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Friday, May 12, 2006

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Two months later, I'm confident that 'heart' represents the difference between this season and last. If the Phillies were make the playoffs, I will stick to that claim, whether or not the numbers prove otherwise.

Not sure how the numbers could prove the team doesn't have heart, but I agree that this team has a determination that seemed to be missing before. Also keep in mind that all this happened after they were blown out to end their win streak.

one reason I was (somewhat) disappointed to see the game end after 5 was Floyd's seeming improvement against the last few batters. I would've liked to see him get a chance to build on that, maybe even pitch seven solid innings.

He did get a win.

Yes, Jason, as you have alwasys maintained and as guys like Rowand and Utley are forever reminding us, heart still plays a major role in all of this. Without it, teams just don't seem to get over the hump. There's no longer any doubt this team has it. If they can stay healthy they should be in the race to the end.

Becareful on the Floys was great after the catch. The very next inning David Bell had to bail hsi ass out with a diving catch.

I am a Mets fan and I would like to say that was one hell of a catch. After he made that catch I knew the game was over.

After seeing that catch Aaron Rowand is now my alltime favorite centerfielder. Lets hope those in the dugout feel the same way about that catch as those in the stands.

Hey, any room on the bandwagon for me? I've been following the team a bit more closely this year (compared to last) since spring training, and there definitely is a different vibe to the club. I'm victim to the hard-hearted Philly attitude where I've been burned once too many times, but I'm definitely falling for this team. They're giving me reasons to truly think this year may be different. I'm not predicting World Series, but a very entertaining summer is almost assured. I can't wait for the press photos of Rowand with a swollen nose, two black eyes, multiple cuts, and a big smile... what a play!

If "heart and guts" awards are being handed out, Victorino must be in line. His bowling over of LoDuca in the first Mets game, while not on the scale with running smack into the centerfield wall, took some guts and his "stealing" a base off of Nady last night was a thing of beauty. Can't remember the last time a saw a Phillie skedaddle around the bases like he does.

Indeed, I am beginning to believe that what we have here are the "new" Phillies. It's about damn time.

How about some love for David Bell? Another RBI, some more outstanding fielding? I think I'll leave third base alone for a while.

that was the most velocity floyd has had in years right? a couple starts ago he was barely hitting 90. maybe there is something mechanical going on behind the scenes. on another note - i think the yankees scenario right now creates a great situation for an abreau trade. i don't know what big league talent they have that we'd want, but i'm sure gillick will be working the phone. too bad he doesn't like 3 team trades.

Would you guys trade Abreu? I know another team in N.Y. (coughYankeescough) that may want him.

Abreu needs a change of scenery, and that's not taking anything away from the guy.

Gillick shopped him all winter, he gets kicked around too much by his home fans and media. Since the all-star break of '05, he's been a little out of sorts. Rowand is such a captain out there, it wouldn't surprise me if Abreu is a little overwhelmed by it.

I don't think Gillick would hesitate in going the rest of the way with Victorino/Dellucci in left field, just to clear Abreu's large salary from the table and give himself more flexibility to make moves.

Abreu is slumping now, and I wouldn't count on it to stay that way, but it's pretty clear the win streak and homestand happened largely without him.

The problem with the Yankees is they don't have great prospects. Even Eric Duncan, third baseman, is struggling, and I read he's mostly playing first at AAA.

Being a Mets fan, I was impressed with Victorino in the series. And I've heard good things about him, too. But true, the Yanks don't have much in the way of prospects, or depth, for that matter. I just love hearing Yanks fans over-react following an injury. How many years do you think Abreu has left?

Quite a few. He's as steady as it gets. It wouldn't surprise me if a deal were to happen, Abreu goes on a tear.

It is a little delayed, but I really enjoyed your season preview on The Hardball Times. It's what brought me to your blog and I love it.

