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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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Walrond would also make an excellent name for a planet in the Star Wars series. Its inhabitants could be jade miners with subterranean dwellings. Walronds would be corrupted in some way, but have no allegiance to the Empire. Urrska Delk would make a fine name for a Walrondian.

Wow, Les Walrond is...black?! Seriously, I know we (and by that I mean me) got excited for a sweep this series, but there is no way in the world the Phillies lose this game. There it is, out there to see...a bold (re: stupid) prediction...The Phillies will not lose tonight!

I know every game becomes more and more important with so few remaining, but this is certainly a must win game. I am guessing big game for Burrell tonight -- for no particular reason.

More LOB -- ugggh !!!

Well, maybe Walrond has the force with him tonight...he made Conine and Howard take some awful swings. Still, he is all over the place and the guy has terrible minor league walk numbers. Be patient, let him fall behind in the count and unload on what appears to be a VERY hittable fastball...sounds like Burrell's approach BM!

He's got good off-speed stuff and he's getting it over. This isn't going to be an easy game.

I'll go out on a limb and say Myers won't get this bunt down.

Moyer had been in the AL for the last 100 years and he can bunt. How can Myers look like a 12 year old bunting for the first time?

Looks like one of those games.

One works hard and one doesn't.

Harry Sternsfeld.

How many times is that now, just in the past two weeks, that a failed bunt attempted extinguished a potential big inning? Walrond wasn't even throwing strikes. Why try it, especially with these bunting flunkies?

Exactly Jason. I assumed he was going to be walking to the plate either taking 2 strikes before trying to bunt, or simply watching all the way.

This is the one consistent with all Phillies hitters; they goto the plate without any strategy. I think this is one of the main reasons we see so many strikeouts on this team.

So, what do you say? We start hitting this guy the third time through the lineup?

Walrond? Isn't he in contention for the the Cy Young award?

Yeah, the guy's strike out to inning ratio is 2.

I'm sure he must have at least 20 wins, right?

Why did I bother watching this? Combination of a Myers start and a no-name left-hander.

no name lefties kill us.

What'd I tell you. Over-confidence and the Phillies don't mix well.

Lieby is smoking. Why not throw him in behind Howard?

Lieby Lieby Lieby!

Walrond looks like Arthur Rhodes, doesn't he? Has the same kind of control, too.

That's a pretty short leash for a 90 loss team..

The guy just bounced about 40 pitches. Don't let Myers bunt.

Credit to me, a little reverse hex.

Give it up for Burrell, too. He's been on base twice and scored. That's a hell of a lot better than what Utley and Howard are attempting to do.

Is there anywhere to find teams' season LOB totals?

Similar feel to last night's game. Odd line by Cubs starters the last two nights. Combined 14 strikeouts, 9 walks in 7 1-3 innings.

3 of those Ks against one batter tonight - Rollins.

It's just going to be tough, the Dodgers and Padres face some pretty weak teams. We have to win a lot.

57 and a half? He smoked that ball.

Doesn't Retrosheet have team LOB?

Man, even I know to take the sure out at first base. Those are fundamentals of beer league softball , let alone the majors...

Pitcher's name is Ryu... any Street Fighter fans in the house?

What a horrible game Cuzzi is calling behind the plate. No consistecy, no idea.

Hardball Times has LOB% - slightly different.

Yeah, it's for pitchers. I was just wondering in raw numbers how the Phils' total LOB compares to other teams.

Steinfeldt, exuse me.

Wow..Burrell stayed down on a ball and it went out of the ballpark...crazy how that happens!

Myers really getting it done tonight. I can't stand him, but he's been terrific.

Anyone notice that lately it seems like when Utley gets a hit, it is usually a homerun.

I checked. In the month of Sept, including tonight, Utley has 19 hits, 7 are HRs. (36%)

Howard has 25 hits and 8 are HRs. (32%)

Good win. Lets hope LA and SD loose their next 2 while the Phils rest tomorrow.

Well-played game. They overcame some ugly ABs off the no-namer and got something from everyone in the lineup.

So who do you like- Shawn Chacon or Greg Maddux? Ed. Gonzalez or David Wells? It's going to be tough...

u have to give Myers big props, he showed up when we needed him. It was Schilling-esque

For once, he was Schilling-esque when they needed it. I'm impressed.

Go Dbacks and Pirates! Ive never said that before, but I;m going to be saying it for about 3-4 more days.

10 games left..How many wins do you think it is going to take to win this thing? I am guessing 86 is the magic number, at least for LA / SD. If the Phils win 86 they may very well find themselves in a tie.

Can the Phils pull off 7 - 3 or better in these remaining games?

