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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

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Anyone here get a DVR yet? I have the Comcast model ...
It's amazing. Now, the Phillies play WHEN I WANT THEM TO! I don't get home from work till 8 or 9 some nights. So, i just make sure I don't listen to the news radio on the way home, and BAM, game starts on time every night!
And, I record baseball tonight also, so i can watch that right after the game, in it's entirety.

Well, you know that Capuano's Italian. All your really strong lefties are Italian. Like Dontrelle Willis, for ex.

This will be a tough one, but I still don't see why you always advocate washing dishes during Lidle's games. THe guy is boring as hell, but he is a fast worker. Padilla was always my dishwashing/laundry doing/napping/exterior painting/reading/napping again pitcher.

As for trading Abreu, it is pointless to talk about until Rowand comes back. Considering that Burrell is a step away from the DL and we have a CF willing to run into walls, we may need the depth.

This amazing run of pitching has obscured the fact that the team is struggling to score runs, and I don;t think you can change that by trading a guy w/ a career OBP over .400.

I'm not against trading Bobby. But I keep seeing Canos' name come up on this blog.

What would the Phillies do with Cano? He's a 2B and only a 2B. If there's one spot the Phils are set for the next 10 years that's it with Utley.

I think Cano was brought up by ONE person, and the rest of the chatter was people saying it didn;t make sense.

How is Capuano's move not a balk? It's supposed to be 45 degree angle from the rubber right? He's way over that!

don't forget that famous italian lefty Sandy Koufax.

how do our 3lefties have 3 hits tonight and our 5 righties only have 1? who's this guy rheal cormier?

Again, no lefty up in the bullpen, even though Jenkins, Fielder and Koskie are due up!

Well, Franklin gets it done with a big assist from Burrell and Fasano. I still don't get the move...why not keep Madson in against the two righties to start the inning and the bring in Rhodes to face Jenkins? It worked out OK, but that's in spite of Manuel...it's like he thinks he has the 2002 ANgels bullpen.

Fielder is destroying lefties so far in his short career, so maybe that's part of the reason. Great play by Burrell!

victorino is a stud

that might be the AB of the year so far. wow

Franklin you jackass!

That sucks. There's your Heilman play.

This is why I will never give Charlie Manuel full credit!! Why in the world would you send Franklin "the jackass" back out there for the 9th inning when he barely escaped the 8th?!?! Be glad he didn't blow it in the 8th and get him the hell out of there!! I think both Fultz and Gordon were warming up. Even Milwaukee knew the importance of this game with having Turnbow in there!!

yeah, and if he'd pulled Franklin and the game went into extra innings, everyone would be criticizing Manuel for wasting his longest long reliever on one inning.

I agree that whether Manuel left Franklin in or pulled him out that it would have been second guessed. The real question is why he was in the game in the first place. Isn't Rhodes supposed to be the eigth inning guy? Franklin should basically be the last choice out of the bullpen. His ERA may be below 4, but his periphals (3 HR, 7 BB and only 10K in 18.1 IP) don't support it. The bullpen hierarchy as I see it:

Gordon
Rhodes
Madson*
Fultz
Franklin/Geary (debatable)

with Cormier being used in the 7th/8th as a LOOGY when appropriate.

The placing for Madson is questionable as well. If he's the guy you had coming out of the bullpen the last 2 years, he should be the 8th inning guy, and I say you make him the 7th inning guy until you see how he does.

Also, when is Fultz going to get some respect? He may be left handed, but his numbers against righties have been decent this year and last, and his K/BB/HR numbers have been very good as well.

only Philly relievers with WHIPs lower than Franklin's are Gordon and Cormier. I agree Rhodes should be used in the 8th, but I have a hard time arguing with Franklin in the 7th (at least until/unless Madson proves himself there again).

What's wrong with Burrell ? 6 strikeouts in the past 2 games.

Manuel is going to have to learn that the more he exposes Ryan Franklin in late-inning situations, the more his team is going to get burnt. When that guy is able to get outs, any outs, you think it's just a matter of good fortune. He should NOT be out there in the eighth inning of a tie game, let alone the ninth!!

