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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Comments

Don't know if it has been mentioned or not, but congrats to Clearwater on winning the Florida State League Championship last night. Nice to see someone win something.

Drew Carpenter won the final game and finished with 19 total wins for the season (17 in regular season and 2 in post-season).

Brad Harman also had a big post-season for the team.

As for Eaton. I have seen where some people here are blaming the ballpark (again) for his problems. Eaton does have a 6.07 ERA and has given up 13 HR's on the road this year. He has sucked, no matter what ballpark he has pitched in.

Again, quit blaming the ballpark for the Phils inability to pitch. Look at the Rockies bullpen ERA's and compare them with the Phils. Its not pretty. And, Coors Field is not Petco Park.

Plus, when your bullpen can't throw strikes and falls behind hitter after hitter all year long, big league hitters are going to tee off. Again, the park is no factor in why most of the bullpen can't get the ball over the plate.

Denny B.: I agree. It is also inexcusable for this offense, in this same park, against the pitching the Rockies put on the mound last night, to give no run support.

Ballparks are like golf courses. Each park is unique, but in any given game, both teams play under the same conditions. At least this is true for outdoor parks. I have heard rumors that some of these indoor parks have doctored their air conditioning to have different airflows that they adjust each half inning to benefit the home team.

Yeah, as we all know, the Phils aren't beating anybody with two runs.

It's weird and amazing that the Phillies are even remotely thinking Wild Card with this pitching staff. Who does get the credit for it? Must be the manag...oh, that's not it. Or the general mana...no, no, not him either.

PtB? :)

The Phillies poor play brings to mind that beer commercial from last year with Jim Mora ranting: "Playoffs! Playoffs! Are you kidding me!"

Good one, Fred.

What sticks in my mind is Gillick stating that the team would not be competetive until 2008 - in his Phillies standard issue slacker Hawiian shirt.

Lake Fred, I want to make clear, something from your last post. I am in no way advocating for trading Hamels or Howard, and have never indicated as such. On the contrary, I was in stark opposition to even the notion of such nonsense. Although I can see VOR's point about Hamels injury problems as being much more sensical than any, over the top, bellowing about trading Howard. The bottom line is that his injury problems hurt his trade value in a way that makes him much more valuable to keep, and hope that he stays healthy. Signing Hamels to a long term deal is about the only way that the Phillies ever truly get anyhthing valuable from him. I can never see getting eqaul value in any trade becasue nobody would give up multiple, MLB ready pitchers/position players for him (Which is what I think he would be worth), and prospects are too risky, to get nothing in return.

I have heard on XM, that he hires his own massage therapist and has daily deep muscle massages on his back, just so he can be ready to pitch. While that is suggestive of a major problem in the future, I hopeful that his willpower to be great will overcome the problems.

To me, Hamels exhibits a presence on the mound that very few pitchers can. It is the kind of presence that you don't just stumble across at any given time. Schilling has it, Smoltz has it, Maddux has it, Ryan had it, Clemens had it. It completely intangible, yet essential to be dominant in any sport. There are always people that have better physical talent available, but having the proper mental approach/willpower is what seperates the average to good player from the great ones. Just look at Adam Eaton. He can coax Carlos Delgado into swinging at a pitch that ends up hitting him in the ribs, but he consistently fails to perform on a regular basis. There is no question that he has great physical talent, but mentally, he is lacking.

The best example from my perspective was Hamels complete game several months back against the Giants. Hamels was facing Barry Bonds and threw him five straight changeups, waiving off the catcher several times. Bonds flailed at the pitch and continued to foul it off. Hamels finally struck him out on the last changeup. Barry left the box, shaking his head, not because he was frustrated by calls, but because he had been outdueled, something that rarely happens to Bonds. Hamels could have been tempted to throw Bonds a fastball or some other pitch to try to fool him, but he threw the same pitch, seemingly saying to Bonds, "You might beat me, but you are going to have to beat my best." Hamels won against one of the greatest hitters of all time. That is a guy I want around for a long time.

Good post parker. I agree that other teams would question his health if the Phils tried to deal him, and thus his value may be less than it should. Here's hoping that Cole is healthy for the duration. However, it never hurts to listen to offers. There might be someone out there willing to break the bank.

Joe Morgan has some wise words for us this morning:

John (Chicago, IL): Joe, who do you think, in your opinion, is going to represent the AL in the World Series this year and why? I like Boston because they have the best run differential in baseball and their pitching top to bottom has been statistically the best all year. What do you think?

Joe Morgan: (11:18 AM ET ) Well the run differential means nothing. It is like OPS, it means nothing in the grander scheme of things. The Dbacks differential is on the minus side, at one point it hit minus 40, and yet they were in first place. Arizona wins a lot of close games and then every now and then gets beaten up. To me it is more meaningful to win close games. But what does mean something is consitent starting pitching, relief pitching and offense, which they have shown.

OPS and run differential mean nothing - nothing! - in the grander scheme of things.

