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Friday, June 27, 2008

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This is the series that we break out. Phils outscore Rangers 21-12 in 3 game sweep. Myers finally gets a W, Hamels outpicthes The Flotilla backed by Utley and Howard HRs, and bullpen wins Sunday.

Everyobody hits...woo hoo!

They need to release or bench Jenkins. Go trade for a guy that gets on base, little pop and puts the bat on the ball...situational guy to platoon with Werth. Demote Ruiz and bring up Marson or trade for an experienced catcher that can get on base.

They have no good situational hitters.

See what this pitching staff can do up until the deadline and then assess. Their staff has been very good this year, and maybe Lohse type is all they would need. They need to figure out this offense tho, first.

Now we know what this offense is when they aren't hitting homeruns.

I wouldn't say JRoll is having a mediocre year...he's just playing to his normal abilities...Last year was special for him. This year he is reverting to his abilities. Defensively he has still been very good but its safe to say last year was likely a fluke for him. You can also tell that hte ankle injury is still in the back of his mind as he isn't running things out as hard as he used to.

The problem with the Phillies is that no one is having a career year (besides maybe Burrell and he's even cooled off significantly). Utley was having one until the last 3 weeks where he disappeared.

I've haven't jumped off the Jenkins Express quite yet. The whole team's slumping along with him right now. He was having a very good year as of 1 June if you look at his numbers. I still like him as a role player on the team and I feel he'll bounce back soon.

If we're gonna cut someone, lets cut Taguchi...and bring up Jason Donald.

I wasn't a fan of the fact that the big lineup shakeup lasted for only a day. I know they kept Burrell in the cleanup spot, but it's clear that order wasn't working. If you aren't gonna make a roster change, at least keep something moving around.

The lack of career years is an excellent point.

Two things that won't happen: The release of Jenkins and promotion of Marson.

The most frustrating to me has been lack of plate discipline. First-pitch swings right after 4 and 5 pitch walks, swinging at bad pitches, etc. The whole team just seems clueless right now.

To me the single at-bat that illustrates Mike's point was the 2-0 pop-up that Taguchi hit to end the Angels' game on Sunday. Winning run on base (with speed) so anything in the gap with two outs probably gives the Phils the win. Instead he swings at a high curve, out of the zone, ahead in the count and the game ends on a weak pop-up. Sadly it's not the only poor at-bat lately, they are way too prevalent and occur mostly early in the count.

Back in the last thread I suggested that Golson should replace Taghuchi, to take advantage of his speed, mostly as a pinch runner with an occasional at bat. Golson's speed could be something to ignite this slumbering offense.

However, I forgot he was on the DL. He went on the DL on 6/17 with a sprained wrist. Anyone know his status, when they expect him back? If it was just a minor sprain and just a 15 day DL thing, then I still think he would be the best option to bring some excitement back to the clubhouse.

Jason Donald had a very nice spring, is having a fine year and probably would hit better than Golson if called up. However, I believe that Donald brings less to the table in that he wouldn't be needed as a defensive replacement and while he could be used a a pinch runner he doesn't have the game changing speed Golson does.

I see Golson being able to offer more: as a defensive replacement for Burrell, mostly as a pinch runner who can make things happen on the bases and getting an occasional start to see how he reacts to major league pitching.

Plus if he started stealing some bases, it might push Jimmy, Vic and Werth to want to get back into that action like they had going on last year.

Golson is injured, but I don't have much of a problem with NE's Donald suggestion.

Any chance we could take advantage of Ed Wade's fragile emotional state right now and trade Jenkins for Bourn?

So basically this has been the timeline of expectations for most of us:

Spring training: this team is good, but not championship caliber.

May and early June: maybe we have something here!

Now: this team is good, but not championship caliber.

Re: If the games were determined by statistical rankings, then yeah, we'd win the division.

Phils currently hold a 0.3 game lead over the Braves in third-order wins and losses standings. And, until Kendrick's gem, they were actually 0.5 games behind the Braves.

Not exactly running away with the statistical standings either.

Wes: Please explain why you think Golson is major league ready. Cite stats. And if he's not major league ready, why would you bring him up to sit on the bench instead of playing him every day and getting him at least a remote familiarity with the strioke zone?

BobbyD: Well said!

