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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

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I love it. Stupid Mets and their stupid orange stadium.

As we have seen the last two nights, the Nats aim to be spoilers. Just ask the Mets.

What I like best about this Phillies team:

NO QUIT!

Even if they don't make it this team deserves a pat on the back..........oh and some FRIGGIN PITCHING!!! DO YOU HEAR ME PAT GILLICK! PITCHING!!! If this team gets some decent pitching they are division champs with out blinking an eye! Whether they make it or not though it has been a fun trip. No more E-A-G-L-E-S at Phillies games anymore. Heck, I heard at the Eagles-Skins game they were chanting "Let's go Phillies" This team has the heart of the city right now, let's hope they don't crush it like usual.

What a win. A lot of people may say that Cholly does not have a lot to offer as a manager, one thing he does have is one heck of a baseball team.

It is amazing what the Phillies are doing at this point. Every time they seem to be down in the dirt, they rise up and make a push that no one expected or saw coming. Winning games like the 11-0 bullpen disaster is something that I think everyone can say this team has not done in years past. Last night was just another example of a game that did not go like it was supposed to go. Things just didn't fall into their historical collapse spots. Even Bruce G. hesistated to give up on the team after the Cardinals got their first hit. Somethiing is definately different with this team, and apparently with the Mets. They look like they are leaking blood. Lets hope the Phils smell it and keep on pushing them.

Tough assignment with Wainright today. He dominated us last time (I think). Need to get this going and step on the necks of the red birds. Dust off the broom, fellas, and take care of business. Please help in this effort today, Mr. Moyer.

Where's a good place near Center City Philly to watch the Phils, and do any places have the Phils telecast coming through the speakers?

I'll sleep in November. Best AM win since Mitchy Poo in '93. Another one to regale the grandchildren with.

Oh, and check out metsblog. They changed their magic number icon. Ha.

No team has ever held a seven-game lead with 17 games to play and failed to make the playoffs

As someone said on an earlier thread (paraphrasing), perhaps the ghost of Gene Mauch is looking down and smiling.

Mauch and VUK!

Haha great magic number icon. Also, good stuff in the DN about Manuel demanding more pitching.

Basically, the gist of the piece is, "It's Gillick's fault."

Cheesesteak: Mauch, Vuk and Chico Ruiz. Maybe even, after last night's win, Cookie Rojas.

Bottom line: The easiest road to the playoffs is through the division now, as many, like Clout, predicted.

...and Dutch's metaphysics

Mike Drago just raised a question as to what happens in the event the Phillies finish tied with both the Mets and Padres. Anyone know?

Interesting Phillies-Cards game in Bizarro World yesterday with the league's best bullpen pitching 11-innings of 1-run ball and one of the league's top hitters, Rod Barajas, delivering the winning blow.

I wonder what happened in the Phils-Cards game on planet Earth?

If the three teams are tied, I am almost positive that the Mets and Phils would play a playoff Monday for the division. The loser would then play the Pads on Tuesday for the WC.

Jacob: I'm not sure they have playoffs for the WC. There are tie-breaker rules as I recall. There would, in fact, be a playoff if there's a division tie.

Jason- I actually looked at that last night. If we tie each other and the Padres finish tied with us but behind the Diamondbacks, we play our playoff game and the loser goes home, since the loser's record will be worse than SD's (that playoff game counts in your standing).

If there's a four-way tie between SD, ARI, PHI and NYM, there'd be a two round playoff. First round: NYM vs PHI, SD vs ARI, winners advance, losers play a 2nd playoff game.

If the Dodgers sneak into that tie, making it a five-way tie, the universe will explode. So let's hope that doesn't happen.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060908&content_id=1652091&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

We=Mets and Phillies. One game playoff at the Bank, winner take all.

I wish the effin Pads would start losing

I went to bed when the Phils went up 4-3. Friggin' Bret blows another save. I thought he was supposed to be the ideal closer. I think he's better suited to be a starter.

East Fallowfield, thanks for the tip on the Metsblog. The tone of that blog is like that of Beerleaguer about a week ago. My past Phillies history prevents me from buying into all of this just yet. I'm enjoying it, but I'm mentally set up for disappointment.

I don't wanna get my hopes up too much. I mean, we're still 2 losses down in both races. However, I have to say, this is one of the more exciting weeks I've ever had as a Philadelphia fan. Let's keep it going. This team has to have a "kill" attitude from here on in. LET"S GO PHILS

I don't want the Padres to loose IF we can take the division and they take the WC. Wouldn't that be icing on the cake - Mets not in playoffs.

