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Sunday, September 24, 2006

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good stuff. Let's hope the Phillies can do something against Scott Olsen.

two horse race. after today, i'll be in attendence at 4 straight games. can't wait to see hamels pitch down here on wednesday. let's do it, boys.

Olsen has been tough against the Phillies. The top of the lineup has done nothing against him this year (Utley 0-8 with 3 Ks, Rollins 1-6, and Victorino 1-5). Howard though has 6 hits in 9 ABs with 2 HRs against Olsen. The Phils will most likely go with their righty lineup today (Burrell, Conine, Lieby, and Hernandez). Keys today are good effort by Moyer (at least 6 innings ), be patient with Olsen (as he can be wild), and timely hitting behind Howard who will be pitched around and on base.

I think I've seen enough of Randall Simon this year. He got a few timely hits in his first couple of plate appearances, but he hasn't come close to getting a hit in over 2 weeks now. I know their options are limited off the bench with left handed hitters (particularly when Dellucci starts), but I would rather see Thurston or Bourne or even a righty like Lieby or Ruiz than the wild swinging Simon.

I read the other day that Rowand is close to returning. Anyone have an idea of how he fits into our plans over the last week of the season or the playoffs?

I'm assuming he'd make the postseason roster and perhaps be a pinch-hitter/outfield replacement.

I read the same article on Saturday that he was walking without a limp and taking bp. I think the most optimistic return for Rowand would be the Divisional series. Since you can reset the roster in each playoff round, he could also be added for NLCS. I suspect he would be limited to just pinch hitting duties. I can't see his tendon being fully healed to take the pounding of regular play.

Upcoming 3 games against the Nats just got easier with Nick Johnson's broken femur ...

Maybe the Nats will actually pitch to Ryno. I have to believe that Bud Selig has issued an official memo to teams that are not in contention for the playoffs to pitch to Howard. More than anybody, I think Selig wants to have somebody's name other than Bonds, McGuire, or Sosa attached to number 62. Go Phils. I'm predicting a bog game from Conine the Barabrian today.

Today's lineups.

Well, I was wrong about Lieby and Hernandez starting today.

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

Marlins
1. H Ramirez, SS
2. D Uggla, 2B
3. M Cabrera, 3B
4. J Willingham, LF
5. W Helms, 1B .
6. C Ross, CF
7. M Olivo, C
8. J Borchard,
9. S Olsen, P

Seeing the Phillies finally atop the Wild Card standings is truly a beauitful sight...

beautiful too

I guess since Lieby gets back to back starts now with Wolf and Myers pitching Monday and Tuesday. But I still don't get it. Lieby is swinging a pretty hot bat and he hasn't played since Wednesday.

BillyMac, Yeah I would of thought Hernandez would start, but can't blame CM for going with the glove they may need it today. At Catcher it seems you can't go wrong there. Its like a 3headed monster. Coste & leiby have been hitting and with power in the 2nd half (I think 6HRS each in last 6weeks). And Ruiz has been hitting well in his starts with a couple of homers

Go Phils!
Go Diamondbacks!

Coste has just 2 HRs in his last 100 ABs. He's hit the ball better in the past week and I agree it is nitpicking, but I think Lieby should be starting today.

Agreed that Olson will be a tough customer, and that the Randall Simon experiment has worn out its welcome. And I have to wonder how much longer Moyer can continue his amazing run of effectiveness.

Exciting to be ahead in the wild-card, but it could just as easily turn around today. Let's take it one game at a time and hope for the best! As Jason said, they at least finally look confident and like they're up for the challenge - that alone could make the difference.

RSB - we'll see how moyer's effectiveness holds up today. so far, so bad.

Hanley Ramirez is just 23. NL East has some good young shortstops with J-Roll, Ramirez, and Reyes. And Renteria is not old.

Awful start. here's hoping manuel resists the impulse to yank moyer after two innings.

And please, people, why the effin' booing? eejits.

Even Safeco Field wouldn't hold those HRs.

Kalas keeps going on about how the ball's carrying, they're getting jammed, but the fact is the Marlins are getting some really good swings at Moyer. Might be a tough afternoon.

