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Sunday, April 15, 2007

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He struck out five against the braves in two innings

Thanks. Could have sworn it was against Florida.

Well, I guess my own man-crush is gone. Too bad, I do think he was capable of being an effective reliever. However, it's tough to argue that he should be on the roster. Rosario clearly has better stuff, Alfonseca has pitched better than anyone expected, and Madson is too valuable as a long man.

I wouldn't be surprised if Condrey had a better major league ERA than all 3 of these guys by the end of the season, but it wasn't happening. I'm still terrified that Alfonseca's start will get him the 8th inning job waay longer than he deserves it, but for now, we'll take anything we can get.

Real bummer on the game, I don't think there is anyway we don't score 6-8 runds against Wandy.

According to the Philies.com, Eaton is scheduled to pitch tomorrow against Perez. I assume this is in error, and Garcia would pitch tomorrow and they would push everyone back.

Well, this'll make two straight days without a loss. I'm sure Charlie Manuel's Sunday dinner will go down a little more easily.

Yes, Manuel said Garcia would pitch Monday if Sunday was rained out. I do not think Condrey will clear waivers so he may be traded rather quickly. Madson would be the next to go at this point - but the Phils will not put him on waivers it would take a trade. (Unless he corrects his poor start)

Condrey's problem was age. At 31, he has no upside. He is what he is: a guy with not much stuff but good command and a good head on his shoulders. I wouldn't be surprised if he's claimed on waivers. Madson & Rosario have far more upside potential and they're not going to cut Alfonseca this soon since they're paying him $700,000. And Matt Smith is the lone lefty. The bullpen remains the team's biggest weakness.

11 games into the season and I have already changed my opinion on Wes Helms. When signed, I thought it was a good low cost signing. But after seeing Helms play 9 games, I am convinced he is not a MLB regular 3rd baseman. 2 errors so far and at least 4 other misplays. He can't make the throws to first, has poor instincts and agility. I am expecting more playing time for Abe Nunez.

Phils game postponed today will be played Monday April 23rd.

HOWARD ON PACE FOR ANOTHER 58 HOMERS!

Randy Miller from PhillyBlurbs.com notes:

"Ryan Howard has one homer in 11 games for the second year in a row. A year ago, he finished April with five homers en route to a franchise record 58".

Would you rather be a Phils Phan or Cubbies fan these days?

THINGS COULD BE WORSE DEPT: Carlos Zambrano (1) has more HRs than Soriano (0) for the Cubbies.

Billy Mac: my feelings exactly. Nunez is pretty good defensively, he just needs to pick it up with the stick. Looks like Helms should really be the first option for pinch-hitting, as that's where he's had his success over the last season or two.

The question is whether Helms will hit enough to justify his iron glove. He had a rip-roaring spring training which led me to believe he would. The jury is out on him. Nunez, on the other hand, doesn't even hit enough to justify his glove. I mean, even if he did *something* at the plate, I'd say, go with him for half the starts. But he's been an incredibly weak hitter for this team. I think they have to stay with Helms, but if they're going to pinch-run for anyone in the sixth inning, it may as well be him.

so helms is performing basically like what coste would probably have been like as part-time 3B but more expensive?

as for condrey, like i said in the last post, its too bad for him, but it isn't as if condrey made the team by blowing everyone away in spring or even in AAA the last couple seasons.

