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Monday, March 31, 2008

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Here's to a great season. Let's go, Phillies!

Lineup:

Rollins
Vic
Utley
Howard
Burrell
Feliz
Werth
Ruiz
Myers

There was some question whether Werth would start ahead of Jenkins. Werth had a terrible spring, so Cholly may have dropped him for lower than Feliz for now.

I'm happy Charlie went with the "plan" and started Werth against the lefty despite all the Opening Day hoopla and Jenkins actually being the "starter".

Any news on Chad Cordero; he wasn't able to go last night in DC (stiffness)?

My question, or perhaps a better over/under wager concerning Feliz: How many GIDP will it take before Cholly realizes that 6th is not where Feliz belongs?

Alby, given Burrell's propensity for walks, we ought to have an answer soon...

I'll go 9.

Is putting Feliz in the 6th spot worse than batting Utley & Howard back-to-back?

I've been looking forward to that opening day graphic for months - let's go Phils!

I'm almost entirely a lurker here, but ditto what Ribbies said. I'm still sporting your J-Roll MVP graphic as my desktop wallpaper. Let's go Phils!

is chico still starting?, i know this info may not be to reliable, but i heard a caller on w.i.p say chico maybe scrathed and bergman starting (some dude who says he's from d.c. heard this)in place ? so i guess they start jenkins? anybody else hear this?, Anyway great to get another season of phillies baseball and beerleaguer started, GO PHILS!

Great art as per usual Jason.

I want to let all my favorite beerleaguer friends know that I'm taking some much needed time off (the internet, not baseball) to write this damn dissertation, so this will be my last post for a while.

I may lurk now and again, but for the most part, when the computer is on, the wireless will be unplugged and I'll be staring at the damn Microsoft Word page rather than Jason's great graphics, clout's misrepresentations, RSBs questionable ideas, MG's skeptical assessments, ae's quantitative efforts, Andy's infinitely amusing jokes, and the rest of the stuff that makes this place so much fun.

We've all been a bit skeptical of this year, and it's my belief that we may look back on this period as a tragic wasted opportunity, but for now...it's opening day and we are the defending National League East Champs!

Go Phils!!!

Betcha five bucks Senor Out chalks up a double play out of the six hole. What a terrible move, but not unexpected.

"Is putting Feliz in the 6th spot worse than batting Utley & Howard back-to-back?"

Um... yes? Is this a serious question. Are you wondering why Utley and Howard would bat back-to-back in the 3 and 4 hole? This is sarcasm, right?

kdon: Awww, you don't want updates about your faves like Mazone, Condrey, Feliz, Sanches & Geary?

Not to beat a dead horse, but I'm about to start the beating...team speed is a problem in this line-up. Alby is correct when he mentions his concern about GIDP. Burrell, Howard, Feliz...take your pick. These base running sloths had better bash the ball like one of Tony Soprano's made-men in order to keep that dubious record from being set this season. I say two games (8 AB) before that line-up gaffe is adjusted by Cholly.

"Are you wondering why Utley and Howard would bat back-to-back in the 3 and 4 hole? This is sarcasm, right?"

Nope. I just don't like the idea of having the two big left-handed bats batting back-to-back.

For example, later in the game, when Utley comes to the plate, the Nationals will probably counter with Ray King, who is the only southpaw in their bullpen (according to the roster on mlb.com). By not having a right handed bat between the two, King can stay in the game to face Howard as well. If you put a right handed bat between them, the Nationals have to make a decision ((a) bring in a RHP, meaning that Howard doesn't face a lefty, (b) pitch around the right handed batter, meaning that there's less room for error when facing Howard, or (c) have the LHP go after the righty, which typically is an advantage for the right handed batter).

Having them batting back-to-back makes decisions for the opposition much easier late in games.

Last minute mlb.tv help, anyone?
I've had the service for the last two seasons, but now, when I click the link for a feed, nothing happens. The link seems to be a javascript pop-up thing, and I have javascript enabled and pop-up blocker turned off. Nevertheless, I can't get the window to pop up in firefox or IE.
Can any tech dudes help me out?
Follow up -- this is an example link. Glad I tried to take care of this before game time.
javascript:void(playMedia2({w_id:'637293',w:'reflector:28460',pid:'mlb_lg',gid:'2008

@stjoehawk:
When Ray King comes into the game later on to face Utley and Howard, we could always pinch hit either one with Helms to get the lefty-righty matchup (I keed, I keed)

Zach: Update to the latest version of Java and Make sure you are running WMP11 and have all the latest patches for it.

