Happy Canada Day. We have are hosting a weekend series with Doc and the Phillies, starting today. I sent off some questions to Whole Camels from The Good Plight, SB Nations Philadelphia Phillies blog.
I'd ask about Doc, but it makes me said to think about him. Want to say thank you to us for giving him to you?
Yeah, good stuff, but you might want to thank Alex Anthopoulos, who managed to wrangle just about the same package out of the Phillies in December 2009 as Ruben Amaro, Jr. was willing to give up the previous July. Between that and the Vernon Wells deal, I'm pretty sure your GM is a Jedi Knight.
Who is your closer? Do you have confidence in him and the other pitchers at the back end of the bullpen?
If you haven't noticed, the Phillies bullpen has been a disaster of injuries this season, if not poor performance. The current primary "closer" is Antonio Bastardo, a 25 year old lefty from the Dominican Republic and owner of my favorite name in professional sports. Bastardo has swing-and-miss stuff and can get both righties and lefties out. While there are some troubling bits of data underlying his otherwise sterling performance and sub-1.00 ERA so far in 2011, overall he's been one of the real nice surprises of the season.
Still, I'd rather have a healthy Ryan Madson back ASAP.
Who is your first half offensive MVP?
Center fielder Shane Victorino, and it's not even close. .291/.357/.508, nine HRs, 12-for-13 in stolen bases. Kind of says a lot about how much this team has changed over the past two seasons.
Who replaced Jason Werth in your line up? I guess you must be enjoying his poor first half.
At various times, combinations of Ben Francisco, Domonic Brown, and John Mayberry, Jr.
I've been OK with Jayson Werth and his departure. I understood that he was entitled to a big payday and that the Phillies likely weren't going to be the team to give it to him. I kind of wish him the best, but I'm afraid of what the Washington Nationals could become in a couple years.
What do Phillies fans think of Charlie Manuel? What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Winning the Series in 2008 was a big cleanser for Charlie's rep. He struggles with a lot of things like bullpen management and pinch-hitter deployment, but I think you can say similar things about most managers. Year in and year out, I believe that he oversees one of the best clubhouses in baseball, which is something that we as fans aren't privy to on a daily basis, but is something that is extremely important.
Domonic Brown isn't tearing up the league, he's one that a lot of Jays fans were hoping we'd get for Halladay. are you worried about him?
We wrote about this briefly earlier this week. Brown has been the victim of some very bad luck on balls in play, something that will likely balance out as the season progresses. The underlying numbers are fine. Sure he could be doing better, but for a guy in his first full season, you give him some slack.
Anything else we should know about the Phillies?
Obviously, this is a pitching-oriented team. The offense can be pretty easily held down by decent pitching. Against Doc and Cliff Lee, you want to hope for a few quick runs and then a good outing from your own starter. This team doesn't play on artificial turf very often, which may play into the style of play of guys like Victorino and Jimmy Rollins, but Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard could have a real adventure at Rogers Centre.