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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Comments

From last thread:

Flash had a bad game. I know it sucks cause it was against a team we need to beat, but these things happen in a 162 game season. I can't even imagine the misery on here that's gonna happen when Lidge finally blows a couple saves, which of course, he will do. Everyone just take some deep breaths. Flash has had bad games before and bounced back. He's still quite a good pitcher when healthy.

Ghost: It depends though, as you said, on the leverage of the situation. I would have considered bringing in Lidge in the 9th because it was the heart of the Marlins order, and you could have either used Lidge for 2 innings because he's had 2 days off, or, at the least, you've gotten through the meat of their lineup with your best pitcher. But I also understand saving your best pitcher when you're on the road to close out the game. I wouldn't adhere strictly to that rule though, and last night would have been a time I might have gone to Lidge.

Clout: Judgement call on the 3rd baseman not playing the line there. With a speedster like Hanley on first, I think I'd have him playing the line, a double is pretty much the game. A single still sets you up for a double play ball with a slower runner, Cantu, on 1st. If it was the catcher on first, and I was confident he wouldn't score on a double down the line, I'd consider playing Feliz at regular depth.

You have to trust Gordon as a setup guy in a tie game like that. There was no guarantee that the Phillies would score in the 10th anyway considering the back end of the order was up so Gordon should be able to pitch the 9th cleanly. He failed and they lost. We're still 2 up on the Fish and if we manage to take one tonight we'll have only lost 1 game in the standings...hardly the end of the world for mid-June.
I also think the massive criticism of Ruiz is completely overblown. Suddenly we want him to be Victor Martinez when he's an average defensive minded catcher.
Werth's "Decision" if you want to call it that, to bunt was a stupid stupid decision as I'm sure Charlie has already explained to him in depth. I understand his reasoning but completely disagree with such a low-percentage call on his part.

All in all the offense as a whole lost this game, not Ruiz or Gordon or anyone else by themselves. Gordon's not even in there if Werth gets a hit instead of bunting.

Minor Leagues: Golson rebounded slightly last night after his little fit about bloggers...2 games, 1 for 3 in each, 2 RBI, a Sac Fly, and 2 Ks overall.

Marson had a good night as well going 3-5 between both games and is batting .354 on the season now...i.e. Ruiz won't be the starter very much longer (another year or so hopefully before Marson can start taking over)

I know Moyer isn't the guy to do this, but someone needs to knock Cantu off the plate! He is flatout diving across the plate looking for anything outside!

Also, Ruiz needs to pick it up. It's almost to the point where I want the Phils to bring up Jaramillo (.250 3 HR 17 RBI) to back up Coste.

That move would also free up Marson to get some AAA at-bats. If he continues to hit (.354 2 HR 35 RBI right now for Reading), maybe we could see him in Philly sometime this summer.

BTW, any word on Marson's defense or game calling abilities?

It is just one of 162, but let's also note that there wasn't nearly as much furor when they lost game 1 of the series. With the game Myers threw, an L was understandable. The problem is, us fans know the starting pitching probably won't remain this solid all year; anytime Cole throws a gem last night, it's a disgrace to not turn it into a W. Those are losses we'll regret when we get to September.

Jon: I believe that Marson was known more for his defense than his offense until last year and this year. His bat his elevated him from a good prospect to a very good prospect.

A win today means only one lost game in the standings. It's early, they are still in first, but this is must win. What would make it even sweeter is to see the bats come alive again...especially off Phillie-hater Scott Olsen.

I have a weird feeling that tensions flare tonight.

He's considered above average both defensively and as a game-caller. The big concern on him prior to the season was his offense. I highly highly doubt Marson will see a big-league uniform before next season despite how well he's doing at AA.

Jaramillo could probably step in right now and we honestly wouldn't notice a difference between him and Ruiz. Both have very similar skill sets.

Ruiz does have the significantly better cERA of the two of them (Coste and Ruiz) though by around 3/10 of a run...that's a good gap that hints that Ruiz is better as a game-caller and defensively than Coste. I believe Coste also mentioned that Ruiz is a better game-caller than him as well.

