he’s hitting .212. What’s the key to his consistency?
Matt S(PP): Jimmy is Jimmy. He’s been a streaky and at times extremely frustrating hitter to watch throughout his career, from the day he was called up in September 2000. He’s basically the heart and soul of the lineup. Without him, the Phillies would never have made the playoffs the last two years. Rollins tends to slump when he’s rushing his at-bats and not working counts. Obviously, he’s never been the protypical leadoff hitter, but he’s proven his worth in the league over an extended period of time. Even when he struggles, as he did through June this season, his defense is arguably the best in the league at the shortstop position, so it’s not like you can sit him for days and days. Sure, as a Phillies fan, you want to pull your hair out and scream in frustration at times, but when he’s on he’s REALLY on. Phillies fans know what to expect from J-Roll. He’s the perfect example of taking the good with the bad, as the good far outweighs the bad.
Matt R(NLEC): You had an article the other day on the site that Ryan Howard should garnish serious MVP considerations. While I don’t disagree with you entirely, I try to compare MVP as to where a team would be without that one player and I think that is the MVP. Comparitively, do you think the Cardinals would be ANYWHERE near where they are today without Pujols? I tend to think that the Phillies in this division would still be hanging around, and likely still leading it with the other bats they have, i’m interested in your thoughts?
Matt S(PP): Great question. I’d argue that the Phillies wouldn’t be where they are without Ryan Howard. He’s a supremely clutch hitter. He carries the team late in the season, as he’s doing now. If you remove Howard from the lineup, who’s better? I mean, who would we get to replace him? Chase Utley would move to first base, as is expected if the Phillies can’t lock up Howard after 2012, but…man, I fear the day when that happens. Howard isn’t the best player on the team, but he is the most valuable player on the team. His production is irreplaceable. Yeah, they’d “hang around,” but another World Series championship would never, ever happen without him here for the forseeable future.
James F(TRDMB): I asked this question on TRDMB but how does the rivalry feel like from a Philly fans perspective given the situation that has happenEd to the mets? Does it feel the same to beat us or does it feel “cheap” considering we are pretty much fielding a AAAA team?
Matt S(PP): It’s absolutely nothing like the “real” Phillies-Mets rivalry. Frankly, it’s sad and, yes, cheap. I wrote last week on Phillies Phandom that I feel sorry for you Mets fans. You hear people making injury excuses in every sport, but in this case, the injury excuse adds credence. The team is a shell of its former self, and that’s saying it lightily. I’d be horrified if this were the Phillies’ situation. I wouldn’t be able to watch a team that was missing Ibanez, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Lee/Hamels, Blanton, etc. I still think the Mets aren’t at the same level as the Phillies when 100 percent healthy, but that’s just my opinion :-) Nevertheless, I wish things were different for you guys, because the NL East would be much, much more exciting right now. It’ll be interesting to see what the Mets do next season. Does Delgado come back? Will Reyes and Beltran be 100 percent healthy? How will Santana bounce back? More questions than answers, but you guys know that already, I’m sure!

Please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about the segment to this forum topic and post a reply.

NL East Daily Recap from 8-27-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrose on 28-08-2009

Tagged Under : Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, Anderson Hernandez, Andrew McCutchen, Anibal Sanchez, Aramis Ramirez, Atlanta Braves, Centerfieldgatae, Charlie Morton, Chicago Cubs, Chris Coghlan, Clayton Richard, Dan Uggla, Daniel Murphy, Danny Bautista, Derek Lee, Everth Cabrera, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Garrett Jones, J.A. Happ, Javier Vazquez, JD Martin, Matt Capps, matt diaz, Mike MacDougal, New York Mets, Paul Bako, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Pittsburgh Pirates, Randy Wells, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, San Diego Padres, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Redding, Washington Nationals



The Pirates were looking to do something that probably not many picked earlier this week, and that was to win a series versus the Phillies.  After Garrett Jones came through with another late inning home run for this Pirates team, they were on their way to a game win of 3-2 and a series victory.  Garrett Jones hit a two run home run in the eighth inning with two out and one on, that put the Pirates in the lead for good, as Matt Capps held the Phils in the ninth for his 24th save.  Danny Bautista(1-0) got the relief victory for the Pirates as he worked two perfect innings with two strikeouts behind a well pitched game by Charlie Morton who went five innings and allowed only two runs.  The Pirates only other run was on a home run by Andrew McCutchen in the first.

