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Thursday, September 20, 2007

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You have to think this is gonna be really difficult. Two straight extra innings games, a night of traveling, and then 4 more games without an off day, in a place where we always struggle. That Padres walk-off homer was a killer. I'll give them credit though, they just keep on winning, and we didn't. I can't knock our team, they've played their hearts out for the last week, and just couldn't muster enough up last night. Let's hope they can get some energy back tonight.

The fat lady is not only warmed up, she's a hummin'.

Tim Kurkjian called me up today and gave me a couple of his dorky, inane baseball stats...


The Phils are 16-29 this year when Rollins does not score a run and has 1 hit or less.


The Phils have the most come-from-behind wins this year in the majors, but also (somehow) have the 3rd worst record in 1-run games in the majors.


And, maybe Tim or someone here could find this out, but does anyone know the Phils record is this year, when they are going into the 7th inning and in a tie or 1 run (either way) game? It has to be astronomically bad, for a team that is 10 games over .500

Root hard for the Pirates to actually win a game today. The Giants and Pirates have had 9 chances to help the Phils in the past week, and won all of 1 game.

Just missed the new post, so this is a re-post from the last thread...

I remember thinking that, last year, the team was playing differently going into the last two weeks of the season. Then we went to Washington and lost all signs of life.

I'm not concerned by the fact that we lost a game to both the Mets and the Padres last night -- as has been said by many people here, all that matters is the team's comprehensive success over the next ten games. We weren't going to win 17 in a row, and neither are the Padres.

What I am incredibly concerned about is that the core of this team is doing exactly what is did last year, tightening up when the situation is dire. Moreso than the 3AM rain delay lost (which can arguably be justified, it was f***ing 3AM), I remember the 13-inning (I think it was 13) affair that this team actually won, but tried to give away about 5 different times. That game was incredibly similar to these past two -- a distinct inability to deliver with RISP, or more specifically delivering with runners on third and less than one out.

My most vivid memory of that loss was the groundball to J-Roll in extras that he either could have A) Flipped it to Utley for the force and the win, or B) Thrown to first for the win. He hesitated and ended up flipping the ball over Utley's head.

I think that play may pretty much sum up what the core of this team has done for three years running now: showing incredible resolve down the stretch to stay in the race, and then when they're within striking distance, freezing up and falling apart.

I realize that these guys have just won 6 six in a row, but as a previous poster mentioned, half of these games were handed to them. I'm more worried about their tightening up than I am losing one game on one given night, and I hate to say it, but it looks like it might be happening again. And we're headed to Washington -- again. A lot will be told in how they play tonight.

Tough loss... no doubt about it. Is it better or worse that it was the result of the offense coming up empty? After all, the offense has been our surest thing all year long. Frankly, it's a good sign that Moyer pitched so well and the bridge to Myers was so effective again. And, again, I'm wondering if Myers is a problem, or a victim of really bad luck. That 10th inning went like this:

Scott Spezio fly out.
Miguel Cairo infield hit on a slow grounder.
Miguel Cairo steals second with no throw... looked like Coste bobbled it.
Russell Branyan called out on strikes.
Yadier Molina grounds a ball through the hole and Werth can't come up with a clean thorw.

It's not like he was beat around. I still trust Myers as much, or more, than anyone else we've got out there.

I wanted a sweep of St. Louis and we certainly had our shot. Burrell's K with one out and Chase on third was big. Although Burrell's the reason we got our only run, so what can you say?

This means we'll need a sweep in one of our last three series to get us to that 90 win plateau.

Saying that a team is tired is a pretty lame excuse for the performance last night/the rest of the season. If they are tired, then they should go to sleep. They are in the heat of a pennant race and wild card race. They will have plenty of energy on adrenaline alone.

Besides, using last night as an indicator of such things is ridiculous. Adam Wainright was nearly unhittable. That being said, several of the hitters made great contact off of him but the ball either went directly to a fielder or a fielder made a great play. Rowand hit the ball hard 3 times, and had one horrible strikeout, but 3 good swings against Wainright is hard to complain about. Rollins nearly won the game for us with a smash that Spezio made a gold glove play on. Howard did not see a pitch to hit last night. Anyone that watched the last two games should know that the Cardinals did not throw him anything for the final two games. Who can blame them? When a guy hits two home runs and has five RBI's on you in the first game ans has generally dominated you every time he plays against you, you don't let him beat you. The Cards pretty much said, Howard is not beating us, we'll see if the rest of them can. Howard's quote after the game: "I didn't really have anything to hit the entire night." Very true and obvious from the pitch selection. The only difference in last nights game and the night before is that instead of reaching for pitches and trying to make something happen, he took them and walked 4 times.

