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Monday, April 16, 2007

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Rowand has the softest .342 in the league. How many of these have been infield singles ? I am not complaining if this will help his trade value.

your comments on jroll are why i wanted to sign another leadoff hitter and move him down to second. of course when pierre and matthews got overpaid by tens of millions that idea went to hell.

it's not about bashing jimmy as a leadoff hitter, it's about using him the best way.

Sheesh, what does Rowand have to do to get respect? Or Burrell?

Billy Mac- I too think Rowand's average is "soft", but if he can continue to produce then I'm happy. Personally, I'm less than impressed by him thus far this season, but those #'s are decent

Carlos Ruiz is my boy. I've liked him for a long time, much like Weitzel has.

Jimmy has been amazing and we need him to keep it up for an entire season. The power numbers will dip, but that average and on base % needs to stay high.

The 8th inning belongs to Alfonseca until someone else proves to be better or he shows he can't do the job.

The problem is that J-Roll really WANTS to bat lead-off and I like that he gets as many AB's in a season as he does. I agree that his talents may be getting partially wasted, but we don't have a "quintessential" lead-off guy on this roster (ability to work counts AND has speed on the base paths). Not to mention the biggest barrier to moving Rollins in the line-up: Charlie Manuel.

A (kinda) full season later and I still don't know what the hell to think about Rowand. I'm afraid that moving him up in the order will only expose him further and turn him into the next David Bell, in the fans' eyes. Maybe we need to move him for that "quintessential" lead-off man.

This weekend was strange. Flicking around the TV dial I found the Phillies were on, but the score was already 8-5 for Houston. I watched the rest of the game wearing my Phillies cap, to no avail. Same deal Saturday, found the Phillies game and they were losing, 4-1, but soon came around to make the game fun for me. Cap stayed off my head.

Observations: If Rick White lost 20 pounds from last year, he must have ate it all back. He looked the same to me.

I saw Werth(less)'s worst game on Friday, and he's ugly, too! What's with the doo rag? He looked stupid.

Rollins is really impressive. Good for him.

It was nice to see cheers when Pat came to Bat.

I was impressed with Alfonseca. He's got the look to be a big bad reliever. I hope he continues to have success.

Carlos Lee was impressive with his three dingers. Seemed like a nice guy in the post game interview. I'm glad we don't play Houston much. He and Berkman are going to be tough on the league.

Billy Mac - good call. On opening day Rowand was given a hit on a weak pop-up behind 2B that the Brave's Kelly Johnson dropped out of his glove because of the sun. Cannot believe he is batting .342??

He has come on a little lately but I am more soured on Victorino, he has hurt us.

Simply drop Vic down to 7th or 8th and everyone up a slot, puts your best hitters in a position to bat more in a game.

Phillies as a team have a lot of "soft walks," too, because some of the opposing pitchers have been off, even Oswalt. I like that Rowand has nine walks, which is second on the team. When you're 3-8, it's grasping at staws for positive news.

I really like Victorino and think he'll pick up the production to somewhere along last season's line, but he does need to step it up.

I think I'd take an 01/02 Mesa performance out of Alfonseca...

Rowand actually has been taking more pitches - according to B-R, he's taking 3.92 per PA, up more than half a pitch per PA from last year (3.40). not quite Bobby Abreu numbers, but solid.

Rollins, on the other hand, has actually been outdoing Abreu on the pitch-taking front thus far in the short season. he's at 4.50 pitches per PA, which is truly excellent (Abreu's at 4.4ish for his career). his patience had already started to inch up last season, to 3.70 P/PA from 3.4ish in 04/05. it's interesting that in 02/03 he was actually more patient (3.7ish P/PA) than in 04/05, even though he was a worse (possibly more hesitant?) hitter. one big change is that even though he took a more pitches earlier in his career, he swung at far more pitches early in the count (swinging at the first pitch around 25% of the time). last year, he got that down to 19%, and this year, he's got it down to only 5% (!). so far, he's combining patience at the plate with excellent hitting, and making me look stupid for doubting him as a potent 5/6 hitter.

still, I think he's better higher in the order, just because Victorino doesn't seem capable of leading off, and you want Rollins to be able to go for extra bases on his hits - something he can't do as much behind Howard or Burrell.

