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.

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies (70-85) at Mets (82-73)
1:10 p.m. on CSN

After two rough losses for the Phillies and their pitching staff, the offense picked them up and came through with a 10-8 win. 22-year-old Jake Thompson takes the hill this afternoon while Robert Gsellman starts a crucial game for the Mets.

Here are five things to watch on Sunday.

1. All the pressure on New York, Gsellman
The Mets remain 0.5 games up on the final National League playoff spot. 

While their pitching staff was falling apart at the seams going into (and during) this series, the one saving grace for New York was its soft schedule, facing the Phillies seven times in its last 10. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals have to deal with the MLB best Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants end the year vs. the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, a loss on Saturday (thanks in part to Noah Syndergaard getting scratched with strep throat) puts the Mets in a precarious position. They're tied in the loss column with the Cards and Giants while fighting for one of two playoff spots and their rotation most closely resembles their Triple A team from Opening Day. 

Gsellman is one of those pitchers who started the year never having tasted the major leagues. In fact, he started the year in Double A. His first career start came at Citi Field last month against the Phillies and resulted in his first career loss after he allowed four runs in six innings. 

He's been better since that start, carrying a 3.13 ERA into Sunday. The 23-year-old righty will likely start vs. the Phillies again next weekend, meaning the Mets' season rides in part on a rookie with just 31 2/3 innings in the majors. 

2. Young man on a roll
While Gsellman lost his last start, Thompson has won his last two starts. The young righty is on a hot streak as his season nears an end.

Thompson's ERA has goe down in each of his last five starts, a stat made less impressive by the fact that he began that run with a 9.78 ERA. He has gone at least five innings in his last eight starts and has shown glimpses of why he was such a valued prospects.

In September, Thompson is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA over four starts. He's still allowed 33 baserunners in 23 1/3 innings during that span, but it's been much better than his lackluster August.

While Thompson is in line to start next weekend against the Mets as well, today could be his final start of the season. He has already set a career-high in innings and the Phillies may not want to extend him one more start.

3. What to look for in the season's final week
Including Sunday, the Phillies have just seven games left in their season. They're eliminated from playoff contention, but there's still plenty to watch as the Phils take on Braves and Mets.

Ryan Howard's final fairwell: With his five-year, $125 million deal coming to a close this year, Howard is almost certainly playing his final games in Philadelphia next week. He'll get plenty of starts and may even face the Mets' Bartolo Colon, who he's smacked three home runs off of in his career.

Playing spoiler: As mentioned above, the Mets have everything on the line both today and next weekend in Philadelphia. There are few better ways to end a postseason-less season than knocking a rival out of playoff contention.

More looks at the kids: Roman Quinn's emergence over the last two weeks has been fun to watch and Jorge Alfaro may get more chances in the last seven games. Beyond them, Thompson, Tommy Joseph and others close out a nice first season. 

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Maikel Franco has looked more like his 2015 self over the last few weeks. He's batting .310 in September with three home runs, matching his August total. His 15 RBI this month are his most in a month other than July. 

Mets: Asdrubal Cabrera has been on fire this month as well. After battting .405 in August, he's batting .333 and has five home runs, including the walk-off homer on Thursday. He's slugging .628 this month after putting up a .786 slugging percentage in August. 

5. This and that
• In Gsellman's August start vs. the Phillies, he only allowed one run while he was in the game. However, he left the bases loaded in the 7th with no outs before A.J. Ellis knocked in the decisive two-run double to give the Phils a lead they would not relinquish.

• Six different Phillies batters had hits off Gsellman, including Jimmy Paredes who went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. 

• Despite pitching injuries, the Mets have the eighth-best team ERA in September with a 3.64 average. The Phillies are 15th in baseball with a 4.10 ERA this month.

• The Phillies are 6-9 against the Mets this year. They're already ensured of a better finish than last year's 5-14 mark vs. New York.

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, killed in boating accident

uspresswire-marlins-jose-fernandez.jpg
USA Today Images

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, killed in boating accident

MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez, the ace right-hander for the Miami Marlins who escaped Cuba to become one of baseball's brightest stars, was killed in boating accident early Sunday morning. Fernandez was 24.

The Marlins announced Fernandez's death, and the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach.

In the statement, the Marlins say they are "devastated by the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time."

Chief Petty Officer Nyxolyno Cangemi told The Associated Press that a Coast Guard patrol boat spotted an overturned boat at 3:30 a.m. on a jetty near Government Cut. The bodies were discovered a short time later.

Because the boat was on a jetty, the Coast Guard notified Miami-Dade police, which turned the investigation over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Fernandez was on a 32-foot vessel that had a "severe impact" with a jetty, said Lorenzo Veloz of the Fish Commission.

A news conference was planned for later Sunday morning.

Fernandez was a two-time All-Star who went 38-17 in his four seasons with the Marlins, winning the NL's Rookie of the Year award in 2013. The native of Santa Clara, Cuba became a U.S. citizen last year.

He tried to defect from Cuba at least three times -- landing in jail after one of those unsuccessful tries -- before eventually getting to the U.S. and going to high school in Tampa, Florida. The Marlins drafted him in 2011 and Fernandez was in the majors two years later.

The Marlins' game Sunday at home against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled.