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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

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I'm with you on Burrell and Dellucci not being adaquate protection for Howard. I don't know how I feel about moving Jimmy out of the lead off, but I wouldn't blink twice if they flopped Howard and Utley in the line up. You'd get Howard more at bats if nothing else.

5 games to go and we want Manuel to tweak is lineup...ain't gonna happen. The man has proven that he is stuck in his ways. I'll give credit that his ways do work sometimes, but he's too stubborn/dumb to see when adjustments need to be made.

His use of bullpen arms astounds me. You pointed out that Geary and Castro have been misused...hell Castro hasn't even been used! Clay Condrey could have shoulder some of the workload here in September too, instead of running Madson and Geary out there every game.

Every manager is going to blow games from time to time, but Manuel's inability to do the "right" thing has cost the Phils more games than a manager should...therefore our record and moreover our falling short of the playoffs.

Two weeks ago, the lineup should have been:

1. Victornio
2. Rollins
3. Howard
4. Utley
5. Conine/Delluci

and so on.

it moves Rollins power toward the middle, and gets protection behind Howard.

Jason, you are preaching exactly what I have been saying about this guy all year. His lack of gamesmanship which includes the bullpen in later innings. He sticks with guys until their arms are ready to fall off.

I don't really see what alternative we have right now other than Conine to hit behind Howard. Burrell is killing us with his lack of productivity. Maybe Utley could hit behind Howard and JRoll third. Then Victorino could lead off and Delucci bat 2nd.

I still think they will actually keep CM next year too, which is a shame. I'd love to see Lou Piniella come in here but I don't think the ownership wants to cough up the buck to get him.

Steve T: Victorino rarely walks and strikes out a fair amount. He also can't steal bases. He's better in the 2 hole.

To the extent the Phillies have a "must win" game, tonight is it. The matchup couldn't be more lopsided with Hamels vs. Astacio. The Rockies have a good pitcher going against the Dodgers with Cook. Tonight we see how this gang performs under pressure.

my most frequent complaint about manuel is his bullpen usage. however, my *biggest* complaint with him is that his reputation is that of a hitters manager and yet his squads, more often than not, can't hit with RiSP. It was the same problem last year. I'm not sure exactly what a manager can do to alleviate this, but I know its not running pat burrell out there every other game with the same out of control swing or overseeing nights when 7 pitch innings occur more often than not. there's only so much difference he can make, but this problem would seem to fall within his expertise and it doesn't seem to be getting fixed. some things don't correct themselves, charlie.

gr:

The phillies have the best offense in the NL. It seems to be, on the whole, performing fine.

The biggest problem this season, can't be traced to cholly at all, and that is, the starting pitching sucked for over half the season.

That being said, Cholly *has* to use more people in his bullpen, all of them.

Jason, I can't bring myself to tune into WIP. What has Eskin been saying about Uncle Cholly and the front office? And do his sources seem sound?

The Phillies offense may be #1 in the league, but if they hit league average with runners in scoring position, and found ways to score men from 3rd with less than 2 outs, then the offense would be blowing everyone out of the water, not merely ranked 1st, but prolific!

I mentioned this in passing before, we focus on who hits behind Ryan, but maybe it should be on who is #3? If you move Burrell to #3 it does (potentially) a bunch of good things.

- Puts Burrell in a position that plays to his strengths...i.e. hitting the ball when it is pitched right down the middle. Opposing pitchers cant play with him.
- Moves Utley to 5th where he can drive in Howard when he is constantly walked.
- Makes 1-5 that much more potent.

The downside is that it puts Burrell in a position to be running the baes more, but I think it is worth the risk.

That Dude- that is such a crazy idea that it may just work. Won't see it happen though.

oh yeah it also cuts down on the ability to use lefties in the pen against us. I know uTley behind Howard is still two lefties in a row (and potentially 3 when Delucci plays), but the 3-4-5 part of the lineup will get more AB's than the 4-5-6 part of the lineup.

Is it really that crazy Drama? Look at THome and KOnerko!

