Crazy day at the old ballyard yesterday. So crazy that I had four different stories written during the game based on the outcome only to scrap them all when Raul Ibanez smacked his grand slam and when we learned Brad Lidge had an MRI, a cortisone shot AND was taking anti-inflammatory medication.
So yeah, crazy day at the ol' ballpark.
"Good ol' slugfest," Charlie Manuel said.
Charlie calls these early hot days "hittin' weather." He's certainly right about that considering the ball seems to travel a little bit longer when the winds are calm and the temperatures higher at Citizens Bank Park. Ibanez says he noticed the ball carrying well during batting practice earlier on Monday afternoon. But even Ibanez or Manuel would have had difficulty predicting the long shots belted by the Nationals and Phillies.
Not only did two shots clear the center field fence and strike the batter's eye (Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard), but the Nats clubbed two upper deck shots – one to left by Zimmerman and one to right by Nick Johnson – and blasted one onto Ashburn Alley by Elijah Dukes.
Clearly the Nats gained more yards in the air than the Washington football team did all of last season.
Though the Phillies offense seems to be clicking after the two losses to the Brewers late last week and the first part of the Marlins games, Manuel is clearly concerned about the team's pitching. The staff's ERA is far and away the worst in the National League and only the Rangers and Yankees have a worse mark in the Majors.
"Looks to me like they are leaving pitches out over the good part of the plate," Manuel said when asked about his staff's troubles.
And by good he meant from a hitter's perspective.
At this point it seems as if the manager has little flexibility in regard to his staff. J.C. Romero is still serving his suspension (he has 32 games to go), Lidge might have a DL stint coming and the starters aren't giving the relievers too many breaks. So far the Phillies are fifth in the league for innings by relievers and 14th in innings pitched by starters.
Unlike with hitters, Manuel can't sit pitchers when they struggle. In fact, it might be the exact opposite – if a pitcher is struggling the manager might opt to get him more work.
You know, depending on the circumstance.
Surely the pitching will be a topic to rear its head again soon…
Not messing around…
Speaking of J.C. Romero, the suspended reliever is not messing around with his law suit against the makers of the supplement 6-OXO Extreme as well as the retailers that sell the product. How so? Consider that he has Howard Jacobs as one of his attorneys.
For anyone who follows cycling, track or doping cases, Howard Jacobs is the go-to name in law. It seems as if he has represented everyone from Tyler Hamilton to Floyd Landis to Marian Jones. If there is one lawyer who knows about the ins and outs of doping tests and drugs in sports, it's Jacobs.
Better yet, Jacobs was a competitive triathlete so he understands all of the aspects of doping and athlete's rights.
The presence of Jacobs on Romero's legal team as well as thoughts from several attorneys weighing in on the case indicates that the pitcher has a strong case.
Still, one lawyer said if the supplement company advertised its product as something that complies with the MLB testing regimen, then yeah, Romero has a case. Otherwise, he might be losing even more cash.