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Thursday, September 14, 2006

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This is a TV game for me. I sure hope the San Diego win keeps the Phils focused. Chuck James' 5-0 record with a 1.96 ERA over his last seven starts is scary. I was scared of Josh Johnson of the Fish and we beat him, so maybe we can keep this winning train on the tracks while I watch from my couch tonight.

James is probably Atlanta's best pitcher right now, and a lefty. Moyer will likely have to continue to be on his game tonight, as the middle of the lineup is just not as potent agasinst good LH pitching. Utley, for one - though he shows signs of life here and there, he still looks like he's fatigued mentally and physically, striking out much more than I can ever recall. Hopefully three days of rest and chagrin will pump Burrell up to prove something. We've seen that happen before.

Dodgers take another tough L today. With the way they're playing we might not have to worry about San Diego's pitching and defense.

The Phillies may be 2 games back from the wild card right now, but the Padres are only .5 back from the Dodgers after their loss.

With the Dodgers playing the Padres in a 4 game series starting tomorrow, the Phillies are guarenteed to move up in the standings with each win. If they were to win the next 4 games, they would be guarenteed to be first in the wild card race.

Good point Jeremy. Regardless of what happens in the Dodgers/Padres series, if the Phils win the next five games (tonight plus the three vs Houston plus Monday's game), they are guaranteed to be in first place (tied or outright) in the WC going into Tuesday's games. If they drop one of the next five, then they are guaranteed to be no more than 1/2 game out, behind the Padres and/or Giants, going into Tuesday.

The Giants have a tough weekend series at St Louis and are about to start a 10-game road trip.

I hope I did that math right...

all they gotta do is WIN!

A strange NL schedule today. All day games, except ours.

I'm living in football country with NFL and College games dominating. My baseball passion for the Phillies is one not shared by my co-workers. All I hear is LSU and "how 'bout them Saints!" Beerleaguer is my lifeline for Phillies comradeship.

Even my wife could care less if the Phillies win or lose. In fact when we were engaged in 1983, the Phils made the World Series. After we were married and the Phils didn't make the postseason for nine years, she confided to me that she was glad that the Phillies weren't in the playoffs, because we could then do other things!

I really enjoy scoreboard watching when it comes down to the final few weeks here. It's a bit weird cheering for the Mets, but everyone enjoys a game or even just a score when it has some meaning.

Lake Fred, being a lonely Phillies fan in Richmond, Va was one of the reasons I started BS&S. I know how you feel. It was Virginia Tech and the Redskins all day all night. Fortunately I made the move back to PA.

Burrell and Hernandez get the start tonight against the tough young lefty for the Braves. Here's to some continued production from the 6-8 slots in the lineup and a series sweep heading into the tough matchup at Houston this weekend!

Opposition announcers *cannot* say Chris Coste's name without adding "great story". If they make the playoffs, I expect half the telecasts to be devoted entirely to Coste's "great story".

Hey Lake Fred, just remember. It could be worse. You could be George S, three-quarters of the way round the world.

Coste just took a foul ball away from Jimmy Carter. What a great story!

damn. with no signs of life from our lineup, this isn't looking good. curse them and their win one-lose one ways.

Lake Fred I'm in Miss. and its all football. Its ridiculous. Dont get me wrong, I like football, but the Phillies are my consumate passion in sports. I honestly fear that if the Phillies actually win the World Series in my lifetime it will be the last one I see. I was born 2 years after the Phils won the only one, and I have to say that Joe Carter's home run was in the top 3 worst moments of my life. I hope they can make it to the playoffs this year. Dang Jones just hit a HR. We gotta do something. I think that just making the playoffs would mean a lot to all of us Phils fans. GO PHILS!!!

And the NL Cy Young Award goes to...(drum roll please)...Chuck James.

yeh, this chuck james character looks really good.

Don't scoff, DQ - this guy's good.

But that AB by Rollins? Not so good.

dug himself out of that one nicely. crap. crap. crap.

At least matt smith is in now. damn, he throws quickly.

RSB- I'm just frustrated. I know Chuck James is a decent pitcher, I can see that. Hell, he might be their staff ace next season...I'm not exaggerating. Every time the Phils seem to be in the must win situation they just can't do it...such is the life of a Phils fan.

Man oh man, offense looks pitiful when Utley & Howard cool off.

For the top offense in the league, they have tendency to look pitiful at times. Willis is a good pitcher, and James is hurling a nice game...but come on, being shut down gives the team no chance at a win.

V.O.R.- we each used "pitiful" at the same time to describe the Phils offense at periods...must be true!

The team, as currently constituted, played above its abilities for more than a month. I don't think we should be so hard on them. Plus they have the weakest schedule of any of the wild card contenders. One or two posters have deluded themselves into thinking this is a .630 team, but that doesn't change reality.

Pitiful it is!

somehow, I'm not seeing a four run ninth. damn. I know they're .500 and all, but this is just plain galling.

The fricken Padres again this year? What the hell?!!!! Their offense sucks, but they have a huge park and good pitching. I'm just pissed right now.

