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Thursday, September 28, 2006

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thoughts from section 214 at Citizen's Bank Park South (aka RFK):

1. I'm sure this is an unpopular position, but I really feel bad for Burrell. he gets one AB, strikes out (predictably), and gets booed mercilessly. like, Bucky Dent at Fenway bad. previously, I didn't think he would be traded, but now it seems almost inevitable, no matter what we have to offer on our end. how can you keep someone so widely hated? to his credit, he has handled it much better (publicly, at least) than virtually any other professional athlete would - he does not deserve the treatment he gets, no matter how badly he's hitting or how much we pay him. I don't really like him at all, either personality-wise or in terms of his play on the field, but this is ridiculous.

2. Gordon looked terrible...injured? gassed? had a bad day? whatever, I would not trust him to close right now. and who else is there? not much. but I'd rather have Geary/Madson/whoever rotating in the 9th than Gordon right now. I was very impressed with Condrey - maybe just fatigued hitters, but I liked what I saw. Castro very much less so. he is not any more than a long reliever/mopup guy right now - later, maybe, but not in 2006.

3. the more I see of Coste, the more I like him. he's the kind of guy who always seems to kill us on other teams - makes good contact, comes up with "clutch" hits (as much as I hate typing that), all that stuff. it seems like we don't have enough of those guys, the kind of players who do little things well, but don't necessarily drive in or score 120 runs. I would like him to get the opportunity for more playing time (3B?) next year - maybe this season is just a flash in the pan for him, but he deserves a shot.

4. I wouldn't be surprised if Howard doesn't hit another HR all year. he will get walked in any remotely close game every time after the fifth or sixth inning, and he just can't seem to get anything to drive in the earlier innings. obviously, I very much hope he proves me wrong.

5. doesn't get much worse than seeing your team slip away while watching your rival prevail on the stadium scoreboard. luckily, we got a reprieve, but time is seriously running out. I was not pleased to hear that Bonds is not planning on playing the LA series...

What a stressful game! I'm just glad that we came out on top.

I'm not surprised about Bonds, the arrogant jerk only thinks of himself. Kind of the baseball version of TO.

We gotta get them again tomorrow.

Go Phils!!

Baseball Tonight said Bonds plans on playing against the Dodgers. The Giants will be looking to ruin the Dodgers' season.
Jason, team LOB was "only" 15. I saw that 26 and almost had a heart attack. 15 is bad enough.
There's no longer a doubt in my mind that Rollins is the heart of this team. Everything goes better when he's going well, and he WANTS to be the man. I saw a clip of a post-game interview on ESPN, and he said he relishes the big spots and clutch situations, looking to emulate guys like Jeter.

15 LOB, 4 errors, 2 blown saves, and those three ugly walks in the ninth. A friend of mine called me and told me he aged five years tonight. I can't even process all of what happened.

9-9 against the Nats this year. If they have a losing record against that team, I can't really wonder too much how they didn't get it done this year. There have been some lame games against DC this year.

To the Phils fans at the game last night, I salute you. You all sounded great on radio.

Mike, it just felt like 26 LOBs. My heart is still thumping over two hours later.

How about *84* RBI from Rollins out of the leadoff spot. And Utley, with 200 hits (first since Glanville, second since Rose to do that as a Phil), 130 runs, 101 RBI. Some sick stats emerging from these guys here.

Will Coste catch Lieber tomorrow? Why was Ruiz used as a PH before Lieberthal, by the way? Isn't that kind of a smack in the face?

this board has been a blast to read; timefor me to post.

Here's some sobering math:

If each game is 50/50, the probability that the phils finish ahead of the dodgers is 14.5%. Probability of a tie is 21.9%. Probability that Phils finish behind the Dodgers is 63.7%. There is a 3.7% chance that the phils finish behind the dodgers but tied with the padres, and a 0.6% chance that the phils finish behind the dogers and ahead of the padres. So the odds are the the phils season will end on Sunday are 59.4%

The odds of the Phillies' season ending with one more ball thrown by Tom Gordon in the ninth were a lot worse than 59.4%. I'll take it.

