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Friday, April 13, 2007


I'm headed down to the ballpark tonight to watch the game. I'll brave the cold for a chance to eat dollar dogs. Even though I should know better by now, I'm feeling optimistic about tonight. As J. mentioned above, most of the games so far have been against LH starters. Perhaps seeing a righty will give our lineup a boost, even though that righty is Oswalt. They have to start hitting sometime...right?...right?

I drafted Oswalt in 2 leagues, but I hope he gets torched tonight!

Really, how long can they continue to suck so bad? This team has a lot of talent that just isn't producing as a team right now. I'm not saying they're necessarily a playoff team (in my fantasy land they are), but they're not one of the worst in baseball either.

They have to start hitting sometime, but it isn't going to be tonight against Oswalt in 40 degree weather. Myers is going to have to dial up a good one, as the headline says.

Carson, when will it become apparent that it is not about talent with this team - it is about playing the game correctly. I firmly believe the Phillies could merge the best players from each All-Star team onto their roster and still finish out of the running because they simply do too many things to sabotage themselves. It is not a 'curse', it is the inevitable touchstone of an incompetent organization. I want to find every writer who was stupid enough to pick them to win the division and knock their heads together. You don't win on paper - you win on the field. It's like no one in this town, front office included, ever seems to get that through their skulls.

Well, you have to give the organization some credit RSB. I mean at least they passed over that loser Leyland to bring in a proven winner like Charlie Manuel.

No if only the Eagles could get Rich Kotite back we could finally get a superbowl around here.

Let me reiterate the point that RSB made: You win it on the field. The manager can only prepare so much. Execute, execute, execute! Charlie Manuel is a bad strategist but, as it has been said, is a "player's manager." Maybe that means he leaves them alone to do their own thing. I don't really know and neither do any of us. It makes him an average manager.

With the exception of Rollins and Burrell and the starting pitching, there doesn't seem to be a lot of focus from the players JW mentioned.

Has anyone seen these computer predictions they have now on

It says Houston is favored, even though the Phils are at home. Also, two things struck me with todays prediction:

1. The computers usually give Ryan Howard about a 30% chance of hitting a home run. Now that number's down to 25%. (As absolute numbers, those percentages seem pretty meaningless to me. But the relative drop seems significant.)

2. For the first game all season, the computer predicts Jimmy Rollins has a higher chance of hitting a home run than Chase Utley. Strange.

JR: I suspect SSS in action. It would be interesting to know how heavily the computer weights recent performance, and how far back it goes.

RSB: Doesn't talent include the ability to play the game correctly? I forget who posted it on a recent thread, but one of you posted a dead-on assessment by a major league scout of the Phillies talent: Several A quality stars and a whole lot of C-level supporting players. Overall, the Phillies are not as talented as Beerleaguers imagine.

I guess I'm referring to talent as commonly gauged by statistics, which is one of my cautions against using them exclusively in evaluating the effectiveness of players and teams. Stats won't tell you that Shane Victorino got himself out for the umpteenth time on a bad pitch, or ran the Phillies out of an inning, or when a player exercises poor judgment in swinging at the first pitch when a pitcher is wild, or if the on-deck batter is the tying run. The Phillies excel at providing reasons for fans to look between the lines, if they're so confounded as to why they can't ever win (or score runs consistently) with all these great players.

Forget dominance, I'll settle for a well-played game. Last night, victorino (or whoever is giving him signs) cost us one run with the idiocy of trying to steal with 3 balls on Ryan Howard. Wes Helms messed up two plays at third, giving the Mets 2 free runs- The first with an throwing error, the second by falling down trying to get to the bag on a bunt. Helms also looked weak at the plate- he got lucky on 2 squibs; Utley and Burrell got some decent contact- but right at the mets. Ruiz is slow.

This manager debate is just silly. It is the same answer everytime; managers only make a small difference, the players have to play the right, yata yada and of course yadda.

