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Monday, September 17, 2007

Comments

a month ago we saw the phils winning maybe 3 from the final 7 games versus the mets. we saw them sweeping the fish, winning 2 of 3 from atlanta and winning 3 of 4 from colorado at home.
instead they swept the mets, won 2/4 from colorado, and one each in florida and atlanta.
both of the above scenarios give the phillies 11 wins.
the moral of the story: WHO THE HELL KNOWS HOW THE LAST 13 GAMES OF THE SEASON ARE GONNA GO?

just enjoy the damn ride, will ya??

Absurd is a great way to define this team with one word. Luck and help was on their side all weekend long. Let's see if that continues.

Phils have shown a lack of a sense of urgency all season.
Now, more than ever, it's time for them to correct this.

Replace "a sense of urgency" with "pitching talent" and I agree with you 100 percent, Jon.

Someone asked about Cholly in Japan. Here are some Cholly fun facts:

He hit .325 with 48 HR and 129 RBIs in 1980, most in Japan. He was MVP the previous year, hitting .324, with 37 homers and 94 RBIs. He played in Japan from 76-81.

The Phillies haven't had the same problem that they've had in the previous two years in demonstrating 'urgency' until it was too late. The intensity has been there all along, and the Phils have basically performed with consistency since April as far as monthly W/L records go. There's been no discernible let-up since they swept the Mets in June. In fact, it's fair to say that without this intensity, they would have dropped out of the running long, long ago. The season's outcomes all might seem to run together, but this year has been different in some important ways. I don't think it's fair to disgustedly apply the too little/too late label to this particular team. For the way they've battled, they deserve the reward of a playoff berth, even if the organization does not.

The Phils need help, sure, but I want to reiterate that there is a definite possibility of a sweep against the Cards.

Thompson, TBA, and Wainwright (I think) are going to be nothing to write home about (especially whatever chump the Cards come up with on Tuesday), and the Phils should have the pitching edge in every game.

Add to that that the Phils offense is *much* better than the Cards, and I think you have to look sweep.

I think the big test will really be that Atlanta series, where we may face Smoltz and Hudson.

A 9-4 finish is very doable...the question is if SD will go 8-6.

Looking at the SD schedule, I'm going to change an earlier prediction:

10-3 gets the Phils a tiebreaker game, 11-2 wins it outright.

The Phillies are 7-4 against Washington this year. I saw that, but figured, man, every game seems to be a battle with them. Well, they have been:

4/18 - WAS 5-4
4/19 - PHI 4-2
4/24 - PHI 6-3
4/25 - PHI 9-3
4/26 - WAS 4-2
7/24 - PHI 4-3
7/25 - PHI 7-5 (extras - Howard walkoff HR)
7/26 - WAS 7-6
8/14 - PHI 3-2
8/15 - WAS 4-2
8/16 - PHI 4-2

11 games - 9 of which decided by 2 runs or less...10 of which decided by 3 runs or less.

Last year the Phils lost the season series 10-9. 10 of the 19 were decided by 2 runs or less. In 2005 the Phils won the season series and 11 of those games were decided by 2 runs or less.

I would like our chances a lot more if they stopped pitching Adam Eaton. Seriously, how can they honestly throw him out there and expect to win? If the Mets don't make 6 errors yesterday, he loses another one. He's really, really terrible. Do they not realize he is the single worst starting pitcher in the league? Seriously. And he's pitching in a pennant race. I don't know who makes the decisions in this regard, Charlie or Gillick, but if we miss the playoffs, they should be held responsible for giving so many starts to Eaton's trash.

RSB,
The 2005 team was starting to fall apart at this point, but not last year's squad.

Coming into their last 13 games, the '06 squad had won 7 of 10.

How quickly we forget; everyone said *last* year was the team with a new attitude.

This year, like every other year, will come down to talent, not intangibles.

And the idea that the Phils have "hung in there" becuase of intensity or some other such nonsense is silly.

The reason these Phils are in a position to contend despite the "adversity" of the injuries and the pen is simple:

Offense.

Why do I get the feeling that if the Phils are going to make the postseason, it's going to be in spite of Cholly, rather than because of him??

