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Monday, April 14, 2008

Comments

Just to correct some errors in Mike C's post from last thread:
Mike C wrote, "Discussing Splits regarding Feliz is also really not worth it, considering the difference between LHP and RHP, since Feliz faced WAY more Right handers and was more successful facing right handers."

There are a couple things wrong here. First, EVERY everyday player "faces WAY more Right handers." So if that discredits a stat then there are no credible stats.

Second, over his career Feliz has NOT been more successful against RHP. (And calling his .724 OPS vs. RHP last year "successful" is laughable.)

His career #s:
vs. RHP .711
vs. LHP .742

Again, the knee-jerk defense of all things Feliz by Jack and a few others, their great joy when he was signed, and their attacks on anyone who dares criticize him are just totally baffling to me especially when you consider the silence when posters say outrageously wrong things about Howard. Just bizarre, but that's what makes Beerleaguer interesting. Definitely an "alternative viewpoint."

Not a single Beerleaguer will agree wit the contention that Utley is an average defensive 2nd baseman? Or that Utley is an average 2nd baseman all together?

Because the first contention, about defense, I think a lot of Beerleaguers would agree with, nothing controversial there at all.

I don't know i'd say anyone celebrated with "great joy" when Feliz was signed. The typical response was "slight upgrade", "better than having 2 platoons" or even "good defense and should hit some HRs in CBP" The criticsms of Feliz are dead on, but the constant hyperbole used by *some* to pretend half the posters on here are in love with Feliz is childish and hurts your argument.

To respond to MG's point, yes, the bar has been set very low for April.

And going by past seasons, the sloppy play will resolve itself. So, considering that, if after this April the Phils will not have a season long up hill battle to get into the playoffs, I would see that as the glass half full.

Of course, I did not see yesterday's game, so that might explain my optimism.

Nice compilation of quotes!

Anyone read the Forbes article that puts Philadelphia as the 9th most miserable sports city? We can't place well in a most miserable contest!

http://sports.yahoo.com/top/news?slug=ys-forbesmisery041008&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

BB:

Stop being reasonable!

How are we not the most miserable? Don't the writers read the comments here? Looks like we'll have to bash more than Feliz...

I'm honored to be quoted, just a shame it wasn't about something positive.

It's a good day for an off day.

Morty: League-average defensively, obviously. I guessed you missed the post last week that said he's a Gold Glover.

so the guy makes a throwing error to cost the team the game and all of a sudden he's league average? this is probably the dumbest thing i've heard on this blog. you can't honestly believe that, are you just trying to get some attention?

clout:

I did miss that post. Is that really the majority opinion here though, much less unanimous?

Utley is hardworking in the field and has good instincts, but his physical gifts, most especially arm strength, leave him at a disadvantage. Nothing wrong with being average defensively, although he is certainly caught up in the, mostly, team wide below average fielding slump.

It really does make you wonder what they do down there in Florida.

they work on fielding drills this spring training than they ever have under manuel

I wouldn't say Utley is a "Gold Glover" (although that is, of course, a pretty sketchy criteria for defensive quality). but I do think, based both on my observations and statistical data, that he's an above average defensive 2B.

obviously that doesn't mean he won't make mistakes. I know clout has a high opinion of Rollins' defense, and our shortstop has not been exactly flawless this season.

Irregardless of foul ball home runs and Derek Lee's damnable golden glove, ERRORS are April's plague. Lookee at all those E's, folks. Disgraceful for such a talented infield. There's more than a couple losses chocked up to misplayed or mishandled balls in the infield. We are right to be critical of our pinstripers in this respect.

I taped the game and watched it last night. An ugly game marked by bad breaks, repeated missed opportunities, bad managerial decisions, and bad fundamental baseball. Some games have a certain feel to them and, even when they were winning, this one always felt like a loss to me.

