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.

Jake Thompson left searching for answers after latest rough start

Jake Thompson left searching for answers after latest rough start

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — On the whole, the Phillies have made steady progress in their rebuild this season.

Cameron Rupp has improved. Maikel Franco has had a nice year. Odubel Herrera, even with his recent inconsistency, has had more ups than downs. Cesar Hernandez has been on a good roll. Freddy Galvis has 36 extra-base hits, and Tommy Joseph has opened eyes with his power. In the bullpen, Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos have shown that they just might be future studs.
 
For a good chunk of the season, the young starting pitching has shown promise, as well.
 
But lately, that corner of the team has taken some hits. Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin were both ruled out for the remainder of the season last week with elbow and knee injuries, respectively, and hard-throwing Vince Velasquez has been tagged for 19 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings over his last three starts.
 
Jake Thompson’s first four major-league starts haven’t exactly inspired confidence, either. The 22-year-old right-hander was hit hard in a 9-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay). He gave up eight hits, including five for extra bases, and seven runs as his ERA swelled to 9.78. Only Mike Maddux (9.98) in 1986 had a higher ERA for the Phillies in his first four big-league starts.
 
“I’m not used to this,” Thompson said after the defeat. “I feel certain that I’m a lot better than my performance has indicated.”
 
Few pitchers come to the big leagues and dazzle right away. There is a learning curve and occasionally growing pains. But no one expected Thompson to have this much trouble out of the chute, not after what he did in his final 11 starts at Triple A Lehigh Valley.
 
Thompson went 8-0 in those 11 starts and recorded a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 10 earned runs in 74 1/3 innings. He gave up just 52 hits and 18 walks over that span while striking out 42.
 
In four starts with the big club, he has given up 22 hits and 21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. He has walked 13 and struck out 13.
 
He was advertised as a control and command pitcher. He has yet to show that in the majors.
 
“A lot of it has to do with his age and, I think, the fact he’s in the big leagues for the first time trying to make a good impression,” manager Peter Mackanin said. “He probably feels like he needs to make perfect pitches every time. All he’s got to do is keep the ball down. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff. He relies on command and control and he hasn’t shown that. I attribute a lot of that to his youth and inexperience.”
 
So does Rupp, the catcher.
 
“How many guys do you see come to the big leagues at 22 years old and just flat out dominate every time they go out?” Rupp said. “Not very many. He's young. It was his first time in Triple A this year and he pitched really well and now he's got a chance in the big leagues. I'm sure he feels like there's pressure. When you come up and you pitch so well all year and then you finally get your opportunity, you want to impress. It puts a lot on you. And as a kid, you've got to be able to control it and it's tough. It's hard.

“Nobody wants to see anybody fail. It's hard to go through. It's something that's going to make him better when he does finally figure it out."
 
Two of the walks Thompson gave up Tuesday night became runs. He gave up back-to-back homers to Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau in the fifth inning as the White Sox turned it into a rout.
 
“Just too many pitches up in the strike zone,” Mackanin said. “Everything he threw was thigh high, waist high. He couldn’t get the ball down. It’s as simple as that.”
 
Thompson concurred with his manager.
 
“The issue is pretty evident,” he said. “I'm not throwing strikes and when I am throwing strikes, they're not good strikes. It’s a frustrating thing because it's a relatively easy thing to do. I don't really have the answer right now to fix it.”
 
The game moves fast at the big-league level and confidence can become bruised quickly. Thompson said his confidence was unshaken. Still, Phillies officials have to be careful that this difficult baptism to the majors does not snowball and become something that adversely impacts Thompson's growth.
 
“It’s something that you’re concerned about and I’m concerned about,” Mackanin said.
 
Concerned enough that Thompson might not make his next start?
 
Mackanin said he expected Thompson to stay in the rotation, but added that he would speak with general manager Matt Klentak on the topic.
 
“I don’t want to see him keep getting beat up and keep struggling like this,” Mackanin said. “We’ll talk about it and see what Matt wants to do.”

Best of MLB: Royals shut out Marlins for 9th straight win

Best of MLB: Royals shut out Marlins for 9th straight win

MIAMI -- Yordano Ventura escaped two threats while pitching six innings, and the Kansas City Royals extended their winning streak to nine games by beating the Miami Marlins 1-0 on Tuesday night.