Wow, with the batting order already being second guessed, I feel like we've picked up exactly where we left off last season. I can't wait for the first pitch. The over-under on second guessing Cholly for me would have been the 7'th inning. I lose!!

Jason: I'm doing a "Your gameday beer" feature for every game this year, and I think it's cool.

But I have to say, when I came on here a minute ago and saw that graphic, I got ...

... wait for it ...

... goosebumps.

Mom and dad just gave me the go sign, and I'm running down the stairs with twinkling lights, metal ornaments and green balsam fir in sight.

First official gripe of the season:

- Didn't understand why "Mr. 30 Homer Runs" Feliz is hitting 6th or why Cholly continues to make life easier for opposing managers later in games by batting Utley and Howard back-to-back.

"Gas Can" got mocked but this pen will miss his even mediocre stuff and his league average ERA with the likes of Condrey, Lahey, and others all season.

mm: thanks for the suggestion, but I'm using the most recently updated versions of both. I even re-installed the new Java, to no avail.

If Howard and/or Burrell are on base when Feliz is up, and Manuel continues to bat him 6th, Feliz may damn near break the record for GIDP.

I was a Gas Can fan, the reason for the nickname, and I will be missing Geary because you're right, this offense only needs mediocre pitching, but we lack that, rather we're heavy in the crappy pitching department.

This season's slogan should be "Slobberknocker" but I can envision a ton of games where the Phils scores a bunch of runs and a bunch where they give up just as many.

Basically going to be a bunch of 4-hour games again once the weather warms up in May.

We previewed the upcoming season on my blog today, and I came up with a good song for the season: Pennywise's "Fight til You Die"-
"Go ahead and try, Or kiss your ass goodbye. People of society are running for their lives. Get up now and go, Or you're never gonna know. Never gonna make it in your houses lying low. Give it one good try, Give it all and fight till you die!"

By the way, Pennywise is one of the greatest punk bands of all-time for those that are not in the know.

kdon: You clearly have your priorities wrong if you're putting your dissertation ahead of Beerleaguer discourse. But good luck with it nonetheless.

Until kdon's return, Jack and Brian G. will platoon in the role of Clout's chief antagonist.

kdon says that now, but he'll be back. They always get sucked back in.

weather's definitely not looking too great for today here in center city.

Here's a good piece of news for the Mets:

"And this season, which the Mets open Monday against the Florida Marlins, Wagner will be delivering his views during a weekly radio segment on 1050 ESPN in New York. No subject — not steroids, not teammates, not managerial decisions — will be off limits, Wagner said. And he expects at some point that his answers will be magnified or misconstrued, and he will have to explain himself once again.

“When I comment on something, I’m not trying to generate controversy or stir the pot,” Wagner said. “It’s that I have no problem saying what I feel to be the truth. If I’m wrong about something or if I stunk that night, I’ll be the first to admit it.”

Elliott: Considering Feliz hit 15 GIDP in 150 games last year, we could waiting a long time those 9 to happen...

Seriously, Feliz shouldn't bat 6th for a number of reasons, but I think the DP concerns are a little overstated. As I said before, he had 15 in 150 games last year, which means 1 every 10 games. Carlos Ruiz hit into 17 in almost 200 less PA's, and that didn't exactly stop us from putting up the best offense in the league.

Feliz should be batting 7th or 8th because he's overall a pretty bad offensive player, but this idea that double plays are gonna be the death knell for our offense is kind of laughable.

KDon - Dissertation? That truly is a black hole of time. Good luck man.

Jack: How many baserunners did the Giants have last season? How many will the Phillies have this season?

clout has already turned his attention to Jack. I think BAP's platoon plan might work. Probably better than Werth/Jenkins.

"Until kdon's return, Jack and Brian G. will platoon in the role of Clout's chief antagonist."

Should we begin debating whether it's smart to platoon Jack and Brian G. or bring in a guy for an egregious amount of money with all reputation and no quality?

Feliz mostly batted 7th for the Giants, which is where he should hit in our lineup. The Giants' only high OBP guy was Bonds, who batted 3 spots ahead of Feliz. In between Bonds and Feliz were Molina and Durham or, in the second half of the season, Kevin Frandsen. Molina & Durhams' OBPs were .298 and .295. Durham was also among the league leaders in GDP & Frandsen managed to hit into an astonishing 17 DPs in only 264 ABs.

Feliz doesn't walk, doesn't strike out that much, & hits as many grounders as fly balls. That combination can only lead to tons of DPs. The only explanation for his low GDP total last year is that he was hitting behind guys with horrible OBPs, & guys who were themselves GDP machines. Behind Utley, Howard, & Burrell, Feliz will hit into a ton of DPs.

