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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

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Dancy does it again. If Manuel was an poor hire, what does that make his bumbling third base coach?

Much as I like to see Rollins take charge, his line "I asked each guy to say to himself, 'What can I do this at-bat, this ground ball, this pitch, to help my team win?'" is fairly outrageous. You can start by not swinging at ball four, five, and six and popping out to the third baseman, Jimmy. Sheesh.

Mathieson looks really sharp thus far, getting a lot of empty swings with his fastball, slider and change.

question: why does it take essentially a season-killing month of underperformance to get everyone to a point where they can just relax? isn't that essentially the hallmark of bad management (or bad self-motivation or procrastination or take your pick)?

My reactions to that article were exactly the same as Rick and gr. I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped when I read that.

homer to peavy aside 3 runs in 7 innings. This is what the phils have done all year. Great pitching performance.....poor batting. this is how you go below .500 and stay there.

Tonight was the first time I had a chance to watch Scott Mathieson pitch. I don't know what he was doing wrong in his other starts, but there's a lot to like about him. If he has command, he's going to have success in the majors, because his pitches are definitely above-average.

Is Chase Utley a big-time player, or what?

Is Pat Burrell a small-time...ah, never mind. Y'all have eyes.

How bout that Arthur Rhodes. When he comes in you know the inning will be quick...

Here's hoping we never need to see Tom Gordon's sidekick, Arthur Rhodes, pitch any more setup. Right now, all he's doing is setting up Gordon for 5-out saves. Rhodes is probably my least favorite player on this team.

Understatement of the century: "Rollins has faced criticism for his approach as a lead-off hitter."

That's like saying: "Bush's decision to remove Saddam Hussein has sparked some debate."

The most galling part about Rollins is that he can be patient-he was taking pitches at a nice, if not Abreu-like, clip during The Streak.

Here's hoping he takes his own advice.

Bases loaded, no outs.

Two pitches, three outs.

Can't anybody here play this game?

Dog walkin' time. Figured I'd get back in time for the Johnny Marz post mortem. But not quite. It's taking the Phlailies a little longer to lose than I expected.

Well, Utley hit the first pitch for a ringing double. Howard and Burrell just followed suit. Howard isn't very selective in big spots like that. And Burrell either gets himself out early in the count or stands there and watches pitches all night, either way without productive results.

Agreed that if Gordon was going to brought into a tie game, it should have been to start the ninth. Rhodes is a recipe for disaster, and Flash shouldn't have to be called on to get out of his messes. The last time Rhodes was trashed on this site, he was actually defended. Let's see anyone step forward now, and tell us what a great job this year. He's been *horrible*.

Nat, you said it. That was terrible, and I'm tired of seeing it.

Bad, bad loss, the kind that's only regurgitated by bad teams like the Phillies. They finally get some good, efficient pitching, but can't score. It wasn't like Peavy was unhittable.

I want to see Gordon get the job done here, even if it's a 5-out save. No free pass. You cannot give up a three-run homer to Greene. Can't do it. He's a K machine and only hits mistakes.

Arthur Rhodes is the team's most useless pitcher, a title he's held since the beginning of the season. RSB is correct. He has been horrible. ERA stands at 5.40, almost two BB/H per inning. As bad as the offense was early, they swung the momentum in their favor by tying it and were off the hook.

Well-deserved loss for Rhodes, the player the Phillies settled on back when the Red Sox and Indians were moving around players the Phils could have actually used. I'd sooner place him on waivers than hand him the ball in another close game.

i have zilch to base this on, but i think rhodes is not long for this team. i know he's apparently the bullpen sheriff, but it takes alot to get a quick hook from manuel and rhodes has been habitually yanked by cholly over the past few weeks, after having a pretty nice run of 10 or 11 outings earlier in the season. i think castro might get a look as the 8th inning guy. it certainly would explain a seemingly inconsequential move.

I'm sorry, but this is simply a terribly managed and coached team. The talent is there, maybe not enough to win a WS, but enough to be more than competitive.

It is not 20-20 hindsight to say that there was no way in hell you should be bringing in Rhodes in a close game. He is always going to allow baserunners because he has no control and has to groove pitches to get strikes. He is almost always behind in the count. Calling on him in that situation is bad managing.

What does a "players-only" meeting say? Well, according to Wheels and LA, it's a good thing. The players are taking responsibility themselves. Huh?

What it tells me is that either CM never wants to deal directly with substandard performance, or that the players are simply ignoring him. In either case, what good is he? If the players can solve the problems themselves, you don't need a manager.

The quick hook for Rhodes tonight was more an indication that Gillick is filling out CM's airplane ticket out of here than it was for Rhodes (who can go with him). CM can't keep playing the role of 'players' manager' when the team is playing this poorly. He's been trying for the past couple of weeks to build up a tougher image, and yanking Rhodes is just one of the ways he's trying to do it. Too laye for that now, CM.

