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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Comments

RSB: "No one thought Kendrick was ready, either."

Actually, both Jason and I said he should be brought up when the opening developed. You could look it up. Right here on Beerleaguer.

The notion that Carrasco is ready now to step in and help the Phillies is idiotic. Maybe in a month or two if he develops better command and consistency, but he's not remotely ready now.

Most sensible post on last thread is from Mike Cunningham:

"Regarding running for Feliz. You always play for the win on the road. That's why your run for Feliz. Feliz is incredibly slow. Burrell like slow. He has hit a handful of a deep infield hits this year, that the average runner should beat out by a nose. Rollins or vic would beat without blinking. Feliz always hustles, and is out by 2 or 3 steps.

That's also why you send Dobbs. Normally you don't want to make the last out at home, but given the struggle with runners in scoring position, you needed to be agressive there.

Regarding @bap sending Ruiz down to Double A. Tongue in cheek or not. He's been batting .295 in may, and is batting .322 since May 5. Someone brought up Coste's age earlier and since he's a few months older than me, I hate saying 35 is old (I'll hit that next month) but Coste is getting up there in age. I heard Coste on an interview with TMAC (and besides almost campaigning for the manager's job of the Phillies in the next decade), he talked about wanting to play for a long time. (Who can blame him.) At his age, starting 140 games will end his career fairly quickly. If coste wants to play into his 40s, the best way he can do that is by playing part time. He can be more productive over a longer time."

I was wondering also about the Bruntlett pinch-run decision during the game last night and I'm admittedly not very skilled at analyzing in-game decisions. "Brutal" is the perfect word for Cholly sometimes.

Agree 100 percent on Ruiz. Actually, it's possible the catching situation stays as-is through 2009. Unless you're Joe Mauer, catching takes time to develop, and Marson still needs to learn how to be a complete handler. Read the reports and it sounds like Ruiz is still learning. And Coste is fine in his role.

We should discuss Howard today, too. That situation is getting quite dreadful. My emotions got the best of me last night, but the fact is, Howard hasn't adjusted and is still swinging at too much junk. The book appears to be out on Howard.

You can blame Cholly for all these tactical errors, but you have to give him credit for the way Rollins, Utley, Burrell have flourished under him. Howard is in a bad slump but let's see he's been an MVP and a home run champ and a rookie of the year and not for his defense. And it seems like our bench players just hit. I can't believe I am actually defending him but he brings something else to the table that you can't quantify by what you see on the field. I don't know what it is but let's hope he doesn't lose it.

I can't believe the monday morning quarterbacking going on here today, you'd a thought they lost the game... This is mind boggling...

The reason Bruntlett scored was because of great baserunning. I guarantee Feliz is held at 3rd base and then who knows what happens from there. Not to mention he is an above average fielder and is definitely capable of defending one inning at 3rd. I thought Chuck's in game managing was great in the last 2 innings. Some of you guys need to do something else with your time, the post game criticisms after a WIN are laughable.

I think we need to spend a day talking about how bad Howard has been. We can go back to Feliz tomorrow, but Howard's lack of production is hurting this team, big time.

Clout: We agreed Kendrick was the best play, but I never thought he would win 10 games. The Phils appeared to be in over their heads, and it was a desparation call-up, but it turned into the most savvy, internal evaluation of a player I've seen since writing the site. He's still not someone that would impress most scouts, but he gets it done.

matt,

Generally, I'm with you and think there's too much emphasis on the negative here, but frankly, this team has played like crap recently. 1-0 win looks good, but they're playing the Nats and have scored 1 run in 18 innings.

I agree with BB...let's focus on Howard again. He's back down to batting .181 I believe and he's on pace for 234 Ks this year (just updated my tracker on my blog). Freaking ridiculous.

So let's focus on Howard and what can we do to help the pitching situation outside of Hamels who will likely have his arm fall off by late August.

I guarantee Feliz is held at 3rd base and then who knows what happens from there.

