Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Colbert Was Plain Filthy

-- and we mean that in the context of, "Colbert Hamels was dealin' " ...

And "Colbert Hamels was just sick" ...

And "Colbert Hamels had that nasty deuce workin' " ...

Or whatever it is that the 18-thru-34 demographic is sayin' nowadays (which is probably not "Kid pitched a whale of a game" or "He pitched like gangbusters") ...

However ya say it, Colbert Hamels on the mound today in Game 1 of the NLDS put forth a performance better than any Baseball Star Named Colbert ever had ... and, yeah, that means you, Colbert Dale Harrah (who everybody knew as "Toby") and you, too, Nate Colbert (the only player of note from those 1969-thru-1972, god-awful S.D. Padres teams ... sorry, Clarence Gaston).

Look ... a guy could do a lot worse than having Toby Harrah and Nate Colbert on his Rotisserie team (if only Rotisserie baseball hadn't died out in 1991) -- and we're pretty sure that Colbert Hamels goes by his baseball name of "Cole" because he got so sick n' tired of asking for extra colbert slaw when he ordered his 6-piece, extra-crispy at KFC.

To the rest of us, though, he'll always remain "Cole Hamels Smokes Camels" (even though it is us, not he, who enjoys the blend of Turkish and domestic tobaccos ... so, we should probably change that catch-phrase to "Try Some Camels, Cole Hamels").

Notwithstanding this brain-teaser, the Brew Crew has some wounds to lick (which has always been a poor sports metaphor ... a team "licking its wounds"???) following Colbert's powerful performance.

America has to decide if Hamels' Game 1 line of 8 2 0 0 1 9 in any way surpasses the previous all-time Phillie playoff (not necessarily postseason/World Series-inclusive) pitching efforts -- such as Lefty's Game 1 line from 1980 vs. the 'Stros (7 7 1 1 3 3) or Lefty's Game 1 line from 1983 at Dodger Stadium (7.2 7 0 0 2 6) or Schilling's Game 1 line from 1993 vs. 104-win Atlanta (8 7 2 2 2 10).

It is of particular interest to note that Hamels' 14-10 record this season was misleading, given the 10 times he had 7 IP w/ 3 ER or fewer and took an L or a ND ... meaning: he probably should've been 18-8 or 19-9 ... if there'd been any justice -- just as Lefty's 15-16 record of '83 was totally bogus, considering the 11 times he'd gone at least 7 IP w/ 3 ER or fewer and was 0-8 w/ 3 ND in those games (including losses of 3-0 and 1-0 at L.A.) ... meaning: Lefty's if-there-was-any-justice conversion grades out to a W-L record more like 18-10 in '83, rather than 15-16 ... we know this because we did the research -- and because it was appalling how Adam Eaton unjustly won 10 games last year with an ERA of 6.32 ('cuz he pitched lousily enough to be 1-15, not 10-10).

So, as long as we're connecting the past to the present, it was interesting to see a Phillie playoff opponent with a braintrust of ex-Phillie Dale Sveum, ex-Phillie Mike Maddux and a third-base coach named "Garth" who was wearing #88 and whose brother made his MLB debut w/ the Phils in '77 ... until that kid was part of the deal to acquire Bake McBride (a steal for the Phils).

Of course, this is the "new" braintrust of the Brew Crew, created when the Phils swept the 4-game set capped by the Sunday doubleheader sweep when their first run of the Sun.-twinbill opener came when Pat Burrell hit into a double play and the first run of that double-dip nightcap occurred when Chase Utlley grounded into a double play.

Without the Elias Sports Bureau or know-it-all- Kirk Herbstreit here to confirm it, we'll go with the assertion that it was the first time in the history of The MLB that a team swept a double header and tied for the wild-card position in the standings by scoring their first runs in both the opener and the nightcap on a DP grounder.

And, Ned Yost paid the price.

Yet, that still doesn't ease the pain for those of us who actually DO remember some of those 54 games in which Sveum batted a robust .178 for the Phils in '92.