And there is a 100% chance that if the phillies play 2 games better than LA from here out they go, if they play 1 game better they tie, and if not they don't make the playoffs. There's the only statistics you need.

I'll ignore those sobering numbers for now. I can't look at a baseball game as 50/50.

Yes, I would expect Bonds to play. It might be his last games ever and the rivalry/grudge series are two good enough reasons for him to play. SF will lay down for an LA series when pigs fly.

Makes me wonder who in their right mind would even pitch to Howard in these last four games? Should we take bets on how many IBB he'll rack up? I'll say five...

For all the hand-wringing here, the fact is the Phillies have played better baseball down the stretch (last 10 games) than any team in the NL except the Astros.

Mike: Geez, what was I looking at. I'll correct it.

yeah, I was a little surprised when I read on ESPN yesterday that Bonds wasn't planning on playing (home series, big rivalry) - but if BBTN says otherwise, that's good enough for me.

If manuel benches burrell again, he should use either bourn or roberson over dellucci. I'm not sure either of those guys are improvements in the "contact" department though.

I see that fool "Blown Save" Gordon compared J-Roll to me and then J-Roll suggested that perhaps he is even better then me (See Marcus Hayes's column today). May I say in the following in response: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" That is all.

Bourn did get down some nice bunts last night, but that's not a reason to start him or Roberson over DD. He's slumping right now but I don't see much alternative to throwing him in there and hoping he gets over it.

That game was ridiculous. If it had happened in the middle of the season or we were out of it, I would be talking about how exciting it was. But with the standings this close and now 4 games left, it was just plain stressful.

Back at work this morning. I'm still pumped, but tired. I was one of the lucky ones to be able to watch the game on ESPN. Lot of empty seats in DC, however a lot of the filled seats had Philly fans, whe were prominently shown all night. I now have to get me a red Phillies T-shirt that was the favored attire of about fifty young guys (and an occassional gal)all sitting together and cheering on the Phils. One guy had his shirt pulled over his face, afraid to watch the bottom of the 14th. The visuals of the anguish the Phillies fans go through was priceless.

The ESPN announcers also told us that the Rollins-Utley combo is the first SS-2B pairing ever to both hit at least 25 HRs in the NL. It has happened twice in the AL, both times over 50 years ago. Imagine if we had a power hitting 3B to add to our infield? This team has some very special hitting individuals. We need to savor this team for this year and the next few when our infielders are in their prime. We've heard a lot about Howard and Utley this year, but J-Roll has quietly put up stellar numbers, too. He has my respect.

Who knew that playoff tickets were going on sale today at 9? Did anyone succeed in getting them? I just found out on philly.com, and both games are already sold out.

i've been trying since 9.. no luck on the phone and the phillies.com website just crapped out.

Does anybody else agree with me that when Coste is in the lineup, he might be Howard's best protection at 5. He usually puts his bat on the ball and has been pretty clutch. I'm not just saying this because of last night. When he's not in, Conine should remain in the 5 hole, despite last night and assuming he's in the lineup.

Dr:

how about Coste batting 5th, and playing 3b, and Ruiz catching? (and lieberthal as backup catcher)

Next year, maybe.... Cholly won't experiment at this point in the season...

but coste should take a whack at 5th. he does seem to have hobbesian clutchability.

Just got through on the phone. Tickets are indeed sold out for NLDS games

>Tickets are indeed sold out for NLDS games

(its great to be a season ticket holder)

The recent change in managers approach to Howard (ie walk him ever time) requires that we move Howard to 3 and Utley to 4. The only people in our lineup capable of providing protection for Howard are Utley and Rollins.

Rollins is obviously not moving out of the lead-off spot at this time (we don't have any other option there anyway), so Howard and Utley NEED to be swapped in the lineup.

I know you don't normally see a shuffle in the batting order at this point in the season, but these are special circumstances.

The Phils need to win all of their remaining games, and they CAN NOT do that if Howard is removed from the game...