Feliz may be slow, but I'm pretty sure he can score from 3rd on an outfield hit.

BB-

Exactly, not pinch running and burning up players in the 9th...blah blah..it was obviously the RIGHT decision...lets talk about resting some guys, getting dobbs at bats, playing werth and coste more, something to spark this offense...BTW, COLE was filth nasty last night.

Insightful maybe, but implicitly off-base on every level. It amounts to a very well-written wrong opinion. First off, I doubt he "unknowingly" burned through three players. That's ridiculous, and just there to further paint Charlie as a moron.

As Mike Cunningham said- and clout quoted- you play to win on the road. Feliz is slow. Bruntlett is easily faster than Feliz. That's why you run for him. Being on second with no outs doesn't mean anything, especially when you match that against the Phillies recent ineptitude with men in scoring position. On the bunt Feliz has a good chance of being thrown out at third. Bruntlett does not.

Also, Dobbs is your best pinch hitter, so why would you not send him to the plate in that situation? Again, on the road you play to win the game. One run, with Lidge (arguably the best closer this season in baseball) coming out of the pen is enough to win. Charlie believed that so he was playing for that one run.

Next, you send Dobbs on that play because of your team's struggles. Yes Utley was coming up, but he is also hitting .170 in the month of May so he isn't a guarantee to get a hit. Also Dobbs was out at the plate because Milledge made a great play to cut the ball off. Then made a perfect throw to Guzman, who made an excellent relay to the plate. Then Flores did a great job blocking the plate. 4 different things fell into place and they still barely had Dobbs at the plate. Give all the credit in the world to the Nats for making that play.

Also the "what would Manuel have done had it gone to extra innings," is a faulty line of thinking? You absolutely can't manage that way. Go for the win. Charlie did that last night and it paid off. He deserves some credit for that.

Matt, winning a game because you scored one run in the game, ending a three game losing streak, playing against the NL East doormat team, the gNats, is not the time for jubilant posts on Beerleaguer. This team should be scoring eight runs a game against this sorry franchise. Winning 1-0 in the ninth, is nice, but it's only a gulp of fresh air, taking by a struggling team slipping deeper into the quicksand.

My bad Josh, he was on 3rd, correct. But they almost had a play at 3rd on Ruiz bunt...if Feliz is running, 1 out, man on FIRST.

Brian: An equally insightful rebuttal. Another case where Cholly gut gets it right I suppose.

My bad Josh, he was on 3rd, correct. But they almost had a play at 3rd on Ruiz bunt...if Feliz is running, 1 out, man on FIRST.

I think Charlie is overall an above average manager but it is easy to get on him for in-game tactical decisions. He isn't Tony LaRussa but overall he does a very good job of handling the players. Yeah...he annoys the hell out of me everytime he benches Burrell (especially since Burrell's on my FB team) but he goes on his gut and he's been right more than he's been wrong.

The 3B situation is like asking him to make a salad with a cucumber and onion but no lettuce and tomato...he's doing his best with very limited options.

If you're going to sacrifice, then you leave Feliz in the game. If you can't get the bunt down, then you pinch run for Feliz.

Charlie's managing has been atrocious the past week or so in all facets (defensive placement, pitching changes/intentional walks, and lineup/starters).

I titled my post on my blog "Don't Worry, Be Happy" today, but I'm only happy the Phils won, but I'm definetely worried about them. They've scored 9 runs in the past 4 games, and Washington is a bad team and the Phils should be dominating them, not barely eeking out wins with some 9th inning magic.

About Howard- he is lost. He got hot for a bit, but it's at the point now to be officially worried. He is horrible all-around this season. What the hell is wrong with him?

Matt, excellent point. It often seems that the end result doesn't really matter, just how it happened and who is and isnt responsible. It's natural to Monday morning quarterback, but after a win? All part of the fun!

I have to agree with Brian. The gut was right. Smith is also right to send him. (A more Pete-Rosian approach to the plate might have been warranted however.)

