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Friday, June 09, 2006

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Any truth to the rumor that Franklin is considering a switch to HGH in an effort to reverse his decline after going off of steroids?

This is off topic, but I was also at the Clearwater game last night and thought Wolf looked pretty decent after some trouble with location in the first. Also, Costanzo made a great play at 3rd. If the Phillies can sign a placeholder at 3rd for next year (more like Polanco, less like Bell), Costanzo might be ready for opening day 2008.

How's Costanzo's bat looking? I thought he had fallen off a bit from last year.

Great piece, Jason. It take a lot of courage to say Manuel is doing something correct -- especially with the bullpen.

Costanzo looked good hitting last night, went 2-3 with a double. But, yeah, his average isn't great so far this year and he strikes out way too much. He needs work, but as position prospect in the Phils system go, there's not a whole lot else to look at. Also, the guy who came in after Wolf, de la Cruz, pitched 7 innings only giving up 4 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB with 8 K's. Don't know anything else about him, but he did a great job last night. I can't offer much more in-depth analysis as it was Thirsty Thursday. Do they serve the Phillies Red Lager at Citizens Bank? I don't remember seeing it there.

I'm with you on Franklin - it was purely a bad move the very day it was announced, and the results are no surprise at all. Adding "arms" for their own sake and regardless of their quality isn't necessarily productive, and you'd think a guy like Gillick would know that. Did he really expect anything different? The guy's been around for awhile, and his track record doesn't merely suggest, it screams: yes, he's this bad. yet would I start him over Brito? I hate to say it, but I would, if only because they've exhausted every other possible option besides just skipping that turn in the rotation altogether. Brito gives you a 5-10% chance to win a game, and Franklin may be a few percentage points above that.

The pen seems to be in an ebb and flow this year. When it went bad, it was costing the team games in bunches, but now it's righted itself to the point where the team bullpen ERA is shockingly the best in the league. I say shockingly because I don't believe it's really that good. I would give Manuel a mixed grade in his handling of it despite that statistic. He does seem to mix and match well with some of the lesser-tier guys like Cormier, Geary, and Fultz, but he has been overly rigid in his usage of Franklin and Rhodes, either leaving them in too long when they clearly aren't effective, or (in the case of Rhodes and sometimes others) removing them too early when they look like they're good for more outs. Gordon, obviously, continues to literally be the savior for this team in the first half, but I don't think that has a thing to do with Manuel.

Anyone know anything about this guy Bernero they just signed? Philly.com said he played for the Royals' Triple A team but became a free agent through a clause in his contract. Any chance he's decent enough to take Brito's spot?

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/sports/baseball/14777048.htm

"Thirsty Thursday", eh? When I was in graduate school in Albuquerque, NM, the Dodgers moved their AAA team from the Pacific NW to Albuquerque that first year there (1971). They built a beautiful new stadium for the team in which home plate looked toward the Sandia Mountains. And they ran all sorts of wild promotions including Mariachi Band Night and every once and a while Ten Cent Beer Night. You read that correctly.

BTW, the Albuquerque Dukes, as they were known, featured some pretty decent players during my three years in NM:

Davey Lopes, Steve Yaeger, Steve Garvey, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, Al Paciorek (sp?) and Vaughn Joshua, who was the biggest star on the team but a bust as a player in the majors. And the manager of the 1971 team: Tommy Lasorda.

Needless to say, Ten Cent Beer Night was always the biggest draw.

I was in Albuquerque last summer for work and got a chance to catch an Isotopes game out there (AAA for the Marlins, I think). That stadium is only a couple years old and is one of the best minor leagues stadiums I've ever seen. The weather is great out there in the summer too if anyone gets a chance to go out that way, I highly recommend catching a game there.

Sorry for veering off topic there, but I think Franklin's a waste of space. I'd keep him around to Lieber and Wolf are both back and then see if you can pawn him off on some dumb GM looking for a "veteran" arm (instead of, you know, a decent arm). Or just release him.

...and then see if you can pawn him off on some dumb GM...

What's the saying in poker?
"If you don't know who the sucker is after 10 minutes, the sucker is you!"

You got Paciorek's last name spelled right, but his first name was Tom. I have no idea why I know this, Jim... er, I mean Tom.

And I once saw Von Joshua hit a home run in Royals Stadium that bounced square off the top off the fence. It was a towering fly ball that came straight down, hit the top of the fence, bounced straight back up about 20 feet, then came back down and landed just on the other side. It was far from the most impressive homer I've ever seen, but certainly was one of the strangest looking, which is probably why I remember it 30 years later.

Nat: I debated whether or not it was Von (first choice) or Vaughn (one I made).

Jason, I think you are actually giving Manuel too much credit for thinking ahead a couple of games. His approach to me is to designate relievers into specific roles based on the inning and the score. He's very predicable and I often don't see any management by feel as you suggest. Condrey, Franklin, and Fultz are the crew he uses when the Phils are behind 1 run or 7 runs. I would be shocked to see him use his designated 7th, 8th, 9th guys (Gordon, Rhodes, Geary) unless it was that inning or they were ahead. How did he manage the pen differently last night than he always does ?

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