If you've read Coste's book, you'd get the impression that every pitcher in the world wants him to catch their games. You'd also get the impression that he had about 600 big hits in his career, and that he has a supernatural propensity for calling what pitch he's going to see next in a clutch at-bat. It's a great book and I absolutely love the guy, but by the end I was laughing at each new Chris Coste heroic moment.

NEPP: Ruiz was a very good hitter in his last few years of the minors, so it's not unreasonable to expect that he'd become a good hitter by his second year in the majors. That said, I don't expect Ruiz to be Victor Martinez. I'd be reasonably satisfied if he gave us what he gave us last year -- which, by any standard, was extraordinarily mediocre.

It's not just the results that have left me exasperated. It's the fact that he almost never seems to make solid contact. My subjective impression has been that he rarely hits the ball out of the infield. I looked up his GO/FO ratio and it confirmed my subjective impression. He has a 1.86 GO/FO ratio, which is 4th worst in the National League. The guys ahead of him are all speedy or slap-hitting singles hitters. Ruiz is not speedy, and he isn't a slap-hitting singles hitter. He hit 16 homers in 368 ABs in his last year in the minors; 2 years before that, he hit 17 homeruns in 349 ABs.

To be sure, Ruiz is not the only problem on the team, but he HAS been the worst hitter on the team by far. It's not like the Phillies are some sort of offensive juggernaut that couldn't stand improvement and, when I see a guy who is hitting .350 at AA, I am forced to wonder how much longer they're going to tolerate Ruiz's act.

How does that fit in with Coste saying Ruiz is the better catcher defensively...not much braggart in that statement.

"It's early, they are still in first, but this is must win."


That's just plain crazy. There's no way in hell this game is a must-win. Even if we lose the game, we're still in first place and our most difficult road trip of the year will be off to a reasonable 3-3 start.

Sure, I want to win this game. I want to win every game.

But a game before the All-Star break on the road is not a must-win... especially when you're coming off a stretch of games as hot as the Phils have had.

Let's not start with these crazy declarations yet. We lost plenty of so-called "must-win" games down the stretch last year on the way to a division crown.

Alright, if that tirade doesn't trigger the reverse Beerleaguer Karma, nothing will. I expect at least 2 hits from Ruiz in tonight's game.

BAP: What exactly are the alternatives do the platoon they're currently using though?

1. Bring up Jaramillo? He's not good offensively either so that wouldn't help.

2. Trade for a catcher? Not any out there that would be an improvement.

3. Promote Marson now? Probably not the best idea considering he's only at AA and this is his first real dominating stretch at any level.

The only real solution would be for Ruiz to revert to his norms of around a .250/.260 average with the ocasional extra base hit. That will likely happen if they keep doing what they've been doing which is giving him fairly regular playing time to work it out. One good month (around .300) and he's back to his norms.

CJ: That post was way too sensible for people here.

CJ: True. When your team has a 2-game lead in the division, the phrase "must win," by definition, does not apply. So tonight's game is NOT a must win. It is, however, a "They'd better pull their heads out of the Asses and Win" game.

NEPP: Agreed about Jaramillo. Why bother? His offense is worse than Ruiz's. He's a future backup and nothing more. I'm not sure I agree about Marson. AA is a relatively high level of play -- not that big a drop-off from AAA. It is fairly common for players to jump from AA right to the majors. My only concern would be his defense -- not so much his arm, but his high passed ball totals. But you might just have to live with some rookie sloppiness, in exchange for better offensive production.

Coste is right: he's really not an everyday catcher. He's also not likely to hit .313 for the entire season. Maybe Ruiz will come around. Until last night, I've supported him; when Coste was red hot earlier this year, I even wrote a post saying that Ruiz and Coste would wind up with similar offensive stats. But I'm also a firm believer that you can't wait forever for it to happen -- especially when you have an alternative who might be appreciably better. Ruiz has about a week or two to get it in gear. The reverse Beerleaguer karma should help.

bap: "I'd be reasonably satisfied if he gave us what he gave us last year -- which, by any standard, was extraordinarily mediocre."