I also agree with Jason: we need to grill Howard today. We fried Feliz yesterday and he got two hits (scoring, by proxy, the winning run). Light'em up, guys; time for some roasted Rhino.

Charlie may not always make the best moves in game, but pinch running for Feliz was a no-brainer. First off as Mike Cunninghan said, you play to win on the road. Second, in the bottom of the ninth you were looking at Lidge against the bottom of the Nats lineup. So one run was probably going to get the win. Bruntlett is significantly faster than Feliz. I have been trying to think of an argument that would explain why having a slower runner on base would give the team a better opportunity to score. I have not been able to come up with a reason where lack of speed would be a benefit, so please fill me in if I am missing something.

The only argument for not pinch running is that you then lose Feliz's superior glove for the bottom of the ninth. Funny thing is most people in here regularly discount his defense, so I find it amusing that that would be the reason to not pinch run.

I do feel that Feliz's glove is very important and have argued that here before. However, in this situation, scoring a run to get the lead was more important. Lidge has been pretty much lights out and has been getting a lot of Ks, so it was less likely that 3rd base defense was going to be a huge factor in this very specific situation.

As for Howard, it is time to give him a week off. For real this time, not like the last time a got a break, but still was used as a pinch hitter and struck out a few times. He needs a full week of sitting and watching, no pinch hitting, and lots of extra batting practice.
It worked for Burrell last year, maybe Charlie can work that magic this year with Howard.
With Howard sitting, Dobbs can play first against RHP, and I would even let him play against LHP just to see what he does. Or against LHP you could play Utley at 1st and Bruntlett at 2nd. Either way, Howard needs a break and this could give Dobbs an opportunity to play more while he is hot.

Making the playoffs last year had a down side-- the Phils were obligated to bring back Charlie. I hold him and the coaching staff responsible for the inability to make anything happen. They wait for the 3 run homer and lead the league in stranded runners every year. I love watching other teams like the Braves get that runner around and in even though the personnel change.

Howard needs to sit. He is digging himself deeper in a hole, and he doesn't look confident at the plate. I thought with his hitting streak that he was coming back, but it was just a blip. We all know he has the ability, he just needs to get his head together.

I don't know who "Brian" is but while he's not me, he said exactly everything I wanted to say in response to the PP's post in the header. It was kind of eerie.

Ripping Charlie about last night is absurd, especially considering we found out that Dobbs is hurt. How did he "burn" Dobbs? It's called using your best pinch hitter in a high leverage situation. His moves won us the game. Managing for the 12th inning is stupid.

Also, on sending Dobbs, that reminds me of Rollins game-tying triple + error with 2 outs in the 9th against the Nats last year. Some said he was lucky to score and should've stayed at third. But in that situation(w/2outs down one), if you think there's even a 50/50 shot you can score, then you go. Because the chances of the next guy knocking you in are less than 1 in 3. Be aggressive. Make the other team make a good play.

That block of homeplate by Jesus Flores was textbook. Sending Dobbs made sense to me and he would have easily been safe if not for fantastic throws by Milledge, Guzman, and a great block by Flores.

Couple of points:

- Bruntlett is not "significantly faster" but he is faster than Feliz. Understand the move but didn't understand why he didn't use Taguchi here actually.

- Reason that Bruntlett scored so easily is that Ruiz dropped down a perfect sac bunt to get him over to 3rd. The Phils have generally been horrendous at doing this all season.

- Mixed on sending Dobbs but I can see the reason either way. Reason Dobbs was out though was the excellent block at the plate by the catcher. Textbook really. Milledge hit the Guzman but Guzman's throw wasn't quality (bounced twice and was exactly on the money).

I was at the game last night, right behind the Phillies dugout. Smith was absolutely correct to send Dobbs and, it looked to me that he might have gotten under the tag. Unbelievably, the Nats' scoreboard didn't show a replay and there was no argument from the Phillies, so I won't belabor it. But Smith was right and it took a perfect relay and block to get him out.

And no one should be upset at Manual's moves last night. Imagine how you critics would react if Felix had remained in the game and thrown out trying to advance to third on Ruiz' bunt!