However, I suspect that, when Jenkins starts, which will be most of the time, he will hit 6th & Feliz 7th.

BAP: My point exactly.

Feliz had 239 AB with men on and hit into 15 DP; Ruiz had 176 AB with men on and hit into 17 DP.

I am no Feliz fan, but I don't think excessive GDPs are one of his major flaws.

Malcolm, although he denied it, the fact is kdon and I agreed 95% of the time. Jack and I almost never agree and, when we do, Jack jumps to the other side. So there will be no shortage of fireworks with kdon gone.

Is it possible Manuel doesn't like the way Werth has been swining the bat and that's why he's behind Feliz?

JW: I guess it's possible but wasn't Manuel batting Feliz 6th pretty consistently from the beginning of ST?

Is there where Jack claims kdon never agrees with you and he doesn't jump to the other side? And that the firework supply will be grotesquely limited?

Malcolm: I'm confident that Jack and Brian G. are up to the task, and kdon should be back by about mid-season. When kdon returns, maybe we can trade either Jack or Brian G. to another website, in exchange for a Gillick apologist, who can post whenever SirAlden isn't around.

My prediction: Feliz hits 6th for all of April, the Phils start of slow as usual (sub-.500). In early May, Manuel realizes he needs to shake up the lineup a bit, and finally moves Feliz to 7th.

BTW, anyone see the new Gameday on MLB.com and the chat section (http://www.mlb.com/chat/index.jsp)? Anyone from here on there? In what section?

There's no correlation year to year regarding GIDP. Which would imply that they are almost completely random, regardless of who bats in front of who.

I'm excited. Only a batting lineup could get everyone so riled up. I mean it was only 1 year ago, when these exact same posters, lamented Chase Utley batting fourth.

Boy was Hudson humming last night after the first inning. Think we'll get the game in today?

JW - I think you might be right about Werth. Its funny. I went back and looked at his stats last year. With the exception of that incredible streak of about 25 games in August, he was pretty mediocre last year. Werth especially was poor in June and really didn't show much of anything in the 1st half.

Chase Utley has a career OPS against LH pitchers of .850 and his OBP is actually higher against lefties.

We honestly want to take our best hitter out of the three hole just so our two best hitters don't hit back-to-back on the off chance that the other team brings a lefty specialist in late in the game?

Really?

Random thoughts :
Sabermetricians over at HBTimes give Phils the wildcard, and give them a 53% chance of making the playoffs, most of the time via the wildcard.

I'd have Utley 2nd, Burrell 3rd, and Howard 4th. It worked well last season and gives Utley and Burrell extra ABs.

Dave X: I'm a fan of that arrangement as well.

Dave X:

I don't mind that lineup either... but I don't do that because I fear having lefties back-to-back. I'd do that if I wanted to get Utley and Burrell more at bats.

I'm not in Philly currently.. anyone want to enlighten us out-of-towners what the weather is lookin like now, and if the game is going to start on time?

Dave X and Jason:

We would be pretty top heavy in that lineup as well. It'd be tough to bat Victorino 5th, wouldn't it? Would our RF platoon hit 5th? I can't imagine putting Feliz there. Something like...

Rollins
Utley
Burrell
Howard
Jenkins/Werth
Victorino
Feliz
Ruiz

Jason: That's my guess. Charlie figures put the new guy with some power, who finished ST pretty hot, out there in front of the guy who has been struggling all spring. I'd be surprised and appalled if Charlie planned on hitting Feliz 6th all season. His offense is not good enough for that spot.

Guys, we're arguing about DPs here, an event that at most, a player hits into once every 7 or 8 games and has more to do with situational context than any sort of skillset. And as it does concern Feliz's skills, its a consequence of the big problem, not a problem in and of itself. Feliz swings at everything, and one of the bad consequences is a relatively high DP rate. The problem is his lack of plate discipline, not the DPs.

DP's are just a part of the game, and, just looking at last years numbers, dont seem to really have any correlation to winning or offense. The Yankees, Rangers, Rockies, Indians, Phillies, and Mariners all finished in the top 13 in both DPs and Runs. The more guys on base you have, the more double plays you have, so its an small, unfortunate byproduct of having a very good and productive offense.

You guys can focus on GIDP all you want, but you'll be missing the forest for the trees.

Cabrera home run. He's good.

diggity:

a look out the window says its not quite a foggy and rainy as a few hours ago. if it stays like it is now, the game will probably start on time, i would think. it's certainly pretty miserable out though.

