Remember This Guy: Chad Ogea

Remember This Guy: Chad Ogea

I’m bald. I started losing my hair while I was in high school, and by the time I was a junior in college, I came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea to never get my haircut again. If I never got another haircut, I thought. I will always have hair. Which is fine in theory, but not if you find more hair on your pillowcase than on the top of your head. I looked like a deranged scientist, which was bad form for a 20 year old single guy. My mother bought me shampoo for “thinning hair.” I didn’t take my Phillies hat off for two semesters. I was clinging to the past – clinging to my high school days. I just couldn’t pull the band-aid off.

Thus concludes my preview of the 2014 Phillies.

I’m not saying that I’m pessimistic about this upcoming Phillies season, but I did just spend the last twenty minutes Googling  Jeff Manship.

Name: Chad Ogea

Position: Starting Pitcher

Wheels’ Scouting Report: “Oh, ho boy, that Ogea. He’s a quirky one. Not quirky like a left-handed reliever - I mean, they’re really quirky. But Ogea, he’s quirky, too. A bit of an odd ball. The one thing that stands out about him is that he’s always talking the game. You can just tell. Chad loves coming to the ball park every day. You love to see that.”

Phillies Tenure: 1999

Semi-Believable WIP Call from 1999:

“Steve, Mike … big fan of the show. Ogea has been struggling this year. I was thinking maybe a stint in the bullpen would help? Help find his rhythm again? We’re gonna need him for the stretch run.  Oh, and are you guys still asking for a movie for the Guy’s All-Time Movie List? Has anyone said Platoon? Imma hang up and listen.”

The Phillies acquired Chad Ogea via free agency for the 1999 season. Ogea found some success a couple of season prior in the ’97 World Series while pitching for Cleveland. He was an unlikely hero. Chad, whose career numbers screamed more Mark Leiter than Al, went 2-0 against the Fish in the Series while posting a 1.54 ERA. And despite a disastrous, albeit predictable follow-up season in 1998, the Phillies inked Ogea to a contract for the 1999 campaign.

Ogea had a 5.63 ERA in his lone season with the Phillies, but Baseball Prospectus suggest that his ERA would have been a run and a half lower if Ron Gant was allowed to be positioned in Section 358 of the Vet. According to Baseball Reference, Ogea conceded a healthy 32 home runs that season. But if that number seems a touch low, it is. For seasons prior to 2000, B-R only classified home runs as balls that landed on the moon. Measuring Ogea’s season by more traditional home run standards and Chad actually allowed 284 bombs in 1999.

If Chad Ogea pitched to Bobby Abreu at the Home Run Derby in 2005, then we would still be watching the 2005 Home Run Derby. Bobby would still be belting 78 MPH fastballs all over Comerica Park. Time would have stopped. The world would have stopped. All eyes would have been on the Motor City. Ogea and Abreu could have single-handedly resurrected the Detroit economy. Bobby would be approaching his three trillionth home run – a record that should stand for the foreseeable future. Detroit would be preparing to host Wrestlemania 31 at the Pontiac Silverdome (over 93,000 people expected to attend). People in the Delaware Valley would have had eight years to discuss the pros and cons of acquiring Kip Wells for the ’05 Wild Card run. The city would have been overrun with hot sports takes.

“Ed Wade has to pull the trigger! The Phillies are built to win now! Kip’s a grinder!”

“We have to stay the course! We can’t mortgage our future! Eude Brito has a live arm!”

“Kip is a clubhouse cancer! He’s not a winner! He doesn’t respect the game!”

Every kid under the age of eight would’ve been named Kip, or Bobby, or Chad. Or Aiden probably. Everyone’s kid is named Aiden.

Chad Ogea was the poster child of those lousy 90’s Phillies teams. Well, Ogea and Ricky Otero anyway. Outside of a select few, it was a roster littered with fringe prospects and castaways. But we wanted to believe otherwise. That there was more there – diamonds in the rough, hidden treasures, just ready to explode. Kids like me clung to our Wendell Magee Jr. rookie cards like they were antique pendants handed down from generation to generation.

“When did you get a safe, Bob?”

When I acquired this Fleer Wendell Magee Jr. rookie card in mint condition, Tim.”

I distinctively remember Ogea laboring on the mound, exhausted, as the summer heat and the scorching Astro Turf zapped all the life from his fastball. Ogea reminded me of Tony Danza’s character from Angels in the Outfield, but before the angels intervened.

“You used to be Mel Clark.”

“Yeah, I used to be.”

But, looking back, I had that same distinct laboring memory with Mark Leiter and Mark Portugal, too. So what do I know? The late 90s Phillies was an exercise in patience. Their starting rotation especially was an exercise in patience. It was Curt Schilling and pray for a monsoon. But, as we all know, the only Monsoon worth praying for is Gorilla.

