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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Comments

Anyone else going tonight?

It's supposed to storm at some point, but looks nice now. Hopefully, the rain this morning will be it.

I'm as much of a Howard fan as the next guy, but no way does should he be getting an eight-year contract.

if that's what his demands are now, you just know this whole thing is going to end ugly. it'll make the Scott Rolen fiasco look like a walk in the park.

Sorry to be off-topic, Jason, but I just want to point something out to all those on the previous thread who are fretting about the offense, wondering why Washington pitchers have low ERAs, etc.

WARNING!!! Certain members of the Beerleaguer community should avert their eyes now, because the rest of this post uses numbers with decimal places in them.

RFK Stadium is playing as the No. 24 hitters park in baseball this season. This is ESPN's version of the metric, in which 1.0 would denote neutrality.

Runs: 0.915
HR: 0.688
Hits: 0.984
2B: 1.038
3B: 0.778
Walks: 0.918

As you can see, the only offensive stat above normal is doubles, which you might expect in a park with enormous power alleys. So some decline in offense should have been expected.

I was going to be there tonight, but I have to work, unfortunately...

As I said on an earlier thread, I'd offer Ryno 6 years at $90 million; I'd go to 6/$100M but insist that there be only a limited sort of no-trade clause.

ae,

I think you should pull a "costanza" and quit your job, go to the game, then go back to work tomorrow like nothing happened. It'll be a Friday in August, in DC. Nobody's paying attention.

haha...it's freelance, bedrock, so the only guy I'd be screwing over is myself. I expect to head down to a local drinking establishment for the last few innings, at least...

Cards doing their thing. Sweep in Milw. Featuring R. Franklin setup man extraordinaire.

Do or die time for Hamels. If he's serious about being an elite pitcher, now is his time to shine (and get back into that K race that he led for so much of the year). If he doesn't have a quality start tonight, I'll be extremely disappointed.

Alby, I lie somewhere in between the two extremes that yourself and RSB both profess, in regards to stats, but the numbers you present are interesting. With such wide open alleys, why would the 3B deviation be so large?

On a separate note, after reading all of the last thread, I feel I should remind everyone that the Phils are still just one game back in the Wild Card and have the Pirates on deck. The sky isn't falling (yet).

Well, in spite of how glum everyone is today, I like Hamels to beat Mr. Hanrahan and I like Aaron Cook and the Rockies offense to beat Clay HGHensley, so, by the end of the night we ought to have a share of the wild card.

They should be careful about extending Howard TOO far into the future.

Yes, he is one of the best hitters in the game today, and will be for years to come. But players like him - big, heavy, power hitting 1b - tend to decline sharply around 32 or 33. There's a chance be bucks history and ends up being productive well into his 30s. Especially these days players are more likely to do so due to advances in health and other fields. But chances are $15 million a year (or higher) when he's 35 won't look too great.

The only way howard makes it past 33 in this game is if he's not on the field.

The reality is at some point in time, he will be in the American League

So an eight year contract is out of the question.

I'd say 5 Years/95m with a club option for a 6th year at 22m is fair, and deserved and the best for both parties. Limited NTC.

Let's just hope that Hanrahan can throw strikes and doesn't hit anyone.

Hmm... Philly.com has a poll to pick Brett Myers entrance music, he's narrowed it down to three choices:

"In the Air Tonight" by Nonpoint (18% 396 votes)
"Ladies and Gentlemen" by Saliva (24% 516 votes)
"Lights Out" by P.O.D. (58% 1,272 votes)

After viewing the "Ladies and Gentleman" video on YouTube, I had to vote for that song... since the video features two women in a boxing ring punching each other. How could I not vote for a song that has a video in which a woman is getting hit when it comes to Myers?

Alby - Don't you think 6/100 is quite a bit less than market value for Howard? Considering his age, body type, and the fact that he needs to play the field (that much more wear-and-tear), it seems like a reasonable max offer. But I'm pretty sure he'll get a lot more than that.

It's too bad the team didn't sign Howard with the sort of medium-length contract Cleveland likes so much before his MVP season. Anything they do now is obviously going to be influenced by that season.

I want Myers to come out to Europe's "The Final Countdown"

Of course I would like to hear any closer come out to that song

Truth Injection - Maybe if it were 1988. That song has become seriously cheesy.