Cutting Jenkins from both a financial and talent-wise perspective makes ZERO sense. It is not like the Phils have some stud outfield prospect that could take Jenkins role. Jenkins is just an incredibly streaky player and the Phils have to hope that he gets hot for another 2-3 week stretch soon along with 1 or 2 of his teammates.

However, releasing Taguchi does have some merit if he doesn't show anything over the next 2 weeks. Know the Phils hate to eat any kind of salary but I wouldn't mind seeing Donald brought up as suggested or Gillick even making a minor move here. Maybe Taguchi gets picked up and performs better for his new team but pretty hard to highlight any aspect of his performance so far this season.

This offense isn't as good as last year due to a couple of factors. What has been pretty astounding though the past 2 weeks is that just about every player has hit a minor/major slump at the same time. That's unusual for any team but particularly a team with some very talented offensive players.

If anything, I am willing to start to revert back to normal starting this weekend against a very mediocre Texas staff. Still, it has been frustrating to watch this team this year because in general the pitching has been solid enough to win most nights but just way too many nights where this offensive hasn't shown up. I mean getting shutout 5 times already this year and the 30 times of scoring 3 runs or less are indicative that is a talented yet flawed offense.


clout: He can play defense and steal bases as a pinch runner...as for the rest: let him play winter ball to work on that...the minors exist to provide talent to the MLB club and as this could be the only year the Phillies have a real shot at winning it all, I'd say bring Golson up for a couple weeks till they trade for a veteran guy to really replace Taguchi. I've been against it in the past but at this point, the Phillies need to do something for that roster spot. If healthy, Golson might be able to help. As he isn't right now, I'd try Donald who hits well, has decent speed, is versatile, and at 24 has nothing left to prove in the minors.

Clout

Actually when I first posted about bringing up Golson in the last thread I started by admitting that he is not major league ready. However, what is major league ready about him is his speed. I want him on the team to fill the Bourn role: pinch runner, defensive replacement, bring some excitement to the team. And sure he will get the occasional pinch hit appearance and a start or two just to see how he reacts to major league pitching.

However, last I checked, pinch runners need zero plate discipline, don't need to worry about K to walk ratios or any of those other stats.

I'm suggesting that Golson replace Tachughi. He will not be getting a lot of at bats. I also am not suggesting that this be a long term thing. Bring him up for a few weeks (once he is healthy) and see what he does while shopping at the trade deadline for a vertern type 5th outfielder.

I just think that this offense needs a shot in the arm. Michael Bourn gave them that last year and I think Golson is the best chance we have right now at providing something like that.

Silver lining on the Oakland series: Ryan Howard didn't record a strikeout in 2 of the 3 games.

Downside: He only went 1 for 13 overall.

And the reason why I would bring him up to sit on the bench instead of playing down there, is because this offense needs some new life breathed into it now. And I feel it is more important right now to get the offense rolling again than it is to let Golson hit in the minors.

Plus it might not hurt Golson to expose him to Charlie, Jimmy, Vic and Lopes for a little while. Who knows, maybe he could learn a little something while sitting on the bench.

All those ABs in the minors haven't done a whole lot to improve his plate discipline, so maybe a little exposure to the show would open his eyes a bit.

Bigger worry in the longer term is Gordon. He has looked ragged his last few times out there and Phils have been awfully vague about his "sore shoulder." I wouldn't be shocked at all to see him go on the 15-day DL list in the week or so and miss at least a good portion/all of July. This is just one guy the Phils don't have a viable replacement for and think it will potentially have a domino effect on the pen that causes them to revert to above average performance.

I think Gordon could be done...his injury has to be worse than the Phillies are letting on...not that the FO would ever hide an injury or anything.

The Phillies have played 80 games, and I counted 31 games in which they've scored 3 or fewer runs. That means that their offense has been anemic in 38.75% of the games they've played. Is this true of other high-scoring teams as well? I admit, I hoped that the answer would be No. But it isn't. The high-scoring Cubs have actually been held to 3 or fewer runs 40.5% of the time. For the Cardinals, it's 38.75%. For the Braves, 43%. For the Pirates, Mets, Marlins, it's around 35%.

Nonetheless, a couple points are worth making. First (and least significant) point is that, other than the Cubs & Cardinals, all of those teams are decidedly mediocre, which is not exactly the goal the Phillies should aspire to. More importantly, the more competitive teams in that group (the Braves, Mets, Cubs & Cardinals) have significantly better starting pitching than we do. Offense is the Phillies' meal ticket, so if we're merely performing at the same level as our fellow competitors, we're fighting a losing battle. You need only look at the last decade of Phillies baseball to realize this. We've had strong offenses pretty much that entire time, but the only time we made the playoffs was last year when -- as Andy has pointed out -- our offense had considerably fewer of these inept games.