Hell, it would also show some confidence in Burrell, which might be what he needs and as much as we rip and hate him (me included) WE NEED HIM (at least right now).

All true stuff re Victorino, but this is more about playing to Howard and the middle of the order.
we don't have a true leadoff hitter, so what's the difference? With the homers he has right now, Rollins would no great hitting 2. st

Eskin is a guilty pleasure. I've listened to him for 10 years. Never cared for his take on Abreu, or his cruel, abusive stance on Manuel, but I've always respected his reporting and believe his sources to be solid. The news regarding the front office and their displeasure with the manager is a very recent development. It has to do with the bullpen, some of the same issues that have been discussed here.

When I said Howard has to carry this team, I didnt mean that he is not or hasent been. I fully believe he has, but my lack of confidence in the rest of the lineup leads me to believe that it is going to take a monumental effort on his part to propel us to the playoffs. THere is a poll question in Philliesnation.com that asks what is the most important thing to happen for us to get into the playoffs. One of the options is Howard hitting 61 or more homers. If he does this, I believe we make the playoffs. I had no question whether he would do it two weeks ago but now I highly doubt it. If he hits 4 more homers this season, I do believe we are in the playoffs.

I'm watching Around the Horn and Micheal Smith just made a great point about limited replay in baseball to help with homeruns. It might be something that could have saved the Phillies season. Maybe if the Phillies do miss the playoffs there will be enough stink about this that they will do somehting like this.

jason, sound point on manuel and the lineup. we have a number of hitters who should be able to beat a pitcher in several different ways. pat's inside grimace strike 3 aside, he gets walks and has power. jimmy is a reasonable contact hitter with suprising power and of course his speed. vic has the speed to make those slap hits work for him . . . and so on. But I guess if charlie's use of the bullpen has taught us anything, its that he doesn't like variety and fitting solutions to problems game-by-game, or worse, on the fly within a game.

I've heard the argument by sabremetricians in the past that the order of line-ups don't count for too much extra in terms of offense. but I do wonder whether we could maximise output in these games final games which are the very definition of the margin - end of the season, crucial now but not taken of themselves as one game out of season - would changing things about day to day maintain the production we have seen over the season, or would it make it worse game-on-game?

Lineups

Phils:
1. J Rollins, SS
2. S Victorino, CF
3. C Utley, 2B
4. R Howard, 1B
5. J Conine, RF
6. C Coste, C
7. D Dellucci, LF
8. A Nunez, 3B
9. C Hamels, P

Nationals:
1. B Castro, 2B
2. F Lopez, SS
3. A Soriano, LF
4. R Zimmerman, 3B
5. J Vidro, 1B
6. B Harper, C
7. N Logan, CF
8. R Church, RF
9. P Astacio, P

Another pithcher that should get pounded, but will he?

I like that Pat the Bat is not in the lineup.

Jason, When you are reporting the front office's recent displeasure with Manuel, you mean Pat Gillick - correct ? I don't see Amaro or Arbuckle having much power or influence. And who knows what roles Dallas Green or John Vukovich play. Green openly criticized Manuel to the media in July.
Obviously Gillick took the job offered by Montgomery with the provision that Manuel was the manager this season. With all of Gillick's contacts in baseball management for 35 years, you would think he knows he can upgrade the manager position with multiple people. I can't think this is a recent development.

I have been a critic of Manuel this season -- primarily pen management and utilization of his bench. But over the past two months, I think he has done a good job. There's a lot of stuff I still don't like about Manuel. I think he relies too much on lefty / righty matchups. I think if a part time player fails in one situation -- he completely loses confidence. Examples being Castro giving up HR to Atlanta around labor day and Thurston not getting bunt down against Houston. With veterans, he gives too many chances -- Rhodes and Randall Simon come to mind.

But he's done some stuff well to help guide this team to be in contention for a wild card when they were left for dead. He's managed the catching tandem well. I like how he's used Conine. He showed confidence in Matt Smith and he's come through for him in some key situations. He stuck with Nunez, who's improved offensively and has been great defensively. It is not all bad.