Nunez was pathetic at the plate once again. He may be a decent defender and occasionally makes some great plays, but his bat is indefensible. One gripe I do have with his defense is his seeming inablility to play the swinging bunt well. I don't knwo if it is positioning or what, but that has hurt us recently, particularly when Myers is pitching. It seems to me that you have to start playing closer to the plate when Myers pitches due to the large amount of weak ground balls that are hit off of his curveball. It has shafted him twice in two weeks now and is entirely not his fault.

They need to come out swinging, and they need to win a clean game. Bottom line. With Lohse out there, you can expect 5, probably 6 innings from him in DC. But you wanna hope by the time he's out, you can bring in Rosario or Ennis or whatever.

I still think 7-3 may get us the Card. Yes, that means the Pads would have to go at least 5-6, but again, that could well happen.

Let's keep faith, boys.

89 wins = 1 game playoff.

I'm keeping the faith, but time is running out...

We're three losses behind three teams and need to catch at least one of them with just 10 games left to play. It's not an easy task at all, especially considering we don't play against any of them.

A win tonight gives us a chance to pick up a game on the Mets. They face Dontrelle Willis who's had a lot of success against the Mets in his career.

Our biggest chance, as I think most people see, is the Padres. They have seven games left against the Rockies and Brewers, and those last four are in Milwaukee. I truly beleive we can be two games behind San Diego going into those last four games with an excellant chance of coming out on top. Arizona has six games left against the Dodgers and Rockies, including a final threw in Colorado. There's an outside chance that we could catch both of those teams.

Bottom line, we have to take care of business. We have to win each of the last three series, with a sweep perhaps needed in one of them.

@parker and @cj great analysis on last night's game.

You all would have loved listening to Larry Anderson last night. He was killing Nunez. He wondered aloud why Manuel just doesn't give Nunez the take sign for the first pitch, since all he does is hack at the ball.

Hey, let's just win all 10. How about that?

It is incredibly frustrating that in the last 10 games... we have gained exactly ZERO ground from the Padres.

We have gained ground on the Mets. But zero ground on the Padres...

We have to continue to win series... which puts at 7-3. But we will need help the rest of the way regardless. Even if we had one last night, we still would need help.

Some will say even if the Phillies do go 7-3 in the next ten games and fall short of the playoffs, will say they choked.

But if we don't make the playoffs... I'll point you to ONE and only one place. They Phillies opened September by going 1 and 5 against FL and ATL. The Phillies are 9 and 8 for the month (last year they were 18-10)

An because of that we're forced to run up hill again.

I'm new to this site, and it is the best. I sit and watch and agonize over these games and my wife doesn't get it at all - she just shakes her head. Great to know there are more of us out there.

Anyway, many if not most of you are far more knowledgeable than I but I am concerned with the last two games. It seems like there are just certain games where they don't seize the tempo of the game and establish themselves as the force to be reckined with. I can understand that to a degree with Wainwright - he's tough - but the night before?

I think to the extent you can
you've got to wrest control of these
crucial games. On Tuesday it seemed like LaRussa and his cast of one after the other pitchers were the ones dictating the pace of the game and that the Phils were groping to respond to it.

I just sense an overall mood of a team that seems a bit hesitant rather than a strong, confident team on a roll. Despite his 2HR's Monday, Howard has seemed to struggle for a while when now is the time as an MVP he could be stepping forward to carry the team. Chase continues to play tough but it seems his production has slipped a notch. J-Roll has struggled the past couple of nights. Myers has been dicey. There were a couple of rough AB's last night from Rowand and Burrell.

I know Pat batted in a run and Rowand hit the ball hard three times and Ryan didn't get anything good to hit. But a week ago, they seemed like a tough, cocky team with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove. Maybe it's too many years of Phila. sports but right now I don't have a comfortable feel for their morale.

We'll see. I remember that last series with Washington last year, how tough Washington played, climbing the fence to make catches, etc. They have to be feeling good after taking the Mets' series and would just love to stick it to the Phils too. Would really be nice if someone besides the Nats could man up, play tough and maybe give our guys a little help with the Padres.


