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Monday, September 10, 2007

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A weekend off from the madness and one game made up. That can't be too bad despite all the doom and gloom. Yes the playoffs are unlikely. Yes the Pads, Dodgers and Snakes are better teams. But its still exciting and I'm still watching - I guess that says more about me (and the rest of you) than about this team. The Colorado series is going to be interesting and it'll be nice to see the Rockies again. Time to put the boot in and take 3 of 4.

Hope the weather doesn't mess us up too badly. Rockies start at least two guys whose ERAs start with 4-don't think we can match that!

As far as pitching matchups, the Phillies actually have the advantage in three of four games. Thursday is the Rockies ace against Durbin. Obviously to take 3 of 4 which is necessary, we need to win today, tomorrow and Wednesday.

Watch the speed gun tonight, especially early. Jimenez tosses serious smoke.

Incidently, has anyone seen the headline on the Phils' web page:
"Phils top Marlins, build some momentum"

Ummmm...
I think they should write:

"Please buy more tickets, please please???"

clout: I think the Phillies have a decent shot at finishing ahead of one of the top 3 in the West, simply because they all play each other and someone has to lose. OTOH, if the Phillies don't play better than .500 the rest of the way, they could wind up behind those three plus the Rockies, too.

Thanks, parker, for clarifying who's backing whom in the West race. I haven't paid enough attention to the teams to know who will win it; as long as Randy Johnson is hurt, I have no reason to root against the Snakes.

I think it will take 88 wins to take the wild card. Normally the Phillies win 86 and are two games back. This would require a 13-7 finish which is unlikely but certainly possible.

I agree with Alby that the west teams will beat each other up for the WC, however, I am highly pessimistic about the Phils chances, as I believe the starters and bullpen will lose games for us without any help from other teams.

Phils need to win every series the rest of the way = 14-6 finish.
This would put them at 89 wins.
IMO, this would at least be enough to earn a 1 game playoff.
If they lose any series or split any 4-game series - forget it.
88 wins will unfortunately, not be enough.
By losing the 5-0 lead last Sunday at FLA and the 5-0/8-2 lead at ATL last Wednesday - the Phils coughed up their room for error.

Well Jon, they could lose a series, then sweep another. That would still be OK by your 14-6 logic.

I too believe that 14-6 will win the Card. Maybe 13-7. 12-8 is a stretch and 11-9 is highly unlikely.

That said, how about we all get optimistic? Last year, when Abreu went down, I became completely optimistic, just happy to be able to watch Howard, Utley, Hamels and the like. What did they do? Rip off a slew of games. (Maybe it's cause this team performs best when facing absolutely no pressure at all.)

Still, let's all treat these final 20 as if it was a celebration. Shoot, they got this far with all the injuries. Let's celebrate a good season, and maybe, just maybe, it'll rub off and they'll make the postseason.

And yeah, the Kool-Aid tastes great.

Malcolm = theoretically, if they find a way to win 14 of 20, it shouldn't matter how they do it.
However, it's more realistic to set the bar at "win all 6 series" than it is to have the lose or split a series, then expect them to sweep a follow-on series to make up the lost ground.

Shoot, if I'm them, I set the bar simply on "win every game."

Go Mets!

88-89 wins sounds about right for the wild card. That's why i've always said the wild card was easier than the division, because the Mets are at least a 90-win team.

The ORIX Buffaloes? Man, they _stink_.

However, if the Eagles still got an American named Tracy, boo the hell out of him. He ain't used to some old fashioned American heckling and cracks under it, haha.

As a side note about the good ol' Phils: Did you hear in Boston they want Pat Burrell? They are even willing to trade us J.D. Drew. Wow!

I wouldn't settle for that trade until they repeatedly punt us in the stones on top of getting Drew. Heh, how dumb _are_ people from Boston?

I forget who wrote that nice open letter to Pittsburgh management the other day about Amaro...but perhaps they actually read it!

