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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Comments

Today's game felt a lot like Saturday's. Phillies seemed tight and out of synch at the plate.

After the game, by far the most popular topic among callers to WIP radio implied the fans shared in the blame because they weren’t 'pumped up' enough.

I’ll offer a different take on why the majority of fans near me weren’t playoff-caliber. They weren’t there to watch baseball in any serious way.

A fight broke out about ten rows behind us and a guy was taken out in a stretcher. About five rows in front, a group of about 5-10 belligerent meatheads tried their best to turn the crowd into a football crowd, bullying fans for not standing and cheering in situations that were completely stupid.

It seemed to be a similar scene all over the park, and the walk out revealed the piles and puddles under the seats to support that fact. It was pretty embarrassing to be honest. I like to throw down as much as the next guy, but could we just dial it down a tad and watch some ball? After the introductions, it basically felt like a college night, not a playoff game.

My last playoff game was 14 years ago and I recall a different scene, one with more focus, civility and intelligence. Perhaps the 3 p.m. Wed. start contributed to the vibe. It was pretty ugly, at least where I was seated.

Yikes. I'm headed down tomorrow, so hopefully everyone got it out of their system today.

I was at the game on Sunday and that crowd was great.

Ribbies, I was also there on Sunday and there was a great overall atmosphere.

Ribbies: Hopefully it was just a once and done with this one being the first, like a teenager getting trashed at their first alcohol party.

J. Weitzel- perhaps we can get gramps to tell us about the days when men wore coats and ties to the games. They probably had their problems then, too, but I wonder what it was like to attend, say, circa 1940.

hey guys-
so i was really upset and depressed after the game today. i can't really remember ever being so excited and pumped up for a sports game of any kind (outside of the super bowl in 2005) in my life.
after distancing myself from the game a little bit and thinking about it a little more rationally, i think i was able to evaluate it fairly - basically it boils down to this:

the phillies 1-4 hitters went a combined 0-15 with 9 k's. and they were STILL in the game for all intensive purposes until the 8th inning! the phillies had zero business being in this game, considering the incredible failures of the offense today. but what i can take from this game is lots of hope that when (not if) the offense gets going, this team will have lots of success in the playoffs.

i still have hope. we will take it down tomorrow. if you're going to the game, go crazy and support our boys!

There are always bits of good news to inspire hope: Saint Louis just fired their GM. Maybe someone local might be interested? {hint, hint?}

Yikes, when I checked the boxscore and saw 0-15 for Jimmy, Shane, Chase, and Ryan I realized how lucky they were to have only lost by 2. I am headed to CBP tomorrow and can only hope JRoll announces his presence from the 1st inning on. He is the heartbeat of the lineup. I've lost zero faith.

I can't help but think that this team continues to have problems playing loose and playing their game when they are considered the favorite or frontrunner.

I was at the game today and came away very disappointed in that they lost playing like they were afraid to lose...instead going out to win. They took way too many 85 mph fastballs for strikes early in the count...and waiting for the perfect pitch. Also, if you're not going to put Michael Bourne in to steal, don't put him in. The Rockies were dying to crack under pressure...the Phils just didn't put any on them.

@Section 102:
i agree completely with the comment about Bourn. how does Ruiz see 5 pitches and Bourn doesn't try to steal ONCE - in a 1 run game??

"Longsleeve" theory . . . interesting. Dubee said that Hamels had too much energy when they talked to him in the 4th.

I just wonder if Hamels wasn't a bit tired early on since he threw 116 pitches last time out (which was the most pitches he had thrown in a long time).

Why is Michael Bourn not stealing when he pinch ran for Dobbs? He might be the "fastest runner in the NL" according to TBS, but that doesn't help when you are taking a step back towards first on a sharp grounder to second. He seemed way too tentative. He should have just been cut loose to steal. Homeruns are not going to fall like pennies from heaven in the playoffs. Manuel needs to get aggressive and go for the throat.

Interesting long-sleeve jersey theory. Doubt anyone else picked up on it. Apparently Hamels also wasn't working well with Ruiz in that inning.

Ugh, I don't care about either of these teams. That stadium reminds me of how hideous Phoenix is beyond those stadium walls.

RSB & MG: That theory is now fact, confirmed by Salisbury. Long-sleeve undershirt factored into his meltdown inning. I posted the link in the header.