The Phillies always seem to lose these drawn-out extra inning games, where both teams use almost their entire bullpens and benches. The bullpen is the obvious culprit in these types of losses, but our manager(s) bear blame as well, for continuing to mindlessly remove Burrell from the game, even though it has come back to burn them at least 10 times over the last 2 years. Our manager(s) also bear blame for continuing to follow the baseball orthodoxy that, if you get a guy on base in the late innings, you've got to bunt him to the next base. Once again:

Predicted runs if you have a man on 1st with no outs: .820.

Predicted runs if you have a man on 2nd with one out: .650.

Predicted runs if you have a man on 1st with one out: .490.

In other words, even a "successful" sacrifice bunt puts you in a worse position than you were in before the bunt took place. Furthermore, that .820 number goes up when you have a hot hitter at the plate, such as Jayson Werth. And if you have a guy at the plate such as Werth or Feliz, who has no talent for bunting, the odds of getting to the third scenario are far greater than the odds of getting to the second scenario. Besides the pitcher's spot, the only time the Phillies should be bunting is if they have a weak hitter & good bunter at the plate.

Lee's snag was outstanding. When Ruiz stung that ball, I maybe yelped.

I just wonder why Burrell, whose turn in the lineup has appeared in big spots this year, late in the game, is never actually in that lineup when it's his turn.

If that makes sense.

Clout: I don't mind anyone that wants to argue about Feliz all day, there's a good chance you're right about him, but stop with the hyperbole, and the outright made up stories. You sound like an overzealous politician trying to demonize his opponents.
"Again, the knee-jerk defense of all things Feliz by Jack and a few others, their great joy when he was signed, and their attacks on anyone who dares criticize him are just totally baffling to me especially when you consider the silence when posters say outrageously wrong things about Howard. Just bizarre."
No one was joyful, some just talked themselves into it and understood the line of thinking behind the signing. And there's no silence when people will say we should trade Howard. I and others have called plenty of people stupid for suggesting it.

Mike C: It's funny when you say Utley's hit is "either a fly out or a home run". Because obviously it wasn't either. I understand what you're saying, and that it usually is, and I could forgive him if it was the 5th inning of a random game. But it was in the 10th inning of a game that you're down one and down to your last out. You bust your ass and hope to get lucky. It probably wouldn't have made a difference, but it also could have made ALL the difference. There's just not a good excuse not to run hard there.

And as for his defense. He used to be below average but by last year he had made himself one of the better defenders in the NL. I hope the early season lapse isn't indicative of a dropoff in that category.

JZ: Makes perfect sense. Some clever sabmermetric type needs to do some research to determine the difference in probability between scoring with So Taguchi on first base, as opposed to Pat Burrell. I am certain it's infinitesimal -- and far, far lower than the difference in probability between scoring in an innning where Burrell comes to the plate, as opposed to Taguchi.

The only time the pinch run substitution makes sense is if it's the 8th or 9th inning and we're losing by 1 run. In that situation, you've got to do everything you can to score. If you don't score, it's highly unlikely that Burrell's spot in the order is ever going to come up again, so there's no need to worry about it.

There's no point crying about it, but if Victorino had been playing CF, it's very likely that Derek Lee's 2-run third inning double would have been a fly out. Then agin, if Victorino had been playing CF, he probably wouldn't have homered or reached base 3 times, so perhaps it evened out.

The Burrell Rule- whereas he MUST be removed for a pinch-runner or defensive purposes post 7th inning.

I can see where this "rule" would be helpful, but far too often this season it's been damning.

B_A_P

"Predicted runs if you have a man on 1st with no outs: .820.

Predicted runs if you have a man on 2nd with one out: .650"

But it is consequences. They are not mutually exclusive statements. The chances of scoring from 1st is less than scoring from 2nd. Thats why 2nd base is 'scoring position'. And the most likely way to get someone from 1st to 2nd is with an out, either a groundout or a sacrifice. And obviusly the chances of scoring are less with more outs

Carson:

Count me in on being overly tired of Manuel's book on Burrell. When someone is hitting that well, he's got to stay in a close game. Count on the rest of your team to get him home somehow.

