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Monday, April 09, 2007


Today's lineup

Ruiz batting sixth and Nunez playing 3rd, batting 8th.

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

1. J Reyes, SS
2. P Lo Duca, C
3. C Beltran, CF
4. C Delgado, 1B
5. D Wright, 3B
6. M Alou, LF
7. S Green, RF
8. J Valentin, 2B
9. J Maine, P

Should be a good series.
Hope J-Roll brought some ear plugs.
Mets fans can be a tad loud.

On Clout's comment. I don't disagree entirely with the OB skill comment, but Bourn (most recently), Utley, Howard, and Burrell all seem counter to this arguement. You can argue that Bourn, Utley, Howard, and Burrell were all college players and did not spend as much time in the Phils system. It appears since Vic's failed SB attempt at 3rd (and his subsequent benching and public tongue lashing by Cholly), the Phils have not been very agressive running the basis -- coincidence ?

Hope Maine plunks JRoll and that kick starts the Phils season. They need some fire!

On another note, I have 2 tix to Sunday's Astros game, but can't make it. Please let me know if anyone has interest.

C'mon, Cole-Train!!!

Monumental game for Hamels today against a division rival in their home opener. Mets do not hit lefties well. Phillies did not hit Maine last year. Even pitching matchup. Can't miss ballgame tonight.

I doubt Madson has options left, but if he does, option him! Also, try Rosario out this week, and if he underperforms option him come Sunday when it's time for Garcia to be activated. Condrey wouldn't clear waivers, and would be a shame to lose, but that might just have to be the case.

This was supposed to be a huge series for the Phils because of excitement of a rivalvry, now it's only huge because of the horrible start to the season.

JW, I agree with this being low scoring game (this normally means the opposite). Mets are not nearly as effective against lefties. Alou should help here though. Cole's change is also very effective against righties. Key today for the Phils is to be patient with Maine (take pitches) and get his pitch count up to get to their bullpen.

clout's assessment sounds kind of right doesn't tell the whole story, i don't think. i mean, how does a team with no patience get 11 walks in the first place? the team takes alot of pitches, including called strikes. i don't think its a hacking mentality organization-wide on the whole, although it maybe hitters like burrell and howard and utley develop the ability to walk on their own. youkilis is missing from a lot of organizations, i think.

I usually find clout to be spot-on, but I am not sure I'm fully in agreement with his analysis of the Phils' plate discipline from an organizational level. In 2006, the Phils had the 6th best OBP in the majors. In 2005, they were 3rd best. 5th best in 2004. Similarly, they've been in the top 4 in BB totals the past three years.

Whether it's taught at the organizational level or picked up some other way, the regulars do manage to draw walks and get on base.

True, we've also ranked very high in strikeout totals. But I am not sure it's so one-sided as clout made it sound in his analysis.

Nice post on the enemy's blog, Jason. That kind of level-headed overview is refreshing to read.

My time travel machine got me all out of sorts this morning.

On my way back to the present, I got stuck in 1991 and my voice is hoarse from screaming at D-Tho to keep his mouth shut and just play the game.

Whether our organization shows patience or hacks, bottom line is that we're a collective group of failures when it comes to situation hitting. Droves of men left on base every game without scoring much is pitiful. Stranded guys on 3rd with less than 2 outs...shoot me please!

Most of the walks yesterday were so out of the zone, only a fool would swing. I thought the at bats from Dobbs, Barajas and Ruiz's first-pitch cut were most indicitive of Clout's point, but there's a bigger picture here. Look at some of the recent trades and players they've been interested in, like Soriano. OB is certainly deemphisized by the organization.

Larry Bigbie? you are endorsing him? I guess it shows that Phillies' mngmnt style of 'Ollies bargain shopping' is wearing off the fans too.

Basically the Phils management does just enough to put a team on the field that "just may" make it to the playoffs. And if everything goes 100% right for the team and bad for other teams in the division, we are in. Well that phrikin philosophy hasnt worked since 1993.

Get the wallet out and get some real bull pen pitchers. Maybe add a solid hitting outfield too !

And yes, get rid of Manual.

Phanatic Brother out !

Clout does have a point and it is very fair to say that Phils' organization under Arbuckle have generally preferred athletes such as (Golson and Taylor) to guys with discernible baseball skills.

I know the hitting coach generally doesn't have much of an impact but I haven't heard one positive thing about Milt Thompson yet. Supposedly helped Rowand correct his swing and worked with several other players in spring training. So far, haven't seen any results to indicate that it has been positive.

Have to disagree too. Utley, Howard, Burrell, and Bourn are all the exceptions that *disprove* the rule.

Also, not sure Ruiz and Vic are the best examples. Ruiz had 42 BB in only 368 AB at AAA last year. That's not exactly Lenny Dykstra, but it aint Mariano Duncan either.

And Vic? A .478 OBP isn't too bad. He hacked a lot last year, but overall, his minor league numbers show that he has *some* plate discipline.

I actually agree clout that the Phillies don't value OBP, but the fact is they have it anyway.

I think you are confusing a general problem with the way the organization scouts talent (which I wholeheartedly agree with) with the specific problems of this team (the number 3 and 4 hitters are sucking it up).

Madson is out of options, but the Rosario thing is interesting. Carson makes a good point: maybe he is here for a quick test run before heading to Ottawa when Garcia returns. If that's not the case, then I cast a solid vote to send El Pulpo off the island.

Hmm, that may have been unclear.

I agree with Clout, Jason and MG about the Phils talent evalutation. Before the season I said I was worried about the lack of OBP and the way the PHils looked at Burrell and Abreu made clear that they have no idea what factors contribute to scoring runs.