Two things:

1. I just can't blame the offense. Sorry. As great as this offense has been all year, you just can't score 8-10 runs *every* night. The pitching staff, every now and then, has got to step it up and win the occasional 2-1 game or whatever.

2. Though I know it's beating the proverbial deceased equine, holy sh*t, Joe Morgan is stupid. The collective heads of the guys who run firejoemorgan.com (which you should go read right now, if you never have) are going to explode over this one. How can someone as titanically stupid as Morgan continue to be the #1 color guy on the #1 sports network? It's unfathomable.

Oh, and here's a thought – mlbtraderumors has a piece on how Glavine will most likely sign next year for 12-13MM. Why not make a run at him? Hell, with the problems our staff has had this year, I'd be tempted to pay him in the neighborhood of 15-16MM for '08. He's clearly shown that he likes money more than he feels any loyalty for the Braves, so why not Philadelphia over NY? We could certainly give him the run support to make him feel comfortable.

did i read correctly that the starting pitcher for colorado has an ERA this year of 19.06?! i mean, seriously, those bats that have been sleeping for the most part of the last 2 nights better freakin wake up tonight!!

also, with regards to glavine, he has NEVER (!) ever been on the DL in his long career i believe.

durability has to come into play somewhat when it comes to signing pitchers this offseason after the debacles this year that were Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber

I remember when I was a kid, the KC A's were often thought of as the Yankees farm team, as the Yanks would often pluck players via trade from KC and they'd become stars as the Yankees. If, as the Other Kevin suggests, the Phils pick up Glavine, the Phillies will be known as MLB's Old Folks Home, with Moyer and Gordon sharing rocking chair on the porch time with Glavine. Might as well make runs at David Wells and Roger Clemens, too! Then we can trade for Schilling. I can see the 5 man rotation now...Schilling, Moyer, Glavine, Clemens and Wells. We'll make Hamels our long relief guy.

Voice, if people on here -- yeah, you RSB -- are questioning Hamels' willingness to pitch with pain, what are they saying by advocating the team force him out there? The inescapable bottom line: They're saying "get rid of him."

If you force someone to pitch when he thinks he's hurt, do you really think he's going to turn around and thank you for your lack of support? He's going to bolt at the earliest opportunity, IMHO. So you might as well cut to the chase and trade him -- at least, in the eyes of those who advocate Hamels "sucking it up."

He didn't seem to really want to play in Philadelphia last time around.

He'll either resign in the Big Apple, or go back to Atl.

Worth a shot, though.

From Ford's article

"I don't think he's the reason why we're where we're at," Manuel said of Eaton. "He pitches for us. He has a part in it, but everybody's on the team."

No, all the fault, or even most of it, doesn't belong to Adam Eaton. He has plenty of company this season. When you have the highest starting ERA in baseball, though, it does stick out a bit.

Maybe Ford's point about Eaton's culpability would be more credible back in June, but Eaton has been the worst starter in baseball this year and he has been horrendous the second half.

Even if you take the Joe Morgan simpleton approach and throw out all the stats, the Phils are 3-6 in the 9 games that Eaton has started since the All-Star break. That folk's will go a long way to explaining why the Phils will probably miss the wild card by 2 or 3 games again this year.

The other part of the article that disturbed/angered me was Eaton's attitude. One thing that Gillick has seemed to do correctly is put together a team that plays hard and actually gets along pretty well. I don't know how well regarded Eaton is in the clubhouse but his nonchalant attitude about his poor performances can't endear him to any of his teammates.

Plus, I know that Cholly doesn't ever criticize players in public but how can he say that Eaton is not to blame for where the Phils are at? A guy with one of the worst seasons by a starting pitcher in the NL in recent history does explain why are you are a couple of games out.

There is a time and place to defend your players and unless Eaton is trying to pitch through a severe injury like Gordon then he doesn't deserve Cholly's unbridled support.

If the Phils really did care about winning, they wouldn't allow Eaton to start again this season (go with Ennis and role the dice since Eaton has been horrendous the past 2 months) and they would have released Mesa a week ago.

I guarantee you the Mets or Braves would have made both of these moves by now.

glavine was on DL last year with a random blood clot.

anybody want to et that Garcia signs here for next year?

On Eaton: To play devil's advocate - he gave up four runs off of three home runs. Technically, that's three 'mistakes.' I can see how he could justify his statement in his mind.
In addition, the bullpen gave up 4 runs too - scoring 2 runs wasn't going to win it last night, even if Eaton pitched 5 innings of no-hit ball. So Cholly is right that it was not all Eaton's fault.

I said it last night, and I'll say it again. It just boggles my mind, just blows it away, that a team contending for the playoffs continues to pitch Adam Eaton. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? I had absolutely no doubt in my mind before the game that we would lose it (check yesterday's discussion if you don' believe). It's just insane to pitch him anymore. Who do you think is more responsible for the decision to keep throwing him out there, Manuel or Gillick?

I have the feeling if Manuel had a choice, Eaton would not have started last night and probably not for the rest of the year. He has looked disgusted the last few times he has had to take him out early in games.

