OBSERVATIONS, insinuations, ruminations and unbridled opinions . . .
So where were they?
Triple A game featuring the Lehigh Valley IronPigs? Nice job, kids. Maybe if an emergency starter is needed down the road, Vance Worley can replicate his starts last season. Stutes? Not much to his resume before this year. The kid has cat-burglar guts. But can he get away with pounding the strike zone like that against big-league hitters? Bastardo? The stubby Dominican lefthander was thrown in for five emergency starts in 2009 and showed an electric fastball, but a lack of secondaries did him in. Charlie used Antonio for four lefthanded hitters in the 2009 and '10 postseason. Looks like he has come up with a killer slider.
Or . . .
Perhaps we were a few months ahead of ourselves. Maybe it was only a spring-training exhibition, where Charlie was resting his back-end guns. Maybe Jose was hurting, Brad was still hitting 85 on the gun and Ryan needed a day off.
Or maybe it was one of those morning "B" games at the Complex.
Which is the way the Boston Red Sox swung the bats Wednesday night in a definite "A" game where the American League heavyweights had their usually lethal bats buzzsawed a second straight game in the jammed Bank by Charlie Manuel's jury-rigged pitching staff.
In one of the most hyped midseason matchups in franchise history, Cliff Lee's Louvre-worthy masterpiece was followed by Emergency Wednesday.
Roy Oswalt down and possibly out . . . Setup man Jose Contreras on the DL for a second time . . . Excellent closer Ryan Madson on the DL for a stupid-pills violation of stabbing at a ball up the middle with his pitching hand and sustaining nerve damage to a finger. Now, Cole Hamels will be shaking hands lefthanded, but OK, or so they say.
Worley: An MLB career-high seven innings of slam, bam, thank you ma'am. Stutes and Bastardo: Quality strikes on demand.
OK, it was just one overhyped game of no cosmic consequence in the season's 162-game context. But save for a brief mechanical "mixup" that resulted in an E-ZPass to Triple A, Worley has been more than solid. Stutes has maintained the advanced command he showed in spring training. And Bastardo has had an All-Star-worthy half-season, first in a situational role, next as Madson's setup during Contreras' first DL turn, now as the closer pro tem.
Short term? Start thinking nicknames. Are Stutes and Bastardo the Two Clubs - a powerful opening bid in bridge? How long will they seal deals for the Four, whoops, Three, whoops, almost Two, Aces?
Baseball is a complex game involving myriad skills, not the least of which is the ability to handle the grind of playing every day from March until September at the hardscrabble minor league level.
I'm not smart enough to tell you if any or all of the so-called five "Baby Aces" at Clearwater will have the skill, sustained health, mental stamina and upside growth to make it to the Show. The five starters, Jonathan Pettibone, Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Cosart, Brody Colvin and Trevor May have helped Clearwater lead the FSL in ERA and strikeouts. Colvin is 0-3 and has physical issues. May's arm intrigues me, but he needs consistency. He leads the league in Ks with 108 in 83 IP and his ERA of 3.14 is fine.
My Midseason List (current Phils varsity players are not eligible):
1. Jonathan Singleton, 1B. Has been crushing the ball since not making the FSL All-Star Game.
2. Sebastian Valle, C. Batting .335 in pitching-tough FSL.
3. Maikel Franco, 3B. Just 18. Batting .341 in early NYP going. Will grow into power hitter.
4. Baby Aces Entry, RHPs. If two of five make it to a big-league rotation, it's a hot class.
5. Zach Collier, OF. Top-of-lineup speed. No power, but after missing all of 2010 is starting to show Anthony Gose ability at Lakewood.
6. Austin Hyatt, RHP. Big-arm EL All-Star at Reading.
7. Jiwan James, OF. See Zach Collier. Cast from same mold. Striking out too much.
8. Freddy Galvis, SS. Superslick glove, but bat will likely keep him from being J-Roll successor.
9. Jesse Biddle, LHP. Fine sophomore season to date in Low A.
10. Phillippe Aumont, RHP. Lee-deal reliever has reached Triple A.
Overcooked Benjamins: Anthony Hewitt, RF-DH. Joe Savery, OF-1B-DH-LHP. Kyrell Hudson, CF. (Repeating NYP, .187 career average, now in third season.)
The United Fruit Company would be proud of the banana boatload of correct answers to last week's "Day-O" trivia. "Drink of rum," "Go home" and "Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch" were the correct answers.
This week, we go presidential . . . It is well known that George H.W. Bush played first base at Yale after his return from World War II combat as a decorated torpedo-plane pilot in the South Pacific. It is not as well known that the future president actually was a skilled defender and the Bulldogs' captain his senior year, followed by a major league scout. Or that Yale played Cal and USC for the first two College World Series titles.
Trivia Question: In the 1947 CWS inaugural, what future American League star was the starting pitcher in the Game 2 victory that clinched the title for Cal in the best-of-three finals? That same pitcher also played a key role in Game 1. With Yale leading, 4-2, in the seventh inning, Bulldogs coach Ethan Allen, a former major leaguer, elected to walk the Bears' No. 8 hitter to get to the pitcher's spot in the lineup. The strategy blew up when the Game 2 starter stepped up to pinch-hit and doubled to tie the score. (Cal won, 17-4.)
Who was that pitcher who felled
GHWB and the Elis?
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