The more I watch the Phillies struggle against LHP, the more I realize how much Rowand means to the team. Burrell and Bell cannot carry the offense. Howard and Utley have their moments vs LHP, but they are spotty. Forget Fasano/Ruiz. Abreu looks awful and lost right now.
I am also becoming more convinced that at the very least vs LHP Victorino should be leading off and not Rollins. JR is generating absolutely nothing offensively from the right side especially. Victorino is showing energy out there and hitting line drives. He's making things happen, which is what leadoff hitters are supposed to do.

The offense has been in a funk for a while and the team has been carried by the pitching, which happened again tonight. The Phillies should be able to win when they hold the opposition to 3 runs.

They will see more and more LHP until they figure out how to adjust. Might be time to consider moving Abreu or Delucci for a good RH bat.

As much as tonight's game pissed me off, and once again I believe Manuel made a poor decision, as stated above, with Franklin, there is still some positives. Howard and Utley can hit lefties...not great, but adequate. Lidle bounced back, which was nice. Madson didn't look horrible, he just needs to build on every inning/every appearance. So it does suck that they lost, but if this team is good, they find a way to come back and win tonight.

*By the way, Victorino is playing amazingly, I can't believe it actually. I'm still not convinced he's a future full-time OF, but he's doing terrifically now! Put him in the leadoff spot, J-Roll is in one of his seasonal funks.

Lieby is banged up worse than orginally thought. Out another 2-3 weeks...time to step it up Ruiz, here's your chance!

So begins the annual debate on whether J-Roll should keep his job as leadoff hitter. He's hitting .242 after another 0-4, bad game again against LHP. I agree, George, I would have no problem going with Vic in leadoff and ride the hot bat for a while. He almost has the same number of extra base hits as Rollins in less than 1/3 the at bats. That's what you want at the top.

And boy, doesn't it seem like Rollins gets jammed a lot?

I agree they miss Rowand. He's their best No. 3 hitter against LHP.

On catcher, it's beginning to sound like Fasano wants more and more time behind the plate, which is fine, but that leads one to believe he would not accept an assignment to the minors, in which case Ruiz must be the one to go back down when Lieberthal returns. They would have no insurance policy if they were to lose Fasano and Lieberthal gets hurt again. This is still a valuable spot to give Ruiz experience. Next season, he figures to be the backup, perhaps with one of those spare Pittsburgh catchers splitting time with him. Considering the quality of the offense, this is an area I believe the Phils will go cheap, post-Lieberthal.

I think it will be interesting to see how the Phillies play tonight, after last night's give away by Franklin. I think they have it in them to bounce back, because that's what good teams do. They bounced back against the Mets, and now it's time for the offense to get ignited and support the good pitching. Giving up 3 runs and losing is tough, very tough...lose type of losses really hurt the morale of a team. If Manuel is the Quicker-Picker-Uppper a lot of people think he is, than he needs to get them playing right tonight.

Phils are hitting just .225 vs. lefties this year with an OPS of .691. Against righties they're .277 with a OPS of 814.

Also hitting .188 with the bases loaded.

Another thing to consider...

Bobby Abreu since June 1, 2005:

.263 (135 for 513), 16 HR, 88 RBI's, 112 walks, 112 K's, 22 SB's.

I think it's time to slide Utley up to 3 and move Abreu to 2 or maybe leadoff. Those numbers are not what you want from a 3 hitter who's job it is to drive in runs and hit for average. His OBP has been consistently around .400 during that time span so he's still getting on base.

I think that we're not getting the most out of our offense with Abreu in the 3 hole.

in a perfect world, we'd hit Bobby leadoff. I don't think that's ever going to happen, though.

his strikeouts would seem to make him a bad fit for the two-spot. but on the other hand, he seldom hits into double plays. and if he was willing to take on the contact hitter role, it might actually be better for him - less swinging for the fences might lead to fewer Ks and a better average. for a guy who's said he wants to win a batting title, you would think he'd be okay with that.

