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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Comments

I would love a sweep of the Cubbies today. We need some momentum heading into the series against the Brew Crew.

I bash on Nunez a lot, but right now he should be starting because he's our best option at 3rd. Barajas should not be playing all but once or twice a week not 2 out of every 5 days. Ruiz is proving to be superior with the stick over Rod, and defensively they're a wash.

I don't like the match up against Lilly today. Lieber isn't going to totally shut down the Cubs and lefties like Lilly have given the Phils fits so far this season.

I just don't see the Phils scoring more than a couple of runs. Hope I am wrong.

Good news for those of us who are out of market: the game is being broadcast on WGN today. Two Phils games in a row? Hard to believe it, Harry.

Charlie is driving me nuts with the Barajas starts. They have to leave Ruiz in there.

I'd really like to see what Coste can do at 3b.

Can't be defensively or offensively worse than helms.

Saw the squeeze yesterday (its nice when the Phils are on broacast TV and I can actually get to see them) and my first thought was, this is what I've been waiting to see all year, small ball. And, lo, it worked. In fact, seems to me that the more of this they do, the better they tend to fare. Right now, we have a lot of guys who *can* get a double on a regular basis, or on base, and if we're willing to play the strategic game, this line up can score runs.

Don't know what that squeeze meant, but its a darn good sign that they're trying things like that. Hopefully success will breed a willingness to do more of it.


Jason observes above that, "In 25 games (90 AB) Coste had only been hitting .233 with a .606 OPS, but if Coste can contribute what he did last season, Charlie Manuel will have pinch-hitter/spot starter at his fingertips who will make pitchers work and deliver clutch hits."

By way of perspective, Coste's current batting average at AAA (.233) was almost 60 points higher than it was just over a week ago. And Coste's BA is a lot higher than it was on May 21, 2006, when Coste was brought up to the Phillies after being sent down after hitting .454 with power in 2006 Spring Training.

Both years -- last year and this -- after being (IMO unjustly) cut at the end of Spring Training, Coste was, by his own admission, emotionally "down", and pressing at the plate. Its easy for us to say that Coste should not have gotten into into that mindset, but its another thing to be in that situation -- 34 years old, having made the contribution that Coste did last season, only to be optioned by Seattle Stew to Ottawa, being being frozen out of other major league opportunities.

Now back in Philadelphia, at least for a time, *if* he is given the opportunity, Coste will perform much as he did last year, coming to Philadelphia after beginning the 2006 season with a .177 batting average at Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Whether Coste *will* be given much of an opportunity by current management is open to serious question, however. It is apparent that Coste will get few, if any, "four-at-bat" game opportunities, as management indicated last night to the Inquirer. See, the following report:
" The Phillies recalled Chris Coste from triple-A Ottawa to take Howard's place on the roster. . . . (T)he Phillies hope Dobbs, who went a career-best 4 for 4 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBIs, Wes Helms and Coste, who primarily will be used as a pinch-hitter, can hold the fort while Howard recovers."

In other words, Coste will have to take advantage of the few PH at bats that he will get.

I think that they should give Coste a few starts at catcher, first base and even third base, and that they should keep Coste after Howard comes back, going with an 11-man pitching staff -- as there are some guys currently taking up roster space, whom Manuel is justifiably afraid to use.

Describing Alfonseca's appearance yesterday as "2/3 scoreless innings" is pretty charitable of you, J. While technically it's true, he did give up a liner at Nunez, a two-run double to Jones and then a single to DeRosa that would have scored Jones against most NL outfielders. Instead, Victorino guns down Jones at the plate, and Alfonseca gets the win and no ER.

I see that Justin Germano, with his 1.50 ERA, gets the start for the Padres this afternoon in San Diego against the Cardinals. Losing Germano on waivers while getting nothing in return is yet another of Seattle Stew's doniehead player transactions.

"doniehead" = bonehead

i wish the phils would give a look to coste at 3B, but if they wouldn't even do it at AAA, why should we expect them to in the majors? in any case, i don't know what we can really expect from coste after all this, but i do agree that i'd rather have an extra guy on the bench that *will get used* over an extra guy in the bullpen that won't.

Lineups

Werth and Helms get starts today against the lefty Lilly. Ruiz catching. For the Cubbies, D Lee is sitting. Got word that Coste is at the ballpark.

