You asked me questions on Twitter. And I shall answer them.

24 Comments

Q: Not a question, I just wanted to thank you for running the best Phillies blog on the web. Kudos!

Not sure if that’s a compliment or not. But I get it.

Q: A Wonder Woman movie seems inevitable. I would bet they would pick Angelina Jolie. Your preference?

No way it’s Jolie. Hollywood is all about creating multi-film franchises right now and that means a commitment of years. Jolie is (a) too big a star to commit to that; and (b) is, by Hollywood’s farkakte standards anyway, too old to be the lead in that kind of franchise for the next six or seven years.  If it’s me I go with Allison Brie. And I’m not just saying that because I’m madly in love with her.  OK, maybe I am.

Q: Would Adam Dunn strike out in tee ball?

No tee ball coach worth a damn would give him a chance to try at the moment.

Q: What would you do if you were the catcher and Aquaman clapped after homering?

I’d check my SCUBA gear to make sure I still had enough oxygen to get through the rest of the game. I mean, this game is happening on the ocean floor, right? The only place where Aquaman is worth a tinker’s damn?

Q:  For one day: Oscar Gamble’s hair (w/ required comically small looking ball cap) or a sleeveless uniform with Big Klu’s guns?  Or other?

For me?  I’d go with Gamble’s hair.  There are all kinds of big-armed dudes in baseball nowadays. If you bring the natural like Gamble did, people would take notice. Just ask Coco Crisp. He did it for, like, two days earlier this year and everyone went crazy.

Q: If you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, do they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does?

I’m sick of these conventional marriages. One woman and one man was good enough for your grandmother, but who wants to marry your grandmother? Nobody, not even your grandfather.

Q: If you were in the Evil League of Evil, what would you call yourself? What would your catch phrase be?

Dr. something or other. Not quite sure. But I’d definitely be a doctor. My catchphrase would be the “Oww!” from the beginning of Cameo’s “Word Up!”

Q: What would you do to drive traffic if you couldn’t rely on Phillies fans’ defensive nerdrage?

“Your mom” jokes? Although Phillies fans would probably take less offense at me insulting their moms than Ryan Howard. They have a very, very special relationship with Ryan Howard.

Q: Give RA Dickey a quality nickname.

Think I have to defer to Mets fans here. I’m stuck on “RaRichie” or something like it, and that’s just horrible. Any ideas?

Q: Who’s your favorite Kardashian?

Does that family have a Fredo?  If so, I’m goin’ with Fredo Kardashian.

Q: I know you’re more of a bourbon whisky man, but haven’t you considered coconut rum?

I have given it consideration. It’s in the conversation.

Q:  I know you are a scotch man but what is the best beer you have ever had?

Two demerits for calling me a scotch man when I am a bourbon man, but I do love scotch too, so I’ll let it slide.  Beers are situational for me. Perhaps the most heavenly beer I buy on more than the rare, one-off occasion is Chimay, a trappist ale. But I’d never drink it after mowing the lawn, when a simple lager like a Yuengling is a-OK. Likewise, I have a hard time with really hoppy IPAs when it’s hot out, but adore them in the fall and winter.  My best beer experiences have come drinking Guinness, but it had little to do with the beer itself, though I like it.  I’m kind of all over the map with this, so I guess I don’t really have an answer for it. I’m just not a tremendous beer snob. Give me anything besides a giant mass market American MegaBrau and I’ll be happy. And if that’s all you have available, I’ll man up, drink it and won’t complain because nothing gets older quicker than hearing someone complain about their beer.

Q: Do you think Philly fans know that over the last 100 games the Brewers have a better record than the Phillies?

So many haters out there. You. Me. The results of the last 100 games. Everyone hates the Phillies. This is why their fans are so understandably outraged all the time.

Q: Are you ignoring us? Why don’t you return our calls? Was it something we said?

You know what you did.

Q: Real simple. @JohnCena or @CMPunk?

If the question is “which of these two guys aren’t fit to hold Ric Flair’s curiously-worn-below-the-knees-kneepads, the answer is “both.”