Booing because Burrell didn't catch the double in left field. Admittedly, pretty harsh - it's probably just an excuse to voice the displeasure with all the extra-base hits out of the chute.

That's right, now I'm analyzing the fans' psychology.

Moyer putting his slow pitches right over the middle, it's no wonder the balls are carrying, Harry!

I've not seen enough of the marlins over the year, so correct me if I'm wrong, but they seem to be very aggressive in their approach both yesterday and today.

Billy Mac: those 2 hrs both barely cleared the left-field fence. They both landed in the flowers in between the 2 fences. They were both smoked, and Moyer looks bad so far today, but to be fair: if the fence was even a foot farther back, they'd have been doubles off the wall. Safeco would have held them.

Correct Oisin. Marlins are a bunch of free swingers.

1st inning looked like BP, if Moyer can't nibble with his junk, it's gonna' be a long afternoon!

damn, thought that was going out as well!

have to believe we have a chance at some steals today as well. Olsen looks slow to the plate.

Don't think we'll get much off olsen today. I'm imressed at at how he's keeping stuff really tight inside and getting some great strikes on his changeup.

After watching guys like Olsen, Chuck James, Hamels, you get the sense that the changeup is a very "in" pitch right now around baseball. And why not, seeing how old guard guys like Moyer and Glavine and Hoffman have had consistent success with it for years on end.

If the Phils can adjust, they can make a game out of this, but they've got to stop looking for fastballs, i.e. Burrell on 2-1 and 3-2 counts.

Moyers has done a good job sorting himself out after that first inning. As for your point RSB - again, I was wondering about whether there was a proliferation of changeup pitchers. It's not something you see in the stats, and so because I can't watch games regularly, I tend to assume that it's just fluke that I'm seeing the pitch a lot in the games I watch. None of theirs look as good cole's though!

nice hit by nunez.

Not to take a single thing away from Rollins, because he's tremendous - but you ever notice that he gets better pitches to hit than anyone else in the lineup?

we are catching breaks here. Sweet to see bad defensive play in the opponents that you're trying to put away. And I'm loving jimmy's seriousness right now. He's not going to celebrate unless we win the wild card.

sweet, sweet stroke by Utley there. Brilliant! I guess they've adjusted!

Wow, electric! Rollins and Utley get it back in the blink of an eye. Thanks for the fastballs, Scotty! I'd say the Phils have "adjusted" right smart!

One more thing about Jimmy, about he always wanted to emulate Rickey Henderson: he's pretty much at that level now. 24 homers, 76 RBI, 36 steals, 120 runs - that's Rickey-like.

olsen shook off three straight calls there before coste fouled off that first time. hope coste can keep him worried.

Un-effin-believable!!!!

Man, this is FUN. Who are these guys?

crazy. Gillick. should threaten to sell their book on olsen unless the marlins trade us 'trelle or cabrera.

I guess Scott Olsen wasn't having too much fun. Ha!

Wow. I'd say the crowd is back in it now. And to think, it all started with a right-handed Nunez hit.

...and there goes Olsen.

This is such sweet, sweet payback. Just beautiful.

Either that was a stupid, STUPID, ejection, or Olsen is a stone cold moron for throwing at a .210 HITTER. What is going on here?

Man, that is good, good stuff. I'm liking a phillies team that gets under a young pitcher's skin like that. Still have to win the game mind.

3 HRs in the inning, he was throwing at Nunez, no question. I even thought he was throwing at Moyer earlier in the inning.

Olson was ticked.

Good call by the ump - took some cahoneys to stop that nonsense. You don't see ejections like that too often.

This is classic emotional collapse by a young pitcher. He let the error get to him.

I have to say, that was one of the single best half-innings I have ever watched as a Phillies fan!

I don't have the radio feed on, might someone please summarize what happened with Olsen? I take it he hit Abe intentionally and was tossed. Was there anything else?

Nothing else, MAW.

What shouldn't be lost in all the excitement is what a terrific AB Coste had before hitting that homer, with 2 outs. He can really have some great bear-down at-bats with great end results.

