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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

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The series shakes down like this: Joe Blanton (5-12, 4.96 era, 1.42 whip) vs. Johan Santana (8-7, 3.10, 1.22) tonight at 7:10. Then tomorrow night on ESPN, which means a loss because it's nationally televised, Brett Myers (3-9, 5.84, 1.56), which also means a loss because he sucks, takes on John Maine (8-7, 4.22, 1.35). The third game is set for noon time Thursday with Jamie Moyer (9-6, 3.90, 1.36) facing Oliver Perez (6-6, 4.36, 1.43). Of note: the 3 Mets starters have shut down the Phils offense in previous outings this season, Ollie- ZERO era and .169 batting average against over 18.1 innings with 15 k's, Johan- 3.00 era with .179 avg. against and 16 k's in 15 ip, and Maine- 3.09 era and a .158 avg. against in 11.2 ip. The Mets and Phils are currently tied for 1st place in the NL East, and obviously that will not be the case come series end. I have a bad feeling based on the pitching match-ups, Mets renewed offense threat, and the Phils offensive woes that this might be the end of the "1st Place Philadelphia Phillies".

*By the way, the Marlins lost last night and are now 1 game back.

Reposted from the end of last thread:

Meaningless stat of the day: Joe Blanton's career numbers against the Mets.

Blanton has faced the Mets twice -- once last year & once in 2005. In both cases, the Mets' lineup included only 3 players who are on their current team: Beltran, Reyes, and Wright. Of the 9 hits that Blanton allowed in those two games, Beltran & Wright got 4 of them.


P.S. Baxter: Does Arthur Rhodes really meet your definition of a "solid" reliever? Were you around in 2006?

One-game back, yes.

"Then tomorrow night on ESPN, which means a loss because it's nationally televised..."

Yep. And it stinks for those of us way outside of Philadelphia. It's time for a win on TV, I sez.

On the other hand, tomorrow we get an entirely refurbished and highly functional Brett Myers, right?

I'm sure ESPN will decide to screw me over by putting the RSox on again, instead of the Phils.

I do not look forward to this series.

One more point about Rhodes. Not only is he horrific, but he's not even a LOOGY. LOOGYs are finesse pitchers who rely on breaking stuff to get left-handers out. Rhodes is a power pitcher. Over the last 5 years, his splits against lefties have consistently been worse than his splits against right-handers.

I still can't believe this rumor but, if it turns out to be true, it's the final proof that Gillick has lost it completely -- although the Blanton trade might already have proven that.

Rhodes at CBP in 2006:
7.32 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, .333 BAA

Every time I look at the pitching match ups, I get a sinking feeling. This has all the looks of a Mets sweep.

NYC area Phightins, where is that Phillie bar again? What's the name of it?

My head would burst into flames if they tried to sell Arthur Rhodes to us again.

This will not be a Mets sweep. This will be a Phils take two out of three. And one of these next two night we'll get an great outing from one of our pitchers. I'm calling it now.

We could have potentially had Brian Fuentes and now they're looking at Arthur Rhodes. Sounds like another, "oh we can't get Sabathia? We'll definitely take Blanton" kind of deal. The Phils had better not make a deal just to say they did so. I have a feeling Myers might end up in the bullpen again anyway, so why even bother bringing someone in at this point?

This series will allow us to see if the Phillies really have what it takes to step up when it really counts. If your opinion is that this series isn't completely must win right now because there's a lot of baseball left, well you're right, but it is coming at a critical time. July is winding down and there's only 2 months left. The Phils are down and they're still on top. I just hope they can bring it around because this entire lineup, minus Howard and Burrell has been lackluster for weeks upon weeks now.

Wow, terrible grammer by me. Not a good omen. So let me repost:

This will not be a 'Mets sweep.' This will be a 'Phils take two out of three.' And one of these next two nights we'll get a great outing from one of our pitchers. I'm calling it now.

I totally had a dream last night that Brett Myers pitched really well.

sigh. one can hope?

@ TK

"And one of these next two night we'll get an great outing from one of our pitchers. I'm calling it now."

