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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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Yeah our pitching sucks but our offense doesn't. Hudson is 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA in his last six starts. Lets see how they go.

Well, drinking for the game didn't work. They lost, the Padres won, and now I have a hangover. I hope GM-Carson had better luck.

Got to love how the game hinged on if the umpire graded on a curve.

It isn't likely, but there's a chance for a 5-way tie at the end of the season if, for example, the Phils go 5-0, the Mets go 3-2, the Rockies go 5-0, the Pads go 4-1 and the D-backs go 2-3. That would be interesting.

I went to bed with the Pads down 4-2 in the eighth and said to myself, at least we'll still be tied albeit maybe a 3-way tie. oh well, here we go again.

Here's hoping for a 5-game win streak starting with W's vs. Hudson & Smoltz. Same sh*t, different end of September.

A couple of thoughts:

(1) Feels very much like we've been here before. Have a knot in my stomach, because it's going to get tougher the next couple of days. I don't have the stats or the knowledge most of you on this site have, but this almost feels to me like a bit of the recent Mets series in reverse. Atlanta seems pumped up, confident, tough and ready to go. I sense a bit of the playing not to lose syndrome with the Phils of the past week or so. They need to rebound, grab an early lead, play like frontrunners and slap the Braves around tonight to get their mojo back, or whatever.

(2) The HR's were great, and those guys who hit them came to play. Chase, Ryan, J-Roll hung tough. However, since that 11 run game in SL a week or so ago (seems like ages ago) the hitting has seemed very sporadic and not timely for the most part. Lots of RISP left there. Maybe someone here has a comparison over the last several games and the rest of the season to see if I'm punching at phantoms or if the bats really have been going on vacation a bit when it most matters.

(3) Rowand made good, not perfect, throws last night to the plate. I thought he did his job (in the field anyway) and that the runners simply got decent jumps and beat the throws.

(4) I've noticed what seems like a new Pat Burrell over the last month or so. Last night, we saw him call Rowand off to catch a ball (that was clearly his to catch, but still), then slapping Rowand on the back with his glove after he made the catch. Giving hard high fives in the dugout and grabbing Nunez by the sleeve to say something to him before Nunez came up to bat a short time later. He seems to really have become part of the team now. He's cooled off a bit the past couple of weeks, true; but last year, last night's sac fly would probably have been a strike out waving at a low outside fastball.

Go Phils. Gotta win tonight.

Wow it really is getting too close and tangled to try to figure out all the possibilities. I still think the Padres are pretty much out of it given that they have to go to Milwaukee. If we had another week or two I think we could have caught the Mets, but at this point I'm most concerned about the Rockies who seem to be playing the best ball right now. They eliminated the Dodgers last night and are then headed home for their final three.

Like the Burrell observations Bob. Its good to see. Its his turn to go yard.

Last start against the Phillies Hudson gave up 11 hits and 2 walks for 5 runs. Do it again plus some Phils!

Probables for the rest of the week (According to ESPN)

Hudson - Lohse
Smoltz - Eaton

Redding - Hamels
Hanrahan - Kendrick
Chico - Moyer


loctastic -- ESPN is wrong. Kendrick is pitching Thursday, and Easton is pitching Saturday.

Who was it that said we should be rooting for the Rockies?

Seems like Moyer really got jobbed on a couple of pitches against Texiera (sp?) in the first inning. If he gets either of those calls, the inning is done. But, that's baseball. He's still good for 5 or 6 quality innings. But the bullpen still makes me want to hurl. I was stunned (pleasantly) with Mesa's effort. But when CJones went deep in the 9th, my son and I both said "frick" and turned off the TV.

**"I don't know, but I've wanted to." -- Manuel, asked if he'd ever accidentally injured a player while trying to restrain him, as was the case when Padres manager Bud Black tried to corral outfielder Milton Bradley**

I saw this and enjoyed it. Manuel gets points for making this statement. He would've gotten more points if he said he's wanted to tackle and injure a GM.

I don't know. How can you depend on a pitcher who needs the umpire to give him a break on the strike zone?

Having said that, I don't feel like he's the reason they lost. It's the useless bullpen again. USE LESS.

Afish - the absolute best part of your scenario would be, if we were tied with the Mets. we'd win the division while they'd have to wade through all the strange WC playoffs.

When I went to bed the sanitary Pads were losing, now I see their inept lineup got 4 runs in the 9th. We lost our game by 4 runs. I thought that we had the high powered offense. These losses really bum me out.

I was listening to the Astros game on the radio last night. When they gave an early Phillies score and mentioned J-Roll's HR, they started talking about him for MVP. We get more respect from these Astros announcers than I am used to from the enemy announcers.

Does anyone remember Utley getting plunked on purpose before the Gordon/Myers meltdown in the 9th inning at Turner field a few weeks ago? Hope the Phils haven't.

Seems like the Braves act as if the they have the Phils #. I hope the Phils take it upon themselves to take care of business in their house and do it with Phils swagger.

