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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

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Sweet. Win tonight. And tomorrow afternoon.

A sweep would help erase the remains of the bitter taste in my mouth from the first two weeks of the season.

I'd like to see Ryan get untracked. It's tough to watch the big fella struggle - in this case, for the first time as a major leaguer.

He'll figure it out. I hope it's tonight.

To the note in the earlier thread about Lieber no longer being trade-able as he's not a 6th starting pitcher anymore, I'm just curious as to how many posters on this site really believe that Myers days as a starting pitcher are truly over and done with?

I'm not saying that facetiously, I'm just really curious as to where everyone's head is on this decision now that we're a few days behind it. I, for one, have trouble believing much of what comes out of the mouths of Phils brass at any point in time, so I guess that I never really bought it as being "permanent." Maybe even for the balance of the season, but I just don't see Myers finishing off his career as a 'pen guy, even if he's a rather effective closer. Just curious if I'm in the minority.

I think that starting pitching is such a hot commodity that most teams need that we could use a starter as trade bait to fill more holes, as opposed to sticking one in the 'pen to address just one need.

WP - there's over and done with, and there's over and done with for this season. I think Phillies management & general management would have a very difficult time moving Myers back into the rotation *during this season* (especially given Manuel's rep as a players' coach) - not so during the offseason.

if Gillick gets a Godfather offer (i.e. one he can't refuse) from the Yankees or someone, then by all means go for it. but it will inevitably cause much consternation, name-calling, and dissatisfaction on all sides, so it had better be worth it.

Myers will stay in the pen for Lieber will not be traded.

I'm with the previous poster: Myers does not want to come back and forth.

Plus, I still think Flash is done. That's why Charlie put myers in the pen rather than beg Gillick for some journeyman set-up man like the Octopus. He knows he needs a lights-out closer.

Also, something we all should keep in mind: One or more starters will be on the DL at some point this season. Most likely, Segovia and either Happ or Brito will both see some time in Philly.

I think it's clear that Myers is being groomed as the team's next closer.

One only has to look as far as Atlanta and John Smoltz to see how a stud pitcher can be best utilized in the closer role for a couple/three seasons and then re-enter the rotation, as needed.

It's hard to imagine Myers won't revert to being a starting pitcher before his career is over. It's just as likely as not that he'll start next year - or even before the end of this year. I think he can be a good closer, but there's no chance he'll be dominant enough in that role to preclude anyone from thinking of him as a potential starter.

But I do agree with ae: Myers will go back to the rotation in the off-season.

Myers going back is a no-brainer. Lieber and Garcia will be gone as FAs and Moyer pitching at 45 is just not that likely. Myers, Hamels, blank, blank, and Eaton is tough enough of an offseason assignment as it is.

It's just too early to talk about Myers in 2008. If he turns into a lights-out closer, it's going to be tough to justify moving him back.

WP, ae is absolutely correct. Any trade by the Phillies of a starting pitcher would almost have to be as lopsided as the Abreu deal to the Yankees.

If they were to trade Lieber, the would have to move Myers back to the rotation, so any reliever (and prospects) you get in return would have to be as good as Myers in the pen, otherwise it's a negative for the bullpen.

What teams out there are willing to, are desperate enough, and have the talent in the pen to give up for Lieber?

J, that's true, it's going to be tough paying a largely unproven (because even if he's lights-out this year, the history of baseball is littered with one-year RP wonders) reliever $10.25M AAV over the next two years, though.

oops, last post should read "that's true, but"

There are other factors, too. Moyer could decide to hang them up. That would make three holes in the rotation. The point being, it's just too early to talk about 2008 and Myers.

"I think it's clear that Myers is being groomed as the team's next closer."

I don't think this is true at all. Manuel himself admitted that if the team was playing well to begin the season, they wouldn't have made the switch.

In all likelyhood, Myers stays in the pen until either a) a starter goes down with a serious injury that puts them on the 60-day DL, or b) a team comes along with a great package for Lieber.

One nice thing about the move is that it was done prior to stretch against weak opponents. Again, Lieber is the key.

Very intriguing. It seems that the concensus is that the move is "permanant" in that it will last at least through the balance of this season. That being said, if a trade is a possibility, many have already outlined the holes that need to be filled going into 2008 (Rowand, also). A lefty reliever and a decent bench bat are still a "wants" for this year, but it sounds like there are plenty of "needs" for next year and the forseeable future.

