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Friday, April 14, 2006

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i like fasano, but he is not a good defensive catcher. that wild pitch in the 9th from gordon was a 100% passed ball. you don't try and pancake a curveball with two strikes. he is, however, the best personality on the team and probably gives his pitchers intangibles that can't really be measured in his stats or even actual performance. he's probably a big reason floyd stayed in the majors and in that regard, it appears to have been the right call. after last year, floyd probably needs someone he trusts has his back on every pitch as much as anything else.

Last night I watched some of the game on TBS and Caray or the other guy made the comment that having a slugger at second gave the Phils the "luxury" of playing leather at third instead of a bat. I had never heard this logic before but it seemed as good a justification as any - has Cholly ever said anything like that?

On a separate note - I was disappointed that Tank wasn't invited back but this Fasano guy is pretty sweet. Backup catcher has got to be a great job.

Two questions:
- How was Flash advertised? Please amplify that point.
- Can the Phillies ever win a comfortable game? It seems the Phillies always go down without a fight when they fall behind. But when they actually jump out to a nice lead, they always seem to let the other team back in. They don't have the killer instinct of a winner, never mind the sense of urgency.

Yo, thanks for the props...

Onto Sal's lack of hitting prowess...
I've stated b4 that with Lieby I wouldn't care if he hit 220 if controlled his pitchers. I mean with this lineup we shouldn't have to depend ona good#8 hitter, especially if he can be the difference between having bad SP and good SP...I have to disagree on gr's comment on the passed ball, I think that was 100% wild pitch.

It's a good analysis, but it doesn't fit concerning David Bell. Abraham Nunez is a much better defensive 3B, based on his range/zone rating/etc. from last year.

I have a feeling that signing Gordon was a smart move, rather than resigning Wagner. Obviously, we should have signed Wagner on the cheap midseason, but considering the situation Gillick was put in, the money we saved signing Gordon is more important than the value we lost in letting Wagner go.

Both Floyd and Lidle could've gone another inning, Manuel chose to pull them because of his insane 6-1-1-1 model.

floyd threw 95 pitches and all 3 of his outs in the 6th were flyballs. i think manuel did the right thing. it's mid april. question: if booker pans out, who goes? does geary get optioned?

Flash Gordon hung in there last night. I give him credit for that. He gives it his all when he's out there, but realistically he will probably run out of gas the more he is used. Phils desperately need a backup plan in that regard.

It was good to see that offensive onslaught at the beginning last night, but what happend after that? Only 2 runs for 8 innings afterwards?

Went over to R-Phils today, got my Ryan Howard glass (cup actually since it's plastic). Left after sitting in the rain for 1.5 hours. Will have to check them out another day.

I can't understand why everyone seems to be rooting for so hard Fasano. He is a below average offensive catcher who doesn't hit for average, walk, or contact. The only thing you get is an occasional HR.

As for his defense, he has limited mobility and a below average arm. Everytime I see an offspeed pitch down low, I pray it just hits his large frame because he won't be agile enough to block it.

He seems like a great guy but "intangibles" are so overrated in baseball. I cringe at every Joe Morgan broadcast on ESPN and his inevitable "intangibles" conversation. It happens at least twice every broadcast.

Intagibles do get overrated, however I think in Fasano's case it's just that he does something better that is more important to the team than what Lieby does. Handling the staff is MUCH more important than hitting 275 considering the rest of the lineup. Now if we can just convince Foghorn that if he has to play Bell he should bat 2nd we'd be ok.

Speaking of Joe Morgan, how the heck does that guy win an Emmy for best sports announcer 2 seasons in a row? I love watching ESPN baseball, but on Sunday nights I literally have to mute the game about 5-10 times because Morgan's little speeches of about how great he was back in the day, and that players today don't know what it takes. Joe Morgan sucks! ESPN needs to put Kruk in the booth. I loved the season on Comcast when Krunk did games.

