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Sunday, April 30, 2006

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Alex Gonzalez is a useless addition. I have not seen that guy do one single constructive thing this year. If Roberto Hernandez is wild, and hte count is 3-1, why the hell would he swing at a pitch out of the strikezone with the bases loaded?

If we get swept by the Pirates, it's time to fire good ol' Chawlie.

Does batting Rowand third make sense to anyone at all? It makes the R-L pattern of the order look nice on paper, but come on.

Regardless if the Phillies get swept by the Pirates or not, it's time to fire Manuel!!!

Glad to see Burrell hit a homerun. Not as happy to see Jimmy hit one. Jimmy will be swinging for the fenses the next 5 games now, thinking he's some sort of power hitter! Crazy little shortstop he is!

I agree Mike, don't understand why Burrell moves DOWN in the lineup against LHP. Also, Bell sitting against a lefty? Oh well, at least the squad is hitting today.

Burrell is one of the few power hitters I know who can come to the plate with the bases loaded and strike out without ever swinging.
That attitude is one reason why the Phillies never blow anybody out, and why the Phillies seem to turn their offense off when they feel they already have scored enough.

That's an exageration, and Burrell has been fine this season. He's not part of the problem.

Gavin Floyd is getting lucky today. Nothing bothers me more than pitchers refusing (or unable) to throw strikes. More balls than strikes--unacceptable, even if you don't allow any runs. Pitching that way will tire out both you and your bullpen, even if you can escape without allowing any runs.

An exaggeration? It's happened. Why do people get so defensive about Burrell? Jesus, what's so great about him that he stays clear of any criticism while Abreu couldn't drop a tube of toothpaste at his house without 30,000 people down his back?

I'm tired of hearing, 'he's not part of the problem'. He bloody well IS part of the problem.

Unnecessary Flash appearance right here.

Well, in Burrell's defense (I know, I'm literally being defensive), Voglesong threw him two excellent pitches - fastball in on the black and a nasty curveball low and away. Burrell has his weaknesses like any other player, particularly his selectivity. He doesn't have a Vlad-type swing that can be effective outside of the strike zone. Vlad (and less selective hitters) get themselves out all the time by swinging at the first pitch even if it is out of the zone. This is called "being agressive" while when Burrell's weakness is an "attitude" problem. Both are also more commonly known as outs.

Both types of players make outs, one is just more frustrating to watch. Just because watching a called third strike is more difficult for a fan to deal with than swinging at a first pitch out of the zone, this doesn;t mean it is any more detrimental to the offense.

I cancelled my mlb package today. I wont get it back on until Manuel gets fired.

Rick, I've never jumped all over Abreu.

As always, looking at things from a player quality standpoint, Abreu and Burrell are two players who give and have given and ARE giving the Phillies good value. If we had a lineup full of Burrells or full of Abreus, we'd be pumping out runs, and neither are wholly poor defenders, either. As kdon says, both have their flaws, but both are great players whom any team would love to have, and who are playing well.

Right now, as Jason sort of points out in his post, the person we should be looking at critically is J-Ro. Our offense has never been particularly effective without a strong top of the order, as his hitting streak was critical to our strong finish to the season.

That, the pitching, the bench, and Charlie Manuel are what have me concerned. It'd be nice to see Burrell do more than K in that situation, but given his performance this season (.300, 7 HR, 21 RBI, lots of walks and not as many Ks as usual) I'm perfectly happy.

In unrelated news: for those who didn't notice, today's Houston v. Cincinnati game was a pitching duel between two former Phillies pitching prospects, Taylor Buchholz and Elizardo Ramirez. Both threw quality starts, but Buchholz came out with the win, and has been looking especially good--in 21 IP over three starts, he's allowed just 7 hits and 4 runs.

Hey, the Phillies actually won. However, I have to say that I'm not even happy. 10-14, same as last year, except I'm even less hopeful this season! I'll take the win though.

But once again the Phillies had the chance to really knock out a team and then blew it. Plus Floyd's peformance is very misleading, he was "lucky" like someone previously stated, he actually didn't pitch all that well.

