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Monday, September 04, 2006

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Watching this weekend's bullpen meltdown, I couldn't help by wonder: wouldn't the phillies pitching staff be far stronger if they had kept Lidle in the rotation and put Wolf in the bullpen?

Through no fault of his own, Wolf is a bullpen-killer with his 5 inning rehab starts. And if Cholly has to bring in an unproven rookie with the bases loaded in the ninth, it just shows how desperate this team is for a competent lefthander in the pen. Wolf would have been a big asset in the pen even if he could have only worked twice a week.

Wolf could easily have gone longer in some of those five-inning starts. He doesn't really give you anything more or less than Lidle right now.

Jason, do you think the team as a whole looks tight, or is still losing its share of games because it's still flawed? In the case of guys like Dellucci and Utley, I see guys whose games are just off. They look worn out and tethered to bad approaches at the plate. I think the Phils have been getting the job done, doing what it takes to win games, a little over half the time lately; not enough to really move forward for the WC, but for what it's worth a great deal more frequently than they'd been doing these 'little things' in the past. The doubleheader yesterday was a good case in point, with that amazing display of winning baseball in the ninth inning of Game 1, and then the flat, clutchless exhibition in Game 2. I don't know whether it was a matter of exhaustion or what...as for Conine, he looked fine the night before, hitting balls hard in every AB...I don't know if he was pressing yesterday. He just wasn't getting good swings off Hudson and Cormier.

But you're certainly justified in calling the team's psychology into question. Will these Phillies disappoint like other Phillies teams have, will they fold before they even are able to climb atop the mountain of mediocrity? And if they do, will it be because they aren't good enough, or because they tried just a little too hard?

Any thoughts on Wednesday's starter ? Do the Phils call up Germano or will they go with relievers ? I disagree that Wolf doesn't give you anything less than Lidle right now; check the box scores.

It's interesting how team "psychology" always seems to correlate with bullpen performance. If Gordon is healthy and effective, I don't think we are talking about a team that is pressing.

What's also interesting is that players that have previously been seen as part of the old guard who coiuldn't win - Burrell, Lieberthal, Lieber, J-Roll - are playing some of the best ball on the team.

Thank you for bringing up the Utley point as well. Quite a few posters here have suggested that the teams current fortunes are due to Utley taking over for Abreu as "team leader" (whatever that means). The problem with this theory is that Utley has tanked recently and that the team is winning in spite of him, not because of him. Meanwhile, we scramble around for outfileders like Conine because our once deep outfield is in tatters.

I still think the team has a good chance to win the WC because of the starting pitching and the overall mediocrity of the league, but they need to get the bullpen in order.


ALso, BM, Lidle vs. Wolf since "The Trade"

Lidle: 6G 32IP 3.38 ERA
Wolf: 7G 35IP 5.30 ERA

As far as I am concerned, nothing is lost in bringing Justin Germano to the the Phillies right now, at least get one spot start start in place of the still-rehabing Wolf, who should move to the pen, as Billy Mac suggests. Germano, who came to the Phils from the Reds in the Cormier trade, appeared in two games with the Reds this season. Germano's two games with the Reds consisted of one scoreless relief inning at Wrigley against the Cubs on 5/30, and a "showcasing" start on 7/31, shortly before the Cormier trade, in which Germano pitched 5.2 innings with eight (8) strikeouts. Germano's numbers at Scranton Wilkes-Barre this year since the Cormier trade [after leading the Reds AAA affiliate Louisville in wins (8) at the time of the deal]: 6 games, 6 starts, 2-0 record, 2.82 ERA, 38.1 innings pitched, 40 hits, 25 strikeouts, and only *two walks*. At least this guy gets the ball over the plate. Germano is already on the Phillies' 40-man roster, so no extraordinary roster transactions would be necessary. My only question is whether some rule prohibits recalling Germano now, while the Red Barons are in the playoffs in a series with Rochester.

My point is not that Lidle is an innings-eating machine. Dumping Lidle has decreased the depth and flexibility of the pitching staff at a critical time in the season.

kdon, the team is better off because it is taking its cues more from guys like Utley instead of passive veterans like Abreu. That Utley has struggled of late hasn't affected the noticeable way in which the Phillies seem much more team-oriented and cohesive. Beyond that, I don't know if a case can really be made that Utley's slump is related to heightened responsibility. If it turns out to last the remainder of the season, I'll start to wonder myself - but I highly doubt that it will.

If Lidle's ERA is that good for the Yanks, I stand corrected. It's certainly well below his career standard, and I don't believe he is a better pitcher than Randy Wolf, but I was wrong to say that their performances have been about the same. I do not feel putting Wolf in the bullpen is a good idea. He is a starting pitcher, and even at his diminshed pace coming off the injury, not a bad one; this is no time to conduct experiments, either with no-names like Justin Germano or with yet another pitcher cast out of his familiar role.

Haha, "passive veterans." I'd happily trade in Abreu's August for Utley's abysmal efforts last month. In the month of August, Chase hit .246 with just a .307 slugging percentage. No matter how team-oriented and cohesive he may be, that certainly can't help.

RSB, I don't neccesarily think that Utley is slumping because of a new responsibility, only that it is difficult to believe the team is "taking its cues" from a player who is struggling, especially because the number one reason for the team's success recently (Howard) has been killing the ball all season.

As for the "cohesiveness" of the team, this seems to be to just be a fancy word for winning. It's pretty simple: when teams win they appear loose and have fun. The Phillies of the past 4 1/2 years have had many stetches just as good and better than the current streak, despite the supposed selfishness of many players. In my mind, winning games = cohesiveness, not vice versa.

Also, the question isn't whether you have Lidle OR Wolf, but if you'd rather have Lidle AND Wolf or just Wolf.

RSB: The team as a whole does not look tight. But I will say this about Utley. For the first time, maybe ever, he looks like he's pressing to me. His swings have been very awful, almost rigid. He's the reason I wrote this post.

I don't disagree with you. Chase seemed to break out out of it with 2 homers the other day, but he came up empty with runners on. He's either pressing, fatigued, or both.

i still wonder abouit utley's health from the rowand collission 2.5 weeks ago.

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