The Phillies are in a hitting funk right now. Only Jenkins nd Dobbs (once a night) are getting hits consistently. That's not a formula for offensive outbursts.

I'll be there again tonight ... maybe I can bring the Fightins some more luck. If they can't hammer Chico ...


i didn't quite get the bruntlett pinch-run for feliz. dobbs made sense, and nats made a great play to get him out at the plate.

about howard, was it last night or the night before where he completely missed the throw to second on a pickoff attempt? that was amazing. i'm ready to give him his a-rod type contract now!!

"Reason that Bruntlett scored so easily is that Ruiz dropped down a perfect sac bunt to get him over to 3rd. The Phils have generally been horrendous at doing this all season."

Exactly, they have been bad at moving runners over so that is all the more reason why you would want a faster runner on base. Some one that might be able to advance even without a perfect sacrifice. Or if Ruiz didn't get the bunt down, you want a faster runner who might be able to score from 2nd on a hit.

"Bruntlett is not "significantly faster" but he is faster than Feliz. Understand the move but didn't understand why he didn't use Taguchi here actually."

Didn't use Taguchi because Taguchi doesn't play 3rd. Could have used Dobbs to play 3rd after his pinch hit, but Bruntlett is a bit better defensive player than Dobbs and apparently Dobbs had some sort of back problem last night which would also hurt his defense. What doesn't make sense is why Taguchi didn't run for Dobbs, especially if Dobbs was hurting. That was Charlie's mistake.

Most catchers don't make that block at the plate and Dobbs scores...it was a the right call to send him.

I was certainly surprised to see my post as the lead item on Beerleaguer this morning, so many thanks to Mr. Weitzel, who does a terrific job.

To dig deeper: I would certainly advocate pinch running for Feliz if he is standing on first base with one out. If someone hits one into the gap, certainly you would want someone who has the ability to score from first, and if Bruntlett has that capability and Feliz does not, fine. However, that was not the situation.

Many on this site advocate manufacturing runs while sacrificing outs. Charlie Manuel's strategy was to do just that in the 9th: with Feliz on 2nd, Ruiz laid down a sacrifice bunt and then Dobbs "drove him in," i.e. hitting the ball into the outfield. Obviously, the manager had made two premeditated decisions. The first was that he was going to pinch run for Feliz. The second was that he was going to sac bunt if a runner got to second with nobody out. These two items are incongruous.

To Mr. Cunningham: I did not indicate that Dobbs was burned as a pinch hitter. Please re-read my post closely. Dobbs, obviously, was the proper hitter in that position. Dobbs was burned because he was not going to be able to hit again in the game because of the decision to use Bruntlett as a the pinch runner. Werth was in left (I incorrectly posted that Burrell was still in the game), Victorino in center and Jenkins, another lefty, was in right. No place for Dobbs there. The manager had already decided that infield defense was only somewhat of a priority by removing Feliz for Bruntlett, who was not going to exit the game. Thus, Dobbs was only going to receive that lone at-bat, and Manuel should have realized this and had Taguchi run for Dobbs.

More importantly, the team is failing to hit with runners in scoring position, a major problem, exacerbated by the fact that the guy in the middle of the lineup cannot make contact with the baseball.

Whatever happened to running the catcher over? Used to happen all the time. What, the Players Union has made this off-limits? Looking at the replay, Dobbs had plenty of time to line the catcher up and stick both forearms down his throat. He beat the ball, no doubt. The catcher would never have gotten leather on it. For his size, Howard does his best to avoid contact at the plate. He's had a couple opportunities to take out a backstop but I guess he doesn't want to jeopardize his huge, future payday (or his daddy's payday, too). If you wanna win, ya' gotta play like ya' wanna win.

Luckily, by striking out all the time, Howard doesn't give himself the opportunity of running over the catcher and potentially ruining a future long term deal.