ESPN's scrawl on the White Sox-Tigers game shows nothing except that the Phillies won, then I get to go online and check the boxscore and see that Myers pitched a complete game with 12 Ks. That's great. No dogs coming in friom the pen to lose the game for us.

As a 30 day trial new member of the Pat the Bat Fan Club, I like his line tonight with a homer and two RBIs. I hope he can get to 100 RBIs for the season.

Utley hit a blast and is one away from 30. Howard now has over 100 runs, hits, RBIs and Ks. He's closing in on 100 BB. He's the MVP in my book. Even all the starters except the pitcher got hits tonight. Good deal!

As I write this the Dodgers are losing 2-0, and the Pads are losing 3-1, both in the third. I hope I have good news in the morning when I rise. A tie for WC would be great.

fun fact from the ESPN recap: "Nunez, who had a key two-run single in Tuesday night's win, is hitting .340 (16-for-47) since snapping an 0-for-20 slump."

I'm gonna toss this question out there to see what you all think:

Should Manual skip Wolf's next start? It would give Hamels an extra start in the last game of the season. Plus, it would put the ball in Lieber's hands sooner (you know he's itching to get back out there and make amends) and keep him and Moyer on a five day rotation (which I hear pitchers prefer).

Or, does Wolf pitch until he loses a game?

Me: I'd rather see Hamels get the ball one more time, especially in such a close race.

i was at the park tonight.

the phils were over-anxious against Walrond, and needed to find some patience. Once they settled in, it was obvious that Walrond was Well-done, and he got the quick hook from Dusty.

Dusty seemed to use pitchers like tissues tonight.

Myers was dominating tonight. Some early walks were probably a result of over-throwing, but he settled in and was nearly untouchable. He recovered well from some adversity he faced. He looked mature.

The bullpen didn't stir, even though Myers was running a "high" pitch count. This was his game until the end.

The bullpen will now have two days rest heading into the stretch, with Hamels on Friday. They have a good chance of effectively having 3 days rest.

The worst knock of the night is this: Brett Myers needs to see the inside of a batting cage. Badly, and often.

I know its late, but:

Pittsburgh/LA: 6-2 Top 7.
Arizona/SD: 8-1 Top 7.

damnit, i'm going to have to watch.

Dbacks up 8-1 and Pirates up 6-2 late. Looks like we will be tied for the WC leAD!

Would it kill Comcast SportsNet to show us these games late in the season? Isn't our cable bill high enough for them to buy the rights?

Not so fast, That Dude. J.D. Drew hit a 2-run homer to make it 6-4. Looks like I'll be watching the animation on ESPN.com until late.

Hey, I go to Duke, down in NC... how do I see these Phillies games? I'm getting tired of MLB Gameday.

I don't think Wolf's so awful that they have to consider skipping his turn.

uh oh - bases loaded in LA with 2 outs, LA down by two. That's right, winning run at 1st.

Yeah! Jeff Kent strikes out with the bases loaded to leave them loaded and lose to Pittsburgh. The Phils are tied for first in the wild card!

YES!!!

Tied!!!

YES!!!

Tied!!!

"...with the bases loaded to leave them loaded..."

Can you tell I was excited?

Uh, obviously, I'm very enthusiastic. Hello!

It's nice and simple now. Play the last 10 games to a better record than the Dodgers. Go Phillies!

And in a show of pennsylvania solidarity, Salomon Torres comes through for us!

Pirates are playing some tough ball lately. You don't suppose the Dodgers could let themselves get swept at home by them, though, do you?

Give it up for Freddy Sanchez of the Pirates as well, who had four hits and looks like he'll lock down one of a few (presumed) batting titles. And the Buccos have won 5 of 6, but more importantly, I could tell from Charley Steiner's post game wrap that LA is tense and tired.

I still think 85 wins will tie and 86 will win it.

Wolf should start because I would believe it's an important part of TJ recovery to pitch in meaningful games.

Time for a big time Fish Fry.

Oh, and I just realized that San Diego will have played 20 straight games in a row right until the last Sunday.

Earliest I've been online. Had to check the scores and see if Santa had arrived. Yay! Both the Pads and the Dodgers lose and the Phils are now tied with LA atop the WC race.

Saw the end of a Ryan Howard interview on ESPN last night. Ryan was told that he has a "Magic Johnson" smile. He was asked about steroids, too. Ryan was unwilling to predict a final HR total.

I agree with RSB. I don't have any problem with Wolf pitching in his normal turn. I was a boy when Gene Mauch screwed with the starting rotation and blew a rare Pennant chance for the Phillies in 1964. I don't want Cholly and Dubee getting too creative at this point.

Yesterday was a perfect day! The Phils hold their own future now!

By the way, I'm tailgating for Saturday's game in the Lincoln Financial parking lot...anyone else wanna join?

