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Saturday, May 26, 2007


How dare you make two threads like that, Jason.

Whatever, I'll read. I'm at work, getting some future stuff finished before I head back to the 'Delph for Memorial Day Weekend.

My weekend is looking great, too. Do some work, then go home, make lunch, write, watch the Phils, drive to Wildwood, get hammered, drive to Philly tomorrow, go to BBQ, come back to CT and rest.

I love this holiday.

Also, Howard is going to be much better than we've seen this year. I bet his "head" thing came from the leg thing, and those 15 days off were much needed. He got to step back and watch the team work without being The Man. And he saw this team can somehow win without him. So methinks the boy will be juuuust fine.

Also, Jason, your post made me feel really good about my baseball team. I hate you for that, but I also don't. Fantastic post, as is the norm.

I don't see why Dobbs shouldn't be getting more starts at third. Yes, he may be as much a defensive liability as Helms, but with that bat, I'll take the gaffes. Between Dobbs, Nunez and, very occassionally, Helms, the Phils have one of the best 3B in the game. Ha.

But the key to last night's win, as was alluded to before, was Rollins and Vic getting on base. What were they - 5/9 last night? That type of plate setting goes a long way. With Howard getting his swings, Utley staying the course and Dobbs, Rowand keeping afloat, they should extend their NL lead in runs if the boys at the top keep getting on.

I want to say they'll win with a run outburst, but you can never tell with these guys. Here's hoping for 9-5 and a strong Eaton outing. 6 at least, allowing for a Rosario mopping.

From the last thread:

Clout: "The matchup tomorrow should be a slam dunk win against a career minor leaguer..."

Isn't that when the Phillies often come up small?

As for Amaro's quote about "the way this club is set up," what he's talking about is what I've been trying to say for a couple of weeks -- the signing of Barajas made Coste the third catcher, and the place for the third catcher until an injury arises is AAA. Gillick's mistake was in not recognizing that Coste should be the second catcher/utility guy/bat off the bench. He should have picked up a career backup catcher to log time in Ottawa, or Reading if they insist on pushing Jaramillo despite his limitations, who could have been recalled as needed. Coste belongs in Philly, and not just behind the plate. He should be getting the kind of playing time that Dobbs is getting.

DavThom, not being a smartass here, but have you ever thought about being a player agent? You have the legal background, and you're at least as tenacious as Scott Boras. There's a lot of Indy League guys who could use someone like that advocating for them where it counts.

Steve Smith is just as bad as Rod Baraj ASS and has cost us time and time again. Here is a recap of the three most egregious errors he made, sending runners into dead-duck outs at the plate with NO OUTS!
April 13--During Friday night's game, in which the Phils were mounting a comeback from an 8-3 deficit, the team had pulled to within 8-6 by the eighth inning. Shane Victorino singled and Chase Utley walked, putting the tying run on base with no outs. Ryan Howard then laced a base hit to right field, and Smith waved Victorino around third. Astros right fielder Luke Scott charged quickly and made a perfect throw to catcher Brad Ausmus, who endured a collision with Victorino and held onto the ball. With no outs, Smith's actions left him open for second-guessing. "I told myself I was going to be aggressive and get things going," Smith said. "You tell these guys to play the game and don't overdo it, and I overdid it." Wes Helms then hit into a doubleplay to end the rally.

May 4--The Phillies ran themselves out of a possible run in the sixth when, with two on and no out, third-base coach Steve Smith sent Ryan Howard from second base on Rowand's single to centerfield - a similar scenario to Bonds being held at third in the seventh by coach Tim Flannery. Giants centerfielder Dave Roberts has a lousy arm, but Howard, a lumbering runner at best, is still hobbled by a knee sprain suffered April 18. Second baseman Kevin Frandsen's relay came in plenty of time, and Howard was out. "It's a judgment call," Manuel said. "The second baseman made a helluva throw." Wes Helms then grounded into a doubleplay, third to second to first.

