3/16 Wrap

For the lowdown on Cole Hamels, see the previous post or—better still—keep me from returning to teaching by purchasing the newspaper tomorrow. In this post, we forge ahead to wrap up the Phillies’ terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

In addition to sending their ace back north for an elbow exam, the Phils drove to Tampa and were embarrassed 12-0 by a Yankee lineup missing Jeter, A-Rod, Cano and Teixiera. Kyle Kendrick’s line was ugly again—four innings, five hits, eight runs—but he actually showed signs of improvement. Kendrick is working on his changeup and cutter to lefties, and was able to make a few strides in those efforts, like when he got Hideki Matsui to fly out twice on cutters. If Kendrick begins the season in the minor leagues, it will be to continue that work, and his manager noted the progress today.
“He made some good pitches,” Charlie Manuel said. “We got a little shoddy defense, and his line should have been better.”
And that, folks, was one of the only things Manuel said today that I can share without being fired. The manager was disgusted with his team after the Phils allowed 20 hits, many of them defensive lapses that weren’t quite errors but looked ugly.   Standing in a hallway in the visitor’s locker room, Manuel used words that Brad Lidge has probably never heard. A sample sentence, cleaned up for publication: “That was a ----   ----- game.” Try fashioning a quote for your newspaper story out of that. 
But Manuel, as he usually does, got around to offering a wise gem toward the end: “If I played in that game, I might take inventory of myself.”
Some Phillies have seen their spring stats sink recently. Marcus Giles was 0 for 2 yesterday and is now batting .154. John Mayberry Jr., 0 for 1 today, is down to .256. Ronny Paulino, 0 for 2, is batting .235. Rule 5er Bobby Mosebach allowed four runs in 1 1/3 innings today, and saw his ERA rise to 12.27.
Other Phillies had to leave the big league locker room today. LHP Antonio Bastardo and Sergio Escalona , RHP Blaine Neal, Andrew Carpenter, Drew Naylor, Scott Nestor, C Tuffy Gosewich, Joel Naughton and Paul Hoover, and INF Mike Cervenak, J.J Furmaniak, Jorge Velandia and Andy Tracy were all sent to minor league camp.
So there were bad vibes all around today, but remember: emotional swings help to make the long baseball season so compelling. I was in the Phillies locker room last summer the day Jimmy Rollins was benched for showing up late, Manuel criticized the team for not being hungry enough, and the Mets overtook first place. The visiting clubhouse at Shea was funereal after the loss; you could hear the players swallow as they ate their postgame chicken and rice. And look how that season ended.
Jim Salisbury will be covering the beat for the next two days, as I work on some other stuff and travel to Jupiter (Florida, that is). Stay tuned for Hamels updates.