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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

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What a statement from ol' buddy Brett. Way to show everyone you've progressed and matured from the whiny, tempermental, out-of-control early days. If this is a guy we're supposed to be depending on this year, then I might have to consider starting to panic like everyone else.

I missed the second half of the game but the ninth ining sounds all too familiar. It sounds like every damn Phillies team I've watched for a decade. Painstakingly build a rally, tease and torment the faithful, and flush it down the toilet in a single weak swing. If the Phillies get swept tomorrow - there are 159 more games. But it is an indescribably harrowing prospect all the same. Can a month's worth of unalloyed optimism really be squandered this quickly?

WOW, I am stunned u didnt mention any of the Lieby/Manuel's non-obvious gaffes. Dont know if youse watched the ESPN2 coverage, but Orel H pointed out occasions where Charlie used his pitcher conferences poorly (not getting anyone up in the pen) as well as Lieby being all over the place in pitch selection. His inability to communicate with Flash was sad. The pitchers just dont respect him. During Myers' time in the game he for some reason pitched froma full wind up and then the stretch w/o any1 on base. A REAL catcher wouldve taken control.

THEN U mention Lieby's weak grounder, but neglec tto mention Izzy had just walked 2 in a row and his fist pitch to Lieby was way out of the strike zone, which he swung widly at and missed.

The sum is greater than the parts, but Lieby and Manuel will be the downfall of this squad.


Good things: I never thought I would say it or let alone believe it, but J-Roll IS the MVp all the way around, he is much more of a complete player. Based on him crowding the strikezone he doesnt HAVE to walk more, he just needs to cut down on his K's, which I think he'll do. His D as always was impeccable.

Chase and Ryan do well against a lefty as well and in the giving credit where it's due, Bell had a timely homer, played very nice D and most impressive to me, worked anice walk in the 9th.

Just one question: whither the curveball??

Also, the fake comeback was doubly disappointing since I missed some important dialogue on Lost. I just feel bad for Lieby. I still like the guy but, man, he might not get cheered again for the rest of the season.

I hope Fasano catches the next game. I'm so tired of Lieby's lackadaisical at bats and lousy catching.

I wonder how bad the Phils record will have to be before Elmer gets shown the door.

Izzy's walk to Howard in the 9th was semi-intentional I think, with 1st base open. See if Howard would go fishing for an unhittable pitch. Bell had a great AB after that and worked a tough walk, so I don't think Izzy had lost his control. Lieberthal was going to have to get a hit. He could not go up there with the mindset of waiting out a walk. I might have seriously considered going to a PH in that case, hwr.
Also neglected was the Lieberthal's error on the throw in the 9th, which he was fortunate to get bailed out on.

But to me the bottom line was not Lieby: you don't walk 9 men and win in the majors, especially against good teams, and in particular against offensive powerhouses like St. Louis. The Phillies were lucky they 'only' lost by 1.


I know some people on this blog keep saying that it's only the first 2 games of the season, and don't start jumping on the negativity banwagon. Well, I'm not jumping on it, I was already there. Lieby and Manuel are bad for this team. Manuel manages poorly. I'm not saying I'd be better, but I am saying there are far better! Also, Lieby is supposed to be an offensive catcher, except he can't hit anymore. And he's very bad behind the plate. Can't call a game, doesn't handle staff well, and can't throw for crap. Nunez should have been used as a pinch hitter in the 9th with the bases loaded. And this isn't hind sight talking here, I said that before Lieby even got up to the plate.

*Bell should only start against lefties, and occasionally against a below average righty.

I didn't want to get too wrapped up in Lieberthal. Pitching was the big issue last night. But while we're on the subject, yes, Lieby had a dreadful game, including the throwing error, the second of two bad throws. He should have been out with Myers earlier on the mound before he started too unravel as well.

But it's secondary. Gordon walked two in his inning, including the eventual game-winner. Myers did not pitch a controlled game. Those were the big issues.

Only four teams have yet to win a game. They are the Phillies, the Royals, the Devil Rays and the Pirates. What a great group to be in. Bring back Bob Oldis.

In Myers' defense, that homer by Rolen was a circus feat...How did he hit that with it being up and in, a ball if he had not swung?

Early on in the game, I posted at BS&S that it would be interesting to see how myers reacted to getting himself in a hole. Pretty Badly, as you've noted. And for gordon to start with a walk was just horrible. As frustrating as it was to see all hopes for a comeback depending on the Black Hole and the bad throw to second by Leiby, we shouldn't have had to rely on his all-to-nonchalent shoulders. Yeah, if Myers can't calm himself down, then Lieby should be out faster. But Myers shouldn't have been getting that mad in the first place. I wasn't seeing to many tight calls from the ump, and in the first two innings, myers didn't seem capable of throwing anything remotely resembling a strike.

