Morning Bytes: It's only April, but troublesome signs abound for Phillies

The Phillies' Raul Ibanez tosses his bat after striking out against the Diamondbacks. Entering Tuesday, Ibanez was hitting .179.
The Phillies' Raul Ibanez tosses his bat after striking out against the Diamondbacks. Entering Tuesday, Ibanez was hitting .179. (ROSS D. FRANKLIN / Associated Press)
Posted: April 27, 2011

What's wrong with me? It's April 27. The Phillies are in first place and own one of baseball's best records. And yet my psyche's third-base coach is signaling me to panic.

It's a little early, I know. Normally, I wait until Aug. 1 or until Ryan Madson can pitch three consecutive days without requesting a breather, whichever comes first.

But the omens are everywhere. Think of all the worries afoot just 22 games into this season:

Roy Halladay's arm may fall off.

Danys Baez's won't.

Eleven of the Phils' 15 wins have come against Houston, New York, Washington, and San Diego - the National League's NIT participants.

The bullpen, as constituted, figures to do less saving than the Unitarian Universalist Church.

The bullpen, as constituted, may be the most obscure South Philadelphia group since Fabian and the Four Flat-Tones.

Jimmy Rollins is on a pace to drive in 16 runs from the No. 3 hole. When it comes to woeful production, this ranks right up there with Channel 17's postgame show.

Ryan Howard's lineup protection is baseball's equivalent of the TSA. How could this team's offense have gone from Murderers' Row to They're Killing Me so quickly?

What's the opposite of corking? Let me know, because I'm pretty sure Raul Ibanez is doing it to his bats.

This lineup walks less frequently than Andy Reid.

Ben Francisco swings harder than Joaquin Phoenix.

Jose Contreras might not be overworked, but the topics on Phillies Pregame Live often are.

While the search is on for Ibanez's bat, would you mind looking for his outfield arm, too?

Surprise careers

Who could have imagined that the '93 Phillies clubhouse would be a breeding ground for future media stars?

Bouncers, I could see. Bartenders, maybe. Even bad-haircut consultants. But a roomful of broadcasters and analysts? As Tommy Greene liked to say, "Gollleeee!"

Think about how many have moved from Macho Row to press row.

Mitch Williams. John Kruk. Larry Andersen. Larry Bowa. Darren Daulton. Curt Schilling.

Realistically, the biggest surprise may be Kruk. He was great with reporters when he felt like talking. Unfortunately, that typically occurred far less frequently than when he felt like eating. Or mumbling. Once a week, max.

Not so fast

One sign the AL is overrated: Kansas City's Bruce Chen went 11 starts without a loss.

One sign the NL is overrated: Going into Tuesday, the Dodgers were in second place in the NL West.


Morning Bytes: NASCAR Note of the Week

My three favorite headlines on NASCAR.com this week:

1. "Ragan Wets a Line During Rare Cup Series Off Week" (What, the Cup Series can't afford Porta-Potties?)

2. "Biffle Plays Second Fiddle to His Dog Foster" (Has Biffle considered a new agent? Has Foster?)

3. "Feud of the Week: NASCAR Fans vs. ESPN" (Do I really have to pick a side?)

- Frank Fitzpatrick


Morning Bytes: 10 Annoying Things About the Coming Weekend

1. Mel Kiper Jr.

2. Jose Reyes

3. 450 more XFinity commercials

4. More NHL playoffs

5. More NBA playoffs

6. An 8 p.m. Phillies-Mets game Sunday

7. Jose Reyes

8. Broadcasters trying to convince us the NFL draft is as complex as particle physics

9. Mel Kiper Jr.'s hair, which may indeed be that complex

10. Jose Reyes

- Frank Fitzpatrick


Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or ffitzpatrick@phillynews.com.

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