BAP: I completely agree. Like in the Mets game when Taguchi scored the tying run. It's only worth chancing that infinitesmal upgrade if we're down.

And I think, with the way he's working counts, that Werth has to be our leadoff man. With a lineup of Werth/Utley/Burrell/Howard... putting a lesser hitter in the 2-hole out of tradition(i guess) is just stupid.

Snip: "Here's an ugly truth that not a single Beerleaguer will agree with."

Good to see clout in midseason form as self-proclaimed arbiter of what's right/wrong with the Phillies and fans' assessment thereof.

That said, I'll agree with him on Utley insofar as about league average on defense. STill, he ordinarily is a hustler and he's a hard worker. That he'd be considered even league average defensively is a testament to that work ethic, given that a few years ago it was thought he'd never even be league average as a fielder.

It is true that Burrell clogs the bases so much that Liquid Plumber couldn't help, but dude is an on base machine that needs to be in the lineup in crucial rbi situations.

I'm with you, Carson, keep the hot bat in, unless it's a key pinch run situation.

Agreed about "key pinch-run situation", which would be bottom on the 9th.

And that was the situation yesterday, but the horrible bunting by the Phils didn't work. Anyone notice that this team plays horrible in terms of fundamentals?

BAP - Taking out Burrell for a PH in the bottom of the 9th wasn't a bad move. Burrell is off to a great start but he is molasses on the basebaths. A single Taguchi has a shot from going from 1B to 3B. The sac bunts were another matter all together.

BAP - the other consideration in your Werth/Vic calculus is that Jenkins dropped a foul fly out the swing previous to Lee's double. Jenkins makes that catch and you can have your cake and eat it too with Werth.

One thing: CHILL OUT.

Sure the Phils needed to pick this one up, but Utley is a human being, Christ.....

I mean, Howard COULD have done a better job digging that ball. It's not like it was fired from third...it was slung from second.

He'll make his errors. It's April. It's not the end of the world...surely not the end of the season.

Please relax.

MG - not to mention 2nd to Home as well. I also don't have a problem with pinch-running for Burrell in a tied 9th inning. It is more questionable than the situation last week against the Mets, but it's a close call.

morty: See the post right above yours.

Clout:

Touche, although you have already had two people (myself and lurker) agree with you that Utley is average to slightly above average defensively.

The 0.82 predicted runs with a man on first and no out is not an 82% chance of a run scoring because it includes the possibility of multiple runs in the inning. A sac bunt reduces the expected number of runs because it reduces the chances of multiple runs scoring. The strategy is designed to increase the chances of a single run scoring. And in fact, "in those instances when managers chose to bunt, a successful sacrifice increased the probability of scoring at least one run from .665 to .736."

Having said that, it seems that having Werth and Feliz sac bunt were poor decisions, because they are good hitters and apparently poor bunters. (Well, we'll see about Feliz!)

An excellent discussion of the sac bunt is at The baseball analysts.

as I've pointed out before, there's no reason to expect that Feliz will be able to lay down a successful bunt. he has a total of 6 sacrifices over his entire career (8 years, not including 2008). and 3 of those bunts were in his 2001 rookie season. in other words, over the last nearly 800 games, he's bunted exactly 3 times.

if he actually was able to bunt, I would have no problem with making him sacrifice, but I don't think that's the case.

erich: I haven't seen you post before but, if your numbers are correct -- and I have no reason to doubt them -- that is a truly excellent point. However, I also agree with your conclusion, which is that the general probabilities are meaningless if you've got a guy at the plate who can't bunt. And, at least in the case of Jayson Werth, I would also add that the sacrifice took the bat ouf of the hands of a very hot hitter.

ae:

Didn't see the game, was Feliz unsuccessful on a sac bunt try? What happened?

