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Thursday, August 02, 2007

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More food for thought. Managers and GMs like to talk about whether certain players can handle a full-time load, physically, and it's usually the smaller guys. Jimmy Rollins is an exception; his durability has never been in question. But it was a popular debate this off-season with Shane Victorino, who's hurt. Michael Bourn is hurt. Ruiz is slumping.

Is there a correlation here? The team was very hesitant to go with only Ruiz/Coste and brought in Barajas. Are we starting to see the reason for that decision?

Jason: I'm not sure that even the most fervent Barajas haters would say that Gillick didn't need to bring in a 3rd catcher last offseason. Ruiz easily could've flopped in his first full-season and Coste could've been a fluke. The criticism was that Gillick went out and got an expensive everyday catcher instead of a cheap backup. It showed a lack of confidence in Ruiz and Coste. And, as nearly all of us now acknowledge, the money would've been better spent on another bullpen arm.

Let's not leave Ryan Howard off the "who's slumping" list. He absolutely MUST come up big now that Utley and Vic are shelved. Four more whiffs last night.

Brio, you took the words right out of my mouth. Howard KILLED us last nigh. 4 Ks, he left 5 on base, and made a costly baserunning error. I like Howard as much as the next guy, but he swung at that slider in the dirt almost every time it was thrown. His at-bats have been horrific lately. Unfortunately, sans Utley, you can't exactly sit him a game to get his head straight.

In the last thread there was discussion of the language barrier hampering Ruiz. Last night, I was listening to the Astros-Braves game on the local Houston radio station. They told a story about Atlanta's starter, Buddy Carlyle. Evidently, Carlyle spent some time pitching in South Korea and he had to work with a Japanese conditioning trainer. They needed two interpreters, one to translate English to Korean, and another to translate Korean to Japanese. Maybe we can have Tad Iguchi work with Chooch on the language barrier.

Ruiz should have been pitched hit for in his last bat Charley blew it!

I fell asleep before the end and haven't seen the replays. Nobody seems to be faulting Myers; was it more of a passed ball than a wild pitch? Because for me, this shows the problem with an inexperienced closer. Everyone has acted as if sticking Myers into the role would present no problems at all. I think that was wishful thinking.

Let me get this straight: We are looking at yet another 7-8-9 "black hole" (that may extend to the 1 spot), have a manager unable to logically build a lineup that capitalizes on the few strengths that Burrell has, Gordon may again be injured (we'll never really know the whole truth), Howard is back to K'ing multiple times per game, we're looking at another month or so until we can get the "motor guys" back in the lineup (again, how can we be sure that this timetable is even accurate), AND we get to look forward to Rod Barajas behind the plate for our virgin Lohse experience????

Wake me up, I'm dreaming. I liked things better when we were talking playoffs a week and a half ago. I didn't even touch on the season-long issues (bullpen still sucks and we have to pick our poison at 3B). At some point you begin to wonder if the baseball gods fell asleep in 1980 to allow that one championship in 125 years.

LET COSTE PLAY!!

I don't blame Cholly for not wanting to touch PtBB. This run obviously can't last much longer, and I can't think of a faster way to end it than putting PtBB in a position where he is expected to produce runs every AB.

The thought of lining up Helms - Barajas - Lohse - Robertson/Werth tonight is hideous. Lohse will have to throw a 30 out shutout to win.

umm today...and Roberson

"30 out shutout to win" - nice. The worst part is, it might not be too far off the way these clowns have played the last two nights.

The criticism was that Gillick went out and got an expensive everyday catcher instead of a cheap backup.... And, as nearly all of us now acknowledge, the money would've been better spent on another bullpen arm."

Do the Phillies work that way, though? Eagles see a position, and generally put $ there, valuing one over the other. The Phillies, on the other hand, I feel would've gone "cheap" at catcher and not used the extra money anywhere else, anyway.

/They did blow it by not going for Estrada, who's pretty decent and just a tick higher priced than Barajass(which i was surprised to see how close their salaries are).

