As the Cardinals continue their late-season surge in the NL Wild Card race, they face a tough opponent in the Philadelphia Phillies. Four games on the road against baseball’s best team is certainly not ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures. So, to help preview this crucial series and get a sense of how Phillies’ fans are feeling, I got the chance to exchange questions with Justin Klugh of FanSided’s That Balls Outta Here. Justin is never lacking in the humor department, so check it out!
Take a look at my 6-Pack of questions to him after the jump.
Q: So since you guys have locked up a spot in the postseason and everything, any chance you could just let us take the four-game sweep here. I mean wouldn’t you rather play the Cardinals than those dangerous Brewers or sneaky Diamondbacks? We’ll even be willing to donate one of our old, washed up veterans! Please, we need some help here.
A: It sure was nice of us to help you guys keep your “playoff hopes” “alive” in game one, but from what I saw, you have no problem handing them over at any point. Remember when the game went into extra innings because Corey Patterson dropped that ball? Sweet jesus, that almost killed Shane Victorino. He can’t process things like that in such intense moments. Shame on you, Corey Patterson.
Q: I hear Ryan Howard is overrated. In fact, he’s not even one of your best players. Does he get too much credit for the Phillies’ success or is he actually one of the best first basemen in the game not named Albert Pujols?
A: Oh, Ryan’s great. I mean, he’s terrible. Awful, even. But he’s also great. Will I elaborate? Maybe. I think that no, Ryan isn’t one of the elite players in the game anymore. I think he is a role-filler, ball-masher, and run-getter. It’s perfectly accurate to argue that having the most RBI doesn’t make you the MVP because it’s a stat that relies on your teammates’ abilities to get on base, but that’s why Ryan hits fourth. He can get a hit when it counts, e.g., the past two games. He also hits home runs.
Yay! Home runs!
Q: What happened to that whole four aces thing? All of the sudden you only have three crazy-good pitchers. Since you guys know that you’ll be playing in October, who’s the fourth starter in the rotation? Do the Phils go with the experienced Roy Oswalt or that guy with the glasses?
A: Now I have to make up an answer involving “playoff experience” and “injuries.” Great. Well, uh, Oswalt’s got all that playoff experience, but all the “been there” in the world isn’t going to make his arm not give up a half dozen extra base hits in a quarter of an inning. Then again, we’ve been waiting for Vance to come back to earth too. I said before that I’d go with Oswalt, but I’m leaning towards Vance these days because, good day or bad, he can usually go six strong innings. Then we can just hand it over to our faultless bullpen! Huzzah! Baseball is easy.
Q: What’s it like having a manager who doesn’t get in his team’s way of winning? Charlie Manuel seems like a pretty laid back old man who has a good relationship with his players. Even though he is as old as baseball itself and has about 10 chins, how much of a role do you think he plays in the team’s success?
A: He’s a “players’ coach” and a “hitters’ coach” on a team with the best pitching staff in the game. I’d say he balances out the intensity of our best players (the pitchers) and knows how to give them a leash long enough to get the job done, and short enough to make sure they aren’t going to kill themselves. His folksy charm and colloquialisms go very far in that locker room, and translate into a seeming mismanagement of the pen from time to time, but I think the core players love and respect him, and at this point, nobody else could do the kind of job he’s done.
Q: Must be nice to be a Philadelphia sports fan right now huh? Any guess as to how many cheesesteaks will be consumed by you fans during the Phillies’ playoff run? Pat’s or Geno’s?
A: No Pat’s. Definitely no Geno’s. Jim’s. And have you ever seen a Phialdelphia “cheese steak mob” assemble? Just… get out of our way.
Q: Joe West won’t be doing the games at Citizens Bank Park this weekend, will he?
A: **drunkenly slurring** …I DON’T LIKE HIM AND I DON’T LIKE HIS FACE