Is that from memory, or did you look that up? Among NL catchers with at least 300 ABs last season, Ruiz was 5th in OPS out of 14. I'm not saying Carlos Ruiz hit the cover off the ball, but he more than held his own last year. I think calling him mediocre sells him very short.

Are we really talking about dumping our starting catcher?

I believe it is must-win in the sense that the Marlins are having their way with the Phils. Outside of the 12-3 game, the phils are lucky to have the 1 win.

Now maybe I am being a little to extreme, but I have seen what the Marlins have done to the Phils in the past, and they have a lot of games still left to play. A win today is huge and there is no denying that as the Phils are in StL for the weekend and have an extremely tough upcoming schedule. Plus, after a sweep in Atlanta, I was hoping for a winning road trip and that is in jeopardy.

BAP put it much better, but personally I stand by my statement for momentum and head-to-head purposes.

To address Jason's last point, I think he's onto something. acquiring a top flight starter may just be too tall a task for the underwhelming Phillies' minor league system, but acquiring another Gordon/ Romero level reliever might not. After Hamels, any one of our starters can give you 6 and 3, so if the bullpen can be lights out, I like our chances to win very much. Furthermore, if Gordon gets injured, the bullpen's quality drops dramatically.

Making a strong bullpen even stronger just might be the way to go.

****Are we really talking about dumping our starting catcher?****

I don't think anyone is really serious about it...I'm thinking its more venting over a tough loss than anything. Personally I am against any change at the catcher position this season.

Outside the 12-3 game...

Why do we have to skip that game? Did the Marlins forfeit or something?

Reed: I guess I'm one of those crazy people who couldn't care less whether or not the Marlins are "having their way with the Phils" or whether or not the Phils are "lucky to have the 1 win." It's irrelevant.

What is relevant is whether or not this team has the best record in the division at the end of the season. Putting some kind of irrational importance on tonight's game doesn't make any kind of sense.

I suppose some people may believe a sweep in June to Florida will doom our season. But I'd advise you to take about 5 seconds to really think about that (it should only take you 2 seconds, at most).


Werth bunting with the bases loaded with 2 outs? What the hell was that about?

The Marlins were coming off a horrible stretch of play where they lost 8 of 11; the Phillies were coming off an incredibly hot streak...fortunes were bound to change for both teams.

The Fish pitchers naturally pitch much better in that cavern than they do in our house. Miller didn't look nearly this good when we spanked him 12-3 at home. Too bad Myers is only comfy at CBP.

Ruiz's two major shortcomings were on full display last night: his inability to hit lefthanded pitchers and his high rate of hitting into DP's per times at bat.

FWIW, i'm really looking forward to the "Marson Era" starting at catcher, but it's not going to be this year, nor should it be.

Nice to see my comment in the post today. More in regards to Ruiz, he's a very good defensive catcher and calls a good game. His offense is atrocious though. He seems to get himself out a lot by jumping at bad pitches and grounding out weakly.

About my "douchebag" comment yesterday. I say/type these things but don't really mean them. It's my way of venting frustration. Saying "he's playing lousy" isn't as satisfying to me as calling some player a "no-talent ass-clown". I don't really have any ill-will towards the player, only his performance, that's the way my sense of humor is and I know it's not everyone's cup of tea.

CJ: Maybe it's me, but I'd call a .259 average and 6 homeruns "extraordinarily mediocre." I understand that a lot of other catchers were even worse. That might well change my analysis of whether I'd be satisfied with those numbers (I said I WOULD), but it does not change the fact that those numbers are mediocre.

By the way, speaking of Carson and his colorful vocabulary, who was the person in the last thread who used the noun "dumbassery" in one of his posts? I don't feel like going back over 400 posts, so step up and identify yourself. That was one of the most brilliant uses of the English language that I've ever seen on Beerleaguer.

Guys, thanks for the intervention. I'll step down from the ledge.

O'Doyle rules

The Werth bunt was much in the same vein as the Bruntlett steal of third. Risky plays where you had better make the play. Bruntlett did, Werth did not. That being said, the timing of Werth's play was really dumb. Gregg was wild the whole inning. Take a few pitches.

bap: Sure, I could find a stat or two on anyone that seems "extraordinarily mediocre," but that's not what I'm doing. I'm picking the one stat generally recognized to take in the totality of one's offensive abilities: OPS. His was pretty good comparatively speaking... oh, and he knocked in 54 runs. There, I cherry-picked a stat that also makes him sound good.

