Balls, Sticks, & Stuff
Rock, Paper, Scissors
At this point in the season, you have to believe that the sportswriters in the newsrooms of the Philadelphia area papers must get together in a circle every afternoon and play a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors". The loser of course, gets the unenviable task of covering the Phillies for the next day's edition and coming up with an interesting article. Sunday night, one of the losers in the game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" was Marcus Hayes. Hayes acted like a true professional, hustled, gave 110%, and might have even gotten a pat on the behind from his editor. In Monday's Philadelphia Daily News Hayes covered the increasing likelihood of Gavin Floyd joining the rotation in 2005, the Wagner/DeMuth affair, goats' hooves, and a new perspective on the length of 60', 6''.

On Floyd:

The assured rotation of the future seems more and more likely to feature a grand total of 10 full seasons among the four probables - Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla, Brett Myers and Gavin Floyd.

Yes, rookie prospect Gavin Floyd appears to have pitched himself into inclusion on the Opening Day 2005 staff at least a year sooner than expected when the Phillies made him the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft. Two seasons of regular Class A advancement and a whirlwind tour through Double A and Triple A this year brought him to the Phillies as a promising, tiring, 21-year-old with control problems and poise issues.

Floyd's most impressive attributes since his debut on Sept. 3?

"His mound presence has been pretty good...He's basically staying within himself,'' manager Larry Bowa said. "And he's getting all his pitches over. That's been a pleasant surprise. That was the rap against him; his inability to throw strikes on a consistent basis.''

"He's shown better command at the big-league level than he did in Triple A,'' said Mike Arbuckle, the team's player development director. "I'd just like to see him work off his fastball more.''

So that means at least another half a season in the minors, huh?

"I don't think so," Arbuckle said. "Not if he continues to show the control he's shown. That's an adjustment that can be made at the big-league level."
Gavin Floyd has been mostly impressive since his first start, but it may be preferable to use Floyd in the capacity that Ryan Madson was used this year - an ever-ready long-man in the bullpen - and then insert Madson into the rotation along with a big free agent signing. If rookie quarterbacks aren't expected to start right away, why should young rookie pitchers?

On Wagner and DeMuth:
Wagner, outraged, threw a full cooler of water onto the field and shredded DeMuth verbally afterward, demanding a suspension for DeMuth. For that - not throwing at Floyd - he received a two-game suspension, served Friday and Saturday. Wagner, through the Phillies' front office, sought to apologize to DeMuth last week but they were told DeMuth was, coincidentally, on vacation that was scheduled before the incident.

The league does not announce umpire suspensions...but it is interesting timing for DeMuth's vacation, at least.
Conspiracy theories are usually just that, theories. But the Wagner/DeMuth incident was certainly a case where both the player (his temper tantrum) and the umpire (incredibly poor logic and judgment) were to blame, and so both deserved some type of "vacation".

On goats' hooves:
Amaury Telemaco's farm in the Dominican lost two plantain trees and his goats' hooves are softening with foot rot.
Good effort Mr. Hayes, good effort. Next time, pick "paper", it always works for me when The Missus and I realize we are out of milk.

Exactly how far is sixty feet-six inches? Just ask Todd Jones:
In a rare hitting appearance, reliever Todd Jones, wearing Jim Thome's never-cleaned, pine-tarred helmet, worked a two-out walk off Joe Horgan in the seventh. It was the first time Jones reached base since he doubled in 1995 (he thought he'd last reached in '96). "You don't realize the pitcher is so close to you,'' he said.
The look on my face when I read this was like the look that the duck has on his face in response to Yogi Berra in the AFLAC commercials. So Todd, how far away do you feel from the batter when you are pitching? Do you think this is why so many of your pitches since you have come to the Phillies have been targeted as if it were 70'6" to homeplate?

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