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Monday, April 28, 2008

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Not bad. Let's see Rollins and Vic bring a little life to the lineup - will certainly strengthen the bottom 3 hitters as well.

Giants are moving Zito to the 'pen.

High-larious post!

Zito, by the way, was scheduled to pitch against the Phils.

All in all, good news. Sophist, your comments ring true!

Excellent post by MG in prior thread in which he analyzes f/x pitch data. Myers is throwing his slider, his 3rd best pitch, more often than any other pitch. His best pitch is his curve and he's only throwing that 16% of the time. Yes, he needs his fastball to set up his curve, but fact is, his curve is good enough even with a 90 mph fastball (which is what Blyleven threw to set up his curve).

Re: The Vic/Werth CF controversy. I cannot believe that either Charlie or anyone in the FO thinks playing Vic in RF and Werth in CF is best for the team. Vic is far, far superior to Werth in CF. I am guessing they will start Vic in RF initially because the demands are not as great. Once his ankle is strong, they will shift him to CF. Compared to rest of league, Vic is a subpar overall player in RF because his bat is far below other starting rightfielders. In CF, where defense is far more important, he becomes one of the top 5 players at the position in the NL.

It's probably good the Phils miss Zito. The way they typically perform against marginal lefties, they'd probably make him look like the 2002 version of himself.

As poorly as the Phils have performed at times against lefty pitchers, it is shame the Phils will miss a chance to get a crack at Zito. Mentally he is in shambles right now.

The smart thing the Giants could have done would have been to come up with a "phantom injury." Gives Zito a little bit of an excuse but more importantly he could make a few "rehab" starts in the minors with the San Jose club.

Glad to hear that Lieberthal is retiring as a Phil. Always kind of an under appreciated guy especially considering he was one of the few homegrown stars this team produced in the 1990s.

I always wondered what his career would have turned out if he hadn't had a few freak injuries (including the bizarro pickoff play where he blew out his knee in '01) and actually had some better talent around him during most of his peak years.

Kind of amazing that a guy who played 13 years here, was a homegrown guy, and is arguably the franchise's best catcher ever left really without any kind of fan fare.

Glad to see the Phils are doing him right by having him retire with the club on June 1. Nice story.

I'm not entirely certain that pitch f/x is identifying his pitches correctly. On Fangraphs.com, it lists his slider as his second most used pitch, whereas quotes from Myers, Dubee, and Manuel say he is using his cutter too much [but Fangraphs.com says he is hardly using it]. I tend to think the f/x system is confused on what he is throwing. And, a large portion of his pitches are labeled unidentifiable by the system.

While April has been pretty kind this year to the Phils for a change, the Iron Pigs have had a brutally tough inaugural month. Good chance they drop their last 2 games of the month to go 3-24 in April.

If that is not the franchise record for the worst month ever by a minor league affiliate, it has to be damn close. It is a shame that this team got out to such a terrible start and already taken off the gleam off a new franchise.

Going to games in April or May to a new stadium is novel, going to see a team that might be historically bad in August is not.

Besides maybe Snelling or Kline, there is a player on this roster who could possibly help the Phils this season. I just hope that Phils starting pitching stays relatively healthy because there are no reinforcements available any time soon unless they want to push C. Durbin in the rotation (which would be a mistake since they need his flexible arm out in the pen).

Tom - Thanks for the insight. I can see how pitch f/x might have a little difficulty in determining though when Myers is throwing a cutter vs. a slider if Myers' velocity is really down and he is only throwing his cutter at 86 or 87 though. Hard to pickup because you would think the cutter would be more in the low 90s consistently with Myers.

This is still the problem with the pitch f/x . Old garbage in, garbage out with any type of measurement system that gives you data that isn't accurate or precise near 100% of the time. My bet is that some of the early analysis using the data might be a bit flawed. Should really improve in a few years once the teams get used to the system and iron out the flaws.

Tom - If Myers continues to throw his cutter in the high 80s and try to continue to challenge hitters with it, he is going to continue to give up way too many HRs.

I would love to see the data on the type of pitch that Myers has thrown on his 10 HRs so far. I would bet good money in Vegas that 8 or 9 of them were cutters that didn't have Myers' usual bite in terms of velocity or decent movement either.

Agreed on Lieberthal, MG. It's very classy of the organization. Let's hope the fans can match it. The way they sent him off in '06 was shameful.

Can't be too displeased with the April start. If someone had told us on Opening Day that we would be without Vic and Jimmy for half the month due to injury, that Brett Myers would get off to a sub-par start, and that Ryan Howard would be mired in a horrendous slump that we're hoping won't turn out to be a rerun of Pat the Bat's 2007 first half...