Greg: I want the Mets in the playoffs as the Wild Card if we could somehow to take the division. Don't you think we'd have the best chance against the Mets in the NLCS? Personally, I feel the Padres would be the worst playoff matchup for us.

Glad the bats at the top of the order got a night off. Feel free to wake them up for tonight's game, boys! You ain't gonna get relief pitching like last night's very often.

I agree with Reed, tonight's game will be tough. Wainright has given us headaches, and Moyer has had trouble stringing together good starts.

I hope the Nats have gotten all the winning out of their system beating up on the Mets. They're looking like a tough matchup for the upcoming 7 games.

Considering this year's series records, I can't think of a better team to play in the NLCS than the Mets.

Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports writes: "The Mets are more style than substance. Rather than display gritty resolve — the DNA of any championship team — they are the baseball equivalent of a pretty face.

Who is the Mets' Chase Utley? Their Jimmy Rollins? Their Aaron Rowand?

A year ago the Mets' diversity and chemistry was the talk of baseball, the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover story. The makeup of the team is essentially unchanged, but next to the never-say-die Phillies, the Mets look, well, meek.

Sabermetricians scoff at such talk, noting that performance overrides any question of mental toughness. Well, what happens when a team's performance falters? Where is its emotional center? How do the players respond?"

This sounds like the Beerleaguer debates between the statheads and the intangible crowd.

What's even more amazing is that the Phillies are only 2½ games behind the best record and home field advantage for all the playoffs. Who'd'a'thunk it of this team with its rag tag pitching staff and Foghorn Cholly calling the game strategy shots?!!

From the MLB tiebreaker rules:

Scenario #5: If three Clubs in a League are tied with identical winning percentages at the end of the championship season and two of those tied Clubs are from the same Division and are also tied for first place in that Division and the third tied Club has the highest winning percentage among the second-place Clubs in the remaining two Divisions, the Division Champion shall first be determined by a one-game playoff on Monday, September 29. Any playoff games played to determine a Division champion shall not count in determining which Clubs are deemed tied for a Wild Card designation. Clubs that were originally tied with a Club or Clubs for a Wild Card designation shall still be considered tied.

Example of Scenario #5: The Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins all have identical winning percentages at the end of the championship season. The Astros and Cardinals are tied for first place in the NL Central and the Marlins have the highest winning percentage among the second-place Clubs from the NL East and NL West. The Astros and Cardinals would play a one-game playoff on Monday, September 29. The winner shall be declared the Division Champion. Despite the loss, the losing Club would still be considered tied with the Marlins for the lead in the NL Wild Card. Those two Clubs would play a one-game playoff on Tuesday, September 30. The winner of that game shall be declared the Wild Card.

http://www.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20030908&content_id=517243&vkey=pr_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

My secret fantasy dream (baseball version) is that the Phils win the division, the Mets falter enough to not make the play-offs and the Yankees win their division. We could all go on Metsblog and say truly inane, rude, incomprehensibly stoopid things, and they would have no answer.

That being said, I'm not sure I like the Yanks winning, nor facing the Pods (even with homefield advantage) in the first round (except for getting to harass/verbally abuse the talking Board Game).

Let's not start with the "Bret needs to start" rhetoric again. I mean, look at the way he pitches in his one inning of work last night. Do we really need that in innings 1-6? I think I'd have an ulcer by the 5th out.

I will not jinx them by believing.
I will not jinx them by believing.
I will not jinx them by believing.
I will not jinx them by believing.
I will not jinx them by believing.
I will not jinx them by believing.
I will not jinx them by believing.
I will not jinx them by believing.

Where's a good place near Center City Philly to watch the Phils, and do any places have the Phils telecast coming through the speakers?

I don't know any places that play the audio over the speakers. Having said that, there are a lot of good places for sports viewing. McGillins (by city hall) has tons of TVs, good food, and a good beer selection; I've been there for a ton of Eagles games.

I also am partial to the Philadium in south philly; that's a real Philly sports bar.

"What's even more amazing is that the Phillies are only 2½ games behind the best record and home field advantage for all the playoffs."

That's a mind-blowing point, LF.

Myers actually pitched 2 innings last night. And he once again showed that the pressure of a 1-run game might not be the optimal place to use him.