Morty: Correct me if I'm wrong, but speed is as important on a sacrifice as it is on a hit-away, no? A faster runner has a better chance of avoiding a fielder's choice. Not to mention a wild pitch could happen. Running for Feliz is a smart move either way.

clout: I've actually been one of Ruiz's bigger backers, and he HAS hit better of late. But his first-pitch swinging and his total lack of power are becoming a source of frustration. That said, my in-game comment about Ruiz was part tongue-in-cheek, part exasperation. A good rule of thumb: anything I say during a game is undoubtedly said in anger and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

I had to go barbecue & missed the last 2 innings of the game, so I can't really weigh in Cholly's strategic decisions. I find it noteworthy that, they did nothing for 16 straight innings, then scored the game-winning run almost the minute I left the room. It is uncanny how they always do well in the games that I don't watch. The good news: I'll miss tonight's game.

Tying up some loose ends:

Morty- If Feliz is in the game the Nats know he is not fast and will change their defense to make a play at third if it's there. Bruntlett is faster, which means they would need to be 100% sure and not hesitate in the play. Bruntlett on second puts more pressure on the defense than Feliz on second.

As GM-Carson and Brian G. said- agreeing with me- the Nats made a great play. I'm sure a majority of us have played some ball in our lives. We may have or do coach it as well. (I coached for 6 years during and after college- babe ruth thru legion). One of the things any good coach would tell you is, "Make the other team make plays." Hustle out hits, be aggressive- if the other team makes a great play and throws you out good for them. The Phillies were trying to be aggressive with Dobbs, it didn't work and looks worse because of Steve Smith's prior history.

I think 9 out of 10 times Dobbs would have been safe on that play...only a Perfect relay and a perfect block saved the run...you cna't think of that when you're sending him...especially when they already had the lead...

Is anyone else surprised by the revelation that clout is only 34? For some reason, I always pictured him as being like 60. I don't mean that in a negative way, I just always got kind of an "old guy" vibe.

And, yes, I know I just called everyone here over 60 old. Sorry about that.

Haha Jeltz, I was thinking the same thing. I was figuring he was Conlin.

clout and Brian: Good points. Add in the sense of urgency ol' Uncle Chuck felt to win that game, and I'm with yous.

Steve Jeltz:

Where is this revelation?

BB:

Agreed.

I'm with MG. I don't object to putting in a runner for Feliz, but why Bruntlett and not Taguchi? Presumably Manuel already knew he would be calling Dobbs to pinch-hit, so you could keep him at 3rd in the bottom of the 9th, and keep his bat in the game if it went to extra innings. Meanwhile, you get Taguchi's speed on the basepaths (certainly faster than Bruntlett), and nobody cares if you burn him because he's not hitting worth a damn anyway.

It's nitpicking, since his strategy got the win anyway, but I think that would have been the better way to do it.

Morty: 2nd post of this thread.

So...when are they gonna cut Taguchi? I mean he is absolutely worthless and he's clogging up a roster spot right now.

"Is anyone else surprised by the revelation that clout is only 34?"

Actually, clout was quoting Mike Cunningham from the previous thread.

Phils might have the two best pinch hitters in the game. Dobbs and Coste. Coste is 10 for 29 (.345) life time and 2 for 4 with two doubles this year pinch hitting.
And Werth can catch if needed anyway. He caught in his first six years in the minors.

One thing I love about Burrell...especially over Howard...despite sucking at the plate in his past 10 games (low .100's average) he still walked 8 times. He might not be making contact but he still gets on base...He's on pace to have more BBs than SOs this year.

In response to the calls for some Howard talk, I think it's fair to say his slump is quickly morphing into a crisis. It seemed as if he was actually starting to climb out of it, hitting balls hard (I admit, a lot for fly ball outs), and he honestly seemed to be seeing the ball better. But he's again back to flailing about, missing everything. He is on pace for a staggering SO total this year, and I agree with other posters who suggest a week off. I would even, dare I say, send him down to Lehigh for 15 days to work out his problems. This approach, organizationally, has never been viewed highly.

