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Saturday, March 15, 2008

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Bowa, catch the first plane East

Some interesting questions. What I also found interesting was Charlie's stats as a player. April was his best month in the majors. (Sorry, I don't have his J-League stats handy...)

Somehow, Eaton got out of the first inning without giving up runs. And if you look, the sun has turned to blood and there are billions of locusts everywhere...

today Eaton won the 5th starter spot by not allowing a run in the first. He looked better than normal, only allowing 2 of the first 3 hitters hits instead of his usual 4 or 5. Cholly quoted after the inning said - He looks almost as good as last year.

Two more hits, but no runs scored for the Twins.

Trillions of locusts...

2 scoreless innings and "only" 4 hits given up. my point is that he is still throwing big fat juicy pitches but the twins can't get an RBI.

Howard crushes the first pitch he sees. Slowey threw a ball that started inside and tailed toward the middle of the plate.

I am no Eaton fan -- but Eaton's sinker looks to be better than it has been all Spring -- and even though Eaton has been behind in most clounts today, he has made some good pitches -- ie. on the Morneau groundout just now -- when it has counted.

"clounts" = "counts"

Time for some Real Deal. I have to say I was slightly impressed with Eaton today. He had the slider working a few times and there was a good differential between his fastball at 86ish and offspeed at 77ish.

Eaton didn't walk anyone. Real Deal goes out and walks the first guy.

Some quality fielding from Utley and Ruiz in the 4th.

if i never see or hear about JD Durbin again, I'll be happy. The guy is a bum

Zero fly outs for Phils pitching today...that is an encouraging sign.

Lousy pitch selection by Durbin on that home run by Gomez -- As Blyleven said just now on the Twins' FSN television call -- "Now, we're going to talk about pitching. On the previouis pitch, Durbin blew a high fastball right by Gomez -- so what does Durbin throw next -- a hanging breaking pitch out over the plate."

Durbin's biggest problem in my opinion is not Durbin's iffy control -- rather, the meathead Durbin has between his ears. And I don't think that can be fixed.

Eaton had 7 ground outs, 2 Ks, nothing in the air. Be nice if this was a sign of returning health. I wish they posted balls/strikes ratio but I guess the box scores are in spring training too. I know Charlie is, as he's still hitting Feliz ahead of hitters who are far better. In today's case it's Werth. Charlie's brain should round into form by opening day.

davthom: It's not his control? You mean he meant to throw a hanging breaking ball over the plate?

slocs: Watch your mouth. J.D. Durbin and Pedro Feliz are the most defended, beloved Phillies players on Beerleaguer. Why, God knows.

J.D. Durbin = "Another One Bites the Dust"

Clout, I can honestly say I don't remember any batter getting three balls in the count. Perhaps one. Mechanically, he looked sound, unlike the Real Deal out there right now. J.D. looks like a poorly wrapped bundle of nerves out there. He's throwing 2-0 breaking balls into the dirt.

clout -- Obviously, Deal has problems with his control -- and the hanging breaking pitch was too far up in the zone -- But watching Durbin pace around the mound, with an obvious lack of focus during that inning before he gave up the HR to Gomes - my point is that Durbin's scatterbrain is at the root of all of his troubles -- including poor pitch selection and erratic execution. Blyleven's point was that Gomez obviously had a slow bat and trouble catching up with Durbin's fastball -- but that after blowing a high fastball past Gomez, Durbin goes bext to a fat breaking pitch.

Bert Blyleven summed up the career of the Real Deal in one sentence.

"He has flashes of brilliance, but then wants to throw straight fastballs right past hitters."

Smart guy.

"J.D. Durbin and Pedro Feliz are the most defended, beloved Phillies players on Beerleaguer. Why, God knows."

Clout, it seems kind of unfair to take the rambling arguments of a small but vocal minority and apply it to beerleaguer as a whole.

There will be no defending of Pedro Feliz today, I hope. He's had two backwards Ks and a little grounder to third. Then again, this is the Human Out Machine we're speaking of...

Mike H.
I actually like that Feliz had two backwards Ks. It means that, with two strikes, he had the gumption to watch a couple pitches. (Talk about locusts and blood red moons!)

Of course, in the future it might be better if the pitches he takes are the "balls" and the ones he swings at are the "strikes." But you can't ask for everything I suppose.