Manuel wants to save his job - throwing Eaton out there isnt going to do it. Hell, Gillick proably doesnt even want to see him out there either. Probably an ownership order.

But to say that Eaton isnt a big reason where we are is just crazy. If we had a generic #5 starter off another team we would have at least 2-3 more wins from those starts (if he replaced Eaton). After all, Eaton is statistically the worst starter in the NL.

Tray, good post on Morgan.

At this point in the season, he is actually right when it comes to run differential.

B-Pro did a study last year to determine what was a better indicator of future record: actual record or pyuthagorean record.

What the study found was that run differential (pythag) was *better* at predicting a teams future performance up until mid-August. After that point however, a teams *actual* record is a better indicator.

THe comment that OPS means nothing in the "grand scheme" (whatever that means) is just stupid, however.

On Eaton:

B-Pro has him at -8.8 VORP, which makes him about one win worse over the course of the season than a waiver wire pitcher. If you figure an "average" pitcher would get anywhere between 20 and 30 VORP, you can figure Eaton has cost us 3-4 games this year.

Amazingly, according to VORP, Mesa has managed to be almost as bad (-8.5) in 117 fewer innings. That's hard to do!

Tim McCarver now has the reputation of being an idiot, but his TV persona is a little deceptive. His books are good stuff.

In one of them (I think it was Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans) he talks about pitchers' mistakes and says something like, Don't believe it if a pitcher says he made three mistakes and they all went out. Nobody's that good. Every pitcher makes a lot of mistakes in any given game, and is lucky that most of them AREN'T hit out.

And with Adam Eaton and his 6 plus ERA you know he's making dozens of rotten pitches every game. His excuse-making doesn't help himself, or the team.

It's beyond belief that Pat Gillick (who, evidently, sees this as job as a well-paid hobby) has allowed things to deteriorate to teh point where there are a grand total of two pitchers in the rotation (Loshe and Kendrick) who are even league average. Everybody else, till Cole comes back, is worse.

And Moyer is back next year.

Look at J. Weitzel's post--"staff ace Kyle Kendrick (8-3 3.78 ERA)..." First place prize goes to anyone who predicted that in spring training.

I say you give eaton a chance vs. the Mets. The stats favor him in that matchup. After that, its a four man rotation from here on out. It ain't over til its over.

I would guess these were the probable predictions for "staff ace" back in March:

1. Brett Myers
2. Cole Hamels
3. Freddy Garcia
4. Jamie Moyer
5. Adam Eaton
6. Dontrelle Willis
7. Jon Lieber
8. Chase Utley
9. A shoebox
10. JA Happ
11. Eude Brito
12. A breadbox
13. Pat Gillick
14. Ryan Madson
19. Penn State University
27. Ballgirl Nicole
46. Dan Baker
72. Rhubarb Pie
88. TitsAndAss4Ever
93. Kyle Kendrick

Of course, first prize goes to anyone who predicted these names on the Phillies September roster:

Jose Mesa
JC Romero
Jose Mesa
JD Durbin
Jose Mesa
Jose Mesa
Kane Davis
Jose Mesa
Jose Mesa
Rhubarb Pie
Jose Mesa

Hold up, Alby - I never said the team should 'force Hamels out there'. I'm not blaming the Phillies for exercising caution here. They're just taking the lead from Hamels. I believe they don't really know what to think. Whether his pitching is something that needs to be "forced" or something that is physically possible is not easily determinable. I have no problem with those who wish to give the benefit of the doubt to Hamels, but based on all the available information and comments made, I am more reluctant to do so.

I'd say time will tell whether my comments have any merit. If Hamels pulls this stunt again next year - or if we see 'anonymous' quotes pop up after the last game of the season is played - my stance might not seem so brazen. What registers with me in the light of all this is that the future is not nearly so rosy for Cole Hamels in Philadelphia as some would believe.

Concerning Tom Glavine, I have to believe there is no way they'd have a chance at him, and it's because of the ballpark. Think he regrets signing with New York instead of Philly? Glavine's a smart guy.

Malcom, if I weren't stoned to the bejesus on the Comtrex right now, I'd challenge you to a dual of the funny.

This was good stuff, this list. Although I think Ballgirl Lindsay has better stuff.

Christ.

Duel.

Stupid headcolds.

Lake Fred – you realize that any of those pitchers you listed would be a significant upgrade to anybody currently in our rotation, save Kendrick, don't you? Age isn't nearly the factor it used to be with the training regimens these guys are on these days. Besides, I didn't say I wanted to build the future of the franchise around Glavine – I just want some help next year for one of the league's worst staffs. If we had a bunch of young studs ready to come up to the big-league level, then sure, I might not want to take a bit of chance that next year won't be the year Glavine loses it. But we don't – not even close. A drowning man doesn't argue about the color of the life preserver he's thrown.

To me, it's tragic that the sort of talent this team has is being wasted because we have damn near no pitching.

RSB – the fact that Glavine went to the Mets over the Braves tells me he likes the color green more than anything else. It's not like the Braves play in some bandbox he was dying to get out of.