I just want playoffs Clout. I don't care if we were the worst team to ever get a playoff spot...I want that feeling again. But you're right, we shouldn't be so hard on this team. As it is currently constructed there are holes in it and .500ville is where we'll remain until the proper additions (3B, OF?, C?, SP) and subtractions (Nunez, Manuel, Burrell?) are made.

It's no accident that they're getting shut down by a left-hander yet again. Howard's been pretty good against them this year, but they can still make him look bad.

*Every* game is a must-win game, so you can't say they're losing every must-win. They have five series left, and one odd game. If they win every series and the one odd game, they'll be 11-5. The one series that's seriously in question is the next one against Houston. This weekend is a golden opportunity to reclaim some ground, but I highly doubt that they'll be able to. In the end, they'll be a game or two out, just like last year.

I just don't understand pinch-hitting Simon to start the ninth. There has to be a better option for getting on base, which is exactly what you need when you're down three.

I was speaking very generally when I said "Every time the Phils seem to be in the must win situation they just can't do it."...as in over the past few seasons. I didn't literally mean "every" game...my bad.

Rollins still lacks the patience to lay off high pitches in spots like that. Disappointing.

Holy cow. Let me give discredit where it's due. That was ball four Rollins just popped up. Vic would have been the tying run. GOT to be more selective there.

I'd pinch hit Kim Batiste or Kevin Sefcik.

Here is the weekend scenarios in order of preference for the San Diego - LA match up:

Sweep by LA is best,
Sweep by SD is second best scenario,
Followed by LA taking 3,
Followed by SD taking 3.

Worst case is a split series in which case we can't possibly be winning or tied for the WC on Tuesday. All the other scenarios leave open that possibility (Granted to do that in either 'takes 3' scenario, we have to win 4 in a row).

- Greg

DQ - aren't you used to it yet?

Not good...

Phillies win 4 in a row...ha!

Used to it?

I feel like Charlie Brown tryin' to make the kick! Over and over and over and...

RSB- as much as I am "used to it", but senses are still very sharp and the pain as not dulled yet my friend.

Media talks about the Cubs and other teams being playoff starved...the cite of Philly and their fans are crying out for another chance.

really shouldn't have stayed up for that. That kid james tho - pretty impressive. I was getting worried that he may in fact be better than Cole, what with his change up and his leftiness, but it turns out he's only managing 6.4 ks per game to Cole's 9.6. If only his ERA wasn't so damn respectable.

Oisin, good point about James. For all of the hype about Hamels, Chuck James strikes me as just as good and with equally bright a future - yet what do you ever hear about him? K's aren't everything.

Both James and Hamels have bright futures. Hamels has the sexy prospect name, but this Chuck James ain't no slouch. "Don't sell yourself short Judge, you're a tremendous slouch."...gotta love Caddy Shack.

yeah, I was looking at his record for the tell-tall jamesian sign of overachieving, lucky rookie - the k/9 being less than the league average - but he looks like he's there. His FIP is about 1 1/2 runs higher than his era, but he's young, so that's not a clear indicator yet as to where he's going to go. I wouldn't be surprised if James was looking at Moyer thinking 'that could be me in 20 years or so'.

Is anyone else having problems with blogspot this morning? I've been trying to get on to my own blog all morning without any success.

I just tried Oisin's blog too, which is blogspot, so they must me having difficulties...or it's my computer which is more worrisome.

I just read that the Yanks may be moving their Triple A team to Scranton...yuck!

DQ - just tried both mine and yours, and I'm not having a problem, so I don't think its blogger at fault.

The problem is gone now...blogger working. Thanks for checking though Oisin, I was getting ticked! Must just have been temporary.

Phils MUST win 2 of 3 and the Padres must win or lose 3 of 4 this weekend. Anything more then 2 games out after this weekend and it'll be too much to make up, even 2 games will be tough.

I was able to watch the Phillies on ESPN2, even though it was on WTBS, too. The ESPN announcers were a little more neutral. I saw a lot of looking at strikes and swinging at balls. A frustrating game with blown run scoring opportunities. The ESPN2 guys gave us all the Phillies futility stats. They were especially illustrative of Burrell's recent poor stats.

My wife watched the first few boring innings with me and left, not to return until we had one on with one out in the ninth, then she proceeded to tell me stuff I didn't listen to until the game was over.

The bad news is the Phils are on TV again for me on FSN. I hope I enjoy putting a dent in my couch tonight better than I did last night.

I hate to start off negative, but the Phils are taking on Clemens tonight and countering with Brett Myers. I tend to favor the Astros in this match-up, although I would like to see the Phils rough up Clemens. We must get to the bullpen as soon as we can.

Game 2 is a Hamels vs. Hirsch metch-up. This should be a definite win for the Phils, but nothing is guaranteed these days. Cole needs to be the ace once again.

