Sunday, February 14, 2016

Hold those lawn chairs a bit longer

The Phillies haven't climed Mount Lince-Cain yet, but at least they got out of base camp this weekend.

Hold those lawn chairs a bit longer

(Eric Risberg/AP)
(Eric Risberg/AP)

The Phillies haven’t climbed Mount Lince-Cain yet, but at least they got out of base camp this weekend.

After flailing away to a spectacular lack of sucess against the Giants duo in Philadelphia last month, the Fightin’s weren’t exactly a juggernaut in Frisco the last two days, either.

They beat Matt Cain on Saturday on a double, a broken-bat single, an error and a wild pitch.  The Giants’ righthander gave up just one hit in the next seven innings, but Cole Hamels was even better and brought home a 2-1 win.

Hey, a win’s a win and they all count the same.

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But watching Tim Lincecum again make the Phils look inept offensively (the four, five and six hitters were a brisk 0 for 12) brings up this thought:
With Cain and Lincecum likely to make two starts each in a seven-game series, it might not be time to put your lawn chairs out on South Broad St. just yet.

HOW FAST TIMES CAN CHANGE. The Pirates have gone from being the “feel good” story of the 2011 season to something verging on a national joke.

Check that — when a national humor mag like The Onion starts holding you up to public ridicule, you’re already a joke.

In first place in the NL Central as recently as July 26, they have lost 10 straight and just completed the worst homestand in the 125 year history of one of the sport’s oldest franchises.

No Pirates team ever had gone winless in a stand of at least seven games til the Bucs fell to San Diego, 7-3, on Sunday afternoon. And the seven losses were to the Cubs and the Padres who, along with Houston, are the three worst teams in the league.

Since a spectacularly bad call at the plate in Atlanta ended a 19-inning marathon on July 26, the Pirates have not won a game. Not one. Yeah, it was a terrible call and all that; but don’t you have to be a little mentally tougher than ‘oh and bleeping ten?’

REYES HURT AGAIN. Jose Reyes, the NL batting leader, was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the second inning Sunday because of an unspecified injury to his left hamstring, the same spot that landed him on the disabled list last month.

WEAVER TAKES HIS PUNISHMENT. Jered Weaver dropped his appeal of a six-game suspension assessed after last Sunday’s nasty duel with Detroit, and the Angels ace will miss an upcoming series against the New York Yankees.

Not that is has bothered him so far: Weaver’s nine scoreless innings on Friday night made him the first pitcher since Cincinnati’s Tom Browning in 1990 to have two no-decisions of at least nine scoreless innings in the same season.

HE'S BAAAAACK. Nationals righthander Stephen Strasburg returned to the mound for the first time in a year Sunday, firing 1 2/3 innings for Class A Hagerstown against Greensboro in his first rehab start since having Tommy John surgery last fall.

The flamethrower recorded four strikeouts and the gun clocked him in the high 90s.  He may be throwing in Washington by mid-September.

BIG PAPI'S NOT HOPPY. David Ortiz, 35, entered Sunday’s game with 21 homers and 71 RBIs in the last year of his contract with Boston. He told that he is unhappy the Red Sox have not even mentioned an extension.

The slugger is the only player in the majors with at least 50 extra-base hits in each of the past 10 years — including nine with Boston, tying Carl Yastrzemski (1962-70) for the club record.

Ortiz told reporters on Saturday that there's been no dialogue about a potential extension.

"The truth is that I have not talked to anyone about a contract. That is reality," Ortiz said.

PS: That 71 ribbies would be sixth in the National League — but is just fourth on the Red Sox.

Contact Don McKee at

Inquirer Sports Writer
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About this blog
Don McKee arrived at the white Inquirer building the same month (August of 1974) that Richard Nixon departed the White House, but claims no connection. He has covered Penn State football, the Flyers of Fred Shero, the Eagles of Dick Vermeil and backed up several beats. After 25 years covering high school sports in three cities and two states, he says the only teams he is allowed to root for are Conrad Weiser High School and Penn State, his two alma maters. LIKES: Straight talk. HATES: Spin doctoring and mindless devotion to conventional wisdom. Reach Don at

Don McKee
Don McKee Inquirer Sports Writer
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