From Deadspin:

"You just get the feeling that this is going to end up like the first Rocky film, with the Phillies sporting two swollen eyes and in second place, yelling for Adrian. But it's compelling while it lasts. Rod Barajas' two-out pinch single in the 14th drove in the go-ahead run as Philadelphia went on to beat the Cardinals 7-4. The Phillies are now a paltry 1 1/2 games behind the Mets in the East."

That would be pretty cool if the Phils took the field to the Rocky theme song at the beginning of the next homestand.

I have a knot in my stomach, it's great. Too early yet to get out hopes up, they're still a couple of games out, but boy, what a great ride. But, never forget how sudden the ride down can be, especially with this bullpen.

Okay hitters, you gave your bats a night off, time to get them rolling again for tonight.

Also, would be nice if someone would give them a little help with San Diego.

Jacob-

interesting that your article directly contradicts mine, and both are from the mlb.com website. I'd note that your article is from 2003, and mine is from 2006, but yours explicitly spells out rules, whereas mine is only the application of rules to various scenarios. Which one is right? I'm not sure, but I hope you are. If anyone knows what the 2007 rules are, please let us know.

From Metsblog:

…just a reminder, as we noted on MetsBlog last week, if the Mets and Phillies finish with the same record, the two teams will play a one-game playoff in Philadelphia, as the result of the recent coin flip conducted by the Commissioner’s Office…

Sorry if this had already been posted.

How about that bullpen I put together?

The Phils are still very much in contention for both the division and the Wild Card - make sure you pick up your tickets to the upcoming season ending homestand next week.

Keep on Phightin' baby!

Last night our seven all-stars did virtually nothing (though Utley scored the winning run); the night was carried by the bottom of the order and the pen. Werth, Dobbs, and the J.D.'s have played themselves into important roles, and possibly into 2008. Personally, I can't stress enough how huge it is to not dread the black hole. I mean, I'm not even missing Victorino that much, and he's one of my favorites on the team! If PG can be credited with anything, it's our legitimately deep bench.

"I'm not even missing Victorino that much ..."

They'll be able to trade him next season. Straight up for relief, I'm hoping.

Thanks, loctastic

I think you would be hard pressed to find a better lineup and bench in the National League right now.

Well...we're still gonna need a centerfielder. Sadly.

"Friggin' Bret blows another save. I thought he was supposed to be the ideal closer. I think he's better suited to be a starter."

He has now blown 3 saves ALL year. Yep, he sucks. He gave up a infield grounder, that hopped over Nunez's head (because he was playing in) and a line drive to right field. He got everyone else out easily, in his 2 innings. He threw strikes. That is really all you can ask for. Sometimes, the ball falls in. Its the walks that are damning for a closer.

Guess what, it happens to everyone. Saito coughed one up last night. Papelbon blew one last Friday against NY. Gagne lost a game in the 8th last night. Weathers didn't even get an out on Monday in Chicago, in his blown save. Wagner has coughed up a couple of key games against Philly this year.

There is only 1 "ideal" closer and his name is Rivera (and he even isn't fool-proof). Myers can be in that next rung, who gets it done most nights with great stuff, for years to come.

He ain't moving, so its a moot argument anyway.

Along with the obvious needs in the bullpen and rotation, this team very much needs, IMHO, to resign Rowand in the offseason. Personally, I'd put this above our needs at 3B.

Another great article by Sam D. in today's Daily News. He's as hot as the Phils right now with his columns.

Great job snuffing out a burning question nobody is talking about regarding the young pitching. I have an opposite opinion than the Phils, who assume they're a team getting better, not worse, and can afford to sit on their pitching instead of seizing their opportunity this season. It's difficult to imagine a better offense than this one. They can smoke any pitching staff, including the Padres. It's the best offense in the league, so good they can hang in with any playoff team, even with their miserable pitching and bullpen.

Their argument is they'd feel foolish if they only get three or four good years instead of 10 or so from Hamels or another pitcher like Kendrick. But what about taking three while the offense is in prime? There is nothing in the pipeline that can replace the position talent here. Hamels' history indicates a short career with his medical history, plus I'd assume if he's still great once he becomes a free agent, they'll lose him. Why not get it while it's hot?

You can extend the debate to the bullpen, where any number of prospects would do a better job than cheapies like Mesa and Alfonseca. That comes down to service time and money I think, more than health. Exact opposite of what the Yankees do. They push their young pitchers into action immediately wherever there is a need. If Joba Chamberlain was Phillies property, his season would have ended in Double-A. In New York, he's anchoring the bullpen and probably saved their season.

No matter what your take is, there's no clear right/wrong answer. In the eyes of baseball officials, this is a gray area.