Q: Craig, what’s it like to kiss a girl? Seems gross. –Aaron

That was just cold, man.

Q: Coke or Pepsi?

Coke, but I really need to get off soda.

Q: Who is the best bad guy: Klingons, Cylons or Cigarette-Smoking Man?

The guy who asked me that has a Kingon Twitter avatar, so I get the sense this is a trap.  Klingons are out, though.  I just don’t buy them as a species. No one who has the sort of anger/honor code that they do could successfully apply the scientific method required in order to develop Warp Drive and cloaking technology. The first time someone’s calculations were questioned there would be some fight to the death and no one would get anywhere.

The Cylons are intriguing, but I have to withhold ultimate judgment until I’m done with the whole BSG series. I’m, like, 32 episodes in. They’re great so far, but I worry.  For example: am I crazy, or does it seem like it’s way too easy to sneak around the Cylons? Like when they’re on Caprica or someplace, people hide in pretty close proximity, escape at the last minute, etc. without being detected.  These are the most sophisticated machines ever invented and they don’t have better-than-human hearing or sensors of any kind? Please.

CSM in his prime — before he became a halfway sympathetic character in later seasons — was pretty tight. Just menacing. I liked him best in episodes when he didn’t do anything other than stand in the shadows and smoke.  Also: pair him up with Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” from the X-Files album that came out circa 1996 and we’re in seriously awesome land.

Q: Doobie Brothers before, during or after Michael McDonald?

Ehhh. Look, Michael McDonald’s cool quasi-soul/boat rock is much of what was wrong with music in the late 70s, so I can’t endorse it. But at the same time, pre-McDonald Doobies was pretty weak sauce compared to other southern-tinged boogie rock of the early part of the decade. I guess I’ll put it this way: McDonald-Doobies were more successful at accomplishing the artistic vision they desired (such as it was) than the pre-McDonald Doobies were at doing what they set out to do. Does that make sense? Is it just what a fool believes?

Q: If one had to be ruled unconstitutional, should it be guacamole or salsa con queso?

Salsa con queso. I could live without it.  If guacamole were outlawed, part of me would die a little bit.

Q: Any chance the National Baseball Hall of Fame extends its voting base beyond the BBWAA in this century?

Barring a giant scandal, no way. Maybe we can cook up a scandal, though. Baseball writers are mostly poor and bribeable.

Q: Aquaman should be mentioned among the most useless comic book heroes.

He’s being considered. He’s in the conversation.

Q: Playoff predictions?

Why not? NL: Phillies over the Dbacks, Braves over the Brewers, Phillies over the Braves. AL: Tigers over the Red Sox (MONSTER UPSET!), Yankees over the Rangers, Yankees over the Tigers. Word Series: Phillies over the Yankees. And then my winter is completely ruined by gloating Phillies fans making fun of me, all while they conveniently forget that I picked them to win it all back in March.

Q: Your thoughts on the Premiership transfer window closing and the corresponding moves?

This is the second question asking me about that stuff. The first person asked me specifically about Arsenal’s moves. Answer: No idea because the only time I watch any soccer is if it’s on in a bar I’m at or if it’s being played by first graders and involves my son. But maybe I’ll do the fashionable thing for national Internet sports writers and pretend to get really interested in EPL for a while. I’ll pick a team and everything and act like I care and stuff before giving it up after a few weeks. Sound good?

Q: Since everyone and their grandma has weighed in on this: Is Ndamukong Suh a dirty player?

What’s a “Ndamukong Suh?”

Q: Man, Phillies fans are jerks. Your thoughts on the matter?

Wait, I’m being baited about my baiting habits. I must bow to you, for you are better than I am at this!  You, truly, are a Master Baiter!

Q: How good is Alex Avila really? Is this year for real?

Man, I have no idea. All I know is that I feel really, really dumb for having said that he’d be a defense-only option for Detroit this year and that he represented one of the holes in the lineup that Leyland had to figure out how to account for. I figured that 2010 — when he had more playing time — would be far more predictive of what he’d do as opposed to his smaller sample size from 2009, but lo and behold, he’s got a .910 OPS. Just a fantastic season for the guy.

