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Thursday, July 06, 2006

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If I'm reading this post right, like reading tea leaves, it sounds like the Phillies should lose another stupid game tonight.

Jeez. Is there anyone who'd rather watch Lieber pitch than Mathieson at this point?

By now, we have an answer to the question of which Madson it will be tonight: the bad one. Knowing what he's capable of, like the gem in his previous start, makes it more frustrating that he cannot perform and take advantage of his opportunity. If he continues this pace the rest of the way, the Phillies probably will have little choice but to seriously consider trading him as well. It's hard to advise further patience for someone who will already have complete three full seasons; his good starts need to outnumber his bad ones in the second half, I think, in order for him to have any future with this team.

Jason makes a great point about the sheer stupidity of the lineup arrangement. I'm usually inclined to think the batting order doesn't make all that much difference, but to have the lefties and the righties bunched at the top and bottom really makes no sense. The Phillies as an organization cling to the idea that a leadoff hitter requires speed, first and foremost - they're about to claim Bourn as yet another prototype, in the grand, ineffective tradition of Doug Glanville and Jimmy Rollins. A good lineup requires *balance*. Spread the strengths and the weaknesses and the speed and the power and the contact out so that they compliment one another as much as possible. There's never any emphasis on this with the Phillies. They just stack 'em up, speed to best to slow to worst. It's a big reason why, despite a lot of creditable individual performers, the offense as a whole is underwhelming and the team totals are unacceptably low. Manuel is not willing or able to be flexible, sensible, or creative when it comes to getting the most out of his offense. The inverse of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', is:

IT'S BROKE. FIX IT.

Speaking of which, what ever happened to the idea of Rowand as the no. 2 hitter? Utley took over that slot and began mashing, so the idea was permanently shelved. I have little doubt, however, that Utley could be just as good hitting third, and I have no doubt that Rowand would be more effective hitting second. Hitting between Rollins and Utley/Abreu and hitting between Burrell and Bell makes a huge difference. He's lost in the shuffle down there.

More specifically with Madson, it was the version where the bottom drops out quickly when the inning doesn't go his way. Roberts leads off with an infield hit, he steals a base, and you knew the inning would be rough.

Ryan Madson is an interesting case. When he's hot, he's very very hot. And when he stinks, he get's murdered.
In reference to an earlier comment that if Madson continues to pitch in the second half like he did in the first half, the Phillies might have little choice but to trade him, I disagree. In fact, I'm a little surprised regarding how down most bloggers seem to be on this guy.

If Madson matches his first half, he will have gone 16-10 in his first full year as a starter. Wouldn't everyone have been happy with that prediction in spring training? I think so. Would fans have been happy with a prediction of 14 wins? I think so.

But what about his ERA, his WHIP? Isn't that a better indication that this guy doesn't have it?

ERAs are very situational, in three ways. First, if your bullpen is very good with inherited runners, you will look better than you are, and vice versa if they allow most inherited runners to score.
Second, one very bad inning or game can skew your ERA for weeks. If you give up 8 ER in 2 innings in 1 start, you would have to throw 2 shutouts just to get your ERA under 5.
But most importantly, the object of the game is to allow fewer runs than your opponent. If your team scores 8 runs, you can allow 7. If your team scores only 3, you have to hold the other team to 2. The object is the W, and if I have a starter who somehow gets W's, even ugly ones, I'm not going to complain (or feel I have to trade him).

It would be nice if Madson was more consistent start to start, but I'm hoping he will develop that consistency as he gets more experience as a starter. This is, after all, his first full season doing it in the majors.

That wild pitch was u-g-l-y ugly.

George-There's nothing in the world more deceptive than Madson's W-L record. I agree that ERA's can also be deceptive, but Madson has had a poor ratio of good to weak starts.

At this point Gillick is making what almost look like deliberately bad moves. Sending Mathieson down to activate Lieber means the team is stuck with Madson in the rotation. Mathieson, it seems to me, has pitched well enough that he desrves to stay in the rotation-esp. since no one knows how well Wolf will pitch, when/if he returns. And who knows if Myers will pitch in Phila. again.

5-3 Padres. The Padres allowed them to hang around, but the Phillies just quit. That's the story of the night, not Madson. They quit. Chan Ho Park was no different in the second half than he was in the first. A 5-3 deficit halfway through 5 innings is not insurmountable. Park is definitely not insurmountable.

Nothing irks me more than young players quitting. Two days after J-Roll said his team can’t take pitches off, J-Roll and the rest of the team took whole at bats off.

I’d like nothing more than a major shakeup at manager. Do it at the all-star break and begin fresh. It’s likely the rest of the season will be 5 inning, 5-run starts from half their rotation. You can’t have young players twisting in the wind, longing for a rotation with Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine. This is the team. Get used to it, and you might as well do it without Manuel. He won't be here next season, and everyone knows it.

i agree that this game is about the wins and the losses. it doesnt matter how good your performance is, if you dont win the game.

madson, somehow, someway, has been finding ways to win. that is the name of the game.

my problem tonight was: Nunez as a god damn pinch hitter? the man doesnt belong in the big leagues, and definitely not against the second-most-prolific-closer-ever.

mathieson had a good game, but needs to develop his #3 pitch more. a #4 pitch would go a long way with him, too... he's young, only like 23, send him down on a good note, and invite him to camp next year.

Nunez was your big problem tonight? Come on, Joe. Small potatoes.

