Is Eight Enough?

Ryan Howard strikes out in the ninth inning during the first game of Saturday's doubleheader. (Paul J. Bereswill/AP)

IT’S ABOUT TIME: It took tough guy Cole Hamels to say what every pitcher on the staff was thinking after Saturday’s craven display by the Phillies non-hitters.

Hamels – perhaps the least likely guy in the clubhouse to call out his teammates – couldn’t stand it after the stinkeroo laid in New York. 

After the game the lefthander said the pitchers are ready to go out and throw three straight nine-inning shutouts. "That’s our plan, so everybody just needs to get on board."

Before you weep and cry that dissention is rearing its ugly head, consider this – it’s about bleeping time. The Phillies hitters collapsed like a rotten pumpkin last October against San Francisco and Charlie sat their eating sun flower seeds and let ‘em do it.

At least Hamels, often derided as a California pretty boy, stood up and said ‘enough of this bleep.’

It’s okay to remind ourselves that this is spring training and that these games don’t count.  But how the players perform does count.  When Chase Utley and Shane Victorino go to the plate, they’re trying to get hits.  They’re not saying ‘hey, it’s just an exhibition game.’   So let's dismiss the argument that it's spring training in September. 

Check out the recent batting averages in Ray Parrillo's game story from New York after the eighth straight embarrassment. The Phillies have scored three or fewer runs in 14 of their last 16 games. 

Since this team no longer has the type of grinders that can manufacture runs, or the power hitters who can club other teams to death, it’s incumbent on Charlie to stand up to the millionaires and change the lineup – no matter whose corns get stepped on.   John Mayberry should hit third instead of Utley.  That way there would be a righty hitter on both sides of Ryan Howard, whose prolonged absense has shown how valuable he really is.  Since the Phillies don't really have a leadoff hitter, it's hard to fix that hole.  Usually you would just go with the hot bat.  So that problem may not be solvable.  Which leaves it up to Mayberry, Howard, Hunter Pence and anybody else who, as Hamels said, wants to get aboard. 

THAT’S THE LINE?  The latest line on the Eagles-Giants game at the Linc on Sunday makes the Birds an eight point favorite.

I know the Gints are hurting and the Eagles have beaten them seven straight times.  But that’s far too many points for a divisional rivalry.  Unless the bookies know something.  Know what I mean?

 FINALLY:  Looks like this will be the second straight year where Penn State's "prestige" win is over Temple.  How the mighty have fallen.

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