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Watch Nick Williams Take a Baseball to the Face

BWanksCB - June 19, 2018

Nick Pivetta struck out a career-high 13 (13!) St. Louis batters. The Phillies bullpen once again filled me with rage and woe. They still won anyway.

But the big story of a dramatic walk-off win was that for the second time this season a baseball wrecked the face of a Phillies player. This time the victim was right fielder Nick Williams:

Williams had to exit the game because he is merely a baseball player:

An absolutely great point right here. Williams gets a 2 out of 10 on the grit scale for leaving the game. Points for bleeding, but this wasn’t a very Philly thing of him to do–he most certainly does NOT bring his lunch pail to work. He should have gone to the clubhouse, gotten stitched up, and later returned to a game that doesn’t permit re-entry. A valid comparison of two completely similar situations, for sure.

Anyway, Williams indicated after the game that he didn’t believe the injury was serious:

The Phillies Have Optioned Hector Neris To Lehigh Valley

BWanksCB - June 18, 2018

Some news regarding Phillies relief pitcher Hector Neris before the team opens up a three-game set against the Cardinals tonight at Citizens Bank Park:

There’s little mystery why Neris has posted 6.00 ERA in 30 appearances this season. Opponents are hitting .284 off of him while posting a robust .935 OPS. According to Statcast, his hard hit rate has risen from 33.2% a year ago to 40.5% this season. In other words, he’s been awful.

He worked a clean final frame on Saturday afternoon to earn his first save since May 21, but was absolutely blitzed by the Brewers’ offense yesterday afternoon. He was twice taken deep during a ninth inning that saw him allow four hits and four earned runs on his way to nearly blowing a 10-5 lead. He was mercifully yanked by Gabe Kapler before Jake Thompson entered to record the game’s final out.

The 29-year-old struggled from the jump this season. He allowed a walk-off three-run homer in the ninth to Atlanta’s Nick Markakis on Opening Day and has yet to recover. While his 11.67 K/9 this season is a career best, Neris has struggled to keep the ball in the yard. He’s allowed eight home runs in 27 innings of work. By comparison, he allowed only nine home runs in 72 innings a season ago.

Davis, a 25-year-old left-handed pitcher, posted a 2.43 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 0.91 WHIP in 29.2 IP with the Iron Pigs this season.

A Brewers Pitcher Puked (Twice), Then His Team Almost Rallied

BWanksCB - June 17, 2018

You know, they say whenever you head out to the old ball yard that you might just see something you have never seen before. Like, for example, the Phillies’ offense scoring 10 runs.

I kid.

But you probably haven’t seen anything like what happened to Brewers’ reliever Adrian Houser during the seventh inning of the Phillies’ 10-9 win on Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee:

While Houser, who was recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, did in fact puke, he did not rally. Video of his eventful 7th inning after the jump. Continue Reading

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Buying An Eagles Super Bowl Ring Is Completely Impractical But I Kind Of Want One Anyway

BWanksCB - June 15, 2018

Some questions this morning after the Eagles received their Super Bowl rings last night. Did they completely crush the design? Yes. Do I kind of want one? Also yes.

The 127 glorious diamonds that represent the combined numbers of Corey Clement, Trey Burton, and Nick Foles–the three players who touched the ball on the Philly Special–are absolutely magnificent. The engraved underdog mask? It speaks to me. The detail. The gaudiness. The PIZZAZZ!

Some more questions.

Did I do anything in any way, shape, or form to earn this ring? No. Do I have $11,127 to spend on a ring that I did absolutely nothing in any way, shape, or form to earn? Absolutely not. If I had the money, would it make me an asshole if I bought one? Not any more of one than I already am.

If you are very much unlike me and have the ability to flush what essentially amounts to two months of my total gross income, while also sharing my total lack of hesitation about purchasing something so completely impractical, you can click this link to customize and buy one of a very limited number of Eagles Super Bowl rings.

I know someone who wants one:

Of Course Major League Baseball Wants To Scrub This Mets Video

BWanksCB - June 15, 2018

It’s no secret that Major League Baseball is concerned about its future growth potential and its ability to connect with younger demographics. Increased strikeout rates and shifts have dulled on-field action and despite efforts to increase pace of play, it still very much remains an issue, so much so that it was one of several items discussed at this week’s owners’ meetings.

Despite this, I would argue that the league’s biggest obstacle in resonating with younger sports fans is itself. For instance, it is a GIFT when a fascinating two-year-old video mysteriously surfaces on social media of a manager losing his fucking mind at an umpire after a failed retaliation. This here is a gift:

You probably know by now that Chase Utley blew up the leg of Mets infielder Ruben Tejada during the 2015 MLB postseason. Utley was initially suspended for two games, but that ruling was later overturned on appeal, and the Mets decided to take matters into their own hands. That’s INTERESTING. There’s profanity. There’s emotion. There’s intrigue. Moreover, there’s an authenticity to the video that unveils the game’s unspoken codes and unwritten rules and makes them lucid to the average consumer.

Baseball should want this. The video even makes former Mets manager Terry Collins, who has the likability of a wasp, seem somewhat favorable. So, of course, it’s no surprise that the league is apparently working to scrub the video from the internet. From Philly.com:

Manfred also told the New York Post he was “disappointed” that the audio was leaked, and that it was important for the league to figure out how it ended up on social media.