Well, its now 8 series in a row the Phillies have lost. This team is 11-21 since June 1st. That is beyond pathetic. I don't know how they can justify keeping Manuel for the remainder of the season. He does nothing creative. Ever. He cannot manage the regulars with regard to any kind of line-up change. He cannot manage the bench players. He can do nothing with the make-shift rotation. He continually blows out his bullpen. Is there one area he truly suceeds in? Please dont give me that coddling crap, but I want to know what he really brings to the table. Maybe I am harsh, but I think he may be the worst manager in the National League. I know I have called for his head for a long time now, but the man has always been stubborn and not been able to think outside of the box. It was apparent early on here, and it has continued to spiral out of control (much like this team). Its really unbearable anymore, much like this team. Upper management is in constant denial. They can play it up all they want, but this team is more of a lock to finish last in the east, than they are to stumble their way into a playoff birth.

So what were the positives tonight? Utley had a couple of doubles and Ruiz had a few hits.

What were the negatives? Were do we start? Three team errors (how many is that for Howard now?), strike out after strike out after strike out, and Madson continuing to stay on my not so good list. Other than the game against Baltimore, this guy has failed miserably as a starter. I know our options are few and far between, but Madson should be back in the bullpen and he should be thankful that he is still on the major league team.

I can't believe people are positive on Madson based upon this W-L record. Probably the most useless statistic to truly evaluate a pitcher is Ws and Ls. With the exception of 2 starts this year, Madson has been one of the worst starters in the NL.

Madson gives up way too many BBs and HRs to be a starting pitcher. Trading him away wouldn't accomplish anything but his value to this team is in the bullpen in a long relief role. He has adequately performed in that role before and seems to be more comfortable out of the pen.

The tea leaves were right. The Phillies did lose another stupid game. What a bummer. I agree with the above comments that it is time for Foghorn to go. They can name Ruben Amaro, Jr. the interim manager under the excuse that he'll really be able to evaluate the talent on this team from the dugout. From the frying pan into the fire...Arggh!!

Yes Delucci and Nunez should have started.

Yes it has been one full year since overused Madson has been lights out. After the All-Star Break last year he was tired and totally hittable.

He gets tired in the 5th inning and then gives up big innings.

He needs to be put in the PEN and told to rest so he can be lights out again. Can't anyone remember what it was like for the Phillies to have a lights out Madsen? It was crutial. Replace Rhodes wiht Madsen now.
Keep Matheson in the rotation and put him in the pen when Myers comes back. What are they thinking? Matheson had the best start of the week.

I think it may be a temporary thing with Mathieson. They want him to get some work in during the All-Star break since he isn't due to have his rotation turn come around for a little while.

The post game press conference was classic Foghorn, it went something like this:

"Well you know we kinda got 3 runs there in the 1st inning and you know and I thought that we would win the game then the bats kinda like went quiet for the rest of the night. Sometimes Madson was pitching good ya know but then sometimes he wasn't. Like when he walked 2 and gave up 3 hits that one there inning. I thought we were kind of hard to watch there for a while."

RSB: Rowand is not a good idea batting second. He doesn't have the OB for it and he strikes out too much. The lineup is an impossible puzzle to solve because it has a bunch of middle of the order guys (Utley, Abreu, Howard, Burrell) and a bunch of guys who should never, ever hit higher than 7th (Rowand, Bell, Rollins, Leiby or whoever catches).

In the perfect Burrelless world, Dellucci would bat second. I liked that idea in interleague.

Some hard truths for some of you:

Burrell isn't going anywhere - the best time to trade him was last year and that's when they couldn't trade him. Contract too big, production way small this year.

Lieber will be in the starting rotation this and next year, no matter how well Madson, Mathieson, or whoever, pitches. When you have a 7.5million dollar man, you pitch him.

Wolf will similarly have a spot no matter what shape he comes back in this year.

Abreu will be incredibly hard to shop. They can trade him and get something back, but it'll be prospects and the phils will have to eat payroll to do it. The phillies organization broke new ground in agreeing to pay part of Thome's contract last year. Don't expect it to become a normal occurence.

As much as you're frustrated with the performance you can't just cut these guys. You have to trade their contracts and when the contracts are bloated at the end (wade), it's incredibly hard to do.

Dayn Perry of Foxsports.com ranks the 30 MLB teams. Our beloved Phillies are ranked 25th. His comments are:

"That this is a second-place team is an insult to second-place teams the world over. GM Pat Gillick has a deep history of sacrificing the future in the name of the present, but that’s exactly what this team doesn’t need. As the deadline approaches, he needs to shop his veterans for bankable young talent. The Phillies’ five-year window for contention is closing fast, and it’s time to cut some losses."

His top five are the Tigers, White Sox, Red Sox, Mets and Yankees. The Marlins are 21st, the Braves - 24th, and the gNats are 27th.

He should of written something about getting a real manager, too!

Apart from Madson's literally wild inconsistency, there is another factor to consider, one not unique to him on this club. There is absolutely nothing more deflating to a team than to take the lead only to have your starter go right back out there and surrender it, either in big chunks or a few runs at a time in consecutive innings as was the case last night. Madson couldn't make the pitches with a three run lead. He let the side down...again. I would be tempted to say this is a club filled with .500 pitchers at best, but when one looks at the overall record, it's clear some of them aren't even up to that mediocre standard!!

Clout, we may disagree about the benefits of Rowand hitting second, but it's kind if ridiculous to say that Rowand and Rollins, two players with good offensive abilities and track records, should "never, ever hit higher than seventh". You make them sound like .240 hitters. That's unjustly harsh.

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