Phils
1. J Rollins, SS
2. J Werth, RF
3. A Rowand, CF
4. C Utley, 2B
5. P Burrell, LF
6. W Helms, 1B
7. A Nunez, 3B
8. C Ruiz, C
9. J Lieber, P

Cubs
1. A Soriano, LF
2. R Theriot, 2B
3. D Ward, 1B
4. A Ramirez, 3B
5. M Murton, RF
6. J Jones, CF
7. M Barrett, C
8. C Izturis, SS
9. T Lilly, P

Gillick conveniently ignores the fact that Coste was the International league's All Star third baseman for the 2005 season.

I think that Coste getting a start or two at third base to spell Nunez -- assuming that Abe continues to hit as he has this season and justify a starting role -- would be preferable to starting "iron glove", "empty BA" Helms at the hot sack.

coste was an all-star in the international league at 3b two years ago.

I didn't know that Coste was the IL All Star 3rd baseman two seasons ago. Seeing him in the majors last year, my impression of him was that he is kind of slow, and might not have the speed and range to handle 3B much better than Helms at the major league level. But if he does have the ability, and since this organization does not have a solid 3B or minor league 3B prospects, I would think that they would give him work at third in AAA. In the end it's probably a matter of age, as the team wants to develop guys who are a bit younger, like Brennan King, and see if they have anything at that position for the Phillies in the future.

I like Coste as much as the next guy, but I'll be surprised if he gets more than 20 AB's let alone a shot at the third base job.

krub -

ole cholly _really_ likes Coste and his AB's. I guarnatee he pinch hits everyday, and does get some spot starts.

why wouldnt he? he only hit .328 last year in the show.

Howard is on the 15 day DL as of May 10th. May 25th he's back which means Coste has 11 games including today. Do you think he gets 2 AB's a game? The only way he gets a start is if they switch to a Helms/Dobbs 1st base platoon and a Coste/Nunez 3rd base platoon. 1 start maybe 2 at the very best is my guess.

Josh M: Brennan King is not a prospect. He is 26-year-old organizational filler who was cut free by the Royals. It took him 4 years to get out of AA, his lifetime OPS is .712, his only position is 3B and he's nothing special with the glove.

hey clout -

you still think that vic is at best a 4th outfielder?

"they should keep Coste after Howard comes back, going with an 11-man pitching staff -- as there are some guys currently taking up roster space, whom Manuel is justifiably afraid to use."
this is a really sensible suggestion, so you know there's no chance they do it.

Joe: yes, on a championship team he'd be a 4th outfielder. He'd be a starting centerfielder on a potential Wild Card team and an everyday corner outfielder on a .500 team. But we'll see where things stand at season's end.

davthom73 and Carson nailed it on the last thread. The signing of Barajas was ill-advised, unecessary, and sucked up money that could have benn used on relief pitching. I, too, was against that siging when it occured.

Nice to see Coste back, not because I like him (I do), but because I think they're a better team.

hippo, had it right. When Howard comes off the DL, they'd be better off keeping Coste and sending down a pitcher Chollie's not gong to use.

Let's see if Seattle Stew has even that much common sense.

BTW, I got busy at work when Jason started the thread about Seattle Stew's comments in the Inky.

When he evaluated the job he had done as GM as "average" I thought it was laughable. He was brought in and paid big dollars to do an 'above average' job. I think he would agree with that. So, by his own admission he has underperformed.

As a matter of fact, in the last six months, he's probably underperformed worse than any other member of the organization - on or off the field.

Thanks phila fan in dc, watching the game here in Boston on WNG instead of more talking Sox heads on NESN.

I hope Coste does well and I love the story. I just don't share davethoms unbridled optimism on Coste's hitting prowess. Coste was great last year, but lets not start making him out to be Carlton Fisk, or even Todd Pratt for that matter.

Better than following the game (as I usually do) on the Blackberry.

I mean, how else would I get to enjoy the obligatory out-of-town announcers talk about cheesesteaks?

Nice play by Rollins there.

check out that superior defensive play at 3B

nunez is here for defense, right?

Surprised that Coste didn't start today at 1B. Seeing just a bit too much of Nunez lately.

By the way, "Seattle Stew" is a really annoying reference to Gillick.