I think that if the Phils had an anemic offense, then maybe he'd be worried about the park factor. But over the last few seasons they've shown the ability to score runs without too many problems, and given the age and contract status of the core of the offense, that shouldn't be a problem for years to come. It seems, from things I've read recently about Glavine, that he's primarily interested in wins at this point to get himself higher up the all-time wins list. You don't need to pitch 2-1 games to get a win; 8-5 works just as well.

All this being said, it's not like the Mets lack offensive power, and they may very well be willing to outbid whatever price the Phillies come up with, so it may be a moot point. I'd sure as hell like to see the front office at least give it a try, because this team seems to be going nowhere fast without some significant upgrades in the rotation and the bullpen.

Here's a question for those who know a lot more about the rest of the league than I do. If, as it seems likely, we let Mesa go next year, does he get picked up, and if so, by who?

squatter: maybe whichever team Amaro jumps to.

RSB: What specifically makes you doubt the severity of Hamels's condition? Your entire argument is based on the premise that he's not really that injured, but I don't undersatnd where you're getting that from.

Phil-you mentioned last night that you saw a report about the results of the MRI. You said it was a mild sprain. Remember I mentioned that a mild sprain was the least way you could describe an injury, while still having an injury. What is less than that? Sore? If they gave him tests, and diagnosed his problem, we have to go with that, unless we start questioning the medical judgment of the doctors, which I don't think anyone is doing. So a mild sprain is what it is. No more no less.

RSB: My point is that, even if you're right, we're "stuck" with Hamels. If you think it's potentially a future problem, what do propose we do about it?

Squatter: "A mild sprain was the least way you could describe an injury, while still having an injury." Is that straight from a medical text?

Alby- No, I'm not a doctor. I could be wrong. Is there anything less than that?

Hey phils fans,
You guys put up a hell of fight and i give you all the credit in the world but you have to realize that your ownership doesn't care if they win or lose as long as the fannies are in the seats, your GM is collecting a paycheck and drinking tea in Toronto 3 days a week, you have a hick manager who can't handle normal in game decsions i.e. (pinch hitters & bullpen) but he does get his players to play hard. For that I'd give him an extension to show he ain't a lame duck manager.

Can someone please tell me who is the owner of the team? i always thought it was the Giles family but now i hear Bill Giles is actually figurehead for some corporation that owns the team? Huh? I mean if you guys had a real owner in there that cared like Steinbrenner then you'd have won a few pennants in this decade.

I'm guessing the Phils will finish around 86 wins about what they've done i believe the past 6 seasons...you guys cannot get over the hump and in looking at your team I would have to guess that the only weaknesses are at 3rd base and pitching. Even your catchers in Ruiz/Coste are above average when platooned correctly.

I would hate to admit it but if by chance your owners decide to really lay it all out there and want to win a championship then you guys have all the makings of a team that can get it done. There is actually a guy here in NY that plays 3rd and his name is ARod (i think you've heard of him) and he is going to test the FA market in the offseason. You guys would be incredible with him batting in the middle of the order. Just imagining next year's potential lineup as a NY fan scares me:
1. Rollins
2. Victorino
3. Utley
4. ARod
5. Howard
6. Burrell
7. Werth/Bourn
8. Catcher
9. Pitcher

I just don't know how you fix the pitching problems of the phils. They're starters really aren't that bad if you assume your headcase closer returns to the rotation next year with Hamels, Myers, Kendrick, Moyer and another FA you can get by. By no means should you ever let that bum Eaton start next year except in emergency roles. He will be the most over priced long man in the history of baseball but I think you have to put him in that role given his over 6 ERA in almost 30 starts. If he could become a viable option in the pen then you go out and get some guys to fill holes in the pen and spend some money on a quality setup/closer type i could see you guys getting over 90 wins next year.

Good luck and by the way the METS Suck go Phils we are rooting for you next year except in interleague games against us.

kdon: This is the problem with a stat like VORP. We know exactly how many games Eaton has cost us and how many he has won.

I see someone has discovered how to create a new screen name for himself

I do think the park is a problem in some cases with getting pitchers to come here. I'd say for a guy like Glavine, who's pretty much done it all, and can call the shots about where he wants to pitch, why would he want to pitch at CBP? Unless another ring is at the top of his list, and he feels the Phils are on the verge, and the Phils make the best offer.

Squatter: This is from a basic sports-injury web site:

Elbow Sprain: Mild sprains tear some ligament fibers, but you still have function. With a moderate sprain, some of the ligament and some function is lost. A severe sprain is a complete rupture of the ligament, or separation of your ligament from bone. A severe sprain can result in function loss and may require surgery.

Elbow Strain: A moderate strain tears muscle or tendons and you lose strength. A severe strain ruptures muscle and tendon attached to the bone. A severe strain can result in function loss and may require surgery.

Yanks fan: nice to have an objective outside perspective. The principal owner of the team is David Montgomery, but it's pretty clear that Bill Giles still bears the largest influence on whatever philosophical leanings the franchise has - namely, the line about everything being okay as long as fannies are in the seats. For all intensive purposes, Montgomery has represented no change whatsoever in tactics from the "Giles era".