Maybe this was within the previous thread but no one has mentioned the terrible strike three call with Victorino batting in the 9th. It changed the entire coulda/shoulda of the inning. The umpire called a decent game til that point but pissed it away after that call.

Also, did Hanley Ramirez do a little more than cheat on Utley's 'almost' double play ball in the 9th? Even after the five replays, I thought he never touched 2nd base while in possession of Dan Uggla's throw.

Chase Utley's only batting .200 with the bases loaded this year...we should cut him now!!!

I'm with King Myno on this. A wasted effort from Cole is one that you can't get back. After stealing a couple from the Braves because of various breaks in their favor, they gave one away last night. I think the first loss of the series is more acceptable because of a bad Myers outing (although with more timely hitting that game too could have been won). The offense is my concern actually. Way too many strikeouts the past two games. Winning one out of three after such a hot streak is a let down, no matter how you slice it. Losing all three is totally unacceptable however. No pressure on Moyer tonight, but the offense needs to re-awaken for the elder statesman to leave S. Florida with a victory.

East Fallowfield: We're skipping the 12-3 game because, like GM-Carson said, when you score more than 7 runs, it's actually a bad thing. So that negates the win.

CJ: Ruiz is also batting .369 with 2 strikes, 2 outs, a man on third and a righthander on the mound who was born in 1971.

The mental image of putting on "grumpy pants" is an uncomfortable one.

CJ: Let's make this simple and use OPS+. It's a better stat than OPS because it's park adjusted. And we don't have to debate about what constitutes "mediocre" since 100, by definition, is league average.

Ruiz's OPS+ last year was 86. That is "extraordinarily mediocre," to put it charitably. This year, Ruiz's OPS+ is an astonishingly bad 56. To put that in perspective, it's 23 points lower than Pedro Feliz's OPS.

As I said before, I can tolerate below average offense from a catcher because it's an important defensive position & there is a shortage of catchers who are good hitters (though not as much as there used to be). But there's a threshold below which I'm not willing to go. Anything lower than about 80 really isn't tolerable -- especially when you have a guy at a high level of the minors who is hitting .350.

How many teams have brought up a catcher from the minors to start 50% of their games around mid-season and then gone on to the playoffs?

Just read thru all of last night's post.. wow, we're crazy.

CJ made the most sense, but of course a pawn of the front office would be the one trying to calm us down.

Werth's bunt was dumb, but only bc Gregg was wild. Otherwise, the percentages wouldn't have been much worse than him getting on base another way. Werth put us on track to win the division last year by stealing two consecutive bases off of Wagner in the ninth of a game we were down one, so I can forgive him for trying to make an unconventional play that in theory would've had a surprised Wes Helms making a hurried throw across the diamond.

NEPP: I would frame the question differently. How many teams that stuck with a .220-hitting catcher in late June, when they had a catcher at AA hitting .350, went onto the playoffs?

The only relevant question is whether you think Marson can be better than Ruiz right now. If the answer is No, then you stick with Ruiz. If the answer is Maybe (which is MY answer), then you give it a few more weeks and see how things stand. If he keeps hitting under .235, I am not in favor of leaving it be for the entire season. Unlike Ryan Howard, there's little in Ruiz's track record to suggest any great upside if he ever gets untracked.

Brian G - as you point out, it's the fact that Werth bunted on the first pitch that makes me more incredulous than anything. They don't come any more erratic than Kevin Gregg, and he was on the verge of imploding there. And not only that, but Werth's strength over Jenkins in that situation is his ability to take pitches and have a patient AB! It doesn't appear that either Manuel or Werth really understood that point even after the fact. Even if he did get it down successfully, to bunt on the first pitch in that situation is flat-out bad baseball. The fact that he bunted at all, by the way, shows you what kind of confidence Werth has in himself against righties.

