Filed Under (Chatter Up) by mrose on 08-08-2009
Tagged Under : Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Carlos Tosca, Chase Utley, Chris Volstad, Citizens Bank Park, Cliff Lee, Fishguts, Florida Marlins, Fredi Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Jamie Moyer, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, Jorge Cantu, Josh Johsnon, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Nick Johnson, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies Phandom, rod barajas, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, San Francisco Giants, Shane Victorino, Washington Nationals, Wes Helms
|Welcome to Chatter Up! here at NLEC. This edition will match up Rab Bethan of FishGuts for his first appearance, but Fishguts’ third, as the Marlins travel to Philly after a sweep at the hands of the Nats. Matt Smith of Phillies Phandom makes his first of many appearances after a Phillies series win against the Rockies. Enjoy!|
|Matt R(NLEC): How is Nick Johnson changing this team through his first week?|
|Rab B(FG): He’s been absolutely great since joining. In the 6 games with the Fish he’s gotten on base every time, hitting .400/.567/.600. It’s completely change the completion of the lineup, replacing a sub.-300 OBP with the 5th best OBP in the league in front of the NL batting leader in Hanley Ramirez. There was worry of a defensive problem with Cantu moving back across the diamond but after a couple miscues against the Cubs in his first game at 3rd base he’s been solid.|
|Matt R(NLEC): Did what just happened against the Nats make you rethink this
|Rab B(FG):Well, obviously any time you lose three straight games going into the stretch, it makes you rethink your post-season aspirations. Now, when you consider to whom and how we lost these games, it really shakes you. But these are flaws that we already knew we had with the team, mainly inconsistent pitching and a problem getting “big hits”. This team still has a chance at making the playoffs though, being only 4 games out of the wild card. I think at this point I think that the division is probably out of the question but, after the 2007 Mets, you can’t ever count that out.|
|Matt R(NLEC): What happened this week? The pitching seemed to just falter.|
|Rab B(FG):Like I said, the Marlins for one just couldn’t get a big hit. In the first two games the team was only 4-18 with RISP and couldn’t add on runs at the end. In the third game they managed 8 runs but still had trouble adding on, only going 5-19. But really what killed that last game was a bad start from Volstad and bad choices of relievers. I don’t usually blame managing but in that game manager Fredi Gonzalez and bench coach Carlos Tosca only threw out the worst relievers we had, even when it was a 1 run game at the end.|
|Matt R(NLEC): What are the keys to this weekends set in Philly? Is this make or
break the season time?
|Rab B(FG):When playing in Citizens Bank Park it’s always important to try to add on as many runs as possible. No matter how good your pitching is no lead is safe there, especially not against a team with so many great hitters up and down the lineup. Obviously you want your pitching to do it’s work on that end but there’s only so much you can do in that sandbox. And yes, this is very much make or break. Every game left is do or die, especially considering how well put together the Phillies and the other teams in the Wild Card race are.|
|Matt R(NLEC): What Phils pitcher and Hitter scare you the most?|
|Rab B(FG): As far as pitchers go only one name in the probable pitchers section puts fear into the heart of Marlins fans like no one else’s, Jamie Moyer. He’s 13-2 with a 2.83 against us and gives our hitters absolute fits. And as far as hitters I don’t think there are many hitters more intimidating in baseball than Ryan Howard. You can argue that Chase Utley is the better overall hitter but every time you face Howard, especially in CBP, you know there’s a huge chance the ball could end up the in the next stratosphere.|
|Thanks Rab, great debut, we will move on to Matt Smith from Phillies Phandom now.|
|Matt R(NLEC): (via MrNorthJersey) How much buzz if any is there among Philly fans
about all the injuries that the Mets have endured this year and do you think fans care either way that they did not get to play the Mets at their best in 2009?
|Matt S(PP): The Mets are not a concern at all. The Phils’ sweep at Citizens Bank Park over 4th of July weekend was kind of the turning point for both teams. The Phillies got back on the winning track while the Mets headed in the wrong direction. At this point in the season, the Mets are so far off the radar, nobody cares (our biggest issues is the starting rotation and not any one team). I think fans simply do not care that the Mets aren’t at full strength. In my view, though, beating the Mets at their current state is nothing to brag about. It’s a shame because the rivalry has taken a step back, but at the same time, we worry about our business first and foremost and ignore what the Mets are doing as long as they aren’t winning|
|Matt R(NLEC):Looking back on the Cliff Lee trade, were you initially
disappointed it wasn’t Halladay?
|Matt S(PP):Yes. Who wouldn’t be? But I realized the Phillies traded for probably the best left-handed pitcher in the AL for a whole lot less. Halladay would have been great to have, but the way I see it, both pitchers are equal. They are true staff aces. The fans have welcomed Lee with open arms. The best way to answer is, “Roy Who?”|
|Matt R(NLEC): Did Cliff Lee make the Phils the NL favorites? What teams, in
either league are the biggest threat to a Phils repeat?
|Matt S(PP): I think the Phillies are favorites, yes. But, then again, I thought the Phillies were the best team in the NL long before the Cliff Lee trade. Honestly, the only team that worries me in the NL is the Giants. Who’d want to face that starting staff? They showed over the weekend that they could beat us. Moreover, the Phillies could not hit at all in that ballpark. Braves have take 7 of 9 against us, and they have great pitching, too. In the AL, the Red Sox and Angels worry me the most. I know the Yankees are probably the best team in the majors right now, but Boston and Los Angeles absolutely dominated the Phillies last season in interleague play. We were so overmatched. That’s still fresh in my mind.|
|Matt R(NLEC): How huge have Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth been this year? As an outsider it appears the Phils would not be nearly as successful without them.|
|Matt S(PP):Victorino and Werth have had career seasons. When Jimmy Rollins was struggling, Victorino was the offensive sparkplug. He kind of carried things when J-Roll wasn’t hitting. Victorino always had great potential, and so did Werth. I worry that Werth will crash and fall sooner than later, but right now he’s hitting for power, driving in runs and playing a hell of a right field. Werth and Victorino just needed a chance to play everyday and the Phillies gave them a chance. They have been big keys to the team’s success.|
|Matt R(NLEC): Which Marlins hitter AND pitcher scare you the most?|
|Matt S(PP):Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson. However, the biggest Phillies Killer is Wes Helms. It boggles my mind how good he hits against the Phillies. Helms and Rod Barajas were awful as members of the Phillies in 2007, but both have come back to haunt us on other teams.|