Based on the Ryan Howard I have seen this season, I would not offer him a long-term contract this off-season. I would wait to see whether this is the Howard we will be getting from here on out, or whether aspects of his game - and his physical condition - improve. I have become very skeptical that Howard is the kind of player to whom massive amounts of money should be allocated. The Phillies will probably think he's worth every penny because of the way they can market him and show footage of his 500-foot homeruns on the highlight films, but from a purely baseball perspective, I am becoming less and less impressed with Ryan Howard. I am generally not a fan of the one-dimensional, big-donkey slugger. If Howard's hitting .313, it's one thing. If he's fifty points lower and threatening the strikeout record, it's another. Even if he were to average 45 HRs/125 RBI for the next five years, I don't think he's worth as much as he's going to be out to get.

Alby: there are many variations of the term 'sophist' and it is true that my usage does not correspond to the most common definition. I'll refer you to this quote from Jostein Gaardner, if you'd like a better idea of where I'm coming from:

"[By sophists] I am referring to all the schoolmasters and...know-it-alls who are satisfied with what little they know...A real philosopher...is the direct oppopsite...A philosopher knows that in reality he knows very little. That is why is strives to achieve true insight."

No, I am not saying I am a "philosopher" - but I am saying that we could use more of the latter persuasion on this board and less of the former. Stats are helpful tools, facts in and of themselves but NOT proofs. I have no aversion to statistics, ONLY to over-reliance on them to the point where their representations are beyond reproach. Too often people use selective numbers as a crutch to hide behind, and no critical thinking is done without consulting them.

Here's an example of what I mean, getting back to Ryan Howard: Howard's cumulative totals, the almighty 45/125 standard, or his OPS, are what he is most prominently judged by. OPS does not take into account Howard's lack of speed, his poor defense, his poor situational hitting. This statistic is supposed to represent an offensive player's worth, and yet it completely ignores entire aspects of his overall performance. The value of position players is divided and measured in many ways, but thanks to the heaping quantities of drool emitted over one particular statistic, people yell 'MVP' at baseball games when Howard bats. How many completely useless plate appearances has Howard had, with or without runners on? When you aren't making contact, you can't advance runners, you don't give the opposition an opportunity to make a mistake. How many runs have been let in by his fielding ineptitude, either credited or uncredited? How many times has his poor hitting approach led to the death of a rally? In games when he does not drive the ball, what does Howard do to help his team win a game? Do these things not significantly balance out the positives Howard provides with his power? He has 32 homeruns in 101 games. The homers have greatly enabled him to sustain a pace of driving in nearly one run per game. But if the Phillies had someone like Rico Brogna, whose RBI total would be roughly three-quarters of Howard's output, yet who likely saved an average of a run other other game with his glove, do we not therefore have essentially equal players? Yet who would think of Brogna as being anywhere near the same plane as Howard?

I like Ryan Howard. He's fun to watch, I like the presence he brings to the Phillies, and who doesn't love the moonshots. I'd like to see him play for the Phillies his whole career. But Ryan Howard is not a great baseball player, in my book - not even close.

Yeah, and Wilt Chamberlin couldn't shoot free throws either. Did that make him any less of a great player? Howard, we all know, would benefit with the right line up around him. Just like Wilt did. I'm not going to the park to watch Howard catch ground balls, just like I wouldn't go to the Civic Center to watch Wilt play D. Offense is his thing. Can't we just enjoy the show?

No more than six years and no greater than 16.5 big ones per year, taking into consideration the usual sliding scale. Make it as incentive laden as possible.

RSB - You just compared Rico Brogna to Howard. Wow.

I can't believe all the hate/backlash that Howard is getting this year. The idiotic comparisons to Dave Kingman and Rob Deer being probably the worst example.

Only in Philly would this happen on this scale. I honestly believe that a bunch of Phils' fans and Philly sports fans in general relish misery and complaining.

I bet that a bunch of Philly fans will get their wish if the Phils don't reup Howard and that he will join the list of Phils' stars who won championships in other cities.

MG - I just asked, how much better is one than the other if you take *all* of their abilities into account in a typical season. I don't think I asked this because I love being miserable. I'm trying to demonstrate why I don't think Howard is going to be worth the money he's bound to command.

As for what to offer Howard after this season, that is a different matter. It is going to a fine line between making a reasonable offer and potentially insulting Howard's ego/pride.

To me, the biggest issue is a complete no-trade clause. These are really what handicap teams and prevent them from making creative moves if necessary. Probably the worst thing that Ed Wade did was giving them out like candy.

