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Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Is there a major league team with baserunners slower than the Phillies? Who would win a race between Burrell, Bell, Lieby and the Phanatic?

Not sure who would win the race, but my money is on Pat Burrell to come in last in that footrace. Burrell is noticeably slower this season. Unless the ball is in the gap now, he is held to a single (or should be). I assume this is related to his foot problems.
Add to your slow list, Sal Fasano.

Speaking of Burrell, this would be a nice opportunity to give him the night off. He's just 1-for-19 (.053) lifetime against Smoltz.

I recall the Phillies having some success off Smoltz as a reliever. I remember attending at least one game where the Phillies came back against Smoltz, or threatened. Small sample size, I suppose. I have awesome respect for Smoltz--he's been pitching for Braves almost as long as I've been alive, and while I can't say I'm glad to see him on the mound, it's nice to see a great athlete stick around on the same team for so long (like Lieberthal!...right?)

Prepare thyselves for an awesome performance by Hamels on Sunday. If he's still on his game, he should feast on Syracuse--while their pitching looks decent, they are hitting .238 with 173 Ks (compared to 196 hits) in 823 AB. Reading the piece on Hamels in the Inquirer today, I have to admit that no matter how many times I see them, his minor league numbers make my eyes pop out. 14-4 with a 1.43 ERA with 263 strikeouts and 72 walks in 188 1/3 innings. Simply astounding, and he's stopped walking as many batters too.

Also, in response to whomever asked about where people are from: I was born in Phoenixville in Chester County, moved to Jenkintown (Montgomery County) when I was 8 and have lived there ever since. Only about 20 miles (or two train rides) away from the stadium...I'm going to my first game of the year on Sunday, since I've been off at college till now.

I do definitely remember Smoltz getting burned in the 9th by the Phils (I think he might have had an error too) to lose a game last season, before he was moved back to the rotation. He took out his frustrations on a Gatorade cooler. I had to smile when I saw it again on Sportscenter.

Burrell has the night off

If you watch 162 Phillies games with the opposing broadcast on, you will hear 162 times that "Bobby Abreu is a five-tool player: he can hit, he can run, he can throw, he can hit with power, and he can...field. He's really unsung around baseball."

Do these guys read off cue cards or what?

Wasn't it Utley - walk-off home run off Smoltz when he was a closer? Can't remember.

I remember a game where Scott Rolen took Smoltz deep with 2 outs in the 9th to tie the game.

Is it just me, or does Adam LaRoche remind anyone else of Travis Lee in every way possible?

I don't know if this is the game you're talking about, but I sure remember this one (from 2003):

Maybe that's it ... Thanks, anon.

Utley burned Smoltz late 2004. My buddy and I were at CB Park harassing the Braves bullpen guys when Chase smacked that dinger off Smoltz that was the game winning hit.

...and how could I forget, Abreu was traded for Kevin Stocker...

I knew Utley burned him ... the pitch was right in his sweet spot. I remember.

Howard this season is looking like he's trying to be a little too smooth in the field.

Bottom 6th: Time for the offense to shut down now that they got their three runs off Smoltz. 9-straight retired by Smoltz. Don't know if Phillies hitters have seen 15 pitches total during the last three frames.

Ryan Franklin on in the 8th...cross your fingers, everyone. Hard.

Not hard enough.

Hey... they won! What is going on?

Did anyone imagine Tom Gordon would be this untouchable?! And almost simultaneously, Wagner blows a save against the Pirates.

If the last two wins were 'ugly', this one was beautiful. The third come-from-behind victory in a row. The Phils and Braves seem to play so many good, close games because they're pretty evenly matched. Nice to come out on top.

Seven RBIs and two huge hits in the last two games for Rowand, but he's been doing the job all along.

that was amazing. i have no idea what charlie was doing pitching to andrew jones then walking whoever then letting franklin pitch to the next guy. but we won so yippee! i'll take a win against the braves any day of the week.

Gordon and Rowand represent Gillick's two big additions. Not a bad start to the Gillick era! You could call Wagner the biggest subtraction as well.

Four games in a row, keep it rolling!

Gordon rules! I can't believe how nasty his curveball is. He was great for the Yankees and he had closed before...but I was worried about workload. Hopefully Manuel keeps him out of four-run games.

Also, Manuel should get props for altering the lineup on a regular basis -he's finally *doing* something. I think he realized that his bench was getting bored. If he can continue this streak of creativity, there may be hope.

I saw a lot of Gordon for the Yankees last two years when I was living in NE. when he's on, he is just sick. a lot of people don't realize just how good he was. add in the AL-to-NL competitive differential, I was personally expecting big things. however, he's basically untouchable right now. I doubt even Gillick was hoping for this much.

he has worn down toward the end of the season the last two years, though. obviously not an issue unless we manage to get it in gear and make the playoffs, but ideally you'd probably like to see 65-70 appearances instead of 75-80. (he's currently on pace for 75.)

A nice win against a well-managed, veteran team.

One curious note:
The announcers stated that Burrell and Bell were not playing because they had no success against Smoltz. They recited some god-awful stat line like 2-43 or something like that. So CM putting them on the bench was a smart move.
Now we go to the 7th inning of a tie game and Smoltz is still on the mound. Who does CM call on to PH? Bell, who is sitting there on the bench because he cannot hit John Smoltz! Bell then feebly pops out to SS. What happened to Gonzalez or Victorino?

Ah well, let me savor this nice win for at least one day.

I think the Phillies have burned Smoltz multiple times. I remember once--I think it was that one in 2003--when Utley reached down and a ball at his ankles for a game winner (maybe off Smoltz?) and I think that was the moment everyone knew Utley was for real. I remember hearing a lot about him, and seeing him hit .240s with no power in 100 or so AB, and wondering but man, what a player.

