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Monday, July 21, 2008


Also worth mentioning, Burrell speaks out about getting pulled in close games. "I'm upset, absolutely," Burrell said. "I'm upset, and I have been for a long time. It's not personal. I don't want to ever come out of close games."

Hamels complains that time off hurt him: "The time off hurt me," he said. "My body felt tight and I couldn't push it. If I had pushed it, I'd probably have ended up on the disabled list." Yikes.

(somehow that got posted under the name of 'none'. oops.)

I know. The Hamels quote was especially frustrating as he should have been pitching Friday or Saturday anyway to allow him to pitch against the Mets. I can't believe that we have two (almost) total unknowns matching up against the best pitching the Mets have to offer in a CRUCIAL series.

This Rollins comment, in which is he is essentially saying "Yeah we've been bad, but we'll worry about it later" really is a piece of work.

Given that Rollins is the alleged "leader" of this team, I wonder if this comment is emblematic of the entire team's attitude. It seems like they all follow his lead and every man goes out there and just goes their own thing in the hopes that something good will happen. No one is making adjustments, no one is getting clutch hits. Only the veteran Burrell, who has been around longer than Rollins, seems to not follow this behavior.

Where is the intensity this year?
It seems like we are playing out the season 23 games out of first the way we are playing.
Memo to team- you are tied for first and going into NY to play the team that you are tied with .Wake Up!

This might get a negative reaction, but is it time the Phis consider trading Rollins?

Glad to hear Burrell speak up about his late game "rest". It's one thing if he's taken out for a good backup, but Bruntlett? Gimme a break.

Rollins has been a dog ever since he came off the DL. It seems like he turns it up once in a blue moon then goes back to jogging out routine grounders. I just don't get it. This seems like something deeper than an MVP hangover (possibly hidden injury as Jason said, or something mental).

since jimmy doesnt get "concearned till late", maybe manuel should move him down to a "later" spot in the lineup.

I don't think Rollins should be traded, but he should sit for a couple of games. Not only does it send a message AGAIN, he needs some time to rest that balky leg. The Gnome filled in nicely in April and they went on a winning streak. The team seems to play better when one of the "Big Four goes down".
Remember the winning tear last year when Chase went down. The shake up needs to continue.

I think Rollins should be bumped from the leadoff spot immediately for his performance and comments. Problem here is that Vic is just flat-out awful lately.

Maybe the Mets series will wake them up as that was the motivation last year. They'll have to do it against good pitching though and we all know how that's been going.

6-8 is a blackhole and I wonder if the 1-5 has too much pressure to get things done consistently. See if time off has helped Piazza's arm and knees (kinda joking here). Chooch is hitting like he has mono.

At the minimum, they need 2 out of 3 here.

I was happy to read the Burrell story today.

I keep thinking about the Angels-Phillies Saturday night game when So Taguchi was in left as a "defensive" replacement and he dropped a fly ball at the warning track. Awesome.

I have a really bad feeling about this Mets series. And it's not just because of all the Mets' posters that are literally sitting at their laptops just itching to comment here in between logging onto their Brazzers accounts and checking their MySpace pages.

Rollins is my favorite Phillie but his lack of hustle has been a recurring theme this year and this is at least the 3rd or 4th time that he has said something to the media to convey a laissez-faire attitude about losing. If he were putting up MVP numbers, or even 2006-type numbers, I wouldn't care. But his power has disappeared, and his approach at the plate has been nothing short of atrocious. The benching from Cholly didn't seem to have any effect. Perhaps it's time for a longer one.

Time to sign Barry Bonds*.

*Never going to happen and I hate the guy, but a bat like that would be nice.

This might get a negative reaction, but is it time the Phis consider trading Rollins?

trade him? for what? and then who do you replace him with because the probability of you swapping him for another SS are slim. why would trade him at all? because hes having a down year? because your opinion of him is that he doesn't care? it all seems silly to me.

I've mentioned Rollins production before and all I got was a bunch of stats thrown back at me say it isn't that bad, see? I want to love the guy but he's driving me nuts. No hustle out of the box & has been trying to pull everything left-handed and near useless right-handed. A huge part of his success last season was hitting the ball with authority all over the park, hence a .300 average. That has just about disappeared. At least Victorino busts his ass running to 1st base.

This line-up has been terrible against LHP recently. Just dreadful. Zero consistency from Rollins and Victorino. With lefties at the 3 & 4 slots, NL teams should be starting a LHP in every game.

I was at the Marlins game Saturday and the infield groundouts getting baserunners trying to score were too easy for the opposition. I wish Ryan Howard would get some stones and try to knock a catcher into next week. It's getting tough to watch these guys.

Where are Jimmy's teammates when he's out there dogging it around the base pads? He may be the leader of the club, but someone needs to let him hear it when he gives less than 100%. Maybe he is injured, which is very likely, but then maybe he shouldn't be playing (everyday) just yet.

