Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Phillies fans might not want to read this one

Cole Hamels (2010 file photo - credit: Paul Hadsall)
Cole Hamels (2010 file photo – credit: Paul Hadsall)

Philadelphia Phillies spring training camp is probably going to be pretty awkward this year.

Consider Cole Hamels‘ statements in an interview with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

“I just want to win. That’s all. That’s all any competitor wants. And I know it’s not going to happen here. This isn’t what I expected. It’s not what the Phillies expected, either. But it’s reality.”

While we’d all be inclined to agree with Hamels’ assessment of the Phillies’ chances, it’s still pretty shocking to see a baseball player speak that openly about his team being a bad one. But then again, Hamels doesn’t really see the Phillies as his team anymore – he wants out.

“I want to go to a place where I can win again,” Hamels told USA Today Sports. “It’s not like I’m a hired gun. I’ve got four or five years left on my contract. I want to help that team win just like I did here.”

So, that’s going to be an interesting storyline to watch until Ruben Amaro Jr. does finally trade away his ace for whatever return he can get.

Ryan Howard (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Ryan Howard (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Phillies’ first base situation is another potential source of fun.

Amaro made no secret of wanting Ryan Howard off of his team. In a December radio interview with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli, the Phillies GM said, “We’ve talked to Ryan. And I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him.”

Howard is still a Phillie, and it looks like he’s still the starting first baseman… for now.

Manager Ryne Sandberg offered this ambivalent endorsement to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:

“Right now, unless he gets unseated, he’s the first baseman. He needs to prepare himself to be the best first baseman he can be.”

The implosion of the Phillies “dynasty” continues like a slow-motion train wreck.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Mets mount successful comeback

kirk-picard

Leaving aside the question of the health of Jonathon Niese‘s left shoulder, the Mets have had a pretty good week. Kirk Nieuwenhuis‘ walk-off home run on Sunday, three wins out of five games in Atlanta, Zack Wheeler‘s debut, Matt Harvey’s dominance… even a win tonight to open a weekend series in Philadelphia.

But it didn’t really seem like a game the Mets would win at first. Jeremy Hefner gave up three hits and two runs in span of five pitches during the second inning, and Daniel Murphy made a fielding error that allowed a third run to score and momentarily led me to wish for Jordany Valdespin to get more playing time.

Cole Hamels is now 2-11 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Cole Hamels is now 2-11 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Meanwhile, the Mets wouldn’t get their first hit until the fourth inning, and it seemed like they were going to waste a fifth inning scoring opportunity until Eric Young Jr. delivered a two-run single to tie the game.

And that’s where things turned around. Hefner would not allow any more runs to score, even as he scattered 10 hits over six innings, and the bullpen continued its recent string of brilliance.

The real surprise of the night was Juan Lagares. He made a few nice fielding plays, but we more or less expect that now. He also had three hits and drove in what turned out to be the game-winning run. Hopefully Terry Collins will continue to play him, but I expect the Mets manager will sit him on the bench tomorrow and play Nieuwenhuis against the right-handed starter.

I do feel better about the Mets now than I did last week, and it has little to do with Wheeler’s arrival. The odds may against them, but they’ve started to show that the game isn’t over just because they fall behind by a couple of runs. That makes for a much more watchable team.

Also, Cole Hamels is now 2-11. That is all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A victory to savor, and yet…

Cole Hamels in 2010 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

On a day when Carlos Beltran sat out with the flu, the Mets used Scott Hairston and Daniel Murphy as their three and four hitters against Phillies All-Star Cole Hamels. It shouldn’t have been close, and it wasn’t.

The Mets responded to the challenge. Murphy and Hairston both homered – Hairston had a career game, finishing the day with 5 RBI. Jonathon Niese was brilliant through six and got through the seventh. Hamels had a “career day” of his own, giving up seven earned runs and getting knocked out in the fifth.

It was truly a game for Mets fans to savor.

And yet, the Mets are right back where they started the second half of the season. They still trail the Phillies by 11 games in the NL East and they’re 7.5 games behind Atlanta in the wild card. The only difference is that now we’re two games closer to the end of the season and two days closer to the non-waiver trade deadline.

Time is running out for the Mets to make their move… if it’s not already too late.

Posted in Baseball Cards, Uncategorized

2 Packs of 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes

I picked up a couple of retail packs of Upper Deck Baseball Heroes while I was out…. and I remembered why I don’t really buy packs all that often. For $3.98 (plus tax), I got:

Cole-Hamels Pack #1

Hanley Ramirez
Justin Morneau
Cole Hamels
Pujuls/Jeter/Fielder/Ortiz
Joe Blanton

I like the Baseball Heroes set design, which is how I got sucked into buying these. Cole Hamels and Hanley Ramirez are good players, but I don’t really collect either of them. Oh well, maybe the other pack will be better…

Continue reading “2 Packs of 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes”