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Friday, May 18, 2007

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Jason, you forgot to mention that the "nice girl from church choir" still wears braces.

I've always liked the Blue Jays because I saw my first game at Exhibition Stadium. Those late 80s teams with Bell, Moseby, Mclendon, Barfield (who hit the game winning HR) Stieb, etc. were great.

Of course, I had to disown them completely since '93, but I still like to catch their games every once and a while.

But agreed, Interleague play should stop. The only reason it's still around is for the Chicago and NY teams to rake in money.

During the Sox game last night, Bud Selig stopped by and was asked if the fans were still as excited by interleague play after so many years. His answer was more or less the teams report increased ticket sales for interleague match-ups. Kind of dodging the issue of whether interleague demand itself (compared to previous years) is up or down. I would suggest that fans are growing ambivalent about it. Maybe the league should just host geographic match ups and parade the Yankees / Red Sox around to all the teams.

I actually like inter-league play. As someone who tries to get to as many games at CBP as I can, it gives me a chance to see AL players that I typically wouldn't get to see play in person. To me, the unbalanced schedule is the biggest issue -- as one team in our division gets the D-Rays for 6 games every year and others get the BoSox or Yankees. It looks like the Phils will get off a little easier this year, playing the Jays and 3 extra games with the Cards.

I'm gonna be pretty unhappy if the Phillies don't get to this pitcher early (and they're not off to a good start). This guy has a 7+ ERA for the year and a 6.80 ERA over the last 3 years. Sadly, these are the kind of guys who always seem to look like Sandy Koufax when they face the Phillies

Right now Koufax is pitching more balls, and the Phils aren't taking.

Can we continue with these prom analogies?

Chicago White Sox/Chicago Cubs is the track star/ugly cheerleader relationship. Supposed to be heavyweight, but just awkward.

I feel dirty rooting for the Yankees

I feel dirty rooting for the Yankees

Please. I don't mind rooting for the Yankees, especially as the Sox have really supplanted them as the evil team that does nothing but brag/whine/take the spotlight.

Is it too early to say keeping Lieber was a very smart move on the part of Gillick and the Phils? What was his value this winter - most of us were thinking no better than B-grade middle reliever.

The fact that the Pirates turned down the Mike Gonzales for Lieber deal might have been the best thing that could have happened to Myers.

I wouldn't say it while he pitches, Jason.

Honestly, though, I always thought Lieber was more a B-C level starter. He's not valued the way Wade valued him, obviously, but he's definitely worth more than a Matt Thornton. (I would try to compare with a Phils' B-grade middle reliever, but we really don't have one [Geary I value a little more].)

Could this start be any more pathetic?

Meanwhile, this guy is inexplicably mowing through the Phils order. Well, I shouldn't say inexplicably, because this is how it works with the redstripes.

Interleague works for teams like the Mets-Yanks and Cubs-Sox, but not for too many others. The Phils have had no natural AL rival since 1954.

Martin: I have some scouting sources in the Honkbal Hoofdklasse and I'll let you know if Oropesa has gotten better command of his offspeed stuff than when he was here.

How can you say it was a smart move when Gillick put Lieber in the bullpen to start the season and would have traded Lieber if other teams hadn't wanted the Phils to pick up a substantial portion of Lieber's contract this season? I call it more dumb luck than a savvy move.

People forget two other decent inter league rivalries: Giants-As and Reds-Indians. Both of these series sell well and generate a fair amount of interest from their respective fan bases.

It was a smart move not to move him for something less than he was worth. If he continues to pitch decently then his value by the trade deadline this year will have skyrocketed.

Malcolm: In fairness, McGowan ain't chopped liver. He was the Jays 1st rounder in 2000, hits 95 on the gun with a bitchin' breaking ball. His problem, like millions of others, is command. When he's on, forget about it. When he's not, he's Francisco Rosario.

As Weitzel pointed out, this game is why inter league play can be dull. Especially since the pitching match up is kind of a dud. Lieber vs. McGowan? Yawn.

MG: Agree and agree.

I think interleague should be one series per year. Stop the random NL-AL series. One of the great caches of baseball was not everyone could play everyone. There was always this sense of mystery and individualty with the leagues. The fact that the leagues are separate entities with separate rules makes it even cooler.

