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« Game chat: Phillies, Astros clash in series opener | Main | Awesome win stained by familiar, dark undercurrent »

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Comments

WOW!

No question! Pat the Bat the Contract

Comment of the year:

"Thank God Pat didn't get on base in the 7th, huh.

Posted by: Josh | Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 09:54 PM"

We win despite Ruiz batting 2...AND EATON! keep it up, hoss

Everyone delivered in the 9th except Howard. Another 0fer tonight and Howard's offense has been MIA this season with the exception of a few HRs.

damn, why did i choose tonight to go the ironpigs,left early so hopefully the 2 game win streak is intact,everybody hits wahoo! good to see snelling coming up big!!

Posted this at the end of the last thread:

After the loss on Sunday the Phils needed to win a game like this.

A few comments:
1) It's good to see that Chollie figured out that Werth should lead off.
2) It's typical that Chollie thinks Chooch is a good 2-hole hitter.
3) When he's on, Burrell can really carry a team.
4) Eaton was not magical tonight, but, in the end, solid. If he continues to pitch like this, I'll be happily wrong about him (ditto Feliz, but it is a long season).
5) It's nice to have a Durbin who can pitch.
6) According to most of MLB the best pitchers in the game are Santana, Sabathia and Beckett; according to the Phillies the best pitchers are Redding and Chacon. Go figure.
7) The best way to make teams think more clearly about "pitching inside to" (read "throwing at") Utley is for one of the next couple batters to park it in the cheap seats. Thank you, Pat.

Chacon looked decent tonight and made pitches when he had to. It wasn't like the Sunday game where Marquis couldn't even throw a strike.

Despite the worst lineup of the year, these guys bit down and overcame tonight. I can't help but think Burrell's confidence and leadership is what is keeping these guys moving!

I was surprised to see Senor Out go 3/4, and I'm starting to come around on him.

Sure, he's hitting .229, but despite that, it seems that he's had a much better time at the plate than Helms did last year, and he's a halfway decent fielder too. I wasn't big on the signing, but it's games like these that make me eat my words. Considering 2007, I think Wes may have done that to me once or twice.

7-7 isn't fantastic, but I'll take it over our start from last year, and with strange things like Eaton actually pitching more than 5 innings and keeping his ERA under 47, I'll take that too.

I can't believe I'm actually bragging to my friends and being happy being .500 right now.

So, was Jenkins safe? Only heard the radio version and it sounded like the announcers had their doubts... wonder if the Baseball Gods were atoning for the Reyes call.

Senor - It was close. No one else has raised the issue though - not baseball tonight or the hometown guys.

Wow, I left work after being treated to a 3-0 effort through 8 and I come home only to find that we won. Good job, boys.

Several thoughts-
1) If I was Charlie Manuel, I would have pulled Eaton after he allowed two of the first three men on base in the 6th. We got five good innings out of him (leastwasy, what I could tell on gameday) but his pitch count was getting up there and a 1-0 game is much more manageable than whatever Eaton would give up in that inning (which ended up being two.)
2) Chad Durbin has been a nice surprise in the early going. Not perfect, but few have been. The 'pen as a whole has been much better than expected.
3) I like Werth leading off a lot. I really scratched my head at putting Ruiz in the two-hole. I don't think we'll see that again.
4) This is the first time that the Phillies have bucked the two-in-a-row trend of wins and losses. Thankfully it was a win and not a loss.
5) Man or Machine?

I was one of those "last 15 minutes" guys. got home late, just as Snelling was jumping all over that first pitch...not too disappointed about missing 8 pretty sad looking innings, but a hell of a payoff.

(and Jenkins looked about as safe to me as Reyes did...so I guess that one balances out.)

Someone who just called into 950, who attended the game, said that Jenkins ran through a stop-sign from Smith. The radio guys, the lockerroom, responded by saying "he was out but who cares?"

I saw the replay on CSN and he looked safe to me. But that might just be the homer in me coming out.

Seanz has the look of one of the all-time great Vallue Villagers.

^Maybe Snelling as well. It will be interesting to see what happens to him when Vic comes back.

I almost hope Jenkins wasn't actually safe, just so that blown call on Carlos Lee last year in Houston will be evened out.