Right now my thought is so what. Hamels gives us near perfect outings every 5 days and that doesn't seem to count for anything because this lineup doesn't produce.

Let my Eternal Pessimism reign supreme...

Reed: Wogies?

Reed- Wogies, down in the Village on Greenwich near 10th st, I believe.

Didn't the Phillies win a great game against the Cardinals on ESPN a couple weeks ago?

Reed, I think you are talking about Wogies, 39 Greenwich Ave, NYC (wogies.com). I've been there to watch the eagles, and I think they show the phils too. Town Tavern, which is close by, might also show the phils, but I am not certain.

that's the one. Thanks Jack & EF!

I may head there tomrrow night.

thanks, AS

I applaud your optimism and hope that you are right.

Every bar in NY that shows baseball will be showing the Phils games the next 3 games...

phils beat the mets on espn in april.

Every bar in NY that shows baseball will be showing the Phils games the next 3 games...

true but i think his point is that he wants to watch the game with phils fans not mets fans and who can blame him.

I'd rather be amongst as many Phils phans as possible. As Beerleaguer is my leather couch, I get pretty emotional and sometimes become a or the target for Met fans, especially living in Metland.

The most recent series is actually one of the few that actually switched some momentum.

The first 2 series of the year the Mets won, then went back to their struggling around .500 mode.

Last year we had a few series where we swept them then went right into a tailspin.

Lost 7 of 9 after the big 4 game sweep at the end of August. Went on our usual interleague defeat mode after the first sweep at Shea earlier in the year.

The only series that really propelled us was the last sweep at Shea last year.

Reed: Went to Wogies two weeks back. They show the Phils. Also, good cheesesteaks and they serve Yuengling. Flyers towel behind the bar.

"Sounds like another, "oh we can't get Sabathia? We'll definitely take Blanton" kind of deal."

- Or another, "We can't get Lowell, we'll take Feliz."

"phils beat the mets on espn in april."

Utley's 2 HR game at CBP, I believe.

Tatis in June 2008: .236/.263/.255
Tatis in July 2008: .378/.440/.733

For those worried about the pitching matchups - just remember, the Phils don't beat the Mets' SP. They beat the Mets' 'pen. Hopefully they make the starters work.

I fully expect a loss tonight to Santana. Hopefully Blanton goes at least 7 and allows 3 ER or less to keep them in the game.

I know what he was looking for, just commenting on the one that said Wogies usually shows the Phils games.

If he doesn't want to be with Mets fans, then attending the Wednesday game should probably be out.

(I'll be at tonight's game, so I'll get the full horrible experience of our struggling team, Met fans and the dump that is Shea).

look guys, on paper, all the Mets starters look better than the Phils' (except Hamels), but we all know that the games are not played on paper. i think the Phils will show well this series, taking at least 2 out of 3.
there's a reason that Santana has an 8-7 record... he's another ace who doesn't get any run support. just cause his name is on the lineup card, doesn't guarantee victory for the Muts. as for Wednesday, if Myers has anything to show, i think he'll show it on wednesday night. i expect him to pitch well on adrenaline alone. he's a competitor and i think he brings it with the division race on the line (a la his performance vs. Florida in May). and the old Man is a big game pitcher on Thursday. whatever happens in the first two games, whether i am right or wrong, the third game will be big. in Jamie Moyer I trust.
the bottom line is i still think this team has guts. and this series is going to take guts to win. the Muts are feeling good about themselves right now. it's the Phils that have something to prove. i'm hoping and expecting them to step up.

please excuse my unbridled optimism.

Phils on ESPN this year:

April 9, lose 8-2 to Mets

April 20, beat Mets 5-4

May 14, lose to Braves 8-6

June 16, beat Red Sox 8-2

July 9, beat Cards 4-2

.600 ball so far.

Which game is Happ starting?

Oh wait... that's right...

On paper, Pedro Martinez is better only if the paper is from a few years ago.

And Moyer's ERA is under 4, despite CBP.