DH, Seattel Stew is the monicker given to the current (not future) Phils GM for the following reasons:

1. He has purchased a home there, not Philadelphia, showing little long-term committment to the city, team or fans.

2. It's a wordplay on the racehorse's name.

3. The 'stew' he has been cooking up here for the Philadelphia Phillies is, so far, as stinky, smelly mess.

If and when this team makes the playoffs I will refer to him otherwise. Until then, he's no better than Ed Wade, who's 2005 team won more games that Seattle Stew's 2006 version.

As davthom73 has posted, the Barajas signing as "insurance" doesn't say much for his ability to evaluate talent (see Carlos Ruiz), even if it's right under his nose.

'mothers add so much to baseball, like cooking after games and cleaning uniforms.' these announcers are pure gold. i guess they forgot about the babymaking too. i bet my own mother is watching the game right now, thinking about playing ball with me and my brother when we were kids, and grumbling at how sexist these announcers are!

I gave my parents my tickets for today's game - Section 211. Here's hoping they win one today for Mom!!!

geez, the cubs oughta fire their 3B coach after this series.

Vic isn't the only one who can throw people out at the plate.

hippo: The ugly little secret is that Nunez is no better than league-average defensively at 3B.

If you remember, Burrell led the team in outfield assists his first full year. 18 I think - he can throw.

AWH: Your analysis of Gillick continues to be on the money.

Thanks for that, bathtubhippo - good looking out.

I couldn't help noticing that while the guys in the booth asked Gigi Rollins about her own background playing sports, they didn't ask any follow up questions, preferring to quickly move on to "safer" territory: asking Gigi what meals she prepares for Jimmy when he visits home.

I love baseball on its own terms, but you also can learn a heck of a lot about gender and race in this society by following baseball.

Gahh... I would have had Rollins try dropping a bunt there. What is he, 0-7+ ?

Hippo: did they say that on WGN? If so, they might as well add Rick Dempsey to their booth and be done with it.

AWH: I am not especially happy with what Gillick has and hasn't done since taking over, but it's a little silly to hold it against him for choosing to live in Seattle. I think he'd seem just as distant and out of touch if he lived at the Stadium Holiday Inn.

Laramie: I didn't see AA's inning but saw the Victorino highlight. I basically just followed the boxscore in my recap for the part I didn't see.

The last time someone said the Phillies have struggled against quality pitching, that statement was attacked for no good reason. Here we are again, one hit through six innings. Guess we should be expecting this, right?

It's games like this that haunt me as a Phillies fan. We put up 11 last night and then can't score during the next game. Pardon me while I grab some Tums.

@dh: yep, on WGN they did indeed go on for about a minute about the contribution mothers make to baseball by cooking and cleaning. it was pretty much the exact words i would have chosen if i were being sarcastic, but they were absolutely sincere.

@clout: yep, you and i have always been on the same page about nunez being below average at 3B. that's why i've continually complained about some people considering him acceptable at the position because of defense. but, to be fair to people who say that, wes "the butcher" helms does make nunez look like something of a gold glover.

fan in DC: yes, and this is exactly why cumulative run totals will never tell the whole story about the overall effectiveness of this offense. The key a good offense is consistency and the ability to adjust to pitchers, not to pile it on one day and look feeble the next. If someone (like the esteemed Mr. Gammons) were to look at the averages and see the ERA as compared to the run total, he would hastily conclude the the problem for this club is the pitching. And no question: it has been a good part of the problem, mostly because there's no bullpen to turn the games over to if the starters can't go seven innings. But it's not the only reason why they've lost as many games as they have. This is hardly the first time they've gotten a strong starting effort, and the hitters haven't showed up.

Following on Gamecast here - was the infield single to third a play Noonan should have made?

Lieber is keeping them in this game. I'd love to see the Phils sneak out of this with a win somehow.

BTW, Victorino and Burrell are now #1 and #2 in outfield assists in the NL.

Greg -- it was a perfect swinging bunt.. Nunez waited on it hoping it might roll foul, but it was a good foot inbounds.

Nice hit by Nunez. Let's get something going, now ...

Lilly's curveball is really good, that pitch Utley struck out on broke a mile. I can't understand how davthom knows that Coste will hit well with us after hitting .233 so far in the minors. Seems just as possible that he will continue his current poor hitting, whether he's "down," up, or sideways. And sooner or later I think Helms will start hitting with a little more power. It's a home run park and he's always had some power. I'd definitely go with Helms over Coste for the present time, and I might even go with Nunez over Coste the way he's been hitting recently.

