Monday, July 2, 2012

1997 Select #199 Garrett Stephenson

Marlins 5, Phillies 2
Game 81 - Sunday Afternoon, July 1st in Miami
Record - 36-45, 5th Place, 11 games behind the Nationals

One Sentence Summary:  The bats went quiet in Miami as the Marlins won the game, 5-2, sweeping the three-game series.

What It Means:  At the mathematical mid-point of the season, the 2012 Phillies haven't had a record this bad since they were 23-58 in 1997.  Also, it's the first time they've been nine games under .500 since back on July 25, 2006.  With both Jim Thome (Orioles) and Chad Qualls (dealt to the Yankees yesterday) wearing different uniforms now, it's starting to look more and more as if more trades could be on the way.  Free agents-to-be Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino may be playing elsewhere this time next month.  This is getting depressing.

What Went Wrong:  Joe Blanton gave up his league leading 19th home run in the third and the Marlins two-run lead at that point may have well have been a 20-run lead.  The Phillies managed seven hits off Marlins pitching on the way to getting swept out of town.

Credit is due to Juan Pierre who seemed to be the only player showing signs of life.  He had a nice outfield assist, a great slide at home to score the Phillies first run, and he laid down a perfect bunt single.

Featured Card:  It's bad, but at least it's not as bad as 1997.  Here's the Philadelphia Inquirer article following the team's 10-6 loss to the Orioles back on July 2, 1997.  Garrett Stephenson started that game, but had to leave after five innings after giving up four hits and six walks.  For the '97 squad, it would be another four years before the Phillies were at least competitive again.  Hopefully we don't have to wait that long this time around.


Steve F. said...

I would argue it may be worse than in 1997--the Phils were 17th in payroll then, at $35 million. They also ended us at 68-94 that season, while they are currently on a 70-92 pace. The extra $139 million payroll, even with inflation, should buy the team more than two additional wins!

Jim from Downingtown said...

I was going to say this to Rob Ellis, but I was on hold for so long that I hung up. So' I'll use your forum:

There's plenty of blame to go around:

1. For the disaster that is the non-Papelbon part of the bullpen.
2. For not signing a legitimate replacement for Ryan Howard. A major-league GM should not have been duped into thinking that someone who ruptures their Achillies tendon in October will be ready to go in "April/May/June" (take your pick).
3. Amaro is to blame for not staying on top of Utley's condition in the off-season. All this baloney during spring training that "he will be ready to go when the bell rings" was an insult to the fans.
4. He should have picked up a replacement for Polanco. The fans knew Polly was done, why didn't Amaro? Even if he was improved over last year, you can't count on him for a full season. (Getting a power bat at 3B would allow Polanco to hold down 2B while Utley was out.)

(Where do I start?)
1. Cholly is FULLY to blame for the lackadaisical attitude that has infected this team. The injuries to Howard & Utley should not be an excuse for the rest of the MAJOR-LEAGUE PLAYERS on this roster to settle back into a comfort zone and kill time until Howard & Utley return. Winning teams FIND WAYS TO WIN, and have people who STEP UP to fill in when others go down. Other than Chooch and Hamels, nobody has done that.
2. It's been said over the past few years that even though admittedly Charlie's is not a good stategist, and makes poor in-game decisions, his strength is that his players like to play for him. THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED THIS YEAR (Rollins, Victorino!) As such, there
s really no reason to keep him around. The only remaining useful purpose he can serve is as a kick in the pants to the players once he is inevitably fired. Might as well get to that ASAP.

Steve F. said...

Amen to all of that, Jim!

Here's a post I sent to some friends and also posted on Larry Shenk's blog (with no comment back from Larry--but he'll probably block me from future posts...):

In honor of this team having the worst first-half start since 1997, I present to you the 1997 Phillies:

The Phils ended that season at 68-94 (.419 winning percentage); this year the pace is 72-90, so 2 games better.

1997 rotation was:

- Curt Schilling (who had an awesome year, 17-11, 2.97 ERA, 319 Ks in 254.1 innings)
- Mark Leiter (10-17, 5.67 ERA)
- Matt Beech (4-9, 5.07 ERA)
- Garrett Stephenson (8-6, 3.15 ERA)
- split between Tyler Green (4-4, 4.93 ERA) and Calvin Maduro (3-7, 7.23 ERA)

The closer was Ricky Bo, with 34 saves and a 3.65 ERA. Only 5 of the 23 pitchers had an ERA below league average--Schilling, Stephenson, Bottalicom Mike Grace (just 6 games) and Billy Brewer (just 22 innings).

Starting lineup was:

C - Lieberthal
1B - Brogna
2B - Morandini
SS - Stocker
3B - Rolen
LF - Jefferies
CF - Cummings
RF - Daulton

Every starter's OPS was below league average except Daulton (.860), Rolen (.846) and Cummings (.802). Every other offensive player had a below-league-average OPS except Billy McMillon (72 ABs) and Bobby "Juicer" Estalella (29 ABs).

During the season, (a) J.D. Drew was drafted and rebuffed the Phillies' offer, and (b) Richie Ashburn died.

Enjoy the memories as you watch this year's team go down the toilet!

P.S. That year's total team salary was $35.5 million, 17th highest in the majors. This year's is $174.5 million, 2nd highest in the majors.

Jim said...

You both are seriously depressing me.