Good luck the next two nights, Kyles (gulp)

It's going to be absolutely tragic if a team with as talented an offense as this one has is going to be forced to sit out October because of the front office's total and complete failure to put together a bullpen that even resembles major-league competency. Failure to make the post season completely and wholly falls on Pat Gillick's shoulders – almost zero effort has gone into helping a bullpen that was pathetic from game one, and will be pathetic at the end of game 162.

I'll be honest – as much as I want us to be able to get big-time free agents, resign Rowand, sign Howard to a long-term deal, etc., I can't possibly see why anyone of any worth would bother with a team that so obviously doesn't even care to address an absolutely glaring need. It's just heart breaking.

They may still make the playoffs – believe me I'm rooting for them as hard as I can – but it will be despite the obstacles thrown up by the front office. And even then, I can't see them even making it out of the first round with this relief "help".

Say what you want about Cholly, about PtB, about Nunez, or any other of the favorite whipping-boys throughout the season, but none of those guys are the reason we won't make the post season. Not a one. The entire fault lies in the bullpen and on the front office. I'd be ashamed to be a member of either group.

Andy -- That's not correct. If the Phils and the Mets are tied, the only way there's no Phils/Mets playoff game is if both teams have better records than the second place team in the West.

Afish - okay, right. They'd have to beat the Mets again, first.

Of course, what's not to like about that?

Maybe the best news of the day was that Gillick will be gone. Unfortunately, he'll still be here next year. Since he has such a short horizon, maybe he'll pull out all the stops to get this team fleshed out with a real bullpen for 2008.

A few reasons not to go 4 - 11 in April:

Don't have to depend on other teams to lose in September.

Don't have to root for the Rox one week and against them them the next.

Can rest the good part (?) of pitching staff in September.

Can rest position players, too.

Extra few days to gloat over Mets.

Can use September call-ups to see which prospects have big league composure.

Do not have to whine about bad umpires (can just say - Bucknor is just part of the game, like gnats in the outfield or sun in your eyes).

Flat out have better chance to actually make it to Octobe
*****************
Of course, these are all conjecture as long as we continue go 4 - 11 in April.

Best news about Gillick being gone: he may actually do some work this off-season. I remember when he said "We won't be contenders until '08," and thinking last Winter, "Okay, maybe he's waiting until next year for Rowand to be gone to make his moves." The free-agent pool isn't deep, but there are moves there that can be made.

Wishful thinking, yeah, but that's all we've got at this point.

Same sh*t, different September.

"maybe he'll pull out all the stops to get this team fleshed out with a real bullpen"

Lake Fred - thanks for the good laugh (but you forgot the quotation marks -

maybe he'll "pull out all the stops" to get this team "fleshed out" with a "real" bullpen -

it might be funnier that way.)

Braves are tough. Their line-up is loaded.
No excuses. They worked Moyer. Too bad SD came back to win.

It would be nice to see some Phillies take a few pitches. How many first pitch pop-ups last night? Patience helps put pressure back on the pitcher. Rowand is lurching. Werth was lost at the plate. His HR was a nice sight. Maybe he's back.

I've been watching baseball 25+ years but rarely pay attention to umpires. The good ones disappear into the background. As a Boston ex-pat, Joe West is an exception since he had a personal vendetta against Roger Clemens, but I digress...

But CB Bucknor is bad. He has been bad all year. The whack in the neck didn't help.

Regroup. Come out angry. There's meaningful baseball in town.

There was a bit of debate on last thread about whether the Phillies are a choke team. RSB said they have been, but not this year's team because so far they haven't choked.

The ultimate choke was 1964 when the Phillies went 2-10 in their last 12 games to blow a 6.5 game lead. I think the last dozen games of any season are a pretty good test for whether a team is a choke team or not. Any team can lose a 3 or 4 game series down the stretch. That's too small a sample size to say a team choked even if it's the last 3 games of the season. Absolutely anything can happen in 3 games and luck can be a huge factor. But over 12 games, that evens out.

So let's look at the Phillies performance in their final dozen games (starting at game #151). So far this season they are 4-3. The jury is still out on whether this is a choke job.

2006: 8-4 in their last 12. That's .667 ball. Not a choke to me.

2005: 8-4. Same story.

2004: 9-3. Anyone call this a choke job?

2003: 4-8. Bingo! The team finished 5 games behind the Wild Card (Marlins). A 9-3 finish would've forced a playoff.

Based on the evidence I would say the Phillies are not a perennial choke team. Quite the opposite in fact. They play well in the final dozen. But this year's team does have the potential to choke. If they lose 3 of their last 5, it will be a debatable point.

I'm just telling myself over and over: It's not fair.

clout -- you seem to be the numbers guy on this site. Any way to find a stat for how they've performed once getting a lead/tie for the WC down the stretch?

I don't think the contention is that they choke, period: the contention made by many is that once they control their own destiny, they fold up.