I think we would be glad to take 14-12 on April 29.

Bob - If the Phils can finish the month 15-13 by splitting the first two with the Pads, I will be more glad. My mantra all spring training was for ".500" in April.

Just didn't want to see the Phils dig themselves another 6 or 7 game hole already by May 1. Mission accomplished.

Technically the Phils will finish at least 1 game above .500 for April, because 1 loss came on Opening Day which was still in March. Just trying to put a positive spin on things.

15-13 with a split against SD for the two games works for sure, more than that would be pure gravy.

Credit Utley, Burrell, Worth and the bullpen with a good start to the season. Now we have to hope they get into a strong winning streak as Howard inevitably heats up, JRoll and Vic come back, and Hamels and Myers get more consistent. The NL East is up for grabs right now. The Braves old and banged up (Smoltz), as are the Mets (Delgado, Pedro, Alou, Castillo), and I doubt the Marlins can sustain their pace.

* Werth (sorry Jason)

Roger Clemens . . . banging a 15-year old while he was married with 2 kids. You sir are worthy of being called a "Real American Douche bag"

My fear: the Phillies finally go .500 in April, but then go .500 in every other month as well! And no booing of Mike Lieberthal. Let's not embarrass ourselves again.

Speaking of the Iron Pigs, I see they released Val Pascucci.

I have 2 extra tix to tonights game if anyone is interested. Sect. 136, Row 22, good seats. $37.50 face, I'll take less. Email me at: marckriss@yahoo.com if interested.

MG- to be fair, it only says they met when she was fifteen... the articles I have read say it wasn't until later that they became "intimate."

The Theory - That makes it marginally better I guess. Don't use it often but Clemens is still a douche.

I'm not sure I understand the Lieberthal move... He was a decent catcher during his time here (and at times a Fantasy Baseball Monster!), but he's really nothing special. Are teams obligated to bring back all of their alighly above average players that played a majority of their career in town?

Gaze: I'm not sure what you mean by "nothing special." Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but he leads all other catchers in the history of the franchise in most career categories.

Obligated, no, but is it classy, yes. Also, I assume by 'alighly' you mean slightly, and I'd say he was more than slightly above average. Two time All-Star; All-Star teams only have a couple catchers so that means the managers, at least, thought he was one of the four best catchers in baseball for a couple years.

Gaze: What's the downside? Even if you think he's "nothing special" how much money does it cost to have a brief pregame ceremony and give the guy a plaque or something? It's PR money well spent on a classy guy who played hard for the franchise for a decade and a half.

He's one of the few (6th) catchers EVER to hit 30 Homers and hit .300 in the same season.

Unfortunately, Lieberthal will always be associated with losing in this town. He played in EVERY season between Division championships. A stunning achievement.

Major injuries plagued Lieberthal through his career, a guy who was slight of frame for a catcher.

Detractors called him a bad influence in the clubhouse, when the opposite was true. After every game win or lose he was always available to the media.

Lieberthal's love for the Phillies followed him AFTER he left which "became a running joke with members of the Dodgers last season, who routinely pointed out that Lieberthal had the Phillies game on in the clubhouse, and always followed their exploits."

Randy Wolf said that he followed the team from a "distance" while Lieby "tailgates".


When Lieberthal broke the record for most games EVER started at catcher by a Phillie they announced it before the game at a sparsely populated crowd. He received a modest cheer. I would have liked for them to have stopped the game when it was a official after 4 and a half. And had a brief ceremony. You can't have everything.

While this team was getting better and heading towards the playoffs, Lieberthal was part of the Beerleaguer Black Hole. That was a fair criticism. I only wonder with Lieberthal's decent OBP and low strikeout ratio, whether he would have taken advantage of the Batting 9th second leadoff man scenario.

Lieberthal will always be a "could have been " for many in this town. But for a scrawny kid who took batting practice from his mother and built himself into a 2 time all-star and played the last HALF of his career in major pain.

I'll have fond memories of the guy.

And he'll always be immortal as the Bobblehead on Dwight Schrute's desk.

I'm just saying that in this day and age players switch teams often and I don't see a reason for acknowledging every decent player who comes, stays for a period of time, and goes. Mike Leiberthal had flashes of talent and laid down some solid stats, but he'll have no lasting legacy in Philadelphia. These one day farewells seem a little cheesy to me. It's a marketing gimmick for the Phillies to use to put people in the seats for a "Mike Leiberthal Day." I don't believe for a minute that the organization is doing this out of the good of their heart.

