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Monday, September 18, 2006

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Lineup card:

Cubs

J. Pierre cf
R. Theriot 2b
A. Ramirez 3b
J. Jones rf
A. Pagan lf
H. Blanco c
S. Moore 1b
R. Cedeno ss
S. Marshall p

Philadelphia

J. Rollins ss
S. Victorino cf
C. Utley 2b
R. Howard 1b
J. Conine rf
P. Burrell lf
C. Coste c
A. Nunez 3b
J. Lieber p

Here it is...my lucky number is 13. I was born on the 13 of October. My birthday happens to be on a Friday this year (Friday the 13th) and there are 13 Phillies games remaining...the Wild Card is ours! Rock-n-Roll hoochie-coo!

That might be the crappiest lineup the Phils have faced all year. Way worse than the Nats.

And if the Phils win, they automatically gain ground in the WC race. If Dodgers lose to Padres, they are tied with Dodgers for WC lead. If Dodgers win, then the Phils would be only .5 games behind the Padres.

Jaque Jones hitting cleanup!!!!! If we don't sweep these clowns, it will be dissapointing.

Also, good to see the defense (and consequently, the pitching) improve. I remember early in the season Jason did a piece on how bad the Phils were defensively. At the time, it seemed to just be random fluctuation because aside from PtB and some Howard plays, the Phillies field a very dependable defensive 9 and they were excellent last year. It seems like the Phils regressed to the mean a bit and the staff ERA reflects that.

And Cubs are downright awful on the road this year -- 28-46.

Go Phils. We are going to need some extra wins to make it to the Wild Card. If the Dodgers play their opponents like they have in the past, they'll go 8 and 4 in their last 12, So depending on tonight't outcome, they could end up with 86 or 87 wins.

However if the Padres play their opponents like they have in the past, they'll go 6 and 7 or 7 and 6, ending up with about 85 wins depending on tonight's outcome.

So even though San Diego is winning the division right now, we may be hoping for a Padres loss tonight because down the stretch they shouldn't be play as well as LA.

Nota bene: These projections are all based on previous performance against the remaining opponents. Which one might rightly say goes out the window with a 3 weeks left in the season.

The trade of David Bell also helped our defense -- at least fielding percentage wise. He was on pace for 20+ errors before he was traded.

Let's just keep on pouring on the comments about how bad the Cubs are. They're up 3-0 before an out's been recorded.

If you believe in omens, you're not too thrilled rigt now.

Sheesh, do we have to turn Utley into a switch-hitter? Lefties are getting him out at will.

Is anyone watching this game?

Here's the letdown I was afraid of.

Get Brito in there NOW!

Wow, too stunned to post. Lieber error, bloop bunt, some bad pitching, PtB with a terrible throw, followed by Nunez's terrible throw, Utley striking out weakly, Howard a weak groundout on a 2-1 pitch, Conine and Coste hitting rockets that are caught...anything else?
I like the Brito move, Lieber was the victim of some poor defense (including his own), but this may wake up the team.

Well, I didn't go down and now that I'm home to see the score I'm glad. What the hell happened? I guess we got June-Lieber instead of August/September-Lieber.

Oh my GOD, Pierre homered?! What is wrong with this team at home? It's pathetic.

nie job, Eude!

the only redeeming thing is that this game is still very, very early, and the cubbies are going to give up runs.

What the hell happened is an unsubtle reminder not to take any team lightly - *and* not to get our hopes too high. I still can't trust this team, this is all too characteristic. They may come back, and of course I hope they do, but how do you sweep the Astros on the road and then immediately dig a 5-0 hole at home to the Cubs? How?

Here we are as a Phillies fanbase getting a little confidence, talking about how the pitching and defense has improved. Then Lieber promptly gives the Cubs the game and the defense has 2 errors in 3 innings...horrible! The Cubs are a bad team, one of the worst in the MLB...this is the type of pitcher and team the Phils suck against...they piss me off so much!

I like Burrell, but I don't care who you are, you need to admit he a joke right now! Not only is he striking out, he's doesn't even bother swinging the bat anymore. I've never seen a guy take so many 3rd strikes. Lieber just flat-out sucked tonight, hopefully Brito can work some magic. Stupid Phillies.

And you cowboys fans wonder why we sing Fly Eagles Fly at the Bank?

Dude;

After the Eagles performance yesterday, they're in the Dog House, too.

Thank God MLB.TV plays that soothing Carribean music between innings or I might have thrown my computer out the window.

Seriously, I thought about giving the usual qualification of the Phillies against a lourneyman LHP, but I felt good about tonight. If ever there was an omen, it was Lieber's failure on the first pitch of the game.