He admits to being impacted by the boos. I'm not even sure what to say about that. Start hitting, Ryan, spare us all.

Nah, don't send him down, that's not good mentally. Rest him for a week or DL him with a mystery illness.

So spitballing here...Here's a thought: Cut Taguchi outright, bring up someone like Harmon again to keep the bench warm, Move Chad Durbin into the rotation in place of Eaton. Put Condrey on waivers and bring up Outman as the 2nd lefty. Also, Myers on DL for 15 days and give Happ his shot so we know what we need trade-wise.

****He admits to being impacted by the boos. I'm not even sure what to say about that. Start hitting, Ryan, spare us all****

~cries in sympathy~

You know they won't boo if you hit like anything resembling a MLBer.

Ryan Howard 2008=Pat Burrell 2003

I believe someone made this reference yesterday but I'm starting to think he's simply not gonna come out of it this year.

Keep Harmon down there and give me Donald, instead (If we were going by what you're suggesting.

That's also an excellent option...I was thinking they wouldn't want to screw with Donald's development though.

"Ryan Howard 2008=Pat Burrell 2003"

If you remember, the organization handled that situation almost exactly the same. Pencil him in the lineup and pray.

How far did we go in the playoffs in 03? I forget...

If not a mysterious trip to the DL or an outright temporary demotion to AAA, I think it's fair to wonder why Howard is not hitting 7th-8th every night.

GM Carson-

Shouldn't the title of the blog be "Worry, and be Happy"? Huh?

I actually had clout pictured as a 70-year old grandmother who, when not posting cantankerous posts on Beerleaguer, is busy bouncing her 5-year old grandson on her lap.

"Don't Worry Pete Happy" would be better, IMO.

I think I'm going to now choose to believe that clout is only 34, even though he was quoting someone else - that way I can say things like: "You kids are so naive..." and, "You may think that way now, but let me tell ya, when you get to be my age..."

They're not gonna bring up Donald because he has better upside, in their thinking, than Harman. They do not want to use up a year of options on him, but they don't mind using up Harman's options.

b-a-p:
Not some hermitted, 114 year old former confederate private living in Ozark, Alabama, who only posts because he shot some moonshiner who had a satellite uplink?

In our opinion, Dan Uggla has surpassed Chase Utley as the premier 2B in the NL this year. We're curious to know if you guys agree. Here's our piece:

http://thesouthfloridafan.blogspot.com/2008/05/his-name-is-dan-uggla.html

Let's start a debate!

Andy: I think you just described about half the posters here.

Chase Utley may be one of the best 2B ever so that comment is the biggest piece of BS I've ever heard.

Actually, I've always thought of clout as a 50+ guy with a lot of time on his hands to do research on players most of the rest of us don't have the time to do.

Maybe some ex-government employee who retired at 52 after 30 years on a full pension.

Must be nice.

South Florida: Uggla is a fine player and certainly either the 2nd or 3rd best 2nd baseman in the National League. But, considering your man hit .245 and struck out 167 times last year, it seems to me that a more appropriate time to have this debate would not be 6 weeks into the season, but after we see what Uggla's final 2008 numbers look like. At that point, if you can credibly argue that Uggla is the best 2nd baseman in baseball, I'm sure you'll find plenty of people here who are happy to debate you on the point.

Dan Uggla as better than Chase Utley?

Hmmmmm...let me think abou.....

HAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHA!

Yes, Virginia...they do smoke crack in South Florids.

Harman's also hitting .205 in Reading. I have phaith he'll turn it around, but Donald keeps hitting. I'm pretty sure, unless it's been written otherwise, that Donald would've been up before Harman, but was hurt. They did get Rouse, so it might be a moot point anyhow

How did that .245 average and 167 Strikeouts last year look for Mr. Uggla? Come back in 45 days and let's talk.

AWH: That's pretty much what I thought. I can't imagine anyone with a full time job having that much time to research stats, scouting reports, etc.

Actually, I can't imagine soneone unemployed having that much time really.