Agreed, intangibles are overrated, but not to be discounted. Lieberthal's defensive flaws have been discussed here at length. He doesn't have a strong accurate arm. He sets a poor target. His pacing is slow. He doesn't block the plate. Fasano is not Pudge Rodriquez but he seems more in tuned with the staff (at least Lieber and Floyd) and I think Fasano playing twice a week makes this a better team.

"Intangibles" matter more in team sports, especially in football. Need guys who accept their roles and follow through proficiently.

Agree that Fasano needs to play at least 2/week since Lieberthal can't handle the workload but just seems the Phils could have acquired a better veteran backup for the next year or two. Fasano is the kind of veteran you keep at T-AAA in case you have a lengthy injury to one of your catcher positions.

As for a catcher working with specific players, it is severly overrated. Only matters if a veteran pitcher insists on not working with a particular catcher (Randy Johnson refusing to have Posada catch his games because he is an awful defensive catcher) or a particular pitcher is incredibly difficult to catch (Jason Varitek is a good defensive catcher but he is horrible at catching Tim Wakefield's knuckleball).

Intangibles are the reason the Phillies haven't gone to the playoffs the past three years after having arguably the best team on paper in each of them. It's also the reason for Brian's observation that the Phillies let teams back into games and have a hard time coming back. It's called character, and you'd better believe it matters in baseball. If you think Fasano's nothing more than an old, pro-wrester-resembling scrub, that's only the surface of it. I seriously doubt Floyd wins that game last night without Fasano's leadership. I don't know about him starting two games out of every five, but he is going to valuable for this team even if he hits .190.

Anyone catch Paul Hagen's report that Wagner's velocity is down 5 mph because of an irritation to his middle finger? I guess it's sore from flipping off Philadelphia all winter. Right back atcha, Billy. We're better off with Gordon.

I hate Manuel's 6-1-1-1 model. In this case, Floyd was probably done after 6, so I have no problem with that move. But Fultz pitched a very strong 7th inning, and should have just been left in to pitch the 8th. The rigid adherance to the 6-1-1-1 usually leads to runs becuse one of the '1's is not gonna have it on a given night. Last night it was Franklin.

I hate Manuel's 6-1-1-1 model. In this case, Floyd was probably done after 6, so I have no problem with that move. But Fultz pitched a very strong 7th inning, and should have just been left in to pitch the 8th. The rigid adherance to the 6-1-1-1 usually leads to runs becuse one of the '1's is not gonna have it on a given night. Last night it was Franklin.

I think in the case of catchers, how they interact with the staff and call a game is crucial. But it's one of the few "intangibles" I do put any weight in. The Phillies haven't made the playoffs recently not because of a lack of "intangibles" but because of bad luck and bad pitching. When you finish a game out like we did last year, it's a matter of little tiny thing not going our way throughout the whole year. That's why I thought this year could be different--we have a team I that I believe is playoff quality, and I think that it's about time some things went right (though of course possible mistakes/pitfalls must be minimized...like David Bell).

Things look promising tonight. Madson isn't 100% on his game, but seems to have settled down the last two innings. And Utley...well, Utley is Utley. Howard still isn't looking too great, though.

"game out"="season out"

Bad luck? No. Over a 162 game season, you cannot attribute a team making or not making the playoffs based on luck, unless half the roster dies in a bus crash.

Granted, the pitching perhaps wasn;t playoff-caliber, but there were a number of games which the Phillies could or did not find a way to win last year. The Phillies, for most of the season, flat out did not know how, did not do what it takes to win over that 162 game schedule. We need look no further than that repulsive choke-fest at home against Houston - and it was nothing short of a choke job.

It remains to be seen whether this team will bear that same earmark.

Julio Santana winning games again....unfortunately it aint for us..

Are you serious? Of course you can. Games won and lost have a margin of error of sorts. For example, look at Pythagorean won/loss. According to the Pythagorean won/loss, based on their statistics, the White Sox should've won 93 games last year. They won 99. And they won a heck of a lot more 1 run games than they lost. That's called "luck," my friend. If you look at 1 run games over a long span for any one team, they will even out to about .500, the White Sox included. Thus, the fact that they managed to win more 1 run games than not wasn't because they did "the little things"--as far as I'm concerned, that's just myth.

