Posts for cliff

Cliff Lee and His Kids Pledge Allegiance to the National League All-Star Team [sic]

Kyle Scott - July 3, 2012

I can’t tell you how much it injures my soul to watch this MLB Fan Cave-staged promo video of an increasingly maligned Cliff Lee (and his cute kids) awkwardly pledging his allegiance to the All-Star team he’s not on. But hey, at least Jackson is optimistic about the Phillies’ chances: “Because my dad likes home field advantage.”

Let’s start with a win, little guy.

Cliff Lee Looking For His First Win Tonight: A Meme

Kyle Scott - June 29, 2012

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via (@MLBMemes)

Morning Wood: Misguided

Kyle Scott - June 29, 2012

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Sixers Draft

The Sixers drafted St. John's freshman Maurice Harkless last night. Like any 15th overall selection, he’s talented enough to have a high-upside, but has enough question marks (in this case, strength and shooting) to not warrant a top-ten pick. That’s fine. But what’s not fine is the fact that THE SIXERS KEEP DRAFTING THE SAME PLAYER. Stop me if you’ve heard of these guys before– Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner. All at various points in their careers, those three players all play that swingy, 2-to-3 position, which is exactly what Harkless projects to be: a small forward.

For once, I agree with what John Smallwood wrote this morning: [Philly.com

I admit, I was confused by the Harkless pick. The scouting skinny on Harkless is that he is great athlete, attacks the rim and is great in the open court. His weaknesses include an inconsistent perimeter shot and some issues with ballhandling.

I was seeing not only Young, but also Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner.

Even with Thorn talking about Harkless' "growth plate" and saying that he might eventually be able to play power forward, his selection alone raised more questions than answers.

Legitimate big men were still on the board when the Sixers picked, including North Carolina power forward Tyler Zeller (7 feet, 250), St. Bonaventure power forward Andrew Nicholson (6-9, 240), Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger (6-9, 280), and Syracuse center Fab Melo (7 feet, 274). All seemed better suited to fill an immediate need for the Sixers.

 

That was quite similar to what CBS Sports NBA writer Matt Moore wrote: [CBSSports.com]

This was somewhat baffling because the Sixers have guys at his position — Andre Iguodala andThaddeus Young. Harkless is young and will take some time to develop, but he's got a chance to be a quality starter in the league. He's long, rebounds well and can also get to the basket and finish. He can be brought along slowly, but the reward could be tremendous.

 

CSN’s John Gonzalez? Same thing: [CSNPhilly.com] 

If you’re wondering why the Sixers, a team that already has a few tweeners in the 6-6 to 6-9 height range (among them Andre Iguodala, Thad Young and Evan Turner), you aren’t alone. Unless, that is, you have a cushy national TV gig, at which point you evidently loved the pick. When the selection was made, one of the ESPN talking heads said the Sixers needed to “get better inside” and “they did that tonight.” 

 

I suspect you can find similar reviews everywhere. Now, if the Sixers have a move up their sleeve, one that will get rid of one of their swing players and land a legitimate big man or a top-flight guard (which neither Turner nor Jrue Holiday are at this point), then we’ll change our tune. For now, though? Why?

Doug Collins tried to answer that question in an email sent by the team, calling Harkless: A terrific athlete with tremendous upside.

Stop the music, stop it right now. A mid-first round NBA draft pick that’s athletic and has upside?! Someone call Jay Bilas. He needs to see this.

The Sixers also traded for the Heat's 27th pick, Arnett Moultrie. In the second round, they added some monster from the Republic of Georgia that no one has ever heard of.

The guy from the Delco Times sort of liked the move for Moultrie: [Delco Times]

The Sixers handed over one of their second-round picks and a promissory note for a perfectly non-lottery first-round selection next year. Miami, meanwhile, selected Mississippi State power forward Arnett Moultrie — at 6-11, a true low-post player and physical force — when he dropped to No. 27 and passed him along to the Sixers.

It was precisely what the Sixers needed as they ready themselves for the July 1 start of free agency. At the moment they have eight players under contract: the two rookies, Young, Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Elton Brand and Nick Vucevic. They are confident they will get something done with Lavoy Allen. That’s nine.

 

We'll see.