I just posted the same thing on that guys blog...we're 7 weeks in...hardly a legit sample size.

BAP .... scary.

Considering the bandbox Utley plays in, it's time to give Uggla his due.

Admittedly, I was trying to stir some debate. We need to get some NL East intensity going here.

As of right now, Uggla is having the better season.

Starting to getting a little loopy on this thread . . . cut Taguchi and bring up Harman? release Condrey and call up Outman?

I fail to see how either of those moves will help this team. More sensible moves would be to give Dobbs a minimum of 2 starts each week at 3B and move Burrell to the cleanup spot while Howard hits 5th.

South Florida Fan: Getting some "NL EAST intensity" going is admirable, but you are a Marlins fan. Despite their hot start, no one cares about the Marlins. The intensity exists among the big three... that's just the way it is.

Dan Uggla is a fine second baseman. But Chase Utley would be the best player on most teams in the league (not the Marlins, where Hanley Ramirez still plays).

Uggla is a nice player but he isn't the hitter or fielder that Utley is. However, I would take Ramirez in a heartbeat over JRoll. JRoll is a very good player but he just isn't in the same case as a hitter as Ramirez.

Plus, JRoll has probably peaked as a player last year. Ramirez arguably only entering his prime and I could see him potentially winning an MVP one day (maybe even sooner than you think).

Kudos to you guys for showing Hanley the respect. It was a disgrace for him to be left off the all-star team last year.

As for Utley, I'd take him over Uggla of course. But in this given year, Uggla has been the better performer. He deserves to start the all-star game.

South Florida:
Utley's having the better career.

Seriously, name any career category in which you'd rather have Uggla. If any GM other than those of FLA or PHI in either league could have either one as a FA, who do you think they'd grab?

And really, Uggla's "better" in how much of a sample size?

That's more of a debate than you're entitled to. Because there is no debate.

SFlorida - Oh. I forgot. The All-Star game is next week, right?

As for the Utley--Uggla debate, if you are talking about just this season, then you have to give Uggla the slight advantage so far (I do think Utley will have the better numbers at the end of the season). However, if we are taking into account what has been done in the past, obviously Utley is superior. If we are also factoring in who projects to have a better future, one would have to give Utley the advantage there too.
Also, what about defense, Utley has worked hard on improving his defense and I would say he is a slightly above average defender at this point.
I don't watch enough Marlins games to know about Uggla's glove, so South Florida Fan, maybe you could speak to that.

One thing I think we can all agree on is that we are currently watching the greatest era of 2nd basemen who's surnames begin with "U."

I live in South Florida about 30 mins. from the stadium. Dan Uggla is hot right now but if memory serves correctly, he's done a steady dive after the All-Star break the last two years. I'll take Utley any day. P.S.-The Marlins also have a second rate TV play-by-play team. Ugh! (not to be confused with Uggla)

Naturally, Utley has the superior resume.

It's just so interesting for us when Utley got so much attention this year. Pundits were calling it the best individual season by a 2B.

The nice thing about both of these guys...they're so likable. Uggla runs hard every play, and Utley's such a decent guy. I hope the best for both of them really.

Wow. I hadn't realized how insanely hot Uggla has been in May. He's been as good as Berkman, who is all anyone has talked about lately.

Exactly! We just want Uggla to be recognized.

Uggla's a good player and I felt confident with him at the plate last year in that late season wacky extra inning game with the Mets when he doubled off the fence to win it for Florida!! (PS - S. Florida Fan thanks for helping us do in the Mets last year and for letting the Phils get 9 wins against you last season [hey, that's a lot for the Phillies against Florida!!])

Okay... have we gotten the Dan Uggla conversation out of the way? To recap: He's a nice guy, he plays hard, he's insanely hot in May, he deserves more recognition, he's not near the player Utley is.

Now let's return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Bentz,

We ought to thank you for 2003, when the Marlins won practically every game against the Phillies (a phenomenon I still don't understand).