SC: If you read the rest of the article you posted, it explains that the games dont count for WC consideration:

The Yankees were involved in such a scenario in 1995, the first year the expanded playoff format was in effect. In that strike-shortened season, the Mariners and the Angels were tied atop the AL West with 78-66 records. The Yankees were second in the AL East with a 79-65 mark.

The Mariners won the playoff game, so the Angels were eliminated because they had one fewer victory than the Yankees, who would have been the Wild Card regardless of which team won the West. But if the Yankees had ended the regular season with the same 78-66 record that the Mariners and Angels did, then the situation would have been different.

If three or more clubs are tied at the end of the regular season and two or more of those teams are tied for first place in a division, then the division tie is broken first by a playoff game. Granted, in 1995 the Angels' record dropped to 78-67, but under the hypothetical three-way tie described above, they would have been deadlocked with the 78-66 Yankees in the Wild Card race for purposes of applying tie-breaking rules. The Wild Card would then have been settled by a one-game playoff between the Angels and the Yankees.

Just got back from class and I'm still fired up! Can you feel it? This team wants baseball in October.

Tonight is not a great matchup against Wainwright but Phils might have a alitle extra spark offensively with the big win last night despite the lack of offense. Moyer needs to give us 6-7 solid innings at a minimum. It would be great to have a blowout to try and give Romero, Flash, and Myers another days rest.

I'm not buying the Myers can't pitch in one inning situations argument. I actually think he is better in a one inning role. His problem last night, as it was when he was a starter, was that he started relying too much on his fastball. He was not locating his fastball in the 9th and guys can hit it, and very hard. When he went to the curve and started locating it, he looked unhittable, as he has throughout the season.

Pads/Mets: I personally want both of them to keep losing. Let them fight it out for the Wildcard. The Phillies would be the most dangerous team in baseball in the playoffs with their lineup and bench. If the starters can keep the game at 3-4 runs, this team can win any game. With the deep bench, the lineup is even more dangerous. It is built for the postseason. The problem is the bullpen, which seems to pitch better in extreme pressure situations than in mop up roles. They seem to get jacked around when the team has a lead, but are lights out when the game is tight or tied. Maybe this is all perception, but at least in the last month, the bullpen has been much better with a small lead or when the game is tied. For that matter, they seem to pitch best against the better hitting teams (Except Colorado, but even then, there was some good work after inneffective starts).

Dobbs: Is there a guy in the lineup that you would rather see up in a clutch situation? He has consistently performed in the big situations all year. He leads baseball in pinch hit RBI and Hits. I also saw a stat that he is a career .387 hitter with the bases loaded. Dobb's seems to be very professional at the plate, particularly recently. He fouls off a ton of pitches and seems to swing at the right ones, even if he does not produce. He has been a big time aquisition. In my estimation, Dobb's and Werth are the guys that have kept this team in the race. It has been their contributions in games where the top of the order was off, that have lifted this team recently. That was non-existent last year.

Moyer: I was at his last game he started in St. Louis. 6-0 Phillies win, and Moyer went 7, with Mesa pitching the rest. Moyer looked very good against a stronger Cardinals lineup on June 22. (Rolen played, Pujols played, Chris Duncan was available). The matchup on June 23 was Adam Wainright v.s Adam Eaton, and the Phillies were able to do some things against Wainright, although he was not pitching as well back then. The problem was that Adam Eaton blew a Phillies lead by giving up a HR to Juan Encarnacion.

When you really need a big hit late in a tight game this year, you want to see Dobbs or Werth up there. Then Rollins. Then Utley, maybe. After that, not much.

"I'm not even missing Victorino that much ..."

"They'll be able to trade him next season. Straight up for relief, I'm hoping."

How fair-weathered can you get? Again, I guess that's the fun of being a Phillies fan.
Go, Phils! (and don't trade Vic!)

@TOK - agreed. I have thought about it... long and hard regarding Rowand. As a stat head, I would say that we could replace Rowand's average production with Victorino in Center. With a Platoon of Werth and Bourn in Right you could match your Right Field production for the post part. Overall, your power would be down. But the speed and defense probably would be fine.

HOWEVER... that's the stat head in me... but like Lake Fred mentioned regarding teh Grittiness.... For every Rowand strikeout flailing in the dirt, we've seen Rowand running all over the place in center and left center covering more ground than he probably physically can because of Effort and Grit. You can't define that in any stat.

He's offensive production in 2006 was hurt by his two injuries. The Healthy Rowand 2007 is probably about 5 to 10% higher production in HR and RBI... But again... it's that grit and resolve that you need...

