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Saturday, April 28, 2007

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Tonight would be a perfect opportunity to sit Victorino for Werth. Victorino has gone south lately; his OPS is threatening to dip below .700. Ruiz looked like he tweaked his shoulder yesterday. I'd rest him for Barajas.

Who would of thought we could have done better then our April starts last year 2 weeks ago. I think 10 or how ever many we end with wins is good enough considering our start. And regarding Flash, he did blow it, but his curveball once again looked pretty good.

I see it quite differently. I see 2 teams that are not nearly as good as last year. Howard looks like the reincarnation of Burrell 2003. Garcia has lost the fast ball and will get crushed by good teams. Gillicks Garbage bench is BAD.Hamels hangs way too many off speed pitches. Myers has already given up 5 HR balls. These are a few of my favorite things.

Such a sunny outlook, don. It's remarkable that through all that you managed to dog Cole Hamels. Why not rip Jimmy Rollins for hitting too many balls in the air... or Chase Utley for having too few triples.

Jeeeeezus...

Weitz- I was thinking the same thing about substituting Werth for Vic tonight. Vic is horrible batting right-handed, and D-Train is a tough lefty...let Werth get some hacks.

By the way, I believe Helms bunt was scored a sacrifice, but a decent bunt nonetheless.

With 4 hits, Fence-Face would be my selection for Player of the Game.

CJ he has to over complain because then that makes him look like a true fan. don your really going out on a limb there saying the bench is bad..

We'll be at the game tonight - our first this season. Quite the win last night - FLASH is definitely a concern. However, one of the reasons we won was that the middle relief kept us close. We need someone to put out the flames in the middle to get us to the closer.

Jason, as much as I think Myers might be a better fit than Flash for the closer, who do you think can "hold down the fort" during the middle innings for us? I'm aware that Myers is supposed to be the 8th inning calvary, but if we don't have someone good in the middle (6, 7th), it might not matter what happens in the 8th, 9th. Any thoughts?

Weitzel, Barajas is turning into what those critical of the signing(myself included) all feared:

A black hole in the eight spot.

I said it then, and I'll say it again - this team would be far better off with Ruiz/Coste than Ruiz/Barajas.

The pitchers for the most part couldn't hit if their lives were dependent on it. This team isn't good enough to to give away 2 at bats every time through the batting order and contend. Period.

That's a great question, Eileen. If there ever was a case for keeping Myers in middle relief instead of in a one-inning closer role, it was last night. Many stat mavens like the idea of something called a "bullpen ace," someone to come in a put out fires when the game is critical. After Garcia departed in the 5th with the game still close, using Myers for the next two was critical to the Phils chances. Most managers see the 9th inning as the most important inning, and most players see it that way, too. But wouldn't it be interesting to line up the bullpen similarly to how it looked last night?

That said, Eaton needs to give them seven innings today. Geary will be used, and Rosario and Castro could be fed into the fire if the game is close today.

Geary is raedy for the fire. He had a fine season last year, and is doing a damn fine job this season. He's never going to be a big name setup man or anything like that, but out of 18 inherited runners this season he has allowed only 1 to score. I'd be cool with him in the 7th/8th.

Weitzel's last point is, I think, one of the least discussed quandaries about moving Myers to the pen.

It certainly helps to have Myers available for two innings in a game like last night, but over the course of the season, you're losing a starter who had the potential to give you 8 innings a night. Moyer's a 6er, Garcia's health is still iffy, and we don't know what to expect from Eaton; one of those guys is going to need to give us 7 innings consistently to keep the 'pen fresh. Let's hope it starts tonight.

King Myno - sounds like you are making more of a case for the Myers move.

Need someone to take the keys to the car after the starters run out of gas that will not demolish it like it was in the beginning of the year.

Keep it between the lines on cruise control is what Myers gives you.

Barajas is going to surprise everyone and get hot with the bat at some point. He's looked worse than Fasano so far, but he's not that bad. As it is though, he should be starting no more than twice a week.

Bourn proved his worth off the bench last night. I think Dobbs and Werth need to start doing the same very quickly. It's hard to imagine Coste won't be up at the first excuse to get him on the roster.

Geary is again proving himself to be arguably the most valuable reliever on this team. Glad to see that meltdown at Shea was an aberration.