Maine and Perez ERA over 4, despite Shea's pitching bias.

where did this Arthur Rhodes rumor come from? i don't see it on mlbtraderumors? what's everybody's take on Jeremy Affeldt? his career numbers don't look great, but he's been much better both this year and last. i think we remember him as a big part of Colorado's success... also, he handled the Mets this past series for multiple inings in Cincy. he's pitching to a 3.91 ERA so far this season, with a WHIP OF 1.43, and a SO:BB 51:19. he's also got an intriguing GO/FO of 2.00. he'll be a free agent at the end of the year, so the price in prospects can't be astronomical. and he may wind up being a Type B. thoughts?

Tonight's game will be huge. If the Phillies don't win tonight... We may only salvage one game at best (moyer). I don't know if Myers would be able to handle the "pressure" of halting a losing streak.

If Blanton wins, momentum may help the rock star gain some focus. He may not win the game but he'll have a better shot.

I think we win the Moyer start either way. Gut feeling.

Let's hope hitting season returns led by Pat Burrell and his domination of the Mets.

I don't really see it as Rhodes vs Fuentes, because Rhodes would cost us nothing, while Fuentes would cost us Carrasco or a couple good prospects. Rhodes is an alternative to Swindle; not Fuentes.

Keep in mind, Rhodes was pitching with a bum elbow in 2006 and had his worst season of his career. Rhodes had a Tommy John surgery after that season and is pitching much, much better this year, with a 2.89 ERA. I'd be fine with Rhodes- we could use another veteran lefthander.

Since Rhodes wouldn't cost anything, the Phils have nothing to lose by acquiring him. If he struggles, they can send him packing within a week or two. Whats wrong with taking a chance on a guy might help and costs nothing?

Both have struck out more than a batter an inning, but since Fuentes has pitched about twice as many innings as Rhodes this season, their stats aren't really comparable. At their physical peaks, Fuentes and Rhodes were pretty similar pitchers. Still, I think the free option looks alright beside the expensive one:

Rhodes Fuentes
ERA 2.89 3.23
ERA+ 137 143
WHIP 1.286 1.128

The Phillies don't need a "set-up man", they just need another lefty in the pen.

I'd take Rhodes over Eaton in the pen. Rhodes would at least have some small purpose.

Is Rhodes actually under consideration, or is everything I see above just speculation?

Where is this Rhodes rumor coming from, somebody's nightmare? I haven't seen anything online about it.

I'm not sure the Feliz vs Lowell comparison works.

Pedro Feliz makes 3 million, plays better defense and is hitting .262 with 12 home runs. Mike Lowell makes 12.5 million and is hitting .282 with 14 home runs. If the Phillies had an unlimited(red sox) payroll, I'd rather have Lowell, but Feliz is a much better value. I didn't like it at first, but can't complain about the Feliz signing right now. I hope the Blanton pitches as well as Feliz has played.

If the pennant came down to starting pitching, we might as well concede to both the Mets and the Fish. Hopefuly the big 4 in the BP will keep it up, and the bats will rejoin the team.

I feel Blanton will throw a good game. Score 8-1 Phils Win. Because I have a feeling Wagner is gone to be on the DL. And the Phils will take care of business by hitting Mets Bullpen.

haha- don't worry Mets fans. Billy Wagner's shoulder keeps having spasms, but he's feeling alright.

I think Blanton pitches well tonight too. I just wonder if anyone on the Phillies will show up to hit.

Buster Olney mentioned about Gillick possibly going after Rhodes in his "sizing up the voluminous relief market" blog.

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=olney_buster

Anyone else, here okay with the Rat pitching? I'm not afraid of that guy.

"I hope the Blanton pitches as well as Feliz has played."

Any wisdom on the matter Clout?

baxter: Rhodes has thrown all of 18 innings this year. That isn't a sample size. He had a good year in 2005, but has generally been terrible for the last 5 years. And, you can call him a "left-handed reliever" if you want because, technicaly, he IS left-handed. But he might as well be right-handed because he fares worse against left-handed hitters than right-handed ones.