As for the folks who say this team is "DIFFERENT" than last year. For all the folks who thought the team "CHOKED" in September last year is virtually the same team as this one, except with a better bench and hard to believe WEAKER pitching.

It was the grit and resolve of this CORE that allowed the team to contend in September... They finished 3 games out of the Wild Card. They would have had to win their last 12 games in a row to win the wild card out right. 11 out of 12 to tie.

This team did not CHOKE last year... Yes they lost 3 out of 4 when they they were close to the Wild Card lead, but they had just won 5 in a row and 10 of 12 at that point. They were just too far behind when they made their charge. It's hard to sustain. It's not choking...

The Phillies are in very much the same position right now. They have won 6 in a row and 9 out of 11. But are still 2 games back in the loss column to both the Padres and the Mets.

Keeping up this pace will be HARD to sustain... no matter how gritty you are.. because at some point stats return to the forefront...

Regardless, it's been a wild incredible ride... I could use more sleep... I normally don't like Roller Coaster rides in real life, but this ride has been amazing...

I've given up on this team too many times this season...

No more... I've past the height requirement... I'm strapped in for the final 11 games... Let's Go!

"I'm not even missing Victorino that much ..."

"They'll be able to trade him next season. Straight up for relief, I'm hoping."

How fair-weathered can you get? Again, I guess that's the fun of being a Phillies fan.
Go, Phils! (and don't trade Vic!)"

I like Vic, but if you can get pitching for him, you do it. Of course, you should keep Rowand if you trade Vic.

@Jason -- How do you explain the Phillies reaching into Reading to grab Zagurski who pitched significant innings this year... Kendrick was also pulled from Reading...

I hate seeing Mesa out there as much as the next guy... and I can't argue that Mateo should or shouldn't be here. To be honest, the Phillies should have dealt with the Public Relations hit earlier this year, rather than having to deal with it when they bring him up as an "injury replacement" for the Post season roster and then hearing Joe Buck scream about Mateo pitching in a playoff game...

But as for your argument that Joba (if a Phillie) would be sitting at home. Really? I doubt it... if someone was blowing people away and looked like they were ready to face major league batters, they'd be here.

I would gather that the pitchers that everyone seems to be clamoring for... Happ (who else?) probably aren't ready for prime time?

They had no choice but to call-up someone once Lieber went down. Kendrick was actually the best choice at the time - I believe Happ was still hurt or just recovering.

The difference between Zagurski and Chamberlain would be Zagurski was already pitching in relief and they needed a loogy. Chamberlain, if with Philadelphia, would almost certainly be groomed as a starter.

Maybe they'd do it. Who knows. All for the sake of argument.

The team "feels" different this year, and I lean to the intangible vs. the stat side in these situations. The 1980 team felt different in September, too.

good post on crashburnalley.com re last night's epic win--

0 - number of reasons for ever having Abraham Nunez in the lineup

1 - Number of Rod Barajas’ at-bats, hits, runs, and RBI

1 - Number of position players still available in the 14th inning — Rod Barajas, who delivered the game-winning RBI single

1 - Number of Cardinal extra-base hits

1.5 - Number of games the Phillies trail the Mets and Padres by in the NL East and Wild Card, respectively

2 - Number of pinch-runners used each by the Phillies and Cardinals

2 - Number of triples and stolen bases for Jayson Werth (the last person to achieve this feat in the same game was Larry Walker in 1996)

2 - Number of pitchers used by Tony LaRussa to pinch-run

2 - Number of blown saves in this game

3 - Number of 14th inning runs the Phillies scored

3 - Number of innings the Phillies’ ace pitched in his return from the disabled list

3 - Number of pinch-hitters used by the Cardinals

3 - Number of Cardinals pitchers who were in the game, but did not pitch (Wainwright as a pinch-hitter; Reyes and Piniero as pinch-runners)

4 - Number of Phillies relievers used after Cole Hamels to not yield any runs

4 - Number of hits the Phillies had through 12 innings of play

5 - Number of hitless at-bats for Ryan Howard

5 - Number of pinch-hitters used by the Phillies

5 - Number of consecutive losses for the Mets

5 - Number of catchers used (Ruiz, Coste, Barajas; Molina, Stinnett)

6 - Number of Phillies fans confident in Jose Mesa when he came in to pitch in the 12th and 13th innings

6 - Number of consecutive wins for the Phillies

7 - Number of people still awake watching the game at its conclusion, around 1:15 AM EST