 

Staff Infection

No sense in talking about the Phillies other than listing the pitchers that have have taken the mound in the last two days: Kyle Kendrick, Brian Sanches, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes, Joe Savery, Michael Schwimer, Jake Diekman, Chad Qualls and Antonio Bastardo.

Are you still wondering why 11 runs in two games weren’t enough for a win?

Cliff Lee pitches tonight, and it would be really swell if he could find some consistency and make that $125 million contract worth it for the top-heavy, over-relying on five guys, no-depth, mis-transacted and poorly constructed Phillies.

 

Homer’s Gun

NHL free agency begins on Sunday, and Paul Holmgren is likely going to hurt himself or someone else. Our running commentary will pick up once Sunday rolls around. We probably jumped the gun a bit on putting in live on Tuesday, but we’ll feature it once things pick up.

 

Quizzo

Congrats to My Couch Pulls Out… I Don’t on their Will Ferrell quizzo victory last night at Drinker’s:

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Cliff Lee was Not Happy with Attempts to Play Last Night’s Postponed Game

Kyle Scott - June 23, 2012

image from mobilwi.typepad.com
Photo from last year

Roy Oswalt now has exactly one more win than Cliff Lee this season.

Lee, who was scheduled to pitch last night before a nearly three-hour rain delay ruined his (and the fans’) evening, was not happy with the decision to not call the game earlier, calling it "a major mistake."

Here’s what he told reporters this afternoon: 

"I could have had my son look at the radar and he could have told me it was going to rain."

 

The radar when Lee warmed up at around 8:30 p.m.:

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Ollie?

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Rabble Rousing! New York Post Thinks Phillies Should Trade Cliff Lee to Yankees

Kyle Scott - June 18, 2012

Oh, the New York Post– society’s rabble rouser. 

While we enjoy the tabloidy nature of NY’s third newspaper (pot, kettle), sometimes they can go trolling a bit too hard trying to create a story where there is none.

And such was the job done today by columnist Joel Sherman, who hypothtisiziseidseided that the Phillies trading Cliff Lee to the Yankees would make sense:

The Phils are in a tough spot. They are in the midst of the best stretch in team history (five straight division titles, two pennants, one title). They want to honor that run and the full houses they get each game at Citizens Bank Park by continuing to go for it. But to get there they have had to strip their farm system while elevating the age of their major league roster. They need a mechanism to get younger while still contending.

They could contend without Lee if Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Halladay get healthy/productive (remember, they won it all in 2008 with just one unquestioned ace in Hamels). And they can’t win even with Lee if that trio does not rediscover close to their peak form. But either way the Phillies would be best served with an injection of talented youth that Lee could bring in a trade.

His expense might scare away some teams, and he has been on the disabled list in each of the last two seasons for abdominal/oblique injuries. But he is 33, not 38. He’s proven he can thrive in both leagues, a tough market and the playoffs.

 

None of his points are even close to wrong and, honestly, I agree with everything he wrote. But this is the way trade rumors get started. It goes from this would be a good move to hey, are the Phillies trading Lee to the Yankees? to the Yankees are about to get Lee… all because a columnist was having a slow day…

Hmm.

Actually, yeah, let’s talk about this.

The fact that we’re here – seriously entertaining the notion of trading Lee – is a bit sad. When Lee signed with the Phillies in 2010, my initial reaction – if even for just a split second – was oh my God, where are they getting this money? That was quickly replaced by fuck yes! and me almost breaking my ankle jumping up from my computer (really).

And, after that, we all celebrated the deal for the next 10 months until Lee blew a 4-0 lead to the Cardinals.

image from mobilwi.typepad.com

Every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction, some dude once said. And that’s often the case when sports teams experience an embarrassment of riches. The tide quickly shifts from fortune to misfortune. The Phillies had two, maybe three years to make the pitching thing work. But Roy Oswalt quickly becoming old, injuries to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay, and Ruben Amaro’s inability to assemble a balanced baseball team have put the Phillies in an unfortunate position earlier than they expected: Their window is dangerously close to slamming shut, the master plan seems to be ruined after Year 1, and huge contracts to Lee and Howard likely mean that they can’t re-sign Cole Hamels.

So here we are, talking about trading Lee, who, just over a year ago, was to go down as the most beloved athlete in the city’s history. The sad part is almost none of this is his fault. Sure, he’s hocked up a few leads, but he’s mostly pitched well, often streaming excellence for four or five starts at a time. He makes a lot of money, though (less than he would have made elsewhere…), and it would probably make sense for the Phillies to free up that money to sign Hamels, a pitcher who is five years younger and just now entering the point of his career that saw a guy like Lee win a Cy Young and dominate two postseasons.