Feliz saw enough pitches to strike out twice? That's an encouraging sign ;-)

Feliz has 38 spring training plate appearances so far. The good news is that he's hitting a respectable .263. The bad news is that his OBP is also .263.

You need a bottle of JD in order to watch JD thow. In the end, both make you want to vomit.

*throw

I had Chinese food for lunch this afternoon & the fortune inside my fortune cookie said: "Your sports team will be very successful this year." True story. It really said that.

Mike H:
Would you say that the Real Deal's problem is poor pitch selection (too many fastballs) or a sub-par fastball?

Guess Manuel's "complacency talk" motivated the guys. The Phils gave up fewers hits to the twins than the twins used players. Barely.

Meanwhile, if you add up the Phils hits, walks and runs you almost break double digits.

So, b-a-p, stickin' with those Rays?

Or...(b-a-p) how stale was that cookie? (Was it, say, a '80 vintage?)

"J.D. Durbin and Pedro Feliz are the most defended, beloved Phillies players on Beerleaguer. Why, God knows."

You're right.

We need more defenders of Fransisco Rosario and Adam Eaton like yourself.

Andy: I didn't actually eat the cookie; I gave it to my 3-year old son. It was definitely a fortune that called for some tough follow-up questions, such as: In what year was this fortune printed? What exactly do you mean by "very successful?" And which of my sports teams are we even talking about?

Meanwhile, Chollie keeps going out for Chinese food hoping his cookie will tell him who the fifth starter is.

kdon: Hey, you won't see me defending those guys. Unless you're saying your usual stuff about how JD Durbin is better than Rosario, Feliz is a gold glove star, Geoff Geary is a quality setup man etc. I've been calling for an upgrade to this pitching staff for two years now.

davthom: I'll defer to Blyleven on this one. He threw the best 12-6 curveball I've ever seen in my life. And that was his second best pitch. The less-breaking hard curve was his out pitch.

Andy: good one. But it is eaton. he only needed one passable outing.

I wonder if Charlie was directed at Victorino, Werth and Burrell

Yea the Phillies are doggin' it... I look forward to the Mets sweeping the Phillies all season long!

Also, I have 5 open slots in a 12 team league (may go down to 10) on Yahoo! fantasy baseball. The draft takes place on March 21st which is next Friday. By Sunday night I will publish the league to open it up.

League ID#: 117326
League Name: Performance Enhancers
Password: clemens08

League URL: http://baseball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/league/fmart2008

Omar:

Mets sweeping the Phillies

=

fantasy baseball

Josh - I would say a sub-par fastball. The velocity is ok. It has virtually no movement. But the worst part is that he thinks he can challenge hitters with it. Perhaps at AA he can. Not in the majors.

ERA's of Phils pitchers through 2 weeks of ST:

JD Durbin- 10.95
Rosario- 5.91
Castro- 6.00
Carrasco- 6.23
Outman- 9.35
Condrey- 4.32
Moyer- 4.50
Kendrick- 16.43
Youman- 8.23
Eaton- 9.00
Madson- 2.57
Blackley- 9.45
Vic D.- 3.60
Chad Durbin- 7.20
Hamels- 12.60
Savery- 10.80
Happ- 2.25
Knotts- 9.00
Myers- 0.00
Gordon- 9.86
Bisenius- 0.00
Holdzkom- 2.70
Ennis- 9.00
Romero- 4.50
Segovia- 0.00
Chiavacci- 0.00
Overholt- 0.00

Yikes. Just 9 pitchers total, with an ERA under 4 so far. And, 6 of those 9 are no longer on the Phils major league roster. That's pathetic.

And, the hitting hasn't been much better.

And one of the remaining three is...

(you guessed it, Doc Justice!)

Vic D.


!!


(Actually, not a good sign at all.)

ERA is next to meaningless in spring training. I am more interested to see if Gordon can have a few good outings before spring training ends and how Kendrick looks in his last spring training start or two.

Missed Eaton pitching today but one important stat - no walks. Only way Eaton is even going to have a shot at giving the Phils a chance this year in the rotation is keep the walks to a bare minimum and finish guys when he gets ahead in the count (0-1 or 1-2). I am going to be very interested to see if Eaton goes with his fastball or with curve or change instead.