I don't advocate violence or silly bravado that typifies a bench clearing brawl, but seriously, for something to go down against the Mets would be the best thing to happen to the team in weeks. A spark, that what they desperately need.

I have a good feeling about the Mets. I hope Blanton and Myers can provide a spark, and hope this airing of grievances by Burrell, Manuel and others helps light a fire.

Remind me again why they're holding on to Taguchi. There's got to be a better option, even from the independent leagues.

I don't get the Taguchi thing anymore. This is a perfect spot to bring up Donald or even Jaramillo. End of the bench, give someone a chance. I though Taguchi was a decent signing, but it's a total bust and he's not that expensive, considering half the season is over.

Jason, the simple answer is because they are cheap and don't want to eat a contract.

Without Taguchi, who will MC Phillies Asian Fan Appreciation Night? (I swear this was the most bizarre baseball promotion I've ever seen at a game.)

The Phils refuse to eat contracts no matter how small they are.

Jason- Myers & Happ need to be two roster spots. we need a third catcher- the other two are not happening.
You So T. question may be answered soon.

Well, a brawl helped the Indians in Major League II...even against themselves

"My God! Good news fans, the Indians are showing signs of life for the first time in weeks. They are beating the crap out of each other!" - Harry Doyle

Bubba: Cervenak was demoted to make room for Myers.

From Todd Zolecki-
In the last 30 games, the Phillies are 12-18 and have averaged just 3.97 runs per game. To put that in perspective, the Phillies averaged 5.41 runs per game in their first 69 games, in which they went 41-28. And for anybody who thinks 1.44 runs per game isn't much a difference, it is a huuuuuuge difference. The Chicago Cubs lead the National League, averaging 5.29 runs per game. The San Diego Padres are last in the league, averaging 3.79 runs per game.

From my blog-
The Phils are awesome at night time, churning out 41 wins to only 27 losses. The rest of the time they pretty much suck: 12-19 in day games, 15-18 in 1-run games, 4-6 in extra innings, and 4-11 in InterLeague games.

I think Brian Giles would be the perfect player for this team. Another guy to work the pitcher. He would slot in at 2nd in the lineup perfectly. He'd also cost way less than Holliday and may not be much worse.

I'm glad that Burrell thinks that he's coming out of games too early and that Hamels thinks he had too much rest. More heat has to be on the manager.

What manager would keep his ace out of both Mets series? After winning the division following an historic Mets collapse, the popular belief became that we were all wrong about Charlie. No, we weren't. This is a stubborn man and a mediocre manager too set in his ways. Of course the lineup and pitching have problems, and that's solidly on the FO. But think again if you don't believe Manuel costs the team games.

Speaking of left handed outfielders from the independent leagues. I saw a piece on Jay Gibbons the other day. I think he could help us. I don't know if MLB is coluding against him or not for his involment in th Mitchell Report but it seems he could help somebody.

Here are the KFC keys to the upcoming Phillies / Mets series...

1. Blanton's start tomorrow night is huge, I mean really big. It will set the table for the rest of the series.

2. Winning the first game of the series (and thus stealing a win from Santana) will give the Phils a chance to win 2 of 3 and gain some cushion in the division. Of course, they will need to feast off the the rest of the Mets pitching, especially the bullpen.

3. Did I mention that Blanton is huge?

4. Food for thought - If the Phillies only win 1 of 3 or get swept, get ready to go to full red alert. By the time this series is over, there will be only 1 week left before the trade deadline. If the FO does not step up and get a bat and another arm for the bullpen, we could be buried in third place by August 1.

Jason- I would like to see them add Happ and a third catcher (trade or call-up) .
They are using Bruntlett as a back-up OF as well as IF.
So T. would be one of the roster spots to open up to make that happen

Charlie waited a bit too long to get pissed about these issues, which have been killing the team for 30 games. Hopefully this gets them going.

It's too bad for them that they'll face Santana the game after the rant.

Brian G: You wouldn't be Brian Giles himself, would you? If you are, I agree that you would help our lineup immensely.

JW: On Victorino, he's obviously a flawed player, but so are most players. I think the reason he frustrates more are his pop ups are so annoying to watch knowing how fast he is. But maybe that's a by-product of the type of swing he needs to have to be effective. Or maybe not. I think he is what he is, and maybe can improve on a few things with more experience, but I can certainly live with a 90-95 OPS+ from a our CF every year. As for lately, he's actually been really good in July.

(1) Glad to see Burrell rip into Cholly for his managing. Pat did hit a game-winning home run just one week back. I guess Cholly forgot Burrell's value in late inning situations. FWIW, Burrell in "late and close" is .321/.500/.774 (6 HR, 18 RBI, 53 AB). Burrell's defense is not any worse than Bruntlett or Taguchi so I don't get the idea of removing your best on-base guy for an average backup.

