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Tuesday, May 15, 2007


"momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher"- thanks Weitzel, that harsh reality is that Eaton is our starter tonight.

Well, you could look at it this way; perhaps even knocked around fifth starters can ride the momentum of last nights phantastic, the guy's last outing wasn't so bad. No time like the present to get it together, Adam.....are you listening, Adam?....Adam?

Phillies owed Milwaukee one from last season when the Phils were the ones who kept blowing it late.

Wheeler said something during Utley's at bat on how he's never seen a team apply the shift against him, but I definitely remember the Brewers doing it last season.

My favorite all-time shift was the one Tampa Bay put on Howard last season, which included Tomas Perez moving from third base to left field.

I'm happy for Milwaukee and all, as they're a great story in this young season, but I hope we clobber them for 4 straight.

Speculation in the Bronx is that, with lefthanders Sean Henn and Mike Myers already in the bullpen, the Yankees don't have room for Ron Villone. Amaro, citing tampering rules, declined to comment on what interest the Phillies might have in Villone beyond saying, "What we need, what we'd like to have, is somebody with some experience who would help [manager Charlie Manuel] hold down the game." Another Phillies baseball man said he didn't know if the Phillies were interested or not, but added: "Would he make us better? I sure think he would." Villone's Yankee contract calls for a $2.5 million salary if he's promoted. If he becomes a free agent, however, agent Scott Boras is free to negotiate the best deal he can get.

My favorite part of the game was the fact that they got all those hits against Turnbow, who owned the Phils last year. His dominance of the Phillies was part of the reason that there was chatter in the off-season about trying to obtain him. Now, they've shaken that mental part, not just with Turnbow, but in general. They have to feel like their offensive "spurtability" means that they're never really out of a game.

I'd still much rather have consistency than one or two innings every game where the Phils put up 4, 5 or 6.

We may have Eaton going, but they have Claudio Vargas. Vargas' stats, on the surface, seem to indicate that he is a good starting pitcher, however looking deeper he is more like his average self. His WHIP is in the 1.6 area. ERA is respectable in the mid 3.00 range. He is striking out a lot of people, but a few of those games have come against the (Until last night) non-hitting Cardinals, and I think one against the Astros.

Eaton: has not been near as bad recently as the beginning. Hopefully he can get it together, at least within the repectable range, and the Phils have a chance. Can't really ask for a whole lot more. A complete game would be nice, but I'm not buying.

Bottom Line: Phils are probably going to strike out a lot against this guy tonight. THey need to make him work and take some walks, getting to the bullpen. Vargas is mistake prone and has control issues, so if the Phils are patient then they should be able to get some chances.

Todd Walker got released yesterday....might be worth a shot. Certainly rather have him than werth

I hope Manuel keeps Dobbs in the lineup against all these righties. Dobbs has really been on fire lately.

"Sometimes"-Hit Nunez may have 5 errors now (Helms 6, total 11 for our 3rd baseman), but his defense at 3rd is the best we got, and should remain in the lineup because his empty batting average is about the same as Helms' empty batting average. I'm not saying Nuni should remain the starter, but for now, Helms' bat does not outweight Nunez D and bat.

I wish Walker could play some SS, because he'd be a nice addition to back up all infield positions.

Said Helms spotted Turnbow wasnt throwing his splitter and he and Manual told the boys to jump all over the fastball.
Nice spot Helmsy, maybe this will be the shot in the arm you need !

Todd Walker has and LSU pedigree and was a CWS star. He's got to be better than Werth-less.

Today is my birthday. Will the Phillies give me a birthday win? With Eaton on the mound against a good pitcher in Vargas, I'm not sure I'll get my birthday wish. To get a win tonight, we're going to need the big bats early and often.

This is, again, probably an 82-88 win team. They could be better if the rotation keeps it up, Howard comes back strong, and the bullpen solidifies. They could be worse if Moyer suddenly acts his age, the high-cost starters don't represent, and Howard can't come back at least to his 2005 level.