I take it back about no one else picking up on the long-sleeve factor. Check out Jim Salisbury's column in the sidebar. He's right on top of it. Hamels said it in fact was a big seal.

Weitzel - That is an interesting take on the crowd reaction. Either way, it seemed that it was not a good or knowledgeable baseball crowd today (which is usually not the case in Philly).

I do know that tickets to the game were going for ridiculous prices. Maybe that, along with it being an afternoon game/reason to skip work, contributed to the large beer consumption/general idiocy.

I have to say the dozen or so games I have been to since CBP opened have generally been much better than the crowd at the Vet (particularly in the upper deck). Security is better and you just don't seem to have as large of that beer-swilling, idiot contingent that was always present in the 700 level at the Vet during Phils' games.


uh, a big deal. I don't know if the seal was big.

weirdly, Utley's other 4 K game was against that illustrious KC Royals pitching staff. 3 swinging Ks against Scott "2.00 WHIP" Elarton and one against David Riske.

If Bourn steals second, the worst situation we have is Bourn on third and 2 outs. If he happens to run on the pitch Ruiz hits, we have first and third and one out (given the 2nd baseman most likely is covering second). If you had no plans on sending Bourn with one out...then wait until Ruiz hits before replacing Dobbs, and therefore not going through 4 players (Helms-Dobbs-Bourn-Nunez).

Still, if they go into the remaining games with this passive play, the season will be over on Saturday.

Jeez, I'm way late again. I guess I was reading the column when you posted that, Jason.

Weitzel - Excellent blogger and crap media reporter.

It is a damn shame to think that a sweaty palm from wearing long sleeves caused Hamels to walk Matsui. Ugh.

October means we have to deal with John fracking Mellencamp all over again.

Weitzel - Doh. Crafty. Mean crafty.

You would have thought I would become a Cholly defender but I don't have a problem with any move he made today except maybe questioning the lineup. Even then maybe Cholly wanted some speed at the top of the lineup to spark things. Just didn't happen because nobody got on base.


Last post but the guy who had the best hacks today at the plate was Burrell.

Only poor AB he had was that 1-pitch out against Hawkins to start the 7th.

I can't agree more with the passive play. Get aggressive or go home.

Anybody else have a problem with TBS? I have no desire to listen to some scrub Braves announcer. It's hard to admit but I would rather here Gary Matthew talk about "in the zone" then hear these snoozers.

I have to say I appreciate that TBS got some actual professionals to do these games, unlike Fox foisting bombast and buffoonery (Steve Lyons was the ultimate insult) upon baseball viewers.

[A fight broke out about ten rows behind us and a guy was taken out in a stretcher. About five rows in front, a group of about 5-10 belligerent meatheads tried their best to turn the crowd into a football crowd, bullying fans for not standing and cheering in situations that were completely stupid.]

Interesting. My parents have had Flyers season tickets for a few years now and this same phenomena occurred the year before last during the playoffs. A group of young guys whom we'd never seen all year were making a spectacle in our section. When we asked them to sit and quit making a scene, they simply said, "Haven't any of these people been to an Iggles game before?"

In any case, today was a rough day. I'll join in with the optimistic side of the beerleaguer crew for tomorrow.

I can't think the crowd, this team, the situations will repeat themselves thoroughly.

If any game can ever be said to be rich with intangibles that negatively affected the Phils, this could be it. Of course, the offense had to deliver when it had to.

But like I said, this entire situation won't repeat itself. Tomorrow's crowd HAS to be better. Tomorrow's sunlight battle HAS to be better. Tomorrow's pitching HAS to be fairer. Tomorrow's strike zone HAS to be better. Tomorrow's result HAS to work out for us.

I honestly think we'll be OK tomorrow. I can't count these guys out. Once we get this one, how much do you want to bet we loosen up totally in Denver? That's why I still got us taking it in four.

Not to alarm anyone, but Morales's ERA over September was 2.88, hitters hitting .184, 0.88 WHIP. The kid's a big-time prospect and while he is young and could easily lay an egg, he could just as easily have a great outing.

but tray bear in mind that morales only has pitched 39 innings in MLB in his career. he has never pitched more than 6 innings in a game, and only pitched more than 5 innings 3 times in 8 starts.
he also had some accuracy issues in a couple games earlier in late august - he walked 8 guys in his last 2 starts in august which resulted in 2 subpar outings.
the phils need to make this guy throw pitches tomorrow, obviously. take pitches early on in the ballgame, foul a lot of balls off, and hope he burns himself out by the 5th inning and has walked people to get himself into trouble.