“Getting angry about that, there’s not really much of a point in that,” Manfred said. “I think it’s more important that we make clear to our employees that we’re doing everything possible to live up to our agreement, and that we figure out how it happened so it doesn’t happen again.”

Yeah, definitely wouldn’t want a compelling video that generates some fun buzz around the game floating around out there. That’s about right.

No, Gabe Kapler Getting Angry Won’t Magically Make the Phillies Hit

BWanksCB - June 14, 2018

The Phillies are hitting .228 as a team through 65 games, which is the fourth-worst mark in all of baseball. Their .690 OPS ranks 25th out of 30 teams and is 24 points below the National League average. Several of the lineup’s young hitters have struggled to meet expectations or replicate the burst of success they experienced late last season. They are not generating enough offense to give themselves a realistic chance to survive what has been thus far a miserable month, and Gabe Kapler acknowledged as much after his team’s offense was mostly silenced over seven innings by Rockies starter Tyler Anderson in a listless 7-2 defeat last night:

There’s no disputing that our offense is not clicking. It’s very clear that we’re not getting a lot of hits. It’s very clear that we’re not scoring a lot of runs. It’s very clear that earlier in the season we were working deeper counts. We were just having better all-around at-bats. I don’t know if me getting frustrated will be helpful for our hitters. I’m not going to display frustration to them.

Nor should he. The recent chatter on sports talk radio from hosts and callers centers around a shared frustration about Kapler’s overly optimistic post game press conferences that routinely feature him pissing positive all over a group of savvy baseball writers and sports media that know better:

I totally get this sentiment. Check my Twitter feed during games. I want to fight my television screen on a nightly basis. There’s at least even odds I’m going to put my fist through it in the next two weeks because the Phillies blow right now, and what’s more, they an absolutely brutal product to watch. They are 3-8 in June, have one everyday player hitting over .260 in Odubel Herrera, a player who also happens to be mired in a hideous three-week slump that has precipitated a nearly 80-point plummet from what was not so long ago his sterling batting average. As a team, this offense has only cracked five runs more than once this month, and there are growing concerns that there is no end to these struggles in sight. With that said, what’s Kapler supposed to do?

Will screaming at Scott Kingery raise his .597 OPS? Will expressing public disappointment with Aaron Altherr alter his .183 batting average? Will going on a tirade in the middle of the clubhouse like Lou Brown did in Major League II make Odubel Herrera stop striking out in 31% of his at bats the way he has since May 20?


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There is no Easy Fix for the Phillies’ Bullpen Woes

BWanksCB - June 13, 2018

I would imagine that Gabe Kapler knows there are few, if any, absolute truths when it comes to the strategical principles of baseball. If every manager followed the same set of guidelines and did the same things in the same situations, and they did these things every single time these situations occurred, there would be no need to have a manager at all. Players could just look at a chart and know exactly what to do next. Historically, I’m sure there have been several managers who didn’t stay managers for very long because that’s exactly what they did.

I think we often take for granted just how hard it probably is to be, for the lack of a better adjective, a “good” manager. Think about it. Theoretically, a “good” manager must empathize with his players by understanding what makes them tick on a personal level. A “good” manager has to know his players’ physical and mental strengths and weaknesses, and he has to understand what will be needed in order to develop and maintain the trust and respect of his team. A “good” manager will consistently do these things while also demonstrating the ability to process information on the fly in order to maximize the athletic output of his players in a volatile setting that is riddled with a wide-ranging set of variables.

In other words, this shit is probably much more difficult than it seems.

Those who think about baseball strategy by using a constrained set of restrictive guidelines aren’t thinking about baseball proficiently. The game has evolved, and as recent history shows, the organizations that have embraced a willingness to adapt have had a great deal of success. To that end, those who steadfastly cling to the dated belief that all relief pitchers must be utilized in defined roles are restricting their thinking to a false thesis. Historically, many teams have used a structured bullpen blueprint to close out games with regularity, but taking the more progressive approach of examining matchups while simultaneously utilizing the best relievers in the highest leverage situations has also proven to be an effective strategy for certain teams.

With that, Kapler surely recognizes his bullpen last night almost once again choked away in the ninth inning what looked to be a low-stress win over Colarado. Low-stress it was not:

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This Old Video of the Mets Going After Chase Utley and Losing Their Cool is a Must-See

BWanksCB - June 12, 2018

You probably remember this Chase Utley slide during the 2015 MLB postseason that cracked the fibula of former New York Mets infielder Ruben Tejada:

Utley was initially suspended for two games for the slide, reenacted here in the MLB Network studios:

They pretty much nailed it.

The suspension was eventually overturned by Major League Baseball the following spring after Utley appealed, and, as you can imagine, the Mets were less than thrilled with that development.

Fast forward to late May of 2016 when the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard was ejected after uncorking a 99 mph fastball that sailed nearly a foot behind Utley. A video accompanied by full audio of the incident emerged on Twitter tonight, and, I have to say, it’s awesome. Check it out after the jump: Continue Reading

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