Hitting Homers, Dropping Like Flies

OK, let’s run through a few things from last night’s 9-4 victory over the Braves:

  • Ryan Howard went 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs. He has six multi-homer games this season, and three of the last five have come against the Braves. After Howard hit .233 (10-for-43) with five doubles, one home run and four RBIs in his first 11 games against the Braves this season, he has hit .647 (11-for-17) with one double, six home runs and 10 RBIs in his last five.
  • The Phillies’ magic number is eight.
  • Kyle Kendrick allowed three hits in four scoreless innings. Kendrick has looked good in his last five appearances (one start). He is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Opponents have hit .231 against him. Five appearances is a small sample size, but if he continues to pitch well, he just might plant a seed in the minds of the Phillies front office as they figure out how to set up their 2010 roster.
  • J.A. Happ said he is fine. He said he never tweaked his right intercostal (rib cage) muscle, which caused him to miss his previous two starts. No tweaks. No pain. No nothing. But Charlie Manuel wasn’t so sure because he said he didn’t see much life on Happ’s ball, particularly in an at-bat against Tim Hudson in the second. That was why Manuel pulled him after the third inning, when he thought Happ tweaked it when he turned to first base on a ground ball to Howard. “He said, ‘I’m telling you, I’m all right,'” Manuel said. “I think he might not have had much pain, but I think he felt something. I’m not sure, so I took him out of the game. We’re short on lefties right now anyway.” The Phillies currently are without left-handers J.C. Romero and Scott Eyre. I think it is safe to say Happ is a good possibility to pitch in the bullpen in the postseason should Romero and Eyre be unavailable.
  • Carlos Ruiz left the game in the sixth inning with a sprained left wrist. He injured it during a play at the plate in the second inning. He said he felt the wrist while he caught, but he mostly felt it when he hit. X-rays were negative, but the feeling from Manuel and Ruiz is that this is not an injury that should force Ruiz to miss an extended period of time. That would be a relief for the Phillies. “It’s a little sore,” Ruiz said. “I’ll see tomorrow how it feels, if I’m OK. If not tomorrow, maybe Sunday.”
  • Howard got hit with a pitch on the right forearm in the eighth inning. It hit him in the exact spot where he got hit with a pitch Thursday against the Nationals. “He ain’t dead by a long shot,” Manuel said. “If I had arms that big a baseball wouldn’t hurt me.” Of course, when you’re hit with a 95 mph fastball, you still feel it. “It’s a little extra sore today. A little extra stiff,” Howard said. “Hopefully in a couple days it will be all right. I’m going to be stiff and sore tomorrow. We’ll wait tomorrow and see how it feels.”


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I’m so happy that Ruiz isnt seriously injured. I really like Ruiz, hes one of the most underrated catchers in the league. Good defense, calls a good game and not to mention his good OBP.

I can’t help but shake my head in wonder when I read comments like “If I had arms that big a baseball wouldn’t hurt me.” That’s Charlie’s old-school countryboy thinking coming through. It hurts like Hell, Charlie no matter how big you are.

What is the origin of the “Big Piece” nickname? First reference I could find to it was back in August, but not sure why Charlie named him that. Piece of what? In August, I guess it was “Piece of Awesome”.

I’m still trying to figure out how Bako was an upgrade over Coste. He can’t hit, plays lousy defense and has no arm. Other than that, he’s fine. Maybe Rube’s only mistake of the year.

I believe that “Big Piece” refers to piece as in piece of the puzzle. Without the “Big Piece”, you cannot fillout the edges.

“big piece” could also refer to the big part of a machine or engine, which seems more likely if Charlie turns out to be a redneck. lol

Pedro’s fastball never touched 90 mph. But I think the biggest problem was Bako catching and calling the pitches. The more this guy plays, the more all of wonder: Why the #@%* did the Phils get rid of “fan-favorite” Chris Coste in order to keep this guy? As I was writing this, Bako made an error leading to the Braves’ 4th run. He can’t hit, field, call a good game or throw. I left out the fact that he can’t base-run because frankly he’s hardly ever on base.

Charlie first mentioned the “Big Piece” nickname in New York from what I recall, although I could be wrong. I’m not sure anything more than that. Charlie has a lot of names for a lot of people. Every once in a while he’ll see me and say, “How ’bout Zolecki … the Wisconsin Flash?” It’s just stuff that he says, but Howard seems to get a kick out of being called the Big Piece.

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