I agree that patience at the plate is critical to the next two games. When they got down last night I was pulling my hair out at guys like Rowand and Werth (at least in his first at-bat) trying to get it all back with one swing. This isn't Rock-N-Jock guys. There aren't bonus five-run homeruns.

Tonight's a must-win. There's no way in hell that the Giants beat Jake Peavy tonight. Just not going to happen. Falling 2 back is fatal at this point.

LOC:

You're right, Moyer wasn't the reason we lost, it was Geary and the crummy pen. That being said, the pitch to Texiera was right down the heart of the plate, thigh high, strike three. Moyer got completely jobbed by Buckner on that call. He makes that completely no-brain obvious call, we might be out of the inning with no runs. The Phillies don't need any help to get beat by the Braves.

A two out hit from Aaron Rowand with the sacks juiced in the 5th might have helped also.

I don't think it's a choke when you have to run Geary out against the Braves lineup. He's just not good enough, though he's had a nice run lately.

It just comes down once again to the Phils not having the pitching to get it done.

Clout,

Can we count a 4-11 April in the choke numbers?

I really hope Geoff Geary gets released or traded to the Frankfurt Schnitzels. I hate that he is in meaningful games, inheriting runners, letting them score, and then moping on the mound.

Keep praying, all.

Clout: Yeah, I agree with Iceman. I know that these teams have played really well down the stretch the last few years. The problem is they play just well enough to get back into the thick of things, and once they get the lead or get really close, they lose a couple games and the chance is gone. This series is the same as the Nats last year, the Astros before that, and the Marlins in 2003. It's where we just simply come up short when the opportunity presents itself. I'm not saying it's "choking". I'm saying it's an inability to get to the next level of winning where, even though you're "due" to lose a few games, you just come up big and win enough to make the playoffs. This team isn't doing it AGAIN. There is nothing that makes me think they will this year, and and nothing that gives me any hope that next year won't be the same thing. At least the Eagles win big games... oh wait.

Zolecki is reporting Madson's arm will be ready for golf season in 2 weeks...sure could use him right about now.

"I'm getting tired of hearing people say our bullpen isn't good," Myers said

6 runs given up in "relief" in the games that finally matter.

Just makes me happy to be a Phils fan.

Chase Utley has been hit 54 times in his career. The Braves have hit him 10 times, most of any team in the league (18.5%).

Tim Hudson has hit him 3 times most of any pitcher in the league.

The UPS girl just showed up with our tickets for the 2nd playoff home game. Yay!

I don't have anything constructive to post. I just wanted to share that. :)

I just checked these stats to confirm, since the Philly fan in me wants to make things appear worse than they really are.

2005: 1/2 game lead on the Astros in the WC in early September, 3 game series against them at home. Have a chance to gain significant ground, lose all 3 games and never regain the lead despite a good showing the last few games (losing 2 out of 3 to the Mets to finish out our home schedule wasn't exactly 'clutch' either).

2006: Finally get a lead on the Dodgers in going into the last week of the season. Lose a make-up game to the Astros, then lose 2 of 3 in Washington -- one of the games to Russ Ortiz, who they have had incredible success against in the past.

2007: Finally tie for the WC lead (thanks to an off-day) and promptly lose the next game.

I don't believe three years of consistently folding once there's no team in front of you to catch is a 'small sample size.' Attribute it to what you want, but if they do it again this year, it can very well be considered a choke.

If Myers is sick of hearing about how the 'pen sucks, maybe they should stop, you know, sucking.

You've got to be *really* biased to not see that this bullpen has been a complete and utter failure over the entire season.

"I'm getting tired of hearing people say our bullpen isn't good," Myers said.

Well what does he expect from retards like us?

Mike: I don't think Manuel will bother (which they haven't all year) with retaliation for Hudson consistently plunking Utley, since they don't need to motivate the Braves any more than they already clearly are. But if Thursday's game gets out of hand, I want to see Kane Davis put one in Chipper's ribcage. Utley takes too much abuse from opposing pitchers not to be protected (and I don't mean 'throwing at somebody's head' protected, Six-Fingers).

I honestly think that the Mets are ripe for catching. The problem is that the Phils have to win to do so. I don't think its out of the question for the Mets to drop at least two more to end this season. That being said, we'd need the Phils to roll off 5 straight again. Considering the matchups, I'm not holding my breath.

Go Brewers!!

I wonder if I'm the only one who caught this exchange on ESPN "baseball tonight" after the phil's loss:

Airhead Anchor: "The Phillies Stink! They just stink!"

Kruk (annoyed): "I don't even know that means. They're a game out of the wild card or tied and they stink?"

Airhead Anchor: "It's the fatalism and negativity of the Philly fans...they only see the negative"

Kruk (goes to the highlites): "It's basically the pitching...you can't bring in Geary and give up hit after hit after hit"

ESPN idiots blaming the fans for the Phils losing...what a joke.

