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Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Great read Jason. I agree that Gillick can only blame the players as long as he and Manuel are holding them accountable and taking "disciplinary" (I know that there's only so much you can do to a pampered millionaire) actions. If they sat Abreu for his poor defense, then that's the best move Charlie has made all year. However, I bet it was spun to Bobby as a "day off" against a left handed pitcher, which would be a shame (Bowa certainly would not have pulled any punches or beat around the bush).

I was more disturbed than anything to hear the ESPN announcers touting David Bell as a good defensive 3B. Where does this misconception come from? I'd guess that "Web Gems" has done more to fuel this fire than anything.

It was matter of time before someone on the team called out Abreu on his "for who, for what" attitude of chasing down balls on the track and against the right field wall.

As far as Bell, I can't stand the guy but he led all MLB 3B’s in Plus/Minus rating in 2005 per The Fielding Bible. And his Zone Rating was good in 2005. Check out Mike's "A Citizen's Blog" on the links to thr right for a good write up on the Phils defense this year.

Willard Preacher - it's interesting to note that Mike B over at a Citizen's Blog has consistently highlighted the stats which show bell to be an excellent defensive player - until today. In the past whilst it was easy to bemoan his handling of balls hit at him (I think Tom Goodman has mentioned this before) he has scored consistently well above average in DER, ZR, whatever else. It's worth reading Mike's breakdown.

Jason - we were all cheering Howards lack of a sophomore slump, but its clear to see that although he's too good a hitter to have that problem, his defense is definitely suffering his second year in the majors. His minor league numbers were good, and last year's numbers were good. I'd wager next year's will be fine too, but right now it seems like a degree of platooning is wise. Mind you, most of the phlogosphere seems to have been in favour of that since mid-may.

love the earth prime comment!!!!

Let's see, the Phillies have been blaming the managers for years and now it's the players fault? I keep hearing management say "look in the mirror." Does anyone ever think that management should "look in the mirror" themselves at how they handle their pitchers at the major league level, how they work them coming up through the ranks, how they lack a running program, how the pitching coach is the one charting pitches and putting toghether a game plan (myers throwing a changeup to A-Rod on a 3-2 count when A-Rod can't touch his slider), that the current staff pulls them too quickly (6 innings...great job) or that the pitchers can't get a bunt down, let alone the hitters coming into the majors? Lead-off men like Mike Bourn and Jimmy Rollins have no clue on how to work a count. I'll stop here since I might run out of space.

Sitting or platooning Howard is assinine. Last night's win was fantastic and the first well-played game by the Phils in ages. But it took perfect defensive plays and perfect hits at the perfect times to grind out a 4-2 win. The raw offensive power Ryan brings to the lineup cannot be on the bench in favor of any more defense. He is still the only real first baseman on the team and giving anyone else significant time at that spot will eventually show it on defense. I love Shane Victorino and wish he could get into more games, but I think Abreu's offensive abilities win many more games than his defensive abilities cost the team. Brett Meyers needs to just man up and not throw a hissy fit when something goes wrong behind him or he doesn't get a borderline call at the plate.

Mike, good points. As unpopular and opinion as it may be, however, I don't think that the drop-off from Abreu to Victorino is that big and his defense sure makes it easier for Myers (or any righty against a predominantly lefty-loaded lineup) to pitch.

Abreu's OBP sure is nice, but Vic throws in that speed threat (and his OBP isn't bad by any means). I was on the fence about trading Abreu or Burrell for SP, but I'm starting to think that Victorino is ready to be a starter.

I fully expect to see last night's infield again in Boston. Howard will be the DH and Nunez batting 9th.

Victorino is definitely the guy of the future. Whether that future is late July or April 2007, remains to be seen. I'd rather keep Burrell's power and lose abreu's attitude.

Jason, agree with you except for pinch-hitting for Bell in that situation. The Yankees had lefty-killer Mike Myers up and he surely would've come in had Abreu or Howard been sent up to PH. Plus you had Fasano up next and THAT would've been the place to PH. So, I think you have to stay with Bell there. That does NOT excuse his poor judgment in swinging at the first pitch, however. I'm just defending Charlie's decision.