8 - Number of total hits in the game for the Phillies in 49 at-bats

8 - Number of pitchers used by the Phillies

8 - Number of combined pinch-hitters used

9 - Number of strikeouts from the Phillies’ #1-5 hitters

9 - Number of Phillies relievers to earn a save this season (Clay Condrey earned it in this particular game)

10 - Number of scoreless innings pitched by the Phillies bullpen (Myers allowed one run in the 10th inning)

11 - Number of pitchers used by the Cardinals, a National League record

19 - Number of total pitchers used by both teams

21 - Number of scoreless innings of 28

25 - Number of Phillies players used

28 - Number of Cardinal players used, tying the National League record

53 - Number of combined players used, tying the National League record

168 - Number of days passed since the Phillies were this close to the lead in the NL East

304 - Number of minutes the game lasted

481 - Number of combined pitches thrown

42,170 - Paid attendance at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO

JD, not to try to bring you down, but I think looking back at the last 2 weeks of the last 2 seasons, you could say things were feeling "different."

Call it the eternal Philly pessimism in me, but until I see the magic number graphic on a Phils web page, I can't get too optimistic. Missing the playoffs by a single game sucks. Missing the playoffs by a very narrow margin 2 yrs in a row would suck monumentally (especially if another NL Central team makes a run in the post season).

Although, I will say this; I am 100% convinced that its better to pull for a team that is competitive and constantly comes up just short than it is to pull for a team that doesn't even have a chance at this point in the season. While the last 2 years have sucked for us at the end of the season, I'd rather be where we are now than where the Nats, Reds, etc. are.

I want to remind people of this again... we're virtually as close to the D-Backs as we are the Mets and Padres. They all have the same number of losses.. just two fewer than us. We are closer to all three of those teams than we are to the teams chasing us.

This season is probably our best chance in recent years to make the playoffs. We only need to play two games better than one of those three teams to guarantee us at least a tiebreaker game.

burt, you left out:

3 - number of K's in 5 AB's for our reigning MVP

and

1 in 4,852 - odds that Mesa will pitch 2 innings of hitless relief in a big spot at any point again

CJ, good point on the D'backs. Not sure if the Pads (or Phils, for that matter) can keep up their current pace, but if so, that doesn't mean our only shot is the division.

Let's not forget that Arizona has one of the worst runs scored/allowed discrepancies of any team in contention in recent history.

JD says this feels like 1980. I think it feels more like 1983, when a "no so good" Mike Schmidt Phillies team, was in a similar situation, 4th in a group of 4 teams trying to win the NL East. That team made it to the WS, losing to Baltimore.

This particular team does have tremendous heart and the best offense in the NL. I have wondered why all year with Gillick and Manuel knowing that fact, why Gillick just hasn't stepped up.

It's going be difficult to improve the pitching in the off-season once again. It always is. But to me Gillick just hasn't tried. I also wondered if he's even tried to bring back Rowand. He's a guy you just have to bring back. Yes he may not duplicate this year's stats, but you can't measure his intangibles.

The front office should know by now that it is better to make the playoffs than to be exciting and fall just short. I have not supported most of Gillick's moves as all of you know. Manuel has said all along we needed better pitching.

There are many reasons why we're not where we should be. Anther poor start, lousy 'pen, bad manager's decisions etc. And yet we're right there. We have a shot. I hope we make it. I really do. If we don't, it'd be very interesting to see what Gillick will do. I too am enjoying the ride. Go Phils!

Yeah, those D'backs absolutely suck. If only they read Beerleaguer instead of going out and kicking ass.

I was at a bar last night calling "Tell Me" on the phone last night about every 10 seconds. When I found out the score was 7-4 final in 14 innings, i got so excited I pumped my fist, forgetting i had a drink in my hand and spilling my Sam Adams all over some girls my buddies were trying to talk to.

Good times :)

On the Victorino argument: His OPS+ stood at 98, last I checked. Werth's is 130.

Mike Cunningham: the Phillies *did* choke at the end of last season. Sorry.

LF: I liked the Rosenthal quote. This is a point I alluded to yesterday when referring to Lo Duca being the Mets' de facto leader, and just how weak it is that a whiny lunkhead like that even attempts to serve as a spokesman. That team has weak leadership. The Phillies have made up 5 1/2 games on them in 6 days. That's just unheard of at this time of year.