Maybe this News-Journal snippet will rally the troops: "...Astros owner Drayton McLane met with his advisers for nearly four hours Wednesday and is expected to fill the team's general manager position by the weekend. Ruben Amaro Jr. is considered a front-runner for the job."

I might have to write another letter.

Meanwhile, all we can do as fans is root hard for this team and show them love when they come home from Washington. Aside from awful in-game management, an awful bullpen, an awful former starting catcher for much of the season, a third-base hole for much of the season, and a third-base coach dolt for all of the season, this team is only 2.5 back of the *division* lead.

Everyone in the NYC area is virtually annointing the Yankees AL East Champs and they're a game and a half back.

Smell. October. Please.

Bob -- I think you are exactly right. These past two games do not inspire confidence in how they'll play down the stretch. When you get 6 innings/1 run from a guy like Moyer, you have to win that game. Plenty of opportunities with RISP last night and no one stepped up. Sounds like a familiar tune to me...

Again, this has been said at least 20 different times this season, but this game tonight is *crucial*. Not only do we need to take this game with Eaton going tomorrow (a probable loss in any game, especially going against Hill), but it will probably be indicative of how the offense will play for the four games on the whole. Three out of four is necessary, and it's almost imperative to stick it to the Nats in game 1 and not give them any more confidence than they already have after punking the Mets in two straight.

"Does he have a rubber arm, or not? Is he strong enough, mentally, or not?"

These are not at all relevant questions when considering whether Myers is best suited to be a closer. Myers himself would be quick to point out that the more pertinent questions are: Does he have good enough facial hair, or not? Does he have a strong enough theme song when entering games, or not?

I would say that the Phils still have a shot at San Diego, but not the Mets - all based on the schedules. The Mets play Florida six times, people. Willis or not, that team is atrocious. The Pads, however, have been lighting it up at Petco this week against the Giants and Pirates. That tune will change against the Rockies and Brewers. If the Phils can go 5-2 in the next two series - and that will be an enormous challenge - I still give them a chance at the WC. Otherwise, forget it.

RSB - The Marlins took 2/3 from Colorado in Miami earlier this week. They've lost 4 in a row to the Braves, but anything could happen. At this point, the Phils have roughly equal shots at the WC and the division because they are 2.5 back in both. They may have a slightly better shot at the WC, given 2/3 of the Padres series are against the Rockies and Brewers, but a Marlins series win wouldn't shock me.

Excuse me, the Marlins lost 1 to the Rockies and three in a row to the Braves.

Yes, anything can happen, but people need to be aware of just how remote a possibility this playoff dream became after what happened last night.

Nobody will remember that the Phils swept their last 2 series from the Mets. All that will be remembered, after the Mets win the World Series, is how it was same old same old pathetic Phillies. Good luck in '08.

Thanks for telling me what I need to be aware of, RSB. Don't really need your condescending attitude. Besides, I didn't say either way was likely, I simply said that both ways, the WC and division, were roughly equally likely because they are the same games back in both chases. What the chances are either way, I don't know, but I'm glad you're looking out for me.

Nobody will remember that the Phils swept their last 2 series from the Mets. All that will be remembered, after the Mets win the World Series, is how it was same old same old pathetic Phillies. Good luck in '08.

As long as Wags is the Muts closer, a world series likely will remain beyond their grasp. Just remember last October, where Taguchi took him deep. The Cards, who finished with 83 wins for god's sake, beat them.

I think my facial hair is excellent right now. As for my theme song, it's perfect. Didn't you see the way I ended that game last night? Lights out indeed.

Johnson, why don't you post that one more time? Nobody cares about your lame taunt.

Not thrilled about how the Phils seem to play to the level of their competition. Yeah, they step up against the good teams like the Mets, but that Cardinal lineup, without Pujols, Rolen and Duncan is garbage. Glad the pitching came around, but that offense in general isn't going to scare even the lowliest of pitching staffs.

Let's hope the Phils don't play to the level of the Nats, something that they seem to do every time they meet them. I can't help but shake clout's comment from the first couple weeks of the season about how evenly matched the Phils and Nats seemed to be. I want to see a team who plays like they are a playoff team, thereby trouncing an inferior squad. Close games make for riveting television, but I'd be more satisfied with a double digit thrashing right now. Save the competitive, close games for October.