J.A. Happ pitched very well in this game and really only made two mistakes.  Unfortunately both of those mistakes were home runs and led to the loss for Happ(10-3) as he went eight innings and allowed seven total hits, but two home runs.  His only run support was a Ryan Howard RBI groundout in the first and a Paul Bako solo shot in teh second before the Phils bats went silent.  Phillies Phandom has more on this game and all Phillies games.



In a rare event for the New York Mets yesterday in South Florida, they won by a score of 10-3.  Even more odd is that every position player had at least two hits including Daniel Murphy with two hits and three RBI and Anderson Hernandez with three hits and two runs scored and the Mets knocked seventeen in total.  Tim Redding, newly into the rotation pitched his second straight good start going 6.2 innings and only allowing five hits and three runs, but all three on homers to get the victory.  The Real Dirty Mets Blog covers all things Mets for you.

Anibal Sanchez had a pretty bad start for the Marlins, but some of that contributed by errors.  Sanchez(2-5) in 3.2 innings allowed eight hits, three walks and four runs, although only two earned and used 82 pitches.  His followers didn’t do much better, allowing six more runs on nine more hits in the game.  Chris Coghlan his two home runs off tim Redding and Dan Uggla added a solo shot of his own, but the Marlins could not gain more ground in the NL East, check FishGuts for more.
With the arm and bat!

With the arm and bat!

Javier Vazquez helped the Braves get out of a small funk against the San Diego Padres last night, with the bat and his arm.  Vazquez(11-9) worked seven innings of no run ball and only allowed five hits while walking none and striking out six, and he even added an RBI single to begin the scoring in the second inning.  The Braves ended the game winning 9-1 and were helped by another Adam LaRoche homer, along with two RBI from Matt Diaz on three hits.  The Braves Baseball Blog has more on this latest win.
The Padres didn’t have much on either side of the ball though.  Clayton Richard(3-1) took his first loss as he only lasted 2.1 innings allowing nine hits and six runs while walking two and only striking out two.   Unfortunately only Cabrera had more than a single hit for the Padres who just couldn’t do anything against Vazquez on this night.
Another shot, what else is new?

Another shot, what else is new?

The Washington Nationals really hurt the Cubs this week, by now taking the series from them in Chicago by winning yesterday 5-4.  Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn added solo shots for the Nats, who barely held on to the lead for starter J.D. Martin.  Martin(3-3) went five innings allowing four hits and three runs, but two home runs in earning the victory.  After relief pitching allowed the Cubs to get within one, Mike MacDougal recorded his 14th save of the year with 1.2 innings of work only allowing a walk.    CenterfieldGate has more on this.
The Cubs had sent Randy Wells to the mound for this one, but he could not give them a series win.  Wells(9-7) lasted 6.1 innings allowing all five runs while walking four batters in taking the loss.  They almost got even for him as Aramis Ramirez hit a two run shot and Derek Lee added a solo homer, but that was all.

NL East Daily Recap from 8-26-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrose on 27-08-2009

Tagged Under : Adrian Gonzalez, Anderson Hernandez, Angel Guzman, Aramis Ramirez, Atlanta Braves, Brandon Moss, Brian McCann, Centerfieldgate, Chase Utley, Chicago Cubs, Christian Guzman, Cody Ross, Cole Hamels, Corey Sullivan, Derek Lee, Fernando Tatis, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Jason Bergmann, Johan Santana, Josh Johnson, Josh Willingham, Kenshin Kawakami, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Koy Hill, Leo Nunez, Livan Hernandez, Luis Rodriguez, Mike Fontenot, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Nick Hundley, Oliver Perez, Paul Maholm, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Pittsburgh Pirates, Rich Harden, Ronnie Paulino, Ryan Church, Ryan Howard, Ryan Madson, San Diego Padres, Steven Jackson, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Stauffer, Washington Nationals, Will Nieves, Will Venable, Willy Harris

Howard rescues the Phils bullpen

Howard rescues the Phils bullpen

Last night in Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia bullpen tried to give up another game to the Pirates late in the game.  Ryan Madson(5-4) was charged with his fifth blown save as he tried to save Cole Hamels eight inning no run gem, but allowed a pinch hit game tying home run.  Ryan Howard got him off the hook in the top of the tenth with a three run blast as the Phillies went on to win 4-1 and Madson actually got the win.  The Phillies only other run was on a Chase Utley solo bomb in the first and although the Phillies won, it wasted a classic Hamels start.  Check out Phillies Phandom for more.