May 24-- Last night, the Phillies' disappointment could be directed at third-base coach Steve Smith, who might have cost them the lead in the eighth. With no outs, pinch-runner Michael Bourn was on first, replacing Chris Coste, who had walked after collecting two hits in his first start. Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs ripped a drive to rightfield off reliever Matt Lidstrom. Hermida gave chase. Bourn paused at second base, in case Hermida caught it. He did not catch it. Bourn turned on the jets. With no outs, with runners at least going to be on second and third, Smith waved Bourn home. Oops. Bourn was out by four steps.Smith looked to the heavens, spread his arms, looked into the dugout and patted his chest with both hands, taking responsibility for the error in judgment. "Fucked up," Smith said later. "No outs. Caught up in it. Adrenaline going. The fight. I made up my mind before."

I think the Phils could save some dollars and gain some wins by just putting up a traffic light at 3B.

Burt: tip of the hat for the research.

DavThom asked on the prior thread wondered about Jason Hill, the Reading catcher, and whether he might block Coste if the Phillies consider him a prospect. The answer is a resounding "No." While he's been hitting well, Hill is a 30-year-old minor league vet, non-prospect, organizational filler. His lifetime minor league OPS, mostly in double A and lower, is .726. Coste should be the everyday catcher as Hill will never be a major league player.

Agreed, nice work Burt. I think the next anthology we need is of quotes from Manuel and Myers about the latter not being overworked.

I've been away from the site for a couple of days, but I hope Cholly is being approproately ripped for his usage of Myers (I don't really see it in the MSM).

It wasn't so much that he used Myers in a 4-run game, but that this was the FIFTH time Myers had been used in a blowout.

I guess I'm beating a dead horse here, but the combination of Gillick and Manuel have led to a possible serious injury for the teams best pitcher the last few years. The Phils had everything anyone could want; a very good-to-dominant 26 yo starter w/0 injury concerns...and they f*cked it up big time.

Of all the crap we've had to deal with over the past few years, the injury to Myers may be the most galling example of the organization's incompetence.

OK, now to go drink some beer!

Between Dancy and Smith at 3rd, I've been unhappy with the Phils coach there for what seems like years. I'm not happy to say that- I seem to remember Dancy coaching at S/WB and he being a decent guy to talk to. But what upsets me with Smith is that we bragged about his infield instruction skills when we hired him (see the Phils press release below). Not only has the calling at third been suspect, but our fielding hasn't always been solid. At least with Charlie we can see that some of our players hitting has improved.

I'm hoping that Eaton continues his improvement today. It was great to see Ryan working the pitcher last night and getting some 7 and 10 pitch AB's.

"Veteran infield instructor Steve Smith was hired as the Phillies' third base coach, Manager Charlie Manuel announced today.
"Steve came highly recommended to me by many people in this game whose opinion I trust," said Manuel. "He's done a great job everywhere he's been and I think his track record speaks for itself."
Smith, 54, spent the previous five seasons as third base coach and infield instructor for Texas. With the Rangers, he worked with infielders Alex Rodriguez, Michael Young and Hank Blalock, and helped Mark Teixiera transition from third base to first base. Under Smith's watch, Rodriguez and Teixiera both won Gold Glove awards.
Prior to joining Texas, Smith coached for Seattle (1996-99) in the same capacities and spent two seasons (2000-01) with Milwaukee as a roving infield instructor and minor league manager, guiding Indianapolis to the International League championship in 2000.
As a player, Smith spent seven seasons (1976-82) as a second baseman and shortstop in San Diego's minor league system."

Burt, that's a pretty solid post - notice one common denominator: Wes Helms grounding into a double=play. The way Dobbs has been hitting should relegate Helms back to doing what he does best (no, not making errors) -- pinch hitting. Also, Barajas is (I HOPE) going to get released soon. He hasn't fielded his position well enough to warrant the bad bat, and that's what he came in here as: a defensive catcher. I'd love to see Gillick acknowledge his gaffe and release him and just eat the money he's owed, and call Coste up to split time with Ruiz. Also, listening to Ruben Amaro Jr. last night, it sounds like that's their plan. Ruben said Coste is "still a part of our club.", and I'm inclined to believe him. Also, according to Scott Lauber (, Coste chose Reading over Ottawa. That's good news for me, as I'm hoping to get to a R-Phils game sometime in the next week or two.