No one thinks Rodriguez is coming here. If he isn't comfortable in NY, he won't like Philly. Chances are he won't be likely to settle for anything less than one of the other top markets in baseball, either LA, Chicago, or Boston. And yes, I know Philly is bigger than Boston, but not in terms of baseball it isn't.

The pitching problems of the team can't be fixed until there is a semblance of a farm system in place. The low-level minors are finally churning out a few glimmers of hope, but the organization is light years away from having any kind of real depth with which to orchestrate trades that might help fulfill needs of the major-league club.

Alby- Okay, Thanks. So Hamels has torn some ligament fibers, but still has function. Was there any injury that was less severe than that? As I said, and nooo, I'm not a doctor, but anything less is just sore, or tired, or something other than a sprain or strain.
Not trying to argue with you, but you keep questioning what I write without disproving it or showing I'm incorrect. What did I say that bothers you because it is non-factual?

I've got to be honest with you guys – I think the whole pitchers-don't-want-to-come-here-because-of-the-CBP-factor thing is complete BS. Fenway is currently second in ESPN's MLB Park Factor ratings (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor), Jacobs Field is 4th, Angels Stadium is 5th and Dodgers Stadium is 12th, all while the Bank is sitting at 15. I've never heard of pitchers shying away from those teams because of park factors. In fact, their current staffs kind of prove the opposite.

I think the simple, sad, truth of the matter is that the Phillies have done a piss-poor job of putting together a pitching staff. End of story. We can, and will, debate why that's the case until the cows come home, but it doesn't change it.

TOK: I agree the CBP thing is probably overrated, but you also have to contrast that with the fact that the Phils (usually) score a lot of runs. Pitchers like that. Also, a ground-ball pitcher wouldn't be as concerned with the fence distance.

Phil: "Your entire argument is based on the premise that he's not really that injured"

No - my argument is that neither Hamels nor anyone else seems to be able to determine the extent to which he is injured. I am not saying with certainty that he isn't. The only thing certain is that there is some degree of "risk" involved in him pitching now, the extent and severity of which no one knows. Most believe that any degree of risk is reason enough to keep his elbow under lock and key, but I am not quite so willing to go along with this line of thought.

Alby: "If you think it's potentially a future problem, what do propose we do about it?"

I'm not proposing they do anything except maybe getting on the same page as Hamels as much as possible in regards to his conditioning specifications. There appears to be a breach of communication present here. If I were the Phillies, I would maybe think twice before building all my hopes around a guy who has not only a chronic and degenerative condition, but an apparent unwillingness to pitch through discomfort. It adds up in my eyes to a guy who, despite his tremendous talents, will probably not be very reliable through the years. Naturally you hold on to him as long as possible and hope for the best, but if you're going to project him as a 'staff ace' for the next 10-15 years on the basis of his talent while ignoring his propensity for injury, you fool yourself into thinking your organization has an asset it might very well often be without.

A-Rod coming to Philly is not even a worthwhile hypothetical discussion. On the other hand, it is going to be real interesting this offseason to see if any team is willing to pay him nearly $30 million.

Even at $20-$25 million a year, there are only a handful of teams that can avoid him and the Mets are already out of the discussion with Reyes at SS/Wright at 3B. Wonder if a darkhorse like the Angels would jump in if his price is a bit reasonable. Should be one of the most interesting stories this offseason.

The Other Kevin - Totally agreed. With a few exceptions, Gillick has made this pitching staff weaker since he has arrived in Philly and his pitching acquisitions have been mostly total dud (Garcia, Gordon, Eaton) with the exception of the Moyer/Lohse trades.

The only positive thing that Gillick has done with the pitching staff while he has been here is that he is willing to give youngsters a chance but this has been necessary due more to pure need/Gillick's deficiencies as a GM than some brilliant move by management.

Here's what I think they need to do with the pitching staff:
1. Move Myers back into the rotation. He's just more valuable as a starter with a sub 4 ERA than as a reliever.
2. Make a trade similar to the Garcia trade or sign Schilling. Basically, acquire someone to slot somewhere in the first 3 rotation spots. Would Schilling really leave Boston? I can certainly see them not retaining him and a move to the NL would boost his stats.
3. See where Kendrick, Moyer, Eaton, and others slot in. Kendrick's had great results, but it'd be silly to count on him to repeat the performance given his peripherials.
4. Nuke the bullpen. Seriously, how many of the guys they have out there figure into their plans next year? Madson, assuming he's ok. Rosario, probably, but not for high-leverage situations. Romero's a maybe for me. But realistically, they need at least 2, possibly more, good arms for the back end. It won't be easy, but with some savvy and opportunistic trades, I think it can be done.

Regarding park factors :
They vary year to year. 15th is probably the lowest Philly is ever going to get, it was as high as 2nd a few years ago. It's true status is probably a moderate hitter's park, neither as extreme as 2 nor as neutral as 15.

One thing that does remain constant is the HR rate being above average. Sometimes it is the highest in the league - this year - and other times it is maybe 5th or 6th, but regardless the HR park factor is almost always going to be higher than the total park factor.

