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Saturday, April 26, 2008

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I think the only real negative from last night was having to use Flash/J.C./Lidge with Kendrick set to pitch today.

If Eaton was laboring from the beginning, as Manuel implied in his post-game interview, then the Phils were probably fortunate to get 3-2/3 IP from him. Makes you wonder if his back is acting up, or his shoulder is giving him trouble, both, or something else.

Chris Coste is now hitting over .400. Not a bad streak for a backup catcher.

As I said in the previous thread, the most telling stat of the season is the fact that after 24 games, JRoll still leads the team with 2 steals. Not much team speed on the basepaths without Vic and JRoll.

For what its worth... the sabermetricians over at FanGraphs don't even think Wright deserves to be in the discussion with Utley.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/best-player-alive (in comments)

AWH: To my eyes, Eaton's problem last night was he started rushing his delivery after he allowed a couple runners to start the 4th. With guys who are wildly inconsistent with their command like Eaton (and KK) there is almost always a mechanical issue (although last season the mechanical issue was caused by Eaton's shoulder hurting). If they had perfect muscle memory and their delivery never varied they'd be Tom Seaver.

I went down to the game last night (going tonight too). The combination of the pens playoff game and baseball apathy in Pittsburgh led to a home crowd for the Phillies. I don't know if you could hear it on TV but left field was about 60-40 Phills fans. Probably 50/50 in the stadium overall.

Agreed, Clout. Rushing through his delivery has been Kendrick's biggest problem for sure. It's the reason he's been a walk machine.

AWH: In fairness, JRoll is the CO-leader in stolen bases with Jayson Werth. But yeah, they really need to get JRoll and Vic back into the lineup to get their running game back on track.

On the plus side, the Phightin' Phils are only 1.5 games out of first place at the moment.

Also, over on steMsblog, the fans are (still) calling for Willie Randolph's firing, even with the injuries and Delgado's slump.

I'll tell you what. The discussion is at a much higher level on this blog. It's not even close.

After 24 games last year the Phils were 11-13. This year the record is reversed.

Let's hope they can stay above .500 for the rest of the season, and get healthy.

Chipper is out in Atlanta. He apparently threw his back out getting dressed. Talk about a freak injury.

Threw his back out getting dressed? What was he slipping into?

A few of my thoughts on this first month of the season.

Call me crazy but i think the pitching staff has been more than capable pretty much all season. I really can't remember more than 1-2 games where the starter didn't keep us in the game.

Honestly this team's position players are not young by any means. And you can see that certain key members of the lineup are coming up with the typical injuries you tend to get when approaching 30 yrs old. I wouldn't be surprised to see the injuries continue throughout the season.

Werth needs to get more regular playing time. In my opinion I think it might benefit everyone if Charlie finds a way to get Werth in there everyday and platoon Vic & Jenkins. Feel free to rip me a whole new @$$hole but I just continue to hold out hope that Charlie gets a clue and changes the lineup to the following if and when we get a healthy team.

1. Rollins
2. Utley
3. Burrell
4. Howard
5. Werth (CF or RF) depending on opposing pitcher
6. Jenkins/Victorino platoon
7. Felix
8. Coste/Ruiz combination

This would give us an almost entirely righty/lefty lineup so in late inning situations the other team cannot just throw LOOGYs up against us at will like they currently do.

DavThom - Please accept my appologies for my ripping of your boy Coste the past few years.

I used to think that the guy was nothing more than just a media whore who was a feel good story for the phils to use as good publicity. I have to admit the guy can hit (no matter how unorthodox that stance is) and he plays above average behind the plate.

I think if the season plays out correctly and we're in the hunt for the postseason again this summer/fall then Coste will eventually be the Guy behind the plate in the majority of those important late season games.

He provides a much needed right handed presence in this lineup behind Burrell especially if Werth isn't playing.

Chase Utley shouldn't be batting 2. He's just too valuable with runners on base. I really want this lineup but that also would involve Coste starting this year:

1. Rollins
2. Coste
3. Chase
4. Pat
5. Howard
6. Werth/Jenkins
7. Shane
8. Pedro

Lots of injuries this season, all over baseball. Just reading about the Dodgers, they suffered two calf injuries last night with Nomar and Andruw. They were forced to use Russell Martin at third. Dodgers look rough right now, having to rely on guys like Park and Loaiza.

Is Rollins getting activated today?

Nevermind that's next Saturday.

PhillyFanintheBurgh, that would be my ideal lineup on the days Coste plays. He's not a huge strikeout king, and gets on base at a fairly good clip. Plus, while no speed demon, he's not a tortoise on the basepaths either. He has 20 HR power (14 in 359 career AB), and I don't recall him making a baserunning mistake.

Right now Burrell should bat cleanup until Howard comes out of his funk. He's hitting better, and he AND the team deserve whatever extra AB he would get there.

Larry hurt his back getting dressed? That sound like a BS cover story to me. That is the Braves biggest problem though - there two best players are still Chipper and Smoltz and both have to be considered pretty big question marks to make it through the entire season healthy.

Eaton once again emphasized dissatisfaction with being removed early in the game rather than with his own wretched performance. Twice in a row he's heen handed comfortable leads, and instantly let the opposing team back into the game. He didn't booed on Opening Day merely because he sucks - but because he sucks and is consistently and brazenly unaccountable on top of it.