Most frustrating of all though was seeing Jimmy get on the second time with a double, only to get stranded. Hacked me right off.

"He could not go up there with the mindset of waiting out a walk."

Yes Lieby needed to get a hit, but that doesn't mean you dont work the count in your favor so you can better anticipate what will be thrown. He went up there swinging at the first two pitches no matter what.

JDub- I know you're a quasi-Lieby defender, but what about his handling of all the pitchers last night? From Myers switching from stretch to wind up to Gordon shaking him off every pitch. A catcher has to control the staff, thats why the good ones refer to it as "my pitchers and my game"

I agree with you, Dude. Lieberthal is a poor handler of the pitching staff, which we've talked about on this site before. I wouldn't call myself a defender of his, even quasi-defender. I've been very critical in the past. But his pitchers still have to throw strikes. Nine walks isn't the catcher's fault.

Lets not forget that all of this happened on a very cold night for baseball. It can be tough for curveball guys to grip the ball. Mulder wasn't great either, but Myers, and especially Gordon, rely heavily on their curve. This isn't an excuse, but is certainly a factor.

I'm also not sure how an ice-cold Nunez pinch hitting for Lieberthal in the ninth would have worked. Nunez isn't a great hitter, and if anyone is warm and loose to take an AB, it would be Lieberthal, who's been working the whole game. Not sure whether anyone agrees, but I didn't find fault in Manuel for letting his catcher hit.

I'm not sure I wouldve pinch hit for him either, but you would think at this point in his career he wouldnt go up there swinging like a schoolgirl. As much as I like Fasano he is nto a legitimate option and we are going to get a good catcher in a trade or from our system this year, that makes it doubly important for someone to sit him down and give him a come to Jesus meeting. I mean rerally I dont care if he hits 220, if he takes control of the staff and acts like a real catcher our ROI will be significant.

My grammar was bad. Sorry for the typos.

As a Midwest-born life-long Cardinal fan and a more recent -- 22 years -- Philadelphia transplant, I watch both teams a lot and I have to say that ninth inning encapsulated the difference between the two. Each team needed a run. Each had a hit and two walks to work with. The Cards plated one and had another thrown out trying. The Phillies couldn’t get past third base. In the end it came down to the catchers. Molina gets the two-out game-winner. Lieberthal, presented with a similar opportunity... well, all I could say was “Atta boy, Lieby!”

2 questions:

1) did anyone else get a really, really bad feeling watching Manuel leave Franklin in there for 3 batters too long? Yes, he squeaked out of it, but next time may not be so fortunate. Aren't we paying Rhodes a boatload of money to be the reliable 8th inning guy? Certainly he should have come in once 2 runners got on in the 8th, and absolutely when Franklin loaded them.

2) Whither Dave Dellucci? We've had a couple of crucial potential pinch-hitting spots in the first 2 games, and we haven't seen him yet.

dellucci is 0 for 2 -- he's pinch hit in both games so far. caught looking on opening day and whatever he did last night to make an out.

Speaking of things did anyone notice...

Did anyone notice Burrell's throw to the plate as the winning run scored? They probably had no chance anyway, but, sheesh, the ball dribbled in from medium left field on about six bounces and ended up well up the first base line.

Sorry, just piling on with the negativity here.

Well, one of the great things about baseball is that you don't have to wait long to redeem yourself. There's another game tomorrow, so learn something from this one, file it away and move on.

Still, I wonder what goes through Gillick's mind when he watches a game like this one? Think we need a catcher Pat? This team doesn't need an offensive-minded catcher. They have plenty of offense. But they sure could use someone who can control a game and work better with the pitchers, especially with 3 young starters that the Phillies need to keep mentally and psychologically in the game.

George S is 100% on the mark. As I stated earlier, I could careless if Lieby batted 220 as long as he managed and controlled his pitchers. Dont know if anyone heard Marzano on WIP this morning, but he put it more succinctly than I can.

Great site you guys have here.

I was at the game last night and thought I'd chime in. Abreu had a great at bat in the first. He was selective and waited for a pitch he could drive in the air to the OF and got the run in.

Then he lazily jogs in for that flare in the 3rd and let it drop in front of him which scored a run. Does anyone else get frustrated with this guy? No doubt he's amazingly consistent year after year, but that type of stuff drives me nuts!

oh yes TD, I'm beyond frustrated w/Bobby-a-boo-boo..... I wish Rowland would have gone over and gotten in his face after that piss-poor effort, and said - "NO MORE BOO-BOO, not while I'm playing out here! get your ass in gear and go after the ball"

and Lieby....lets see, where do I begin? humm, Izzy just walks a batter on 5 pitches to load the bases. humm, maybe he's having control problems? let me just swing at the first pitch thats low and outside!!....BRILLIANT!!!

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