Hitters teed off on Eaton last year when he got behind in the count and I highly doubt that changes this year.

One thing I don't understand is all of the foolish comments I see about Eaton's "flat fastball." Really just an ignorant comment Eaton predominantly throws a four-seam fastball. This pitch has a minimum of movement on it. It is not a sinker or cutter.

The biggest issue with Eaton's fastball last year was that Eaton was missing his spot by 12 inches or more at times. Instead of ending up either knee high or around the letters, he left way too many fastballs in a bad place (down the middle of the plate and belt-high). Any competent MLB hitter should be able to drive that pitch even if it is at 93 or 94 MPH. At best they foul it off.

Compound that with Eaton's inability to throw his curve for a strike with any kind of consistency or get enough movement on it, he got lite up last year and the same will happen again this year. Even if Eaton is just able to locate his fastball when he gets ahead in the count and keep the walks to a minimum, he will be a passable 5th starter.

Actually think Helms has a pretty good chance to make this team for two reasons:

1. $3M the Phils owe him
2. Not exactly like any of the Phils' relievers trying to win a job have shown much

I bet that Helms wins a spot out of camp and the Phils wind up going with 11 pitchers out of camp.

Just read that Chris Snelling is out of options, which is too bad and makes the Taguchi signing seem worse than useless.

I just don't understand why Gillick signs these players like Taguchi and Durbin to major league deals (which assures they make the roster) when their are literally dozens of other players with the same skill level, and who can be cut or stashed in the minors.

In '06, the pointless signing of A-Gone kept Coste of the team.

In '07, the pointless (or worse) signing of Alfonseca kept Justin Germano off the team.

And this year, Taguchi is going to keep Snelling off the team.

It's one thing if these were fair competitions, but clearly C. Durbin and Taguchi are not competing for spots. By virtue of their contracts (and not talent) they will get two of the last spots on the team.

The article in the Delco Times today on Gillick was a complete fluff piece. Lauber usually writes better pieces.

Besides extolling Gillick's personal characteristics and track record, it basically confirms a number of things including:

1. Gillick has made little-to-no changes on how the Phils were run from the day he was hired until now.

2. Gillick has delegated large portions of his job (kind of long confirming my belief that Gillick is more a figurehead than anything while Amaro, Arbuckle, and others take care of most of the day-to-day stuff).

3. Gillick is old-fashioned (and arguably out of touch in today's game that has changed radically in the past 15-20 years. Hell the article doesn't highlight one innovative thing that Gillick has done during his tenure as the Phils' GM).

Basically, my comment that Gillick "has been stealing money" as the Phils' GM don't seem to far off. Gillick has delegated large portions of job to his staff, hasn't had to reshape the Phils' organization in any way, and can rest on his laurels since he is a lame-duck GM at this point.

Why didn't this article ask a few questions like why is Gillick not in Philly more during the regular season (as reports have him spending a lot of time in Toronto and other locations)? I would have settled on feedback on this upcoming season or some of Gillick's feedback on some of the prospects in the Phils minor league system.

Stupidest comment in the Lauber article:

"I can't think of anybody who is more respected in the game," Astros president Tal Smith said by telephone from Houston. "When you think of general managers, Pat and [former Braves GM] John Schuerholz are the standard-bearers. That's it."

Smith is obviously talking circa the late 1990s. Then again this is the same genius who hired Wade this offseason. Maybe Smith can bring Gillick into Houston in two or three years after Wade gets canned there too.

You have to hand it to J.D. Durbin. He's trying to prove that you can thrive at your job purely by sucking.

kdon: The contribution of Alfonseca to last season's playoff team has been well documented here despite your bizarre denial of the facts, but this is just a flat-out lie: "In '07, the pointless (or worse) signing of Alfonseca kept Justin Germano off the team."

Why single out Alfonseca? The Phillies opened the season with your man Zack Segovia on the roster (not to mention Matt Smith). Can't wait to hear another laughable explanation about how Segovia contributed more to making the playoffs than Alfonseca!

Maybe Manuel needs to look in the mirror himself. Mistake #1 this off-season was bringing this guy back for a couple more years.

Also, maybe we need to call Bisenius and Happ back in for another look. Is that even possible once they have been reassigned?

Intriguing item in the Phillies notes section of the Inquirer today:

Manuel called centerfielder Shane Victorino into his office after (yesterday's loss).