We could learn a lot about the direction that this team plans on taking by any moves or non-moves made this year.

I do agree with ae in that it is awfully hard for me to think that the fiscally prudent Phillies are going to pay Myers what they're paying him, even if he turns out to be Papelbon-esque.

Lieber IS the key...

From Todd Zolecki's blog:

"I thought the Phillies made that move last week in Washington for two reasons: 1) They felt Jon Lieber would be much more effective as a starter, and 2) They were more concerned about Gordon than they had let on. Gordon has not looked sharp this season. In his first six appearances, he has not thrown a clean inning. He has not thrown his curveball nearly as much as he had in the past. I think the Phillies felt they needed to get Myers in there and accustomed to the bullpen ASAP so he could be immediately effective as a closer if the time came when they no longer could count on Gordon to get the job done."

Reading above, it sure sounds to me that Brett is going to get a good, LOOONG look as the "closer of the future."

I am confident that Myers will remain in the pen for this season. However, the very sight of a totally washed up Flash pitching in the 9th continues to make me sick. The Phils do NOT have time to "groom" Myers to be their closer. Everyone knows his stuff is better than Gordon's. Charlie's consistent reliance on being a "players' manager" has hurt the team in the past with Bell (Polanco was better), Lieberthal (anyone with a pulse was better), not to mention sitting Chase and Howard for too long so as not to piss off the veterans. Who cares what Flash wants, he stinks. He was extremely lucky that Howard got that ball on the 1B line last night. It is time that Brett is announced as the team's closer.

I like the way that Myers is being eased into the role. THere is no reason to feed him to the lions if Flash is still servicable.

Joe: That is ridiculous. Brett Myers needs to "eased" into something?? He is supposed to be the teams ace and one of the best pitchers in the NL. And have you actually watched Flash this season? "Servicable" is not the first word that comes to my mind.

John Patterson seems like too good of a pitcher to keep scuffling along like he has been so far this season. But I really don't care about his mental psyche so keep piling on the pain Phils!

zeke -

there is a huge difference between approach for 1-2 innings in relief, and 6-9 as a starter.

There are also adjustments to make to not pitching on a set 5 day schedule.

Its a long season. Maybe it takes 2-3 weeks to ease Myers into a new routine in order to avoid injury and mental issues.

"Everyone knows his (Myers') stuff is better than Gordon's."

Is it? That's debatable. Gordon still has some nasty stuff. People seem to biased against Flash because he's old. If he was 29 and had the arm he did, he wouldn't be dismissed so easily. If he gets his curve back and harnesses his command, I'll take my chances with him in the ninth. Myers is *not* going to be some automatic, sure-fire closer, I guarantee you. You think Flash gives up too many homers? Wait'll you see Myers in the ninth.

Hey Rick. I would be more than happy if Gordon got "his curve back and harnesses his command" because then the Phils pen would be awesome. I just don't see it happening. I don't think Gordon has been any good since last July. I hope you are right.

I can think of approximately 10 million reasons Myers is not the "closer of the future." That's a ridiculous sum to pay any closer, let alone someone who hasn't done the job yet. It's one thing to do this on an emergency basis, which is what I would consider this, entirely another to do it on purpose.

We discussed this a few days ago, and other than Dave Righetti, I cannot recall a top-quality starting pitcher who made a successful long-term switch to closer. Smoltz made the change because his surgically repaired arm was thought to be too tender to pitch a starter's workload. Dennis Eckersley was no longer a front-line starter when he was switched.

The Phillies themselves have fooled around with making struggling starters into relievers. The two most recent (let me know if I'm forgetting someone) were Mark Leiter and Heath Slocumb. Both had very promising first seasons in the bullpen; both were soon afterward out of baseball with arm injuries.

Granted, Myers is younger and seems to have a more durable arm, but I guarantee you they're not going to fool around much with a guy who still has more than $20 million guaranteed to him after this season.

I thought I remembered some posts from last season regarding Myers' ERA by inning, with the suggestion being that he took a couple of innings before finally settling down. I couldn't find within the archives and couldn't dig up his ERA by inning. It would be interesting to take a look at. If that is, indeed, the case, then I do believe that an "adjustment period" is absolutely necessary before making him the closer, Zeke.

Alby really does nail it all, though, in a nutshell. As I've posted (many times) before, even though we often try to convince ourselves otherwise, you can follow the $'s and predict how the Philly Front Office will move. The Myers contract sticks out like a sore thumb.