If you want to be really out of the box, put Victorino 9th and bat the pitcher 8th.

Dave X: During Eaton's starts, you might actually have a case for that one...

With the exception of that incredible streak of about 25 games in August, he was pretty mediocre last year.

I don't think that's a really fair assessment. he was great in the month of August, but he was also pretty solid for most of September, and his June numbers could probably be attributed to his wrist injury. at the end of May, he was hitting .273/.365/.455, which is pretty damn good, and at the end of September his line was .298/.404/.459, which pretty damn better. (he hit .329/.438/.512 after coming off the DL.)

really, one could just as easily say that with the exception of 13 horrible and possibly injury-plagued games in June (when he hit .167/.278/.167!!), Werth was good to very good all season.

ae: Lies, damned lies, and statistics ;-)

Alex Gordon crushes a bomb for the Royals. Despite his issues much of last year, I sure wish he were our third baseman. I think he'll be real good this year. He finished last year strong.

Is everyone so tired about bitching about the hurlers that you have decided to nitpick the batters? I love the faithful.

Maybe Feliz will an Opening Day HR instead of a GIDP. Cmon, its Opening Day!

10 minutes to go!

Whiskey: Not much reason to bitch about Myers with the way he pitched this spring. I'm just hoping he goes 9 innings! (Okay, not really... since you don't see many opening day complete games...)

Maybe monkeys will fly out of my hole the day Feliz hits a homer instead of a DP...

They just showed the last out of the clincher last year. Burrell has never ran faster.

CJ: Yeah, most teams would like Gordon over their 3B situation. He's a stud- #2 overall pick in 05, considered one of the top young players in all the game, and probably costing around 400,000 this year. Probably every team other than the Mets, Yanks, Nationals, Tigers (although Cabrera might not be long for 3B), Cubs and maybe the Rockies would take Gordon over their 3rd basemen.

Sure wish the Phils had someone like him coming up through the system...

Anyone else having MLB TV problems?

Jack: And despite that all, Gordon was considered a HUGE disappointment last year. It's nice to be a top pick... and like every other draft pick... it's nice to be cheap, but he didn't perform anywhere close to expectations last year. With an OPS+ of just 87, there were a lot of questions about whether he was for real.

I'm surprised MLB.tv has the Phils broadcast on. Usually they screw with us on Opening Day. MLB Extra Innings on cable has the Nats broadcast. It might be different for me as a Time Warner cable subscriber.

No problems with me, CJ...

CJ: yes MLB TV has been frustrating me since 1:00PM EDT today. It tries to load the game then says "Error" and then says "Closed". Nats games are blacked out for me anyway.

This is not a marketing statement.

But... first pitch is on its way...

And I have....

Goosebumps.

Question for all of the Feliz bashers...who would you rather have in his spot, Helms or Dobbs?

OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY...To a great season boys!!

UD Hens: We don't need to re-argue Pedro Feliz again. There are plenty of people on this board who would have been more satisfied with a Helms/Dobbs strict platoon rather than spend the money on Feliz, especially 2 years guaranteed.

CJ: Sure, he definitely struggled, as most players do in their first big league action. As you mentioned, he had a very solid 2nd half, and I can't imagine there's a lot of people out there who don't expect him to make a big improvement this year.

I wouldn't consider him a HUGE disappointment last year- it was his first year, and its not like he was being counted on to carry the Royals to the playoffs. All that matters for them is that he keeps getting better and starts to realize his potential, so that in a couple years he'll be a cornerstone of a rebuilt team. I think Gordon will be a stud, but I wouldn't hold my breath on the team aspect...

I'd rather have Joe Crede. But Feliz is the lesser of all evils...

Good solid first inning for Brett.

It feels good to be watching baseball again!!

Three outs and nothing else: that's the way I like to see the season start for our defense and Myers' return to the rotation.

That inning didn't do much for Myers' GO/FO ratio, but I'll take it.

LOVE J ROLL

Look out Chase... Jimmy wants back to back MVPs!

MVP!!!

MVP! MVP! MVP!

MVP! MVP!
It's no longer spring boys!

I guess J-Roll left the cobwebs in Clearwater! Here we go!

A sac bunt?! What team is this?

that's a tie. Vic was safe.

Victorino is a team player, high-energy, great defense, world class speed...I love having him on our team.

Well said, BAP. Love it. LOL

Nice play, Victorino. Nice, smart baseball. He's out by a third of a step.

Let's hope Utley left his cobwebs in Florida as well...

scratching for the run... I like that.

First run of the year: here's to many more today and 161 more games of the regular season.

One run down, 899 to go...

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