Who is going to be leading off today? Well, I guess it all depends on who draws the short straw. I'm going with Barajas - he seems like a good fit at the top of the order. God for bid Cholly puts our LEADOFF HITTER there!

BB: Estrada is cheap because he wasn't FA eligible yet.

the phils would of had to trade to get Estrada.

Right.

What happened to all the Bobby Kielty conversation?

Alby, I got that impression from the last thread too and I couldn't disagree more. There was a play where Ruiz could maybe have gotten a guy out a third but Myers took the fact that Ruiz didn't personally; he took it personally when Werth didn't make what would have been a great play at center; and he took it personally when he had to intentionally walk a guy to load the bases with no outs. The look on his face during those four intentional balls almost guaranteed he was not going to get through the inning. He definitely still has problems with composure and I don't think his DL stint helped anything.

Having said this multiple times before, I'll repeat it again for all you dreamers:

This team wasn't going to make the playoffs BEFORE all of the injuries, because the pitching, particularly the 'pen isn't good enough.

Unless, of course, they scored 7+ RPG. That was unlikely before the injuries, and is much less likely now. Losing Utley was enough. Even if Vic and Bourn hadn't been hurt, they didn't have enough to make it.

Add all that to the 'Cholly factor' (line-ups, switches, handling the pitchers), and the obstacles are almost insurmountable.

They would have been competitive and been fun to watch - maybe even made a run at it, but, ultimately, they would have fallen short again.

Am I a pessimist? I don't think so. I prefer to think that I'm realistic.

Oh, and the Braves and Mets got better too!

AWH, what's with the past tense? Unless I'm mistaken, everyone realized this would be a tough road trip, too, against two of the teams we're fighting for the wild card. So they lose two games they might have lost anyway and it's time to throw in the towel? I agree they probably won't make the playoffs, but it's far from certain that they'll now fold like a jittery poker player.

Man, as much as I think Burrell is useless, I agree with whoever posted he should be batting third. Last night's lineup was frightening.

I think we have to go with:

Rollins
Taguchi
Burrell
Howard
Rowand
Coste
Dobbs
Roberson/Werth
Pitcher

We're still in it if we can stay within 5-6 games by the start of September.

just so I'm clear, is there literally nothing Burrell can do to be considered a valuable part of this team?

.423 OBP, 3rd best in the NL = not enough.
1.351 OPS since the beginning of July = not enough.
active streak of 22 straight games reaching base = not enough.
.898 OPS with RISP = not enough.
1.020 OPS at home = not enough.

Who criticized him on this thread?

AWH: Okay, now that you're on record, you don't need to continue to repeat your dire predictions.

Like I said, it's easy to predict doom because it's a no-lose situation. Self-loathing has been prevelant in Philly sports for decades. If they fail, you feel better about yourself because you can say "I told you so." If they succeed, you get to enjoy it with everyone else.

I'm glad you'll be able to feel good about yourself either way.

Burrell, like a lot of guys on this team, has stepped up, after everyone, including yours truly, wrote him off. He deserves major credit for that.

Maybe he read that I said he was "done" and took it personally. Hats off to him.

Beard:

locastic just wrote, "Man, as much as I think Burrell is useless"

I think that can be considered criticism.

Ah! Skipped that one, b/c I don't read the lineup comments. I tend to agree that can be considered criticism. lol.

Burrell has been fantastic lately but no one saw this coming. I wonder what caused the change. Maybe after sitting out of too many games he decided to cut down on the clubbing a bit.

Burrell's avg is now above .260. Sure, he isn't the slugger we thought him to be, but he's turned into a very nice Abreu-lite. He needs to be at the 3 hole, and now.

The Phils can salvage with a win today, and we do have Kendrick/Hamels going against the Brewers. So we can still get out of this 4-3, but it'll take some offense. So that said, Burell has to be hitting third.

see also curt: "This run obviously can't last much longer, and I can't think of a faster way to end it than putting PtBB in a position where he is expected to produce runs every AB."