He was very accurate last month though. I don't expect him to go deep into the game, but he could pitch very well in the innings he does pitch - and with their bullpen a 6-inning start isn't a problem.

Hamels seemed to have a bit of a conflict with Chooch today.
Yes, The Phils will be fine tomorrow.

Why do any of those things HAVE to be better? They don't.

The Phillies can't control the crowd or the sun or the strike zone, but they can control their approaches at the plate. This is an offense prone to poor discipline and over-anxiousness, and they damn well HAVE to corral that and come out playing smart, not emotional.

Walt Jocketty in Philadelphia. That will be the day. I can just see that meeting now, lots of data, well-reasoned analysis, excellent baseball stuff, and then Monty pipes up and says "I think I speak on behalf of the whole group (mostly absent, of course). We don't do that here in Philadelphia. How can you make sure we don't go over budget, Walt?"

I like Dick Stockton doing baseball better than him doing football or basketball. I didn't watch Game 3, but was Ron Darling talking about The Collapse? Surprised to hear him, then I realized he has a history with both Arizona and the Cubs.

How do we hit this guy Morales? Can we expect Victorino down lower in the lineup? Do they choke up for three innings until the shadows go away? Foul a bunch of crap off? I would try anything and everything in this yet again must-win situation.

I just hope that Cholly can work fast enough to make the adjustments necessary.
The team of Dick Stockton and Darling was a bit better than the team that did the Phils game

I just hope that Cholly can work fast enough to make the adjustments necessary.
The team of Dick Stockton and Darling was a bit better than the team that did the Phils game

I thought that after two leadoff HRs to get within one run, you have to score more in that inning with still 3 outs left, especially with a pitcher that was a bit shell-shocked, to keep the building cauldron growing. When it didn't happen, I felt we were done, and we were.

The long-sleve undershirt theory is true, but for godsake, you've had all season in all kinds of weather to figure that out!!!

Team reminds me of the '76 Phils in the playoffs --- just not ready.

But, Game 2 is a new day. Time to get dirty and play ball.

Sounds like the fans that populated the stands throughout the season either couldn't get off work or couldn't afford the ticket prices or both and we got a bunch of heavy drinkers with perhaps a passing interest in the Phils.

What history does Darling have with the Arizona or the Cubs? Or do you mean Stockton?

I don't see them doing much with Morales tomorrow, unless his command is absent. It's not like Utley and Howard are suddenly going to lock in against tough LH pitching. If Kendrick can keep them close, though - and he always does - they'll have a shot.

I meant Bob Brenly, RSB. And I agree with everything else.

It wasn't *that* bad was it?

Positives to take are basically, bar one terrible inning, Hamels and the Defense performed well, great recovery from being hit on the shin to throw to 1st by the way Cole.

They looked toothless with the bat though... Never built any pressure, pretty much the only time they got a guy on base was from walks.

I remain optimistic...

the "long-sleeve" theory? now i've heard everything.

crowd seemed pretty great and into it, up in section 430 (and then on the upper deck concourse). no hooligans that i saw.

There is room to be somewhat optimistic here, or at a bare minimum, not pessimistic. Morales is going to be tough, there is no doubt about that. I don't expect the Phillies to come out and pound this guy. If they get it done, I think it will be because he gives up some BB and a few clutch hits.

Basically there are two rookie pitchers going out today. Kendrick has over 100 IP in the major leagues, which eliminates his rookie status at this point for all intents and purposes. Morales has 39 IP, so he is still a little green.

If there is an inning like the one where Francis got in trouble (2 HR, back to back or the like), I can see Morales being rattled. Francis handled the pressure well after having some major trouble. I don't necessarily see Morales having the same poise as Francis. However, I've been burned before in thinking that young pitchers don't know how to bear down. Morales has the stuff to no hit teams. We just have to force him into some frustration.

The zone will be a key. If Morales is forced to pitch over the plate, it could be a long day. If on the other hand, he gets the outside strike on the left handers, it is going to be a struggling battle all day long.