I'll take it.

Nice one, Ramirez.

And I don't understand RSB/DH's point. There's not one ballclub in the major leagues that does not struggle some days against certain pitchers. The Yankees have, on paper, one of the best lineups ever assembled, and they struggle some days. I'd still say they have an effective offense. Lilly's simply pitched a very good ballgame.

That's just what they needed. Lieber leaves the game. Very nice job by Lieber this afternoon to get it done.

Crap. Would have liked to see that second runner cross home.

Figures, Rollins hits one square at Soriano. Oh well, three more outs.

Lilly has been sharp, but my point is that this tendency to score 10 runs one game and 1 the next is not an anomaly; it has typified the Phillies offense at least since the last time they suicide squeezed before yesterday.

I really, really don't want to see fat-gut Alfonseca here.

The pitch Rollins hit was a hanging curve but it was a bit high and he just got underneath it.

What is this, Alfonseca's 6th appearance in 8 games? Cholly is begging for trouble.

Maybe it just has to do with the fact that Angel Guzman isn't very good and Lilly (today) is. Really, until someone can find a stat that proves this offense is less consistent than any other team's, I won't buy it.

another tendency this team has: scoring a run or two followed by the bullpen giving them right back...

Wait, bringing in Castro with the bases loaded? This should be interesting.

Tray: I also don't think it's uncommon for any team to come out flat after a long game with a lot of hitting. Neither team is don't much today. Plus, it's hard to get a sweep. Like MG, I was expecting some low scoring.

In AA's defense, the first two hits were little slap jobs on okay pitches. The problem is AA doesn't have an out pitch. That's why he can't be a setup man. For a brief moment earlier, I thought he might do okay. He can't.

Clout - My thought exactly. Cholly is ridiculous using Alfonseca in the 9th today - especially since he wasn't sharp at all yesterday.

3-0, ughhhhh

I've had enough of Alfonseca in situations that actually matter. If he doesn't have any control he is useless. His stuff is not bad, but he can't locate any pitch consistently. He is getting hit hard and walking people. Until Alfonseca proves he can have a little control he has to be demoted. And it would be nice to get another reliever from somewhere. Where, I don't know, but Gillick needs to make a move.

Lilly: Anyone watching this game should realize that Lilly threw one hell of a game. Few, if any teams would have done much with the stuff he was throwing. Castro is worse than Alfo.

What the hell is Manuel doing using Alfonseca again today? Alfonseca has sucked the past 2 weeks. He may have been awarded the "win" yesterday, but he didn't pitch well. I know our entire bullpen seems to suck, but I'd have like to see Condrey or someone else. Now bases loaded for the Model Dictator who can't find the plate. Our lefties out of the bullpen suck this season at throwing strikes.

Just like I said the other day, "feast or famine" with these guys. Stupid!

None of these options are great, but why Castro there?

Hard to figure bringing Fabio in there. How could Manuel not anticipate that DeRosa would hit, first of all? I know there aren't any good options but Condrey at least throws strikes and has a little experience under his belt. Odds against Castro getting the job done there were astronomically high.

Well, Gillick did the best he could with the bullpen, right BedBeard?

I like the move, at some point we have to use someone other than Geary and Alfonseca, but the results are unfortunate. How is Bisenius doing these days?

at some point, tray, not *that* point.

Granted this bullpen is a couple of pieces short right now with Madson and Gordon on the DL, but Cholly's handling of it is almost as bad.

Not only does he constantly misuse the bullpen but he puts guys in a position not to succeed. I went to the Giants game last Saturday when Castro last pitched. He looked awful but he hasn't thrown in nearly a week and only got to face two batters (including Bonds who he had to pitch around).

So Cholly brings in Castro today after not using him all week and is surprised that he walks a guy on 4 pitches? Exactly why Cholly drives fans nuts.

Poor defense today by the Phils too. Besides Lieber, bad baseball.

Ugh. Clay does his job and gets a DP ball and Chase juggles........

The Phils two Achilles' heels have reared there head this inning: bullpen and suspect defense.

good job by condrey

My problem with Castro there is his command is so awful. The reality is aside from Myers and Geary, there's nobody they can count on.