(2) Phils should focus on getting a catcher -- make an inquiry on Mike Redmond at Minnesota to have him platoon with Coste. While Redmond's old, he's a good hitter (.290 in limited duty) and should help improve the 8 spot. See if there is any market for Ruiz somewhere and try to coax a reliever from another team in that deal.

(3) Blanton is going to need to deliver a good outing on Tuesday or the howls about the trade being "not enough" and giving up too much are going to be magnified.

Didn't they steal one from Santana last time around?

One other point about Cholly ripping into situational hitting...he's valid on it but he's gotta do a better job of not just talking about it but managing to it. If a guy isn't hitting the way he wants them or he thinks they should, he can sit them for a couple of games.

I'll get ripped for this most likely, but I for one would welcome a 3-game mets sweep here. The team is playing beyond uninspired and I dont know what else, save firing Cholly, could snap them out of it.

Sometimes a team has to hit rock bottom before they can start improving

mb: It is never beneficial to get swept by the team you're tied for first with. You're an idiot.

Consider yourself ripped.

joe, they "stole one" when Santana pitched, however they didn't turn on the offense until they got into the bullpen. This offense needs to be patient and make Santana work. They're not going to put up 8 runs on him. Heilman/Wagner, however, is another story.

Wow, the BeerLeaguer Brigade is out in full force today denouncing the team (players, manager, and front office combined). I'm sticking to my statement I made a week or so ago about not calling players any cruel names or saying anything about the Phils being lucky to be in 1st place, especially since many posters on here are doing that for me.

Relax boys and girls, it's not as bad as it looks.

meh, not bad. pretty low degree of difficulty but i'll throw in a couple of style points. 8.0

mb: you seriously are an ass, this undying need for the team to be "punished" for their poor play really helps no one.

I have a feeling that the Phils will make one more semi-minor trade before the deadline.

I still think that getting both LHP Jeremy Affeldt and C Javier Valentin from Cincy could be doable. And, both fit needs for Philly.

Guys like Fuentes or Marte will cost too much, and other teams will offer more than what the Phils will. Affeldt has had a very quietly effective year, and has the ability to pitch multiple innings, if needed. And, Valentin hardly ever plays anymore, as the Reds 3rd catcher. He is a switch-hitter, who can hit off the bench and spot-start behind the plate, if needed. Also, has some experience playing 1B.

Unless you trade Victorino, upgrading the offense (as a starter) is not feasable. Others are too valuable, not worth trading or not wanted by other clubs to trade.

You trade for Valentin, and you get a 3rd catcher, an extra bat off the bench, a guy capable of playing 1B in a pinch, and someone to replace Taguchi, who is basically useless.

You trade for Affeldt, you get a 2nd lefty in the pen, a lefty who can pitch to righties, and someone having a good year.

And, you wouldn't have to kill your minor league system to make this trade either; or add much payroll. Its the prototypical Phillie trade.

Again, Cholly needs to get Vic out of the 2 hole, move him to the 6 or 7 hole, put the Jenkins/Werth platoon in the 2 hole (both are more likely to see fastballs in that spot, behind JRoll and ahead of Utley/Howard). You get Vic's speed lower in the order, you get another switch-hitter lower in the order, and you make it tougher to matchup with the Phils late in games; which is pretty easy to do, for opposing managers, with the current lineup.

This team, besides its recent "blah" play, is close. Just needs a few tweaks and a few guys to get it gear, the last 2 months of the season. This is close to being a championship team. We'll see if they can perform like one, from now until October. And, we'll see if the FO can make the right moves, to make sure they get to October. The Blanton deal was the big deal, this team will make. One more "minor" deal, as long as its the "right" deal, could be what puts them over the top. I believe that.

OK, so looking back to last year's Phils' wins against the Mets - here are the only times they actually beat the starter and didn't beat the Mets' bullpen:

4/11 - Phils 5, Mets 2 (Ollie's wildness - Phils still barely hit)
7/1 - Phils 5, Mets 3 (Avoided a four game sweep as Kendrick pitched well, but loss dropped Pelfrey to 0-6)
8/27 - Phils 9, Mets 2 (Brian Lawrence started for NYM)
8/29 - Phils 3, Mets 2 (Beat Perez - game ended on the Marlon Anderson slide)

And that's it - so of the Phils' 12 wins against New York last season, 8 of them came against the bullpen. And all of the 3 wins this year came against the bullpen.

"Didn't they steal one from Santana last time around?"

Well, yes, but only bc he was removed too early. Didn't he get pulled before the 8th at ~90 pitches?