Since about 11% of all pitcher's fly balls tend to leave the park - regardless of pitcher - and CBP has very inflated HR totals, it stands to reason that it may be anywhere from 13-15% of flyballs leaving CBP from a given pitcher. Knowing this - and it isn't exactly in-depth sabermetrics - explains why Eaton was such a horrible signing and why Mateo would implode upon being called up.

To build a successful pitching staff, the team doesn't need a bunc of extreme groundballers like Derek Lowe or Brandon Webb. Besides being expensive and hard to find, it isn't necessary. If they just build a staff like the 2005 W. Sox, who won a world series with a home park many called 'a joke' etc. - then the Phils will be find. As long as they keep getting Eatons and Mateos, they will fail.

RSB: I don't read your argument that way. You've said basically that Hamels is coddled and needs to learn to pitch through pain. You've implied that he's being selfish by sitting out. Others have said, in terms only a little more veiled, that it's all in his head. All that doesn't awknowledge risk, it says the risk isn't significant at all. When you're dealing with the UCL, I'm just not sure that argument can really be made.

I understand the frustruation. Hamels gives them the best chance to win and the best chance to make the playoffs. He could potentially make a big difference. But there's no guarantee he'll be all that effective-he's been on the shelf for a month, after all and he may only pitch one game. Even if he's back and effective, the team still has a horrible, horrible bullpen and Eaton or Durbin will still be in the rotation.

Finally, let me explain again why I'm hesitant about using him. His UCL is structually sound but that doesn't mean there's no damage. It just means that it's nothing, right now, that the body can't heal itself. He's thrown almost exactly 30 more innings this year than last year, so he's right at the fatigue point. Remember what happened with Liriano last year: The Twins kept him on pitch counts, shut him down at the sign of pain, and waited until he was pain free to bring him back. But that obviously doesn't reduce the risk factors involved. The Phillies aren't doomed to get worse next year but losing Hamels in 08 would be really bad for their chances.

Argg, those Eaton quotes get me so mad. Instead of pitching Eaton, we should just put the ball on a tee and use the pitcher's spot for another infielder.

I have said that Hamels is coddled and is *perhaps* prioritizing selfish considerations, but I have been adamant on the emphasis that Hamels has not *tried* to pitch through pain. If he in fact made his final start against Washington while experiencing pain, then I have been wrong on this count - but then again, there is a Phillies.com article from Aug, 28 stating that "He said he felt fine in that game."

Please don't try to tell me what my argument is, Phil. I have clearly defined it more than once. I am not claiming definitively that the 'risk' isn't significant. My argument is that no one has determined whether or not the risk is significant, and that therefore his disablement has been predicated mainly on sheer precaution.

the Eaton quotes are especially frustrating in light of Peavy's comments after his win against the Dodgers last night:

"No way I can come in here and let the Dodgers win this first game," he said. "If I do that, then the team morale really gets down and we can easily roll over. You want to lead by example and I was just hoping to be good for the boys tonight and fortunately I was."

Of course, Peavy is there ace and a team leader and Eaton is neither. Eaton's a bum. Monday's game was one of the most exciting I've ever been to in my young life, and Tuesdays was one of the most pointless from the start. I'm hoping Hamels is starting one of the games I'm attending in St Louis.

To amend: Phil, based on your understanding of what afflicts Hamels, and the precedent of Francisco Liriano last season, you feel it's wise to keep Hamels out of action. I can live with that assessment, but I don't think it's the only possible conclusion to draw. My contention is that they very well may be playing this far too conservatively, and the timing of it needed to be considered by Hamels. I'm not saying, go out and break your arm and lie about how you feel, but considering the circumstances, at least give it a shot and see how it holds up. If he couldn't make it, that's one thing. Don't make it worse. But he has not been willing to put this 'discomfort' to any kind of test; instead, he automatically disqualifies himself at the first 'warning sign' of something that *may or may not* mean anything.

"Move Myers back into the rotation. He's just more valuable as a starter with a sub 4 ERA than as a reliever"

Sorry, but that just isn't going to happen (nor should it).

How do you win at a hitters park like CBP? Big offense (check), starting pitchers that throw strikes and/or ground ball pitchers (Hamels and Kendrick) and a top flight bullpen (not even close). You are going to give up runs at CBP, no matter how good a pitcher you are. Hamels was one of league leaders in HR's given up. Yet, he has learned how to do that, and still pitch well at home. Moyer has given up a ton of HR's, yet leads the staff in quality starts. Why? They throw strikes. Kendrick is a ground ball pitcher who throws strikes. You do that, and you can succeed long-term at CBP.

But, you cannot expect to win (make the playoffs) without a dependable, top-flight bullpen in this ballpark. You have to find bullpen guys that can do the following:

1. THROW STRIKES.
2. Get swing and misses.

Besides Myers and when he is healthy, Madson, the Phils have NO ONE that can do either of these things on a regular basis. The first part is the key thing. If you are even a little bit wild, you do not belong in the Phils bullpen today, tomorrow or next year. It has to be PRIORITY #1, #2 and #3 in the off-season. With just a average bullpen this year, this team is in the playoffs easily. With a good bullpen, they are ahead of the Mets. Its the only real difference between the Phils and Mets. And, its a big one.

