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Thursday, June 15, 2006

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An additional point on Abreu - these errors are happening so much, is it fair to ask if it's psychological, like Chuck Knoblauch?

Take a look at that picture of Myers in the post below this one. He isn't even looking at the plate when he throws the ball.

I think fielding is very psychological with Abreu at this point. He has brain freeze when the ball is in mid-air, makes awful first reads. One of his errors though, the throwing error, was not at all his fault. It was right on the money, the E should have gone to Coste.

It is incredibly sad that I have to hope that Nunez starts at third today, and Vic plays right and leads off.

Is there a team fighting for the playoffs that would be interested in a RF with a obp over 400 that has 3b or C prospects to give? (please note RF does not play D or lead-off)

As for Myers looking the other way in his delivery Tom, it's deceiving, but he actually does look at the plate, out of the corner of his eye. It's a very odd delivery in that regard, a habit started in his youth I guess. That is one of the things Kerrigan tried to break him of, only to balloon his ERA over 5.

Starting to wonder what would have happened if Jim Leyland was hired as manager a couple years ago.

i don't often beat this drum, but our coaching staff needs to accept some responsibility. remember how bad the Tigers were before Leyland took over? they are a game and a half above the defending champs at the moment in a division which is just as tough if not tougher than the NL East. of course, at 3.68, they have the best ERA in baseball (and second best WHIP at 1.26). quick, name their starting rotation.

damn it, ed.

When Myers is effective, he keeps his front shoulder in and moves toward the plate. Last night, as he does everytime he gets rattled, he starts to overthrow. That's what you see in that picture.

Not to say Tom is wrong, because he isn't Myers always pitches too open, but I think the picture shows one of his more classic 4 pitch walks with the bases loaded head exploding episodes.

GR, I'm in agreement on the coaching. Last year, it seemed like dubee had a magic touch with young players coming up. But I've seen little evidence of him trying to fix pitchers problems this year. Jason noted the problem in Madson's delivery before Dubee did, for god's sake!

Jason, you've repeatedly said that last year, the reason why you backed manuel was because he kept the players loose - if the last week or so has proven anything to me its that he's not keeping them loose now. his increasingly snappy responses to the press suggest pressure - perhaps gillick has given him some kind of ultimatum, and he's not rising to the challenge - but that pressure clearly seems to be transmitted to the players.

Wanting Nunez to start isn't incredibly sad. He did a decent job at third last year for Stl. I think he's one of those guys who needs to start regularly, plus his fielding can't be worse than Bell. Bell's done after this year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Gillick leave Nunez there as a starter next year (hence the 2-year deal), while he deals with the numerous other positional issues.

what people need to understand is that Wade sunk everything into last year's team, overpaying everyone, just to try to make the playoffs to save his job. It's going to take a year to step back before we take 2 steps forward. Years of Wade can't be undone in one offseason, and some moves Gillick made were to tie us over until money becomes free again.

If you are going to talk about something that is happening way more often than Abreu's misplayed balls. Talk about Rowand air mailing the cut off man allowing the runners to move up. He does it virtually everytime. And the times that he doesn't, Howard doesn't cut the damn thing.

That has happened much more often that Abreu's misplaying the rockets our pitching staff gives up.

Tear it down and start over. The worst thing that could happen to this team is to stay close in the Wild card race. As presently constructed, this team will never win. Sell at the deadline, don't buy. Take 1 step back to go 2 forward.

1) Of course, it's the coaching staff's responsibility to have the players prepared for every game. What else are they there for?
And players have a professional responsibility to be ready to play as well. It's supposed to be a shared effort, just like any other collective endeavor.

Now if you can't get focused for a series against the first place team in front of your own fans, then I'm afraid you're just going out there to take care of your own stats and cash a paycheck.

2) The perception I have gotten after a season and a half of CM is that there are no consequences for failure, whether it's physical or mental. Bobby Abreu could misplay ten straight fly balls and I guarantee you he will still be starting in RF the next game. The same is true for every other designated 'regular'. Whether David Bell bats .197 for a season, or butchers ground balls at an alarming rate, his job is not in danger. So why would someone like Ryan Howard really care about working his tail off to improve his fielding if he can spend that time in the batting cage instead? It doesn't impact him directly if he screws up constantly in the field.

The reverse of this is also true. What do the players on the bench have to do to get a chance to replace a 'starter'? If you know that there is no way short of injury that you're going to play, what is your incentive to work hard other than personal pride? Does anyone wonder why the Phillies bench signings the past few years has been full of "just happy to be here" type players? How long before a good young player like Shane Victorino loses his energy and enthusiasm? How excited must David Delucci be to have been traded here after being a regular and now getting 4 ABs a week? Isn't Abraham Nunez sitting there wondering what David Bell is doing that's any better than what he can do if given a shot?

3) Lastly, I think that the sloppy infield play, the terrible pitch selection, and the mental lapses are very much a function of not having a major league level catcher back there. A good catcher would take charge of that infield and would keep the pitchers sharp. I believe that. So the need for the Phillies to acquire a top quality catcher is more than just hitting and throwing out baserunners. Lieberthal might not be a great catcher, or even a good catcher any more, but at least he gets some respect from the players if for no other reason than his longevity. Fasano, Coste, Ruiz? Do you think any of the Phillies infielders or pitchers is going to listen to them, or allow themselves to be called on out a mental mistake? Do you think any of them know enough to give any direction in any case?