I think clout really pinned down a huge problem with this team. We have way too many players who have serious limitations. He mentioned Jenkins' inability to hit lefties & Feliz & Werth's inability to hit righties (same problem with our cleanup hitter, I would add). This kind of stuff doesn't matter so much in the early innings, since Cholly can set his lineup to take advantage of the righty-lefty splits. But it just kills us in late innings, and it seriously hamstrings Cholly's ability to use his bench -- since, if he brings in Jenkins or Dobbs or Werth to pinch-hit, the opposing manager can make a counter-move which has an extraordinarily high probability of success. In part for this reason, our bench has been essentially useless this season, save for Dobbs. The bench was supposed to be one of the strengths of the team, and instead it is a glaring weakness.

Denny B- I agree this team needs tweaking. A bullpen upgrade and bench upgrade would be very nice. Taguchi is worthless, any that's not being mean, it's being truthful. Adding someone that can actually pinch-hit would be great. What this team really needs is for people to start producing like they have in the past.

It was great to see Burrell respond finally to the insanity of The Gut pulling him out of games early. I will not pile on the complaints about Vic or Pete Happy, but J-Roll is a major source of concern here. Besides his numbers being down, and the possibility that he is still hurt, he isnt showing the same leasdership as last year, and that seems to have an effect on the team as a whole. Yes, intangibles do matter.

1) Either Rollins has an injury or he is a complete dog. He doesn;t run anymore...the best you'll get on a ball that isn;t a hit off of the bat is a power walk/jog
2) Another solid Hamels performance wasted. The Phillies look lifeless at bat, They don't scratch out tough runs at all. No one takes pitches, works counts. Since the 20 run game against the Cardinals, all they want to do is bomb. The bottom 1/3 of the order is mostly useless.
3) They miss Rowand more than I relaized. The Werth/Jenkins platoon just isn;t cutting it. Dobbs & Coste might have had career years last year as well.
4) If this keeps up, they will finish 3rd. This series in NY has Mets sweep written all over it.

Why is it that when teams do well, everyone rushes to lay that success on intangibles like leadership, grit or guts. Then when teams do poorly its the reverse.

I no more believe that last years success was the result of chemistry or heart then I do that this years recent stutter steps are a result of poor leadership by Rollins or Victorino.

Rollins had a career year last year and the Mets pitching collapsed among other things. Rollins didn't lead anyone, and neither team had an abundance of heart or lack thereof in any way that changed the output of the talent that was present.

Rollins leadership isn't faltering, his numbers are just reflecting his talent. Victorino just plain sucks. All of these discussions regarding intangibles are nonsense. We need a CF and a 3B that are at least league average. We need a manager that understands stats and goes with logic instead of his gut (leave Burrell in!) and before the month is out we are going to need another live arm in the bullpen.

I am getting really sick and tired of the "J-Roll Math." It seems like every time he's interviewed now, he breaks down for us what it will take for the Phillies to win. His "40-out-of-66" comment made me want to hurl my laptop at the wall. "We have 66 more games. We have to find a way to win about 40 of them. Get up around 90 wins and you'll be in there." That's great, Jimmy. What a lofty goal that is, to reach 90 wins. He sounds like a kid with senior-itis whose figured out how to get Cs just to get by.

I think it's time to let Charlie Manuel go... go after Willie Randolph or someone who is a manager, not just a soothsayer. I'm not saying this is all Manuel's fault, not in the least but for someone who is a "hittin' wiz" in "hittin' season" this team isn't doing, essentially the one thing they're supposed to do better than almost anyone. The Marlins pitching staff should not hold this team to 2 runs EVER.

Little tweaks is what this team needs.

-I know they don't want to but Taguchi needs to go. I don't think calling up Donald or Jaramillo is an answer. Find a guy like Gerut. See if Lofton can swallow his pride and be a back-up. Both guys would be an improvement.

- Add to the bullpen. I think the starters will be fine- just a hunch.

- I know there is a lot of hatred directed at Ruiz right now but sending him down or downgrading him in a big way would stunt him. And we need him for at least another year after this one until Marson is ready. As I said a few weeks ago. He is essentially a sophmore in the league. He's going through what many guys do in their second season.

- What worries me is they are showing the same tendencies they showed in 2005, and 2006. The tendencies they didn't show in late August and September last year, and during May and June this year. They never seem to be in sync as a team. Pitching struggles, hitting does well. Hitting struggles, pitchers do well. They are reverting somewhat to their team inconsistencies. The reason I'm not freaking out over it is becaus of what they did last year. They have something they didn't have in 2005 and 2006- a taste of the post-season.

We can argue and debate all we want about the team but I think one thing that we can almost all agree on is this: The Mets series will tell us a lot about this team. They are tied, division at stake. It's time to see who wants the division.