I'm stunned how the Phillies haven't scored at least two runs off this pitcher. He's horrible, and isn't making good pitches.

Two points on what I've seen from umpires this season.

1) They cannot call a breaking pitch with any consistency whatsoever.

2) After a check swing, all a hitter needs to do is put his head down and act sure of himself. Works almost every time.

umm, that should be "journeyman"

What the hell happened? I'm just picking up on the game now.

to recap:

Lieber blew chunks, our defence sucks, and the Phils aint hitting the ball.

Brito is trying to hold the line until the Phils bats get unpacked from Houston.

8-0 well, i'm done for the night, have fun guys.

Did CM pull Lieber because he was pissed, and was it justified?

Ladies and gentlemen, your Philadelphia Phillies.

Nunez is the only Phillie with a hit so far. Very strange indeed.

Okay, well it doesn't matter now. I hope Brito can go a whole bunch of innings and save the rest of the pen.

It'd be justified in Manuel pulled the entire team off the field. What a disgrace.

JS, it seemed like Manuel was just pissed and wanted a change of attitude...he gave up the two longballs, but there were a lot of bloops and misplays in there as well...well THIS sucks...runs this inning or I'm packing it in

A comeback is out of the question now. That would be like scoring 17 unanswered points in the 4th quarter of a football game after being dominated all game. It just doesn't happen.

- Greg

Geez, when they got Lieber I thought, "Great, he's a groundball pitcher. Perfect for CBP." What a joke!

Coste is gonna hit a slam.

Alright, I'm sticking around! I wonder if Cubs fans are talking about how they know there team is going to blow it.

I like it that CHarlie is using Hernandez here and not someone like Sandoval...go for the kill!

Maybe I should have gone! Awesome!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Mystery Machine strikes again.

Woo Hoo!!!!!!

kdon-You rock!

Like I said, It just doesn't happen. (...dripping with sarcasm)

Hehe!

Um, Greg? Talk to us, Greg...

Ah, there he is :)

We ought to check the records to see who hated the Hernandez deal right now...

Burrell with a "clutch" single, Nunez did not swing at the first pitch, takes a walk instead of the GDP, a pinch hitter pays off all in the same inning! All signs point to winning this game!

Hernandez rocks! Seriously, Charlie seems totally different tonight, he is managing waaay more aggresively than usual...let's go Phils!

You see here how richly deserved the Cubs' 61-89 record is...

Do they walk him?

Sanchez should leave now.

Still a lot of work to be done here. The comeback was nice, but it can't end there. Keep the pressure on.

Top of the line-up needs to contribute. No hits from batters 1-4.

Mets clinching tonight one way or another. Only question is do the Phils loose first, or do the Mets win? Mets are at home and won't need the bottom of the ninth.

I guess it doesn't really matter. Either way it sucks.

Sorry guys, 2 hits combined in 6 innings other than the fourth isn't going to get it done. Marshall self-destructed and they took advantage, but the relievers the Cubs have used have totally shut the Phillies down - and once again, Utley and Howard are rendered null and void by left-handers' breaking balls. Worrisome trend. If they don't get the pitching, they don't get the wins - period.

I think the sample size may be large enough at this point. M Smith = the real deal.

I took an all Pennsylvania sweep (Pirates swept Mets and Phillies swept Houston), but the Mets got their "at home, on-field" celebration by defeating the Fish.

Obviously you give up 9 runs, you generally lose. Phils beat Nats 12-10, and lost over ten games in which 9+ runs were given up.

Jason: How is it that your Web site attracts mainly manic/depressives? There's maybe 1 or 2 posters here who aren't totally ruled by their emotions. It's all "we're a .630 team and we're gonna win the World Series!" or "our team sucks worse than anyone in the league!" Nothing in between. Fascinating to watch. What's not fascinating is the Phillies pitchers tonight.

Clout, are you capable of making a post that doesn't involve knocking other people? Just wondering.

RSB: I could ask if you're capable of making a post that actually reflects facts instead of fantasy, but I don't want to start a fight.

Can anyone tell me how the heck Steve Trachsel can be a 15-game winner? What a bizarre season.

Clout, how could you not be on a rollercoaster when watching this team? They can look SO good and SO bad in back to back games all year. Being a fan is an emotional investment in my book. Still, I don't know of anyone who's been crazy enough to predict a World Series win.

I'd take Trachsel over Marquis, and he's gotta have 14 or 15 wins at this point, no?

Well, you could just answer the question I asked you. But that'd be too easy.

emerson: Good point. Marquis is brutal and he's won 14 (while losing 15).