Think of it in terms of the 2003 Royals, or 2005 Orioles/Nats. All three started out hot, had people talking, had unexpectedly good performances. But eventually they all drifted back down to a record that better represented their true talent.

While you can look at specific examples of what "did the Phillies in," any one lose for any reason was what put us out of the playoffs, and the fact that we lost that one game somewhere down the line isn't proof that the Phillies "choked" or weren't playoff worthy.

Third game in a row, a big lead becomes small in the late innings. Is Juilo Santana really a major league pitcher?

Maybe I don't understand because I'm not watching on TV, but...why bring in Rhodes for one out and then put in Gordon? especially since Gordon has pitched two nights in a row. Why not just let Rhodes get the save?

Believe it or not, things can be discerned without the concrete evidence of statistics. If you watched the Phillies over the full season, there is little debate that they lacked a belief in themselves, until it was too late. You can't tell me it's a "myth" that a team like Atlanta wins more games than they ought to because they are a confident, well-balanced team that does these "little things", which are far more important than any statistic could corroborate. The mental aspect of baseball is enormous, and to discount it because it can't be scientifically calculated is to demonstrate a profound lack of understanding for the game.

You'll have to allow me to agree to disagree then :) I'm an economics major, so while I don't have a full grip on the stats yet (the statistical side of economics isn't my specialty, and I'm just 1 year in) the Baseball Prospectus thing definitely has a big allure for me. When I'm home for the summer and able to head down to the ballpark a couple nights a week, I'll see if I can see something then.

Seriously, I can't feel good about a game like that. If a rookie doesn't make a baserunning mistake, who knows what happens? Good grief.

well, it makes me feel nervous about the bullpen yet again. gave me confidence in the lineup and Madson--he was definitely throwing too far up in the zone, at Coors Field no less, and still kept cool and pitched well after that first inning.

Adam, it's cool. I know I can get pretty opinionated. I just feel like there's no way to quantify what has made the Phillies not good enough in recent years. The team has lacked a mental, or psychological edge...call it what you will. They're not short on good statistics. But certain sabermetrical mavens will argue that the notion of 'clutch hitting' and pressure performance is a fallacy, and I could not disagree more. Teams, or players, that rise to the occasion, win. The Phillies far more often than not, haven't shown that ability.

I'm not even sure that kid was really out at third base. I think the umpire just called him out on general principle -- for being stupid.

It was a close play at 3B to end the game. He might not have been out, but it was so close that the call could have gone either way. I'm just glad that it went our way.

Also, if no one else will go there, I will. On CN8's coverage last night they were coming out of a break in the 4th or 5th inning and the camera had a shot of the rally monkey stuffed animal in the Phillies' dugout and Wheels chimes in about how that thing had some "long balls in it." Excellent unintentional comedy ensued with Christopher trying to distance himself from the verbal gaffe after the fact. May have to send that one in to the glossary.

in response to rickschu's and adam's discussion about clutch hitting and pressure performance i think i stand somewhere in the middle. i tend to think the BP guys are right in that clutch hitters are essentially a myth, but i believe that there are some people who simply can't hit in pressure situations for whatever reason. but there aren't many, if any, hitters that hit better in pressure situations than normal ones.

Is it too early to release Julio Santana? I know next to nothing about Booker, but knowing that he can take up the space Santana is using is good enought for me.

Steve Jeltz *and* Rick Schu? We've got a hell of a left side infield going on here, folks...

I'm pretty sure that the entire bullpen aside from Gordon and Rhodes is what they sometimes call "fungible." Yes, some of them have big price tags (Franklin, Cormier) and some of them have big fastballs (Santana) and some of them are coming off big years (Fultz, Geary in comparison to the rest of his career)... but I'm far from convinced that any of them are truly better than Booker, Yoel Hernandez, Brian Sanches, Travis Minix, or Matt White. Whoever's going good at any given time should be out there; the late-spring release of Rodriguez and demotion of Franklin gives me some hope that Gillick and Cholly will do what's necessary and not tolerate prolonged failure.

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