Regarding JD Durbin, does he get a bullpen spot now? If so, who goes, Lieber, Rosario? Do we dare keep both Rosario and Durbin, leaving (gasp) Alfonseca and MAYBE Geary as the only known qualities in the bullpen (Gordon doesn't count yet). While the bullpen is in absolute shambles - name one person with a defined role besides Gordon (who has been lucky when he hasn't been awful...look at his ball/strike ration yesterday) - I like that Gillick is at least trying to bring in good arms (albeit all with major flaws) while he moves to acquire a more proven arm (and he absolutely must, and soon). I don't like giving up Condrey, but what's the alternative? Also, I never thought I'd say this, especially given Gillick's propensity to deal stars/known qualities for little to nothing, but get rid of Lieber NOW!! He's killing this team and we could save an arm depth wise (Rosario, Durbin...hey could we still reclaim Condrey?) that we could certainly use more than Lieber at this point. I honestly don't even want Lieber starting if one of our starters gets hurt. He's a little (well not so little I guess) bitch. He's making $7.5 million to cry about his role and purposely hurt the team (not giving full effort is purposely hurting the team, especially for a reliever that throws 88 mph with average stuff). GET RID OF LIEBER! I don't care if we get a Tomas Perez/Abe Nunez/Danny Sandoval hybrid, as long as we can stick him in Canada. Speaking of Sandoval, is Nomar's brother now are first option when a (god forbid) we need to call up a middle infielder?

One more note on Durbin, as regarding his alleged off-field interests (and who doesn't love tits and ass), is it just me or are he and Brett Myers going to get along great.

One more note, and my apologies for the randomness but its a rain out, is anybody else still really nervous about Freddy Garcia? For some reason I have this sense of impending doom, that he will turn into last years Jon Lieber, pitching awfully for five starts than throwing a shutout (allowing him to keep his job) followed by another awful series of starts. Then again, when did Lieber ever throw a shutout?

sorry, last one. On a lighter note (or perhaps not as it regards Lieber), can we all start refering to Lieber as Ramon Henderson, as not even the esteemed Mr. Henderson has such a talent for giving up home runs.

Rosario should be on this team, not Durbin. I don't think he has any place at all in the bullpen and I have no idea why Gillick claimed him. I realize he was at one point a highly touted prospect, but his minor league numbers are very unimpressive, and on top of that he's a starter, not a reliever. unless there's an impending Lieber trade and Durbin's meant to take his place (or the Phils are sending Durbin somewhere else), this move is just stupid.

they will probably just try to sneak durbin through waivers down to AAA, as other teams have tried before them.

I wouldn't say I'm worried about Garcia, but rest assured Lieber won't be going anywhere until Garcia shows he's right. I'm starting to get the feeling, in fact, that they intend for Lieber to stick around all year as the Insurance Policy, which, while it might prove wise in the end, is rendering Lieber as just a waste of everyone's time in the interim.

Manuel's handling of the bullpen is actually improved from what it used to be, although perhaps out of necessity. He was iron-clad with inning designations for certain pitchers in his first year here, but circumstances have now pretty much dictated that he go with the hottest hands available. The set-up combo may be Madson and Geary one week, Rosario and Alfonseca the next. The bullpeners might not like it, but it's the best way to approach the situation until and unless one or more of them definitively establish they can get the job done.

I agree with RSB about Elmer's bullpen handling. Williams kept him from pulling Moyer at the end of that one inning in NY for sure.

I like Williams, Elmer seems more readily to accept advise from him.

Didn't know Durbin was a starter. However, we seem to have plenty of depth in both the majors and minors as far as starters go, so do the phillies view him as a reliever, either now or in the future? Obviously it would be best if he can clear waivers.

Conine is 3-4 W/ RISP this season...haha Jason Werth!

I agree with bathtubhippo. Leiber isn't going anywhere until we know what we have with Freddy boy and Eaton. And as much of a baby as Leiber is, he can still be effective proven by his strong second half of the season last year.

lekh, ae: Don't get hung up on Durbin. He will not be on the Phillies roster. He is working back from an injury and is months away from pitching in the big leagues. They will try to slip him thru waivers and send him to Ottawa or Reading. Also, while he's been a starter in the minors, the Twins used him in relief in 3 of his 4 appearances and he projects as a bullpen guy.