5 runs in the bottom of the last...if the Braves can do it vs. the Marlins, surely we can manage it vs. the Cubbies.

Worth a shot. Worked before:

5 run comeback in the ninths inning - it just doesn't happen!

Mike: In looking back over this season you can see a direct correlation between the pitching and the winning. The pitching sucked early and the team did too. Then after the All-Star break, Leiber did a complete turnaround, Myers bounced back, Hamels, Wolf and later Moyer joined the rotation, and they played .630 ball for 6 weeks.

Just throw this one away and go get 'em tomorrow.

Clout, obviously the vast improvement in the starting pitching overall led to the post-deadline turnaround. You can look at wide trends like that over the whole season, but on a day to day basis I still feel like I never know which team will show up.

The phils are the leading run scoring team in the NL with 796 runs through 150 games. Therefore, at a 5.3 runs per game clip, it is likely that pitching, not pat burrell is responsible for the phils lack of success.

its always about pitching and defense, and both took the night off.

oh well, you *can't* win them all.

I went to a meeting tonight and missed the game. Man, did the team turn sour quickly. What happened to Lieber? Got back home, loaded up on Tasty Kakes, had sugar failure early in game.

This is a WC race. Why is Brito pitching? Why is he on this team. They should ship him to Siberia. He was terrible when he was up earlier in the year. He still stinks.

This using Madson in the ninth inning experiment has failed, too. The Phils just plain stink at home. I'm glad the last six games are on the road.

This team puts its fans on the emotional roller coaster. I think the increased fan blood pressure reduces one's life by one day for each loss.

I can't believe that posters on this site were actually praising Foghorn's management skills tonight. Where has sanity gone. I think I'm gonna open up a bottle of "clout" and drown my sorrows.

Overall a very weak effort from the Phillies tonight, and they *must* win the next two against the Cubs. Wade Miller is no pushover, but at least he's a right-hander.

Lieberthal should be in the lineup more often if he's going to be swinging the bat the way he is. Coste isn't performing nearly as well of late.

Victorino's wrist looks like it's going to be a problem, which further depletes the offense. They may lead the league in runs scored but they don't find ways to score runs when they need to.

I'm glad the players have such confidence they'll make the playoffs. I'm going to need plenty more convincing than what they demonstrated tonight. They just got run over by a team almost 30 games under .500.

RSB (formally for a short time known as RWB), it looks like all the Eastern Time Zone fans have gone to bed.

I'm poping open my second bottle of "clout", not a drink for the faint of heart. It has a strong bitter taste with a kick, a real man's drink. It'll cause me to hallucinate. I'll be saying things like "Burrell is great! Bring back Abreu!" Then I'll pass out in a stupor. I know it'll give me a Phillies hangover tomorrow.

Before the "clout" takes affect, why wasn't Castro put in this game? Why do we have him on the team? Why did we trade for him? What's going on with our pitching?

RSB in the 6-18-06 post above: "Coste isn't performing nearly as well of late."

Coste's stats for his past two games(6-16-06 & 6-18-06): 6 at bats, 3 hits, .625 OPB, 3 runs scored, 1 RBI, numerous pitches in the dirt successfully blocked with runners on base, Hamels' no hitter into the 6th and win Saturday.

As for stolen bases -- ultra slow windups (ie., White, Condrey, etc.) and poor efforts in holding runners on base have been big factors in the SB's while Coste has been in the game. The Phillies might well have more "slow windup pitchers" on their roster right now than almost any other team, in either league.

Finally, Lieberthal himself has admitted, in multiple published reports, that one of the central reasons for his renewal after the All Star break has been the fact that playing only part-time, alternating with Coste, has allowed him to recharge -- of course this being during those times when Lieberthal has not been immobilized with his recurring back problems.

When we put 6 runs on the board we are 15-6, with 5 runs on the board we are 9-7. With our September pitching under 4.5 era this month (including this game), even 5 runs should get it done more often than not.

The offense has to shown more consistency however. In 9 games this month, the phils scored less than 5 runs, resulting in a 3-6 record in those games. In 5 of 6 losses, the opponent scored 4 runs or less, so if the offense had reached its average, we are leading the wild card. THe offense has scored 6+ runs three straight games which should give us some optimism.

Nice post DT73. That's a good insight into the state of our catchers.