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20070910_Amaro_may_be_in_line_for_Pirates_GM_job.html

I notice another Value Village pitcher we didn't get is pitching today for St. Louis. With the Cards, Joel Piniero is 4-2 with a 3.63 ERA. His peripherals aren't spectacular, but he has issued only 7 walks in 39.2 innings over 7 starts. Of course, that's less than 6 innings per start, but he was pitching relief in Boston. I could be wrong, but I think he might have helped here.

I notice another Value Village pitcher we didn't get is pitching today for St. Louis. With the Cards, Joel Piniero is 4-2 with a 3.63 ERA. His peripherals aren't spectacular, but he has issued only 7 walks in 39.2 innings over 7 starts. Of course, that's less than 6 innings per start, but he was pitching relief in Boston. I could be wrong, but I think he might have helped here.

BENTZ: If Mr. Amaro does get the job, don't think I won't take credit for writing the splendid letter of recommendation that got him the hell out of Philly.

Any truth to the rumors that Aaron Rowand is signing with the Philadelphia Eagles in the off-season to switch from balls-out center fielder to catch-balls punt returner?

What. Too soon?

Next 7 days are huge (obviously).

Dbacks -- 3 against the Giants, 3 against the Dodgers (and then another series against the Giants).

Padres -- 3 against the Dodgers, 3 against the Giants.

Dodgers -- 3 against the Padres, 3 against Arizona.

Phils -- 4 against the Rockies, 3 against the Mets.

I guess we're all Giants fans from here on out.

Don't get your hopes too high about someone else taking Amaro off our hands. For years, Mike Arbuckle was always everybody's first choice for GM vacancies (including the Pirates, at least once), but it never happened. Maybe, just maybe, someone gets ahold of the Phillies' track record and begins to think better of it.

What's with all this speculation in the Inquirer on the Phillies making a run at Willis this winter? The big questions that neither Salisbury or Zolecki bother to address is, a) why would Florida trade him to a team within the division, and b) for who? for what? And to think they complain about useless rumors getting started on blogs.

I've got an easy way to obviate all the schedule analysis and W/L hypotheses. This is all you have to know: the Phillies will technically remain alive until the last week, at which time they will do what it takes to ensure that they finish 1 or 2 games out of the running.

My exact throught about Willis, RSB - why would they trade him within the division?

And yes, for who for what....

And hasn't Willis been struggling going back to last season, not just 2007? What is wrong with him, if anything? They are saying his velocity & control are off.

Willis' command has been wretched all season, but the lower velocity can't simply be explained by a 'lack of motivation' as Jimmy Rollins would prefer to believe.

Madson is out for the season.

"Ryan Madson threw some pitches Friday, still had pain in his right shoulder, and all but conceded Saturday that his season is over, even if the Phils make the playoffs."

Normally I'd agree about trading within the division but the Marlins had no problem dealing LoDuca and Delgado (in separate deals) to the Mets. Way back they also shipped Al Leiter to New York. They also dealt Mike Hampton to Atlanta. I'm not saying the Phils should or should not be interested (since I'm just really not sure) but I don't know if the division thing makes a difference.

Oh, and Mike Piazza to the Mets as well...Piazza was a Marlin just slightly longer than Ryan Langerhans was in Oakland this year...

Bentz, good point about the Mets trades. It doesn't often happen, though, and for good reason. When's the last time the Phillies made any significant deal with a team in the NL East? The Millwood deal with Atlanta was one that forced Schuerholz's hand - he would have risked losing Millwood outright had the Phillies not made the last-minute offer. Before that, you have to go back to the infamous Turk Wendell/Dennis Cook trade with the Mets in '01.

James Wilkinson, where did you hear that Boston is interested in Burrell?

Actually, Burrell makes sense for the Sox. High OBP, slugs, has shown enough mobility to play the very short porch in LF at Fenway, and has a decent throwing arm.

