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Monday, April 17, 2006

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Another point I forgot to make on the Phillies bench goes back to what I said when Sal Fasano was signed. I'd like to see the Phillies hold on to Fasano as long as it takes to break in their pitching, then promote Ruiz from Scranton. In a matter of months, Fasano will outlive his usefulness. His bat, defense and speed are too much of a burden.

I used to be a strong believer in the "intangibles" of the catching position, which several readers talked about a few posts down. But after reading some good essays on the subject recently, I'm hot and cold. There's nothing ever close to consistent data to show that one catcher is a better handler of a pitching staff. I know Pratt's pitchers had the better ERA last year, which is evidence to prove otherwise, but I'm still not convinced. If Pratt was such a pitcher's catcher, why did Lieberthal catch Vicente Padilla's last 16 starts last year? Padilla has this reputation as a pitcher that cannot be handled, yet he was their best starting pitcher for over a month last season, working exclusively with Lieberthal.

So far, Lieberthal has caught some good outings by Lidle, Madson and yesterday's shutout in Colorado.

speaking of Carlos Ruiz...it's nice to see he's off to a very good start for Scranton. I'd like him to have the opportunity to be the starter, but I'm not sure the Phillies will ever give him that chance. Hopefully, they'll at least see he is quite the capable backup backstop.

Speaking of Padilla, did everyone see that he gave up 4 HRs the other day including the unthinkable -- 3 HRs on 3 consecutive pitches.

I think one reason why the bench has struggled is because Manuel has not used it well. Nunez, Gonzalez, Victorino, and Dellucci are just not being kept sharp. Everyone's surprised that Nunez has barely been used, but also, even though the starting outfield positions are strong, he's got to get Victorino and Dellucci in there more.

Who knows if Pratt could have gotten anything more out of Padilla? That cat seemed to have a mind of his own, or lack thereof. But then again, Myers gave it up for Lieberthal after yesterday's game, a rare moment of praise for his game-calling skills. I had been sharply critical of that battery after its previous game against Atlanta, and said that one reason Myers wasn't better was because of Lieberthal's impassive presence in his starts. But I can't refute Myers if he suggests that the guy can actually have a positive influence on his pitching. It's something to take note of, and for all the Lieby-bashers out there to likewise consider.

I think intangibles is the wrong word when talking about Fasano. Handling a pitching staff is an essential skill for a catcher.

i am more than comfortable not having padilla in this rotation, regardless of how well he does in Texas or how little we got in return. right move, right time.

Jayson Stark wrote recently that a scout has told him Dellucci needs to be started a couple times a week to be effective. Which, of course, ain't happening, as even with his foot, Burrell doesn't need a break nearly that often, and of course Bobby never takes a day off.

Too bad Pat Gillick doesn't have access to scouts the way Jayson Stark apparently does (I love how he always has anonymous scouts and GMs in his articles, like it's some top-secret classified information being discussed at maximum personal risk).

This was my point why this team did not need a 5th outfielder (Dellucci). Starters will play everyday and Victorino is a capable reserve for all 3 OF spots. If Dellucci needs more than 7 ABs a week to be effective, he is useless for this team. In NL, bench means pinch hitting.

remember, dellucci gives us flexibility (in theory) to move a certain someone, should it be decided that such is the way to go.

I'm still on the fence about whether adding Dellucci was necessary or not. It's true this starting OF doesn't need much rest so one backup OF would be OK. But Dellucci will definitely make the lineup stonger in interleague games as the DH or giving Burrell a rest in left. And like gr said, having him on the team provides enough depth to trade another OF down the road if necessary.

Phils only play 9 games in which they need a DH, so Delucci was acquired to be a pinch hitter. With regards to playing everyday if the Phils made a trade, Dellucci is not an everyday outfielder. He cannot hit lefties at all, and his limited range and arm essentially limits him to just leftfield, so he doesn't give you that much flexibility.

Steve Jeltz...man, I remember you. Will you all indulge me if I stray from the subject at hand and relive one of Jeltz's rare moments of glory?

