Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 4/13/12

Jonathan Papelbon of the Philadelphia Phillies is the last man standing from 3 intertwined teams.  Are the red pinstripes more than lucky?  Is this an omen for 2012?





Penthouse Occupancy for the 3-1 triumph:  5

The Crystal Champagne Toast is a salute to Ty Wigginton.

Ty Wigginton Trots After His 7th-Inning Bomb

He gave the arms some 7th-inning insurance with a smoked tater. Shane Victorino rang the Liberty Bell with a solo shot in the 4th. Joe Blanton became the 1st starter not named Doc Halladay to provide a win, and go 7 complete, scattering 3 hits and 1 run (earned). Papelbon saved his 1st at the Bank.

The Warehouse displayed the 3rd-frame leather of Freddy Galvis after the tumbling defender came up big again. He scooped up a 4th-inning deflection and led Kentucky Joe to first for the out. With Blanton’s tank running low, there were 2 separate 6th-frame plays. Freddy snagged a scorcher, and Wigginton toed the bag on a wide throw from Joe to end the threat.

The Outhouse was occupied by 1B Ump Bill Welke, who dropped something on a right-field-fly error, costing Polly Polanco 2nd base with no outs.  It was a fair ball but ruled foul.



I will publish after every battle that is not washed out. The Phillies finished last summer 42 games over .500, which equaled a year of many positives. I will have many season-long highlights of puzzle pieces, especially important after drubbings and defeats.

Cinco Ocho Saves His 1st At The Bank








The Survivor:


The Sox, like the Yankees, are staring down the barrel of a 50% competitive-balance tax on the not-to-distant horizon with the new CBA. That meant that Paps and others would not be returning for this tour. They choose to offer Big Papi Ortiz arbitration for the draft picks he would bring, but he accepted it, which tied up approximately $16M. It forced them to go young plus inexpensive with trades that involved the A’s and the ’Stros. Meanwhile, Ryan Madson played his hand for top dollar and ended up with an extremely club-friendly agreement. In the off-season many fans wondered aloud about the new closer verses the last one: Was this a mistake? Basically, it was the devil you know verses the one you don’t.

I was torn originally when Rube Amaro switched hammers, but after 3 appearances, I see the improvement. I feel more comfortable with Cinco Ocho, because his experience is reflected in his demeanor on the hill. My only concern is that he will go through stretches of inactivity. If he gets too busy, Jose Contreras can fill in to rest number 58. That said, my opinion is no different with Madson out for this campaign.

Ty Wigginton's Dropped Foul Ball Before His 7th-Inning Blast

We’ve lived and died with Flash Gordon, Brett Myers and Brad Lidge. In 2011, we finished contests with 4 different lockdown denizens: Contreras, Madson, Antonio Bastardo and Lidge. Madson’s contract was unusually favorable to the Reds, because the $8.5M is broken into 4 parts over 2 years. Besides the $2.5M buyout, $4M of the $6M is deferred until this November and next (2013). Boston swapped for Andrew Bailey ($3.9M), but he had a thumb injury at first base during a March game. He’ll be back after the All-Star break or August.

We’ve experienced Flash at the end of his brilliant career, Myers during his 2007 division-clinching save, and Lights Out with his perfect summer before his 2008 Championship finish. Last year the hammers closed out 46 of 49 battles: Madson (32), Bastardo (8), Contreras (5) and Lidge (1). Mad Dog blew 2 and Antonio flubbed the other. Drawing from this body of work, I feel that Paps is the best suited for that role. Jim Thome returns for his final campaign, 3 franchises changed their fireman, and we have the survivor: Is this a foreshadowing for October?


The General Commands Attention In The 2nd At Pittsburgh On April 7






Cliff Lee:


He loves to demonstrate his magic at the Bank, and other than his NLDS hiccup, that has been the case.  He had a record of 94-1 with a 4-run lead before that defeat.  He opened ‘12 with a 2-hit performance.



STARTERRECORDTMSTARTERRECORDDAY & TIME 1LHP Cliff Lee0-0, 1.50 ERAMetsRHP R.A. Dickey1-0, 3.00 ERAFriday, Night 2RHP Vance Worley0-0, 1.50 ERAMetsLHP Jon Niece1-0, 4.50 ERASaturday, Late Day 3LHP Cole Hamels0-1, 5.06 ERAMetsRHP Mike Pelfrey0-0. 4.76 ERASunday, Day


R.A. Dickey Works Against The Braves At Home On April 7




R.A. Dickey


He can spiral an offense out of control with his knuckleball, and for the locals that would clog their recent diamond precision.  He is not enjoying his initial success but he is a solid 3.  One note of mention is that Citi Field’s dimensions have contracted, but that might not affect him.




DELIVERY = PITCHER’S 2012DEFINITION OF SEASON Over The TopExcellent 3-Quarters SidearmGood SidearmAbove Average Short Arm Approximately Average SubmarineBelow Average



Quality number of the pitcher:  1 – 5

Slot on his club:  1 – 5

Ranking is 1 to 5 & 15 for the less adventurous.


HURLERCliff LeeR.A. Dickey NUMBERA OneA Three CLUB SLOTTwoTwo FOR 2012Over The Top3-Quarters Sidearm '12 RANKING1st of 5 Categories2nd of 5 Categories LAST STARTSinker*Slider LAST HIGH OR LOW6th of 15 Categories7th of 15 Categories



DISPLAY NOTE:  Non-listed results can go up or down by

* 1 notch & ** 2 clicks (This note will only appear when it’s relevant.)

* 1 Tick UP

PITCHINNER - R- HPITCHINNER 1Gyroball9 (CG)0 - 0 - 310Screwball64 2Fastball9 (CG)0 - 011Knuckleball53 3Cutter9 (CG)312Forkball0 - 4.2Monstrosity 4Split Finger7213Eephus Pitch0 - 2.2Disaster 5Curveball7314*Palm BallEjected 6Sinker6.1315*Spit Ball**Ejected+ 7Slider62*Breaking BallInjured 8Changeup63*FoshRain Interrupted 9Slurve52** = Suspended* = A 2nd Pitch Also




The preview of the next Nitecap Insight (1st paragraph) will be at Tal’s Handy Caps on Facebook; it is Nitecap Insight: Sleeping Midget. Join for notification of future glimpses, which will be almost daily. You’ll also know immediately when my isportsweb post goes up. It might be worth your while because I have seen delays of 2 hours on feeds.

Check out my previous publication (Second Helpings), and the 23 storylines–so far–for 2012 on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. The Apocalyptic Horsemen Stats are in that coverage also.

Tal’s Handy Stats is daily coverage. I am alternating the 2012 ERA For The NL East and the 2012 ERA For The MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked the Phillies page, because feeds are erratic at times.





Philadelphia Phillies storyline: breakdown or breakout?

Philadelphia Phillies

Tal Venada

Philadelphia Phillies: 2012 ERA for the NL East at game 5


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