The biggest problem is that I don't see the Mets or Braves going away. No, Perez and Maine probably won't be this good all year, but Wright and Delgado finding their bats will make up for some of that dropoff. And Atlanta has a lineup as good as ours, a much better bullpen, and a far superior manager/GM tandem.

Walker is LH, so he doesn't replace Werth. He is also strictly a PH / DH now. He is terrible defensively at 2b and hasn't played much 3rd, so he is not really a utility type. Dobbs gives you more than Walker.

Happy B-Day Lake Fred.

Helms' comments made me wonder whether Helms just works better as a pinch hitter. The guy clearly knows the game, but as a starter, you need to focus on many different things. When you're pinch hitting, there's one task, one focus. And Helms may thrive in that role. No wonder he was so effective as a PH in the past.

Meanwhile, there is statistical evidence proving Nunez performs better as a starter. There's nothing wrong with Nunez hitting 8th, if Helms can deliver like this off the bench.

dajafi, good post. Most people here thought the Mets or the Braves would be good. Few that they both would be good, and I agree that both look be there the entire season. There are only so many playoff spots and I cannot see the Phils overtaking both of these teams after such a poor start. And I don't think the Phils have the pitching (starting and relief) to sustain the necessary winning streaks to do so. We can't keep scoring 6 + runs a game.

No disagreements with Dajafi. Combine that with the record in one-run games and in extra innings, and it's still an 82-87 win team.

malcom, i love helms off the bench, so we agree there. but we have to demand better than nunez as the primary solution at 3B.

Sarge said the same thing about Turnbow's splitter after the one he bounced about 6 feet in front of the plate -- the hitters could confidently sit dead red. I noticed that both Helms and Dobbs hit fastballs that were quite a bit low, out of the strike zone. The surprising thing, as many noted during the game last night, was that Yost left Turnbow out there to take such a beating.

Random question to start: does anyone know if Bisenius ever pitched for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons? Random, I know. There's a Red Barons' uni on eBay with his name on it. I have a collection of Red Barons items (used to live up there), but I don't remember him ever being on the roster there.

Lake Fred- hope they can give you a win like they did for me on Friday. Granted, Burrell hit two home runs so my buddy dogged me for that, but any win's a good win.

J, you're right about the Brewers' putting on a shift for Ut last season.

Helms would be a great bench guy, with occasional starts at 3rd or 1st. But to have Nuni as the starting 3rd baseman is a joke. Come July, I hope we try to trade for someone decent with the glove and stick. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Nunez is actually getting some singles here and there, but how long will it last before we're back to seeing him ground out weakly every plate appearance.

Nice post, dajafi. We got to see the Cubs-Mets game last night and both teams fielded poorly. I am amazed that the Mets lead the league in both BA and ERA. I thought their pitching was supposed to suck. Maybe their poor fielding leads to errors, hence the good ERA!?

Thanks for the birthday wishes, Billy and thanks and a belated "same to you" to DC fan.

I don't completely mind Nunez as long as he's in the 8 hole. He can do some different things - bunts and situational hitting and the like - to make up for his GIDPs and weak grounders.

I agree there has to be a real upgrade at third, but we all know that isn't happening any time soon. I'd much rather see the 'pen get shored up.

And I just realized that there's two Malcolms on the boards. There's lowercase malcolm and me, uppercase Malcolm. Strange.

Not that flip-flopping Ruiz and Nunez would make a huge difference, but if Nunez continues to play, he should be batting 8th with Ruiz in the 7 hole.

Unfortunately, Barajas probably gets the start tonight.

Any update on Villone?

Phila Fan

if this is to be believed then he didn't play at AAA Scranton

I thought Helms could've been a good under-the-radar signing this offseason, definitely not the case. If he's the #1 PH off the bench, I'm ok with that, but that means Nunez is starting. Ugh. I doubt there's anything "there", but Steve on 610 keeps mentioning hearing "whispers" of a Troy Glaus trade. I'd like that

Glaus is getting older now, is constantly injured, and is making a ton of money. With that said, I would love to see him man 3rd base this season. To pry him away from Toronto it would take 2 top prospects (Happ and Carasco possibly).