Haven't seen this commented on yet. How about the home crowd cheering when the umpire got it on the chin? Got to love it.

Clout, I believe that I suggested that it would be beneficial if the Rockies kept it close enough for the games against Arizona to be meaningful. If Arizona has clinched then Colorado should have a cakewalk in that series. Ultimately Colorado winning is both a good and a bad thing depending upon how Arizona plays. If Arizona loses, then the Rockies need to win. If Arizona wins, then the Rockies need to lose. At this point, I think I would prefer the Rockies to win the game against the Dodgers so that Arizona has something to play for in the final three games against Colorado. If not, and even if Colorado loses tonight, they should be able to beat up on a resting Arizona team (Having clinched, which I think a Colorado and SD loss would result in).

Jasons point: "Different for the Pitching staff to go through the Braves lineup than going through the Nationals or Cardinals"

The one team that is neglected in that string of pitching is the Mets. I think that the Mets lineup compares favorably to the Braves, so I think that the point is on shaky ground. Not that the pitchers were great against the Mets, but the bullpen was for most of the series. The Braves lineup is streaky, if you get them down for one game, they are liable to go in the tank for 4 days. It would be interesting to see what a loss would do to their explosive offense. My guess, crippling.

not real classy cheering bucknor getting it on the chin, but understandable after what happened in the 1st inning, in the most important game of the year. That pitch was a stone cold 3rd strike.

Control -- I saw that. Karl Ravech I believe was the anchor.

I'm about sick and tired of the "All they see is the negative" BS. There's nothing to see BUT negative after you're put through 5+ years of near misses. Way for Kruk to completely ignore that point and begin to analyze Geary's meatballs.

Well it's true, you can't bring Geary in and give up hit after hit.

I thought Kruk handled it professionally IM. Short of going "Dude, you're an idiot", not much Kruk can say. It's just more of the same, national media trashing philly sports fans w/ the "nega-delphia" rap. We're just like fans in any other city, we want to win.

There's always enough blame to go around, but it's seems like Moyer is getting a pass here. You can't blame the umpire since the strike zone has become arbitrary anyway. Moyer didn't keep the Phils in the game. Yea, the BP failed as well, but if certain other pitchers on this team allowed 6 earned runs in 5 innings, they would be held responsible.
In any case, GO PHILS!

loctastic, is the UPS girl hot?

I guess you're right, there wasn't much he could say without picking a fight (which I'm sure he wanted to do, from what he's said he loves Philly fans).

I don't understand why we get labeled as 'negative' when the city of Boston whined and cried for 86 years (while the Celtics won title after title, btw) and yet were considered loveable losers. Heck, they're still whining and their payroll is more than the GDP of some countries.

Actions like booing when Bucknor was hurt last night (definitely classless) probably helps the stereotype, but people like Ravech are just irresponsible journalists in questioning this city's negativity on the whole. If it were just the Phillies, I could maybe understand; but the Eagles do it to, and when the NHL mattered, so did the Flyers. Sixers of course aren't worthy of discussion at this point.

Sorry, the Eagles do it *too.

I don't want CB Bucknor to take balls to the chin, I just want him to call an obvious 3rd strike down the middle of the plate in a big game.

Haha, control13, you said "balls to the chin". Thats funny. Haha.

Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said of obscenity, "I don't know how to define it, but I know it when I see it." That's how I feel about choking. When you talk all spring training about how critical it is to get off to a fast start --then you do exactly the opposite year after year after year, it's a choke. When you have a playoff spot there for the taking in the last 10 days of the season, & you fail 4 years straight, & 6 times in 7 years, I don't see how it can be called anything but a choke.

The Phillies play well when they're chasing someone else. They are absolute masters at doing just enough to get everyone excited, only to fail when the really important games come up. The two sweeps of the Mets were right in line with the Phillies' modus operandi because, on both occasions, the Phillies came into the series so far behind the Mets that a sweep would be enough to keep the fans interested, but not enough to actually put them in control of their own destiny. On the other hand, the 3 follow-up series with the NL West teams were also right in line with the Phillies' m.o. Having just swept the Mets & put themselves in position to take over either the WC or division lead, the Phillies went out & lost 3 series in a row -- 2 of them against their primary WC rivals (at the time), the Dodgers & Padres.

The two tell-tale signs of this team's true colors are: (1) how they play after they've gained control of their own destiny; and (2) how they've fared when they've had a chance to play their nearest competitor in critical late-season series (i.e., the Padres & Dodgers series of late August, or the September, 2005 series with the Astros).

By the way, I'd like nothing better than to be proven wrong over the next 5 days. But having seen this act before (5 times in the last 6 years, in fact), I'm somewhat dumbfounded that anyone on this board actually thinks it's unwarranted to call them chokers. Exactly how many near-misses in a row would it take before you guys think it would be fair to call them chokers?

Iceman, you don't think trading for Reggie Evans and drafting another Iguodala clone has put the Sixers on the map again? The fans did cheer when he stood up and appeared ok, but the focus again will be on cheering when he got hit in the throat.