Coste hitting ahead of Dellucci is odd. Makes it easy for opposing manager to get lefty for Utley & Howard, then switch to righty for Conine & Coste. If Dellucci bats 6th, he can't do that.

well, joe, i guess you just have to ask yourself this: are you happy with the number 1 offense in the league when it leaves 10+ onbase in one-run loses in the last week of the season when your pitchers give you quality starts? if you are, you may be qualifed to be the phils' manager, based on current circumstances.

Billy Mac: The implication was Gillick. It was presented as new information. If it had been an advisor, like Green, I don't believe he would have presented it the way he did.

I'd love to know how Eskin knows this. Gillick is like the anti-Dallas Green, totally private and behind-the-scenes. No one ever has the faintest insight into what he's thinking. For all anyone knows, he might just drop a bombshell and fire Manuel if they don't win, but I still tend to seriously doubt it.

Hard to expect much after last night's turkey, but here we go again...

Flyin F-in Hawaiian.

Phils/Utley get a break ealy...maybe tonight the fortunes will be different.

Walk Bank it.

That pitch is killing Howard. I hate the Nats catchers. You can tell if they are going low or high and they are always on the mark for the Phillies hitters weak spots. If there is one thing that I can say about the Nats, I have really been impressed with their catchers.

Then again, as they leave him to die at third base, maybe not. Howard is feeling the pressure, no question.

Cole looks like the next big pitcher in Baseball, I hope they dont ever let him go.

Two popups and a K, beautiful. No drama in the first, no offense Drama Queen (I know how you relish it)

dellucci looks worse than burrell.

Zimmerman is the ROY he is killing us.

First, there was a guy named Andre Dawson in Montreal that used to kill us all the time. A few years later, it was Vlad Guerrero. Lately, in DC, it's been Brad Wilkerson, but now it's Zimmerman.

It's like there are 24 scrubs on the Expos/Nationals roster, and 1 Phillies killer. It drives me nuts.

here we go again.

GOd can we hold an F-ing lead.

We gotta win this game I'm sick of relying on crappy teams like the Rockies to keep us in this race.

Don't hold your breath. The Phillies' tetnative play combined with the intolerable bluster of the Nats' TV crew is sending smoke out of my ears all over again.

RSB, check ESPN. They might be on it where ever you are.

All you guys in/around Philly have no idea how lucky you are to not have to listen to these douchebag Nationals announcers. They are, I belive, the worst homer-announcers I have ever had to endure. From the way they talk, you'd think the Nats had already won the World Series and everyone else is just playing for second place now.

Here's to hoping that the Phils can maybe, possibly drive in some RISP.

Holy cow, thank you Mike.

I just had a chance to check out this site tonight. I know most of the talk is going to center on the game, since it has started, but I am totally on-board with the Manuel criticism. Then again I have long been after a change. I agree a lot with what Billy Mac had to say. Manuel, too an extreme, goes with the veterans. This was apparent not only with Arthur Rhodes, but also Sal Fasano earlier in the season. Instead of having Geary slide into the set-up role, and having Ruiz catch on a daily basis (or at least platoon with Coste), Manuel opted for the likes of the before mentioned two.

Manuel also has done a poor job with regard to the bench. It's amazing how Randell Simon now appears to be option #1 off the bench, and it's not like he is setting the world on fire (he has a .222 average). Heaven forbid you use someone like a Jose Hernandez, who has been in the majors all season and actually hit a slam in one of his very limited opportunities or someone like a Joe Thurston who could beat out an infield hit or turn a single into a possible double. You wouldn't even have to waste a pinch runner on him either should he get on.

Manuel also cannot ever deviate from the current line-up layout. I agree with previous posters about having Victorino lead off, dropping J-Roll and Utley down to 2 and 4 respectively to provide Howard with some kind of protection, but it would be a cold day in hell before Manuel ever tried something like that. He wouldn't try that in May, let alone September.