Yeah... Howard ain't great...

ROY then MVP (done only once before by that chump Cal Ripken Jr.)

Fastest player in Major League history to 100 HR

Missed a month of the season and has a great chance to lead the league in HR and RBI for the 2nd time in two full seasons

I'm glad we don't have more stiffs like that on our team

MG - to be fair, it was cheesy in 1988 too.

Again - I'm not saying Howard is a stiff. But he has many weaknesses - offensive as well as defensive - in addition to the strengths he's more noted for, and they DO somewhat offset the value of all his great power numbers.

RSB - The problem with the Phils isn't investing money in guys like Utley and Howard. The issue has been Gillick making a number of horrendous FA signings and tying up money in guys like Gordon, Eaton, Barajas, Nunez, and Helms. Hell, the Phils have nearly $17 million invested next year in nearly worthless players (Gordon, Eaton, Helms). That is what is killing this team.

As for the Rico Brogna comparison - that is a real stretch. Brogna was an average 1B production wise and was a good/not great defensive player. One of the reasons why those late 90s Phils teams sucked was that they hit Brogna cleanup and he had no business there. Maybe 6th or even 7th in a good lineup. The only thing I really like about Brogna was the way that Harry K called his name.

In regards to the, "Final Countdown";
..when wasn't that song seriously cheesey?

But CJ, the Big Boy was responsible for the loss last night. Poor Kendrick got gipped again.

I like Ry Guy, but he can't be making those types of errors.

Phills MGT has the upper hand w/ Howard.Although Howard will be pissed- I would wait until 2008 post-season to determine his worth. His defense, strikeouts need to be examined along w/ his MVP power numbers. Howard would definitely turn down Utley's contract. I love Howard but what % of bearleaguer readers would take Howard over Utley the next 8 years?
The average fan would take Howard-i think it would favor Utley 70%-30% on this site.
I witnessed Mo Vaugn's Hero to fat underachiever in Boston. I think Howard needs to start taking his fitness seriously & also take Infield groundballs each day.

Here's my contention regarding Brogna/Howard, and admittedly it's a loose one. Let's say in an average season, Brogna drives in 90 runs, and Howard drives in 120. Defensively, Howard will let in more runs than he saves, and with Brogna it will be the opposite. Say that Howard's poor D lets in 15 runs that shouldn't have scored per season, and Brogna's smoothness around the bag prevents 15 extra runs from scoring. I don't think that it's a huge stretch (no pun intended) to claim that the value of these two players is therefore much closer than most people would tend to consider. The point being, it's essential to evaulate a player's complete, all-around performance instead of just fixating on offensive totals.

It's a fact... Philadelphia loves to tear down its heroes. There's nothing any of them can do about.

Ryan Howard's VORP this season is 29th in the league, despite his horrible first month. In 2006, he was second to just Albert Pujols.

He has a good chance of leading the league in HR and RBI for the second season in a row.

What does the guy have to do to get a little love around here? We'd have a significantly worse record without the guy.

Which players in the league would you rather have at first than Ryan Howard? I'd love to hear some suggestions.

here's some actual numbers for the moron segment of the philadelphia fan contingent. (the ones who would find a way to complain about albert pujols if he came here)

The 20-20-20-20 Club
Curtis Granderson and Jimmy Rollins might not be the two most conventional leadoff hitters in baseball. But we're finding out this season that that's actually a good thing.

Granderson led the league in strikeouts last season. But so what? Rollins has never walked 60 times in any season. Big deal. They both offer other attributes that compensate nicely for the portions of their games that might not fit the "Brett Butler Theoretically Prototype Leadoff Hitter Handbook."

For one thing, Rollins and Granderson top all leadoff men in baseball in runs scored -- which is a helpful talent for a leadoff hitter. But a big reason they score all those runs is because they make an impact on the game in so many different ways -- potentially historic ways, in fact.

The 20-Double, 20-Triple, 20-Homer, 20-Steal Club has been reached by only four players in the live-ball era. And if that doesn't impress you, how about this: The only two men to join this cool group since World War II are a couple of fellows named Willie Mays (1957) and George Brett (1979). Well, somebody had better send those guys an IM -- because company appears to be coming.

Rollins is not only on pace to join that club -- he's practically there right now. He already has blown by 20 doubles, 20 homers and 20 steals. So all he needs is five more triples in his final 42 games, and he's in. Considering he spewed out four in seven games a couple of weeks ago, we like his chances.