(No one will ever accuse me of having a short memory.)

Burrell is locked in right now. He doesn't hit many to right field, but (at the risk of sounding like Gary Mathews) he stayed inside that ball so well. He has better plate coverage, better hitting mechanics, and a far better idea at the plate than he did even a year ago at this time.

As for Howard, let's not forget the play he made to save what would have been an insurance run to end the top of the ninth. And one of these days, he's going to get locked in, too.

agreed.

on the other hand, apparently Howard's slow start last spring didn't have too much to do with all the MVP responsibilities that kept him from preparing.

Wow indeed.

Baseball Tonight just said it was the first time since 1995 that the Phillies came back from 3 runs down in the 9th inning to win a game. Only time before that was 1898.

Am I ridiculous for thinking that a batting order of

Rollins
Werth
Utley
Burrell
Howard
Jenkins
Chooch
Feliz
pitcher

might be our best bet? We'd capitalize on the hot-hitting Burrell as well as breaking up Utley and Howard. Werth's OBP and relative speed could merit a spot as our #2.

Burrell was 2 for 4 against Velvarde coming into the game.

Big game from Feliz tonight. I remember someone on here, saying that Feliz would not have any important RBIs this year. I'm not sure who it is... But that was a heck of a ribbie.

Someone mentioned earlier, why Feliz was in against Chacon. While he hit just .250 against him for this career. His OPS was .918 against him. With 2 Homers in 22PA. Among batters he's faced more than 15 PA, Chacon is #8. Who's #1???
Roy Oswalt.

Against Oswalt, Feliz OWNS him. OWNS him, his OPS is 1.420 in 26 PA.

Any word on Rollins, this injury is really starting to drag on...

That's an amazing stat, mw.

Safe or out, I'll take the run.

KidCarnivore- I agree with your lineup once jimmy gets his legs back. I'll even go so far as to say that I like Werth in the two-hole and Victorino pushed down to six when Victorino returns and they're both in the lineup. Victorino can have less of a conscience about stealing when Utley/Howard/Burrell aren't at the plate.

Based on nothing at all, other than the fact that he's not on teh DL yet, and the schedule - I predict Rollins will not play tomorrow, but will Thursday. He will want a game under his belt before facing Santana on Friday - adn he will be in the lineup for that one (I hope).

mw217 - they must be forgetting that Bo Diaz game, for one - when he hit the grand slam off Neil Allen in the 9th when the Phillies were down 3. April 1983.

I wonder if that 1995 game wasn't another against the Astros. I remember Tony Longmire hitting a 3-run pinch homer in the 9th off John Hudek to win a game which had seemed equally lost for 8-plus innings.

I know it's been a while since we had that stretch where the Astros had our number. Tonight felt like those games from a couple of years ago.

This "almost" makes up for that Craig Biggio homer against the Alpaca Farmer.

Almost.

Quick Hitters:

1.) Huge pinch hit by Snelling.
2.) Utley being savvy as usual.
3.) Pat the Bat in the Clutch!
4.) Feliz Navidad!
5.) Durbinator!
6.) Geoff Jenkins proves the Phils kept the right Geoff by ignoring the 3B coach.
7.) Ruiz should never bat second again, ever.
8.) Durbinator again!! Phils kept the right Durbin.
9.) Someone said Oswalt has been shaky and that is wrong. He has been downright horrible. Unless he has changed something, the Phils should hammer him.

ah, maybe you all missed it, but Rollins pinch-hit tonight.

Rollins pinch hit tonight and according to game reports said he ran "gingerly" I thought he was running weird. Very Upright like Michael Johnson, not fast at all. But he grounded to third, so I think it was okay that he took a little off of his speed.

Rollins had an in game interview tonight, specifically about the injury [a surprise since there are few posters here who think the Phillies haven't been forthcoming about the injury]. He said he felt his speed was up to par, but he was having a difficulty moving to his left in the field(which has been the problem for the last few days.) He said he was hoping for Thursday. My guess is, he will play thursday (if not the whole game) to get rid of his "wobbly legs, because I haven't played at all" so he's ready for the Mets series.

We need 2 of 3 this weekend, and I think it will be reallly hard to keep him out of the lineup any longer.