MAW - He gave up a hit to nunez, and moyer moved nunez over on a nice bunt. After a fairly patient at-bat, Rollins lffts one of the park, then victorino gets on when ramirez lets a groundball bounce off his glove, failed to pick it up, looked up, then went back to the ball. Vic was on first and tucking into his lunch by the time Rameriez was finished. Then chase's great stroke appeared for a second home run. He gets Howard to K, but conine takes two pitches and hits a line drive back over the mound. Burrell grabs another hit to right field and conine motors into third. Then coste works a hard at-bat, fouls off at least three times - by this time olsen's command of the inside of the plate seems shot to hell and the ball definitely isn't going where he wants it to - and on the reply coste looks like he knows the pitch coming, sets himself up nicely and takes him deep. cue hit batter and ejection.

see how people say that coming to CBP isn't an attractive option for a pitcher? What about telling them that they'll have rollins and utley behind them every game? that's a great double-play and it makes moyer look great so long as he can get them hitting on the ground.

I'm sure howard can get a homerun today. this guy who's pitching now looks hittable. his stuff looks like it needs a zimmerframe to get to the plate.

Thanks, Oisin.

Who is pitching for the Asstros tommorow?

Parker, Matt Albers is scheduled for Astros tomorrow.

Everything today is playoff-caliber, including the crowd. Great job by Moyer to bounce back. How huge has Nunez been defensively?

Good timing with that comment!

You gotta love Nunez's glove. He's coming around. We're better off at 3B now without Bell. Bell does not make that play.

so it's official - Nunez is a really good defensive 3B who can hit a little too.

Taking the whole season into view, Nunez was a good signing, Conine was a great (GREAT) pickup, Moyer is working out (and is helping Hamels a lot), and no one's missing Padilla any more. Not too shabby.

Come on Utley get on so Howard can jack one.

Nevermind, just do it yourself.

It really comes and goes with Utley, doesn't it? Amazing how many multi-homer games he has already in his career.

Who came up with the nickname "Gas Can" Geary. That's great.

Ed: Let's see where we are at the end of the year and what the stats look like before we declare every personnel move a screaming success.

Several other moves have been duds, but I don't need any more time to decide whether Moyer and Conine have worked out.

Damn its going to be interesting if they make the playoffs and we have to figure out what the outfield situation will be. I'm guessing Burrell will play regularly but both Conine and Delucci should get plenty of ABS. Also what in the world do you do if Rowand is ready??? I'd rather see Victorino play....you dont mess with success and this team has the best record in the NL over the last 2 months since Rowand's injury. That has a lot to do with the early production in games of the top of the order. It really helps the pitchers out when in the first few innings our lineup is able to put up some runs to help everyone out. ANd Vic's speed and hustle has made a difference in that 2 hole. I still wish we has Polanco though!!! :(

I see that rob neyer had an article on the phils comeback on ESPN insider. Anyone read it? He have anything interesting to say?

as for the outfield, burell, vic and conine, with looch subbing in for some games. If we made it that far.

This is where winning your division can make a difference. I'd like to have given someone like bourne some playing time, but in our situation its hard to justify.

Oisin -- Rob Neyer's article below.

It's true. I gave up on them. Not so long ago, I gave up on the Athletics. And the Twins. And the Dodgers. And yes, the Phillies. I feel bad about all of this, and I would feel even worse if everybody hadn't given up on them, too.

The Phillies, especially. Nobody thought much of their chances in April or May or June or July or August. August, especially. Because on July 31, the Phillies stood 5½ games out in the wild-card standings, with six teams ahead of them. That same day, the Phillies traded their best player and one of their best pitchers. Even while acknowledging that the importance of single players is generally overestimated by almost everybody, there simply wasn't any reason at all to believe the Phillies would be within hailing distance of a postseason berth in September, let alone within striking distance entering the season's penultimate weekend.