You ask where's the harm in acquiring someone who might help & will cost little. By that logic, we might as well stick with Adam Eaton & Clay Condrey. They are costing us even less than Rhodes, since they're already on the roster. The harm, as you can glean from my sarcastic comment, is that, if we acquire him, he will cost us games -- just as he did in 2006. Not to mention that his presence on the roster will serve as a perceived cure, which will prevent us from finding a reliever who is actually good.

You have falsely framed this issue as a choice between Fuentes (for whom the Rockies are asking a fortune) and Rhodes. There are other options out there.

Bedbeard: Lidge was a surprise of sorts. I didn't consider him a surprise because of all of the rumors flying around at the All-Star break involving the Phillies and Lidge in 2007. However, I agree, I never actually expected the FO to do something that intelligent.

Reed: (Simon/Mesa) Maybe they were surprises, but only because they were completely off the radar of any team that had any expectations of winning.

Jack: (Branyon/LaForest) Indeed, also surprises, also not the kind you want.

I would also include Antonio Alfonseca as a surprise. He was actually very productive for a limited time, and then quickly faded like some car dealership offer.
• Dobbs was a surprise, and a pleasant one.
• Durbin as well.
• Garcia was somewhat surprising, but again in a bad way.

What I really meant was that Gillick never seems to move outside the box, like going all out to get Rich Harden. He is definitely not a gambler, unless you consider failing to have an MRI done on a pitcher as a gamble.

Which writer/scout/coach was just on 610? Whoever it was, was saying Golson's ready to come up now.

BB, it was their minor league director.

TK: Thanks. Not surprised then.

Golson could take over Taguchi's role. So could I. I too can't hit, run, or field at a ML level.

curt: Coincidentally, you would be an optimal choice to play catcher at the MLB level for the Phillies. Of course, you would need to get your footwork down on throws to second, but other than that, you meet all the qualifications.

Rhodes: My lasting memory of Rhodes was a game against the Brewers a couple of years ago. I think the Phillies had a 4 or 5 run lead, and he succeeded in blowing the lead after coming in for an inning with the bases clear. I want to say it ended up going extras and Gordon lost it from there. Needless to say, I was done with Rhodes at that point, and Gordon was well on his way to being a subject of my ire.

Now you can't tell me that a Whags injury wouldn't have been a good thing.

I mentioned this weeks ago (when Golson was hurt), but he SHOULD be up here to replce Taguchi. Not that I expect much out of him other than to be a pinch runner/defensive replacement, but he would give more produciton than Taguchi.

As for those who will claim that he would be better served playing everyday at Reading instead of being a bench player up here, well my retort is that he is what he is. He isn't improving in the minors anyway, and in a very limited role, he could improve the Phils now. Even if that improvment he provides is very small, its better than not improving.

Bringing Rhodes back would be a sequel of Alfonseca/Mesa '07. If they do that I will cancel my extra innings package.

Golson couldn't possibly be worse than Taguchi.

There is absolutely no cancellations or refunds to the MLB Extra Innings package.

Denny, Cary, NC: Isn’t this a great starting rotation if all the stars align right; Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer & Kendrick?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: You’re 1/5 of the way there, Denny.

Wes: I actually agree with you about Golson. I'm not a fan and I don't think he has much of a major league future, beyond that of a No. 4 or 5 outfielder. But, within those limited parameters, I believe he could probably help the Phillies right now (if by "help," you mean being better than Taguchi). My concern would be that, if he managed to have even a modicum of short-term success at the major league level, the Phillies' brass would probably conclude that he's ready to take over as a full-time outfielder next year.

Neyer sucks, but he's absolutely right.

We won with a worse rotation last year--but then the offense was clicking a lot more. A lot more.

I still think they need another bat to spark the offense. And another BP arm not named Arthur Rhodes.

I think Blanton will pitch well tonight at Shea. Definitely a pitchers park like Oakland in which I am sure he will feel comfortable.
Its his first start in CBP that I will worry about.

I don't think Wagner will be a problem for the Mets. I caught his last inning in Cinnci and he looked as good as he has all season while striking out the side. Santana however would worry me as Mets fan. If his first start after the ASB is in anyway repeated tonight, they are screwed for the season.