Myers, in CBP, as a starter, would be just a little better than average. His stuff is much more condusive to closing anyway. He wants to close. He will flourish in that role. Leave him right where he is. Remember, the bullpen is the #1 PRIORITY. Besides the 3 overpaid, old guys (Eaton, Garcia and Lieber), the starters really haven't been that bad. On numbers, the Phils starters (when healthy) are about on par with the Mets (look at the stats this year).

Myers is going to have to go back to the rotation next season. He doesn't have the mentality to be a closer. We all know he lets things bother him on the mound. THis does not bode well for a closer. You might be able to get away with it a few times like Myers did but we have all seen him blow up in the past few weeks.

It could be said that if the Phils had an average rotation that they would be ahead of the Mets, too. Hamels, Kendrick, and Lohse isn't going to get it done. As bad as the bullpen has been, the starters have an even higher combined ERA.

There's something up with Myers. Mental or physical or both I'm not sure. Next time out, let's see if his fastball is 93-95, or significantly less. And lets see if he's throwing his fastball for strikes, or if it's a steady diet of hooks as in his last inning.

The season can't end soon enough as far as the remnants of this pitching staff is concerned.

Dude: I don't really know where I want Myers back in the rotation next year or not. For me, that totally depends upon the pitching acquisitions in the offseason.

As far as the "mentality of a closer" goes, I don't know that I believe that there is any distinct mental quality that distinguishes pitching as a starter and pitching as a closer. This goes back to what I said about Hamels earlier. There are certain guys that go out to the mound and are unshakable. There is no challenge that they don't want to go balls to the wall right at. Hamels has that in my opinon, and I also listed some others who I thought had it (Schilling, Clemens, Ryan, Pedro, Maddux). I imagine that those guys (As well as any pitcher should) look at every batter as a "must get" out. The great ones get frustrated if an individual pitch misses the target, even if the guy swings and misses. I don't know whether Myers has the focus of the greats, but I think that if he doesn't have what it takes to be great closer, then he also doesn't have what it takes to be a great starter. I personally think that he does have the stuff to be a closer.

Perhaps by "closer mentality" you mean fiery, and emotional. A lot of closers seem to exhibit those qualities. I think Myers definately has that. I just don't think there is a seperate quality that is necessary to be a great closer and a great starter. I think it is the same mental approach.

I got lucky today, and got invited to go to the Astros game tonight as Tropical Storm Humberto comes ashore. The game will probably go to the Cubs as Rich Hill goes against Houston local Matt Albers. I'll be keeping my eye on the green scoreboard in left field. Hopefully, Kendrick will put in another serviceable start and the Phillies can rock the Rockies.

RSB: "It adds up in my eyes to a guy who, despite his tremendous talents, will probably not be very reliable through the years. ... If you're going to project him as a 'staff ace' for the next 10-15 years on the basis of his talent while ignoring his propensity for injury, you fool yourself ..."

Well, yeah, I would hope that's obvious. I don't think anyone in this organization or any other would ever project a starter as EVER being able to go for that length of time. If you're only willing to give a guy a 5-year (or whatever length) contract, I don't think you ever look further down the road than that in today's game. Anyone who thought Hamels' injury history was behind him was fooling himself. I hope the front office didn't fall into that category.

Denny B: You've been thumping this tub about Myers as closer for a long time now, and it sounds great except for one thing -- Myers has failed in about 75 percent of his late-inning chances, and a higher percentage than that when the game is really close. The Hamels injury further underscores why Myers is needed in the rotation, a role in which he never had an injury.

Phil: Trading for a starter necessitates having a surplus somewhere, which we don't unless Rowand is signed for the outfield. I think they should make a run at Lohse, but there's no guarantee there. Besides an entire bullpen, we need a utility infielder, too.

DavThom: We signed LaForest so he can be stashed next season at AAA without generating all the negative publicity they got for sending down Coste. In other words, I'm almost certain that this offseason you will get your wish and Chris Coste will be freed.

See, but the whole "mental" thing comes into play because the closer only has one inning.

Starters know they can go 3, 4, 5 innings, give up a run or two and it not be the end of the world. Closers are made not to give up a run in only one inning. And the idea of that is so ingrained in their heads that the mental thing becomes a problem.

If a starter has a "mental" breakdown and gives up 3 or 4 runs in an inning, the game is a bit troublesome, but it's not over. If a closer does it, the game is over, he is the goat, blame is squarely on him.

Brett Myers doesn't have the mental ability to take that. Look at what he did two weeks ago. I'd much rather see Brett in situations where he doesn't need to worry about giving up one run here or there.

Denny: Oops, that should say Myers SUCCEEDED in 75 percent of his opportunities, which isn't a great rate for someone touted as a "top-flight" closer.

Or failed in 25 percent -- 12 out of 16 saves/wins.