Truth be told, they've been playing with a managerial handicap pulling them down all season long, further exacerbating the lack of talent of the pitching staff. I fully intend to "enjoy the ride," however I can't help be feeling that the "ride" would be much smoother sailing with someone else in charge of things. One thing is for sure, the Phils are playing meaningful baseball, yet again, and giving the Phans reason to be somewhat optimistic. I just wish I felt better about the leadership, especially considering we've been EXACTLY in this same spot in very recent history, and yet we still haven't actually BEEN in the playoffs in a decade and a half.

I was surfing the net about Charlie Manuel and came up with what I think is the finest piece of poetry by an active coach. See for yourself:
www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_most.shtml

This year's team wasn't mired well below .500 in May or July. My point is, they haven't ever been far out of the running the way the last two years' squads were. Those teams let themselves die on the vine earlier on, then made a valiant, last-gasp effort which was indeed too little, too late. Other than the poor April, you can't say that about the team this year. They've been in contention pretty much all along. Call it intensity or call it brute offense, but either way I don't think you can say they were lackadaisical until August this time around.

I don't get it preacher. What is it that you want Cholly to do? He has done a great job keeping this team together. Other than a few in game descisions earlier in the year, and they were so few I can't remember one, I think he has done an outstanding job. I think this bash Chooly crap is for people who can't make an intelligent baseball argument so let's blame the manager. You would get a lot futher if you went after Gillick. With the pitching staff he has had the last month. What do you want him to do that he has not done? Some specifics please.

I don't get it preacher. What is it that you want Cholly to do? He has done a great job keeping this team together. Other than a few in game descisions earlier in the year, and they were so few I can't remember one, I think he has done an outstanding job. I think this bash Chooly crap is for people who can't make an inteligent baseball argument so let's blame the manager. You would get a lot futher if you went after Gillick. With the pitching staff he has had the last month. What do you want him to do that he has not done? Some specifics please.

Don feels very strongly about his statement, Preacher. So much so, he posted it twice!

One thing that has been totally overlooked is the health of Kendrick and Hamels. I am amazed that Kendrick is able to start tonight taking given that brutal liner he took off the knee. Here is hoping the Kendrick can keep can gut it out and give them at least 6 innings tonight because Gordon and Myers aren't available tonight. Romero too since he has gone 4 straight days.

Unleash the dregs! (Yes I am taking to you Mesa, Davis, Castro, and Ennis.)

Do you want me to start with the uncountable number of games that could have swung in the Phils favor when Manuel overpitched Myers and blew out his arm for several weeks, bringing him in in a non-save situation in Florida?

Short of going game for game and listing the situational blunders, misuse of pitching, insistence on late-inning defensive replacements in middle innings, his reliance on a "standard batting order," and loyalty to veteran (consistently crappy) pitchers in tight games, I'm not sure what else I could give you.

I'm sure I just can't make an intelligent baseball argument, though.

And I'm not saying that Gillick shouldn't shoulder some of the blame, either. I would argue, though, that Gillick didn't underimpress with the likes of Dobbs and Werth, like so many have intimated.

I'm confused as to why Gordon & Myers pitched for the 3rd straight day with a 4 run lead, and unsurprisingly, Gordon is hurt.
That's on cholly. I understand he doesn't trust anyone else and has no one else. It's a conundrum.

Should be a crazy (hopefully) fun two weeks coming up. I agree that this team is a different version than the ones of the past couple of years. Adam Eaton himself said, that if he had pitched anywhere near to the level he was capable of, that the Phils would be leading the division.

I've enjoyed watching them and have been waiting over a month for them to implode, but they keep fighting back, over and over again.

Don't want to look too far ahead, but this could be a really GOOD team with some decent pitching. Time for management to suck it up and just do it. Make it happen and make it happen now. After all, that's what they want these players to do night after night, isn't it.

They really need the offense to tee off on the cards early tonight, so we can just have a mop-up job later in the game. Probably won't happen though.

Preacher, that batting order has produced fairly well wouldn't you say. Nobady in thier right mind is going to leave Burrell and Helms in the game with a late inning lead. What is the point of having Nunez and Bourn on the roster. And as far as over using Myers he really did not have any other choice. I think you better get used to Chuck because I think he will be around for at least another year. Gillick does not have the balls to replace him after giving him this crap bullpen to work with.