Back to the bullpen. It's really ridiculous how Manuel has worn out certain pitchers as the year has gone on. It's even more astounding how he seems to forget that he has other options down in the pen. He definitely should have been using Castro and Condrey at various times this month, but then again that makes too much sense.

All in all, he has done a poor job this year. I will still feel that way even if this team is fortunate enough to make the playoffs. I would take just about any other manager in baseball over Manuel. Let him be a hitting coach elsewhere if that is his passion. I don't want him to manage here any longer than he has to. That being said, I hope the Phils win tonight. Thirteen years is too damn long in-between playoff apperances.

Thank you SO MUCH for the tip on ESPN. I totally forgot that they were on tonight! Ah, no more Nats announcers...

I'm seeing T.O. talk on my ESPN, no game.

Nationals look like they are really geared up to beat the Phils.

This is hard to watch...

Jesus... Are we really this done?

Hello there is the story of this series all over again. Its like reruns of WKRV Cincinnati, nauseating!

Things Fall Apart.

I had a bad feeling about this series, I think the Phillies were looking to the Florida series, thinking they would just roll over the Nats. THis is pathetic. hey havent played like this in 2 months. Now 3 times in 3 games.

Some hope. Maybe?

You think Utley was pissed? 4-2, haha!!

Utley is just drawing us back in, dont buy it folks.

Outside of Utley, this offense is totally dead.

Howard is tired, his hits that 3 weeks ago were home runs are warning track action now. Does anybody but me notice how late he is on so many swings lately?

J-Roll and Victorino have been pretty steady, along with Chase, but the rest of the team is dead right now.

Howard is screwed up from all the junk he's been seeing lately. Even when he sees a good pitch, he doesn't expect it and that's why he's late.

Everything they do seems like it's in slow motion right now. It's like they don't seem to realize the urgency here.

THis team is going to have to win without Howard.

wow no error.

Say what you want about Burrell (I'll say he's been quite bad), but Dellucci is absolutely not an improvement.

Good job, Jimmy. Nice run.

Hell where is Randall Simon?

That was the ugliest thing ive seen since Nick Nolte's mugshot.

You want to see Randall Simon in the field? I'd rather see Charlie Manuel in tights.

I was kidding, he was saying Burrel is bad and Delluci is as bad. Well who do we have left? Bourne (rookie), or who else Roberson (is he even still on the team)?

God they are about to bring in Schroeder, I hear he has got the invisible pitch. Were in trouble.

Right here is were a playoff team is made. Facing 2 consecutive losses if they don't come throuhg. If they do, they get the WC for sure.

I'm serious those catchers are calling a good game.

Howard is officially striggling.

at least utley came to play

Conine's had some awful at-bats tonight.

Utley 20 for last 38.

.568 BA for Utley.

526 excuse me, this inning will be the determining inning. Weve got to hold them. I think we hit for Cole and take our chances with the Gas can and the gang.

Heh, anyone see Pedro's line tonight? Good luck Metsies.

If we get in we got a chance.

Dellucci swinging at every high fastball.

I'm seriously sick of Dellucci. At least Burrell will try to work a walk. Dellucci's never seen a fastball he won't swing at, and he can't touch a breaking ball to save his life.

Pinch hit please!

Thank you, Alfonso!

Oh god.

It's Randall Simon time!

(I hope to have this be a positive catch phrase over the next few weeks.)

Simon pinch hitting. What a shocker... From the Mexican League to our #1 option off the bench. Unbelievable...

Simon is one dude who hasn't done anything yet.

If Simon Walks im gonna die.

Wow. Randall Simon walking – now I've seen it all. Go Jimmy!

Well at least Simon can lay off a high fastball, unlike Dellucci, who can't wait to get out of Philly.

oh god its the big one.

It worked!

Jimmy has to be patient.

MAW, Simon won't be with them if they make the postseason. I'm pretty sure he's ineligible because they picked him up in September.

Parker, are you having an allergic reaction?

Ok instant death if the Phils tie.

Ok I will officially croak if they take the lead.

Boy, thank you Nationals. Tie game.

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