Coste hasn't had a single inning at third this year, has he? I checked his fielding history last season, and he played 93 games at third and only 9 behind the plate in AAA. so why hasn't he made an appearance there all season? he must be at least a passable fielder to notch that many appearances.

Zach: Dellucci is in a 13 for 73 slump with 5 rbi, 6 R, 7 BB, 22 SO.

Compare: Burrell is 17 for 73, 11 RBI, 15 R, 19 BB, 21 SO)

Dellucci's a defensive liability. With Bourn or Roberson in, you have some defense, you have the bunt option, and they're not going to whiff any more than dellucci. I hate to say look at dellucci's career stats, but he has never been a big rbi man, but SO's frequently. This seaon he's still well above his career averages which leads me to believe he will not be coming out of the slump.

sean,

the boos that burrell is getting are not deserved, and they should be directed at nunez.

the burrell boo birds are nuts.

If Dellucci is 13 for 73, that translates to a .178 average. That's pretty bad, but in 40 AB's this year Roberson is only hitting .200 and slugging .250. Even with his slump Dellucci is hitting .290 this year and slugging .533, so with 4 games left, I say go with experience.

Which would by default rule out Bourn, who has 4 major league at-bats under his belt.

whats the future word on Bourn? Is he talented enough to be expected to challege for a starting job next year, or just a bench spot?

I say play burrell, move coste to bat 5th, with pat at the 6th slot. Burrell has far more experience and is better than dellucci. Burrell hads done better at the 6th but in limited exposure.

I would like to see phils have a different lead off batter, maybe bourn is the guy. I think rollins rbi potential is being wasted, and his OBP is not so hot. I would like to see Bourn-Victorino-Rollins/Utley-Howard-Utley/Rollins-Conine/Burrell-Coste-Nunez. But not at this juncture in the season; however if you're going to bench burrell...

So offensive needs in the offseason seem to be (1) at least two new outfielders since burrell is hated (think we need to replace his power definitely), dellucci is bad and rowand is not that great either (but if we keep 1 of these 3 - rowand is the man) (2) third baseman and (3) hopefully 1 of the 3 will also be a true leadoff hitter.

rowand is coming back nexdt year... i fyou listen to gillick during the radio pre-game shows, you can tell by the way that he talks about rowand that he *really* likes the way the guy plays.

i still dont know if the phils can move burrell next year. they would almost have to pick up a large hunk of the contract, and burrell will veto moves to most teams.

bourn... i see him next year in the 4th outfielder spot, same as victorino this year. he'll get plenty of opportunity to prove himself and gain a starting OF spot. Someone will run into a wall, or another teamate, or whatever.

Coste was just all around solid. I would have loved to have seen him batting in Niner's spot last night. The game would have been a lot shorter and I wouldn't be as groggy this morning. Weitzel's man-crush, JRoll, really stepped up big.

As crazy as it sounds, after every Conine 3rd out, I was excited that the next inning we'd get Coste leading off (with a predictable hit), Bourn bunting him over, and Nunez making contact (imagine that). I was displeased with the play in the field (what was Rollins thinking on the flip to Utley?), but the grit and determination of this team showed through. Not trying to wake a sleeping Clout, but I'm going to make my obligatory "this team doesn't have the heart/determination to win this game if Abreu was in that lineup." Although, after seeing Howard's "protection" we could use his bat.

It's funny how Abreu is still such a hot topic in these parts. We might as well talk about what things would be like if we still had Rolen - the difference being that Abreu is now in another league entirely.

The Phillies are one game out of the playoffs with four to play. That's plenty of drama for me.

I was planning on going to DC tonight until I saw the weather forecast. If the game tonight were to be canceled, when would they make it up?

Willard - I was having the EXACT same conversation in the 14th inning at the game last night. "we got Coste coming up, he'll walk or hit - then Bourn does his bunt, and Big Hit Abe will come up with something." didn't happen exactly like that in the 14th, but close enough.

Please WP, Abreu had more big hits for the Phillies team than this lineup combined (though J-Roll is making a big push)...take away Jose Mesa, David Bell, and Wagner and we are talking about Abreu as the leader of a playoff team...and oh yeah, the Yankees seem to have plenty of heart/determination (and, more importantly, runs) since July 31st.