Granderson, on the other hand, still needs one triple, four homers and six stolen bases. So he has a lot of churning on those bases to do. But it sure is funny how it's Grady Sizemore who makes those Sports Illustrated covers, while the AL Central leadoff man who is currently fourth in the league in slugging happens to be Granderson, not Sizemore.

"If we're dropping names like Mays and Brett," one scout said, "we're talking about the best all-around guys in the game. And when you're talking about players like Rollins and Granderson, that's the wave of the future, man. That's the speed-power package we're all looking for."

Yep. Too bad you only find that package about once a century.

kells - That is a good point and the best comparison to Howard is Pujols (who is a better overall player and hitter than Howard).

Pujols got his big deal in '04 after playing 3 full seasons. That would put Howard on pace to get his big deal at the end of 2008.

As for Vaughn, he really didn't get that fat and out of shape until he signed that huge deal with Anaheim. I was in Boston during Vaughn's best years and he was always a big guy but it never really effected his playing time/offensive production.

tonight's lineups:

Phillies:

Rollins SS.
Iguchi, 2B
Burrell, LF
Howard, 1B
Rowand, CF
Werth, RF
Ruiz, C
Nunez, 3B
Hamels, P

Washington Nats:

Lopez, SS
Belliard,
Zimmerman,
Young, 1B
Kearns, RF
Church, LF
Flores, C
Logan, CF
Hanrahan, P

RSB - if you're truly interested in comparing all aspects of Brogna's game with Howard's, there are statistics for you!

WARP, which stands for Wins Above Replacement Player and accounts for hitting and fielding, is a good one.

Brogna's best season is probably 1999, when he had an outstanding 30 FRAR (Fielding Runs Above Replacement). He provided 5.8 wins above replacement that year, virtually all of it of it coming from his fielding. He struck out 132 times that year, while drawing only 54 walks.

Howard's best season to date, obviously, is 2006. Even with -5 FRAR, meaning 5 runs below replacement level in the field, he produced 8.6 wins above replacement. If he had even been a replacement-level fielder (which he is, barely, this year), he would've put up a 9.1 WARP.

To summarize, Howard in his best season provided the team about 3 wins more than Brogna did in his best season.

RSB:
Do you think that R. Howard might be at the threshold of the early stages of the Knoblach mental problem with throwing to second and/or first?

RSB - Have you been drinking? Take a look at Brogna's offensive stats during his three years as a Phil. He basically hit .260 with 20 HRs, hardly walked, and a had a ton of strikeouts. He also wasn't a good contact hitter and he was slow on the basepaths too.

You would get no argument from me that a player like Pujols is clearly a superior player to Howard but Rico "Freaking" Brogna. Please.

Actually, I think the WARP stats above back RSB's point. Brogna was such a wizard with the glove in 1999 that his value was a lot closer to Howard's 2006 than most of us probably would have guessed.

RSB: Wow... whatever you're smoking, I'd love some.

Rico Brogna averaged about .54 RBI/game in his career and never played more than 157 games in a season. If you give him a generous 155 games played, you're talking about a guy who may drive in 80-85 runs at best. Add in the 65-70 runs scored and subtract the maybe 15-20 HR and you get a range of runs produced of about 130-135 a season.

Ryan Howard is roughtly 90-95 runs, 130-135 RBI, 45-50 HR... producing 175-180 runs a season.

Are you honestly saying that Brogna's defense is worth anywhere near 45 runs a season?

Brogna's career fielding percentage is .995... Howard's is .992. Brogna averaged an error every 25 games... Howard an error every 13 games. That's about 6 more errors a season. Where's the other 39 runs coming from?

MG: You're right, Brogna didn't walk as much as I thought he did. So that isn't the best comparison I could have made. Maybe a guy like Mark Grace, who didn't drive in as many runs but did get on base just as much as Howard and who excelled defensively, would be a better one. Grace has far more stature than Brogna, but he never came close to an MVP. My point remains, I would just as soon have a player who was more well-versed in more areas of the game than a players who only was strong in one aspect and lacking in all others. These types of players tend to be just as valuable and not nearly so high-priced as the big sluggers.

There's a simple answer to a long-term deal with Howard: A weight clause.

I wouldn't do any long-term deal with him right now unless it had one in it. Besides, he probably could lose 20lbs and be a more effective player. This offseason will really tell the story as to how motivated he is to be great.