Of course, if the Phillies weren’t 900 games out of first right now, we wouldn’t care about those things. 

Your thoughts?

Morning Wood: Cock Block

Kyle Scott - June 6, 2012

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And we’re fucked. 

Cliff Lee once again took the mound in June – a month in which he won five games last year – and, once again, he was excellent. 

7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 12 K, 1 BB 

His pitch chart? Special:

Lee_pitch_chart

At one point, Lee struck out seven out of nine batters, part of a stretch from the fourth to seventh inning in which he struck out nine of 12 (video here– for real, you should watch it). At some point, I went upstairs for a moment and noticed that my Lee bobblehead, which had just been added to the collection of injured misfits in my office, was bobbling. Here’s the problem: no one had been in the room for about three hours. There was a puddle of urine on my desk, meaning either a squirrel got into the room or the figure had pissed excellence all over my office. I wasn’t sure what to make of this, but something magical was happening and I wasn’t going to mess with it. I shut the door and went back downstairs.

It didn’t matter, though. Lee ran out of steam (stream?) and gave up a two-run double to Jackie Robinson lookalike Elian Herrera in the eighth. Juan Pierre could have caught the ball on what would have been a spectacular play, but his glove was two feet right of the mark, like a blind guy playing Pin The Tail On The Donkey. And in this scenario, it was Lee who the Phillies made an ass out of. He remains winless and became the first pitcher to lose despite throwing 92 strikes since Aaron Harang in 2007. 

I hate this team. 

 

Legless Phillies 

Both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will play in an extended spring training game in Clearwater today. During last night’s broadcast, Tom McCarthy, a Phillies employee, read a promo for CSN employee Jim Salisbury’s coverage of the rehab event. The Phillies going out of their way to mention both the injury and where to get information seems like a direct response to the all-out assault on the team’s transparency launched by the Inquirer a few weeks back. Good news? The team seems to be more forthcoming. Bad news (for your paper of record)? CSN is the one benefitting. 

 

Lousy Ledes

The Inquirer's Matt Gelb spun an anecdote about Lee winning a chess match against Pete Orr into a joke about how he hasn't won a baseball game: [Philly.com]

But on Monday, Cliff Lee challenged Orr after his regular match with Pence. The two moved the table to the center of the room and played. "He always kills me," Orr said.

A few minutes later, Orr spiked an empty paper cup. Victory came quickly for Lee, meaning he had won a game of chess in 2012 before winning a game of baseball.

 

Zing.

 

Fun with Wiki 

Someone messed with triple-A call-up umpire D.J. Reyburn’s Wikipedia page: 

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Pic via reader Ian

Reyburn, of course, is the guy Jonathan Papelbon thinks should be fired.

 

Dom Brown

Call him, maybe?

[Brown has] hit .415 (17-for-41) over his last 10 games, with two doubles, four homers, six RBI and 13 runs scored, to push his average to .282.

 

Can't be worse than what Charlie had available in the… 

 

Ninth inning 

With one out in the ninth, the following players (options) stood between the Dodgers and victory: Placido Polanco, Ty Wigginton, Mike Fucking Fontenot, John Mayberry Jr., and Freddy Galvis. 

I hate this team.

This Guy Can’t Understand Why Cliff Lee is More Popular Than Ilya Bryzgalov

Kyle Scott - May 31, 2012

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Email from reader Michael:

I've got a question for you, Kyle. Seeing as you are probably the biggest Cliff Lee nut hugger out there, while simultaneously pointing out each and every one of Bryzgalov's shortcomings, I'd like to know something…

Riddle me this, riddle me that, why does Cliff Lee continuously get a free pass, while Bryzgalov continuously gets the shaft? 

Let me be the first to admit that I love Cliff Lee. But let's face it, besides a solid run in the '09 playoffs and an impressive shutout streak, Cliff Lee hasn't really done anything spectacular while being a Phillie even though he gets paid money by the boatload. I believe he is set make $21.5 million this year (roughly 14% of the Phillies 2012 payroll) and has yet to win a single game. Granted, he's pitched well enough to win some of his starts but his team hasn't produced runs that well when he pitches. Perhaps most important though, one could easily argue that he actually cost the Phillies the series against the Cardinals last year when he blew a 4 run lead.