So what the hell is a manager for? Can anyone argue that Cholly makes good in-game decisions? Do you feel that his presence is imporving anyone's game? Is “keeping them loose” improving performance? Who should be held responsible if the players are not ready to play in April? What is the advantage of keeping Manuel? What is the possible downside of firing him?

Please any of you who believe that the manager does not own some of the blame for this teams start answer any of the questions above.

Completely off-topic... what's the interest in Brad Lidge? He's got an arm... but is his head shot?

RSB- I whole-heartedly agree with you. I meant the Phils are too talented to keep playing 2-7 baseball the entire season. I wasn't trying to suggest playoffs. This team is fundamentally unsound. They have gifted athletes that do well as solo acts, but mesh poorly as an actual team. I know games aren't won on paper, although that would be every statheads wet dream.

YT- I know Charlie Manuel can't go out there and play the game himself (thank Jeebus), but he does play a vital role in strategy (ie- pinch running/hitting, defensive allignments, pitching matchups, batting order, hit and run, etc.) And as many have pointed out, good ol' Charlie is deficient in the strategy area, and that starts to add up over the course of a 162 game season. Fire his ass now!

Is there anyone on this site who wouldn't fire Charlie Manuel if it were up to them?

I'm not saying he's the source of their problems, but would any of you keep him around?

If so, why?

I'm with RSB on this one. Firing Manuel is just a band-aid solution. The problems with this team go a lot deeper than that. After all, wasn't this team doing all the same things with Larry Bowa, the fiery strategist that everybody thinks we need. And how many championships did the ultimate baseball mind, Gene Mauch, win? No, its the players, folks! Pure and simple. I honestly question the intelligence of some of these guys and I think they're a reflection of the Phillies organization itself. Quite frankly, stupid people got stupid players.
By the way, RSB, do you remember the classic putdown Bill Conlin had of your namesake? He said that Rick Schu will never be a good ballplayer as long as his dick points south! I'll never forget that one.

Well I would fire Manuel, this awful start is the perfect excuse to finally fire him. I'm not saying it's his fault in any way, but he's just about the worst strategist you could have and if we're going to win the NL East or the wild card you need every win you can get.

There it is again, the snap assumption that if I don’t like Manuel, I must want Bowa.

Is there some rule that you can only be a fiery, beligerent manager or a mellow, slow witted one?

Perhaps we could have a manager who understands how to make a double switch, can call out a player in private when he makes a mistake and perhaps even explain to him what he should have been doing?

Why is it A or B?

Are you seriously telling me that our players are dumber then Johney Damon? Terry Francona seemed to be able to get him to play the right way. Have you ever seen Damon interviewed? I guarantee you that the equipment manager ties the guys shoes before games.

I'm not saying that you want Bowa because you don't like Manuel. I'm just saying that expecting a managerial change to rectify everything is putting too many eggs in one basket. I just don't think anybody can win with these players. I hope I'm wrong. And by the way, I'm not necessarily talking about a player's I.Q. I'm focusing more on their baseball smarts so to speak.

Yeah, we're seriously telling you that our players are dumber than "Johney" Damon. Johnny Damon, as far as I know, has "played the right way" wherever he went, in spite of his stupidity, so I wouldn't say his Royals or Red Sox or Yankees managers had much to do with it. I would just like a manager who makes intelligent playing time decisions, intelligent pinch-hitting decisions, intelligent bullpen decisions, doesn't wait too long to pull his pitchers out if they're not doing well, etc. And I wouldn't say that either Bowa or Manuel ever really fit that description. But you make a good point, the argument that because Bowa didn't work and Manuel didn't work, managing is not the or even a problem doesn't make too much sense. Just because they're different kinds of managers doesn't mean that either one was good.

And one more point, yt, do you trust this organization to come up with the kind of manager you described?