Sure he would be replacing a much better hitter in Manny, but he's 5 years younger, and would be much less expensive.

Besides, many in Red Sox Nation are tired of Manny being Manny.

Pat Burrell also makes a lot of sense for the Phillies next year. There, I said it.

I wouldn't trade for Dontrelle Willis. Two words: Freddy Garcia. Fool me once shame on you....

I also wouldn't trade Burrell to Boston for J.D. Drew. Drew makes way too much dough and the Phillies would be trading the only real RH power threat in their lineup for another LH hitter.

This has been asked of the Burrell haters before: Who would you replace him with?

Lastly, if you want to win the division next year you need

Pat Burrell: Met Killer

There is no way J.D. Drew will ever - I mean, EVER - play in Philadelphia. Unless he's at the very tail end of his career and they're desperate for a lefty bat off the bench. Thinking he could play in Boston was a stroke of stupidity on the part of Epstein.

Lastly, lastly: J.D. Drew is an injury waiting to happen.

Despite everything else, Pat Burrell has shown the ability to gut it out and play through pain. Now he's finally healthy.

Very good points here this afternoon. Agreed completely on Burrell, he needs to be here next year and JD Drew would be a disaster here for so many reasons that it's not even funny. I do think the Marlins would trade Willis wherever they could get the best deal, division or not. I do not want the Phillies to get him. I think his early success was at least in part attributed to his strange motion and once hitters stayed in on him, they have had much more success. He does not have an injury record, but AWH is right...loss of velocity was the tell-tale sign of Garcia's demise for 2007 (and probably 2008).

I can't remember another Phillies' trade in the division since the Millwood deal. Anyone?

"I can't remember another Phillies' trade in the division since the Millwood deal. Anyone?"

The last one I can see is Marlon Byrd to the Nationals for Endy Chavez in May of 2005.

http://umpbump.com/press/jd-drew-a-phil/

I probably resorted to Yankee comparisons way too early in this one, but here's some folks talking about the Burrell for Drew trade. Article text and link on the other side...

The Burrell-for-Drew rumor surfaced last week.
My understanding was the Boston is willing to eat a substantial portion of Drew's contract in addition to assuming all of Burrell's 2008 salary.
Not sure if I'd do that deal straight up.
If Boston were to throw in 1-2 of those talented young arms...may sweeten the deal enough to make it feasible.

Why would the Phillies want yet another left-handed bat? Burrell's value to this team is substantially enhanced because he's a right-handed hitter. Too bad, Boston.

Imagine if Drew *had* signed with the Phils. He would have fit in all too well on the teams from the earlier part of the decade, and while he may not have had batteries thrown at him, it's a fair bet that he would have been booed often as a member of the home team.

If this team trades Pat Burrell for ANYTHING that doesn't include BULLPEN HELP I suggest we burn the god damn stadium down.

In watching Drew up in Boston, besides his lackluster performance, I immediately noticed his deadpan emotion throughout this season. Boston wouldn't be so down on him if he demonstrated some frustration now and again.

Can we please stop this charade of the Phils going 14-6 or 13-7 down the stretch and making the playoffs? Given their difficult schedule and the unlikely return of Hamels, this team will be lucky to slightly over .500.

I say they finish the final 20 games between 9-11 or 11-9. That translates to 84-86 wins and a lot of Beerleaguer posters' prediction about this seaons as dead on the money compared to the national yahoos (I had 84 wins).

Once again, they will finish another season with a win total in the mid-80s and be on the outside looking in at the playoffs. Regardless of the team's resiliency in the face of injuries this season, this team still got out to a horrendous start and stalled down the stretch (this time in early Sept. vs mid-to-late Sept).

If Cholly had made the playoffs or this season had turned out differently, than I can the argument in bringing him back but he has had 3 seasons now and the result has been almost the same capsulated by an early season poor performance and a late season swoon.