JW: I'm glad you mentioned the Donnellon column. He seemed to want to prolong the Hamels debate and for some reason brought Mike Arbuckle (again, no Gillick) along to support his opinionation. I think that in a matter like this, the team has to stand back and let the player call the shots. A team otherwise can be accused of spoiling a player's career in its own short-term interest, and perhaps that stands as the biggest "risk" of all when it comes to a situation like Hamels'. The company policy is erring on the side of caution so long as the player endorses it. I have no doubts that if Hamels had allowed himself to pitch much sooner, the Phillies would have gone along with it.

I think the Cards as presently constituted are a team Moyer can handle tonight. I'm calling 4-2 Phils; Mets win, Padres lose. And a split at RFK this weekend.

From Cholly today:

"I'll tell you guys something," Manuel said to reporters before last night's game against the Cardinals. "I like every one of our pitchers personally. I have no qualms against any of our pitchers. But if we had better pitching, we could beat anybody. I really believe that. I'm saying that because of what we've got and how we play the game."

I have to give Cholly a lot of credit for keeping a consistent approach with his players all season long even if I disagree with it some points (not being critical of Eaton and some of his lackadaisical play & statements).

It takes a hell of a lot of patience and restraint not to call out your pitchers directly after a near epic collapse against the Cards. This was Cholly's way of being diplomatic yet critical.

Jason: it's been overlooked that you correctly called the sweep of the Mets even as the Phillies were being pummeled by the Rockies last week. The thing that worries me is, if form holds, this won't last, either.

RSB: Thanks. A prediction pulled directly from my ass, as usual. Unfortunately, the Berks County Kreskin sees loss tonight following the emotional extra-inning win and sudden realization that they're back in the division hunt. My only reservation is the top of the lineup had such a poor night last night, perhaps they'll settle in and get a couple good hacks.

I'd still say the easier road is through the wild card. The prospectus models agree, but besides, you have to think the Mets will right the ship against the Marlins, against whom they have seven games, while the Padres still have very tough series against the Rockies and the Brewers, who are playing very well.

Here is hoping the Mets' pitching woes continue because they really have faltered the past couple of weeks. Still much better on paper than the Phils but Maine has really struggled, El Duque might be done for the year, and their bullpen has sprung a ton of leaks.

Funny that Pedro just might end up being their savior this season.

And a novel perspective in our situation from Joe Morgan:

New Orleans, LA: Do you think there is a chance the Phillies will win the NL East?

Joe Morgan: Yes there is a chance, they are only a couple games behind. They are playing well now and the real problem for the Mets is if they end up in a tie, the Phillies win. Right now the lead says they are 1.5 ahead, but in my opinion they are only a .5 game ahead. If the Mets tie, they lose.

That's not even true, is it?

A letdown is a definite possibility but I am more concerned about Wainwright. He has pitched very well in two starts this year against the Phils and has been pitching incredibly well since last July (3-3 but an ERA under 2.50 in 8 starts with some really nice numbers including only giving up 3 HRs in 55 innings).

Wow, I think Joe Morgan has gone the way of Uncle Junior Soprano.

I agree with Tray about going after the wildcard, as bad as the Mets have been I just think its impossible that it will keep up. Although it does seem the Padres have been coasting through all these wins, they do have a two really tough series coming up. It could be where we make up ground.

That is assuming however that we can handle the Nats.

We've been burned so many times before, we deserve this! Is it too much to ask that from this season on, whenever we play the mets the chants rains down.....

Seven! Seventeen! (clap, clap clapclapclap)
Seven! Seventeen! (clap, clap clapclapclap)
Seven! Seventeen! (clap, clap clapclapclap)
Seven! Seventeen! (clap, clap clapclapclap)


A man can dream right?

I'm not really a "fan" of other sports . . . I follow them, but am not emotionally vested in them like I am baseball.

Therefore I don't understand how people can go a week in between big games. I wake up after six hours of sleep and I'm like, so . . . when does the next game start? It already feels like its been forever and I just want them to constantly play games one after another until this thing is over. Its difficult to think about anything else.

Tray: Last year, the Padres and Dodgers tied for the division with identical records. Yet the Padres were declared the division winner and the Dodgers the Wild Card, based on tiebreakers. There was no playoff game. I'm not sure where the info above is coming from.

I'm having the same problem District, I'm annoyed I have to wait until 8 for the game to start in St. Louis. Thank god to the extra inning packages, I can at least watch the mets for an hour.

I'm guessing you only get a playoff game if there are 3 teams battling for 2 spots. If the Mets and Phils end with identical records and those records are better than any other WC team, there would be no playoff.