Well Ryan Dumpster always collapses at some point in the season, just hope today is the beginning.

yeh, the cupboard is incredibly bare after myers and geary.

any reason to hit werth here instead of say... coste?

Wethless.

Now I sit here waiting for one the Manuel defense lawyers to come spewing "it's not his fault" or "what do you expect him to do" and other crap like that. The man is not fit to manage a MLB club. He will be here all season though and we'll never truly know if another manager could make the slightest difference.

And don't even start telling me it's starts with the owners...I know that. I know this is Gillick's and Wade's mess too. But regardless of all that, Manuel sucks at managing.

Parker: You're hilarious. You said all offseason that the relievers were overpriced, Borowski sucks, it's good the Phils didn't sign anyone etc. etc. And now you complain because the guys they're stuck with suck, which we all knew all offseason. You've yet to offer a solution on what you think they should've done to address the problem.

....because you ALWAYS try to stretch out an extra base when you're down 3 runs. unbelievable.

I love Chase, but that was dumb baseball right there...just like the Phils have played for the majority of this season. Glad I wasn't fooled by the past few games, we're still a joke.

That was stupid on Utley's part, but I'm not really high on the possibilities behind him.

Fitting way to end a dud of a game. Beautiful Sunday afternoon, sell-out crowd, and the players can't muster an ounce of energy. Credit Lilly all you want, and he was excellent, but the scenario is all too familiar.

Perfect end to a crappy effort by the Phils. Can this team ever display any kind of consistency beyond 2 or 3 games? Ugh.

Drama Queen,

Sometimes you run into pitchers that are hot. Lilly was damn good today.

You CANT win them all. There is no bullpen.

The phils won this series. A sweep would have been great, but we ran into a hot pitcher.

Werthless needs to be put on waivers.

No matter what, they get a series win. Lilly was tough. Lieber had another good outing. First five hitters with no hits ... oop, Utley out at second to end the ballgame.

Shake it off and start again tomorrow.

I only saw one of Werth's at bats today - the last one. I'm not a fan. I've seen few hitters look worse against RHP.

Personally, I would've seen if there was any interest in Alfonseca back when he was pitching well, try to trade him for a lesser-known reliever. Probably no one's that stupid, but his collapse was totally predictable and it leaves us with just one good set-up man. We can't possibly go to Geary every game.

I come home from Mother's Day lunch at Outback to see the Phils on WGN for the 9th inning. Phils waste another quality start with no offense. I was liking Utley's hustle, but the baseball gods smiled on the Cubs with a perfect carom to Soriano to rob Utley of a hustling double.

Nice to see Coste back up to Philly.

Tray -

don't give cholly any ideas. he'll be throwing myers and geary every day.

Oh, I forgot to ask, why was Werth-less batting second?

I am not satisfied with taking 2 of 3 against the Cubs. The Phils are still sub .500 and will struggle to split the 4 games series with a hot Brewers team.

If the Phils are still 4 or 5 games under .500 after Memorial Day, the Phils have to give some serious thoughts again to firing Cholly.

Clout, your selective reading has its own comical overtones as well. I never said that Gillick made the right moves, I said he should have traded to get a reliever, but not pay big money for a guy that is going to be average for maybe a year. Borowski will be on the DL, it is just a matter of time. And Clout, you have yet to identify any one guy who would have made a difference other than your DL favorite, Octavio Dotel. If you really think that Chad Bradford is worth what the O's paid for him, fine Clout, but you're wrong.

"It's good that the Phils never signed anyone." Clout 5/13/07

THose words never came from me. And I dont think Borowski sucks, only that he is injury prone, and his effectiveness has been greatly overexaggerated. If I did say he sucked, it was only out of frustration from people making him sound like Dennis Eckersly.

Solution Clout: Trade (exactly what I've been saying, but apparently you were not reading that part).

You seem to be only reading comments of mine that include the following words: "Borowski, sucks, overpriced, bullpen." You then take those and make my comments for me by cutting and pasting as is necessary for your argument.

The best reason that I can think of giving Werthless the start and a high batting spot, is to see if he actually belongs on a major league squad.

And after today, I gotta say that he doesn't.

And I am STUNNED that they didnt PH for him in the 9th.

Coste - .345 vs RHP.

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