One of Manuel's biggest downfalls as a manager is that he lapses into habits and doesn't call them into question once they're established. If you have Michael Bourn to go out and play left field, that's one thing. Sending an inexperienced outfielder like Eric Bruntlett or a guy like Taguchi who's messed up at least as many plays as Burrell in very limited playing time, is quite another. Neither of those two is nearly enough of a defensive upgrade to justify the extreme offensive downgrades they import. Manuel got into the habit of automatically replacing Burrell when he was not the offensive asset he is now, when he wasn't moving around the way he is now, and when he had better defensive options. None of these apply any longer. It's time to recognize this and re-evaluate the logic.

On Mr. Victorino: he certainly hasn't been immune to my criticism. Talk about a mixed bag: a guy who's easy to get behind because he's about the only one who displays any overt energy, who has some surprisingly good skills on the field, yet who is one of the least savvy baseball players to ever set foot in Philadelphia. The guy flat doesn't know how to play the game. Even with all the bobbleheads and promotional appearances, I can't imagine Victorino has much a future playing here.

Adam: think it's time to let Charlie Manuel go

That might work, Adam, if we believed that the FO would hire a different sort of manager instead of one who won't challenge his bosses. Managers who don't know what else to do when things start going south say "do better" or "play harder." They might yell it, but it still doesn't constitute strategic thought now, does it?

People can blast me all they want for this next statement, but Pat Burrell is actually having one of his best defensive seasons ever. He's playing at least average LF, and therefore should not be taken out.

ESPN Insiders- Thats debatable is doing the NL East today at 1pm.

PhillR: "Why is it that when teams do well, everyone rushes to lay that success on intangibles like leadership, grit or guts. Then when teams do poorly its the reverse."

I agree with this completely. We are not failing because we miss Rowand's leadership. Our offense is failing because we miss his .889 OPS (not to mention Abreu's .800+ OPS). In an earlier post, I ranted about Rollins' lack of hustle and his idiotic statements to the media. But the only reason anyone notices these things is because they are searching for reasons to explain his terrible play (especially the colossal drop-off in his power numbers). If Rollins were putting up 2006 or 2007 numbers and he had made the same statement to the media, everyone on BL would be saying, "Rollins stepped up after the game by letting it be known that the team's offensive struggles are no reason for panic. That's what leaders do."

Why would anyone blast you for that statement? Burrell is playing better defense this year.

I don't think a trade would necessarily fix this problem, because the Phillies need an injection of youth. Young players could provide a boost with their energy and enthusiasm...not to mention talent.

If Rollins can't run ell because of an injury, why is he leading off?

Jason Werth should hit 1st or 2nd. Having a right-handed bat in that spot would make sense.

How can anyone say that this is something they'll work through, when it is now a swoon, not a bump or a slump. The team we are watching currently, compared to what we saw last year and the first two and a half months this season, are completey different. This is where the little things that we are used to seeing have all caught up to them now. It comes down to one, or in this case, cheapness. Was it going to be expensive to keep Rowand? Yes. Kyle Lohse? Yes. Two guys who I said early this year that were worth signing and keeping. Check out their current success so far this year.

Don't feed me that crap about the FO needs to keep handle on their payroll. Three million fans will have payed good money to watch a team that the ownership has decided to go the cheap on. Trying to replace good players who are already here and have great team chemistry is not an easy task. The Phillies answer to that is obvious when they find some also-ran to hand out some one, two or three year deal to, sort of as a temporary fix. The good clubs DO NOT let their best players walk, unless they fill the void with another equal talent or a can't miss prospect. When was the last time this team did that?

It's not Rowand, it's Rollins' leadership that the team misses. (The numbers speak for themselves)

GM- Burrell has never been as bad defensively as people claim, except possibly in 07.

In 04 he was actually pretty good, with a way above average range factor, and above average FP%.

In 06 he was again above average in both FP% and range.

This year his FP% is 100%, though his range factor is a tad below average.

The fact is that more often then not his bat will be a bigger asset in any inning then his clove is a liability. Pulling him for a defensive replacement makes very little sense ever.

GM--You are absolutely right. He isn't the fastest guy in the world, but his defense isn't enough of a liability (esp. this season) to warrant pulling his bat out of the lineup in close games. It's plain nuts.

BAP- Not to nitpick but Rollin's numbers this year are very close to 06. OPS+ of 101 then versus 98 now. Basically the definition of league average like his entire career (excepting 07).

What does everyone make of Hamels, who has never pitched a complete season, complaining about getting too much time off at the break?

J. Weitzel- I remember a couple years ago Hamels said that he though he could strike out 200+ and win 20+ every year. The kid has amazing stuff but seems to be a little short on brains sometimes.

That's what I like to hear from my ace-Give me the ball. Which is different then what he seemed to be saying at the end of last year about pitching on short rest in the playoffs...

