This is a Q&A with Senior Editor Justin Klugh of the Phillies Fansided blog That Balls Outta Here. The back and forth Q&A is a lead in to the Philadelphia Phillies-Arizona Diamondbacks series that starts tomorrow at Chase Field.
Venom Strikes (Scott Allen): Is it a forgone conclusion that the Phillies are going to win the NL East?
That Balls Outta Here (Justin Klugh): I mean, you know. No. I could go as broad as "there are no foregone conclusions in baseball" and I can go as specific as "What's the point? Kyle Kendrick will just find a way to ruin everything." But the truth is, and maybe its hard to tell just now, but we do play in a competitive division. Granted, there are only three competitive teams in it, but they're all gamers and they all hate each other. At least the fans do. The players are remarkably personable, I've found. Especially the Braves. Those b*******.
VS: What the heck is wrong with Cliff Lee? He's killing me on fantasy. Follow-up: Should he have opted to go to New York instead?
TBOH: I'll tell you what's right with Cliff Lee: He could give a s*** about your fantasy team.
VS: Is Philadelphia still upset over losing the #5 spot as the largest city in the US to Phoenix a few years back (they have subsequently got it back) or is it all water under the bridge at this point seeing as Philly has a great MLB team and Phoenix has a pretty good AAA team.
I was not aware of any of these facts, but I am immediately enraged by them.
VS: Who wins this MMA matchup. Philly Phanatic vs. Swoop (Eagles mascot)
TBOH: Swoop can't actually fly, so as far as eagles go, he's a living joke. The Phanatic could run him down on an ATV and fire a hot dog from his hot dog cannon through his brain at 900 mph. There's a reason he only shoots it into the upper deck.
VS: Who is the most underrated player on the current Phillies Roster?
TBOH: Roy Oswalt, is the most underrated of the four aces. Joe Blanton is underrated in general, and offensively Placido Polanco is only currently being given credit for his ability to hit and hit and hit and hit and hit the shit out of everybody.
Also Pete Orr is destined to have the words "Professional Hero" etched next to his name. I predict.
VS: Is there anyone down on the farm about to breakout as the next Phillies superstar that we should all be on the lookout for?
TBOH: I'm going to shout some names at you: Scott Mathieson! Vance Worley! Michael Stutes! Jonathan Singleton! Matt Rizzotti!
The first three are all guys you could see in the bullpen this year because guys like Kendrick, Danys Baez, and David Herndon are living on borrowed horrible performances. Mathieson is a guy with two Tommy Johns in his past who can flamethrow with the best of them--if he's not on the big club soon he's going to ask to be somewhere else. Worley is a capable alternative to Kendrick, and he wears goggles so he's quirky. Stutes is an even younger guy who wowed a bunch of beat writers this spring until they wrote flowery prose about him; he became on their "big stories of the spring" and helped sell newspapers and probably made them feel young again or something.
Singleton is Ryan Howard, Jr. who is currently being shifted from 1B to left field because Ryan Howard Sr. will be blocking him for the next 11,000 years. And Rizzotti is an older, more developed offensive 1B who faces the same problem and I have a soft spot for because he is just a bat without a home. Both of these guys wept (along with the rest of Philadelphia) the day Howard got that extension. I can't believe Rizzotti hasn't been traded yet. Also I may be spelling his name wrong.
(Update from Klugh: Michael Stutes was just promoted because Jose Contreras has exploded)