"DavThom asked on the prior thread wondered about Jason Hill, the Reading catcher, and whether he might block Coste if the Phillies consider him a prospect. The answer is a resounding "No." While he's been hitting well, Hill is a 30-year-old minor league vet, non-prospect, organizational filler. His lifetime minor league OPS, mostly in double A and lower, is .726. Coste should be the everyday catcher as Hill will never be a major league player."

Not disagreeing at all, but I find it hilarious that this Hill is "a 30-year-old minor league vet, non-prospect, organizational filler" and he was asked about blocking who?

Of course, Coste's career MiLB OPS is over .800, but still, deliciously hilarious.

Malcolm: It is pretty funny, but when you realize that 65% of the players in the Phillies minors are "organizational filler" players released by other teams, it's not surprising.

clout - 65% of almost every minor system is "organizational filler", they just don't know it yet.

does anyone know the % of minor leaguers that make the show?

Alby -- about being a player agent -- at an earlier point in my career I thought about it. Right now, despite my regular following of Beerleaguer -- I'm too jammed up with the demands of a busy asbestos product liability practice now.

When I was one of the four principal owners of the Grand Forks (North Dakota) Varmints in the now-defunct Prairie League during the 1996 and 1997 seasons, I occasionally got involved in some direct dealings with major league farm directors -- when a few of our guys were signed in mid-season by MLB-affiliated clubs -- usually into the AA or A ball levels. There were some guys in the league who had big league time, and on our own club, we had some guys who had had substantial time in AAA. I always saw our indy team role as facilitating our guys getting into (or back into) an MLB organization -- and never wanted to drive a hard bargain in selling a guy's contract when an MLB team could easily go elsewhere. I've never had more fun -- but I lost a pile of money -- and I'd do it again, if the opportunity came along. The league folded after the 1997 season.

One of our players was 1988 Olympian and Chicago Cubs No. 1 draft choice Ty Griffin.

joe: I'm sure that's right in terms of % of players who actually make it, but the key difference is that the personnel evaluators believe those players still have a chance. When 65% of your players have already been cut by other teams, the odds that one of them will make it decrease dramatically.

I don't know if anyone can recall if a third base coach has been fired mid-season - but if ever a team needed it, it's this one. The 2nd biggest mistake of the off-season, so far, has been allowing Manuel to make this selection himself after Gillick had carefully selected Howe and Lopes to watch the base paths. Lopes has been, by far, one of the brightest additions to this team. Rollins, Victorino, Bourn, and even Rowand's running have made the team even more enjoyable to watch. The biggest mistake - the bullpen, as it turned out would not have been solved by everyone's off-season favorite, Mike Gonzalez....

Verdeforce--very strong point about Lopes. He got a fair amount of static when Victorino was running into some outs early in the year, but since then he hasn't gotten the credit he evidently deserves.

As a team, the Phils are 39 of 46 in SB attempts. That's 85 percent, t-2nd in MLB. The 39 steals are t-4th. (The Mets are tops in both categories; it helps to have Reyes, of course, and Beltran is one of the highest-percentage base thieves of all time.) Give the organization credit for taking an area that was already a strength and further bolstering it.

...oh, and Steve Smith SU-HUCKS.

Big start for Eaton. He has pitched well lately, but that will all be forgotten if he throws a clunker today like his early season starts and we lose to some guy named Buddy who hasnt pitched in the majors for a few years.

After beating Hudson last night, the team needs to capatlize and win or sweep this series before coming home.

wow...Bourn getting the start in CF today, hopefuly just a day off for Rowand


No Chipper again for them.

A Jones

are we showcasing barajas for a trade next week? (let's cross our fingers...and let's hope he plays like less of a jackass so someone will want to pay his salary)

No, he actually always catches Eaton, since they were both together at Texas. I actually like his fight - we haven't had much of that since '93 - now if only he hit better.

ahh yeah you're right, forgot about that, but barajas sure has been catching a lot lately. i'd like his fight too if it wasn't all talk and no walk.

and Bourn steals another one....