@zach - there were quite a few people who saw it coming. It's called "regression to the mean". Although in this case instead of someone COMING BACK to the pack... Burrell is "Progressing" back to his career average stats.

In other words... you could flip a coin, and get heads 50 straight times. and over the next 50 tosses you might still be +20 or +30 heads. But after 500 tosses (at bats in this case)... you'll be back to the mean...

If I didn't know any better, I'd think it's just about time to break the Burrell Bandwagon out of the shop. It looks like seats are going quickly!!

Dear Cholly Boomhower,
dont touch Burrel
dont even talk to the man
how about dont even look at him.
soon as something is changed, his average will plummet faster than this team's chance at a playoff spot

ae - I can't help it. A wonderful month of good hitting by Burrell can't erase the last couple of years right away.

Sad thing is the Bandwagon is always back in the shop not long after it emerges. But it sure does makes a lot of noise each time it comes out.

As the season progressed, I saw two popular opinions start to develop, the "Pat is basically done" camp and the "Pat will be alright" camp. I don't recall there being a "Pat will be one of the hottest hitters on the planet in July" camp.

Anyway, it's a moot point. He's doing well and no one (in Philly anyway) is complaining about it. Hopefully he can keep it up long enough to help make up for some of the other players' absences.

In other words... you could flip a coin, and get heads 50 straight times. and over the next 50 tosses you might still be +20 or +30 heads. But after 500 tosses (at bats in this case)... you'll be back to the mean...

Fortunately, baseball is a bit more entertaining than that.

From Hagen's article this morning: "As long as Chase Utley is out, Jimmy Rollins will bat third. And as long as Rollins is batting third, Charlie Manuel will figure it out as he goes along when it comes to the leadoff spot."

What horseshit.

What's more impressive? A. Burrell getting a hit in ten straight games, or B. Mesa not giving up a run in ten straight games? I vote B.

I'd have to vote B. If you assume that in any given inning there's about a 50% chance Mesa will give up a run, which seems about right, the chance that he wouldn't do so in ten consecutive innings is 1/1024.

I vote C- Rod Barajas proving his worth.

Holy Hell I hope Lohse pitches a shutout today!

The think that surprises me most about Ruiz is the lack of power: only 3 homeruns? The last one was in mid-May. He has more pop in his bat than that. Ruiz has looked, frankly, like a guy who needs more seasoning in the minors, although he's already had more than his share. He might never have had a better opportunity to prove himself as a starting catcher than this season, and that opportunity is quickly going by the boards. Ruiz has decent defensive skills, last night's ninth inning notwithstanding, but he doesn't demonstrate a very good understanding of his position in terms of pitch selection - a trait which he carries over to the offensive side of the game. It's rare to see a catcher have as many poor and quick at-bats as Ruiz, as catchers usually are better prepared to think along with the opposing pitchers. Ruiz was not originally a catcher, but a relatively late convert, and that has really shown up in watching him play. I would not be surprised if the Phils call up Jaramillo in September to see what he might be able to do.

Meanwhile, the sorry saga of Flash Gordon continues. "I'm getting closer," he assured everyone after last night's game. Closer to what, the end of your career?

Meanwhile, the sorry saga of Flash Gordon continues. "I'm getting closer," he assured everyone after last night's game. Closer to what, the end of your career?

*Good stuff RSB!

I say Cholly should put Rowand back into his favored #2 spot. so the following lineup:

Taguchi
Rowand
Rollins
Howard
Burrell
Coste
Dobbs
Werth
Pitcher

With Lohse starting today, how close is the team to setting the franchise record for number of pitchers used in a season?

Beerleaguers should know that I've been in Gordon's corner long after everyone had given up on him, but it turns out the rest of you were right. I'm out of patience at this point. He needs to shut it down.

Maybe Ruiz just needs more time in the video room, or a confidence boost somehow. Or maybe he's just not major league stuff. How has he been doing defensively vs. Barajas?