I have class all day and the wait is almost unbearable. The only thing more unbearable would be seeing a loss today. I hope they come through. Go Phillies!!!!!

I have to defend the fans a little here. I was there yesterday, as I was on Sunday, and the vibe at the beginning of this game was very much the same (except for the Mets collapsing against the Marlins part). I have to assume most of the people in the crowd were season ticket holders (as I am) and their guests. So the crowd was largely made up of the very same people who were there all season and committed to this team before the season started.

However, when your 1-4 go 0-15 with walk and look lifeless, well, it's likely to take something out of the crowd. It's the same thing with the ballclub. When they win everyone says, "Gee, look at the energy and effort they're playing with," and when they lose it"s, "they just aren't giving the same effort and energy" when in fact the only difference is the result.

Give the fans at the game a break. They got a crap performance. If the Philies play well today you'll all say "See how great the crowd was today." It's about the team performing on the field. Everything follows that. If Jimmy gets on base 3 times today, I bet the crowd is fantastic.

Gang - The post-season is all about pitching...you couldn't ask for a softer 1st round opponent and their #3 pitcher shut you down...the Phils will be golfing at home by Monday.

The Troll

Tough day yesterday.

I listened to 1210 on the radio through the 6th with Beerleaguer on the computer (thnks again, Beerleaguer), then was able to catch the last couple of innings on TV.

A couple of comments from that perspective:

(1) Beerleaguer comments early in the game and the radio comments seemed to indicate Hamels was getting pinched on his strike zone. On TV in the later innings, it did not seem to me to be a particularly tight zone. In fact, I thought a couple of the pitches - like the slider to Ryan Howard in the 9th - were pretty clearly out of the strike zone, and certainly so if the guy was calling a tight zone.

(2) Got the impression of an overall feeling of tightness, of the hitters getting up there and hoping things would sort themselves out rather than being on top of the game. I remember the Phils teams of the late 70's who struggled for a few years to get past Lopes' Dodgers teams in the playoffs. It just seemed to take them a couple of years to get the attitude of being the Alpha Dog in a post season scenario.

(3) Maybe related to the above, I only saw Chase bat once, but he almost had a deer in the headlights aura that I have NEVER seen from him before. Usually you get the feeling he controls the situation and even if he takes a K, you can almost see him making the adjustments mentally and you know that the pitcher will probably pay the price the next time he bats. Not so yesterday, he seemed a little overmatched up there.

(4) Only saw one of his ABs', and didn't see his presence in the field, but it's also interesting that Rowand, who has been there before, was the one who broke the ice.

I have no doubt Utley will be a totally different player today. He's just not the sort to let that happen twice in a row.

None of the Phillies mentioned the shadows as an excuse, which is a good thing. A couple of weeks ago after a Fox game (if I recall correctly) Rowand or someone said he couldn't really see a pitch until the six inning. The Rockies didn't have any problems in the 2nd, so if the pitches are there, you can see them.

Okay, I take that back, Utley did mention the shadows, per his quote in Marcus Hayes article

It's not the most ideal hitting conditions," Utley allowed.

Good morning everyone.

The crowd of 3 here at the little bar on the prairie was quite pumped (yet courteous) throughout the game yesterday, and I expect we will be again today.

Go Phillies!

Anybdy seen this (from Philly.com)?

Rockies closer Manny Corpas came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth, retired the Phillies in order and that was that.
Or was it?

TBS cameras on Corpas warming up before coming into yesterday's 4-2 Colorado win in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park clearly showed the righthander pour a cup of water or soda on the front of his shirt before leaving the bullpen and then rubbing dirt on the area.

Then, when he went into the game, he appeared to go to that spot before several of his pitches in order to get a better grip on the baseball. Since the Rockies' road jerseys are black, any discoloration on the shirt would have been difficult to detect.

And more on teh shadows:


Players from both clubs pointed to the reason. The unusual start time of 3 p.m., dictated by Major League Baseball's postseason television-rights contract with TBS, meant the hitters would be in shadows during most of the game.

"Network baseball stinks," Phillies centerfielder Aaron Rowand said. "I'll have to have a talk with the president of TBS."

We gotta resign that guy.

Shadows, long-sleeves, and dirty closers. Was Cole's chiropractor unavailable too?