I remember a previous discussion about payroll on this here blog and some thought the Braves were about to become free-spenders again now that they're out from under the Time Warner banner.

Tell that to the new owners... from today's Richmond Times Dispatch:

"Rumors also abound that Liberty Media, the team's new owners, will mandate a reduction in this year's $89 million payroll. When you consider next year's Braves are committed to $14 million for Smoltz, $13 million for Hudson, $12.3 million for Chipper Jones, $15 million for the always-injured Mike Hampton and who knows how many millions for Teixeira, it's hard to see a lot of leeway."

I suppose the rumors could all be untrue, but where there is smoke there is fire. Let's hope the Braves look to cut payroll!

Preacher I almost forgot what is inexcusable is going into the season with the bullpen that we did. I did not mean to question your intelligence specificaly. I just don't get all the Cholly bashing.

kdon says the Phillies should win 6 of 7 from the Nats "on talent alone." I disagree. The Nats have been playing .500 ball for 3 months. That's not because of luck.

@don
not to insuate myself here, but there is an excellent example of a Cholly move that drives us all crazy: he lets a pitcher bat in a late inning situations, sometimes with players on base and then pulls him the next inning after one or two batters. he has done this enough times that, were I to ask for it, I'm sure I would get a witness. (Even if I'm not the Preacher.)

"insinuate"

Cholly isn't a great manager. But with the slop he was given for a rotation and a BP (plus injuries), it's hard to blame him for the fact they are still outside looking in at this point.

Andy it's crazy what a guy will do when he is trying not to bring Mesa, Alfonseca etc. into a game

Pitching Romero, Gordon and Myers with a 4 run lead without any rest for a few games... I guess that's the wrong thing to do in some people's minds.

For me, I'd much rather have a tired bullpen then watch Mesa, Alfonseca, etc. blow another one. We needed that win over the Mets.

As usual I was still on the old thread when this on kicked off, it's the old age thing.

Here's some of my replies from the last post:

RSB, you are correct the numbers are in your favor, but "no chance" isn't no chance until you are eliminated...Just ask Danny Ozark, then again better not. Would you rather be on a 4 game win streak or a 3 game uninspired losing streak goning into the final 2 weeks?

AWH is correct, either the Phils or Mets could soar or stumble, 1964 remains the perfect example. I remember that year very well.

With two weeks left throw out the stats. The only ones that count now are from today on. The Phils still have a chance. For once forget the numbers and enjoy the ride.

@dykstrawasamet...Hope to see you guys too. With all the Cholly and Willie complaints maybe we should trade managers for the remainder of the season. There is a precedence. Jimmie Dykes and Charlie Dressen.

For reference's sake:

The Phils are 8-4 in their last 12.
The Phils went 8-3 from Aug. 5-17.
The Phils went 9-1 from July 20-30.
The Phils went 9-3 from June 2-13.
The Phils went 9-4 from May 14-27
The Phils went 9-4 from Apr. 19-May 1.

It's goin to take a run like these, and better, to make the playoffs.

Anyone care to chime in on NL MVP? To me, it's a two-horse race between Holliday and Wright, with Wright leading.

don, you're fighting a lonely battle on this site. Cholly has made the wrong(or failed to make the right) decisions all season long. We're not talking about personal preferences. If you want proof read through the last hundred threads on this site. His bullpen management is horrible. (Dubee should share this blame as he let's Cholly be stupid.) Cholly will pitch the same guys in the same innings, game after game, until they're injured; while others rust away on the bench. Cholly's a hitter. Pitching strategy is not in his repertoire.

Power numbers are overrated. It's Rollins. Wright and Holliday don't hold a candle to what he does on the basepaths and at his position.

Jason: For me, the MVP is Rollins.

Although I should consider that Wright has stolen 30 bases. So for my money, it's between Rollins and Wright, yet to be decided.

Someone help me out, the voting for MVP is based on the 162 games and not the playoffs? So we have two weeks to go before we would need to decide?