Great win tonight, and I have to say, Gordon makes my jaw drop almost as far as his curve. Yeah, maybe in the long term he shouldn't throw 4 nights in a row, but whereas I marvelled at the fact that Billy Wagner threw FAST, I have to marvel at the fact that Gordon is just a phenomenal pitcher. I mean, Wagner has definitely developed and learned to spot his pitches and throw a slider, but that slider has nothing on Gordon's curve. And there some nights (like tonight, apparently) when Wagner's fastball could be pretty off.

Interesting Ryan Franklin fact that I saw reported earlier in the week that held true again tonight.
Ryan Franklin has already made 15 appearances. In the 10 appearances where he has had at least one day of rest, he had an era of 0.00 giving up just 4 hits in 13 1/3 innings. In his five appearances where he has pitched the day before (which includes tonight's game), he has given up 7 ER and 9 hits in just 3 innings.

Did anyone else question in the 8th why Franklin challenged Andruw Jones with the base open and then intentionally walked Adam LaRoche to face Jeff Francoeur ? I know it is a lefty / righty situation, but I think this is overdone by managers including Manual. Good win against Smoltz and only 1 game below 500.

Now I remember that homer by Utley off Smoltz. The description of the pitch being on the ground brought it back. I recall that it tied the game, not won it, but no matter: it's true that it was moments like that which brought attention to the fact that he'd arrived.

My personal favorite strange move tonight: pinch-hitting the switch-hitter Victorino against Remlinger but then saving Burrell until later in the inning for the right-handed pitcher Ray. I realize that Victorino was going to play defense in the ninth, but unless Manuel was originally planning on saving Burrell for extra innings and afraid of using up too many players (the Phillies had already taken the lead), it didn't make a whole lot of sense.

And where was Rhodes tonight? Instead of walking LaRoche, who came in with an average below .200, why not just bring in Rhodes to face him instead of leaving the wavering Franklin in to pitch to Francouer? I mean, everything worked out in the end, but that easily could have been the pivotal play in the game.

Oh...and while I generally agree with the praise of Smoltz's warrior qualities, he sure was a whiny little baby over Rollins getting hit by one of his pitches in the third. The fact that he let it get to him so much probably accounted for the three-spot the Phillies hit him with that inning; it was almost as if Myers had somehow left his petulant personality on the mound and had grafted it onto Smoltz. The umpire is only supposed to make that call if he determines that the batter deliberately tried to get hit, which I really don't think was the case.

I keep seeing that people are posting where they are from, well I'm from Central PA, about 10 miles outside of Harrisburg. I lived in Philly for 2 years though, and have been a Phillies fan since Pampers.

Nice win tonight. I am now willing to give Rowand props. I wasn't convinced at first, but I am now. I know he's not going to continue hitting this well, but he's a very good CF and an energy type guy that this club needs! Also, I had no idea Gordon would be this good. He's been amazing. Phillies need to win a blow out tonight though so he doesn't have to pitch yet again.

By the way, nice stat line on Franklin. Somebody should present that to Manuel so he knows when Franklin is more productive.

Does anyone notice how fascinated the Phillies broadcasters are with wind?

Last night, it seemed that every fly ball was an opportunity to illustrate the wonderous effect of wind. Watching at home, I've got to say it didn't look all that windy.

"Look how that ball just died! Any other night, that ball is gone! Look how far Rowand had to run to get that one! Wow!"

Wow what? It's just wind.

After the game, Kalas and Wheeler interviewed Aaron Rowand, who had just hit the game-winning home run. Third question: What did Wheeler ask about? You guessed it: wind!

I was at the park. It was VERY windy , most of the time blowing in and swirling from left and center. So, it was a factor -- albeit a bit overdone by all announcers.

Weitzel, excellent observation about the Phillies announcers and their obsession with wind. While watching the game with my wife last night, we both were commenting on how riduclous they sound with their continue banter about "wind" and not baseball. I feel as though they are hyping the wind up to use as an excuse if something goes wrong. Chris Wheeler sucks! I hope he reads this blog and gets a clue!

OK. I stand corrected on the wind last night.

Braves announcers chatted about wind, too.

It did seem to blow a few balls back towards infield in first few innings anyway.

Nice win against a tough division rival. Numer of positives last few games:

-Another strong start my Myers. He clearly is looking like the Phils' ace. Now if Fatty could just step up.

-Bullpen, including Gordon, has put up very strong numbers the past 3 weeks. Watched Gordon for a number of years in Boston and this is as good as he has looked in 3-4 years. Just keep your fingers crossed about his durability.

-New lineup with Utley moving to 2-spot and Howard to 5-spot seems to be working better.

i think it's time cormier gets a little attention for being the biggest surprise of the season. 0 era? meanwhile, has anyone seen aaron fultz? he hasn't been used since april 25th. on gordon, the XM broadcast summed it up last night: after one of Flash's curveballs to Renteria, both Wheels and LA went "whoa!" at the same time. thusfar, gordan's stuff has been absoluitely filthy. opponents are hitting .091. you cannot get a bat on that curveball right now.

I like that Rhodes didn't come in. That frees him up to close tonight if it's a save opportunity and give Gordon a rest.

Also talking about Gordon, he hit 97 mph on his fastball once or twice last night. Not bad for a 39-year-old.

My theory on the "wind" talk is because Wheeler is playing it up to make excuses why the park can be so hitter friendly at times. Perhaps to juice up a story-line that says the wind is the big factor in Philly, etc. Plus, in the Vet, they never got to see wind like this.

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