I'm just hoping that Gillick has decided that if you're going to lose, you might as well do it with younger players, and we'll see the following players jettisoned at the deadline:

Bell-Cormier-Rhodes-Burrell-Franklin-Fasano.

This group contributes absolutely nothing toward making this team better. Nothing. Ask yourself: If none of those players played another inning for this team starting right now, how much worse would the Phillies be? They wouldn't be worse. And even if you can only get one prospect for the whole sorry lot, the Phillies are better off: they will have at least that one player that can contribute something.

Since I have already eliminated the Phils from playoff contention, the W's and L's seem to bother me less. Kind of like when you accept that fact that it is raining and you are going to wet. Kind of cathartic.

At least Mathieson pitched well tonight. He really needed a boost of confidence. Unfortunately, Phils need bodies to start games until after the after all-star break. I still think Mathieson future lies in the bullpen especially since he only really has two pitches.

If this team had any decent pitching, the bullpen would look alot stronger with Madson and Mathieson back there next season. Food for thought.

I wasn't a big fan of the Rhodes trade from the beginning since I thought that he would only help this team for one season. I would have rather seen the Phils go after a younger bench player or younger arm in the pen.

Phils' fans need to hope that Rhodes pitches alot better the next 2 or 3 weeks. If he doesn't, Phils will get little to nothing for him at the trade deadline.

Why for the last 2 years have Dubee and Manuel let these guys continue to pitch day after day after day, why, why, why? If a guy needs a chance for innings do not use him as your 8th inning man. The loss of Madson and Urbina has been huge, and now Gordon is wearing down with 2 inning stints. Be is Worrell or Rhodes, watch them warm up and do not let them pitch if they are not on.

Mathieson looked great. Utley was clutch once again. Were there any other positives from this game?

Dancy was a fool (yet again) to send Burrell with only one out. Manuel continues to be an blundering idiot. Burrell can't get a clutch hit. Bell k's in a crucial situation and should be benched. Rhodes should retire.

Glad to see things changed while I was gone...

At least they sent down Bernero.

Ugh...

I hate Rhodes

I love double DDs...

I hate Dubee and Dancy however.

HATE UM - HATE UM - HATE UM ~!

Thanks for the heartwarming "pick-me-up" speech Jimmy, but it didn't seem to do the team all that good. People mentioned it above, but the Phillies are horrible with the bases loaded. Seriously, over the past 3-4 seasons, they seem to strikeout, popup, or ground into double plays a lot with the bases loaded. Yes, some times they get lucky and actually hit, but not all too often. I LOVE Ryan Howard, but that was a very, very, very bad at bat. 1 pitch=2 outs...bad!

I was the guy who posted the Bill James quote on S&AM, and, at the risk of turning into a one-trick pony, I came across another absolute gem as I'm working my way through the book. I apologize for the length of the excerpt, but it was far too good not to share (the way it builds to the zinger of the final sentence is genius). Here he is writing about Jim Frey in 1986, but it seems to me he was, Nostradamus-like, trying to forewarn us all about the Charlie Manual era:

"How odd it is that a baseball manager should be at a disadvantage to his fans on issues such as when to bunt, pinch-hit, send runners, etc., how completely unnecessary it is for a manager to arrive at the major league level unprepared in this respect, when there is available such a perfect tool to educate a manager in these things. I refer, of course, to table games like APBA and Strat-O-Matic. In many other professions, simulations are much prized as education tools; a major airline would never think of sending a pilot up with lives in his hands unless he had pulled a few dozen planes out of simulated crashes.

Why is it, then, than an inexperienced manager is not simply instructed to manage his team through a thousand or so games of table baseball before he really takes the field, just to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t?

Because those games are for fans, that’s why. We’re professionals, you know; we don’t have anything to learn from these fans.

Baseball is something that everybody has an opinion about, and so it develops that to baseball men, the distinction between professional and fan is blinding, obliterating all other distinctions. Professionalism is the sun around which all baseball knowledge must revolve.

I know that if I proposed this table-game theory to any general manager in baseball, I would probably get a lecture on the difference between managing the table game and managing the real team. In the table game, players’ levels are fixed; they don’t fall into slumps. They don’t have pitchers who have the whammy on them, or pitchers that they can tear apart. Pitchers in table games lose their stuff at known and predictable stages of the game; in the real game they may lose it gradually or suddenly. In the table game pitchers can be brought into the game without being warmed up. In the table game, players are not going to quit on you if they don’t like the way they’re being used.

Of course, all of that is true and much more. The table game teaches only the percentages, not the individual case. But is it an argument against using the table game to teach those things which it can teach? Isn’t it a better argument that a major league manager should be so thoroughly grilled in the percentages that he is able to move past that stage, and use his mind to concentrate on the other factors which complicate the real game? Couldn’t a general manager say, 'Look, I don’t want my manager sitting there trying to figure out what the percentages are. I want him to know what the percentages are like he was born with them, Then he’ll be able to clean his mind out and work on those subtler things that complicate the game on the field.'