As much as it seems like when the offense is up, the pitching is down, I'm not sure that the converse is necessarily true about the last two games. Obviously, the offense is down, but I'm not so sure that the pitching is up. I can't hang my hat on the results against what is clearly an inferior lineup.

lol. except i don't think the real Myers would use the word "indeed."

Sophist: how is what I said condescending? First of all, I'm not addressing just you there. I just sense that a lot of people are so caught up in *believing* that they're going to be in for another shellshock in the event, 80-90% likely, that the Phillies again fall short. If you have a better idea of what's coming, there is no need for the epic pronouncements of disappointment that are certain to follow.

Willard Preacher: Shouldn't you be telling those kids that sex is bad, they're going to hell, etc.? If I knew you were a Phillies fan back when I was there, I wouldn't have passed you as often thinking you're a lunatic. Of course, though, to be a Phillies fan, you (we all) have to have a little something wrong with us.

As for the Mets lurkers, how do you expect to win the World Series if you can't handle a mediocre Phillies team? All I see is another case of Braves blueballs--sure, you can get into the Champaign Room, but you'll be forced to leave red-faced, frustrated and haplessly optimistic about next season.

Those of who keep pointing to Myers "efficacy" as a closer to his conversion rate of 85% (17 of 20) need to look closer. Since Myers became the closer, he has had 32 appearances. He's been great in 2-run and 3-run save situations and in non-save situations, but most "closers" are. After all, it's usually only 1 inning, and if they have an ERA under 4, they should be able to convert 2- and 3-run saves at a very high rate. However, a true top-notch closer can be relied on with the game truly on the line - when up by 1 run on in a tie game. In 11 such appearances, Brett has been woeful, with an ERA of 5.40. Here's the breakout ...

6 non-save appearances with a lead
0-1 (6.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 10 K)

3-run saves
5 for 5 (6 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K)

2-run saves
9 for 10 (10.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 9 BB, 13 K)

1-run saves
3 for 5 (6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K)

Tie games (6 appearances)
2-4 (7 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 4 BB, 3K)

Take from this what you will, and I know a lot of you are sold on the "Myers as a closer" experiment, but I am not now, nor have I ever been, in that camp.

Sorry, RSB. I hadn't eaten anything yet today, and it was getting to me. I just thought that your claim that "people need to be aware" of something was mildly condescending - as if you knew what it was that we all needed to know. In any case, it didn't warrant my response.

I can see why some people would be disappointed, though, but I think those people should already be disappointed (with the squandered offensive talent, the blown leads, the lousy start, etc.). Epic pronouncements of disappointment shouldn't happen at this point. The Phils have played themselves out and back into the races too many times for people to expect them to make the playoffs.

I'd like to see Dobbs start all the remaining games Moyer doesn't pitch at 3rd, even against a lefty. I think he's earned it. Maybe even for Moyer's starts. I don't see where Wes Helms adds much of anything.

Sad Panda, If I were the real Willard Preacher, I'm not sure I would have laughed out loud at your Blueballs analogy. Good stuff.

ajct1:

Not sold on Myers as closer either. Maybe he'll grow into the role. His temperment is a concern.

ajc1: Do you believe there is a reliever currently on our staff who could have better numbers than Myers did?

Anyone see Ed Wade will be the Astros new GM? Shocking. In brighter news, the Astros won't be a threat for the next 10 years.

That sucks about Wade. We were already rid of him, so this doesn't help us. Our only hope now for Amaro is the Pirates.

CJ - good question, and I'll conceed that we haven't had anyone who would have done a better job THIS season. But that's more of a declaration on how god-awful everyone else is in the bullpen and a statement on how badly management failed this team - not on how good Brett is in the role. He has not been "dominant" by any stretch of the imagination, and to say that he should be the closer next season makes me cringe. My post was more about people overrating the "save," which is an arbitrary statistic. An 85% conversion rate does not make a "dominant" closer.

I'll you when I was disappointed. In March, when the entire script for the season spelled out plain as day. When they didn't trade Lieber, when Gordon was flying back to Philadelphia, when the assembled relievers were proving themselves worse than imagined, when Garcia was put on the shelf for three weeks, when it became clearer than clear that Gillick had failed this team by not securing enough help in the way of pitching. The day that Myers was assigned to the bullpen was the day that officially sealed the season's fate. I said it was the right move at the time, but that's only because Gillick had left the team with no other feasible options. Everything that has gone wrong this year could have been predicted before the first pitch of the season was thrown.

ajc1: Well, it's certainly not fair to say he's been dominant, but he's been much better than anyone else in our bullpen would have been in the same situation.