1-1 thanks to Bourn and now bases loaded for Utley - come on middle of the order

Of course he came through with a double - 3-1 good guys.

Barajas is a waste of flesh.

Apparently Bobby Cox is trying to set the ejection record this week! - 2-1 odds on whether he makes it through tomorrow's game.

Is it too soon to start a PtB countdown?...only 275 games left on the eternal contract.

Renteria hits one out, so I guess we will see Percival, uh, I mean Madson, pretty soon and hope the bullpen can hold onto this razor-thin lead.

The sad thing is he's still hacking at a fair number of pitches -- not admiring strikes going past -- and hitting just .225.

If it's too soon to start the countdown to the end of the contract, how about starting the guessing on the date when Cholly slides him further down in the order. It's already obvious that Rowand should be hitting ahead of him. Heck, there is no reason other than $13 million that Bourn shouldn't starting in left.

Phillies continue to look quite punchless against lefties.

Vic is on fire today! Not only is he a double short of the cycle, but he's had some nice defensive plays too. He showed some nice hustle on that play in the 6th where he sprinted to catch a pop foul, almost falling into the stands but he made the catch and held onto the ball.

okay, my girlfriend just asked if zagurski played samwise in lord of the rings and i just snorted beer out all over the place.

not sure why Zagurski is in.....though he did just get a DP

It seems like Burrell is batting higher than .225 (i would have guessed like .260).....looks like Bourn and Werth will prob be playing more. Burrell started off hot but has just sucked outside of those games against the Cubs

Okay, so I'm sitting behind the Phils' dugout here in Atlanta and I'm here to tell you that Barajas looks even worse in person than on TV, if you can believe it.

On a positive note, Zagursky looked pretty good. Hopefully he'll stick.

Great defense.

Another good defensive play by Victorino (though it looked pretty awkward).

Unfortunately, he popped out to close out his chances for the cycle. It would have been nice to see, but Vic had a great game all around.

ugh, not alfonseca...

Not 6 finger...g*d*mit

Guess I should say *flied* out, not popped.

That's 12 finger to you, mm.

considering he got the win, i guess its one finger to me.

Wow. +1 .500. Wow.

lol - just fooling around with you there, mm.

Nice game there.

Ah respect! Good series win with the King yet to go.

Wooo hooo. The Phils are winning. Keep it up boys!

Does this mean we have to start taking octopi to home games to throw onto the field after saves?

Wow. +1 .500. Wow.

So who wants to come over to my place and help me start building that ark?

Eaton, Burrell, Barajas staggered through in their usual fashion. Otherwise, some very nice baseball was played today.

We certainly caught the Braves at the right time, though.

No but seriously, clearly there is never ever any reason for rollins not to hit first, and vic 2nd. In fact, should at some point in time maule get the urge to have rollins hit third again, he should immediatley go into his garage, grab a hammer, and hit himself in the head until his "bright idea" goes away.

Phils have caught Atlanta at a good time. They miss Smoltz and Chipper Jones, and Gonzalez isn't around to torment Howard and Utley. I'm amazed that they're a game over .500, because they still sometimes seem like they're still stuck in April, fighting out of that 3-10 start. I can't honestly expect much more, but the starting pitching has been what everyone thought it might be this month, and suddenly they're a game away from starting to close the gap on the Braves. A sweep might be pretty big for this team, but even as is, it's a positive step considering how many close games they lost to them earlier on.

Good win by Phils. Now we have a winning record! Unfortunately, that means Cholly will stay on as Manager. Who'd'a'thunk the Phils would win the first two road Braves games? Terrific.

The Z-man pitched another zero inning. Cool!

Is Alfonseca our new closer?

It's too heady for my Phillies brain conditioned to losing rather than winning to comprehend a winning record and this team. I'm still not sold on this team. I have developed a real negative psychosis about the ineptitude of Cholly, Dubee, Smith and Barajas. Nunez, Werth and Madson are on my probation list.

My family is watching the Fever Pitch DVD right now. This movie really depicts the passion of the depraved lifetime baseball fan following a futile team. It's just like us!