Is anyone else worried about howard? He looks like the least inspired guy on the field. While the rest of the team was celebrating and smiling in the dugout, he quietly and somberly collected his hat and mitt.

@jon -- he was one of the first guys (if not the first) out to greet Jenkins, pounding on him when the winning run was scored.

He did look sullen when he struck out in the 9th. He has looked that way AFTER every out. He was unhappy about the second strike which was borderline high and outside. The fastball he missed was blown right by him. It was a great pitch in nearly the exact spot the previous pitch (which was a little off speed). Sometimes you have to give one to the pitcher.

Rollins also pinch-hit in one of the games against the Mets. Doesn't mean his return is imminent.

The bad news about his appearance tonight was that he appeared to lose his footing after his first swing, and was then thrown out by about 40 feet on a grounder to third.

Second mention of a brooding, sulking Howard. That's got to stop.

Jon - I thought I saw him run out on the field to Jenkins. At least that's what I saw on tv and Baseball Tonight.

Pat is looking great this year.

Too soon for mvp talk? I think not!

http://www.burrellmvp.com

From Section 114 (first base side), Jenkins appeared safe, but it looked much closer on the replays when I got home.

Howard this, Howard that. If the guy is healthy, he will do exactly what he has always done: Hit HR, walk, be an imposing force in the middle of the lineup that alters the way other teams approach the Phils offense. Its two weeks into the season and already there are fabricated stories about Howard sulking in the dugout.

If he is out congratulating Jenkins and then he goes into the dugout and gets ticked at himself for not performing to his potential, this is good, not a bad thing. A good teammate celebrates his teammates and team's successes and strives to improve their own performance. I'm personally happy that he would show signs of being frustrated. It's much better than him not giving a crap and just collecting a paycheck. The great players are never satisfied, and I would be much more concerned if he were smiling like Andruw Jones after striking out or throwing a temper tantrum like Milton Bradley. Give the guy a break, its the second week of the season. Seriously.

I'll say it again: Don't be a Yankee's fan and boo your best slugger when he is down and then get amnesia when he goes off the charts and act like you loved him all along. Hypocrites are no fun for anyone.

To echo other posters: other than that fantastic base hit robbery, Howard looked dreadful the whole game. About the most animated I saw him was when he conversed with Bourn for the few seconds before Bourn teleported to second base. Oh well, seems like yesterday when we all booed the "sulking" Burrell and cheered Howard.

The Astros looked like the Phillies tonight. Three runs off of nine hits, nine stranded, a Philly error, and a litany of comical Philly fielding flubs that don't show up in stats?

Also seems like yesterday when we had three center fielders. Now we all shed a tear for Werth.

I have been withholding comment on Howard because obviously there will be stretches where he's hot and will be a force again. And will wind up with at least 40 homeruns. But considering how great he looked in spring training, it's been disappointing to see his poor habits from last year resurface early in the regular season.

Agreed Parker. It's funny one of the biggest criticisms of Pat Burrell was that he LACKED emotion. That he wouldn't get upset if he struck out with the bases loaded. (Those opinions sure have changed now that he's playing well for the last year.) The same goes for the criticisms of McNabb (why doesn't he look upset, he's always smiling and so forth).

We're stuck with knee jerk reactions like that.

Now that said... I do believe Howard is upset with his performance at the plate, because he has been noticably distressed after most of his strikeouts. (I think emotion is a good thing.) But Burrell and Utley play the game hard (but try to stay even keeled). Mike Schmidt was the same way.

It's easy for Carson (not picking on you here buddy) to blow a gasket after a loss, while he's sitting at home with the game on, and the laptop next to him. No harm no foul. (unless you ask his family).

But in the dugout/locker room, you can't bring that in there.

Love Charlie or not, that's why he's a good manager, he's not going to pull a Leyland, he's going to keep the mood upbeat. It makes the "EVEN KEEL" guys stay loose. It keeps the energy guys like Rollins motivated. And maybe just maybe it gets the real emotional guys back on track.

I don't know if a day off is warranted with the lack of healthy bodies out there. I'm just guessign that Howard is a slow starter and we will have to deal with that.

Once Howard starts hitting (given everything else on this team staying the same?) you won't be able to stop the freight train for sure.