Alby, surely you haven't forgotten the successful re-transition of one Ryan Madson to the 'pen. *Tongue firmly in cheek*

I'd rather Gordon keep the closer's job. He'll have an easier job than Myers that way, as I can't see, with Myers now in the pen, Gordon coming in for more than one-inning stints. That means he starts every appearance with no one on base. Myers is going to be the one they turn to when someone screws up in the 7th or 8th and they need to get out of a jam. If he had the "closer" tag on him, I don't think that they would. If they're going to keep him in the bullpen, which unfortunately it seems like the are, they should at least take advantage of his superlative (relative to the rest) ability to pitch and go multiple innings, which is a far more valuable use for him than sending him in for short times with 3-run leads and no one on base.

Lineups

Phils go with standard lineup again with Ruiz catching. Nats starting Fick this evening in LF.

Phils
1. J Rollins, SS
2. S Victorino, RF
3. C Utley, 2B
4. R Howard, 1B
5. P Burrell, LF
6. W Helms, 3B
7. A Rowand, CF
8. C Ruiz, C
9. J Lieber, P

Nats
1. F Lopez, SS
2. R Belliard, 2B
3. R Zimmerman, 3B
4. D Young, 1B
5. A Kearns, RF
6. R Church, CF
7. R Fick, LF
8. B Schneider, C
9. J Patterson, P

I personally view the Myers-to-bullpen move as total desperation. And, because I agree with RSB that Flash is being discriminated against for his age right now, I want to wait to throw in the towel...and douse it with kerosene. Gordon was pretty good in the first half last year, and maybe a little strain will be taken off so he won’t be so top-heavy. Money tells me that Myers is not going to stick around in the pen for longer than a year, but moving Liebe up into the rotation improves his trade value if he pitches well, or forces him into the pen with his awfulness. Then maybe he won’t cry about it and start working on earning next year’s paycheck (see: Soriano). Not to mention, wouldn’t we like six starters if we make the post-season?

Let’s swat them Nats.

I can't believe that people are even debating if Myers has better stuff at this point than Gordon.

Gordon has shown this season that he is only really has one pitch - his fastball. That might would ok if he throw 97 or 98 consistently or if he complimented a 2-seamer with a 4-seamer fastball. From what I have seen so far, that is just not the case.

Unless Gordon can bring throwing his curve again (and for strikes), he is very hittable at this point.

I would agree with other posters that have said the Phillies are showcasing Lieber for a potential trade. If Lieber gets traded (or there is an injury to a starter), Myers will be back in the rotation in a heartbeat. I do not agree that he is being groomed to be the closer.

Valjean, If you could explain the six starters in the post season comment when you don't need more than 4.

This year, I suspect that Brett Myers will remain in the bullpen, more likely than not as the closer at some point. However, in the offseason I believe that in-house prospect Bisenius will be given a long look, but that the club will more likely look to free agency for a passable closer who can hold down the position until Bisenius or Mathieson are ready. I'm worried about how much money the Phils will have to spend and will be willing to spend on a closer next offseason, and am not even certain who will be available in free agency for that position, but I think management will find that Myers' presence will be needed in the potentially Garcia-less and Lieber-less rotation.

I'm with Josh M and Jason. Based on statements from both Manuel and Myers, Myers stays in the 'pen this season. Next season is anybody's guess. They'll have 2 holes in the rotation and the same bullpen problems they have now. Myers role will depend on what players the team acquires in the offseason. Mathieson, Segovia, Happ etc. are candidates to fill some holes, but none is a guarantee to succeed at the major league level.

Did Lieber really just get through the first inning in about 5 minutes? 2 K's, one Fly Out. I probably shouldn't be getting excited.

Alby: not important really, but I don't think Slocumb was ever a starter.

MG: you're incorrect that Gordon has only been throwing the fastball. He's also been throwing a cutter and a tight slider and been getting outs with both of them.

Chris, don't get too excited. Patterson, who usually gives the Phils fits, seems to have his 'stuff' tonight too.

A 13 pitch first inning for Lieber. Something I really like about Lieber being back in the rotation, and his location in the rotation, is that historically he has been a quick worker on the mound. I love how he follows Moyer and contrasts Moyer's extremely slow style - it has potential to be disconcerting to the opposing team in the first couple frames.

Yeah he just made Howard look foolish. Howard is also definitely standing closer to the plate than he did last year for those of you who I posted with a game or two ago. In every picture I can find commemorating the MVP year, his heels are right at the edge of the batters box. He's I'm guessing probably a foot closer to the plate this year. I'm desperately hoping that's a change that was made on purpose and it isn't something he's trying himself.