The last point is that it's a very crude analysis to simply count up the number of games in which each team has scored 3 runs or fewer. My theory is not necessarily that the Phillies are more offensively inconsistent than other teams. My theory is that, more so than other teams, the Phillies struggle against good pitching. I haven't done an in-depth analysis, but I find it remarkably coincidental that so many good pitchers in succession have had their best game of the month against the Phillies' offense (Saunders, Santana, Lohse, Harden, Lester). In the last thread, clout points out, in so many words, that this could happen by the laws of chance alone. That's true. It COULD. But it is about as likely as rolling snake-eyes 6 times in a row. When you have a lineup which includes 3 players hitting under .240, plus the human out machine, plus the pitcher, it isn't exactly surprising that you're going to look terrible against good pitching.

The NL East is 20-30 in their last 50 games.

The NL West is 17-33.

The NL Central has the most respectable record at 28-32. Take the Brewers out of the Central though and they're 20-30.

The Brewers last 10 games have been against MIN, TOR, BAL, and ATL, however, 4 teams that have outscored their opponents by a combined 67 runs, 41 of which is ATL contribution.

The three teams the Phils just played (to a 2-7 beat) have out-scored their opponents by a combined 155 runs this season. Throw STL in there, to make the record 2-8, and the last 4 teams the Phils have played have outscored their opponents by 181 runs.

This is the division-leading team, the team that should win the East (that's a move from being a NLCS caliber team), that's slumping against 4 of the best teams in baseball (1, 6, 10, and 12 on BP.com's hotlist -- of course, the Phils were 5th as of 6/20.)

"I admit, I hoped that the answer would be No. But it isn't. --BAP"

shocker

Wes: If I were to make a Top 10 list of the Phillies' problems, the lack of an adequate pinch runner or defensive replacement would definitely not make the list. If I expanded the list to a Top 20 list, it still wouldn't make it.

Taguchi has indeed been horrible as a late inning defensive replacement. The simplest cure for that is to stop using him, or anyone else, as a defensive replacement -- a strategy which has lost far more games than it has won. I am certainly on board with the idea of dumping Taguchi, but not to bring up someone like Golson, who would be at least as bad, and probably worse, in the one area which matters most: hitting.

The team that's 12th on BP.com hotlist is the Angels, who are 17 games over .500 but stuck there because of BP's premium on Run Differential and other peripheral numbers (the Angels have *only* outscored their opponents by 18 and have a X W-L of 41-38. The Phils X W-L is 47-33.)

BAP

While I am not going to argue with the premise that the Phillies struggle against good pitching, there is no problem with your argument.

Could you please stop including Loshe with E. Santana, Saunders, Harden and Lester. Loshe is a mediocre pitcher who this offense should beat up on. And if the quality of good pitchers that this offense struggles against goes all the way down to Kyle Loshe, then we are in bigger trouble than I thought!

For a bit of contrast, the AL East, a division that has collectively outscored its opponents by 161, is 29-21 in its last 50. Take out TOR, and it's 26-14.

The AL Central is 34-16 in its last 50.

If Reading is so prospect rich, why are they in last place??

Also despite his no-hitter, Lester has been very beatable at times this year. He is still a young pitcher who struggles from time to time. For some reason, every pitcher seems to bring their A game to the Phillies. I'm starting to think that its more the Phillies than that pitcher being especially on that night.

So, in a nutshell, sophist, the Phillies appear to be the best team (maybe) in one of baseball's worst divisions, but a significant cut below the top teams?

There's no doubt that you and clout have accurately diagnosed the main cause of the recent meltdown: we were playing better teams. But that's like diagnosing that the reason everyone in the neighborhood is getting sick is because the nuclear power plant is melting down. It's merely stating the obvious, and it's not terribly likely to satisfy the neighborhood's residents.

A scenario that wouldn't surprise me would be Gordon to the DL, Phillies trade prospect for lefty relief. Like Happ or Donald for a lefty. Donald would be a nice, future addition for a middling team.