I blame Dane Cook. Hamels had the great misfortune of going to see "Good Luck Chuck" Monday night. That would bring me down, too.

MLB.com has picked up on "long-sleevesgate" -

"Wardrobe malfunction costs Hamels"
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071003&content_id=2246891&vkey=ps2007news&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Chstk- I saw Corpas do it. He sort of leaned back in an awkward motion with his head forward and spilled water on his breastbone area. At the time, I thought he was jittery, or had some sort of weird ritual. Directly after that, they cut to a Rockie on the field doing a sort of ungraceful jig or something. At the time I thought that the Rockies were acting a little strange (see earlier posts about religious fanaticism), but I didn't put it together that Corpas may be cheating. I didn't see him apply any dirt, but he definitely applied water to his chest.

Good point phargo.

Also, nothing on MLB.com about "sticky chestgate".

Also, Rowand has a playoff blog here -
http://aaronrowand.mlblogs.com/.

I've been reading Rowand's playoff blog. He says that nobody is panicking, and nobody should be because that just leads to more problems. However, they absolutely must win today before heading to Colorado. I feel good about things today. No way Rollins, Utley and Howard do an 0-for again today.

How come the Phils have to play (2) 3pm games?
o yeah so Sox and Wanks get prime time.
Also, it kinda makes me nervous when Chase said "its not the best hitting conditions" when referring to the shadows. Its gonna be like that today.
Lets hope for an over cast day.

Good luck Phils !

No cause for panic yet - all the "big guys" caught a case of playoff jitters yesterday.
If they lose today - I'll agree with bruceg that the Phils are done.

The problem with a 5-game series is that anything can happen. Francis was blown out in his regular season starts vs. the Phils. Yesterday he was unhittable. Morales was unhittable in his regular season starts. Today, who knows? The Royals beat the Rockies AND the Phillies 2 of 3. The Devil Rays beat the Yankees. I said this before the series began: Anything can happen. You just have to hope the better team prevails. In this case, the Phillies are clearly the better team.

Jason, interesting observations about the crowd, followed up by Sophist's remarks about "Haven't any of these people been to an Iggles game before?"

It sounds like the Mardi Gras day complaints about Bourbon street, where in the good old days people partied and got drunk, but now it resembles a combination of Girls Gone Wild and college spring break at Panama City Beach. I've attended back to back Tulane and Saints games at the Superdome. The behavior at the college games are better, a more genteel crowd. The NFL game has a more common working class cursing and drunkeness atmosphere. It is noticeable.

I watched yesterday's game while working with the MLB Hot Corner centerfield camera view on a reduced screen overlaying a full screen of MLB Gameday. For sound, I was listening to the local AM sports station that would give occasional updates. One of the AM station comments caught my ear. When Aaron Rowand was batting, the AM radio guy referred to Aaron as the Astros new centerfielder for next season. I hope not.

Crazy Jon wrote: "If they lose today - I'll agree with bruceg that the Phils are done."

I disagree. With this team, it ain't over until its over. It's quite conceivable to drop two games, then win three games. This team has a fight and grit to it.

The thought of a Rockies-D-Backs NLCS disgusts me.

Class has begun, and I'm not sure how much longer I can resist the urge to intentionally inflict pain on myself.

In the words of Tom Petty: "The waiting is the hardest part."

Lake Fred: The Astros have Hunter Pence in CF, they have no need for Rowand.

NastyEme, I know! Hunter Pence is a fabulous player. The Astros' fans love him. To me, he should be a fixture in center, unless they want to acquire Rowands and shift Pence to RF. An outfield of Carlos Lee, Aaron Rowands and Hunter Pence would be quite formidable.

Hunter experienced the Chris Coste syndrome. Pence ripped up spring training, only to be sent to the the minors to start the season. Since his call up, he has continued his spring training hitting prowess and has become a fan favorite.

I think the Phillies need to sign former GM Jocketty to a consultant contract and name him heir apparent to Gillick. This would force Junior to man up and head elsewhere.

Long time reader...infrequent poster...just want to echo the sentiment about this not being a time to panic.