And as far as this ripping of Burrell...he's good, not the best Left Fielder in baseball, but very good nonetheless. And Abreu is very good too, and is one of the best right fielders in baseball. This continued posting of negative stuff about Burrell is senseless. He produces. Yes, a K with the bases loaded sucks, but hey are you willing to trade in his 117 rbi's from last year and 21 from this?...nope, didn't think so!

You didn't give me a chance to answer. The answer is *yes* in a heartbeat. Right-handed power-hitting outfielders aren't such a rarity that the Phillies couldn't pick one up somewhere else. Give me someone any day with 10 fewer HRs and 20-25 fewer RBIs, who has heart and an ability to come up big when the team needs him (and a tendency to lay off pitches over his head with runners on base late in games).

Floyd was "lucky"? Shh, don't tell Gillick, or he'll trade him to Texas for a bag of rubber bands.

One bright note that I saw in today's action was that after Rollins homered early, he drew two walks. I'm hoping this augurs a return of Good Jimmy, who sees more pitches, shows better plate judgment and is a very valuable offensive contributor.

Floyd's day, as noted, was a case of better to be lucky than good. But as he'd previously been neither, I'll take it. Hopefully he learns from it and becomes more aggressive; his whole issue is locating the fastball to set up that beauty curve.

Burrell is very quietly becoming the team's best hitter, or at least right behind Abreu. Familiarity often breeds, if not contempt, then boredom, but we're lucky to have both those guys. By and large, both are earning their big paychecks.

This Burrell stuff is fascinating!
He had RBIs for the Phils today in two seperate situations. The, he doesn't come through iin a third situation, and people claims he always chokes.
I believe the people who are bothered by Burrell do not like the little things he does that are annoying—the shaking of the head all the time (after K's or anything he perceives as "bad" etc) the big, loooonnnggg swings and the fleet base running. These same people are apparently expecting more of him than he is. He's Dave Kingman in red pinstripes. He's gonna wiff. He's get thrown out strecthing hits into doubles. Not sure how anyone can perceive him as playing with no heart, though.

Well, it's either that he has no heart or he's very easy to pitch to when a pitcher has to bear down and get an out. Most of Burrell's damage this year has been in the early innings. With runners on late in a close game, has he done *anything*? C'mon. Anything at all. Jog your memories.

The AB I alluded to against Jose Mesa last week to me was emblematic of Burrell's overanxiousness in those kinds of situations - which in turn is emblematic of the Phillies' general unrelaxed approach. The fact that he takes so many strikes and then goes after ridiculously bad pitches indicates to me that Burrell can be had almost at will by a pitcher who can put the ball where he wants. If he guesses right or the pitcher makes a mistake, he's dangerous.

I guess I have a disregard for lead-foot players who bring little to the makeup of a team except the occasional long ball. His "production" seems to be gauged solely on the merit of the crude digits posted under his name on TV when he walks to the plate. Some of you need to read the book "How To Lie With Statistics". While baseball statistics aren't lies, they very seldom tell the whole story about players or how games are won and lost. Each year more and more numbers are amassed by those who wish to be able to evaluate everything based on sheer quantification, but as with humans themselves, there's only so much that can be quantified, let alone effectively determined by such processes.

Having ONE person on every team like Pat Burrell does not a terrible team make. A GM does not want several of them, though.
Runs in any inning are just as important as any other. Ya know, just like loses in April ....

On another note, I was just watching Padilla labor in Cleveland, on ESPN. Man, I don't miss him at all. I forgot how long it took him between pitches with runners on ... excrutiating!

I'm sorry Rick, but even though I respect your reliance on gut opinions of players, you are simply wrong about Burrell. Statistics CAN lie, and the normal counting statistics often DO lie, but using any statistical analysis you want and Burrell is a good player. And if you do believe in "heart," then Burrell passes that test too, as he has hit excellently in pressure situations the last couple of years.

Name me a single RF in the NL you'd rather have, Rick. The list is very, very short, probably shorter than you think. J.D. Drew? Geoff Jenkins? Austin Kearns? Jason Lane? Shawn Green? Moises Alou? Jacque Jones? Brian Giles? Xavier Nady?