It seems like no one can hit in today's weather. Or maybe it's not even that, but no one seems to be able to hit at this point in the season. You've got the incredibly awful Kyle Lohse going 8 innings, giving up no runs on 4 hits, striking out 12, same game Ted Lillly gives up one run on two hits through six, striking out 10, Jose Contreras gave up just one hit and zero earned in his outing, Sabathia gives up one run on 5 hits, ten strikeouts, and Josh Towers, who shouldn't even be in the bigs went 7 and 2 thirds, gave up zero earned on 3 hits. Going into today 21 teams had an ERA under 4, 26 under 4.50. The Phillies seem to be one of the very few teams that are actually pitching worse than you would expect

I wonder if Ichiro decides to become a free agent if Pat Gillick will go after him. As a person who loves his former players I think this is the one that i would want to see the most.

ESPN is reporting Mussina & Pavono were put on the DL today, it might be soon time for Gillick to start getting some calls from Cashman.

Isn't it time to see whether Ruiz can be a ML catcher? Stick him out there 6 days a week and lets see what happens. And if the guy hits like he looks like he will hit, we can afford to have Nunez out there more often. The baserunner a game Nunez prevents is as good as a hit.

Sam Mc, I doubt the Phils will try for Ichiro, especially if they didn't try for Carlos Lee (who had three homers in one night while the 'stros paid us a visit), Soriano (who's been awful so far) or any other big-name sluggers.

The player I'd most like to see them go after during this off-season would be Eric Byrnes. He's done very well so far this year, and is capable of hitting for power and stealing some bases. He could play right, allowing Victorino to shift to center (where I believe he's more comfortable and gets better reads on the ball). Byrnes is a cheaper alternative to high-priced stars such as Andruw or Ichiro.

JB: Lieber for Abreu?

Ichiro's very, very overrated. As he gets older and loses a step, he won't even continue to hit for that high an average anymore. Doesn't take walks and hardly any power - in the past two seasons he only hit 41 DOUBLES. I'm not even sure I like him going into the future as a hitter as much as I like Jimmy Rollins.

Here's a Beerleaguer poster trend I'd like to nip in the bud: More playing time for Nunez. Once or twice a week to keep him fresh is fine. The man is a lifetime .240 hitter with extremely poor OB and no power. As bad as Helms is in the field, he cannot possibly let in more runs than Nunez will suck out of the offense.

Great point clout. I have no confidence at all in Nunez when he is up there. This is a kind of related and maybe I'm wrong but.. who has a problem with manuel when he pinch runs bourn for burell every freaking 7th inning when there up?! Yesterday, phils had the bases loaded with 2 outs and here comes michael bourn looking lost at the plate. I get where Charlie is going with this but when your bullpen sucks as bad as it does you still need your offensive weapons in the game. Michael Bourn is a poor man's Endy Chavez when he was on the Phils.

as long as he's playing like a champ, burrell should be out there everyday and he shouldn't be replaced for a pinch runner unless it's a critical situation or until it's almost 100% that he won't bat again.

i don't think bourn is much like endy chavez, though.

(and thanks for that needed reality check on nunez, clout)

Rain sucks, Madson sucks worse!

I'm just playing around. But seriously, the Phils needed today to build some momentum and instead of the bullpen or offense failing them, goold ol' mother nature screwed 'em.

Dobbs started one game at third and I know he got a hit. Why isn't he starting some games? He can't be any worse than Helms defensively.

Not worried about Garcia at all. Excited, really. AND I agree with Clout. No to Nunez (except here and there).

Haha so we don't have to deal with everyone wearing 42 and looking like idiots? Nice...

Clout rounded up yesterday's positives nicely in the last thread. Tomorrow, I'll do a positive entry on Jimmy and some other things.

Some random stuff:

I woke up this morning and thought about the lineup and wondered if it's worth trying Ruiz in the No. 2 hole. Then I reconsidered. I kind of like having him hit seventh or eighth. Pitchers aren't expecting him just yet. I look forward to his at bats. He's definitely getting some chances to knock in runs this season.