Addtionally, I think it's unfair to declare the "experiment" a failure. It's his first year in the role, one he couldn't prepare for in the offseason and there was an injury smack dab in the middle.

If we're talking about next season, it all comes down to finding a replacement in the free agent market. Otherwise, he's our guy.

RSB: You're right on that, and I think most posters agreed at that time and agree today. Only the most blind Phillies fans could believe this bullpen was built to win.

With our offense, it's absolutely criminal that our bullpen was that bad coming into the year. I don't blame them for the rotation, necessarily. They made moves they thought would make a difference. Most onlookers beleved we had one of the strongest and deepest rotations in baseball. What happened to it was, in some ways, hard to predict.

But the bullpen? A disaster from the start.

One more note on the Cardinals series. We left the Mets series behind 3.5 games and left the Cardinals series behind 2.5 games. If we make up one game each series, we'll win the division.

Food for thought. Will it happen? The chances are slim. But we did accomplish a goal in the last series and that was closing the gap. It's just a shame that we couldn't close it further.

The problem with the rotation is that Myers was earmarked for the closer's role all along. Everyone was mystified that they didn't trade Lieber, and that was the reason. As for Garcia, it depends on whether you believe his injury was foreseeable or was just a stroke of misfortune. I lean towards the former and charge Gillick with at least some degree of negligence where he is concerned. That left Hamels, Moyer, and Eaton as "sure things". Hamels and Moyer have performed about as expected. But even as bad as Eaton has been, I don't know that his performance couldn't have been predicted as well, considering his dubious record compiled mostly in a pitchers' park. This is why I say 'pitching' and not just 'relief pitching'. The only defense that can be made for Gillick is that he has very little with which to engineer a trade, but he has not been effective in what opportunities he has had.

KTRH, 740 AM, the Astros flagship station announces that Ed Wade will be named their new GM.

News conference set for 4:00 PM eastern Time. Do you think (wish, hope?) he takes Junior with him?

I'd rather have Wade than Gillick.....he at least would tried some outrageous move to get some bullpen pitching this year while Gillick did next to nothing outside of Romero

Maybe Pittsburgh can win today. Maybe. Close to as must win as they get tonight for the Phils. Absolutely can not lose 2 in a row at this point....going to be tough though with a tired pen and Loshe who hasnt really shown he can go deep. Someone earlier said the Phils need a blowout in their favor in the worst way tonight. Very true.

Given the way Gillick put this bullpen together, I'd take Wade back tomorrow.

(Yes, I'm serious. Oh, wait. Paul Abbott. Nevermind.)

CJ - I just hate the "save" statistic. With a steady diet of 2-run and 3-run "saves", even Gordon with his 5.13 ERA could have had a high conversion rate this season. I say this because he's only given up 2 or more runs in 6 of 36 appearances. Would he make a good closer - hell no. But he could've had a good conversion rate nonetheless. Jose Mesa comes to mind - he converted 24 of 28 saves opportunities in 2003, but he had 7 losses and a 6.52 ERA.

Paul Abbott: 6.24 ERA
Andy Ashby: 5.68 ERA
Todd Jones: 4.97 ERA

The butt of Ed Wade jokes for years and years. Presenting ...

Adam Eaton: 6.36 ERA ($24 million)
Freddy Garcia: 5.90 ERA ($10 million, 11 starts)
Jose Mesa: 5.79 ERA

Worse group?

The season isn't over yet, Weitzel. Our boys (except Garcia) have a chance to bring those ERA's down! (or worsen them)

The numbers favor Wade. Actually acquiring Ashby sent Eaton out of town in the first place. Paul Abbott was terrible, but didn't start or end the season in the rotation. I said it a while ago, for all his faults, Wade would not have completely neglected the bullpen. It also seems like Gillick will only deal with certain teams: White Sox, Rangers, Mariners, Reds to name the most common (obviously Yanks for Abreu). While I can't stand Gillick's personality and smugness, he at least has a reputation around the league that sometimes can help. I'm not sure, for example, that Wade could have swung Iguchi for no one though most of that could've been the White Sox feeling bad for the Garcia debacle.