Reed- i hope you are right. Phils should break out tonight and sunday.
However, Texas can score runs. The Rangers have scored 108 runs in June, second-most in baseball. The way myers is throwing the ball, it could get ugly.
They have also allowed a league-high 120 runs.
BUT - Did you look at Padillas recent numbers? He could wreak some nasty revenge on us this weekend. I expect a good pitchers game tomorrow with Cole and Vicente.
Maybe someone should send Vicente over a bottle of Fort Worth's finest before the game.

Wes: If we're going to go by career performance, then neither Santana nor Saunders nor even Lester really qualify as good pitchers either. But all are pitching well this year, as is Lohse. That's the criterion I'm going by.

The other factor with these above average AL pitchers is that they have the advantage of unfamiliarity. I would think the pitcher would be at an advantage if he and the batter have never met.

BAP - I don't think the Phils are a significant cut below the top teams in baseball. The first tier is the Red Sox. The Phils are a second-tier team. They're the second or third best team in the NL, depending on how the DBacks are hitting.

BAP

Ok, fair enough. I will give Loshe credit for having a very good year so far. I just don't picture him as anything better than a 3.

phanatics brother - one calming piece of news: Hamilton was HBP yesterday and is day-to-day.

Oh, and the guy the Phils face tonight is like a Phils' 5th starter (2-3 with a 4.96 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 34 BB, 29 SO.)

"The other factor with these above average AL pitchers is that they have the advantage of unfamiliarity. I would think the pitcher would be at an advantage if he and the batter have never met. "

The AL batters don't seem to be suffering.

Isn't this a testament to advance scouting? If so, the Phils brought a knife to a gun fight.

Willard - Have you looked into how the great (this year and others) NL pitchers have done in interleague?

Here's some of the ERA leaders

Volquez - 14 IP, 5 ER, 14 SO, 2 BB
Sheets - 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 SO, 4 BB
Dempster - 13 IP, 2 ER, 10 SO, 3 BB
Santana - 13 IP, 5 ER, 9 SO, 4 BB
Haren - 14 IP, 1 ER, 13 SO, 2 BB
Hamels - 14 IP, 5 ER, 9 SO, 2 BB
Peavy - 10 IP, 4 ER, 10 SO, 3 BB


You could at least try doing some research before making statements.

Volquez, Haren and Santana were all AL pitchers last year, meaning AL hitters would be familiar with them. Therefore they do not really help your argument about unfamiliarity with pitchers being an advantage in interleague games.

Those are their numbers from these past 2 IL series, FYI.

Ah, true, Wes. Volquez only threw 34 innings last year, though.

And if you are basing your whole argument on the stats of four pitchers (Sheets, Hamels, Peavy and Dempster) and then applying that to the whole league, well that doesn't quite work.
Come on Sophist, you normally come up with much better, much more in depth stats to back up your arguments, you must be busy at work today.

only 6 AL teams faced him last year, and neither were BOS or NYY, whom those innings above came against.

Wes, I only claimed that the pitcher is probably at an advantage when facing a batter for the first time. I thought that would be more pronounced for the best pitchers.

Willard thought that the AL didn't seem to be struggling against the best NL pitchers. I was only citing the recent IL performance of the best NL pitchers to show that most have, in fact, been very successful. I don't think the stats need to be so in depth for this so far.

There are a few exceptions (Webb.)

But, yeah, it's not a strong argument. I mean, Volquez does this against everyone. The example of Haren shows that it's probably just that these guys are good against everyone. And Haren is the best up there.

Regardless, the AL does seem to be "suffering" against these guys.

Sophist ok, I get where you are going. And I don't necessarily disagree.

Not including this year, the AL has 70 more wins than the NL over ten years in interleague play. For some reason I expected the AL to have a greater margin, because it always seems like the AL beats up on the NL.

So even the though AL has had more wins overall, I don't think 70 more wins over the course of 2700 games is really enough to proclaim that their pitchers have some sort of an advantage. It is pretty evenly split.

The Gordon thing might work itself out as Myers could (and should) head to the pen and Phils plug the rotation spot with trade, Happ, Benson, Carrasco or Me. If Myers doesn't get it done tonight, then they have to change things up.

I know Flash had a great string of outings post-opening day up until recently, but who here really trusts him late in a game anyway?