Only a Phillies fan could find fault with his team for throwing a little pre-game retirement ceremony to a guy who was their starting catcher for a full decade.

@Gaze -- In this case Lieberthal at one point was the reigning veteran of all Philadelphia Sports teams before he left. He was not here for a "period of time" He played 13 seasons in a Phillies uniform. This isn't Rod Barajas. Or even Todd Pratt.

You are wrong on this one.

Gaze: They're not carving his face on Mt. Rushmore. They're giving him a pre-game retirement ceremony & allowing him to retire as a Phillie. Lieberthal didn't exactly just pass through town for a day or two. He caught more games than any other player in Phillies history. That, in and of itself, is a notable achievement, considering he played in the day and age of free agency. And I'm not sure what your definition of "lasting legacy" is. He won't be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. But, if you picked an all-time Phillies roster, Lieberthal would very likely be the starting catcher.

I'm not trying to make a big deal out of it... just a thought I had. Did we do the same thing for Darren Daulton, another multiple All-Star who had solid numbers but was unfortunately plagued by injuries?

Yes, they did have a Darren Daulton night, I was there.

His wife at the time (his 2nd, I think) got the loudest cheers of the night. And deservedly so.

Didn't know ol' Lieby won a gold glove in 1999. 31 caught stealing, 12 double plays. Not bad.

Speaking of Darren Daulton, he used to tell a story about how the team once held a pre-game softball game which featured all the kids of the Phillies' players. Daulton was slumping badly at the time and he claimed that the Phillies fans were so mad at him that they actually booed his kid.

Gaze - the question is if Daulton ever asked to sign a one-day contract. there's really nothing at all uncommon about veteran players requesting this sort of thing; I doubt that there's a team in the majors that would refuse to give a player a one-day contract. I know Doug Glanville, for example, signed a one-day so he could retire with the Phillies.

it's really kind of absurd to take exception to such a common practice...

I'm fine with a tribute, but from what I've read Daulton retired as a Marlin in 97. When Jerry Rice signed a 1 day contract with the 49ers, I understood the significance. This move, not so much.

Maybe I'm overthinking things since the baseball world was so dull yesterday.

daulton also won a world series with the marlins, which changes things.

Gaze- you're overanalyzing my friend. this is where the man feels at home. and who doesn't want to retire at home? whether it's a gold watch or a pre-game ceremony, everybody wants to feel appreciated after a lifetime of service to an employer. the Phils, whatever the ancillary benefits may be, are doing the honorable thing by recognizing a man who may not be Johnny Bench, but who gave his knees, back and heart in service to the Phillies organization.

Daulton's retirement wasn't ceremonial. He merely officially retired after his last season with the Marlins, where he won a World Series.

This is more of a ceremonial retirement.

The Eagles have done this for Randall Cunningham, Seth Joyner and others.

The Rocket is taking some lumps, and seemingly deservingly so.

There was that cell phone commercial a few months ago where the Rocket is on a golf course with his buds and is talking to his wife on the cell phone. The connection is bad. He thinks she's told him it's OK to play another year. As he says, "OK, guys, I'm back", she's throwing a lamp at the wall of their house.

I have a feeling that there might be a few lamps being tossed at the Rocket's head in the Clemens house these days.

Fair enough.... I see all of your points, just not sure I 100% agree with the practice of signing to retire.

Didn't mean to stir the pot on something so trivial.

Can't say Lieberthal did much for me. Decent guy I guess, but I don't really remember him as someone who loved playing here. I have no problem having him "retire a Phillie", but unless we're talking about a HOF caliber player who was once a Phillie, I don't care who he retires with.

Just so long as no one entertains the notion of allowing David Bell to retire as a Philly - good riddance!!

Geeze! What's with all the love for Lieberthal? I always considered Clay Dalrymple as the best catcher n team history.

There's a fun post over at BSG about Utley's offense.

"Look at a graph of Utley's batting average season by season. He should be batting .400 by 2010 at the latest."

I would be happy at .500 coming out of April but now am greedy. If this team can play from May 1 the way they have the past few years, the NL East should be theirs!

http://myteamrivals.typepad.com/phightin_phils_phorum

http://myteamrivals.typepad.com/turnpike_series

I am happy to be at .500 coming out of April but am now greedy and would love to be a game or two over. If the Phillies can have the same kind of year after May 1st as they have the past few years, the NL East is theirs!!!

http://myteamrivals.typepad.com/phightin_phils_phorum

http://myteamrivals.typepad.com/turnpike_series

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