Everyone's got it going now but Ryan Howard. Utley hit a big-time homer off a left-hander last night. I would actually advocate dropping Howard in the order until he comes back around. He had a lot of success hitting fith/sixth in the first half last year. If that's what he needs to take some of the pressure off, then I think they should consider it.

Not that I think Myers is really going to be any better, but it's getting harder to keep defending Gordon. Three blown saves in April is too many.

..too change the subject a bit...Scott Franske is a good replacement for that nautious sounding Scott Graham , now its time to get ridd off that kiss ass Chris Wheeler,,who is he a relative of in the front office?!!!...and Gary Matthews is just plain awful!..Jesus christ the guys that hire these people should be shot...Matthews cant pronounce players names!! it;s Moises Alou!! not " Mo ace" with all the broadcasters out there, cant we get a few who do not put you asleep!!!..too the Phillies front office " it's Baseball guys, its suppose to be exciting!!....get rid of Wheeler & Mathews Now!!!!!!

I cant help but laugh,,,but yes I agree Wheeler is not a mans man and Matthews is outright awful...we need guys who were like By Saam and Ritchie Ashburn....Wheeler has to be related to someone and I dont know what these paople are thinking with gwtting Matthews....we need to have a little Hometeamerism..The Yankees broadcasters are great!..this is the example they should follow!!...yes I agree with Ernie Cosgo..who will second this???

Weitzel - Have to totally disagree on Gordon. He has been very mediocre this month and last night was a good reason to audition Myers' in the closer role. Gordon has blown 3 saves out of 7 chances. Not good.

What is more worrisome though is that teams are hitting Gordon pretty hard. Already given up a bunch of extra-base hits. Maybe Gordon starts to get better as it gets warmer but I doubt it.

This April has pretty much convinced me that we will see the Gordon from the second half of 2006 all year long.

Kind of funny though how the bullpen get totally blasted this spring yet it has been the starting pitching this month that has been the real letdown so far.

Garcia hasn't had a good start yet and Eaton has been awful except for the Mets game. It is kind of crazy that 44-year old Jamie Moyer has been the Phils' best starter this month.

What with Chris Wheeler taking a breath bewteen saying words??? you do that at the end of a sentence.. God... is he lousy.

..Yeah.. Wheeler has that look that wants mt make you slap him around...he thinks that rug on his head is helping him,,,he looks like a Soda Jerk

The Phils are doing a great injustice to loyal fans and Harry Kalas. Wheeler is as annoying as sin, but Sarge is the worst. I love Kalas, especially on the radio, because the inflection of his voice paints a mental image for me. Larry Andersen needs to be doing tv time, it's a crock that he's only on the radio.

Eaton has gone 6 innings or more in three of his four starts, all but his lousy debut against the Braves. He's not an ace, but as a #4 or #5, I'll take him.

He does need to give the bullpen a rest tonight--7 innings at least.

Rumor has it the competition for the replacement for the booth came down between Mickey Rivers and Gary Matthews..........

MG: You're usually pretty solid, but you're way off on that one. How many of the losses this month have been directly attributal to the starting pitcher? How many to the bullpen?

Myers, Garcia, Eaton have been disappointments in the rotation. Hamels, Moyer, and Lieber have been solid. The pitching is average but good enough to get by on most days if the offense keeps up the way it has. Phils have successfully righted the ship and are nearly back in a position to contend if the good play continues. They're finally looking better at home; 2 of 3 from Florida would be a great way to end the homestand. I think a sweep is too much to ask.

I've been listening to Chris Wheeler for 18 years now, and I've always liked him. I feel as though he knows the game (both the strategy and what's going on in the league) better than anyone else the Phils have ever had around him.

I recognize that I'm in the minority here, and I just don't understand it. Generally, I agree with the mainstream thought of devoted Phillies fans (i.e. Barajas signing was stupid, Manuel needs help with the double switch, Garcia has looked like damaged goods). Why am I such an outlier on this? Is he really that bad?

Clout: Still think the bullpen will be the bigger problem in the longer run with this season but the bullpen has generally performed better (at least for the past 2 weeks) than the starters this season so far.