Manuel probably should have been fired after last season, after which it was wholly evident that he hadn't done enough to enable the team to overcome its traditional tightness. If you're going to run a loose ship, this is the only upside of it - that the team will relax enough to play to its capabilities. Not only has this not happened, but the loose ship has also resulted in a total breakdown of fundamentals, leadership, presence, accountability, and overall intelligent baseball. Nevertheless, it's hard to figure how anyone they'd care to replace him with would be able to suddenly come in and instill a whole new set of qualities on this club. The times for hirings and firings should be in the off-season, so a manager can establish whatever influence or identity he has to bear on the team through spring training camp. Doing it in-season smacks of knee-jerk desperation, and with rare exception, it's too late by May or June to expect a managerial change to have a long-term effect on a team. As far as I'm concerned, I could care less if Manuel is fired during the season, but it's pretty clear his way isn't working and everyone - fans, media, players, Manuel himself - knows it's a matter of time before he's gone. I suppose if it stays this bad, they ought to just put him out of his misery, but if it gets to that point, the season will be a lost cause anyway.

Pat the Bat is going yard tonight. Accompanied with a roarous Pat the Bat chant!!!

I honestly think that the only way firing Manuel has a positive impact on this team, as currently constructed, is if it works as some sort of catalyst (probably short term) where the team appears to get their act together around a common rallying point. I know we knock around the Abreu trade continually and the whole "addition by subtraction" that appeared to occur when it went down (albeit against inferior teams), however there was a lot of talk about how the team seemed more focused and seemed to be having more fun. I don't want to rehash the positives and negatives of that trade again, but often times "The Ewing Theory" (as Bill Simmons of ESPN Page 2 coined) comes into play where a team gets noticeably better after some sort of shake up.

I'm dubious, however, as to how long a team can live on that notion alone. At some point, chemistry, baseball savvy or general "talent" needs to be addressed, and that falls to Pat Gillick.

There's a great line in Frank Fitzpatrick's book about the 1980 Phils team about how we, as Philadelphia fans, want our managers to be "flinty-eyed little SOBs who love nothing better than the cerebral chess matches baseball games become." In short, three words - tough, edgy, and smart. Fregosi was probably the last that everyone would agree fits the bill. It's a question of who has the most of those three.

The odds are in our favor.....

That having been said, Brett can dial one up tonight. He has the fortitude to do it!

Positive waves, fellow fans, let's send positive waves to CBB tonight.

I think #5 will have a big night, I just feel it.

Brad, I like the way you think.

Considering the underachievings of Howard and Utley, so far, Burrell has a hell of an opportunity to actually win this crowd back in this series. "Pat the Bat! Pat the Bat!"

Mike H.: Fregosi was considerably less than popular in Philadelphia. I think the only managers who were well-received in the past few decades were Bowa, Green, and maybe Lee Elia and Frank Lucchesi.

Oh yeah, and the Pope. No one ever booed the Pope.

i think if the true A level talent were playing C+ ball the phil's would be fine.

This early season crap is squarely on Utley/Howard. I'm not a moron that would boo them, but i don't think in the two years here they've ever been this bad, this long, at the same time.

No Burrell tonight guys. They said on DNL that Werth is starting in his place because he is 0-9 with 3K's in his career against Oswalt. I don't take my best power threat out of the lineup when we are trying to get wins; Oh, wait a minute, J-Roll is playing tonight, he's our power bat, lol. :)

A questionable decision... Burrell strikes out a lot against anyone and I would wonder if those other six outs were groundouts where he really looked overmatched or deep fly balls.

clout - a durbin comment please.

I opened the thread above to comment on Durbin. Figured it needed it's own thread.

Eddie: That makes no sense. If you're gonna sit Burrell against a tough righty, then you sub a lefty bat, like Bourn or Dobbs, for him not a righty who can't hit righties. DNL must be wrong. Manuel isn't that stupid.

Screw that noise. Go with the hot bat. I can't believe he sits Pat tonight. Then how come he didn't start Nunez the other day against Glavine when he owns the guy?

Thanks Elmer. Again.

Looks like Brett has a good heater tonight.

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