Yeah, AJC1 is right. Saves as a category are pretty pointless because there is no comparision between coming into a game with a 3 run lead and coming into what Myers came into last night. What he came into last night, tie game, extra innings, was obviously much harder, but if he had shut them down 1-2-3 he would have gotten no credit. He would have gotten a save, however, just for not letting a team score 3 runs against him. Almost every major league pitcher (excepting 4-5 guys from our bullpen) can save a 3-run lead, and most of them will consistently save a 2-run lead. People need to realize that Myers has been quite mediocre, despite "only" blowing 3 saves.

Also, it's becoming clear that the Padres aren't gonna play .500 ball. We need to win every night to have a chance. I honestly think we only make the playoffs if we go 9-1 from here in. Hate to say it, but it's true. Let's go KYLE LOHSE!

Sorry, I didn't mean it's "true" as in that was some sort of set in stone face. Of course it isn't. I feel like RSB

Lead off triple for the Pirates. They came to play today.

Thanks ajc1 for your Myers analysis. I, too, am not sold with this "Myers as Closer" experiment. Maybe Wade will trade us Brad Lidge for Flash Gordon and Fabio Castro.

pirates lead off with a triple last night, too

Several folks have raised the issue of last year's series at Washington and the chance of history repeating.

I would point out a few obvious differences. Batting 5th last year was Jeff Conine, your starting rightfielder (the incumbent and his .900 OPS had been traded for a bag of shells). Mike Lieberthal batted 7th and Nunez batted 8th. Your bench guys included Jose Hernandez and Randall Simon.

Conine and Nunez started all 3 games of that Nats series. Obviously whoever starts over them this season is a huge, huge upgrade. On the bench, same story. Whoever (except LaForest) bats instead of Simon and Hernandez is a huge, huge upgrade.

On the Wade vs. Gillick debate, keep in mind the heart and soul of this Phillies team were acquired or drafted by Wade. Gillick's contribution is around the edges so far.

Random question:Considering the Phills landed in washington at sunrise. Did the Phills send Kyle Loeshe yesterday afternoon?

Colorado is up 6-0. Dodgers are toast. Rockies aren't dead just yet.

Rockies are smoking the Dodgers. Maybe they'll be able to give us some help with the Pads. Seems more likely than the Pirates.

the rockies are 2 back in the loss column from us...they aren't dead quite yet.

Everyone is bashing Gillick again, and please don't let me stop you. But you have to give credit where it's due. One thing (and possibly the only thing) that Gillick did right was get Iguchi on extremely short notice. Maybe luck, maybe skill, I don't know, but it worked out well. Imagine the posts on here if some second-rater filled the spot for a month and didn't hit or field well. Iguchi took the spot and performed well. Gillick was presented with the situation when Utley was hurt and he performed well in that instance.

"People need to realize that Myers has been quite mediocre, despite "only" blowing 3 saves."


You guys are pretty tough. Do you watch other teams play besides the Phillies? How has Papelbon done in the past few months as the closer in Boston? How about that grand slam he served up last night?

How did Saito do the other night in Colorado? Hoffman (no matter how great he is) has choked away many big games in his career. How did Matt Capps do last night for Pittsburgh? How did Lidge do last night? How did Fausto Cormona do as a closer last year in Cleveland?

Everybody blows games. Its part of the job. Guys like Mariano Rivera come along about once every 20 years. ALL closers get their share of 2 and 3 run saves.

Myers has been ABOVE average as a closer/reliever. His strikeout totals are some of the best in baseball out of the pen. He has done a job that NO one on the roster could have come close to doing.

Again last night, he gave up a infield hit to shortstop that went about 60 feet, a stolen base when the catcher dropped the ball and a 19 hopper between 3rd and shortstop. Bad pitching or bad luck?

3-1 San Diego...forget it, not going to get a game back today. I know the Pirates are facing Tomko, but still..

Jaysus .... The Succos are giving up runs in bunches - they're going to give up a 4 game sweep to the Pads .... the Pads are unstoppable.

The Rockies are 5 games back with 10 or so games to play (and behind one other team).

They are about as close to dead as you can get, no matter how many more they win.

Let's hope they don't lay down like the dogs in SF and Pittsburgh have.

Though I would like to know how that inning ended on a 6-3-6 DP.

Home run - C. Maldonado?? Is Candy back? (I know it's Carlos, but still)...

well, win tonight they're 2.5 back of the Dbacks.

If the Pads can sweep a 4 game series, when 2 of their starters are a guy who was 7-14 with a 5 ERA at AAA and a guy who was 2-11 and cut from the Dodgers, then maybe its not meant to be.