I hadn't realized that Coste had left the game early to be with his laboring wife, or I wouldn't have harped on that point about Ruiz hitting in the 8th. Maybe they announced that fact on the telecast, but I had the sound muted.

By the way, for all the Ruiz maligners today, anyone happen to catch this stat (from Zolecki)? "The Phillies are 15-14 when Coste starts. They entered last night 24-13 when Ruiz starts." Ruiz is having a poor year offensively, but that figure should tell you something about how little it really has affected the team as a whole.

What was Yadier Molina's average when the Cards won the WS? For that matter, how well did Torrealba (sp) hit for the Rockies last year?

Molina batted .216 w/ a .274 OBP for the WS winning Cardinals and Torrealba (sp) hit a brisk .255 (about the same as Ruiz last year)

Brian G: I prefer "mouthpiece." I speak for them, but they can't make me do things!!!! ;-)

bap: I am in no way trying to defend Ruiz's poor performance at the plate this season. What I am saying is that Ruiz's offense last year was more than acceptable in my opinion. And considering the team's performance this year, including our more-than-respectable team ERA, I just don't think it makes sense to talk about replacing Carlos Ruiz with some unknown quantity from Double A.

Why look back and say "X did well and still had a .220 hitting catcher, so we should be ok", when that .220 spot can possibly be improved w/out giving someone up?

(for the record, i'm for giving Ruiz more time, but pull the plug/trade him if he doesn't improve)

there's so much more to a catcher than his offensive performance. There's the comfort level he has with the pitching staff, calling a game, knowledge of MLB umpires and their tendencies, etc etc. Asking Marson to step in and learn on the job in the midst of a heated pennant race is asking for something bad to happen. They've made it to 1st place in their division having Ruiz and Coste splitting time and Ruiz has slumped for the first bit of the season. (though in reality he was off in April, good in May, and off a bit in June so far). A couple good weeks and his numbers will be back to his career average which is fine for the Phillies.

Bed Beard and bap:

When we talk about pulling the plug on Ruiz... are we strictly looking at his offensive performance?

For a team that is 2nd in the NL in runs scored, we should ignore Ruiz's defense or ability to call a game if he doesn't improve his offense?

What would be acceptable production?

NEPP: Yadier Molina is also the best defensive catcher in the game. The Cards don't really care about his offense, because, as much as Clout denies it, defense matters too.

Ruiz is a good defensive catcher, but not good enough where he can afford to be this bad at the plate. He needs to step it up on offense.

Seriously, when did the Beerleaguer crowd become so averse to the notion of calling up one of the few excellent prospects we have in the minors? We've had guys on here arguing for major league promotions to players like Carrasco, Cardenas, Swindle, Golson, Outman, Jaramillo, Mazone, and Knotts. Most of these guys aren't even particularly good in the minors, and none has had anywhere near the success that Marson has had over the last year and a third -- including a .350 average at a high level of the minors.

You all are acting like I'm talking about calling up Jason Donald to replace Jimmy Rollins. Ruiz is hitting .220 with no power. The odds that Marson will be worse are slim and none. I, frankly, can't believe the opposition I'm getting on what seems to me a very modest suggestion for possible improvement.

Not a true "must win" by any means. But I do think these series establish a "tone" that the teams key off going forward. Given that the fish aren't fading just yet, the Phils will have to contend with them down the road, possibly with quite a bit more at stake than there is right now. I just don't like the idea of leaving the fish with the idea that they have the Phils number, which they will if they sweep.

If the Phils win tonight, especially with a convincing reawakening of the snoozing bats, the tone can be more along the lines of "The Phils came to our house and didn't have their real A game, and we still needed some breaks to squeak out two wins". As opposed to "We swept the chumps. Bring em on again".

BAP,

Remember, Ruiz is "still learning".

BAP: I agree that Marson could likely out perform Ruiz's .220 avg at the plate but I worry about all the rest that goes into it. Its no mistake that hte Phillies pitchers have a better ERA with Ruiz behind the plate than Coste, nor is the team record for each of them a mistake either. Ruiz is a good defensive catcher though not a "Great" one. Could Marson seamlessly slip in and do the same thing with a higher avg? Perhaps but why take that chance when the Phillies are winning? Ruiz didn't cost them either game in FL, the rest of the offense and Brett Myers did.