Brandon Moss came up as a pinch hitter for the Pirates shortstop in the bottom of the ninth and hit a shot to right center field and the Pirates had hope.  Unfortunately Steven Jackson(2-3) put two runners on before recording an out in the ninth and gave way to Phil Dumatrait who gave up the home run to Ryan Howard.  Paul Maholm got a no decision but pitched very well, holding the Phillies to five hits and one run over seven innings of work.

"Ace" Mike Pelfrey

"Ace" Mike Pelfrey

Josh Johnson has owned the Mets over his career, and although he was shaky last night, he got another win against them.  Johnson(13-3) was off his game in going six innings and allowing nine hits and three runs, but held on until his offense could come through for him.  Cody Ross got the Marlins even with a triple scoring two runs and later Ronnie Paulino hit a two run home run… the deciding blow in 1 5-3 final.  Leo Nunez pitched the ninth again, striking out two and allowing one hit and recorded his 16th save of the season, FishGuts has more on the game.

Mike Pelfrey is now the defacto ace of the Mets staff, now that Johan Santana and Oliver Perez have joined the army on the disabled list.  Pelfrey(9-9) went 5.2 innings allowing 11 hits and five runs, including five walks, only two strikeouts and a home run.  He still seems to have a lot of trouble with men on base and should be his number one issue going into the offseason.  Fernando Tatis stayed hot against Josh Johnson as he doubled, scored a run and had one RBI while accumulating three total hits.  Corey Sullivan and Anderson Hernandez added the two other RBI’s for the Mets as they dropped their fifth in a row, The Real Dirty Mets Blog will have more.

noimageApparently the photographers in Atlanta took the night off, but so did the Braves relief pitching.  The Padres went into the sixth inning down 3-0, and left that inning up 6-4 on their way to a 12-5 victory and second in a row against the Braves.  that sixth inning included RBI doubles by Will Venable and Nick Hundley, as well as RBI singles by Luis Rodriguez and Adrian Gonzalez.  Eckstein added two more RBI singles later in the game, amont a Kouzmanoff two run shot and another Adrian Gonzalez RBI single.  Tim Stauffer(2-6) got the win going five innings and leaving only giving up three runs and six hits in this game.

Kenshin Kawakami had pitched five scoreless innings in this game, and then only recorded one out in the sixth and ended up charged with seven hits and four runs in the game.  Braves relief pitching over the final 3.2 innings gave up 11 hits and eight runs to put this game out of reach.  Brian McCann hit a three run homer in the first and an RBI single in the ninth and Ryan Church had an RBI single in the sixth for all the Braves offense.  The Braves Baseball Blog has more info on this game.

Finally, a win!

Finally, a win!

The Cubs looked like they were gonna have to fight for a win, late in the game yesterday, but luckily they ran in to the Nationals relief pitching.  The Cubs got six in the eighth to extend their lead and won the game 9-4 against the Nats.  In the eighth inning Koy Hill had a two RBI double, followed by doubles also by Mike Fontenot and Derek Lee and finally an infield single by Aramis Ramirez to score the final run.  Angel Guzman(3-3) got the victory in the game after Rich Harden pitched six strong innings but left with a tie score.

Livan Hernandez only found himself out of work for a few days as the Nats picked him up and had him right into the rotation.  Hernandez went six innings only allowing two runs on five hits and received a no decision in his first start back with the Nats.  Jason Bergmann(2-3) was charged with the loss as he gave up the go ahead run in the seventh on two hits and the bullpen gave up six more runs after that in just one more inning of work.  Willingham, Guzman, Nieves and Willy Harris all had RBI’s for the Nationals in the loss.  Check out CenterfieldGate for more.

NL East Daily Recap from 8-25-09

Filed Under (Daily Recap) by mrose on 26-08-2009

Tagged Under : Aaron Heilman, Adam LaRoche, Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew McCutchen, Atlanta Braves, Ben Francisco, Brad Lidge, Brandon Moss, Carlos Zambrano, Centerfieldgate, Chicago Cubs, Dan Uggla, David Eckstein, Edward Mujica, Elijah Dukes, Fernando Tatis, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Garrett Mock, Heath Bell, Jair Jurrjens, Jake Bradley, Jeff Francouer, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Thatcher, Johan Santana, Josh Willingham, Kris Medlan, Leo Nunez, Matt Capps, Milton Bradley, Nelson Figueroa, New York Mets, Nick Hundley, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Pittsburgh Pirates, Reid Gorecki, Ross Gload, Ross Ohlendorf, Ryan Doumit, San Diego Padres, Sean West, Shane Victorino, Stephen Pearce, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Washington Nationals

the walk off for the rook!

the walk off for the rook!