We have not seen a Phillies starter come in once down the stretch and shut down an opponent over 7 innings.

The UPS girl was not hot. Short and stocky; not my type.

The fans cheered the chin-knock on the umpire, and then cheered again when he stayed in the game. I don't know, I love the fact the fans are vocal, and they've been following the game close enough to know what he's been doing to them.

Quit bitchin' about the home plate umpire. Moyer got behind the first batter and had to come down the middle - result was a double. Despite what the homer Phillies announcers were saying, he wasn't close to the plate on Renteria - result was a walk. Ok, the 2-2 pitch on Teixeira was close but if you watched the game, CB called them the same way when James pitched ... but did the Phillies take advantage of his tight strike zone? Nope. Burrell K'd on a ball. Rowand didn't make him throw a strike either.

Moyer gave up 6 runs, 6 hits and 3 walks in less than 6 innings of work. It wasn't a quality start. Plain and simple. Geary didn't help matters, of course, but if your veteran starter can't give you a better performance than that, you aren't going to win many games.

I said yesterday that the biggest challenger is Colorado and the Rox proved it again last night. Phillies are playing catch-up against two teams now and I don't like their chances.

Prediction: Braves sweep the Phils and then who cares what the Fightins do against the Nationals because it will no longer matter.

Still, this is a gritty offensive team but the pitching is just horrid, particularly compared with the Padres and even the Rockies now. And the worst thing is, there's no help for 2008. Moyer's way past prime; Eaton's atrocious; Lohse probably isn't worth re-signing. So we start with Hamels and Kendrick. Not exactly Spahn and Sain; Koufax and Drysdale; McLain and Lolich; Glavine and Smoltz.

Phils need to overhaul their starting staff (and few quality free agents are available) AND their bullpen. Please not another year of Mesa, Alfonseca and Gordon!

How do they get talented pitchers? No wonder Pat Gillick says 2008 is his last year. Phils have no commodities other than Victorino to trade (if they trade Burrell it will be more for salary purposes than for a return of quality starters). The minor league teams are essentially barren.

I hate being so negative but I have to call 'em like I see 'em ... like Bucknor last evening.

BAP

Minor detail, but the phils lost the 3 series including the dodgers and pads, before the 1st mets sweep, not after.

This year's team has had habit of coming back hard after a gut punch loss. We'll see if they have one more bounce in them.

Also, I don't think you can associate 2002, 2003, and 2005 on guys like ARow, Werth, Ruiz, etc. who weren't on those teams. Almost no one but JRoll and PatB were on the '02 or '03 teams. However, the current nucleus does carry some of the weight of '05 and '06 I guess.

Kirk: It goes without saying that this is going to be an offensively-oriented team again in 2008. But if the Phillies could at least assemble a decent bullpen & an average starting pitching staff, with 5 viable major league starters, it would sure help. That is doable, although they absolutely must raise payroll to bring them in line with recent salary inflation. They also must, for once, put the good of the team above monetary considerations -- which means getting rid of that sack of piss, Adam Eaton.

I've seen enough bizarre trades in my time so as to hold out hope that they might be able to find a taker for Eaton, although they might have to kick in $5M or so to do it. If the Cubs were willing to pay Jason Marquis 3 years, $21M, when he was coming off a season with a 6+ ERA, some team might be willing to take on Adam Eaton for 2 years. But if the Phillies can't trade him, they need to just option him to the minors where maybe he can straighten out his act (though I won't hold my breath). Also, we can't have Jamie Moyer back. And I'm not interested in getting into a bidding war over the thoroughly mediocre Kyle Lohse.

There are a few decent FA pitchers available, most of them on the older side. I'd like to see the Phillies try to get one of these guys on a one or two-year contract. Then they can add one more younger pitcher who is at least average (the name Randy Wolf keeps popping into my head, though others here seem to have discounted the idea). Ideally, Happ should start the season in the minors; if he does well, they can call him up in mid-season as either an injury replacement or simply to replace an ineffective starter in their rotation.

The rest of their money can be spent on relievers, where this year's FA market is fairly strong.

"Moyer's way past prime"


2004- 11-14 4.30 ERA
2005- 7-13 5.21 ERA
2006- 13-7 4.28 ERA
2007- 13-12 5.15 ERA


Sorry, but Moyer is no different than he was 4 years ago. He is still a effective major league starter, who leads the team in quality starts this year. If the playoffs are on the line on Sunday (which I think they will be), there is no one I would rather have out there for the Phils to pitch than Moyer. He got hit last night. It happens. So did Glavine. With finesse pitchers, the homeplate umpire is huge and Moyer got stuck with a umpire with the strikezone of a postage stamp. Atlanta has a good lineup and they took advantage.

