Nowhere to turn

In a tie game that, incidentally, should have never been tied, manager Charlie Manuel turned to right-hander J.D. Durbin to pitch in the 10th and 11th innings against the Colorado Rockies in the relative altitude of Denver’s Coors Field. We say relative altitude because Denver isn’t really that high and if you are one who loses his breath just walking around in Denver, it’s time to do a little self inventory.

And stay away from those mountains that you see ringing the city off in the distance.

Anyway, Charlie turned to Durbin for the turning point of the game even though the pitcher’s ERA was way north of 15. Prior to going to Durbin, Charlie had to call in Mike Zagurski, Jose Mesa, J.C. Romero and Antonio Alfonseca to blow the five-run lead rookie starter Kyle Kendrick took into the sixth inning. The skipper couldn’t go to oft-used Geoff Geary because he’s back at Triple-A working out the trouble that turned him into a fireman whose best weapon was propane. Nor could the manager turn to Ryan Madson, who had pitched in two straight games in Houston.

Besides, Madson has already been in 30 games so far this season despite spending time on the disabled list.

Brian Sanches and Anderson Garcia were also out there in the bullpen, but they were a last resort for Manuel. After all, he is trying to win.

Needless to say, the Phillies, at 43-43, are doing it with mirrors in the bullpen. Manuel really has nowhere to turn when looking to his bench. Sure, the so-called core of his team is as good as any in the Majors, but the name of the game still is getting 27 outs. In that regard, the Phillies struggle from the seventh inning on.

Some wise baseball people have suggested that Manuel is worthy of manager of the year consideration based on the job he’s done so far with the resources he’s been handed. I’m not sure that Charlie has earned an award, but when his contract ends at the end of the season he definitely deserves a medal.

***
The cool thing about being in Colorado, or even in the Pacific time zone, is that east coast games start early and end early. But east coast folks aren’t so lucky when it’s reversed. Nonetheless, when Durbin came into last night’s game I knew it was just a matter of time until I was able to head off to bed…

What, you think I was on my way out? I’m closer to 40 than 30 and have kid(s) and a serious running problem – that means no more fun of any kind.

***
No Floyd news here, nor the courtesy of a return message from USADA. Perhaps I should take the snub from the anti-doping agency personal (I don’t, I just really, really, really enjoy poking fun at everything), but since USADA is partially FUNDED FROM U.S. TAXPAYER MONEY, returning messages – even if it is to tell someone to, “go pound sand… we ain’t tellin’ you nothin’” – isn’t just a courtesy. It’s their damn job.

Trust me on this one: some government official is getting a well-written and pointed letter of complaint… not that they actually care what their constituents think.

Sigh.

Anywho, I watched the first rider of the prologue of the 2007 Tour de France fly out of the gate and through the streets of London for the short, 8k time trial and even saw Dave Zabriske take Yellow… for exactly 54 seconds. That said, here are a few revelations I’ve had over the last few days regarding the Tour and cycling:

  • It would be soooooo hilarious if an American won the Tour this year. If Levi Leipheimer, Z-Man or George Hincapie (he said he wants to win the prologue) end up contending, expect more than a few heads to explode.
  • I am now convinced that the UCI, the Tour and the other so-called leaders of cycling want to sabotage their sport. So far they are doing a pretty good job, but aren’t quite to Gary Bettman status quite yet.

    Give them some time.

  • Phil Liggett is the best sports broadcaster working today. Well… Vin Scully is pretty damn incredible, too. How about this: Liggett and Vin reading from a phone book?

    I’d listen to that all day.

    Meanwhile, based on the commercials aired on Versus during the Tour coverage it seems as if everything is OK in selling the event for TV… well, you know, it ain’t the NFL.

    ***
    Wildly astute columnist Bob Ford wrote about the Tour for the Inquirer today. I’m not sure if Bob is going to England or France to cover the race, but if he is I hope he can steal me an ashtray or something.

    I was hoping to have John Eustice write for us at CSN again this year during the Tour, but haven’t heard anything regarding that yet (yes, I asked). So without anything new, here’s Eustice’s reports from last year.

  • ***
    Tour predictions:
    1.) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel d’Epargne
    2.) Alexandre Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana
    3.) Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Caisse

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