Jason, I'll take the soft walks if our hitters our recognising that sometimes it pays to work the count if the pitcher is having trouble with the strike zone.

I'm not sure about dropping vic. He's another one who's putting in surprisingly long ABs - so I feel like keeping him there a bit longer. I'm with willard - moving rowand is tempting, but he seems to be working well out of that spot, and I'd rather have him getting on down there instead of shifting to 2nd, changing his approach and putting up numbers like last year.

if the yankees don't want lieber now, no one ever will.

i would trade rowand for an arm and give bourn the leadoff spot (easier said than done apparently). he has not shown he can handle it, but we are 3-8 and it's worth mentioning. then i'd bat jroll 2nd.

Re jimmy's power - it's nice and everything to have homeruns from him this early, but what's more likely - that it'll last or that howard and utley are going to pick up the slack sometime soon?

Keep jimmy where he is, says I, and hope that this time the patience really sticks. If he keeps getting 2 out homers and knocking in burrell/rowand/helms, I'm fine with that. We do enough line-up tinkering as it is with the phillies.

Tim, with the way Lieber has pitched all that is likely to happen is a salary dump for some more Yankee garbage like the Abreu/Lidle trade. Do you really believe that Gillick will get anything of real value? Every move he has made is suspect.

i think the 7 mil would go a long way in making this team potential better at the deadline.

BM, you're right on about Rowand. He had that pop up on opening day and the swining bunt a few days ago. He also had that hilarious AB against Perez, where he was thrown six balls and only managed to swing at *two* of them.

I think Rowand will give us one of his .270/.330./.450. seasons, with maybe a bit more pop because of the pen.

That's not bad for an everyday CF.

On Nunez; he just cannot hit well enough to justify an everyday spot. If I were Cholly, I would be replacing Helms, not Burrell. Maybe, maybe bring in Bourn in parks like DOlphins Stadium and RFK, but look at CBP...leftfield is so small, that any extra defensive advantage is mostly nullified.

Why do people want to move Rollins out of the leadoff spot? Not only is Rollins actually off to a good start, but he is taking a bunch of pitches. Leave him where he feels comfortable.

The spots that are killing this offense are 2-4. Howard and Utley hit once it gets warmer. I am certain of that. What I less certain of is Victorino doing enough to justify hitting in the 2 spot. If Rowand continues to hit, might be worth a try to move him to the 2 spot instead starting in another week or so.

Let me defend the play-Nunez-more position: I think a platoon with Helms would give him more regular playing time, but not all that much more -- the Phillies will see more left-handers than most teams, simply because the two best hitters are lefties, but it would only give Nunez about 40 starts a year. Doesn't sound all that catastrophic to me.

One other point: People were basing their comparisons between Helms and Nunez on their fielding percentages, which is like judging power hitters not on home runs but on grand slams. The bigger difference is in range. Bell sucked last year not because of his errors, but because of literally dozens of plays on which he knocked down hard grounders but couldn't make the throw; official scorers these days seem inclined to call such balls hits, even though Nunez made a lot of those plays that Bell couldn't. There were also dozens more balls to the hole that went for clean singles against Bell, because his range to his left had deteriorated to the distance he could dive (or, more accurately, fall over). I still don't think this would fully make up for Helms' superior bat, but let's realize that -- despite what some posters believe -- this team's problem isn't hitting, it's preventing runs. And at a park as small as CBP, preventing baserunners takes on extra importance.

Let's face it neither Rowand or Lieber have much trade value. I still maintain that should he pitch well, the one to trade is Garcia. There is no way the Phillies will resign him this off season and maybe they could get a real right fielder in return. It looks like the "nice problem" of having 6 starters has really back fired.