If the Phils do what they have done all year, they will come back strong tonight. Colarado will eventually lose a game. SD already lost their game in SF that they needed to. Good luck to them winning more than 2 in Milwaukee this weekend. The Mets are terrible right now and are feeling HUGE pressure (and not performing). They can still be caught, with their terrible pitching.

Everybody just needs to chill. Start to panic if tonights game doesn't go well. The Phils have played well down the stretch (8-3) and have showed no signs of "gagging" like the Mets have. Have faith.

Cacks -- if by 'on the map' you mean 'fighting for the 8th seed in the East,' I'm with you. But when one of your divisional rivals picks up A) A top-3 player in the league and B) A top-5 shooting guard to go with him, it doesn't matter. Essentially, Evans : Sixers :: Helms : Phillies, minus the whole killing the team part.

I agree 100% with everything BAP said in his post. My disbelief regarding this core group of players continually coming up small at the end of seasons is only trumped by my disbelief regarding the fans here who somehow don't understand how one could call it choking. I also liked the J. Potter Stewart reference, as I believe I'm the 4th (by my count) Phan here taking his LSAT this Saturday.

Kirk,

you're right, the Phils were swinging outside the zone and not helping themselves.
However, the pitch to Texiera was not "close", it was right down the middle of the plate between the knees and the waist.

Newsflash: Phillies need to win tonight. Playoff teams dont lose three in a rown at this point in the season.

Kirk: The minor league teams are essentially barren.

I thought they had decent pitching prospects? Happ, Carrasco, Outman, Carpenter, Savery? they all suck now? damn.

Should umpires base their strike zone on who's pitching? Are bribes involved in that process?

Not sure if this was brought up yet, but Baseball America named Savery the number two prospect in the New York - Penn league.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/features/264923.html

Also, Dominic Brown, a Phillies outfield prospect, was number 15 on their list, and that's all for the Phillies on the top 20.

No clue on how well those prospect lists (at that low of a level in the minors) work for future performances.

"Should umpires base their strike zone on who's pitching? Are bribes involved in that process?"

An umpire's strike zone should be the same for any pitcher. And a ball right down the pipe just above the knees is a strike, no matter who is pitching.

Whether or not the Phils extend Amaro a new contract, and its length will tell us exactly what the plan is for Gillick. I'm guessing that he gets a new multi-year contract, all but solidifying the succession plan of Gillick to Amaro. With Amaro testing open GM jobs, it will not be a good thing to see him sign on again if you do not want him as the next Phils GM.

Unfortunately Eaton will be here the next 2 years. He's signed and no one's taking that contract. Burrll's not going anywhere either(FULL NT CLAUSE). We all want moves to be made. But my question is what makes anyone think Gillick is going to change anything? We'll probably see Nunez back, along with Werth, Dobbs. This take is NOT going to take on salary via trades or big-time FA's. NOT GONNA HAPPEN! Gillick could have very easily improved this team and for the most part did not do it.

Now with 5 to go, don't look for miracles. They've 2 in a row, games that they absolute had to have. And thjey're certainly not winning 5 in a row. So it's just about done. GIve credit where credit is due (and it's due in some areas). But you can't overcome a 4-11 start, bad managing, bad 'pen, and injuries too.

They started out with 6 starting pitchers and at one point were down to 2. I said in the beginning Lieber would not be traded, he had no value. Now woth pitching thin at the ML level if Gillick couldn't trade him then, what is he gonna do with anyone in the off-season? Nothing that's what. Rowand should be a top priority and he'll just walk away. Hell, they can't even decide on whethewr to bring cholly back or not. They goose like it or not is just about cooked again.

Coste is being interviewed on WPEN right now.

Also from ESPN (Jayson Stark):

"Whether the Phillies make it to the playoffs or not, one NL executive believes they have crossed a critical threshold this season: "Unlike in the past, they think they can win now," he said. "They absolutely think they can win, and I think there will definitely be a carryover next year with that group. That's a huge building block for those guys." Then again, a bigger building block might be assembling a pitching staff that can win, too."

I don't know what this has to do with anything, but it made me feel better.

When I commented on the minors being barren, I was implying that the Phils had few people they could trade to get major league-ready pitching talent. They've already indicated Carrasco won't be moved but he's likely a year away. Savery's even further away from the big leagues.

I haven't heard about any team beating on Pat Gillick's door to trade them Happ, Outman, Carpenter, Costanzo, Jaramillo or anyone else for such a pitcher. So I stand by what I said: the Phillies have limited ways to improve the pitching staff next year and the owners will not agree to a huge increase in salaries.

That means Rowand's gone and Burrell may leave too (Phils will still probably have to pay some of that $14 million he's due) just to free up dollars. Eaton will be back because the Phils won't eat $16 million and I doubt he has any minor league options left.

Remember, with the Bank being what it is, the Phils will have to overpay to attract a free agent starter because he will have a gaudy ERA and HRs allowed, conceivably reducing his value in his next place of work. (And, no, Randy Wolf is not coming back - back to back to back years of arm trouble. We don't need a redux of Freddie Garcia.) It is what it is.