I like Conine as much as anyone, but really, the guy is a 41yo average outfielder. Since he and DD are struggling, I would go with PtB in the 5 spot (and also flip Utley/Howard) Why you ask? Mostly because even when he is slumping, he still draws walks and can continue the inning. Conine puts a lot of balls in play and is way more likely to hit into a DP. Good pitchers may be able to get Burrell out, but we won't be seeing too many of them the rest of the season...give him the confidence of the 5 spot.

Oh, and Coste should start the last four games unless he is worn out...the guy is simply amazing, when will it become obvious that he should be the starting C next year. What is this talk about 3B...the guy can hit AND he has done a fine job defensively and with the pitchers.

One final thing (I promise) on Conine and Burrell...even though the latter is struggling recently his OPS is better this year than anything Conine has done since...1995!!! Conine hasn't even cracked .800 since 2001.

And this year? Conine was at .726 before he came to the Phils...only .013 better than what Burrell did in 2003, his worst year by a long shot.

It's really not even close...forget who makes what and how they look when they get out, Burrell should obviously play over Conine and hi ahead of him as well.

Burrel right now couldn't hit 5 on Shillington Red Sox (Berks County plug).

We'll see Coste at 3B when we see T.O. back in Eagles green. Ain't happenin'. Foghorn is too stubborn. The only reason he even gave Fabio a shot last night is because his 'pen was depleted. This guy is very black and white.

I don't debate that Abreu is VERY talented, has amazing statistics and can come up with big hits (hence, my "we could use his bat" comment). The point I've been trying to make is that this is not the same team as it was prior to the trade deadline. They are much "scrappier" and seem to play a lot harder now. Back then, they would have packed it in (especially after WAS answered in the bottom of the 10th). They showed the Phillies win/loss record in 1-run games last night. I would have LOVED to have seen it broken out by 1st half/2nd half.

and after he came to the phils? how do their numbers compare since then?

I predict the phils will trounce the nats tonight. This weekend's going to be harder for us than for LA, the Marlins aren't playing any easier.

Good point, Will. I'm curious to see how FLA plays for their lame duck manager this weekend. Think they try to go out in a blaze of glory, or do they roll over and serve a few up to Howitzer for good measure? I'd never accuse SF of laying down, especially for their hated rivals, but if Bonds does not play (do we know for sure yet?) it changes the look of that series, for sure.

Also curious to see the Nats with their own lame duck manager tonight.

per the Inquirer:

"San Francisco leftfielder Barry Bonds is expected to have surgery on his left elbow in the off-season, but Giants manager Felipe Alou told reporters Tuesday that Bonds was expected to play two more times this season: tomorrow and Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

"Provided he's all right," Alou told the San Jose Mercury News. The Phillies certainly wouldn't mind."

the report I read on ESPN yesterday was much less optimistic, but this is obviously more recent.

Watching ESPN coverage last night (National's TV guys were unbearable) on mLB package. Right before the 3-2 pitch bases loaded pitch by Gordon in the 9th-ESPN goes to commercial in Northern NJ. happen to anyone else? Are you kidding me? Still can't believe he got the slider for an out
Delluchi chases every high fastball.He's starting to show why he's a 4th outfielder + his arm is worse than Johny Damon.
I also would like to see Coste hitting 5th. I haven't given up on Conine. I have a feeling he will get a big hit versus the fish.
last night was a blur. i needed some of TO vicoton. I started w/ a 12 pack-it was gone by the 10th. Paying for it today

I was reading the probabilities above, and if ever there was an awful time to use probabilities, it's this time. The probabilities could swing back in our favor if the phils win and dodgers lose tonight. All of a sudden our probabilities would change completely.

the probabilities listed above are completely pointless. the odds of the Phils/Dodgers winning each games over the rest of the season are not 50% - why even bother pretending that they are?

Few points about last night's game:

1. Funny thing is that Gordon would have been the goat last night if he had blown the game but Gordon is clearly pitching hurt. I don't how much credit Gordon deserves but that needs to go into consideration.