Normally I would rely on the reverse jinx here, but I don't think it's going to happen tonight. Too many BLers believe, deep down, that the Phils are going to make the playoffs. The early-season surge had to do a lot with that; now a month long slide still doesn't erase that optimism. Whereas in the past few years Phillies would dig a hole and then climb out of it, there was no hole to climb out of this year. This might be more like '04 or '03.

baxter: Great example of how counting stats can be so misleading. The key stat is OPS vs. RHP, which is what teams face two-thirds of the time:
Lowell - .804
Feliz - .651

That, my friend, is the difference between night and day. Lowell is one of the best offensive thirdbasemen in the game. Feliz is one of the worst.

random question
going to the ballpark this weekend.
any recommendations for a decent hotel near the stadium?
we usually make the drive. but would like to stay and enjoy the next day as well.

Rosenthal, via MLBTR:

The Phillies inquired on some interesting hitters: Matt Holliday, Xavier Nady, and Matt Kemp.

The things I remmeber about Arthur Rhodes is he always came up small in big games during his career, esepcially against the Yankees. And the Phillies threw away J-Mike to get him and then he sucked.

As someone noted, he was pitching hurt and had TJ surgery after that season. Now he's healthy and has pitched well in a pitcher's park for a team going nowhere. Is his good work in 18 IP for the Mariners at age 38 enough to convince me that he'd help here? I say "No." In fact, I say "F**k NO!"

BAP-

Yeah, I see Golson helping as a 5th outfielder. However, I do agree with you that if he were to have a little success, that they might then decide he could replace Burrell. That would be bad.

clout

If Lowell is one of the best offensive third basemen in the game and you have to go all the way down to OPS against RHP to differentiate between Lowell and Feliz, then is Feliz really that terrible?

phanatic: I suggest a Center City hotel. The stadium in an easy subway ride from there and there's lots of things to do in Center City. There is nothing to do at the hotels near the stadium except hang out in the hotels. You can often get a nice price on a CC hotel by making a bid on priceline.

Bed Beard:

Is it clear from these rumors that the Phils are actively shopping Victorino? I mean, isn't that the way they deal for a corner OF?

And I am in no way trying to say Feliz is as good of a hitter as Lowell, that would be ridiculous. I'm just saying that maybe Feliz is not quite as bad as some want him to be.

DP: "I hope the Blanton pitches as well as Feliz has played."

LOL. That would suggest Blanton will make a nice pick on a hard smash up the middle while allowing 6 runs in 5 IP.

Wes: You don't have to go far.

OPS+
Feliz: 91
Lowell: 114

Feliz has clearly been better than I expected, but when the bar is only a centimeter off the ground, it's not hard for Feliz to get over it.

wes -

there are plenty more stats that display why Lowell is infinately better than feliz . . . ops vs. rhp is just one of them.

Part of me is always tempted to say, "Well, at least kicking the tires on all these guys shows that management understands that this team has faults." But at the same time, they're the kind of front office that wouldn't mind all sorts of wacky rumors leaking, if only to make it seem that they're hard at work trying to improve. Whether it's inepititude or a lack of funds, the odds against a movie for a Holliday or even a Bay/Nady/Kemp are slim and none. An Arthur Rhodes, however, sounds right up their alley (again!).

Thank you Clout... that will do nicely.

Wes: Obviously I don't have to go to that level. I mention it because Feliz's futility against RHP has been particularly toxic to this team.

But just for you:
Overall OPS+
Lowell 114
Feliz 91

Again, night and day.

CJ: Yep. Wouldn't be surprised if Vic doesn't make it passed the deadline.

phanatics brother

The Rodeway Inn on 12th/Walnut is a very cheap, albeit not the nicest, hotel in CC. If you don't have any luck on priceline.com with hotels closer to Broad, Rodeway is an OK bet. It's about four blocks from the subway. Like I said, not the nicest, but very affordable and in walking distance to just about everything in CC

I wouldn't necessarily call Lowell one of the best, or Feliz one of the worst, but there is a substantial difference. Looking at this year only.