"Can we please stop this charade of the Phils going 14-6 or 13-7 down the stretch and making the playoffs?"

I dont think it is a charade; people have just been saying this is what we need to do make the playoffs, and hoping it happens. It could happen. It is more likely than not, but it is not unthinkable.

I saw the Amaro is possibly mentioned as a candidate for the Pirates' GM job. I hate to bring this point up, but is Amaro just getting these interview opportunities since he is Hispanic yet he fits in the "Old Boys" network since he went to William Penn Charter School and Stanford? Is Amaro really a serious candidate or just the owners ensuring that they look good by bringing in minority candidates for management opportunities?

The one thing I do predict is that if the Phils do name Amaro as their GM in another year - they will take a major PR hit in this town. I do think anyone on this board or many people in the media regard Amaro as much more than a mouthpiece of the current ownership.

MG: The biggest obstacle to that 13-14 wins they'd need is their pitching is absurdly bad and streaky. Can they hold it together and play at .650 or .700 clip for 20 games? I certainly doubt it, but the fact is, stranger things have happened. After that Braves collapse, I decided that the only way to spell the words PHILLIES FAN was A-G-O-N-Y. But you know what, I still love this team, and I am going to be optimistic. I don't think it's probable. But it's definitely possible. Rip me if it makes you feel better. But I know this offense can go off and provide 5-6 runs in 14 of 20 games. That's definitely possible.

The pitching might be able to hold it together. And who knows, Kendrick and Lohse can definitely keep this team in games, while Moyer, Durbin, and Eaton might not completely suck. Those back 3 are the problem since they're so night and day when it comes to pitching good games. Let's just hope the back of the bullpen isn't completely shot. I know I'm crazy, but I want this team to win.

The rumors of a trade of JD Drew for Pat Burrell is not coming out of the Red Sox organization, or even any baseball institution. It was proposed by an idiotic Boston Globe writer named Nick Cafardo.

"Theoretical swap

If things don't turn around for Drew, would you send him and a lot of cash to Philadelphia for Pat Burrell this offseason? Granted, Drew has some bad blood with Phillies fans; he didn't sign after being their top pick in 1997. But that was 10 years ago. Drew is clearly more comfortable in the National League. In interleague play this season, he hit .328 in 58 at-bats, with 4 homers, 13 RBIs, a .394 OBP, and .603 slugging percentage. Burrell, soon to be 31, is a guy the Phillies would have given to you for a thank you card a couple of months ago. But he is up to 24 homers and 77 RBIs with a .270 average and .409 on-base percentage, a big part of the Phillies' resurgence. He has one year left at $14 million, and lists Boston as one of the teams to which he would accept a trade."

Ben - Maybe but it is like the guy who skipped class all semester and needs to get an "A" on the final to pass the class. I guess it can happen but I wouldn't be making any plans about the Phils making the playoffs.

It would seem that every GM is more or less the 'mouthpiece' of their team's ownership, or at the very least destined act in accordance with their wishes or beliefs. If the right set of upper management is not in place, it is not going to matter much who the GM or manager is. I don't think even Paul Owens could do his job effectively under this bunch, unless he was prodded back on the field to manage by Giles ("I'm making the decisions around here. Let's give Pope something to do").

MG, I think we all realize the playoffs are unlikely. But hell, that's no reason to give up on the season. This team is definitely capable of winning 14 of 20 with our offense, even without Hamels in the rotation.

I really don't know what you mean by difficult schedule. Other than the Mets at Shea, I don't see a single series that I don't think we have a very good chance of winning. And we swept the Mets earlier this year, so that's not out of the question either. We're capable of beating anybody at home, and the Cardinals and Nationals are our opponents on the road. As shown in the past two weeks, this team is capable of completely horrific baseball as well as great baseball. We could go 5-15 or we could go 15-5. So sure, 14-6 is a stretch, but it's not impossible. And even if we don't get that, it's not like the Padres have been red hot recently. So yea, they're not in nearly the position I would like, but don't count them out yet.