Do these series' once a year. Keep Mets/Yanks, As/Giants, Reds/Indians, White Sox/Cubs, Astros/Rangers, Dodgers/Angels, DRays/Marlins, Orioles/Nats, Cards/Royals. Rotate the other teams that don't have natural rivals. Meanwhile, maybe the weekend all the IL rivalries happen, schedule some old school NL-NL and AL-AL rivalries, like Pirates/Phils and Red Sox/Tigers.

Clout: Yeah, McGowan does have the stuff. But with most throwers with stuff who seesaw about, the Phils find some way to make them look good. A patient team gets a couple off him.

MG: You're right. Gillick tried shopping him all winter. More dumb luck than anything, although I guess he must have turned down some offers.

If we need runs, Cholly will have to turn to Abe Nunez.

I don't want to jinx it, but McGowan is pitching the kind of game any pitcher would love to pitch.

You mean a no hitter?

The guys the Phillies tried hardest to move -Lieber and Rowand -- are currently team MVP candidates. The lesson, I guess, is never underestimate a player in his walk year.

Speaking of MVP candidates, where is our hottest hitter tonight?

curt: Actually the lesson is "don't trade a player for less than he is worth."

Yeah a no-no, no hit, straight zeros game?

Ha! I knew that I would.

malcolm and I get to take credit for that

Nice work, guys.

clout too my bad

Helms needs to take the next 2 pitches

Time to get to the kid while he's overpitching to compensate for losing the no-no.

huge.

Way to bail the rookie out.

Jon Lieber: maximizing his starts.

perfect game to a 5-0 lead in one inning? that has to be at least a team record

Ah . . . now he's pitching like a guy with a 7+ ERA

after ruiz struck out, i figured DP end of inning, bases jammed with nobody out wasted again. that walk to lieber was big.

This Dustin McGowan strikes me as the kind of guy Gillick will acquire to pitch out of the Phillies' bullpen later this year.

I'm just pissed off at the Phillies for having such a "feast and famine" offense. They go from getting nothing through four innings to scoring five runs in one - *that* is why they'll never win. Don't be fooled by the fact that they lead the NL in runs scored, that's a misleading stat that masks our woeful inconsistency. (Just kidding.)

Come on Tray. Yes, the Phils can be erratic and inconsistent, but they got another time around with this kid and made him pay.

Now is that kidding remark for the entire post?

Yeah, the whole thing was a joke, haven't I said a million times I find this whole feast and famine thing ridiculous?

Well, that was special. So far in 2007, the safest way to stifle the Phils is to load the bases. Good thing we had Lieber up there.

The starting staff has given the Phillies a chance to win ballgames every game for about two weeks. Even the clunkers, like yesterday, have been manageable.

We're leaving Lieber in for the eighth? 109 pitches already.

Surprised that Lieber is hitting.

At this very moment, Gillick is probably being offered all the guys he couldn't get for Lieber back in March.

Here we go again -- this bullpen situation is insane.
Prediction -- Lieber gives up some more hits, Myers gets called in for a five-out save, Phillies win today...and lose a close game tomorrow b/c Myers is unavailable.
This is "the pattern" -- until they get more pitching, one way (trade, minors) or the other (back from DL).

Mets winning, Yanks down to last 3 outs. Abreu just pinch hit & struck out.

Sigh. Cholly really is a damn blockhead. The best thing about Conlin's "Duds" article was his line about Cholly being the "international symbol for mediocrity."

I wonder if Lieber is pissed about having to go out in the 8th after having already given the Phils a quality 7 innings (plus at 109 pitches already).

Nice job by AA -- gave up the long double but frankly Victorino kinda misplayed it.

El Pulpo Rules, man.

Has Yoel Hernandez entered a witness protection program? I haven't seen him/heard him talked about since he gave up that grand slam in the Giants game 2 weeks ago.

Also, notice how Toronto pulls off a double switch in its very first interleague game of 2007 -- and yet it took Charlie months to (sort of) figure it out.

Are you calling for Yoel in the 9th? The bottom of the Jays order is unimpressive, but...

As a kid, I remember the phils playing the Cards, Bucs and Cubs a lot more than they do now. (Going way back in the thread). I think doing the NY-NY, Chicago-Chicago, etc. series with the rest playing old school rivals would be the best.

Curt - No absolutely not. Just wondering.

Rosario to Castro to Yoel? The saddest of all possible words.

oh man i remember it like that too joe. i only guess with expansion and realignment the scheduling changed. i think we used to be in the same division as all the teams you mentioned. it always pisses me off that now the NL has two more teams than the AL and that somehow we got stuck with the brewers in our league.