Lets do a run of the stats through last night:

Starters: (8-7, 4.92 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 46 BB, 123 K, 17 HR, 130 Innings) Quality Starts - 10/22 games

Relievers: (2-5, 3.18 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 38 BB, 54 K, 7 HR, 70 2/3 Innings) Save Opportunities - 4/8

Taking a quick look at the summary numbers and neither group is doing a real stellar job.

The Phils' starters are 14th in the NL (ahead of only the Marlins and Nats) in Starters' ERA. While Hamels and Moyer have been really solid, the rest of the starters (Garcia, Eaton, Myers) have had a pretty terrible month with an ERA over 7.00. Frankly, I think this will improve but so far the Phils' starters just not been the strength of this team as advertised.

The bullpen has been very up and down this month. It was awful for the first two weeks of the season but has been very solid the past two weeks. Prime example of this is Madson who was awful the first two weeks but has quietly put together a few decent outings the past two weeks. Think we are going to see alot of this dramatic up and downs with the bullpen all year. Just not a lot of "solid bets" in the bullpen besides Geary and maybe Myers.

RSB, Barajas is an overweight journeyman, who at the age of 31, is on the dwnside of his career. Oh...he also has a .239 lifetime BA, .241 coming into the season.

Guys like that, when they get hot, hit .260. Everybody hits - whahoooooo.

Coste would have won more games for this team with his bat than Barajas will with his glove. I'll stand by that assessment all season no matter how *hot* Barajas might get.

In short, the best 25 players the organization (Gillick) can field are not on the team. We see that in the pitching staff as well.

AWH, I don't mean to sound like a Barajas apologist. I know he pretty much stinks, and yes, I'd much rather see Coste as the backup catcher. But he *will* get hot at one point or another and start sending balls into the stands.

Elliott, I agree 100%. Wheeler may have bad hair and a squeaky laugh, but he knows a thousand times more baseball than most of the people who criticize him. He's the most insightful announcer the Phillies have, and he has always been since I started following them in 1984.

AWH, I'm with you about fielding the actual 25 best guys (and not just playing guys because they're veterans or the size of the contract, etc.). I've been beating that drum for a long time. But you said "we see that in the pitching staff as well." With Smith being sent down, I think at the moment they have the best staff possible of players in the organization. Who would you send down and who you call up?

RSB, I'm more often than not in agreement with you but Wheels just annoys the heck out of me and always has. I miss Andy Musser.

Clout - How about recap of where the starter or a reliever really was to blame for the Phils losing the game:

Blame the starter:
4/5 - Eaton gets gives up 7 runs and is bombed by the Braves
4/7 - Myers gives up 6 runs in 4+ vs the Fish
4/13 - Myers gives up 6 runs again vs. Astros

Blame the bullpen:
4/2 - Madson first's meltdown vs. Braves
4/4 - Gordon's blow the save in the 9th and Madson loses games in 11th vs. Braves
4/9 - Bullpen/defense spoils Hamel's outing vs. Mets
4/20 - Gordon blows the save in the 9th and the possible win in the 10th

So basically I chalk up responsibility for 3 of the Phils' losses so far on the starting pitching and 4 on the bullpen. The other 5. were more time to the lack of offense.

MG: Pretty much agree, which was the point of my original post: the pen has lost more games than the starters. I'd be curious to know how many of those starter runs were runners on base who scored off a reliever. I recall Leiber giving up a 3-run HR that cost Myers 2 runs, may have been some others. The pen has been much better since the Myers shift, but the fact the shift was necessary underlines my point that Gillick didn't do his job this past off-season.

Double-A Birmingham's Gio Gonzalez fanned 13 while allowing two runs in seven innings in a win Friday. Gonzalez has a 43/9 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings this year.

The thing that's really annoying me about the announcing is Larry Anderson -- who's a really good color commentator -- doing play by play on the radio. What's up with that -- it makes NO SENSE.

There's a certain lingo that all play-by-play guys use, and L.A. just doesn't have it. When someone gets a hard single to center with a runner in scoring position, you're supposed to go: "Here's a liner into center...in for a BASE HIT..here's the throw to the plate..."

Anderson goes "Here's a line drive to center..and Rowand has it...he's throwing home.."

Huh??? Does Rowand "have it" on the fly, for an out, or on a bounce, as in base hit? He constantly leaves the main news of the play -- base hit! caught! -- out of the call, and I'm trying to figure out (since this is on radio, after all) WTF is going on?