I'm in favor of giving him another month or so to shake out of the slump. If Ruiz is still batting .220 in mid to late July then a change should be made.

Posters here keep saying things like Marson's defense is no problem, he's known for his defense, he's great on defense, nothing to worry about etc. etc.

The scouting reports I've read say that defense is the main thing he needs to work on. He had 11 passed balls and 15 errors in 108 games last year. Let me repeat: 15 errors and 11 passed balls in 108 games.

So far this season he's made 8 errors in 50 games, which puts him on pace for another 15 E season at least. Only 2 PBs, so there's improvement there. His arm strength and release are fine and he's throwing out runners at a great rate. But that's way too many errors.

I like this kid a lot, but he won't be an everyday catcher in the bigs until his defense is clean.

I had the opportunity to see a few Spring Training games this year and Ruiz was really hitting the ball. Then again, of the current team the 3 best spring hitters were Taguchi @ .350, Ruiz @ .348 and Howard @ .313. Here's hoping those 3 start hitting now.

Some of that might be the pitching staff at Reading as well Clout. PB and E's are dangerous stats when you have poor pitching. I base my comments off scouting reports I've read which all give him high marks on defense.

He is only 21 though so he's still learning the smaller parts of the game. Honestly if Ruiz or Coste were to go down with a serious injury right now, Jaramillo would be called up, not Marson. They want Marson to polish his game at Reading for now and I can't really blame them as he still has some things to learn.

Mind you I'm probably the biggest Lou Marson fan on earth but I am realistic about where he is right now. His .350 avg in AA probably translates into a .270 avg in the bigs assuming big league pitching isn't too much of a quantum leap for him. He's still lower on his power numbers so thats another thing he needs to work on. I'm not talking HRs but more like gap power.

Jimmie J: The call on Vic in the 9th was correct. The ball was belt high right over the outside corner. I was pissed too until I saw the replay. Tough pitch, good call.

Santana has struck out 6 of the first 8 Diamondbacks he's faced so far today. Mets lead 1-0 on a solo HR. I have Dan Haren on my fantasy team (and Stephen Drew), so I'm REALLY rooting for the D-Backs!

NEPhan: How does poor pitching (which Reading didn't have last year unless you consider 4.24 ERA poor) cause a catcher to make passed balls and throwing errors?

More poor pitches to block=more chances to have a passed ball.

Okay okay...it was a somewhat weak argument. I've never seen a scouting report say he's weak defensively.

I did just read an intersting BA article from 2004 that stated Michael Bourn could easily be the next Kenny Lofton though. It was good for a laugh. The same article listed Marson as the 3rd best catcher in teh Phillies system after Ruiz and Jaramillo.

The pitch to Vic was close, probably a strike, and way too close to take in any case.

I said it last night and I'll say it again right now, not pinch hitting Jenkins for Werth was the worst decision made by Manuel last night. And that's not even 20/20 hindsight after the dumb bunt. The whole point of having Werth and Jenkins platoon is to make them interchangeable parts for left/right match ups.

So put one in the minus column for "The Gut."

If Werth gets down that bunt on the same Wes Helms who played here last year, his throw ends up in the dugout or in right field somewhere and we're all talking about how Werth defies the odds with such a gutsy move. Alas, with no pressure on him in FLA, because there is no one watching or caring (has anyone ever heard of a rabid Marlins fan?), Helms fields it cleanly and the stupid decision to bunt is much more magnified and inexcusable. But remember that the offense as a whole stunk up the joint. They need to pull up their Big Boy Pants and hit like they did the last few weeks. I was worried that all of the early WS talk would throw the jinx on us, and now every Part-Time, Band Wagon Jumpin', Dollar Dog Night Attendin', Bobble-Head Collectin', Chris Wheeler Lovin', Ass-Clown Fan, who started celebrating with only 1/3 of the season gone, are to blame.

Don't understand all the criticism of Ruiz. His role in last night's L was minor at best. Only player I would really criticize was Werth for making an assine decision to decide to bunt.

