You can read plenty of doom and gloom in the paper today, so we'll start this morning with one of the few positive aspects that has emerged over the past three weeks, when the Phillies have lost 14 of 18 games to fall into a tie with the Marlins for first place in the National League East.
His name is James Anthony Happ, but you can call him J.A., as long as you pronounce it "Jay," and not Jay-dot.-A.
"Wins" might be the most overrated stat in baseball, regardless of what those Saberwhateveryouwannacallems will tell you about batting average. Nevertheless, Happ has now gone 11 straight starts over two seasons without being charged with a loss. To put that in perspective, the most games Cole Hamels has gone in his career without being charged with a loss is 11. Factor in another 16 relief appearances, and Happ has gone 27 consecutive appearances without being charged with a loss.
But like I said, wins are over-rated. What isn't over-rated, though, is make-up, and if you want to look for one reason why Happ has slid seamlessly into the rotation, it is the gooey mass in between his ears. Witness the seventh inning last night, when he had the go-ahead run on third base, two outs, and one of the best switch-hitters of All-Time, and perhaps the best not named Mantle, at the plate. Happ was over 100 pitches at the time, five days after the first complete game of his career, and J.C. Romero was warm in the pen. But Charlie Manuel decided to give his young starter a test.