We did appear tentative yesterday, but it also just seemed like just one of those days...the shadows clearly played a huge role on our 1-4 (by the way, did anyone else think the shadows "went away" during the top of the 2nd...I was only watching on TV, and we don't have TBS in HD up here in suburban NY, so I couldn't quite tell), Cole's wardrobe malfunction, the appreciably larger strike zone in the 8th and 9th inning.....none of these things went our way. That's baseball, that's why we all love (and hate) this game, and let's credit the Rockies for playing well and taking advantage of what we gave them. Today, everything might go our way, and I for one won't be complaining. I don't think the players will carry this over. I hope the crowd doesn't as well.

Let's go Phightins.

LETS GO PHILS!

Lake Fred,

The AM announcer's comment is not one that warms the cockles of my heart. I guess there will be plenty of time to debate the Rowand stay/go decision after the season. But when I look at what he has meant to the team this year, how he fits in the lineup, what he brings in terms of leadership and tenacity, and typically (and probably not totally coincidentally) how he was the one who started things off yesterday...He came here for two years and has thrown his heart and soul into this Philly team.

I know, I know. He's having a career year, he will be ridiculously expensive, we need pitching more, all that. But it's not like freeing up his salary will buy us anything terrific in the way of pitching. Jeez, do the Astros want him more than we do?

I suspect the stats oriented guys on this site, who I freely admit know far more than I, can demolish the above thoughts with cold logic. But when I think of these Phils, who are this close to really being a team to be feared, letting him drift away, it's like a punch to my gut.

"Why do any of those things HAVE to be better? They don't.

The Phillies can't control the crowd or the sun or the strike zone, but they can control their approaches at the plate. This is an offense prone to poor discipline and over-anxiousness, and they damn well HAVE to corral that and come out playing smart, not emotional."

You're questioning the pseudo rant of an emotional and drunken fan.

Honestly, those intangibles may or may not improve, but yes, like I said, the offense must. They were sleeping on the job yesterday.

Think Rowand will talk to TBS' president about the start times while visiting the Braves this off-season?

The 3 p.m. times stink, plain and simple. I've never been so happy to see overcast skies in my life.

They'll bounce back today. It's how they do.

I think that you have to give some credibility to the fact that the shadows bother the players. It is not like it is only the Phillies that are complaining about the problem. Both teams expressed frustration. That being said, the Phillies have to adapt to it and play better in the circumstances than the Rockies. After all, it is not like the Phillies have not played in these same circumstances many itmes this year. It is their home ballpark. The shadows are little excuse for a team that is playing at home and presumably has encountered the same situation numerous times. If anything, it should benefit the Phillies that the other team has not been exposed to the conditions. Either way, they have to get over that BS and play some baseball.

I was at the game yesterday and while I did have quite a few beers (and our entire tailgating crew got hustled by a guy in the "which bottle cap is the ball under" game), i didnt think the crowd was bad....people seemed fired up and into it from my seats in 116

why didnt hamels try and pull a pedro and remove the undershirt in the middle of the inning....im sick of the excuses....time to get it done, Phils.

The worst part about yesterday's loss is that I can't get on Beerleaguer & write an angry post about any of the usual suspects. The loss wasn't Adam Eaton's fault. It wasn't the bullpen's fault. It wasn't the third base coach's fault. It wasn't because of anything Pat Gillick did or did not do in the last off-season. And it wasn't the result of any managerial blunders. The 3 guys who are the primary reason for the Phillies being in the playoffs were also the primary reason for this loss. Not much you can say or do.

It's like in Moneyball when Billy Beane says, "My sh*t doesn't work in the playoffs." Yeseterday, the Phillies sh*t didn't work. Today, it had better. Even the most devout optimist could not believe they can fall behind 2-0 at home and come back to win the series.

BAP: While I don't want to go down 2-0, I wouldn't count the Phils out if they did. I could easily see them loosening up in Colorado and knocking them around. The Rockies will either be sending out weaker, righthanded starting pitching, or Francis on 3-days rest, in games 3 and 4.

That being said ... A win today is pretty much essential, as it's hard to bank on winning 3 straight in the playoffs.

We Should Be GM's was at the ball game too yesterday and were sweating out nuts off wondering why the hell Hamels was rockin' the long sleeve shirt. It was hot yesterday, no need to "stay warm" because the temperature on the field had that covered.

I will only count the Phillies out when they have lost the 3rd game. Otherwise, I will not give up on them. Seen too much weird stuff this year to ever think they are out of it. Go, Phils!