However, comparing him to Mo Vaughn is unfair. He hasn't balooned up that much yet.

RSB: I'm trying to figure out what makes you a Phillies fan. You hate all our players.

I'm sure there's a team out there with a slick-fielding first baseman and a speedy left fielder just dying for another fan!

Everyone is tearing RSB here but he has a point, if in the more general sense (Howard's value on the FA market will likeyl far exceed his true value) rather than specific (Brogna vs Howard).

CJ: don't distort what I'm saying. If you'd care to actually read what I'm taking the time to write instead of being such a reactionary punk, I'd appreciate it.

Yes, RSB, we have very, very different definitions of "sophist." You want to go with the one that one guy you've read quotes -- in essense, his particular take on the word -- while I'd prefer to go with the one that's commonly accepted in reference works.

In a nutshell, I'd say that's what differentiates us. Every time I quote stats, you whine that I'm overlooking all the subtleties you see. Thanks -- I really appreciate being inaccurately pigeonholed. I make as many opinion-based statements here as you do, the difference being that I realize pure opinion is worth less than opinion backed by fact. Sometimes I look up the data before I post and sheepishly stick my post back in my pocket, because the data don't back it up. You, on the other hand, like facts just fine when they back up your pre-existing opinions, and cry foul when I, clout, ae, CJ or someone else uses them to refute your gut feeling.

OPS, for your information, is far from some wonder stat -- it's a very quick-and-dirty tool for eyeing a player's rough value from basic data. There are many more sophisticated tools, but not everybody wants to (or has time to) reference them for a quick blog note. For years, baseball people ignored the value of walks and concentrated on batting average and counting stats -- you just did it yourself in comparing RBIs (highly context dependent, poor way to measure offensive ability) and fielding prowess (also context dependent, but in the opposite direction -- we all notice the miscues, but there's no stat to count how many of them turn into runs). You then made bald-faced suppositions to illustrate how Rico Brogna and Ryan Howard were of equal value.

There's a way to prove what you contend -- you actually do the research. If you did (I don't intend to, I'm just using this to illustrate), you'd find that a) Howard drove in a lot more than 120 runs last year, and b) you have no real idea, unless you do a lot of work, how many of Howard's lousy fielding plays led to runs (or, for that matter, how many runs Brogna "saved," an even tougher thing to research because you have to imagine a different outcome after he makes plays).

Of course, there is another option. You could realize that a lot of people, thousands of them, have done exactly this sort of study, trying to find the value of runs "saved" by superior defenders. They have made convincing arguments that it's nowhere near the number posted by a player at the same position with a vastly superior OPS. You could, perhaps, make arguments that would cause me to believe you instead of them -- but it's not going to happen with the arguments you do make. They've been refuted for 20 years. Just because you haven't read that research doesn't mean I have to pretend I haven't.

The trouble with gut feelings is that sometimes they're the result of eating too many beans, and sometimes they're appendicitis. Pardon me if I think it's wise to check a few basic indicators to rule out one or the other.

In short, I think you're sometimes full of beans.

The real issue with the Phils' the past several years has been and seemingly remains the ability to acquire good enough players to complement a solid core of players. That was Ed Wade's major problem and has been Gillick's too.

Capping at payroll at $90-$95 million doesn't help (since this will be middle of the pack next year if this continues) because you can't mistake on a player like Eaton or Gordon.

RSB: How about you answer this...

If defense is such a great equalizer, then why don't more teams have great defensive first basemen instead of relying on the one-trick pony run producers?

Why is first base the last bastion of the defensively challenged?

It's because everyone in baseball knows the offensive production from a first basemen is much more valuable than the defense.

Although I'm sure Rico Brogna's family will back you in this argument.

While I was typing my screed, Casey and CJ were doing the research to check out RSB's gut feeling. In other words, RSB got someone to do his homework for him. It happens all the time -- RSB spouts his opinion, and those of us who value research run around to see if there's any value in it or not. Gee, I wonder why we get peeved at him?

Example - Helms, Gordon, and Eaton are going to take up nearly 20% of this team's payroll next year ($17 million if payroll is $90 million).

Instead, the Phils still have a gaping hole at 3B, a guy who has been so terrible he can't even stay in one of the weaker starting rotations in the NL, and a guy who has had major issues with staying healthy.

It's going to prevent them from resigning Rowand or making a move at acquiring a decent pitcher this offseason.