4 K's to 5 batters?... Leiber has it going tonight.

BillyMac: I am thinking here of a situation where, after winning a long series, then beginning a new one. It makes the biggest difference the further you go in October, assuming that you are bogged down in long-series after long-series...Teams do not carry six starters, and this us an empirical argument, but I have observed teams being overly concerned the last few play-offs with the quality of the rest for their starting pitchers. Nonetheless, I think there are hidden merits of having quality starting pitching in the bullpen. Who better than Myers to come into a late-season game versus the Mets, when our starter gets chased in the sixth, say 7-7 game?

Please don't get me confused though, I don't like an ace in the 'pen, ever. But our staff is built so that Myers is the obvious choice: Hamels needs to grow, Garcia eats up innings for the leaky relievers, Eaton doesn't need to be throwing so often on that arm, Moyer is too old to go everyday (his stuff is too unique to be wasted in relief, while there is still gas in the tank). I would much rather stick Lieber the whiny-ten-year-old out there. Give him the fifth/sixth/seventh.... I dig the K's though ...

4 K's now for Lieber.

If Mathieson is going to be the fifth starter, that would make Eaton the fourth. I shudder at that thought.

One more: Explain why Rowand isn't hitting behind Burrell.

What's the difference if Rowand is hitting behind Burrell or not?

Because Cholly used a permanent marker for his lineup cards by accident. They bled through and now all of them have Rowand written in as the 7th spot.

I know Helms got some press last night for the hit, but he also wiffed early on, and has come up in the past with quality outs "in the clutch." Meanwhile, Rowand pumps out hits like his eye wasn't damaged in the crash. Shouldn't he be hitting behind Burrell (or behind Rollins, for that matter)?

youze guys are complaining about the lineup in the middle of a win streak?

Helms is hitting .300.

I don't disagree about Rowand hitting second, but whether he's sixth or seventh makes virtually no difference. Helms probably has more power than Rowand over the long haul.

John Lieber better be careful, he might just substantially increase his trade value.

In other knews: Yanks sign Hideki Irabu off waivers from the Boxcar Bums of the Federal Financial Dependent League.

Rollins not taking as many pitches out of that leadoff spot lately. The way he's hitting, I can understand why he wants to swing the bat, but he needs to zone in a little better.

Howaaad!!!!

Now that's pretty!

Noyce!!!

Uts and Ryno doin' their thing.

Love what I'm seeing from this team, right now.

Unfortunate series of events:

1) Minimized the paper and writing to pull up mlb.tv

2) Watched Utley's double

3) Refreshed this thread to see "Howaaad, that's pretty"

4) Watched Howard take ball 1 and tried to figure out what you guys were talking about.

5) Watched Home Run.

If only I wasn't on wireless so I wouldn't have to wait for the feed to load for so long...

Muts News: The vaunted (Here nonetheless) Mike Pelfrey gives up 8 hits, 6 ER in 3 innings. I'm not so hot with math, what does ERA equal out to??? I believe someone said earlier in the season that they would trade the Phils rotation straight up for the Muts rotation. I was bashed for not being a Peltrey believer. Let the record be clear: I would not trade John Lieber's box of doughnuts for the Muts rotation.

The Mets' pitching is going to catch up to them. It just is. They're going to need to get someone at the deadline if they expect to make the playoffs.

RSB - Couldn't agree more. No way Maine and Perez keep pitching this well and El Duque is pretty likely to wear down as it warms up.

One thing that looks really solid though is the Mets bullpen. Mets might miss Sanchez and Bradford in the long run but I still really the collection of arms in the Mets pen.

Parker - I don't recall anyone saying that.

ok why are we worrying about the mets when we are 8-11 and they are 13-7 with no offense from wright and delgado

MG:

I think the person they'll miss the most is Darren Oliver. Their long-relief guy is Aaron Sele now, who, as Parker didn't mention, gave up 4 ER in 2 Innings. While not lights out, Oliver was a solid guy out of the pen for them and held them in more games then they should have been.

My point a while back was that Pelfrey was young and would be inconsistent. I dont remember who was trumping him up, but someone definitely was. I didnt mention Aaron Sele because Paltrey gave up 8 H, 6 ER, in 3 innings. I've known that Sele sucks for about 4 years now.