No matter what, I'll always like Ruiz, but now you know why I've been high on his ability to help this team. His minor league progression just kept getting better and better and he really has a nice swing. Remember, he started playing organized ball pretty late, and was originally a second baseman. Good swing, and surprising speed. He got a SB yesterday (on Dobbs horrid swing).

Which brings me to my next point. Dobbs is starting to look like the kind of hitter who needs regular ABs. Spring wonder. I don't like the bench. One benefit to having Nunez start is having Helms as your go-to pinch hitter in a big spot. Just something to consider.

Victorino needs a day off. For the most part, he's hitting the ball okay but having some tough luck. I'd still give him the extra day. So far, he hasn't proven himself as an everyday player.

What has the temperature been like in Ottawa and the International League? No home runs yet from the Lynx offense. Bisenius, Brito, Coste, Segovia all suffering the heartbreak of demotion as all are off to rocky starts.

One way to make relievers more comfortable is to define their roles, and that's happening a little with Alfonseca in the set-up position. Everyone agrees bullpen is a major problem area, but you have to start somewhere. I'd roll with him for a little while, and start building a foundation around him with Geary, Madson, Rosario.

That's all for tonight.

"Madson is too valuable as a long man."

kdon, you are joking, right? He doesn't belong on this team. I would have been fine it Condrey stayed and Madson went to AAA, million dollar salary or not. He sucks and has shown nothing in more than a season to show he deserves to be on the major league roster.

Why is every outlet saying the game has not been rescheduled yet, when the Phillies schedule says it has? The Phillies main page said so as well earlier, but I notice now that it has changed.

"As bad as Helms is in the field, he cannot possibly let in more runs than Nunez will suck out of the offense."

Sure he can. This Pen has a hard enough time getting 3 outs in an inning. Each time they have to get 4, its gonna be game over.

Remember, this lineup scored more than enough runs after Aug, 1 2006. If Ruiz hits, and certainly as long as Burrell and Rowand are hitting, a weak #8 hitter is the least of our worries.

"Dobbs is starting to look like the kind of hitter who needs regular ABs."

Unfortunately, that also looks to be the case with Nunez and Bourn, as it was with Alex Gonzalez. Gillick has shown a tendency to stick guys not accustomed to pinch-hitting or irregular playing time, and hoping for results from them in part-time roles. Sometimes this works out - as with Victorino last year - but sometimes it doesn't, and it's always a gamble if you're *expecting* it to. Sending Lieber to the bullpen is just an extension of this kind of wishful thinking.

Too much is being made of the fielding differences between Helms and Nunez. By that line of thinking, Werth should be playing over Victorino because his range factor in the field is higher as well as having a better season at the plate. Helms will be fine. It is too early to worry.

"who has a problem with manuel when he pinch runs bourn for burell every freaking 7th inning when there up?!"

I hate to say I told you so, but I predicted this as soon as Bourn made the team. Wasn't that a nice 3-pitch strikeout in the 7th on Saturday?

"name one person with a defined [bullpen] role besides Gordon"

Oh, heaven forbid, please God don't leave us a bullpen in which pitchers have no defined role! Lord have mercy!

"One way to make relievers more comfortable is to define their roles..."

Can we -- and major league pitchers -- please grow up? Here's your defined role: Whenever you're put in the game, get the batters out. When did major leaguers turn into such babies?

"By that line of thinking, Werth should be playing over Victorino because his range factor in the field is higher..."

Range factor is a flawed stat -- all defensive metrics are, which is why many teams have their own secret fielding stats -- even when it's used for full-time players. For part-timers, it's beyond useless. Victorino is clearly faster and can reach more balls, no matter what the range factor says.

"Helms will be fine."

I rather doubt it. The Phillies appear to be the only major league team that thinks he can adequately field 3B. While I would normally second Clout and his preference for offense at the position, Helms looks like the second coming of the post-back-injury David Bell to me. This is a pitching staff that doesn't miss all that many bats, backed by an infield that, when Helms plays, sports only one above-average fielder. Nunez isn't exactly Rolen out there, but he's better than average. I wouldn't mind seeing a platoon develop.