Yep -- the problem with trading Abreu to the Yankees is what to get in return without making it look like a blithe salary dump. Normally, the Phils would look for starting pitching, but the Yanks don't have any that they'd be willing to part with that isn't comically overpriced. The best fit would seem to be Chacon (who is fairly cheap and fairly effective), but their rotation is so thin that they'd never dangle him -- and he's the kind of 3rd or 4th starter the Phils have in abundance anyway. As for prospects -- the Yankees cupboard is pretty much bare, primarily from making these "plug holes by trading prospects" moves season after season.

I just don't think the Yankees can give us anything of value in return for Abreu, which means that all the utility of the trade is bound up in clearing his salary off the books. That is a lot of cash (about $14 MM), and a Dellucci/Victorino arrangement in right would probably be an adequate replacement, but I'm just not sure if it's the best idea to salary dump one of your stars partway through a season where you intend to be a serious pennant contender.

Even in his current slump, Abreu still has an OBP of .438, which is dynamite when you have all the other big bats swinging as well as they are. It is no coincidence that Abreu is tied with Rollins for the team lead in runs -- with his speed and patience, Abreu still has a great stick, even if he's not putting the ball over the fence. I know Bobby has resisted the idea of batting leadoff, but I really think he should be hitting second right now. This way, he can compensate for Rollins's somewhat frequent slumps with his own consistent ability to get on base.

I agree Abreu's worth a lot more than Phans realize. While he's not hitting during the streak, he has drawn about 13 walks, which is great.

As far as the catch, this might be the excuse Phillies Phans need to come back to the ballpark this year. Good thing, too, as this is a pretty good team which should contend all year.

For all the talk of a "soft schedule" early this year, the Phils have been playing division leaders like Colorado, St. Louis and the Mets (and tonight Cinci) and are doing quite well. This is a team we can get behind, because they will go on to the playoffs this year.

DO NOT TRADE ABREU. Jesus H, that would be dumb. He is in a little mixup right now, but still gets on base every friggin game. Cmon guys, let's be smart. What do the Yankees even have to give us? CMON Guys.

I'm a huge fan of Bobby's, but still be (reluctantly) willing to trade him if the deal was good. but I can't imagine any possible deal with the Yankees that would help us out in any way other than saving on salary (and Abreu's well worth what we're paying him).

This newfound 'heart' was what we all saw down the stretch last year, only to have it register as an illusion when the Phillies returned to their tight, miserable, losing ways in April. What a profound relief it is to find their moxie has returned with a vengeance. The Phillies have gotten it going a full month ahead of last year's team, and indeed a 20-15 start and only two games out of first is plenty good enough, as it miraculously turns out. They're on the kind of roll that can keep going for a long, long time with the talent they have.

Geary got jobbed. Santana should have gotten sent down but Geary had options. Too bad.

I'm not persuaded that a time has "heart" when it's winning and doesn't when it's losing. There are a thousand different ways the '05 Phillies could've won the couple extra games that it would've taken to make the playoffs...start with Rollins playing well all year, not just the last couple months.

On Rowand-breaking your nose (among other things) so you can go on the DL for 15 days to catch one fly ball ain't smart. Sorry. Luckily Victorino is playing well, but in the middle of a period where they've nearly caught the Mets, partially due to Rowand's strong first quarter of the year, this was foolish. This is baseball, not football. You have to be ready to play every day. One of the reasons Johnny Bench had such a great career is that he learned how to avoid career-threatening collisions at the plate-while still usually getting the out.

Rowand needs to learn some restraint.

I emphatically disagree with you on this, John. I posted a similar rebuttal over at Swing and a Miss, but again I will say that moment is something that leaves an imprint on more than Rowand's face. That's the ultimate example for the rest of the team, and it's something Philadelphia will embrace if it turns out to be something that defines this year's team. I think we've all seen far too much "restraint", and been disgusted with the results. Rowand will be back in two to three weeks. It's not the end of the world.

A good amount of those thousand different ways they could have won an extra game or two to make the playoffs last year would have been provided by being a tougher unit, having confidence to come through in tight situations instead of shrinking. Rowand's effort could well be the symbolic snapshot of a corner being permanently turned where that kind of approach to the game is concerned for the Phillies.

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