That was a vintage Mitch Williams-type save. Walk 2 guys, Strikeout 2 guys and get the final out with the bases loaded. Love it.

5 runs on 3 hits. Very un-Phillie like. That ones all Lieber's.

Whew, what happened? Was Myers wild, tired, or what?

Hey, made it look easy.

It's never easy, is it?
Looked like Helms was off the bag...and only 3 hits? Better to be lucky (for a change) than good.

really had me biting my nails with that one!

but we'll take the W.

and my fantasy squad, the fabulous moo hippos, will take the SV from myers and W after my brilliant spot start for el donut.

good enough.

Wow

only managed 3 hits and still won the game

This is a game that the phils would have lost a couple of weeks ago!

back to 500 baby, hopefully moyer can get us above

Myers must have had his pockets filled with amulets. He was incredibly lucky to get away with that performance. He wussed out with Thomas and overthrew to Stairs, and I counted at least three hanging sliders that had 'game-tying/winning homer' written all over them, that fortunately weren't hit. And yes, Helms was off the bag. Not exactly a convincing victory.

Defensive subs came up strong there. Helms would not have made the play Nunez made at third.

That win is all Lieber. All of it. Nice job. Amazing what a walk year/offseason of rumors/demotion to bullpen will do.

Good win. Pitching/defense held together...somehow. One good inning does the trick against a mediocre team.

I can think of maybe 10-15 million reasons why Lieber is motivated to pitch well this year.

Exactly, Malcome...another $Million with every win...

I agree w/ Malcolm's assertion of only having 1 interleauge series a year. The Braves Jeff Francour was complaining that the Braves had to play the Red Sox while the Phills played the Blue Jays. Jeff-check the schedule the past 3 4 years-Haven't the Phills played the Sox the past couple of years plus a yanks series? I'm not complaining about the the Blue jays-We need wins & catch them without Roy Holliday
(DL) & a hot Burnett. + 3 young arms
I hope Manuel finally realizes that Alfonseca can be effective with rest. I think the key to the bullpen is Madson. He needs to come back strong. Geary/Madson/Alfonseca & Myers should be able to get it done. Anything from Gordon is a bonus. After watching Extra Inning's this week-Phills aren't the only one's w/ horrible bullpen.

Madson apparently piches well in a reahb outing.

He struck out two in a one-inning rehab outing at Reading.

Two Interleagues a year of 3 games home and away 12 games tops.

Leiber was a good signing by poor Ed Wade. In his first year 2005 he won more games than any free-agent signed that year 17.

Last year I don't know if anyone remembers, in the spring noone could catch the ball for him, tons of errors in his starts resulting in tough losses, he then pitched well and then was injured.

Sometimes I think the Phillies think speed gun before Wins, with Moyer they should know better.

Leiber and Moyer as a Right Left over the hill gang is all-right by me.

Donut-Eater Lieber posted more donuts (zeros) on the scoreboard last night. Great effort by Jon. I don't agree with Manuel letting him bat for himself in the bottom of the 7th then pitching him to 1 batter in the 8th, but then again, I hardly ever agree with Charlie.

A win is a win, even if it's lucky, and last night's was lucky. Only 3 hits? I don't care if Dustin McGowan is a former 1st round pick, so was Gavin Floyd. Whatever...back to .500, can we go above today?

No more interleague play. Bring back the balanced schedule. Make it equitable for everyone.

Alden, I don't know what you're doing up at 4:18 AM, but perhaps sleep deprivation explains some of your previous posts.

I do, however, happen to agree with your post that Lieber/Moyer have been pretty good - in fact, of late, exceptional. They deserve their props.

We disagree in evaluating Lieber last season. He came to camp horribly out of shape, and despite your insisting that it was bad defense behind him that was the early season culprit, I don't remember him pitching very well. Yes, he then was injured, but many here have speculated, even insisted in their criticism, that the extra degustation around his waist was a contributing factor. It's a POV that is not easily dismissed. (Extra weight is probably slowing Howard's recovery, but that's another issue).

Do not expect that from those two every time out for the rest of the season as the normal ups and downs will occur. However, do expect some level of consistency from them. They have movement on their pitches and, most importantly, they throw strikes. This will keep the team in games.

While I'm not completely sold on this team, if Howard can return to even 2/3 of what he was last year, their offense should be OK.