Concerning the Burrell switch...He is in no way worse than Luzinski was out there and Bull was pulled when their was a lead in the ninth inning, not the seventh. That move has always bothered me, but even more so now because of the lame replacements Cholly is running out there. They might as well have the ball girls running down fly balls instead of Taguchi, for as lousy as he has been.

My real bitch is the fact that they had a great all around OF last year IMO, as opposed this season's average at best OF. Great arms, lots of OF assists, good to great speed, sans Burrell, that ran down lots of balls. This year anything hit out there is an adventure from the time it leaves the bat. The OF overall is not one that puts any fear, or even worry for that matter, into opposing teams and it is way too limited in it's one dimensionalism.

Having just seen Ryan Howard and PtB a few minutes ago, I would say that they are not really pressing. They were both sportin big shades and were with 2 fine young ladies.

Having just seen Milt Thompson was another story...he looked lost. Maybe it is time to let Milt go.

When I was at Spring Training, I did not like the attitude of the team. They were acting too cool for school and acting as if they were coming off a championship...not a team that got major help to get into the playoffs before GETTING SWEPT IN THE PLAYOFFS.

I have been questioning JRoll's leadershp, which opens up another leadership question...can Utley lead? Now is a good time for him (on the verge of getting slammed by the Met fans) to take ownership of this anemic squad.

I am in the camp that they miss Rowand and I feel they miss him big time. This team needs to add another veteran, situational-hitting gamer.


PhillR: I actually hadn't noticed that, but I did notice that Rollins' overall slugging pct is .47 points lower than in 2006, resulting in a .43 point drop in OPS.

This raises a question that I have always wondered about stats like OPS+ and ERA+. Maybe you know the answer -- and, if not you, then maybe someone like sophist or clout. These stats are computed by using the player's stat as the numerator and the league average at the player's home park as the denominator. So my question is: what data pool is used to compute league average? Does the league average include the home stats of the Phillies' own players? If so, then the statistic could end up punishing a player for the fact that he plays on a strong offensive team. On the other hand, I could also see an argument that visitors' stats are/were being driven up by the Phillies' lousy pitching -- which would also negatively impact the OPS+ of Phillies' players.

Under either of these scenarios, I could see Rollins' 2006 OPS+ being artificially punished, relative to his 2008 OPS+. I haven't looked, but I would venture to guess that the overall slugging percentage of the 2006 Phillies was probably higher than this year's team. And I would also venture to guess that their pitching and bullpen were considerably worse. It's difficult for me to look at a .47 point drop in slugging pct., and conclude that Rollins is faring just as well this year as he did in 2006.

"The OF overall is not one that puts any fear, or even worry for that matter, into opposing teams and it is way too limited in it's one dimensionalism."

There's some truth in this...Rowand had 11 assists last year by himself and the team had 39 OF assists. This year they're at 22 in 99 games...on pace for about 36. It's not a huge drop off. The only area where there's a significant range drop off is RF, down from 2.35 in '07 to 2.09 this year, but their range is down from last year across the board...just more so in RF probably because Victorino is now in CF because Rowand's glove is no longer around. Jenkins has been porous in RF and Werth has been ok but nothing special.

More importantly, the offensive end is where the majority of their problems are this year. From .277 and .352 OBP in 99 games last year to .257 and .334 OBP as of today...that's 87 less hits between a year ago and now...a hit a game more or less.

Jason: Hamels seems like the type of guy who has the knack for saying the exact wrong thing at the wrong time, making himself come off as selfish and a whiner. Personally, I don't really care because he's a hell of a pitcher, and he always is out there for celebrations and what not so it seems like he's really a part of the team and gets along with everyone. He just needs to get some media coaching and be taught what not to say. Anyway, I'm too young, but everything I've heard is that Carlton had way more locker room and media issues, and that seems to have turned out OK for him and the team.

Anyone else think that Myers should start a brawl on Wednesday, helping to get his swagger back and the team's? Seems like it could be a good way to rally the squad and re-establish Myers as a key figure, as dangerous as that sounds.

If the Phils win game 1, then I would love to see Myers start something.

I'm only concerned about Hamels getting injured, nothing else. The guy has as steely a demeanor as any pitcher I have ever seen. No mental issues with Cole, they are all physical. He has now pitched 150 Innings.

Firing Manual: I don't know. Part of me thinks this might work, but I'm not sure. I like Jimy Williams a lot. I remember a game against the Braves earlier this year after Cholly got ejected. Bobby Cox (Williams' mentor) had a squeeze play on and Williams had the defense positioned perfectly, like he was in Cox's head. Williams, IMO is a great baseball strategy guy, and he is familiar with the team. Before last season, I honestly thought that he was brought in to replace Manual. I still sort of believe that.