LF - last night notwithstanding, the Mets have played excellent defense this year. Mike @ A Citizen's Blog has been pointing out the enormous gap between NY's ERA (best in the league) and fielding-independent ERA (slightly below average) for a while now - see this post, for example. the Mets' excellent DER, compounded by a lot of pitchers who induce strikeouts, is the reason their pitching staff has overperformed so far.

I agree that Helms as your first bat off the bench isn't bad by any means. He's a great asset as a slightly less than half-time player, and pretty clearly overmatched as a starter. Adding a guy like Glaus (not that I see how there might be a fit; Carson's thought is semi-plausible, but even that might not be enough if there's interest from other teams) would still mean Helms starts once or twice a week, given that Glaus has nagging injuries and Howard arguably should sit against some lefties.

Happy birthday, LF, and here's hoping they get you a win tonight. Unfortunately, my b'day was spoiled by that Andruw Jones walkoff jack. Thanks, Alf...

Happy Birthday Fred!

Jason, your sober reminder about momentum and the next day's starting pitcher reminded me of something Larry Bowa used to say that expanded on that thought:

"Momentum is sixty feet, six inches away."

dajafi, good post. I said before the season that their win total would be 86, + or - 10.
76 if they really fell apart (injuries, etc.), 96 if everything went right, including Chollie's decisions. For them to get to 96 wins they have to win 78 more games, that is, play at a .629 clip. To do that they would have to really beat up on both the Braves and Mets from here on out. Very unlikely. To get to 86 wins they need to win 68 of the remaining 124, a .548 clip, much more likely given the bullpen situation, and probably not good enough to make the postseason.

Carson, Ruiz has to bat 8th behind Nunez to provide Nuni "protection" in the lineup.

Dobbs has been pretty good at first base. He is supposedly also a third baseman. Why not play him against righties at third until he plays himself off (hopefully never). Nunez is a switchitter so he can pinchhit or play defensively when we have a lead or need a double switch. I still like Helms against lefties. I think Dobbs started one game at third earlier in season and had a hit if I recall.

It might be time for Manuel to give Rollins a rest, too. He looks like he could use one. Maybe tonight would be a good night for it.

Jobbers- I saw that website too. Maybe he didn't actually play in a game but he was moved from Reading to Scranton at some point later in the season?

AWH, you crack me up. I can't stop laughing after reading your post about Ruiz having to bat 8th behind Nunez to provide Nuni "protection" in the lineup. ROTFLOL!

Smoltz getting hurt last night is a good start to getting past the Braves. Hopefully Wickman stays hurt. Chipper is due for a groin pull any day now. And I wouldn't be surprised if Andrew Jones breaks his back with one of those ridiculous swings of his.

ae, thanks for the link on the Mets analysis. The writer felt the Mets will falter later in the season, but that the Braves were more solid. I feel the Mets are still better than the Braves, however, either way it looks tough for our Phillies. If the Phillies want to get to the post-season thaey can't depend on other teams losing. The Phillies need to win every time out, even when Eaton the Dog pitches.

Lake Fred, glad you took the Ruiz/Nuni post the way it was intended.

Jobbers- thanks for the help. After messing around with the MiLB website, I found this:

Looks like our boy Bisenius pitched 1.1 Innings during the International League playoffs.

Here's how it shapes up:

Phillies remaining opponents records:

378-393 .490

Mets and Braves:

48-27 .640

Remaining opponents without Mets/Braves:

330-366 .474


With 124 games remaining, 29 are against the Mets and Braves. Phils are 6+ games behind both teams, and MUST beat them head up (currently Braves 1-5, Mets 1-3) in order to catch one of them, as it can be expected that both teams will fare reasonably well against their other competition. They also have to clobber the lousy team like KC and the Nats. Period.