I hope you don't mind if I put up a little umbrella amidst the downpour. I watched the game yesterday (and the Phils are seldom on TV out here), and it was miserable.

But. Hasn't Jason Werth turned out to be a nice surprise? I was not too keen when he came on board, and I am pretty sure I recall that there was a fair bit of concern amongst the Beerleaguers. But jeez, he's really turned me around! I find myself happy to see him. (Asking him to bunt was dumb.)

Is it irresponsible of Charlie Manuel to get himself ejected in such a close game? Would he have made better decisions than Jimy?

Morty: Feliz bunted the ball too hard and the pitcher got the lead runner, although he made a very bad throw which Theriot saved by making a great play.

erich: I read that article and the times when the bunt actually DID increase scoring chances were when the pitcher was doing the bunting. Earl Weaver would NEVER bunt with a position player because giving up an out is the worst thing you can do in baseball. Obviously, this remains a minority view.

Clout: in response to your post from previous thread "Burgh: Good luck imposing censorship on the Internet. Or Beerleaguer".

It seems Matt Cerrone on metsblog.com has a solution:

"as i continue to work on cleaning up this site’s comments section and functionality, all comments will first go in to limbo and sit in moderation before being posted on the site…so, if you make a comment, but it does not immediately appear, it does not mean you have been banned…it means, like all comments, your statement is in queue, waiting for approval"

MG: The botttom line question is not whether Taguchi might go from first to third on a single. It's: how likely is it that Taguchi will score a run which a slow-as-molasses Pat Burrell would not have scored? I haven't seen statistical data, but I recall doing an analysis last year, in which I concluded that, in all the times that Cholly pinch ran Bourn for Burrell, Bourn scored exactly one run that Burrell wouldn't have scored. 1 run per season hardly justifies the steep drop-off in offense, in the event that Burrell's spot in the order has to come up to the plate again.

"Ultimately, it is the players' responsibility but Cholly has to take some criticism for this too. The number of mental miscues this team has made in the early going has been pretty staggering."

Of all the criticism leveled at Manuel during his tenure in Philadelphia, this is the most valid. Despite his tough-guy talk this spring, the bottom line is that this team still - *still!* - can't get it right after all these years coming out of spring training. If a team comes out of the gate not hitting or pitching poorly, it may be thing, but when there are so many mistakes and bad plays being committed on a regular basis, that reflects on the manager.

There is some consolation that the 'competition' has also stumbled in early April - but that just makes it all the more galling to realize there's finally an opportunity to get ahead, and it's just the same old first-half epidemic with this team, poor situational hitting and sloppy defensive play. It's like they cannot focus until the sand starts to run out in the hour glass, until they realize they absolutely *have* to.

BAP - Maybe but the Phils had already used their best relievers including Romero and Lidge. Of all the things that happened in the game, I have no real gripes about trying to win it in the bottom of the 9th.

I agree, all these people citing that other NL East are struggling too does not make the fact the Phils are struggling due to poor fundamental baseball any less agonizing. The Phils should be taking advantage of other teams struggles and capitalizing to make an early season lead on the division.

@(phantom) RSB - so true. A win in April = a win in Sept.

RSB - Agreed and this team came out of spring training pretty healthy this year. Yeah, Lidge missed a few games and so has JRoll but for availability of players is not a reason why this team has struggled.

The series against the Nats was a perfect example. Phils came out completely mentally unprepared to play in that series and should have been swept. Even a few weeks into the season they are still making more than their share of mental miscues in the field, basepaths, and at the plate.

It does seem like Cholly tried to make more of an emphasis on his players this spring about being more prepared to start the season but they have either largely phased him out in that regard/just have been complacent in part due to his general demeanor around the club.

Cholly's attitude does work better over the course of a baseball season (which is ridiculously long and grueling) because guys will more likely respond to him in season if he chews them out but there is more than enough evidence now to suggest that Cholly's spring training regimen doesn't work all that well with this team.