Also, I would like to see Burrell DH tonight and Taguchi given a start. If So goes 0-fer, then offcially cut him. Tonight should be his last chance.

here's what I'd like to see tonight:
Vic - CF
JRoll - SS
Utley - 2B
Burrell - DH
Howard - 1B
Werth - RF
Coste - C
Feliz - 3B
Taguchi - LF

wow, the bottom of that mets order today is looking good:

C. Delgado DH
T. Nixon RF
M. Anderson LF
F. Tatis 1B
B. Schneider C

sheesh. at least the phils lineup isn't that.

I'm not saying that there aren't some standouts among NL pitchers. It would be assinine to say so. My argument was more against the Phillies' advance scouts, in preparing to face pitchers they are not accustomed to seeing (a struggle they have not just with AL pitchers, but with "new" NL pitchers, as well - as has been well documented).

Yes, there are some good performances by NL pitchers against AL teams, but that's a whole separate discussion. One that would be hard pressed to prove that the AL doesn't enjoy interleague play much more than the NL.

Just for kicks and giggles, though -

Interleague-only ERA leaders this season (nothing earth shattering here):

Player Team ERA
1 R. Harden OAK 0.67
2 J. Lackey LAA 1.15
3 R. Dempster CHC 1.38
4 J. Chamberlain NYY 1.40
5 A. Pettitte NYY 1.42
6 J. Danks CWS 1.50
7 M. Buehrle CWS 1.59
8 J. Saunders LAA 1.66
9 D. Haren ARI 1.71
10 D. Davis ARI 1.80

70% are AL pitchers.

Interleague-only SO leaders this season:

Strikeouts
Player Team SO
1 R. Harden OAK 33
2 M. Cain SF 29
3 E. Santana LAA 28
4 A. Burnett TOR 27
5 Z. Greinke KC 27
6 J. Beckett BOS 23
7 J. De La Rosa COL 22
8 J. Sanchez SF 22
9 M. Garza TB 22
10 C. Lee CLE 22

70% are AL pitchers.

Willard - I wasn't talking about AL or NL as a whole. I was only saying that the best NL pitchers do just fine against AL batters.

It's pretty well known to all that the AL has had better success as a whole against the NL.

--------

In any case, from Rotoworld: Josh Hamilton is day-to-day after coming out of Thursday's game with a bruised left hand.
Hamilton was hurt on a first-inning hit by pitch and came out an inning later. X-rays were negative. Hamilton still has a sore knee that he's dealing with, so the Rangers may want to give him a few days off.

Willard, following your theory about the Phils struggling against "unfamiliar" pitchers, whether they be AL or unseen NL pitchers, I wonder if it is the advance scouting as you suggest or something else. Maybe it is the Phils offensive mindset of hacking away and not being patient and taking pitches. With these "unfamiliar" pitchers, one would think it would be smart to step into the box and look at a few pitches to familiarize yourself with the pitcher. Of course we know the Phils aren't real fond of doing that. So maybe it is the execution more so than the preparation of a game plan.

Interesting Phillies Stat - Last 2 series for the Phillies: 6 GP, .174 avg, 52 SOs in 190 ABs. The Phillies are striking out 27.4% of the time as a team in the past 6 games...hard to win when you do that.

Wes, I think NEPP just corroborated one of your assumptions. You don't K 27% of your team AB's by trotting up patient hitters and working the count. I'm willing to concede that it's not solely on the advance scouts.

@bap -- regarding the phillies not doing well against good pitching is probably true. But I would gather if you spent the time researching every team and how they do facing good pitching, I would gather the numbers would average out to the same as the Phillies numbers. That's the point, they are good pitchers. And even good pitchers will get lit up once and a while, especially in this era. So even if you statistically found that the Mets or Cubs or Yankees or Sox lit up #1s or 2s at a higher pace than the Phillies, I highly doubt that it is indicative of anything really, only because those occasions would be rare and wouldn't signify a trend.

In a 162 game season the Phillies will probably face the opposing #1 or #2 pitchers 40% of the time. the 3, 4, 5 the rest. If the Phillies lost 90% of those games, and won 90% of the 3, 4, 5 for simplicty. You are looking at 97 wins.

Of course it's not going to break out exactly like that. But the point is... the only real concern about doing well against the 1 and 2 pitchers is if you want to go deep in the playoffs. The better teams, have #2 level pitchers at the #3, the elite might have 2 ones and 2 twos!