I know the conventional wisdom is that the Phils must, at all costs, add an "ace" to their staff in order to make any progress. To that, I would respond by asking how many pitchers in the NL are demonstrably better than Myers OR Hamels? Perhaps I'm biased, but the list of candidates in my mind is pretty darn small:
Oswalt
Clemens
Carpenter
Sheets
Peavy
Webb
Dontrelle
Anyone else? Maybe Penny based on his breakout year, but he has not exactly been a model of consistency and/or health durng his career.

And these are only candidates. Clemens is likely hanging it up. Peavy and Sheets are always hurt. Regardless of how you want to slice it, it appears to this writer that Myers and Hamels are both up there in the very upper crust of the league. So for next season, I would rather see us take a run at Aramis Ramirez rather than overpay for a pitcher who likely won't fit the "ace" billing anyway (see, e.g., Blue Jays with AJ Burnett).

As for this season, again perhaps showing bias here, but if the Phils can get into the playoffs, I really like their chances to get to the WS. Who in the NL even comes close to a 1-4 of Myers, Hamels, Lieber, Moyer?

Drama - The phils hold their own future, provided that the dodgers or padres lose tonight. They both win and the phils are a half and full game back. Obviously they'll play monday which I think both teams have off, but it may mean 3 more days of being excruciatingly close.

Not to say I'm not exstatic, just trying to brace myself for the inevitable news that both teams won tonight.

How bout those Pirates? How bout those D-Backs? How bout those Phillies (who are now tied with the Dodgers for the NL Wild Card lead)!

Agreed huff6, and I don't think the Phillies have any plans to add a big name starter next year. Hamels, Myers, Lieber, Moyer and Wolf/Minor LEaguer should be fine.

Ramirez? I wouldn't bet on it unless they can unload Burrell's salary...he is going to want somewhere around what Abreu is making. He has 3 years left at $11M per, and obviously will want a lot more if he opts out of his contract.

Nice to wake up and see the Dodgers and Padres go down. At this point, I like our chances against LA better because SD has such strong pitching, LA has it's 3 final games against a Giants team that would love to beat them, and Grady Liddle is bound to do something stupid.

Go Phils!

I did a little looking at tonight's matchups on the west coast. Arizona's Brandon Webb is coming off two complete games giving up a combined 1 run, 7 hits and 15 Ks. His record is 3-0 against SD this year (He's 1-0 against LA and 0-2 against Philly.) Brandon's in the Cy Young race, so he'll be gunning for a win. I think it'll be tough for the Pads to beat the D-backs tonight.

In LA we have two youngsters going at it. The Pittsburgh pitcher Shane Youman has only pitched 2 other MLB games, both this month. He's older than his opponent and has an LSU pedigree. He's a lefty. We are all too familiar with unknown rookie lefties pitching like Cy Young. This game is a toss up, but I bet Pittsburgh will give it a good shot to beat LA.

kuff6, I am not sure about demonstrably better, but I would add Pedro Martinez and Carlos Zambrano to your list. Your point about the Phils starting staff is well taken though. Of the 5 teams still technically in the wild card race (Phils, Padres, Dodgers, Marlins, and Giants), I think the Phils have the best starting 5 right now. Myers pitched like an ace last night. I like how the Phils are skipping Wolf to get another start for Myers. Also you want a lefty against the Astros.

kdon:

Lieberthal and Wolf's salary are off the booksafter this year, and i think that clears up nearly $20M.

Plus the savings from Abreu.

They have the cash in spades for next year.

Freddie Sanchez would be a great pick-up, but I don't think the Pirates will let him go. Actually I have no idea what his contract is. They probably have him locked up for years.

i would not add pedro to that list. not anymore.

the pirates are playing respectable ball: 35-27 since the all-star break. and to think freddy sanchez was fighting for a starting job at the beginning of the year.

Stu the Reading Eagle security guard is a big Buccos fan so I get to talk about them every day. Pirates have been playing well. How many wins would Ian Snell have on a good team? He has 14 now.

looks like Sanchez will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason - he's making $342k right now. news reports suggest that Pittsburgh is interested in signing him to a long-term extension, and that Sanchez (at least publicly) is not expressing any desire to leave town.

Zambrano should certainly be on the list of elite NL pitchers, but gr is right about Pedro. it would not surprise me if he never threw 150 innings in a season again, which raises the obvious question of what the heck do you do with him? is a six-man rotation really tenable for an entire season? I think the Mets will need to address their rotation in a big way next year, although I am confident that Minaya will find the loudest possible way to do.

appropriately, the NYT's article about the Mets getting smacked around last night by Willis and the Marlins is possibly the single worst "game recap" I have ever read. the scare quotes are entirely appropriate, as the article barely mentions the game and is only an extended fantasy about Willis pitching for the Mets in 2007.