If it comes down to Phillies, Mets, and Braves, you're our team. But the Marlins have a way of being left out of the conversation...they are, after all, in first place right now.

Something I find interesting: why don't Zolecki or Murphy ask Cholly questions Beerleaguers consistently ask - why is Feliz starting so many games at third, why is Howard still batting 5th, why is Werth the 'everyday' centerfielder? I'm a journalism grad from BU, and even though the real world isn't as cut and dry as a classroom, these are pretty obvious questions that deserve answers. I know Cholly would probably give company speak back, but I'd still like to know that the beat writers are noticing these things as well.

Something I find interesting: why don't Zolecki or Murphy ask Cholly questions Beerleaguers consistently ask - why is Feliz starting so many games at third, why is Howard still batting cleanup, why is Werth the 'everyday' centerfielder? I'm a journalism grad from BU, and even though the real world isn't as cut and dry as a classroom, these are pretty obvious questions that deserve to be asked. I know Cholly would probably give company speak back, but I'd still like to know that the beat writers are noticing these things as well.

S Florida Fan - the Phillies have over the last few years played better against Atlanta and the Mets than they have Washington or Florida. Why that is, I don't know, but if you look at them lately, they have lost series to the Jays and Giants and are struggling with the Nats, but earned a split in Arizona and took 2 of 3 from the Braves. Last year they technically beat up on Washington from a record standpoint, but it seemed every game was wacky and close. Their games with the Marlins seem the same way - in 2006 despite going 13-6 against the Fish, a lot of the games seemed close. What is odd is that May 30 will be the first time the two divisional opponents meet. In fact, by looking at ESPN's team vs. team grid, only the White Sox and Royals share a division and have not yet met at this point in the season (they play for the first time starting June 3).

Wow, clout is only 35!?!

I've always though of him as a Grumpy Old Man, and now I find out he's just a Grumpy Middle Aged Man.

You learn something new every day.

Those Marlins-Phillies games are going to be great. We'll have to see what the positions are at the time (the Marlins have a tough stretch here), but both teams will be undoubtedly within reach of first.

I'm really excited to see what happens.

S. Florida, I owe you an apology. Sorry about the 'crack smoking' comment.

It's just that we're used to steMs fans coming to this blog and acting like idiots and jerks, so I expected you'd be like one of them.

Props to you for being reasonable and respectful of other fans.

The Fish obviously have some good young players - they're in first place.

However, I think this season for them will wind up much like 2001 for the Phillies:

The Phillies got off to a hot start and were 17 games over .500 on June 1st, and leading the division by 8 games.

They finished in 2nd place - ten games over - just didn't have the horses (especially the pitching) for the long haul.

I suspect the Fish will wind up the same way.

Funny thing is, Uggla, who is playing out of his mind good right now, isn't even out-hitting Utley by very much:

Runs, 34 to 35 (in Uggla's favor)
Hits, 56 to 52 (in Utley's)
Doubles, 14 to 16 (in Uggla's)
Homers, 14 each
RBIs, 32 to 31
BB, 19 to 21
SO, 19 to 45 (in Utley's favor)

The discrepancy is games played. Uggla's produced these numbers in 4 fewer games and 20 fewer PA. Therefore, Uggla's OPS+ is 186 to Utley's 157. .323/.403/.696 to .309/.388/.630.

Again, we're talking about less than 50 games. Uggla isn't the premiere anything. Utley's is a career .300 hitter who hit .332 last year.

Uggla's best full season in the league, his first, is still worse than Utley's worst full season in the league. He's certainly showing promise, though.

The Phillies did only finish behind the Braves by 2 games in 2001...I don't think the Fish will be that close, but then again 2001 was a pretty bad year in the division. Mets were 6 back (and needed a big time run in the end to get there), Marlins were 12 back and the Expos 20 back. Braves won the division with 88 wins. That is the least amount of wins needed to win the NL East in the wild card era and the least in a non-strike year since the Pirates also won 88 in 1974 (the Mets in 1973 only won 83).

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