It was 20 years ago this April. I only got to go to the Vet a few games a season in those days, and this was a cold Saturday afternoon, an NBC Game of the Week against the eventual World Champion Mets. Steve Carlton started for the home team...Ray Knight snapped a 4-4 tie with a homer, and the Mets led 7-4 going into the bottom of the ninth. But that's where the much-maligned Jet steps in, scalding a two-run triple to the right-center field gap and then scoring on Garry Maddox's sacfly to tie it up. My father, who was not a baseball fan, was probably more disappointed than any Met fan in the old stadium, as the game dragged on in the chill of the late afternoon shadows.

In the top of the 14th - pre-determined as the very last inning we would remain in attendance - Lenny Dykstra scored on a very shallow sacrifice fly; "Man, that guy can really run, can't he?," exclaimed my dad, not even trying to hide his relief, but I was crushed. But then the Phils loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half. Von Hayes drew a walk to re-tie the game...and then who else but our hero Steve Jeltz stepped up and delivered a grounder through the middle to win the game, 9-8! It remains one of the best games I've ever seen in person.

Steve Jeltz, baby...yeah, that name probably doesn't bring back good memories for most, but he had his moments, every few years.

I was with you on the 5th OF not being a necessity for this team but I think you're a little rough on your assessment of Dellucci. He went .251/29/65 with .880 OPS in 128 games last year. He hit .242 against lefties which isn't great but is a far better number than a certain 3B hits against righties. There are several teams he'd be a starter for (including last year's Rangers, a pretty good offensive team). As far as "only" playing 9 games with a DH; the Phillies "only" missed the playoffs by one game last year. Maybe if they had a bat a little more potent than Tomas Perez in there for a couple of those interleague games, they wouldn't have been watching from home in October.

Rick,

Nice Steve Jeltz story, maybe the highlight of his career. Think of the "potential" they had back then with Schu and Jeltz. Although as a kid, I could never comprehend why Luis Aguayo never got more PT when it seemed apparent to me (and most of my other elementary school friends) that he was the superior player.

hell, why not include Jeff Stone is we are talking about flameouts lol. Remember when they fooled us into thinking that Samuel and Stone were the next vince Coleman and Willie McGee?

that dude, they had to tell us something. we didn't have "white lightening" bob dernier anymore.

Aguayo had a good bat, but he was none too slick a fielder. See, this is great...forget these clowns today, we can argue over the '80s. What were they thinking with that Mike Easler trade, anyway?!

Too early to tell how the bullpen or the bench will turn out. Need to wait until May to really have a good idea on who needs to go and who stays.

Still, it looks like the bench/middle bullpen is weak and I don't see much immediate help available at Reading or Scr/WB.

One thing is that if this club is under .500 after the Mets series on May 9-11, Manuel should be fired. Their easiest month of the schedule is in April and they don't play a good team again until the Braves on May 3-4.

The 69 Mets has Ya Gotta Believe...The 04 Sox had Believe....the 06 Phillies (or any year for that matter) should have "Make us Believe"

Man, I feel young. I only know who Steve Jeltz is from playing the 1984 edition one of those old baseball dice games, Pursue the Pennant. My brother and I used to do tournaments. I remember rolling under 15 or so (out of 999)in order to get a game winning HR out of Jackie Gutierrez, the Red Sox shortstop.

About Dellucci as a starter: I don't think he'd make a terrible starter, but if he started, we'd almost definitely need to pick up a new 5th OF. Also, I sincerely doubt the Phillies will successfully deal Abreu during the season, however badly they want to (unless they settle for getting a bag of chips in return).

I dont see any reason why we would want to deal Breau att his point. No way you are going to get equal value.

I don't think I am being too hard on Dellucci. Here is his 3 year average against left handed pitching (2003 - 2005)

Avg - .162
OBP - .261
SLG - .242
OPS - .503

Do you think he is an everyday player ?

Delucci is a nice commodity for an AL team and is simply not worth the price for an NL team. Unless you simply consider him insurance if Burrell's foot acts up, which if that were ther case can you imagine a lineup with FOUR lefties in the heart of the order? Id hate to see what a team with a goof lefty out of the pen would do to us.

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