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Saturday, April 22, 2006

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when talking about poor play, don't forget the baserunning. two very bad plays last night. first, rowand gets thrown out stealing on a 2-0 count, a horrible count to run on unless you're rickey henderson, made even worse by the fact that olsen wasn't even close to the plate with the first two and was obviously bothered by rowand's presence at first. second, gonzalez gets nailed at third after he tries to advance on a ball in the dirt. the ump missed the call but that was irrelevant. close game, first and second, young pitcher, not a fast baserunner - you must be absolutely sure you will make to try to advance on a play like that.

Your man Carlos Ruiz is doing quite well at SWB....5 HR's, .407 BA.

The hitting with runners in scoring position is a statistical hiccup. It will match the Phils team avg. as the season progresses.

As for Lieber, his offspeed stuff looked better tonight but he still got pounded after the 4th inning. Also, let's not forget that the Marlins have most a minor league lineup in there. I would cringe at what the Yankees lineup would do to Lieber at this point.

Absolute bonehead play by Fasano last night. He can order 300 pizzas for fans but he still sucks. People talk about the importance of "intangibles" in baseball (which I downplay) and I just don't see what Fasano brings except some goofy facial hair.

You're being kinda hard on Lieber, I think. He wasn't that bad, just not good enough to get a W with the Phillies behind him. But any decent team could have converted last night's pitching effort into a win.

I agree he doesn't merit a personal catcher, but neither should Fasano be anyone's personal catcher. I think I've seen about enough of him both at the plate and behind it. He's a downgrade from Pratt and frankly makes Lieberthal look pretty good. Betcha Lieby woulda got that double-steal right.

But what do I know? Not much about baseball I guess, because I was pretty sure that this year's team would be better than last year's. So far they are demonstrably worse in every way. Can anybody think of any single facet in which they have been better this year? Starting pitching? Nope. Bullpen? Nope. Defense? Nope. Offense? Hell no!

Maybe they'll "come around." Or maybe they're really this bad. The Inky today notes that they are reaching some historic landmarks -- worst home record to start the season since 1961, most games to start a season without a triple since 1953. It takes a bad team to threaten all-time futility records for this franchise, the losingest in the history of major league baseball.


Didn't take long for people to start to sour on ol' Sal. He's being exposed far too often: six out of sixteen games, he starts? That's waaaaaay too much. It is ridiculous that a veteran like Lieber would have to merit a "personal" catcher. I can see a younger guy like Floyd who needs coddling. But there is no reason why Lieber can't work with Lieberthal, unless the two just aren't comfortable with that strange battery combination of surnames. They've both been around over ten years. Get it together. Putting Fasano in the lineup clearly hurts the team.

So, which would you rather watch over a full season: a young nucleus of talented players, just starting out together, who may lose 90-100 games but who will play hard and develop as a unit - or a perpetually underachieving veteran team that may win 85-90, but which has never developed anything except frustrating habits, has never made the playoffs and has scant hope of ever doing so? I'm damn sure I know which I'd rather watch (as long as I can mute Tommy Hutton).

The personal catcher issue is Charlie Manuel's doing and consequently his problem, plain and simple. He is the one who decides who starts at catcher, not his pitchers. This is just another example of his poor player management, the other ones being who starts, who sits, who comes off the bench and when.

Phillies losing to a minor league team...further proves that they just don't have what it takes. This team is bad! I didn't think they'd be this bad, but obviously they can be, and will probably continue to be.

And to answer your question RickSchuBlues...I said to my best friend/fellow blogger/Phillies fan before the season that the Marlins are going to be a fun team to watch this season, more so than any other team out there. I wish the Phillies played with the same fire and aggressiveness that these younsters do!

Note to Phillies players: lighten up and play the damn game like you can...you were signed for millions of dollars for a reason, now just do it!!!

Lighten up is right. This team looks like it has no fun at all, like the weight of the world is on its shoulders. Everyone thought that was Bowa's fault. Guess what! These players can't take the heat. That's what Manuel was brought here to do, wasn't it, to get everyone all loosey-goosey? There doesn't appear to be any other attribute he brings to a baseball team. And yet: it hasn't worked. If you're the Phillies, pray for a repeat of last year's turnaround, pray your team becomes second-half devils like Houston and Oakland. And if not - CLEAN HOUSE. For once and for all. Whatever positive steps had been taken in the last couple months of '05 are null and void now. The problem is not the lack of talent - it is the lack of winning attitude (and maybe solid veteran pitching in the rotation). Throw away all the other stats: 2-8 at home is the only one you need to back that statement up!!

I'm not as down on Lieber as Jason, but he's pretty clearly showing the same tendency that killed him last year: he pitches worse with men on base. Here are the numbers from this year:

OOPS with bases empty: .610
OOPS with runners on: 1.090
OOPS with RISP: 1.160

Against Lieber with men in scoring position, opposing hitters are 11-for-22 through his first four starts. That's almost inconceivable.

This was a problem for Lieber last year as well, though not as bad:

2005 OOPS with bases empty: .673
2005 OOPS with runners on: .834
2005 OOPS with RISP: .796

Pretty frustrating. When it comes to pitching in the clutch, Lieber's no Robinson Tejeda ;)

On a seperate issue, the Phillies, in spite of their 6-10 record, are one of only a handful of teams yet to make a roster move. Not necessarily saying there's a whole lot they can do, but I think it adds a little fuel to those who believe the Phillies are loyal to struggling players.

Among those getting the axe or getting sent to the minors the last few days include pitcher Zach Day, Bobby Kietly and Lance Nix. Day was designated for assignment by Colorado.

On a local note, Berks-native Wade Miller was placed on the 60-day DL by Chicago.

Smart move to reschedule today's game in July. Hopefully Myers can be the stopper again tomorrow.

I didn't see the game last night, but Lieber's line score doesn't look all that bad:
7IP 6H 4ER 8K 0BB

Granted, against the Marlins you should do better than that. Also, Lieber's 4 starts have all either been in Coors field or Coors east..hopefully he'll pick up when the team heads out west and to Shea, RFK, and Dolphin Stadium.

I have this sneaky suspicion that the pitching will improve when we get to these pitcher's parks, and that the media instead of recognizing this will credit Fassano's intangibles, a new winning attitude, or J-Roll's infectious personality.


I do think Fassano is playing too much though. The only way I can see justifying sitting Lieberthal 2 or 3 times a week is if all the extra rest is helping his batting. Still, I think a slightly less productive Lieby six games a week is better than 4 games of improved Lieby + 2 or 3 games of Fassano.

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