So, today, we remember Chad Ogea.  He pitched to contact. And contact he found.

*

You can follow @wheresbenrivera on Twitter and check out his previous Remember This Guy(s): William Thomas, Chris T. Jones, and a guide to hating the Cowboys.

Best of MLB: Indians rally off Papelbon, stun Nationals, 7-6

Best of MLB: Indians rally off Papelbon, stun Nationals, 7-6

CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor pushed an RBI single through Washington's drawn-in infield with one out in the ninth inning, and the Cleveland Indians rallied for three runs in their final at-bat to stun the Washington Nationals 7-6 on Tuesday night in a matchup of two first-place teams with sights on October.

Down two runs and three outs from their losing streak reaching a season-high four games, the Indians rallied against Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon (2-4), who did not get an out before he was pulled by manager Dusty Baker.

With the bases loaded, Lindor fisted his base hit into right field and danced his way up the first-base line as the Indians celebrated an improbable victory.

Bryan Shaw (2-4) got two outs in the ninth and picked up the win as Cleveland won its first home game since July 10 (see full recap).

Cardinals take first game of doubleheader with Mets, 3-2
NEW YORK -- Jedd Gyorko homered again, hitting a two-run drive off Noah Syndergaard that sent the St. Louis Cardinals over the New York Mets 3-2 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.

Gyorko connected for the sixth time in eight games, giving him 13 this season. The Cardinals lead the NL in home runs with 137, matching last year's total.

The Mets played at home for the first time since the All-Star break and lost in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders. Citi Field was nearly empty at the start, a day after a rainout forced the twinbill.

Carlos Martinez (10-6) gave up a two-run homer to Rene Rivera and left after the fifth inning with a 3-2 lead. Three relievers finished, with Seung Hwan Oh getting his fifth save in six chances.

Syndergaard (9-5) has won only one of his last five starts (see full recap).

Colon, Mets top Cards, 3-1, for doubleheader split
NEW YORK -- Bartolo Colon pitched three-hit ball for seven sharp innings and the New York Mets overcame another home run by Jedd Gyorko to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 Tuesday night for a doubleheader split.

Gyorko homered in both ends and has connected seven times in nine games. His two-run shot helped St. Louis win the opener 3-2.

Colon (9-5) struck out eight and walked none. After Gyorko homered in the second and Alberto Rosario doubled in the third, Colon set down 14 of his final 15 batters.

Addison Reed worked the eighth and Jeurys Familia closed for his 36th save this year and 52nd in a row during the regular season.

White Sox avoid Chapman, down Cubs 3-0 behind Shields
CHICAGO -- James Shields allowed four singles in 7 2/3 innings, Adam Eaton homered and the White Sox stayed unbeaten since Chris Sale's suspension by beating the Cubs 3-0 Tuesday night in Chicago's crosstown rivalry.

The Cubs lost their second straight and never got to use new closer Aroldis Chapman hours after he joined the team and struggled answering questions related to an altercation last year with his girlfriend.

Shields (5-12) struck out five and continued an impressive turnaround from a terrible first three starts after being acquired from San Diego last month. Nate Jones finished the eighth and David Robertson worked the ninth for his 24th save in the White Sox's fourth straight win since their ace was sent home for destroying throwback jerseys.

Jose Abreu had two hits, including an RBI single in the first off Kyle Hendricks (9-7) that ended his streak of 22 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run (see full story).

Jerad Eickhoff's 'outstanding' start wasted by Phillies in shutout loss to Marlins

Jerad Eickhoff's 'outstanding' start wasted by Phillies in shutout loss to Marlins

BOX SCORE

MIAMI — The Phillies enjoyed a three-week stretch before the All-Star break when they were the best hitting team in baseball.

In the final 19 games before the break, they hit .308 with a .871 OPS. Both marks were tops in the majors over that span. They averaged 5.63 runs per game in that stretch.

The run of sturdy offense created some excitement and anticipation heading into the second half of the season. But that excitement and anticipation has now dissipated. Since coming back from the break, the Phillies’ offense has retreated back to invisibility.

The Phils were blanked, 5-0, by the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night, wasting a terrific start from Jerad Eickhoff (see Instant Replay).

After the game, manager Pete Mackanin was peeved.

“The only thing positive I can say about this game is Eickhoff,” Mackanin said. “He was outstanding. He had a great curveball, hit his spots, pitched well. It was a pitchers' duel up until the end. I’m real happy about that. 

"But that’s about all I’m happy about.”