After tonight, I believe PtB is second in the majors in WPA. MVP!

My MVP for this game is Adam Eaton. Whatever was wrong with his body or his mind, he seems to have gotten it in control. What would have been a disastrous first inning last season was manageable tonight. And his velocity is up, which makes me think that he might only get better from here. Now if only KK can raise his game...

Mike: I don't even think it has to do with Howard being a slow starter. Maybe a warm-weather hitter, but his spring was outstanding this year, and it wasn't last year. He's also just kind of streaky, and unlike last year where he looked like he was trying to pull everything, this year he's hit some nice shots to the opposite field. I'm really not worried about him at all.

I'm not too worried about Howard rebounding to his normal self. I know the home runs will be there, and the walks and the on base. But is he a .265 or whatever he hit last year hitter, or is he a .313 hitter? Maybe he will fall in between. But it still sucks to see him batting .180 in the middle of our order. Even if it's temporary, these wins/losses still count.

Seanez was lucky tonight that the Astros didn't score in the 9th. Durbin was the unappreciated hero of the game tonight to keep the game scoreless during his 2 innings.

Games like this are the reason why I have to remember to try to stay even-keeled. Going to have their more than their fair share of rallies and crushing defeats just like last year.

I have to admit, the first thing I noticed when I saw the video recap was how sullen Howard looked after the win (although on second viewing he does run out and pounce on Jenkins). Burrell, on the other hand, has turned into Mr. Team Spirit.

Pat Burrell must be honored - posters on this site have lambasted him for most of the last three years and yet he is the one who is following Ryan Howard of '06 and Jimmy Rollins of '07 into what is now the greatest of the Pat Gillick/Charlie Manuel-led Phillies new rituals - leading MVP candidate. The only thing that will stand in Pat the Bat's way if he keeps playing like this is the ritualistic way his manager handles him - taking him out too early in some close games and refusing to bat the hottest batter on the team higher than 5th.

Pat is cookin'.

That was an awesome win. A phightin's win. .500 after 14 games. Way better than last year. I'll take it.

Two other things - TBS's new Sunday coverage was the first national media outlet I've seen that called Pat a legitimate MVP candidate and second - I watched the Astros coverage of the game and although they did not have the best angle, it looked pretty clearly like Geoff slid in at home to beat the tag by a couple of inches.

Pat is off to a great start but this "MVP" is foolhardy just 14 games into a season. If he is still in the Top 10 in HRs and RBIs in the NL by Memorial Day it will have some merit.

All things considered, it was pretty amazing to see the Phils win this kind of game. Happens maybe once every 10 years or so.

Makes it 2 big later rallies already by this team (Nats game on the April 2nd where they scored 6 in the 6th and ultimately won in the 10th).

I believe the stat was that they achieve this once every 55 years - definitely worthy of some late tax night celebration!

Rhyno's struggles are going to continue until he starts to hit the ball to the opposite field again. We all know he has the ability; it's just a matter of the will. Pitchers are going to keep pitching him outside until he makes them pay for it. Watching him try to hit balls through the shift makes me want to cry.

Howard's opposite field power is what makes him one of the most feared hitters in baseball. It's what seperates him from other high hr/high k players like Adam Dunn.

Look at PtB- Never, in all his years in Philadelphia, have I seen Burrell hit the ball to right field like he is this year. Consequentially, never, in all his years in Philadelphia, have I seen Burrell hit this well. If you would have told me a year or two ago that Pat would tie a ballgame up with an opposite field bomb in the 9th, I would have laughed in your face.

Howard needs to get back to basics and realize what it was that made him the MVP in 06... and that certainly wasn't trying to pull outside fastballs through an infield shift.

Great comeback -- another case of the Phils executing at crunch time, like Victorino's bunt and Rollins; dash to 3rd base.

Eaton's lookin' good and YES: Give Pat the Bat his contract!

Astros didn't argue the call. Looked like a late tag to me too.

From Lauber's blog:

"The stunning part is that [Pat the Bat] actually was still in the game. Usually, Burrell is on the bench by the ninth inning, and chances are, if he had reached base in the seventh, he would've been lifted for pinch-runner So Taguchi. Good thing Burrell struck out, isn't it?"