I’ve seen major league managers who would finish sixth in a good table league. Jim Frey is one of them – a good man, in many ways, but an atrocious chess player. It seems to me an unnecessary price to pay for defending one’s professional status. A command of the percentages is not the whole job – but one would think it was one of the prerequisites."

I agree with MG's statement: "Since I have already eliminated the Phils from playoff contention, the W's and L's seem to bother me less. Kind of like when you accept that fact that it is raining and you are going to wet. Kind of cathartic."

This loss is bothersome in the way it happened at the end. Another wasted game. Give Rhodes a "red card"! That way you could be assured he won't pitch tonight. I'd send him to the back of the line, saving him for mop up duty in one sided losing games.

Kuff6's post is interesting. I saw a segment on ESPN the other night about being on the road with the Houston Astros. They had computerized data (with video) on the team they were facing. They were loaded with probability data. I wonder what the Phillies have? The Phillies probably have it, but Uncle Charlie probably can't even log on the computer to read his email, let alone check out Beerleaguer.com for advice, or review the real database.

Its time to retire te Antique Rhodes Show.

First the Howard vs. Yankees debacle, and now this.

you had a great career, arthur...

So in what world does the brother of a pitcher being paid 9million dollars by the phils get to umpire a phils game?

I'm talking about Jim Wolf, who called Victorino out at first for the final out last night. How does the MLB let something like this happen? Either he's going to biased for, or not wanting to look like that, he's going to be biased against. It just doesn't look good either way.

I don't really care that he was just the first base umpire. It's a conflict of interest.

If the Phillies were in the pennant race, Jim Wolf's decisions may have an effect, however, that not being the case, he can call us safe or out all he wants, we'll still be double digit games out of contention.

I was at the game sitting right behind home plate, so I had a good view of the play. Dancy did not send Burrell. Rowand ran down Burrell and Burrell was forced to go home. I think Dancy is the absolute worst, but this was mostly on Rowand.

So wait, Dancy didn't send Burrell and Burrell was forced to go home? How exactly did he know that Rowand was right behind him? Did Dancy scream," he's right behind you?" Did Burrell look behind him?

Anyways it's still Dancy's job to stop Burrell which would halt Rowand at second, even if Rowand has to go a few steps back. Rowand should see dancy's stop sign and stop himself. That's how it works, the third base coach decides.

I'm not blaming Jim Wolf for the loss or anything like that. I'm saying it looks awful for MLB to let something like that happen. It's a clear conflict of interest

Yeh, you right! Wolf should switch to the AL.

Didn't this Jim Wolf non-issue pop up a couple of years ago? How is it a conflict of interest? You're saying that because he has a brother who plays for the Phillies, he cannot possibly be objective? That's presumptuous at best. Why would that matter? Wolf has made many calls for and against the Phils. I've seen some arguments with him and the Phillies. It doesn't matter. It has never mattered. You're assuming a bias and an absence of integrity for which there is absolutely no evidence.

As for the James quote, he sounds here like a petulant numbers-cruncher, whining when no one in front offices would listen to him back in the '80s. One may assume that I am the anti-James, but I'm actually a fan of his writing and his work. However, he can come off as an arrogant wisenheimer at times. His view of baseball strategy is unilateral, and exclusionary of many elements outside the realm of hard numbers. Percentages and numbers have their place in baseball, but not at the complete and total disregard for that which cannot be quantified. Two of James' arch-enemies, Frey and Chuck Tanner, made it to the World Series, so regardless of his bluster, they must have had *something* going for them. James' point about the stubbornness of professionals and the legitimate input of non-professionals is well-taken, yet it comes off as sour grapes.

RSB: I agree that James comes off as more than a little bit of a jerk at times - esp. with some of the things he wrote in the 80's, which could be vicious. I strongly disagree with your contention that he believes that numbers are the only thing that matters in baseball. Just look at the final 3 paragraphs of the excerpt - he acknowledges that there are many, many complex factors that go into every decision. His point here was that there is no excuse for managers not to have a total mastery of what the percentages say with respect to the simpler issues, so the manager can spend his mental energy on dealing with the complex issues that can't be reduced to simple equations. In his words, "A command of the percentages is not the whole job – but one would think it was one of the prerequisites."

RSB - I did not say that he could not possibly be objective and I'm not saying he isn't, I'm merely pointing out that the appearance of a conflict of interest is in and of itself inappropriate.

I don't believe it would an entirely impossible prospect to juggle his duties with another crew when the team his brother works for comes to town.

Will,

Dancy stopped Burrell and Rowand kept running. Rowand was closer to 3rd than 2nd at this point and could not go back. Burrell than took over for home and was out by 10 feet. Again, Dancy is the worst 3rd base coach I have ever seen at any level above high school, but from my vantage point this was mainly Rowand's fault.

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