Mg, as far as someone saying that about the hypothetical swap of rotations: someone definitely said that, I would not forget that kind of bogus statement.

Why was Howard intentionally walked?

Pretty simple, Joe - man on 2nd, base open, 2 outs, RH pitcher...

Helms

moment of truth

let's really see how good he is in "clutch" situations

Now *there's* an example of bad luck.

Could have been better, but a really nice catch by Fick.

Another Quality start from Lieber.

Another quality move by Cholly. Or not.

Howard Eskin: Hypothetically (if by some miracle) the Phillies make the playoffs or the WS. Does Howard Eskin get the boot out of Philadelphia. I've had never heard this guy until the Manual thing, but he struck me as extremely annoying very early on.

It's really, really great to see Chase back in form. Now hopefully Ryan will join him and this offense can really get started.

Other Kevin: you know he homered tonight, right? Not being scarcastic, just didnt know if you knew.

Wow, Vic was safe there.

Sliiiiiiiiide!!!!

Very good outing by Lieber. One shaky inning that included a misplay by Rollins. It won't show up in the box scores, but that was some of the best pitching I've seen from Lieber tonight.

And, yes, the offense keeps hitting. Very soon I may start believing in them ...

Oh yeah, I know. I guess I'm saying that I hope he starts consistently hitting over the next several games. Chase seems to have put it together over the last four or five games – I'd like to see Howard do the same.

If those two guys can get it going while Rollins, Rowand and Ruiz are doing what they're doing, plus we continue to get solid starting pitching, this team could be poised to get back into it.

Yeah, the rewind function on mlb.tv clearly reveals he stepped on the plate before the tag was applied.

Is it just my imagination or do the Phils (especially the younger guys) make way too many baserunning mistakes?

ladies and gentlemen,

i believe it is time for mr. smith to go to ottawa.

Smith is looking GOOD tonight.

Victorino with another mental baserunning error. Got to slide on that play at home. Ugh.

matt smith has 10 BBs in 3+ IP this year. no problem, he pitched well in a loss against the astros last year, so he's earned a major league job.

Weitzel - Repeat after me five times before you have dreams about October again, "Its only the Nats"

Mikey, that very well may have been a mistake, but he was safe. And Matthew "Detroit Tiger" Smith costs us another run. Get the Gas Can.

Time for Smith to go to Ottawa and recall Brito.

or fabio.

That's pretty disappointing. The game is essentially wide open for Smith to make his pitches. Let's hope the offense can tack on more runs so Francisco Rosario gets the call instead of one of the important pitchers.

Parker, I agree he was safe, but if he slides, there is no doubt. It just seems that the two fastest guys on the team (Vic & Bourn)have some serious baserunning issues. How do these guys - with the gifts they have - get all the way through the minors without some basic baserunning skills? Must be "The Phillies Way".

MG, may only be the Nats, but I think you are forgetting that if not for the horrible start of the bullpen, this team has about 12 or 13 wins.

yeh, i'm sure that he knew that was a true pressure free chance.

and then it looked like he had the yips on the throw to second.

i'd like to see rosario here regardless, a little pressure would be nice.

Smith looks like he's trying to be too 'fine' with his pitches. I know you don't want to throw them over the middle of the plate, but his pitches are missing by a lot. He's not close to the groove he was in at the end of last season.

This may sound crazy, and maybe my TV is going bad, but are the Phillies' hats darker than they were earlier this year? It looks like they are closer to the pre 1993 color? Is it my TV or are they a little darker?

Braves lose! Wick blows save. Yeees! (Gotta love those White Sox Announcers)

Can anyone answer this question:

Has Geoff Geary become a one batter pitcher? Why wasn't he brought out for the eigth inning? Am I missing something?

Sorry - that's three questions.

@MikeyBloom

Remember, you're talking about the same minor system that somehow did not get across to Carlos Ruiz that it is okay to take a pitch every so often. With the current manager being a former hitting coach who was confused by the double switch, you can guess what the emphasis must be on in "The Phillies Way."

Marlins score 4 in bottom of ninth. Winning run scores on passed ball. Got a chance to pick up a game on both leaders tonight.

Parker,


Wasn't me who said he'd trade the Phils rotation for the Mets rotation. However, I was touting Pelfrey. He's a TOP prospect. I like that he's getting beat, though.

Saw that Padilla looked bad again tonight.

triple? damn bourn can run!

The Bourne Identity?? Alright cheesy but that looked good.

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