Q: Is it socially acceptable to a) trim one’s nails or b) floss one’s teeth in an office (cubicle) environment?

It is closer to being socially acceptable to have such a person torn apart by wild dogs than it is to allow that person to continue to do those things at their desk.

Q: Hurricane Irene flooded the most powerful city in the world. Is this a temporary game-changer for Aquaman?

I guess if there were evil people or some sort of sea monsters in the flood zone, sure. But to be honest, I’d rather go with the National Guard and first responders here.  While we’re on the subject, though, did you know that Aquaman wasn’t even the most useful water-borne Super Friend?  There was an episode — and I’m not making this up — where something called “The Water Monster” attacked. Do you know who stopped him? The Wonder Twins. Zan — who had the ability to turn himself into any kind of water thing — turned into a duplicate copy of the Water Monster and kicked its ass.  Where was Aquaman? Nowhere, that’s where.  True story.

Q: Who would you rather listen to for the rest of your life. Elvis Costello or Elvis Presley? Dead Kennedys or Dead Milkmen?

Costello and Milkmen. Not because they’re better in any absolute sense — indeed, they may be inferior in both cases from a pure quality perspective — but because they’re more varied in style from album to album and thus would be more bearable over time.  There’s only so much “Burnin’ Love” and “California Uber Alles” a man can stand.

Q: Ok, why in hell do Red Sox and Yankee games take so freakin’ long anyway?

Conspiracy between ESPN and the people who run the advertising boards behind home plate. You can look it up.

Q: What’s your ideal alignment strategy if you have to put 15 teams in both the AL and NL?

I’d probably move Arizona to the AL West and put the Astros in the NL West. Although I guess that would mean that all Texas baseball fans — not just Rangers fans — would be inconvenienced by an inordinate number of out-of-time zone games over the course of the season. But given that annoying Texans is not something that would keep me awake at night, I’d get over it.

Q: If MLB decided that a Yankees-Red Sox game would be decided by a single at bat, would it still take six hours?

Nonsense. Unless of course it involved a Yankee player hitting a home run, after which someone on the Red Sox would probably get mad causing an extended argument.

Q: Was it Fredi Gonzalez’s idea to make the additions to the upcoming Star Wars Blu-Ray release?

I’m just hearing about these now. I know they’re changing stuff in the prequels, but those suck and no one cares.  The fact that they’re messing — again — with the original trilogy is just the latest desecration, but I suppose we have no choice but to deal with it. No, I’m not buying the Blu-Ray release because screw George Lucas, but someone who does please tell me if he makes Lando bunt at some point. Then we’ll know that Fredi was involved.

Q: How do you measure the value of Chipper Jones’ “I know I’m better than you, and I’m friggin’ 40” smirk?

I can’t get any measuring tools close enough to him due to the aura of awesomeness that surrounds him.

Q: I still can’t get over the fact that Sparky Anderson was just 41 years old in 1975. Your thoughts on Sparky and aging?

I have his 1970 baseball card in which he’s younger than I am now. Still looks older. Being bald often makes people overestimate my age, but bald has nothing on a premature gray guy. I thought Sparky was 70 when the Tigers hired him.

Q: Ryan Howard struck out twice tonight. Are you surprised that one of them was not in his AB against Aroldis Chapman?

No. Because Ryan Howard is the best hitter in all of baseball and if you suggest otherwise I shall drown you out with my rage.  As for those other two strikeouts: they didn’t happen. The box score is just a jealous hater.

Q: Should I tell my boss to shove it like I want? Or is that not the sort of question you’ll answer?

Depends. Is this D.J. Short or Drew Silva asking?  If so, I might have to give different advice. If not: go Johnny Paycheck on his butt.

Q: Slower to the plate: Josh Beckett, or Bartolo Colon going for salad?

I like it when someone slams both a Yankees and a Red Sox player in the same question.

Q: If you were trapped inside a dive bar, would you play Golden Tee or Big Buck Hunter?