Alby - I agree that defense is a bigger problem with this team but Nunez is awful offensively. There is a chasm between Nunez's production (say .230 with 2-3 HRs) and Helms (say .280 with 15-20 HRs).

Plus, a bottom of the lineup with Barajas and Nunez is just brutal. Giving up way too many outs that way and putting too much pressure on Utley and Howard.

I still say batting Rollins, Utley, Howard, Burrell lead-off through clean-up is our best chance to win.

Maybe Helms 5th, Ruiz 6th, Rowand 7th, and Victorino 8th.

With Vic hitting 8th he can try to steal more without as much pressure with the pitcher up next, lessening the chances of the opposition throwing to 2B on a sac bunt, plus compliments Jimmy on the basepaths.

Rowand becomes tougher to trade if Victorino doesn't get it together. That being said, the low hanging trade bait is still Rowand and Lieber. Lieber's value at this point is slightly diminished with his 'pen work, however what, if anything, we get in return will be in direct correlation with how badly the team trading for him needs a starting pitcher (like the above mentioned Yankees). A salary dump CANNOT be acceptable again for Lieber in this case. There is too much of a premium for a warm bodied veteran starting pitcher - see the off-season salaries.

I'm not in the Eastern PA region, are they going to get tonight's game played?

If they squeeze it in, conditions will be brutal. Just have to hope Garcia makes his pitches and the Phils take advantage of their opportunities.

Alby, I don't see how a platoon gets Abe 40 starts a year. Teams don't align their rotations much anymore, so I don't think you can count on getting extra lefties. A platoon would give Abe about 2/3 of the starts. I'm okay with using Abe as a spot starter (when Moyer pitches), but not overall.

And the ballpark argument can go both ways. If you play in a bandbox, you should load up on power hitters (see: Red Sox). The Dodgers don't stock up on sluggers because it's especially hard to score runs in Chavez Ravine; they play to their home park.

This is one of the reasons why I have a problem with Lopes and the whole small ball thing. I'm not against it in principle, but they just don't play in the right ballpark.

You don't want Victorino 8th. I realize Vic has only scored 2 runs this year, but a lot of this has been the ineffectiveness of the players behind him. .370 OBP isn't too bad and he has stung the ball recently -- just at people. 8th hitters don't get many SB chances for the reasons mentioned (the pitchers often bunt them to 2nd and/or you don't want your pitcher leading off the next inning). I'm with Alby on playing Nunez about 40 %. Start him when Hamels and Moyer pitch (and the opposing pitcher is not a lefty). I've seen enough of Helms to know he is not an everyday MLB 3B.

Thanks J. Not ideal conditions for Garcia, if they play it, but just seeing him on the mound will make it a fun game. By the way, yesterday the Phillies.com pitching matchup showed Garcia vs. Perez, after the rainout. Today it shows Maine going for the Mets. Did the Mets take advantage of the weather to skip their walk machine?

The Phillies have no real minor league
prospects at third base either. Mike Constanzo already has 6 errors in 9 games for Reading.

I really don't think you guys are looking at Nunez's hitting stats! He has a *career* OPS of .629. Last year he was, by some metrics, the worst everyday hitter in baseball. Again, *the worst everyday hitter in baseball*. As bad of a fielder as Helms is, he is not as bad as Nunez is a hitter.

Also, do you really want Barajas/Ruiz, Nunez and the pitcher's spot in front of J-Roll. He could have a 30 HR season and not break 60 RBI.

Before and during J-Roll's 36 game hit streak, he was averaging the same number of pitches per plate appearance. He had made a mechanical adjustment (what he called the "click-click-click") and started drilling hits to right field. Now that he's waiting on pitches, he's forcing the pitcher into throwing a pitch that he can drive with his new swing. Got to love it.

It's easy to stomach Nunez as long as Ruiz and Rowand are hitting. What we can't survive is a 5 to 9 or 6 to 9 black hole like much of last year.