It's driving me crazy!

Will: Leave it to the Phillies. Apparently they felt that some fans had complaints about announcers getting shuffled back and forth in different innings and not having continuity during the games. Well, great, now there's continuity - with the wrong combos, in the wrong formats. How hard can it be just to make sense?

Prospect update: C.J. Henry, who is repeating the level at Lakewood, is hitting .240, .868 OPS, after 50 ABs with 6 errors in 15 games.

If Steinbrenner fires Joe Torre, as rumored, should the Phils fire Manuel and hire Torre immediately?

haha i'm so glad someone mentioned LA on the radio - when my MLBtv craps out and I have to switch to radio, I pray it's not an LA inning. he always sounds like he's a few too many seconds behind the action, and he does not have the cadence of a play by play guy. it's just painful to listen to, i hope they're being generous to a broadcasting "legend" and giving him a few weeks before they yank him.

p.s. i'm studying abroad in london - what did they do with scott graham's turkey hill ice cream? are they discontinued, can you buy old rare cartons on ebay for 100 bucks each?

Let's keep tonight's game chat in this thread. I'm feeling too lazy to post separately.

Major lineup changes this evening with Howard sitting. Barajas catching, Helms at 1st, and Nunez on 3rd.

Phils
1. A Rowand, CF
2. S Victorino, RF
3. J Rollins, SS
4. C Utley, 2B
5. P Burrell, LF
6. W Helms, 1B
7. A Nunez, 3B
8. R Barajas, C
9. A Eaton, P

Fish
1. H Ramirez, SS
2. D Uggla, 2B
3. M Cabrera, 3B
4. M Jacobs, 1B
5. J Willingham, LF
6. J Borchard, RF
7. M Olivo, C
8. A Amezaga, CF
9. D Willis, P

No Werth, interestingly. But I'm not surprised.

Why not bat Eaton 7th? He looks better at the plate then No-Hit or Black-Hole Barajas.

I think Coste is better than Barajas. The Phils need to win tonight-their home record sucks. Don't it matters where Howard bats. Gotta give FenceFace his props. Gotta get the bench to contribute more w/the bat. Loved Helms' looong AB last nite that ended w/a hit. I think Cholly needs a sweep to gain more job security. Love that Ruiz-what a job he's done-good pickup by Gillick. D-Train will be tough-Eaton needs to have quality start for the Phils to have a shot.

Having Coste instead of Werth would allow the Phils to line up with all right-handers against Willis except for Utley, and allow Charlie to keep Nunez on the bench.

Cholly has to watch Werth's ABs and know he's not a major league player. Say what you want about Cholly, but he has to know by now that Gillick handed him an egg.

Interesting lineup indeed.

From philly.com this morning: Despite Dontrelle Willis' success against lefthanded batters, Manuel said he had no intention of sitting Ryan Howard today.
Howard is 3 for 8 (.375) against the Marlins lefthander, including a home run.
"That sticks out," Manuel said.

I was at the game last night, great seats (7 rows behind visiting dugout). Some impressions:

Someone said Bourn proved his worth last night. How? By taking a walk to open the 9th? OK, good eye. But I'll tell you this much: Speed in the outfield is nice, but so is an understanding of how to play the corners. I'm sure he's a good CF, but that ball in the corner in the 9th took an awful long time to get back to the infield.

Geary had two straight impressive performances as a fireman, coming in with men on base and preventing the inherited runners from scoring. That's an incredibly valuable skill. And he wasn't used the next inning, so he theoretically is still pretty fresh. So last night, when Garcia's tank hit empty, we saw -- Alfonseca? WTF? He's been doing a good job starting off innings, but if the third batter he faced had been anyone but the pitcher, that inning might still be going.

Don't know if those watching/listening could hear the booing that Gordon got as he left the mound.

Garcia thinks he's still in the AL: How many batters did he go 3-2 on?

And by the way: Andy Musser? ANDY FREAKIN MUSSER? He was the absolute worst. Not a baseball guy, period. No passion, not much knowledge, insane obsession with 1-2-3 innings -- throughout the game, he'd keep telling you how many a pitcher had. He was a good basketball play-by-play guy, which isn't easy. But I wept with joy when he was put out to pasture. I'm in the tiny minority who actually likes Wheeler. And I'm willing to give Matthews more time to develop. He's dished up a few nice nuggets; there's too much fluff and he's no natural, but Wheeler brings out the best in him.

