NL East Update: The one where Shane “phights” back

The Phillies haven’t been the team we’ve come to love (or mostly hate) so far in the first half of the season, and Shane Victorino can’t keep his frustrations inside any longer.

Those are some gutsy comments by Victorino. You have to admire the so-called courage it takes for a player to vent his frustrations at the fans, especially after the disappointing season he has put together thus far. I have no problem with Victorinos comments, but he needs to come to the realization that were just approaching the All-Star Break and his team is only six games out of first. He should know more than anybody that anything’s possible in pennant races, just ask the 2007 New York Mets. Also, these comments are coming from baseball fans that go to the stadium to black out from too many drinks; he shouldn’t be taking those comments too seriously. That being said, the Phillies have been playing with a depleted lineup all season, but will they have enough to make a serious run come crunch time, if and when their injured stars are back to full strength?

The Mets want a reliever before the trade deadline, and the Blue Jays may have exactly what they need.

Although Kevin Gregg is a guy worth taking a shot on, for some reason I just don’t know how well he would do in New York. Some guys have what it takes, others don’t, and from what I saw last season in Chicago, Gregg could be very vulnerable to the harsh criticism he may receive. What also has me worried is that his WHIP has consistently been rising the last few years, how would Jerry Manuel be able to call upon him in the middle of an inning to get out of a jam if that’s the case? Like they say, there are plenty of fish in the sea and my gut tells me it would be best to leave this ex-Marlin untouched.

It has been the year of pitching, and Marlin Maniac puts in his vote for who should start the All-Star Game for the National League.

Not to knock Roy Halladay, who has had another impressive year, which includes a perfect game, I think the debate comes down to Josh Johnson and Ubaldo Jimenez. Although Johnson may have a lower ERA and higher strikeout total, I would give the nod to Jimenez. Lets not forget Jimenez’s historic start to the season, his ERA didn’t rise above 1.00 until June 11th, which had people comparing his season to Bob Gibson’s historic 1968 campaign. Johnson has been great, but he really didn’t turn it on until mid May. In the end, it really doesn’t matter who starts between the two because they will only be going two innings each, but how can someone with a 15-1 record and a no-hitter not earn the start?

Early on in the season, Tyler Clippard was one of the bright spots for the Nationals, but now he seems to have forgotten how prevent batters from reaching base.

I find it hard to believe that Clippard hasn’t thrown a curveball since May 19th, but it’s not just that statistic that has me scratching my head. According to the statistics given, Clippard has significantly changed his approach to hitters, throwing no curveballs and a considerable amount of cut fastballs. As we know, Clippard is no Mariano Rivera, and the cutter just isn’t working for him. Some sort of discomfort is the only logical explanation for the change in Clippard’s pitch selection. Some thought he was being overworked early on in the year, so maybe it has finally caught up with him? The All-Star break will give him some much-needed rest.

Believe it or not, today marks the one-year anniversary of the trade that sent Jeff Francoeur from Atlanta to New York in exchange for Ryan Church. This weekend the two teams will meet at Citi Field as the top two teams in the division.

It’s nice to see the Mets-Braves rivalry come back to life after a decade of dormancy. It was those classic Mets-Braves games in the late nineties that really turned me on to baseball as a young kid. Being a die-hard Mets fan, I hated everything about the Braves from the tomahawk chop, to Chipper Jones and of course, John Rocker. Its one thing to have a rivalry because of their close proximity, like the Yankees-Red Sox or Mets-Phillies, but the Mets-Braves is different because of how different their cities and parts of the country are from each other. Could this be the beginning of another year by year battle between New York and Atlanta…I sure hope so.