Curt- I'm sorry but "stomaching Nunez" will never be easy for me unless he manages to produce a .700+ OPS...not gonna happen!

Kdon: You're right, of course, about how often Nunez would play in a platoon; brain fart on my part.

As I said, Nunez's better defense does not make up the difference in offensive capability. And what I should have said is that Nunez should start about 40 games -- two a week, rather than one, especially when the low-strikeout pitchers (Moyer in particular) are starting. Helms' problem isn't the errors, though they are troubling. He simply doesn't have the range or reaction speed to make the tough plays.

It'll happen the night Helms kicks away a close one in the 9th -- right after David Wright robs 3 more Phillies.

Rollins wants to continue hitting leadoff because he wants to be the second coming of Rickey Henderson. Well, he'll never equal Rickey's ability to walk and steal, but the power is coming on strong. Rollins is capable of having an offensive season that will look eye-popping by season's end, if he continues his ability to be patient at the plate and hit everything hard the way he has. He's never really been able to do that for a full season, but what's particularly encouraging is that we usually have to wait two or three months into the season before we stop saying 'same old Jimmy'. Right now, he's an all-star bordering on elite.

I think Rollins could help the Phils anywhere in the lineup, but there is no one else on team who's remotely capable of being a serviceable leadoff hitter. Manuel is right to keep him where he is.

However, I'll continue to argue that Manuel ought to flip-flop Victorino and Rowand in the lineup. Rowand is indeed hitting a soft .340, but gradually his bat has shown signs of life. I would like to see Bourn play against right-handers sometime - you'd think, especially based on the comments made when it was announced he'd made the team, that he would have gotten at least one start so far - but I don't want to see Jayson Werth get another start until maybe sometime in June.

this just in from the unrelated dept -- for those who didn't like the phils' trade of daniel haigwood for fabio castro (no idea who, just saying), the phils can have haigwood back if they want him. the rangers DFA'd haigwood late last week.

Tonight's game officially rained out. It sucks, I was looking forward to some baseball later.

http://philadelphia.comcastsportsnet.com/view_content_0p.asp?ID=48594

interesting choice, with the rainout, and if there's no doubleheader tomorrow: Eaton has dominated the Mets every time he's pitched against them (career 4-0, 1.65 ERA, 17 hits, 27 1/3 IP). I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to let Eaton keep his Tuesday start and bump Garcia's debut back to Wednesday. (another possible benefit is that Garcia faces an easier lineup and a more pitcher-friendly park in his first start.)

maybe that's unlikely though. a little too outside-the-box.

this weather is stupid!

Here is the line-up I would trot out there: Vic, Rowand, Utley, Howard, J Roll, Burrell, Ruiz, Helms at least until Helms showed ANY power. Rollins effectively eliminates the "protection" prob by being a switch hitter, MORE baserunners for Burrell to drive in. The key would be Rowand..If his patience level has truly increased, this line-up should really take off

Gr,

I guess we can put that one in the +Gillick column!

/sarcasm intended.

Bummer on the game being rained out tonight but did anyone watch the Dodgers-Padres game on ESPN last night? Randy Wolf is fitting well over there on the West Coast. 6 IP, 3 ER, 7 K, and he even wlaked in two plate appearances! 2-1 on the season with a 4.00 ERA. I'm not saying Wolf would be able to stay here anymore considering our over supply of starting pitchers, but you have to feel good for the guy who always gave it his all here in Philly.

Rob, putting aside the whole where-to-hit-Rollins question, (1) Victorino is not a major league leadoff hitter because of his frequent mental lapses, and (2) Burrell's OBP means you put him higher in the lineup, not lower. also, with Ruiz's hit-first tendencies and Helms' more patient approach, Helms/Ruiz makes a lot more sense than the other way around.

Surprised by the rainout. I thought they would try and squeeze it in.

Anyway...here is my revised lineup.