Really? Son, I’d drink beer and talk up the ladies. Unless they had that old game “Gyruss,” of which I was THE FREAKIN’ MASTER back in the mid-80s. I think they were only distributed in roller rinks and bowling alleys, though, so it may be hard to find in a dive bar.

Q: Have you considered banning Phillies Chat in one post per day?

What, and screw up the business model? I actually have an experiment I’m going to run. One day I’m going to put up a straight-up post about a horrible natural disaster in which many people perish. And then I’m going to count how many comments it takes for the thread to be hijacked into a Phillies discussion.

Q: Can you mention me in the MVP race?

Consider yourself considered. You’re in the conversation.

That’s all I got, folks. Thanks again for all of the questions. If I didn’t get to yours, well, ask better questions.

Aroldis Chapman is pitching himself out of a job

Getty Images
3 Comments

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman looked shaky again last night, coming in to the game with a three-run lead before allowing a two-run homer to the Mets’ Amed Rosario. He would nail down the save eventually, giving Sonny Gray his first win as a Yankee, but Chapman’s struggles were the talk of the game afterward.

It was the third appearance in a row in which Chapman has given up at least one run, allowing five runs on three hits — two of them homers — and walking four in his last three and a third innings pitched. He’s also hit a batter. That’s just the most acute portion of a long slide, however. He posted a 0.79 ERA in his first 12 appearances this year, before getting shelled twice and then going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, missing over a month. Since returning he’s allowed 12 runs — ten earned — in 23 appearances, breaking out to a 4.09 ERA. He’s also walked ten batters in that time. At present, his strikeout rate is the worst he’s featured since 2010. His walk rate is up and he’s allowing more hits per nine innings than he ever has.

It’s possible that he’s still suffering from shoulder problems. Whether or not that’s an issue, he looks to have a new health concern as he appeared to tweak his hamstring on the game’s final play last night when he ran over to cover first base. Chapman told reporters after the game that “it’s nothing to worry about,” and Joe Girardi said that Chapman would not undergo an MRI or anything, but he was clearly grimacing as he came off the mound and it’s something worth watching.

Also worth watching: Dellin Betances and David Robertson, Chapman’s setup men who have each shined as Yankees closers in the past and who may very soon find themselves closing once again if Chapman can’t figure it out. And Chapman seems to know it. He was asked if he still deserves to be the closer after the game. His answer:

“My job is to be ready to pitch everyday. As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer’s position, I’m always going to be ready to pitch.”

That’s a team-first answer, and for that Chapman should be lauded. But it’s also one that suggests Chapman himself knows he’s going to be out of a closer’s job soon if he doesn’t turn things around.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
3 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 9, Diamondbacks 4: The Astros built an 8-0 lead in the first four innings thanks to six extra-base hits and then put it on cruise control. It wasn’t all rosy, though. Astros starter Brad Peacock hit a double that plated a run, but he didn’t do so well in is primary task, failing to get past the fifth inning. Houston won here, but they’ve scuffled of late and still aren’t where they’d like to be once the playoffs start.

Yankees 5, Mets 4: Good news: Sonny Gray allowed two runs over six and got his first win in pinstripes. Bad news: Aroldis Chapman was terrible again, allowing two runs on two hits in his just-barely-a-save and then winced coming off the mound, which later was revealed to be due to a tweaked hamstring. It’s unclear if he’ll miss any time. If he doesn’t, he going to need to figure out how to miss some bats, because he ain’t been doing that lately.

Nationals 3, Angels 1: Gio Gonzalez snaps the Angels’ winning streak at six thanks to six innings of two-hit, shutout ball. He was backed by two Howie Kendrick solo homers. Kendrick has been on fire since coming over from Philly at the deadline. Since the trade he’s hitting .386/.413/.727 with four homers and 11 RBI in 14 games. Nice pickup.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 4Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer and Wilson Ramos added a solo shot to help the Rays end their four-game losing streak and giving them what, for them anyway, is an absolute offensive explosion. Josh Donaldson homered for the third straight game in a losing cause.