NL East (July 31)
W-L PCT GB
New York 63-41 .606 --
Philadelphia 49-55 .471 14
Florida 49-56 .467 14.5
Atlanta 48-56 .462 15
Washington 47-59 .443 17

Yet here they are. The season is down to 10 days, and the Phillies are knocking on the wild-card door. Sure, they're a half-game behind the Dodgers, who while once supposedly dead themselves have been one of the league's better teams much of the season. And sure, all things considered, the Phillies are less than favorites to come out ahead in this deal. Still, it's been a valiant effort and worth revisiting before the season ends and we forget every team that didn't make the final eight.

So how have the Phillies gone 30-18 since trading Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle?

Ryan Howard
Howard
No. 1 Obvious Answer: Ryan Howard. And like most obvious answers, this happens to also be the No. 1 Best Answer. Since Seemingly Dead Day, Howard's hit 22 homers and knocked in 53 runs. But no team is carried by a single player, and the Phillies' surge has been fueled by more than just Howard.

Jimmy Rollins, who finished last season with a brilliant streak, was just fair to middling before the All-Star break: .259 batting average, .323 OBP, .421 slugging. He was, surprisingly enough, almost exactly the Jimmy Rollins we've been watching for the previous five seasons of his career. Since the All-Star break, though, he's been something else: .293/.349/.516 and 17-for-17 on steal attempts.

Cole Hamels
Hamels
No. 2 Obvious Answer: The pitching's been better since SDD. And so it has. When the Phillies traded Lidle, he led the team's starting pitchers with eight wins. Since then, fellow veteran Jon Lieber has pitched well (4-2, 3.32 ERA) and Brett Myers has pitched well enough (6-1, 4.64) to win. Meanwhile, rookie Cole Hamels has established himself as one of the best young pitchers in the National League. Hamels, who came to the majors with a brilliant (if abbreviated) track record in the minors, took his lumps in June and July, racking up a 6.27 ERA over those two months. But his underlying numbers weren't bad and the Phillies, to their credit, didn't give up on him. Since Seemingly Dead Day, Hamels has been their best starter, with five wins and a 2.54 ERA.

And speaking of credit, a healthy dollop goes to general manager Pat Gillick. He was supposed to fire Charlie Manuel before the summer solstice, but didn't. He was supposed to get at least one top prospect for Abreu, but didn't. And once Abreu was gone, he was supposed to give up on the season, but didn't. When the Phillies somehow played better after (supposedly) giving up, on Aug. 19 Gillick traded for a 43-year-old pitcher -- and Jamie Moyer is 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA since joining the club.

Abreu really is a great hitter, and I don't buy into the notion that the Phillies somehow got better the day they traded him. But Gillick did create payroll flexibility in future seasons, and he did it without destroying his team's postseason chances. It's a testament to his wisdom, it's a testament to his players, and it's a testament to the basic truth -- established once again -- that no single player, no matter how good, is the sole determinant of a team's fortunes.

Livan Hernandez is looking great for Arizona early.

Maybe the Phillies didn't get better the day they traded Abreu - but they sure as hell didn't get worse.

LA might be in for a tough series at Colorado. The Rockies are really swinging the bats.

Are they talking like the game might resume, anyone know?

the phils could wind up with the 2nd best record in the NL behind NY. How unbelievable would that be?

Rain, rain, go away. Come back in November.
Some thoughts:
Watching Fox and enjoying a ciggie in yesterday's post-game bliss, they had a little chat with J-Roll, where they asked him about the Abreu trade. He responded that at that point, Bobby was the leader and that everyone looked to him to carry the day, but teams were just going to walk him. After the trade, it was now on "the rest of us" to step up and lead the team.
Just thought I'd throw that log on the fire.
Thanks for letting us freeload on the Insider article. I keep coming close to signing up, but stop short (partly because I don't want waiting room fodder showing up on my front door). I see that those professionals at ESPN have written an article on the flaws of the contenders, and note that ours is supposedly "lack of an ace". Are people here pleased, pissed, or indifferent to the fact that Hamels (and Chase, for that matter, all-star aside) are totally slept on--and that Cole won't get serious ROY consideration? I think it'll take a 9K win against the Mets in Game 1 to make them notice this year (not that I'm looking ahead or anything).