The manager played Victorino all nine innings, the only starter to play the entire game.

"What happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors," Victorino said.

"It was good," Manuel said. "It was honest."

Jon: Both Bisenius and Happ are still completing their recovery from injuries. They will try to get re-established in AAA and if they're doing well, should be available by Memorial Day.

Andy: If your man VD does make the team, someone will have to be cleared off the 40-man. T.J. Bohn looks like the most likely, but the Phillies are thin in OF depth in the minors. On the other hand, I cannot imagine anyone claiming him on waivers so it shouldn't be a problem. The other possibility is that the Phils offer Blackley back to SF and they accept. And if they don't then he could get claimed on waivers, which is more likely.

It's difficult to second-guess the Phillies as outsiders. Germano might not have performed at all for the Phillies. (And the veteran Alfonseca had seen just about every situation imaginable in his career, which was useful during several games in 2007.) An ex-Cardinal PR man told me, for example, that he and others believed Carlton would never have had the HOF career that he had if he had remained with STL. He needed the shock of the trade to motivate him. Also, it seems pointless calling players "bums" when they would trade success on the mound for just about anything. Look around every workplace: there are top, average and subpar performers. In the case of Eaton and Durbin--and probably unlike a lot of people we work with--I believe they have the desire to be successful, but for whatever reason, mechanical, physical, mental or whatever, just aren't putting it together. Recall that Eaton had a nice stretch back around June, then said his back flared up. It makes sense that if he can get healthy or learn to work around the back issue he can contribute. Teams have players who would rather not be in contention, players just going through the motions. I don't believe Gillick would tolerate those. We'll be sorry when the team no longer benefits from Gillick's services and his influence.

Thanks, Clout. I wasn't sure with regard to those two. Maybe they can help then.

I have said essentially the same thing. With the fact that the Phils' won the division last year by simply a single game, I don't think we have the ability to get off to another poor April start. To me, 11-14 or 10-15 won't cut it this season.

Eaton will only be in the rotation till June, when Benson takes his spot---not as a savior, but an upgrade.Eaton will be 2-5 with a 5.37 ERA We'll get the lame excuse of Eaton's arm or back as to why he is either in the bullpen or on the DL. Hopefully, Adam won't have performed worse than I just predicted. Hate to hear the 40,000 at CBP if he's 0-6 with a 6.58 I also think that Kendrick, while not as predictable, could have similar numbers..

So is Manuel gone if the Phils get off to yet another poor April start? I can't see management eating anymore money, even if it is warranted.

Today will be an important outing for Blackley. I saw him pitch early in an ST game and in a B game. He was effective. I think with his Seattle ties and his starter background, the second lefty spot is his to lose even if he has never relieved. Darensbourg looked OK when I saw him at Disney but send him to LV. He can always be called up. I am sure no other team would claim him.

"So is Manuel gone if the Phils get off to yet another poor April start? I can't see management eating anymore money, even if it is warranted."

No, not fresh off a new contract. And, honestly, I'd have trouble justifying it with the pitching staff he has to somehow sew together. Of course, if the F.O. wants to deflect responsibility, the Manuel would be the first place they look.

b-a-p: Maybe that cookie means the A's are headed back to the playoffs -- you know, being a cookie and all, maybe it pegged you as a Billy Beane fan...

kdon: Gillick has indeed signed a lot of unnecessary players, but Taguchi wasn't one of them. Taguchi is a solid bat off the bench, who also possesses good speed and solid defense. If he were forced into part-time starting duty, as he was with the Cardinals, he would by no means embarrass himself. Snelling, on the other hand, has never done anything at the major league level to demonstrate that he's a viable No. 5 outfielder.

Anonymous (maybe Andy?): Nah. I don't buy it. Fortune cookies know all. Besides, what fortune cookie in its right mind would pick the A's to make the playoffs this year? That's like picking Ralph Nader to win the 2008 Presidential election.

MG: You keep noting that Eaton is missing his spots by 12 inches. I remember Jim Bouton writing in "Ball Four" about writers and scouts saying he had "pinpoint control." It wasn't until many months later that he realized his ability to hit a target the size of a handkerchief (roughly 15 inches square) was what they were calling "pinpoint." In Bouton's case, once he injured his arm he never had that kind of control again.

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