"A win in April = a win in Sept."

A-freakin-men to that brotha! I know there are 162 games in a season, but I want to throw up every time I hear the "it's a marathon not a sprint" and "it's a long season" b.s.; come out and play with the same focus, effort, and intensity in April that you do later in the season and you wouldn't find yourselves fighting for your playoff lives.

MG: I had the same thought at the time: maybe Jimy was going for broke because we were getting close to Clay Condrey time. But we still had Seanez and Madson, who could probably have given us a total of 3 more innings. Besides, the Cubs were also deep into their pen & Condrey is probably not appreciably worse than whoever the Cubs' 7th reliever happens to be.

Condrey isn't even appreciably worse than our supposed #2 reliever Tom Gordon right now.

clout: I just read the article too. According to the data, there ARE situations other than the pitcher being at-bat, in which the odds of scoring 1 run actually increase with a successful sacrifice.

The big caveat, however, is that these figures are averages, and do not take into account whether the would-be bunter knows how to bunt. They also don't take into consideration whether the hitter at the plate has been particularly hot of late, as was the case with Jayson Werth. Perhaps most importantly, the study -- by the writer's own admission -- doesn't take into consideration the possibility that the sacrifice attempt can fail. It's one thing to say that the odds of scoring a single run with a man on 2nd & 1 out are higher than the odds of scoring a single run with a man on 1st and 0 outs. But you can't automatically assume that a bunt will put you in the first situation, because sacrifice bunts fail a good deal of the time. Once you include an expected failure rate in your equation, I would venture to guess that the sacrifice is almost never a good move, unless the pitcher is at bat.

.593 on base percentage for Werth. He needs to be at the top of the order when he starts!

Carson: I think you're being unduly harsh on Gordon. He was obviously a disaster on opening day, but since then he has been solid. He had to go two innings against the Mets, and it still wasn't like he got rocked there (and Reyes was out!), and yesterday he started off sharp but slipped a little. I certainly won't rule out the possibility that he's done, but since his two appearances in the Nats series he's been effective when used in a limited role.

BAP - and Seanez helped cough up the game by giving up 2 walks in the 10th inning including a leadoff walk which is the kiss of death when relieving. Given the way that Madson has pitched recently (I still think he is hurt more than he and the Phils are letting on) and Condrey's role as the eater of innings undesirable, I don't blame Williams for trying to win it in the 9th.

I'm excited to see Werth playing everyday for the next few weeks. The guy's a remarkably well-rounded player. He gives you good defense, great base running, and excellent at bats. In some ways, he's a more intriguing option in the two hole than Vic, who would fit well in the eight slot, I think.

Also, any support out there for breaking up Utley and Howard in the order? When Burrell is hitting, there's no reason he shouldn't be in the clean up slot. I'd certainly love to see him getting all his walks in front of Howard instead of Jenkins. Just a thought.

I'll sort of agree with everyone on Flash.

He could very well be done and by all accounts he probably should be. He's approaching 40 years of age, 20 years in the bigs, and countless innings thrown.

However, since opening day he's pitched better. So as Brian says, "he's been effective when used in a limited role."

What is a number 2 relief pitcher anyway? How many teams actually have guys who could be closer's pitching in the 8th inning? Most teams have a most effective righty and lefty that they use situationally late in games. A few teams (Dodgers with Broxton, Yanks with Joba, etc.) are lucky enough to have an 8th inning guy who is lights out.

The key would obviously be Charlie's use of said relievers. Clearly not his strength, but its about time we all agreed to evaluate Flash as a member of the pen and not the number 2 guy back there.

Of course its more important that Charlie does the same thing, but we'll see....

Not sure if this was already discussed. According to the Miami Herald.
http://www.miamiherald.com/594/story/493925.html

"As it turns out, Wes Helms got traded for $1. That is all the Marlins had to give the Phillies, who agreed to pay his $2.4 million salary this season. (He is under contract next season, though the Marlins could buy him out.)"