The problem is, and was in the offseason, the bullpen. You have defended Gillick, but it is a glaring weakness he did not adequately address, save Alfonseca - and you can call that 'luck' as much as anything else.

You, and others have said that ownership (yes, Giles, Montgomery and company are complicit too) and management didn't want to "overpay" for relief help and didn't want to bust their self-imposed salary cap, but, it seems to me they badly missed the change in the marketplace.

If you look around baseball, you see many teams with the same problems in the pen that the Phils have - even the vaunted Yankees. That was also the case going into the last offseason. What that says to me, at least, with MLB awash in record revenues, and with small market teams sharing in said revenues, is that the market for quality relief help fundamentally changed, something that O/M either missed or failed to react to.

Ownership/management ("O/M") should have anticipated that - IT'S THEIR JOB - and acted and reacted accordingly.

Other teams attempted to address their 'pens, either through trading (Atlanta) or spending (Baltimore). The Phils attempt, because of "the cap" was pretty lame - it's the reason this team is only .500 - and may not quite be able to make the postseason.

On another note, if the record MLB revenues and revenue sharing do impact the salary structure going forward, unless O/M are willing to raise "the cap" going forward, it does not bode well for their long-term competitiveness. Will they be willing to pay for Geary and Madson if he returns to form? It seems pretty clear right now that Geary (assuming he continues to pitch this well), at least, is going to get a payday.

Not a good matchup for Moyer tonight. A veteran team, and a team that has seen Moyers stuff a few times before. A QS would surprise me.

Curt, good point as Glaus, Thomas, and Wells have all hit Moyer well.

AWH, fair points all around. You're right, everyone was looking for bullpen help, elevating garbage relievers to star status and big contracts. Frankly, few were worth it. I agree O/M is cheap, but I don't think they're stupid and didn't realize the market was changing. And let's not pretend O/M didn't try to pry Linebrink away from the Padres, among other moves.

BB, I don't agree that all of the FA relievers were garbage. You make a valid point about Linebrink, but the fact still remains that half of the Phils bullpen is 'broken', and so far there is no LHRP who can be consistently relied upon.

You apparently missed my point (perhaps I could have been more clear), when you responded that "few were worth it". You agree with the notion that teams "overpayed".

My point is that if the market really has moved because of the reasons I cited, than maybe the contracts these relievers got ARE what they are "worth" in today's market. This is what concerns me about O/M's self-imposed salary cap if the market has moved, that is, if they continue to operate this way it does not bode well for the long-term.

As far as your comment about O/M not being stupid, 1) even smart people make mistakes, and 2) while I'll give Gillick and the baseball operation a slight pass, this ownership group is a different story.

They caught lighting is a bottle in 1993, but other than that they have not built a pennant winning team. Based on that BASEBALL track record they are either 'not too bright' or incompetent. Nice people, I'm sure (I actually met Giles once), but not a very good baseball track record.

Meanwhile, other teams in smaller markets (Atlanta, Oakland, St. Louis to name three) continue to win.

Bedrosioan/AWH: good points. I still think the smart move is acquiring bullpen help through a trade. Especially if we an move a guy who is probably leaving for a reliever with one year on their contract. I just hope we don't pull a Cincinatti Reds and trade off really good players for Middle relievers who won't be worth a crap next year. Getting bullpen help is about the biggest crapshoot in baseball. You have to think, if these guys were good pitchers they would either be in the rotation or they would be the closer. Most Middle Relievers have major holes (Obviously excluding teams who are stock full of young, home grown relievers), and it is just a matter of time before they are exploited. Hence the high number of 1 year wonders.

"Other teams attempted to address their 'pens, either through trading (Atlanta) or spending (Baltimore)."

I think Baltimore's experience actually proves the opposite point, AWH.

Their (very expensive) pen currently has a 4.96 ERA, good for 11th in the AL.

Atlanta's pen is better, at 3.76, but still only 9th best in the NL. They robbed Bavasi for Soriano, but they also gave up a solid, cheap 1st basemen, a commodity the Phils didn't have.

The Phils decision NOT to go after proven vets gave them the flexibility to move Myers to the pen. If the team had traded Lieber, and signed Baez, Borowski, etc, the pen would be as "effective" as the current pen, but more expensive, and with no room to maneuver.

And Parker hits the nail right on the head about trading for relievers, as the Reds gave up two solid everyday players for a bunch of mid-relief garbage.