Some of them are younger and might have more potential, and some of them have had better careers, and some of them are better when they're not injured...but I'd rather have Burrell than any of them, even if your unbiased eyes have decided that he doesn't have the heart of a champion or some nonsense. "Burrell can be had almost at will by a pitcher who can put the ball where he wants"--this is true of almost all players, and the way Burrell has put up numbers, clearly there are very few pitchers like that.

Also, do you dispute that Floyd was lucky? At BEST, he was pitching on the edge, and making things much harder for himself than necessary. Walking 5 batters and avoiding the strike zone that much is a strategy that works for very few pitchers. It's not a coincidence that the Madduxs, Martinezs, and Schillings of the world walk very, very few batters.

Adam is right, there isnt a better LF'er in the NL right now.

No, I don't dispute that Floyd was lucky. He took advantage of a bad team. If you walk more than you strike out and still win, you're pretty fortunate.

I also don't dispute that Pat Burrell is a good player. Does he help your team win games? No. But isolated as a player, he's good. Not all-star good, but fairly solid. Comparing other players to Burrell isn't going to increase my opinion of him. I would rather have Alou, and Jenkins and Giles as well if they weren't left-handed.

I wish I could express my point about Burrell so that people understand and don't get so hostile about my criticism of him. To me, when I look at this guy, I see everything wrong with the Philadelphia Phillies. I see a guy who was touted as someone to build the franchise around, and who is in fact, even at his very best, NOT an impact player on any level. He has no personality, no dimension, no presence as a player, as a member of the team, and what he does on the field is neither exciting nor especially valuable. I see a team that largely embodies the same traits he personifies: it awes with potential and puts up impressive numbers but when the season's over it has amounted to basically nothing.

But how can I say Pat Burrell is the problem, when it's the lack of pitching that costs them the playoffs? Because I think it's more than the pitching. It's a defeatist, pressurized, tight attitude that Burrell and the Phillies bring to the table when it matters most. Just as he very seldom finds a way to come through when it matters most, so do the Phillies. And yet it's Abreu who people most frequently associate with the ongoing failure of the team, supposedly because he doesn't care enough or try hard enough. Abreu hasn't bowled me over as a clutch hitter either, but he's someone I'd still much rather see come up in a tight spot because he has a good clue about what the pitcher is trying to do.

Pat Burrell, in my book, is good like the Phillies are good. 86-win good. A little better than mediocre. Good enough to scare you, but not good enough to get it done. So while he may not be the prime cause of the Phillies' failure to win, he represents to me the status quo, the organizational emphasis on statistical evaluation rather than observational evaluation. When you plan to build a franchise around a player, the question should be, what can this player do to win baseball games? What weapons does he have? Can he help you even if he's not hitting well? Does he play unselfishly, intelligently, can he help win games on the bases, or just through the influence of his example?

If Pat Burrell does not mash the ball 400 feet, he is pretty much useless to the Philles.

Is there a book called "How to Lie With Intangibles?" I bet it would be real easy to write. :)
Also, that's a great list of RIGHT fielders, but Pat the Bat patrols the shallow side of Citizen's Bank. Just going through LF quickly, I would take Berkman, Dunn and Bay over Burrell (Lee and Floyd are close).

I thought those were right fielders, but I know a lot of them have played left, also...no matter, really.

I don't see how observational analysis can be said to be manipulative. Unlike empirical data, for one thing, it can be held to consider all aspects of a thing and as such it is, if anything, less biased than the inherently omissible nature of statistics. An observation is subjective, but if processed through objective (unbiased) terms, I hold that it is a more reliable instrument of analysis than raw data. Statistics exist to 'prove' very specific things, but often they do so while necessarily neglecting all other points not relegated to their immediate concern. For this reason I consider it intellectually lazy to try to 'prove' something inherently subjective as what constitutes an effective baseball player, or tell someone they are "wrong" through the limited and biased evidence of statistics *alone*. Note that I do am not saying stats have no merit; I am saying there is more to things, however, than meets the eye of numerical data.