Malcom, I can see that, but from what I see, Myers gets rattled when he gives up a hit or there is a bad play made behind him. I have seen him blow up plenty of times as a starter and cost the Phils games. If you give up 4 runs in an inning, it is still 4 runs. If your team does not score 4 runs you lose. It really doesn't matter when that inning occurs. I think that any pitcher who has the attitude that it is ok to give up runs because it is early, by definition, lacks the mental game to be great. That is distinct from giving up runs (Which is inevitable) and then recovering from that to pitch strong (Another thing that I think Hamels is brilliant at). For me, to be great at anything, you have to have the mentality that you cannot be beat, and if you do, then you make it into a war, and consider the defeat just a minor setback. To go into any competitive event and think that it is alright to fail at some point, is a losers mentality and not suggestive of greatness.

I also think that there is more that goes into it with Myers though. With Myers as a closer he can throw harder, and utilize his full repitouire of pitches faster. It seems that he has been using his curve a lot recently, but when you have one that is that good, why not use it?

I think the jury is still out, but somebody in the dugout thought that Myers would be better suited as a closer, and he has seems to have embraced it. I do not mean to suggest that Myers cannot be good in either the starter or the closer role with a certain mentality, my point is that he cannot be great if he takes an approach that failure is acceptable, and using it as a crutch.

phil and everyone else regarding schilling:
i'm finishing up school in boston and i read the local newspapers every day. i get the impression that Schill will probably NOT get re-signed by the Sox.
think about who they will have next year in their rotation:
1) Dice-k
2) Beckett
3) Wake (yes, i believe he's back for another year)
4) Clay Bucholz (the guy who threw the no-no for them)
5) John Lester

now clearly, the sox are up to their ears in money, but why would you want to spend an extra 10 mil potentially when the last 2 guys on the list above are both earning below 1 million dollars and (arguably) will be more effective than Schill

if schill becomes a FA they absolutely NEED to jump on that train and lock him into a deal. i believe his family still lives in the philly area.
it's only the logical move...

What is Lohse's status for next year?

RSB: The reason Cole Hamels is a Phillie is because of his propensiuty for injury. Had teams not been concerned about that, he would've be selected in the draft long before the Phillies turn came. He was considered a high-upside, high-risk pick at the time.

curt: Myers out pitch is his curveball. Always has been.

Lake Fred: Give me a scouting report on Matt Albers will you? How does he look, what's he throw, how does he handle adversity. I kinda like his potential.

Alby et al: I am in the parker camp on whether Myers should return to the rotation: It depends on who we get in the off-season. But both newspapers have carried stories recently that suggest all this speculation is moot. Myers will be the closer next year. He wants the job, Charlie and Pat want him to do it and that's that.

RSB, these are your comments from two seperate posts sequentially listed below:

1.) Saw this in Marcus Hayes' notes column: "Hamels, who pitched shutout ball through discomfort in his final start, Aug. 16, before alerting the Phillies to his issue."

If that's the case, then I stand corrected. I'd recalled that Hamels had said he simply hit a wall in that game due to the hot and humid weather, and that the inflammation did not arise in conjunction with his last start.

2.) But he has not been willing to put this 'discomfort' to any kind of test; instead, he automatically disqualifies himself at the first 'warning sign' of something that *may or may not* mean anything.

I don't even need to point out the obvious contradictions here. Does some Mets fan borrow your computer at night?

jr: Lohse is a free agent at season's end.

WOW what a great start so far....hopefully kendrick can stay composed, but this rockies lineup is very very good, and it doesn't help with two dinky hits like that

jr: I'd love to see Schill back here but it will never happen as long as the Giles group still owns the team. They value loyaltyu and keeping your mouth shut above skill and talent.

Triple Play!!!!! Dobbsie

Triple Play!!! ok mickey morandini to mario duncan to kruk

wow.

That's your classic 4 pitches, 2 hits, and 3 outs inning.

That's what can happen when you keep throwing strikes.

beautiful, gotta love the triple play.

Yeah, color me unimpressed by the Myers closer experiment.

Big chance for the big man.

Wonder if Hurdle is re-thinking that 9th inning bark fest with De Mura?

Damn -- 39 years of watching several thousand baseball games, and I've never seen a triple play live...still haven't.

So far this game already has provided more entertainment than all of last night.

19.06 ERA for Bautista? How did the Phillies avoid signing him?

Man, Bautista's so bad he should be pitching for us.

I kid, I kid...

attywood, that is the second on they have turned this year.

We are talk and claim that no team in a playoff race starts someone like Eaton, or has a rotation like the Phils, and look what the Rockies have thrown out there last night and tonight. Although last night it did work out for them.

Missed 'em both.

sigh...

its situations like this where i wish we had a team with players on it who could just PUT THE DAMN BALL IN PLAY

That swing by Rowand is kind of unbelievable. Howard missed a good pitch, but Rowand had no excuse there.

you've got to be kidding me.

wtf is rowand swinging at..dobbs better pick this team up or we are in for a loong night, batista isn't throwing strikes

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