Phantasy Philes: Struggling Starters

What happened to the Phillies' pitching? Instead of being the prime strength in the club's arsenal, the starting pitching has suddenly become a handicap at a very bad time. So this week in the Philes, we'll take a look at those struggling starters, other than Randy Wolf whom we covered last week, and decide what fantasy owners should do with them as the season winds down. Also, we'll double the fun with not one, but two non-Phillies of the week. It really doesn't get much better than that.

Before we get into how stinky the starters have been of late, I just wanted to make it known that the new addition to the bullpen, Geoff Geary, looks exactly like Ed Wade. While watching Geary's debut on Tuesday night, I couldn't help but think that Wade was pitching under an assumed name in an attempt to help out the struggling bullpen himself. Has anyone seen the two in the same room at the same time? Someone call Mulder and Scully, this could be a good storyline for an episode of The X Files.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Though he hasn't exactly been pitching poorly recently, Kevin Millwood is certainly someone fantasy owners should watch closely over the next week or so. Amidst even more rumors surrounding his contract situation with the Phillies and where he'll end up in 2004, Kevin has done pretty well since the start of August, but that could change. If you remember the last time there was a lot of talk about Millwood's contract negotiations with the Phils, then you know that those off the field happenings turned into distractions for the former Brave on the field that had a negative influence on his pitching. So, if talk of Kevin already deciding to leave Philly for Atlanta continues to dominate the clubhouse news, fantasy owners may want to bench him for a start or two should his performance start to worsen.

Speaking of worsening performance, Brett Myers is one of those partially responsible for all the action the Phillies' loss column has seen the last few weeks. For the first time this season, Brett's ERA is above 4.00, but according to the club, there's an explanation for that. Just as Padilla did earlier this season, it has recently been discovered that Brett Myers has also been tipping his pitches in his last few starts. Unfortunately, that revelation didn't help much as Brett was beat around by the Expos on Tuesday night. Fantasy owners shouldn't give up hope on the young righty yet, as a bit more time spent with Joe Kerrigan should work out the kinks in his delivery before long.

The troubles of Vicente Padilla show just how stubborn he can be and how easy it is to make the veins in Larry Bowa's neck look like they're about to explode. You see, Vicente loves his fastball more than any other pitch in the whole wide world. If you could marry a pitch, his fastball would be known as Mrs. Padilla by now. Now, Padilla has a good fastball that has even helped make him an All-Star, but when he throws it 82 times out of 94 total pitches like did the other night against the Expos, it's hard to get the W. Until Vicente starts to mix in a little more variety in his pitch selection, or learns to count past one, looks for his problems to persist. I highly doubt his love affair with the fastball will last much longer however, since Bowa would probably divorce the two himself, with a little help from Mr. Fungo, before Padilla could try that again.

The first non-Phillie in our double dip may be hard to find on your league's waiver wire, but he could make for a good trade acquisition. You see, August has been very nice to new Pittsburgh Pirate Aramis Ramirez, with a line of .294/8/17. At a somewhat thin position like third base, Ramirez may be a nice, relatively cheap option for those in need for a change at the hot corner. Next on our list is a pitcher, who also changed teams recently, that could help you through these tough times with the Phillies starters. Brian Anderson dropped off the fantasy radar as soon as he landed in Cleveland before this season, but since the end of May, he's really come on strong. With an August ERA under 2.00, and his opponent's batting average the lowest it's been for any month, Anderson could turn out to be a guy that really helps down the stretch, especially now that he's with KC and has a better chance at a win once in a while.

Alright, that'll do it for this week folks. If you have any questions or comments for me, feel free to send them to with "PBN" in the subject line. Until next time, I'm out like Isiah Thomas.

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