Regardless: They have to get a contact hitter, NOT Xavier Nady. The absolute last thing this team needs is another hacker, which is exactly what Xavier Nady is. Not only is he a hacker, but he disappears in the second half of seasons, and is injury prone. They need a guy like Randy Winn who rarely K's and puts the ball in play. He bats switch, has speed, and can play good defense at all 3 OF positions.

Wither Winn or Molina, or some catcher who can put bat on ball, without dribbling it to the 2B.

The Phils have their pitching concerns, but they pale in comparison to the ineptitude of the offense right now.

OPS+ does not use "league average at the player's home park".

OPS+ is really easy to compute: 100*((OBP/lgOBP)+(SLG/lgSLG)-1)

with pitcher ABs excluded. It isn't park adjusted, so a guy who lives in a hitters park keeps his advantage. Its simply OPS relative to everyone else in the league.

I'm not sure what to think of this "fire Charlie Manuel" movement. Part of me says "hell yes, axe him!", but the other part of me says "is it really his fault, and would it make a difference anyway?". Here's the thing though, his job is safe for the rest of the season whether we like it or not.

Alright, so that distinguishes OPS+ from ERA+, which I believe does use league average at the pitcher's home park. Correct?

"PhillR: I actually hadn't noticed that, but I did notice that Rollins' overall slugging pct is .47 points lower than in 2006, resulting in a .43 point drop in OPS."

Exactly. From 2004-07, Rollins SLG average is ~.475. His numbers this year actually look a lot more like the 26 year old 2005 Rollins. I didn't think the 29 year old Rollins, who hit 55 HR between 2006-7 (definition of league average, right?), would start looking like his younger self.

I still think he's injured. His numbers in his first ~30 games were on par with his numbers last year (close to .900 OPS), and lately he's even picking back up again after an awful June. .299/.373/.433 so far in July.

In fact, even this year Rollins' OPS by month are far above league average: 131 in March/April, 120 in May, and 116 in July. His overall numbers are down because his OPS in June was 80.

Reading Beerleaguer today you might think this team is 40-60.

We Phils Phans are rough bunch.

TonyD--Touche and very funny.

I wonder what the comments would look like if the team was actually 40-60. Probably pretty much the same.

In re Rollins: Maybe I'm an idiot, but Rollins is not hitting .200. Maybe the team would be better served with him hitting lower in the order, but that is on the manager. It is not like his performance is a "detriment" to the team. He is doing something, whereas Ruiz/Coste/Jenkins (Outside Jenkins eruption the other day) are doing nothing.

Ruiz and Coste add another pitcher to the lineup, if not worse. Seven (7!!!) hits in a month is pathetic, and that doesn't even account for the poor quality of the hits/contact (at least 3 of those should not have been hits). When you have two spots in the order that are automatic outs, the team struggles offensively, period. Jimmy is not a "problem." He could perform "better" but he is far from a "problem." Seven (7!!) hits in July is a "PROBLEM."

While everyone is busy badgering Rollins, Victorino and Jenkins, when does Chase Utley start to get some criticism for his lack of production?

In the last 30 days Chase has a total of 7 RBIs, thats just 2 more than Jenkins who has 50 fewer at bats over the period. In fact, over the lsat month Chase has knocked in a grand total of 4 runners not names Chase Utley.

He's probably my favorite player, but its time for the MVP talk to disappear and performance level to increase.

is their last 30 games, they are playing .400 ball, which 40-60's winning percentage.

So, they have looked like a 40-60 team for a month now.

Phillr: "We need a CF and a 3B that are at least league average."

Both Vic and Feliz are above average on defense and Vic is actually above average on offense compared to the rest of the league's centrfielders. Feliz, of course, ranks near the bottom on offense compared to the league's thirdbasemen.

I know that he struggles against RHP, but Werth deserves a shot to play everyday right now for a few reasons.

1) Werth is actually .238/.336/.349 against RHP this year versus Jenkins' .250/.304/.414. While Jenkins is going to have more hits and hit for more power against RHP than Werth, the difference is not enough to make up for Werth's 32 points higher OBP to merit Jenkins starting against every RHP. Werth wouldn't even have the PA he has against RHP if not for Vic's early injury. Let me make a further point here as well. Victorino, a better hitter from the left side, only has a .357 OBP against RHP so far, which makes him slightly above league average. So we continue to plug the two hole with an inadequate player for that position so that Jenkins can start against all RHP.

2) Werth is a better defensive player than Jenkins. If were not going to hit to our potential then maximize our defense and help out our pitchers, who other than Hamels put the ball in play a lot.

3) Werth is credited with 41 runs created to Jenkins' 27 with 20 less at-bats. I may be taking a leap here, but Werth is showing to be 50% more productive at helping us score.

4) As noted on the front page today, Jenkins is due to make money and the team in 2010 if he reaches a certain number of PA. Clearly his career is about finished so let's not let this happen.