Playoff teams dont lose three in a rown at this point in the season.
Padres lost four in a row before yesterday. guess their season's over.

If I'm the phils, I tell Eaton to prepare for 08 as a reliever. It might be the only way he can be effective. I wish the Phils listened to him in Spring Training when he offered to go to the pen.

If that doesn't work, take him out back and shoot him.

Phils win 12-5 tonight.

The easiest way to get one decent starter would be to sign Fransisco Cordero as a closer and move Myers back to the rotation. (Of course , Brett wants to be moved about as much as he wants to attend a NOW rally.

We can expect that Carlos Silva will be fielding an offer from Gillick.

We also can expect that by the end of Spring Training we'll be getting BS'd about how hard Eaton worked in the off-season and how effective he's going to be in 2008.

As per the starting pitchers in the minors, they're all, mostly, more than a year away, except maybe Happ. Before getting too juiced about Savery, check out Gomez' scouting report on him on the Hardball Times. He thinks that Savery's mechanics indicate he might be a pretty good first baseman.

Reed:
I much prefer sacks of concrete around the ankles and a swimming trip in the Schuylkill.

The offense has been there all season, just as it was last night. It's our horrific pitching staff that has us in the state we're in. If only for a mediocre staff, we'd be looking at a string of 3 or 4 consecutive playoff appearances. This offense is for real, and could actually get better with improvement at 3rd and C, but it's the pitching that is hindering our chances at October ball. Who to blame- a collection of Gillick, Manuel, and Dubee. Mostly Gillick, but Manuel has went to his bullpen too early and mismanaged it on countless occasions over his 3 years and Dubee is a straight-up waste of space and money by the Phils.

Can we still make it? Yes. But it will be the offense that does, not Manuel, not Gillick, not Dubee, and not the pitching, rather our boys Rollins, Utley, Howard, Burrell, and the rest of the hodge-podge cast.

Quick question: I see a lot of posters here upset at the fact that we may go after Silva in the off-season. Is there something I'm missing with him? I'm not a stats-geek by any means, but I don't see how he wouldn't be somewhat of an upgrade to our rotation we have currently. He's not great, but we don't need great: we need adequate.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3036310

This story disgusts me as a Phils' fan on a couple of different levels. Gillick weakly refutes this statement less than 24 hours later that appeared in the Daily News on Tues.:

"This is it for me," Gillick said in the Daily News. "I'll fulfill my contract. It's time to think about doing some other things in life."

Not only was this a bizarre way to deny his own quote, but it stinks of interference from Giles and Montgomery.

Here is my take on what really happened:

1. Gillick was just being honest and frank about his contract situation although it is odd that he would make this comment nearly a year before it ends.

Leads me to believe that Gillick is either getting too old for the daily grind of a GM -position and/or tired of dealing with the Phils' ownership. Probably a combination of the two. Plus, he is not on the West Coast where he wants to eventually retire anyways.

2. The reason that Gillick refuted his statement so quickly was that ownership didn't want his "lame-duck" status hanging over the franchise for the next 18 months.

This would be a slight negative on attracting FA players this offseason. It would probably have a much bigger negative effect on bringing in any new coaches though. Leads me to believe the Phils will bring back Cholly for 1 more year until Amaro or another internal GM can bring in his guy for the 2009 season.

More importantly, Giles and Montgomery didn't want this story to interfere with season ticket sales and renewals for 2008.

The Phils sold a ton of season tickets last year in Sept. '06 with the unexpected WC chase and Howard's breakout season. Phils wisely banked on that to sell a bunch of season tickets for 2007.

I bet that want to keep the mojo going and this WC push is helping them sell/renew a bunch of season tickets for 2008 (which is where the real money is in baseball at the front-gate since the walk up crowd can be notoriously fickle and difficult to bring to unless the team is winning/giving away a promotion).

Forgot to add that I bet Gillick will be able to work out a nice "consulting" deal after he leaves as a GM if he plays by the rules. Probably one of the strongest incentives for him to play nice and not criticize the franchise in anyway.

Carson - with four homers the Phils should have scored more than 6 runs. The hitting has been comparatively dismal over the last two weeks. From Sept 10 - 25, the Phils have hit 124/541 = .229.

With our normal pitching, that will simply not get the job done. I understand that the home run is a crucial part of the Phils offense and they hit them predictibly well. But if the home runs last night had been doubles how many runs would the Phils have scored?

On the bright side, does anyone realize that the Phils have stolen 22 bases in September (20 in a row) while getting caught just once (on Sept 2)? Davey Lopes is GOOD.

If you think the pitching was bad this season, what if the Phils have a starting rotation that would include Moyer, Eaton, and Silva next year?

Opposing hitters would salivate at the prospect of facing these guys at CBP.