It amazes but from the posts in this thread people must not being paying attention to the games. Yeah, the pitching has been generally horrible but the offense has really struggled too. Playing Nunez alot will not help the offense get going at all.

Nunez is a decent 3B and a below-average SS. Not like putting Brooks Robinson out there. Nunez is not going to prevent that many runs with his glove.

As for his offensive, Nunez is next to worthless with a bat. Nunez does not bring a single thing to this team offensively. Doesn't hit for average, power, or get on base via walks. Plus, you can't hit and run with Nunez because he is a mediocre contact hitter and Nunez is an average bunter at best.

The only role I like Nunez is as a late-inning defensive replacement at 3B for Helms and 1 start a week. That is it.

Plus, Nunez is making $2.5 million this year. Gillick has made several bad moves but this is up there at the top of the list.

Helms' bat will out-weigh Nunez's defense...therefore Helms starts 5 times a week with Nunez/Dobbs getting spot starts.

"What has the temperature been like in Ottawa and the International League? No home runs yet from the Lynx offense. Bisenius, Brito, Coste, Segovia all suffering the heartbreak of demotion as all are off to rocky starts."

Actually, the Ottawa Lynx haven't yet played in Ottawa -- they will this week when they get the snow off the field -- but the weather in Buffalo was in the mid 30's at the start of all four Lynx afternoon games there.

As for Chris Coste, he's only been with the Lynx for six games -- and he now has a four-game hitting streak. Coste had the big hit in the second game of the Lynx' doubleheader at Syracuse on Saturday (game time temp 44 degrees). "Chris Coste's two-run double helped Matt Childers defeat host Syracuse 4-3 in the second game of an International League doubleheader on Saturday." link:
http://www.mcall.com/sports/baseball/all-minors.5803406apr15,0,3005558.story

MG: Obviously, I'm with you on the Helms/Nunez debate. But I beleive there are some measurable stats that can determine whether Nunez's glove saves as many runs as the Phils lose by subbing him for Helms. Based solely on offense and last season, Nunez makes an out in 69% of his plate appearances. Helms makes an out 61% of his plate appearances. Additionally Helms gets an extra base hit in 13% of his plate appearances, while Nunez gets an extra base hit in 4% of his PAs. So you have to believe that increasing your out production by 8% and reducing your extra base hit production by 9% in one lineup spot will not cost the team as many runs as will be saved by Nunez's glove at 3B.
Given the number of chances per game you get at 3B and given that Nunuez is a good, not great glove at 3B, I don't think the case for him holds up. He costs your offense more runs than his glove saves, compared to Helms.

Madson has NO upside. Helms is a typical "contract year signing"He's a 260 hitter w/ 20 HR POTENTIAL. This combination (along with his fielding butchery) puts him in the lower 25th percentile of National League This is all I expect from him.. I guess I'll dream of A-Rod for next yr.. (hell.. he once played in Seattle, right???)

Interesting numbers, but you know what they say about statistics. Adjust those numbers for the facts that Helms had a career year last year; and Nunez had a subpar year (or just use his stats after Aug. 1 when he was playing) and the differential disappears, or is easily matched by Helms miscues per hundred chances. Heck, he has 5 or 6 miscues now in far less than 100 chances.

What I want to know is why Gillick didn't go after Iwamura playing 3B for Tampa -- the can actually hit AND catch.

curt: Helms does indeed make 6 errors per 100 chances at 3B. Nunez makes 4 errors per 100 chances at 3B. Are you saying the difference of those 2 errors saves more runs than Nunez costs the team on offense?

so curt... i gues you agreed with me?? I wasn't championing either one.. They're BOTH way below average for ALL 3B. It's a power position that demands AT LEAST avg fielding..Even as a platoon.. the Phillies fall well short in BOTH categories.

