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Saturday, April 15, 2006

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That was rough.

The thing about the bullpen is that it can't hide. It's going to be exposed in every game because the starters don't/can't get through six or seven innings. That's going to lead to losses of winnable games like this, when Manuel has to extend a struggling starter too long, and then use pitchers who have no business being in crucial late-inning spots (i.e. Geary) because everyone else has pitched ten days in a row. It's not a good pattern, and it's hard to envision an end in sight for it.

Since when is Cormier only a situational lefty? I pretty much hate Cormier, but Manuel should have left him in to pitch to Atkins...sure as hell wouldn't have done as poorly as Geary. Bottom line is the bullpen is bad,very bad! Besides Rhodes and Gordon, the rest are lousy. Santana: 10.80, Franklin: 5.14, Geary: 7.20, Fultz: 6.23 ERA's...ouch! To top it off, our staff "ace" Lieber currently is sporting a 9.18 ERA.
*Love Fasano's look, but no offense: 1-14 with 6 k's...his only hit was that monster homerun and that was a mistake.

Apparently Manuel has lost confidence in Fultz. Cormier, I think, has proved over his career to have slightly better numbers against righties than lefties...not your ideal 'situational lefty'. The best situational lefty on the team is Rhodes, but he's not really going to be used that way. The only consolation is that everyone else's bullpen is pretty much the same mess that the Phillies' is.

As much as we all love Fasano, they really ought to think twice before starting him against RH pitching. His bat is absurdly weak.

Fasano's bat is "absurdly weak" against right handed pitching, and absurdly slow in general.

What's up with Rowand? Taking bad paths to balls in the outfield...I've seen some balls bounce by him because of bad angles to them. Also, 2 errors and now a horrendous base running blunder on the ol' fake to 3rd throw to 1st pickoff...who the hell falls for that? Rowand that's who!

Wow, what a show of distrust in the bullpen. Yes, Myers has pitched well, but sending him out for the 8th when he's thrown 104 pitches? Very un-Manuel-like.

Carson, I agree on Rowand. The Colorado announcers couldn't believe how shallow he was playing...they said that even Edmonds and Jones play back when they come to Coors. Maybe he'll learn for next year.

Another interesting couple of decisions by Manuel...Myers definately looked tired in the seventh and got lucky in the 8th. His delivery looked strained and he was leaving a lot of balls up. And, no Gordon ready for the RH hitters after Helton? If you think Rhodes is a pure set-up man, why not just bring him in to start the 8th. Gordon is also used to comming in mid-inning as a set-up guy. Got lucky today.

I dunno, I'm hesitant to make criticisms. I've criticized Manuel for taking out starters too early. I think Myers probably requested to go out another inning, and while he was obviously not as sharp as he was to start, there wasn't much to suggest we got "lucky".

In the case of Rowand, it shows poor preparation, but in the games I've been able to watch on TV, he's definitely shown what an improvement he is.

"This is a dangerous team if starting pitching can at least stay respectable."

If that's not the story of the Phillies over the last few years ...

Rowand's doing a good job. We haven't seen him make any sensational plays yet, but he gets the benefit of the doubt from me. He's a solid player. If he made these kinds of mistakes all the time, he wouldn't have the reputation he does.

Cripes! I only saw bits and pieces of the game. Did Rowand really get tricked by that fake to third, throw to first play? I've NEVER seen that work and often wondered why anybody even bothers with it. At least I can quit wondering now.

Regarding Lieberthal, it's amazing what guys can do in their 'contract' years, heh?
(No matter how many arguments I hear, I still believe the path to better baseball is non-guaranteed contracts. It won't ever happen, of course, I know that).
A guy like Lieberthal can apparently be a much better player than he has shown the past couple of seasons when he wants to be. If he wants to play next season somewhere, you can bet that miraculously all those nagging little injuries will not happen this season. (Sorry for such sarcasm on Easter Sunday!)
For the Phillies' sake, I hope he has a terrific 2006 season and then moves on.
And as long as he's hitting well, put him behind Howard in the lineup instead of Bell.

I find it kind of cynical and presumptuous to say that Lieberthal is only doing well because his contract is up at the end of the season. First of all, it's two weeks into the season; what does it mean if he has a 2-for-30 sometime in June? That he doesn't "want it" as much? He won't end up hitting .300, but he's on a nice stretch to begin the year. Does it necessarily have to be related to ulterior motivations?

Besides that, I don't buy the notion that Lieberthal hasn't "tried" to be a good player the last couple of seasons. This is a guy who's had more than one major surgery, and there's no question this has impacted his performance. If anything, he may well be more motivated just to shut the boobirds up, but to claim it must be the money is a really cheap shot to take at the integrity of person you have no real knowledge of other than his physical abilities on a baseball field.

I apologize if it sounded like I was questioning Lieberthal's personal integrity (which it obviously did). I have never questioned his professionalism. I have never seen Mike Lieberthal do anything to make me think he was 'dogging' it.

I'll re-phrase it to say that when you are playing for a job or a new contract you perhaps have a little 'extra' motivation, even if it's subconscious. There are just too many instances of players having great seasons when they're up for FA to think they approach it like any other season. I didn't mean it to sound like Lieberthal has been holding back all these years and is now finally giving 100%.
There is one other 'extra' motivation in the case of players like Lieberthal, who have been around a while and are perhaps nearing the end of their careers. That is to win a championship. So if he has an unusually productive season, you can also consider the hunger for a WS ring as an added incentive.

So you are right. I wasn't trying to cast doubts on his integrity and I apologize for the way it came out.



I can't believe I'm about to type this, but Lieberthal should be batting behind Howard. Nobody is scared on David Bell. If Randy Wolf was in the lineup, pitchers would be more scared of him than Bell. Drop Bell to 8th, or out of the lineup completely. Howard needs some protection. Rowand would fit nicely in the 7th hole, but then who to bat 2nd? Bell really hurts this lineup. Lieberthal is a catcher and if he remains the 8-hole hitter, than he's actually ok there. Bell just flat out is washed up. He was never great, was good for like 1/2 a season, now he is gone by the wayside.

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