Nah, Evans to the Sixers is much better than Helms to the Phillies. You might compare him to Nunez, a good fielder of the loose ball, so to speak, who can't help you offensively. The major difference being that, in baseball, everyone's forced to hit, while in basketball, a guy who can't shoot doesn't have to take shots. So having an offensive liability in basketball doesn't hurt you like it does in this game. He'll help them on the boards immensely - don't think they're a playoff team though. They really should've tanked last season. That could've changed the franchise's whole future for the better.

Only the most starry-eyed super-fan thought that the Phils would go 6-0 to finish their season. To have a decent shot, I figured they needed to do 4-2 and *worst*. Starting out with a loss isn't good, but it all depends on where they go from here.

The Braves are a good team, and losing this game hurts. I've said it before, but if I look back on this season after it's all over, and the Phils don't make it to October, it's due to their performance against the Braves. The devastating season opening series. The huge come-from-behind victory earlier this month. They should have picked up a win or two more against their division rival, but got beat. And if they come up a game or two shy of the wild card? Those are the ones I will remember the most.

However, it ain't over yet. There's still a lot of games to play, and if the Phils can salvage this series, their final run is potentially much easier than the Padres (4-game series vs the Brew Crew up north) or Rockies (Playing the DBacks in Arizona, an excellent team at home, while the Rockies stink on the road.)

This business about "They think they can win now" is just drivel. Everyone was saying exactly the same thing last year, when the Phillies charged to the WC lead with one week left in the season, by winning 8 of 10 games. Sound like a familiar scenario?

Also, does this scout really believe that the Phillies believed they were going to lose last year? Moreover, how does this scout purport to know about the collective internal beliefs of the Phillies' players? This is just hogwash. I'd like to think there is something different about this year's team, as opposed to last year's. But there is literally not a shred of evidence that says there is. Literally not a shred. On the other hand, there is abundant evidence to suggest that this year's team is no different.

Iceman, I was initially upset about the prospect of Silva because he gave up 38 HRs in 2005. But, after looking at what he's done since then, especially as far as getting GBs and missing bats, I have revised my opinion. I think Silva would be a much better acquisiation than our most recent FA starting pitchers. I'd much rather see Silva on the mound than Eaton.

I keep bringing his name up because I truly believe that Gillick will make the offer. I actually kinda hope the deal happens. (Of course, if we do sign him, he'll probably implode and I'll look, again, like the idiot I am).

I can't figure why contracts are discussed in the last week of the season in the heat of a pennant race. Seems like nothing but a distraction to me. They can't wait a few weeks/month for these conversations? Who really cares anyway?

Look: the nature of a close pennant race, particularly when there are multiple teams involved, is that the face of it changes every day. One day the odds look good, the next day they look bleak. This obviously intensifies the later it gets. But the events of tonight could easily revert things to how they were Monday. Sit tight and just watch.

The Phillies, whether under Bowa or Manuel, *have* demonstrated a tendency to tighten up at various times, be it beginning, middle, or end. They were absolutely playing tight at the beginning of this season. They absolutely were playing tight in Washington last September. They absolutely were playing tight against Houston in '05. This does not mean they do it every time without fail, but it does happen. There have been traces of it in the past week, really ever since the near-disaster in St. Louis last Monday. The weaknesses of St. Louis and Washington helped the Phils stay on course. Atlanta bears a harsher reality, though, and this, even more than the last series against the Nationals, is perhaps the truest test for the Phillies. The pitching matchups heavily disfavor them.

If the Phils can remain within one game of the WC through this series, however, bear in mind that both San Diego and Colorado draw the far, far tougher assignments over the weekend.

James - You bring up a good point. While the Phils do need to take care of their own business, they are likely to get some help from the DBacks and the Brewers.

In the last couple of years, the teams the Phils were chasing played cupcakes the final 10 games and were able to maintain pace/pull away from the Phils.

RSB - I totally agree. If we can somehow stay 1 game back of the WC or even the division (which will really mean we need some help) - I really like our chances based on the weekend matchups.

4-2 (including last night) is what we need .... it really doesn't matter how.

JD, agreed.

I'll take Silva, Westbrook, Cordero/Rivera.

If this ownership/GM doesn't step up and pay, then it is safe to say the great (not getting younger) nucleus is going to be wasted.

I say every Beerleaguer poster come up $10 mil and we buy the damn team. Replace Montgomery with Weitzel.

as I said last night, the division may in fact also be there for the taking:
Willie Randolph is giving the ball to Phil Humber tonight, against the Nats' Shawn Hill at Shea. it really wouldn't surprise me if the Nats manage to win this game tonight.
that would be pretty nice to see if the phils take care of business and be 1 game back of the muts with 4 to play...

Hypothetical: Say the Phils go 2-3 to finish from here and after Sunday's game Chollie gets his walking papers.

Who's the next manager?

Anybody else think Davey Lopes has a shot? Lopes knows stealing bases, that much is for sure. But he has also seemed to bond well with the team. Does he have the chops to manage in the bigs? What other candidates are in the wings?

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