5) Finally, inserting Werth into the lineup on an every day basis allows to change the complexion of this offense in the short term and hopefully get us back on track. Werth can hit 1st or 2nd (with Jimmy's pouting probably 2nd) and allow us to move Vic down to 6th or 7th where he really belongs. If Victorino hits 7th in front of Ruiz we can hopefully use Ruiz for more productive outs. If Shane can get on and steal 2nd we can use Ruiz to get him to third. This becomes more valuable in the later innings when we can use a PH to hit a sac fly. We've been losing so many close games because of our poor situational hitting so we need to consider all possibilities. I know this is a very specific and isolated example but it helps to illustrate my point. There are other ways to use Shane Victorino effectively that won't sacrifice runs in other places.

Granted this is far from a well-crafted argument and a work in progress but why not try the following:

1. Werth
2. Utley
3. Burrell
4. Howard
5. Rollins
6. Feliz
7. Victorino
8. Ruiz
9. Pitcher

Sophist, yeah 06 OPS+ of 101. League average. 07 is the only year Rollins has been anything other then league friggin average. There is nothing outside of 07 to suggest that he will ever be anything other then league average, and guess what in 08 he continues to be exactly that: LEAGUE AVERAGE.

Massage the stats all you want, the end result is impossible to argue with. He is 29 years old, the trend is established. A 118 OPS+ in 07 isn't even incredibly better the league average. I mean Carlos Delgado has an OPS+ of 113 in 08. Are you telling me that these are world beater numbers?

I can't stand to have another argument about Rollins. Here:

Argue with the numbers all you want. They won't change.

Blame Utley because the guy with 25 HR and 70 RBI's is really a "problem." How many hits does Utley have this month? He had more last week than Coste/Ruiz in the entire month.

JTNC - with you 100% on utley.

There isn't just one problem on the team and there isn't just one solution. Its not as if all we need is for one of these guys (rollins, vic, jenkins, feliz, ruiz) to start hitting and all the sudden our problems are solved. There seems to be a bigger, chemistry/motivational problem across the whole team now, and thats a tougher one to solve

"its time for the MVP talk to disappear and performance level to increase."

Well put.

PhillR, did Jimmy Rollins not sign an autograph for you or something? It sounds like you hate the guy.

Clout: I don't understand your statement. Are you arguing the Pedro Feliz isn't at the end of the day a liability for this team?

Defense is overrated. Ill take Pat Burrell's range and a 105 OPS at CF any day over Victorino. CBP is small, we don't need speedy gonzalez out there.

Its time for us to recognize what the FO apparently doesn't:

This is a TEAM. You don't put together a team with 4 great players a few decent players and a couple of guys that have no business being in the Major Leagues. When you trot out guys in a spot in an NL lineup (non-pitcher) that shouldn't be in the MLB, it is a drag on the team. Even if Jenkins/Werth don't produce/ sometimes or go into slumps, it shouldn't be a huge deal.

If having a DH in your lineup substantially helps an offense, then having 2 pitchers (or worse) hitting in an NL lineup has an equal effect, and it is not a good one.

Tony: I have absolutely no problem with Rollins. I have a problem with fans and an FO who think he is something special. He isn't. He is an interchangeable piece, that had one slightly above average year. All teams need such guys.

The problem with the Phillies is that we elevate our scrubs (feliz, victorino) to the status of league average interchangeable pieces and then make gods out of the average guys.

A smart FO would take advantage of the MVP situation and sell Rollins high. If we had dealt him last winter to an AL team we would have gotten an amazing package and odds are we still could have had a 98 OPS+ at SS this year.

The Phillies essentially have 2 pitchers hitting in their lineup every night. Someone please tell me how that is not a problem/ the biggest problem?

This team reminds me of recent Yankees teams. Too many All-Star type players and not enough role players on the team to complement them...

I think the issues really came to a head during interleague play. I think their inability to hit good pitching really shook their confidence. I remember on the '07 video yearbook Rollins talking about a game last year where they were down by a few runs early and he thought to himself maybe '07 wasn't their year and maybe they didn't have what it took to get to the playoffs and beyond and then they came back and won the game and he said he wouldn't ever doubt them again. Perhaps this year something similar happened but this time they didn't come back and win the game.

And add me to the camp who thinks Rollins is playing hurt.

Rollins has basically been a league average hitter, but he's been a well above average defensive SS with big time speed and far more power than most guys with career 98 OPS+. He's also been a leader and fan favorite for a long time. Rollins is worth more to the organization than a couple of stats can really explain.

Don't get me wrong his stats are what they are and he needs to step it up this year. But don't start suggesting we should have traded him last winter. That's a garbage comment and would have provoked a similiar opposite negative reaction had it actually happened.

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EST. 2005

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