Andrew McCutchen had said he wanted to make amends for a play in the top of the ninth inning that allowed the Phillies to take the lead in the game.  He was able to do that, as he hit a two run home run off Phillies closer Brad Lidge to win the game for the Pittsburgh Pirates and redeemed himself by a score of 6-4.  The Pirates also added home runs from Ryan Doumit and a two run shot by Stephen Pearce in the game, and Brandon Moss had an RBI single in the ninth before McCutchen to tie the game.  Ross Ohlendorf went 6.1 innings allowing only two runs for to the NL leading Phillies but ended up with a no decision.  Matt Capps(3-7) recorded both his fourth blown save of the year and then got the win as he went one inning and was charged with two runs and three hits.

Even Jimmy Rollins hot streak couldn’t help the Phillies in this one.  Rollins hit home runs in the first inning and another solo shot in the third inning and until the ninth, that was all the Phillies could do.  In the ninth, Ben Francisco doubled home the tying run and Shane Victorino was credited with a triple on the misplay by McCutchen scoring the go ahead run.  Brad Lidge(0-6) though could not even record an out in the ninth as he gave up three hits and three runs, including the home run to McCutchen and it only took five pitches to do that.  Phillies Phandom will have more on this game and Lidge’s struggles.

Eckstein with the winner

Eckstein with the winner

On a rare night when Heath Bell blew a save, the Padres were able to pick him up later in the game.  Heath Bell in the ninth gave up a run to tie the game at 1, as he allowed two hits and a walk as well in the inning.  Later in the game though, David Eckstein doubled home Nick Hundley to score the game winning run, making it 2-1 in the twelth inning.  Joe Thatcher(1-0) got the victory as he worked 1.1 innings of hitless relief and Edward Mujica got his second save of the year.  Adrian Gonzalez drove in the only other Padres run in the third inning with a solo home run.

The Atlanta Braves got great pitching throughout this game, but ran into similar tough pitching on the other side of the game.  Jair Jurrjens went 7.2 inning and allowed only five hits, four walks and only allowed a solo home run, but ended with a no decision.  Adam LaRoche came through big time again for the Braves as he singled home Reid Gorecki in the bottom of the ninth and sent the game to extras.  Unfortunately Kris Medlan(3-4) gave up the eventual winning run in the twelth and took the loss for the Braves, dropping them another game back in the wildcard lead and putting them back in a tie with the Marlins, check out The Braves Baseball Blog for more.

Sean West shuts down the AAA Mets

Sean West shuts down the AAA Mets

Marlins pitcher Sean West was probably happy to be able to pitch to a minor league team again. Last night, West(5-5) went six innings allowing only six hits and one run and only needed 82 pitches to do that as he faced a depleted Mets squad.  He was supported by an RBI ground out by Uggla in the fourth and a Ross Gload single in the fifth to win the game 2-1.  Leo Nunez recorded his 15th save of the season and the Marlins gained a game on the Phillies in the East and kept up with the Rockies in the wildcard race as well.  FishGuts will have more on the Marlins.

Nelson Figueroa had a spot start for the Mets, who learned of Johan Santana needing surgery earlier in the day.  Figueroa(1-3) pitched well through five innings allowing only four hits and two runs, but one earned but taking a tough loss.  Fernando Tatis got the Mets on the board with an RBI single in the fourth, scoring Jeff Francouer, but the Mets could not do anything else in the loss, check out The Real Dirty Mets Blog for more.

Mets fans, remember this face?

Mets fans, remember this face?

The Washington Nationals either shocked the Cubs fans last night, or just made them angrier, not sure which one.  The Nationals won the game by a score of 15-6 last night and the offense exploded.  Josh Willingham hit two home runs, a solo shot and a three run shot as well and a grand slam from Elijah Dukes as well.  Garrett Mock(3-5) went seven innings and allowed only four runs while striking out six to get an easy victory.  CenterfieldGate has more information on this game and what to expect going forward.