We saw our hitters disappear last october. Was it because of the lack of hitting good pitchers? Running into a hot team at the wrong time? The "Happy Just to Be Here"? Or just a 3 day slump?

The problem this team has is not "streaky hitters" nor is it "can't hit good pitchers". I think it just happens that our slump happened at the same time we were facing a stretch of good pitching and it's harder to BREAK out of that slump when you are facing a good pitcher one day a great one the next and okay pitcher the next and a good one the next. Hitting is contagious on this team.

What Cholly and Milt have to figure out is how to break a slump during these good pitching stretches. They will need to work on something, because we can't have another October like last year. And Cholly shouldn't have waited until game 79 to tinker with his line up. Which is probably why Manuel is a better manager during the season, but not quite so good in a short series setting. I'm not confident that Manuel is the right guy for moments like that.


So our opponent tonight: Lefty Kason Gabbard (whom the Phillies have never faced). He kills lefthanded hitters (.231 baa) and doesn't allow alot of HRs despite his 4.96 ERA (just 3 in 52.2 IP) His career HR allowed is about the same (11 in 159.1 IP)

This oughta be fun as we have Mr. Batting practice himself Meatball Myers on the road.

Late in the last thread I proposed the idea of calling up Jaramillo and releasing Taguchi. Jaramillo's not tearing it up at AAA but has been better of late and apparently has been very good in throwing out runners. He's getting up in age and the Phillies have virtually nothing to lose by seeing if he could do any better than Ruiz. Being a switch-hitter, he would also give them an extra LH bat in the lineup or off the bench. Taguchi, meanwhile, never plays and would hardly be missed. Thoughts?

Damn Jason, you don't have to quote my incoherent posts. I mean, it doesn't even address the topic of your post, the offense. I'm really undecided on this matter. Are we more inconsistent than other NL teams, leading our offense to be worse than the raw numbers say? Maybe so. I don't know if any baseball site has the numbers, but it's easily calculable if anyone wants to waste a few hours of their time, all you'd have to do is figure out the standard deviation from the mean of runs scored for each team and you'd know if we really are much more inconsistent than other teams or if it just seems that way.

NEPP - the no. of AB isn't the same as the total number of plate appearances, not that your conclusion isn't still true. The Phils seem to be striking out a ton (against Haren in particular.)

Here's what I have from ESPN's stat page. They've come to the plate 214 times. SO 41 times 19%. Sometimes ESPN is a day behind, though. In any case, they've come to the plate more than 190 times.

I personally like Jaramillo exactly where he is...tradebait for a summer trade doing well in AAA.

52 SOs in 190 ABs...I am going by ABs not PAs so they have struck out 27% of the time in the past 6 days...the 41 Ks was their opponents Sophist...at least according to ESPN which appears to be up to date as last nights stats (Burrell's 3B) is there.

Tray - I'm going to guess that the more high-power an offense is, the more inconsistent it is.

Low-powered offense can't score 20 runs or more than 8 as often. They will more consistently score 3-4 runs and more rarely score 6+.

For plate appearances its still 24% of the time which is still pathetic.

NEPP - why ignore PAs? If you want to say it's how often they SO, you can't just ignore the times they went up and walked or sacrificed. Those count as times at the plate. You're basically penalizing them for walking.

You are right, though, 41 is their opponents. It's listed right below there own and my eye didn't follow it.

52/214 is still 24%, though. It's still a lot. Using total PA makes more sense since you're trying to say how often they SO. You need to count all PA.

Yes, still pathetic.

From what I understand, Milt Thompson was fired as hitting coach and Ryan Howard was made a player-coach to take over the dual roles of 1B/Hitting Instructor...the dividends of this move are already quite apparent.

Yeah, they're not quite up to Howard's level yet though. 109 SO in 345 PA (32%)

He still has some work to do.

Taguchi should get exactly zero more chances. Its not that he's not hitting, its that he also isn't playing the field well. Gotta shake things up a bit, even if Taguchi is a bit of a scapegoat--however his replacement is could literally not be any worse.

I agree, timr.

He should have been cut in April or May, if not after last weekend. He is still wasting a roster space, though. If he is going to waste a spot, then give him a start. Chances are he'll put the ball in play instead of striking out like the other outfielders outside of Vic & PtB.