Even though they have three MVP players in their infield, and a couple of CYA winners on the mound, Jorge Posada still directs the Yankees on the field, not Jeter or ARod or Giambi. It makes a difference. (And a reason why catchers often become managers)

This is particularly critical for a Phillies team with a young first baseman, an undisciplined shortstop and several very inexperienced pitchers.


Obviouslt way early to start this, but just because it is on my mind, and I love hearing all you opinions, here it is:

Stays:
Utley
Howard
Rowand
Rollins
Myers
Lidle
Hamels
Wolf (if he'll take a pay cut)
Madson (in the pen)
Vic
Delucci
Flash

Goes:
Abreu
catchers
Bell
Bell
Bell
Lieber
Franklin
Burrell (while he still might be worth something)
Santana

The rest, who knows, if after filling those holes you can imporve those positions, do it, if not we could be do worse.

Excellent post George S.

I second, yt. At this point I would rather see a massive sell off with the consequence of not doing much this year in order to free up salary and start generating good attitudes for a run at next year. I don't know how Gillick or anyone else can't see a world of difference in the way players like Rowand and Utley carry themselves and play vs. players like Bell and Burrell and Abreu.

Did anyone catch some of the Tigers game last night on ESPN during the rain delay? Pudge hit a not too remarkable single and beat it out, then as he was running down the first base line was aggressive, happy, and actually motioning to the crowd to get into the game. Pudge stayed aggressive--and yet at the same time focused--on the bases all the way around to eventually score. Granted, they were coming back in the 9th, so it was exciting, but we need some of that attitude in Philly. The fans have enough heart. We just need players to match.

The phils have a lot more problems going on than those noted above. Ryan Howard, despite his rediculous bat is a liability in the field. Abreu must be the worst gold glove winner of all time.

Look on the bright side though Phils Phans, atleast the Braves SUCK this year!!!! Hopefully it stays that way.

To all the Jim Leyland fans out there : Tigers have two of the better young arms in baseball in Verlander and Bonderman. Verlander has been clocked at over 100 mph and Bonderman 98. Verlander I believe was the college pitcher of the year at ODU, so these guys did not come out of nowhere. They also added All-Star pitcher Kenny Rogers. Leyland is good, but Charlie Manuel would look smarter with this staff.

I disagree to some extent, Billy Mac. Leyland has something of a reputation for getting the most out of his bullpens, and establishing sound, fundamental play among the regulars. Manuel has shown little of either. While our bullpen has actually been OK, some of that is skewed by how great Gordon has been. Having a couple young hotshots in the rotation helps, but I believe we have a few of our own. Hamels and Myers are both first rounders, as was Verlander in '04. The Tigers were 50-50 last year then bottomed out. They are quite a turnaround story and it begins with Leyland replacing fan-favorite Trammel on the bench. Does that scenario ring any hometown bells with you?

good post yt

I have full faith that most of those players will be gone, although I don't really have a problem with Franklin, CM just is misusing him pretty badly. Franklin should be used in long relief.

Lieberthal and Bell are both in contract years (aren't you supposed to play better in contract years) and I can't imagine a scenario where either of these guys are re-signed. Gillick has been trying to move at least one of the corner outfielders, but can't get a pitcher for them. Lieber has one more year on his contract so you might as well keep him, because moving him would require paying a decent portion of the huge contract Wade gave him anyway. Unless of course the Phils find themselves with 6 quality starters and can get something for him.

Lottsa good stuff posted above. I think I agree with everybody. Man, when it comes to losing, we Phillies fans sure do know our stuff!

The only thing I would add is that it seems to me the team has become notably worse over the past week. I wonder if something happened on that western road trip. Dissension in the ranks, everybody ticked at the manager or management in general... something catastrophic. Starting with the series in DC these guys just look like they don't care any more. They have gone from being a sorta OK team to being Kansas City Royals awful. Of course, KC has a payroll of about twenty-seven dollars and sixty-nine cents while the Phillies... eh, something just ain't right.

"unprepared" -- yes, that does seem right. Like unprepared to begin the season as well.

In a story about the Tigers in SI, the well-travelled Todd Jones said that, until this year under Leyland, he didn't know how much difference a manager could make. That's an astounding statement! So maybe Charlie is just representative of most managers -- not making much of a difference?

Call me nuts, but I just had to take a few minutes to find out what managers Todd Jones had played for before Leyland showed him how a manager could make a difference. Here's the (unofficial) list that didn't show him how a manager could make a difference: Jack McKeon, Larry Bowa, Dave Miley, Grady Little, Clint Hurdle, Buddy Bell, Phil Garner, Tom Kelley, Grady Hatton, Terry Collins, and Art Howe.

gr, I by no means am a Charlie Manual fan. I don't know how much Leyland has helped Verlander, but don't look at what Verlander did last year and this year and attribute this to Leyland. 2005 was his first year of minor or major league baseball. It is quite a jump from college to the pros. My point is Rogers and Verlander are better right now than any of the Phils starters, and Bonderman is probably better than anyone other than Myers. Hamels hasn't pitched enough yet. With regards to Todd Jones, he is killing the Tigers right now with an ERA over 7. He lost another game for them last night. If Leyland keeps trotting him out to blow leads, I would start to question how great Leyland is with pen management. Jim Leyland has some division success with the Pirates and of course won the title with Marlins in 97, but do you know his career managerial record is under 500 ?

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