Yup.

MG: My criticism is directed at Ruiz's entire season -- and to some extent, his entire career. Last night was merely what tipped me over the edge. Considering he went 0 for 3 and hit into 2 costly DPs, I would hardly say that he was an insignificant factor in the loss.

I think Marson is better at "throwing" than he is at "catching"

Geriatic update. Gramps Moyer has been awaken, ate his oatmeal, and is now in the clubhouse getting his ben-gay rubdown.

Hey now, I love dollar dog night.

Jimmie J: The call on Vic in the 9th was correct. The ball was belt high right over the outside corner. I was pissed too until I saw the replay. Tough pitch, good call.

Posted by: clout | Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 01:47 PM

Definitely too close to take. The ball I thought was way off was strike two, when Vic showed bunt and Bruntlett stole 3d. I didn't think he offered and it looked low and outside. Did the replay include that one? It seemed that Vic thought it was called a ball because he was questioning the count after the third pitch - right before he let the fourth one sail by for strike 3.

Anyone else catching WGN today? It's throw-back day between the Cubs and Braves, and WGN is going all-out. It's black-and-white and they are using all the older camera angles, and score displays, logos, etc..

it's beautiful.

Well, it was in black-and-white for a moment there. they just came back from commerical *and the bottom of the second, and are going with the usual views again. sad.

I've only had time to gloss through last nights game thread, but how is noone ripping Rollins for not getting 2nd when Bruntlett took 3rd. And then inexplicably not stealing it once Bruntlett was on 3rd. If Jimmy gets 2nd, Utley's groundout puts him at 3rd, and the wild pitch scores him, making it a 3-2 Phillies lead and bringing in Lidge and most likely a win.

Don't worry Ricky, I ripped him somewhere last night. If Rolllins takes that base, we never see Tom Gordon. Lots of mistakes in that 9th inning - Victorino, Rollins and Werth. Choke job.

The worst part is that they are all mental errors, not physical ones. Its one thing to just not come through, its another to make ridiculous mental errors by worrying about a previous pitch.

Speaking of that - what's with Jimmy in general? This is at least the 2nd or 3rd time that he's done something pretty much exactly like this in the past few weeks - like he's not paying attention or something. Didn't he not take 2nd on another 3rd base steal a week ago or so?

Is it linger injury or just post-mvp contentedness that's working rollins over?

I think this game is a "statement" game. It may not be "must win", but a loss lets the Fish make a "statement" that they can sweep our sorry team. We must win to prevent such nonsense.

Carson, I love it when you call players "no-talent ass-clowns". I always laugh in my mind when you call players that. The word "douchebag" conjurs a different image. The word "douchebag" must be a Philly area putdown word. I can remember growing up and all my friends called everybody a "douchebag". Even as I type the word, my brain speaks it in the voice of a friend I went to school with from 1st to 12th grade. Now, I live in the south and nobody uses that word. I'm sure that where RSB lives, he never hears that word either.

Yeah, I too ripped JRoll. He has not done much since Cholly stuck his foot up his kiester (sp?) last week. Maybe a bitch slap would have worked a little better. We need Jimmy to start to get his play to a MVP caliber level again. He starts this 'O', and when he is not hitting/walking and swinging at first pitches or just plain ol' bad pitches, he affects the whole club negatively. Maybe that yanking Jimmy thing backfired a little bit. I heard 3 separate former athletes comment on that JRoll pull last week, and they all felt that it was not needed, necessary or very well timed.

Maybe last year was just one of those fluke years where everything went right for Jimmy. 2006 and this season could be a more realistic version of JRoll.

I also wondered why Rollins stayed on first when Bruntlett stole third. But whether it would have made a difference is impossible to know. If Rollins steals 2nd, Fredi Gonzalez probably walks Utley and faces Howard, in which case there's no RBI ground out but, in all probability, a strikeout. And, even if he did pitch to Utley and induced the same ground ball, Uggla might have either held Bruntlett at third or come home with the throw, since there was no shot of a DP. In short, if Rollins had stolen second, I suspect things would have played out quite differently.