I think it's far more likely that we take the lead in the Wild Card two days from the end of the season and then lose the last two to blow it.

YC: You're right. The Drew-Burrell rumor is as silly as it gets. There is no conceivable way this ownership would ever agree to acquiring Drew. The guy refused to sign because he didn't want to play in Philly. That is unforgiveable. So the Phils lost the second pick of the entire draft. They received a sandwich pick as compensation in 1998. Their selection? Eric Valent.

By the way, the next 8 picks after Valent were: Mark Prior (Yankees, didn't sign), Brad Baisley (Phillies 2nd round pick); Gerald Laird; Dave Kelton; Robby Morrison; Chad Hutchinson; Marcus Sents; Adam Dunn.

MG
Amaro's father is hispanic but his mother is Jewish - Probably being brought up as a Jew. Maybe hes being catered to because hes a Jew.

"This team is definitely capable of winning 14 of 20 with our offense, even without Hamels in the rotation."

In your dreams. They haven't played at a .700 clip for 20 games at any point in the season with Hamels.

FLJerry - not really called for or appropriate on this blog.

RSB - Agreed about the mouthpiece comment but it seems that Amaro has taken the ownership's line this year to an extreme by taking the most optimistic view on any situation (e.g., Garcia trade) and refuses to acknowledge any misteps or criticism.

In fact, I find it fascinating that Amaro generally has become the primary focal point for PR comments and statements this year while Gillick seems to have taken more of a back seat as the season has progressed.

If the Magic Number of wins for the Wild Card is 90, the NL team records would need to be:

Padres 13 - 7
Phillies 15-5
Dodgers 15-4
Rockies 16-4
Braves 17-2
Cubs 18-2

The Padres are 4-6 in their last 10. Do they keep that pace? Or jump to a .650 for their last 20 games??

The Phillies and the Dodgers are just .500 over that time.

If the Padres play 2 games under .500 the rest of the way... Not likely... either...

So what is the likely win totals for the Padres? 11? 12? Whatever win total they have, the Phillies have will have to match plus win 2 more just to TIE!

Either way... the Phillies are not out of it... but based on the Hamels/bullpen situation... Unless one of these teams get hot, its likely the standing will remain as they are today.

fljerry - That was not my point and I didn't want to bring up that can of worms. It is a legit question though about minority candidates being brought in for multiple interviews. Look at what Minaya went through before he got the Mets' GM job.

Eric Valent and Brad Baisley were Arbuckle selections. Valent was a heavy-legged OF out of UCLA who had some pop, but put up very ordinary numbers in the minors. He had one decent season with the Mets off the bench in '04. He was a lifetime .234 hitter.

Baisley was a 6-9 righty out of a Florida HS who hurt his arm and was done by age 25.

Didn't the Pads finish up last year winning 9 out of 10?

In my dreams? It's not impossible to win 14 of 20 games. In May, they won 12 of 17, and lost three one run games right before and after that stretch. So okay, they haven't done it, but that doesn't mean they can't. If we were in the AL, that would be one thing, but every team we're playing has a weakness.

Thanks Crazy Jon - good looking out.

Crazy Jon: Odds are very good that the 5-6 teams battling for the WC (and for the West pennnant) won't go .500. The most likely scenario is what has happened in each of the past 3 years. A couple of the teams will get hot and a couple will get cold.

Close crazy jon, 9 of 11.

in the last 20 games last year... the Phillies went 13 - 7, the Padres went 14-6.

Murgatroid - my bad, confused them with the Dodgers, who won 9 of 10 to finish last season.

fljerry: aren't you the same guy that said you don't care about Myers' incident in Boston and Mateo's track record as long as they pitch well? You're a good guy.

Mike C: And, as Jon notes, the Dodgers went 9-1 in their last 10. A couple of teams will get hot and win the West and the WC.

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