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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

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Hmm, 11 players? Utley, Howard, Rollins, Hamels, Myers, Garcia, Moyers and Coste, oops he's in Ottawa.

While that may be true, ther eis no way that this team should be 3-9 either. This isn't a 105 win team, but iot ain't a 68 win team talent-wise either.

They should fire the Hitting coach and Pitching coach first. What the He@@ good are they doing. And, just how long does Gillick get before he is held accountable. Looks like Gillicks Garbage to me

Yes, the bullpen is not contending (not even .500-level) quality. Yes, the offense lacks follow through.

But there is talent here. There's more talent on this team than in practically every NL team (I'll concede to Los Angeles, the Mets, the Braves, about the same with the Brew Crew and Cubs).

Something is amiss with this team. And I honestly think they weren't ready for this season. It showed in ST. Coaching is not up to par. Yes, Gillick should've done better with the offseason, but the talent was already here to get to 90 wins.

It's time for a fresh start, with a good leader who teaches the game, not makes excuses and pents up his anger.

there *is* talent here. but stark is right about the "stark" contrast between the haves and have-nots of talent on this club.....

putting aside our train wreck of a bullpen, our bench has shown just about nada. every time you run someone out there who isn't a regular starter, it's been more or less an automatic out and usually a terrible AB (and i'm including barajas there). that's something the GM is responsible for. but these bad players are still getting too many ABs--starting more frequently than they should and with questionable matchups (ie, werth for burrell/vic) and coming into games earlier than they should (ie, nunez, bourn). that's poor management.

and remember that game where geary batted?? eesh. not to mention our "good" players who have shown a nonstop lack of discipline...whose fault is that??

malcolm: I disagree on the talent. The comment above is very true: There's a high-quality core of good players surrounding by a mediocre to poor supporting cast. The Phillies are far from being one of the more talented teams in the league.

Clout is right. The Phillies bench and bullpen except for Gordon belong in Ottawa. No way does this team have more talent then most teams in the NL, get real.

Hippo's comment is true - management has to shoulder much of the blame here.

There are weak links on the supporting cast - but not that many by any means.

1. Nunez
2. Werth
3. Barajas
4. Madson
5. Smith

Those are the heavy five. The rest of the "weaker" parts of this team are attributed to management.

- Lieber is in the wrong role. His confidence is down (yes, he should suck it up, but then again, he's been in one role for a dozen years, then gets the boot).

- Bourn is being misused as a hitter. He should only be a late-inning runner (8th, 9th, NOT 6th).

- The bullpen is in disarray. Nobody has a role besides Gordon and maybe Alfonseca. And even with that Manuel gave a shady "he was there last night" comment.

- There is no consistency with the order. Nunez should NOT be starting twice a week. Barajas should NOT be starting as much as Ruiz. Werth should NOT get starting chances when he's barely figured to be a competent 13th man.

- Overall, Manuel is almost throwing darts at the wall with this team. Gillick didn't equip him enough; still, Manuel should've known what this team was capable of and how to best implement their capabilities.

what we have is, as clout described it, a high-quality core of players....and then....[crickets]. when these guys are slumping a bit, what happens? you have a vacuum in the middle of the lineup, and vic and barajas are there to pick them up!....errr.....see the problem?

take a guy like victorino. at his best he could be an everyday CF and a questionable RF. when he is playing like an idiot, who do you sub in for him given the current bench--werth, bourn? vic playing like a halfwit is still preferable to having werth in there.

we could win a lot of games if we didn't have to ever dip into the bullpen or use the bench...so maybe we can petition MLB to switch to little league rules this year and play only 5 innings a game....

Bench and bullpen are used differently in the AL. In NL, bench is primarily about pinch hitting. Unfortunately our AL GM, doesn't value professional hitters that can come in cold in games and give you good ABs. He prefers players who are marginal at best at multiple positions (Werth, Dobbs, Nunez, Gonzo). His bench is composed of the cheap, often injured, and marginal.

gametime's in 3.5 hours. this is a winnable game. could we move to that?