So, Sophist, couldn't you correct for that a little if you figured the ratio of standard deviation to the mean? So for instance, if a team scores 6 runs a game and its standard deviation is 1, we'd say they're no more inconsistent than a team that scores 3 runs a game and has a standard deviation of 0.5. Or maybe you could just compare us to other high-scoring teams.

sophist: Why ignore PAs when calculating batting average?

Before the Phils trade away anything of value for LH relief, why not give Swindle a shot in that role? What does the team lose by attempting an internal solution first?

Tray - that may work. sorry if you said that before. I'm not thinking to well today, which is why I'm taking the afternoon off to have a good meal and see a movie. It's also probably why I'm posting so often.

clout - because Henry Chadwick did?

Indeed, clout, why? For those of us who still cling to the notion that hits are more valuable than walks, maybe a stat that got at hits per plate appearances would be more informative than straight batting average.

How can Charlie keep batting Howard 4th or 5th against lefties when he is hitting .179 with an OPS of .605 against them? He struggles even to put the ball in play against them with 54 K's in 123 AB's. Catch Coste and bat him 4th, 5th or 6th against lefties. He is hitting .343 with an OPS of 1.015 against them. Burrell, Feliz and Coste in a row after Rollins, Werth and Utley would at least give them a chance to generate some offense against lefties. Vic can follow in 7 hole gets on, steals second and force the defense out of the shift against Howard or Vic will steal third. Then Howard batting 8th will porbably get an intentional walk with the pitcher to follow. Hitting in front of the pitcher against lefties Howard then would avoid striking out.

Dull here is the reason why you can't bat Howard 8th against lefties. The major league player's ego. It would hurt his feeling to bat 8th, he is a 10 million dollar cleanup hitter damn it.

And unfortunately teams would rather hurt the chance of winning than to hurt a "star's" feelings.

I wouldn't mind dropping Howard in the order agaisnt lefties, but it just won't happen. What I do think should definately happen is to switch Howard and Burrell just to break up the Utley/Howard left/left thing.

Mike C. writes: "I would gather if you spent the time researching every team and how they do facing good pitching, I would gather the numbers would average out to the same as the Phillies numbers."

Although you've definitely gotten to the nub of the matter, I disagree with the conclusion. I suspect that if you did this research, you would find that the 2008 Phillies fare considerably worse than average when it comes to facing, let's say, starting pitchers with ERA+ above 110. For sure that has been true over the last 2 weeks; all you have to do is eyeball the game logs to see that.

Like every other team, the Phillies should be expected to fare worse against good pitching. But, at the same time, if they're an overall above average offense, they should at least fare better than most other teams fare against the likes of Rich Harden & Edison Volquez. I believe they actually fare worse. Why would this be so? Because they've got a lot of feast or famine hitters like Jenkins, Howard, Feliz & even Werth, who terrorize bad pitchers but are hapless against pitchers who know what they're doing. And why is it cause for alarm? Because, if they manage to win the division -- as I agree they have a good chance of doing -- they are going to be facing the very type of pitchers who render them completely hapless. Adding a front-line starter would, of course, help greatly -- as it would give them a chance to win more of these games when they score only one or two runs. But, even with an additional front-line starter, I still see problems. If you can't muster more than 2 runs in a game, you're liable to lose, no matter who you've got on the mound.

After thinking about it extensively, I think the Phillies should promote Carrasco to the MLB roster as soon as possible...say next pathetic start by either Myers or Eaton. The stuff is there and its worth taking a shot at catching lightning for half a season with a young guy. It doesnt work out they don't really lose anything. He's got a live arm which is more than you can say for most of the Phillies staff.

Let the criticism begin.

NEPP

No criticism here. I think it is a good idea. Throw him into the fire and see what happens. I am tired of the Phillies always being so overly cautious with prospects. It might not be a good idea to bring up a middling prospect before he is ready, but if Carrasco has the stuff that he apparently has, then he can pitch in the big leagues now.

I would like to correct myself. Even a lesser prospect can be effective when thrown into the fire, see: Kendrick, Kyle.

Tray: Or maybe because walks are a positive thing they should not be included when calculating hits. Hits ought to be caluclated against outs, which are negative events.

NEPhan, Wes: Here's why that makes no sense. Carrasco is barely holding his own in AA. While another pitcher, Happ, is doing quite well in AAA. Let Carrasco get his K/BB ratio fixed in Double A before you bring him up to get blasted. Happ is ready, Carrasco is not.

Dull: Feliz has an OPS of .616 vs. RHP. Where would you bat him?