Red Sox 10, Cardinals 4: An eight-run fifth inning by the Sox did in the Cards. Xander Bogaerts had three hits and Hanley RamirezSandy Leon and Jackie Bradley Jr. each knocked in two. The play of the game was a defensive one, though, as the Sox turned an around-the-horn triple play:

Boston has won 11 of 13.

Giants 9, Marlins 4: Giancarlo Stanton homered in his sixth straight game. The record for consecutive games with a home run is eight, held by Stanton’s manager, Don Mattingly, Dale Long, and Ken Griffey, Jr., so keep watching. That was it for the Marlins, though, as the Giants offense did some damage. Denard Span had three hits including a homer. He and Hunter Pence each drove in a pair. Ryder Jones homered. Madison Bumgarner may have given up that shot to Stanton, but he knocked in a run of his own with a single while scattering nine hits and allowing four runs in six innings.

Brewers 3, Pirates 1: Zach Davies outdueled Ivan Nova, allowing one run over six. Manny Pina drove in two and Keon Broxton hit a pinch hit solo homer for the Brew Crew.

Rangers 10, Tigers 4: Texas beat up Justin Verlander for three homers and five runs over six innings, with the dingers coming off the bats of Joey Gallo (natch), Mike Napoli and Robinson Chirinos. Gallo’s homer was estimated at 459 feet, but the most impressive part of it was that the strikeout friendly slugger did it after coming back from an 0-2 count and laying off some high heat from Verlander, who had struck him out on three pitches in his previous at bat.

Reds 2, Cubs 1: Starters Luis Castillo and Kyle Hendricks each tossed six scoreless innings, but Scooter Gennett drove in Joey Votto with a sacrifice fly in the eighth to break a scoreless tie and Billy Hamilton singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth. Votto reached base three times, all on walks, to bring himself to within a game of Ted Williams’ record for the most consecutive games of reaching twice.

Indians 8, Twins 1: Carlos Santana hit two homers and teammates Jason Kipnis, Edwin Encarnacion and Austin Jackson each went deep as well. Danny Salazar allowed one run over seven, striking out ten. Maybe this year will be the opposite of last year for Cleveland, and they’ll peak late instead of early with healthy starting pitching heading into the playoffs.

Braves 4, Rockies 3: Nolan Arenado committed a rare throwing error which allowed Brandon Phillips to score the go-ahead run for Atlanta in the eighth inning. Nick Markakis homered as the Braves get a rare win in Coors Field. Back in the day (like, 20 years ago) they owned Colorado, but the Rockies had taken 11 straight from the Braves in Denver before this one.

Athletics 10, Royals 8: The teams combined to score 11 runs in the eighth inning. Viva bullpens. Matt Joyce hit a three-run double that inning, pulling the A’s from behind. Ned Yost walked Rajai Davis to load the bases to get to minor, too which, oops. Joyce had homered earlier in the game which made it all the more questionable, but managers like their lefty-lefty matchups and their theoretical double plays. Drew ButeraEric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas all homered in the Royals half of the run-happy eighth.

Mariners 3, Orioles 1: Andrew Albers allowed one run over five for his first win in just over four years. The last came on August 12, 2013. Don’t make any plans for mid-August, 2021 if you’re an Albers fan. He had some serious help from Jarod Dyson. Look at this throw, off friggin’ balance, too:

Dodgers 6, White Sox 1: Seems unfair to let the White Sox play the Dodgers, but that’s what the schedule called for. It looked close for a while, actually, as the game was tied 1-1 in the eighth. That’s when L.A. unloaded for five runs, with the go-ahead run coming on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch of Joc Pederson followed by two-run singles from both Austin Barnes and Corey Seager. The Dodgers are no 50 games over .500.

Padres 8, Phillies 4: Cory Spangenberg homered for the third time in four games and drove in four and starter Dinelson Lamet allowed two runs over seven innings of work, striking out seven. He also leads the league in Names That Should Totally Be That Of The Main Character In Magical Realist Novels.