1. Michael Bourn (RF) - Bourn has speed and the ability to take pitches.
2. Aaron Rowand (CF) - I believe this is where it hit in Chicago the year they won the World Series.
3. Chase Utley (2B) - He will start hitting. Won't he?
4. Ryan Howard (1B) - Ditto.
5. Jimmy Rollins (SS) - If he is hitting for power, why not bat him in front of Howard.
6. Pat Burrell (LF) - I have been a detractor of Pat the Bat, but I have give him his due. He is putting together a nice season.
7. Carlos Ruiz (C) - There seems to be an unwritten rule in this town that the catcher must bat 8th. Not with Ruiz. He is swinging a great bat right now and should be starting everyday. Barrajas is a joke.
8. Wes Helms (3B) - You could easily flip him with Ruiz, but I like him protecting the 9-hole and turning the line-up over.

Again, you might think I am crazy (join the club), but I think this line-up will generate some runs.

Burrell has been okay so far, and I don't want anyone to think this is a biased comment - but can we please hold off on the accolades a bit? He's got *one* stinking homerun. I know - so does Howard. And that's why no matter how wonderful his OBP is, I'm not about to pretend he's getting the job done. Burrell and Howard are here for one thing and one thing only - to hit bombs. They have two between them in eleven games.

Is Bourn already a better player for every day duty then Vic? Neither is burning up the league to start the season, and I expect in the long term for Bourn to over take Vic. But right now this is not our best line-up. If you saw that three hit strike out with the bases loaded the other night you would agree. Vic plays this season if you want to win now. Bourn is indeed likely a future starter in the OF, but he is 4th best right now.

Should say three pitch stirke out, not three hit strike out. Which of course makes no sense.

Bottom line is the Phillies need more power out of right field then either Victorino or Bourn will deliver. CBP is not the venue for small ball. Ryan Church has 3 hrs and is hitting .357 with a .426 OBP. If he could have been had for Madson that is another blunder by Gillick.

Agreed yt, I don't think you should make major changes to the roster based on only 11 games, and Bourn has done absolutely nothing to convince me he can play everyday, let alone leadoff. He should be in Ottawa.

The changes I would suggest don't really have anything to do with the performances this season.

J-Roll is hitting great; keep him where he is.

Flop Rowand and Vic, but not because of what they have done this season. Just do it to balance out the lineup and break up the run of slow, RH, hitters at the bottom of the lineup. I'd rather Vic learns to steal bases with Ruiz at the plate (BTW, these guys would be an ideal hit and run combo), not Howard.

Ruiz is the starter, Barajas plays once a week.

Everything else can stay the same. The 3/4 hitters have struggled so far; when they come around this lineup will score.

I like Victorino lower in the lineup too, even though I'm no fan of Rowand.

Um, RSB, Burrell is here not "for one thing and one thing only - to hit bombs" - he's also here because he gets on base at a high rate. I mean, he's nearly getting on base half the time, and you say you're not about to pretend he's getting the job done? The power will come around, and please remember folks, the offense is not the problem. So far this season, we're one of the better run-scoring teams in baseball.

Rowand is a grinder...if you give him the opportunity he will produce. JROLL needs to stay at leadoff unfortunatley. I think he will slump anywhere else in the lineup. The guy wants to be a leadoff hitter and so far is getting the job done. Granted he has power, but he's also drawing a good number of walks so far, which never hurts for a leadoff guy. If you give Rowand a runner, i say half the time he's atleast going to get him to 2nd, whether he gets on the bag or not.

Utley and Howard are three and four, no question

Burrell has proven so far this season he's an andequate five hitter, why screw that up.

Ruiz can hit sixth, and should be playing 90% of the games. If the managment can't make that decision than its just another reason they deserve to be fired.

Vic/Dobbs/Bourn, can hit 7th because no matter whose hitting there, they ain't doing better than .250

Helms can hit eight, cus well, he sucks.

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