Essentially the Marlins agreed to pay next year's buyout, but it has to be ego blow to be traded for $1.

Yep, was discussed. Helms still stinks.

JCD, If Jenkins hits behind Howard, Howard won't see a pitch to hit.

Not sure if this was already discussed. According to the Miami Herald.
http://www.miamiherald.com/594/story/493925.html

"As it turns out, Wes Helms got traded for $1. That is all the Marlins had to give the Phillies, who agreed to pay his $2.4 million salary this season. (He is under contract next season, though the Marlins could buy him out.)"

Essentially the Marlins agreed to pay next year's buyout, but it has to be ego blow to be traded for $1.

Billy Mac: it's not as bad as it sounds. Beinfest was holding out through spring training on his offer of 24 cents and a super ball for Helms.

Howard & Jenkins hitting back-to-back in the order would satisfy any LOOGY's wildest fantasy -- at least his wildest baseball-related fantasy.

johnnysanz: Small sample size!

If Jimmy is back I like Werth in the 2 hole. In fact, I think we're a better offensive team with Werth and Jenkins hitting every day than with Shane hitting in the 2 hole and one of those guys sitting (especially because its usually Werth who sits). Of course, as evidenced by Lee's double yesterday, we give up some serious defense by not having Shane out there in center.

so that ball utley hit in the 10th. now explain to me how he was going to get an inside the park homerun on that??? does he have a rocket up his ass so he can fly around the bases in that situation? or even worse say he gets thrown out trying to stretch that into a triple.

filliesphan: Yes, it would have been highly improbable that Utley could have rounded the bases. However, he was running at half speed and still was about 10 feet away from second when the ball hit Fukudome's glove. That ball hung up there FOREVER. If he had been going hard out of the box he would have been halfway to third when it hit the ground. At the least he goes into third standing up, then maybe scoring on a past ball, or just making the pitcher more conscious of him. Either way, there's no reason not to run hard on the last out of the game. Remember Rollins' triple then error to tie the game against the Nats last year?

All you defenders of Tom Gordon, good for you he needs fans. Me personally, I'm done with him because I believe he's done. Had a nice career and even some nice time with the Phils, but I don't trust him and doubt he finishes the season as a considered asset in the Phils 'pen.

How can he be done if he's been ok so far?

(at least you didn't call us "Gordon lovers")

You must have a far different definition of "ok" than I do.

I'm trying to not be so harsh on commenters on here unless they proclaim something like David Bell was a solid 3rd baseman or No-Hit Nunez was a decent hitter...

I don't understand the numbers reported in the Miami Herald. The Phils are on the entire hook for Helms $2.15M salary this season but the Marlins will have to come up with the $750k buyout of Helm's $3.75M club option for 2009.

So basically, the Phils saved $750k moving Helms. Surprised no one mentioned it but a move that proved the Phils' thriftiness was that they sold back Lahey to the Twins. All to save less than $50k. Not exactly like the dreadful IronPigs have an abundance of pitching talent (or talent in general) that they couldn't have found a place for Lahey. Same type of thing the Phils did with Roberson when they traded him to the O's.

MG: No, no, no. Minnesota had to pay us $25k back because they wanted him back and he was not on our 25 man roster. Big difference. Now, you can fault the Phillies for not making a trade for Lahey, but perhaps the Twins were asking for too much or perhaps the Phillies were not impressed with what they saw? Unclear.

Brian G: I think you could definitely hold Gordon responsible for yesterday's game. He struck out Fukudome, but then walked DeRosa and gave up a single to Theriot to get him pulled. You can't walk DeRosa. He got DeRosa into a 1-2 count, DeRosa fouled one off, and then Gordon threw 3 straight balls. Granted, DeRosa's a patient hitter, but Gordon can't put guys on. Three straight balls against a guy like DeRosa is unacceptable. If we're talking about Pujols, Prince Fielder, Holliday, or Bonds in his prime, fine. But DeRosa is not going to kill every mistake. You've got to make him put the ball in play or at least swing the bat. And Gordon failed, costing us the game.