Am I the only one who thinks this story shouldn't get just a "Wow, what an interesting turn of events!" blog post? Maybe this is a sign that yes, although Pat Burrell isn't a good fielder, his bat can change games in the late innings. Especially when So Taguchi has bobbled two balls in the OF already. I'd rather see a piece by a beat writer asking Charlie the tough questions, like "Is this still a good idea?", rather than a cute observation in a blog.

Let's not lose the AB by Jenkins in this. Sure he struck out and only reached because of the PB, but he saw 11 pitches. Nice job, there.

myno - Last night someone made the "good thing he struck out in the seventh" joke and I didn't quite get it. This morning I woke up and said, "That's right; if he walked, Taguchi woulda been batting in the ninth!"

From my blog this morning:
It's roughly 9:30pm Eastern time and the Phillies/Astros game is heading into the bottom of the 9th with the Phils down 3-nuttin'. I ponder turning off the tv and catching some early z's, but I resist the temptation of sleep and decide to stick around to watch the finale of this lousy game. It has been a lousy game to this point too, the Phils offense is nonexistent, Adam Eaton & Co. pitched well but all for naught, and Jimmy Rollins is still out of the lineup. I was already to go off on one of my patented tirades and rip this team a new one, then the bottom of the 9th begins and I think my eyes are deceiving me as what happens next is more like a hazy dream than harsh reality...

*Aussie Chris Snelling pinch-hits and takes Astros closer Jose Valverde deep...this can't be real, guess he ate his Vegemite. Phils down 3-1, no outs, none on.

*Chase Utley gets plunked, like that never happens. No outs, 1 on.

*Ryan Howard strike outs, this is bound to happen 200+ time this season with the way that schmuck is hacking haphazardly. 1 out, 1 on.

*I turn to my wife and say, "My boy Burrell is going deep to show Howard how a real man gets the job done.". Sure enough, yack 'em jack 'em, Burrell 2-run opposite field roundtripper. Score 3-3, 1 out, no on.

*Brett Favre steps up to the plate to attempt a last second Hail Marry to win the game, but strikes out flailing. Luckily the pitch escapes catcher Brad Ausmus and Jenkins scampers down to 1st. 1 out, 1 on.

*Our Swing-happy 3rd baseman Pedro comes up and Feliz Navidads a double down the line while Jenkins runs through the stop sign to slide in victoriously safe at the plate on a bang-bang play...Phils win 4-3.

Perfect timing: right after Richards' penalty shot goal, I switched to see Pat's HR and the remainder of the comeback. The fact remains that this team needs to hit much more consistently.

I was one of the lucky ones who tuned in the last 15 minutes. I think that's how I'm gonna watch all of the games from now on to spare my finger nails. I don't think I can take a whole season watching our bullpen have to hold leads for four innings. Easier to watch the phils come from behind, especially at CBP.

In re: the swing Happy 3B

Feliz may be reforming. To this point in the season his P/PA is 3.49 - far better than any of his annual numbers. He has swung at only 21% of first pitches, a truly amazing paucity of hacking. Maybe being around Burrell and Werth has learned him sumpin.

Carson: isn't it fun when you call a dinger ahead of time?

I dont know why the Manuel doesn't bat Pat at cleanup. Howard is obviously a slow starter, Pat is on a hot streak and it gives a lefty- righty - lefty in the middle of the lineup.

Also, Eaton Pitches 3 games in a row of at least 6 innings and only 3 runs. I don't think anyone saw this start coming. A few more like this and the ABE may have to be disbanded.

Howard's struggles are getting tiring and concerning. Do I think he'll suck this bad all season? No, but he is racking up the k's which he normally does. However, he's not producing at all with power, hits, or walks for the most part. Get it together big fella!

Carson: You have a blog???

As for Ryan Howard, one positive note was that ball he snagged, I believe, to end the 8th. It wasn't a particularly nasty ground ball, but I've seen him miss balls like that in the past. If that ball goes through the Stros are up 4-0.

I work in Houston, Texas during the week. While driving back to my apartment after work, I was listening to the Astros’ pregame show. They were interviewing Cholly. I rarely can hear his speaking voice, so I was surprised that he does not sound like Foghorn Leghorn to me. They also said that Chacon gave up the second highest home run totals last year and that Eaton was basically the worst starter last year with a 6.50 ERA. They said the game will be fun, expecting a high scoring game from both teams.

