MORNING STOVE: Banner Jabs At Reid, Phillies To Be Sellers?
Love Philly sports? And bacon?
AUDIO: Anybody else get a good kick out of Joe Banner 's half-smile, half-sneer of an endorsement of Andy Reid's performance during his parting shot yesterday? (Or at least throw it atop the heap of evidence that, yeah, the two were totally incompatible?) You should. Multiple times, if need be.
That's why I'm posting here. Nice guy, I am.
Said Banner: "Great. (Reid: Thank you.) I've learned a lot about PR. Great."
AUDIO: Newly-minted Eagles president Don Smolenski wants to make it very clear: he cares about you, Philadelphia. So much so, he made sure to slip this into that clumsy, sweaty and altogether awkward prepared statement at predecessor Joe Banner's "See You Later (Never?)" presser Thursday.
Said Smolenski: "It's special to be part of an organiation that is so integrated in our community. Like all of our staff, I'm honored to have been a part of it for 14 years. And I look forward to continuing to build upon the foundation that we have to be a great organization in the NFL and in our community."
Always a good PR call, playing to the mommies and hippies out there is.
AUDIO: Shane Victorino's seeming go-to line at the slightest hint of conflict is that the Phillies need to have fun, relax, stop pressing. He insisted as much yesterday, after the Phils 8-3 loss to the Dodgers. Twice.
AUDIO: Cole Hamels joined Kyle Kendrick yesterday for being super salty after a loss. (Quantified more thoroughly below.)
Said Hamels: "Since I obviously started the losing streak, and I'm still on the losing streak, it's not fun. I hate to lose. And I've got two losses."
What else does Hamels (explicitly) hate? Walks. (Especially like Elian Herrera's freebie in the top of the 6th, one of three runs to score in the frame as the Phils 3-1 lead broke down like a bath salts addict.)
Said Hamels: "I hate walking guys. I hate giving guys free bases -- especially to lead-off an inning. For some-odd reason, three starts in a row I've done that, and they've all scored. To walk a guy, you might as well at least (make them get?) a base hit. ... That's three starts in a row that a walk's haunted me."
SCRIPTUALS: Bob Ford isn't buying any of that amicable departure noise. Dude writes -- with seeming, 100 percent certainty -- that Joe Banner was the odd man out in the NovaCare power structure. Though it seems the Philly.com editing staff made Rich Hoffman go the other way, for some harmonious, intra-publication point-counterpoint action.
SCRIPTUALS: Jason A. Churchill of ESPN Rumor Central has already tagged the Phils potential buyers at the trade deadline. Prospected/prescribed targets include Kevin Youkilis (BOS), Brandon Inge (OAK) and Carlos Quentin (SD) -- all of whom are either definitely unattractive or likely to be unavailable. Inge stunk it up so ripely that he's already been cut this year. No way Boston lets slip Youk. Quentin's a possibility. (Wonder if the Padres would have the stones to ask for Hamels in return...)
One seemingly sensible alternative? Familiar trade block buzz: Minnesota's (recently re-upped) Josh Willingham.
I get that most of you out there aren't frothing ESPN lapdogs, and so probably aren't subscribed to ESPN Insider-only content. Super generous/irreverent/well-watered on "fair use" exceptions to copyright laws guy that I am, I've provided the blurb in full below. You're welcome.
The Philadelphia Phillies still are struggling to find consistency but they are not out of the playoff hunt by any stretch and will add Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to the roster in the coming weeks. So, if they aren't sellers at the trade deadline, will they be buyers, instead?
They do have areas where upgrades could be had -- the outfield and third base, specifically -- especially when it comes to scoring runs. Domonic Brown, who is hitting the ball well in Triple-A of late, could get a look before the July 31 deadline, but he could also be part of a trade package to land a proven veteran.
One potential fit for left field could be Josh Willingham if the Minnesota Twins field calls for the slugger. He's having a big year and is not a rental, since he signed a multi-year deal over the winter. He'd balance out the Phillies lefty-heavy lineup even moreand he's relatively inexpensive.
Other targets could include Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox, Brandon Inge of the Oakland Athletics and Carlos Quentin of the San Diego Padres.
SCRIPTUALS: ESPN Rumor Central aren't the only ones rounding out their early trade deadline markets with the Phillies. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports -- I know! Philly's fave! -- chimed in too.
(Before you bash, remember what happened the last time Rosenthal played contrarian...)
SCRIPTUALS: In case you missed it yesterday -- how could you? such a slow news day (...) -- Major League Baseball pulled the sheet off its brandy new plan to drug test during spring training for (wait for it...) HGH. In major leaguers. Yeah. Huge news. If you'll remember, the players union for years put up the same fuss about potentially handing over vials of their clients blood. (Very Manny Pacquiao, we know.) Now, it seems they're totally cool with it. As they should be. Most senseless argument theirs was, if only because detection for anything that should be kept private -- a subset which, in a sport that's pretty elaborately combated PEDs, I can't imagine being too big, but whatever... -- would demand a specific test for that chemical. Yeah. Super expensive.
Oh? What's that, Phillies fan? You couldn't care any less?
Not even if I tell you that there's a Ryan Braun clause of sorts? (Much more clearly defined guidelines for handling samples, so that worms like Braun can't bitch about the process and try to ruin lives.)
Course you don't.
What might pique that interest a bit? There's a protective clause slipped in for guys like one of your own.
Writes the New York Daily News: "The parties also agreed to study expanding HGH testing to the regular season and to create an expert panel of recognized ADD/ADHD experts to advise the program administrator on therapeutic use exemption ("TUE") applications for ADD/ADHD medications."
Now, I haven't the slightest sliver of a clue as to how he treats it. Or if he does at all. But this I know for sure -- because he's been pretty outgoing about embracing that he's afflicted by INARGUABLY the most pain-in-the-ass medical ailment on the history of the planet -- Shane Victorino does suffer from ADD/ADHD.
Thinking this little write-in makes his life considerably easier. Good for him.
SCRIPTUALS: Seems just about everybody's sprawling out all over the Marlins bandwagon. Hal Bodely of MLB.com rolled with the following (irreverent?) lede: "Forget about the Phillies," and called the distilled agony of sitting through Phillies games "depressing," ultimately settling on the Fish as should-be NL East faves. Three Phillie foes -- Miami, Washington, Atlanta -- round out Sporting News early-season (understatement) faves to win the NL pennant.
Know we've been swinging a heavy hand with our STATISTICALS the last few days. So we figure we'll give you a soothing, segment-to-segment segue from SCRIPTUALS with (you guessed it!) STATISTICALS FROM SCRIPTUALS!!! (No, no -- you're totally right. Statisticals are always from scriptuals. Which would be double dipping. But these are from Twitter!!!)
STATISTICALS: Cole Hamels might not be unraveling, but he's certainly stinking up the joint. Thursday's 8-3 loss to the Giants -- for a Phillies season-high six in a row on a homestand they finished 1-6 -- marked the second straight start in which Hamels has let slip a 3-0 lead.
STATISTICALS: The Phillies (28-31) and Orioles (32-25) start a three-game set tonight in Camden Yard. Ready for this barnburner of an opener, between Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.27 ERA) and Baltimore's Jake Arrieta (2-7, 5.53)?
Writes the AP: "Only one pitcher in the majors has a higher ERA since May 10 than Blanton (8.44) and Arrieta (7.82)."
STATISTICALS: More bad news on Joey B (also thanks to our anonymous givers of gold at the AP): "Blanton actually has a 10.98 ERA during an 0-3 stretch in his last four starts, yielding 10 homers over 19 2-3 innings. He lasted six-plus innings and allowed five runs in Sunday's 5-1 loss to Miami."
Oh yeah. There's more.
Blanton vs. BAL (2005-2008): 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA
Blanton vs. AL (since) : 2-3 with a 6.31 ERA
Arrieta (last 6 starts): 0-5 with a 7.96 ERA
Also worth noting: (1) Entering today, just this fledgling June 8, Arrieta's one loss shy of his entire 2011 total. (2) He hasn't squeaked out of the fifth in either of his last two starts.
STATISTICALS: (MATURELY) R.A. Dickey became the first in the bigs to hit nine wins in 2012. (NOT SO MUCH) Against Wang . (Chien-Ming Wang. Sorry. First name woulda muffled the humor. Couldn't do it.)
SCHEDULES: Here's the clearest and most complete compilation of upcoming pitching matchups for the Phils. Constantly updated, so feel free to check in. Often.
Alright, I'll transcribe...
Friday (7:05 p.m. EST) – RH Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.27) vs. RH Jake Arrieta (2-7, 5.53)
Saturday (4:05 p.m. EST) – RH Vance Worley (3-2, 3.38) vs. TBA
Sunday (1:35 p.m. EST) – LH Cliff Lee (0-3, 2.92) vs. RH Jason Hammel (6-2, 2.97)
Pains me to put Lee's ugly, o-fer of a record next to that gorgeous, sultry ERA. Pains me.
"At the top of the organizational chart on the football side of the operation, Andy Reid is not only still standing, but he's erased whatever doubts there were about his position in the organization. Here's a hint: He runs it."
-- Bob Ford, on Andy Reid's (inflated) role with the Eagles
"I'm not pitching well right now, there's no doubt about that."
-- Jake Arrieta, on the last 24 seconds of his career