The irony of the complaints about Gillick are just too funny. If you remember, we *did* have a GM that *loved* to go after veteran middle relief pitching. Wade's pursuit of these guys was probably one of his biggest failings as GM and yet...we want Gillick to do the same thing.

AWH: I also think that it is one thing to recognize a rising market, and another thing to be able to do something about it.

Lets just say that Gillick/ownership did recognize that middle relief was going sky high, what is the method of getting ahead of it? Stockpiling relief pitchers? I am not saying you are wrong, necessarily AWH, but if this is the way to get on top of that situation then the Reds trade of Kearns/Lopez for Majewski/Bray/Someone else I cant remember, looks a lot better. Either they could trade these average pitchers for solid everyday prospects, or just let them go and not resign them for huge contracts (Compared to historical middle relief contracts). This may be the way to go, but it seems awful risky unless you know that you can easily replace everyday players within the organization.

I agree Kdon. Jow Borowski looks great to some Phillies fans just looking at the number of saves (Greener pastures idea). I have a hard time believing that the same individuals who coo for Borowski nourishment would not be bashing Gillick relentlessly if he had signed Borowski. Not only does he have a bum shoulder, but he has not been very good. His saves numbers are additionally misleading in that the Indians have had more save opportunities than the Phils. If he had been here he would be single handedly responsible for losing 3 or 4 games from the setup role, and maybe more after shifting to the closer role. On top of all this, he would be in the NL East, where everyone knows his stuff. Borowski has managed to produce such putrid numbers despite having a leg up on most of the NL Central hitters, who have not faced him many times.

As far as Baez goes, he has been horrible. Bradford has been average (Bad for the money paid to him.) Dotel is DL. Gonzales is DL. Embrey is horrible. I can't remember if what other high priced FA the Phils passed on (I realize Gonzales was traded for, but this still illustrates the volitile nature of Middle relief help), but none of them are dazzling right now.

There was talk about Romero too...he has a good ERA, but horrible peripherals (23 runners in 12 IP).

So far, Spier in LA and Donnelly (in limited action) have looked good.

Everyone in baseball wants Okajima now, but I don't remember ever hearing his name before the Sox signed him and even they have been blown away. Crapshoot is dead-on.

kdon: OK, Gillick did great by not adding bullpen help. Your solution of turning it over to Sanches, Condrey & Madson hasn't panned out. What's your solution now?

Parker: Earlier I posted a list of 10 or 12 relievers who changed teams this off-season. The full list is around 30. Instead of picking just the bad relievers on that list to defend your argument that Pat was wise to stand pat, why not look at the whole list and see what was available?

My solution is Madson in the 7th (when he gets healthy), Geary in the 8th, Myers in the ninth.

Condrey and Alfonseca can come into 3 and 4 run games, and Rosario mops up. I'm a bit concerned about the lack of a lefty, but I'd rather have a good righty face someone like Delgado than an average LOOGY.

Is this pen great? No, it's not, but it's acceptable for a team that leads the league in runs scored, and can count on 6 innings from most of the pitchers.

If a team drops out of the race and wants to unload a good reliever, I would listen to offers.

The biggest problem with the pen right now isn't the talent, it's Manuel's usage patterns.

Also clout, you conviently "forget" that Geary was in that mix as well, and he has pitched very well.

Sanches hasn't pitched, but I would still take , so we don't know if he could have been a useful mop-up guy, and Condrey has looked good.

I think if Condrey was given the opportunity, he would be and adequate late inning pitcher, with an ERA btw. 3.75-4.

Ooops, that should read:

"Sanches hasn't pitched, so we don't know..."

kdon: That solution will fail. Geary doesn't have the stuff (look at his lifetime #s vs. LH) to be a setup man. And how long has it been since Madson was reliable enough to pitch the 7th? You've been in denial about the quality of this pen since the end of last season.

Oh, and who is the "good righty" you want to face Delgado in the 7th and 8th?

No, I simply have a different opinion than you do about the qulity of the players and the available talent on the off-season.

I suppose I could attribute your position to one of a number of psychological disorders too, but I don't feel like playing that game.

Geary is much better against RHB, but he has posted solid numbers the last three years overall, and I imagine that there were a few lefites in there.

He also doesn't walk many batters or give up HR, which I think is *far* more important for a set-up man than severe platoon splits.

Delgado vs Geary: 1 for 4

Delgado vs. Madson: 3 for 12, 6 KO (though 2 2B, 1 HR)

Delgado vs. Alfonseca (though not a good pitcher): 1 for 6

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