Let's see how that compares to Bryzgalov…

Let me be the first to admit that I am a big fan of Bryzgalov's, who is praying that typical Philly douchebags (see: YOU) don't run him out of town before he reaches his potential in the orange and black. However, other than a franchise record shutout streak and single-handedly carrying the Flyers through March, the rest of Bryzgalov's first year as a Flyer was rather unremarkable. His GAA and Save Percentage weren't bad but weren't great either, yet still managed to stack an impressive amount of wins. Monetarily speaking, compared to Cliff Lee, Bryzgalov made $10 million this year (Roughly 16% of the Flyers 2011-12 payroll). Some of the games he played like dirt and the Flyers lost. Yet some of the games (especially the playoffs) he played well enough to win but his team let him down with defensive mishaps and  lazy, uninspired play, but regardless, I don't think anyone can blame the Flyers' early exit on Bryzgalov.

 So why does Cliff Lee get a free pass?

 

This nonsense doesn’t even deserve a response… but I gave it a line-by-line breakdown, for your grammatical entertainment. Step over the jump with me, won’t you?

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Morning Wood: Pinching Chooch

Kyle Scott - May 31, 2012

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He's… so happy

How about a game where delightfully fat and slightly injured Chooch hits a two-run, pinch-hit, game-tying bomb in the hell hole known as Flushing, New York?

Sign me up!

Carlos Ruiz’s two-run blast in the top of the seventh tied last night's game at 3-3 and prevented Cliff Lee from being eligible for yet another loss. The Phillies would explode for seven more runs on their way to a 10-6 victory against the Metropolitans.

Carlos, predictably, was so happy: [Phillies.com

"I'm so happy to have that big home run right there. I was trying to get at least a base hit to get the inning going. I got a good pitch to hit and made a good swing."

 

Charlie Manuel, predictably, knew his pinch-hitter would come up big: 

"I had a feeling he was going to get a knock," Manuel said. "That's why I put him up there."

 

Cliff Lee, predictably, and like Roy Halladay, thinks Chooch is the best player on the team right now: 

"He's a great player, and he's proven it day in and day out," Lee said of Ruiz. "He's been a great catcher ever since I've been involved with him, and now he's starting to prove it even more with the bat. It just shows how complete of a player he is. He's our best player right now and has been the whole time."

 

The Amaro Lies

Ruben Amaro, who back in February classified Ryan Howard’s second surgery as not a setback, tells CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury that The Big Piece probably won’t be back in June:

Amaro was asked if he believed Howard could be back before the end of June.

“I don’t believe so,” he said. “I don’t think so.”

Could Howard be back by the All-Star break?

“I don’t know,” Amaro said.

 

Howard actually had muscle removed during his surgery, something that was just revealed by the team last week following an all-out assault on their transparency from the Inquirer. 

Lies.

Now on to Halladay…  

Doc saw another doctor yesterday in New York– Dr. David Altchek, who performed surprise Tommy John surgery on Twin Scott Baker. There’s no indication that anything is wrong with Halladay’s elbow… but there are a number of odd occurrences involving Doc since March that make us uneasy:

Decreased velocity in spring training, denies injury.

Leaves team after poor outing – in which he once again looked overheated – for “personal family issue,” returns next day. 

Wild rumors pop up about Doc’s health as people speculate what’s wrong and why he left team.

More bad starts.

Shoulder soreness, pulled from start. 

Lat strain, out 6-8 weeks.

Second opinion, will speak with media on Friday, likely in a secret, staged meeting by Phillies PR gestapo. 

Does this worry anyone else, or is it just me? 

Beer

A mobile-friendly link to the CBP beer guide.

The Rapists for 100, Alex

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The serial rapist in the Northeast looks an awful lot like Shane Victorino, as pointed out by reader Emily. We're told it was Cliff Lee who gave a description to sketch artists.

Old Balls

Jamie Moyer was DFA'd.

Mermaids

Finally, the mermaid of John Mayberry Jr.’s affection, actress Antoinette Nikprelaj, is in a Carl’s Jr. ad, as pointed out by reader Ray.

I bet John wishes she was biting into his meat. What, too graphic?