BAP is absolutely right about the mysterious backlash on the notion of replacing Ruiz. If Ruiz were putting up the same numbers at any other position than catcher, his head would have been on the chopping block long ago. Of course defense is a huge part of catching but the guy is not Molina.

If you had the option of Mike Piazza (prime) or David Ross which would you take? Ross is much better defensively, but could not hold a candle to Piazza offensively. I'm not saying the Phillies have Mike Piazza in the farm system, but I would certainly trade out a player that is dragging offensively for a guy that might make a few defensive gaffs here or there (BTW: Ruiz' throws to 3B/LF come to mind here).

I Ruiz is good defensively, not great. If he were a prodigy defensively, I would be much less harsh on him. However, when the only thing that comes to mind is Abraham Nunez as a catcher, playing good, not great, defense is not enough to justify having him around.

This is particularly true since Coste has stated that he can't carry the everyday load at C. If Coste were the everyday guy and could hit over .300 the whole season, then great, but he has stated that it is not likely.

When Howard struggles there are plenty of people that call for trading him, but for some unknown reason Carlos Ruiz has become Teflon Don on this team in terms of criticism. I can't find a single rational reason why.

And Shea looks like it's becoming Choke City again right now..

The key point about the conversation on Ruiz is that he plays catcher, not some other position. The proof of his value is in the team's record with him behind the plate. He calls the pitches. He has developed a familiarity with the hitters in the league and with the staff. You piss all that away when you dump him in favor of a rookie. I think the suggestion of demoting him and calling up Jaramillo (or Marson) is a non-starter.

Marson isn't ready. Jaramillo isn't an offensive upgrade over Ruiz. PLAY GREG DOBBS AT CATCHER! If Dobbs gets more at bats this will be the greatest offense in the history of offense. Who cares about defense and pitching, we'll score 45 runs a game.

Wouldn't San Juan Don work better? Besides being a cancer threat, Teflon just doesn't have the same feel...

Hugh is absolutely right.

We're not just talking about replacing an ineffective bat in the lineup. We're talking about replacing the guy who has caught in 44 games this year.

There is a reason catchers aren't generally held to the same standard as other players when it comes to offense. It's because their affect on a team goes well beyond what they do at the plate.

And now we're bringing Mike Piazza into the discussion? Like we've got some superstar bat just dying on the vine in the minors while this no-hit catcher clogs up a spot in the lineup?

Lou Marson seems to be doing really well right now. He's growing and learning. He's only 22 years old and never even started catching until after he was drafted. To suggest he's a major-league ready catcher right now is asking an awful lot.

Billy Wagner is awesome :-D

Looks like Wags is in trouble again.

Face it--Ruiz is not likely to be demoted, and he seems too important to the guys in the rotation to be traded. So it ain't happening. Next year? Sure. But not now.

Now pitching for the Mets - Flash Wagner

Wags blows another one.

Hahahaha

Think Wags is hurt or just slumping?

Man, all the teams in the NL East have some big problems right now...

doubleh: Hmmm... not sure they all have big problems.

The Nationals must since their record is so bad.
The Mets obviously do.
The Braves have been pretty devestated by pitching injuries.

But do the Phils and Marlins have "big" problems? I mean, neither of those teams is perfect... and I think the Phils are much stronger overall than the Marlins, but I'm not sure they have "big" problems like those other three teams do.

For instance, the best we could do today is argue about Carlos Ruiz. If he's our "big" problem, we ain't so bad off!

The most amazing thing about Wagner's pitching of late is that he usually saves his biggest choke job for late September. If he's this bad of late, I can't wait for his pitching come September..

Ruiz has already basically lost his starting job the past month. Coste is getting at least 3 starts a week usually. Cholly just hasn't come out and said anything publicly because their isn't any reason too inflame a real nonissue.

Is Ruiz ok as a part-time catcher for this season until Marson might be ready to call up Sept. 1? I say absolutely yes.

The continued underwhelming performances by Howard and Myers are much bigger issues.

Wow... two GREAT defensive plays in the 9th by Arizona to keep the game tied going to extra innings.

Well said, MG.

Nice, Aaron Heilman.

johan cannot be pleased

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