Lineups

Phils
Werth
Iguchi
Rollins
Howard
Rowand
Burrell
Helms
Coste
Lohse

Cubs
Soriano
Theriot
Lee
Ramirez
Floyd
Fontenot
Jones
Hill
Marshall

Everyone better be sitting:

Werth - RF
Taguchi - 2B
Rollins - SS
Howard - 1B
Rowand - CF
Burrell - LF
Helms - 3B
Coste -C
Lohse - P

So the whole Burrell not batting third thing isn't even the worst thing about this lineup.

Burrell has reached base in 22 straight starts and has a 10-game hitting streak. I really hate Cholly now. Werth's bum wrist leading off is asinine.

That might just be Cholly's most idiotic lineup yet. He takes the worst hitter in the lineup & bats him first & he takes one of the best hitters & bats him 8th. How is it that Rollins was the team's most suitable leadoff hitter all year long & now, when we're in the midst of a playoff race, he's suddenly the last guy Cholly would ever bat leadoff?

I can kind of see why they're going with Rollins in the three hole, but I'd rather have Rowand there, with Jimmy leading off. Burrell is hitting well enough at the moment to be positioned behind Howard. Having him second, as Bill suggests, with Iguchi at leadoff would probably be the second best option. Of course, everyone else wants Burrell third and Rowand fifth. I guess the only thing we all agree on is that Manuel isn't putting the best possible lineup configuration out there.

I posted that before I saw that Jayson Werth is leading off. Holy futility.

It's like a bad joke. I want to cry. Batting leadoff in the Show is not the place to take your rehab hacks. Why doesn't somebody stop this nonsense? It's beyond belief.

That lineup is so bad, it's impossible to understand. Maybe Manuel is just trying to mess with Pinella's mind. He's taking notes from the Pirates GM, I guess.

"With Lohse starting today, how close is the team to setting the franchise record for number of pitchers used in a season?"

By my count, Lohse will be the 26th pitcher used this year. Based on what I can find, the record for the Phillies is 27, set in 2000.

BTW, I hate weekday afternoon games. What am I supposed to do at night? Go out and do something constructive with my time?!?! augh.

Well, uh... at least Coste is starting.

Thanks stjoe - that's what I figured too. So when lineups get expanded and the Phils bring up Mateo and Mathieson (who I've read may be ready in Sept), that record will probably get broke.

Also, don't know if anyone covered this yesterday, but Gillick on Jody Mac's show gave a flat 'No' to a question about Manuel getting an extension before the end of the season. So, keep hope alive.

Game is on WGN, so those of us on the West Coast with DirecTV can watch.

Speechless.

1 for 13 in A ball earned him that spot I guess.

They might as well experiment with Golson for Utleysake

Predicted Werth at leadoff, and Helms. Feared Barajas, so its not a total disaster - just close. Good luck Lohse - you're going to need it.

Hell, why not bring Savery up to hit leadoff? Didn't he lead his team in batting?

RSB - "Meanwhile, the sorry saga of Flash Gordon continues. "I'm getting closer," he assured everyone after last night's game. Closer to what, the end of your career?"

Classic line. I feel bad for Gordon because I do believe he wants to contribute but he has been stealing money this year. Gordon's contract is a millstone around this team's budget for next year ($5.5 million) and the Gordon signing might just go down as Gillick's worst move.

Basically paid $18 million for a guy who will probably end up giving the Phils only 3 quality months. Just horrendous.

Werth batting number 1???

Makes sense.. since he's batting .188 in his career at Wrigley. And in day games in his career? .213/.283/.375

But he's never been caught stealing bases during the day. 2 for 2.

And lets not his his career in the leadoff spot? .212/.333/.273

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?n1=werthja01

But then again, I'm the guy who defended Manuel's gut moves with his lineup.

Jelly Roll!!! Hey Crazy Jon, what did Jimmy Rollins do on that play that was overrated?

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