When the heck is this game coming back on? This rain delay can't bring anything positive. This gives me an uneasy feeling. Let's go!

Parker, since you asked, The Geoff "Gas Can" Geary nickname is from We Should Be GM's (my blog)...Weitzel, only put it up there since somebody asked.

Billy Mac - just checked back briefly (gettin' a bit late over here and work beckons as ever) - many thanks for posting that. For once neyer doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know - but sometimes there's no harm in that.

Nice way to resume game with Burrell homerun.

did some moron on here post earlier that Selig issued a statement to other teams to pitch to HOward??? Is that guy smoking crack or something putting a comment like that. Dude I'd hate to tell ya but the Commissioner cannot force teams to pitch to a certain player to help break records...god i love this site but its comments like his that are so stupid.

wait, the game is back on? why isn't it on tv then? I'm confused.

bullpen is scary...i hate having to score 9 runs a game to win

Ugh. Thank god this team scores a lot of runs. We've needed almost all of them.

winning is the only thing important from here on out!

I didnt say that Selig actually did that, I said it would not surprise me if there was not behind the scenes conversation to that affect. I never said that that actually happened.

Do you not think that Howard hitting 62 would take a lot of heat off Selig? I do. And this moron does not believe it would be beyond belief that Selig would tell teams things like this. After all was it not Selig who turned his back on the steroids? Believe it was. So I'd say that the commissioners office is certainly not full of chior boys.

Anyway, I was joking, Cuz so lighten up Francis.

Ugh, the Dodgers won't go away. Nomar just hit a walk-off granny.

Phils control their own destiny. They have the lead, and now it's all about not giving it up. 7 games to go of high-pressure, intensity-laden playoff implication baseball. That's what I'm talking about!

Parker I enjoy your banter...don't be held down by the man! Wouldn't be BeerLeaguer without some DRAMA!

Parker - get a life and don't assume things like that. If thats the case then maybe the commissioner had some "behind the scene conversations" (as you call them) about rigging the season so the NY teams make it to the World Series for better attendance and TV ratings, Right??? what are you a moron??? You sound like the Flyers announcers when they say the refs hate them because of the Broad Street Bullies from 30 yrs ago, ridiculous!

Key to the whole thing here Cuz, I was joking. It was supposed to spark conversation about the fact that nobody pitches to Howard. I dont know if you are just so uptight that you cant handle any humor in your life, or whether you are just trying to be obnoxious. Either way if I offended you with the joking comment. Then I am sorry. But It might not be me who needs to re-evaluate how I spend my waking hours.

Parker - I dont know who you are but i host a radio show everyday and hear morons like you make comments like that & i can't rip em without getting fired. But here its free reign and I'll let loose on jackasses like you anyday! Btw Desperate Housewives starts in an hour so go get your Bon-bons popcorn and get ready, biatch!

Cuz, I'm in Law School and I am not the least bit worried about your takes on my opinions. And the mere fact that you even know what time Desperate Housewives airs tells me all I need to know about your free time.

yeah i bet its mississippi college law too! Who cares what you're studying dumbass. Do you really think any of the blue collar people who visit this board need to know that you are going to be another abnoxious arrogant and pompus moron lawyer? Nope...we don't care...go back to studying and hopefully you'll fail your Exam as often as JFK Jr.

Cuz: I know Anthony Gargano. You are no Anthony Gargano.

Unfinished: Welcome to the board. Or at least your new name. The writers who cover the team say the biggest single reason for the turnaround was the pitching. Specifically, Leiber, whose improvement took pressure off Hamels & Myers. If you can explain how trading Abreu & Lidle made Leiber et al pitch better, I'm all ears.

BM - still think Lieby should've started today?

All three catchers are hot right now, let them catch whoever's calling good games and let it go.

Exactly, I dont care that you are a radio host either, but you found it neccessary to fill that gap. You asked who I was and I told you. I dont have any problem with anybody here, but when obnoxious people start talking I take exception. I didnt do anythibg to you. You are just miserable and want everybody else to be too. Go watch your desperate housewives and take a valium.

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