Marlins starter Tom Koehler and a trio of relievers held the Phillies to just four singles.

Phillies hitters struck out 10 times. They have averaged 9.5 strikeouts in 12 games since coming back from the break and hit just .208. They are averaging just 2.75 runs in the 12 games since the break and carrying a 4-8 record.

“Poor plate discipline,” Mackanin said. “Poor plate discipline. Swinging at too many bad pitches. We get ourselves out too often. That’s about all I can think of.

“Koehler pitched well. But we helped him out a lot. We didn’t give him a chance to walk us. We swung at too many bad pitches. That’s our problem. We just get ourselves out too often. That’s what it boils down to.

“If you’re a free swinger who’s going to hit 30-plus home runs and drive in 100 runs, that’s acceptable to me. But if you’re not a power hitter, it’s unacceptable. You’ve got to make adjustments. You’ve got improve on it. You’ve got to work on it.”

Peter Bourjos offered his thoughts on the Phillies’ offensive struggles since the All-Star break.

“It's almost like it was probably bad timing for that break,” he said. “Everything was rolling. We were swinging the bats really well. Everyone looked comfortable in the box and feeling good and it's tough right now. You can see what there was with the offense. I think it's going to come back. We just need to get back into the rhythm that we had and everything's going to be all right.”

Eickhoff scattered five hits and a run over seven innings. He walked one and struck out eight, a big improvement over his previous start when these same Marlins tagged him for nine hits and six runs in five innings.

“I was more aggressive,” Eickhoff said. “It’s amazing what being aggressive will do for your game and how hitters will react. I threw my fastball inside and that set up my curveball so much more.”

The poor run support was nothing new for Eickhoff. He entered the game receiving an average of just 3.53 runs per game, 10th worst in the majors.

It was a scoreless game until there were two outs in the sixth. That’s when Giancarlo Stanton swatted a two-out RBI single to right, scoring Martin Prado from second. Stanton’s hit rolled untouched through the second base area because the Phillies’ defense was shifted to the pull side.

“We’ve got to play a shift on him,” Mackanin said of baseball's most fearsome power bat.

The game got out of hand when the bullpen was tagged for four runs in the eighth. Ichiro Suzuki stroked career hit No. 2,997 to get the Marlins’ late rally started.

In the first inning, Suzuki launched a long drive to the gap in right-center. Rightfielder Bourjos ran the ball down and made a terrific catch while crashing into the wall. He left the game with a jammed right shoulder and could miss some time (see story).

Instant Replay: Marlins 5, Phillies 0

Instant Replay: Marlins 5, Phillies 0

BOX SCORE

MIAMI — Jerad Eickhoff pitched seven innings of one-run ball, but still came away with a loss as the Phillies were shut out, 5-0, by the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.

Giancarlo Stanton drove in the Marlins’ first two runs with a single and a double.

Stanton gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead with a two-out base hit to right field against Eickhoff in the sixth inning. Stanton’s groundball hit rolled through the second base area, which had been vacated by the shift.

The Marlins blew the game open with four runs against the Phillies’ bullpen in the eighth.

The Phillies are 4-8 since the All-Star break and 46-56 overall.

Starting pithing report
Eickhoff scattered five hits and a run over seven innings. He walked one and struck out eight.

Miami manager Don Mattingly pulled Tom Koehler after the right-hander pitched six shutout innings and had allowed just three hits. Koehler walked one, struck out five and threw just 73 pitches. He exited with a 1-0 lead.

Koehler pitched eight innings of two-run ball in a win over the Phillies last week.

Bullpen report 
Andrew Bailey was charged with three runs in the eighth.

Mike Dunn, David Phelps and Nick Wittgren completed the shutout for the Marlins. 

At the plate
The Phillies had just four hits, all singles, and struck out 10 times. They were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position and are 1 for 13 the last two nights.

Stanton had been just 3 for 35 against the Phils this season before his shift-beating RBI hit in the sixth. He hit the ball much harder in the eighth inning when he clouted an RBI double to right-center against Bailey.

Adeiny Hechavarria padded the Marlins’ lead with a two-run single in their four-run eighth inning.

Ichiro Suzuki’s eighth-inning single left him three hits shy of 3,000 in his big-league career.

Health check
Rightfielder Peter Bourjos injured his right shoulder making a catch against the wall in the first inning and left the game (see story).

Minor matters
Ranger Suarez, a 20-year-old left-hander from Venezuela, pitched a seven-inning no-hitter for the Phillies’ Single A Williamsport club on Tuesday night.

Up next
The series concludes on Wednesday afternoon. Zach Eflin (3-3, 3.40) pitches against Miami lefty Adam Conley (6-5, 3.58).