I like Wheels too. And I am starting to come around on Matthews.

The booing of Gordon came through loud and clear on TV as well. Garcia was also really sweating profusely on a cool evening. I am not sure if it was nerves, he's out of shape, or he just sweats a lot. He certainly doesn't look like he is expending a lot of energy out there. He is a very slow worker, slow walking off the mound, limited motion in his windup/delivery....

Rowand leads off now? Jimmy's batting out of the 3 hole? I'm a little surprised.

Re: Joe Torre, I'm pretty sure he'd be taking some time off after his stint with the Yankees plus his health.

As for Torre, has anyone seen some of the moves he's pulled the past couple weeks? He perpetually pinch-runs for Giambi in late innings with a guy who can't hit (Kevin Thompson), and it almost always seems to come back to bite him. Now he's taken to using Mientkiewicz for this purpose, but he can't hit either, not anymore anyway. He's drastically overusing his bullpen and he's even used Petitte, probably his best pitcher at the time, in relief - while keeping him in the starting rotation. He's managing now like it's the World Series.

ugghhh...

Rowand is on fire! Put him out! Quick!

Hopefully Eaton pulls his normal struggle early and then get better later on.

This is like the "let's lose tonight's game on purpose line-up," with the terrible trio of Nunez, Barajas, and of course Eaton.

The lineup I'd like to see is Rowand, Rowand, Rowand, Rowand, Rowand, Rowand,Rowand, Rowand, Rowand,

Super Rowand extends the streak instantly. Need runs Phils.

How many runs is Eaton going to spot the opposition for the first few innings this game? The Phillies can't score seven or eight runs every game. Eaton = another Gillick mistake, IMO.

Attytood, given that Howard is sitting out and Helms is starting at first, who would you prefer at third, Dobbs?

it makes a lot of sense to play all your black holes on the same days. that's why we pay charlie the big bucks. but, really, it's too bad we couldn't get werth in there to complete a mighty 6-7-8-9 tandem.

And would anyone else be willing to bet that the Phils lead baseball in the past 5 years in walks issued to pitchers? It seems to be a staple of Phillies pitching. Of course, if, say, the Royals or Devil Rays were NL teams, they might surpass us.

I actually like playing Nunez part-time, but I'd rather him bat next to Ruiz that Barajas.

Eaton is horrible. He stole our non-existent set-up man's money.

rubbish

You see what I was doing there -- setting up that Barajas bomb. Pretty clever, huh?

Barajas, baby. Did I call that?

Barajas goes yard! There's that spot power. RSB, what lottery numbers should i play tomorrow?

You said he'd get hot and he's still below the Mendoza line, but I'll give you partial credit.

And actually, if the season had ended yesterday, Barajas would have set a career high in OBP. For his career, Barajas has walked about once every 19 plate appearances - this year he's walked once per 5. So maybe this is as "hot" as he ever gets.

What is up with Eaton in the early innings? Looks like they're hitting off a friggin' tee. God, he's bad.

RSB: He can't locate his breaking stuff.

barajas, you know what they say...even a blind squirrel....

Q. How much do I want to see Willis nailed to start the fourth inning?

A: A lot.

He hits way too many guys, especially when he pitches against the Phillies.

I think we should all back away from the keyboards and giving Patty G a standing ovation for signing to cogs...my bad clogs, in tonight's lineup- Eaton and Nunez. They suck! That's my constructive criticism...they are simply a waste of money...complete and utter $hit!

Wilbur, aka Ernie Cosgo, aka Donna Wordsworth, aka Nick Quitter, aka Frank Tanque: would you mind shutting up about the broadcasters already? I think you made your point. They can't possibly be any more boring than you are.

can someone please tell me what we keep nunez around for again? please?

Eaton already at 63 pitches.

What a gun, Pat! Awesome throw.

If Eaton can hold them to 5 runs in 5 innings, will that be a "quality start" for him?

Exciting game so far. Burrell is uncannily accurate with his throws from the OF. Can't recall a guy whose throws were more on the money than his, almost every single time.

Don't give up on Abe. He'll come around. Wait and see.

for barajas, i guess 2 hits constitutes a hot streak of epic proportions!