CJ is right about using Romero, Gordon, and Myers yesterday. At this point in the season, there is no "saving people for tomorrow." We have to play every game like a must win, tomorrow be damned. Worry about tonights game tonight. The Phillies had to win yesterday....and it would have been the final nail if jerks like Mesa had come in and blown it.

And Don is right. Charlie's hand is forced because he will do anything humanly possible (and rightly so) to avoid using anyone other than those 3 in close, late game situations.

Playing off Ben's response to my post...

Gordon, Romero and Myers can have days off when we're winning by 7 or more runs.

What is amazing about how the Phils swept the Mets this weekend is the production from Utley, Burrell, and Howard:

Utley 3-14 (.214) HR, 3 RBI, 4 K
Burrell 1-11 (.091) 4 K
Howard 2-13 (.154) 4 K

A combined 6-38 (.158) with a HR, 3 RBIs and 12 Ks.

And the Phils swept the Mets. That's unbelievable.

Still like Wright for MVP, with Rollins, Fielder and Holliday bringing up the rear. Utley's in the distance, as is Hanley Ramirez, Peavy, Webb and Howard. Dunn and Pujols round out the top 11.

Hanley's numbers are tremendous and he's not in the discussion as far as I can tell. .333/.390/.571, 29 HR, 49 SB. If was in San Diego or Los Angeles and not Florida, he'd be your MVP.

I think Wright is the front-runner for MVP at the moment... especially with the Mets record, but he doesn't have it locked up. Two weeks is a long time.

Rollins is our best candidate at the moment... and he certainly does his best to add to his credentials every game. Buzz is on his side right now.

Fielder is the only other legit candidate right now, in my mind. The other guys all have great numbers but won't be in the top 3.

If the Phils fail to make the playoffs again, I would be shocked to see Manuel back next year.
Quite frankly, the slow start is coming back to haunt this team in September yet again.
He knew that he had to have this team prepared to play meaningful baseball in April, and they were anything but prepared coming out of Spring Training.
All 3 seasons he's been here - 3 slow starts, 2 near-misses for playoff berths, 3rd near miss forthcoming.

Funny thing is; Manuel's "rock solid" rotation for this year didn't pan out too well and early.

He should probably be let go anyhow, because after the last two years, there is probably no good enough excuse to play badly in April...but, even if the Phils fall short, he may have to be given the benefit of the doubt if they win and the padres just don't lose.

Funny thing is; Manuel's "rock solid" rotation for this year didn't pan out too well and early.

He should probably be let go anyhow, because after the last two years, there is probably no good enough excuse to play badly in April...but, even if the Phils fall short, he may have to be given the benefit of the doubt if they win and the padres just don't lose.

Every once in a while I go back and read the March 27 Beerleaguer comments, when many of us made our 2007 season predictions. Amazing how much confidence we had in the starting rotation. Still, the consensus was for about 88 wins. Will that be good enough?

http://www.beerleaguer.com/beerleaguer/2007/03/hardball_times__1.html

Hamels and Kendrick completely overmatched Maroth and Wells in the last series with St. Louis.

Maroth/Wells - 6 IP, 14 R (10 ER), 17 H, 3 BB, 4 SO, 3 HR
Kendrick/Hamels - 13 IP, 5 R (5 ER), 14 H, 3 BB, 6 SO, 1 HR

I thought Maroth is now relegated to the bullpen.. He has very poor mechanics and tips his pitches. Kip Wells is schizoid , but he's only good every 3 or 4 starts...Phils should light him up (again). Rollins and Wright are neck and neck for MVP. Hanley would win if the Marlins could be near .500.

Ugh I am sick of the Cholly hate...just seems like the easiest head to call for since Gillick obviously isn't leaving and Burrell has been playing well lately. Add in the fact he has a southern draw and you have everyone calling for his head.

Ok he has made some bad decisions but you know what...even the best managers make unorthodox decisions...but you know why they are the best? Because they can get their players to play for them, and that is what Cholly has been able to do. I would argue this team would be in the same situation or worse without Cholly. Baseball managers have the least impact of any coach/manager in any of the big 4 sports when it comes to their decisions. Calling for Cholly's head because he doesn't always make the orthodox move is stupid.