Well something tells me with Chollie on the inferno seat and the team really at the edge, they're about to tear off a 6-1 mark or something. It's what they do.

Yeah but you have to put the Phillies talent in context to the rest of the NL East and NL in general.

Stark seems to conveniently forget that the Cards won just 83 games last year and the Cards had a whole dropoff in talent from their frontline guys. After Carpenter, they didn't have a single solid starter and there offensive revolved around Pujols for the most part.

Once again this season, there is not a single team in the NL that is a juggernaut. The NL Central doesn't have a single very good team. Bet that NL Central winner clinches with between 85-90 wins this year.

Dodgers actually might be the most well-rounded team in the league but I still don't like their offense. Relies too much on timely hitting and there is one true power threat in that lineup. Plus, the Dodgers have alot of older vets in their lineup (Kent, Gonzalez, Garciaparra) who will likely visit the DL this season at least once.

Atlanta is alot better this season but I am suspect on their rotation holding up after Hudson and Smoltz. Redman is a stiff and Davies is very mediocre at 5. Plus, Cox already have been using his back end bullpen guys pretty heavily. Don't know if Wickman or Soriano will hold up to heavy usage. Plus, who knows how Chipper Jones will hold up and he is still a key part of their offense.

As for the Mets, I am just not impressed by what I see as a whole. Their lineup is amazing and there isn't really an easy out. Still, their defense is mediocre and no way that starting pitching holds up once it gets warm in June. Mets are going to have to score 6-7 runs to win alot of games this summer.

I still stand by my prediction that neither Atlanta or the NY Mets will win more the NL East with no more than 90 or 91 wins. That is why it is maddening to watch the Phils self-destruct yet again in April. I hate being a Philly sports fan.

GR- in the Phillies case, every game should be a "winnable" game. Not just against the lowly teams but against the quality ones too. Sad thing is, that the Nats are a challenge for us because we're the "lowly" ones due to underperforming to capablities by all (players, gm, and manager).

Malcolm: you said, of the Mets, "their defense is mediocre".

Question -- have you been watching the games?

I remember when Cholly flipped his lid last year in Florida when the team was performing poorly, and the team felt the heat and started performing to their capability. However, Gillick's bullpen has looked like a MASH unit this year, a pincushion for NL hitters, and amateur at best. Gordon's walks, Madson's soft tosses, and Matt Smith (enough said) have cost this team dearly so far. The poorest start in 20 years is nothing to just shake off. Charlie has (for all his shortcomings) done what I think is a decent job managing this team. I remember when Geary hit, and he got an RBI double. Sure, sometimes he makes a jackass call and puts pinch-runners in too early or leaves a pitcher in one batter too long, but you can't say he hasn't shown his faith in the players. What the players need to do is get their heads out of their asses and start hitting. They need to give the bullpen a lead it can't blow. With Rollins, Utley, Howard, and Burrell (to a lesser extent than the other three), they're certainly capable of doing more damage than they have. The GM needs to get some concrete shoes or something, because the bullpen he's given this year's version of the Phillies is absolutely nothing short of a travesty. Maybe even treason.

That being said, the season IS 162 games long, and there's plenty of time for this team to catch fire and get hot.

Anon: I never said the Mets have mediocre defense. That's ridiculous.

That was MG, not me.

My bad, Malcom....

So, what of it, MG?

It pains me to say this, but Jose Reyes and David Wright are AWESOME on the left side of the infield.

Well put MG, you have to look at this thing in context. After the top 11 players on the Braves, who do you have? Kyle Davies, Cormier, Kelly Johnson...

The problem with the clout/Sheehan thesis is that it simply doesn't fit with what has *actually* happened with this team. Based on VORP (the most used stat of Sheenan's B-Pro), the 2 most valuable offensive player last year were Utley and Howard. The *four* most valuable pitchers were Myers, Hamels, Gordon and Geary.