I think it's tough to assume that the Phils would not be done down 2-0 - the Phils were 13 over .500 at home, only 3 over .500 on the road, while COL was 20 over .500 at home and sub-.500 on the road.
I know anything can happen in a 5-game series, but to expect the Phils to take 2 games on the road against a team that plays significantly better at home is borderline irrational.
Today's a must-win game - I stand by my earlier post.
Bruceg: keep my seat warm next to you if the Phils go down big early.

When I see a pitcher dealing in the first few innings, I want to see someone on the offense drop a bunt. Statistics will tell you this play doesn't work, but it has to be the single most play that causes the weirdest results. Pitchers throw into right field, catchers trip over home plate, a shadow screws up the first baseman, etc. When no one's hitting, it's worth the out to try and get the defense/pitcher to make a mistake.

I'm not as much as a stat guy as others, but after this season and looking at the facts, you could say it's borderline irrational to think the Phils can't win 3 games in a row (and 2 in a row on the road)

No pun intended, but this isn't a "Rocky" movie, where our hero gets knocked down 17 times in the first 11 rounds, but you know all along he's going to come back and knock the guy out in the 12th. We can't lose the first 2 games at home, against a sizzling hot team with a fabulous home record, & still harbor any realistic belief that we're going to come back & win the series.

If they lose today, yes, I will still watch Game 3 and, yes, it's still metaphysically possible they could come back & win the series. But the odds of it actually happening would be fantastic.

Simply put, they MUST win today. If they do -- and I think they will -- the series is still wide open.

BAP, one thing we know is that The Phils make nothing easy. Yes, I feel pretty strongly they will win today.

Hi, I don't post here much - I am a silent reader though to these columns pretty much daily . . . Here is what bothered me about game 1:

1) Why did Dobbs NOT stay in the game? I agree with Dobbs hittng for Helms, and he had an incredible AB. But Dobbs should of stayed in to run and play 3B. Also, if the game was tied - there was a chance Dobbs would of hit. I definitely would want Dobbs up there instead of Nunez.

2) Now, if you don't want Dobbs running (which I wouldnt either...) I would of hit for Ruiz. Isn't that the reason we carried a 3 catcher? I would of hit Taguchi for Ruiz and then had Coste hit for Gordon. - bringing Romero in for the next half inning.

Yes, Gordon only threw 5 pitches in that first .01 of an inning - but I would of taken my chances with Romero and atleast built up some confidence for Gordon.... And by having Bourn PR - that blew him for Burrell if Burrell got on base his next AB.

Just my thought though. - Brad

I was in section 212 with a good view of the park. My section was a bit deader than others but at least no one asked me to sit down as I was up quite a bit. It looked like after 3rdbase and after 1st base there were large sections standing most of the game and the crowd stayed in it longer than normal.

Agree 100% on why not send Bourn. We need to be aggressive. Spped is one of our big advantages over the Rockies. We have ability to manufacture runs. You know Werth would have gone. He always goes in those situations.

Did you notice that Werth was ready to pinch hit for Nunez in the 9th if Burrell had reached. So if we tied Coste would have played 3rd base.

Bright spots - great at bats by Dobbs and Iguchi.

Dumb Strategy: Not double switching with Ruiz for Barajas or Coste when JC was brought in. Wouldn't have had to waste Myers in the 9th because JC could have pitched another inning.

Scariest Thing: No one cares about Corpas's cheating.

Today's starter for the Rockies- Franklin Morales, has faced the Phillies one time previously allowing only 3 hits in 5 innings pitched with no runs. It was his 1st MLB win. He's a lefty too, against which we suck.

Our playoff fortunes now fall on the shoulders of a 23-year old pitcher who joined the majors following a 5 year minor league career in which he compiled a record of 14-35.

I went back to look at what we were all saying when Kendrick got called up. The consensus seemed to be, "What other choice do we have?"

Jason wrote: "The odds are slim he’s ready to handle it. If he’s pounded, he could fall into a developmental tailspin."

Tray wrote: "our pitching staff won't be playoff-caliber with Myers closing and Kendrick starting either."