Even better, though, was Morgan's answer to this question:

dave (milwaukee): No Prince Fielder for NL MVP? Taking nothing away from the other 3 who are all great. But the man is not only putting up huge numbers but he is that teams leader.

Joe Morgan: You are 100% correct. Today's my birthday and I am older and I went blank. I agree with you 100%. He should be included with everyone else. Prince Fielder has been the main guy, and you are right. I just told someone yesterday I thought he should be the MVP! If the Brewers win I think he will win the award.

I just told someone yesterday I thought he should be the MVP! But besides the retardedness of that answer, is Fielder even the best hitter on his own team? You could make a case for Braun.

Lake Nostradamus will try to offset the Berks County Kreskin by predicting a Phillies victory tonight. Moyer will lull the tired Cards to sleep tonight, while the quiet Phillies lumber at the top of the lineup will come awake and put a thumping to Wainwright.

The New Orleans talking to Joe Morgan wasn't me. I'm sure that Morgan has a lot of baseball knowledge, but he rarely speaks it, although he does talk a lot!

Well suppose that the Padres finish with 90 wins and we and the Mets both have 89, is there not a playoff in that scenario?

Tray: Yes there would be, because you'd have 3 teams battling for 2 spots.

From today's chat with Todd Zolecki:

Lea: Todd, What is the story with Julio Mateo? When was the last time he's thrown? Is there any chance the Phillies will add him to the roster? I know the Phillies are wary of the negative PR he'd bring, but at this point, I belive the Phils will get more negative press for withholding a pitcher that could be very useful. You said it yourself, pitching is what's going to make or break this team, so will we see Julio Mateo?

Todd Zolecki: I don't think so, although Manuel said yesterday he would welcome anybody (including Mateo) who could help this pitching staff. But the feeling I get is that the Phillies are sensitive to Mateo's legal problems, and possible fallout. I think if those legal issues would have cleared up by now, he might be here. But he's not, and nobody in the Phillies seems to be talking about that possibility.

My guess is that Morgan (who I can't stand) figures that if the Phillies end up tying the Mets that both teams would make the playoffs as I think he is assuming they would both have better records than the NL West runner-up. In that case, no playoff game and the Phils would win the division based on head-to-head, but both would play in October.

Tray: That should've said 2 teams for 1 spot.

Maybe this is a better way to state it: The only scenario in which there WOULDN'T be a playoff is if the Mets and Phils BOTH have better records than any other WC team.

Interesting stuff re: the Phillies from Buster Olney:

Randolph seems to manage about the same way that Charlie Manuel of the Phillies does: He doesn't get too high or too low; he speaks optimistically about what his players can accomplish; and he never publicly dumps on players.

And in that vacuum of what Manuel doesn't do -- he isn't in the players' faces -- you have Aaron Rowand and Chase Utley playing hard and pushing others through their example. You have Jimmy Rollins bringing his energy to the field every day and cheerfully cajoling others. Our colleague Peter Gammons stands next to the dugouts during the Sunday night broadcasts, and Peter said Tuesday over the phone that he was stunned by how much energy Rollins exudes from inning to inning, how much he pushes the other players, naturally, by how much he cares.

We've spent a lot of the summer making fun of the Phillies' pitching staff, which is probably not going to get better. But I think that in a strange sort of way, Philly's pitching problems have created a layer of toughness in that team that other clubs don't possess.

The position players are accustomed to playing from behind, and they are accustomed to seeing the pitching staff blow leads. They are accustomed to the idea that they cannot take anything for granted, and they are accustomed to the idea that whether they are three runs ahead or three runs behind in the fifth inning, they are probably going to have to score more before the end of the night. To borrow Tony La Russa's mantra, the Phillies -- extraordinary in their accountability -- play as hard for 27 outs as any team in baseball. You wonder whether the Mets' players can make the same claim.

Tray, I think the division is decided by a tiebreaker, the first one being head-to-head record.

Am I wrong, anyone?

I got them all riled up over on the MetsBlog with my Seven Seventeen chant...Feel free to head over and pile on!

Tbone,

I hate when Mets fans come on Beerleaguer and troll. Why would I do that to them?

You know, I normally would agree, I just got a little caught up today. Feels like a new day you know?

Those are some terrific observations on the Phillies, thanks for posting Bridoc.

A question I'd love to ask Zolecki: how come you link to other blogs but never this one? Does it have to do with the newspaper affiliation, or the fact that it registers a thousand comments for every ten yours gets?

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EST. 2005

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