One of the first things to decline with a players age is home runs, and I think we're starting to see that with Abreu. He still has decent value though. While he was 4 for 32 in the last 14 games, he walked 16 times. So he's still an on base machine. If I was Uncle Charlie, I'd give this a shot tonight:

Abreu
Victorino
Ultey
Howard
Burrell
Rollins
Bell
Ruiz
Pitcher

I like the possibility of a change in the line-up, but I would do it something like this:

Victorino
Rollins
Utley
Burrell
Howard
Abreu
Bell
Ruiz
Pitcher

Abreu's wasted 6th. most of his value is getting on base - why would you stick him in front of Bell & Ruiz?

I like Tony's proposed lineup, seems to make sense. Worth a try.

people have been proposing abreu in the leadoff spot for the last 4 years, but like the proposed move to centerfield, he resists it. it's just not going to happen.

Phils are facing Dave Bush tonight, who is a local kid from Chester County. I think Cholly needs to change things up tonight to spark this offense, so I would look for a new wrinkle in the lineup. I would consider starting Dellucci since Burrell is really struggling right now. I also like the idea of Victorino backing first and moving Jimmy down in the lineup. And to another minor point, the Phils may have the worst hitting starting pitchers in the league. Not that you are looking for offense from your pitcher, but with the Phils they truly are automatic outs and generally strikeouts. Floyd is 0-10, Lieber is 0-15, Myers is 1-18, Lidle is 1-11, and Hamels is 0-2 (both strikeouts). Collectively that is 2-56 (.036). Pathetic.

I have noticed the horrible batting by our pitchers as well...automatic out may be an understatement. I know they get paid to pitch, but batting around .150 should be feasible. I know Carlos Zambranos, Willises, and Livan Hernandezes are rare, but come on, at least give us a Robert Person type perfomance not a Millwood (YUCK)!

People were throwing praise upon Manuel for moving Utley to the 2-hole, smart. But it hasn't proven all that effective. Time to add another wrinkle until something works!

"boy, doesn't it seem like Rollins gets jammed a lot?": well, if he didn't stand directly over the plate, perhaps that wouldn't happen so often. He has shown he can turn on a ball on the inner half, but if his bat isn't lightning-quick every time on that pitch, he's an easy out.

Victorino makes a certain amount of sense as the leadoff hitter since he's swinging a much hotter bat right now, but he's not the most selective hitter in the world, either. I'd only do it for a game or two until Rollins shows he's back on track.

Abreu will never hit leadoff again so long as he's in a Phillies uniform. The one time he was ever moved to complain about anything, it was that. Some people say, well too bad, Bobby; but it isn't happening.

The major weaknesses for this team right now as I see them are: extreme vulnerability to any LH pitching; extreme offensive deficiency from the catching position (meaning the bottom two lineup positions are nearly entirely impotent); and a lack of real presence from any late-inning reliever other than Tom Gordon. A lot of these guys have done an adequate job, but when you run into a tie game late, particularly on the road, Manuel won't bring in Gordon, which leaves him with insufficient options to get the job done. I can understand his reluctance to use Rhodes or Madson when it's 2-2 in the 8th, but Franklin, who defines the word marginal, is an even more absurd choice. Maybe you don't want someone out there in that situation who is prone to walking people, but even worse, Franklin is prone to giving up hits, and plenty of them. This one is going to be a problem area all year, I'm afraid.

Everyone on this blog has whined and complain about Manuel's decisions last night. Yeah, pitching Franklin in the 9th was a suspect call but using Gordon there would have been a waste.

The credit last night goes to Capuano. He had 1 BB and had a great strike/walk ratio. In fact, he threw first strikes to 18/21 batters he faced and was really behind hitters last night. I don't care what lineup the Phils would have used last night but they would have been hard pressed to do much against Capuano. Capuano doesn't have blazing stuff but he location was excellent last night and his offspead stuff (especially his changeup) was great.

I don't think it was all Capuano, even though he was filthy last night (and that move to 1st is one the best in baseball). Rollins, Abreu, and Burrell all have been struggling the last couple weeks. Of the three, at least Abreu is still getting on base. Rollins OBP is now .306! Probably the worst in baseball of all leadoff hitters. He just doesn't look confident up there right now.