GM-Carson wrote: "For the sake of Kendrick and the Phils, I hope he can settle into the 5th starter role. I know that's a longshot, but it could happen."

ae wrote: "6 [innings] and 4 [runs]? uh, this kid's never even faced AAA hitters. high expectations much? if Kendrick gives up less than 6 runs, it's a success."

clout wrote: "The statistics tell me that Kyle Kendrick will be a major league pitcher someday. He has the stuff. What we find out tonight is whether he has the composure."

Well... we found out. In his major league debut against the Chicago White Sox, he pitched 6 strong innings, allowing just three runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. He also struck out four, throwing 92 pitches (55 strikes).

In his first 6 starts, he pitched at least 6 innings and only gave up more than 3 runs once. Thirteen of his 20 starts were quality starts. He finished the season with a 2-1 K/BB ratio and a 1.55 GB/FB ratio.

No one, at least no one not related to Kyle Kendrick, could have predicted this level of success.

And now, once again, the fate of this team is on this kid's shoulders.

our pet guinea pig is geared up for the game today. his favorite players are carlos ruiz (he has an autographed mini helmet) and jd durbin. don't ask me why, he just perks up when they're playing. phillies baseball is his favorite thing to watch on tv with the one possible exception of 24 (he's a big jack bauer fan).

yeah, i'm out of my mind.

Brad:

Obviously, Nunez came in because he's a much better defensive player than Dobbs. Whether right or wrong, it's a moot point because Nunez never got to the plate. In fact, I believe he was the next scheduled hitter when Burrell flied out to end the game, & Cholly actually had a pinch hitter, Jayson Werth, on deck. At the time, I was wondering who was going to play third base in the unlikely event the Phillies came back to tie. Couldn't be Iguchi, as he was already gone. That leaves Coste, who played third base in the minors.

It's a real stretch to blame this one on Cholly for letting Ruiz hit in the 7th. Ruiz has been hitting reasonably well lately & had a hit earlier in the game. You can always play the "what if" game, but if the Phillies' 1-4 hitters go 0 for 15 with 9 strikeouts, they're going to lose 99 games out of 100.

I'm torn. Part of me thinks this offense can't be kept down 2 days in a row, and that they are gonna explode today. The other part of me sees another talented lefty on the mound with stuff at a 3 PM start time- why will this be any different from yesterday? And as good as Kendrick has been, he is no Cole Hamels. Hopefully, my first part is right.

Seems to me that the issue is nothing more than "pressing" in a big game. These guys are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders right now and trying to do a little too much. The tricky part is that pressing is not an easy thing to fix. Its not like they can just decide to relax and play ball, especially with today's game being even more important than yesterday's.

Usually, when these kinds of things happen mid-season (see Ryan Howard early in the year), it takes a few days on the bench to put things in perspective. Unfortunately, we don't have that luxury. A couple of decent AB's may wake the sleeping giants. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.

It's hard to imagine Rollins-Vic-Utley-Howard having 2 games in a row with 0 hits. Of course it's possible, but very unlikely. The bats will wake up today! Hopefully, Cholly can relax them enough (and as aside, I in no way blame Cholly for yesterday's loss.)

Jack: I share your concerns. The Phillies may have a good hitting team but, like any good hitting team, they can have slumps. Utley really hasn't been the same since he returned from his injury & the same is true of Victorino. The Phillies did not hit all that well over the last week or so of the season. They managed to win anyhow by getting unusually good pitching & by getting some timely homeruns. They have been living or dying by the homerun ball, which was true again yesterday. That formula becomes more difficult when you get into the playoffs & start to face better pitching.

The offense needs to make things happen today. We rode our moster offense into the postseason, its time they break out and put up a 10 spot.

The first 2 or 3 innings will determine the outcome of this series.

If the Phils can get some early base runners, maybe swipe a few bags and get a couple of early runs, they'll loosen up and the flood gates will open for the rest of the series.

If not, and the Rox score early, the pressure only mounts and this team is as good as done.

These lefty pitchers are why I would have preferred not to see the Rockies. But we got em, so let's hope Morales makes some rookie mistakes today. And Kendrick needs to keep the lesser hitters off base for when he faces holliday thru hawpe. Not crazy about that matchup but the kid has surprised me before.
Was at the game yesterday and am going again today. Someone mentioned earlier that the crowd was a result of the team's play. That's all there is to it. Everyone was going nuts after the back to back homers, but it's hard to stay excited when everyone good on your team is striking out.

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EST. 2005

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