The D-Backs are still the team that might be "easier" to catch anyway. The Pads and D-Backs are even in the loss column, so they are basically even.

One last thing about Myers...

Has he been lights out, game over, no problem as a closer? No. But, look around baseball. Who is? And, look how many teams are closing (or trying to) with guys who basically suck. The good ones (and he is a good one) don't grow on trees. Plus, he will be more effective, with a better starting staff and a better setup group. He (like Romero, Gordon, Geary and Alf) have been way, way over-worked and had to throw way too many pitches. Some of that goes on the starters, for not being able to go past 6 innings more often (or lately, at all). Some of it goes on Manuel, for overuse. Some of it goes on Gillick, for not giving Manuel proper guys that he can actually trust.

[the rockies are 2 back in the loss column from us...they aren't dead quite yet.]

They aren't dead but only because they go head-to-head against the Padres 3 times. Rockies sweep the Padres, assuming they have the same fate today, then Colorado is 1.5 out with 7 to play. Even taking 2 of those 3 games in SD would keep them in it, depending on how the Phils do. Best thing for the Phils is a Rockies sweep, of course.

Pirates just got those two back. 3-3.

For those who are curious, arrrgh the Pirates just tied it up.

(That was meant to be said in accordance with yesterday's international "talk like a pirate day" - http://www.talklikeapirate.com/)

denny: The Myers argument isn't about whether he should be the closer now. Of course he should. It's about the nonsense spouted so often by you and a few others about what a great closer he either is or will be. A few of us insist on looking at the actual evidence, which shows that he's not among the elite closers.

I'm too busy to look up all your examples, so I only looked at Papelbon. He, too, has three blown saves. But he's got 35 saves, so he's 35-for-38, a far better percentage than Myers. Additionally, 15 of those saves have been 1-run games. In games in which he has entered with a tie, he is 1-2. So, when entering either a tie game or games with a 1-run lead, Papelbon has succeeded 16 times in 21 chances, again far better than Myers. I'll try to run others you named later, but I don't agree with your contention so far.

Alby: Those numbers are all fine and dandy, but I'll repeat once again... Brett Myers was moved into the closer role without any time to prepare for the role and had his time as closer in his first season interrupted by an injury.

To suggest he can't be a great closer is as stupid as suggesting he is a great closer today.

Pirates - please remove Matt Morris from the game?

Thanks,
phillies phans

I think the Phillies should petition the league that we get at least 4 more games with the Pirates.

Its only fair.

Last time we played the pirates our pitching staff couldn't contain their murderous lineup and we dropped two of three.

Denny- I understand your point, which is that Myers is probably our best Closer option right now, although I still think he's more valuable to the team as a starter. That said, he's simply not one of the top group of relievers in baseball as you claim, nor is he "ABOVE average. His strikeout numbers are some of the best in baseball out of the pen." Here's a list of relievers with better K/9 numbers than Myers (all have over 15 IP):

Closer division:
Papelbon
Saito
Street
K-Rod
Wagner
Fr. Cordero
Lidge
JJ Putz
Al Reyes
Valverde

Non-Closer Division:
Edwar Ramirez
Joba Chamberlain
Carlos Marmol
Juan Cruz
George Sherrill
Broxton
Derrick Turnbow

And Brett Myers ERA+ (which is park-neutral) is lower than all of them except Edwar Ramirez at 97

Average for ERA+? 100

So I have to conclude that while Myers is our best bullpen pitcher, that's like, quoting the great movie "Waiting", being the smartest kid with down syndrome (no offense to anyone with/knows someone with). Commence attack on stats now

For comparison purposes, other relievers:

Joe Borowski was successful in tied or ahead one save situations 18 out of 26 times (69%), and was never asked to pitch more than one inning in any appearance this year.

Brad Lidge was successful in tied or ahead one save situations 10 out of 15 times (67%), and pitched more than one inning in those cases twice.

David Weathers was successful in tied or ahead one save situations 15 out of 22 times (68%), and pitched more than one inning in those cases four times.

Since becoming the closer, Brett Myers has been successful in tied or ahead one save situations 7 out of 12 times (58%), and pitched more than one inning in those cases 4 times.

So had Myers been successful in just one more of those situations, he's rate of success would be 67%, just about the same as the three sampled closers above.

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EST. 2005

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