Kevin: To be fair, those calling for the head aren't just talking about him decided against the orthodox move. Manuel has made some really bad decisions this season which may have cost us games. Granted, he can just put the player in the position, at some point they have to make it work.

I'm not nearly as hard on him as others on this list. If you look at the hand he was dealt by Gillick, combined with the mind-numbing injuries, it's miraculous we're even in this race. Some say it's in spite of the manager. I believe if he's taking so much blame, he's got to get some credit, too.

I'm just curious as to who wants Jose Reyes over Jimmy Rollins these days. Over their last 74 games:

Reyes: .262 BA, 16 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 40 SB, 10 CS, .323 OBP, .402 SLG, .725 OPS
Rollins: .307 BA, 18 2B, 9 3B, 14 HR, 40 RBI, 22 SB, 3 CS, .363 OBP, .544 SLG, .907 OPS

It's not even close...

If the Phils make the playoffs by one game, my MVP vote goes to the guy in the right field stands who "interfered" with the Torrealba grand slam ball, robbing the Rockies of 2 runs (in a game that the Phils won by a single run in the bottom of the 10th).

Gotta take advantage of the matchups tonight. The Phils teed off on Thompson in Philly earlier this year (in a relief role). With the pen depleted, Kendrick needs to give them innings tonight. The offense should do its part.

The Pads are starting a rookie tonight that was 7-14 (and 1-7 in his last 10 starts at AAA) and gave up 203 hits in 156 IP this year. Too bad the Pirates are pitching a guy with a 9 ERA though.

Again, I ask....if the Pads can bring up a kid in Cassell (who was terrible at Triple A) to start a meaningful, late season game, then why can't the Phils use a Happ or a Carrasco this weekend in Washington? They can't be any worse than Eaton, and just might be a lot better (especially since the Nats have never seen either).

(I realize with the health problems with the rotation this year, this is probably dumb to do, but anyway....)

Pitching Probables (as I see it) for the rest of the year:

CARDS-

Monday- Kendrick
Tuesday- Hamels
Wednesday- Moyer

NATS-

Thursday- Lohse
Friday- Eaton
Saturday- Kendrick
Sunday- Hamels

BRAVES-

Tuesday- Moyer
Wednesday- Lohse
Thursday- Eaton

NATS-

Friday- Kendrick
Saturday- Hamels
Sunday- Moyer


What would I do? Dump Eaton right now. Put Happ in the rotation, and let him pitch in Washington. Its a big ballpark against a bad team that has never seen him. Then he could also start on Thursday against Atlanta (who has one of the worst records in baseball against left-handed starters; and has had major problems against pitchers they have never seen before.)

Eaton might survive Washington (although he hasn't pitched even a good game in 2 months) but Atlanta should tee off on him next Thursday. Its a terrible matchup. But, looks like we are stuck with that. Too bad.

denny b.:

There is an off-day before Atlanta... it seems like a good opportunity to skip Eaton.

denny b, Agree with you on Happ vs Eaton. Good posts today.

Right now Wright is the favorite to win the MVP award for two reasons:

One, his team is in first place.

Two, he plays in a much bigger media market, and therefore, his exploits get more attention nationally.


Rollins, although probably more "valuable" (his team is in contention despite a lack of pitching), probably has no shot unless the Phils make the postseason. If they do, what he did against the Mets this year will become magnified, esp. if they play each other in the NLCS.

Fielder, despite an excellent season will not win unless the Brew Crew win the division. Holliday - the same. Their seasons haven't been outstanding enough (see Ryan Howard 2006) to overcome the stigma of the team not making the playoffs.

A dark horse is Ryan Howard. If he goes bonkers in the next 13 games (8-10 HR, 20 RBI) and the Phils make the playoffs, he'll slug his way right back into the picture.

The same is true of Chase Utley. If the Phils make the playoffs, and he gets to 25 HR and 100 RBI, and wins the batting title, he'll make his case also.

Wright might win anyway, just because the three Phillies dilute each other's vote.

cj, good point. Eaton can be skipped on 9/27. No way do I want him pitching at CBP. This limits him to one start at RFK; although I would give this to Happ.