(http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/21/sports/baseball/21mets.html?th&emc=th)

please, baseball god, no.

They shouldn't skip Wolf's start. In his last outing he showed better command and mixed his pitches better than any start since coming back and, frankly, better than most of his starts the previous years. He was coming back on three days rest, too, and even though the previous start only lasted two innings, that is still something for a guy coming off TJ surgery. Wolf is also determined to contribute and that was evident in how intelligently he pitched the other day until he tired in the sixth. They have a good rhythm going in the rotation and if Lieber can straighten himself out again they are well set up for the remainder of the season. Now is hardly the time to tinker.

TG, Now is exactly the time to tinker. Wolf has been relying on luck for way too many starts.

I can see him effective out of the pen, and i think that he has the maturity and fidelity to the organization that he would take the move like a professional.

You still have Lieber to contend with, who didn't look too good in his last start.

I say switch wolf and hamels around. Pitch Wolf tomorrow night. He sucks, you can pull him and start your 4-man rotation, if he doesn't, great.

If you pull him from the rotation, after tomorrow night's game, Hamels can pitch in the last game of the season. If that game doesn't mean anything, you can pitch Wolf and leave hamels to pitch the first game of the postseason.

in case you haven't checked the Inquirer today, they have already announced that Wolf's next start is bumped back to Monday (vs. Clemens), with Lieber and Moyer each moving up a day. so our pitchers for the FL series are Hamels/Lieber/Moyer, and Myers/Hamels/Lieber for the DC series. (also sets up Hamels to pitch in either a 1-game playoff or game 1 of a postseason series.)

possibly a tacit concession of the Monday Astros game?

I was incorrect. Moving Wolf back to Monday doesn't get another start for Myers, but it does setup Hamels to pitch in a 1-game playoff or game 1 of the postseason series. It also keeps Lieber from pitching in hot Miami. The one thing I don't like about the change is I like Myers following Moyer. They are such different pitchers and it gives such a different look. I can't help but think that Myers stuff seems nastier after seeing 7 innings of slow, slow, and slower the night before.

Billy Mac, I agree about the Moyer/Myers combination. fortunately it's a non-issue the first time around (Moyer would have pitched the Houston one-game, now he's pitching the final game of the 1st Florida series). and in the last Florida series, I think/hope keeping Lieber out of the heat is more valuable.

Good points ae. Although I would have liked Moyers and Myers back to back for the final 2 games in Florida, considering everything else I think moving back Wolf and moving up Lieber and Moyer makes sense.

Now I have heard it all. Cholly is shaking up the pitching rotation so that doughnut boy doesn't have to pitch in the heat!

I did forget Carlos Z on the list. I intentionally left Pedro off. I just don't know how much he has left in the tank. Who would you rather have on a going-forward basis? That is also a reason to leave Smoltz off (I would put Smoltz on there before Pedro).

Thank you, Baseball God, for we do not face the D-Train again. All the other Fish starters are eating it.

unfinished - we should face Willis in the last game of the season, unless the Marlins are also doing something weird with their rotation this week.

Correction: we probably face him the last day of the season. Damn you, Baseball God!

Agreed that for once, starting pitching will not be the Phils' top off-season priority...although it's really hard to believe! Shoring up the 'pen (just as perennial a concern) and figuring out the OF configuration and of course getting a third baseman are foremost on Gillick's agenda.

Wolf has been the weakest link in the rotation, but he's just as likely to give you a solid start as Lieber. It would be a real slight to Wolf, who's been through the wars with this team, to not pitch him at all in the last ten days. There's no need for that kind of maneuvering; we're not exactly talking about Eude Brito here. Wolf pitched more than credibly in his last outing and certainly deserves another start down the stretch.

One thing that's been going overlooked is the attendance for this team, even in mid-week, chilly night games. 35,000 last night. People want to talk about Eagles-fixation and Phillies-apathy, but those numbers indicate people care plenty about the baseball team's fortunes. Compared even to last year or the crowds of 15,000 down the stretch in 2001, it's been a pretty startling upturn.

Um, Baseball God? Sometimes we say things we don't mean. I know you read this stuff, just like you know if I've got my rally cap turned backwards watching the game, and whether I've got my lucky shorts on. So, forgive my earlier outburst, okay? That was just September talking. You know I love you.

Does the Baseball God have Yankees or Phillies designs on his shower curtains?

I think (and this is all speculation, Big Guy! You're the best!) He doesn't have a specific team affiliation (and, I think, The Man Downstairs sees to the Empire), but tends to favor the rotund and carefree; the Babe gets full Holy Jacuzzi privileges, and the Krukker has a spot reserved in the schvitz (along with a certain bodily reunion).

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