Of these six A level players, I think only Geary could be considered to have played above his head. However, of the remaing five *stars* of the team, only one - Hamels - is even close to their historical performance.

I don't know how you can look at the following numbers and conclude that it is the B and C players who are responsible for the start:

Ryan Howard: .238 BA, .381 SLG, 4 XBH
Chase Utley: 6 RBI. He's comming around to his normal numbers, but hasn't hit at all with men on base
Brett Myers: 15 IP, 1.565 WHIP, 9.39 ERA
Tom Gordon: 4 IP, 8 baserunners

Add in the fact that the team's projected #2/3 starter just pitched his first game (terribly) and you have to do a lot of stretching to make the argument that it is the bottom of the roster that is most at fault.

I usually like Sheehan, but his analysis is just lazy here.

Jesus, Eskin is complaining becuase the stories written aren't including his name

Hey, I swear I hadn't read that Tauber piece yet. Nice to read something sensible.

Did Sheehan say this recently? It sounds like Stark is using an older quote from Sheehan to bolster his argument that the Phils lack talent.

What a jerk! Any real journalist knows that the reporters themselves shouldn't be the story. The media is there to cover Manuel and the Phillies, not Eskin. If you only care about the team (and not the blowhard jackasses who leech off of them) then the name of the reporter who instigated the rant is irrelevent.

Anon - Yeah. The Mets defense is mediocre overall. Beltran is great in CF and their infield is very solid with the exception of Valentin. However, Lo Duca is nothing special at C and their corner outfielders (Green and Alou) are pretty limited.

If that's true JR, that I take it back on Sheehan. It's Stark who is being lazy: taking a preexisting opinion and trying to fit the current facts to it.

I'm certainly not going to get into a debate about the Mets defense, but I think you're selling them short. Valentin, at least against the Phillies, has been very good, for example. They certainly have a better defense than Team Cholly....

I don't if Eskin really is considered a "reporter" by most folks anyway. He's just a loud jackass with an inferiority complex, and (somehow) a radio show. It's a shame Cholly allowed himself to get taken advantage of by that guy.

That said, as bad as I feel for him, we need a different manager.

Supposedly Eskin talked to some of the Mets concerning the Phillies' listlessness. I'd love to have a look at those quotes, but haven't seen them anywhere yet.

This stink has been a team effort from players level A to Z, except for Rollins. Will most of the A players improve, probably, will the rest improve no way.

kdon, I don't know if it's fair to say Garcia pitched "terribly." He was doing fine until his 91st pitch to Beltran. Said pitch came about an 1 1/2 hour after Cholly mumbled in his pregame interview that Garcia was on a 70-75 pitch count, which seemed about right for a guy who hadn't pitched in a month, and really not since Sept. 2006. The 75th pitch was the last pitch in the 4th, so someone made the command decision to toss the pitch count snd run Garcia back out there in the 5th.

Well maybe not "fine," but at least OK.

I'm still curious about who the top 11 are. kdon, any chance you have some analysis that might be able to make me feel better that Abe Nunez is *NOT* among that 11? Please?

In all seriousness, Stark is right. There is quite a bit of talent on this team. The problem is that said talent resides in only a few players and after that, it's trash. That's a Gillick problem, not a Manuel problem. Look, I want Charlie out of town, too, but not because he can't make gold out of straw. I just think he's a terrible in game manager and has too many "hard and fast" rules about how to run a game.

I would assume our top 11 are:

- Howard
- Utley
- Rollins
- Hamels
- Myers (he is struggling)
- Garcia
- Burrell
- Rowand
- Gordon
- Moyer
- Victorino

Hey Jason Stark

DUH !

MG-- to clarify, the Mutts have 4 errors, second best only behind Florida who have 3.(before last night's games).

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