Jason - do you really think Holliday has a shot? I don't think any position player in Coors will ever win an MVP, much less one who doesn't make the playoffs.

I think Wright is the prohibitive favorite right now, with Fielder as a distant second. I don't think the voters want to award an immobile slugger this year - the 2007 MVP was Reyes' trophy to lose, and he managed to do just that. although if the Phillies do manage to get into the playoffs, I think Rollins and - seriously now - Pat Burrell will get serious consideration.

Charlie played baseball just 26 years ago? Somehow that seems implausible. I guess if he retired at 40 he could be 66 now. I would predict we'll take two of three, though the pattern would suggest otherwise. Then again I thought we would drop two to the Mets.

If he's well, St. Louis might go with Todd Wellemeyer tomorrow.

Charlie is an average manager, based on the criteria of in-game tactics (very bad), clubhouse management (very good), and utilization of the 25 man roster (average). And, of course, the number of games he overused anyone is "countable." It's somewhere between 1 and 149.

My vote for MVP would be Hanley Ramirez if he were on a winning team in the thick of a race. Holliday and J-Roll have had great years, but will probably end up two and three to Wright. But what if he gets injured tripping over his own ego and is out the rest of the year?

Both the Phils and Padres are 17-13 in their last 30 games.

ae: That's the crazy part. If the Phils make the playoffs, who gets the most consideration?

Batting leader Utley
RBI champ Howard
Runs leader Rollins
Or the man who kept this team in the race in the second half... Pat Burrell?

Charlie had some very clutch home runs in the 1978 and 79 Japan Series, if I remember correctly.

Lineups are in... Dobbs at 3rd, Werth in RF, Ruiz behind the plate (6th, 7th, 8th respectively).

For NL MVP, the writers will choose the player who has the best triple crown numbers and comes from a team in contention till the last week of the season. If Holliday wins the batting and rbi titles and the Rockies are still battling for a playoff berth in the final 5 games, they'll probably choose him. I expect the vote to be very close and likely decided by one unorthodox ballot -- say a single voter giving a 6th place vote to David Wright.

Phillies

1. Rollins, SS
2. Utley, 2B
3. Burrell, LF
4. Howard, 1B
5. Rowand, CF
6. Dobbs, 3B
7. Werth, RF
8. Ruiz, C
9. Kendrick, P

Cardinals

1. Miles, 2B
2. Schumaker, LF
3. Pujols, 1B
4. Edmonds, CF
5. Ankiel, RF
6. Spezio, 3B
7. Stinnett, C
8. Thompson, P
9. Ryan, SS

Hmmm... pitcher batting 8th for the Cardinals. Strange.

No Eckstein in the lineup is a HUGE break...

Pitcher batting 8th. LaRussa does this from time to time.
He believes it will help get more runners on base for Pujols.

It looks like the pitcher has been hitting 8th for the Cardinals since game 2 of the series against the Nationals on August 2nd.

I'm frankly not sure what the benfit of this is.

Billy Mac... it's not just time to time... he's been doing it for a month and a half.

They average 4.4 runs per game for the season, but are up to 4.6 runs per game since moving the pitcher up in the order. I guess it's helped... but I'm still not sure it's something you do every day.

I was just about to say, note to Mets, keep REyes off base, and then I turn on the game and he is already on. That is the absolute key to beating the Muts.

Note to Phils: Get J-Roll on base.

cj, I didn't realize LaRussa was hitting the pitcher 8th every game now. Bit of an ego blow for the guy who has to hit 9th.

3-0 Mets in the 1st; I see they have no trouble bouncing back.

Billy Mac:

I hadn't realized it either... had to go back and check. I still don't buy the "get more guys on base for Pujols" argument. Utley was hitting third and just about leading the league in RBIs before he got hurt.

Whatever semblance of professionalism or respectability that teams like the Braves/Nats/Fish have, goes completely down the toilet when the Mets show up. Either that, or the baseball gods are punishing the Nats for Willie Mo Pena's sacrificing goats in left field.

I'm proposing a first inning of silence as a show of unity within Beerleaguer. And it seems that since 7:45 everyone has been doing a good job of it anyway.

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