2. Just when I thought Coste was down, he turns it around when it counts most.

3. I long for the days when Howard will actually see a decent pitch again. Seems like it was so long ago.

4. Let's go Giants. I am going to one of the games this weekend. The only hope the Phils have is if the Giants get revved up for the rivalry. Giants have been kind of flat lately but they are throwing their best three pitchers at the Dodgers (Lowry, Cain, Schmidt). Call me nuts but I think the Giants take 2 out 3 this weekend.

Frank K, I watched ESPN in New Orleans and I don't remember a commercial at that time. I was stunned to see how poor was Gordon's control, more balls than strikes. Poorly placed commercials are usually inserted by the local cable provider.

Nice to see ESPN even airing late month games that have playoff implications. they didnt do that in the past. im glad i had Harry though, even though he was totally confounded on Nunez's second double.
anyone else think he's slipping a tad?

Did anyone else see in today's Inquirer that Johnny Estrada has indicated a desire to be traded to the Phillies ?

Just when I thought Coste was down, he turns it around when it counts most.

Same here. That would make it the second time this season. This guy isn't a fluke and should be our starting catcher next season until he proves otherwise.

Harry's been slipping for a while now. It's part of his charm.

Billy Mac, I saw that bit about Estrada's comments...you don't often see a player publicly campaigning so directly for a trade to a specific team. I wonder if the Phils would actually be interested. Ruiz has shown he's got definite pop in his bat, and we all know Coste is capable of playing a considerable amount and being productive. Perhaps Gillick feels the team needs to 'upgrade' the catching position, but how much playing time would Estrada get with those two around...unless Ruiz is traded? Hmm.

Also interesting was Estrada reflecting on his rookie year with the Phils in which he watched "Larry Bowa singlehandedly run Scott Rolen out of town." Bowa will always be revered in Philadelphia, but this particular legacy should add to his name an unfortunate infamy as well. And before you go defending Bowa and trashing Rolen, think of these two names: David Bell and Abraham Nunez.

I don't know if Coste even plays tonight after 14 innings, although it is Lieber starting, so I guess it's mandatory...if so, I'm also for putting him fifth. Why not. You have to play the hotter hand, and Burrell and Conine are not the hot hands to go behind Howard. It can and should change on a game to game basis at this point, it's that important.

Ruiz caught Lieber's last start and it seemed to work out.

really don't like the idea of Estrada unless we're getting him for literally nothing or sending them Burrell - he's 31, can't take a walk, and as far as pop goes, has only 4 HR more than Coste (11 vs 7) in well over twice as many ABs.

If there is no rainout, I think Charlie will give Ruiz the start behind the plate tonight, based upon Coste's 14-inning stint last night and, perhaps in lesser part, upon Lieber's last successful start when Ruiz caught Lieber in a "day-game-after-a-night-game" situation. Not that I think that Coste shouldn't start tonight, because clearly he should. Coste is one of the top three clutch hitters on the team right now, when clutch means the most.

Top three clutchiest, in no order:

Jimmy, Clutchly, Coster.

Exactly the trio and sequence I was thinking of, J. Weitzel.

any word on lieberthal? he seemed to be really hurting and ineffective his last time catching.

Crap, I forgot that Lieber had a good outing last time he pitched. That means it's "Serve 'em up" Lieber's turn in the rotation.

Rockies are jumping on the Dodgers 3-0 in the first, 1 out men on 2nd and 3rd

3-0 Colorado :))

Now 4-3 to the dodgers after a grand slam. Not so good.

wow Kim sucks

on the plus side, they've just pinch hit for penny.

is the Dodgers' bullpen so deep that they can afford to have Penny pitch only the one inning?

Hate to say it but the Dodgers appear to be getting the lucky breaks and bit hits (4 straight HR's, walk-off slam, etc.) that got the Phils back into this race. Can their be two teams of destiny? If so, I'd hate to be San Diego.

How does chad billingsly have 3.34 era when he walks nearly as many as he strikes out? is he the second coming of Russ Ortiz?

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