And Fred, unquestionably, Lieberthal has demonstrated virtual rebirth in his hitting and defense, in between his trips to the chiropractor's couch. But from all I read, Lieberthal would be the first to say that he has been able to perform at this level only with the rest he has been given between starts. Also, no one can really dispute the fact that Lieberthal's back is among the most fragile of physical things on the Phillies ballclub right now. Charlie, and I believe Lieberthal as well, would likely admit that it might well be jeopardizing *any* stretch run contribution by Lieberthal to overuse him. I think RSB wants to "test that theory", but Lieberthal himself doesn't mind the frequency of his starts -- in contrast with the justifiable annoyance Lieberthal has felt by his being written off by Gillick for a role with the team next year, before this year's pennant-chasing season is even over.

Lake Fred,

Brito pitched masterfully his last two times out. Like meatloaf said, 2 outta 3 aint bad.

Isnt this Madson's third appearance in a row? Perhaps he was a bit overrused?

I dont think its a surprise that they came off flat today. They had a helluva run in Houston, with some emotional games.

They do need to bounce back tomorrow, though.

True enough, Lieberthal is more effective because of more frequent rest. That said, he's just had a good two weeks of rest and he's got a hotter bat going. Let him play. I don't mean to make it sound like Coste is dragging them down but his bat looks kind of sluggish on the whole while Lieby looks born-again.

(Oh, but silly me...it was Lieber's turn so *of course* he can't pitch to Thal or something awful will happen like giving up moonshots to Juan Pierre)

I'd just like to say that the dodgers were down 9-5 going into the bottom of the 9th and they came back on FOUR STRAIGHT solo shots. Two of them off of Trevor Hoffman. How crazy is that!

Down 9-5 to the Padres, that is. So that was the Phillies relevance of that newsbreak.

I'm watching that game, too, Tray. First time 4 in a row have happened since 1964. Pretty unreal.

Wow.

Padres/Dodgers was simply an unbelievable game. Padres give up 2 4-run leads, one of them on back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the 9th. They get another lead right back in the 10th, and lose after another home run in the bottom of the inning.

Great baseball. Too bad it means the Phils are another 1/2 game back.

Wait, another half game back? They lose, we lose, we're still 1.5 games back.

You're right, the Phils didn't move in the standings as a result of this game. I meant they're another 1/2 game back compared to where they would have been if the Padres held on to win.


Excerpt from the "Phillers" notes at the end of Marcus Hayes' story in this morning's Philadephia Daily News:

"The Phillies are considering carrying three catchers in the postseason - Mike Lieberthal and rookies Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz. The team's brain trust will meet today to discuss postseason roster candidates. The Phillies won a coin toss against the Dodgers and would host a one-game playoff if the wild-card race ends in a tie."

Why must they hurt me? Better yet, why do I allow myself to be hurt by them? C'mon Phils...we can still do this!

You want to know what stinks in this WC race? Most of the LA and SD games are late west coast games that start after the Phillies games are over. Those two teams will always know what they got to do each day.

The Phillies have to just run the table and be done with all this WC garbage!

Fletch/Tray:

The Phils did lose a half game last night...they were 1 game back of the Dodgers, now they are 1.5 back of the Padres.

I like the idea of having three catchers in the postseason. Also, I would love to see all three on next year's team...with Lieberthal catching 60 games, Coste catching 60 games (and getting spot starts at 1B and 3B) and Ruiz starting 40.

If one player begins to stand out, you trade one and go with a more traditional starter/back-up system. No matter what, the Phillies should be set at catcher next year.

I like having LIeby as an occassional catcher, and a big Right Handed bat off the bench.

Lieberthal would need to accept that role, and I can't see it happening. I could see him on the West Coast to finish his career, splitting time somewhere. Maybe a place like Colorado. He's been on the DL a lot this season. It's time to get younger and healthier at the position, and the Phils have basically said that. Ruiz is a player with some upside, and Coste has proven himself worthy for a shot to stay.

Lieberthal's body is fairly broken. I think that he has accepted that he will be in a part time role no matter where he plays next year. If he plays next year.

I do think there is still above average value in his bat, and he would may make a helluva DH, and emergency catcher for someone in the AL.

I would love to see him come back on a incentive laced contract, and be the big RH bat off the bench, and the "emergency" catcher, and hell, maybe backup 1b.

Don't forget they will still have Conine next year as a right-handed bat and backup first baseman.

Joe- no offense, but why do you insist on referring to Mike Lieberthal as a "big right-handed bat"?...this simply isn't true anymore. He has done decently when he's played this year, but as mentioned above he's older and very beat up...it's time to cut ties and move on. I don't mean any disrespect to Lieby as I'd like to see him go out in class. Out being the opportune word.

yeh... i can see using Lieby's roster spot for better value.

Like Aramis Ramirez. I wonder what it would take to pry him away from the cubbies? Burrell and Floyd? I can always dream, right?

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