People who post here feel quite free to offer very firm opinions of Charlie Manuel, yet they do so in the absence of any quantifiable data to support their claims. Would it therefore be correct to say that no one has any grounds for criticizing Manuel, because there is no way to objectively support it? No, and it's ridiculous to imagine that our observations don't count or hold any weight merely because we can't offer the equivalent of "win shares" or "OPS" proving them to be accurate. But because players accumulate certain measurements of performance, any argument to the contrary of what they purportedly indicate about a given player is immediately dismissed. Unless I have a bias affecting my ability to assess and evaluate something or someone according to my rational powers of observation, I believe my method of analysis to be, if perhaps not necessarily more accurate than a purely statistical approach, at the very least more honest. Some people will have you think that because there is no concrete way to measure something as "intangible" as perceived tightness or weak mental approach to the game (or for that matter poor managerial skills) then it cannot possibly be credibly opined upon. I do not submit that something exists as truth because I perceive it, but if I perceive something and the results coincide to corroborate my observation, then it can at least be said to have a certain validity even if it is not necessarily agreed upon. A statistic will tell you Alex Gonzalez grounded into a double play to end the game Saturday night. It won't tell you *why* it happened. Swing at a 3-1 pitch out of the strike zone, one has every right to conclude Gonzalez, having sat on the bench all month and absorbing by osmosis the desperate, defeatist vibes of his teammates, was over-anxious. It can't be proven, and it can't be held as truth, but it's a legitimate deduction all the same.

I have been a devoted student of the game for over twenty years - this obviously does not make my opinions infallible, but it does make them informed - and I do not believe my powers of observation to be skewed to the point where I should be attacked for relating what I observe through them.

Lest we all forget, RickSchuBlues is all-knowing, never to be wrong!

Come on man, you're not the God of Baseball. Your opinions are good, but then you go overkill!

I do think there is room to analyze intangibles. I think Pete Rose in 1980 helped the Phils even though his numbers were poor for a 1B. Bill James, the father of modern statistical analysis, always had an Ozzie Guillen award for the player he believed contributed more than his stats would show.

But, this can go too far. Call it the Rafeal Belliard fallacy. Belliard is on winning teams, therefore Belliard is a player who contributes to winning. Burrell is on a loosing teams, therefore Burrell is a player who contributes to loosing. You can then make the point about how scrappy Belliard helps the Braves win while the dour and lifeless Burrell helps the Phillies loose.

The problem with this approach is that you end up misattibuting to intangibles what are really just the skills of the rest of the team. The Belliard fallacy should be familiar to us, as we currently have an intangible guy at the hot corner, a player who was signed to a ridiculous contract as a "winner" because he played with dour and lifeless John Olerud and Edgar Martinez and jackas*es like Bonds and Kent. This "winner" has consistently hurt the team because he has tried to play through injuries. If this "winner" had not made an error in a crucial game against the Astros, Burrell would have been the cleanup hitter on a team that made an incredible run to the post-season last year.

Also, to believe that Alex Gonzalez, a career .244 hitter, grounded into a double play because of "osmosis" is ridiculous. He grounded into a double play because he is a bad hitter.

As far as Manuel goes, I mostly dislike him for his strategic decisions and I actually think he sets a good mood in the clubhouse. However, this is generally part of any managers description, and I'm more likely to believe that a managar's attitude can seep into the players than any one players. Winning baseball teams have had all sorts of personalities. Remember, when the Phils kept loosing to the Dodgers, they didn't jettison quiet players like Schmidt and Carlton, they added Rose.

Apparently all of Burrells 31 HR's and 117 RBI's last year were either early in the game or when they were up 8-0 or down 8-0. And every time he strikes out it's because he's "heartless".

Rick, come on, personalitly? dimension? It sounds like Burrell didn't sign an autograph for you in 2001 and you have a bone to pick with him.

About the "heartless" comments directed towards Burrell. I would argue he has a lot of heart considering his atrocious '03 season and poor '04 season as well and the way he was booed to high heaven by the fans, and came back last season and is off to a good start yet again! That takes heart! Plus he plays through a ton of pain.

Armando Benitez, amongst others, might dispute the characterization of Burrell being a bum in the late innings. Anecdata is fun.

Well the good news is Floyd looked good, or lucky, yesterday. The bad news is now he gets three more starts to get shelled.

Looking purely at stats Burrell is the best LF'er in the NL.

