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Thursday, August 11, 2005


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No, No, No on the sitting Howard. I just don't like the idea of telling any kid he's in there against righties/lefties (pick one) only. Let them learn to hit the guys they have trouble with by standing in the batter's box, not sitting in the dugout.

What's the rush? I'd be shocked if he got a hit against Odalis Perez. Why not save Howard for late in the game against their awful bullpen? I think that's a better strategy for tonight.

T. Perez vs. LHP: .317/.378/.390
R. Howard vs. LHP: .154/.185/.154

Better chance to win ... start Tomas and save Howard for Steve Schmoll.

stayed up for both games...i'm 40 oz. into dunkin donuts coffee this morning...was in bed last nite and nudged my wife...hey honey.. howards up with bases loaded no body out intie game.."huh" she wakes up boom!!!

now that is not typical for a phils fan!

howard seems to really turn it on (utley too) in close games...

one more i too cynical...dodgers intentionally walked abreu who was up there hoping for a walk..utley's steal made the inning possible..really impressed by that


Utley is one helluva pro. Even when he struggled during the last home stand one had the feeling he would help the team in other ways until he rediscovered his stroke. Now, back home in CA, he is doing it all again.

As for starting Tomas and sitting Howard until the right relief pitcher comes in, I would be OK with that plan since Tomas hits better as a right-hander, but I just don't like sitting these kids who should see big league pitching from both sides from the get-go. Still, I have to wonder what affects a rookie's confidence more, being benched when a tough rightie/leftie is on the hill or getting collared trying. Now, by tough r/l on the hill I don't necessarily mean an Odalis Perez. I was thinking more along the lines of a Pedro or someone of his ilk.

I would only sit Howard against good lefties (eg. Willis, Mulder, Capuano, Petitte). You get better hitting against lefties by playing against them.

Last outing against Perez ... Howard went 1-3. I'm writing this because someone will eventually write it.

Come on, guys. They have a chance to sweep this series and maybe go 0.5 games back of the wild card. Let's put the best hitters on the field to face this pitcher.

Not only that, Howard is the guy you want to come in and face a right-hander late, not Tomas or Endy. The learning thing is overrated in this case. How much was Utley's progress hindered with the platoon with Polanco? And as for confidence, Howard might be thrilled by sitting this one out. He's batting .150 against LHP.

Howard may play tonight and go 2-4. It could happen. But why gamble away your best chance to sweep for a few instructional at bats?

OK. Last outing against Perez, Howard went 1 - 3.

Best hitters vs. Perez? Best hitters period? As long as you have the stats at your fingertips, what is T Perez hitting against O Perez?

Finally (not as in the last word but as in my last word), there are those out there who would say Tomas is the bigger gamble right now than Ryan Howard. You have to play to win on the road, not tie.

T Goodman wondered which one affects a rookie's confidence more, and I guess it just depends on the rookie's personality. Some it will hurt, some it won't. As for Howard, I have no idea, but I'll ask him next time we hang.

Life has suddenly become very complicated for Ed Wade and CM.

In my version of their perfect scenario, Jim Thome would have come back, recovered his stroke, and helped the Phillies down the stretch. His performance would have reassured those who felt he was in decline, and it would have allowed Wade to trade Howard during the offseason for some real value. Howard would have had enough of an opportunity to show his skills and upside to get some good players in return.

The only issue would have been PT for Thome/Howard for the remainder of this year, and that would have been a minor thing.

Now Wade and CM have a big problem. If Howard continues to perform as he has so far, they will have a very difficult time convincing anyone that the Phillies should keep Thome and trade Howard. Jim Thome will be coming off surgery and be a complete question mark as far as whether he can regain his previous level of excellence. Howard will be a younger, cheaper player with enormous potential and a half-season under his belt.
And for exactly those same reasons, and Thome's monster contract, Wade will have a hard time moving Thome and an easy time trading Howard. Therefore, the odds are that Wade would deal Howard because he couldn't find a taker for Thome. I cannot envision that the Phillies will keep both.

In that case, the Phillies need to play Howard as much as they can. They need to see if he can adjust to tough LHP. They cannot sit him to protect his confidence.

They can only take that slower developmental timetable with Howard if they have already decided to keep him and trade Thome, regardless of what they get for him or if they have to pay part of his remaining contract. Otherwise there is really no reason to sit Howard. Let his new team deal with his long-term development starting next season.

This could make for an interesting offseason.

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