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Friday, February 17, 2006

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If memory serves me (always questionable of late), there were years when Casey Stengel platooned right out of the gate. I think you are correct to urge us to accept such an approach early on. In the past I have argued for letting Chase and Ryan learn to hit lefties as soon as possible, but a quick start is more important to this team.

(P.S. I don't do crossword puzzles.)

Good point, Jason. Pity we couldn't sign an infielder who can hit against righties to platoon with Bell. Ah, well.

Classy article Jason. Point well made. Just out of interest, what was the difference between fourth and first place OPS against left-handed pitching? And who finished first?

First were Cubbies with .804.

Retrosheet only has the '59 and '60 years available, but a quick runthrough confirms your memory. Casey shuffled all the time right in the beginning of the season. Take a look at the infields of the mid-50s - Martin, Rizzouto, Jerry Coleman, Skowron... and it goes on and on. And Although he was gone by '61, Elston Howard, Yogi, and Johnny Blanchard were three "catchers" who slugged more than 60 home runs between the three of them.

Never grow up with a Yankee fan for a father...

Good argument, Jason. I just wish Gonzalez had more of a platoon split against lefties; last year he had a .754 OPS vs. righties, but just .690 (and only 1 of his 9 HR) against lefties. I'm guessing that's low compared to his career rates, but then again Bell had never been a lefty-destroyer before 2005.

I liked the idea of Burrell moving to first against some tough LHPs, but today's papers suggest that won't be happening. I think this team is still short a bat. It's a pipe dream, but Craig Wilson would be a great fit.

I think Bell's crazy splits of last year will normalize a bit this season, but if he can somehow keep up the rate he was hitting lefties like he did in '05 in '06, then he would make a great option as the 2-hole hitter against lefties.

The encouraging thing about the April run-through is that, outside of the Cards and Braves, the Phillies won't be playing much against very good teams to start out. Maybe there really is a chance for a good April this time.

Re: RichSchuBlues comment...

Cue the "it all depends on the pitching" mantra.

Re: Mikes' comments from Retrosheet....

I remember he liked to platoon players as a matter of course and not because he was forced to do so because of injury, etc. I expect to see at least two if not three players appear at third base this season on a fairly regular basis and two players appearing at firt base. And I think Manuel needs to give J-Roll and Chase a few more days off this season to keep them fresh.

Is Craig Wilson really that much of a pipe dream? He seems not to have any place to play in Pittsburgh, and I can't imagine the Pirates want to pay him $3-plus million to be a pinch hitter and/or backup catcher, on the off chance that Burnitz will get hurt and open up RF. I'd think a serviceable young arm (to the extent we can afford to spare one) would be enough to land him.

How do we not have a comment on The Metaphysical One: dutch hDaulton?

Interesting take Jason. Although I agree fast start is important, baseball is a season and I think you need to let Ryan and Chase learn to hit lefties. I think there are only a handful of good lefty starters in the NL -- Willis, Petitte, Lowry, Duke, Mulder, and Glavine. Against that group, I would sit Ryan and sometimes rest Chase. But I would start both against guys like Vargas.

Adam C., I wonder if the Phils would offer Tejeda for Wilson, and if the Pirates would bite. We can just about afford it, and as a Bucco he'd fit right in among their promising stable of arms. Of course, that's kind of the problem: Pittsburgh really needs more young bats of promise. I don't think guys like Moss or Roberson would intrigue them, but who knows... I'm just nervous that Gillick doesn't perceive how front-loaded his position players are, in terms of offense. After the 1-6 hitters, who on the Phils roster scares an opposing manager?

I doubt the Phils want to pay him 3 mill either.

Why would Paul Hagen be moved to write an article on Darren Daulton's new age theories? It's kind of sad, but who cares? Thousands of people believe the same thing. What next, an expose on Lenny Dykstra's conversion to scientology?

Hagen et al probably feel guilty. They watched those guys drink, carouse and use every supplement known to mankind and just chuckled and clucked and said, "Boys will be boys." Only Rich Hoffmann has ever publicly acknowledged that none of the writers had the courage to spoil the party by blowing any whistles, especially during the great home run chase of MacGwire and Sosa but not limited to that time.

Daulton is a sad case made all the more pathetic in the eyes of the Phillies and all who cover them because in the final analysis the Phillies always pointed to him as a clubhouse leader and for all intents and purposes there hasn't been another one since.

It's true, Daulton always seemed such a solid presence once he established himself as a good player...and he just completely disintegrated once he got out of baseball. Kind of ironic considering he retired very early, after a strong comeback season that indicated he had plenty of life left in his bat. I wonder if he regrets that now. I guess we'll all find out when his book is published (hopefully before 2012).

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