The Chicago Cubs are just playing horribly, with no real excuse for what is going on.  Carlos Zambrano(7-5) could only get through 4.1 innings and was charged with huge numbers, eight runs, seven hits and only four strike outs.  The rest of the relief wasn’t much better as out of five relievers, three gave up runs in making this even more lopsided.  Zambrano tried to help himself as he hit one of a trio of Cubs homeruns, others were by Milton Bradley and Jake Baker in the game.

NL East Series Preview 8-25-09 through 8-27-09

Filed Under (Series Preview) by mrose on 25-08-2009

Tagged Under : Anibal Sanchez, Atlanta Braves, Carlos Zambrano, Centerfield Gate, Charlie Morton, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Clayton Richard, Cole Hamels, Colorado Rockies, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Garrett Mock, J.A. Happ, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez, JD Martin, Jim riggleman, Joe Blanton, John Lannan, Josh Johnson, Kenshin Kawakami, Manny Acta, Matt Latos, Mike Pelfrey, Milwaukee Brewers, Nelson Figueroa, New York Mets, Paul Maholm, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, Pittsburgh Pirates, Randy Wells, Rich Harden, Ross Ohlendorf, San Diego Padres, Sean West, St. Louis Cardinals, The Braves Baseball Blog, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Redding, Tim Stauffer, Washington Nationals

Phillies Logo VS Pirates Logo
The Philadelphia Phillies(72-50, 1st in NL East) were able to stay hot this weekend as they visited the ailing New York Mets, not such a surprise.  They now have a seven game lead over the second place Braves as they travel to interstate rival Pittsburgh for a three game set.  There are not many holes to find right now in the Phillies, and they will hope to stay healthy on their march towards the playoffs.  Phillies Phandom will have all the information on this series you need.

The Pittsburgh Pirates(51-71, 6th in NL Central 19GB) took two out of three games this past weekend in Cincinnati after sweeping the Brewers last week.  They are still running out a young and exciting team on a daily basis and hope to keep showcasing next year’s stars against the Phillies this week against the defending champs.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Tuesday @ 7:05PM EST – Blanton,PHI(8-6,3.86 ERA)vs. Ohlendorf,PIT(11-8,4.15 ERA)
Wednesday @ 7:05PM EST – Hamels,PHI(7-8,4.78 ERA) vs. Maholm,PIT(7-7,4.74 ERA)
Thursday @ 7:05PM EST – Happ,PHI(10-2,2.59 ERA) vs. Morton,PIT(3-6,5.21 ERA)
Padres Logo VS Braves Logo
The Atlanta Braves(66-58, 2nd in NL East 7GB, 4.5GB of wildcard) come off a successful week of play within the division.  They started by taking two of three games from the New York Mets in New York and then in a critical series for the battle of second, they overtook the Marlins.  They went into the weekend tied for second and are now alone in second by one game but have a big uphill battle to the playoffs that they hope to start this week . The Braves Baseball Blog will have more on the Braces and this series.

The San Diego Padres(52-74, 5th in NL West 22.5GB) continue to play out the string, what else can you say?  They did manage to hurt the reeling Chicago Cubs last week taking two of three games, but then the Cardinals reminded them of their place over the weekend.  They continue to march towards another offseason with question marks about their organization and who they will trade, but will have to face the Braves first.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Tuesday @ 7:00PM EST – Latos,SD(4-3,4.82 ERA) vs. Jurrjens,ATL(10-8,2.99 ERA)
Wednesday @ 7:00PM EST – Stauffer,SD(1-6,3.95 ERA) vs. Kawakami,ATL(6-9,3.97 ERA)
Thursday @ 7:00PM EST – Richard,SD(7-3,4.42 ERA) vs. Vazquez,ATL(10-9,3.14 ERA)
Mets Logo VS Marlins Logo
The Florida Marlins(65-59, 3rd in NL East 8GB 5.5GB of wildcard) are in a bit of a slump, a week after they looked great.  A week ago, they were coming off winning two of three from the Rockies and were two back of the wild card itself.  Now, they lost two of three to the Astros and then the same to the Braves on the road and are in third in the division and fell behind in the wild card as well.  Lucky for them, the Mets are coming to town to let them get healthy against the pained Mets.  FishGuts has more on the series.

The New York Mets(57-68, 4th in NL East 16.5GB) wonder what can possibly happen next.  This weekend they may have lost their ace, Johan Santana, their right fielder Jeff Francouer and they lost a game on a triple play.  The team on the field is absolutely unrecognizable to a Mets fan, and as a Mets fan, I can’t wait until the offseason. The Real Dirty Mets Blog is your place to go for more information on the Mets.

Probable pitching matchups are below but also check out Chatter Up! between these blogs:

Tuesday @ 7:10PM EST – Figueroa,NYM(1-2,6.30 ERA) vs. West,FLA(4-5,4.70 ERA)
Wednesday @ 7:10PM EST – Pelfrey,NYM(9-8,4.67 ERA) vs. Johnson,FLA(12-3,2.99 ERA)
Thursday @ 1:10PM EST – Redding,NYM(1-4,6.10 ERA) vs. Sanchez,FLA(2-4,4.97 ERA)
Nationals Logo VS Cubs Logo
The Washington Nationals(44-81, 5th in NL East 29.5GB) seem to be back to the Nationals of early in the season with Manny Acta again.  Bad defense, bad pitching, and now losing six of seven games.  A few weeks ago, Riggleman looked like a shoe-in to get the permament job, and now i’m not so sure! CenterfieldGate has more information on the Nats, be sure to check them out.

The Chicago Cubs(62-60, 2nd in NL Central 8GB, 7.5GB of Wildcard) are having a dismal second half of this season.  After the all-star break, it was promising that they would be able to take the NL Central, but after this past weekend, they are now eight games out of the division and almost the same from the wildcard.  The Dodgers took three of four from them immediately after losing two of three to the Padres all on the road.  They hope they can take some games from the last place Nationals this week.

Probable pitching matchups are below:

Tuesday @ 8:05PM EST – Mock,WAS(2.5,5.10 ERA) vs. Zambrano,CHI(7-4,3.35 ERA)
Wednesday @ 8:05PM EST – Martin,WAS(2-3,4.76 ERA) vs. Harden,CHI(8-7,4.04 ERA)
Thursday @ 2:20PM EST – Lannan,WAS(8-9,4.03 ERA) vs. Wells,CHI(9-6,2.84 ERA)

Chatter Up! Mets @ Marlins 8-25-09 through 8-27-09 Edition!

Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 25-08-2009

Tagged Under : Angel Pagan, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Brian Stokes, Brooklyn Dodgers, Chone Figgins, Chris Carpenter, Chris Coghlan, Citi Field, Cora Sullivan, Dontrelle Willis, Emilio Bonifacio, Fernando Nieve, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Fred Wilpon, Gaby Sanchez, Jeremy Reed, Jon Niese, Josh Johnson, Luis Castillo, New york Giants, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Nick Johnson, Omar Minaya, Ricky Nolasco, San Francisco Giants, The Real Dirty Mets Blog, Tim Lincecum, wildcard