Actually, I have read that 'research' and I do disagree with it. I brought this point up sometime around the beginning of the season, and don't feel the need to make my arguments again for your benefit. I explicitly disagree with the notion that a player with superior range does not prevent more hits and therefore runs than a player with average or below average range or overall fielding ability. If you hit fifty ground balls in the vicinity of Abraham Nunez and fifty to Wes Helms, Nunez is going to make the plays with a significantly greater frequency. How does that not make a difference in preventing runs, and how is preventing runs any less important than creating them?

Ah, you disagree with it. Well, that settles it. Forget about figuring out how many plays Nunez makes vs. how many Helms makes. In other words, forget about doing your homework -- you'd rather wing it.

Why is Nunez in there with a fly ball pitcher on the mound?

With 2 lefties going Friday and Saturday, Dobbs will have gotten 1 start from last Saturday to this Sunday. For a team that is generally not hitting, leaving a guy hitting over .280 on the pine, doesn't seem real smart. Of course, you also have a catcher hitting in the mid .300's, who only starts about twice a week too (and usually hits 8th in the lineup).

How much longer does Burrell hit 3rd? Having him and Howard in the 3/4 holes, really clogs up the bases (when they actually get on). It takes at least 2 hits for either one to score (if they are on 1st). We are missing a ton of team speed, without Utley, Vic and Bourn.

Oh, god forbid I declare that Nunez is a better fielder than Helms on the basis of my own perception. Well, Alby, if you really need proof for that one, I don't know what else to say.

RSB: It's because a good offensive first baseman will produce runs at a significantly greater rate than a defensive first baseman will "save" them.

Once again, sophistry on your part. I perceive the same thing as you do. The difference is that I'm not willing to assert as fact that Nunez saves X more runs a game vs. HElms without doing the research. If it's just my opinion, I state it as such. What about this don't you understand?

How about this compromise - both Nunez and Helms are not the answer at 3rd on any kind of regular basis.

How are the Cards only 2.5 games out and still under .500? Man the NL Central really sucks.

Wait, I posted in haste. Here's how I should have responded:

If you hit fifty ground balls in the vicinity of Abraham Nunez and fifty to Wes Helms, Nunez is going to make the plays with a significantly greater frequency.

Yes. But how much greater? You don't know, and neither do I.

How does that not make a difference in preventing runs,

It does.

and how is preventing runs any less important than creating them?

It isn't. But here's the key part you're missing -- YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MANY RUNS HAVE BEEN SAVED. You're just assuming, if you don't do the research, that Nunez saves as many as Helms creates on offense (my gut feeling is he just might, because Helms hasn't been very good on offense).

Is that any clearer?

Alby: Taking arms against the sea is not productive.

Fine. It's just my opinion. And the opinion of everyone else who possesses a set of functioning eyes during a Phillies game. What do I have to do, watch the tape of every inning either of them have played in order to assert one catchers more ground balls than the other? Because I can't pinpoint an exact number of plays Nunez makes that I doubt Helms couldn't - which isn't provable by any possible standard - my entire point is invalid?

did brett myers choose those as potential entrance songs? if so, he must have just about the worst taste in music of all time. free kc and the sunshine band!

RSB... you really are maddenly dense.

The question isn't whether... it's how much.

Everyone knows Nunez is better defensively than Helms. But what you can't tell us... or don't want to try to find out... is whether that difference overcomes Helms superior offensive threat.

That's Alby's point and you either can't see it... or don't want to.

It depends on your point. If you point is "Brogna (or Grace) is just as valuable as Howard because his defense is better," yes, it's invalid, unless you do the research. Sorry.

For your reference, go look up Bill James' study on this back in the late '80s, regarding Ozzie Smith. He took up the challenge of those who said a shortstop as good as Ozzie "saved 100 runs a year." I don't recall the details anymore, and I'm tending the barbecue grill at the moment so I can't go look it up, but the gist of it was that the assertion was wildly inflated. It's one of the studies that led to the whole notion of trying to quantify fielding ability, a field that's still in flux as various data are employed.

This is the sort of research I mean. If you've read that stuff, great. If you disagree with it, you're not going to persuade me or several others unless you come up with something stronger than "because it feels wrong to me."

No kidding, Howard k's. Only the 141st time this season.

Branyan should be getting the start against right handed pitchers at 3rd base if Dobbs isn't.

Branyan's career OPS vs. righties: .812
Nunez's career OPS vs. righties: .637


Nunez may be a better fielder, but there's no way he makes up for 200 points of OPS with his fielding, especially with Hamels on the mound.