At the apartment, I watched the first three innings of the Houston broadcast, when my wife switched the channel to American Idol. It was amazing how American Idol scheduled their commercial breaks to match the game’s between inning commercial breaks! After the show, I put back on the sorry 3-0 game with no offense. I remarked that if I had to miss some of the game, at least it was a stinker. Adam Eaton has been a pleasant surprise, but he can’t win without runs.

My wife wanted me to go to the grocery store and had her jacket on waiting for the game to end. She was less than happy that I refused to budge until the last out as Phillies broadcasts are rare around here. When Snelling hit his blast, I declared it was a homerun when it was just over the second baseman’s head. Utley gets on and I’m juiced by Howard being at bat, but he sadly strikes out. I tell my wife that Pat the Bat can hit one out, and he does it shortly after I said it. While my wife is happy for me, she’s envisioning extra innings and a delay to her grocery store trip. Jenkins fouls off a bunch of pitches only to strike out, but he gets on base anyway. The much maligned Feliz then hits one into the corner and Jenkins comes in to score. The Houston announcers are stunned. Chacon’s great eight innings of shutout ball are wasted by their new high priced closer, Jose Valverde. They show the score from five different camera angles, but none are definitive and they remark that their catcher, Brad Ausmus, doesn’t put up much of an argument, so they accept their defeat.

On the way to and from the grocery store, I’m listening to the Astros’ postgame wrapup followed by a postgame call in show. The announcers and the fans are shocked, blaming everyone on their team for the loss. More of the same during my morning drive to work. The Phillies put a dagger in the Astros’ hearts last night, probably killing their spirit for the rest of the season. Way to go!

MPN- yes I do, I know I've never mentioned it on here before today...

Another quality start from Adam Eaton and if he can keep that up this rotationi will be fine. Other than Gordon's implosion on opening day the bullpen has pitched very well this year. If they can pitch half this well the rest of the year, when some of our bats wake up we'll be fine.

On the play at the plate. The one replay CN8 showed (the camera above homeplate and angled back a little) showed Jenkins was safe. What happened is when Ausmus when to sweep the tag he missed Jenkins leg- you can see dirt/grass in between Jenkins leg and the mitt. By the time he dove forward to tag Jenkins his foot was on the plate. It was close but it was the right call.

Re: Pat Burrell - have we ever seen an athlete redeem himself in such spectacular fashion in Philadelphia? Usually once the fans set the negative bit on a player, he's done for.

Ausmus didn't even argue the call at the plate, he knew he missed him on the swipe tag. He did tag him in the upper-chest, but by then Jenkins foot was on homeplate.

Last night and early this morning people were making comments about Ryan's lack of celebration. I'm not sure where that came from, but the photos (http://www.delawareonline.com/blogs/uploaded_images/9d6ddf2f188b4a29ba74bdc91ec9397e-770533.jpg and http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/slideshow/photo//080416/483/3b096d8d80ba49e387c0fa9bc5048f57/) from the celebration around home and the video (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/clubhouse?team=phi) shows Ryan in the thick of it.

Nice little post on Fangraphs about last night's game and Chris Snelling: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/comeback-squared

Joe: Interesting Post, I don't know if I can recall any other players who Philly had pretty much given up on that has come back to be one of Philly most loved athletes right now.

Pat may not always show emotion, but when something good happens, he is ALWAYS the first one out of the dugout to congratulate / celebrate with his teammates. Nice to see him having a good year so far. That backhanded catch from Sunday? They may have lost to the Cubs but that was a winning play right there.

Re: Howard not producing

Yes, he's not hitting as well as we'd like. But he is still third in walks and he leads the league in IBBs, a testament to how dangerous the rest of the league knows he is.

I'm still not all that worried about him. I believe his bat will come around and he'll start hitting.

Phanatics brother:

NO, you didn't. Watch the video from last night:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/
clubhouse?team=phi

Howard is the second guy out there after the man in the on-deck circle.

Hypothetically trading Howard has its merits, I guess, but I don't know how this story got legs.

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EST. 2005

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