Braves Logo chatterup Marlins Logo
Welcome to NLEC’s Chatter Up! This edition will be the first between the New York Mets and TRS of The Real Dirty Mets Blog matching up against The Marlins and Wally Londo of FishGuts.  Enjoy everyone.
Matt S(PP): While 2009 has been a total disaster in so many ways, Luis Castillo has been very solid. Has he rid himself of last year’s disappointment? How do Mets fans view Castillo’s very good 2009 season and should he be the team’s second baseman for next year?
TRS(TRDMB): Castillo has been very solid. With the casual fan I think he has redemed himself quite nicely. However, there are still a few that are still very adimant about the contract and just don’t like Castillo’s brand of baseball. He could have a OBP of over .400 and it would not be enough. I think Castillo WILL be the 2nd baseman for next year but my hope is they also consider bringing in a guy like Figgins who can play OF and IF.
Mark P(CFG): I keep reading that Citi Field has not panned out for Mets fans this year in a way that the franchise had hoped — so what’s wrong? Is that the way you see it? This was supposed to be a “no brainer” ball park. What happened? Or do you view it as an unquestioned success?
TRS(TRDMB): I can not answer this question as I have not been. Matt Rose maybe you would be better to answer this one. I also assume that if the season had been better the ball park would not be an issue.
Matt R(NLEC): I will say that I do love the stadium and while it does not have the mystique of Shea Stadium for a Mets fan, it still is a success in my mind. The gripe most fans have is that it is/was too oriented towards the Giants and Dodgers of old, and while I agree, the Mets are starting to make it more like home, I think once the Mets say they are “done”, then we can really begin to judge, for now though, it feels like home.
Mark P(CFG): Red Sox fans keep saying that the beantowners have just gotten too old. The same seems to apply to the Mets: is that your view? How do you get younger: who goes and who stays.
TRS(TRDMB): Looking up and down our roster we are actually younger than most teams in our league. We don’t have a lot of age on the roster that is locked down after this year. In fact of the players coming back, I can’t think of any right now that are old. Age has never seemed to be a problem for the Yankee’s so I don’t see an issue with the Mets or the RSox Age.
Mr North Jersey(NLEC): Many Mets fans were annoyed to hear Fred Wilpon quoted as saying that Minaya will be back in 2010 to which Minaya then expanded upon to say if he’s back so is Manuel. If true and you must put up with one more year of Minaya/Manuel do you feel he will be aggressive to try and win back the fanbase or passive this off-season?
TRS(TRDMB): That’s a great question. I think the Wilpons will be desperate to put a competitive team on the field and Omar will know his job is really on the line this time. There really are no excuses left and to me we are one more try away from rebuilding.
Matt R(NLEC): What players that have needed to play in the injury prone season have actually shown an ability for next year? Do you think these players have solidified their standings for 2010?
TRS(TRDMB): It’s hard to say because really who have we seen because of injury on a consistant basis? Most have been scrubs or broken old guys. One would assume that Pagan will be here. One of Reed or Sullivan will be here. I expect Cora to be brought back on a lesser contract. Nieve and Niese should factor into the 5th spot competition. I think Stokes has really locked down his spot as a potential 7th inning guy for next year.
Thanks Eric, great debut! Now, moving on to FishGuts and we welcome back Wally
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Does Emilio Bonifacio fit into the long term plans of the marlins?
Wally(FG): It certainly seems so. With how he has been treated by management and also how management has treated his potential competitors (moving Coghlan to Left Field and moving Gaby Sanchez to Left Bench), it seems obvious he is the team’s long term choice at 2nd base. He’s certainly showed flashes of being a great defensive player, and moving back to his natural position, and one that is less stressful on his arm, should prove to be a good move. But if his bat doesn’t come around, I’ll never be a fan.
DirtySanchez(TRDMB): Can you give the mets any tips on playing spoiler?
Wally(FG): Ha!

Our lips are sealed. Sorry, buddy.

DirtySanchez(TRDMB): How confident are the Marlins to leapfrog atl/sf/col in the WC?
Wally(FG): I’m sure the team is brimming with confidence; No use taking the field if you don’t think you are going to win it all until you are absolutely mathematically eliminated.
Now, as a fan, I’m not confident at all. I always thought we had a chance, and at times a damn good one, but I never thought we were the favorites. If Nick Johnson can get back healthy and Anibal Sanchez shows what he did against the Braves, this team can still make it interesting.
Mark P(CFG): Ricky Nolasco went down to the minors earlier this year, but now finally seems to have hit his stride. He has mastered his fastball. Is he here to stay?
Wally(FG): I’m one of Nolasco’s biggest boosters on the various Marlins sites I go on. When he’s on, there’s no pitcher in baseball I prefer watching. And he has been on more often than not since he got called back up. I think he’s here to stay, and I think he’s here to stay as a very good number 2 starter. The only question is whether the team will pay him in arbitration, and he is where that dreadful start has a silver lining: it should knock his numbers down enough to make his salary palatable to the team.
Mark P(CFG): What do you think the prospects are for Josh Johnson winning the Cy Young? What does he need to do the rest of the way?
Wally(FG): There’s not a whole lot he can do. I really think Tim Lincecum deserves to win it. Chris Carpenter is having a hell of a year, but as I’m still bitter about his win in 05 over Dontrelle, I’m boycotting him. The simple fact is The Freak has thrown more innings than anyone in the NL and only one other pitcher has thrown higher quality innings.
I don’t think anyone in the NL is going to sniff a Cy Young for the next 5 years but Lincecum, barring injury.
JJ would have to go on a historic type of run to get to the 220 IP, 200 K, 2.6 ERA type of numbers that would really put him in the discussion, but I don’t think it’s a discussion. He’s having a great season, but so are a lot of people.

There goes another segment of Chatter Up! please feel free to email any recommend questions or comments about this or a future segment to this forum topic and post a reply.