Game 3 has a Wolf vs. Pettitte feel to it, or does it? Pettitte only lasted 2.2 innings during his last start and had to get a cortisone shot in his elbow. Here is a quote from Yahoo Sports: Pettitte had a cortisone injection in his elbow on Wednesday, a day after leaving his start against St. Louis in the third inning with a strained muscle in his left elbow. The Houston left-hander also underwent an MRI exam, which revealed tendinitis in the elbow. Pettitte is scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Phillies. "We're hopeful that he'll make his next start this weekend," Astros general manager Tim Purpura said. "But we're going to take it day by day."

The Phillies really need a break here. Pettitte is very tough on them whenever he takes the hill. It would be ideal not to see him, but if they do see him, they must come through on this beat-up pitcher!

The silver lining in all of this may be that the Padres and Dodgers are opening a weekend set at Chavez Ravine. Let them beat up on each other, while we take at least two from Houston!

In other news, Burrell goes for two hits. That's 2 hits and Pat Burrell.

Same game.

Didn't want due dilligence getting ignored.

Can't ignore that the Phils stranded 11 last night. Shades of the 1st 1/2 of the season, for sure. I guess that's good and bad. They're getting runners on base, they just need to figure out how to get them in. If they can do that (a big IF), they still have some breath.

when is a power hitter not a power hitter? when he can't limp out a 400 ft double. Still, at least he's hitting . . .

I realize that not every base runner will score, but I would imagine that there is a league average of the ratio of runs scores vs. getting on base. I'm not a metric head, but it would be runs compared against the sum of hits, walks, hit by pitches, and on base due to errors. Such a stat would measure "clutchability". I wonder how the Phillies compare to the rest of the league.

Oisin, you need to be careful in your comments. That last one may raise the ire of the Pat the Bat Fan Club here on Beerleaguer.

Damn Phillies...bloody hell, c'mon already!

You know what I'm tired of? I'm tired of the Phillies being in this same exact spot every ... single ... season. It's almost impossible to finish runner-up this many times and not get in. How is it even possible?

Weitzel...I sympathize! I believe this is the major reason for the Phillies fanbase being so upset all the time, at least that's me personally. I won't be satisfied until they get playoffs. I'm not even asking for a World Series, although it would be wonderful...I just want excitement in October!

Jason: You can't do it without bad trades and poor managing.

We have to remember the only reason we're even close this year is that the rest of the NL is so weak. If we could have had the pitching from last year's team the WC spot would have been easy pickings.

We should just be happy to be in it. View the last 4 weeks of the regular season as the playoffs. If they win the WC, thats nothing but a bonus.

zach: if we could have had the current strating pitching, all season, we would have run away with the WC, and maybe would have challenged the muts.

and if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, oh what a world that would be.

we're in it. after that lovely june, and wonderdul start, thats amazing in and of itself.

hahaha-Joe said "nuts"

Joe: Go back and read what you just said. Unless you were trying to make us laugh on purpose.

Poetry aside, the PHils rotation was terrible early on and it cost them dearly. Myers and Lidel were fine, but the other three spots were horrible.

Lieber's struggles could not have been anticipated, but the real problem was Madson and Floyd. I was a big supporter of Madson as a starter, but trying to catch lightning in a bottle w/ Floyd was a major disaster because the Phils essentially ignored two seasons of evidence in favor of a few spring starts.

I'm still amazed that Gillick didn't take any more heat for the Padilla deal. We all know nobody liked Padilla because he was a slow worker and had a nasty, pocked face, but the guy was worth about 1.5 runs a game over the crap games that Floyd tossed.

I'd say the Padilla "trade" cost the team at least 3 wins in the first few months of the season.

Oh I'm happy we're in it, trust me. I was responding to the statement about the Phillies always coming up a few games short. I was just pointing out that while they seem similar this year in that respect, it's more due to dumb luck than anything.

No doubt the Floyd experiment failed, but Floyd only had 11 starts. He was 4-3 with 4 no decisions and the Phils won one of those no decisions. So Phils were 5-6 in his starts. To say the Phils would have been 8-3 if Padilla had started instead is overstating it a bit. The season was lost in June when the Phillies lost 8 straight series and went from being 5 games over 500 to 8 games under. Charlie Manual and Gillick did nothing to reverse things. No trades, no lineup shake-ups, no benchings, no team meetings. Manuel should have been fired after the Toronto series. Gillick answered with Adam Bernaro, Scott Mathieson, Eude Brito, and Danny Sandoval call-ups.

That's good commentary, Billy Mac. I point to that stretch, along with not picking up the extra home wins in April. Bad losses at Florida and Pittsburgh. Opening series sweep by St. Louis.

I like pointing the finger at Manuel...the middle finger

yep, the season can be traced to that wonderful time in june when we played our worst baseball.

during that time, it seemed that someone was declaring that the phillies must put out their opening day lineup, without question, everyday. it was insane.

Floyd looked like crap. Even the games he "won". I was at the game that Rowand broke his face in, and the body language that Floyd was giving off, until rowand made that play, was simply atrocious. i didnt think he was going to make it out of 2.

I also thought that Trachsel was going to delay enough that they werent going to get the game in the books, but the phils still prevailed.

Keys tonight are to be patient with Clemens and make him work and don't let Berkman beat you.

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