Player AB/HR/RBI/BA/OBP
Burrell 80/7/21/300/400
Carlos Lee 91/10/20/296/414
A. Dunn 83/9/17/265/432

The Armando Benitez homers came very early on in Burrell's career. He started off with an unbelievable record with the bases loaded. In 2002, Burrell looked to me like a big-time player, and in fairness that's the player the Phillies signed to the big contract, not the player he turned into afterwards. I perceive a huge difference in Burrell before and after 2003.

I don't have a personal bone to pick with Pat Burrell, believe it or not. And I did not say he contributes to losing. I said he doesn't help the team win. There's a difference.

Kdon, you make a good point about Bell being signed to provide leadership by example and turning out to negatively impact the team by trying to be a tough guy and playing hurt. This is a definitely a case when 'intangibles' do not overshadow a player's weak performance on the field. I would not want a team of Rafael Belliards. But I do believe in balance. Stats alone don't cut it, and neither does starting a scrappy guy with marginal talent.

But then to go and say that my interpretation of Gonzalez's DP choke in the 9th is 'ridiculous' is to flat-out ignore a large part of what I was trying to express in my previous post. You interpret it that Gonzalez is just a 'bad hitter', and I say it's over-anxiousness. It's probably a little of both. How can you tell me my take is ridiculous while yours is presumably beyond reproach?

I stated many times in that post that I do not claim to have absolute answers for anything, so I think the notion that I present myself as all-knowing confirms that it wasn't read carefully enough.

This is the worst Beerleaguer post game discussion this year. The team finally wins and all I read is negative stuff about Burrell and Floyd. Enjoy the victory. My wife is tired of me saying, "The Phillies Lost!" This Sunday they won. Enjoy it.

I'll generate a new post shortly.

What is impressing me the most about Burrell thus far is his BB/K ratio: 14/17. He seems to be more selective at the plate which portends well for his selectivity as a whole. I think that Manuel is correct that if Burrell can hit .300 then 30HRs minimum will follow.

He has already proved (twice) that he can hit 30 HRs without batting 300. If he bats 300 he will probably hit 40.

Does anyone think the negativity by all of "us" translates to negativity by the team as well? Can they sense it? Are we really the "loser" city that my boss, a diehard Yankees fan, says we are?

i glad floyd went after the pirates yesterday with the lead. throwing strikes and all. oh wait - that wasn't the game that was me dreaming.

.300 average, 1.013 OPS, 7th in the NL in RBI, 10th in the NL in SLG, projected HR and RBI totals 49 and 147. Face facts guys, this guy sucks. Booooooo.....

I am at a loss. 5-7 vs. Nats, Marlins, Pirates, and Helton-less Rockies? Friday night: PIT starter with ERA over 7, we score 1 run. Saturday: PIT starter with ERA over 7, we score 2. I can't take it anymore! I will leave it to the immortal Homer J. Simpson to sum up our Phils: "I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked."

it might only get worse, back to back lefties tonight and tomorrow and then smoltz on wednesday. might as well grab a cold one or seven "Here's to alcohol, the cause of—and solution to—all life's problems"

Beating D-train tonight would go towards generating some positives out of this rundown fanbase!

I hope Burrell jacks 2 out tonight, and then RSB states that those homers didn't matter because it was the beginning of the game and not late in the game when it matters the most. We should all be so lucky to have RSB's knowledge of baseball.

RSB, I certainly agree about balance.

Players like Utley, J-Roll, Myers, ROwand and Howard are a nice contrast to Abreu and Burrell. I think all of them contirbute to a winning team.

As for A-Gone (hopefully?), he IS a bad hitter. I really don't think anyone would dispute that. IMO, he failed becuase he often fails at hitting and because Manuel put him in a position to fail (he should have batted earlier in the game against a LHP instead of Nunez).

Maybe ridiculous is too strong a word, but to attirbute ANY cuasality to why a 32 year-old journeyman who has failed in six different organizations to Burrell, team attitude, or "osmosis" is to provide an extremely complex (almost mystical) argument when a simple one is at hand.
A-Gone is bad, and will be bad more than 3/4 of the time regardless of whether Burrell takes called thrid strikes or not.

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