Capuano pitched a good game, naturally, which is all well and good. Does that mean the Phillies are supposed to just mail the game in once he's out of the game and say, "Well, the guy pitched well, so we might as well not bother to win because all credit goes to him." We're talking about a game that was still very much winnable despite the poor offensive showing - a game which might have been to some extent lost with the bats, but to an extent also lost with Franklin out there in a situation where he doesn't belong. In my mind, that bears whining and complaining about.

Another point comes to mind: the notion that pitching Gordon in that game would have been a "waste". I'd love to know why a 'closer' is designated to pitch ONLY in games where either his team has a lead or is tied at *home* in the ninth inning; that means he can only be used with a lead on the road, and not brought into a tie game. Why? If your other pitchers can't hold the other team off, then you can't use your closer in extra innings because you never get there. Would it have been a waste to have had Gordon get the game to extras and give the Phils another shot to score? Don't you think there was a far better chance of that happening than instead using Ryan Franklin in the ninth?

This is example of rigid inflexibility in conventional managerial standards, and I'm not just singling Manuel out, because they all do it this way, as if it's written in the rule book on in the 'closer's' contract. I say you play it according to what the need is, not some artificially imposed boundaries of when and where your best relief pitcher can be used.

RSB, I agree with you in general about closers. however, I think Gordon's age and history of wearing down throughout a season make him a special case. you can certainly argue that that's a good reason to get a younger reliever without Gordon's health issues, but at the moment he's gotta play the cards he's got, and that means avoiding using Gordon except in save situations, for the most part. (home games being an obvious exception.)

I'm surprised that nobody picked up on the comment I made above - that aside from Gordon and Cormier, Franklin has the best WHIP (and best opponent AVG, and best opponent SLG) of all Phillies relievers. doesn't mean he's actually the third best, any more than Cormier is actually the second best, but it's certainly worth considering.

You're right about being careful not to use Flash too much...the problem goes back to not having a solid enough set-up man, or strong second option in tie games. Rhodes was supposed to be that man, but clearly Manuel has backed off considering him to be.

The Mets, by the way, lost a game exactly the same way a week earlier, by putting Heilman in the game in the ninth and losing it on his throwing error. How many Mets fans were livid that Wagner wasn't in there?

Phils lost a tough game against one of the best LH starters in the NL. Big deal. Have to lose some games.

As for using Gordon, he only has so many bullets in the holster. Torre ridiculously overused Gordon the past 2 seasons in NY. By Sept., Gordon had nothing left in the tank and was ineffective down the stretch. Manuel has used Gordon effectively and you could make the case that Manuel has overused Gordon in a few spots by making him pitch for 3 straight days.

Like I said above, coming back and winning tonight is a strong indication that this team is playoff caliber. Losses will come, but bouncing back and playing well after a game like last night is key. Floyd needs to continue to progress as well, it's all a building of confidence thing with him.

Manuel didn't have to use Gordon in the 9th. I woud have preferred him going with Fultz, Cormier, or Geary after Franklin's 8th inning performance. Not that those names are much better, but at least it would have been someone with a chance of being more effective than Franklin was the inning before.

As for wasting Abreu at 6th spot in the line-up, I don't think he would be wasting away there. He would still have players like Burrell and Howard to drive in. Bell isn't having as bad a year this time around, and if he is capable of offense, chances are it is more of the single and double variety, where it would score someone like Abreu from second more often than someone like a Burrell or Howard. That's why I had him listed as a potential sixth man in the line-up. Also, he would provide continued protection for Howard, whom would be hitting 5th. Just my two cents worth.

any thoughts on an Abreu for Sheffield trade? the yankees would get rid of the sheffield a few months early, and get bobby who's obp and left handed bat would look pretty good in that line up. the phillies would get one of the best right handed hitters in baseball and (get this) actually save $2mil in salary next year (if they pick up the option, which they would probably have to do). the phil's would also get away from the last year of bobby's contract. before i get killed for this check this stat: sheff has never had a .400 obp as a yankee and bobby has only had a sub .400 obp once as a phil.

I truly doubt the Yanks would do an Abreu for Sheff, but in if they would, I'd do it.

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