I don't think he's been effective, and I'll say it again, I do not have any confidence in him when he's on the mound.

cp: Yeah, I agree the Derosa walk was inexcusable. I just see Gordon make Fukudome look silly and am more inclined to not completely right him off yet. I think he can help us in a 1-inning role this year.

And Soto's hit was lucky, but it was stupid of Williams to burn Romero to counter Pie when 1. Pie is not a good hitter and could have been gone after with Gordon, and 2. everyone and their mother knew Piniella wasn't sending Pie up there to hit.

Once again, Gordon shouldn't have even been in the game, Romero should have started the 8th.

6-7 is still a lot better than 4-11.

Yes 6-7 is a lot better than 4-11, but that was last year, it's time to move on and not make the same mistakes. Aren't you supposed to learn from the mistakes of your past?

MPN - Thanks for the clarification.

I think the problem with the bullpen is not whether Gordon or Romero is the #1 set up guy. It's the lack of a second left hander in the bullpen.

Because you don't have a second guy, you need to save Romero for a potential LOOGY situation.

Romero didn't get the job done either, so you can pin it on Gordon if you want. The stat book does. But it wasn't like Romero was lights out. He struggled too, and we can't be sure that the results wouldn't have been the same. He fell behind every batter he faced in the 8th. We were lucky to get out of that inning tied. Gordon/Romero/Seanez didn't get the job yesterday.

Mike: Agreed, another lefty in the pen would allow us to use Romero whenever needed and save the other guy for the LOOGY. Hopefully Kline will pitch well (not likely) and can step up and help the big club.

I'm of the opinion that the Utley throw was on Howard. Utley had a guy bearing down on him (Carlos "I'm the size of a freaking bull" Zambrano, nonetheless). Most, if not all players making that throw would have their throw altered by that situation.

The real fault goes to Howard in not giving up on the DP and getting the ball. It all comes down to what will be the most costly: possibly (not likely) getting the DP or missing the ball and allowing another run to score. Howard, seeing that the throw was beyond his extension, should have moved off the bag and saved the error. Live to pitch to another batter and hopefully you get the next guy out. Instead they score another run on the error and the inning continues without the DP anyway. Bad throw, but excusable. Bad decision making by Howard, not so much.

Howard is still a beast and I can obviously look past this and be realistic about the situation. It was one play. I can't wait for the throng of ridiculous "trade Howard" commentary. Honestly, I'm surprised there has not been any "trade Utley" statements made yet. Then again I have not read all the posts.

Since it's an off-day, let's talk a little prospects. Seems like it's been a pretty good start to the year for some of the Phils' better prospects.

Joe Savery was mentioned in Baseball Prospectus' prospect report today. He went 8 shutout innings on Saturday, striking out 4 and getting 14 groundballs. The BP author mentioned that Savery, being a lefty and a GB-heavy pitcher, could end up passing Carrasco as the Phils top pitching prospect by the end of the year. Since Savery is already 22, I'd like to see him in Double A within a couple months, and competing for Moyer's presumably vacant rotation spot next spring.

Speaking of Carrasco, he's off to a good start as well. Struck out 7 yesterday in 7 innings and walked 2. Gave up 2 solo homers. If he keeps up a high level against Double A competition, he's gonna make a real push for at least a bullpen appearance with the club this summer, if not a shot at a real role with the team next year.

Hitting-wise, Greg Golson has been off to a big start, hitting .350, albeit with limited OBP, which has been his weakness all along. He has shown the power/speed combo that makes him so appealing, with 4 doubles and a homer so far, and 6 stolen bases, but if he doesn't cut the K's and up the walks, it's tough to see him really developing into a star. Still, I think most people had somewhat given up on him after his 49/2 K/BB ratio last year, and this start is promsing. He might not be the Phils centerfielder of the future, but he could at least be a very solid 4th outfielder/ speed bench guy.