However, I don't think that is the problem with this team, as the Phils are gettting OBP from J-ROll (hopefullly), Vic, Burrell and eventually, Utley and HOward.

I tend to think Gillick and Wade lucked in to finding so many Moneyball type players in the first place, but they do have them.

Just to chime in on the pitcher poll, I think it is time to bid farewell to Alfonseca.

I respect the idea of bringing in the vet to see what he has left, but from what I have seen of him it ain't much.

Smith is actually doing pretty well, and we need the lefty. Clay will get picked up, and he hasn't been bad (he hasn't seen any pressure yet, but he looked good where he threw).

Alfonseca probably won't see any other offers, if the "met" hits the fan, and a guy goes down, we could probably get him back. But things would need to get pretty thin at Ottowa before that would happen.

Dobbs and Barajas are vets who aren't from the Phils organization and I am not sure how relevant Clout's statement applies to them.

However, to a guy like Ruiz who was drafted and developed by the Phils, Clout's statement is very relevant. Don't want to see a manager rip a player in the press but either Cholly or someone else in that clubhouse has got to say something to Ruiz about taking a pitch yesterday in the 9th inning.

This is a clear spot where Cholly could put a "take pitch" sign on and just didn't. Preferred the "hack away" approach and I do fault Cholly for that one.

Dobbs' at bat was disturbing though, even though he's the product of a different organization. Those swings were all or nothing. I can't imagine that's how he's been swinging his entire career.

kdon, laramie: My point is a bit exaggerated, but it refers to the Phils minor league prospects and some of the newcomers like Ruiz and Vic. Utley hasn't been in the minors in what 4 years? What was the OB of their minor league teams? kdon, I know you're in love with Vic, but check out his career minor league OB and how many pitches per AB he saw last year.

Ruiz has done that a couple times MG, if I recall correctly.

Ruiz has appeared to be a hacker, but a lot of that seems to be a level of intensity that he brings and his desire to show the big club what he can do. I'm not sure that what we've seen so far is his actualy approach, or just a bit of nerves.

It's clear that he realizes he could be an everyday catcher and if you look in his eyes, it's clear the guy is *very* intense. I think he'll figure it out soon enough.

Despite last night, I'm definately on board the Ruiz bandwagon.

Let's go Phils!

Jason - nice work on Mets Blog, interesting to see their fans perspective of your answers and comments.

Hopefully Gillick can find a trade partner for El Pupo with some other teams such as O's, Tampa Bay, Washington, Colorado, Florida, etc.

Instead of a trading 6 finger for a player who will be cut later Pat G might now negotiate for new baseballs since the Phillies' suits realize this is a better business decision, especially when the Phillies are pitching at CBP.

Hard to imagine sending Smith down and zero lefties in the pen but watch someone have a mysterious nagging injury to be put on the DL to buy more time.

As much as I am not a fan of Alfonseca, the Phils don't have a viable alternative at this point. Outright releasing him serves no real purpose at all at this point.

Dribbler to third, pop-up to LF, and strikeout............pretty impressive so far.

Why is Nunez starting this game?

Concerned about Rowand's bat speed. Two fastball counts, 2-0 and 3-1, and he gets 88 mph fastballs from Maine; no contact is made.

The biggest argument against Manuel is not his questionable ability to strategize; it's the fact that his team doesn't play the game right. He sits in his office and gets red-faced and says all the obvious things to the reporters, but it's clear that the team is not prepared enough to win. They beat themselves more than they are beaten by other teams. Manuel may keep everyone loose in the clubhouse, but on the field, they're tighter than actors going to their first auditions. He obviously is not a factor when it comes to inculcating a winning baseball environment, but it runs deeper than him. I've stated it many times, but it all comes down to organizational quality and thoroughness. Some teams play the game right year in and year out and win with less overall talent, and some teams are the opposite. So while Manuel appears to be a passive part of the problem, I don't believe the problem will be solved merely by axing him. The game yesterday all too precisely illustrated just how flawed this team's approach is, in all facets. Jason posed it very well: what would the Braves have done with 11 walks? Well, that about nails it. It's just no accident why the Phillies fail year after year and teams like the Braves have sustained success, no matter how the personnel changes. And the management just is blind to it, stone blind. It's endlessly frustrating.

As I wrote that, the Phils loaded the bases with no outs, and scored one piddling run. Howard jumped at a 1-1 fastball, lower inside corner, and fouled it off; a relaxed Howard would have killed that pitch. With two strikes, a pitcher pretty much has him buried at this point. Situations like that are what turns potenial wins into losses, and games like that which are lost turn potential playoff seasons into near-misses. It's as simple as this: the Phillies can amass all the talent in the world and still manage to lose because they play the game like losers.

RSB - Deja Vu all over again. Bases loaded, no runs.

So far Phils offense:
4 walks, 3 hits, 3 Ks, 6 LOB..........1 RUN........which was scored by Hamels.

5th inning - 1 one, UTLEY gets 3 straight balls, then a strike, then HR. Howard 4 straight balls.

Burrell - 1st pitch, out of strike zone, swinging strike (another example supporting clout's arguement). He does get a single but he was guessing for a meatball down the middle.

kdon -- you said "the Rosario thing is interesting. Carson makes a good point: maybe he is here for a quick test run before heading to Ottawa when Garcia returns."

In fact, I think that Rosario might well be of significant and immediate benefit to the Phillies, but Rosario is out of options, and therefore the guy will have to clear waivers before he could remain Phillies property and get to Ottawa. Actually, I don't see Rosario waiving through both leagues, given the general shortage in MLB of pitchers who can hit the mid-90's with movement on their fastballs. Therefore, if the Phillies decide they can't use Rosario, he's probably gone via the waiver wire to some other club.

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