Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Rotation Play

Is the glass half-empty or half-full? (Or: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?) On the injury front, Randy Wolf should come off the DL and start in Boston this weekend, while Vicente Padilla is likely on the shelf for another month or so with triceps tendonitis and a bone bruise. Yes, injuries and rainouts have placed undue stress on the staff, but the fact remains that the Phils' once-proud pitching has slipped to 11th in the National League in ERA and 12th in hits allowed. Jane Conroy of Phanatic Phollow Up has done a nice job lately of supplementing her recaps with some cogent observations, including this zinger from Monday:

"Unless you've worn the uniform you can't understand the ramifications of what this means to our team," manager Larry Bowa has said regarding the pitching woes his team is facing.

I understand, Larry. I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to know that�s a tough position.

Tough or not, the drop-off can't be pegged entirely to external factors. "Ace" Kevin Millwood, for example, hasn't won in more than six weeks, leading the Inky's Jim Salisbury, traveling with the Phillies in Montreal, to file a strongly worded and entirely appropriate piece demanding that he step up and earn the considerable scratch he's being paid:

Millwood has to walk into the Phillies' clubhouse tonight and tell his mates to jump on his back because he's going to show them the way.

Of course, he won't do that. That's not his style. But he can do it in action. ...

Sure, it's still only June. But these are the nights when pitchers earn reputations, and it's time Millwood started reversing the one he's getting in Philadelphia. ...

Whether you're a Millwood fan or not, here's one reality: He's going to be in this rotation for the rest of the season -- next year he'll be someone else's enigma -- and this team is going nowhere if he doesn't start turning things around.

He may be miscast as a No. 1 starter. He may not be worth all that money. But none of that matters right now.

Kevin Millwood needs to start winning ball games, and he needs to start doing it now.

Bingo. I'm told that Millwood is a great guy, which is all well and good, but for 11 million bucks, I think I'd rather have a tool who can win 18 or 20 games. Millwood and the rest of the starters aren't the only culprits in the recent slide. To cite just a couple of relievers, it would be nice, don't you think, if Rheal Cormier and Roberto Hernandez stopped pitching softballs and started getting guys out.

Hmm. Guess I don't feel lucky these days.


At June 23, 2004 at 2:26 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

I keep telling you! Two words: Kevin Dougherty. Call the boy up from Reading and let him try his luck. Can't hurt. And besides, he was a Camden Rivershark, so I can tell everyone, "I saw him when."


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