"I guess I'll dream of A-Rod for next yr"

That is definetly all it will be is a dream. He won't want to play in Philly and even if he does he will be too expensive for the owners to drink that kool-aid.

I like clout's assessment. When I broke down Helms vs. Bell a month or so ago, career stats at 3B had Helms making, on average, 6 more errors in a season than Bell. That was based off of 353 fielding attempts (or just over 2/game), an average Bell season at third.

Let's say that the season is especially active with balls hit to our Philly 3B at 430 attempts. Helms lifetime 3B fielding % would give him ~27.7 errors. Nunez and his .959 lifetime 3B fielding % would have just over 17 errors - basically a 10 error difference over the season. Obviously, game specific consequences would dictate as to exactly how many more runs that would cost the Phils, however, I would find it very hard to argue that Nunez's feable bat could keep up with Helms to offset just 10 more errors over 162 games.

clout--

I don't know where those numbers come from. Here's what I'm saying. This year official stats say that Helms has 2 errors in 20 chances. I'm saying he made the 2 errors, plus there are a 3-4 other plays that should have been made, and that Nunez would have made.

The official stats also say Nunez has 0 errors in 15 chances. There are no plays that he didn't make that Helms would have made.

At the plate, Helms has 3 times the appearances than Nunez. Assuming Nunez would have done no better in a full time role (which we know isn't true), Helms has 3 more hits and 2 more walks than would Nunez in the same number of ABs. I'd say it's a wash -- and that's assuming that Nunez would keep hitting only .182.

to me, there's no question that i'd rather have helms out there most days over nunez. helms is a butcher to watch in the field, but he makes the routine plays (usually), and, unlike nunez, he is actually something of a threat at the plate.

now forgive me for bringing up coste. i don't have the stats in front of me, but surely coste would have been capable of playing 3B (on a part-time basis) with as much aplomb as helms, right? were they so confident in helms that they didn't even consider the option of a helms/coste/nunez platoon at 3B with coste able to play some days at C? seems that would really boost the roster's flexibility.

No to Coste at 3b.

hippo, the Coste-at-third question is something that's I've wondered too. Coste played 93 games at third in 2005 for our own AAA team. he managed a .956 fielding percentage - about average for a 3B. Helms is .935 on his career and Nunez is .961. his range factor was 2.57 - definitely above average, although well shy of a Scott Rolen or Eric Chavez. Helms is 2.01 on his career and Nunez is 2.51.

now given, that's a small sample size and the only time in Coste's career that he played at third for a significant amount of time (after that season, his most was 26 games in the indies back in 1997). and given that I didn't see him play live that year, and those stats could be misleading about his real skill at third.

but even given that, Dobbs was a butcher in his brief stints at third in the minors, and Helms (as a proven quantity) is well below average at third. I can't see how it would have hurt to give Coste a shot there in spring training - aside from the apparent fact that Gillick has no interest in Coste and a vested interest in Dobbs.

Quote from Peter King on SI.com:
"Mike Scioscia's a great manager. Charlie Manuel's not. The Phillies look like they never went to spring training."

and I'm really not trying to drink the Koste Kool-Aid here. but it's very frustrating to see Gillick do the same dumb things Wade always did - i.e. overvaluing veteranocity or toolsiness, even when there's other players equally deserving of playing time.

Just a note about werth. the strikeouts aren't great (small sample size and everything, but he's on 1 every 3 at bats, NL league avg right now is 1 every 5.12.), but I'm gladdened to see that he's putting respectable At-bats - 4.79 P/PA. As a consequence, he is getting on (.389 OBP right now) but without any of the power which was meant to develop all those years ago, it's not looking great.

Maybe (only 15 ABs so far) the power is going to come round - if he's fighting to get good pitches, it could be a matter of time.

" The Phillies look like they never went to spring training."

Yeah, it looked that way before the first pitch of the season -- Cholly's Utley at cleanup lineup, and it only got worse (who will ever forget Vic stealing 3rd?)

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