Correction: 26 of the remaining games are Mets/Braves.

Weitzel - I thought Cholly should have rested Rollins on Sunday in preparation for the Brewers series. Rollins has been taking some bad ABs lately and not taking any BBs.

AWH - Interesting post. Still think the magic number for the Phils is 90 wins. Means the Phils need to go 72-52 or .581 winning percentage to even get to 90 wins.

Basically comes down to if the strengths of this team (starting pitching, offense) are enough to overcome the weaknesses (defense, bullpen). I just don't see it even with a pretty weak schedule.

It is nice to see that we have moved into first place tie with the Mets in runs scored in the National League East with 196 Runs, with Atlanta and Florida at 184 and 183 respectively.

The issue remains pitching - Gordon and Madson both being injured, Garcia our main offseason hope not available and only now coming around (his last two outings have been more than acceptable let's hope he will be able to build on it now), and Eaton the Fifth Starter giving up tons or runs (even though he is 3-3); we are 47 Runs above the Mets in runs given away.

Our record should be 20-18 not 18-20 based on our runs scored/runs given up those two losses could be attributed to Madson not revealing his injury, or poor tactical managing by Cholly - you can choose your answer depending on your outlook. I like our 3rd coach at the moment, I think he is making good percentage choices - the last 2 years post VUK were horrible, the worst I had ever seen.

So far "you are the weakest link!" has been Werth who was signed to provide some righthanded outfield power he was courted by a number or teams - here is hoping he produces, or when Howard comes back he is released with Chris Coste getting those right handed at bats as a pinchhitter in the late innings and delivering ala Roy Hobbs.

Here is hoping that both Madson (who was showing signs of success before he went on the DL) and Gordon return to give us solid 7th and 8th inning men, and push Geary back to his successful role as a 6th-7th inning guy to hand the ball to when a game is still close.

Our offense is fine, will be better when Howard comes back. Barajas, if he reverts to his mean .238 career bating average will be just what he was signed for, one year back-up defensive insurance. Imagining that Ruiz and Coste were ready for a 162 game defensive grind is not unlike thinking that Nunez and Helms and Dobbs are the defensive answer at 3B.

How do we improve aside from Howard, Gordon, Madson, and Garcia coming back from injury, and Eaton and Barajas reverting to their means?

We need a 3B third baseman, and two relievers. Not Cormier/Villone quality (but I bet we will be overpaying for Villone by tomorrow).

Adrian Beltre is underperforming (.240) with a huge contract for the Seatle Mariners
a place where GM Gillick has been able to trade before, if the Mariners fall out of the race we have the money to take on his contract now, because of Gillick's stewardship. Oft injured Troy Glaus of the Toronto BlueJays is also a possibility as well if they become sellers. Think of what our fans would want if we were trading them away - Top minor leaguers and someone like Rowand who is at his highest trade value at the moment. If it was Rowand and a minor leaguer for Beltre I would do it, if it were 2 minor leaguers for Glaus I would do it as well.

It is just not as easy as many think to snap ones fingers and get a 3B man who will not become a David Bell in the second half of his contract. Josh Fields of the Chicago White Sox (who is batting .252 in AAA)
could be had for Rowand is my 3rd choice, and drafting a 3B in the up comming 2007 Draft my 4th.

As for relievers, hopefully one will emerge from AAA, I am sure liking Clay Condrey ATM, but if one of the fireballers got it together (including those on the 25 man roster like Rosario) that would be a good thing. Noone is trading a top set up reliever for less than Rowand (if Madson and Gordon come back that would be ideal),
and I would use him only in a trade for a 3B man.

Based on nothing but a gut feeling, I think Gordon coming back as a decent anything (setup/closer) may not happen. At the very least, I hope he can come back and throw a good innning here and there. Those years of getting overused by Torre have really done a number on him.