Ventura (9-9), who reached 101 mph on the scoreboard radar gun, allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six. Royals starters have an ERA of 1.69 during the winning streak, Kansas City's longest since June 2014.

Three relievers closed out the win and extended the bullpen's streak of 32 consecutive shutout innings since Aug. 10. Kelvin Herrera pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.

The Marlins had won three straight but were shut out despite totaling seven hits. They went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position (see full recap).

Nova, Pirates beat Astros to snap 4-game skid
PITTSBURGH -- Ivan Nova took a shutout into the ninth inning and finished with a six-hitter while Gregory Polanco hit two home runs to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Nova (10-6) struck out six, walked one and threw 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes while improving to 3-0 in four starts since being acquired from the New York Yankees in an Aug. 1 trade.

It was the fourth complete game of the right-hander's seven-year career with the others coming in 2013.

His bid for his third career shutout ended when Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve led off the ninth with consecutive doubles.

After the Pirates scored four runs in the first inning, Polanco hit solo shots in the third and fifth off Joe Musgrove and Tony Sipp to extend the lead to 6-0 and raise his season total to a team-high 19 homers (see full recap).

Gausman, Jones help Orioles roll over Nationals
BALTIMORE -- Kevin Gausman scattered six hits over six shutout innings, Adam Jones went 4 for 5 and the Baltimore Orioles breezed past the Washington Nationals 8-1 on Tuesday night.

Chris Davis hit his 30th home run for the Orioles, who won two straight over Washington to conclude a 3-5 homestand.

Baltimore is 34-24 against the Nationals in a rivalry that began in 2006. The series shifts 38 miles south to Nationals Park on Wednesday for the first of two games.

Gausman (5-10) walked two, struck out two and permitted only one runner past second base. He's 5-1 at home and 0-9 on the road.

The 25-year-old Gausman outpitched Nationals rookie Reynaldo Lopez, a 22-year-old making his fifth major league start. Lopez (2-2) yielded six runs, four earned, and seven hits in 2 2/3 rocky innings (see full recap).

Instant Replay: White Sox 9, Phillies 1

Instant Replay: White Sox 9, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — Jake Thompson’s difficult big-league baptism continued in the Phillies’ 9-1 interleague loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
 
The rookie right-hander was tagged for seven runs in five innings. He allowed eight hits and walked four as his ERA in four starts since coming up from Triple A swelled to 9.78. Only Mike Maddux (9.98) in 1986 had a higher ERA for the Phillies in his first four big-league starts.
 
Offensively, the Phillies did little against White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon. They had just five hits for the game.
 
The Phillies have lost five of their last seven and are 58-68 on the season. They have been outscored 18-1 in their last two games.
 
Starting pitching report
Thompson, 22, has been a much different pitcher since coming to the majors than he was in his last 11 starts at Triple A Lehigh Valley. He went 8-0 in those 11 starts and recorded a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 10 earned runs in 74 1/3 innings. He gave up just 52 hits and 18 walks over that span while striking out 42.
 
In four starts with the big club, he has given up 22 hits and 21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. He has walked 13 and struck out 13.
 
Two of the four walks that Thompson gave up in this game became runs.
 
Five of the eight hits he allowed were for extra bases, including a pair of homers.
 
Rodon, 23, was the third pick in the 2014 draft, four ahead of Aaron Nola. The lefty held the Phillies to three hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He walked one.
 
Bullpen report
David Hernandez was tagged for two runs.
 
At the plate
Freddy Galvis broke up the White Sox’s shutout bid with a solo homer off reliever Chris Beck in the seventh. Galvis has 13 homers.
 
Jose Abreu and Justin Morneau hit back-to-back homers against Thompson in the fifth inning to help the Sox pull away.
 
Abreu has homered in three straight games.
 
Minor matters
Pitcher Alec Asher, who serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a PED, has begun a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with the Phillies’ Gulf Coast League team. Asher is expected to be activated by the big club during the second week of September and he could make several starts down the stretch as the club watches the workload of several pitchers.
 
Up next
The two-game series concludes on Wednesday night. Jerad Eickhoff (8-12, 3.91) opposes right-hander James Shields (5-15, 5.98).