Wes: Do you think Greg Golson can hit major league pitching?

PB: Very good dsuggestion. Excellent location, right beside Chinatown and I had friends stay there and said it was just fine.

No I don't think Golson can hit major league pitching. I do think he can hit major league pitching as good as or better than Taguchi has this year.

I also think that Golson could be a very good pinch runner, much better than anyone currently on the Phils bench. And I think he can play good defense in LF after he pinch runs for Burrell in the 8th.

Overall, I think Golson, as is, makes the Phillies a little better.

Dave X: Feliz ranks 10th out of 13 eligible (PAs) thirdbasemen in the NL, which puts him in the bottom third. I'd say that's "among the worst" although not as bad as last season when he was dead last.

Lowell ranks 3rd overall in the AL. I'd say that's "among the best." And he was even better last year.

Too many people are showing how GOOD Lowell is. Not enough people are demonstrating how BAD Feliz is.

Among the 29 3B with 200+ PA he is:

26th in OBP
19th in OPS
18th in AVG
23rd in BB
18th in Extra Base Hits
29th (Last) in P/PA
3rd in MOST GIDP

The only reason people think he is not as "bad" as they expected is because he has gotten a small SLG boost from CBP. The guy is the disaster we all anticipated.

Well, if Feliz is 10th in a 16 team league then he's middling. If 3 teams don't have 3rd basemen who aren't eligible in PA then they're probably worse off than us.

Gibbons to Milwaukee on a minor league deal. I would have done that.

EastF: Not true. Two or three teams don't have full time 3B. They platoon or have moved rookies up and down.

Thats just it- few other teams let guys as bad as Feliz play full time.

On an overall basis, Feliz has been better than what we had at third base last year -- mainly because he's giving us more offense than we got from the right-handed side of our 2007 platoon. On the other hand, last year we used Dobbs whenever we faced a right-handed pitcher; this year's it's Feliz who can't hit right-handers at all. This speaks to what clout said the other day about having too many people in our lineup with serious limitations. When we face a lefty, we get Jayson Werth & the good Pedro Feliz, but at the cost of our cleanup hitter & No. 2 hitter. When we face a right-hander, we get our cleanup & No. 2 hitters back, but at the cost of a 4-man black hole at the end of the lineup. The problems are compounded by the fact that every player on our bench is either altogether horrible or can be completely nullified by a pitching change which kills the platoon advantage. The result is that we always have enormous holes in our lineup, and no bench at all.

If you're 'moving rookies up and down' to play 3rd, then Feliz is probably better than what you've got, that's what I'm saying.

My Arthur Rhodes memory is this.. I go to the first game of a Saturday doubleheader against the Braves with my friend (a Yankees fan). We're up one in the top of ninth with one man on, and Cholly walks out to the mound to bring in Rhodes to face Laroche. I turn to my friend and say, "Manuel is an idiot. Rhodes is a lefty but actually pitches WORSE against LH batters. Why is he doing this?" Next thing I know Laroche launches one that is clearly a home run, and I start to get ticked off bc Cholly's stupidity is costing us a game in a playoff race, and then I realize... holy sh*t this ball is coming RIGHT at me. My friend jumps in front of me, blocking my view, the ball gets past him and tags me in the hand on the fly. It rolls away where some little kid picks it up and proceeds to make fun of me for dropping it with the drunk guy next to him. Phillies lose, my hand stings, and I head to Atlantic City where I lose $200.

So on Arthur Rhodes part deux.. no thanks.

I think that Rhodes is just speculation since he was a Phillie in 2006, is currently on Seattle (Gillick connection) and is a lefty reliever. I can see them getting Rhodes when they can get somebody better like Grabow or Affeldt fairly cheap and have been after reportedly looking even better lefty relievers such as Fuentes, Mahay, and Marte.

Thats misleading because some of the best 3b are in the NL, while some of the worst are in the AL. Lowell is 10th in the majors, Feliz is 18th out of 24.

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