Rowand and a minor leaguer for Beltre is insane. Beltre is an albatross - he has zero trade value right now. the Mariners have no right to expect anything more than a salary dump if they want to get rid of him. I'd gladly take him - between the effects of CBP and NL pitching I think he'd do well here - but I'm thinking CJ Henry. why, he's a first round draft pick, don't you know.

Glaus has a FNTC and is playing out of his mind. Toronto would want a ton for him - never going to happen. (I'd be more interested in reviving the Rowand-for-Rios talks, since Rios is playing good but not great right now.)

Rowand is a free agent next year, so if we trade its going to be a team that is looking to win pennant this year. How many of those will be willing to give something up that would hurt their team. If Toronto wants to trade Rios for him, then they would have to make sure Rowand would sign a new contract.
If we are not in pennant race in July, we will probably take whomever we can get for him. thats what happens when you have free agency. Its also possible the Phils may want to sign him up for a few more years and not trade him.

Isn't a reason the 'Jays would consider trading Rios is that they have a hot shot OF prospect to replace him?

Beard - I'm not certain, but as I recall the Jays needed a CF, and their prospects were more corner OF types.

fljerry - that's true. Boston could really use a decent CF this year.

Beltre is not viewed as an Albatros in Seatle. Glaus is oft-injured.

If everyone wants a 3B man. Who do you want - who is going to trade him to you - and for what?

Anyone trading for Rowand will be coming to terms with him before the trade takes place, or they will not be giving anything up for him.

Alden, Beltre is making $12M a year from now until 2009 - more than 10% of the Mariners' payroll this year - and is hitting .240/.303/.411. that is the very definition of an albatross.

to expand on that - Abreu wasn't an albatross for us, and we got absolutely nothing for him (except for "salary relief"). the Mariners are in a much, much worse position with Beltre, who has a worse track record and worse contract.

Beltre's had one monster year, and then got paid big time for it. His other years are decent, but not for $12mil.

I find it ironic that people insist that Gillick made a bad move not holding out for more talent for Abreu, and not realizing that there was no talent to be gained his huge salary.

I also find it ironic that the same people think that we can get Beltre or Glaus for nothing when both play the infield, where there are no other options.

Who do you want to trade for and what do you think it will take? Beltre for CJ Henry?
You think Seatle is down with that trade? lol

If you argue that we should have kept Abreu and not traded for Garcia and his salary, that is fine, I will agree to disagree. Saying we didn't get value for Abreu is just silly. There is a free market, we dumped 27 million of salary, and this year Abreu is batting .239.

Alden, if you can't see the gigantic contradiction in that post, I can't help you.

If noone offered better prospects would you have kept Abreu and 27 million dollars of expenditure? If you kept Abreu with his .239 salary and not had a spot for Victorino and his stolen bases, and his league leading outfield assists would you be happy?

Addition by subtraction. Support the argument that keeping Abreu would be a good move - not "we shuda gotten mure fur da boi Abreu iz liked hem", when there were no offers for Abreu with the trading deadline coming up. Trading Abreu for exactly what we got instead of keeping him was great for the Phillies.

We saved 27 MILLION Dollars, and Victorino got his shot.

Alden, thanks for accurately transcribing my poor grammar and spelling.

Not talking directly to you AE.

My question is for anyone - would you as GM not traded Abreu?

I see that we got 27 Million Dollars in Savings that allowed us to trade for Garcia and have room for other salaries in the future, we opened a spot for Shane Victorino, and 4 marginal prospects.

Either someone agrees with that or would rather have kept Abreu, expended 27 Million Dollars, and not had a spot for Victorino, or the 4 marginal prospects.

Either or.

I would've kept Abreu, the savings just allowed us to sign people we never should've signed in the first place (Eaton, Barajas, Alfonseca), and no one could've known he'd be batting .239 so far. Nor do I think that'll continue. Personally I would've kept Abreu, traded Rowand for bullpen help, and started Victorino in center. Rowand looks really good now but again, we all thought he was obscenely overrated as recently as a month ago before he went on this (most likely fluky) tear.

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