The Phillies hate their fans & WIP. That's the only reason Barajas started again. If your Gillick-just trade his contract & ash for no players in return.
RSB is correct-we caught the Braves at the perfect time. We need a sweep w/ King Cole tomorrow.
Zagurski looks great. it's a novel idea. Work quickly & throw srikes & let your defense get the job done.

Jason, you do realize that in this whole closer mess, Joe Borowski, despite 7.00+ ERA, leads the AL in saves? And we're using Alfonseca?

I see that Smoltz (correctly) thinks the Phils were idiots to move Myers to the BP. Short term thinking, long term loss.

Yes, Borowski yesterday picked up his 16th save in 18 save opportunities, ane he's striking out batters at a rate of more than one K per inning. Yes, Borowski's ERA is 7.11, but Borowski has shut out the opposition in 9 of his last 10 appearances. Borowski's high ERA is reflective of 3 bad performances out of 21 total appearances.

And then there is Germano -- who completed another quality start last night, picking up the win for San Diego. Germano is now 3-0 since his recall by the Padres, and his numbers last night -- 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 4 strikeouts -- and Germano now has a 1.08 ERA.

Of course, Gillick took a pass on signing Borowski as a free agent in the off-season -- yeah, I know about the "medical people, Borowski's shoulder" cover story -- and Gillick cut Germano -- by definition receiving nothing in return -- in mid-Spring Training.

Game Thoughts:

Victorino- he looks like he needs rested about once a week, because he plays on fire when coming back from a day off. This will also allow Manuel to plug in Bourn and Werth to keep them "sharp" as the announcers like to say.

Burrell- I've been an advid supporter of his, but my goodness, he needs to get some hits. Between him and Howard in the 4/5 hole in the middle of the lineup it's the new "black hole".

Zagurski- I know reports are saying his nickname is Bronko, but I like "Fat Mike" as a reference to the punk band NoFx.

6-Finger-Ant- if Gillick would have brought in another decent reliever along with Alfonseca, we'd be happier with Antonio because he's doing an okay job, and that's more than we can say for the majority of the 'pen.

Geary- love me some Gas-Can!


There's a great story by baseball writer Michael Radano in today's Camden Courier Post, appearing under the headline, "Was Barajas a mistake?"

The story ends with the following paragraph:

"Meanwhile, Coste has been sent back to the minors -- to Double-A Reading upon his request so he can work more on catching, which is how he made it to the big leagues last season. Obviously he thinks he can get back this year as a catcher, which leaves one final question: Does Coste know something the rest of us can only ponder about?"


curt: As I recall you were one of the Gillick defenders with regard to his offseason and acquiring no bullpen help. That being the case, since you think moving Myers to the pen was a bad idea, what is your solution? Who's your playoff-caliber setup and playoff-caliber closer?

Re: Today's game. Phils need to go for the kill here as the Braves are reeling from injuries and the matchup is good: Hamels vs. the control-challenged Kyle Davies.

Braves trotting out a control-challenged pitcher. $10 says Jimmy swings at the first pitch at least twice today.

clout -- your "recollection" is incorrect; quite the opposite is true.

We obviously lacked a playoff caliber BP when we failed to trade Lieber and/or Rowand for help, and still do -- unless lightening strikes.

And I can assure you that my "solution", unlike others who will go unnamed, was never to take our opening day starter and toss him into the BP.

Clout, I'm curious what you think of the Braves' off-season plan now. They were much lauded at the begining of the year for focusing on the pen instead of the rotation.

Now that they trot out Davies and recycled minor league garbage, and Gonzalez is gone for the year, maybe we should revisit the opinions we had of the Braves from the opening series.

If these two games have proved anything, it's that it's a lot easier to find scrap bullpen arms then it is to find scrap starters.

What's gone unoticed so far is that while guys like Eaton and Garcia haven't been dominant, the staff as a whole has done one thing really well: eat innings.

The Phils pen is currently 14th in IP (BTW, this makes Cholly's overuse of Myers even more inexcusable). The Braves, who focused almost exclusively on the pen have had a self-fullfilling prophecy...their high-priced pen has had to pitch the 6th most innings in the NL, thanks to a constant crew of stiffs for their 4th and 5th starters.

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EST. 2005

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