Some of us were lucky enough to be there for "Turn Back The Clock" Day at Candleshit 16 Mays ago (weird ... since Daylight Savings Time was one month earlier ... when we turned the clocks ahead, not back, one hour ...).

If it matters, the Phils won 12-2 that day (Stale Dale went 2 for 4 w/ 3 ribbies ... Mariano went 5 for 5) while wearing their black caps and olive-hued uniforms, while 'Frisco (they hate it when ya call it 'Frisco) was decked out in some gear much like the Phillies retro uniforms they've worn this season for the day games.

To repeat: Some of us will never be a fan of this '08 throwback look (seriously, the cap looks okay ... but, the uni isn't the same w/o the pinstripes ... oh, and the font is completely messed-up on the numerals ... we can't tell if Chase Utley is wearing #26 or #28, etc ...).

THESE ARE THE RANDOM THINGS WE THINK ABOUT (or, as the poet once said, "Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letterbox ...") when Hamels is dealin' and the offense is a wee bit listless.

It's a little disappointing when the most crucial hit of the day is a fly ball which Mike Cameron angles poorly and then gloves even more poorly.

Oopsie daisy (or, if you prefer, uh-oh Spaghetti-O's) for the 3-time Gold Glover (still can't believe that dude once hit 4 homers in a game ... back in '02 w/ Seattle ... and he'd had all 4 by the 5th inn. ... meaning he coulda hit 6 that day ... ).

But, it's not about Mike Cameron, who maybe had some problems with rain and wind on that fly ball (it was great to hear the grounds crew dude describe the weather to Dana DeMuth thusly: "She could start dumpin'.")

But, it's not about Dana DeMuth. It's about Cole Hamels NOT overthinking the situation as he did for Game 1 of the NLDS last year vs. the Rockies ... when the youngster couldn't decide whether to wear long sleeves ... and when he did, he eventually removed the undershirt, only not until the Rocks dinged him for 3 runs in the top of the 2nd.

Some people will contend that this Brew Crew team is comparably-built to that Rockpile from last year, what with young superstars Fielder (50 HRs last year) and Braun and Hardy (an '07 All-Star) and Hart (an '08 All-Star when not enough Phillie phans jumped on the "Vote For Pat" bandwagon).

Then again, guys like Bill Hall and Rickie Weeks have some potential, except when they're teaming up to completely botch a Hamels bunt.

A lot of us wondered if Brewer pitcher Yovani Gallardo was this year's version of Franklin Morales ... a no-name w/ "plenty of upside, blah blah blah" who was going to come into The Cit and lock up the Phillie offense. Aside from those three consecutive walks during the 3-run rally, he might've fared a little better.

There was an eerie element out there today ... right down to the CF cameras giving us those shots of folks in clear plastic rain garb sittin' behind home plate.

A weird playoff W ... but, it was a playoff W nevertheless ... as Lidge looked about as shaky in this one as he did in his previous outing, four days ago vs. the Nats when a game-ending, diving-stop, DP-starter by Rollins saved the Phils' bacon.

So, yeah ... it was a little tense watchin' Lidge doin' his high-wire act, although he wiggled out of danger with the tying runs on base when he got Fielder and Hart to whiff to end it.

A 35-pitch save -- fitting since it was Wild Thing who tossed the ceremonial first pitch to the backstop, ha ha ha.

Mitch probably wasn't amused re: the manner in which So Taguchi so totally disgraced the uniform #99 so profoundly this season.

Either way, starting pitching is going to determine the Fightin's fate, although karma would figure to be on Philly's side, given that Myers was born two months BEFORE the Phillies' only world title ... Blanton was born two months AFTER the Phillies' only world title ... and Moyer was at the parade when the Phillies celebrated their only world title.

Do we have the audacity to say that the stars are aligned?

Only if Brick Myers pitches tomorrow as he did in the 11 starts (7-2 record, 1.80 ERA) between his first 17 starts of the season (3-9/5.84) and his final two starts before this one (0-2/15.12).

He's the dude that's gotta neutralize Sabathia ...


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