OK, it really sucks to get thrown out at home like that. but i have to say, i just laughed out loud at nunez there.

That was some fantastic baserunning there...

They just added a segment to Baseball Tonight called: YOU GOT JACKED UP! Abraham Nunez just made the first highlight.

I think Abraham Nunez is a bad hitter for the record. He is a decent fielder at 3B. Where do you draw the line on where the bad bat outweighs the decent glove? I dont know.

Bottom Line: While I think in hindsight, Nunez looks like a bad signing, he was signed as a backup/bench player. He thrived in that role in St. Louis the year before. I distinctly remember almost everyone on here, including myself, clammoring for him to replace David Bell when Bell was sucking (Dont really know when he didnt). I just dont think that you can say that it was an incredibly stupid move on Gillicks part. Would you say that the Mariners signing of Adrian Beltre, who had just come off a season hitting 50 HR was idiotic when he barely hit 20 the next year? He did that playing in Chavez Ravine. Can you predict such a precipitous downfall? Nunez is no Beltre, but how could you possibly predict that a guy is going to hit .280 one year and then barely hit over .200 the next year? I dont really think you can.

Now $24 Man, Adam Eaton, unless he gets his crap together, is looking like a waste of about $21 Million. That however is a different story.

I hear the Eagles have a few a extra arms?...... was wondering if gillick was behind todays eagle draft?

Parker: the year Nunez thrived in St. Louis, he was a regular player for most of the season. I wouldn't advocate the Phillies starting him, but he's even more miscast in a reserve role.

Let's hear again how Eaton is this big improvement over Gavin Floyd.

The NFL blows. I am so sick and tired of hearing about the NFL. I think I would rather hear about the XFL right now than the NFL. I am making it a point to totally ignore the NFL next season. They start talking about the draft the day after the Super Bowl, and they talk about camp, from then on. It is becoming the chep media prostitute of sports.

Parker: You seem to have forgotten that I and several others called Nunez a bad signing the day it happened. He had YEARS of sucking before having a single career year for the Cards. Anyone who knows baseball knew Nunez could not duplicate what he did for the Cards. He was a lifetime .240 hitter (with no power and bad OB) in SEVEN years with Pittsburgh before having one freakish good year. Even Mario Mendoza hit .245 once.

I guess you could predict it in such a way - the three seasons prior, he hit .248 or less, and two of those seasons were in the .230s. And the three seasons before that, two of them he hit .220. So someone more astute than Gillick might guess that that one season was a bit of a fluke.

RSB, thats fine, so tell me how you predict that he is going to be useless in this role? What certain skill did he lack that Gillick should have picked up on to predict he could not reproduce something close to STL numbers in a reserve role? I don't buy the everyday playing thing in the field. Maybe the number of at bats is important for a hitter to see a cerain amount of pitching, but if you can hit, you will hit, eventually.

Parker: I agree with you on that. Nunez could play everyday for the next 10 years and not duplicate what he did that one year.

just read on phillies.com that cormier designated for assignment and phillies have little interest...why not? i know he's better against righties but he's been good for us in the past. Besides, we could always trade him to San Diego, for say, Justin Germano...

Clout, I agree the history for Nunez did not suggest that he had a huge hitting year coming. But I assume that with his defense, if he could hit, he would not be signing as a backup player. I totally agree that Nunez is no starting 3B, but as a backup player, he is not the worst ever. I think that the Phils probably overpaid for what they got for Nunez, but he was never supposed to be a starter at any position.

That's a big 10-4, good buddy. Over and out.

Barajas needs only a single and a triple to hit for the cycle. he actually does have one triple in his 8-year career. I assume the outfielder fell down. Maybe 2 of them.

Who is this umpire? This guy sucks. He is completely inconsistent with his balls and strikes.

Who is this umpire? This guy sucks. He is completely inconsistent with his balls and strikes.

You can say that again.

10-5. Argh.

Well, the good news is that the Eagles filled their defensive needs by picking up ... Kyle Kolb? Argh!

Hey, at least the Phantoms are pla.. what? Sigh.

Sixers? No. Flyers? No.

Even Coste is only batting .237 for Ottawa.

I'm going to cry somewhere.

The Willis bunt is questionable-in the old days he would be drilled next time he comes to the plate against the Phils.

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EST. 2005

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