Coste, meanwhile, might well be one of the main obstacles to any increased playing time he might stand to get by insisting that he performs better strictly as a backup. I don't know if I've ever heard of a player openly lobbying to not get more starts. Being that Ruiz isn't hitting half of what Coste is, you'd think he'd be more open to giving it a shot and see what happens rather than keep saying, oh no fellas, I'm not the one you want in there.

Okay, kind of a bitchy post so far. Not too hard to think of something positive to say: Brad Lidge. He's rapidly gone from shaky to sharp to dominant. I'm excited about how unhittable he's looked on this trip.

"Coste, meanwhile, might well be one of the main obstacles to any increased playing time he might stand to get by insisting that he performs better strictly as a backup. I don't know if I've ever heard of a player openly lobbying to not get more starts."

On other teams I would see that statement getting in the way perhaps. But I see Manuel as the sort who wouldn't give two rips what someone says to the media like that. If Manuel wants him to start, Coste will start.

You know, I don't think Eaton was so bad yesterday. He had three good innings and one bad one, that's all, and it's not as if it was a total meltdown either. Last night Jurrjens loaded the bases, then proceeded to walk three runs in, Cox left him in the game, and he was fine thereafter. I'm not saying we should've left Eaton in, it worked out for the best, but we don't know what he would've done. It's possible that he could've gone on to get a quality start.

the B-list, anchored capably by Rudy Seanez and Ryan Madson, will probably be summoned tonight for Kyle Kendrick’s start.

That is the biggest difference between last April and this April. Even the "B-list" guys (Seanez, Madson) are arguably better some of the "A-list" guys were last April (Geary, Gordon).

Eaton totally lost it in the 4th. He couldn't throw strikes, lost velocity, and was giving up line drives. I vehemently disagree with some of the calls with Cholly has made the past fews day but yanking Eaton wasn't one of them.

maybe Eaton not getting the sac bunt down then smiling on his way back to the dugout irked Uncle Cholly.

I know it pissed me off.

Brad Lidge -- Awesome!!

Bucco pitching coach says Morris is going to try and throw every pitch low tonight. Evidently, that's teh only place they think his ball has any life. I think the guy is going to get hammered regardless. I'm predicting top of the first - 4 runs on back to back balls in teh Allegheny by Utley and Howard. Gonna spot KK 10 runs in the first five frames.

Tray: 100% correct. Eaton's problem was that after he gave up a couple base runners in the 4th he started rushing things, messed up his mechanics, which caused the ball to catch too much of the plate. Sometimes a pitcher, when told he's doing this, can correct it. As I recall, Dubee paid him a visit before Charlie yanked him. Eaton possibly could've gotten better focused and fixed his mechanics, but Charlie chose not to give him the chance. Tonight, because of the bullpen usage last night, Charlie has no choice but to give KK a chance should history repeat.

Totally unrelated subject but the stuff Utley endorses, the EAS brand of supplements..mostly protein shakes.. The chocolate whey protein tastes really good. I can drink it like chocolate milk. Totally unrelated and out there but it's sitting next to me so it was on my mind.

Just got back from vacation...did I miss anything??

(Actually, my daughter (6) has actually begun to get into baseball. She likes Chase Utley and calls Bruntlett "our little garden gnome." (no joke) She points out that his BA is higher than Ryan Howard's. And knows that Jayson Werth is patient. It's fun.

Nice to have a winning record in April; nice to be a full game ahead of the Mets; nice to have a bullpen. (For however long it lasts.)

See y'all at the game chat.

Totally, totally unrelated, but has anyone checked out the front page of CNN.com today?

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/26/apartment.fire.ap/index.html

I live there.

(Sigh.)

Just felt like sharing.

@Malcolm -- hope everyone turns up safe and remember that at least possessions are largely replaceable.

Andy: Welcome back. You missed a great deal while you were on vacation. Didn't you hear? The Phillies traded TJ Bohn for Jake Peavy. Upon hearing about the trade, Cholly immediately submitted his resignation, explaining that he refuses to manage a team which doesn't have anyone available to pinch run for Pat Burrell in the 7th inning.

Coste is looking out for himself by sugesting he remain a backup. He's trying to extend his career a little. Catching every day takes a real toll on the body, and Coste knows he's getting up there in years. He doesn't get paid by # of at-bats, so why not remain a backup and get another season or so of a major league contract under his belt. Unlike the rest of these guys, he can actually use the money. And with the bs at the beginning of last season being demoted in favor of Barajas, I can completely understand why he'd take that position.

Heh heh...good stuff BAP. Hope you had a nice vacation, Andy; also, nice to hear that you're raising a future Phan.

Morris is terrible now and I'd love for the Phils to score 10 runs off of him in the first four innings...but I just don't see it happening...more like the first five innings. Hopefully, I'm wrong, but this game looks to me like it could be one of those 23-20 type of games with KK and Morris throwing. KK and the Phils really need him to take care of business tonight and make sure it doesn't turn into that type of game.

Any word on Benson? I'm looking forward to his call-up, so we can have lots of gratuitous shots of his hot wife.

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