Good post, Jason. I jumped off and read Conlin's column. At the end he said that Gillick gave Foghorn a vote of confidence. Do you have any info on that? when "votes of confidence" are issued, that generally means that there are some people who have lost confidence. Unless Charlie gets this ship righted and moving up the standings, I am "confident" that he won't be the skipper at this time next year.

I think another reason for sitting Howard is that he seems to be a little nicked up. The Inquirer was short on specifics but mentioned a sore wrist, suffered, I suppose, in that stupid play at the plate on Sunday (Thanks, Bill Dancy!)

And having mentioned Dancy, I'll add an Amen to Walter's comments above and add to the list of Phillies coaching shortcomings Dancy's ridiculous work at 3rd. I guess we can't really expect the players to learn from their mistakes and do better when their coaches are not capable of the same.

I could almost settle for Bell at 3rd when the Phillies are in the field if I didn't have to look at Dancy there when the Phillies are batting.

I just read where it has been agreed that the league that wins the All Star Game will get home field advantage.

In Earth Prime, are the Phillies doing any better in the standings?

I don't think Victorino is "definitely", or even probably the guy of the future. He's a quality platoon or fourth outfielder who's played well in limited time this year. I don't believe anyone in the organization is really projecting Shane to be a starter in the future, though it's not entirely out of the question.

I think people are a little hard on Howard in general. True, his defense has been inexcusably shoddy this year, but how many huge hits has he had for the Phillies this year? His homers very seldom tend to be tack-on jobs in 7-1 games. In his case, I believe the defense and the offense *do* even out, at least. If you're going to give Howard so much slack for his errors, I'd like to see it evened out with more praise when he hits yet another clutch homerun and some recognition that he is a truly special player. And why is it that on the flip side, Rollins is maligned endlessly for his offensive shortcomings, and rarely praised for his exceptional defense?

It has been mentioned in more than one game article that Manuel elected to stay with Bell because had he pinch-hit one of his left-handers, Torre would have certainly countered with lefty Mike Myers, who customarily gives up nothing to such hitters. Bell wound up giving the Phillies a truly horrible AB, but I can understand Manuel's thinking.

That said, the best post in this thread is Walter's. I love the 'look in the mirror' turnabout, and it's just so true. Management has it all over the players in terms of laying excuses out there. Translation: "We put a great team together, and manage it flawlessly, now why can't they just play good? Waaahhh!" Bowa's still doing it two years later. Unbelievable.

We're gonna get rid of one of the outfielders sooner or later. When we do, gillick's past says that money will go towards pitching, not a replacement OF. Whether you think he'll be good or not, with Victorino playing this well in a supporting role, it would be a shame for him not to get a chance to start at least part of a season in a regular role. If he can't handle it, we'll find someone else.

In related news, rumor has it that Wolfe is starting tomorrow in AA Reading. And the phils are looking to be going to a 4-man rotation for a while, meaning mathieson won't start again until July 1, which will probably be his last if the 9-million dollar man keeps progressing this quickly.

Victorino is a nice player but comparing his ability to Abreu's at this point is absurd. Abreu has a proven track record and Victorino has not even played half a season. Victorino is having a nice season but he would get exposed playing everyday.

Still, Abreu's comment that he was glad that he was able to miss a tough left-hander (Johnson) last night really pissed me off. Normally, I could see giving Abreu a night off against a tough-left hander but this team has gone in a tailspin and is going through an incredibly difficult part of their schedule.

So what does there hottest hitter on this team do last night? He takes a rest. FU Abreu. There are times that you just have to suck it up and play even against an unfavorable matchup. I am normally very outspoken against managers ripping there players in public. Here is a case though where Manuel needs to be vocal of his criticism of Abreu in public. You just can't let players make comments in public like Abreu made last night.

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