Um...clout...his K/BB ratio is actually drastically improved from last season. its around 2.5 the last I checked...he's also striking out close over 8 per 9 IP. He's doing more than barely holding his own.

Clout

True, but sometimes there are guys that put up real good number in the minors, but can't cut it in the majors. Then there are players who put up pedestrian stats in the minors, but then become stars in the majors.

Some guys just step it up when the pressure is on. Maybe Carrasco is one of those guys. If his stuff is as good as people seem to think it is, then maybe competing against the best is what he needs to bring it out of him. With the way Myers and Eaton have pitched, I think it is worth a shot to see what he can do.

Carlos Carrasco:

2008 (AA): 94.0 IP, 89 K (8.52 K/9), 35 BB (3.35 BB/9), 2.54 K/BB along with a 3.64 ERA

Value Village missed this one (from roto):

Dallas McPherson went 3-for-4 and homered in a sixth straight game Thursday for Triple-A Albuquerque.

It looked like McPherson was smart to pick the Marlins as a free agent over the winter, but he's crushed the ball in Triple-A and still hasn't gotten an opportunity because of Jorge Cantu's performance in the majors. The Marlins may consider trading Mike Jacobs next month, and if they do, they'd likely move Cantu to first and call up McPherson to play third. McPherson is hitting .309/.418/.695 with a minor league-high 27 homers, so he deserves a chance.

agreed. That's why I don't care what a teams record is when scoring 3 runs or less. In this era, you shouldn't win any of those. Of course good records in 3 runs or less games, means you have some stud pitchers. But I certainly don't want that.

But since neither one of us are going to do the analysis of records against pitchers with 110+ ERA I guess the point is moot.

Well of course I agree, clout, I'm just saying that there's nothing set in stone that says you can't compare hits to walks or strikeouts to walks, so long as that's what you're interested in. And in the case of strikeouts, I think there are actually good reasons for calculating them against plate appearances.

My main problem with the ass clowns in the FO is that they have the proverbial finger in the dike mentality. Here's why:

Last year the strength of the team was the bench and especially the OF. Because of them being tight fisted and self imposing a salary cap, circling give-a-way day's on the home schedule is more important than building a club who was really only a few player's away from being a dominant NL club. I understand how it all worked out, Lidge is awesome (lot's of save opportunities lately, huh?), hardly any free agents were available, Rowand was too expensive, Howard was due a big pay day (handled like a guy walking his dog in the park but forgot his poop bag), eating Helm's salary, etc.

But their lack of planning in prior years, including when that Weeble Ed Wade (yeah, he keeps bouncing back up) was here, and now Lame Duck Gillick, has created hole after hole in their long range planning. They fill one hole (closer) and create one or two more (OF, bench). They never have enough fingers to plug all of the leaks. It is a never ending cycle, created by the FO ass clowns. Can't wait to see what Liar Liar Amaro brings to the table next year.

Speaking of facing lefties, Swindle is killing lefties in AAA. Lefties are 4 for 34 against him. And if you want to talk about K/BB and K/9, Swindle is pushing 6:1 K/BB in AAA and is averaging 11.69 Ks/9.

NEPhan: I noticed you conveniently left out his hits per innings. His H per 9 is 9.04, his BB per 9 is 3.42. That's 12.5 base runners per 9 in AA and an ERA of 3.91. Yes that's better than his nearly 6 BB per 9 and his 4.86 ERA last season but it doesn't remotely suggest he's ready for The Show.

It's a moot point anyway because this F.O. isn't dumb enough to bring him up before September. Happ is the smart choice.

- Why is Burrell not the DH in every game in AL cities? Oh, so Cholly can pull him in the 7'th inning for the defensive replacement, sorry...

- Too bad the Phillies waited until June to play like it was April this year. I think I liked it more the old way. Either that or I was just getting used to it is all.

- If nobody on the Iron Pigs or the Reading Phillies isn't a better option than So Taguchi, I will wear a Von Hayes jersey and run the base paths during the 7'th inning stretch at the next home game until the CBP Security pulls me off the field and beats me.

Mack: Cholly says Burrell doesn't make a good DH because he needs to be involved in the entire game in order to be effective. But it doesn't appear Howard's any better of an option, either. Or Jenkins.

Maybe Coste should be the DH...if they insist on playing Ruiz at catcher.

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EST. 2005

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