Here we go again... runner on and no good swings from Iguchi, Burrell or Howard. Someone really has to start stepping up for this team.

By the way, as Iguchi continues to struggle... it's clear the calls for him to get at bats at third when Chase returns have decreased significantly.

Beltran's first inning homer gives the Mets a 2-0 lead.

yeah, Chase's hand. Man, I miss him. The F'n Nats. First pitch from Cole should go into the Nats dugout at Lannan.

(For reference, Helms' career OPS vs. righties is .730)

I think Howard just saved a run!!

Boy was I prophetic... Howard snags a liner and Belliard follows with a double.

On the question of how much we should offer Ryan Howard . . . I will reserve my answer for the off-season, when I'm able to analyze these things with a much more level head. Right now, the most I'd be willing to offer is the cost of his plane fare on the next flight out of town.

Helms sucks! No-Hit Nunez sucks! All of our 3rd basemen suck!

Well, I was going to say that I expect a huge game from Hamels here. As I was typing Belliard got a double. However, I think Hamels realizes what a big game down the stretch would mean to both the Phils and his CY Young race. I look for him to have a good one tonight, as I think there is a lot of emphasis on how a pitcher finishes. Here is his opportunity, especially the way hits are at a premium at this park.

Hamels very well may pitch a shutout, but our bats are dormant...wake up f'ers!

who said Jimmy was a subpar defender?

Reed: Someone who doesn't know what they're talking about.

are Burrell and Rowand the same hitter?
Kind of a bummer that Bourn's injury can't help Phils make a decision on what do do next year...at least it might push Rowand to get back on it.

About damn time, J and my boy Chooch!

CHOOOOOOOOOCH!

Coste Ruiz!!!

That Werth walk was pretty worthless though, huh?

Like I said, someone had to step up, and this time it was Chooch.

I have a feeling 2 runs could be enough for Hamels tonight.

Boom! Huge.

Nice, Carlos. Hopefully that'll get the bats rolling a little.

Chris Wheeler just said Hamels has 4 sacs on the year...isn't that like a medical abnormality?

Our pitchers have improved their hitting, but bunting still sucks!

LOL! The Nats' commentators just called Nunez "a pretty speedy runner." That has to be the call of the year. Just has to be.

the bottom of the lineup is keeping the team going right now.

That's twice in 5 days two of our non-speedy players have been referred to as quick...stupid Joe Morgan.

Helms
2 BRAR
3 FRAR
0.5 WARP1

Nunez
-2 BRAR
12 FRAR
1.2 WARP1

So, according to these stats, Nunez's glove makes up for his hitting enough to outperform Helms by almost 1 win.

Yeah, I thought Morgan was bad too, till i had to listen to these clowns for three nights. MLB.tv really reminds me how good people living in Philly have it in terms of commentators. Road trips suck.

Well, I think Don Suttons' quite good, but Bob Carpenter is beyond bad. Another one of these homer announcers that acts like every positive act by the Nationals is the winning hit in game 7 of the World Series.

And Ray Knight, filling in for Don Sutton the other night, was no treat either.

You're right... that Jimmy is worthless with the glove.

you said it, CJ

i really thought we were done seeing nunez get starts this season. can anybody tell me what nunez did to work himself back into the rotation at 3b?

Jimmy Rollins is awesome! He can go through dry spells, but he's exactly what the Phils need, he is not one of the reasons we haven't made the playoffs in 13 years, but he will be one of the reasons we do make the playoffs.

Casey: The way Helms has hit this year, I'm not surprised. However, I'd be interested to see a breakdown when it's a lefty on the mound.

"i really thought we were done seeing nunez get starts this season. can anybody tell me what nunez did to work himself back into the rotation at 3b?"

*Because all of our 3rd basemen suck, might as well give them equally crappy exposure.

By the way, when's the last time Iguchi actually got a hit?

Bah... Burrell just missed that one.

@RSB -- Re: Howard, Poor situational hitting. You are so right. I mean with 2 outs and runners in scoring position... Howard gets out .648 percent of the time... and those 8 hours and 54 RBI are obviously the result of some howard only hitting the pitchers mistakes. Because a guy who only hits .352 with 2 outs with RISP is obviously somebody we don't want anchoring our team for the next 10 years.

RSB is not a phillies fan. He's a troll that we've yet to ignore.

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