Also, Lou Marson has been hitting well. I think it's safe to say that he is a much more intriguing catching prospect than Jason Jaramillo, who is like 26 and at Triple A. Ruiz is set as our starting catcher, but Coste is 34 and a young talented catcher is certainly a good asset to have in your system.

Thoughts?

Learning from the mistakes of your past... sure, but haven't most of these losses been caused by Tom Gordon, iffy starting pitching, and cold bats? How many of the losses were a product of mistakes besides yesterday's? We're averaging a little over 4.5 runs scored a game and with our pitching staff, that's never going to be enough for any more than a .500 record. We're actually giving up fewer runs per game than we did last season. So the way I see it, half of our lineup is off to a slow start, Rollins is hurt, due to that we don't have a great record, but none of that is a mistake per se, guys just aren't hitting.

Adding to the bright side point of view: aside from Kyle Kendrick, the pitching has looked pretty solid overall so far. Myers was pretty bad in his first two starts, and Moyer has been just so-so, but Myers isn't really a question mark and no one expects Moyer to be anything more than so-so. The problems have largely been on the offense and defense, and that isn't likely to continue as the season progresses. The bullpen is *far* more stable than it was a year ago - so much so that even if Madson went down, it probably wouldn't hurt the team all that much.

Of course, a lot depends on whether Eaton is still a time bomb, or if he can actually continue to pitch competently.

Good report, Jack. Bastardo had another good game too (the Cclearwater pitchers had 18 Ks). I still see him mainly as a LH middle guy, but still. Aside from his ability to miss bats he has a killer name.

Carson I'm with you on Gordon. Last night's game is mostly on him. Not only was there no excuse for the loss, but where is his freakin' bread-and-butter curveball? Someone should remind him he used to have one.

Lahey went back to the Twins? I wonder why no one saw that coming.

Friday night:

Hamels vs. Santana

Should be one hell of a matchup.

Get ready for the weekend losers. Ny is in the house. We are takin ova the bank

Gordon still is capable of a good game and, if we're lucky, maybe even another extended run of good pitching like the one he had last Septmeber. He has had a few games this year where he not only got good results, but was really dealing -- i.e., a 95 MPH fastball & a sharp curve. It's difficult for me to reconcile those types of performances with a conclusion that he has completely lost it.

Much has been made about Gordon's age & injury issues but his problems seem to revolve around something that has little to do with age and injuries -- namely, his ability to throw strikes. When the bad Tom Gordon shows up, his problems always seem to start off with a walk -- and that was again the case last night. The solution is not to stop using him, but to lift him literally the second he issues a walk.

Who's Ny?

But, yeah, I hear the "weekend losers" are coming to Philadelpia this week.

I wonder if the Mets fans will boo Johan at the Zen, too?

JftH
Maybe not...but they'll probably throw batteries and stuff at him.

"Get ready for the weekend losers. Ny is in the house. We are takin ova the bank"

Guess the posters who got kicked out of MetsBlog are going to start heading over here for the weekend. Can't wait.

I believe it should be "takin' ovah."

Funny that the Hamels v. Santana matchup is the only game not on Fox or ESPN. The Eaton sunday game is on ESPN. I guess it would be Moyer on Saturday.

Sorry, I know this is a Phillies blog, but the 76ers just got JOBBED!

In an ongoing effort to bring you news about any ex-Phillie that I wish was still with us...In case anyone was wondering:

Kyle Lohse

GS-3 W-2 L-0 ERA-1.04 IP-17.1 H-15 H-15
R-2 ER-2 BB-5 SO-7 HR-0

Mr Mack - you realize the Phils offered Lohse a deal about 17 million dollars richer than the one he took with the Cards, right?

I wish we had A rod too. Why don't you start posting his season's stats?

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